Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Disremembered Tribes and their Patron Daemons

(Just a fluff post continuing to flesh out my home setting Ánemos)

(I'm eventually going to re-write my Intro to Ánemos post, compiling all of the fluff and islands and monsters and ships and cultural ideas and generators and tables I have written for the setting so that someone can just open one page and play in the setting. Eventually.)

The Tribal Government of the Arsuf Islands:

The Tribes of Arsuf are more than just an ethnic group, they all participate in a regional government known as the Comitia Tributa (this form of governance is loosely based on the Roman "Tribal Assembly", the Comitia Curiata, that are defined by the 30 curiae that are in turned based of off three ancient tribal lineages in Rome (the early Republic was super interesting. There is a very very good RTS based in this time period)).

The Comitia solves inter-Tribal disputes of a very specific scope:
  • Economic; no selling goods dishonestly or monopolies, especially no price fixing or collusion with other Tribes for profit. The goods must flow.
  • Philosophic; no propaganda campaigns against other Tribes, the ruling Tribe of an island get full thought control. Minds must be kept compliant.
  • And most importantly, Militant; there is to be no use of resource destroying methods for the Sea is a barren enough place and the fertility of the few islands must be preserved. Conquest is encouraged, for the strong deserve to rule, but foolish squandering will be punished.
These disputes are heard and judged in an open court where every Tribe has equal voice, housed atop one of the great monoliths in the sacred island-city of Ierá Aktés. This mountainous Court is also the temple of the lion headed goddess of Law and Vengeance, the Judge Léaina. No Tribe lays claim to the holy shores of Ierá Aktés, but each of them builds and maintains a sovereign fortress within the city where their laws stand (these are especially useful after the Comitia has made a decision, more on that in a second). Léaina presides over the Comitia and drinks the blood of equivocators so that no lies are uttered in the Court.

Many of the decisions made at the Court are reflective of the crime. Economic slights are met economic sanctions for a year and a day. Philosophic attacks will be met with firm refutation of thought and reinforcement of preferred ideals. Military crimes are met with military actions, where identical violences against a Tribe are allowed to be repeated in order to teach the Law breaker.

Ierá Aktés (source)

Judge Léaina's Court (source)

The Disremembered Tribes

A Tribe that does not agree with the ruling of the Court has the option to go rouge, to spit on the conventions and traditions of the Comitia Tributa and stand defiant or flee Arsuf. There are legends of Tribes standing up to the fury of the collective Tribes, that stood firm in the face of opposition, and that eventually laid bare some conspiracy against them to show that their cause was righteous. And the righteous always win in the end...but these are legends.

In the modern Age a Tribe who has been condemned by the Court has a better chance of survival by taking to their Clancraft and leaving Arsuf. There they can decry their ill luck and damn their enemies. There they can lick their wounds and pray to Gods that they abandoned who will never hear their prayers. There, on the tumultuous Sea, they make pacts with Daemons.

Lost Tribe Daemon Binder (source)


Their Patron Daemons

You are a child born on a Big, Old, Boat. All of your siblings were born on this Boat. Your parents were born on this Boat. But your grandparents talk about when they lived on the land, when they ruled a whole island, when they were a real tribe. But the Boat is the only world you have ever known. You have been on land a few times, but there aren't enough enough fish there, it's too hot, and everyone looks at you funny. You like the Boat, the Boat is where your Daemon lives. The Daemon is scary, but it keeps everyone on the whole Boat safe. It's a small price to pay for safety...

You get the idea. To stay safe when the world has agreed that you and yours are dangerous scum means making allies where others wouldn't even look.

Daemons want offerings for their service. The Tribe's Binder will have formed some agreement with the entity, "You keep us safe, we'll give you the blood of our young every new moon and I will not share your truname with other Binders". Since Daemons are the manifestation of some dark part of a group's psyche the offerings they demand nurture that dark emotion.

In return for their favorite horrible emotion the Daemon will manifest however the Binder wishes and will fight their battles (you can treat this as some ambiguous large-huge monster with 4-10 HD and flavor specific abilities). The larger and more emotional the Tribe the more terrific their Daemon.

When a Tribe has a dispute with another Disrememebered Tribe tradition dictates that they will both summon their Daemons and have them engage in a clash of words, a debate. The winner of the debate consumes the form of the loser and that Tribe is victorious. Its a common trope in the Legends of the Isles to have the wandering hero come across two Clancraft tied together on the high seas while titanic Daemons bicker at and debate each other across the decks about the state of politics in Minoa, the price of mutton on Sheep's Head, or what it means to live a good life.

When Tribes clash with outsiders they do not lend them the courtesy of their words, instead the invoke their Daemon to empower them. If they are in high favor the Daemon may even manifest to join the combat themselves.

1d10 Patron Daemons:
  1. Asag the Dark Drinker: Asag hungers for the words that are whispered in the dark out of anxiety. She lurks in that darkness and groans with pleasure as the words are uttered. Asag's favored can cloak themselves in darkness and she will debate their foes with dark logic and nihilistic tendencies.
  2. Abyzou that Drinks Our Tears: Abyzou craves the tears of terror, not tears of grief or sorrow or happiness but pure terror. As often as not it is Abyzou themselves who strike this terror in the dead of night or the flames of battle. Those that appease Abyzou will find that they can resist their worst fears when needed and he will berate his debating opponents with an encyclopedic knowledge of human nature's shortcomings.
  3. Ronwe the Wizened: Ronwe thrives on the little complaints an aging body makes. When the back aches and the eyes darken the curses of the Elders strengthen his power. But when they need to Ronwe's supplicants can shrug off the yoke of age and fight as in their prime, all the while he explains in the patient tones that come with the wisdom of age why he is correct.
  4. Barbatos the Swollen: Stomache aches from rotten food are Barbatos's favorite misery. The Tribe who patronizes him feasts on fetid meats the night before conflict to empower their fearsome protector. Come the engagement the feasters can use battle emesis while he paints straw men out of his opponent's arguments to watch them crumble.
  5. Beleth the Smoldering: They lay out on deck all day, nurturing their puss filled burns and moaning at the pain of it. Their discomfort is the anguish that Beleth draws her form from. When the flames of combat are high her Tribe will not feel the lick of the flames while they burn their enemies and she will use her fiery rhetoric to argue for her side.
  6. Eligos the Cutting Gale: With dark clouds on the horizon fear of the storm wells in even the heartiest of sailors chests, and Eligos drinks up the terror of the strong like water. Come their time of need though the sailors in the Tribe stand firm to ride the gale into battle, while Eligos's keening voices and verbose arguments overwhelm her challengers.
  7. Agares who Sees: When ennui bogs down the heart and mind, when utter world weariness overwhelms, or when sheer dread of the unknown and unknowable seeps in Agares is there to soak it up and in so doing stoke it. In conflict his Tribe is unshakable in their belief while Agares's opponents are met with his razor insights and worldliness.
  8. Buer the Shifting: They stare into the mirror and see a torso too think or too thick, sagging flesh hangs off of bones, wrinkles appear and are loathed; the imperfections of their body and the frustration that breeds is Buer's favorite dish. But when needed they cast aside their doubt and turn it to their foes who waver with their advance, while Buer attacks the moral fiber of his opponents with cruel mockery.
  9. Paimon who Hungers: They are happy they claim. Their partner is the one they want, their soulmate. They settled down with them, had children with them. But still, they wonder, what if I had chosen another? Don't I still think of them sometimes? It is this doubt and insecurity that nourishes Paimon. When called upon he will cast visions of lost loves to distract enemies while he uses traditional logic that all recognize as truth.
  10. Aka Manah the Laughing: It is a rare thing on the Open Sea, the sight of a strangers misery. They know their shipmates intimately, and strangers are kept at shouting distance for the most part. But Aka Manah must be kept happy. So they lay traps in the rock shallows, false lighthouses are built. And when misfortune finds the faceless men in the dark of night the Tribe laughs and blesses their own luck that they do not share their fate. And Aka Manah is glad and will lend some of the misfortune gathered by the Tribe back to enemies, and in debate she will stand tall and relate heart wrenching tales to sway others to her side.
You could also pull things from this list from Swords and Stitchery.

(Much of the idea for these Daemons comes from David Edding's concept of demons from his sprawling fantasy series The Belgariad and The Malloreon, magicians bind demons to a form of their choosing and make them fight. Its like Pokemon kinda)

Paimon who Hungers (source)

Eligos the Cutting Gale (source)

Vanth who would Posses (source)

Asag the Dark Drinker (source)

How to Use the Disremembered Tribes and the Comitia Tributa

One of the main themes of my Ánemos setting is a war of thoughts. Philosophers and wise men litter the Isles bickering amongst themselves, Magi and Priests quarrel about the meanings hidden in the stars, and senators and the chiefs of tribes debate policy. So what better way to ingrain your PCs in this oratory culture than a courthouse drama type encounter. This can occur in an expected place (the high court of a ruling body) or an unexpected place (between titanic daemons perched on massive ships on the open sea).

This is a superb example of how you might run a courthouse drama type encounter, by the illustrious Patrick Stewart from False Machine.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Treants

Treants are trees that should have died a horrible death. Calamity has struck their grove and some animus has seen fit to not only let them survive but become something other than a tree. This is a rare occurrence, even the elves can't reliably awaken treants (though they will claim that thats because the tree wasn't ready yet).

When you stumble across a young treant they often are simply sitting and marveling at their articulating twig joints and the way the other side of that rock looks. It's not until they have weathered a few winters and the novelty has worn off that they begin to seek even more novel horizons. Old treants are prodigious walkers, often covering 30 miles in a day simply for the joy they find in the rhythmic creaking of their wood and the exotic crunches and tastes of distant soils beneath their root pads.

As treants age their forms grow more and more complex (think the incredibly complex and brushy crowns of old growth redwoods) through years of wear and variable climates. An ancient treant hardly looks like the tree it once was, with foreign moistures flowing through it's xylem and distant suns vivifying it's leaves. But they can never truly shrug off their origin, their morphology is plastic but their innermost rings will still tell of their ancient bondage in the place that they first grew.

Don't confuse them with dryads, they hate that. Dryads are the free flowing avatar of the id of a tree and forever tied to their groves. Treants are a wholly tree realized as a walking, talking, growing entity. Fuck dryads, those whimsy fucks.

If you want to generate a random treant use the table below:


(Gosh writing tables like this is fun) (It's also really hard for me to pick proto-typic/ universally recognizable trees. I was going to write about the habits of each of the 10 above, but then I thought that no one would give a hoot. So I didn't. Let me know if you give a hoot.)
This might be helpful for understanding their original biome.

How to use the above generator:

  • The tree type tells you some personality details of the treant (pines are hardy and drought tolerant, so a pine treant might be stubborn and resourceful).
  • The biome they grew up in is like the circumstances of their childhood, was it a hard lonely life (like the alpine) or an easy social life (like the rainforest)?
  • The events that lead to their awakening should be the dominant aesthetic descriptor after the tree type (a fire scarred treant bears those scars as cat faces).
  • And obviously what the treant wants should indicate their motives when encountered.


Thats for life

So is that (example of what bug kill can look like) (I took this picture!)

Treants and Wands

It is well established that the wood of a treant makes an exceptional wand. Perhaps some of their life force furthers the magic infused when created or maybe wizards just fetishize exotic materials when crafting their items of power. Regardless, the wands made from treant wood often share some personality traits with their parent. If the treant awakened in a fire the wand will be especially well suited to fire magics for example (but it also might be temperamental and brittle).

One of the greatest gifts a treant can give you is a length of their body to use as you see fit, thought they are notoriously hard to befriend.

Some wizards claim that once a wand is all used up you can soak it in water and then plant it in rich soil. If you are lucky and very nurturing it may root and leaf out again and a wyrwood tree will grow. Wyrwood is very useful, especially in the crafting of magical ships.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

(Video) Game Review: Crawl


So my gaming group all hang out together and one of us had this new video game, Crawl from Powerhoof  We got so distracted we didn't even play out scheduled game that night. Its a blast, so I thought I would give it a review since it stole table top gaming time.

Premise:


Above is the launch trailer, basically laying out the way it works.

You were an adventuring party delving into some horrible dungeon, but you and your buddies got cursed and are now doomed to fight each other for humanity as you descend deeper into the dungeon. You get to play as monsters/traps when you are not the only human. When you kill the human you get to be human again. You level up, buy magic weapons, loot chests, and when you are strong enough you can challenge the boss. If you kill the boss you win your freedom from the cycle!

Game Play:

User Experiance

All of the gameplay takes place on the same screen, no split screen silliness.

Nice and simple controls, just direction and two buttons. It handles pretty well. I use an Xbox controller, but the keyboard controls are totally functional as well.

The graphics are a nostalgic pixel style with an acceptable amount of detail for each monster/boss/weapon/room. The lighting effects are well done. It looks great.

The soundtrack if fun, but a little repetitive after a few rounds of play.

The AI is well written, the three levels (easy, medium, hard) are well balanced.

Mechanics:

When starting the game you choose an Immortal that you worship, this gives you some mechanical advantage (25% more damage done with traps, monsters have more health, etc) and lays out which monsters you can manifest as.

There is a face off in the first room where as humans you all fight, the last one standing starts out as the human. This is pretty fun.

When playing as the human you run around the dungeon level looking for treasure, the item shop to upgrade abilities/weapons/artifacts, and the way down to the next level. Once you hit level 10 you can challenge the boss.



When not playing as a human you fly around as a ghost and can: interact with atmospheric things (torches, chains on the wall, blood fountains, etc), traps (buzzsaws, spikes, flame throwers, throwing crates, etc) and most importantly become a monster when you fly into a pentagram on the floor (more on this in a bit).

There tends to be a lot of changing of who is the human. When playing with all four players its a very fast paced game, and it can be hard to keep track of were your character is in the chaos.

Probably my favorite part of the game is the monster mechanics. Every time a human gains a level the non-humans all get "wrath" points that they can spend to evolve the monsters. For example you start with three wimpy little guys: a dire rat, a skeleton, and a gnome. You fight the human a bit and they gain a level, giving you some wrath to spend on upgrading your monsters to scarier things like a skeleton archer or skeleton duelist. This is a lot of fun, especially when you start playing as some D&D classic monsters like beholders, dragons, mind flayers, giants, and pit fiends.


And the big trick is that you don't have every aspect of the game unlocked initially. By beating the bosses you unlock more features, ie a new weapon type, a new trap, or new monster evolution paths. Its super addicting, you finish the game and just want to play again to try out the new stuff!

Summary:

Pros:

  • Addicting, fun to play with friends or alone.
  • Well designed graphics/ambiance.
  • Fun leveling system for humans and monsters a like.
  • Feels like arcade games you could play against your friends as a kid and get really emotionally invested and fight about. Good shit.

Cons:

  • Can be very hard, especially when there are all four players in play and can get frustrating if you don't get your time as the human. The soundtrack and dungeon level diversity is shamefully limited (each dungeon level has a cool name that implies an atmosphere but they all look the same!).
  • Some monsters are blatantly better than others and you don't get any information about them other than their picture until you try them out.
  • Games can take a long time when on higher difficulties, like more than an hour.

What You Should Steal:

This could be a cool way to run PvP. You throw player controlled monsters at them until they die then the killer becomes a character again and runs around some more. It would require a super streamlined system to allow leveling and monster advancement to happen quickly.

The boss fights are pretty inspired, they generally each have a gimmick and escalate significantly in difficulty through the fight. I could probably write a whole post on that, but +Arnold K. basically did that here, so I wont.

Rating: ****/*****, worth the $15 if you have controllers for everyone.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Magic Tattoos

So this topic has been beaten to death with a stick, starting at 3.5E (feat and equipment, I guess?), creeping into D&D's wayward child Pathfinder (archetype and feat, I guess?), and of course finding a modern home in the homebrewing sphere of 5E.

I don't have any interest in writing more rules for if you get infected when you get tattooed, there are too many of those already. I already wrote about the tattoos barbarians and monks have, so lets use that as a jumping off point.

Acquiring a Magic Tattoo Design:

Magic tattoos are uncommon and unsightly things. You must inscribe in your flesh the arcane geometry in the appropriate materials to warp reality around the nexus of ley lines living on your skin. Finding a way to do this is a pretty rare occurrence, few Magi spend their valuable time researching ways for warriors to get stronger so they can kill more warriors (they are too busy staring at the stars). So when a new magic tattoo is designed it is often by accident or by madness.

Pirate captains and warlords have these special tattoos, not emperors and generals. These are relict knowledge of a savage Age and polite society tends to close their gates and turn their noses the tattooed heathens from beyond the waves who come to their white cities.

Rumor has it you can find magic tattoo designs here (1d6):
  1. On the corpse of a long dead Sea King, you have to go dig them up and cut off their skin and take it to a tattooist to be deciphered and transcribed. They are interned on the Ivory Island of course.
  2. In an ancient text deep in the archives of one of the Minoan Universities. You'll have to either enroll as a student or break in to gain access, But beware! Those musty old men are steeped in bureaucracy and have deep institutional power behind them, get caught stealing and you'll like never be allowed in the Republic again.
  3. Scratched into the dungeon walls of one of the Towers of the Moon by insane prisoners of the Nekros Archanis in their insights of eternal near death. If you ever find yourself in these dungeons it may be worth while to copy the scrawling, but good luck discerning arcane diagrams from the scrawls of a fevered and broken mind...
  4. The ruling line of the Wayward Clans of Arsuf often has a clan magic tattoo inscribed once they reach adulthood. Their detractors say that each clan's patron Daemon taught them their tattoo and that its actually a way for the Daemons to manipulate them. Maybe you can go hunting for one of them and kill one of the ruling line? Or perhaps you can bind a Daemon and ask for a magic tattoo yourself...
  5. That company officer tattoo of the Steller's Jays, the mercenary company led by the enigmatic Ramsay Steller, is supposed to actually be a magic tattoo. They just rarely have the appropriately skilled tattooist do the ink job, so not many of them actually work. Join up and maybe you can get a copy of the designs if you get promoted, or perhaps you can kill a few and take their hides to be studied.
  6. The guild of grandmaster tattooists known as the Seven Sages, are said to know a few powerful magic tattoo designs but they will only tattoo those they find worthy by passing their Seven Trials. (Think of them as like a mix between philosophers and master martial artists, they could probably also teach monks a thing or two about fighting)

Finding a Tattooist and Getting Inked:

This guy will tattoo you, if you're cool enough.

At least an expert tattooist must be employed to inscribe a magic tattoo, and depending on the complexity of the tattoo more talented tattooists must be found (it may be in the party's interest to try and convince a tattooist to move to their settlement and work under their protection, but they'll have to build them a studio).

Once an sufficiently skilled tattooist is found they will have to be given time to study the magic tattoo design and to gather the appropriate materials, this will take around a month and they will require half of the payment up front to acquire the components necessary.

The tattooing itself will take 1-4 months (same as getting tattooed for defense by the different levels of tattooist) of dedicated time every day to be done. This means you will be lying down for 8 hours every day in a quiet studio with a lot of incense and sandal wood burning, a good activity for the Season of Storms when travel is dangerous.


Example Magic Tattoos:

Mechanically magic tattoos are magic items that you can never un-attune from, until you have them removed by some painful or very expensive manner (in 5e, system agnostic they are just magic items). As with mundane tattoos they must be uncovered in order to work. Each tattoo has a minimum "level" of mundane tattoo for the tattoo to work properly.

Remember, every tattoo has to have a really cool story to go with it.

Here are 12 ideas based on the above sources:
  1. Aeropos's Pride: Master level tattoo, +5,000 , you can a +2 bonus to your Cha score and the ability to cast Viscous Mockery as a cantrip, using your character level as your caster level.
  2. Cassander's Secret: Expert level tattoo, +3,000,  you apply double your proficiency bonus when making a deception check and once per day you can detect whether a statement is a lie or not.
  3. Lysimachos's Swiftness: Expert level tattoo, +4,000, your base land speed increases by 10ft and you gain one of the following movement speeds: climb (half max), swim (half max), or burrow (quarter max). This choice is made at the time of tattooing.
  4. Demetrios's Hubris: Grandmaster level tattoo, +10,000
  5. Stain of Filth: Expert level tattoo, +2,500, you can cast Detect Undeath (as Detect Magic, but it only works on Necromancy magics) at will and you get advantage when parlaying with undead but disadvantage when parlaying with the living.
  6. Blemish of the Starless Night: Master level tattoo, +5,000, you bind your soul to your mortal coil and become undead (usually a ghoul). You no longer have to eat, drink, sleep or breath. You also gain a empathetic bond with the Nekros Archanis, driving you to do their bidding in the land of the Sun.
  7. Steller's Jays' Insignia: Expert level tattoo, +2,000, you can communicate silently with anyone else with the Insignia within a mile radius. This communication cannot pass through 1 foot of stone, 1 inch of common metal, a thin sheet of lead, or 3 feet of wood.
  8. Mark of the Cresting Wave: Expert level tattoo, +2,500, you gain the limited ability to command water. This lets you create a current out of still water, slowly (10 min/gallon) boil or freeze water and mostly-water-substances, lets you ask water to not drown you quite as fast (double the duration you can hold your breath), and allows you to cast Cresting Wave (as Thunderwave but you must be on or near a body of water) once per day.
  9. Mark of the Barbed Harpoon: Master level tattoo, +4,000, you gain proficiency with the harpoon (as trident, but range 30/120), or if you already have proficiency you gain double your proficiency bonus with the harpoon. In addition on critical hits with harpoons opponents are considered restrained until they take a full round to rip out the harpoon which deals damage as normal when removed.
  10. Mark of the Lonely Albatross: Expert level tattoo, +2,500, once per day you can extend your arms into long white wings and float to the ground, as the effect of Feather Fall. In addition you can now speak with sea birds.
  11. Mark of the Starry Sail: Expert level tattoo, +1,500, you apply double your proficiency bonus to sailing checks and you can never become lost when under a starry sky.
  12. Wisdom of the Seven Sages: If you pass their trails the Sages will agree to tattoo you for free as long as you have up to a Master Level tattoo. The tattoo will be of Grandmaster Level has the following properties based on how the trails where overcome:
    1. You overcame the trials through shear strength, your Strength score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can hurl things (objects, people, yourself) twice as far as you normally could.
    2. You overcame the trials through skillful agility, your Dexterity score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can get extra slippery and automatically succeed some feat of acrobatics that would other wise be impossible (scale a glass wall, balance on the edge of a knife, the Iron Lotus)
    3. You overcame the trials through  steady resilience, your Constitution score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can choose to ignore one round of damage, this must be declared before any attacks or damages are rolled.
    4. You overcame the trials through cleverness and insight, your Intelligence score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can learn one weakness or strength of a living thing from 10 minutes of observation.
    5. You overcame the trials through intuition and temperance, your Wisdom score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can intuit the honesty of one statement after meditating on it for 10 minutes.
    6. You overcame the trials through force of personality, your Charisma score is now 25, unless it was already higher in which case this effect of the tattoo has no effect. In addition once per day you can generate a basic level of communication out of something that generally has no language (golems, eels, trees, clouds, termites, etc). This takes 10 minutes of intense observation and evocative dance.
    7. You overcame the trials through dumb luck, you now gain the Lucky trait as a Halfling (When you roll a 1 on an attack roll, ability check, or saving throw, you can reroll the die and must use the new roll). If you already have the trait you reroll on 1s and 2s. In addition once per day you can roll with advantage on any attack roll, ability check, or saving throw even if you have disadvantage.
Mark of the Barbed Harpoon
Mark of the Lonely Albatross

Stain of Filth

Monday, July 10, 2017

Re-skinning for Ánemos: Monstrous Humanoids

I don't want orcs or goblins or kobolds or giants (get your gently Germanic folkstory hands off of my game!) in my Weird Greek Mythic Fantasy setting, Ánemos, but I want their functionality of intelligent, society having, trap laying humanoid enemies. So let's give the classic D&D monstrous humanoids a facelift, like I did for the playable races. This should be pretty easy because many D&D creatures are already in/based off of Greek monsters, but the Greek versions are usually a lot weirder. (And yes I know that some of these monsters aren't explicitly "mythic", but they come from the weird travel literature written in the Classical period).


Centaurs (They had those in Ancient Greek myth, no real change)
Bacchanalian and feral man beasts, their hedonism and virility are legendary. At the merest whiff of wine they fly into a revelrous rage and can drink a town dry in a night, eating cured meats and the flesh of men with identical abandon. The centaurs claim it is the corrupting influence of the house-people on their innocent natural state that drives them into their rampages. They beg, "Please! Do not bring me more! My distended stomach aches! My liver throbs with wine! My knees grow weak!", but not many speak their strange language....

Any creature, human or otherwise, unlucky enough to lay with a centaur will always bear a centaur child that will gallop out of their womb and straight into the wilds to join the Herd.

It is rumored that if you can keep them out of their cups they are actually a wise culture with deep knowledge of philosophy and astrology. They accept payment in the form of wine or silver, but it is up to the supplicant to make sure that the centaur sage doesn't start drinking until they have answered their questions and they have put some miles between them and the Herd.


Cyclopes (Ogres and Ettins)
Cruel and petty creatures known for keep herds of sheep and men alike to satisfy their hunger for fresh raw flesh. They live solitary lives in caves, but near enough to others of their kind so they can share gossip and gang up on unsuspecting travelers coming to their islands.

They have been known to leave their islands on wanderings, venturing to far off lands on crudely made rafts or stolen vessels to eat exotic meats and sleep under strange rocks. Scholars argue about the purpose of these travels, some propose that this is for mating reasons or migratory instincts while their opponents argue that it is a mechanism of population control to send out small bands of cyclopes to hostile lands to be killed or to conquer.

If you ask the cyclopes they will simply say they are going on an adventure, and you may have to deal with them carefully to avoid ruin. When treated well, ie with lots of hot bloody meat, its possible to steer cyclopes in more productive directions like: adventuring somewhere else, smashing all of this stupid wheat, or building large stone laying projects (cyclopes are surprisingly talented masons). But don't mistake them for eager laborers, they are notorious for cutting corners or eating those that gave them work.

A two eye cyclopes is not unheard of, though these beings have two mind occupying their single body and they bicker incessantly with themselves and everyone they meet.

Hecatoncheires (Giants)
Standing taller than most ship masts the Hundred Handed Ones, the Hecatoncheires, are many armed and many headed giants. Only a few dozen are known to exist, some believe that they were once a race of beings not unlike humans. The story goes that they fought amongst themselves they discovered that the victors could claim the heads and arms of slain opponents until all of those that survived were fearsome hundred armed giants. Others some claim that anyone can become a Hecatoncheires, one must simply rip the head and arms off of an oponent in combat. These limbs are rumored to be attached in a long and painful ritual, with new limbs growing every few years.

Fearsome to behold but more fearsome to quarrel with, the Hundred Handed Ones are smiths of mythic skill. They jealously guard their wondrous creations from any they distrust, which is nearly everyone. Far flung across the many islands of Ánemos they toil away in their volcanic workshops under their isolated fortress isles acting as master, father and god to those that also toil on their behalf. One thing is for certain, they hate and fear each other, always plotting to destroy their brethren. It is a long, quiet, and deadly game of chess.
 

Spartoi (Orcs)
First made when the Mágos-King of Histria was but a young scholar; he captured, studied, and eventually wed the Drakon of  the Ephyraen Narrows. He learned from his beloved about the many wonderful properties of the teeth of drakes, that among other things they could be planted like seeds in the earth and tireless and loyal servants would rise up after a year and a day. In secret the king studied the teeth that his beloved had gifted him until he discovered a way to grow the teeth in a fraction of the time. He slayed his wife for her rows of razor sharp teeth (and he also bathed in her blood), and with the teeth he grew an army overnight, claiming island after island for his until he grew to the dread figure we are familiar with today.

The Mágos-King is long  entombed, but his great invention the Spartoi still click-clack through the night in Ánemos to do their current masters' bidding. Slay one and the Drakon tooth may remain intact and ready to grow you a new Spartoi that is strong in body if rigid in mind.

Tooth of Drakon: Bury any tooth of a true Drakon in a few inches of soil and water well while chanting the battle song of Histria. In 10 minutes a Spartoi will climb out of the earth to serve you (stats as a 4HD orc). After being slain their is a 1-in-6 chance that it is destroyed, decreasing by 1 for each subsequent use (ie 2-in-6 the second time, 3-in-6 the third, etc). Roll a d6 to randomly determine how many uses a found tooth has.

Cynocephalus (Kobolds)
Once nearly driven to extinction by the taller races of the Spangled Sea the hated Cynocephalus live in far flung den-caverns on quite islands far from Empire. With the swollen heads of dogs and the lumpy bodies of midgets, Cynocephalus are a clever and wicked people with their own barking language and perverse goals. They can hunt like stubby legged dogs and are fiercely devious when devising traps.

Some powerful Cynocephalus witches are said to be able to shape-shift; their preferred forms are that of the hooded seal, griffon vulture, and giant sea slug. All of their forms still have the horrible twisted faces of dogs. These witches' heads are highly valued by Magi working on transmutations.

Some Cynocephalus have been known to tour with menageries or are kept as oddities by collectors (with against their wishes). In the great metropolises of the world there are even small communities of Cynocephalus that live in warrens beneath the slums. Many blame them for spreading the plague and causing birth defects, though that is actually due to the fleas that live in their filthy fur.

Acephali (Goblins, Hobgoblins, Bugbears)
A race bizarre near-humans that have no heads but wear faces are upon their chests. You can tell how old one is by the length of their limbs, a very young one has an adult human sized torso but stubby little arms and legs and a fully grown adult will have freakishly long limbs and will tower over humans. They reproduce asexually by budding a new torso where a humans head would be, and when the new Acephali's torso reaches full size it tumbles off of their parents shoulders and begin to scrabble around on their new hands and feet.

They seem a silly people, prone to extended ludicrous games and extravagant pranks. But be careful! Behind their nasally laughter the Acephali are cruel beings without the capacity or desire to empathize with anyone not of their kind. It is reported that liberated texts from Acephali philosophers describe their belief that they are the only true thinking and feeling beings in Ánemos and that everyone else simple simulates emotion and thought like the beasts of the field.

Monday, June 19, 2017

GLOG Class: Noise Wizard

I've gotten to play a few sessions with +Arnold K. from over at Goblin Punch recently and it has been great. My first character died so I am rolling up a new one, a Noise Wizard specifically. Arnold hadn't translated the class into his GLOG format yet, so I offered to do it for him! (Pretty much all of this post was written by Arnold, I just converted everything).

Noise Wizard

Restriction: Instrument Casting

Noise wizards can only cast spells if they have their instrument in hand and are making a lot of noise with it, and yes that means they can't really sneak effectively while casting. The instrument can be anything (1d6 instruments: 1) penny whistle 2) bongo drum 3) nyckelharpa 4) tambourine 5) hurdy gurdy 6) tuba), but once it is chosen you cannot cast spells with any other instrument.

Perks:

Countersong: A noise wizard can attempt to fight noise with louder noise. In order to do so they must ready an action to make a lot of noise to drown out the incoming noise (for example: command spells, harpy's songs, advice that you'll never make as a musician). This requires a strength check if you are playing a percussion instrument, a dexterity check if playing a stringed instrument, and a constitution check if playing a wind instrument (this tests if they bang loud enough/ strum fast enough/ blow hard enough). 

Subtle Ear: Noise wizards also have a really good sense of hearing (for now). They are twice as likely to succeed at listening at a door.

Spell List:

  1. Sawtooth noise
  2. Accompaniment
  3. Stupid mouth
  4. Song of death/Song of life
  5. Gaping noise
  6. Brown noise
  7. Comprehend speech
  8. God ear
  9. Deafen
  10. Song of captivation
  11. Song of silence
  12. Rapturous noise

Legendary Spells:

14. Face melting solo

Mishaps:

  1. Gain 1 trauma
  2. Take 1d6 damage
  3. Random mutation for 1d6 rounds, then make a save; permanent if you fail. 
  4. For the rest of the day you cannot hear anything that could also hear you.
  5. Deaf for 1d6 rounds
  6. You loose control, the music takes over, for 1d6 rounds you just make a lot of noise and everyone in the area must make a wisdom check to concentrate on what they are doing, other wise they must clap their hands over their ears and do nothing for the duration.

Dooms:

Noise wizards' dooms are a mix between finally making it big on the Plane of Music and going deaf, just like Beethoven did.
  1. You are invited to play a concert on the Plane of Music, a gate of sound opens and you are compelled to enter it and play, its your big chance! Your companions are stuck with your physical body which is feverishly playing your instrument until you return after 24 hours. Most noise wizards will have warned their companions of this eventuality. When you back to you are 0 HP from exhaustion and have a hat full of 3d6 silver. You can no longer hear laughter or screams.
  2. The Celestial Conductor has come for you, they saw you on the Plane of Music and simply must have you. They want you to join the Obsequious Orchestra and play for the Authority until judgement day (or at least until he leaves his tea party). You have to fight them to remain on this plane, but if you win you can never hear the words of a pious man again nor the whisper of a lover, and when judgement comes you wont hear the bells tolling and you'll miss out on paradise.
  3. You've gone completely deaf beyond magical means of healing. All of your spells now have 1-in-6 chance to fail, growing by 1 for each month of life after this. But you can still hear the music, it haunts you...
The best way to defeat your ultimate doom is to travel to Heaven and finish your fight with the Celestial Conductor and take their baton. Only this will return your hearing, and you'll have a baton with which to command the Obsequious Orchestra with.

Alternatively you go to Hell can find a Satan and challenge them to a music duel. Your instrument against their flaming fiddle. If you win the Satan will live in your head and hear for you, telling your brain everything they hear exactly as they hear it (probably).


Spell Descriptions:

Accompaniment:
R: 0
T: Self
D: [dice]*hour
There is an invisible orchestra following you everywhere you go.  They play constantly, loudly, and appropriately.  They play ominous music during ominous moments, sexy music during sex, etc.  Additionally, they will accompany you if you play your instrument, making your performance extra awesome and giving listeners a -1*[dice] penalty on any saving throws made to resist your magical music.

Brown Noise
R: 20'
T: All creatures
D: 0
All who hear this discordant arpeggio must save immediately or shit their pants.  This is accompanied by intestinal distress that prevents them from doing anything for the next [dice] turns except move.  Obviously, this only works on targets capable of shitting themselves.  Creatures who have heard the brown noise before get +4 on this save.

If at least 2 casting dice are invested this may optionally be projected as a 50' cone.

Comprehend speech
R: 0
T: Self
D: [dice]*hour
This allows you to comprehend any language you hear, and respond verbally.  No effect on written language.  This is not real understanding, just a temporary translator-thing.

Deafen
R: 50'
T: 1 creature
D: permanent or [dice]*hour
If the target fails a save, it goes deaf.  This is a curse, not a physical affect.  If this spell is reversed, it has three uses.  First, it can be used to cure magical (cursed) deafness.  Secondly, it can be used to temporarily grant hearing to things that cannot normally hear (such as golems), which incidentally makes them susceptible to sound-based magic for 1 hour.  Thirdly, if it is used on a creature than can already hear, noises will loom large and inescapable in their minds, making them better able to enjoy music, as well as giving them a -1*[dice] penalty to save against sound-based magic for the duration.  No matter how this spell is used, unwilling targets get a save.

Face melting solo
R: 20'
T: Everything
D: Concentration
Does [sum] fire damage and on each subsequent turn the damage increases by +1d6 and repeats (this stacks). If more than 4 dice are invested this can instead be cast as a 50' cone.

Gaping noise
R: 20'
T: Everything
D: 0
All containers and portals are opened, as long as those things aren't locked or tightly secured (tied shut with rope counts as tightly secured).  This has no effect on things such as belts, but it does affect pockets, luggage, zippers, doors, windows, and portcullises.  This spell cannot open minds.  If 2 casting dice are invested it also opens locks (including things like shackles), and if 3 dice are invested it triggers all traps in the area.

God ear
R: 0
T: Self
D: [dice]*minute
Your sense of hearing expands to godlike proportions.  You can hear muffins being digested in your belly.  You can hear moss growing on the other side of a stone wall.  It's all very disorienting, which is why you're helpless for the duration.

Beginning with near things and then moving outwards, your DM will describe [dice]*d6 interesting sounds, such as a goblin's dice clattering in the next room, followed by the a derro's mad muttering in the room beyond that.  The effect is barely comprehensible to mortal ears, however, and it is always possible that a sound might be missed in the tumult (and also because sometimes your DM will forget that there is a waterwheel in room 36, so be cool).

Rapturous noise
R: 20'
T: All creatures
D: 0
Everyone who fails a save is overcome by ecstasy for [sum] rounds.  While suffering from orgasmic pleasure, creatures cannot take any directly harmful actions, such as attacking with a weapon or casting a disabling spell, nor can they speak anything that isn't complimentary or pleasant.  Affected creatures could still pull a lever or run for help, though, since that is not directly harmful.  Creatures who have heard the Rapturous Noise before get +4 to their save.  If at least 3 dice are invested its effects can optionally be projected as a 50' cone.

Sawtooth Noise
R: 20'
T: All creatures
D: 0
Everyone takes [dice]*1d8 slashing damage, save for half.  Creatures who have heard the Sawtooth Noise before get +4 to their save.  If this spell has at least 2 casting dice invested in it it can optionally be projected as a 50' cone.

Song of captivation
R: 50'
T: [sum] targeted creatures
D: Concentration
Creatures that you select will turn their undivided attention to you for 1 round.  If they fail a save, their attention will remain on you for as long as you play, and will not take any actions except to listen quietly.  They get +4 to this save if there is combat or clear hostility in the situation.  This spell does not make them any less alert, it just makes them look in your direction and pay attention to you.  Regardless, the spell is broken as soon as something obviously suspicious or important happens. They will not move from their spots.  If you at least 2 casting dice targets will follow you for as long as you continue playing while remaining in their midst (no running off ahead--you must stay surrounded).

Song of death/Song of life
R: 50'
T: [sum] targeted creatures
D: Concentration
When cast as Song of Death creatures that you select take [dice] damage per turn, no save.  Undead creatures are instead healed by this song.

When cast as Song of Life creatures that you select heal [dice] damage per turn.  However this spell cannot heal pre-existing wounds, so if you were at half HP when the song started, you will not heal above that.  Additionally, anyone listening to this song is protected against death magic and level drain, and gets +2*[dice] to save against such things.  If this spell targets undead creatures, they instead take [dice] damage per turn, no save.  If at least 2 casting dice are invested targets get an additional+2*[dice] to save against death effects and level drain.

Song of silence
R: 10'*[dice]
T: Everything
D: Concentration
You play anti-music, generating anti-sound.  This cancels out all sounds within range.

Stupid mouth
R: 50'
T: 1 creature
D: 1 minute*[dice]
If the target fails a save, it will be unable to speak except in the worst way possible.  Every phrase will be misspoken, every intent subverted.  They will insult the most important person in the room in an offhand way, speak the most embarrassing secrets (others' and their own), and generally be a colossal ass.  They always have the option of shutting up, however, and most people will indeed shut up as soon as they realize something is wrong with their mouth.  Spellcasters suffering from this spell will have a 50% chance of failing their spellcasting (the action fails, but they don't lose the spell—it's not a fumble).

If tat least 2 casting dice are invested the target will have no choice but to babble nonstop for the spell's duration, and an affected spellcaster will fail all of their spells.


The greatest and best song in the world
R: 50'
T: 1 creature
D: Concentration
No save. The caster and the target are locked in a duel, every round dealing [dice]*1d12 to the target and half damage to the caster each round. This damage is double when targeting demons.

One time use. If the caster survives they can continue to cast the spell, but only ever with a maximum of 2 casting dice invested, now called "Tribute to the greatest and best song in the world" and they will talk about that one time they cast it and how cool it was and how it really didn't sound much like this but you get the idea.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Random God Generator, or Who Dat God?

Okay, so we have a nice simple system for simulating economics in Ánemos. It's easy. We have a random Spirit Generator, also easy. Let's create a system for another piece of the Weird Mythic Fantasy pie, the Gods.

This is a series of tables meant to flesh out the god of an island that your party may be visiting that you didn't have time to write out. These generation categories go in order of importance, and they are designed to also answer questions about the populous that worships them. Another design goal is to produce super weird results that will kick your brain stems out of creative inertia (at least that's the goal).

Some cools ideas are here too.

More Important:

Domain:

This is to distinguish the God from Spirits, their interests and scope of influence are simply very different. Think about it like the two tribes of Norse gods, the Vanir and the Aesir. The Vanir are more interested in the affairs of humans, the Aesir are manifestations of the forces of nature. Gods in Ánemos are concerned with human affairs: philosophy, drama, agriculture, writing, knowledge, etc. the Spirits on the other hand are the ID of the natural world.

(Borrowed some ideas from here)

Roll twice:

Taboos for the faithful:

Roll a few times on this, really as many as you need to make the religion sufficiently distinct. Some results may not make sense as written, for example: The Faithful...must always...buy or sell...birthdays...in the home. Thats okay. Re-rolls are encouraged.


Manifests As:

Now to create some flavor for the god, something you can tell your PCs to make them go "They worship a whaaat?"


Now you have a basic body plan and size, lets give the god some sort of strange detail, ideally based upon their domain. This is the time to throw in that weird trait you have been thinking of but never seems to fit, its a god, it can do what ever it wants! Below are some examples I thought up.


This may be helpful if you roll "mineral" as body plan

Boons:

Whats the point of having a god if you can't pray to them and they sometimes listen and do something crazy? Unfortunately (fortunately?) not all gods are created equal (might have something to do with the belief in them...). If the god can grant Moderate Boons, they can grant Minor Boons too of course. Try and stick with the domain of the god generated to give you some ideas. Think of this as a "power rating" of sorts, more powerful gods can grant greater boons.

Roll 2d6, drop the lowest.
(1-2) Minor Boon: Simple things, no heavy divine intervention here. Easing child birth (fertility domain), blessing the faithful with deep and restful sleep (sleep domain), wiping away painful memories (ignorance domain), giving a glimpse of the weather in the coming week (prophecy domain), etc.

(2-4) Moderate Boon: More significant intervention now, the faithful are truly lucky to be given one of these boons. Gifting a great week of feasts that strengthen and encourage the faithful (hedonism domain), favorable winds bring exotic traders (mercantilism domain), their long-eye spies an enemy form afar and warms the faithful (watchfulness domain), those that would wreak vengeance are given aid in the form of poisoned arrows (vengeance domain), etc.

(5-6) Major Boon: Fear ye all who oppose them, for their god is on their side... Direction on how to build a magical ship (travel domain), lending their strength to an army on the march (war domain), to hide their believers behind a bank of fog for a season to avoid their enemies (secrets domain), lending their deep intellect to aid in some great undertaking (science), etc.

Fanaticism rating:

Rolled randomly as a sliding scale, I want little islands of super fanatics and big islands of agnostics. This may indicate the "trajectory" the god and its believers are on, ie a "weak" god (one that can only grant minor boons) that has fanatic believers may in a few generations be able to start granting moderate boons as they wax in power.

This can also describe how strictly they follow the taboos of their religion.

Simply roll 1d10: 1 being casual/passive believers, 10 being fanatic believers.

Less Important:

Patron of this profession and this class:

The god you are generating should have people that tend to really like them. These are those people.
(The profession table I stole and altered from +Arnold K. from his GLOG system)

Roll once on each:


Favored Weapon:

I always liked how the gods in WotC's mythos always have a favored weapon, and that their clerics always have them. Its good flavor. This could also be used to deduce how this culture wages war.


Sacred Plant or Animal:

So you have a pretty good idea of what the god is all about, what are its two major symbols? These aren't critical, but I like the flavor of having a deity of being interested in a certain animal, so those animals just overrun the island because no one can touch them or something.

Here is a d100 animal table from here, reproduced with my fancy Excel color editing prowess and a d100 plant tables that I wrote (note on the plant table, it was really hard to choose a set of plants I felt were universally recognizable, throw anything out that doesn't fit in with your setting's ecology!).

Roll once on each.



Favors this trade good:

Roll on the trade table! As stated above, the gods' primary concern are civilized ones, so they tend to favor a specific good that their island produces. This generally gives respect to those that practice these trades as well.

Example God:

Alright, we have all the tools we need, lets walk through the steps and see what kind of god we get!
Domain: Peace, Justice
Taboos: The faithful must at dawn buy/sell feelings (anywhere).
Manifests as: Small, serpentine peacock
Boons: Minor
Fanaticism rating: Level 7 fanatics
Patron profession: Lumberjack
Patron class: Rogue
Favored weapon: Garrote
Sacred animal: Skunk
Sacred plant: Moss
Favored trade good: Alchemicals

This is the god Pagóni, Lady of the Serene Isle. Every morning her followers wake and weep or laugh or smile or frown or grimace or gawf or... into vials. They then take to the streets to barter and trade their emotions with one and other. Pagóni oversees this serenely, gentle floating on the morning sea breeze, her people once again safe from their own emotional burdens. All is ordered, everyone is calm and only feels what they paid for that morning. This is Pagóni's blessing, and her people love her for it.

Her temple is high on the Isle's mountain in a damp cave covered in moss with the music of water dully echoing on the soft walls. The woodsmen of  the Isle pray to her to be anointed with the musk of the sacred albino skunks, and their axe and saw strokes are sure and measured.

But all is not always well in the Serene Isle, and when enemies come to the Calm Folk, the footpads take to the night and strangle them gently in the dark, their callousness and hate and emotional flux is not welcome on the Serene Isle...

LIKE THIS BUT WITHOUT WINGS AND WITH A BEAK

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Throwing Meat on Bones: Designing Settlements

In my Ánemos game most of the party is from the same place, Nános. The founding principle of this campaign was to try out some of the ideas about romantic fantasy and long term adventures with months of domestic time that +Joseph Manola writes about at his excellent blog. A hugely important part of this is the players home, and in this campaign that's the Grandsire's Enclave (the analog for the home village in a vanilla RPG).

I have been working on some options for the party to make decisions about how to invest in their home while they are out adventuring (because they were kind of exiled for kind of inviting a practitioner of a Sun Cult to Nános and kind of murder the Grandsire with mirrors), so when they finally return home they will have a lot of cool options. I read a post a few weeks(months?) about building up your village and it was good... but of course when I started this post I couldn't find it so I wrote my own rules. Here is that original post form the superb +Mateo Diaz Torres over at gloomtrain.




There have been other hacks like this, and this is loosely modeled on those (specifically Pathfinder's Settlement mechanics introduced for the Kingmaker Adventure Path), but also on some spreadsheets I made for my Vindjord game a few years ago that were similarly intended, but the system was never used. Taking a cue from some of these hacks I am giving the Enclave stats like a character :
  • Military: Used when raising an army, or when doing auto-resolution of conflicts when the PCs are away or when withstanding an attack
  • Agriculture: Used to figure out the population cap of the Settlement
  • Culture: Used to see if the settlement is able to help a PC to research something, or used to see if the settlement and the party get any morale bonuses for that month
  • Trade: Used to figure out the monthly income as well as famous-ness of settlement
All of the buildings provide modifiers to these stats and some unlock abilities like ship building or increasing the max value of an item available for sale in the settlement. Many of the buildings might require a special artisan to run them, so if the party finds a talented smith in their travels they could invite them to set up shop in their Enclave.

So here is a table with some options that the PCs can invest in (assume that each building or improvement takes a month to build):

The filled in slots are what has been built at the start of play, consider doing the same with your own.

I have instituted a cyclical time constraint on the players, with roughly half the year being unsuitable for sea travel, and therefore adventuring (that's what you get with a world of islands and a monsoon season). The thought is they will return home for the Season of Storms and play house for a few months (of course through descriptive montage) and build up the Enclave, then go adventure again once the weather clears. My group is currently half way through their first Season of the Sun, so they haven't interacted with any of this yet.

I'll keep you all posted with what my group thinks!

The Math

So here is what I have cooked up, with examples from the Enclave (examples will make some more sense if you read this post about Automata)

  • All Settlment Stats start at 4. This base score increases as the population grows (every exponential increase), the minimum number of inhabitants for a settlement is only like 30-40.
    • The Enclave started at 36 (6^2), and the base score will increase to 6 once they hit 216 (6^3).
  • Stat bonuses use the standard 5e spread, so a score of 10 means a +0 bonus, and a score of 6 means a -2 bonus.
  • For a monthly settlement income roll 1d20+Trade Modifier, this determines how good trade was this month. Apply the adjusted rate to the basic rate (money/population) and add it to the coffers.
    • The rate  I am using is 10 money/Circle (units of 6 Automata)
    • I am not letting my PCs use the Enclave's income for themselves, they must reinvest in the community, until they have a glorious military coup. 
  • The total population possible (as opposed to the realized population, you should keep track of how many peasants die) should be calculated as r* Agriculture score. 
    • So the rate for the Enclave is the constant 5.166 (I back calculated this rate for my game based off of how many people I said live in the settlement from the first session). Meaning that at their current Agriculture score of 6 there can be a total of 5.166*6=31 Circles supported (with rounding of course).
  • At the beginning of each month roll a morale check for the settlement, 1d20+Culture bonus. The result determines if they are in good spirits and gives them a bonus to all other rolls for that month. Its hard to get anything done when there hasn't been a good feat lately or a new book at the library.
  • Culture bonuses are also used to see if any traveling artists/ musicians/ scientists/ alchemists/ etc stop by for a while and applied to PC research checks at home.
  • Military rolls are opposed 1d20+Military bonus checks, the magnitude of winning/losing determines how big the victory/defeat was. Should be super back of the envelope calculation to determine the invading force's bonus, and only used when the PCs are away.
That's all of the hard and fast math I have figured out so far, but it seems like its enough to run with it. I like that the town income is separate from the PC's but they can spring some of their own cash if they really want to build a better smithy so they can finally buy better weapons. I have also given the PCs a map of the island to draw on as they build it up so they have some more concrete idea of where the ranch will go, and just where to put the garden.



***Note: this really intended for lower level characters investing in their home town, it's not really intended to scale to a metropolis or domain level simulation. You absolutely should not do this with every place they visit, it's a waste of valuable DM planning time***