Sunday, May 18, 2008

Independent City States

Erluerr: A community of Wolfen, with a number of human, gnome and wood elf settlers. Erlueer grew out of the Wolfen Range and serves as a trading post for the nomadic bands that live a hunting and gathering life around the enclave. During the last six months, war bands Goblin-kin have traveled from the north and started attacking those outside of Erluerr. (pop. 10,000)

Juserin: An isolated farming community that made up of humans, halfings, wolfen and goblins. Caronnian settlers that originally traveled to this area were welcomed by a small group of goblins that had farmed the land for centuries. As Juserin grew, the number of Caronnian's outstripped the native goblins, and now power firmly lies in the hands of the humans and halfings that maintain the thriving city. Humans (and wolfen) tend to have the most control over Juserin's army and city guards, while most of the businesses and the communities wealth are managed by Halflings. The wealthiest Halfings in Juserin manage breweries, taverns, bakeries, inns, gambling halls. Numerous craftsmen throughout the city owe money to wealthy Halflings who loaned them the money to start successful businesses.

Two years ago large numbers of Wood and High Elves have migrated to the south and into communities in Juserin. When they first arrived there were a number of fights and between the goblin and elven communities (largely sparked by elves), however the citizens of Carronian descent in Juserin quickly came to the side of their goblin neighbors. Elves were told in no uncertain words that they either help and defend everyone in Juserin, or they would be forced to leave. Racial tensions have recently begun to settle down, mainly due to the fact that the elves are helping the community to fight the attacks from Orcs that have recently started plaguing the community. (pop. 11,000)

Tordama: Tordama is a community of elves, wolfen and humans that has been built upon the ruins of an ancient dwarven city. While residents harvest quality timber from the surrounding forests and unearth good clay from a large quarry, the city has benefited from wealthy explorers seeking to enter the tunnels that stretch from the ancient dwarven ruins deep into the underdark. They pay well for supplies, but few have ever returned. Those who few who return bring back tales of riches guarded by traps and the terrible creatures that have moved into ancient dwarven homes. Unfortunately, the few roads entering Tordama have recently been plagued by goblin-kin raiders, leaving merchants to pay handsomely to those who can guard their shipments to Gartevas or Erluerr. (pop. 12,000)

Gartevas: The city is built in an area of good farming land, but has suffered from strange monsters coming out of the woods, and bandits preying on people traveling on the roads around the city. The arrival of strange monsters has been happening for at least two years, and people have done everything to stop the problem. Recently a group of citizens have vocally blamed their problems on the gods, and a group of angry citizens have driven several priests out of town. The community (which comprises of human, halan, halfling and gnomes) has become bitterly divided about the problem. While the roads to Gartevas have been be filled with bandits, merchants haul cargo to and from the city from ships, keeping the city financially secure. (pop. 8,000)

Thassayan: This peaceful fishing community is immediately between three fueding kingdoms: the Vanarum Clans, the Sangkara Kingdom, and the Wood Elves of the Cyspar Forest. Despite this, the community is well protected by a powerful circle of druids that reside in the wilderness near Thassayan. Those who have attacked the communities have found the roads swallowed by the woods, sharp thorns growing on branches, and hostile creatures prowling the forest. In this environment, humans, sea elves, high elves, halan, and halfings live a peaceful life in harmony with nature, oblivious to the surrounding strife, and allied to the Elven Kingdom of Cyspar Forest. (pop. 10,500)

Mirenze: This mining community was build on the ruins of an old dwarven mine. Veins of gold and silver have made Mirenze a boomtown filled with overprotective prospectors, ambitious dreamers, and conmen attracted to large sums of money. Humans, dwarves, gnomes, orcs and mountain elves live together in an atmosphere of mutual respect… and competition. Those from Mirenze are fiercely independent, and outsiders preying on one can bring many of the others out to protect their own, regardless of race.

Recently, all activity in a nearby gold mine has come to a complete standstill, as monsters from the underdark have moved into the mine from deep underground and have killed any who dare enter. Several expeditions from the militia of Mirenze have gone into the gold mine to crush the threat, but none have ever returned. A group of prospectors have recently pooled their wealth in order to pay adventurers to liberate the mine, but all who have accepted have encountered the same fate as the militia... (pop. 6,500)

The Vanarum Clans

The Vanarum Clans are small kingdom founded and ruled by an alliance of wealthy Gnome clans. Their territory includes a large number of useful resources, ranging from prime grazing land in Strandberg, thick forests in Endewald, and rich mines in Vanarum.

While there are a large number of Gnomes in the kingdom, they no longer comprise the majority of the population. The clans are renowned as a source of skilled craftsmen and bustling marketplaces. This wealth has attracted a large number of non-Gnomes to work, settle, and prosper in the kingdom. These races are treated fairly by the clans and many have great influence within their communities. Despite this, the highest positions of power within the clans are limited to Gnomes born from a noble family.

Endewald: Timber and forestry is the primary source of wealth in Endewald, however the recent discovery of iron ore has seen more wealth enter the community. Beyond halflings, humans and gnomes, a small enclave of High Elves from Cyspar forest and a community of dwarven miners have recently settled in Endewald. (pop. 13,000)

Strandberg: Strandberg is surrounded by pastures and good grazing land. The community makes it’s wealth from herding cattle and raising horses. The city is also renown for it’s tanneries and highly-skilled leatherworkers. While the community is ruled by the gnomish clans, there is a large mix of all races, including small enclaves of dwarves, halflings, and goblins. (pop. 13,000)

Vanarum: At the end of a valley filled with farms and villages, lies the city of Vanarum, the capitol of the clans. The city is not only on the surface, but its streets and shops extend underground. Raw mineral wealth and highly skilled craftsmen man Vanarum a wealthy and populous community, which in turn help fund the armies of mercenaries that help protect all of the lands held by the clans. (pop. 18,500)

Maps of the gameworld

Map of the Isle of Barduum

Map of the Campaign Area

New Advantage: Wands / Holy Symbol

New Advantage: Wands / Holy Symbol
2 points/level

Each level of the Wand or Holy Symbol advantage provides an Energy Reserve (ER) with one fatigue point (FP) that you can only spend to cast spells of one type: clerical with ER (Holy), druidic with ER (Druidic), or wizardly with ER (Magical). You can’t otherwise expend ER as FP, and external events that drain FP never deplete ER. Your ER recharges separately from FP at 1 point/10 minutes, no matter what you’re doing. The appropriate Recover Energy spell accelerates this as usual.

Wands and Holy Symbols have the following limitations: Magic -10% (FP only usable for spell casting); Can Be Stolen -15% (Thief must win a Quick Contest of ST with you); Breakable -10% (Size: 8” long [-6 Size Modifier]).

Wand can be repaired with the Thaumatology skill for wands, while Holy Symbols require the appropriate Religious Ritual skill. Every time it’s repaired it gains one minor quirk. Repairing them five times again a crippling quirk. Most of quirks will be peculiar, arbitrary limitations on how the item can recharge (e.g., only while bathed in bat blood) or how it can be used (e.g., only on Fire spells; only when targeting dwarves; etc.). A severe quirk affects the user of the item (e.g., renders him mute for an hour).

The spell caster can only have one Wand or Holy Symbol or use one that belongs to another. If a wizard purchases a new Wand or Holy Symbol, he must determine which one he can use. Purchasing this advantage assumes that the character already has a Wand or Holy Symbol. Replacing this Wand or Holy Symbol costs the same as an equivalent Power Item, does not come with any quirks, and does not cost any additional character points. Wands or Holy Symbols must be purchased from an Enchanter (say from their temple, guild, or whatever).

A spell caster can have a Wand or Holy Symbol as well as a Power Item, but they cannot be the same physical object.

Racial Templates

Native to Barduum: Dwarf, Elf (High, Mountain, Sea, Shadow and Wood), Goblin-kin (Goblin, Hobgoblin & Orc), Half-Elf, Half-Orc

Native to Carronne: Gnome, Halan, Halfling, Human, and Wolfen

The templates are from Dungeon Fantasy, with some of them slightly modified. (Wolfen are a modified Cat-folk, same with the Halan and the Dark Ones).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Barduum - History

The Slow Death of Kzhabar
On the island of Barduum, the Dwarven Empire of Kzhabar was once renown for its golden age. The Iron King’s rule provided peace and prosperity to all of Barduum. His subjects ejoyed unparalleled wealth, culture and security. Dangerous tribes of Goblin-kin were either driven beyond the frontier by Dwarven armies or lured into the embrace of civilization. Not even the Elven Kingdoms were able to stop the success of the ever-expanding Dwarven armies, although they were never formally absorbed into the Empire.

Nearly a thousand years of prosperity and power have slowly eaten away at Dwarven culture, and has twisted their sense of duty with a powerful greed and lust of wealth. Corruption and crime saturates the empire and grows stronger every day. Politics and vendettas drive deep wedges between powerful clans, which occasionally flare into hostilities... or outright civil war.

In order to support the rot in the heart of Kzhabar, frontier provinces have been heavily taxed and left to fend for themselves. For decades, provinces has been seceding from the empire and attempt forging their own destiny, struggling to be independent and survive the times when Kzhabar finally collapses into ruin. Many of these new kingdoms in Barduum need to fight to survive, but often it seems like for every successful province there is another that has fallen into ruin.

Carronnian Migration and Colonization
A hundred years ago, a terrible cataclysm destroyed the distant land of Carronne. Shortly afterwards, Carronnian survivors and refugees arrived in Bardunn and paid handsomely to the clan elders of Kzhabar clans in the hopes of settling on this new land. The elders were more than happy to trade poor quality and/or Goblin-kin infested land in exchange for vast sums of wealth, and thus New Carronne was born.

What began a small trickle of survivors soon grew into large numbers of Carronnian settlers establishing, securing, and expanding their new communities in the hinterlands ignored by Kzhabar. By the time the Dwarves started paying closer attention to the new colonies springing up in their land, the largest settlements in New Carronne were small kingdoms in their own right, and not something easily displaced by an empire about to descend into another civil war.

Despite their success in building a new home, the Carronnians are not a united people. Carronnians comprise a number of different races, beliefs and cultures - not all of which are sympathetic to each other. Various settlements of New Carronne have indeed grown large enough to expand, however they squabble amongst themselves as much as they do with the various independent kingdoms of Barduum, the Elven Kingdoms, and the Goblin-kin tribes.

The Frontier
At Kzhabar’s height, Dwarven armies drove monsters (such as ogres, trolls, and minotaurs) far from civilization, protected travelers from banditry, and built numerous border fortresses and settlements. As Kzhabar’s strength waned, its borders have continually contracted and left ruins, bandits and monsters in its wake. Many abandoned communities still contain valuables and wealth that would greatly enrich the many kingdoms throughout Barduum... although they are typically deep in the wilderness, protected by ancient Dwarven traps, and within the territory of monsters that prowl the land.

Barduum - Physical Characteristics

Barduum is a mountainous island, filled with forests, lakes, tundra, volcanos, and glaciers. Fjords punctuate its extensive coastline, which is also where many towns are situated due to the island’s interior, a cold and nearly uninhabitable combination of mountains and glaciers. Since most races prefer building their communities near the coastline, Dwarven communities are often the only settlements in Barduum’s interior due to their cities reaching deep underground, however Gnome communities are burrowing deeper and deeper into the moutains near New Corrone.

The climate of Barduum’s coast is cold, although a warm ocean current helps provide mild windy winters and damp and cool summers. There are some variations in the climate between different parts of the island. Very generally speaking, the south coast is warmer, wetter and windier than the north. Low-lying inland areas are surrounded by mountains, and are often the most arid. Snowfall in winter is more common in the north than the south.

Average temperatures in Barduum range from 60 degrees in the summer to 22 degrees in the winter, with an yearly average of 47 degrees. New Carronne experiences snowfall for four to five months out of the year, while the heart of the Kzhabar Empire on the southern shores typically only has a three months of sporadic snowfall.

Approximately half of the island consists of mountains and tundra that are largely barren of vegetation; with the other half filled with thick forests and grasslands.

MIA - working on new campaign

I haven't had much time to post to the blog, mainly because I've been working on a new GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign. The players are Robin (Wolfen Scout/Archer), Charlie (Half Orc/Half Elf Cleric of an Elven god of the hunt), Stephanie (High Elf Bard), Scott (Human Barbarian), Adam (Goblin Wizard). Each character follows the GURPS DF suggestions/templates, except with a base of 275 points, with an increased maximum to disads to allow the races to purchase some bennies... such as multi-classing, racial templates, extended career options, etc.

Next few posts will have the details of the world.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kira's Wish

Robin told Kira to make a wish before she blew out her candles... to which she responded, "I wish I was a dog"

Happy Birthday Kira!
My big five year old girl!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clinton's Pyrric Victory in Indiana

To paraphrase King Pyrrhus, "Another such victory over Obama and I am undone."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

More bad news for Clinton

With 50% of the vote counted, it looks like Clinton is taking Indiana by ten points (55% / 45%).

With 13% of the vote counted, it looks like Obama is easily taking North Carolina by thirty points (64% / 34%).

These final numbers are going to shift about, but I'm willing to bet it won't shift by that much. Clinton will take Indiana and Obama will take North Carolina. Still, this is a delegate race and not a "who won which state" race, so let's see how this stacks up.

Indiana has 72 pledged delegates. Clinton would gain 40, Obama 32, so Clinton would gain 8 more delegates above and beyond Obama's Indiana delegates.

North Carolina has 115 pledged delegates. Obama would gain 75, Clinton 40, so Obama would gain 35 more delegates above and beyond Clinton's North Carolina delegates.

As a result, Obama gains 28 delegates today... which pushes his delegate lead to 171... which is more than it's ever been in the entire race. She would need to win 79% of the remaining delegates to erase that lead.

I can't imagine why she is still in the race... but then again, this is Hillary Clinton we are talking about.

Back to watching the polls...

Psychic Prediction regarding IN & NC

Clinton takes Indiana by six points (53% / 47%), while Obama takes North Carolina by eight (54% / 46%).

Despite the fact that Obama will get six more delegates tonight than Clinton, I'm willing to bet that she'll continue to fight ... like my daughter kicking and screaming and having to be dragged to bed despite the reality of her day being over.

I'm not terribly optimistic about it, but I pray Obama wins Indiana just so we can end this damn race.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Florida and Michigan

The Clintons keep talking about Florida and Michigan's votes needing to count, so I figured I'd run the numbers to see how she would benefit.

Florida voted 50% Clinton, 33% Obama, and 14% Edwards. With 211 delegates at stake, that means that Clinton would have received 106 delegates. Pretty good, but Obama would have managed to grab 70 delegates, to knock her lead down to 36. Thirty six is a good number, but a long way from erasing Obama's 143 point delegate lead. Still, it would be a good step.

Michigan is another beast altogether. Her name was on the ballot and Obama's wasn't. She won the state by 55%, but "Uncommitted" received 40% of the vote. Unfortunately for Obama, his last name isn't Uncommitted. Meaning out of state with 157 delegates, she would rack up eighty six of them. Combined with the thirty six delegates from Florida, she would get an impressive 122 delegates, which would smash most of Obama's lead ... but not all of it. Even if Florida and Michigan were handed to her on a silver platter, she would still be 21 delegates behind.

Even this late in the game, if she keeps acting like a Republican, she'll rack up 21 delegates and capture the nomination. If that happened, she would need to win the 54% of the remaining delegates and half of the remaining super delegates.

That's the best case scenario. If the DNC awards Obama with the uncommitted Michigan votes (or even a fraction of them), that would net up to sixty three delegates, which would significantly cut into her 86 from the state. The full sixty three would leave Obama with a fifty nine point lead, and would leave her scrambling for fifteen percent victory margins.

Odds are this won't happen, but then again, odds are Michigan and Florida's delegates aren't going to be seated exactly as the vote was cast.

Time will tell as to how the DNC will handle it. If history is any judge, I'm sure they will drop the ball. ;)

State of the Race

Obama just got six more super delegates today than Clinton did, and now push the widening gap of delegates between the two of them to right before the Pennsylvania primary. In effect, Pennsylvania isn't helping her overcome Obama's lead anymore... which was what she really needs to do to win.

So, Clinton is behind 143 delegates. What about tomorrow? Indiana and North Carolina have 187 delegates up for grabs. Unfortunately, Clinton is once again in a deep pit because she hasn't been able to gain a sufficiently large number of votes to eat into Obama's lead. Remember that 10% double digit lead in Pennsylvania? That netted her about fifteen more delegates, all of which have been wiped out in the past week. In order to make a significant and lasting impact in the race, she needs to pull off at least 16 percent victories... and given the election so far... that doesn't looks very realistic. According to upcoming polling, it looks like she will get West Virginia and Kentucky by twenty five percent margins... but West Virginia only has 28 delegates and Kentucky 51. Worse, on the same day as Kentucky's election, Oregon's 52 delegates are up for grabs and Obama is polling double digits in that state.

IMO, Indiana is a do or die state for Clinton. It looks like she'll get it... but if not her goose is cooked. Her wins aren't eating into Obama's lead, so the only thing she has left is to spin each win into a PR victory and allow her candidacy to continue to limp along and wreck the party.

Anyway, polling tomorrow looks like Clinton will take Indiana by six points (53%/47%) and Obama will take North Carolina by eight points (54%/46%).

If she loses both, she's dead. If she win's both, Obama is going to be beat up in the media until the last vote (June 7th) and hopefully by then we'll know where the remaining super delegates are sitting.

Who knows? Maybe the PR victory will count more than the delegates... These are the Clintons we are talking about...

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Another game comes to a successful end

After fifteen months of weekly sessions, our Mutants and Masterminds campaign just game to an end. It was inspired by the Heroes TV show, and the following M&M books: Hero High, Agents of Freedom, and Paragons. The gist of the campaign was the that PCs were Jr. High School characters in a fictional city similar to Fort Bragg, California... suddenly discovering that they had superpowers and that there were forces at work trying to keep it silent and them under control. Between drama, homework, egos, evil villains from the future, and government agents from the present, we had a heck of a lot of fun.

The game really hit the "secret supers" vibe, which helped the game emulate "Heroes" and reinforce the tone of the game every session without having to resort to clumsy genre mechanics. The game stayed true to what we wanted, and didn't drift off and become a different style of game. (Kinda like when vampire chronicles about losing your humanity mutate into political wrangling which then mutate into some bad Highlander sequel...) That in itself really helped everyone to get into the game and the players didn't find out that any of their characters skills or feats had become useless.

As for powers, the PCs were "street level" supers (PL6 that became PL7 halfway through the game), so it was't like they were tossing around vast cosmic power... however thy clearly had powers that put them in the advantage over any individual adult or agent. (For example, one PC could turn insubstantial.) Beyond one villain and his henchman, the PCs never encountered any other supers like themselves. The real antagonists were agents who had some funky technology, and given the tone of the game the PCs did their best not to just cut loose with their powers and were very judicious in their use.

The game was less "smash the villain of the week" but more focused on investigation and going through life as a Jr. High School student who has to balance, homework, homecoming, and heroism while coping with the secret side of their small town community. Unlike most other games where the players have adults PCs with funky powers or skills, the players got to experience a level of powerlessness that come with being a teenager. Such are the joys of fighting evil, while dealing with homework, teachers, parents, curfew, and being suspended for two days for being in a fight on campus. We clearly aren't thirteen anymore, but my players had fun pretending again. :)

Alas, all things came to an end, and it had a very successful resolution for the players. Mission accomplished, and all that.

Now that the game is over, the players have stamped off on my suggestion to run a GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy campaign next. Now I have a week to finalize my drafts of the campaign and get ready for the character creation process next week. Fun fun!