Friday, February 1, 2019

FLINTLOCK FANTASY: Campaign Notes III: Religions

This is hopefully the most detailed I'm gonna get, and I'm still trying to keep prep as minimal as possible. It's got storylines and ideas I've been sitting on for quite a while now, so it's pleasing for me to see the world creation and history combine into whatever the hell this is. Hope it makes sense and is a logical evolution of religious thought that sets up some decent factions for the players to tangle with.

THE MAIN RELIGIONS & BELIEFS OF THAUMATRIA

If there is a creator of the universe, they are a distant, unknowable entity that has never answered the questions of those it brought into being. Gods, monsters, and sentient beings have all called out to it, but have only ever been answered with silence. Who or whatever they are, they brought into being the universe and populated it with sentient creatures of varying degrees of power, their number increasing with their weakness, and scattered them across the stars on distant worlds.

One such world is Arkha. Orbited by the two moons, it is the third world of a planetary system around a single sun it shares with five other planets. This is your home.

ARKHARNEN

The Arkharnen are a pantheon of ancient nature gods and spirits that are said to have created these worlds, and each god represents one element of the natural world. Their worship is wide-spread, found in all known cultures, though local differences in name and variations in representation are common. The pantheon includes gods of the sky, the earth, the seas, the stars, the sun and moons; of animals and plants and storms and other expected entities who’s aspect is found locally. They are able to teach those gifted devotees some of the secrets of creation, and impose upon them the responsibility to maintain and care for their world.

It is said that in the beginning the Arkharnen lived side by side with humans in a sacred land simply called the Garden, but in their eagerness to emulate the wonder of the gods, humans stole the secrets of creation magic when it was not theirs to take. The Arkharnen forgave them, and tried to teach them the correct methods of its use; but the frailties of the human body could not handle such power, and their creations were poisoned by human’s mortality. It is from these mistakes that the Jugger Behem were born, monstrous manifestations of suffering that the Arkharnen were forced to exile beyond the realms of existence. Eventually the Arkharnen forbade the practice among humans, but it was too late; when they were found to be working magic in secret, they were cast out and the Arharnen removed themselves from direct contact with them for fear of greater theft. The Garden was abandoned and forsaken, and sealed off from the world.

THAUMATURGY

Thaumaturgy is the ancient practice of magic, a stolen variation of the divine creative powers of the Arkhanen. It is very powerful, very dangerous, and places terrible burdens upon those who practice it, for it alters and corrupts the user in the same way the user alters and corrupts the world as envisioned by the Arkharnen. As such, its use is severely restricted by the Clades — the noble houses of mutant sorcerer-kings that control the Thaumatrian Empire. It is said to utilise the same powers that created the world, and its initial codification and study was developed eons ago, possibly even taught to the clades by the Creators at the dawn of the world. Much of the true nature and knowledge of Thaumaturgy was lost in the ancient devastation that followed when the Jugger Behem manifested on the world, and Thaumatrian scholars sift through ancient ruins in the hope of recovering lost fragments of texts and artefacts.


JUGGER BEHEM

Jugger Behem is the name given to a pantheon of monstrous gods that represent the great maladies that plague the living. Each god represented a different element of suffering, and the practitioners of Jugger Behem sought to placate and appease them through human sacrifice. Centuries ago the Jugger Behem placed increasingly vile demands upon their supplicants and human civilization became greatly debased, until Verlauha, the first of the ancient hero-kings, held firm against them and refused to give them any more of his subjects. Enraged, the Jugger Behem chose to make an example of Verlauha, and seven of the Jugger Behem manifested in his kingdom. A double eclipse of sun and moons heralded their arrival: seven colossal creatures called Leviathans emerged from a great rift in the heart of Verlauha’s land and destroyed it within the hour. But their arrival only inspired the other human kings to rise up against the Jugger Behem, and the great Leviathan War began.

The Leviathans were simply too great and powerful to be defeated by the sword; only the arcane powers of the sorcerer-kings could hold them at bay. Eventually the remnants of the human kingdoms fled across the narrow seas to a new land free from the presence of the Jugger Behem, and erected thaumaturgical defences that stopped the Leviathans from crossing. The descendants of the sorcerer-kings and their families formed Thaumatrian Empire, and worked together to protect all their peoples against further depredations of the Leviathans.

Some still chose to practice appeasement of the Jugger Behem, but such practices are publicly reviled and shunned. Secret cults still gather to practice sacrificial acts in seclusion, and are still manipulated by one or more of the monstrous gods. Their aims are unclear, though the suffering of all peoples seems to be their goal, and it is said that they work towards opening a permanent rift between this world and theirs. At times of solar eclipse monstrous beings do manage to cross over, and they always seek out practitioners of thaumaturgy with the intent to kill them. Analysis of these astronomical events led to the rise of Astromancy, in order to predict the coming of more Jugger Behem.

ASTROMANCY

Astromancy is the astrological study of the heavenly bodies to determine the right course and time for action. As the sun, the two moons, the five planets and all the stars trace a predictable trajectory through the cosmos, it is possible to translate their position at the birth of an individual, entity or course of action, and predict various momentous events during their existence, as well as the means by which they end. Actions undertaken when the stars are favorable are far more likely to achieve the desired outcome, and it is said that a true master of astromancy can predict the rise and fall of nations. By utilising these astrological practices and uniting them with arcane study, it is possible to create magic of cosmological significance.

Free PATHFINDER Beginner Box Character Sheets


Just some character sheets from the excellent Pathfinder Beginner Box I redesigned 5 years ago but figured I'd upload today. Just didn't really like the design of the original. Shoulda been landscape, shoulda been clearer to use. Hopefully they are.

Same front, but different back for each of the four classes.

Hope you like 'em!


Thursday, January 31, 2019

FLINTLOCK FANTASY: Campaign Notes II: Peoples

THE PEOPLE OF THAUMATRIA

So I hammered out some notes on the main species, again just trying to keep it simple as. I also thought it'd help the players with the new setting if I'd make a list of sample characters to inspire them. The ones that don't get chosen I can use as NPC ideas.


HUMANS
  • The conquerors, bastion of civilization, bringers of light, inspired thinkers.
  • Dominant species throughout the island contient of Thaumatria, and the world.
  • Founders of the Thaumatrian Empire now fractured and divided.
Main religions:
  • The Church of Carcassara: veneration of a Leviathan that gave its flesh so that humans could live. Currently undergoing a major schism resulting in war across the continent. Venerates sacrifice and atonement for actions.
  • The Jugger Behem: placation of a pantheon of cruel monstrous gods through sacrifice and bloodshed. Venerates violence, power and control.
  • Meliorism: devotion to the purity of science and mathematical absolutes. Venerates technological advancement for the betterment of humanity.


TYLLUAN
  • Owlfolk from the frigid northern lands.
  • Carnivorous, dark-sighted and silent fliers that prefer the night.
  • Mercenary “Vorrhun” sellswords arrived in Thaumatria a century ago.
  • Famous for their skill as hunters and warriors.
  • Infamous for their merciless treatment of their enemies.
  • Worship a pantheon of northern nature deities ruled by the god Voroshka.
  • Welcomed for bringing their ice magic to the heat of the desert.
  • Roost in eyries located high in the cities or upon mesa peaks.
  • Family oriented with clan loyalties, sending tribute to their distant king.
  • Freely mingle with other cultures, but regarded with wary respect.
  • Cultured, speaking Thaumatrian and their own Tylluan language.


MOG
  • Small Catfolk that might be descended from wizard’s familiars.
  • Carnivorous, dark-sighted and silent fliers that prefer the night.
  • Capricious, erudite, self-serving, and captivating.
  • If they have a god, it would be The Mog, the first of their kind.


BRUXI
  • Small Ratfolk bred to serve as slaves for the Thaumatrian Empire.
  • Omniverous, dark-sighted, keen sense of smell.


GORGONS
  • A general term for the monstrous peoples from the southern jungles.
  • Shrouded in mystery, rumor and fear, few facts are certain.
  • Snakes, reptiles, great lizards, all in a myriad of horrible hybrid forms.
  • Carnivorous, cannibalistic, heat-sighted, and most active during the day.
  • Famous for their exotic temples and strange arcane practices…
  • … infamous for said practices involving human sacrifice and suffering.
  • Once invaded the southern archipelago of the Thaumatria continent.
  • Several enclaves of Gorgon strongholds still remain, but most reconquered.
  • Pay homage to demonic creatures from beyond, usually in prisoners.
  • Gorgon slavers plague the Thaumatrian coasts in stolen vessels.
  • Also trade in illicit narcotics sourced from deep within the jungle.

Interesting that they're all witch's familiars. Unintentional.


SAMPLE CHARACTER CONCEPTS

WARRIOR
  • A veteran Thaumatrian soldier scarred from endless desert campaigns against the Gorgons.
  • A youthful marine eager to prove their mettle on the high seas.
  • A determined high-born bodyguard assigned to protect visiting dignitaries from the Capital.
  • A mercenary Tylluan swordclaw devoted to their family’s blade.
  • A shackled Gorgon gladiator hungry to win their freedom.
  • A bloodthristy Bruxi seadog in it as much for the pillage as the plunder.
  • A skilful Mog duelist out to take on allcomers whatever the size.
  • A Tylluan musketeer who takes too much pleasure in their trade.
ROGUE
  • A honey-tongued Mog charlatan happy to lighten fool’s pockets to feed their addiction.
  • A worldly merchant noble in exile eager to slay their ennui.
  • A sunkissed buccaneer on the run from and arranged marriage.
  • A dashing pistoleer who wished they didn’t have to use violence to get the job done.
  • A black-plumed Tylluan thief who steals strange artefacts brought back from southern jungles.
  • A well-connected Bruxi street urchin who knows all the bolt holes across the city.
  • A poverty-stricken dirt farmer forced into banditry to appease the king’s taxmen.
  • A pluckskulled Tylluan street thug who rejects the old ways and embraces the new.
DIVINE
  • A troubled Carcassaran inquisitor who has read too many heritical texts.
  • A devout noble cultist who will never abandon the monstrous pantheon of their ancestors.
  • A serene Tylluan ice priest happy to share the blessings of Voroshka the Winter Wind.
  • A charming Carcassaran healer determined to share the curative flesh of their dead god.
  • A drunk Thaumatrian visionary touched by the strange beings that lurk in jungle ports.
  • A self-absorbed Mog agitator hell-bent on being worshipped as a god.
  • A curious Tylluan scholar searching for evidence of the true origins of life.
  • A pompous Meliorian industrialist who will bring the benefits of science to the betterment of all.
ARCANE
  • A nervous Bruxi war wizard, educated in Thaum but unproven in battle.
  • A monstrous high-born arcanaut corrupted by sorcery and desperate to find a cure.
  • A grieving military captain who sold their soul to devils in return for unearthly power.
  • A haughty sea mage in constant employ by merchant rivals who demand alliegence and loyalty.
  • A grim Thaumatrian weaponsmith eager to test their inventions in the field.
  • A cultured Mog diviner employed by a noble lord for their insights and advice.
  • A broken-winged Tylluan exile resolute on regaining flight by other arcane means.
  • A talented grave-robbing treasure hunter well versed in the family trade.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

FLINTLOCK FANTASY: Campaign Notes I

So I'm running a new campaign this year for some local friends, and thought I'd document how I'm putting the world together and the creative process I use. I have this map I made four years ago:


It was part of the Dead West setting. The island continent of Thaumatria was meant to be the Old World where the people in the Dead West had fled from after a major calamity. And I kept coming back to it...

... anyway. Three of the lads — Kurt, Tom and Gus — are in, and a newer friend Gabby is joining us. I really want to keep the prep as minimal as possible, cause I have a rep for overprepping then burning out a few sessions in, and I want this to last the year.

Here's my early overview of things I wanted to include in the setting:

OVERVIEW
Urban/exploration campaign, exotic elements, magic is very rare and dangerous, cultural and religious wars, reconquista/crusade/inquisition, humanocentric.

SPECIES:
  • Humans - the great conquers, bastions of civilization, bringers of enlightenment.
  • Tylluan - owl people from the frozen north.
  • Mogs - cat people, tricksters all.
  • Bruxi - ratfolk slaves bred to serve the Thaumatrian Empire.
  • Gorgons - mutant snake people from the jungles south across the seas. The "Enemy".
  • Others - very rare, from distant lands or the result of monstrous experiments.

ENVIRONMENT:
  • Dry, semi-arid, badlands, mesas, dusty mountains, cities of tall cool buildings, intricate architectural details, colourful bannerets and shady bazaars. Madrid, Cordoba, Marrakesh.
  • Stifling tropical jungles, pungent with flora and death and spice, ruined temples to dark things, dangerous seaports, pirates and armadas. Yucatan, Amazon, Zanzibar.
  • Verdant plains and great rivers, giving rise to beautiful cities, all scarred by war. 
  • Many small political entities and countries, each with their own agenda.

CULTURE:
  • Akin to early-mid Renaissance Europe, 1600s, so more advanced than your average medieval fantasy, with long swords, spears, bows, full plate and chain giving way to rapiers, pikes, matchlock firearms, muskets, breastplates, and cannon. But firearms are noisy, tricky to maintain and dangerous, and a skilled archer can be much faster, just as deadly and far more quiet.
  • War is a constant: a great enemy lies to the east, The Leviathans, and all live in fear of their attack; yet any grand alliance is marred by political intrigue, clandestine subterfuge and petty wars as each nation vies for survival. Nations are defined by their religious persuasion.
  • One great religion dominates the continent: Carcassarian, named after its Leviathan founder, but it is fractured by schisms and at war with itself. Other, older beliefs still exist on the fringe. 
  • Exploration and colonisation of distant lands as nations seek to expand their resources; strange cultures and customs are filtering in with the stolen bounty of these lands. Seafaring is vital.
  • Magic is very rare, very dangerous, and corrupts the body and mind, but definitely plays a role in society, and is almost always under the control of local powers that use it to their own advantage. 

INSPIRATION:
  • ALATRISTE, the Spanish pseudo-historical film starring Viggo Mortensen as a world-weary soldier. Ponderous film, but basically this campaign is that film with monsters and weird occult stuff. Must. Watch. The opening scene is a great demonstration on how you can have firearms and blades in the same setting. OH HEY IT’S YOUTUBE. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX-y87nmZnc
  • PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN, dumb but entertaining and the right mix of real world pillage and plunder and supernatural. Most characters are average humans, magic lurks on the edge of reality. 
  • Some other inspirations include: VVITCH, PENNY DREADFUL, TABOO, THE MARQUIS, AGUIRRE, ASSASSIN’S CREED: BLACK FLAG, DISHONORED, THE MUSKETEERS.


I also set about looking for visual inspiration on Pintrest original page here:

https://www.pinterest.com.au/gibletblizzard/flintlock-fantasy/ .

I may have found something... I'll post more info as I go.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

The Year Ahead

The death of G+ is gonna hurt, baaaad. It's been my main RPG connection to the rest of the community since its inception, and there really isn't another social media platform quite like it.

G+ was responsible for giving me my break into the RPG industry, and has been responsible for 90% or more of my connections, work opportunities, and most importantly friendships I've made online since 2011.

I'm really, really gonna miss it.

Here's where you can contact me:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/GibletBlizzard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/giblet.blizzard
MeWe: https://mewe.com/profile/5bbbe50aa40f300c5e52f331

or drop a comment in any blogpost here.

I'm yet to find a suitable replacement for G+, and I've let this blog wallow for the last couple of years because of the amount of good stuff that went on there. So I'm gonna fire this blog up again while I work on a bunch of things that'll include:

• FERAL RPG - the big thing I'm working on
• graphic and information design commentary for RPGs
• freelance design, illustration and cartography projects I'm working on:
  - Odious Uplands for Jason Sholtis
  - Orcs! A High-Octane Adventure for Mike Evans' Hubris RPG
  - whatever else gets lined up
• The Greyhawk Gang - my weekly meatgamers' 5E D&D game that's been running since April 2016, starting at 1st level with B2 Keep on the Borderlands, now currently 11th Level at the end of G123
• My search for the best iteration of d20 D&D rules
• Star Wars D6 Rules Essentials - my ongoing pet project taking the best from all the SW games
• Random RPG material - whenever it turns up

Also gonna update this blog, starting with the RPG Graphic Design page with all the stuff I've worked on since 2011 - http://gibletblizzard.blogspot.com/p/rpg-books-ive-worked-on.html

If you want to check out Feral RPG you can download free playtest PDFs and character sheets here:

Website: https://feralrpg.com/

And I'll post updates and community stuff here:

FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/feralrpg
MeWe Group: https://mewe.com/group/5bbbeb62a40f300c5e519a79

If you want to support Feral RPG:

Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/FERALRPG

You can check out my Star Wars D6 Rules Essentials PDF here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10C-TU83__StikozYEsgGugdTPeFUjSrjblc783Ex07g/edit?usp=sharing

and download character sheets from here:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1lmoHBnUsEjBGVy6M_cAKF6Ox--5utPvd/view

So I'm not certain exactly how the year ahead's gonna pan out online, but I'll be hammer and tongs Feral and other stuff whatever happens.

Stay in touch.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Star Wars D6 Character Sheet (5 pages)


 Star Wars JezD6 Character Sheets PDF link
Seems like a good day to upload
the latest version of my 5 page Star Wars D6 Character Sheets.

Two pages for your character,
one for Allies, Sidekicks, Companions and Droids,
one for Beast, Mounts, Pets or Vehicles, 
and one for your Starship.

Click the pic or the link below to get your paws on the PDF:


Hope you dig, and lemme know if there's any typos or stuff I missed.

For use with the Star Wars D6 Rules Essentials, my streamlined "best of" from all the early editions
of the greatest Star Wars roleplaying game, which you can check out here:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10C-TU83__StikozYEsgGugdTPeFUjSrjblc783Ex07g/edit?usp=sharing

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Wandergrave

Two different stories from two different cultures to make something new for a third. 

There was a celtic saint who died, but instead of being buried his body was laid to rest on the back of a wagon and hauled off by an oxen to travel the wild. It met a woman who cut off the oxen's horn, then smashed the dead saint's head in with the horn. 

When the first viking family arrived at the shores of Iceland, the head of the family tossed over a pair wooden pillars carved with his gods. He found a safe harbour for the winter, but when the logs were found washed ashore he packed up his family and relocated to the harbour where they lay. This is now Reykjavik.

The wandergrave is a large, crablike machine golem made of thaumaturgium and necromantica. It is fuelled by the enzymes of decay. When a person of great import - typically a great saint or ruler - dies, their body is laid to rest upon it, and as it deteriorates the natural excretions run down into the engine, activating it and sending it forth on its journey into the wilderness. 

As the rot sets in the wandergrave picks up considerable speed following a haphazard course and not unlike the juggernauts of farthest barbarica it will walk over or smash through any object placed before it. The wandergrave will continue until only desiccated bones remain, a matter of weeks in warmer climes, but of months or even years as the machine nears the poles. 

At that point, where the last drop has been drained from the dead, the wandergrave comes to a standstill and collapses, forming a new sacred site and destination for the faithful. Aware of the pilgrims such holy locations attract, nearby merchants will often set up around the tomb, and as their needs must also be met, soon others gathers around the resting place of the dead and civilization rises from their grave.