Who is obsessed with dice? Yeah, me too.
Lately I've had this idea to create a "super set" of dice. I'm going to roll each die I own a hundred times, and track the results.
The best d4 makes the cut. The sneakiest attack of d6s needs a lead. All the way up to my friend the D20.
The d20 will need to be the best statistically, but will also need to have a significant number of nat 20's in the mix.
What do you guys do to select your dice for an RPG session? Do select dice by color or performance? Any "warm-up" rituals?
City of Aleris
The megatropolis of Aleris is a massive environment which provides many things to do for the eager PC. There are dangerous areas and people within the walls here, which means adventure is always close at hand.
Warring factions of houses, guilds, thieves, and assasins, warriors, and mages all claim territory. They work with/for/against anybody as long as it brings the leaders more power and or wealth. In the case of churches, they fight for the souls of many, and occasionally work against other religious institutes or organizations so that the weak may see their true path.
The Aleris is under no authority but its own, and has in place a unique form of demacracy. There are 11 major districts, each is responsible for electing its own Earl who serves for life, until retiring, or removed by 7 other Earls standing against him/her(which is rare indeed).
The Earls have the final say for all votes on a city-wide level. Under the Earl is around 20-30 Dukes(per district), each of whom is elected by the people for a 10 year term. They have more local authority, and inform the Earl of the will of the people. They occasionally act as judges for special cases should the local court be unable to handle a matter appropriatly. The Earls constitue a grand jury should a Duke's ruling be appropriatly appealed.
The Dukes are notorious influence pedlers, and use their authority and sway to influence local and citywide powers and/or business policies. Most Dukes are heads or figureheads of guilds(merchants, mages, or farmer's guilds for example), houses(usually by family name), or other major organizations(trade association-smithys, neighborhoods, or societies of collected interest).
This structure has lead to major power struggles within the city itself, but its defences are quite good. The Earls always make sure that the guard is well kept for and not only adequatly equipped, but able to handle full-scale invasions as well as foreign missions to preserve its own interests.
The guard has no one particular strategy that it is known for, rather it is up to the commanders to requisition the type of soldiers it needs to fufill a mission or defence post. Clerics of some dieties work their way up the ladder through keeping the soldiers healthy, and others by being battle ready. Others maintain equipment and provide the soldier/guards with the piece of mind that they need to keep a watchful eye on the city.
Mages of course are generally a bit harder to find in the rank-and-file membership, but are highly useful for scrying unlawful movements, reconnisance, stripping wrongdoers of their enchantments, or investigating arcane mysteries.
The laws of Aleris are simple, yet widely open to interpretation. Do not steal. Do not kill without authority. Businesses are taxed. Slavery is legal with certain races, and in certain districts - but slaves have some rights and protections. Guards can arrest and detain for only 24 hours without trial by judge for minor grievances.
Other than that, the judges themselves(given authority by the First Five Guard and the Duke of the area) have full authority to penalize according to precident and the severity of the crimes. This is often deferent based on the district where the offense was cited. If the wrongdoer is able to prove a bias, mistrial, unfair sentancing, or new information/evidence becomes available, he/she may be able to request a hearing with a different judge, or the cause may move to a higher court.
The First Five Guard is the highest echelon of the guard/militia for Aleris. It is so named because Alerisherself selected five initial bodyguards who took on the major role of protecting Aleris' early establishment, and Aleris herself. They formed garrisons with unique strengths and duties, but remained united by their mutual respect and love for Aleris herself... the city and the magic-user.
Though each district is supposed to be on equal footing, districts have highly different levels of influence which is based mostly on the wealth or stature of its residents.
Since Aleris is so a widespread, it includes some dwarven communities in the southern Rocksmith mountains, and indiginous elves in the Western Helmswood. There is significant farmland in and around Aleris because of a farming technique which is based on the material "Alaerum" which is part of how the city got its name. The Alerum allows multiple levels of crops to grow in the same space by building "up" using the unique properties of alaerum.
Alaerum is a clear gas which has many magical qualities and applications. It can levitate other materials. When magically charged it can carry more weight for longer periods of time. It was originally discovered by a mage who was traveling through some ruins near the cities first settlements. The mage came around the corner and his light spell disolved at an inopportune time. He carried on dispite the dark, and became lost. When he bumped into some free floating rocks in the dark he panicked and fired off a scorching ray of magical energy. His attack hit a large pocket of the gas which in turn raised enough material for him to see the sun again.
The material is not named for that unfortunate young mage, for he was eventually crushed under half of an island that he had lifted in this manner in a misguided attemt to display his skill, but for the mage who studied, and expanded the use of Alaerum - Aleris.
Aleris is highly touted, but herself was an introvert and modest. She never asked that the city be named after her, and suggested other names for the material which would eventually be known as Alaerum. She seems rather timeless in history, for before the discovery of the material she was unknown, and after the initial rise of Aleris she was gone without any fanfare. Some people are so devout to the ideals that she stood for that a few small places of worship have cropped up that hold her in the core of their beliefs. They have hope that maybe she moved on to work elsewhere, or somehow has survived unto this day.
This is a response to our original post on TUMBLR
Thanks so much for the support, I really enjoyed reading all of the responses to this, and I'd like to follow up a bit on some stuff that @lawfulgoodness and @corruptionpoints had mentioned.
I built this with the idea that it could be used as a starting point for DMs designing an encounter or area for some PCs to explore. I didn't want to be specific to any system, though I know that referencing 3.5 will allow most readers to get the just of what is going on.
A #corruptionpoints mentioned that the stat line for Cheva would be nice to see as it would indicate an encounter level for the rest of the area. When I designed it I was thinking optimized 12th(min-maxers, etc...), but I wanted to keep it pretty open. Cheva could easily be a CR1 ghost or some-such with a few supernatural abilities and pumped up HP who leads the PCs back through the maze of traps and such, but more likely he's a 14th lvl encounter unto himself, and if he manages to trap the mage against the wall with the wind effect all the better.
As for the wind effect save being set at 25 - I was mostly going for a really hard save for the wizard type to make, but weak damage over time so that the character was disabled for the fight. If the party needed him/her they could spend time to help out, but endure some attacks from Cheva in the mean-time.
The spot/perception check difficulty(as mentioned by #lawfulgoodness) is really high, because I'd hate the encounter to easily be thwarted by a simple perception, but I still wanted to leave a slim chance that the PCs would be able to jump a step ahead if they were thorough in their searching of the area(an excellent reward I think!).
Also, I definitely wanted to imply that the machines would be moving and therefore pose a mundane threat to movement in the area. I would leave the specifics up to the DM, but the seed is definitely there.
As for this:
Not to be “that guy” but I think you’ve got a typo in like the second sentence…
"It could be uninhibited, or filled with thieves…"
That made me lol, thinking about some kind of raving drunk Windmill.
I love it, and now I will leave it like that for posterity.:-)
Thanks everyone, and I'll be posting a new one of these soon.
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Our first location is going to be something very specific and adventure ready.
Cheva's windmill is a unique windmill that you could add to nearly any setting. It could be uninhibited, or filled with the thieves, cultists, beasts, or war band of your choice.
Inside Cheva's windmill natural flight is impossible.
This windmill is three stories high, each story being about 25ft above the previous. And on the outside of course is a giant fan which captures wind energy.
Throughout the structure there are pullys and wenches. They are continuously active even if there is no wind. There are 3 different locations on each floor with a one man elevator up or down to the next floor. The pullys power the elevator, and the character must pull a lever and wait a full round to get to the next level.
To get on to the roof, you must climb a 30 foot ladder which is 10 to climb,characters can take 10 and take their time and climb 10 ft per round.
Cheva was an engineer who designed this windmill around a hundred years ago. He was notably obsessed with capturing wind energy in all of its forms.
There is basement in the windmill where the mill's work would be done. A few dormant machines sit ready to process grains.
If the characters happen upon the secret door, there is a second basement. This basement seems to be a living quarters, and it can be assumed that Cheva lived here while he designed the structure.
The area is much smaller, and contains a bedroom, a library, a study, and a kitchen.
This basement actually houses the ghost of Cheva to this day. He resides in the library and openly speaks to any characters who wonder in there.
If any character can make a 30 perception/spot check passively, make one for them, they may notice a hidden alcove in the study that hides the "windswept periapt".
Cheva complains that he can't move or leave the basement because of the restriction of movement that he himself placed on this structure. He wants you to place his seeing stone onto the center of the windmill.
Doing this task will require a few climb checks, either up the fan blades from the ground, or a quick jump from the roof to get right behind the center of the wheel.
When you return, Cheva will thank you and want to reward the PCs for their effort.
He asks you to go into the library and take out a specific book, and read a passage from the 3rd chapter while standing in front of the alcove in the study.
The passage reads:
"He hides in plain view, he the once was. The winds of change, never ending, never faulting, never forgiving."
Once this is read out loud, the reader is smashed into the wall by the wind that has been captured by the Windswept Periapt. 2d6 damage, and the player is pinned against the wall. A Str check of 25, will let them escape, and they can be assisted by any party members. 1d6 additional damage is dealt each turn while they are pinned.
Once this effect has been triggered, Cheva reveals his true intentions, which is to trap any visitors and use their magic items to fuel the Windswept Periapt for as long as possible.
He attacks the party, fully able to move. Depending on his level he may use telekenesis to attack with some implements while he floats neat the ceiling which is fifteen feet in the air.
Otherwise he may try to block the entrance after making a quick escape if the tide turns on him.
He is unable to leave the compound, and may be hunted down by the party.
The windswept periapt once removed by PCs can be sold(8k) or be used for its effect.
Cone, 100 feet
Sphere, 50 foot radius
Range 1,000 ft.
Natural flight is not possible in this area for 1 day.
I just started building a new world.
As anybody who has already done this, you know it can be a massive task. I started like this:
Name 8 "zones"
Name 6 "races"
Name 3 "unique elements"
I try to keep this as vague as possible for myself. Zone could mean a whole city, a plantation, a windmill for an encounter, or a floating mountain chain. Races could be sub-races or subcultures within a standard race. "Unique Elements" is very open ended, but is meant to be something so important to the setting that it could possibly define it.
Once I finish this stage, I'll ask some of my test subjects (errrrmmm..... players.......) which area they would like to start in, and with what race. I'll only be giving them basic information, and I plan on running them a little s play by post/email/text sort of mini-solo campaign.
I'm doing this to see which names and descriptions really catch the eye, and work on those first. Then hopefully I can re-up more interest in other areas by causing class/race conflict with something I've created for them to work with.
How do you guys start your world building as a DM?
Start with a small area and expand? Start with a huge map of everything? Something else?
Let me know, and if you're interested in playing with me online, check the Giant in the Playground forums. My username is "NeverSleep".
This is a great article that poses the age old question...
Is this a prescription drug, or a classic D&D monster?
Here's the list, the answers appear in the article, so go check it out!
Let us know what score you got in the comments, and let us know what your favorite RPG monster(any addition or system)is.
Don't forget to add your STRMOD!
I've heard some crazy stories about how everyone's first session started in a tavern. IS IT TRUE!?!?
When I asked some of my local gamers maybe around 50% of their "first adventures" have started in taverns. That seems a little to high to me.
Here's my "first adventure" story:
I was actually the first of my friends to want to play any sort of real RP games, thusly, I was in charge of being the DM and teaching everyone how to play. I was definitely a fish out of water the first time we played, but that is a story for another day.
I started my PC's in jail, and asked them to give me a reason about how they got there. I actually got a pretty wide set of responses for a group of inexperienced and semi-forced RP-ers.
"I stole to help my Family"
"I was involved in a plot to kill an evil noble"
"A case of mistaken identity - I didn't do it, somebody else did!"
Well... Ok, I've definitely heard better since, and with far more detail, but we were all beginners and we were totally having fun.
This was about 1998 when this happened, and I was personally not nearly as connected to the internet as we are as a society these days, but I had heard about the infamous "Rule of Cool", and I was looking forward to being the coolest DM and hooking these players as much as possible, and I put almost all of my effort into the opening scene.
I had a plan for guards to be walking in and out occasionally, and for their equipment to stored nearby in case they could make some sort of escape, rather than be released by the court system.
The wizard of the group asked... "Is there bat poop or moss on the wall?" He was asking for specific material components for his spells. Something I would take for granted with a 'spell component pouch' in any game now, and actually quit creative for someone who had never played the game before. Since we didn't know the spell component pouch existed, he actually spent a lot of the early game looking for these specific things.
Their solution to the jail problem: The cleric would cast create water to pretend that he was sick, and when the guard came in to check on him the rest of the forced party would jump him and they would escape.
It totally worked! They took on one guard 3 on one and escaped and easily melded together as a "party", mostly because I'm sure they thought they had to in order to play the game. They escaped, and I was all of a sudden out of DMing material, it had been one hour into the six hours we had carved out to do this.... oops! Total newb mistake.
It got better after that, I know, but tell me:
How did you start your first ever session of a tabletop RPG?