Thursday, August 28, 2014

midgard

EDIT: Hvitr and Gildarthe are from Servants of the Cinder Queen, a pretty awesome adventure that will hopefully be released outside of kickstarter soon.

The Midgard Archipelago consists of four main islands, each occupied by a demigoddess. They maintained the natural order of the Archipelago, and in return the people of Midgard didn't do anything stupid like clear-cutting the forests or hunting animals to extinction. Then the Telluric Technarchy of the dwarves came, placing each island under governorship and sealing the goddesses in engine-temples to siphon their power. This is slowly killing Midgard; every year the days grow hotter, the nights grow colder, and both grow longer, while the crops become less and less plentiful and the islands sink inch by inch into the sea. It will take at least another century before this starts to pose major problems, but the dwarves will have extracted everything of value and left by then.

The Four Great Islands are:

  • bright Alfheim, former domain of Eir, Luminous Fairy of the Heavens, and homeland of the light elves. Lady Grasp, its dwarven governess, refracts the radiance of Eir to create foul radiation that twists the flesh of living things.
  • freezing Kaldhammer, former home of Gildarthe, Demon Fairy of Fire, and homeland of the cambion. Its dwarven governor is Lord Lazuli, who uses the geothermal rage of Gildarthe to fuel his factories and workshops 
  • twilit Nidheim, erstwhile demesne of Vor, Dreaming Fairy of Darkness, and homeland of the dark elves. Its dwarven governess is the Lady of Chalcedony, who taxes the dreams of the living and the souls of the dead by channeling the goddess' strange emanations.
  • verdant Vangr, sometime domain of Syr, Giant Fairy of Earth, and homeland of the humans. Its dwarven governess is the Corundum Prince, who distills the blood of Syr into powerful elixirs. 

You can pick any class, but unlicensed magic is outlawed in the Archipelago on pain of death. Magic-users have to be subtle if they want to live. Paladins and Clerics can worship a member of the Norse Pantheon or a non-stupid god of their own devising. Warlocks make pacts with one of the four Goddesses (Archfey = Syr, Fiend = Gildarthe, Great Old One = Vor. Eir = Any. You can also choose the Summon Pact, which I will be modifying)

Tribes of the Archipelago
No one will look twice at any of the following races:
Humans
Light Elves
Dark Elves
Cambions
Moss Giants

Strangers to the Archipelago
People may react with fear or surprise when encountering the following races:
Dragonborn
Halflings
Dwarves
The Bufondi

Do not exist
Please don't pick these. I've either made an alternative or they do something annoying. If you really want to play one, we can work something out.
Gnomes
Tiefling
Half-orc
Half-elves
High Elves

Elves
Ability Score Increase: +2 Dexterity
Age: live to ~800 years
Alignment: ???
Size: Medium (4 to 5 feet tall)
Speed: 30
Languages: Common and Elvish
Fairy Ancestors: You have advantage against charm spells and magic can't put you to sleep

Subrace: Light Elves
Ability Score Increase: +1 Wisdom
Otherworldly: You can attempt to hide when lightly obscured
Fleet: Your movement speed is 40 feet
Hunter-gatherer: You have proficiency in the Survival and Nature skills

Subrace: Dark Elves
Ability Score Increase: +1 Intelligence
Darkvision: Natural darkness does not effect your vision in any way; you can see as easily in a sunny field as a pitch black room.
Childhood Training: You are proficient with your choice of smith's tools, alchemist's supplies, or mason's tools.
Old Artifice: You can cast the Mending cantrip.

Midgardian Rumors

  1. The dwarves guard the goddesses so closely because if one escaped, their devices wouldn't work on her island anymore.
  2. Syr, the fiercest of the fairies, only fell because the dwarves weakened her with cursed poison. If somebody found a remedy and gave it to her, she could could break free.
  3. The dwarves built the Storm Golem Hvitr to keep the Fire Fairy trapped, but they aren't bothering with repairs like they used to.
  4. It took twelve of the dwarves' greatest wizards to bind the Dark Fairy, but six have died since the invasion and the rest are past their prime.
  5. The dwarven Technarch commanded the dragon Fafnir to return to the capital after it defeated the Heaven Fairy, but everyone knows he'll come back to Midgard if the situation turns against the dwarves.
  6. Legend has it that the old goddess of death hid the legendary ribbon Gleipnir in the bottom of her temple before it sank into the sea.
  7. Lady Grasp of Alfheim has a vault containing the magical cloak Spakri--it refuses to work for one such as she.
  8. the Lady of Chalcedony tried to make a false goddess with the souls she stole, but it escaped and now calls itself the Fairy of All Death
  9. The dwarves have devised a new substance called "gunpowder"and claim it will revolutionize their ability to crush you pathetic rebels.
  10. The dark elf resistance has formed an alliance with their old enemy, the vampires.
  11. The dwarves executed several members of the former Kaldhammer royal family for violating their house arrest.
  12. The dwarves are offering a bounty for any artifacts recovered from the Peripheral Islands.
  13. The dwarves are offering a bounty for any artifacts recovered from people who illegally possess them.
  14. The sea devils stir in their deep trenches, unchecked by the fairies.
  15. Sailors say that the haunted Manse Macabre is once again visible on the cursed Islet of Drear.
  16. The light elves have revived the ancient practice of lycanthropy in hopes of defeating the dwarves.
  17. Missionaries have arrived from the Technarchy, eager to convert the peoples of Midgard to worship of the Creator.
  18. A High Invigilator of the Technarchy has come to Midgard to root out illicit sorcery. He claims to have devised the ultimate magic-destroying technique.
  19. Something wicked hunts on the Isle of No Gods.
  20. The emissaries of The Bufondi are appalled by the dwarves' policies in Midgard, but cannot act directly without violating their strict neutrality.

One thing in 5e I'm not so hot about is the number of freefloating per-rest abilities. Warlock Invocations have a similar problem--they often interlock oddly with spell slots, and even the cool at-will ones seem easy to forget. Having them be twice as good and twice as rare makes things easier all-round. I'd probably halve the number of invocations gain, rounded up, and let players pick from this list, along with a few others in the book I won't copy out.
  • Barbarous Name: When someone says your full name, you know roughly how far away they are (give or take 10% of the distance) and in which direction
  • Clever Speech: You can speak and understand Droll, the language of cunning creatures, which include foxes, crocodiles, spiders, crows, ravens, jackals, and cats of any size. 
  • Cryptomancy: When you know a creature's deepest secret or the true name it calls itself, its saves against your spells have disadvantage
  • Dark Speech: You can speak and understand Lament, the language of lesser undead. You can speak with zombies, skeletons, ghouls, and the like.
  • Fairy Flight: When calculating maximum jump distances and heights, add double your proficiency bonus in feet and treat standing jumps as running jumps
  • Fairy Glide: When you fall, you can slow your speed to 60' per second as a reaction. While falling in this manner, you can move half your speed horizontally on your turn. You always land on your feet and take no damage from falling. 
  • Psychometry: When you make eye contact with a creature, they must make a Wisdom save vs your spell save DC or you learn their current emotional state and any supernatural allegiances
  • Suspiratio: You can breathe in water as well as air, and you are unaffected by foul odors and poisonous gasses.
  • Witchsmith: You gain proficiency with smith's tools if you do not have it already. You can create magical weapons, which imposes disadvantage on your proficiency roll. Such weapons deal your choice of fire, cold, radiant, necrotic, lightning, or poison damage and count as magical for purposes of breaching supernatural defenses and harming spiritual beings. Creating this weapons requires acquiring expensive and dangerous metals. 

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