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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Prestige Class Contest Thread IV: This could be Heaven or Hell

    Keyholder

    "It is a fundamental conflation of physics and metaphysics to assert that because we label certain magical forces as `good' and others as `evil' that those forces are associated with absolute objective morality. If tomorrow every murderer was treated as good by our magic and every orphanage-running altruistic saint detected as evil, the murderer would still be evil in any reasonable absolute moral sense and the saint would still be a saint in any sense that matters. And if the gods damn someone that says nothing about whether someone deserves damnation any more than whether someone eaten by a bear shows they deserved to be eaten by a bear."
    - From the writings of Salanix the Thrice-Apostate, the first Keyholder


    The quote from Salanix above summarizes the fundamental beliefs of the Keyholders

    Keyholders regard the divine and demonic forces as simply powerful forces. And if they have no fundamental moral tension to them, there's no reason that one cannot figure out how to use them simply as sources of power. What power one uses has nothing to do with one's own moral decisions or moral values.

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    Alignment: No alignment restriction. Have you read anything above?
    Feats: Augment Summoning, Spell Focus(Conjuration)
    Skills: 8 ranks in Knowledge(the Planes), 3 ranks in Knowlede(arcana), Knowledge(religion) and Spellcraft. (Note: If adapting to Pathfinder, reduce the skill ranks in Knowledge(the planes) to 5.)
    Spellcasting Able to cast three Conjuration(Summoning) spells as arcane spells at least one of which is at least third level. Able to cast one of Protection from Chaos, Protection from Evil, Protection from Good or Protection from Law.


    Class Skills
    The Keyholder's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Decipher Script (Int), Knowledge(arcana) (Int), Knowledge(religion) (Int), Knowledge (the planes) (Int), Profession (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).

    Skills Points at Each Level: 2 + int

    Hit Dice: d4

    Spoiler: Adjusting for Pathfinder
    Show
    If playing under Pathfinder, Decipher Script is replaced with Linguistics, Concentration should be removed, and the hit die changed to d6.

    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spellcasting
    1st +0 +0 +0 +2 Open Gate, Secrets of the Planes, Utilitarian Summoner -
    2nd +1 +0 +0 +3 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    3rd +1 +1 +1 +3 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    4th +2 +1 +1 +4 Open Gate, Lesser Binding -
    5th +2 +1 +1 +4 Fast Summon, Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    6th +3 +2 +2 +5 Open Gate, Binding +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    7th +3 +2 +2 +5 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    8th +4 +2 +2 +6 Open Gate, Greater Binding +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    9th +4 +3 +3 +6 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    10th +5 +3 +3 +7 Open Gate, True Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class

    Spoiler: Table for adopting to Pathfinder
    Show

    Level Base Attack Bonus Fort Save Ref Save Will Save Special Spellcasting
    1st +0 +0 +0 +1 Open Gate, Secrets of the Planes, Utilitarian Summoner -
    2nd +1 +1 +1 +1 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    3rd +1 +1 +1 +2 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    4th +2 +1 +1 +2 Open Gate, Lesser Binding -
    5th +2 +2 +2 +3 Fast Summon, Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    6th +3 +2 +2 +3 Open Gate, Binding +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    7th +3 +2 +2 +4 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    8th +4 +3 +3 +4 Open Gate, Greater Binding +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    9th +4 +3 +3 +5 Open Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class
    10th +5 +3 +3 +5 Open Gate, True Gate +1 level of existing arcane spellcasting class


    Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: A Keyholder gains no weapons or armor proficiencies.

    Spellcasting: At every level other than first and fourth, when a new Keyholder level is gained, the character gains new spells per day as if she had also gained a level in whatever arcane spellcasting class she belonged to before she added the prestige class. She does not, however, gain any other benefit a character of that class would have gained. This essentially means that she adds the level of Keyholder to the level of whatever other arcane spellcasting class the character has, then determines spells per day, spells known, and caster level accordingly.

    Utilitarian Summoner(ex): At first level, a Keyholder's own morality is not influenced by what beings they choose to bring into the material plane or elsewhere. Repeatedly summoning or calling creatures of any given so-called alignment type ([Good], [Evil], [Lawful] or [Chaotic]) has no impact on the Keyholder's own alignment, nor does casting summoning or calling spells or effects with those descriptor. Casting any of Protection From Good, Protection from Evil, Protection from Chaos or Protection from Law also does not impact a Keyholder's alignment, nor does using spells or effects which interact with summoned or called beings. Moreover, a Keyholder is particularly skilled at summoning beings with alignment descriptors. Whenever they cast a summoning spell, the Keyholder adds their (class level*spell level)/2 (minimum 1) to the total hit points of any being summon that has any of the alignment types. They also add their class level to the effective arcane caster level when summoning any being with one of the alignment types. Note: This bonus to caster level does not count as an increase in arcane caster level for any of the Gate class features below.,

    Open Gate: Starting at first level, and every level after that a Keyholder learns how to open one Gate related to one of the four alignments types. The four types are Celestial Gates, associated with Good; Hellish Gates, associated with Evil; Gates of Restraint, associated with Law; and Gates of Release, associated with Chaos. However, because a Keyholder fundamentally involves the careful study and use of all the allegedly ethical axes, a Keyholder cannot at any point open than 2 more of any Gate type than the number of Gates already opened have of its opposed type. (For example, a Keyholder cannot open more than 3 Celestial Gates if they have only a single Fiendish Gate.) Also, a Keyholder cannot open a Gate if it would cause the number of Gates of one type to exceed the number of Gates of any one type plus 3. For example, if one has opened only two Gates of Restraint, one cannot have more than five open Gates of any other type. Some Gates have additional prerequisites before they can be opened detailed in their entries below. Every open Gate is an extraordinary ability unless it is specified to be a spell-like ability or supernatural ability in its entry.

    Celestial Gates:

    Angelic Assistance: When a Keyholder who has opened this Gate recovers arcane spell slots they gain one extra spell slot at their highest spell level. This slot can be
    used only for a summon monster spell which summon beings with the [Good] subtype. As a Keyholder becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level. Note that this slot cannot be given up for a class feature that requires elimination of a spell slot such as the Archmage's High Arcana class feature.
    Heavenly Protection: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least first level into Protection from Evil. Protection from Evil is added to any arcane spellcasting class list they have. They also gain a +2 bonus to any diplomacy checks to convince any being to engage in altruistic actions.
    Heroes: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or prepared arcane spell of at least third level into Heroism. They may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least sixth level into Greater Heroism. These spells are added to any arcane spellcasting class list they have.
    Life: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate adds Cure Light Wounds, Cure Moderate Wounds, Cure Serious Wounds and Cure Critical Wounds to any arcane spellcasting class list at the same levels they are on the cleric list. They may spontaneously convert arcane spell slots to these spells just as a good cleric. A Keyholder cannot open this Gate until they have at least two other Celestial Gates opened.
    Understanding the Great Choir: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate gains a +2 insight bonus on Sense Motive checks, Charisma checks, and Charisma-based skill checks when interacting with outsiders with the Good subtype. A Keyholder may open this gate further; each time they select this Gate the bonus increases by 2.
    Wrath of Righteous Judgment: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may once daily maximize any damaging spell or damaging spell-like ability as if they had applied Maximize Spell metamagic feat. A Keyholder cannot open this Gate until they have at least three other Celestial Gates opened.

    Fiendish Gates:

    Death: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate add Inflict Light Wounds, Inflict Moderate Wounds, Inflict Serious Wounds and Inflict Critical Wounds to any arcane spellcasting class list as the same levels they are on the cleric list. They may spontaneously convert arcane spell slots to these spells just as an evil cleric. A Keyholder cannot open this Gate until they have at least two other Fiendish Gates opened.
    Fiendish Gates: When a Keyholder who has opened this Gate recovers arcane spell slots they gains one extra spell slot at their highest spell level. This slot can be
    used only for a summon monster spell which summon beings with the [Evil] subtype. As a Keyholder becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level.
    Fiery Damnation: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate adds +1 to the caster level of any arcane spell, spell-like ability, or supernatural ability with the Fire descriptor.
    Fiendish Empowerment: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may once daily call upon fiendish powers as a swift action. They gain 1d6 temporary hit points per every two levels of Keyholder. They also gain either DR 5/Silver and magic or DR 5/Cold Iron and magic (their choice). Finally they gain a +2 profane bonus to strength. These benefits last 1 minute. A Keyholder cannot open this Gate until at least three other Fiendish Gates have been opened.
    Fiendish Protection: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least first level into Protection from Good. Protection from Good is added to any arcane spellcasting class list they have. The Keyholder also gains a +2 bonus to any Diplomacy or Intimidate checks to convince any being to do something which being knows is morally wrong.
    Fiendish Assistance: When a Keyholder who has opened this Gate recovers arcane spell slots they gain one extra spell slot at their highest spell level. This slot can be
    used only for a summon monster spell which summon beings with the [Evil] type. As a Keyholder becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level. Note that this slot cannot be given up for a class feature that requires elimination of a spell slot such as the Archmage's High Arcana class feature.
    Hellfire: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate gains an at will ability to send forth a stream of hellfire. This is a ranged touch attack with medium range (with effective caster level for range determined by the Keyholder's arcane caster level) that does 1d6 points of damage +1 per every 2 arcane caster levels. Half the damage is fire damage while the other half is directly empowered by the flames of the lower planes and is untyped. Additionally, when a Keyholder uses this ability they may augment it by sacrificing a spell slot or prepared spell of at least first level. If so, the effect does an additional 1d6 damage for every level of the spell slot or prepared spell sacrificed. This is a supernatural ability.
    Understanding the Fallen A Keyholder who has opened this Gate gains a +2 insight bonus on Sense Motive checks, Charisma checks, and Charisma-based skill checks when interacting with outsiders with the Evil subtype. A Keyholder may open this gate further; each time they select this Gate the bonus increases by 2.


    Gates of Restraint:

    Assistance of the Bound: When a Keyholder who has opened this Gate recovers arcane spell slots they gain one extra spell slot at their highest spell level. This slot can be
    used only for a summon monster spell which summon beings with the [Lawful] subtype. As a Keyholder becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level. Note that this slot cannot be given up for a class feature that requires elimination of a spell slot such as the Archmage's High Arcana class feature.
    Authority: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least first level into Protection from Chaos. Protection from Chaos is added to any arcane spellcasting class list they have. They also gain a +2 bonus to any knowledge checks or Perform(Rhetoric) checks made as part of a legal proceeding.
    Proclamation of Silence: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may use Greater Dispel Magic spell-like ability with their caster level equal to their arcane caster level. A Keyholder who has Opened this Gate may use this a number of times daily up to their class level/3.
    Restraint Made Manifest: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least 2nd level into Hold Person. Hold Person is added to the class list for any arcane spellcasting class they have.
    Undeniable Authority: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may once daily declare that a spell they cast has undeniable authority. Such a spell cannot be dispelled or countered by any means unless the caster level of the being countering or dispelling is at least five higher than the caster level of the spell.
    Understanding the Disciplined: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate gains a +2 insight bonus on Sense Motive checks, Charisma checks, and Charisma-based skill checks when interacting with outsiders with the Lawful subtype. A Keyholder may open this gate further; each time they select this Gate the bonus increases by 2.


    Gates of Release:

    Ally of the Unbound: When a Keyholder who has opened this Gate recovers arcane spell slots they gain one extra spell slot at their highest spell level. This slot can be
    used only for a summon monster spell which summon beings with the [Chaos] subtype. As a Keyholder becomes able to learn higher-level spells, the extra slot migrates up to the new highest level. Note that this slot cannot be given up for a class feature that requires elimination of a spell slot such as the Archmage's High Arcana class feature.
    Entropic Power: A Keyholder who has opened this Gates may when they cast a spell choose to add 1d6-2 to its caster level. A Keyholder can use this ability up to your class level divided by 3 (minimum 1) times daily. A Keyholder cannot this Gate unless they have opened at least two other Gates of Release.
    Understanding the Anarch: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate gains a +2 insight bonus on Sense Motive checks, Charisma checks, and Charisma-based skill checks when interacting with outsiders with the Chaotic subtype. A Keyholder may open this gate further; each time they select this Gate the bonus increases by 2.
    Power of the Unpredictable: A Keyholder who has Opened this Gate may when they cast a spell once daily use this ability. They upgrade any dice involved in the spell's numerical effects. Use the rule:
    d2->d3->d4->d6->d8->d10->d12->2d8 and d20->2d12. A Keyholder cannot open this Gate unless they have opened at least three other Gates of Release.
    Subversion: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may spontaneously convert any arcane spell slot or arcane prepared spell of at least first level into Protection from Law. Protection from Law is added to any arcane spellcasting class list they have. They also gain a +2 bonus to any Diplomacy or Intimidate checks to convince someone to break a law or decree.
    Randomized Infusion: A Keyholder who has opened this Gate may cause a being's ability scores to randomly fluctuate. They must make a range touch attack on a target within 100 feet of the caster. The targets gains a +2 bonus to two random ability scores and -2 to 2 other random ability scores for 1 minute. A being may resist this effect with a successful will save (DC 10 + 1/2 your class level + your intelligence modifier). A Keyholder may use this ability up to their class level times daily. If used on a being already subject to a Randomized Infusion, the new Randomized Infusion replaces the previous one.

    Secrets of the Planes(ex): A Keyholder understands far better than others how the Planes interact. Staring at first level, they add their class level to all Knowledge(Arcana), Knowledge(Religion) and Knowledge(The Planes) checks related to the nature of plane. They double this bonus when it concerns a plane which is aligned with one of the four l alignments. A Keyholder also adds their class level to any Concentration or Spellcraft check related to summoning or conjuration spells which deal with beings with one of the four alignment subtypes.

    Lesser Binding (sp): At 4th level, once weekly a Keyholder may use Lesser Planar Binding as a Spell-Like ability with effective caster level equal to their arcane caster level. Using this ability requires a casting time of 1 minute. This ability can only be used to bind beings with at least one of the alignment descriptors. At Sixth level, this ability duplicates Planar Binding and at 8th level this duplicates Greater Planar Binding.

    Fast Summons (ex): At 5th level, a Keyholder learns to summon particularly quickly. When they cast any spell from the Summon Monster line, the default casting time is a standard action rather than a full-round action.

    True Gate (sp): At 10th level, once weekly a Keyholder may use Gate as a spell-like ability with caster level equal to their arcane caster level. If used in the Calling form, this must be used to call a being with one of the alignment subtypes.


    Playing a Keyholder

    Some Keyholders are very vocal about their beliefs. However, other Keyholders, worried about persecution by organized churches who object to their ideas are much quieter about the nature of their powers. Keyholders who adventure frequently do so to gain more knowledge or secrets about the planes.

    Combat: A Keyholder will play frequently like any other summoning focused mage. They'll want to generally stay away from direct combat.

    Advancement: Keyholders are interested in whatever magic boosts their own capabilities. Many Keyholders take the Practiced Spellcaster feat to make up partially for their lost caster levels.

    Resources: There is only a single major organization of Keyholders, the Order of Salanix, named after the legendary first Keyholder. The Order is a loose-knit group who exchanges information on occasion but in a mostly informal context Many Keyholders are involved in wizard guilds or other similar organizations.

    Keyholders in the world

    "Most so-called Keyholders are heretics of the worst sort, willing to work with any beings in exchange for power. That said, some of them are not bad people, but that is in spite of their studies and skills. And even those Keyholders who are good are only good in so far as their own moral judgment happens to coincide with the judgement of deities whose minds are far beyond theirs and have spent centuries or even millennia contemplating the Good. " - Telfana Silverblade, an elven paladin.

    Keyholders have been around for centuries. If legends are to be believed, the first Keyholder was the wizard Salanix some six centuries ago. Salanix's writings were highly influential, even though many established churches now list them as forbidden. Some scholars have pointed out that nowhere in Salanix's writings does he claim to be the first to study the skills and philosophy he advocates and it is possible that there were Keyholders before him.

    Over time as Keyholders have become more common, the backlash against them has been stronger. Some Keyholders have responded by trying to hide their abilities while others have tried more direct diplomatic and political approaches to reduce the backlash.

    Daily Life: A Keyholder may spend most of their day studying arcane secrets and secrets of the outer planes. They may adventure to discover more secrets, or to fulfill some moral goal.

    Notables:
    Delan Senav (NG, Elf Conjurer 5 Keyholder 6) is a prominent mage who is currently the second in command for a guild of conjurers, and is also the current leader of the Order of Salanix. Senav's longterm goal is to understand the outer planes well enough to ascend to godhood. As he puts it, "I have a long list of objections about how the multiverse is run."

    Samantha Tenethi (N, Human Wizard 5/Keyholder 2) is a young Keyholder who first found out about Keyholders from uncovering a set of tomes about the subject in an abandoned tower. She found that the philosophy was one she agreed with strongly and the power promised wasn't so bad either. She now adventures with a small group, including a paladin whom she enjoys arguing with about every possible aspect of morality. Samantha and her adventuring group recently came to attention when they were critically involved in stopping an extraplanar incursion on the material plane by a powerful demon-lord.

    Adres the Damned (NE, Human Wizard 5/Keyholder 10/Archmage 1) is a powerful and aging wizard. His studies and various bargains he has made have left him few doubts about where his soul is going when he dies. Now he searches for various forms of immortality to cheat the powers that govern the universe yet again. He is aware of lichdom but he is enough of a hedonist that he is holding off on it, hoping to find a form of immortality that allows him to still fully experience regular sensations.

    Organizations: The primary organization of Keyholders is the Order of Salanix. Despite its name as an "Order," it is a loose-knit set of Keyholders along with a few others who study the Plane, and primarily functions as an organization for them to exchange information. In the last few years the Order has also been more involved as functionally a lobbying group trying to convince organized churches that the Keyholders and their beliefs do not represent a threat.

    In the last few years, some Keyholders have allied with Binders. The focus on interacting with beings independent of what those beings stand for, and the dislike of many organized religions has given them common cause. Still other Keyholders are worried that such alliances will cause them to be considered more definite heretics by association.

    NPC Reaction

    Most people with some magical knowledge have heard of Keyholders, and they will at least know that they study powerful forms of summoning magic. People who have studied a small amount will be aware of the basics of the Keyholder's philosophy and may be aware that some churches consider them as heretics. In practice, the beliefs and issues are obscure enough, that most NPCs will treat a Keyholder as they would any other mage.

    Keyholders in the Game

    A Keyholder will generally function close to whatever spellcaster they had a base class (which will generally be a wizard given the skill requirements and spellcasting requirements). That means they will present the same headaches as their base class, with the exception that a Keyholder is more focused on summoning, and so may have more predictable responses. However, by the same token, their ability to summon a variety of creatures may allow them to use that ability to solve problems in clever ways which might be unexpected.

    As with any summoning-focused class, one issue is that having many summons in practice can slow down the game. A Keyholder should be encouraged in combat to know exactly what they intend for their summoned creatures to do on any given turn. Also, a Keyholder has a larger variety of flexibility in what they can summon without consequences. They should be encouraged to have the statistics ready for any creature they summon, so as to not slow down game play.


    Adaptation: Keyholders can be placed into most settings with little difficulty. In specific settings the ideas may be associated with specific magical schools of thought. In the Eberron setting, the Keyholders may fit in a particularly interesting way given the setting's ambiguity about the nature of the gods.

    In Forgotten Realms/Faerun, the heavy focus on the divine will have Keyholders treated in a very different fashion, especially since Keyholders will know enough to know just what the results are of failing to worship a deity. In that context, they may worship a deity who is generally associated with magic or knowledge, such as Azuth or Oghma. They might even be directly sponsored by Ohgma given that deity's commitment to knowledge.

    In Golarion, Keyholders may be found among other groups which are generally interested in knowledge, such as the Pathfinder Society and the Magaambya. Other Keyholders may be allied with the Aspsis Consortium at it looks to expand its reach into other planes. This variety of organizations with an interest in the Keyholders could result in the Order of Salanix having to delicately balance various alliances or interests. It is also possible in Golarion that the knowledge and skills of the Keyholders is somehow connected to ancient Thassilonian studies of conjuration by the Thassilonian mages who focused on that school of magic.


    Encounters: PCs might encounter a Keyholder the same way they'd encounter any other mage, possibly as a villain or as a potential ally depending on their goals and the PC goals. For example, a powerful Keyholder might wishe to locate a dangerous artifact which can be used to control powerful demons or celestials. They may hire the PCs to locate it or may come into conflict with PCs who wish to find the object themselves.



    Keyholder Feats

    Advanced Keyholder
    While to many Keyholders, the True Gate is seen as the greatest of Keyholder abilities, you have stepped even beyond that.
    Prerequisites: True Gate class feature
    Benefit: You open an additional Gate. You also add 1 to your effective class level for all Keyholder class features.
    Special: You may take this feat multiple times. Each time, you open an additional Gate and increase your effective Keyholder level by 1.

    Epic Keyholder
    You have opened up Gates beyond what almost can dream of and reach out to summon beings of power that few even realize exist.
    Prerequisites: True Gate class feature, 24 ranks in Knowledge(Arcana), Knowledge(the Planes) and Spellcraft. Epic Spellcasting
    Benefit: When researching or casting an epic spell whose primary seed is the summon seed, you treat the DC as 5 lower. This reduction doubles if the spell summons a being with an alignment descriptor. You also apply the hit point increase from Utilitarian Summoning to epic summoning spells, treating them as 10th level spells.


    Keyholder Items


    Key of Salanix

    This appears to be a small iron key with a few engraved runes and embedded gemstones engraved. The Key is part of a necklace made of alternating iron and silver links. When worn on the neck, the Key functions as a Ring of Wizardry III, but the additional spell slots can only be used to cast summoning spells. The additional spell slots do stack with those from a Ring of Wizardry, but neither a Ring of Wizardry nor a Key of Salanix will apply to the spell slots given by the other (and this applies more generally to how the Key interacts with similar objects which increase spell slots). Additionally, if one has the Utilitarian Summoning class feature, then whenever one casts a Summon Monster spell and uses it to summon beings from a lower level list, they may summon one additional being of that type. If so, the key briefly glows as the spell is cast. This additional being must be summoned to a square adjacent to the caster.
    Craft Wondrous Item, limited wish, summon monster III, Utilitarian Summoning class feature; Price 50,000 gp
    Last edited by JoshuaZ; 2018-07-04 at 08:41 AM.
    My homebrew:

    Spoiler
    Show


    Completed:
    ToB disciplines:

    The Narrow Bridge
    The Broken Blade

    Prestige classess:
    Disciple of Karsus -PrC for Karsites.
    The Seekers of Lost Swords and the Preserver of Future Blades Two interelated Tome of Battle Prcs,
    Master of the Hidden Seal - Binder/Divine hybrid
    Knight of the Grave- Necromancy using Gish



    Worthwhile links:

    Age of Warriors