Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Crossroads Tunnels

Although I was by and large satisfied with the material I wrote about the Crossroads asteroid colony, one element that I always wanted to expand upon was the tunnel system inside it. At long last, I've done so. Presented below is a map of the tunnels, along with area descriptions and suggestions for stocking them with enemies for an adventuring party. Additionally, I've updated the PDF version of the compilation for Crossroads, which is available in my Dropbox.

Crossroads Asteroid Colony

-Nate



10. The Tunnels
Those who are familiar with the history of Crossroads know that the asteroid was once mined by dwarves, but they sold it to Luciano Reda after the veins of ore stopped producing. What most people don't know, however, is that those mines aren't entirely empty. There are rats, of course; that's no surprise, but other, deadlier things lurk here, too. The exact nature of what's inside is left for the GM to develop.

Tunnel Inhabitants
Listed here are some possible creatures that might inhabit the tunnels, ranked by CR.

CR – Creature
1/4 – Scarlet spider
1 – Darkmantle
1 – Giant spider
2 – Cave fisher
2 – Choker
2 – Slime mold
3 – Crysmal
3 – Giant black widow spider
4 – Aranea
4 – Gray ooze
5 – Cloaker
5 – Ochre jelly
5 – Spider eater


A. Entry
The entrance to the tunnel system is located on the western side of the asteroid (that is, when one considers the docks to lie on the south end), right around its centerline. In order to keep people from wandering into the tunnels, the powers that be have covered the entrance with a permanent image that disguises it as just another part of the rock's face. Those who encounter the illusion may attempt a DC 20 Will save to recognize its falsehood. 

As a general rule, tunnels are about as half as tall as they are wide. In that way, the narrower passages range from ten to twenty feet in height, while the larger caverns rise up to a hundred feet in height or more.

B. New Diggings
Those who succeed at DC 15 Knowledge (dungeoneering) or (engineering) checks may notice that one part of the tunnels has been more recently dug—that is, within the past few months. A similar Knowledge (local effort) reveals that this section passes underneath some of the settlement's notable buildings, including the Sign of the Ourobouros, the Crossroads Outfitter, the R.I.C. warehouse and the home of Governor Luciano Reda. At the GM's discretion, there might also be tracks in the area (that one can find with a DC 20 Survival effort) that could lead to the responsible party. Just what that character intends to do, however, is left open to interpretation.

C. Fungus Farm
The tunnel leading to this area slopes downward, and the walls here are slick with moisture. What is more, a tremendous variety of fungus lines the floor and walls of the area. While many of these growths are harmless—and, according to many halflings, delicious—some are downright deadly. That latter group could include violet fungus and shriekers, and possibly even phantom fungus or mindslaver mold.

D. Cess Pit
Over time, those who have made use of these tunnels—smugglers, thieves and the like—have dumped their rubbish here. Now one end of the tunnel is filled with years' worth of rusting and rotting detritus. The pile is also home to various vermin, such as centipedes and rats, and possibly including other, even more dangerous creatures.

E. Underground Lake
What from the settlement on the surface of the asteroid has trickled down through the soil and rock to form a pool here. Although cold, the water is clean and safe for drinking. At the GM's discretion, it could contain living things, ones that run the gamut from harmless cave fish up to aquatic snakes, giant frogs or even some electric eels.



Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Bear-Folk

Building off of a previous post, this article presents a small community of people who can present trading opportunities along with plot hooks for a nautical or space fantasy campaign.

-Nate


An Ursine Longhouse
The typical home of a bear-folk family is a relatively simple but comfortable structure. It is built from roughly-hewn logs lashed into A-frames; more logs, packed with straw and clay, form the walls of a single rectangular room some twenty feet deep and fifty feet long. In this way, the bottoms of the A-frame logs protrude beyond the outside walls. A roof of thick thatch covers this structure, and the rafters beneath it create additional room for storing household goods. Inside, the building's broad double doors are flanked by two raised platforms on which the family's younger members keep their bedrolls. A similar platform stands in another corner, the sleeping place for the parents. Opposite the doors is a hearth for cooking and warmth, usually with a couple of chairs for sitting in front of it. There is also a table and chairs for meals and other activities. Storage is provided in the form of barrels, chests and baskets.

Typical Ursine Warrior: Use the stats for a werebear from page 181 of the Bestiary 2.

Using the Bear-Folk in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This group can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy or more traditional RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • At first glance, the bear-folk might seem to be an odd fit for a space fantasy campaign. If there is truth to their legend of being the first starfarers, however, then they might possess some important lost relic or lore.
  • That would especially be the case if the aforementioned enemy, the furmah, ever returned to threaten Homeworld's solar system.
  • In a more mundane way, the bear-folk could also be trading partners for PCs who have their own vessel, exchanging fish, sealskin and even scrimshaw for foodstuffs, metal goods and other items that they can't produce for themselves.
  • The PCs could be called in to help mediate or otherwise resolve the conflict when an orc whale hunting vessel moves into the bear-folk's territory, killing off the very animals that they need to make their living.
  • Clerics or other followers of Luna might journey here to learn about the stories and other traditions of the bear-folk.
  • With the GM's permission, one of the PCs could hail from this tribe of primitive but powerful people—a proposition that entails, of course, all of the expected benefits and drawbacks of lycanthropy.



Sunday, June 18, 2017

Faction: Disciples of the Destroyer, Part 2

Here are stats for some of the NPCs that one might encounter when dealing with this organization.

-Nate


Running Pit Fights
These matches can be single events pitting a particular champion against another competitor or even some exotic beast, or a grand tournament in which eight or more contestants compete in a series of fights. They are usually fought until one opponent surrenders or is incapacitated, but sometimes result in death. In either case, Kurtz and his guards collect the entry fee from spectators and handle any additional money that they care to wager. Fighters are allowed to prepare themselves in one of the rooms provided by that purpose, and are often accompanied by an ally who can tend to their wounds, whether they win or lose.


Finding Foes
The NPC Gallery section of the GameMastery Guide can be an excellent source of opponents to use in the fighting pit; here are a few suggestions.

Page—Character (CR)
282—Caravan Guard (1)
266—Slaver (3)
257—Monster Hunter (5)
280—Raider (5)
263—Beast Master (6)
283—Sellsword (7)
281—Viking (7)
263—Champion (9)


Leopold Kurtz
CR 6
XP 2400
Male human bard 7
NE medium humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +13
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 13, flat-footed 14 (+1 Dex, +3 armor, +1 deflection, +1 Dodge)
hp 31 (7d8)
Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +7
Resist Bard abilities
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +5 (1d6-1)
Ranged Light crossbow +7 (1d8)
Special Attacks Bard abilities
STATISTICS
Str 8, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 15
Base Atk +5; CMB +4; CMD 15
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Extra Performance, Improve Initiative, Persuasive
Skills Appraise +12, Bluff +12, Diplomacy +14, Intimidate +14, Knowledge (local) +12, Perception +13, Perform +14, Profession (merchant) +11, Sense Motive +13
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven
SQ Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +2, versatile performance, well-versed, inspire competence +3, lore master 1/day, suggestion
Combat Gear Leather armor +1, masterwork short sword, masterwork light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, pouch containing 10 of each coin, cloak of resistance +1, ring of protection +1
Spells per Day: 5/4/1
Spells Known (6/5/4/2): Daze, detect magic, know direction, mage hand, message, read magic; cause fear, feather fall, identify, sleep, unseen servant; hold person, invisibility, silence, tongues; confusion, dispel magic

Leopold Kurtz is a ruthless opportunist who will exploit any opportunity to gain wealth or influence for himself. Although he once worked for the Royal Interplanetary Company, he now makes a comfortable living organizing pit fights for the Disciples of the Destroyer. He maintains a tough front, as is appropriate for that kind of business. In truth, however, he is something of a coward and isn't too proud to plead for mercy if faced with an overwhelming opponent.

Acolyte of Lamashtu
CR ½
XP 200
Various cleric 1
NE medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +3
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 10, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 shield)
hp 10 (1d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +0, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Falchion +2 (2d4+2)
Ranged Throwing dagger +0 (1d4)
Special Attacks Channel negative energy 1d6
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 16, Cha 12
Base Atk +0; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Combat Casting, Extra Channel
Skills Knowledge (religion) +3, Spellcraft +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura, domains (evil, madness), orisons
Combat Gear Chain shirt, small steel shield, falchion, silver holy symbol, vial of holy water, throwing daggers
Spells per Day: 3/2+1
Spells Prepared: Bleed, detect magic, guidance; bane, lesser confusion, protection from good

These new adherents to the cult of Lamashtu may lack in power, but make up for it with ruthless zeal. They revel in bloodshed.

Adept of Lamashtu
CR 4
XP 2400
Various cleric 5
NE medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +3
DEFENSE
AC 15, touch 10, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 shield)
hp 36 (5d8+10)
Fort +6, Ref +1, Will +7
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Falchion +7 (2d4+3)
Ranged Throwing dagger +3 (1d4)
Special Attacks Channel negative energy 3d6
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 17, Cha 12
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Channel Smite, Combat Casting, Extra Channel, Weapon Focus (falchion)
Skills Knowledge (religion) +7, Spellcraft +7
Languages Common
SQ Aura, domains (evil, madness), orisons
Combat Gear Masterwork chain shirt, masterwork small steel shield, falchion +1, silver holy symbol, vial of holy water, throwing daggers
Spells per Day: 4/4+1/3+1/2+1
Spells Prepared: Bleed, detect magic, guidance, read magic; bane, divine favor, lesser confusion, protection from good, shield of faith; align weapon, hold person, silence, spiritual weapon; dispel magic, prayer, rage

Those cultists who survive the initial ordeals of joining Lamashtu's faithful become even more zealous about doing harm to others, and gain the martial and magical power to inflict those desires on their victims. In addition to conducting the profane rites of their goddess, they become skilled combatants and even leaders in battle.


Priest of Lamashtu

CR 8
XP 9600
Various cleric 9
NE medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +4
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+5 armor, +2 shield)
hp 62 (9d8+18)
Fort +9, Ref +3, Will +11
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Falchion +11/+6 (2d4+4)
Ranged Throwing dagger +6/+1 (1d4)
Special Attacks Channel negative energy 5d6
STATISTICS
Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 18, Cha 12
Base Atk +6/+1; CMB +8; CMD 18
Feats Channel Smite, Combat Casting, Command Undead, Extra Channel, Improved Channel, Weapon Focus (falchion)
Skills Knowledge (religion) +11, Spellcraft +11
Languages Common
SQ Aura, domains (evil, madness), orisons

Combat Gear Chain shirt +1, small steel shield +1, falchion +2, silver holy symbol, vial of holy water, throwing daggers, cloak of resistance +1
Spells per Day: 4/5+1/5+1/4+1/3+1/1+1
Spells Prepared: Bleed, detect magic, guidance, read magic; bane, deathwatch, divine favor, lesser confusion, protection from good, shield of faith; align weapon, death knell, hold person, silence, spiritual weapon, status; animate dead, bestow curse, dispel magic, prayer, rage; confusion, divine power, tongues, unholy blight; dispel good, unhallow

The senior clerics of Lamashtu are fearsome foes, ones who can go toe-to-toe in combat with foes as well as leading their underlings into battle. What is more, they are able to animate the bodies of slain foes, calling on them to continue the work demanded by their wicked goddess.


Using the Organization in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • Needless to say, members of this organization make natural enemies for followers of Gaea and Sol. Even those who revere Ptah and Luna have no love for them, given the Disciples' obsession with blood sacrifice.
  • There is an interesting connection between the Disciples and certain efreet who've infiltrated the Church of Sol. Those fire genies, who are more chaotic in mindset than their fellows, embrace the destructive nature of fire as another weapon in Lamashtu's arsenal. In that way, they seek to pervert the worshipers of Sol by luring them to embrace the “cleansing” nature of that element.
  • It is rumored that one or members of the Royal Interplanetary Company are also secret adherents of this order, since they view Lamashtu and her offspring as the embodiment of the fierce nature that is needed to succeed in business. If that were proven to be true, then it would be quite the scandal indeed.
  • In order to win the trust of certain Disciples, one or more of the PCs might need to participate in or otherwise infiltrate Leopold Kurtz's fighting pit.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Campaign History, Legends and Mythology Part 2

This post is my second attempt at writing a traditional tale in the Homeworld setting, a story that explains one of the world's religious beliefs and that provides a hint at future events.

-Nate


The Tale of the Bear Spirit
“Among the rugged folk who dwell in the far northern regions of the world, amid the endless snow and ice, there is plenty of time for telling stories around the hearth-fire. One of those tales is a curious take on the history of aetherial travel. 

“Those people, who appear rather primitive when judged by more civilized standards, claim that it was not the long-lived elves, nor even the steady dwarves, who first dared to pilot an aethership up, into and beyond the heavens. Rather, they say, it was their own folk. 

“I know that it may sound preposterous; even so, they believe it. Those people, who subsist by hunting seals and other animals, as well as fathering other foodstuffs when possible, believe that, due to their unusual natures, they feel a powerful draw toward Luna. What is more, they assert that, long ago, they were visited by a messenger sent by that goddess. 

“They say the messenger came seeking warriors to help battle a menace from the beyond the heavens, and enemy they call the furmah. Dozens of their strongest and bravest volunteered for the undertaking, possibly in the hope of meeting Luna herself. 

“Those who remained behind in the villages never saw their kith and kinfolk again. Even so, they say that the messenger returned, and told them that the heavenly powers wished to offer them a sign of gratitude for the warriors' sacrifice. They declared that a certain group of stars, always visible in that region's night sky, should ever after be known as the Great Bear, and would watch over their people for the rest of time. That, then, is the origin of the entity they refer to as the Bear Spirit, the patron and protector of their folk.”

-Recounted to High Priest Imhotep by Yusuf the Traveler




Deity


AL


Portfolios


Domains
Favored Weapon
The Bear Spirit CG Patron and protector of the bear-folk Animal, Community, Protection Battleaxe



Saturday, June 10, 2017

Faction: Disciples of the Destroyer

Here's another faction, this one dedicated to Lamashtu.

-Nate


Disciples of the Destroyer
This band of fanatics is dedicated to the worship of Lamashtu, the Mother of Monsters. They embrace all of her destructive aspects, in which way she acts as the antithesis to Gaea, the Earth Mother. As such, these ruthless zealots are known to conduct blood sacrifices to honor their patroness, to conduct orgiastic rites in which they hope to spawn more of their kind, and to practice ritual scarification of themselves. In this way they are very popular among all manner of ogres and their misshapen offspring, along with clerics, blackguards and certain types of magi.

Goal: Sacrifice and Destruction
Those who dedicate themselves to the service of Lamashtu seek nothing more than to help others reach the ultimate end of life's cycle—that is, death, and in the most painful and gruesome way possible. In this way they test their own bodies through scarification and even mutilation, a practice that sometimes costs them their own lives.

Alignment: CE
Since they view death as the ultimate and inevitable end of all things, the Disciples care little for any sense of ethics or morality. Instead, they seek to shed blood in honoring the Mother of Destruction, and they compete among themselves to determine who is the most capable of doing so. In that way they establish the pecking order, or hierarchy, of the organization.

Leader
Ultimately the Disciples of Destruction answer to a magus-cleric named Mother Edimmu. Given the violent nature of the organization, of course, details regarding that individual's identity and location are a closely guarded secret. Easier to find are one of the organization's pit-fighting champions, Utukku, and the gladiatorial match promoter, Leopold Kurtz.

Headquarters
While the location of Mother Edimmu is a closely guarded secret, it's easier to find the fighting pit that Kurtz runs on behalf of the Disciples. While this one is located in the Holy City itself, underneath the very noses of the Ptah priesthood, it is typical of others from around Homewold and even on other planets. 

Refer to the appropriate maps for the following area descriptions.


1. Entry
From the outside, this building looks like nothing more than a typical warehouse—a facade that Kurtz carefully maintains. It has walls made of thick mud brick, with double iron-banded wooden doors that provide entrance. There are no windows.

2. Spectator Area
The main floor of the structure, along with each of the upper levels, consists of a broad, open area centered on the fighting pit, which is encircled by a wooden railing. Sconces for torches line the walls, since there are no windows.

3. Stairways
The spiral stairways lead up to additional spectator areas, as well as down to the quarters provided for the faithful and other combatants.


4. Fighting Pit
This area, little more than a hole in the ground with a packed earth floor, is where Disciples and others fight to the death. In addition to numerous bloodstains, doors lead out to the combatants' quarters.

5. Quarters
Each of these small chambers is furnished with a crude but functional bed, along with a table and a couple of chairs. Ordinarily, only combatants and one or two assistants are allowed to occupy them. On occasion, however, certain associates of the Disciples capture wild beasts and bring them to the fighting pit, where they are kept until being unleashed against competitors. (See below for a list of such beasts.)



Monday, May 29, 2017

Still More PDF Goodness

This PDF compiles my most recent batch of space fantasy material.

Aetherial Adventures 7

-Nate

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Recruiting a Crew

This post solidifies some ideas that I've had bouncing around in my head about a process for PCs recruiting sailors. 

-Nate 


Recruiting a Crew
Whether it happens because of encountering natural hazards, losses in combat, acquiring a larger vessel or other reasons, it is inevitable that a captain at some point will need to hire new crew members. When that time comes, the Pathfinder core rulebook contains a valuable tool for adjudicating that effort: its description of the reincarnation spell. 

More specifically, the table on page 332 provides a means of determining the species of those sailors in port who are looking to hire on with a new vessel. The GM should roll on that table, and then consult the chart below to determine just how many sailors of that race are present and available for hiring.
% Chance / # Available
1 / 1d4
4 / 1d6
10 / 1d8
12 / 1d10
15 / 1d12

Note that the PCs may always continue seeking available candidates with additional rolls on the chart, but each roll after the first decreases the number of characters available by one die type. After all, passing up on the more prominent candidates means that they might need to accept whomever they can find. 

For example, Captain Horace and the crew of the Skylark pay a visit to the Crossroads asteroid colony; while there, they stop in at the Sign of the Ourobouros and look for new crew members. When they do so, the GM or a player rolls percentile, resulting in 70. Given that, the next roll is 1d10, with a result of 4. Thus, the PCs find four halfling sailors who are looking to sign on with a crew. While they could undertake negotiations to hire those NPCs, they might seek other candidates to supplement or replace the first group. 

In that case, the GM or player should roll again. This time, the percentile result is 01, which would normally yield 1d4 bugbear candidates, but that is reduced by a step to nothing, and thus yields no candidates. Eventually, of course, this means that the PCs could run through any chances of finding potential crew members at a given location, and thus must go somewhere else in order to find new candidates. At the GM's discretion, that failure could mean that the PCs receive no more attempts in that location. As always, the GM can adjudicate unusual circumstances, such as if the PCs make successful Diplomacy checks, offer large signing bonuses for recruitment or the like. Note, too, that the GM should feel free to substitute other races depending on the particular location in which they're doing the recruiting.

First Impressions and Negotiations
Recruitment also provides a good opportunity for roleplaying, as the PCs meet potential new recruits; feel out their personalities; discuss and determine shares and accommodations; and the like. At the GM's discretion, this could also involve a Diplomacy check to determine the first impression that the PCs make on these recruits, and might even have long-term implications regarding those sailors' loyalty to the captain and other crew members. 

To determine the difficulty of making a good first impression, compare the alignment of the new sailor(s) with that of the captain. Each step of difference between the two, decreases the starting attitude of the sailors one step from Helpful (and thus increases the base DC of the Diplomacy check by 5). Success on that check means that the captain has made a good impression, and thus they are more likely to remain loyal during difficult times; failure, on the other hand, could lead to dissent, factions and possibly even mutiny. Here again, the GM should apply bonuses or penalties to this check based on good or bad roleplaying or reasoning, or due to other factors.

Character Stats
Presented below is a base stat block for NPC sailors; the GM need only apply ability score modifiers and add special abilities based on the characters' race.

Typical Sailor

CR 1/3
XP X
Various expert 1
N medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +5
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 8 (1d8)
Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +3
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Dagger +0 (1d4)
Ranged Dagger +1 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 11, Dex 13, Con 10, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 11
Feats Skill Focus (Profession: sailor)
Skills Climb +4, Knowledge (nature) +3, Perception +5, Profession (sailor) +8, Survival +5
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Clothing, knife, miscellaneous personal possessions



Adding Some Personality
Finally, Table 4-4 on pages 95-6 of the GameMastery Guide can be a helpful tool for bringing this new batch of crew members to life, providing an inkling for their general disposition.

Continuing the previous example, the GM rolls an 90 on the aforementioned table. For that reason, the four halfling sailors come from a different culture, and thus frequently ask for explanation of seemingly mundane activities. Note, too, that the GM may wish to keep the result of this check secret, thus allowing for surprising drama at some point in the future.




Friday, May 12, 2017

Campaign History, Legends and Mythology

One thing I always liked about the old Al-Qadim campaign setting for D&D was that many of the supplements contained stories that were part of the setting's tradition, ones that helped explain certain aspects of the world or that set up a particular adventure. Inspired by that idea, I'm trying my hand at developing a mythological background for a space fantasy campaign setting. With that in mind, here's one such story.

-Nate


Campaign History, Legends and Mythology
This article explores ideas for developing the large-scale, cosmological background for an RPG campaign. Consider, for example, this story from the Sol System; it takes a mythological perspective, and tries to explain the dichotomy of good and evil in a way that provides a genesis story and incorporates the deities inspired by observation of the natural world, along with two taken from real Earth history.

The Tale of Ptah, Sol, Gaea, Lamashtu and the Void
“Once, when the Universe was new, Ptah looked out and decided to start filling it with living beings. To do that, he set out to create two beings, one male and one female. What Ptah did not expect is that each creation actually produced two beings, twins. The male progeny were Sol, who would inhabit the Sun, and the entity known as the Void. The female offspring were Gaea, the Earth Mother, and Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Whereas the prior manifested the Earth's potential to provide for all of its children in abundance, the latter embodied the wild nature of living things, survival of the fittest, and thus an evil outlook on life.

“Recognizing the danger that his two unintended offspring represented, Ptah made a difficult decision. He created a star for Sol, so that this deity could be a shining beacon of virtue in the Universe, and also made a planet for Gaea to inhabit. Through the interaction of the two deities, the Earth came to be populated with all manner of plants, animals and other living things. Even so, the situation was not an idyllic one. While the Void absconded to the farthest, darkest reaches of Space, Lamashtu was jealous of her sister and thus took up residence on Earth. There she began to spawn offspring of her own, including many of the monsters that now exist, corrupted versions of the ones that Gaea and Sol created.

“This, then, is the origin of good and evil in the Universe, and thus the source of all conflicts that have plagued Homeworld—along with the rest of the galaxy—since time immemorial.”



Refer to page 43 of the Pathfinder core rulebook to find details about Lamashtu and her domains for clerics.

The Elven Addendum
The elves, of course, maintain an alternate version of this story, one that supports their worship of the goddess Luna.

The Origin of Luna
“What many humans forget is that the Creator had three female offspring, not two. The third was Luna, who embodied qualities of both Sol and Gaea. For that reason she was given dominion over the moon, a dwelling that illuminates the night sky in the same way as the sun, and that is a companion for the Earth in dark times. She provides light for those who travel in the night, those who explore the Earth but choose to do so without submitting themselves to the dominion of the sun.”



This belief among the elves sometimes creates conflict between them and the priesthood of Sol, since they do not believe that the sun god is the source of all illumination in the universe. Followers of Sol, for their part, maintain that Luna only reflects the sun god's light, and that she does not create illumination of her own.





Saturday, April 29, 2017

Factions: The Guardians of Gaea and the Sol Society, Part 2

Here are stats for novice and veteran members of the two aforementioned organizations.

-Nate


Guardian of Gaea, Novice
CR ½
XP 200
Various human ranger 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 11, flat-footed 13 (+3 armor, +1 Dex)
hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +2
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +3 (1d8+2)
Ranged Longbow +3 (1d8)
Special Attacks Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 14
Feats Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot
Skills Climb +6, Handle Animal +4, Heal +6, Perception +6, Stealth +6, Survival +6
Languages Common
SQ Favored enemy, track, wild empathy
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, longsword, longbow, quiver of 20 arrows, cloak, backpack
Spells per Day: None

Although they can be dangerous foes when they believe that their cause is threatened, these rangers are generally gentle souls who love nothing more than spending time amidst the diverse flora and fauna of their Homeworld.


Guardian of Gaea, Veteran
CR 6
XP 2400
Various human ranger 7
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +6
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 12, flat-footed 15 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +1 Dodge, +1 shield)
hp 57 (7d10+14)
Fort +8, Ref +8, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +12/+7 (1d8+4)
Ranged Longbow +9/+4 (1d8+1)
Special Attacks Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Fighting
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +10; CMD 21
Feats Dodge, Endurance, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting, Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Two-Weapon Defense, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (longsword)
Skills Climb +13, Handle Animal +10, Heal +12, Perception +12, Stealth +12, Survival +12
Languages Common
SQ Favored enemy x2, track, wild empathy, combat style feats, Endurance, favored terrain, hunter's bond, woodland stride
Combat Gear Studded leather armor +1, longsword +1, longbow +1, quiver of 20 arrows, cloak, backpack, cloak of resistance +1
Spells per Day: 2/1
Spells Prepared: Entangle, pass without trace; barkskin

This grizzled veteran, in addition to protecting the well-being of Mother Earth, is also dedicated to leading and protecting comrades in battle.



Also, refer to the description of the elven Arkship to find stats for druid members of this faction.

Paladin of Sol, Novice 
CR ½
XP 200
Various human paladin 1
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 10, flat-footed 16 (+4 armor, +2 shield)
hp 11 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +5
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Morningstar +4 (1d8+2)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks Smite evil 1/day
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Iron Will, Weapon Focus (morningstar)
Skills Diplomacy +7, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 1/day
Combat Gear Chain shirt, morning star, heavy steel shield, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, silver holy symbol

These paladins have dedicated their lives to the notion that shining Sol's light—that is, teaching others of his faith, and encouraging them to live good lives—can make the universe a better place. While some might consider them to be overly zealous and stodgy, they know that their chosen life paths are righteous.



Paladin of Sol, Veteran 
CR 6
XP 2400
Various human paladin 7
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 10, flat-footed 20 (+7 armor, +3 shield)
hp 50 (7d10+7)
Fort +11, Ref +5, Will +11
Resist Divine grace, aura of courage, divine health
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Morningstar +11/+6 (1d8+4)
Ranged Light crossbow +7/+2 (1d8)
Special Attacks Smite evil 1/day
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 13, Cha 16
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Extra Channel, Extra Lay on Hands, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Weapon Focus (morningstar)
Skills Diplomacy +7, Knowledge (religion) +3
Languages Common
SQ Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 3/day, divine grace, lay on hands, aura of courage, divine health, mercy, channel positive energy, divine bond, mercy
Combat Gear Chainmail +1, morning star +1, heavy steel shield +1, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, silver holy symbol, phylactery of faithfulness
Spells per Day: 2/1
Spells Prepared: Bless, protection from evil; bull's strength

Veteran members of the Sol Society are just like their less experienced comrades, but more so in every way.




Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Factions: The Guardians of Gaea and the Sol Society

Detailed below are two more factions for use in a space fantasy (or more traditional) RPG campaign.

-Nate


Guardians of Gaea
More a loose band of confederates than a group with any real structure, the Guardians of Gaea are those individuals who choose to protect Homeworld—the planet itself, and not any of the political entities upon it—from artificial harm. In that they make an important distinction; while natural disasters are acceptable, since they heed the will of nature, those calamities brought on by people's efforts must be prevented. Examples of the latter include sabotaging logging operations in ancient forests, defending a sacred mountain against invasive mining, thwarting excessive hunting practices, and the like. As such, it boasts numerous rangers and druids among its members, especially humans and halflings; less common are barbarians, dwarves and elves.

Goal: Protection, Cultivation
Ensuring that Homeworld—the Earth Mother—will always bear enough fruit to feed her children is the ultimate goal of this group. In addition to defending pristine locations in a firm but compassionate manner, the group also works to preserve animal and plant types that are threatened.

Alignment: NG
While they are committed to protecting their Earth Mother, the Guardians of Gaea are generally non-violent and seek to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner. They are not so concerned about the laws of the lands in which they work, because those laws are sometimes made by individuals who are motivated more by power and wealth than by preservation.

Leader
Unlike many other organizations, the Guardians of Gaea do not have a single reigning leader. Instead, their members make decisions through debate and then vote of all who are present.

Headquarters
Just as they lack a single leader, the Guardians also do not have permanent bases of operations. Instead they move about in nomadic encampments, forming temporary tent towns or, when conditions permit, living directly in nature's embrace. When it becomes necessary for members to meet in the city, they prefer to use garden space for doing so. 

An example of this is the meditative garden, an element favored by a number of eastern cultures. It consists of a walled enclosure that contains a carefully maintained orchard and garden. Usually there is a pond in the center, surrounded by various trees, shrubberies, flowers and other plants. Lining the exterior wall are a number of small, simple buildings that boast numerous windows, albeit ones that can be sealed with shutters during inclement weather. Such gardens provide a large, open space for full-group gatherings, as well as smaller, more intimate areas for private business.



Using the Organization in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • This group sometimes comes into conflict with the elves of the Royal Navy, since most of that body's members revere the Moon Goddess instead of the Earth Mother. While some elves look down upon others who mingle with humans, halflings and dwarves, others are more accepting—especially when seeking aid in outfitting an arkship for a voyage to another world.
  • The same bias exists in many dwarves, who tend to favor the Universal Architect. Even so, the rare dwarves who espouse faith in the Earth Mother usually prove through their skill at working metal that their beliefs are not misguided. Such exceptional individuals are much more likely to be female than to be male.
  • Recently a controversy has arisen when certain members of this group—along with adherents to the Sol Society—became involved with the Navigators, a group of scholars whose beliefs some consider to be scandalously licentious.

Sol Society
Believing that much evil happens in the dark of night, members of this organization seek to shine the Sun God's light into every corner of the Universe. Indeed, they maintain that the Light of Truth (as they see it) can bring enlightenment and thus happiness to all places. It should come as no surprise that clerics and paladins make up most of this group's members. Additionally, many lay people pledge their loyalty to this group. Finally—although it is not widely known—a growing contingent of sorcerers threatens to pollute the purity of the Society's mission, as detailed below.

Goal: Illumination, Protection and Punishment
Spreading the Sun God's teachings and the spiritual light that they bring is the foremost mission of the Order. A close second to that is protecting the faithful, follow by bringing to justice those who do harm to his followers.

Alignment: LG
In theory, members of the Society seek to promote justice and well-being for all. In practice, however, this zeal can sometimes lead to a sense of self-righteousness that borders on intolerance for, and even persecution of, those who profess other beliefs.

Leader
Sir Cyrus is the elected leader of the group, a paladin of the Sun God who has earned the respect of his peers through wise judgment, fair dealing and bravery in battle. He divides his time between the local Church of Sol and pilgrimages into the desert, where he fasts and atones.

Headquarters
Some might be surprised by the fact that this group's headquarters in any given city is a simple, modest affair, generally a church building consisting of a few rooms and built of wood, brick or stone. Those who are familiar with the organization, of course, recognize that anything more ostentatious would embrace vanity rather than altruism. 

Said church usually boasts a broad entry area (1)—in this case, with two sets of double doors opening into it—that has a spiral staircase leading up to the bell tower. Many pegs line the walls of this room, providing a place for visitors to hang their cloaks. More double doors lead from there into the main sanctuary (2), which is filled with orderly rows of benches for the congregants. There is also a raised pulpit in the front of it. Beyond that room is a rear vestibule (3), which itself leads into a storage room (4) and the presiding priest's office (5). 


Using the Organization in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This organization can provide plenty of plot elements for a space fantasy RPG campaign; presented here are a few of the possibilities.
  • It almost goes without saying that the Cult of the Void is one of the Sol Society's staunch enemies, and these followers of the Sun God generally seek to expose and even eliminate those who worship the Space Between the Stars.
  • As mentioned previously, some of this group's adherents are also involved with the Navigators, an association of which the rank-and-file leadership does not approve.
  • Worshipers of Sol sometimes experience conflict with elves and others who revere the Moon Goddess, whom the elves see as striking a balance between the Earth Mother and Sun God—and thus being superior to a faith that lacks such balance. For their part, members of the Sol Society don't approve of Luna's association with the darkness of the night.
  • Given the righteous zeal of this group's members, they are not on good terms with members of the Freebooters' Fellowship. 
  • Members of the Sol Society have a special reverence for the phoenix, and send mission groups to seek out that creature whenever its location becomes known.   
  • As mentioned above, a number of sorcerers have recently taken interest in the organization. While some might be faithful who share the group's beliefs, others are thought to be zealots who associate the cleansing power of fire with the Sun God's light, and who are more interested in building up their own power than in doing good works. Indeed, some even suspect that one or more efreet might be behind this infiltration of the Society.


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Elf Arkship Crew

Detailed below are statblocks for the typcial arkship crew.

Elf Arkship

-Nate


Arkship Crew
Refer to the stat blocks below to find details about a particular elven crew—usually a number of elf druids who command the expedition. Additionally, the elves often recruit one or more unicorns to make the journey, since their wild empathy ability helps the elves keep the peace aboard the arkship.

Unicorns: Refer to page 269 of the Pathfinder Bestiary.

Ordinarily, elves only stock their arkships with ordinary animals—that is, ones with the animal type. At the GM's discretion, however, they might include other, magical beasts brought aboard for some extraordinary purpose.

Elf Druid
CR ½
XP 200
Various elf druid 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +8; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14 (+4 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 8 (1d8)
Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4
Resist Elven immunities
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +0 (1d6)
Ranged Sling +2 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 14
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Animal Affinity
Skills Handle Animal +8, Heal +6, Knowledge (nature) +6, Perception +8, Survival +8
Languages Elven, Common, Druidic
SQ Elven immunities, elven magic, keen senses, weapon familiarity, nature bond, nature sense, orisons, wild empathy
Combat Gear Hide armor, quarterstaff, sling with 10 bullets, healer's kit
Spells per Day: 3/2
Spells Prepared: Create water, mending, stabilize; speak with animals

While some dismiss the elf druids as aloof, overzealous nature lovers, others respect their deep affinity for the natural world and their dedication to preserving it. Although they tend to be dispassionate when dealing with sentient beings, the druids can be very dangerous when pushed to defend the plants and animals in their care.


Owl Companion
CR NA
XP NA
Small animal
Init +2; Senses Perception +6; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 14, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+1 natural, +2 Dex, +1 size)
hp 11 (2d8+2)
Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 10 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +2 (1d4), 2 talons +2 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +1; CMB +0; CMD 13
Feats Alertness
Skills Perception +6
Languages None
SQ Link, share spells, bonus trick (fetch)

Many of the elf druids favor owls as animal companions because the birds can be used to deliver messages to others aboard the arkship.




Elf Druid Leader
CR 6
XP 2400
Female elf druid 7
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +14; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 17, touch 13, flat-footed 15 (+5 armor, +2 Dex)
hp 35 (7d8)
Fort +5, Ref +5, Will +8
Resist Elven immunities
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +6 (1d6+1)
Ranged Sling +7 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 11, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 14
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 17
Feats Animal Affinity
Skills Handle Animal +14, Heal +12, Knowledge (nature) +12, Perception +14, Survival +14
Languages Elven, Common, Druidic
SQ Elven immunities, elven magic, keen senses, weapon familiarity, nature bond, nature sense, orisons, wild empathy, woodland stride, trackless step, resist nature's lure, wild shape 2/day
Combat Gear Hide armor +1, quarterstaff +1, sling with 10 bullets, masterwork healer's kit, scroll of flame strike (for use in only the most dire of emergencies)
Spells per Day: 4/5/4/3/1
Spells Prepared: Create water, guidance, mending, stabilize; calm animals, cure light wounds, hide from animals, magic stone, speak with animals; barkskin, hold animal, lesser restoration, owl's wisdom; cure moderate wounds, dominate animal, neutralize poison; cure serious wounds

While male leaders are not uncommon, it is the women who are more frequently chosen to lead the druids aboard and arkship because of their ability to bond with a unicorn. In this way, both beings then work to maintain the harmony aboard the ship, helping to make sure that the balance of natural life doesn't tip too far in any given direction.



Owl Companion
CR NA
XP NA
Small animal
Init +3; Senses Perception +11; Low-light vision
DEFENSE
AC 20, touch 15, flat-footed 16 (+5 natural, +3 Dex, +1 size, +1 dodge)
hp 33 (6d8+6)
Fort +6, Ref +7, Will +4
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 10 ft., fly 80 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +5 (1d4+1), 2 talons +5 (1d4+1)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 12, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6
Base Atk +4; CMB +1; CMD 13
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills Perception +11
Languages None
SQ Link, share spells, bonus trick (fetch), evasion, ability score increase, devotion


Life aboard an Elf Arkship
To some, the idea of living and working aboard an elf arkship is idyllic. After all, the vessels are filled with lush plants and animals more well-behaved than is typical. Although the work can be hard, it is also quite fulfilling. To others, it might seem tedious and uneventful. Only those who've undertaken this challenge recognize that the truth lies somewhere in between those two extremes—and that it can also be filled with danger, depending on the circumstances of the voyage.

Daily Routines
For the most part, life aboard the arkship consists of arbitrating conflicts between different animals, making sure that all of them have adequate food, tending to any injuries they might have suffered, and cleaning out the arkship when needed. That is why the previously presented stat blocks feature spell selections oriented toward those tasks. During a long interstellar voyage, the druids spend most of their time engaged in such tasks. 

Throughout all of this, the druids maintain the same religious observations that they would back on Homeworld. These include the full moons, during which they harvest mistletoe for use in rituals, along with the solstices and equinoxes that govern times for planting and sowing by the fluctuations in the seasons. 

There are two additional considerations to keep in mind, however. First, the arkship is almost always accompanied by a galleon of the Elven Royal Navy. This means that the druids can, if they wish, take a longboat over to the galleon for a change of scenery. Second, said galleon usually tows the aforementioned interstellar portal, allowing individuals to pass through it and back to their home planet.

Defensive Measures
Should the arkship suffer an attack, the druids can muster some impressive defenses. Most notably they use their summon nature's ally spells to rally a variety of animals in battle. More powerful druids have access to other spells, too, such as call lightning and flame strike. This is especially the case when they have forewarning about danger and thus can prepare their spells accordingly.