Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Fire Giants of Wodan

This post is the first in a series that describe the fire giants who inhabit the planet Wodan.


The Giants of Wodan
Although the sun-scorched surface of the planet Wodan is not habitable for many living things, this world is home to a notable band of fire giants, who reside in a stronghold cut from the mountainside.  
1. Front Gate
Massive iron double doors (hardness 10 and 180 hit points), each ten feet wide and twenty feet tall, seal the entrance to the fire giants' stronghold. What is more, they can drop an iron bar in behind it, thereby increasing the DC for breaking down the door from 30 to 40.

2. Gauntlet
The walls of this room are cut by arrow slits, providing a place from which the fire giant warriors can defend the stronghold. These gaps are some four inches wide at their narrowest, and run all the way from the floor up to ceiling, which is twenty feet high. On the inside wall of this room is another door similar to the front gate.

3. Defensive Positions
This narrow passage provides access to the other side of the arrow slits, each of which is five feet wide at the widest. There are also doors leading into the guards' barracks (area 5, below).

4. Entrance
Visitors to the stronghold are received here by an escort, usually two fire giants and sometimes more depending on dangerous they seem to be. The double doors on its inside wall are not built to be sealed against intruders. It is otherwise featureless.

5. Guard Barracks
Each of these two rooms is filled with eight large beds, arranged around the walls. There is also a table and chairs at which the fire giants lounge while not tasked with other duties. Beneath each of their beds the warriors keep footlockers that contain extra clothing and various personal items. Each room provides quarters to seven normal fire giants and one strongarm, who acts as a sergeant. At the GM's discretion, there could be some valuable items among the otherwise mundane possessions.

6. Throne Room
Two rows of large chairs face each other along the length of this broad, open chamber; at their head stands one that is even taller and more ornate. That is where the fire giants' leader (a magmablade) receives guests and makes pronouncements to his underlings.

7. Dining Hall
A pair of long tables, each surrounded by chairs, dominate this room. Here the fire giants take their meals, and at any given time there's the chance that a few guards, who've recently finished duty, are having a bite to eat here.

8. Kitchen
A massive hearth with a roasting spit fills one wall of this room; there is also a broad table for preparing food, along with barrels of fuel and beer, and shelves filled with cooking implements and other supplies. One or more ettin servants can generally be found here, preparing the next meal for the stronghold.

9. Pantry
Shelves line the walls of this room; they are laden with all manner of foodstuffs, along with more barrels stacked on the floors beneath them.

10. Stairway
This spiral staircase leads up to the watchtower, as well as down to the level below.

11. Storage Room
Another room that is lined with shelves, this one contains extra chairs, linens, tapestries, torches and the like, all things that the ettin servants use to keep the stronghold in good order.

12. Servants' Quarters
This room is also filled with beds, for use by the eight ettin servants. Typically, half of them can be found here, resting, while the others are working.

13. Guest Room
Furnished much like the ettin's quarters, this room is kept for those rare occasions on which visitors come to the stronghold.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Worlds of the Sol System

This post fleshes out some of the details provided in the map of Sol Space.

Map of the Sol System


Worlds of the Sol System 

 Detailed below are each of the planets or other bodies from the map above.

At the center point of the system sits its primary star. This medium yellow sun might seem to be unremarkable when compared to other such bodies around the galaxy, but it is the focus of all life here. As such, Sol forms the basis of one of the more influential religious sects, who view it as the embodiment of a deity who is a shining beacon of hope and light. 

According to legends, numerous creatures inhabit this star. One is believed to be a phoenix, a bird-like being of elemental fire who periodically rises up from the depths of the sun, only eventually to fall back into it again. It is said that the phoenix is very old and has much knowledge to share, provided that one can find it and win its favor. Other tales tell of a coven of witchfires—hags whose ship strayed too close to Sol and was immolated by its heat—that haunt the surrounding space, preying upon unwary travelers.

This small world lies too close to Sol for anything much to live on it. It is covered mostly by broad areas of stony or sandy plains, along with low ridges pushed up by tectonic or volcanic activity. The plains also feature numerous craters caused by meteorite impacts. There is very little water to be found; what does exist usually pools in some of those craters, forming small oasis communities. That reason—along with the fact that nighttime temperatures fall well below freezing, while daytime heat becomes unlivable for all creatures except those who are immune to fire—means that many have had to adapt to survive. As such, they generally retreat into burrows during the worst of the heat, and emerge during a “twilight” period when it is more tolerable.

Creatures that can survive on this harsh planet include the magma ooze, rast, thoqqua and shasalqu, with the cherufe being the top of the local food chain. The conditions here have also led it to be a popular place for fire giants to settle, and they bring with them monsters such as hell hounds and trolls. Those settlers build elaborate underground strongholds in which they forge weapons and other items using metal gathered from the surrounding terrain. It is also believed that certain efreeti maintain palaces on this world.

Of all the planets in the Sol System, this one is perhaps the most beautiful—and the most mysterious. That is because the world is shrouded in a dense, acidic atmosphere. While that feature makes it glow brilliantly in the night sky of Homeworld, it also renders the surface almost completely uninhabitable. Only a few bizarre monsters are known to live there, such as the bhole, plasma ooze and shard slag. Even then, however, these creatures dwell in expansive underground tunnel networks.

What is worse, the planet's sky is home to the dreaded colour out of space, along with any blighted victims that it has managed to claim. Indeed, there are multiple legends regarding lost aetherships that drift through the dense clouds, crewed by eerily glowing victims or their ashen remains.

Of greater interest to interplanetary travelers are the islands that drift high up in Freya's atmosphere. Because of its dense nature, intrepid individuals have discovered that they can drag in asteroid and similar bodies that have air pockets trapped in them; those, then, float in the air. These have been developed into floating retreats via an elemental obelisk, a bottle of air, or the like. Such sky islands are already known to be favored by beings such as angels and djinn, among others, and it is believed that the Royal Interplanetary Company has been considering building one of its own.

As mentioned previously, this world is an ideal place for most living creatures. As such, it is the only one known to be widely populated, with numerous native races and species that have developed myriad different civilizations and cultures. It is also believed by some to be the very embodiment of Gaea, the Earth Mother goddess. It is home to numerous organizations that wield influence throughout the Sol System, including the Royal Interplanetary Company and the Church of Ptah.

This planet consists of one vast, cold, red desert, sprawling amid low-lying mountains and the occasional volcano. In many ways it is very similar to Homeworld, but lacking the vital warmth and moisture that makes its neighbor so verdant.

Unbeknownst to many, Tyr was once home to a small but advanced civilization—the troglodytes. These reptilian humanoids built impressive structures and achieved important discoveries in medicine, astronomy and other fields of study. For some reason, however, thousands of years ago their society collapsed and fell into ruin. Explorers have found some of their structures and even encountered a few of the remaining creatures, and while it's clear that they retain a few vestiges of their old accomplishments, they have long since devolved into what is little better than lives of primitive hunting and gathering.

For a list of creatures that can be found in this world's vast underground warrens, refer to http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2017/03/planetary-ecologies.html. Some of those cave networks, warmed by volcanic activity and containing traces of water long since lost from the surface, have become oases of fungal life.

The Asteroid Belt
For the most part, the bodies in this region of the Sol System are little more than rocks, big and small, floating through space. Those, in turn, are home to the unusual worm-like creatures known as somalcygots. There are exceptions, however.

One such settlement, founded by the Royal Interplanetary Company, is the Crossroads asteroid colony. It provides a hub for trade, but is also developing its own population. For details, refer to http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2015/07/crossroads-pdf.html. Another example is the Grotto, a place that is home to various scallywags: http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-grotto.html. Finally, the Dwarven Mining Guild has outfitted numerous floating forges that mine and refine ore throughout the Belt: http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2016/12/the-dwarven-mining-guild.html.

Scholars have long debated how the Asteroid Belt came to be. While many argue that it is just a planet that never managed to coalesce out of the aetherial debris like the ones around it, some claim that it was actually a world in its own right, but that it was obliterated in some kind of tremendous, cataclysmic event. Some collectors even claim to have found artifacts of a lost civilization among the asteroids, but others dispute those claims.

One of two gas giant—or Jovian—planets in the Sol System, this one is best known for its giant red spot, which is actually a massive and unending storm. Just what caused it, and why it is unceasing, is a topic of interest among scholars. Thonar is also home to the mutable, telepathic beings known as brethedans. While they have not built any structures in their own right, they are known to attract the massive, aether-swimming oma, which the brethedans have tamed for use as interplanetary transports. The planet also has dozens of moons that are ripe for further exploration.

In many ways, Kronos is very similar to Thonar. Instead of a giant red spot, however, it is most easily recognized by the prominent set of rings surrounding it. It, too, boasts numerous moons, only one of which has been fully explored. That is Enceladus, a moon that is frozen on the surface but that features hidden seas warmed by thermal vents. For a list of creatures that can be found in its seas, refer to http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2017/03/planetary-ecologies.html.

Enceladus is also home to Starfort Station, an outpost of the Elven Navy. To find a layout of that facility, refer to http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2016/01/the-elven-star-fort.html. Additional details about the location and those who can be found at http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2016/02/plot-hooks-for-and-inhabitants-of-elven.html.

In addition to their aetherial galleons, arkships and other vessels, it is believed that the elves maintain interstellar portals hidden amidst the debris of the planet's rings, ones that they use for traveling to worlds beyond this solar system.

The Beyond
Little is known about what lies beyond the Known Worlds of the Sol System. The region not far outside the system is believed to be the origin of the comets that periodically drift through the system, although just how they are created and sent drifting toward Sol is unknown. Some scholars speculate that there could be additional planets further out than Kronos. Finally, the elves are known to have sent their arkships on interstellar voyages in search of other star systems.

One such mission took them to the planet that is home to the kasatha and shobhad, the world on which gunpowder was first devised: http://d20pirates.blogspot.com/2017/03/planetary-ecologies.html. It is believed that there are more stars and planets, of course, some of which might be the original homes of such interstellar travelers as the lunarma, mercane, mi-go and witchwyrds.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Sixth Gun RPG Miscellany

This post contains miscellaneous images and other material related to The Sixth Gun RPG. I'll add to it as more items and ideas jump out at me.


To start, here's a map of the United States during this time period (1887).

Next, here's how the American flag looked when there were thirty-eight states in the Union.

Continuing my picking through of Wikimedia's images, here's a sketch for a Hand of Glory.

Here are a couple of maps; one lists the sites of major battles in the ongoing war between the US Army and various Native American tribes; the other shows all of the rivers that feed into the mighty Mississippi.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Map of Solspace and Days of the Week

As I've been working out some of the details for the Solspace setting, I finally decided on a naming convention for the planets. With that in mind, here at long last is a map of the solar system.

Additionally, this decision settles how the days of the week are named in the setting, taking their names from the heavenly bodies visible in the night sky.

Days of the Week