Showing posts with label lore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lore. Show all posts

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Alter Time rune and Epoch Engine

The world of Runehack has got two runes that mirror each other in an interesting way - Detection and Illusion. For every visual illusion such as a chair, there is some rune to detect it. For every sound produced by a rune, there is also a rune to detect it. This goes for all senses. But... does this work for the time too? How would that look? After all, time depends heavily on how you sense it. Time seems to flow super slow while in a doctor's waiting room, and super fast when you're having a blast. Time itself doesn't change though, your perception does. And you can definitely set up a rune to activate when the detection rune detects that five minutes have passed since activation.

Alter Time

Illusions of time are about as complicated to fully comprehend as the majority of uses for Encryption rune. What would that even mean? Could you travel in time? Well yes, but actually not really. The truth is, all of us are time travelers, traveling through time at the rate of 1 sps, one second per second.

The rune scheme called "Alter Time" lets us change this rate. At its simplest form, you need to spend one hour in drawing this complex rune. Doing so will seemingly slow everything around you down to go two times slower for one minute. Your rate of traveling through time is 2 sps. The rune can also be drawn in an exactly opposite way, letting you experience 0.5 sps, seemingly making everything around you two times as fast.

As soon as the spell stops working, your body reacts to being forced to move at the speed unusual to you as your muscles stiffen. In D&D terms, think of this as a reduction to the Dexterity score.

Question is - can we cast this spell so that we get higher or lower rates? Of course we can! But that also comes at a cost. For every added second (or smaller fraction), the length of time needed to draw this rune is multiplied by 10. So for 3 sps (or 1/3 sps), you need 10 hours, 100 hours for 4 sps, 1000 hours for 5 sps. As you can imagine, slowing time beyond 8 sps is not humanly possible (though let's admit it, it would be really cool). Especially since these runes have to be drawn continuously - you can't take breaks from magic. But... humanity is crafty, it keeps coming up with ways to break the world at all times.

Epoch Engine

Cabal Neuron, one of the organizations that rule the world of Runehack, and the largest producer of autonomous devices such as driverless vehicles and runebots, also creates special runebots named Epoch Engine. When an Epoch Engine unit is built, the first task it gets is to move into a specific area within the building and start drawing a rune of time illusion. This rune is drawn for anywhere from 3 days to even as much as 114 years.

May or may not come preprogrammed with the 3 Laws of Asimov? Actually, they'd be detrimental to their job, so probably not.
Robot Head 112417, by Aaron de Leon

The Epoch Engine units are afterward rented out to important people when they are about to find themselves in extremely important or dangerous situations where they can't afford a failure. The price depends on the size of its inscribed time rune. When something goes awry, an Epoch Engine unit will activate its spell, and do everything it can within the next minute to protect the person it was hired to protect. Due to it perceiving time at 5-8 sps, it is much faster and much more capable of preventing threats, and thus it makes for an effective bodyguard. Sure the attackers who put this important person in danger could expect that, but the VIP can always just rent more of these robots. Once its job is done, it is moved back to the Cabal Neuron facility, where it rests, and draws the time rune once more to be ready for the future.

Runehack now has robots that can be hired to protect a person by slowing their perception of outside time. That's pretty cool. I wonder what'll come next. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Monday, November 5, 2018


Imagine for a moment a world where the runic magic is possible. It's a classic in fantasy, the kind of magic you have to write down and give a bit of magic to in order to make it work.  Let's limit ourselves to four kinds of runes: illusory runes that produce phenomena like sights and sounds (to the point where it can cause harm), divination runes that can find out stuff by themselves, movement runes that can move objects and creatures around (or even teleport them), and runes that can hide information by covering it with ciphers.

Now, imagine that you'd discover new kinds of runes, ones that can send out magic by themselves upon receiving some stimulus. Like for example, seeing the red color, or hearing the sound of a ringing bell, or when the person who this rune is drawn on goes through an intense emotion.

Now, imagine that you could also combine multiple stimuli, and have multiple effects attached to them too. Maybe this rune activates only when you're touching it and when you say a command word, and it shoots a ray of light accompanied by the celestial choir.

And now, try to picture someone piecing these runes together in an intricate way to make... a calculator. However, due to this being the first magical calculator, the runes fill pages of books, that fill shelves of a bookshelves, and these bookshelves fill out a room. Where to next?

Well, someone else who's smart realizes something at that point. They realize that you can minimize the runes, and have them still keep their magical efficiency. You could make them smaller and smaller, reducing room into a bookshelf, a bookshelf into a shelf, a shelf into a book, a book into a single page, and a page into a single playing card that can fit into your pocket.

Meanwhile, someone else who's smart and somewhere else in the world wanted to connect two of these calculators together. Once they did, they tried to connect a third one. And a fourth one. They thought long and hard, and realized that maybe... they should come up with a network that could be joined by any of these elaborate calculators.

And once that happens, you have a fantasy setting, where people carry around books as computers and laptops, cards in their pockets like smartphones, and connect to the internet. This is a vision I had for the setting that I call Runehack. More details on that sometime in the future.

Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

CoFS:A Hardcover Release Celebration!

Good day everyone!

As some of you might have heard, Compendium of Forgotten Secrets: Awakening has been released and is getting printed, as well as sent out, as I write this. Not to Europe yet, sadly, but soon I'll have my own hardcover. Until then, I figured that I could celebrate by making an archetype of my own inspired partially by the book, and by some Greek mythology.

What's there to like about CoFS:A?

Alright, let me start the answer to this question with another question - who here played Skyrim? I know I did. How about Oblivion, its sequel? Morrowind? Any other Elder Scrolls game? Well anyway, these games share several things in common, mainly the setting. Within the setting, you have lots of various beings - some are mere mortals, some are gods, some are chicken protected by the law apparently, judging by how many times the guards have chased me because of them. But... my favorite beings would have to be the Daedric Princes. I always liked the idea of beings that are on the power level of gods, but not really divine... and how close could they get with the mortals. Bestowing them with artifacts, having them do quests for them, telling them things, but also fighting each other and making alliances. The Compendium I'm talking about is all about a bunch of these beings, except they're called Alrisen instead of Daedric Princes. But I can see through their guises. Sheogorath, you won't fool me again!

Anyway, if I had to say what my least favorite of these patrons are, I always like to answer with "the ones I've read the least about". Seriously, they're well written and flexible enough to fit into any world I've ever ran with minimal changes, including Ethernet of Keys. Some of my personal most liked patrons would have to be:
- The Keeper of the Depths, a lovecraftian sea horror that invades the dreams and grants its followers forbidden knowledge;
- The Fallen Exile, a literal star that fell in love, and I guess one could say it fell from sky because of love too;
- The Shadowcat, the first ever nightmare that feeds on other nightmares, and can manipulate the powers of luck;

And the one who inspired my monk archetype...

Currency Conspiracy and Way of the Golden King

Who wants to get rich? Everyone who does raise your hand. Good, the conspiracy has taken note of you, you can lower your hands now. Actually, the currency conspiracy cabal is responsible for you wanting to get rich. They're responsible for money being as widespread as it is. But I shouldn't tell you much more, or else they'll notice me.

There is something I can tell you though. How many of you have heard of the king Midas? You know, the Greek legend, the king who turned things into gold with nothing but a touch? Alright. I figured that it would be cool if the king owned up to his curse, and made good use of it. You know, like certain other cursed royalties, hint hint. If his powers work only through touch though, he may as well throw away weapons. Hell, the armor will be made of gold, so he doesn't need that either. The best way to make use of his power is through martial arts.

This is roughly how I came up with the concept behind the Way of the Golden King. He was greedy, he got cursed, the unseen forces (that may or may not be Currency Conspiracy) gave him an offer, and now he's got his own monastery where he teaches his monks how to turn things into gold. Okay, maybe not real gold since this is players we're talking about, just false gold.

Way of the Golden King PDF

Thank you for reading! Make sure to check out the Compendium, even the abridged version could give you an impression of what's inside. Alternatively, you can find GenuineBeliever on Reddit, Twitter, Discord and Facebook! But since I don't want to leave you with a barrage of links, I'll have to do with just one.

Webpage of Genuine Fantasy Press

This promotion was not paid in any way, I just wanted to make sure my readers see this. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Chained Realms

Cosmology can be a hard thing to figure out. After-all, it is not my first time trying to structure it. Sometimes, one wants something really complicated and open to new additions. Other times, one might want to go as simple as possible. Opinions can change over time, and the Great Wheel doesn't seem like the best option every time. Looking into previous editions, it's clear that World Axis has been an inspiration to me here, though I found a way to make it my own. Let's see how can I keep all of my ramblings about my own cosmology organized, shall we?

The Two Cycles of Chained Realms

The foundation of my cosmology lies in the fact that there are only two types of matter - ether and aether. These are two most basic materials you could split everything physical, and some nonphysical things too, into.

Ether is everything spiritual - the soul. But also the light and darkness. This material can be found in the afterlife planes such as Heavens, Hells, but also in the Material Plane and its echoes, and as one would expect, in the Ethereal Plane, sometimes called Ether.

Aether is what one would think of as elements - fire, water, earth, air, electricity, and their combinations. It is also what mind is made out of. It can be found in the Elemental planes, but also in the Material Plane and its echoes, as well as the Dreamscape.

Drawn by yours truly.

From this, one could picture how the planes look. It's pretty much a Venn diagram, with the circles representing ether and aether, intersection being Material Plane and its echoes, borders of intersections being Ethereal Plane and Dreamscape, and the nonintersecting parts of these big circles being afterlife and elemental planes respectively.

Then there is the space outside of this venn diagram, place outside of the cosmology, the Far Realms. Which are not part of this cosmology, it's just a nice term for "everything else". I have already talked enough about Far Realms, so I won't say much on that topic here.

When you light a branch on fire using a spark produced with a pair of stones in any of the planes in the intersection (let's say Feywild for this example), here's what happens - the spark, and the wood that's consumed travels through the Dreamscape into their respective elemental planes, to be replaced with fire and ashes. These are brought back through the Dreamscape into the Feywild. That's how the cycle of material goes.

Similarly, when someone dies, their soul travels through the Ether and into the afterlife their soul belongs to. Through the Ether the soul comes back and is reused when someone is born. Again, this is a topic I talked about in another article. Any changes or additions to that will be stated here.

The last bit of information about the ether and aether themselves is that their sum total stays the same at all times, and one can't be turned into the other. Picture this kind of like the first law of thermodynamics, except that there are two types of energy that both have unchanging amounts.

Now then, it's time to get into specifics and talk about the planes themselves! I'll start from the outskirts and then get to the Material Plane and its echoes, you'll see why later.

Elemental Planes and Afterlife Planes

Also called Elemental Planes. We all know what to expect here, right? Planes that are filled with water, fire, earth, but also other things. Well, I made some changes to how elements mix, because I wanted lightning to be an element of its own, and for any elements to mix, at least in somewhat sensible way.


Then there are mixtures of elements with light and darkness. These would mostly be found in the Prime planes, but of course there can be exceptions.


The last two kinds of matter that can be found in the elemental planes are mind and the aether itself. Mind doesn't mesh well with the elements. Aether doesn't mesh with elements either, because it's all of them and none of them at the same time. It's usually described as thin, silk-like bright strings.

Of course, if the DM wishes to structure the combinations of elements in a different way, add or remove elements, or even if they want to make up completely different elements just for fun, they are free to do so. There could in theory even be an infinite number of elemental planes, making the Elemental Chaos into a space ripe for exploration.

Afterlife planes work in a much similar way. All elemental mixing that occurs in relation to this plane has been described above already however, so this part will be much shorter. When one encounters an angel, it's a being literally made of pure light imbued with a soul. Heaven too is made of pure light. Still, afterlife planes have space for adding more and more planes for exploration - be it from the Great Wheel (Ysgard, Limbo, Acheron, ...), or planes of your own making based on what kind of treatment one deserves. Maybe there's even space for the planes of luck and misfortune that were included in my previous iteration of the cosmology.

Ether and Dreamscape

Transitive planes are used for traversing planes. Well, sort-of. They do also have things within them, but those things aren't that easily accessible. Which is why we differ between the Border and Core, sometimes called Deep regions.

Picture standing on a glass ceiling. You can see everything underneath you (the Core), but can't really interact with it. Your interactions are limited to what's on top of the ceiling (the Border). When one travels through Ether or Dreamscape into a different plane with their body, their soul, their mind, and their equipment intact, this is kind of what's happening. You're accessing the Border Ether, or Border Dreamscape. You can observe what's within the Core, though you can't really affect it. and you can access the Core only by the purest abstract thing body has of corresponding element - the soul for Ether, the mind for Dreamscape. Getting anything more inside and outside of that would take magics of power greater than Wish itself.

One implication of these planes being required for moving around their matter is the existence of genies. I've mentioned previously in the article about souls that when someone dies in the Elemental Planes, their soul is stuck there. It gathers the ether, and eventually becomes a genie. Great thing about this is that the same logic could now be applied to the Afterlife Planes! If you die on the Afterlife Planes, your mind is stuck there. Eventually, it gathers light and/or darkness, and becomes its own being, ... which I haven't named yet. Alternatively, if you leave behind a piece of your equipment, like your teapot for example (which is of course made of aether), it eventually attracts ether, and becomes alive. Animated teapot, now where did I hear of that before...

Prime Planes

These are the planes in the intersection of ether and aether. Most familiar of these to majority of players is of course the Material Plane, but its echoes belong here too. Feywild, Shadowfell, and anything else one could make up. Or not. this depends on the DM - if they wish to go with a simpler model, they can freely omit the echoes and keep just the Material Plane. Or they might also exclude that one too. That could make for an interesting world.

Something something hot topic, something something heated discussion.
Original image is the concept art from Rift

So far simple enough, right? Well, here's another thing that made me mildly unhappy - try to imagine the elemental plane of fire. What is it made of? Of course, fire is present, but what else is there? Maybe... the ground to stand on is made of hot rocks? Maybe the air is filled with smoke and stuff? Maybe even lakes of lava. All of that... is starting to sound less and less like fire. So, my way of solving it is simple: It's not just fire, it's all the elements, but mixed with fire.

Elemental Plane

How about a practical example? Picture the Elemental Plane of Fire being made out of smoke, magma, fire, plasma, and steam, possibly even radiance and ash. Now that sounds like something that could actually exist instead of just fire. Lakes of plasma and lava, air that's filled with steam and smoke, grounds covered with ashes and burning... things that resemble plants but are not plants... You get the idea.

Or how about the Elemental Plane of Earth being made of sand, earth, magma, magnets, wood, minerals and dust? Picture the sandy shifting sea, moving up and down like a liquid. Picture the earth that's got minerals here and there, and even some naturally magnetic metals. Picture wooden underground structures, and lava lakes, again!

How about we take this to whole another level? What if you could transform Feywild and Shadowfell into a more whimsical and more scary place? I hear no objections, so let's do it!

First and foremost, we will have to define how the Feywild and Shadowfell fit into the cosmology. I'll keep that simple, and say that they are Material Plane, but with a little bit of light and darkness added - light for Feywild, darkness for Shadowfell. Now, having those affect the entire planes could be dangerous, so I will come up with natural phenomenons to explain them - storms! Lightstorms in Feywild, and darkstorms in Shadowfell (work in progress names).

When a part of the Feywild is struck by lightstorm, you see bits of light falling from the shining clouds above. Everything that's rained on gets altered a little by them, for some amount of time. The fires turn into lightshows of color (radiance), the air carries sounds in a much more effective manner, making everything louder and more intense (thunder), the earth beneath you literally turns into precious stuff (mineral), the water turns into slime that's possibly alive (ooze, of course), and when a lightning strikes, you see it as a falling star flying down in a path that resembles lightning (spark).

For Shadowfell, the darkstorms turn the already shady place into an even worse one. The earth beneath you crumbles and feels dusty, any fires turn to ashes instantly, the water turns to poison, there is a lack of air (just... try to ignore the physics here, please), and during the storms, instead of lightnings the world is enveloped in a moment of absolute darkness and silence.


What makes me the most excited about all of this is that it's got a lot of potential for expanding. We can start with basic 5 elements described above, the Heaven, the Hell, Material Plane and two of its echoes, two transitive planes and Far Realms. But when we need it, we could make a hellish afterlife that's a huge prison like Carceri, a two-sided heaven like Bytopia, the Elemental Plane of Bears or even the Grigori, Material Plane's echo where time is much faster and beasts rule...

And if you run out of ether and aether? Well, you could always come up with another kind of primordial matter. I already got two in store, but don't tell my players. It's a secret.

The possibilities are endless, which is why this kind of multiverse makes me very excited as a creator. Maybe one day I'll make a cosmology that's better than this one, but until then... I'm fine with this one.

Who knows how many materials are there...
Image via BBC, I think.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Cursed Queens Compendium, v1

For quite a while now, I wanted to rework my original warlock patron, the Seven-cursed Queen Arcadia. I've given it good amount of thinking, and came to a conclusion: Why should it be just Arcadia? How could the things have been if she was not to win? Answers to these questions brought me more questions, which were like a pair of tickets for what was the best thought train I've ridden in a long time.

Reddit link
GMBinder link
Google Drive link

Originally, The Seven-Cursed Queen patron was too long and unwieldy for most people to really pay attention to, so I've split her up into six patrons. Eventually I plan to work out dynamic stat blocks for all of the queens so that this can be played out by a DM and players.

Design Notes

Since there's a ton of stuff, I will only address the parts that cause me concerns:
  • Some of the ribbons given out from the winning queen, such as Arcadia's or Lia's ribbon, might be used for something a DM did not expect. For example, producing ashes until there's a heap tall enough to climb up a wall, or attempting to produce rare flowers by stomping on their seeds. Those abilities might need some clarifications depending on feedback I get.
  • Most of the spell lists were constructed rather hap-hazardly without second thought, since I prefer not to add new spells into the game. If however there will happen to be choices that would make the warlock too strong, I will have no other choice.
  • Beguiling Defenses are shared by everyone, because it is a trait I felt fits the queens. I hope people will not see it just as laziness.
  • Names for other features are a bit repetitive, but I felt I should keep the theme between them as it was before to further confirm that these subclasses can really be combined.
  • Healing effect of the cursed gloves might be too weak on higher levels. Bonus action to heal yourself or an ally 5 hit points would be pathetic at levels such as 10 or so, but I'd assume it would be done in case someone falls unconscious.
  • Cursed earrings grant two expertises at level 1, which would play right into the wet dreams of all the skill monkeys out there. Then again, it's for two skills players can't really pick themselves.
  • Capstone of the cursed eyes might be a bit too strong. Then again, it can be kinda weak compared to fiend, who gets their thing instantaneously, while this warlock risks their enemies succeeding on all three saves.
  • Heart's level 1 and 14 feature are just rehashes of level 1 archfey and level 14 great old one features. But hopefully they are different enough.
  • Artworks used don't really resemble the queens. Then again, finding all of those would be too big of a coincidence, and comissioning them for a project that might not even turn out that successful would be very expensive. I hope the Heart's steampunk painting is explained by that brief "queen of skies" note.

That would be all for today. Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

4 Psionics reflavors

For the longest time, I've tried to figure out how to make the psionics fit into the D&D worlds. My initial thoughts on why they don't fit were that not everyone could tell psionics and just regular old magic apart. And that's true, but it's also true for wizards and sorcerers, clerics and paladins, druids and rangers and other such combinations. But what I figured out is that common folk can't tell the difference between a lot of stuff anyway, so why should that be a problem? I like to explore new magic systems, which is why I support psionics in D&D.

May the... mind be with you?

In this article, I'll list four ways to flavor psionics so that they fit better into a fantasy setting. I always found the explanation of "mind over matter" and "it just comes from within" to not be good enough. What would be stopping anyone from becoming a psion if it comes from within? I don't like it, and thus I came up with four attempts at solutions:

  1. Lucid State (also referred to as Dreampower, of Waking Lucidity). You have gained the powers you now hold through special training performed inside of the dreams. Within the dreams, you have learned the techniques and practiced them long enough to know how to manifest them in real life. This is not something anyone could reach, because most people have "scripted dreams" - they are not lucid, they are not in control, they just do whatever their mind feels like doing.
  2. Simulationist (also referred to as Meta, Neo or whatever fits). You have opened your eyes and saw the truth that's hidden from the most. Your reality is just a mere simulation - be it a book where everything is just words, a song sung by a God, a video game realistic audio-visual projection processed on a superadvanced computing machine, or a campfire story told by a bunch of people around the fire until it goes away. You know the truth, and you can manipulate the reality, knowing you're just a character within story, gaining great powers because of it.
  3. Akashic Archivist. I went over this last time, so I'll be brief - you channel the knowledge of Akashic Archives into your mind. Sometimes it's incomprehensible, sometimes it's useless, but after all that comes the stuff you can use to your advantage. Secrets of the reality and such, perceived by the Allseer.
  4. Far Realms Magic (also known as You're a fhtagn, Harry). You peered into the Far Realms long enough, knowing just enough information for them to peer back at you. Now you are infected with their very own magic.
Bonus choice: Combine any or all of the above. Afterall, they are kinda compatible - why couldn't the world be a story told inside of a god's dream? What if the Akashic Archive is indeed a source of Far Realms magic?

I'm not gonna claim that any of these is a unique idea, but I hope listing them in here and in relation to psionics gives people some cool ideas. Do you have anything that should have been included in the list? Feel free to leave a comment!

Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

[Spoilers] Senses and What you see is what you get

I advise players of mine to not read further. This article does not contain plot spoilers, it's about mechanics I'd prefer my players to find out about on their own.

Sentience, by TylerReitan

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Reflavoring: Barbarian

Hi! This may seem like an article series, and that's because it kinda is, thing is just that I don't have that many ideas for other classes on this series. Like, I got one at best for Fighter, seeing how it's literally just about a guy who can handle any weapon and any armor (ignoring archetypes). For casters, I got something really neat, but the problem there is that I sort of worked them out by changing mechanics slightly. You'll see what I mean probably in one of my next articles. Anyway, before I get totally sidetracked, I should just reiterate that I can't promise sequels, and I can't promise the sequels coming in alphabetical order either.

Now then, with the silly intro aside, we can get into it.

It Started with a Samurai

Long ago in a distant land, I, Aku, the shape-shifting Master of Darkness, unleashed an unspeakable evil! But a foolish samurai warrior wielding a magic sword stepped forth to oppose me.
Before the final blow was struck, I tore open a portal in time, and flung him into the future, where my evil is law!
Now the fool seeks to return to the past, and undo the future that is Aku!- Samurai Jack, Intro
Samurai is one of those characters that people want to play in D&D. A cool, disciplined warrior, who travels the land and uses his sword to make right what goes wrong. What does one think of when someone say samurai? Maybe a fighter would fit, since they're a skilled warrior. Maybe a kensei monk. Or hell - even a rogue could work. But, what if I told you that the barbarian could also fit? You just need to rename features to make it work.

Picture this. A warrior whose skin is tough as steel, someone who can enter the changed state of mind where he is much more vigilant of his surroundings, someone who is faster than most regular men. He knows that to attack well, sometimes he has to risk getting hit in return to get a really good hit, and once he's experienced enough, he knows how to hit person not just really good, but really freaking good, causing some very significant injuries. And then there's his unrelenting spirit that keeps him alive even in the direst situations.

Now, let's see what are the mechanics I used here. I started with the Unarmored Defense, which does not need renaming. Rage is the next feature, which in this case would be reflavored into something like Vigil, or Concentration. What follows is Fast Movement that doesn't need renaming, and after that Reckless Attack that's more like Risky Maneuver. Another feature that does not need renaming is Brutal Critical, and finally, Relentless Rage that in our samurai example is more like Unrelenting Spirit.

(Note: From my past experiences, I would avoid renaming the features as a player because it can confuse DM. I would refer to the features as I use them with their original names, but describe them as part of the story in a different way.)

I'm sure that by now you can see this can work - barbarians don't just have to be easily angered people who use big bulky weapons and live in tribes. It's a nice idea that I am a fan of, but then WotC announced that their next book is going to have Samurai archetype for Fighter. Well, I guess here's to that then, I'll have to come up with a new name. Maybe Ronin could work...

True Core of Barbarian

Last night I was thinking about the barbarian once again, and I got a brilliant idea that made me go "I need to write about this on my blog!". What got me thinking was one single look at the right emotion wheel.

What if Rage was instead replaced by most of the emotions inside?

Vigilance I already explained above.
Ectasy would suit someone who is really optimistic about life, driven and joyful, who wants to spread joy all around.
Admiration is fitting for someone who has an idol they would do anything for.
Terror is for someone who works the best when under the pressure. Think Shaggy from Scooby Doo (yes, it's a stretch, but imagine he'd put those muscles into fight instead of flight).
Amazement I'm gonna skip because it's not really worth it. Being surprised isn't really something that can be controlled, and barbarians already get a feature against being surprised.
Grief wouldn't work either, I'd dare to say that sadness is the greatest enemy of the barbarian. Especially if it makes them nihilistic, if it makes them feel like nothing is worth fighting. No kind of emotion could save you from that really.
Loathing would work well for an evil* barbarian who is driven by hatred of some sort - racism, hatred for magic, hatred for a nation etc.

(* nobody is really evil, evil is subjective, but I can't be bothered talking about that again)

Of course we could look at certain comic series about magic rings for further inspiration, like the emotions (that are not really emotions): Compassion (who fights for others, think Steven Universe), Hope (who believes in a better future), Willpower (who is powered by their own determination, think Undertale's protagonist) and Greed (like Wario, or Mr. Krabs from Spongebob).

So, what's the core of the barbarian? Their fighting is driven by their emotions. Once we realize that, we can map the non-magical classes onto two axes. One is focused on emotions, with barbarian who unleashes their emotions for the world to see on one end, and monk who suppresses them on the other end, and the other axis being that of combat focus - fighter is focused on general damage, with lots of less effective attacks, fighting style of their choice etc., while rogue is focused on making single attack that's very effective. Of course there's more to all four of these classes, but this is how I would map them.

Then there’s the problem of strength of personality relying on Charisma, but… meh, I can let this pass. It’s just describing what’s already in game in a different way.

Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

[Minor Spoilers] The Greatest Secret of the Multiverse [Must Read!!] [Forbidden Knowledge] [Gone Aberrant]

I feel like I should apologize for that title. Anyway, message to my players - this knowledge is marked as minor spoilers because... well, your characters can't really do anything about it. If you read any of this, your characters should know none of this. I hope I made myself clear.
Now that this is out of the way... let's see what this secret is.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Feywild, Home of the Fey

This article was originally posted on /r/DnDBehindTheScreen , as a part of their Atlas of the Planes series. Since it was originally meant for my blog, I figured I should post it here too. Here's the link to the original article.

"Don't ever diminish the power of words. Words move hearts and hearts move limbs." -Hamza Yusuf


Feywild. Home of fey, echo of the Material Plane, and source of some of the greatest, most powerful beings and things in the multiverse. It was only after the gods created the Feywild that they noticed time not moving as it should when compared to other planes. This lead them to abandon the plane, only leaving it with its own version of gods that manage and protect it in the gods’ stead - beings called Archfey.
There was a dramatic turn of events once mortals found out about the Feywild and the many ways of accessing it. You see, when mortals found the fey, they saw something that the gods granted to the fey but didn't grant to mortals - the Silver Flame. This caused the first feeling of jealousy in history, which eventually led to the first theft. Once the gods noticed the theft they did something about it - they granted the fey a Golden Flame, but it was too late, and the fey were changed forever.
Some of the fey accepted the Golden Flame and became overly warm. These would be later referred to as the Seelie fey. Some love fun, some like parties, some enjoy company of animals, mortals, other fey and anything else. They show bright colors, but do not understand mortals or emotions all that well.
Then there are the others, the dark cold ones, who rejected the Golden Flame. These hold grudges against the mortals to this day, can be merciless and generally are depicted as brooding loners. The Unseelie, as they have been referred to ever since, are mostly colored in faded colors, white, black and shades of gray.
However, there are some things both kinds of fey have in common - fascination with mortals. Some like to observe mortals from a distance, others like to confront them, even going as far as to steal back from them, hoping to get a piece of the Silver Flame that was stolen from the fey. Ever since mortals stole their flame, the fey see them as what the fey were meant to be, and try to emulate them to the best of their ability. This, as you will see, will be recurring theme of this article, where I will focus on the laws of the Feywild's nature.


At first glance, the Feywild appears to be just a wilderness untouched by civilization. Weather is more intense for the most part, water is abundant, and magic is mostly the same. However, once you spend enough time in it, you realize just how different and strange this place can be. While I could focus on wild magic, or how time fluctuates, I would like to leave that and focus on something different - food. Because not everything alive in the Feywild can do magic or cares about the passage of time, but almost everything needs or wants to eat.
You are what you eat.
All living things native to the Feywild that eat follow this proverb to some extent, whether they realize it or not.
Starting at the bottom, there are plants. Most plants don’t eat anything, and they are there to be eaten by others, so the rule does not apply to them.
Plants are eaten by herbivores, who slowly become more and more plant-like. Eventually, after a herbivore eats enough, it takes root and can't move from that spot anymore. This is why there are so many animal-shaped hedges in the Feywild - these are just old herbivores.
Carnivores are split into two groups - lower predators and apex predators. Lower predators go for low hanging fruit (figuratively speaking), mostly hunting the herbivores. However, after enough time spent hunting, they themselves will start to turn into what they hunt - their teeth become less and less sharp, their stomach become more adapted to eating plants than meat, and other changes happen as well. With a steady diet of herbivores, these creatures will eventually take the form of an omnivore.
Apex predators are a very specific breed that only gets stronger the longer they live, due to what they eat. This is the secret of the apex predators - they never consume anything less than themselves. They will always try to hunt creatures stronger than themselves, for they are intelligent enough to know that this is the only way for them to get more powerful, and to keep their power.
This seems to be a cruel world then, in which all beings will eventually turn into plants. Well, on one hand, that would explain why the Feywild is overgrown, with green everywhere. But, luckily there is a law that helps some of the lesser creatures to move up in the chain.
That which does not kill us makes us stronger.
If a lesser predator encounters an intelligent creature, and manages to kill it it would become more intelligent, and likely stronger. If, on the contrary, it didn’t manage to kill the creature and instead got hurt, it would still get stronger. Another way for a lesser predator to get stronger would be to feast on a freshly dead apex predator, before any other apex predator could eat it.
These laws do not affect most of the sentient creatures because because the fey realized that mortals do not change after every meal. This law was mostly removed, applying only to beasts, plants and monstrosities, as the fey jealously try to emulate mortals.


Birds of a feather flock together.
No man can serve two masters.
Fey are more cultured than beasts, trying to act as human as possible. They may not be affected by the food they eat physically, but it still changes them to some extent on a psychological level.
There are four major Fey Courts, based on the four seasons - Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. These Courts split into Houses, each representing a preference of taste that the fey belonging to each House has. Any individual fey belongs to just one house, and the members of each house share some physical and mental characteristics with each other.
Spring Court is the court of desire. Houses that belong to the Spring Court are the Sweet House, the Savory House and the Spicy House. The Sweet House is what most think of when fey are mentioned - constantly smiling and overly optimistic. These fey are kind, childish and not afraid of being social. They can be vengeful, however, after all - Revenge is sweet. The Savory House belongs to fey whose love for meat is shown by the sharp teeth they like to bare at everyone. At first they may seem predatory and aggressive, but when you get to know them, they will show you their playful side. The Spicy House fey have hair that appears to be constantly ablaze, just as their minds are, their hair never stops burning until they die.Despite rumors to the contrary, their hair will not ignite anything else, though it is said to be overly warm to the touch. Spicy House fey are characteristic for their eagerness just as much as for their hot-headed, temperamental nature.
Summer Court is the court of wrath. Houses that belong to the Summer Court are The Sour House, The Fatty House and The Calcium House. The Sour House is made up of domineering fey who often try to boss around others and tend to have their mouth corners turned downwards in cruel frowns. They anger easily and often show signs of jealousy. The Fatty House, as the name suggests, contains some of the heavier fey. They are lazy and nervous, but also greedy, always asking and looking for more than they need and being angry when they don't get it. The Calcium House belongs to fey of pale skin, sometimes even albinos. They are steady, blunt and unpolished in their behavior, coming off as angry and rude.
Fall Court is the court of fear. Houses that belong to the Fall Court are The Salty House, The Minty House and The Bland House. Fey of the Salty House tend to passively show signs of unpleasantness. Often they are characterized as being passive, critical and sarcastic when trying to be funny or even when they're not. A fey of the Minty Houseis characterized by their ever present distant look. They try to be stylish and cool in all aspects of their life, but are emotionally distant and reserved. Bland House fey are suspiciously average in looks, and deliberately keep to themselves. They are monotonous and stoic, yet conscientious. Strangely enough, they capitalize on their blandness, and utilize it to their advantage, being easily forgettable.
Winter Court is the court of sorrow. Houses that belong to the Winter Court are The Burnt House, The Numbing House and The Bitter House. The Burnt House is home to fey whose skin is as dark as the overcooked charcoal-like foods they eat. Only ever feeding on the most burnt of overcooked foods, they tend to act burned out, miserable, and show self-destructive tendencies. Numbing House contains fey that are constantly flinching and twitchy. At first they seem merely indecisive, but this only conceals their sadistic side. However, if one becomes close enough to them, they show the inner conflict they're going through, trying to figure out how to show love without causing pain. Bitter House fey are characterized by the constant frown on the faces of its members. They are sad, jaded, and grumpy, and never try to hide their pessimistic outlook on life.
There is one House left that does not belong to any of the Courts. Fey of the Metallic House are the only house whose members are physically affected by the things they eat, with their members showing characteristic metal skin. They show no signs of emotions and are very strict and machine-like in nature, which is why they're alienated from other Fey, belonging to no Court.
With the Courts and Houses explained, let's take a step back and look at the fey in general, to see what they have in common.
Some of you may know that after a fey dies, it reincarnates. But, did you know that they don't ever reincarnate as the same being? This is because their soul is in fact made up of several fractured parts. Once a fey creature dies, these fragments scatter all around the Feywild, joining together with other soul fragments, forming clumps, and eventually reaching a high enough number to be reborn. To a fey, a parent is the fey they used to be previously, while a sibling is a different being that comes from the same parent.
Some people say that fey like to make deals. This is true for the majority of them, and for a good reason - they are able to twist the meaning of words in the deals without truly lying so that the deal sounds like something completely different. There's a small amount of mortals who also believe that with these deals they can gain magical powers, but there is very little evidence of that.
Now, let's continue the theme of looking up proverbs and seeing their consequences in Fey culture.
Believe in yourself.
Beauty is only skin deep.
A fey's appearance is a reflection of what it believes itself to be. If they think they are beautiful, they will appear beautiful. If they think they are hideous monsters for what they do to others, their physical appearance will reflect that. Some fey manage to learn how to change their appearance at will in a minor way, such as changing the color or length of their hair, changing some features of their face or body, or even their skin tone. A very few have mastered this art and can take nearly any form if they believe hard enough.
There's a darker side to this belief power as well. Fey are generally disgusted and harmed by Cold Iron and avoid touching it. Cold Iron has many interpretations depending on different settings - some believe it is metal worked without using heat, others think it is just iron. For the purposes of this article and my setting, I assume cold iron to be any human-made material (with exception of some metals like silver, gold or orichalcum). This is not limited just to metals, but includes other more unusual materials like plastic (which is not present in most settings, but I'll list it here as an example anyway). The reason why fey are disgusted and afraid of cold iron is due to the fact that it is deadly to the fairies. Other types of fey are harmed by it, but only because they believe it is harmful to them, perhaps remembering their previous life as a fairy.
Faith will move mountains.
The power of belief here is not limited just to individuals. If enough Fey believe strongly in something, it will eventually come true . Luckily for everyone else, this power is not used all that often, and is for the most part forgotten nowadays, seeing how this is a monumental task anyway.
He who laughs last laughs best.
You really do not want to be around the fey when they're collectively cracking jokes. Seriously, some of them take laughing to the next level, considering it competition as to who will laugh the longest. While they can contain themselves while with humans, away from them they'll laugh for hours upon hours, until they start to literally drop unconscious, or even die because of the constant laughter.
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.
Most of the fey are female for this exact reason. Also, because they are prettier according to most, because "Courage is the measure of a Man, Beauty is the measure of a Woman."
All is fair in love and war
As long as fey can say they do something for the sake of love or war (which they do most stuff for anyway), they won't shy away from using dirty tricks. Making deals and twisting their meanings later on, kidnapping human children, luring mortals to stay in Feywild... all of this is done for either love or war (according to them).
Little things please little minds.
It is no surprise that fairies wear tiny clothes, use tiny weapons, and have other tiny adventuring equipment. But... did you know that they also have toys? And books? And lots of other tiny things that one would not expect them to have. Of course, mortals would expect it once they realize that the fey try their best to mimic them.
Speak of the Devil, and he is bound to appear.
Some fey have developed an ability to appear next to someone when their name is mentioned. This is usually limited to one plane of existence, however. This is restricted to an illusory image of them for lesser fey, through which they can also hear and see their surroundings (but they cannot utilize other senses). Interacting with the image reveals it to be an illusion. Lesser fey can do this only a couple times a day.
Archfey on the other hand, can use this ability at will whenever their name is mentioned, and can choose whether they appear personally, or their illusory image appears instead.
Home is where the heart is.
This mainly applies to nymphs - dryads, undines, oreads, and other nymph-type fey. Their heart - that is, their soul - is located in the object they are bound to. This is why they know the position of this object at all times, and can thus return to it instinctively.
On a broader scale however, some of the Fey have uncovered a great secret of gifting someone their heart. Most do it from love, allowing someone to take their heart out of their body once they die, telling them to bring it wherever they go. The power of this heart is to call the souls that held that heart once, allowing the one possessing the heart to one day meet with their beloved, even after their body has passed away.


24 True Fey.
There are twenty-four True Fey. Possibly. What these are, exactly, is not known to anyone. Maybe they are the gods of Feywild in the truest sense of the word, maybe they are just figments of someone's wild and cruel imagination, and maybe they are not real at all (merely rumors and whispers, tales that the fey tell each other). There are a few scholars however, who think that they must be the explanation for the great amount of Archfey that are in the Feywild.
One of the scholars, Gorgian Descret, believed he has documented them all. People consider him a deranged madman and maniac, a paranoiac who connects unrelated things and makes up conspiracies on a daily basis. Gorgian believed that in his writings he had described all 24 of these True Fey in a very detailed manner. Sadly, before they could be published, he died a mysterious death, and his books were never found. The only details that were remembered from his ramblings were that these True Fey have relationships with each other, and that all of the Archfey belonging to one True Fey bear a sign, symbol or some distinguishing characteristic that shows who they represent - from something as simple as the color red somewhere on them, to something as difficult to notice as eyes that never blink. Nowadays, most people do not believe Gorian's theory, despite the mysterious circumstances of his death, and the strange disappearance of his writings.
The Lords and Ladies of Fey are most the powerful fey living in the Feywild. Archfey is a group name for any beings that are on a power level of a god, or something similar (e.g. demigod). Some of them are less powerful, some are more powerful, but there are no mere fey that are mightier than the weakest of archfey. While the weaker Archfey could be something as ordinary as a mortal who became strong enough to rise above all others, the strongest Archfey all have one thing in common - they can use the power of The Word.
Imagine for a moment that you are the strongest wizard in existence. You can cast the most powerful spells in existence that a mortal can access. Some of these spells require you to just utter one word. Legends speak of such wizards, and of these spells - the Power Words. The only problem with the Power Words is their rarity - there are very few documented Power Words. These mighty Archfey use a power similar to this, but the way they use it is impossible for a mortal to achieve.
What do they do to make these Words of theirs more powerful? They twist their meaning. Archfey of the highest tier each have one word, most often a verb, that they have complete control over. They can summon the power of this word just by uttering it aloud, and by interpreting it in different way they can cause effects limited only by their linguistic capabilities. If there was an Archfey with the power of the word Kill, they could use it to kill any creature they desire, but they could also use it to kill the mood of the party. The Archfey with the power of the word Steal could rob others of anything - something they hold, their belongings they left at home, their position, or even their thoughts. This is the exact reason why even the strongest of the wizards never dare to mess with the highest tier Archfey - because even these mightiest of wizards will eventually run out of their magic potential.
Legends say that there was a time when fey did not reincarnate. Long ago, great archfey known as the Eldest ruled the Feywild, caretakers of the most important of all natural cycles - the cycle of life and death. According to this cycle, each being that is alive needs to die, sooner or later. This death is not only physical, but spiritual as well, causing the being's consciousness to perish. According to the myth, other archfey rose against this power, and defeated the Eldest, imprisoning them and freeing their kind from death.
In the present day, death is but a minor inconvenience to the fey. No matter how much they die, they will never fully disappear, because their memories will stay with their soul. However, this natural imbalance is threatened every 10,001 years, when the Eldest are fated to break free. During these times, the Archfey unite to send them once again back into their prisons.


Instead of focusing on politics or religion in the Feywild, I would like to talk about a word people would not expect to be right next to Feywild - economics. Or rather, what economics means for the Feywild. As you have read, the majority of fey love to make deals. But, this means that they have to give something up too. So I'll dedicate this chapter to various currencies they use, and why they use them.
While bartering does work, it doesn’t work as effectively as an established currency. But what exactly do fey recognize currency and what don't they? Well, let's look at what human proverbs say about economic matters like this...
Speech is silver, silence is golden.
All that glitters is not gold.
Since silver is one of the metals they love and cherish the most, they consider spoken words to be a unit of measurement. Gold may seem beautiful and valuable, sure, but as one old tale of humans states, salt over gold. Even salt is more valuable than gold, since silence is golden, and silence comes when no words are said.
So, from all this we can deduce that they consider silver to have its price just like humans, but consider gold to be worthless. Then there is word, and word's price is equal to that of one silver coin in the eyes of fey. However, they don't use word as a currency - they use it to measure currency. Just like we would use one coin, or one kilogram.
But how exactly does one pack lots of words into something?
A picture is worth a thousand words.
Every picture tells a story.
Art. Paintings, music, statues, stories, you name it. This is one of the few instances when humans were (according to the fey) very clear in their proverbs. This is why you could fit one thousand words into one good quality art-piece - fey would consider a good quality piece one that would take more than a thousand words to describe completely. You could have art-pieces that fit more words inside of them, but those are masterpieces of very high quality.
Then there are memories...
Memory is the treasure of the mind.
Memories are equivalent to or greater than the highest quality art, for they show many things that no art could ever reproduce, in the most real and vivid way. However, once the memories are given away, the one who lost them will find themselves having a hard time piecing their mind together. The more memories they give up, the harder thought itself becomes.
Above all other forms of currency lies respect. Respect is something one can earn by impressing Archfey themselves, and can be worth several high quality art-pieces. Nobody knows exactly how many, but one thing is certain of respect:
Respect is not given, it is earned.
Of course there are many other ways to pay fey. Barter, and the trade of services is not uncommon for them. For now, though, let's end with the last currency they use, time.
Time is money.
Fey who accept time as a currency do so either through draining life force of their customer, thus making them older (or younger, rarely), or by moving the customer forward in time.
Of course, if the customer does not have enough of whatever currency the shopkeeper requires, they can offer a favor. However, this has to be accepted by the shopkeeper, and they could require even more than one favor for their goods and services. Bargaining favors with fey is not something to be entered into lightly, as the fey are renowned for tricking and trapping mortals, sometimes forever.


There are many ways of accessing the Feywild. Excluding the magical means adventurers themselves could call on, one way to enter and exit the Feywild is through Fey Crossings - naturally formed portals located where the Material Plane touches the Feywild. Some of these portals are permanent, but most are opened only under certain conditions - on a night when Moon is New, when someone brings a certain key to open it, by speaking a magical phrase, or maybe even by sleeping in a beautiful meadow. Most of the time, the traveler does not realize when they enter the Feywild, to them it seems that they have just walked normally and suddenly they are in a completely different place.
When leaving the Feywild, the traveler can be subjected to various effects of the Feywild, specifically finding that the time they spent in the Feywild differs from that spent outside, or that they do not even remember what did they did since they entered the Feywild. These effects are known though, so I will focus on a different kind of effect.
Once a traveler leaves the Feywild, there is a chance that they will come out changed. The world will seem boring to them, almost colorless, possibly even uninteresting. The only thing they will desire every day is to return to the plane that seems to them almost like a paradise. This has been dubbed as Fairy Homesickness, and some of the powerful mages are known to be able to cure it for a fee.


Changeling: The Lost's Player's Guide offers descriptions of the True Fae I mentioned in the article, and it was my main source of inspiration for them.
Changeling: The Lost is actually pretty good source generally, and I do recommend checking it out if you’re interested in running fey long-term.
Besides sources of inspiration I already listed once, I would say great dance performances (my personal favourite is The Lord of the Dance) can be inspiring, as well as mythology in general (Irish mythology influenced my current campaign a lot) and Dresden Files I still didn’t have time to look at.
Just because it was fun to figure out, below I list conversion rates of their currencies. Bear in mind these are not really logical, so use them at your own risk.
  • 10 silver = 1 gold (fey find gold worthless)
  • 1 silver = 1 word (Word itself is not a currency, just a way to measure currency. Just like kilogram - you wouldn't pay for something with 2 kilograms.)
  • 1 artwork = 1000 words = 1000 silver
  • 1 minute of memory = 360 artworks of same mood and quality = 360000 silver (The conversion can vary based on quality of artworks and memory, as well as mood.)
  • 1 year of life = 2 years of memories = 189216000 artworks of the mood identical to the mood of the memories = 189216000000 silver (Because 1 year of life isn't just memories, you also affect other people and learn and do things.)
  • 1 respect has to be earned, no conversion rate for this is thus known.
Optional Rule: Faerie Homesickness
If you spend an extended period of time in the Feywild, you must make a Wisdom saving throw. Upon failure, you miss the Feywild dearly once you leave it, and reality may become boring - everything will appear almost colorless, foods you eat will have no taste, life won’t seem as exciting. The Wisdom saving throw is made once you reach each period of time listed below with a corresponding DC.
1 day - DC 10
1 month - DC 15
1 year - DC 20
10 years - DC 25
100 years - DC 30
1000 years - DC 35

This post is me trying to make up some new non-canonical stuff for the Feywild, so if you can't really accept some of this stuff, feel free to remix it as you want. The canon Feywild did inspire me, as well as some other stuff. Thing that inspired me the most while writing this is fey taking things too literally and out of context, making some of the proverbs people use every day into something akin to laws of nature.
Thanks a lot to Jojirus and Rhadamanth Nemes for proofreading this document!
Thank you for reading, and have a nice day!