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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

It seemed time for a magik artifact

Like the title says it seemed time for a magik artifact.  So let me introduce the following nifty item from the published Bestiary & Treasures volume.


BANDOLEER OF POTIONS
Description: Bandoleer set with 24 pockets that will hold a 24 ounce or less vial or bottle each.
Value: 5,900 GC TD: 45 Dur: 150
Powers: The bandoleer can hold 24 potions. While stored within the bandoleer, the potions cannot be broken, disturbed, or even pulled free by anyone other than the wearer. A potion can be removed with a quickened action, but the wearer can set any single potion to be in a “ready” state. A ready potion is automatically in hand when called without expending an action on the part of the wearer.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Rites in Arduin Eternal

AE has a special kind of ritual called a rite. 

These rituals are one time use and are always tied to unique or specific circumstances.  For example, The Dance Of The Nine Stars rite can only be performed when nine of the stars found in the constellation Yugora's Maw align in a double triangle formation.  A conjunction that occurs only every 13 to 14 thousand years.  The nine star rite also specifies the stars must be visible from the Star Giant's plateau framed by the Millennial Trees that grow there.  Thirdly the ritualistic must bring representatives of the of elements, life and spirit.  Bringing all these elements together at the right time fulfills the requirements for the rite and allows the ritualist to invoke its power.

Rites vary in the power they provide and most often take as much as they give.  Not all of them are as time locked and rigid as the DAnce of the Nine Stars.  Here is an example of a more "loose" rite that martial artists can pursue:



TAKE THE HEART OF THE CHUUL
Preq: Expert Martial Artist, Life Pool [Martial Artist], Spec Ceremony, Expert Style, Trd Channel
Must seek out a Gravity Chuul in the upper atmosphere of Khaas and battle it, using nothing else but your martial arts.  You must strike to its center, ripping out the core to take into yourself. The task must be done alone, with no outside help (for the battle, at least) and with nothing but your style and abilities. Once you have taken its heart, you Channel it within (TD 50) to finish the rite. It takes 2d12 weeks to acclimate to its addition to your body. Add +2 ESS immediately.  You also gain access to special secrets.

I've skipped on putting out all the secrets as it would take too much space and I only wanted to provide an example.  Never fear, though, it will be released in full later.  Here is one that is much simpler.

RITE OF LIFE LEAP
Preq: Can only be performed once.
A celebration of life ritual the permanently raises your ESS by d2+2.

This rite is very common for Amarydion priestesses.  As is this one.


RITE OF THE EARTH MOTHER'S BOSOM
Preq:  Amarydion Priest or Saint, 7+ Faith
The rite creates a special bond with the recipient of the rite and the earth.  The rite can be done anywhere as long as contact with the earth is made and 70 Faith expended.  Any number can participate to provide the Faith but only one being will be the focus of the benefits of the rite.  As long as the recipient is in contact with the earth (dirt, rock, vegetation, foliage) they will never stumble, trip, fall or be knocked down unless they elect to do so or the opposing force can beat a TD 500 in an opposed roll. 
 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Joppa

Joppa is a layered pastry that originated in Zhirhane.  It has surged in popularity in Arduin and can be found everywhere among the street vendors.  It keeps well too when wrapped in wax paper and has found its way into the packs of numerous adventurers.

Friday, January 27, 2012

New Arduin Blog

Just a note on another Arduin fan site that has popped up.

  Drop by and give them some encouragement.

Nilo's Site

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A choice upon a quest

The following was given unto Kain, when he was given a choice for his 3rd battle of the Rite of 1000 battles.

Kain, set forth in your mind the way clear and choose your doom.


Will it be to the to the Copper Arm Mountains, to battle a Srkaln, fierce raptor, death made of feathers?
Or will you tread the foam and take to the ocean to battle an Inil-daen, rider of waves and foe to ship and man?  Or does your courage lie in the south of Aradnast, where the ocean beats the sand with waves and the faces of the lost gods peer forth from their earthen graves! Nornid Lyost, a stretch of beach in the southernmost of Aradnast, home to the graves of the oceans gods forced into stone form in some titanic battle of the past. There darkling warrior Kaerie Ninesworn seeks powers from the lost gods - he is your foe should you take this road.

What road do you walk, faithless one?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Good AE Info

The below is a Q & A session that came out about AE when we were first proposing it to our fans.  I noticed it was lost at some point from the discussion board and not on the blog so I present it for your edification.


Understanding Skills and Skill Checks

Skill checks are a strong part of Arduin Eternal and are based on a d100 mechanic, with a possible modifier from attributes (depending on the skill), a modifier from your skill ranks in a skill and potential bonuses from talent, training or experience. Essentially a dice roll + skill + bonuses. What you make them against is just as simple, based on a target difficulty modified by the GM for environment, tactics or circumstance, as well as anything else the GM cares to use. A simple system to define target difficulties is provided as a part of the system and simplifies a lot of work for the GM. The target difficulty system acts like a very flexible form of a slide rule, where you can elevate or lower difficulties along a simple scale to accommodate potentially complicating factors. As a tool it allows a GM to quickly formulate a reasonable and logical target difficulty without bogging down game play.

Skill contests are just as simply handled and are a simple match of skill against skill. Want to find out how well you can hide against someone looking for you? Stealth past that guard? Simple contests of skill resolve the issue, with the highest skill check determining the outcome, though a chance of superior success or abysmal failure also exists. The chance of superior success (the archetypical critical) grows with basic skill advancement while the chance of failure (the archetypical fumble) draws down, but never truly withers away completely. These are important components that demonstrate the strength of a legendary skill user (150+) versus a proficient (1+) or untrained one. Both have a chance of superior success but the legendary skill user has a greater chance through sheer skill alone, not to mention a potential for even greater chances from experience. This creates a mathematical curve that helps reinforce the value of high skill, the value of experience and deters the atypical breakpoints that can arise with a constrained percentile system or a small dice pool. A constrained roll quickly gathers some problematic issues with high numbers, especially when comparing contrasted skill ranks, like proficient amateurs versus legendary masters or handling environmental or circumstantial factors. A smaller dice pool also runs into the same problems, since bonuses and modifiers can overwhelm the base randomness provided by the dice. If your random range is small, factors applied to it have to stay small as well or it overwhelms the value provided by rolling the dice in the first place. Let’s say you need to roll a 5 or 6 on a six-sided dice. How much value does the d6 maintain if you apply a +1 modifier? How about a +5 modifier?

What the skill secrets are all about

Not every skill user is capable to the same level of ability. The simplest demonstration of this in Arduin Eternal is via skill ranks. Difference in skill ranks show the distance that can exist. You can also show capability by highlighting certain uses or applications of a skill as well. Skills in Arduin Eternal are divided into plateaus or tiers that map directly to achievement, knowledge, experience and practice. At these plateaus are aspects of the skill or uses of the skill not available to someone without the same knowledge, experience and practice. The beginning math student can sharpen his skills to handle calculus but the student that has worked with calculus for years, specializes in it and has worked it time and time again has the potential to know aspects, shortcuts or uses of calculus that the beginning student does not and will not until they achieve the same or equivalent state. The beginning gymnast may know the same movements as a veteran Olympiad but the differences are vast in the ease of use, application and depth the veteran can achieve with the same maneuvers. Skill secrets are those aspects or applications you unlock when you gain the requisite skill ranks, experience and practice. They are outgrowths of the skill in question and not magikal or powers more in tune with the arcane than the skill.

Why armor resists or soaks damage instead of turning hits to misses

Armor is a passive coating that absorbs or soaks some or all of the damage from a successful hit. Which means a successful attack becomes a miss in practical terms if it cannot overcome the armor worn by an opponent. Some schools of thought believe allowing armor to absorb damage causes a rise in “instant death” situations because the GM and players find ways to spiral damage through the roof to hurt opponents and make it challenging. The same school of thought believes this kills both game play and role-play. In truth, neither of these two follow suit to armor absorbing damage as laid out in Arduin Eternal. Armor soaks or absorbs a percentage of the damage, given as damage resistance value. The armor in question, its composition, quality, your skill, and other factors can affect how well armor performs. Not to mention the curve in skills applies to combat as well and a critical success could easily negate some or all of armor’s protection. Sound complicated? Not really. Armor’s benefits are generally predictable though skills, maneuvers, actions and circumstances can change them.

Why not wear armor all the time?

Seeing the benefits of armor, you might have the same thing in mind. Well, while armor is good at what it does, it has a few problems. Armor is heavy, restricts your maneuverability and impedes your range of movement. Its hard to be nimble and do that triple somersault with an mass of steel wrapped around you or those fun chain links that poke, pinch and bunch in ungraceful and painful ways. For the protection it provides, armor lowers your movement, slows down your reaction times, decreases your ability to evade or dodge and penalizes skills. Ouch! Since Arduin Eternal is an active combat system, losing maneuverability like dodge or movement capability can be very disadvantageous. Using armor means making a tradeoff between the ability to resist some damage and the loss to speed, reaction times and maneuverability.

Difference between getting hit and taking damage

Arduin Eternal separates getting hit with taking damage. One does not necessarily follow suit to the other. You can hit a foe but if they parry or dodge the hit, you miss for all practical purposes. Or, you could do damage and have it absorbed by their armor or the shield or main gauche they used to block it. Remember that big lug in armor? You can probably hit him as easily as the broad side of a barn. Might not hurt him but you can still get the blow in. This is important when you need to determine whether you can hit someone, like say if you chose to wrestle our armored grunt. Maybe you can’t cut him to pieces with your knife but you can turn all that heavy armor against him when you cinch in and take him to the ground. Ever see a turtle on its back? Or, how about to smash a vial of acid on his armor or dump handfuls of itching powder, pepper or other fun concoctions on our armored friend? Each would require an attack roll against the Defense of the opponent (our hit roll).


Monday, January 23, 2012

Petrification rules (AE)


Any stoning attack that does not inflict 50% or more of your BODY in damage is survivable. However, the effect is not without pain or damage and every point of BODY stoned adds +1 to your MASS. This BODY to MASS conversion is immediate. The other effects occur after a minute passes. For every 5% of your BODY that was petrified apply the following:

Add +3 DR
Subtract –1 REF and –1 ADROIT
Subtract –10% off your PER
Lower CON by –2
All Maneuver skills have a –5 penalty


So Mearivean, a 40 BODY human, gets 18 BODY petrified by a basilisk. 18 out of 40 is 45% of the Mearivean’s BODY; a close call. Mearivean will add those 18 points directly to his MASS. He will also lower his ADROIT and REF by –9, reduce his PER 90%, lower his CON –18, take a –45 penalty to all Maneuver skills, and add +27 to DR.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting the jump on someone or Surprise!

The rules don't always cleanly cover situations where you surprise or get a leg up on someone.

The ambush rules are pretty straightforward but sometimes you just surprise a foe or get into a situation where one person or group has an advantage over the other.  In those instances, you have a situation akin to an ambush but where the setup was accidental, unnecessary or completely visible but one side has an advantage of time to prepare.  In these circumstances, you would give them one or more of the following to account for the advantage:


  1. Bonus to ATK.  Usually a +10 to +30 bonus.
  2. Set CF to 40 for the melee round.   Essentially gives them a "leg up" on the other person.
  3. Bonus to an action.  Usually a +10 to +30 bonus.

Pretty much the GM gets to decide when this may apply and its very situation driven.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

Jhoeve

Jhoeve is a staple drink of Talismonde and found equally often in urban areas across Arduin.  Its been exported more widely as well but its less frequently encountered.  They do say its catching on in Falohyr but they put honey in the mix, giving it a different taste, slightly sweeter.

For those of us with a more earth-aligned taste palate, jhoeve is similar to wassail, and made from juices, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg.  It also has crushed Golden Madag Nuts (only exists in Arduin, sorry!) that mix well with the cloves.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Tombdance!

At one point David Hargrave published something known as the Arduin Chronicles.  Typewritten and chock full of information, it was a handy and useful Arduin reference.   As it is all but lost to time, I'm reposting it here for everyone to enjoy.


Oh!  The Light!  doth shine and glow,
greenly wan and cold as snow.


Yet dark and black the winding way
into the cold rock, there to stay.


Before it was the evil did rise,
its doom its heart, its heart the prize.


Aglow with the power of that which ever is,
the heart ever beats, the power is ever his.


'ware the steel jaws, agrin in timeless glee,
yet the left hand of god points the way for thee.


Gold and jewels abound in fair numbers,
yet near to it all the ultimate doom ever slumbers.


A Tombdance for heroes in quest of their fate
A Death song, a poem, the final gate.


Thus it was written, thus it has been,
for time immemorial beyond human ken.


Note:  Yes, this poem is related to the Quest of the Dark.   How?  Hey, that's for you to figure out! 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quest For An Old Traveler's Bed

At one point David Hargrave published something known as the Arduin Chronicles.  Typewritten and chock full of information, it was a handy and useful Arduin reference.   As it is all but lost to time, I'm reposting it here for everyone to enjoy.


In the days of old walked a gray bent mage
of furrowed brow and time worn frame.
World walker, star traveler, bone weary but sure 
A player in the Great Game.


To his rest, one crystal morn, he came 
within the dread tower of blackened skulls.


There lay he, long centuries, even eons now
'midst the tower's grim secrets, its treasure store.


To find his bed 'tis three down, the center heart true
Yet 'ware his guardians, night fanged two!


But light, glorious light can save the souls
and wing you to your farthest goals.


Or so its said!





Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Quest of the Dark

At one point David Hargrave published something known as the Arduin Chronicles.  Typewritten and chock full of information, it was a handy and useful Arduin reference.   As it is all but lost to time, I'm reposting it here for everyone to enjoy.


The drawing nigh, the reddened dark,
doth enwrap and enfold, the golden mark,
yet ever beats the heart.


So goes doom, fire fall true,
on black behind red and beyond the blue,
louder beats the heart.


Seven steps to seven bells,
black as hate, grim as hell
The heart thunderously throbs;


The door a gate, silver beckoning,
the path is pat the True Tarot's reckoning
Silent is the heart.


Dawn and golden light rises anew,
the green, green and bloody dew
where the still heart lies;


Bring it, burn it and buy my time!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

So It Is

At one point David Hargrave published something known as the Arduin Chronicles.  Typewritten and chock full of information, it was a handy and useful Arduin reference.   As it is all but lost to time, I'm reposting it here for everyone to enjoy.


The legend so distant, time hoary and old
speaks of Dark Stars, a universe so cold.


Not yet lit, those lamps of gold joy and star fire,
still black hell writhing, an eon old, evil mire.


Thundering sound, silent though to our kin
for they had not yet, nay had not ever been.


That which was, is ever and twill be,
the dark which must wait, for you and for me.


Its reach is such that none may be beyond its reach
and this is the sole lesson, this legend must teach.


For to know that there is such as to darken the night,
is also to know that in balance, there is ever light.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Impacts of Wealth Changes to the Game

Here are some some adjustments that follow with the change to Wealth:

  • BUSINESS (base use of skill)
    • My Credits Good - You can try to extend your credit a little farther than normal when making a purchase that would result in a loan.  If you can succeed at the set TD + 50, then you double the amount of time you get to repay the loan.  If you fail, you fail the whole thing.  If you succeed, the penalties for non repayment are doubled as well.
    • Haggle - You can use to lower the amount of repayment necessary.  Any secret that modifies or replaces this skill use applies as well.
    • Loan Management - If you have a loan, you can make installments on the loan instead.  Start with base TD 50 + double the loan value.  Each installment you break the loan into reduces the TD by 10 but adds to the total loan value. Multiple the split in payments by 3 to determine this value.  So breaking a loan into 5 payments would add 5 x 3 or 15% to the total loan.  You can only make this check once so if you fail the TD you can't manage the loan.  However, if your wealth grows, even if by one, you can try again.
    • Manager [Trained Secret] -  You reduce the surcharge to the loan levied by the Loan Management base use of skill by -1% per 25 skill ranks.
    • Find Capitol [Experienced Secret] - You add +20 bonus to the My Credits Good and Loan Management base use of skill checks.
    • Large Scale Management [Specialist Secret] - You only use a TD 50 + the loan value to determine the TD for the Loan Management base use of skill.
  • CRIME (base use of skill)
    • Skip Out On The Loan -  You can bully your way out of a loan.  Make a TD 75 + the value of the loan.  If you succeed you don't have to repay the loan but the Trust the loaner had in you is lowered by the loan value.  If it becomes negative the loaner will seek recourse of their own, either socially, criminally, business or as appropriate for the contact.
    • Gutter Rook [Specialist Secret] - Trust loss for using the Skip Out On The Loan base use of skill is halved.
  • SOCIAL (base use of skill) 
    • Talk Your Way Out Of Debt - Attempt to weasel or talk your way out of a debt (Wealth Loan) you owe someone.  The TD is 75 + the value of the loan.  If you succeed, you can remove the debt by paying 20% of its value.  The loaner loses -d20 Trust as their distrust and antipathy increases.
    • Trustworthy [Proficient Secret] - Gives you a +10 bonus when making the Talk Your Way Out Of Debt base use of skill checkLoaner's Trust only decreases by d12 also.
    • Magnify Presence [Experienced Secret] - Gives a +10 bonus when making the Talk Your Way Out Of Debt base use of skill check (stacks with Trustworthy). Also lowers the value you must repay by -1% per 20 skill ranks.
    • Acumen [Expert Secret] - Gives a +20 bonus when making the Talk Your Way Out Of Debt base use of skill check (stacks with all other bonuses).  Loaner loses no Trust as an outcome of the skill use.
  • UNDERWORLD (base use of skill)
    • I've Got Friends - Your connections to the shadowy underworld can get you out of debt (Wealth Loans).  Convert the loan value to Copper Wealth to determine your TD.  If you succeed at the TD the loan is forgiven but it lowers the Trust by any but Criminal or Underworld connections or contacts, including business, by 1/20th the value.
    • Confidence [Trained Secret] - This secret allows you to use Silver Wealth instead of Copper Wealth for the I've Got Friends base use of skill.
    • Circle of Influence [Experienced Secret]- Removes any penalty to Trust by using the I've Got Friends base use of skill.  Also adds a +10 bonus to the roll.
    • Covert Influence [Expert Secret] - This secret allows you to use Gold Wealth instead of Copper Wealth for the I've Got Friends base use of skill.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Changes to Wealth

I'll be adding this to the master list of errata for the AE book, but until then, please see below for changes to Wealth.

Okay just to clarify things, Wealth is a form of social influence whose output is a service or item you gain for yourself or another.  You don't expend anything other than the "influence".  Wealth can be substituted 1 for 1 for coin values unless your GM tells you otherwise. What that means is if you have 50 silver wealth, you have the equivalent to 50 SP that you can use monthly.  Please note the use of equivalent and see below.

[NEW RULES]

Using Wealth
  Very simply, you determine the value of the item or service you desire (given by the GM usually) and double it to determine the Wealth TD.  So the formula looks like this:

VALUE X 2 = WEALTH TD

Make sure you convert the value to your type of wealth before rolling for the TD.

As a note, for Wealth purposes, 10 CP = 1 SP, 10 SP = 1 GC, 5 GC = 1 GS, 5 GS = 1 GB.

The wealth levels are Copper (CP), Silver (SP), Gold (GC), Noble (GS), and Royal (GB).

So with this in mind, let's say you want to use your wealth to pay to have your horse stabled for 13 days.  The value is 13 SP (1 per day; hey, its close to a city so don't yell at me...).  If you have 67 Copper Wealth, you would need to covert 13 SP = 130 CP and then double it to TD 260.  Not good odds.

Now if you had the same Silver Wealth, the TD would be 13 double or TD 26.  Much better odds.

Nobility would barely notice, having a scant TD 4 and Royalty wouldn't even have to ask for it, since negative TD means whatever it is happens automatically.

Once you use the Wealth, decrease your Wealth value for the MONTH by the VALUE (not the TD) of the item or service.  If the amount would make your Wealth TD a negative value, then you have been LOANED the item or service with an expectation of repayment.

Loans are given a grace period of days equal to your original Wealth value, converted to the Wealth standard (Copper, Gold, Noble, etc.) that you used to pay them back.  Loans must be redeemed at 150% item or service value.

Loans not repaid permanently lower your Wealth -d4 per day until you pay it back.    Additionally, every point of Wealth lost in this manner is added together to formulate a percentage that legal or illegal action will be pursued.  Which is undertaken depends on who provided the loan and ultimately the GM.  Regardless, if either action is taken, it will erode the trust of contacts, connections, businesses, markets, fame in social motifs, and other like values by -d4 daily until resolved.

If your Wealth reaches zero or a negative value, you are demoted to the next lower level, and set at a value of 100.

Example:  You have a 39 Silver Wealth but want a 60 Silver sword.  You make the TD 120 but 39 - 60 = -21 so you have taken out a loan for it.  You have 39 days to repay the loan and it will cost you 90 SP to do so.  You fail to scape up the money and went out adventuring instead.  You come back 9 days overdue to repay the loan and find your wealth has dropped -17.  The GM secretly made a roll each day and succeeded on day 7 for illegal action to be taken to repay the loan.  As they terrorized your contacts while you were out, their trust fell -3 overall as well impacted your budding reputation in the town.  A couple of tough looking guys waited for you on the edge of town.  Being bloody and tore up didn't seem to phase them any so they broke your legs to add to your excitement, not to mention killed your mage buddy's familiar.  All in all, life is not looking good for you.


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Questions about Rituals versus Spells, Prayers, etc.

I was hit up by a fan about the difference between rituals and spells, prayers and the like.

Here is the rule of thumb for distinguishing between the two.

  1. If the magic in question requires significant time, multiple components, locations or a sequence to enact, then its probably a ritual.  Anything simplistic or quick to use, that disregards location, environment and so on, is likely a spell (or equivalent).
  2. If the magic is requires some complication, measuring or particular exactness to use then its likely a ritual.
  3. If the output of the magic is something long term (say, > minute), then its likely a ritual.
Example:

  • Magic to someone something requires the inscription of a magic circle or equivalent protection.  
 That makes it a ritual, especially since what is summoned is staying for a while.
  •  Magic to create wall of stone, wood, earth, etc.  
 Here is where the longevity and exactness rules are important.  If the magic requires more than a single measurement, such as determining height, width and depth as a part of the construction, it appeals to rules 1 and 2 above.  Additionally, the output will be something of duration, more than likely, which also hits rule number 3 above.

Now some magic is borderline and the GM will have to make the choice of which path to take.  Take the Heavy Helper spell in the system.  It makes a permanent pile of sand appear.  However the measure and complexity to utilize it is simplistic and the caster has little control over how and where the sand appears other than distance.  While permanent, the sand is normal and not introducing an unnatural element, such as bringing forth a wall of fire or ice and keeping it within a certain proportion.  So, once created it does what any pile of sand does.

So as you can see, some magic will require you to make choices to place it appropriately.  It will just require your best judgement to do so.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Understanding the AE Toolbox

If you think of the Arduin Eternal system as a toolbox it may help in understanding the approach I took when building it.

Each option you have, whether under race, culture, profession, skills or elsewhere, is there to make the characters you build seem not only more realistic but different from one incarnation to the other.  If you sit down six guys to make six warriors, in AE the chances of them coming out the same are minuscule.  They will be different, probably in concepts but definitely in the mechanics and background that created them.

The game helps build this when you create the character.  And yes, I understood that in doing so it would lengthen the character creation process.  And equally yes I'm very and completely fine with it.

Its like that saying in the quality assurance world:  Fast, Cheap and Good; now pick two.

Anything good will be either cheap but slow or fast and expensive.  The three never exist as one entity.

So have a good time building characters.  Or make yourself a template that you can follow quickly to rough one together.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Making Characters

Folks,

everyone has a different approach when it comes to making characters.  However, one approach that is common to DnD that doesn't work for AE is to think you can roll up a bunch of stat lists and then apply them towards what you want.  The folks I'm bringing into the fold here in Texas mentioned it and I had to show them how that just doesn't work in AE.

Attributes are important but AE treats them different than in other game systems and especially in contrast to DnD (pick whatever version you like).  They provide a bonus, an important one, that gives you an edge but not an overwhelming one.

Understanding this fact is tough for some i've found, especially if they are used to playing where attributes can rule the roost.  Keep this in mind when you are bringing new players into the fold, especially if they have played DnD or other games where small changes in attributes can sway the mechanics of conflict in large ways.

Just think about differences plunking a couple of points in any one attribute in AE would make and then contrast that with your favorite game system to see the difference.  It will help in explaining things.  Fluctuation in strength or con in AE, for instance, would definitely be different if you did the same in DnD.  Same for Runequest or M&M or any other game you choose.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crafting Cultures

Just a quick not on how to make your own cultures for AE.  It came up while I was initiating a new group in Texas into the game system.

Its actually quite simple.  Take any culture and for the sake of an example I'm going to use Texas (it seems appropriate).  If you think about Texas a few things might quickly come to mind.


  • Big; the state is huge and anyone who lives here gets used to that fact.  Which means they don't think about driving 10-25 miles to get the simplest things or drive 50 miles to go game with someone.  Its a part of the social fabric of the state.  So, we might have a cultural influence here revolved around travel, where the influence handles a factor of travel.
  • Large amounts of land; texans are known for everything big and owning land is one of them and not in tiny lots either.  This could be another influence if desired; one with unlanded nobility as a possible or anything else that seemed appropriate.
  • Patriotic; You can throw a rock and not hit a Texan that hasn't or is currently serving in the military, government or some community organization.  National Charge, National Pride and other like nation-based influences are very appropriate here.
  • Border Life; Texas sits on the borders and this influence is a good one to incorporate.
  • Multiple large cities; Texas has numerous large cities so any of the serveral urban based influences are appropriate
  • Commerce; Texas has a lot of commerce and several of the economic and business influences could be incorporated
  • Resource Rich; Texas is rich in resources and you can make influences that revolve around the acquisition, movement and sale of such things
Can you think of more?  This took only a few minutes and is a slice of the conversation I had to show them how to craft their own influences for the cultures of their favorite game world using a real world example.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Lost Kingdom of Ghôrnukor

When the Shadow of the One fell across the realm, the king sent emissaries to those few allies true to Arduin.  Long ago, far northern Dwarven kingdom of Ghôrnukor and Arduin had forged a friendship and in Arduin’s dark hour Ghôrnukor came to her call.  Many came from Ghôrnukor to help Arduin but its assistance led to the kingdom’s downfall.  The One was angered by their actions, and it reached out and withered the kingdom with its terrible power.  For all its once glorious majesty, nothing remains of that valiant realm except the poisoned remnants that lie in the Valley of Dark Dwarves north of the Great Grass Forever.

Monday, January 9, 2012


Figured it was time to show more AE artifacts.  This particular set was a gift from Ariadne, a long standing character by one of my players, to another character.  The set was made in Maelshyra and bears the marks of the Surehand family of weavers.


Ariadne's Gift Spider Silk clothes (full set)
Cost: 19200 GC 
Type: Cloth (fits BODY 34 - 42)
DR: 9
CHARGE Bonus: 0
BODY: 171
CF/Dodge Penalty: 0
Move/Maneuver Penalty: 0
Special:
  • Insulates to cold and wind up to 200 HP potency and stronger potency seeps through at a rate of 5% per 50 HP potency beyond 200-HP. The strong cold or wind doesn't harm the silk just penetrates it.
  • +20 Dodge bonus
  • +30 all Saves (Fear, Disease, P/V, and Shock).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rain Star's Lay

At one point David Hargrave published something known as the Arduin Chronicles.  Typewritten and chock full of information, it was a handy and useful Arduin reference.   As it is all but lost to time, I'm reposting it here for everyone to enjoy.

Harken ye, oh traveller bold,
to my tale of Elven gold.

Entombed on high, mountain bound,
Moontomb waits, seldom found.

Glitter profuse, bejeweled and encrusted,
where the Princess lays, time encrusted.

'ware the laughter of that which waits,
Yet 'ware even more the deadly gates.

Night and doom rings sure and thorned,
of iron and fire, and crescent horned.

Rain Star rewards...

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Mage School: Salt and Wave


SALT AND WAVE


Salt and Wave is an Aradnastan style of magik study found little outside of the borders of that country. It grew out of a mishmash of arcane practices among the coastal villages and was consolidated by Melq Afrtain. Melq was formally trained in Arad city in the Blood and Stones style of magery but acquired the seed magic that would become Salt and Wave after spending a few decades in the coastal villages and the ships that fished and sailed the coastline.
Prerequisite: 28+ APT, 12+ MA, Aradnastian and Rendorii languages
School Focus: Salt and Wave concentrates on practical application and has next to no academic curriculum. Learning is done by rote and use; labs are minimal and practicals are nearly exclusively used to judge success in learning.
Concentration Skills: Cast, Channel

Alarming Impediment – OP 1
Attend Me! – OP 1
Bone Shaker – OP 1
Dive – OP 1
Fast Freeze – OP 1
Fiery Cone – OP 1
Instant Grab – OP 1
Quell Sound – OP 1
Quickflame – OP 1
Salt Wounds – OP 1
Slow Drop – OP 1
Wizard Dark – OP 1
Wizard Glow – OP 1
Spriggan Wind – OP 1
Farspeaker – OP 2
Fins and Gills – OP 2 [R]
Flotsam Boat – OP 2 [R]
Foam Ring – OP 2
High Lifter – OP 2
Salt Tongue – OP 2
Spatial Deliquesce – OP 2
Wizardly Windows – OP 2
-----Trial of the Storm Crow -----
Flesh Oil Fire – OP 3
Fog Bolt – OP 3
Hammer of the Wave – OP 3
Heavy Helper – OP 3
Water Skimming – OP 3
Dee-Hopper – OP 4
Morgault's Disappearance – OP 4
Ghost Wind – OP 4
Clumsy Field – OP 5
Long Reach – OP 5

Trial of the Storm Crow. The first and only trial in the school. Melq formed a composite of the village based trials to form this one, where a student must take a ship out into a raging storm and then lead the same ship (intact) back into port. The trial is actually one-part rite and the invocation of the trial requires 50 APT (usually provided by the master). One began, the student attracts storms daily, for seven days straight. The student must weather each one and bring the (same) ship back to port safely. Every day the student will be tested by the power of the storm, requiring a series of Channel checks, TD 50, 50 and 75 respectively. If any one is failed, the intensity of the storm doubles. If the student succeeds in weathering the full seven days of storms they are considered a changed being and indoctrinated to the higher powers of the school.

DIVE – OP 1
Preq: 16+ APT, 14+ MA, Prof Arcanalogy
Mana: see below C: 99 F: 8
Range: 120 M: No Area: see below
TD: 25Note1 Duration: see below
For a single mana point you can affect 15 BODY of a target, plus 3 BODY of a target for every additional mana invested in the spell. If enough mana is channeled into the spell, it will sink the target to the bottom of any body of water at a rate of 5 ft per CF Count. The spells lasts for 5 CF Counts minimum, plus 5 more CF Counts per mana invested when the spell is cast.

SALT WOUNDS – OP 1
Preq: 16+ APT, 14+ MA, Prof Channel
Mana: 3 C: 100 F: 4
Range: 150 M: No Area: see below
TD: 25Note1 Duration: see below
Salts any open wounds on a target that is within 150 ft, causing 1 HP per wound they have taken.

FINS AND GILLS – OP 2
Preq: 24+ APT, Trd Ceremony, Trd Channel
APT: 25/5 C: 98 F: 7
Range: 50 Time: 10 minutes
TD: 100 Duration: see below
Learn: 565 GS Influence: any/all

The target of the ritual grows fins and gills, an unsettling though painless process. It will affect any living being up to 50 BODY without fail. Those altered ignore the penalty of MASS for the purpose of swimming and can breath salt or fresh water easily. The ritual lasts for your APT in melee rounds before instantly reversing. The ritual does not provide any additional resistance to cold, pressure or other environmental adaptions. If the ritual is performed in the ocean – salt water) then it can be done in half the normal time requirement.

FLOTSAM BOAT – OP 2
Preq: 26+ APT, Trd Ceremony, Trd Wilderness
APT: 30/1 C: 95 F: 10
Range: 150 Time: see below
TD: 100 Duration: see below
Learn: 765 GS Influence: any/all

The ritualist calls upon the ocean to bring to him flotsam and debris, which is then formed into a crude boat that will carry 5 BODY per skill rank and last 10 minutes per APT of the ritualist. If performed away from the ocean or sea – salt or fresh), it doesn't work. Otherwise it takes d10 times the BODY requirement of the boat in time for the ocean to bring forth the debris to build the boat. The boat itself will be 4 times the BODY it can carry in size. It may leak but will not sink and will stay intact, even if damaged, reknitting together also long as enough of the boat's BODY remains to carry what's contained within it.

FOAM RING – OP 2
Preq: APT 20, MA 16, Trd Arcanalogy
Mana: 6 (see below) C: 100 F: 7
Range: 180 M: No Area: see below
TD: 50Note1 Duration: see below
A simple spell that brings forth rings of foam that surround a single creature of 10 + skill ranks in BODY, holding them fast completely. Those captured are held fast, immobile but not paralyzed, for 1 melee round plus 1 melee for every additional 2 mana invested in the spell when cast. The rings are considered a single unit for destruction purposes and will resist the amount of BODY they can capture in HP damage before breaking. However, a BODY check against a TD of double the capture value will also burst them asunder.

SALT TONGUE – OP 2
Preq: APT 21, MA 16, Trd Arcanalogy
Mana: 7 C: 95 F: 9
Range: 40 M: No Area: see below
TD: 50Note1 Duration: see below
A simple spell that targets a single person; when they speak or utter sound their mouth is filled with salt – literally) and the taste of the ocean and they must make a TD 100 + skill ranks Shock Save or gag, spit and retch instead of speak or utter sounds, losing their action in the process. It lasts only a melee round but can be extended by +1 melee round for every 4 mana invested when cast. If the target is in salt water when cast upon the Shock save is TD 150 + skill ranks until they leave the salt water and the caster gets a +30 bonus to succeed against their MD with the spell.

FLESH OIL FIRE – OP 3
Preq: APT 26+, MA 20+, Exp Channel, Exp Arcanalogy
Mana: 14 C: 92 F: 12
Range: 60 M: No Area: see below
TD: 100Note1 Duration: see below
The spells conjures forth an oily, tallow-scented fire that burns only beings with ESS and who have physical flesh. The fire is transferred to a target by touch – roll versus DEF), burning d6+1 HP and impairing 1 ESS per melee round. While active, and it lasts for 6 melee rounds + 1 melee round every 7 mana invested when cast, any other living being that touches the target also catches fire if a half-strength application of the spell surpasses their MD. Regardless, no affected creature burns longer than the total duration of the spell, no matter when affected. The fire cannot be put out like normal as it is consuming flesh and life force but neither does it burn normally flammable material. Spells or rituals that disrupt OP 3 spells and render them inert; secrets that allow dismissal or dispelling magic, and like powers will dissipate the fire once lit on a target.

HAMMER OF THE WAVE – OP 3
Preq: APT 26+, MA 20+, Exp Channel, Exp Arcanalogy
Mana: 11 C: 99 F: 10
Range: 20 M: No Area: see below
TD: 125Note1 Duration: immediate (see below)
The spell conjures forth the hammering intensity and power of a dropping wave as it smashes down on the shore. It will hit a everything in a 5 ft wide by 15 ft long length, accompanied with the scent of the ocean and dampness on the skin. Its force is such that it 2d10+10 HP damage and bowls over a total BODY of creatures, objects, etc. equal to the caster's skill check. Those bowled over are moved along the same path 2d10 ft past the end of the wave with a force equal to half the BODY total of the wave. If they encounter something solid then they take the BODY damage for that value as well, otherwise they end up prone and Staggered for the rest of the melee round.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Coup De Grace Rules (AE)

After some discussion with a few players I realized that I did not include the Coup De Grace rules!

So, I guess better late than never.

In situations where a person is unable to defend themselves and you make a strike against them, inflict max damage for the weapon employed and add the damage to a base TD 150.  The person then makes a Shock save against this value.  If they fail then they die instantly.  Otherwise they suffer the damage inflicted.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Doom Guard


Few, if any, could pinpoint with any accuracy the existence of the original Doom Guard. The annals of Ghealcour Deal’jousi are accounted for as the first, direct mention of such things. Known as the Golden Ashang of Arduin, Ghealcour was a name synonymous with heroism, danger and glory. In his annals, he describes them in detail after limping back from a sojourn into the necrotic depths of Skull Tower. Below is a fragment from that journal, written as Ghealcour was wont to do, as if speaking to another face to face.

Horrific. Terrible. Yet, so potent, so beautiful the deadly song of their blades. Born in the song and weave of rune, these doom guard move with the cogency of the old great beasts of yore. Who or what birthed these things? Was it the rune weavers1 and the first true ones2, forging a weapon against the great grey beasts3? Or, the beasts themselves, forming a weapon aimed at their rebellious slaves? None live to answer such questions, I would surmise.”

Another fragment later captures the tale of how he and his men came across them in the dark recesses of Skull Tower.

No scent captured their intent. No twitch of the neck, raising hairs was the alarm of their attack. None of our trained senses were aware. In one instance we trekked the dank, dismal necropolis and the next they were among us! Tall as a man and more, blades in each fist, burning the air with whistling speed. My men fell like flinhorns in a brisk wind across the plain as they cut into u. Our blood was a red and green flow, decorating the black metal of their forms, scarring momentarily the symmetry of the silver runes that adorned them.”

Later, having reformed and limped away, Ghealcour muses with his pen.

Curiosity consumed me. Even in flight for our lives, I could not contain it. We retreated and fought them as they flickered faster than the eye could conceive. We were lucky now and then and one would fall. Almost like the harsh sound of chimes or a dulcimer. There was an odd, musical quality to it. In the thick of battle, I could not resist. I took up a piece of the rune scribed metal, holding it close as my men ushered me free of the bony grip of the tower. Later, in the safety of the boughs I held its weight and considered it in the light of Syraath. Strange it was. So strong but so light in weight. The metal looked like no other I had seen. The runes, however, drew me the most. The order of their making was beyond me, but I could see the hint of the power they contained.

While probably the first in writing, he was by far the last to have encountered Doom Guard. Many have confused the soul bound army of Tankaras, (Greater Demon) Hell’s own general with these creatures. While similar on the exterior they are greatly different. Those under Tankaras’ command are formed from the souls of sentient beings he has taken.

Doom guard of our day differ from those original doom guard described by Ghealcour and others in the heyday of Arduin’s revival. Those few original ones were born in rune magik, empowered by runes fell and powerful. Time and the blades of adventurers took their toll, and slowly these original uglies slowly disappeared. In their place came similar creatures, constructs made not in the strength of runes but the chaotic energies of magik. Mages of power learned to construct a special form of golem that resembled and duplicated much of the original Doom Guard powers. No matter how well they made, however, they could never duplicate the extent of the original doom guards’ powers.
 
GM side notes: Creatures of great power can dominate and override a Doom guard’s original programming. Some lesser demons can also do this (Night Demons in particular). Some versions of the Doomguard have 8 arms, each with appropriate weapons. Such versions can effectively make 4 to 6 attacks per round as well as engage multiple opponents with no loss of accuracy. Others were inscribed and loaded with spells, very like a shydra is. Most spells are 7th to 20th power. Such Doomguard always possess harsh white runes that leave after trails in the air as they moved. Fewer still had the ability to discorporate and/or become ethereal. Such doom guards always possess a crystalline powder blue hued gem on their helms. Rarer still are those that can duplicate themselves. Such Doomguard can create temporary clones at a rate of 1 per round (fully capable at birth!) without limit. These terrible few are distinguished by a bloody red ruby where their “heart” would be.

In time, these original incarnations changed (as did Dave’s games). By campaign two and three, they were a bit milder but no less deadly. The version you see in the Compleat Arduin was the updated version though the one released with Arduin Eternal is the latest incarnation and most "official".

Rarely did DH make unique versions of these critters. A few notables did exist though. In particular, within Skull Tower was one of the more ancient Doomguard. This unique creation was always encountered alone. 

Its description was that of a 14 ft set of armor, flat black in color with spiraling wavy runes in gold, bronze, silver, ivory and green. Each rune was a layer atop another, spelling out the fate of one Jjinuroon in Eldarin. Within the suit itself was the preserved bones of Jjinuroon, his lingering hatred of life empowering the Doomguard. It carried a double edged broad sword in one hand called “Life’s Ashes” and a hooked mace (formed to look like a falcon’s head and beak) called “Hell Falcon”.

Another was the so-called Blood Hound of Tunk Hill. This singular one had a helm shaped like a feral hound and constantly dripped with blood. Crossing its slime trail was said to bring death.

One horrible Doom Guard was said to be within the Caverns of the Time Lords. The Scrolls of Anarakurk tell the tale of nine intrepid souls that have passed beyond the living rune that covers the entrance. The fourteenth scroll tells the tale of meeting a giant of a man, clothed in metal armor. His helm showed five faces, one a face of intense anguish, one flat and expressionless; another laughed, a fourth grimacing and the last with a look of intense concentration. They had little time to discern what it all meant as the doom guard laid into them with whirling flails, trails of flame from its eyes (anguish) and a tongue of scarlet energy (grimacing mouth).