Sunday, February 3, 2019

[LEGENDARIA] Southern Regions of Legendaria

Region 07: The Sea of Skies and the Kingdom of Aeryth
The southwestern corner of this region is the major geographical feature that defines it: The Sea of Skies, a vast airy valley where once stood a great sea of fresh water. During the war that precipitated the fall of the Last Galactic Empire the Sweet Sea (as it was then known) and the area around it were subject to a terrible attack – the Elemental Inversion, a terrible force of technomancy that caused the very elements themselves to mutate and transmogrify, usually without rhyme or reason.
 
Aeryth Archipelago of Floating Islands
The waters of the Sweet Sea were transformed into air. Most of the sea life that was not outright killed by the mutative energies were transformed into a kind of life that would thrive in air; thus, fish grew wings, as did merfolk and other sea life, and today the Sea of Skies is one of the oddest wonders of Legendaria. Note that, due to ancient genetic manipulation, though a fresh-water sea, there also lived therein species of sharks, dolphins, octopi, and other aquatic life forms that normally would be found in salt water. As the air that fills the Sea of Skies is the same as any other air, these new species have spread far and wide, though they are still rare outside the environs of the Sea of Skies (which includes the entirety of the region to the southwest, the Great Airy Deeps, and parts of each region adjacent).
 
Elsewhere in the region, stranger, and no less spectacular, changes were happening, most notably that the stone and rock of certain mountains were also transformed into air. Many mountain peaks, on the verge of the transmogrifying energies, were only partially-transformed, and are now made of “airy-stone,” forming archipelagos of floating islands high in the skies of the region. Most of these remain stabilized in space, rooted to their original locale through some strange mystic tie. Others, the “Wandering Isles,” follow the winds or other strange currents, though these too remain within the nine regions in which is found the Sea of Skies.
 
Smaller regions also experienced strange elemental inversions. The Forest of Fire, the Great Glacial Rift, the Rocky River, the Mountain Invisible, the Great Acid Lake; all these and more also were formed in the Great Elemental Inversion and remain to this day of great interest to magic-users and scientists alike.
 
Sky Ship
As with the sea life of the Sweet Sea, most creatures in the region perished; others were mutated, some adapted to their new environs, others in more terrible and blasphemous fashion. Thus, the region around the Sea of Skies is home to some of the strangest life forms on Legendaria. These include the Chimans (aka Chimeras), a mutant race where each individual is a composite of two or more creatures, and no child ever resembles their parent; the Meborum (or Psyborbears), a race of psychic cyborg bear-kin; and the Tavala (or Octopoids), a race of mutant barbarian octopi.
 
In addition to the many different strange and unusual mutant races of local sort, humans, demi-humans, and manimals have returned to the region in the centuries since the Great Elemental Inversion, settlers from Greymoor, the Glittering Towns, and the Patchwork Lands. They have built numerous petty kingdoms, the most significant of which is the Kingdom of Aeryth, founded upon the Aeryth Archipelago of floating islands. The kingdom also rules swaths of lands on the mainland, below. Great traders and explorers, the people of Aeryth get around with pegasi, griffons, flying ships (magical and technological), and other aerial creatures and contraptions.
 
Aeryth is ruled by Princess Aeryn (Lawful Human Magic-user (Enchantress)), the 18-year-old daughter of King Aeros and Queen Aurora, missing for the last five years. Princess Aeryn just recently gained her majority and the rule of the kingdom after five years of rule under the Regent, her uncle, Duke Maelstrom, who remains her closest advisor. There was talk of a marriage between Princess Aeryn and Prince Caine of Greymoor before her parents disappeared. He thinks she is snooty and boring, she thinks he is a child and a good-for-nothing ne’er do well.
 
Defender of the Tower of Stars
For the last two years the Kingdom of Aeryth and most of the lands of the region (and a bit to the north and south) have been protected by Astra Magna, the Star-Queen, the leader of the Defenders of the Tower of the Stars, an ancient citadel found on a floating island high above the Aeryth Archipelago. The Star-Queen is a mighty warrior who wields the Star-Blade, a powerful artifact, and rides upon a great winged lion, known as Leocorus, the Star-Cat. The Star-Queen and the Lord of Legends are stalwart allies, as are the Defenders of the Tower of the Stars and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk.
 
There are also clans and tribes of goblinoids and mutants that have moved into the region, usually nomads from the Silver Steppes that have settled down in the mountains, hills, and wastes of the region. These, together with the growing Great Horde of the Abhumans on the Silver Steppes, are a growing threat to the goodly folk of the various kingdoms of the region. There are also the Air-Pirates of the Sea of Skies, who operate out of the region to the southwest; in the past they have been a mere nuisance, but of late they are growing bolder and more powerful.
 
Region 08: Kingdom of Greymoor and Castle Blackhawk
The lands south of the Crystal Peaks are the most fertile of the nine regions described herein, with wide bands of rich farmland along merry streams; fertile meadows dotted with ranches and sheepcotes; and well-tended orchards, vineyards, and shrublands. The Crystal Peaks run along the northern border of the region, averaging 50 miles wide, from the Quartz Hills in the west and then far into the east. These mountains, as their name implies, are replete with gemstones, gold, silver, and other precious metals, and are the home to numerous dwarf and gnome settlements.
 
Gnome Grotto in the Crystal Peaks
Of course, the Crystal Peaks are most notable for being the site of Castle Blackhawk, the ancient and mysterious citadel which for the past two years has been protected by Magnus Maximus, the Lord of Legend, and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk. These valiant heroes and super-heroes defend not only the castle, but also the ways of Law, for which the castle stands. They use their skills, talents, expertise, experience, and prowess to protect all innocent and goodly beings from the ways of Chaos, especially the depredations of the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel.
 
The Lord of Legends and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk are inextricably allied with the Kingdom of Greymoor, which stands in the heart of the region amidst the rolling fields that the super-science of Castle Blackhawk transformed from barren moor to fertile farmlands. Greymoor is ruled by the elderly King Adan of the House of Palatinus and his wife, Queen Evelyn of the House of Medeis. Their only son, Prince Caine, is kind and generous, but otherwise a dissolute ne’er do well, though the court wizard, High Councilor Gaxx, and the Ghost of Bishop Paxx, are doing everything they can to help him grow into the king he needs to be.
 
Royal Palace of Greymoor
Greymoor was, once upon a time, a far more powerful realm than it is today; it was the heart of the Third Empire of Legendaria since the Fall of the Last Galactic Empire, but has been in decline for two centuries, and now rules over only its small territory and holds loose hegemony over the settlements of the local region. With the loss of much of the power, prestige, and wealth of their realm, the Galaethans, the people of Greymoor, have fallen into decadence, with no few staring into the abyss of depravity, despite the best efforts of the royal court and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk. The forces of Chaos nest like a viper in Greymoor City, where cults of the Demons of the Outer Dark and other gods of Chaos hide in the shadowy alleys and deep ruins of ancient cities that stand beneath the cellars of the city.
 
The region otherwise is heavily populated compared to the other regions, with numerous hamlets, villages, and towns of a disparate selection of races among the fertile lands. Humans, demi-humans, and manimals of all sorts are found in the region; most hamlets and villages are of one or maybe two races, while the towns in the regions are generally cosmopolitan. No matter how civilized the region may be, though, as elsewhere the fertile lands are separated by wide swaths of wilderness, wild and deep, filled with goblinoids, mutants, monsters, and ruins.
 
Royal Guards of the Kingdom of Greymoor
The small but professional army of Greymoor and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk patrol the entire region. In the north they have to deal with incursions from the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel; in the east they have to deal with raiders and slavers from the Cities of Smoke and along the sliver of coastland in the east they have to deal with all manner of pirates and monstrous raiders. The lands to the south are wild and mostly unknown, but fortunately are not home to any organized band dedicated to Chaos, though strange goblinoid and mutant have, of times, raided from the south. Most recently small bands of barbarians of human and near-human sort have been encountered coming from the south; they claim they were pushed out of their lands in the cold plains far to the south by a quickly-growing glacier and various cold, ice, and snow-related monsters and abhumans.
 
Region 09: The Sea of Storms and the Cities of Smoke
The Scintillating Peninsula is a wide wedge of land that strikes out into the Sea of Storms like a blade. On the northern border of the region, the Crystal Peaks, which continue unbroken from the west to the east, save for the Great Glowing Valley, out of which debouches the Great Glittering River (south of the Glowing Wastes also known as the Grimy Glow), which terminates in the vast delta of the Great Radiant Rust Swamps. Once a rich, fertile land, the Scintillating Peninsula today is a patchwork of mutant forests, festering marshes, rocky moors, and stinking swamps. As though the fetid waters of the Grimy Glow were not enough, the Modern-Futuristic Cities of Smoke that rule these lands, with their great factories, pay the local ecology no heed – they pour noxious liquid wastes into the water, blow toxic fumes into the air, and dump lethal solid wastes hither and yon.
 
City of Smoke
The Cities of Smoke broke away from the Third Empire of Legendaria and the Kingdom of Greymoor in the time of King Adan’s grandfather, and since then have taken a very unpleasant turn. The once fine cities of shining marble and silver towers have been transformed into piles of brick smokestacks and rusting steel-girt skyscrapers, each ruled by a rich and powerful oligarchy, with the common laborers living in abject poverty groaning under terrible oppression (though heavily propagandized to believe that their miseries are the fault of the other cities and their peoples). War crosses the land with great frequency, as each of the Cities of Smoke seeks to gain the upper hand on the others, eventually to unify them all under the rule of one oligarchy. However, whenever any one city gains advantage, the other cities gang up on that one to restore the balance…
 
The region is home primarily to humans, goblinoids, and mutants; the mass of commoners and the elite oligarchs are human (some of the oligarchs are cyborgs or secretly mutants), the core cadre of the armies are goblinoids (with commoner human militias for fodder), and the wilds outside the cities and their guarded farming fields are home to all manner of mutants. Demi-humans are found only among the slave class, members of which are taken from neighboring regions, or from lands across the Sea of Storms. The Scintillating Lands (known elsewhere as the Blighted Realm) are a place where joy and hope have been carefully ground out of the hearts of the common folk; it is a Dickensian Dystopia of industrial proportions. Even the small middle class of upper-level craftsmen and professionals who serve the oligarchs have little joy, save for their slightly better living conditions.
 
Toxic Wastelands of the Blighted Realm
But not all hope is lost for the peoples of the Cities of Smoke, as a band of heroes has formed under the auspices of the very world of Legendaria itself, which cried out for relief. Operating from a hidden fortress, the Grand Circle of Life, the Defenders of Legendaria, was called together from disparate groups of druids, elementalists, rangers, and others from distant regions. Together, when needed, these heroes can even summon the avatar of Legendaria herself, the Eternal Earth Mother – though her power is fleeting, and so they loathe to summon her too often. But they have lately struck a major blow against the Oligarchs, destroying a major fortress that served as a base for slaving operations.
 
In addition to the Cities of Smoke slaving operations, each also operates a fleet of pirates (under letters of marque of course, so one man’s pirate is another man’s privateer). These swarm the Sea of Storms attacking any ships not of their city’s flag and raiding the seacoast hamlets, villages, and towns held under other city’s hegemony. There are also islands in the Sea of Storms that are home to independent pirates – escaped slaves and commoners who seek to gain vengeance on the Oligarchs and their vicious crews of slavers and pirates.
 
Pirates/Privateers of the Cities of Smoke

 

Monday, January 28, 2019

[LEGENDARIA] Central Regions of Legendaria

Region 04: The Silver Steppes and the Abhuman Hordes
These vast desolate steppes are an expansion of the meadows and wastelands from the north. They are broken here and there by long rolling hills running west to east, the hills dry and riddled with canyons, chasms, and hidden valleys. The river valleys are verdant and green, sometimes swampy when not defined by nearby hills and ridges.
 
Here and there are small rocky wastelands, each still glowing to a greater or lesser extent from atomic bombardment that predated the rise of the Last Galactic Empire. The Great Glittering River flows west to east across the middle of the land, with the Rugged Rapids and the Blackstone Escarpment at the easternmost edge of the region demarking the steppes from the more fertile Patchwork Lands of the east.
 
Abhuman Nomad
The Great Glittering River and its major tributaries are home to the only civilization in the region, a series of riverine towns, villages, and hamlets generally of Neo-Medieval sort, the famous “Glittering Towns,” which trade along the rivers, especially the silver that is found in large lodes, together with a variety of gemstones, in the nearby hills. There is also a brisk trade in the artifacts found in the ruins; each town and major village has a scientist or three in residence for evaluation of said artifacts. There has been some trade with the Offworlder Towns of the Burning Wastes (usually for silver and gemstones), so most town leaders have access to a handful of hydrocarbon ground vehicles and Modern or even Futuristic weaponry. Most of the towns in the region are relatively cosmopolitan, being founded by prospectors, miners, farmers, ranchers, and other immigrants from the Patchwork Lands to the east.
 
Glittering River Town
The Silver Steppes are the home of the Abhuman Hordes, a mélange of Savage and Neo-Medieval clans of Manimal, Goblinoid, and Mutant peoples, usually inimical to each other due to ancient feuds unless united under a powerful leader. Such a leader has recently arisen in the western reaches and is slowly building his power and bringing other clans under his banner. The last time this occurred the Glittering Towns and the Patchwork Lands were overwhelmed by the united clans and many hamlets, villages, towns, and even whole peoples were exterminated or forced to flee.
 
Offworlder Raider
No single major group dedicated to Chaos or Law resides in the region. The Banemasters (Map 02) send out raiding parties from time to time, as do the Outworlder Tyrants (Map 01); these are sometimes countered by the forces of the Star-Queen and the Defender of the Tower of the Stars from the Kingdom of Aeryth, to the south (Map 07), less commonly by the Champions of Castle Blackhawk (Map 08). More rarely, and usually only in the case of incursions by the Offworlder Tyrants, Marshal Lance Starstrider (Map 01) and his posse will follow the raiders from the Burning Wastes to mete out Galactic Justice.
 
Region 05: The Patchwork Lands and the Fallen Kingdoms
This region is hemmed in between realms dedicated to Chaos to the north and Law to the south, by savage hordes of Abhumans to the west and the mutant armies of the Glowing Wastes to the east. Here of old stood fabulous kingdoms and magnificent cities, all long ago fallen to ruin, even their myths and legend forgotten to time. Today it is a patchwork of glowing wastelands and verdant meadows, mutant-ridden forests and fey-haunted hills, eldritch lakes and irradiated swamps, where tiny one-village kingdoms are the rule, separated by monster-haunted wilderness filled with ancient ruins and long-lost secrets.
 
Patchwork Lands Castle of the King of Yore
This is the region where the player characters usually would begin, arriving by crashed starship, mis-spelled magical gate, mystical amusement park ride, or some other one-way ticket to Legendaria.
 
The Champions of Castle Blackhawk and the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel are both active in this region; the former seeking to protect the locals from the depredations of the latter. The Mutant Armies of the Tower of Techno-Terror and the Abhuman Hordes of the Silver Steppes also raid into the region, while other villains and heroes of more distant origins can also be found here from time to time, as their various quests might take them.
 
Patchwork Lands Fair Hill Country
Geographically the Patchwork Lands are defined by the Shadow Peaks in the region to the north and the Crystal Peaks in the region to the south, both major east-west ranges of mountains, the lands between being a large, generally rectangular plateau. Weather is highly variable, not only due to geography but also because of malfunctioning ancient weather control systems and wild elemental and faerie forces. The land is divided in twain north and south by the Great Glittering River, which flows out of the far west across the Silver Steppes, across the Patchwork Lands, then east into the Glowing Wastes.
 
The three largest towns in the region are New Albosia (Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes), Tradetown (Cosmopolitan), and Boltburg (Robosophonts). New Albosia in the west is often harassed by the Abhuman Hordes, Tradetown by the Banemasters, and Boltburg by the Mutant Armies of the Tower of Techno-Terror. Dozens of other villages, hamlets, castles, and towers are scattered across the region, each independent or allying with one another only long enough to fight off the latest threat. All enjoy the protection of the Champions of Castle Blackhawk from time to time, but fear calling on them too much lest they lose their independence to the Kingdom of Greymoor, as most of the other realms south of the Crystal Peaks have done (though they are all better off thereby).
 
Robosophont Town of Boltburg
In this situation a new group of heroes – not beholden to any one local group or kingdom – will at first be carefully watched but ultimately most welcome… except by the villains who prey on the local realms!
 
Region 06: The Glowing Wastes and the Tower of Techno-Terror
The Glowing Wastes dominate the western portion of this region, one of the larger reminders of the terrible end of the Last Galactic Empire. A parched, rocky and sandy wasteland, the ruins of a vast complex of urban arcology-style residences, gargantuan mega-factories, and lakes of glowing sludge dot the landscape amidst the neon-glowing mesas, buttes, and cinder cones.
 
The Glowing Wastes
The Glowing Wastes and the mutant denizens thereof are ruled by Murdreth the Techno-Mage from his Tower of Techno-Terror. Murdreth is a powerful magic-user (Techno-mage) of Chaotic and insane sort. Some say that his vast number of interchangeable super-science cybernetic enhancements drove him crazy; others say he was always so. He has an army of mutants at his disposal, as well as no few dumbot warriors and other servants, not to mention his coven of techno-mage apprentices/cultists. Rumors hold that Typhon, the Grand Master of the Banemasters, was once his apprentice; if true, it might explain the utter hatred and enmity they hold for one another.
 
The lands to the east are much like the Patchwork Lands, though more heavily tilted toward the kind of population found in the Faerie Forest, to the north (i.e., halflings, elves, dwarves, gnomes, and manimals), all organized in independent villages and hamlets. This region was regularly raided, and its peoples oppressed by the armies of the Techno-Mage, but then the power balance shifted a year ago with the arrival of the Royal Pack of the Star Wolves.
 
Cultist of the Techno-Tower Summoning a Techno-Demon
The Royal Pack are exiles/refugees from the homeworld of the Star Wolves, the world of Canosia, a planet where Wolf-Folk and Wolf-Kin and related canid demi-human and manimal races live. General Dyr-Ulf usurped the crown of the realm (the fate of King Canos is unknown); Prince Ly-Kos (Wolf-Folk Fighter (Swordsman)), the son of King Canos, fled with his loyal followers in seven starships and have settled on Legendaria to gather allies to retake their world.
 
General Dyr-Ulf leads W.O.R.G., his party/organization dedicated to world conquest, and is too busy conquering other worlds to deal with hunting the young prince himself (nor to dedicate much manpower). Thus, they are being hunted by his minion, Major Fen-Ryz, and his Hyena-Folk/Kin mercenaries. Major Fen-Ryz has allied with Murdreth and his mutants to rid the world of the Royal Pack.
 
Prince Ly-Kos Confronting a W.O.R.G. Bounty Hunter
Having settled on Legendaria a year ago, the Royal Pack of the Star Wolves almost immediately fell afoul of Murdreth and his armies, for the Royal Pack cleave to the old values of the Star Wolves – Community, Loyalty, Honesty, and Righteousness – which they believe applies to all peoples. And so, the Royal Pack have become the defenders of the innocent in the region, protecting the hamlets and villages of other goodly peoples in the name of Law. The Wolves’ Den, their Futuristic citadel, has become a beacon of justice and hope to all peoples in the region – and a focus of the wrath and power of Murdreth and his evil minions.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

[LEGENDARIA] Northern Regions of Legendaria

Region 01: The Burning Wastes and the Cities of Steel
This region is dominated by rocky, sandy, and muddy wastes punctuated by verdant meadows, the few rivers meandering from the north to the south to merge with the Great Glittering River on the Silver Steppes (Map 04). The eastern border is punctuated by the north-west spur of the Shadow Peaks, which here trails off into canyon-riddled hills, plateaus, and buttes occupied by strange and terrible monsters.
 
The wastelands are home to strange clans of various races each of which claims a ruined city of crystal and steel as a holy taboo. The plains are home to small clans of nomads who follow herds of wild beasts, on foot or riding various other four or more-legged beasts. All the various clans hate each other with a passion, but they unite as needed against the Abhuman Hordes to the south and against the Offworlders.
 
Here and there amidst the savage clans are found small walled towns, each built around and amidst a series of hydrocarbon wells and/or rare mineral mines. These towns are a mix of Modern and Futuristic technologies, having been founded in the last decade or two by the Offworlder Tyrants, small, independent off-world entrepreneurs, who have settled here for resource extraction with little concern for the locals or the ecology.
 
Offworlder Colony
These Offworlders are generally an evil and despicable lot, though there are no few who are here merely to seek a living. But as a rule, the settlements are each controlled by a group of self-serving criminal types who use misery and tyranny to control the settlers and squeeze every last credit from them that they can. As none of the settlements are legally registered with the Reserve Galactic Authority – what passes for the law in this sector of the Galaxy – whatever rules the Offworlder Tyrants make are the law, including slavery, theft, gambling, murder, and other worse vices.
 
Fortunately for the natives of the region, the various leaders of each settlement generally loathe each other, each wanting to be the “big man” in power, and none willing to give an inch of their own power to any others. Against all this is a small group of rebels, led by Marshal Lance Starstrider of the RGA. He and his posse do not have the resources to take the Offworlders on directly, so they work to try to unite the locals, assist the oppressed slaves and workers, and pit the various Offworlder Tyrants against each other to bring the whole ramshackle colony down.
 
Region 02: The Shadow Peaks and Demonfang Citadel
The great Shadow Peaks are home to the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel. The Banemasters do not generally rule over the villages and hamlets of the region so much as they simply raid and oppress them at will, generally unopposed by any other factions, save irregular raids by the Champions of Castle Blackhawk. As such, the towns, villages, and hamlets of the region are poor, the peoples thereof mightily oppressed and downtrodden, and the coffers of the Banemasters fill with the treasure won with the blood, sweat, and tears of their slaves.
 
The larger settlements are loosely ruled by a governor of the Banemasters, the others kept in line by the regular raids and patrols sent through the region. Patrols consist of a Banemaster, a handful of minions, and a troop of Demonfang Citadel Dumbot Warriors. By this point, most are used to dealing with well-trod-upon peasants and slaves and are not at all prepared to deal with strong, independent hero-types who might actually fight back. At any sign of the Champions of Castle Blackhawk, their standing orders are to fall back and call in a strike team of Masters and more experienced minions (and swarms of Dumbot Warriors).
 
The Shadow Peaks
The Shadow Peaks are a narrow range of very tall conical mountains that run east to west, from the Fairy Forest to the Burning Wastes. Demonfang Citadel stands atop the tallest peak near the center of the range, its four demon faces facing the four cardinal points of the compass. The grav-bikes and grav-sleds of the Banemasters and their flying Dumbot Warriors swarm in and out of the mouths on their evil errands. Other than the handful of minions who remain in the larger towns and those who are on patrol, most Banemasters, their minions, and the dumbot warriors remain in citadel, ready to deploy for action wherever their Grand Master dictates.
 
The Grand Master of the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel is the Sorcerer-King Typhon, a mighty magic-user (Sorcerer). The founder of the Banemasters, he wears purple robes, a golden mask with a horned demon face (which moves as would a living face, often with a sneer or a frown), and wields a magical black staff capped with a golden demon skull. He is always accompanied by Zahak, his pet purple dragon/familiar/steed, which can change from cat-sized to horse-sized.
 
The mountain range is no wider than 50 miles at any one point, and runs along the southern border of the region, spilling at times into the Patchwork Lands. Settlements in the mountains are found in the narrow valleys amongst the peaks. The midlands are rolling forested hills, with finger ranges of hills reaching north and dividing the deep jungles and swamps of the riverine lowlands. Rivers mostly flow north from the mountains, though some flow south into the Great Glittering River.
 
The rivers and the swamps of the northern part of the region are home to alien dinosaurs, giant serpents, giant frogs, and giant leeches. These swamps are also home to serpent-folk, lizard-folk, and frog-folk; half their settlements are dominated by the Banemasters, the other half by a mysterious force from the north known only as the Order of the Almighty Anura, said to be led by the Priest-King Xenopus.
 
Region 03: The Fairy Forest and the Foul Fens
This region is wild and fey; the power of magic is strong here, and high technology is rare and foreign. The “Fair Folk” – predominantly halflings, but also including elves, dwarves, gnomes, near-humans, amazons, changelings, and other demi-humans of goodly magical sort – are the dominant races, with the majority of other races generally being manimals (who live in peace with the demi-humans). These races dominate the wide swath of forest and meadow in the center of the region, the whole known as the Fairy Forest
 
The goodly demi-humans and manimals are balanced in power by the “Unfair Folk,” vile goblinoids and mutants that dwell in the Shadow Peaks and the Hidden Hills, the valleys and hills of which are covered in the shadowy, unpleasant “Dread Wood,” counterpart to the bright Fairy Forest. The Unfair Folk are generally independent from the Banemasters, though all have served them at time of need or in fear of their powers when called upon to do so. The goblinoids generally live in the ancient system of tunnels and caverns that riddle the mountains and forested hills; the surface lands of the mountains and hilly forests are usually home to the mutants and all manner of strange unique mutant monsters created by the energies of the Glowing Waste, the native warped Chaos Magic of the region, and the experiments of the Banemasters to the west.
 
The Fairy Forest
The Fairy Forest and the Fair Folk are protected by Jack Redcloud, the Champion Fair, a most puissant human of another world who arrived here by mischance some years ago. He wields the Seelie Sword, a mighty magical artifact that grants him great power (though not as great as the Lord of Legends of Castle Blackhawk). He and his allied heroes strike against the raids and other depredations of the Dread Overlord, a mighty mutant cyborg who seeks to conquer the region. The Dread Overlord wields the Unseelie Sword, the counterpart of the Seelie Sword, and is served by mysterious black-cloaked magic-users (said to be of the ancient Unseelie race) and mutant techno-priests of Chaotic sort. The Dread Overlord is a sometimes ally of the Banemasters but seeks to retain his independence; it is said that he once served the Techno-Mage of the Tower of Techno-Terror (Map 06), and thus he and his minions have access to Futuristic and Super-Science technology and technomancy.
 
The swamps, marshes, fens, and mudflats to the north, the Foul Fens, are inhabited by the same mix of serpent, lizard, and frog folk and kin native to the similar lands to the west (Map 02). These, however, are more independent, and only a few are beholden to the Order of the Almighty Anura (generally the frog-folk and kin, as the serpent and lizard folk and kin unite against the batrachian overlords).
 
The region is home to numerous ancient ruins, many predating the rise of the Last Galactic Empire, and all of fey and mystical sort (though some of the tunnels under the Shadow Peaks and the ruins in the valleys thereof, especially those abutting the Glowing Wastes to the south, are of Futuristic or Super-Science sort).

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

[LEGENDARIA] Technology in Legendaria

TECHNOLOGY varies from settlement to settlement in LEGENDARIA. The Tech-Levels in order of “advancement” are: Stone-Age Savagery, Neo-Medieval, Modern, Futuristic, and Super Science.

A settlement and its dependencies and colonies will mostly conform to the listed Tech Level, though certain groups and individuals may have access to a significantly higher technology, while lower-class and underclass beings might subsist at a lower Tech Level.
 
For example, while the Kingdom of Greymoor and the City of Greymoor have a Modern Tech Level, the Royal Family and their associates have limited access to Futuristic and even Super-Science weapons, armor, and tools through their alliance with the Champions of Castle Blackhawk. The citizens of Greymoor City have a solid Modern level of technology, while the village and hamlet-dwellers of the countryside generally have a mix of Neo-Medieval and Modern technology.
 
In the case of Greymoor, technological devices of Futuristic and Super-Science nature are not generally available for sale, save from the odd adventurer or merchant who has found something in the wilderness. The Royal Family and the Champions of Castle Blackhawk are certainly not going to sell any of their high-tech weapons or devices, though they might trade for an unusual item of interest.
 
STONE-AGE SAVAGERY includes Neo-Savages who live in post-apocalyptic squalor – the classic shield made of a STOP sign with a mace made of a parking meter.
 
Typical savage weapons include stone-tipped weapons such as spears, axes, and hammers; missile weapons include short bows and slings. Armor is limited to furs, chitin, bark, bone, wicker, and other natural plant and animal materials. Tools are made of similar materials, while shelters are constructed of wood, furs, large bones (such as mammoth or dinosaur bones), stones, and bricks.
 
Neo-Savages living in post-apocalyptic regions scrounge tattered remnants of old higher-tech items to create makeshift weapons and armor, such as saw blades, parking meters, plastic tubes, glass shards, and other detritus; while armor can be stitched together from old sports gear, rubber tires, signs, appliances, and other flotsam of the ruins. Tools are made of similar materials, while shelters are constructed of large chunks of ruined buildings (stones, bricks, large sheet metal, old I-beams) and disabled vehicles.
 
NEO-MEDIEVAL includes Renaissance, so is highly variable; some settlements have black-powder weapons, others do not. The vast majority of Legendarians live in Neo-Medieval towns, villages, and hamlets, rarely seeing and never owning any sort of advanced technology.
 
 
The primary common philosophy of the day is similar to the beliefs of the Luddites. Most folk do not trust technology, as it too readily fails; is expensive in time and resources to maintain when far simpler technology suffices; and causes all manners of dislocations in society. That said, Neo-Medieval folk are generally not ignorant; their knowledge of science and medicine is generally as good as Modern settlements, they simply reject most higher forms of technology.
 
Most simple melee, thrown, and missiles weapons are of the Neo-Medieval sort – swords, maces, throwing axes, crossbows, etc. Neo-Medieval versions of Savage weapons such as spears, slings, axes, and such, are of superior quality, made of iron or steel, and so forth, and so are qualitatively better in most ways than stone-tipped spears, axes, and hammers.
 
Buildings are made of wood frames with wattle-and-daub walls, thatched roofs, or in the case of the wealthy, fired bricks or dressed stone. Land vehicles include carts, wagons, and carriages; drawn by horses or similar creatures. Water vehicles include sailing boats and ships. Air vehicles at best include rudimentary balloons and gliders, often backward-engineered from Modern vehicles.
 
MODERN covers Steam to Interplanetary; a handful of locales on the planet (and none in the starting campaign region) have access to this technology. Most of these are decadent tyrannies ruled by depraved despots.
 
 
Modern weapons include slug-throwing pistols, rifles, shotguns, and grenades, as well as primitive tanks, propeller and jet airplanes, and missiles. Primitive and messy nuclear weapons are counted among these but are very rare.
 
FUTURISTIC covers Interstellar – think Star Wars/Star Trek. The Lords of Legend and the Banemasters have access to this level of technology, though only the leaders and greatest heroes and villains are able to command its regular use. Most of the minions of the Banemasters are robots (non-sophont “dumb-bots”), sometimes led by Robosophonts (usually unique creations at the Futuristic level). Ruins and relics of Futuristic sort are strewn across the wilderness amidst ancient and recent ruins. Ruins typically consist of twisted hulks of steel frames and melted or shattered glass, reinforced concrete and simple ceramic structures.
 
 
SUPER-SCIENCE is everything beyond Futuristic, including Intergalactic/Interdimensional/Time Travel, etc., in which science and magic are all but indistinguishable even to a Futuristic scientist. The ruins and artifacts of Super-Science level civilizations can be found in the deeper, darker wilderness of LEGENDARIA, amidst savage squalor and monster-haunted lands.
 
 
TECHNOLOGY INTERACTION
The nature of technological development in most cases is, especially when dealing with weaponry and armor, the more advanced technology is going to have a significant advantage over the less advanced technology. In such cases, the active technology either gains a bonus or penalty against the defensive technology; primitive has a penalty against advanced, advanced has a bonus against primitive.
 
The table below provides the basic bonuses and penalties when two disparate technologies interact. For example, a character wielding a techno-sword (a Futuristic weapon) against a target wearing Neo-Medieval armor gains a bonus of +4 to hit. A warrior wielding a Neo-Medieval crossbow suffers a -2 penalty to hit against a target wearing Futuristic combat armor.
 
In cases where the technology is impaired, mostly non-functional, or essentially non-existent, halve the bonus or penalty. If a tribesman wielding a Savage stone-tipped spear attacks a target wearing powered-down Super-Science armor the penalty is only -4, not -8. A scientist using a Super-Science Life Detector to find a Savage band of warriors only gains a +4 bonus to use of the device, as there are no Savage-technology level devices capable of disguising life signature.
 

Recall that regardless of bonuses or penalties, a Natural 1 is always a failure when rolling high, and a Natural 20 is always a success when rolling high (and vice-versa for rolling low).
 
When dealing with percentile skills or abilities multiply the bonus or penalty by 5 (thus +/- 10%, 20%, or 40%)
 
INTERPRETING TECHNOLOGICAL DEVICES
All sorts of technological devices of all Tech Levels have a native Difficulty to figure out how to use them.
 
In many cases, no check is needed to interpret an item when its form is very similar to that of another device of the same type; such as, to use a modern example, determining the basic use an AK-47 when one is already familiar with an M-16. However, such simple use does not include how to properly disassemble, clean, modify, or otherwise manipulate the device beyond the most basic, common function.
 

Unlike most technological interaction, the difference between Tech Levels of the device and interpreter is always a penalty; often those brought up in a Super-Science civilization will be bewildered by even the simplest Savage-level item! Penalties are expressed as a plus, not a minus, added to the Difficulty rating.
 
Modify the Difficulty first by subtracting the interpreter’s Intelligence modifier, then by the difference in Tech Level, and then by any other pertinent modifiers (usually based on race or class). Roll a d20; if the total is equal to or greater than the Difficulty, the character properly interprets the item; if less, the target fails to interpret the item. On a roll of Natural 1, Something Bad happens at the Judge’s whim.

Time to interpret is listed with the item; for subsequent attempts, increase the time based on this range (starting with the left-most when a time range is included multiple times): one round, one round, one minute, one minute, one turn, one turn, one turn, one hour, one hour, one hour, two hours, four hours, eight hours, one day, one day, one day, and finally one week (check each week thereafter).
 
POWER BATTERIES AND DRAIN
Most Modern, Futuristic, and Super-Science devices, from weapons to vehicles, are powered by batteries.
 
Thanks to the trickle-down of rudimentary Super-Science techniques, batteries are generally very long lasting, whatever the tech level, and there is no need to keep track of charges as such. Instead, in LEGENDARIA there is the Drain mechanic. Whenever a battery-powered device is used there is a chance that it has been drained its last bit of power.
 
The current battery level is measured in Drain, a number from 5 to 99. If when a battery-powered device is used a Natural 1 is rolled, in addition to whatever other malfunction/fumble occurs, add 1 point to the Drain score and roll percentile dice. If the percentile roll is equal to or less than the Drain, the battery has died and the use in question fails.
 
If the Drain is currently above 50, the Drain roll occurs on a 1 or 2; if above 75, on a 1-3, though a normal fumble/malfunction still only occurs on a 1.
 
Modern batteries have a lowest Drain of 25, Futuristic of 15, and Super-Science of 5.
 
There are other instances that might cause Drain, such as certain magic spells, psychic abilities, Futuristic and Super-Science devices, strange weather, etc.

Friday, January 18, 2019

[LEGENDARIA] Teamwork in Legendaria

Heroes dedicated to the forces of Law, when not on lonely quests, invariably work together as a team. Their training, camaraderie, and dedication to each other and their cause grant them bonuses in any endeavor they engage in while working as a team.
 
 
FORMING A TEAM
In order to form a team, a group must:
 
1) Consist of at least 50% + 1 characters of Lawful alignment, with the balance at worst being Neutral; followers of Chaos lack the empathy and do not have the ability to subvert their own individual lust for power, self-aggrandizement, and personal gain that is necessary to be part of a team. If a team no longer primarily consists of Lawfuls, and/or if one or more Chaotics manage to infiltrate the team and cause dissent, the team is DIVIDED.
 
2) Have a base of operations where they can gather together for training, recuperation, and recreation (and preferably, all live together). If the team’s base of operations is destroyed, the team is UNSUPPORTED.
 
3) Be dedicated to a common cause of Lawful sort, such as “Defense of Castle Blackhawk and the Kingdom of Greymoor,” “Strive toward the Freedom of our Native World,” “Protect Civilization and Innocents from the Depredations of Chaos,” or “Ensure the freedom and prosperity of all goodly peoples.” It does not even have to be a cause that is even possible under current circumstances; but as long as all members believe in that cause, and dedicate themselves together toward that cause, the cause qualifies. If more than half of the team no longer believes in their cause, the team is PURPOSELESS.
 
4) They must train together! They must train together a LOT! At least half of all “downtime” must be spent in training together. Not necessarily as a whole group; training in twos and threes works just fine, as long as the whole group trains together over time. If the team is not well trained together, they are UNPREPARED.
 
5) There must be a hierarchy, as teams must be organized to be a team; otherwise it is just a mob. There has to be a leader, and depending on the size of the team, lieutenants or captains, each leading their own distinct sub-group of the team. Primary requirements of a leader are Charisma, Wisdom, and Intelligence, even moreso than any physical martial abilities. If the leader is incompetent, has otherwise lost the respect of her team, or the hierarchy is otherwise completely compromised (leader and all team sub-leaders captured or otherwise unable to lead), the team is LEADERLESS.
 
A team with all five of the above conditions has TEAM COHESION and accrues team benefits as below. A team can survive one or two of the five states of loss of its organization – Divided, Unsupported, Purposeless, Unready, and Leaderless – and still remain a team, though UNSTEADY. If three or four of the states of loss exist, the team is considered UNREADY, and cannot use any of the team benefits until the issues are dealt with. If all five of the states of loss exist, the team is effectively DISBANDED, in fact if not in name.
 
The only way to RECONSTITUTE a team after it has Disbanded is for a core cadre of Lawful members to gather together at a base, rededicate themselves to the cause, train together, and form a new hierarchy. After all of the five conditions obtain once again, the team can be reunited, the new core cadre bringing in new and old members to work together as a team.
 
A new team or a reconstituted team must operate together for no less than three Intervals (see below) before the team fully gains Cohesion and team benefits become available.
 
Episodes and Intervals: An Episode is a complete “adventure,” or a discrete portion of an adventure (for multi-Episode runs). An Interval is discrete segment of time during an Episode during which a discrete event occurs, such as a battle, dealing with an NPC, crossing a rickety bridge, a respite, etc. (i.e., an “encounter.”)
 
 
TEAM BENEFITS
If a team has Cohesion, they gain the following benefits; if they are Unsteady, they lose the listed benefit(s).
 
1) All teammates have a +2 bonus to save against fear, natural or magical, as they are surrounded/supported by their teammates. This benefit does not accrue if the team is DIVIDED.
 
2) All henchmen/hirelings of the teammates have a +1 bonus to Morale. This benefit does not accrue if the team is UNSUPPORTED.
 
3) All teammates who are within 5 feet of one another use the best base saving throw of those adjacent to them when hit by an area-effect spell. For example, a 12th level teammate is flanked to either side by 3rd level teammates; if all three are hit by a fireball, all three use the 12th level teammate’s saving throw against Spells to determine damage. This benefit does not accrue if the team is PURPOSELESS.
 
4) A teammate within 5 feet of another teammate who has been hit by a melee, thrown, or missile attack can switch places with the teammate who was hit, after the hit is rolled but before damage is rolled. Regardless of armor class or any other protection, the teammate who is taking the hit is always still hit and suffers the damage from the attack. This benefit does not accrue if the team is UNPREPARED.
 
5) Most importantly, a team can take time to consider their actions and develop strategies they can best employ as a team against their enemies, even if already in the midst of combat or action. Normally, in combat or during other action, a Judge might limit conversation and the passing to-and-fro of ideas, even penalizing such depending on the circumstances. However, with a well-oiled team, these kinds of things are considered to have been worked out before hand, during training (“Plan Alpha-Seven GO!”), even though they obviously were not. So, the Judge is to give the team plenty of leeway in table talk about forming a plan, even within a period of a few rounds, and not worry about table talk, save for any specific information that one member might have that the others could not possibly have known (revealing such is still off limits without some form of proper communication). This benefit does not accrue if the team is LEADERLESS.
 
Note that there are certain race and class abilities that are also useful in team situations; these are covered in their respective race and class descriptions.
 
 
TEAMWORK POINTS
At the beginning of each Episode, each teammate gains a pool of TEAMWORK POINTS (tally on a sheet, use poker chips, etc.) that they can use in several ways. A 1st level character has one, a 4th level character has two, 8th level three, 12th level four, 16th level five, and 20th level six. This number is reduced by one for each team requirement that is not currently met by the team (to a minimum of zero).
 
The basic rule of Teamwork Points is that if you use your teamwork points for the benefit of your own character, you lose them, but if you give them to a teammate they can replenish after an Interval.

To qualify as a “given” Teamwork Point, the Teamwork Point must be given to a teammate as the giver is performing their action that leads up to the action in which the recipient will use the Teamwork Point(s). The giver must somehow work this into the narrative of how the recipient is going to use the Teamwork Point; even if the giver fails in their own action, the recipient still gets the Teamwork Point(s).
 
Teamwork Points can be used in the following way:
 
1) One Teamwork Point can be used to add a +1 to hit and +1 to damage with one melee, thrown, or missile attack.
 
2) One Teamwork Point can be used to gain a +2 bonus on a saving throw.
 
3) One Teamwork Point can be used to gain a +10% bonus to one skill use.
 
4) One Teamwork Point can be used to cause a Chaotic target to suffer a -2 penalty on a saving throw caused by the action of the user (i.e. the spell or psychic power was cast/used by the user of the Teamwork Point).
 
5) Teamwork Points can be spent to enable a character to do something unusual and unique that would not otherwise be considered possible. Success is not assured; the Judge may still require a roll. However, unless what is being suggested is completely outré and game-breaking, it should be considered possible, moreso the more Teammate Points are spent and the greater the narrative provided into the lead-up to the action.
 
For example, Kwark the Mighty Magician of the Champions of Castle Blackhawk is facing Glascion the Frost Dragon, a servant of the Banemasters of Demonfang Citadel. Unfortunately, though he has a third-level spell memorized, Kwark did not memorize fireball, the only spell that really works against Glascion. However, his three teammates remind him of previous times he used the spell (sometimes to less-than-spectacular results), and each time they call out a memory, the player tosses Kwark’s player a Teamwork Point. With three Teamwork Points (with good narrative) behind him, the Judge lets Kwark remember how to cast fireball, using the energy of the 3rd level spell he had memorized – however, in order for him to cast it properly and without backfire, he must also make a successful saving throw against spells, or Something Bad happens as well!
 
Note that Teamwork Points are cumulative with/stack with each other and all other bonuses.
 
After an Interval, any Teamwork Points given to and used by a teammate are replenished to the teammate who gave away the Teamwork Point. Points spent by their original owner are not replenished.