Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mapping Away

More campaign map samples.  I got the borders in place for the holdings in the Hundred.

Still using symbol based terrain at this point. The map above is a screen clipping of the holdings of the various Lords of The Hundred (sans labels). The map show The Hundred and bordering territories. I got a lot of waterways on the map as they play a role in determining where borders are and where I'll eventually end up putting in keeps and villages.

Zoomed in a bit with filled in holdings. There is no significance to the fills in the image above they are simply used to make it easier to see the individual holdings. Some of the holdings are rather small with a handful being near a square mile, one much smaller.

I want the players to be able to have characters that are politically involved with estates and holdings of their own. Knowing where the various holdings actually are and what might be mentioned in a deed is the sort of thing I figure I'll need on a map.

Friday, March 10, 2017

More Campaign Map samples

Got some work in on the Riperia campaign map.

Above is a closer view of the general neighborhood of the campaign starting area. Changed the name of a Kingdom added a region label (most were there on the last map but not legible on the first sample). I did some work on the coastline of Fenardy and some icon geographical work done for The Hundred. (Hmm... just noticed the national border between two countries is missing in the sample shot.)

The map above is a zoom in to the geographic detail with iconographic symbols.  There is more river detail on this resolution of the map as well. For scale reference the coordinate grid (which I'll explain in a future post) is 16 miles across and an actual inch at 100% file resolution on the main file.  To come are the keeps and villages for 10 holdings, well thee were never actually a hundred but calling it The Hundred just sounded better than The Eighty Seven would have.  Next detail layer in the terrain will lose some of it's icons with hills and mountains shown as general changes in elevation and details will be exposed in the forests as well.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Of Elves and Acorns

What do the elves eat? Elves traditionally aren’t shown as great master of large-scale agriculture in most fantasy settings. Elves are often shown as hunters and gatherers and could surely support small mysterious populations in that manner but else’s are also shown   being able to raise the occasionally army and to build great fairy castles, hunter and gatherers don’t tend to do either such thing because they can’t produce enough food to feed enough people to field armies or build castles. “So just what are the elves eating if they aren’t hunter and gatherers”? I asked myself.

Hunting is a lot of work and many forests lack enough game to support size able populations. Gathering is likewise challenging for large groups outside warm climates. Elves mayhaps can eat mushrooms and vegetation we can’t but there is also vegetation we can eat but don’t exploit on a widespread agricultural scale: the Acorn. Elven societies can harvest acorns as the means to have enough food to raise armies and build castles.

As a wild foodstuff acorns from common oaks need to be leached for upwards of 5 or 6 days to remove the natural tannin and the associated bitter flavor (and possible digestive issues and tooth damage). Elves either don’t have to worry about that, don’t mind all the work, or have learned to cultivate acorns that take much less work to process.  Humans haven’t turned much attention toward cultivating oaks and hybridizing them to produce ideal acorn crops as it can take 20-30 years for an oak to start producing acorns. Humans are too short lived to put in the work to optimize food production in domestic oaks. Elves have plenty of time in a single elven life (in most settings) to hybridize and produce oaks that create a decent, fairly regular, and plentiful yields of acorns.

Just an acre of natural oak forest is said to be able to produce 6,000lbs of acorns, some varieties of mature oaks can produce 2,000lbs of acorns alone. These production figures may be high and unusual in the wild but if possible in the real world for wild crops they are surely possible to achieve in reasonable fashion as a plant cultivated by a species that can live many hundreds if not thousands of years (again depending on setting). I'm going with these yields as typical for shelled acons from cultivated Elven Oaks.

Food yield and Calorie talk: 110 calories from a ounce of acorns. 140 calories from an ounce of acorn flour.  That’s real world calorie counts. With a 6000lb yield from an acre of cultivated acorns we are going to be able to feed 14 elves for a year (if adults with 2000 calorie a day diet). Medieval cereal grain yields weren’t as productive. Acorn eating elves are going to able to sustain their “hidden” populations able to field the occasional army and build fairy palaces.

For fantasy campaigns I propose 4 varieties of Elven Oaks. The varieties of elven oaks are used to produce lumber, oil, and foodstuffs.

Ironwood- the most fanciful of all is first worth mentioning, it’s timber produce wood if  carefully fire treated is as hard as hammered iron. This allows the elves to produce amazing craft goods and durable tools without needing to mine. Ironwood oaks are the rarest of all and are grown for hundreds of years until they are ready to be (difficulty) cut.

Butter Nut- this variety of oak produces  good-sized acorns that can be used to make flour but can also be pressed to harvest a plentiful supply of oil.  The acorns of this variety are the mildest tasting. Butter Nuts acorns are mostly used for their oil but are also used to produce flour and paste (similar to peanut butter).

Honey Nut- this variety of oak produces a modest sized acorn that is sweeter than other varieties. The syrup of these oaks is also collected and processed to manufacture a sweet syrup similar to that of maple syrup. As a food stuff the must themselves are popular roasted to crushed up to make a sweet paste.

Meal Nut- this variety of elven oaks produces large acorns. They are the nuttiest tasting acorns of the cultivated oaks and are generally processed flour.

Someday I may decide to breakdown the different yields possible from different eleven oaks in different regions if I get struck with the desire for such madness but as above I'm going to go with 6,000 lbs a year per acre on average.

Products of Cultivated Elven Oaks

Ironwood- wood as hard as metal. Once properly processed a carved implement will be as tough as bronze or soft iron.  Edges weapons can be produced from this material but it works best for thrusting weapons and is typically used for arrow shafts and arrowheads.
the price for ironwood goods will vary wildly depending on contact with elves but is recommend to coast 3-5 times as much if of human manufacture from supplies of the wood to maybe 20 times as much for items of elven manufacture.

Oak Butter- a nutritional paste storred in jars.

Applenut Butter- Oak Butter mixed with apples to produce a very sweet and nutrious form of apple butter.

Oak Honey- processed oak sap that is surgery sweet.

Elven Waybread- these long lasting loaves of elven bread are light and tastie which makes their long keeping nature even more wondrous. Elves keep the recipes of rite highest grades secret. Elven Waybread will last as long as 5 years and this property as well as it’s flavor gives it a high price at 10 to 20 times more than mannish made breads of the same general quality.

Oak Milk- light oil processed from the Butter Nut acorns mixed with water. Used as a beverage. Oak Milk will usually fetch price equivalent to common beer, it’s not alcoholic but it is tasty and keeps well.

Flash Oil- this flammable liquid is used to make incendiary weapons and as an means of lighting. This fetches the same prices other flaming oils will.

Elven NutMead- theirs mead is a hearty cousin to the delicate meads which are actually made from honey. Elven NutMead is made from different pressings of Butter Acorns, Honey Nut Acorns and Oak Honey itself. This mead fetches a price comparable to fine wines.

Elves may or may not keep their Acorn/Oak Cultivation as secret from men but this will much depend on the nature of the campaign and the relationship between men and elves.
In my Riperia campaign there is widespread knowledge among mankind that elves eat acorns but the true nature (and abundance)of their cultivation is unknown south of the Thornwall or much beyond the Isles of Ulthion and Arru.  A few groves of the cultivated oaks can be found here and there throughout the lands and are used by local elves or are sure indications a now extinct elven people once laid claim to the land.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Campaign Prep and Sample Map

I've been prepping a new campaign and tuning house rules lately.  The training/loot-exp posts are part of that.  Here's the map of the grand overall campaign setting.

This is the continent of Aroa. The highlighted realm is Riperia. I've been playing with Riperia as campaign setting for a few years now and it's getting turned slightly and having the neighboring nations fleshed out a bit more.  The largest change beyond the overall expansion is the addition of the fey realms north of the Thornwall.  I've taking some place names from campaigns past and will be ressurecting pieces and shoving them in where they fit. No good reason to abandon over 35 years of campaign notes entirely.

Garforne, Gossland and Tridge survive from my earliest campaign map drawn in 1980 or so. Not sure if that map itself still exists. The Thornwall and nearby realms were initially worked up only a couple years ago. Some place names and associated histories will lurk form my late 80's/early 90's campaign.  The Talmyrian Empire is no more but it will be part of the history of thsi setting (I also have to dig out that map and revive a bunch of cities).

It is all in all a classical fantasy campaign with feudalism, quests, dragons and knights. This the only.human dominated portion of the world I'm likely to worry about for some time. Common Men share the world with Amazons, Valans, Brownies, Elves and Half-Elves (Light, Grey, and Dark), a variety of Hobs, Gnomes, A few types of Dwarves ( Hill, Dvarga, and Daro) , Gorans (Giant-kin), Beastmen of several kinds (Simbai-Felines, Vroo-Canines, Velch-Vultures,Aigossians-Goats, Pongar-Apes, Salamin-Reptiles) and wretched Trollkin. They are opposed by a wide variety of hostile folks including Bwgs, Trolls, Orcs, Giants, Dragons (both hive and solitary), Octons, Gargoyles. There will be little touches of sci-fantasy but it will not be an omnipresent sub-theme.

It's not all fun and games with the "friendly" races they don't even all have a homeland on the main campaign map but they are able to relate to men in a generally neutral if not friendly manner. Elves tend to want to be left alone. Hobs would rather tend to their own affairs as well but don't mind having a human over as a dinner guest. Dwarves are concerned more with the subsurface world but openly trade with humanity. The Goran are found worldwide but their ancestral homeland remains (mostly as old ruins in Gossland). Most of the beastmen hail form lands beyond the map but the Aigossians are native to Chalconia and Vroo to the wilds of Targoth.

Despite the presence of a few types of elves, dwarves, and halfling I want to avoid ren-fairia as much as possible. There will be no elven serving maids at the local pub and while people are aware the Simbai exist they may have difficulty dealing with one in the flesh. The Vroo actually have rather poor reputation as raiders and brigands within Cymria. Yeah it's an "almost europe".

Enough rambling for now. The map is going to change and have a lot of details added. The original map is a computer file 160 inches to 200 inches across at 16 miles to the inch.  With over 8,000,000 miles to fill I should be able to fit in a lot of stuff worth posting about for years to come.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Training, Research, Carousing, Gifting, and Sacrifice. (Part II)

Last post I covered a recommendations on how to convert treasure to experience points as part of training as opposed to a flat exp bonus simply for treasures fetched from an adventure.  This post covers sacrifice.

Trials and Tribulations of Sacrifice

Sacrifice is meant to show devotion and dedication to a god/faith but let’s be honest here it’s also a business arrangement between people and the divine and the agencies that represent the divine.

Some scarifies may be a simple as walking into a temple, or finding a donation altar and plopping down the coin and splitting. but most are sacrifices are likely to be a bit more demanding in requirements and timing. There are only so many occasions one can slay a bull to consecrate the ground for the spring planting for example and a DM should make those occasions clear to players.

At it’s core sacrifice has the same wealth to exp ratio as does training. Training and sacrifice do not typically interfere with each other as only lengthy rituals, purifications, and such would interfere with ability to train and likewise the reverse. Typically a character will still be able to make donations once a week.

How rewarding those donations are and complications that may ensue will have a lot to do with a character’s relation to the faith, the local priesthood, and the god(s) themselves.

results will follow the Experience point Reward table as outlined in the last post.
Experience Point Reward Table
3 or less
4 to 6
Limited Success
7 to 10
Typical Success
11 to 12
Unexpected Success
13 or more
Amazing  Success**

 * a roll of two “1’s” on the 2d6 roll will always be unsuccessful regardless of modifiers applied.

An unsuccessful sacrifice is just that unsuccessful. There is no gain in exp for the sacrifice offered. Even worse if tow “1’s” are rolled a followup roll on the Faithful Rejection table is required.

Limited Success: the character will gain 50 exp for every 100 coin of goods sacrificed.

Typical Success: the character will gain 100 exp for every 100 coin of goods sacrificed.

Unexpected Success the character will gain 125 exp for every 100 coin of goods sacrificed.

Amazing Success: the character will gain 150 exp for every 100 coin of good sacrificed and is required to roll on the Divine Favor table.

Modifiers to experience rewards for sacrifices.

-2 If of a Lawful faith and trying to sacrifice goods in excess of level x 100 in a single week.

-2 If of an Evil faith and no flesh or blood of a recently living creature is involved in the sacrifice.

-3 if Good and a recent opportunity (The last game month) to grant mercy was forsaken.

-2 if Lawful and violated a contract in the past year.

-2 if violated the buried remains of any of matching alignment in the past year.

-2 if desecrated a holy place of a non-opposed faith in the past year.

-2 if lawful and sacrificing an unwilling victim.

+1 if there is a living sacrifice involved. (take heed of other modifiers here)

+1 if evil or chaotic and sacrificing an intelligent victim at the time of the sacrifice.
+2 if evil or chaotic and sacrificing 2-11  intelligent victims at the time of the sacrifice.
+3 if evil or chaotic and sacrificing 12+ intelligent victims at the time of a sacrifice
+1 additional if evil or chaotic and sacrificing 100+ intelligent victims at the time of a sacrifice.-1 for each week tithe has been lacking. (Tithe does not count towards sacrifice).

1d100 roll
Faithful Rejection
1 or less
Marked by god(s), excommunicated and Cursed. All of the faith will recognized the mark an either be reviled or act aggressively upon meeting.
Excommunicated and cursed, no repentance identified
Excommunicated and cursed, repentance identified.
Excommunicated (barred from faith, no healing spells or magics from clerics of the faith shall benefit character, similar alignment likely to fail 33% of the time)
Cursed with no repentance granted.
Cursed with repentance identified.
Must make similar (or better sacrifice) following pilgrimage to 7 holy sites each 1-12 weeks apart. Until then all clerical spells cast by same faith or alignment have a 50% chance to fail.
Must make similar (or better sacrifice) following pilgrimage to3 holy sites each 1-6 weeks apart. Until then all clerical spells cast by same faith or alignment have a 33% chance to fail.
Must make similar (or better sacrifice) following pilgrimage to holy site 1-8 weeks away. Until then all clerical spells cast by same faith or alignment have a 20% chance to fail.
Sacrifices shall be denied for a year unless repentance is made. Tithe is doubled during this period.
Sacrifices shall be denied for a month unless repentance is made. Tithe is doubled during this period.
Sacrifices shall be denied for a year Tithe is doubled during this period.
Sacrifices shall be denied for a moth. Tithe is doubled during this period.
100 or more
Sacrifice found to be unworthy. -1 to other sacrifices made at the same site. Penalty removed after sacrifice of double value or better is made.
modifier to faithful rejection table:
+level If a cleric of the faith
-5 if character Alignment doesn’t match faith completely.
-5 if character has missed seasonal devotions for past 2 seasons.
-5 if Charisma 6 or less
+5 is Charisma 15 or more.
+1d20 if character built or contributed 20% or more to construction of Shrine or Temple in past.

1d100 roll
Divine Favor
20 or less
Character gains a +1 reaction bonus from  members of the faith and sacrifice bonus for the next month.
Character gains a +1 reaction bonus from  members of the faith and sacrifice bonus for the next 12 weeks.
Character gains +1 to saving throws for the next week.
Character gains +1 to saving throws for the next month.
Character may cast a single 1st level spell sometime in the next week.
Character may cast a single 1st level spell sometime in the next month.
Character may cast a1st level spell once per week for a month.
Character may cast a1st level spell once day over the next month.
Character is Blessed for next week
Character is Blessed for next month.
Character is Blessed for next month and is accompanied by a holy disciple for that time.
Character is Blessed for next month and permanently gain a holt disciple as a henchman,
Character is Blessed for next month and during that month is accompanied by a divine servitor. (Saint, Angel, Minion, Demon, depending on faith)
modifiers to Divine Favor table:
+level If a cleric of the faith
-3 per level if not a devoted member of faith.
-5 if character has missed seasonal devotions for past 2 seasons.
-5 if Charisma 6 or less
+5 is Charisma 15 or more.
+1d20 if character built or contributed 20% or more to construction of Shrine or Temple in past.

Blessed characters are treated as if under the influence of a Bless spell of the duration noted above. If there is no bless spell in your game the character is +2 to saves and granted a +1 to hit vs members of opposing alignment and is able to strike opponents of the faith that normally require magic to harm even if lacking an appropriate magical weapon.

Religious requirements are open to interpretation and demands of the faith and aren't going to be identical from faith to faith or campaign to campaign. Just adding the sacrifice roll and the Divine Favor and Faithful Rejection tables to a campaign is going to impact how religion and the PCs in a campaign interact.