Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bonus Post Three: Bog-Standard Fantasy Bogs Down Fantasy

As most if not all of you will have noticed by now:  The Tirin Peninsula is not the standard Tolkienian (or Gygaxian) fantasy setting.  Unless you're house-ruling, you're not going to find elves, dwarves, orcs, gnomes, or halflings here. 

Now, mind you, this wasn't always the case.  But the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that the standard fantasy setting came with altogether too much baggage.  For all that writers may go out of their way to put a twist on the standard, there are stereotypes attached to just about every aspect of it:  Elves must behave this way, orcs must behave that way, and nothing can be any too far removed from the works of Tolkien.  If the rules get bent too far, the readers complain—or jump to conclusions based on how things are in The Lord of the Rings.

Long story short?  Although I know that you can't really blame the setting for what the readers infer, I didn't want that baggage or those stereotypes.  And I really didn't want people jumping to Middle Earth-based conclusions about the Tirin Peninsula, because the Tirin Peninsula is not Middle Earth.  It's also probably best not to presume that what applies to medieval Europe (or some idealization or exaggeration thereof) necessarily applies to the Tirin Peninsula, either.

I'm aware that, in light of this, it may be a bit odd that I intend to make it Pathfinder-compatible.  Pathfinder, after all, is a D&D spin-off with a loosely Tolkienian core setting.  But it’s also got three strong points in its favor:  The basic rules are open content (meaning that I won't have to pay any fees or get written permission to use them).  I'm sufficiently familiar with the system to write for it with some degree of confidence.  And last but not least, it saves me the (tremendous) hassle of designing my own system.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Races: The Turéhu

Turéhu are short, wiry, and long-limbed, with large pointed ears and semi-prehensile tufted tails. Their skin is medium brown with a gold sheen to it; their slit-pupiled eyes are usually green, blue, or violet.  Their hair tends to be autumn-leaf hues—from red-black to white-gold—or shades of green.
  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Wisdom; -2 Constitution.
  • Medium: Turéhu are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Turéhu have a base land speed of 30 feet and a climb speed of 20 feet.
  • Fey: Turéhu are fey, not humanoids. This grants them low-light vision, proficiency with all simple weapons, and immunity to spells which only affect humanoids (such as charm person).
  • Woodland-Dweller: Turéhu receive a +2 racial bonus to Acrobatics and Survival checks.
  • Keen Senses: Turéhu receive a +2 racial bonus to Perception skill checks.
  • Damage Reduction: Turéhu have damage reduction 5/cold iron.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Turéhu receive the Martial Weapon proficiency feats for the longbow and shortbow, and treat any weapon with “fey” in its name as a martial weapon.
  • Automatic Languages: Turéhu begin play speaking Sylvan and Draconic.
Challenge for the readers:  Turéhu are another race of "not-elves" with which I find myself needing a bit of cultural help.  They're forest-dwellers who count a lot of rangers and druids among their number, if that gives anyone any ideas.  And while they're not actively hostile, they're territorial.  (For the record: I had the idea before James Cameron did, I can prove it, and they're barely more than half the height.) 

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bonus post the second!

I've recently gotten back preliminary sketches for some art commissioned for the project.  And while I really wish that I were better at descriptions, I certainly can't fault the skill of the artist.

Also, I've got another question for the readers: languages!  As it stands at the moment,  ki'vali have their own language, apsuri speak Aquan, and the fey races speak Draconic.  I'm wondering if this should change.  (Humans, by the way, will have access to several regional languages.)  And as far as tíraleth starting languages go, I'm not even sure what to do with that.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Races: The Tíraleth

The tíraleth claim descent from the ancient hero Talyll, who was said to be the champion of the war goddess and to have the blood of both fey and dragons. They are sleekly muscled and fairly tall, with skin that is marked with between three and five bright colors. Their ears are pointed, their eyes—which are usually primary-hued—have three to seven pupils, and their hair is dark at the roots, light at the tips, and usually red or red-tinged.
  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Charisma. Tíraleth are agile, and tend to have forceful personalities and exotic good looks.
  • Medium: Tíraleth are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal Speed: Tíraleth have a base speed of 30 feet.
  • Darkvision: Tíraleth can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
  • Low-Light Vision: Tíraleth can see twice as far as a human in conditions of dim light.
  • Observant: Tíraleth receive a +2 racial bonus to Perception skill checks.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Tíraleth are proficient with falchions and scimitars.
  • Sun’s Fury: As barbarian rage, with the following modifications: May be used for a number of rounds per day equal to 2 + the tíraleth’s Constitution modifier. The tíraleth’s increased body heat in Sun’s Fury adds +1 fire damage to unarmed attacks; opponents who make unarmed attacks against a tíraleth in Sun’s Fury take one point of fire damage per attack. The tíraleth receives a +2 circumstance bonus to Intimidate checks while Sun’s Fury is active. Sun’s Fury does not give a tíraleth without barbarian levels access to rage powers; however, a tíraleth barbarian may choose to add the effects of Sun’s Fury to his class-granted rages as a rage power.
  • Fire resistance 5.
  • Cold Vulnerability: Tíraleth suffer a -1 racial penalty to saving throws against cold effects and a -1 penalty to fortitude saves against damage from cold environments.
The tíraleth are my oldest race concept; as such, they've had the most work put into them.  As you might be able to tell, there's some Celtic mythological inspiration. 

Question for the readers:  What I really need here is Pathfinder-geek help:  How's the balance on Sun's Fury as a racial ability?  Any suggested tíraleth-specific feats (or even tíraleth-specific barbarian rage powers)?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Races: The Ahvaiyru

The ahvaiyru, haughty fey rulers of the western lands of the Tirin Peninsula, are tall and almost attenuated in build, with delicate, angular facial features, long pointed ears, and a pair of short, feathery antennae. Their skin is ivory, with a silvery sheen to it; their hair is either black or pale blond; and their eyes—which have slitted, feline pupils—are gray, amber, or violet.
  • +2 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence, +2 Charisma; -2 Constitution.
  • Medium: Ahvaiyru are Medium creatures and have no bonuses or penalties due to their size.
  • Normal speed: Ahvaiyru have a land speed of 30 feet.
  • Fey: Ahvaiyru are fey, not humanoids. This grants them low-light vision, proficiency with all simple weapons, and immunity to spells which only affect humanoids (such as charm person).
  • Canny: Ahvaiyru receive a +2 racial bonus to Bluff, Sense Motive, and Perception skill checks.
  • Weapon Proficiency: Ahvaiyru treat any weapon with “fey” in its name as a martial weapon.
  • Hypnotism: Three times per day, as a caster of class level. Save DC is Charisma-based.
  • Spell Resistance: Ahvaiyru possess spell resistance equal to 5 + their class levels.
  • Damage Reduction: Ahvaiyru have damage reduction 5/cold iron.
  • Automatic Languages: Ahvaiyru begin play speaking Draconic.
Challenge for the readers:  Help me build ahvaiyru culture!  What I've got so far is that they tend to be meticulous, flamboyant, competitive, urbane, and meaner than rattlesnakes.  But although—as you might have guessed from that description—any number of less-than-pleasant elf stereotypes can apply, I don't want them to just be "drow," as it were.

Off the usual schedule...

...I present you with a minor update or two.

 The race formerly known as Tahvaaiy nobles or simply "Tahvaaiy" are now called ahvaiyru, which is now reflected in previous blog entries.  (I really had too many names beginning with the letter T.)  The ahvaiyru, however, are still meticulous, flamboyant, competitive, urbane, and meaner than rattlesnakes.

 Furthermore, Kalretia is now an archipelago.  The biome and culture are still about the same.