Category Archives: World Building

The City Guards Shouldn’t Be Schmucks

You know the drill. The party of adventurers come to town after a rough and tumble time in a dungeon and then they raise a little hell. You’ve seen it and you’ve probably done it. At first level, the city guard shows up and the party calms down or gets taken into custody. Put a few levels under their belts and those 1 HD guards are pretty useless. So if it’s a city of any size then there should be some heavy hitters at the city guard’s disposal.
The Captain of the Guard: Sure he’s better HD but that might not help too much.
Kindly Innkeeper Who Is A Retired Adventurer: He’s had his fill of your crap. Get off his lawn!
The Local Cleric: He’s already healed you and raised the thief from the dead but you aren’t messing up his town.
The Local Wizard: He’s reading his spell book. Do not disturb.
OK. That’s just some random ideas that popped into my head while writing this. But that is a good point. The city guard should always has some means to deal with unruly adventurers. If they didn’t practically every town that isn’t overrun by goblins would be burned to the ground by the same folks who ran off the aforementioned goblins.

Aeturia: Forbidden Magic

I’m continuing to brainstorm various ideas about Aeturia. That’s the southern desolate continent of Zoong. Then I went down a mental wormhole. Let’s see. Through every edition, there’s always some talk of ancient and forbidden magic. I’ve also notices (or at least IMHO), there talk of necromancy, powerful necromancers and so on but there’s isn’t anything really on the crunchy side. So in my warped mind that one of the primary ancient and forbidden schools of magic is necromancy.
This idea continue to follow through with the concept that Aeturia is The Godless Land. Why? Back in ancient history, it was filled with necromancers and they just went too far and the Gods of Law cursed the land and the people. They also gave their priests the power to turn undead. The Gods of Chaos (being chaotic and all) countered by granting their priests the ability to control undead. And that lead to the desolate godless land.
So thinking the Aeturians again as race. I know last time I posted some random thoughts. What I’m thinking for White Box is this:
They cannot be Clerics, Druids, Paladins or similar classes.
Non-spellcasters gain a +1 to Saves versus Magic.
Spellcasters gain the ability that Saves versus their spells are at -1.
So against each other the abilities are a wash. I know that. But when they come into contact with those from the other lands then….. You get the idea.
Keep those dice a rolling!

Aeturia: The Godless Land

Another update on the World of Zoong. Yeah, so I’ve working on redoing the world maps from that hand scrawled thing that I posted a few weeks ago. But then I thought, why not update with all my notes. I made a short mention of this on the podcast. That southern wasteland continent. I had just a single note written down for it. “Post Apocalyptic He-Man/Thundarr” That’s it. So I figured that I’d put a little bit more meat on those bones.
What does the place look like? Pretty much a desert wasteland full of ruins. Sort of a fantasy mix of Ancient Egypt, Mythic Atlantis and so on. Or since a pic is worth a 1,000 words…

Now I haven’t come up with names of any cities yet. I’ll wait till I get further along on drawing the map and fleshing things out more. So why it is the Godless Land? Well, too much hubris. Too much magic. And the gods just abandon the place. This all got me thinking of the best place to start in making this place. And, of course, that’s with Races. So here’s what I thought of.
Aeturian (Human Sub-Race): While basically “human”, Aeturians cannot be Clerics, Druids, Paladins, or similar classes. They are generally Fighters, Magic-Users, or Thieves. Aeturian society is basically broken down into two groups or castes. Spell casters and non-spell casters; with the spell casters being the powerful nobility. They are all wary and untrusting of those who deal with the gods.
Tough & Hardy: The hardships of living in Aeturia means the survivors are tougher than standard human stock. Aeturians gain an additional HP each level.
Non-Spell Casters:
Wary of Magic: +2 Save vs Magic
Survival Instincts: -1[+1] AC
Spell Casters:
Powerful Sorcery: Targets are at a -1 penalty to their Saving Throws against the character’s spells.
Magic Most Vile: Aeturian wizards routinely commune with demons, devils, and other outer beings which they may call on in time of need (or want). But there is always a price to pay. This depends on the boon asked and the GM’s discretion.
OK, so I may flesh this out more later on. And I know that this seems more powerful than the standard stock human. But I’m also taking into account my House Rules (posted earlier). Aeturians won’t get the stat boost nor the ability to buy up stats.
With that, I’ll get back to brainstorming.

Church of a 1,000 Saints

Yes, I’m still working on my next old-school campaign. And the good thing is that I’ve got some time to plot, plan, and make extra stuff up. That’s another way of saying add some more meat to the world. So I had this idea a while ago and it just struck me to add it to Zoong.
So just what is the Church of 1,000 Saints? Since I’ve been really fast and loose with the pantheon of Zoong, I decided that I needed that good old “generic” good temple. (Hey, I just created a new alignment, Generic Good.) You know that place where the PC’s go to buy potions, maybe get a curse removed, or bring back a fallen comrade from the dead.
The Church of 1,000 Saints is sort of its own pantheon. A thousand (at last count) gods, demi-gods, and powerful good beings with generally the same agenda. The Church itself is also made up of just as many monastic orders devoted to each Saint. While there is some internal strife and debate over the particulars of dogma and so on; the Church publicly stands for what most consider the “good” stuff. While each order within the Church has its own hierarchy, the Church overall has no centralized power structure and each individual temple is autonomous. Once again this occasionally leads to more internal strife.
Yeas, this is only an idea seed so far. Yeah, I’ll probably flesh it out with a list of popular Saints. Also, of course, there will be more gods in the world. Once again, those ideas start to fill my head about hacking clerics and maybe just changing the divine powers of the world a little bit. But then that’s another post. Now back to scribbling notes…

Skarynth For Sharps Swords & Sinister Spells Part 2: Races

It’s been a while since I did an update and the play test goes on. I’ve got my scribbled notes on the print outs and things keep changing. And that’s why I haven’t put too many crunchy bits in these posts. But this post I want to talk to talk about races. This isn’t to be confused with cultures that I posted about last time.
By races, I mean in the traditional fantasy RPG sense. But since this more Sword & Sorcery, I didn’t go with any of the standard one(elf, dwarf, or halfling). These races are specific to the world but as always, the GM can do what they want. Another different twist that I took, was that all of the “non-human” races were one human. Some turn of events changed them forever.
Another thing I wanted to do is keep them in line with the philosophy of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells. So it will be up to the game master to decided if they want to do the races as a Vocation or an Archetype or even use the multi-Archetype rules from the Addendum (which one of the play testers is having a blast with).
So onto the Races:
Beast Kin: In ancient times, a primitive tribe dare defy the will of the gods. The gods cursed the tribe to be half-man and half-beast. Beast Kin have a feral beast-like appearance. Some many even have feline, canine, ursine, or simian features. They are still defiant and strong-willed mixed with the cunning natural instincts and senses.
Lemurians: There is a legend that an alien eldritch race were stranded on the world. This race interbreed with a local tribe and gave rise to the Lemurians. The chaos and corruption of magic flows through their blood. They can attempt to manipulate and bend to their will magic that is cast against them. They can easily sense the presence of magic and can occasionally see through illusions or invisibility. Lemurians are humanoids with oddly colored skin, hair, and/or eyes. They often have other worldly features. Most have two to four tentacles. (Yep. Tentacles.)
Tuatarans: When mankind still lived in caves and barely understood fire, the Serpent Folk ruled the world. The Serpent Folk used the primitive humans as slaves and their Lizard Man army to enforce their rule. Then a plague struck the Serpentine Empire. It killed many of the Serpent Folk and worse yet it drove the disciplined Lizard Man legions into primitive savages hell-bent on destruction. In a desperate attempt to save their empire, Serpent Folk sorcerers performed vile arcane experiments on humans in order to create a better and plague resistant army. Unfortunately, it made things worse. While the resulting hybrids were resistant to disease, they also had independent spirit of the humans. Tuatrans have human features (and usually dark or black hair) with reptilian skin and eyes. A few even have forked tongues and/or tails. Tuatrans heal quickly and are resistant to poison and disease. As a side effect of their arcane origin, many can consume the life force of the dying to heal themselves.
So there you go. An overview of the nonhuman races. Next up will be a little rant about some new Archetypes. Man. I so want to call them classes. And like I said, everything is still in play test to the actual crunchy bits are in still in flux and changing every couple of weeks.

Skarynth for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Part 1

The play test continues. I’ll be posting these little updates and rants on a weekly or biweekly basis depending on time and if I have something to say. Won’t bore you with blah, blah posts. So I figure the best place to start is a little overview of the world.
What are my inspirations? Well, pretty standard I’d say. You probably know the usuals. Conan (and his clones, Clonans?), Lankmhar, and Elric. Pretty normal for a Sword and Sorcery type game. Well, I also drew from things like Kull of Atlantis, Elak of Atlantis, and John Carter of Mars. Yeah, I know sword and planet is a little off the track. And I didn’t go too far away from the Sword & Sorcery vibe. But the slightly alien feel of Barsoom just had to work it’s way in there. And of course the totally awesome movies of Ray Harryhausen. Man I grew up on those things and I’ll still watch them when ever I can. So onto the World of Skarynth and brief overview of it.
Skarynth is brutal and wild world. There are no kingdoms but a few city-states that wield power of their respective territories. Most of the world is unexplored wilderness, wastelands, and lawless territories. The gods are petty and cruel. There is no god of the harvest for farmers to pray to. But there is a God of Famine to appease to keep from starving.
There are six major culture groups and a very brief overview of each:
Aklonians: Some call the merchants, sailors, and explorers. Most call them pirates, con artists, and thieves.
Caedorians: Bold, brave and pragmatic warrior culture. Makers of the finest swords in the world.
Chesk Tribesmen: Mounted nomads who wander the wastelands. Know for the horsemanship, archery, and ability to survive in the worst of environments.
Jahdorans: Driven by honor and pride. Their society is highly regulated and relies on a strict caste system.
Tzwali: Warrior culture living in the jungle ruins of an ancient civilization. They control many secrets and artifacts of the ancient and powerful sorcerer kings but rarely use such power.
Zygurians: They’re decadent and have fully embraced arcane power. Zygurian politics are blood sport routinely employing assassination or arcane power.
Yes, I do have much more detailed write ups. And of course, there are few things that might change. Yeah, a couple little things might get moved around.
So more to come soon. Like some nonhuman races, the gods and few other bits.

Episode 22: The Tale of the Goblin War Cow

That’s right Episode 22 is Live! Go ahead and give it a listen on Anchor. Of course, you can also subscribe lots of places.
In this episode, I remember that I forgot about making names in World Building series, got some call in’s, and of course The Tale of the Goblin War Cow. This is what happens when you let a crazy grognard play a goblin in 5e and let him be the brains of the operation.
Thanks for stopping by. Thanks for listening. And roll dice. Kill monsters. Take their stuff. And have fun.