Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More Neverwinter Observations

A few more observations about Neverwinter Online to accompany yesterday's post:

Class-Locked Gear

Further eroding the relationship between NWO and actual D&D rules is the fact that while great weapon fighters and guardian fighters should, technically, be able to wield any weapon....they can't. Great swords, for example, are locked to great weapon fighters for use. Likewise for other classes. Is the concept that any character should pick up any weapon and be able to fight with it so difficult? Sure, they may get penalized....but locking specific gear to specific classes is very not-D&D-like.

Gear is Very Uniform in Design

I haven't noticed this yet, I haven't played long enough...but my wife and others have. Gear is very limited in appearance for quite a while. Your customization choices boil down to buying dyes in the cash shop, apparently. My guess is that interesting gear is found closer to the end content levels and (naturally) in the item shops for zen. As my wife put it, this game reeks of "Korean MMO design." She's very, very gung-ho about this game, but at the same time she's never been able to stand Korean MMO ideology for very long in the past, so I'll be interested to see how much staying power it has. Luckily, the aesthetics of NWO are (to my eyes) fairly rooted in the D&D 4th edition design aesthetic, which (YMMV) means it looks decent enough and has a sufficiently western flair so far.

Of course, it still inevitably draws comparisons to Turbine's increasingly impressive-in-retrospect DDO, which let any character wear anything with penalties, and also allowed for a crazy level of customization even before looking in their cash shop (albeit with full suits instead of piecemeal).

Unfortunately, limited gear appearance is, while nothing new to the Korean MMO mindset, still a black eye even against the likes of Guild Wars 2 and WoW, which still offer a bit more variety, on average, in the lower levels (even if much of it is special stuff found in instances).

Although this is all quite negative, it still bears stressing that NWO stands up on its own merits, and also does quite well against other MMOs of like design...it just fails miserably as a proper D&D adaptation.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Neverwinter Online: First Impressions

I managed to get a few hours in on the early pre-rlease beta for Neverwinter Online this weekend. Some first impressions for those of you wondering if you should download this game and try it out:


The graphics are nice, and stand up fine against other contemporaries. If you're coming to NWO from Turbine's DDO you may be fairly impressed (assuming you've only been playing DDO under your rock, that is). It's nicer looking than WoW, about on par with other current titles like Rift and Tera. Nothing unusual, and if you have a nice modern rig you should be able to run it just fine. I haven't fired it up on my laptop yet, but plan to do so soon to see how a mid-to-lower end machine handles it.


So far I've played a Great Weapon fighter and a guardian fighter. The game only offers five initial classes, being the two fighter builds just mentioned as well as a rogue type, cleric and wizard. There's a #6 "coming soon" slot that I really hope is going to be filled by a warlock build.

Mechanically the game is superficially built on the skeletal bones of 4th edition D&D. Any element of 4E that didn't mesh well with the style and progression of your typical MMO has been retooled, however. Thus you have 60 class levels, and you can spend talent points to rank up individual powers to greater effectiveness. At each level you gain some predetermined powers, derived from/named after the AEDUs of 4E, but usually only superficially similar to their source powers in execution. You also have a set of skills and some other nods to D&D. While during character creation you do get to roll for your stats....sort of (the numbers seem to balance out so far, varying within a defined framework of options) you don't really get any more customization beyond defining what your character looks like. In fact, you don't even get to pick an alignment (or if you do, I somehow missed it), and my wife, who's played about ten times as much as I have says alignment is somehow tied to guilds, instead. Oh-kaaaaayyyy....

If you arrive at NWO from DDO (it's impossible not to draw comparisons), you'll find about as much of a change (and accompanying shock) as one might have going from 3.5 D&D to 4th edition. Gone from NWO are the full range of character customization, the endless variations and proclivity for tinkering with builds that DDO offers. NWO doesn't even offer the range of options a 4E player is used to. You don't pick skills, powers, feats...anything. It's all gone.

On the plus side, you do get to pick a deity and home town, with accompanying origin tale (even if it is one or two sentences and, unlike say GW2, has no apparent impact on your character's adventures).

Initially I found this lack of customization to be a huge negative. After a while I warmed up to it, but only when I accepted that NWO is D&D in name only, with some superficial trappings. From the perspective that NWO is a MMORPG with an interesting player-driven content option, designed to compete with and in the same space as WoW, Tera, and Guild Wars 2, then it makes sense. But it won't hold its own against DDO or Rift when it comes to the character design department. Both of those games offer robust char gen, and NWO can't hold a candle to them. Maybe with time the appearance options of characters will stand out (it's Cryptic, after all) but that's a pale comparison to being able to make your fighter feel unique in his or her build when compared to other fighters. Hell, the great weapon fighter and guardian builds they do offer are only modestly different (at least through level 10) as it stands.


The gameplay is smooth, and except for one amusing bug on my guardian fighter (he ports into each zone mashing away at Tide of Iron with his shield) I have encountered no bugs.

Skills take import when you encounter various items in the environment you can mine for resources. If you lack the skill you need a skill kit, which substitutes. Beyond that, characters stumble on through their environments encountering mobs, traps, and occasional cut scenes. The dungeons (so far) aren't as dynamic as DDO's dungeons, being about on the same level as in your typical MMO, just with fresher designs.

Like DDO most of the action seems to take place in one large city that serves as a hub of activity (Neverwinter proper), in which you run around gathering quests and completing them, looking for various specific doors and sewer entrances to head on into. Unlike DDO character survival is much higher at low level, although the ubiquitious health potion is a dire necessity. Campfire mechanics appear as well; it seems that these are the equivalent of the short and long rests in 4E, which for the sake of MMO-paced gameplay mean any rest is a sufficient rest.

Powers are all on MMO-style timers, and certain key powers (based on dailies from 4E) are on trigger-timers based on powering up through attacks and damage. These daily-inspired powers are pretty effective when you get to them.

Combat itself is more action-based, in a Diablo/Torchlight/Tera sort of way, except better than Tera in feel. This is where the average MMOer is going to run into some problems. A lot of MMO gamers I know have difficulty with aim-directed systems, where you're operating through a reticule rather than your free-look with a mouse approach (ala WoW). NWO has done the impressive job of near-seamlessly integrating target-look with mouse look when one or the other is needed; basically when it's time to mouse look the game generally bumps you there; you don't have to think about it. It's really (imo) one of the better designs out there for this style of play. However, my wife's friends in her migratory guild who are all adopting the game have been complaining a lot about the feel of this approach in NWO, so obviously this may not be a good sign. To me, it feels great; but I'm very used to FPS and 3rd person style shooters, and have played worse interfaces (Tera, Tabula Rasa) so NWO feels good to me. YMMV.

Combat is otherwise pretty fun, an geared toward the sort of stat attrition balance that you see in most MMORPGs these days. If you've played another conventional MMO, the hit point loss, resource management, time-down on powers, mob strength, idea of interrupts and "get out of the red circle" mechanics are all present and accounted for, just without as much need to specifically target aim, and jumping around can be useful.

Negative? Because the mouse buttons are for attacking, you can't play the game one handed with a mouse, running with both buttons held down. This, believe it or not, could be a big negative for lazy gamers, or gamers who are using their other hand for child management. Put another way: I can't play this game on the side while monitoring my son during the day. It's a "play when the kid's asleep" game. Funny, I never realized that one of the top reasons that WoW could be so popular was due to the fact that mind-numbingly simple play mechanics also meant "easier to play while managing a brood of tiny primates," but it's very true.


Well, I have only been playing a few hours and while I've read quite a bit on the Foundry I havem't yet explored it (or the many, many quests it's been churning out from player-created content). The official storylines are straight-forward and of now special import. There appears to be a lot of content, and to contrast with a game like Guild Wars 2 you will never be lacking for direction, as there's always somewhere you can run off to to find a quest giver, or a notice board with Foundry quests, or some Harper with a few choice bits for you to follow up on. If you like your MMO full of busywork, then hell yeah NWO is absolutely spilling over with it.

Beyond this, there are occasionally some key story bits which let you respond in more than one way, but most of the time your choice of responses to quest givers boils down to, "Hell yeah I wan't adventure and riches" or "No thank you, I have to log now as my child's turning the oven on." not a lot else.

In terms of lore the game is solid, set in the post-Spellplague era of 4th edition Forgotten Realms. No idea how it will dovetail with the impending retcon of the FR setting later this year in anticipation of D&D Next, but it's pretty solid on its own merits. Some of the best lore in the game appears to be buried in the player-created Foundry content, though. The Foundry allows you to set adventures in any era or world of D&D, by the way; you can simply start your adventure off with a planar gate and walla, instant travel to wherever the hell you want. I'll definitely report more on the Foundry later when I get a chance to really explore it.

The Freemium Element

Initially I was ready to dislike the game on the ground that once again it's going to be loaded to the gills with high priced premium digital purchases. I definitely didn't like that death leads to penalties which take a few minutes to shake off by a campfire, although for a pittance in zen you can remove them immediately. Zen are the in-game currency, since Perfect World Entertainment makes all their games use this form of exchange as the cash-to-virtual currency.

At this stage it's not clear to me that I'll need to spend much more on NWO than maybe buying a couple more character slots (because it appears that all the core game content is free), but simultaneously I can imagine wanting to buy more items, such as mounts, down the road. The problem of course will arise when we see what the full cost of these features are, and whether they are "per character" or account-wide. My fear is that in seeking out the money-filled "whales" which fund the play for everyone else that they will price out the average Joe Gamer like myself, who is interested in buying stuff but too money-conscious too actually spend ridiculous sums on virtual content disproportionate to what I can get elsewhere (i.e. full games) for less.


There is much more to come. I've barely scratched the surface, but what I've experienced so far has me keen for more. I shall report further as I explore in more depth. At this stage, though, I think it's utterly harmless to suggest that you should download and try out NWO for yourself. The game is pretty solid, and while anyone looking for a robuts character creator with the level of customization found in DDO will be very, very disappointed, those of you just looking for something better than your average MMO out there will not be disappointed.

Warlords of Lingusia II: The Middle Kingdoms circa 3500 a.w.

A Short Overview of the Middle Kingdoms, Circa 3500 a.w.

   The habit of calling the cradle of civilization the Middle Kingdoms has never faded. It is so entrenched that this region has been known as such for more than five thousand years, or so scholars and historians contend. Nonetheless, the inexhorable march of time has had a strong hand in shaping the region.
   Old kingdoms, especially coastal kingdoms, have been devoured by the rising coastal waters over the last ten centuries. The global warming has led to increasingly warm summers and stormy, vicious and unpredictable winters. Certain regions of the world were especially susceptible to change due to local geology. In a mere century the dramatic flooding caused by the melting of the distant polar reaches led to the flooding of the Amechian basin, which itself was significantly below sea level and has always suffered during the hothouse epochs of the world. Entire civilizations were forced to migrate or suffer total devastation. 
   In the Middle Kingdoms, the cultural descendants of long-standing groups such as the Hyrkanians and Octzellans continue to thrive, but the political and social boundaries have moved, often dramatically. The old power structures are gone, as well. The last living Hyrkanian emperor, the dei’elevasos, died in battle nearly seven centuries ago, during the barbarian invasions of 2800-2835. These invasions, brought about by the sweeping upheaval of the northern tribes, led to a new lengthy dark age for the Middle Kingdoms, which have only recently begun to lift.

Octzel, Valance and Zatacas
   Octzel, arguably the strongest regional culture, has held through admirably, if not unscathed during the dark ages. The kingdom, which had fragmented in to three separate provinces of competing power a thousand years ago, remained split and barely survived the period of foreign invasion. In the present, the enigmatic growth of the woodlands of Mitra’s Forest have engulfed what was once Halale, and separated the northern Octzellans from their southern counterparts of Valance. Moreover, the invaders fro Zatacas have led a fifty-year long push to seize the territory of Valance, although they were driven away successfully from the Octzellan shores of the north. The Zatacans have also established a firm presence in the region of the Jhaknian coast, where the local tribesmen make for easy prey to slavers. Most of old Jhakn is now beneath the risen coastal waters.

Etrurias, Gharspad and Golmadras
   In the central regions around the Inner Sea two new major powers have arisen. The northern Persedonian and Eastonian descendants of old have long since intermixed and gradually the republic of Etrurias emerged, to dominate the western seaboard. Across the waters, in the once elvish lands of Silvias is the empire of Golmadras, fought and won through vicious battle against the elves (both light and dark) by refugees and loyalists of the exiled sorcere-king from Argosea. Here, the survivors of the ancient civil war in Karaktu settled. In the current era, they have now stood as long allies with the Ashtarth, and the reach of Golmadras even took in old Blackholm, which was renamed Saddikar in honor of the conquering god-emperor at that time, but Hyrkanian forces out of Hyrendan united the collapsed city states of the old empire sufficiently to stop further advancement. Rumors abound that the old Lich Queen of Blackholm is not dead, but merely bides her time to awaken and reclaim her lost city when the stars are right.
   Westward from Etrurias, beyond the Cimmeran Mountains is the rough coastal kingdom of Gharspad, a young new kingdom risen from the ashes of old. Gharspad has yet to be tested.

   In the distant east lies Sendral, which is still nominally Hyrkanian but with mixed Cretean ancestry. The people of Sendral look upon their heritage with the Old Hyrkanian empire much as the English of 1200 AD looked upon old Imperial Rome. There are more myths and folklore to be found than true history, now.

Nordaman and Hyrkania
   In the north, dominating the Niras Forest which has also inexorably grown out to encompass much that was once grassland, and with a capitol now amazingly centered at the city of Hyraphon in the Thargonid Mountains, lie the Kingdoms of Nordaman. The Nordamans still nominally identify themselves as part of the Old Empire, but there has been no uniting emperor in seven centuries, and the lineage of kings since the barbarian invasions has been exclusively from northern blood. The region still holds strong ties to the old Hyrkanian cultural traditions, suffused with the Nordaman, Hettanar, and Zarnian influx of foreigners who invaded the land centuries ago.
   In the south, squabbling city states vie for control of the region with no common leadership, though Saddikar claims to be the spiritual successor to the imperial lineage of the Hyrkanian Empire. It has been more than one hundred years now since the last major barbarian invasion, although every such assault from the northmen has been repelled for the last four centuries. The southern Hyrkanians remain fiercely independent, so much so that even their nationalist sense of pride prevents them from achieving a true unity that might otherwise allow them to reclaim the northlands of the old empire.

The Sea of Amech
   East, in the Sea of Amech, where once there was a great basin containing an immense rain forest there are now island chains, on which the descendants of the Belladasians, Hotepsalans and other cultures now reside, save for those who pushed westward to found the city of Holamar or northward in to the Great Plains. Perhaps of all the tragedies of the global warming, this is the most devastating, for so much ancient history and so many cultures were lost or displaced. Now, journeying to the Eastern Kingdoms requires a boat or a lengthy caravan journey through the northern plains or the southern passage through Cretea.

Enarrion, Covarte and Andanir
   The so-called “Middle North” is a vast gateway for trade and commerce between the Middle Kingdoms and the rest of the Lingusian continent. From the grand city of Yllmar one can travel eastward by land to the Greater Plains and the fabled cities of Karan and ruined Starthias or by water to the Sea of Amech region. Northward one can travel along the coast of the Baldaric Sea and in to the northern territories of Hettanar, Autrengard and beyond.
   Enarrion itself is famous for its legacy in the era of the Plague of Unarak, the time in which almost all living races were wiped out by the dark god and its undead legions. It was here, in lands that were once provinces of the ancient Hyrkanian Empire long ago, that the survivors of the undead plague rallied and began to push back, eventually uniting the survivors of the Middle Kingdoms in to an army strong enough to forge across the Great Plains to the very gates of Starthias, and to at last cast down Unarak and end his destructive reign.
   Andanir is the eastern domain of Enarrion, ostensibly its own polity under control of an appointed regent. Covarte is an old land once dominated by a culture of river folk who always relied on trade with Amech until the time of the Deluge, after which they established a stronger seafaring culture and benefit more than ever from the trade and commerce that passes through their lands.

   Ostensibly Senempar is a polity of northern Hyrkania, but this curious region along the coast of Nyarlith is nestled in the western end of the Slithotendan Mountains (better known as the Mountains of Madness), and reflects a unique local blend of cultures and races. The city was founded as a bastion of defense in the Plague Years, and prospered thereafter, eventually becoming a new hub of trade and commerce, providing a bridge between the underworld cultures of the Lower Dark and the surface dwellers. Today, Senempar is noted for its unusual mix of politics and intrigue as well as for its position adjacent to the vast domain in the mountains called the Tomblands, where four thousand years of kings and gods have been interred.

Galvonar, Agasar, and Azadhan
   A medley of ancient kingdoms can be found in the southern lands of Lingusia. The kingdoms of Galvonar hold a history nearly as old as that of Hyrkania’s territories. Here can be found the ruins of countless fallen empires, including the vast empire of Agasar which was founded from the ashes of ancient Persedonia, the ruins of Old Galonia and it’s lost god-kings on top of which the new, young empire of Azadhan was built, and the vast Haikyndyr Alliance of the Great Desert, where the lizardfolk rule supreme.
   Galvonar as a whole is famous for its ancient secrets, the belief that its ancient dead are more common than the living, and its reverence for these undead ancestors. The concept of immortal god-kings and the concept that mortals can hope to ascend to godhood stem from these lands, and a few scholars even believe that the people of Galvonar may well be direct desendants of the fallen Prehunates from ten thousand years gone.

The Yekastran Alliance and Naminthia
   The Yestastran Alliance is centered on the trade port of Naminthia and is the strongest eastern alliance to date. Naminthia, more commonly called The Jewel of the East is the grand capitol of this alliance, and is the regional capitol of the Kingdom of the Shining Sands. Its present rulership consists of King Demardak and Queen Tatatha (daughter of the sheik Razam of the Ny’Koddin Alliance).
   Naminthia is the primary city and self-proclaimed capitol of the southern region, ostensibly referred to as the Yekastran Alliance, in which the Naminthian provincials, the eastern Carataeans, the Chigros chieftains and the sheik of Ny’Koddin have all agreed to a mutually beneficial alliance of trade and commerce, as well as military assistance. The nominal “king” of Yekastra and the mastermind behind this alliance is Demardak, who through a, arranged marriage with lady Tatatha, the daughter of the sheik Razam, has insured a strong alliance between his and the second largest military force in the region. The benefits of opened trade between Caratea and Chigros insure they remain compliant, as well.

Rulership in the Middle Kingdoms
   Here is a quick summary of the major movers and shakers in the world today:
Regent Arimas Gonn Darspad

King Malin Tarmas III

High Regent Chalimdar Alturios

Pharaoh Enem’hatar

Calif Mas’hanir

King Nasarius

Emperor Phaetes

Emperor Aruzan Damar

Haikyndyr Alliance:
Warlord Nissar

King Prestor Dahain of Hyraphon
Queen Rytharias of Hyrkadin

Hyrkanian City States:
King Edelaird IV of Kalymdor
King Strallikus VII of Kymir
Queen Amandras of Hyrmyskos
Lord Shaeberos of Olingar

King Raishad Oltitherios of Octzel
Queen Sybrien of Pheralin

Regent Lord Pholikas Draen (human)
Lady Malikari Draen (ashtarth)

King Aeldanaar Murgos
Queen Ariadne Murgos (elf)

Overlord Gal’Drathaz

Jaguar Lord Xuhiltin Xar
High Priest Tezcatin Atulhin (tiefling)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Warlords of Lingusia I: The World Overview

The Warlords of Lingusia I: The World Overview

Starting now and until I ever get around to finishing it I’m going to reframe my Warlords Era Lingusia campaign in the context of a "multi-system" setting. My current plan is to run WoL via either DDN or Magic World going forward. I think Magic World does a great job of powering classic fantasy with maybe a tinge of the “dark” and my WoL setting is the textbook definition of such. So…if you like perusing someone else’s campaign creation, read on and enjoy!

This campaign came to life in 1980 thanks to my discovery of Dungeons & Dragons, and over the years I have set various versions in different eras of time in the world through multiple editions of D&D and (most recently) in Pathfinder. My first Runequest 2nd edition campaign was set in Lingusia, and was the foundation of the Avilin region (known in the Warlords era as Il’Madhar).

This setting matieral will be mostly system neutral, but when necessary I will provide suitable stats for Magic World, B/X D&D, and maybe even Pathfinder.

The introductory content is similar to what has come before in my “Empire Era” series from a year or so ago, but is re-presented here for sake of completion:

Introduction to the World
   The World of Lingusia is an immense realm, a legendary planet forged at the moment of creation by great, primal beings. Its history is one of perpetual discovery, magic, danger, and conflict. It is, in short, ideally suited for tales of high adventure, intrigue, and exploration.

   Physically, Lingusia is believed by most to be a flatland, a disk-like world which may be somewhere on the order of 28,000 leagues in diameter. The center of this great disk is the Southern pole which attracts the magnetic compasses used for navigation, and it was established long ago by travelers that the closer you get to the pole, the more varied the direction of the compass gets. Likewise, the mysterious magnetic flux of the North Pole seems to radiate from the edge of the world, where the great oceans circulate in a writhing mass, which plunges over, and sweeps back up, the edges of the world. No traveler alive has truthfully traveled to the edge of the world, however, so only the suspect tales of ancients speak of such things.

   As a flat world with a very slight curvature, A Lingusian's view of the horizon from any given point is noticeably immense. Most horizons can carry on for a much greater distance than in the mundane world of our own reality, but the density of atmosphere, as well as great mountain ranges, variation in geography, and other features prevent an utterly clear view at any given moment. Still, it is said that in certain great mountain ranges, ancient scholars and mages have been known to set up optical observatories with which they can study the entire world, given a high enough vantage point and strong enough telescopic lensing.

   In the heavens, Lingusia is circled by a number of celestial objects, serving as navigational aids. The sun travels the sky in a traditional day’s length, but its orbit is in a permanent flux, as it rolls seasonally along latitudinal lines in the sky over time to create the seasons. At night, there are two moons, the great orb of Selene, the goddess of the night, and the lesser orb of Poltrietie, the demigod of life, a moon which was born in to the sky but a few centuries ago as a herald of the time of the Reckoning, when the war between Chaos and Order came to an end.

   Other navigational points in the sky include a medley of odd worlds such as Astrophikus, Hyskortius the Winking Eye, the shimmering Haze, and the constellations of the stars. The stars are believed by men to be portals in to the celestial realms, and for all anyone knows, they might be right.

Land Masses                                              
   Lingusia is the name of both the world and the central continent that dominates this great land. Besides the continental Lingusia, there are at least four other great continents across the world, being Takkai, Karaktu, Mataclan, and mythic Paneurika. Of these realms, Lingusia and Takkai are rife with old and new kingdoms that harbor a venerable history, and Mataclan is a relatively unknown land, discovered during the height of the Hyrkanian Empire, and now only recently have its people appeared on the scene once more.
   There is a fifth region that is now a great diaspora of islands, the once grant continent of Karaktu. As the centuries passed and the time of the Deluge was brought about by the great warming, Karaktu’s great land mass sank beneath the waters, and left in its wake thousands of islands. The ancient god-kings of Argosea were accused of bringing this disaster about by their people, who blamed them for angering the gods. The last God King of old Argosea was forced in to exile during a great rebellion, and he eventually forged a new empire in the region now called Golmadras.

   Beyond the Endless Ocean, there exists Mataclan, once a land of colonial pursuit and ripe for the taking by the ancient Octzellans. The difficulty in crossing the vastness of the ocean to reach this land thwarted many efforts, but it was only after the Cataclysm that all efforts at conquest ceased. A lengthy period passed, during which no men of the Middle Kingdoms had time or knowledge enough to once again pursue this distant land, and it was only within the last several decades that the Mataclani people appeared on the western shores of the Middle Kingdoms, instead. Called the Zatacani, it was revealed that the people of distant Mataclan had learned much from their former conquerors, and a new, distant empire had arisen, and much stronger, more impressive armies had now sailed across the formidable Endless Ocean to invade the shores of Lingusia. The men of the Middle Kingdoms now fight a unique war of invasion from foreigners who worship bloody gods and believe in slaves and sacrifice.
   In the utter north and east, Il’Madhar is a vague rumor, though some say Zymhar and the Autrengardians in the north engage in brisk trade with this little known land of mystery. Last, but certainly not least, the grand continent dubbed Paneurika is said to exist in the farthest southern realms, beyond reach of all save the most daring travelers, and only one true account of this continent is even believed to be true. Il’Madhar is very much like the Hy Brasil of Lingusia, and Paneurika its Ultima Thule.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Tales from the Watchers of the Sullen Vigil: The Pathfinder Conversion

For various reasons that are best saved for some existentialist rant in the future I had this idea of providing a set of conversion notes for use with Sarvaelen as a setting powered by Pathfinder. What follows is the fruit of that effort...

Pathfinder Conversion Notes for the World of Sarvaelen

Races of Sarvaelen
Humans are the sole default race of the setting. There are a few racial variations by ethnic or cultural origin, and a few optional non-human races. 

Official Nonhuman Races: in prior entries Ghuls and Naga have been provided as racial options. While primarily intended as a way for GMs to roll up detailed NPCs of these two types, both are certainly possible as PC races if so desired. I'll provide additional stats for each in another blog entry (soon, hopefully), or at least point out which resources in Pathfinder work for them (there are ghoul feats, for example).

Optional Non-Human Races: tiefling, dhampir, nagaji, and vishkanya are four permissible races. Aasimar might ber permissible in the form of humans touched by the divine will of Nevereth. By contrast, a tiefling would reflect a cursed bloodline from Camrinal of a certain nature. Dhampir and nagaji would be permissible as presented. Nagaji would be a remote race from the south, in the region of Yakhal and Sammar. I may provide more detailed entries on how each of these four races would specifically fit in to Sarvaelen in the future.

Random Racial Origin Table:
D100                Racial Origin
1-94                 human ; roll for homeland below
95                     ghul (sane)
96                     Naga; (1-3) expatriot or (4-6) traveler of Nagapuram 
97                     dhampir; roll for homeland below
98                     tiefling (1-3) or aasimar (4-6); roll for homeland below
99                     nagaji from either Yakhal (1-4), Sammar (5) or Neremune (6)
00                     vishkanya from either yakhal (1-7), Sammar (8-9) Shul (10) or Nagapuram (11-12)

Random Homeland Generation Table for Pathfinder             
D100                Homeland            (Special Subtables & Suggested Stat Bonuses)
01-25               Aeronost               Possible Camrinal bloodline**; any
26-32               Esrenor                  Possible Camrinal bloodline**; +2 CON
33-40               Iandei                     Mixed Homelands*; +2 DEX or CHA
41-45               Mandrelavas         None; any
46-55               Thaerinal               Possible Camrinal bloodline**; +2 CON or WIS
56-70               Atlenar                   Possible Camrinal bloodline**; +2 STR or CON
71-75               Neremune             none; +2 CHA or INT
76-80               Yakhal                     none; +2 CON or DEX
81-85               Emon***               Elemental Taint***; +2 INT, WIS or CHA
86-90               Viskar Steppes      none; +2 DEX or STR
91-95               Katari                      Possible Camrinal bloodline**; +2 DEX or CON
96-00               Sammar                 none; any

*Mixed Homelands: The iandei roll a second time to establish their local origin. If Iandei or Sammar comes up, then the iandei is a pureblood of Shul.
**Camrinal Bloodline: There is a chance equal to a INT or WIS check on DC 22 that an adventurer from this land has some heritage from the old empire. If the character starts as a spell caster then he is automatically considered pureblood. Purebloods are prone to attracting special attention from demons, old gods, spirits and other malevolent beings.
***Elemental Taint: Emoniae revere the elemental old gods, and still worship them. There is a chance equal to WIS check DC 22 that an emoniae has some elemental heritage in her or her bloodline. The immediate effect is an innate basic understanding of that elemental tongue (starting language) and an affinity for that element, which means that they tend to be regarded favorably by elementals of like type that they meet and should schools or domains as appropriate.

The Emoniae
Most emoniae have a talent for magic, and usually choose +2 to INT, WIS or CHA according to preferred magical heritage. Emoniae are, like pureblooded of Camrinal, prone to attracting the attention and interest of demons, spirits, elementals, old gods and other beings from the Elemental Realms.

Magic In Sarvaelen
   The following spells are unavailable in Sarvaelen: all detection spells, all alignment-affecting spells. Resurrection spells of any type are permitted but have a potent cost and a good chance of restoring the target as an undead creature (target must make a DC 30 CON check to avoid becoming an undead when any resurrection spell is deployed). Magic beyond level 6 in Sarvaelen is “lost magic” and known only to be found in ancient Camrinal grimoires.

Character Advancement
   All characters in Sarvaelen advance on the slow experience track. Sarvaelen’s heroes rarely get past level 10-12, even after decades of adventure.

Classes of Sarvaelen
   The following classes are permitted in the world of Sarvaelen:

Core Rulebook: barbarian bard, cleric, druid, fighter, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, wizard

Other Books: cavalier, inquisitor, magus, oracle, witch

Core Prestige Classes: assassin, dragon disciple, duelist, eldritch knight, loremaster, mystic theurge

Other Prestige Classes: battle herald, master spy, nature warden, rage prophet, stalwart defender.

Druids are rare, but can be found among the barbarian tribes 

Sorcerer Bloodlines in Sarvaelen
   The following bloodlines are considered most suited to Sarvaelen: Aberrant, Abyssal, Arcane, Celestial, Destined, Draconic, Elemental, Infernal, Undead; APG: Dreamspun, Protean, Serpentine; UM: Accursed, Djinni, Efreeti, Marid, Rakshasa, Shaitan.                                                          

Domains of the Known Gods of Sarvaelen:
Deity Name  (Alignment, Domains)
Contemporary Gods
LG                community, good, law, healing, protection, nobility
NE               evil, law, magic, knowledge, weather, magic, nobility
NE               evil, charm, strength, war, trickery, destruction
CG               chaos, luck, travel, trickery
CN               chaos, destruction, strength, animal, madness
Dragon Cults                
any chaotic  usually chaos, destruction, evil, war, fire, rune
The Sun Dragon            
LN               sun, plant, law, glory, protector, fire
The Black Hag              
CE               death, evil, chaos, magic, trickery, knowledge, rune

Old Gods
NE              death, destruction, nobility, magic, darkness
TN              earth, repose, rune, strength, weather
CE               evil, madness, animal, rune, war, destruction
CE               chaos, knowledge, magic, rune, trickery
CE               chaos, death, evil, destruction, war, darkness
NG              glory, good, healing, sun
CG                fire, strength, knowledge, trickery
TN              darkness, weather, magic, liberation
LN               community, law, plant, animal, luck
CE                charm, madness, trickery, evil
CN               madness, trickery, weather, magic, death, earth
TN                animal, strength, repose, destruction
LE                death, magic, war, law, glory

Elemental Gods (pagan deities from Yakhal and Neremune)
NE                fire, glory, sun, war
NG               water, weather, plant, travel
TN                air, weather, knowledge, destruction
TN                earth, protection, rune, strength

Magic Items in Sarvaelen
   Magic is exceedingly rare in this land. While magic items exist, they are regarded with a certain measure of fear and wonder. Most items bear a great gift and also a curse. While it is certainly possible to sell magic items, very few are in any position to barter for the sale of such goods, and almost no one has the proficiency or skill with which to manufacture magical goods.
   All magic weapons in Savraelen are relics of Camrinal and the old era, with few modern forgers able to craft such weapons. Magical enchantments in Sarvaelen tend to fade after only a few decades in all but the most potent artifacts, so most surviving enchanted weaponry today are actually much older and more powerful relics which have since degraded with time. 
   As a rule of thumb any horde or treasure in standard Pathfinder terms should be worth 1/10th of its listed value as listed on the Slow Track treasure awards chart (table 12-5 pg. 299). Thus a typical award at level 1 for an encounter is roughly 17 gold pieces, while a level 5 reward would be roughly 100 gold.
   This does not apply to magic items, which can be awarded according to the list value; but the coin value is always reduced. Ex: a 5th level treasure parcel is worth approximately 1,000 GP, of which 100 may be gold, and the other 900 is a “budget” to spend on magic items stowed by the monsters.

Economy of Sarvaelen
   Gold is precious and rare; most currency is exchanged as silver or copper. All characters start with their normal gold value in goods at level 1, but after that they start with coin to buy gear equivalent to 1/10th the listed value on page  399, table 12-4. So an adventurer starting at level 5 begins with 1050 GP instead of 10,500. The character may roll their starting coin for level 1 and add it to this total. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Playtesting Dungeons & Dragons Next

My Tuesday night group met and I presented them with three options: Magic World, Pathfinder, or D&D Next. We discussed it and after a bit everyone there opted to try out D&D Next. Of the players I had, only one had previously been in one of my earlier DDN playtests (one of the first, in fact) so he got to see the system in a more "evolved" state.

Long story short, we had a blast, and will continue with DDN for now. The rules in play feel pretty smooth and are so far proving very consistent. The advantage/disadvantage mechanic remains a real popular feature, and as DM I've warmed up to it now that the rules provide numerous guidelines and triggers on how/when to implement it. Spells and various actions produced adv/dis throughout play and players quite enjoyed being able to grant these effects as they grokked just how useful they could be.

The group had a human druid, dwarven fighter, wood elf cleric (lightbringer), human paladin (warden), human wizard and wood elf rogue (thief). All of the classes seemed to function well, and the fighter was rather effective.

Spell Blocks

There were a few spells and effects which raised questions. The fighter had an ability which seemed to state that you could spend an expertise die for damage and also grant advantange, but he was wondering if that meant he didn't have to expend the die while still granting advantage. I ruled that he could, but I'm reasonably sure that wasn't what was intended. Sanctuary, another classic spell, seemed to suggest that you could cast it on others but not yourself by way of wording, but we all agreed that it probably was intended that a cleric could cast it on herself. So there are some odd bits like this.

The Exceptions of 3rd edition are Baked in to 5th

A metric ton of stuff that boiled down to conditionals dependent on granted abilities (usually through feats) from 3rd and in some cases 4th edition were now "baked in" assumptions in DDN, which my players quickly warmed up to. Finesse being a property of some weapons rather than something you learn, for example...or dual wielding being something anyone can do without strict penalties, but with additional permissions making it better from feats. Armor proficiency being the only restriction to spell casting was another, as was the way that concentration now works as a convenient "rule of thumb" approach with some specific guidelines. This was good stuff.

Swift Action Spells

Swift action spells were pretty cool, and the players were all very interested in what they meant. Reactions didn't pop into play as often as I had expected...yet. We're still at level 1, time enough for that later on. Swift action spells had the same stat block repeated ad nauseum. I guess that's useful for the playtest document but hopefully they don't need to do this in the final product.

Leveling Pace

Speaking of leveling, even though the PCs defeated three traps, fought two animated suits of armor, a horde of lemure devils and avoided an undead-releasing trap (all in about 2 1/2 hours of play, since we spent the other half of the night designing the characters and exploring options) they did not level up. As it turns out, the XP gain is scaled down appropriately such that a 250 XP requirement for 2nd level will probably take 2-3 play sessions to earn. My concern about the advancement rate in DDN has subsided a bit, for now.

Healing Mechanic

The hit die mechanic for resting seemed to work well. We're doing the default rest mechanic and so far it seems to feel "right" to me which is interesting, as it's prior incarnation in earlier playtests definitely felt a bit off. One problem everyone with a spell caster noticed however was that the starting spell slots (and the rate of advancement) seemed to be fairly limiting. This is not something I as DM felt was bad, but I do expect them to figure out how to squeeze in an extended rest as soon as possible as the spell casters all expended their level 1 spells by the end of play.

Tool Proficiency?

There was a bit of confusion about proficiency in thieve's tools and the Disarm Trap feat. The rogue had proficiency granted by class, but the feat was looming nearby. It seemed like the intent was that the thief could, being proficient in his tools, attempt to disarm traps, but he lacked the feat so as best I could tell that meant he didn't get the skill die. It was kind of odd how they did it this way....you're basically spending a feat to get a skill.


On the DM's side of things I found that combat resolution was much simpler and more intuitive that it was in the early playtest rounds. The clarity came from better details on the action/movement/reaction/swift action economy and how it played out. The net result was we played the game  with narrative combat, not even a board, and it flowed very well. Combat was quick. At least as quick as in the 2E days. It still retained a lot of interesting variables. It works extremely well in the theater of the mind narrative approach. I will have to try it with a grid and minis sometime, but admit that its clearly not necessary. This is a Huge Plus.

Skill Resolution Mechanics and DCs

The "flat" math of DDN made a lot of calculations such as DCs a simple matter, I noticed.

The skill mechanic resolutions were detailed and helpful. I've read in some spots that the skill system lacks clarity; while it might be nice to have some expository text on each skill's intent, the DC mechanics for resolution was clear as day.

I noticed that cleverly optimized PCs could guarantee decent DC spell checks, and as a result the monsters were failing saves pretty frequently. The absence (in all spells we used) of any sort of touch attack mechanic threw the players off initially, but when they realized all they had to do was cast and wait for me to check the saves on the monsters they rather liked it. Personally I prefer systems that load the die rolling on the players' side as it helps them feel more engaged....so the idea of a hit-roll save mechanic initiated by the player is more my cup of tea, but the system as presented did work very well and no one had an issue with it.

Monster Stat Blocks

Monsters do not have an initiative score, which means you go by Dex mod. This seems odd to me, as one could in theory have a higher initiative modifier than just Dex if you feel some trait of the monster justifies it, right? This could just be "3.5 think" going on, though, as the system as presented is very closely aligned to the 1E/2E methodology.

The monster stat blocks were otherwise (imo) perfect. This is one area I think they've got down to a science now, and all they need to do now is add lots of great descriptive stuff and some awesome illustrations.

Neverwinter Looms

Neverwinter Online is going into Open Beta on April 30th, with some pre-release events going on which I might get a shot at joining. My wife is excited....she's been sold on the game thanks to her closed beta experiences, and I've had one chance to play in closed beta as well and rather enjoyed it (even if the timing was horrible, a weekend with a Neverwinter beta, Defiance beta, and multiple new game releases!)

Anyway, if anyone has some questions or interest about this game, let me know. I've been approached my some people looking for feedback to relay to Perfect World Entertainment, and as this is a game I am rather excited about I'm happy to oblige. Post below or email me and I will do what I can to forward them on. I'm not terribly good at this question thing, believe it or not, so readers help me out!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Feast of Gaming - Why I like Robust Toolkit Games

This could also be titled, "Why I will continue to put up with Pathfinder even though I have a deep admiration for Magic World and Runequest 6."

One advantage of Dungeons & Dragons and its close cousin, Pathfinder, is that they are fantastic toolkit games. They give you pretty much everything you need, ready to go, and if you want to tweak something they also give you the rules to do it. Those rules can be fast and loose (OSR style) or precise and methodical (3.5 style), but they are still there. Pick your flavor, pick your level of complexity, and go.

While working on a game for Magic World I decided to change focus and drag out one of my old, venerable campaigns that I now feel it is time once more to revisit. Specifically, I'm dragging out my Warlords of Lingusia campaign. My Lingusia setting was born in D&D, and has been the center piece for campaigns set in all editions of D&D to date, as well as in other games, including T&T, Runequest, Dragonquest, Palladium Fantasy and GURPS. But it has always come home to roost in D&D, or more recently in Pathfinder.

Trying to work out setting material for MW using this setting is proving problematic because it has hammered home just why Pathfinder is such a great game. Pathfinder, by virtue of it's D&D DNA, is loaded to the gills with stuff. I want some monstrous aquatic humanoids, a society of vile witches, a red dragon, a realm of catacombs loaded with undead denizens commanded by some sort of death knight (grave knight in the Pathfinder parlance) and a strange connection between a mysterious island and the planar realms.

Now, I could do all of this in Magic World or Runequest, but it's going to require a lot of work. For any non-D&D fantasy game there's going to be a gap, at least partially due to the fact that no other system contains quite so many ready-to-go elements. Thus, the problem with many not-D&D fantasy games is that they have to sell themselves on their system rather than their resources. "Sure, we don't have a bestiary with 500 critters, or 1,000 spells, or an entire tome on planar magic, but we do have {insert game system here} powering everything."

Some of these games would be a lot easier if I could just run them as presented, and ignore the almost visceral need I often feel to include one of my campaign worlds in the mix. Invariably, when I try to break away, to write a new setting specifically for whatever game I am aiming for, it feels a bit hollow. Almost but not quite like I'm "cheating" on my other settings. I mean....sure, this is a great game, and I love the system, but the world I'm setting the scenarios in? It's so not you, baby. It's like I have this deep and meaningful relationship over here, and I'm off for a night on the town flirting with floozies. Yikes!

So....all I need to do tonight is figure out how to reconcile these facts. I was planning on ditching Sarvaelen and running Lingusia, so I could take advantage of the more robust options of a classic fantasy setting with which I have a familiarity so strong I can run it in my sleep, and a history begging to be added to once more. But it's just not a good mesh for MW, and Pathfinder makes more sense. If I use MW I have a lot of stuff I need to build for the game. If I use Pathfinder: it's already there and waiting.

At this point, it's a sort of startling realization for me that I'm not, perhaps, as diverse a gamer as I might think....at least, not anymore. With my narrow window of gaming opportunities, the need to consolidate my focus to what I enjoy most (games set in my long-running campaign settings, my "characters," if you will) maybe should take priority.

From this perspective, running games with Pathfinder or a similar system which provides the most robust and ready-to-use level of support possible only makes sense. Maybe D&D Next, once its out, will show the same level of depth and content that is pretty much a prerequisite for D&D by any modern standard.  I guess I'll have to talk with my group tonight about this, or maybe back up on my interest in running a game for this particular campaign setting for the moment, and stick with the campaign tailor-made for BRP, instead.

TL;DR: I'm realizing I have become a lazy GM, that I like to use stuff I am already prepped for and have strong familiarity with, which pretty much means D&D and/or Pathfinder right now, with my homebrew campaign settings that are loaded with ready-to-go content. This strategy does not mesh well with adopting new (or even modestly different) game systems that come with less "ready to go" content out of the box.

This is causing a problem when it comes to the mindset necessary to run Magic World. I may just grin and bear it, or maybe I'll see if everyone wants to give D&D Next a go tonight. I'll letcha know how it all goes down...

AD&D 2nd Edition Premium Excerpts

Wizards of the Coast has some sample pages from the Player's Handbook up over here to look at. It should could as no surprise that the Premium books are internally going to be reproductions of the 1995 second prints with the black border covers and the revamped color interiors. The druid excerpt provides a sampling of the artwork from that edition. It's generally regarded as inferior to the 1st printing books (I agree) but it's not bad....just not as good, unfortunately.

I imagine it was a lot easier to reprint these books, as I am sure the art and layout assets were sitting around in a WotC vault somewhere, and who knows what the print-ready condition of the original 1st prints look like these days.

Either way I am looking forward to these reprints. At $50 apiece I may have to cave and order through Amazon rather than my FLGS (much as I want to support my FLGS these premium edition reprints are just too pricey to shell out full price for), but this is the edition of AD&D that I spent the most time with and found the most enjoyment with. As I've said before, my entire gaming career in the nineties was defined by AD&D 2nd edition pretty much (followed by a handful of other games like Cyberpunk 2020 and GURPS), so for me these are must-haves.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Jim Sterling on The Problem with Triple-A Developers

First off, if you haven't watched Jim Sterling's Jimquisition, here's a fair warning: he's a bit over the top, his persona can blind you to his wisdom if you are reactionary to arrogance and bawdiness in a gurgling mix of precociousness, and he swears a lot. But damn he's right every time, and I find him frickin' hysterical...so! The video (probably a bit NSFW due to swearing):

From the video game industry perspective he's spot on. I happen to be a hardcore fan of the survival horror genre. Silent Hill, Resident Evil, Dead Space and other less well known titles. From Cold Fear to Deadly Premonition, Penumbra to Alone in the Dark (when it was still good...I've played it all. But every survival horror franchise suffers and atrophies under the laborious grip of Triple-A developers who need to squeeze every last dime out of it. It is disappointing to see, for example, Dead Space 3 possibly being the last title in the franchise because they over-extended their reach on the title. It's a great game, even if it does move beyond its survival horror roots slightly (very slightly), but because it was ramped up as a Triple-A development title, it's far more costly than its two predecessors, and so even selling well it has failed. Jim Sterling's prior entry from a week ago was about how Dark Souls (a survival horror game in the fantasy vein....but one which DRIVES ME NUTS WITH ITS VIDEO-GAME LOGIC DIFFICULTY) has sold 2 million copies and made good money, while Tomb Raider sells three or four million is considered a failure. Hell, CDProjekt Red talks about selling 400,000 copies (not even close to the pirated copies) of The Witcher 2 and its still a success. If you can make a game like Witcher 2 and make a profit on 1 million or fewer sales, then there is no excuse for other, bigger publishers to not do the same.

There's a collapse of some sort brewing in the video game industry, but I think the Triple-A publishers are bringing it on themselves.

Anyway. I long for the days of "B"-rated games, or whatever you want to call them. There has got to be a fine line between "AAA game that cost the GDP of a small nation to make" and "indie title made by one man obsessed with 8-bit era adventure pixel-bitch titles." Seriously....we need more titles like Amnesia, or budget developers who make games like Killing Floor, but with an actual effort at plots and stories instead of endlessly recycled, eternally stagnant multiplayer. Like Penumbra, Amnesia, and Silent Hill 2.

As a complete aside, I wonder sometimes if the advice Jim doles out couldn't apply in some respects to the paper and pencil publishers. There aren't a lot of "triple A" devs, of course, but if you consider the three or four that still exist, I wonder how they stack up in terms of what they offer vs. what we, the consumers, really want right now. Hmmm.

Chaosium Sale

Chaosium has another one of its awesomely ill-timed sales going (ill-timed in the sense that it happens when I have no disposable income to throw about) but this means you could be getting a discounted copy of Magic World right now if you so desired. Just sayin'....BRP fantasy awesomeness in one affordable package....

Sovereign Stone - Pathfinder Edition - Kickstarter

Tony Lee at Timeout Diversions is someone I knew back in the 80's, a regular contributor to my old fanzine who went on to keep active and writing in the game publishing business. His name can be found inside a lot of books, everything from The Chronicles of Ralmar and Wide World Wrestling to 4th edition Traveller and (iirc) some of the stuff for Macho Women with Guns.

Anyway, Tony's had a company going for a while now called Time Out Diversions, and he has a great Kickstarter going for a Pathfinder-update of the Sovereign Stone campaign setting, one of the better campaigns to come out of the early D20 era, a collaborative design by Margaret Weis, tracy Hickman and Larry Elmore. It's something I'd really like to see return.

I'm a bit leary of Kickstarters at the moment....problems being A. money is precious, B. I have a couple backed KSers that are now way past due  (including one which was allegedly all but done in the can and just needed some voice work...release date February), and C. my ability to wait many, many months for a released product is approximately zero; but I do respect the concept, and hope these are all backed in a way that leads to a time in the future when I can pay for a finished product somewhere (ideally in my FLGS but whatever works I guess).

Anyway, they're already at 92% funded as of this writing. The release date is December 2013. Maybe when this reaches a closing date I'll have some free cash demanding sacrifices and feel compelled to throw in.....we shall see....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Tales from the Watchers of the Sullen Vigil: The Gods of Sarvaelen

At long last! A return to the world of Sarvaelen. This time with a summary of the deities mentioned so far in the world:

A Summary of Known Gods in Sarvaelen (So Far)

Nevereth is a benevolent goddess, part of a strong young monotheistic pantheon that eschews the worship of the old gods, elementals and spirits as demons and unworthy in favor of the unifying goddess. In the wake of the destruction of Camrinal her minor cult achieved a great deal of traction among the survivors at that time, spreading throughout the lands of Sarvaelen like wildfire, to effectively dominate the religious beliefs of the land. Her faith is factionalized, based on a mixture of apocryphal texts and different sects and temples that espouse different forms of worship, but the remarkably pacificstic message of the goddess has led to minimal conflict and bloodshed among her own flock, which instead focuses its effort on exterminating the worship (and worshippers) of the old gods.

The Living Goddess Padmavati
Nagad goddess of Nagapuram. The Living Goddess manifests as a reincarnated female naga who is queen and ruler of the Naga lands.

Agharda, The Seven Headed Serpent
A heretical god of the naga, said to herald a unification of the seven old kingdoms, that will lead to naga dominance of Sarvaelen. A strong cult to this god exists in Aelghast called the Sydarites.

Wishara, Goddess of Luck
An old goddess of enigmatic nature and largely forgotten save for a mix of old folklore and legends.

One of the Old Gods, said to have given birth to the feyril. Her lore is considered profane by the church of Nevereth and worshippers are regarded as witches and warlocks.

The Dragon Cults
There are cults to the dragons, who are regarded either as the heralds of the Old Ones or children of them.

The Sun Dragon
A benevolent (theoretically) dragon that is even accepted as a sort of protector of the sun in the eyes of the Church of Nevereth.  Described as a protector of children, mothers and birth.

Cult of the Black Hag
Not regarded as a goddess but nonetheless feared and worshipped in Thaerinal, the Black Hag (once queen Threides) commands a great deal of respect and sacrifice from the locals of that torn land. Her cult is heresy in the eyes of the church of Nevereth.

The so-called Lord of the Whispering Dark, a forgotten Old God. His worship is unknown now in the easterlands of Aeronost, though some Emoniae sorcerers still call upon his servants and spirits who invoke the deity. There are ties to this deity in some old tomes, suggesting his temple will rise again when the empire returns.

An elemental god of earth forgotten to time, an obscure deity who was driven to fame when the daughter of the last emperor took on the worship of the Old God shortly before the empire fell. No one today worships this old god, though some surviving imperial tomes may speak of it.

The Dark Mother of the Selutar lizard men, one of the primal Old Gods and a deity that no human has ever voluntarily revered due to her aggressive, inimical stance against humanity.

A vile demon which manipulates the dreams and senses of its cultists in the northlands around Catalone, seeking followers amongst the locals of Aeronost as well as the mountain tribes of the Western Droamspires. Roeghast seeks to gain control of a mortal form, necessary through a specific ritual performed in an ancient henge on a small isle in Lake Vunares.

The Destroyer of Camrinal (Gaol?)
The nature of this Old God is unknown, but some Emoniae sorcerers suspect that it is the being known as Gaol. Gaol was regarded as one of the greatest and most potent of the Old Gods, a slumbering lord of chaos from which dark magic could be teased from his terrible dreams. The sorcerers of Emon’s greatest college of magics think that the Emperor awoke Gaol for a brief moment, bringing about the destruction of the empire. Still, there is no certainty as to the accuracy of this assertion.

The Old Gods
There were a number of these deities, some of which are still worshipped in Emon even today, but the belief in such gods has been stamped out due to the traumatic experience of the destruction of Camrinal and the rise of Nevereth (the fact that Nevereth herself was once regarded as an Old God is an issue of hot debate).

Benevolent Old Gods of note include: Yaramas, Vitru’Forazh, Kadellen, and Grotares.
Antagonistic or dangerous Old Gods were far more common, and included: Gaol, Eshraggol, Shamanza’gadhal, Traldreggor, Formos, Graeehn, and Valos.

There are many more old gods beside this, and some are utterly forgotten to memory, waiting for a lost tome to fall into the hands of a competent translator to restore the memory of their existence. The nature of the Old Gods is continuously up for debate, but the common belief is that they were a class of cosmic being which seeded the world with life, albeit as an accident of their great migration through space. Many of these old gods continued onward through the cosmic realms of space, but some settled deep in the earth, to sleep for eons, their awakening to happen at a predetermined time in the future. Their dreams create the quintessence, which is the arcane energy which sorcerers can steal to power magic.

Elemental Old Gods
Elemental Old Gods were given a special division as they were regarded as “primordials” and still are by the Emon of the west, who actually maintain temples to these primal deities. They were categorizes in three categories, being lesser elementals (minor summonable entities), Elemental Lords (entities which ruled over a specific region or landmark) and Elemental Gods, which were the beings that dominated their specific element. There were five elements, including earth, air, fire and water as well as the mysterious quintessence, which was the domain of the Old Gods.

The elemental gods are still known in Emon and are named as follows: Erasak (fire), Sylverune (water), Aisherus (air) and Grome (earth). The Emon, while revering this primordials, do not have any confusion about their dangerous natures, regarding them as something you tease sacred knowledge and magic from, but do not draw their attention, lest dire consequences befall you.