Friday, December 17, 2010

Humans, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs, and Bleaker Goblins of Averlorn

HUMANS: Humans are among the most numerous of the “civilized” races and tend to be the dominant race in most political circles. Humans are broken down into 3 racial subtypes: the Ardrois of the city states, the sea-fairing Volkyr of the Archipelago, and the Thugee of the North. The three strands of humanity have substantially different cultures, technology, religious beliefs, etc. Their appearance and even body types are all markedly different. Humans of all sorts are found throughout the land and though they get on well with most races, humans view dwarves as trusted allies. The Thugee hold a deep resentment for elves of all sorts and their hatred for giants is unrelenting. Both of these beliefs seem to stem from deeply held religious principles.

HALF-ELVES: The elven gene frequently resurfaces in later generations in the lands of Averlorn so pure ½ human, ½ elven mixes are quite rare. Considering their mixed heritage, half-elves are welcome among both parent races. In fact, among certain cultures, they are viewed as favorite sons, chosen by the Gods for great deeds.

HALF-ORCS: Orcs are strange creatures in Averlorn being not so much a product of evolution, but rather born of sorcery from a forgotten past. Even today, many of their number are created by despotic wizards who use them to defend their domains. As a result, half-orcs are not at all uncommon since the parent orc race has no females, and breeding stock is found among whatever local populace of humans or humanoids is at hand.

BLEAKER GOBLINS: Often regarded as a bizarre mix of goblin and gnome, these creatures are found in the cities of Averlorn. They are a clever race, inventive and given to magical research and other intellectual pursuits. Bleaker goblins, which obviously share a distant ancestor with the common goblin, differ from their goblin cousins in that they have the large bulbous nose so characteristic of gnomes. Additionally, males sport thick beards (they curiously lack an accompanying moustache) and eyebrows, which they wear in a variety of imaginative styles, though always neat and trim. For such small creatures, they hold their kind in high regard to the point of being viewed as arrogant bores by most other races. No one would dispute their skill as spell casters, scholars and inventors, the problem seems to be that they are perhaps to much aware of their own perceived superiority.

Players should use the base gnome for bleaker goblin creation except that they enjoy a +1 save modifier to spells and devices rather than the +2 of their gnomish cousins. Their ability modifiers are +1 DEX, +1 INT, and -1 CHA. They make spectacular thieves and are unlimited in advancement. They may also advance to 12th level magic user, perhaps even higher with exceptional intelligence. Most bleaker goblin PCs or NPCs will be a multi-class character with levels in either illusionist or magic user.

Halflings and Gnomes of Averlorn

HALFLINGS: Halflings are considerably different in Averlorn than in most settings. Though a few live a gypsy-like existence wandering from village to village, most are decidedly urban, making their way in the cities and towns of men and dwarves. Halflings are seen as pests by most humans and given their associations with rats of all sorts—which serve as both the halfling cow and dog at the same time— humans find them extremely unsavory creatures.

Halflings adore the lowly rat to the point of obsession and keep them as pets, admiring their tenacity and adaptability. Their close affinity to these creatures grants them virtual immunity to the diseases associated with vermin of all sorts. Halfings in The Hovels borough of Grand Oryx have bred giant rats to extreme proportions and use them as mounts for select dignitaries and sheriffs. They are prohibitively expensive, surly and short lived, but every self-respecting halfling considers them a “must have” status symbol.

In game play, Halflings gain a very limited version of the 1st level druid spell Animal Companion at 2nd level. This spell takes an hour or more “to cast” and is really, a spell like ability rather than an actual spell. They can make an attempt once per day and of course, they are limited to rats and giant rats. A Halfling may keep up to 2 + CHA bonus of rat pets. Of course, their human and elf associates will be thoroughly disgusted by this cultural trait, but Halflings won’t be deterred by ignorant and petty squeamishness.

GNOMES: The gnomes of Averlorn are very magical creatures, cousins of the fae and masters of illusions and trickery. Gnome communities can be found in both forests and hills, but very rarely in the cities of men. In game play, gnomes with an 18 INT enjoy unlimited advancement in the Illusionist class and gain a 15% bonus to learn any illusionist spell. Upon achieving name level as an Illusionist, gnomes may attempt to cast magic user spells from scrolls with a base 60% + Illusionist Level. Whether or not the attempt is successful, the individual spell is removed from the scroll.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Dwarves and Elves of Averlorn

Players may choose from the standard races in LL or AEC. Note that the Dwarf, Elf, and Halfling in LL are the setting default and all NPCs will be drawn from these rules, with but rare exception. Players on the other hand may choose for example, a Dwarf thief by using the rules given in AEC.
DWARVES: Dwarves prefer the company of humans and together, these two races flourish in the great cites of the world. In addition to the “traditional” Tolkien-esque dwarves of the PHB, there exists throughout Averlorn two dwarven subtypes, unique to the setting which are described below. Those are the Guild dwarves of Grand Oryx and the Bhakshanni who dwell in the remote mountain ranges of the world.
Guild dwarves are among the most skilled engineers, inventors, and craftsman in all the land. They guard their secrets jealously and are responsible for the odd mix of technology levels found throughout Thebos where they are most numerous. There are 2 sub-races of dwarves. Guild Dwarves do not use the ability modifiers of their more rural cousins, but are of a more urban, educated and refined nature. They possess INT +1, CHA -1 as ability modifiers and may rise to 9th level in either Magic User or Illusionist classes. They may of course choose to useone of these in tandem as a mutliclass character along with the allowed races on p. 7 of the AEC. Players who wish to play some strange combination of classes for their dwarf, say Cleric/Assassin or similar, should choose to be a Guild Dwarf.
The Bhakshanni are primitive race of dwarves, regarded as barbaric savages by the more civilized peoples of Averlorn. As such, there is a considerable roleplaying penalty (-2) associated with playing a Bhakshanni, but to reflect their barbaric nature, they may (and often do) choose the Ranger class. Bhakshanni are immensely strong for their size and may ignore the first 25 pounds of any load they are carrying. Additionally, upon gaining a new level, Bhakshanni characters may re-roll their STR ability and adopt the new roll if it is higher than their current stat.
ELVES: Elves are quite numerous in Averlorn and though most other races struggle to identify the various sub-races and castes, these differences have an impact on characters within the setting. Elves frequently intermingle with the other races in the cities of Averlorn, drawn to the great repositories of learning and diversity of experience so often found therein. Most will eventually return to their forest homes after a time and on the whole, elves lead somewhat isolated existences. Elves are well-liked among most races since they are generally congenial and kind, the aggressive and warlike Mountain elves being a notable exception. However, the enmity that exists between elves and the Thugee (the Northmen of Averlorn) is long standing and encounters are usually a “no quarters asked, none given” sort of affair.
No other race is as attuned to the flow of magical energies as the elven people. It defines them and as such, those arcane spell casters within eleven communities occupy the highest order of their society. These beings are known as High elves or Star elves and are fearsome masters of all of the elements. All characters created using the basic LL rules for an elf are considered Star elves as are those using the Magic User rules from AEC (even as multiclass characters). Upon gaining a new spell level, Star elves automatically gain a spell of their choosing from the new level without rolling to learn it. These may be chosen from either LL or AEC. Star elves are adept at learning rare magics and may add a 15% bonus to their chance to learn a spell from sources such as Unearthed Arcana, etc.
Another sub-race among Eleven society is that of the priests and clerics who are known as Moon Elves. Moon Elves are great healers and may reroll any 1s or 2s when casting healing spells (though they must accept the subsequent roll of the die). Moon Elves are a very handsome race, gregarious and entertaining. They possess fine voices, play a number of musical instruments and know at least 2 additional languages. Their knowledge of folklore, legends, and history are the envy of most human scholars and they are often sought for advise in matters of obscure and forgotten lore.
Yet another order of Elven society are Sun Elves which account for all other types of characters, Fighters, Thieves, etc. Unlike the Star and Moon castes, Sun Elves are noticeably different even to outsiders. Sun Elf swordsmen are rightly feared and throughout the land exceptional individuals are highly desirable as mentors for the sons of the wealthy and privileged. To reflect this skill, Sun Elves get +1 to hit with either bows or swords as chosen by the player upon creation. When wielding the slender Elven long sword, those Sun Elves who are specialized in long sword, and any Sun Elf of 7th level or higher, gain a +1 on individual initiative rolls. Sun Elves are paragons of Elven fitness and reroll their STR and DEX (+1 as per the standard AEC rules) stats at every new level, adopting the new roll if it is higher than their current stat.
Three other variants of the elves of Averlorn live in communities all to themselves and bear decidedly different appearances to other elves. The common Wood Elf, the Sea Elf, and the aloof, sky-fairing Mountain Elf have darker complexions and are considerably more muscular. Scholars assert that these three sub-races are in fact an offshoot of a fourth, the vile and wicked Drow, but the issue has never been settled.
Wood Elves make fantastic archers (+2/+1), among the most gifted in the know world in fact. Wood Elf players may play Rangers (without a level limit of any sort), speak an additional humanoid tongue and have uncanny range with a bow (50’ added to every range increment). Wood elves are also unlimited in their advancement in the fighter class.
Sea Elves live in small villages near the Great Banks and in small kingdoms in the Archipelago. They are occasionally seen in other lands since they have a tradition for wandering and travel within their culture. They are very hardy folk and may re-roll their CON ability at each level (and ignore the -1 CON modifier after 2nd level), increasing this ability should a higher number result. Like Moon elves, they possess a gift for languages and know at least 2 additional languages. They possess expansive knowledge of geography and all nautical matters and are unlimited in their advancement of the thief class. Sea Elves enjoy a unique relationship with dragons and even evil dragons may negotiate with them rather than attack.
Mountain elves enjoy a well-earned reputation for violence. Given their raiding nature, they are often known as Sky Devils, and this reputation for pillage and plunder results in a -2 penalty in any and all social skills, apart from those with other elves. Mountain Elves are closely related to Sea Elves and enjoy the same increasing CON rule, the same knowledge of geography and the 2 additional languages. Mountain elves make fine fighters and assassins and enjoy unlimited advancement in those classes. Skilled warriors, they are +1/+1 with all weapons. Mountain Elves have a great deal of experience with griffons and hippogriffs and are adept in their interactions with such beasts whether they're already tame or found in the wild.

Averlorn House Rules for LL AEC (ONLINE GAME)

ABILITIES: 4d6 drop the lowest, assigning them in order (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA). Abilities for Prime Reqs may be adjusted as per p. 7 LL Choosing a Class. This is a relatively simple approach that produces relatively heroic OD&D characters, yet makes Rangers, Paladins and others quite rare and "fun to shoot for" when rolling up a new dude.

HIT DIE: Use the advanced ones in AEC (will be phased out in future campaigns)

HP AT FIRST LEVEL: Rerolls 1s & 2s for a primary character at first level. After that, well, it will all balance out as you go along.

SECONDARY SKILLS: Pick 1 or roll 2.

SIMPLE ALIGNMENT: You can have Good or Neutral tendencies, but keeping it simple is cool.

RACE AS CLASS: Dwarf, Elf, or Halfling can use either option. NPCs, hirelings, etc. are always racial class for simplicity.

DEATH AT 0 FOR EVERYONE BUT...: PCs, NPCs, Boss Monsters, Big Scaries, etc. (let's call 'em Star Players) get a chance to hang in there via the Death & Dismemberment roll HERE

SHIELDS SHALL BE SPLINTERED: Can be used by Star Players, basically you can allow your shield to soak an attack that would otherwise hit and damage you. Your shield is shattered of course. Very realistic and fluffy. Magic Shields (which are quite rare) can do this as well and even though it no longer will function, it retains its magical nature and could be repaired. This may require a master smith and considerable outlay of coin.

NO SHIELDS FOR ARCANE CASTERS: Arcane spell casters need to travel light, hands at the ready to cast, etc. In truth this is simply to limit their access to the previous house rule.

VARIABLE COMBAT DAMAGE: As per the B/X Companion, p 24, basically, use the weapon you find to be most fluffy, damage is determined by class and weapon size.

WEAPON SPECIALIZATION: The Fighter Column gains weapon spec at 2nd level, then again at 7th level but may not double specialize. One of the weapons chosen MUST be a cultural weapon detailed in the Player's Guide (or ask your DM). Bonus for all weapon spec is +1/+1.

SET SPEAR & LANCE ABILITY: As per RC all the Fighting Column may do this though no halfling may use the lance attack.

FIGHTER COMBAT OPTIONS: As per RC, kicks in at relatively high level, 12th for most of the Fighting Column, 11th for Elf and Halfling class.

THE FIGHTING COLUMN MAY CLEAVE: Swinging again is fun and heroic in HtH, though only once per round and you must be in range. Mooks are 1hd or less, at 7th level, 1+ hd creatures get added to the list. At name level, you may cleave a number of time per round equal to 1+ your DEX bonus.

20 IS A CRIT FOR STAR PLAYERS: Double damage by rolling the damage dice a 2nd time BEFORE adding any bonuses. Alternatively, PCs (and PCs only) may choose to make an extra attack on anyone within reach. Against the Undead, the 2nd option is your only option.

DWARF, ELF & HALFLING CLASS: switch over to the RC level system (and benefits therein) once they achieve a level beyond their LL progression.

HIGHER LEVELS FOR DEMIHUMANS: May advance beyond LL AEC limits at a 50% penalty to bonus points, applied BEFORE any bonus from Prime Req.

RITUAL SPELLCASTING: From Beyond The Black Gate 2010 Compendium, available to both divine and arcane casters.

TWO-WEAPON FIGHTING: Roll your damage type (the highest of the two weapons usually) and take the higher roll. Secondary weapon must be small (ie dagger or the like), also adds +1 to Parry.

DWARVES & BATTLEAXES: Like peanut butter and jelly, dwarves may use them and in the hands of a dwarf, it functions as a Bastard Sword.