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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    I recently introduced the idea to a number of friends of mine of running a Western-themed campaign, about which they were very excited. In this world, some cataclysm has made the whole damn continent into a desert, which is kind of what the West was largely about. Rather than introduce firearms, we use slightly better crossbows for similar gun-slingy flavor. No armor heavier than light is worn, and there is no magic in this part of the world. In terms of flavor, humans represent the majority of white folk, with Elves as Europeans, Orcs being racistly enslaved labor, and Goblins and their ilk filling the roll of looked-down-on immigrants. Furthermore, there is a large American-Indian stand-in culture composed of Lizardfolk. Furthermore, Dwarves and Gnomes live underground, mine, and build stuff. Class access is limited based on race, with only Dwarves and Gnomes working as "Tinkerers," the Wizard stand-in class. Only Orcs and Lizardfolk can be Barbarians or Druids, odd backstory excepting. Anyways, that's a pretty short summation of the campaign. Anyone have any ideas that I seem to have missed? We're going to limit things to core rulebooks, 3.5 Dnd, except that Rangers and Paladins use their Complete Warrior no magic variants.

    EDIT: Full race list
    Human: The largest power in this world. Fill the roll that white Americans did in our own American west.
    Dwarf: Subterranean Tinkering folk, who are largely responsible for the world's technology. Honorable. Respected among humans.
    Elf: Stand-in for Europeans. Live as long as 200 years, and are often perceived as haughty by humans. Respected by the landed gentry, though.
    Gnome: Similar to dwarves, just with less of an eye for war machines, and more of a taste for fun.
    Half-Elf: Rare, but not unliked. Similar role to many humans. Occasionally disdained by poorer humans.
    Orc/Half-Orc: Due to their massive physical strength, these races were racistly enslaved as farm labor, although most are now free due to technological advances by Dwarves and Gnomes that can farm more efficiently. Note that farms are typically centers of power, as this is a largely desert land. These races experience a good deal of prejudice from other races, and as such can often be found among wilderness peoples.
    Halflings: Not in this world.
    Lizardfolk: Working as the stand-in for Native Americans, Lizardfolk have less of a taste for city life, and are often disdained by and disdainful of humans. Have largely embraced runaway Orcs and Half-Orcs. The warring nature of the Americans' relationship with them has made less one-sided by the lack of firearms. Adjusted to LA 0.
    Tieflings: Mysterious folk who claim to have been here before the Lizardfolk. Largely shamanic and wilderness-dwelling, they keep to themselves. Very few in number. Claim to know the cause of the desertification of the continent.
    Aasimir: As old as the tieflings; these two forces are diametrically opposed. Began building cities before humans arrived, but low numbers kept those cities few.

    Classes:
    No magic users.
    Barbarians: Limited to simple weapons to limit their increased power in a low-armor world. Rare among non-wilderness dwellers.
    Druid: Not a PC class, but some Tieflings and a few Lizardfolk seem to have fitting powers...
    Fighter: Very common. No changes. Limited to city-dwellers, or others who would have access to a training facility (i.e fighters' college.)
    Monk: No lawful, multiclassing limitations. Brawlers.
    Paladin: The law. Uses Complete Warrior non-magic variation. Exist only in non-wilderness areas.
    Ranger: Existing among either wilderness dwellers or explorative city folk. Non magic.
    Rogue: Very common. Scoundrel; backstabber; cheat. The West incarnate.
    Swashbuckler: Often a con-man, but can fight better than a rogue. Relatively common in this world.
    Tinkerer: Strictly limited to Gnomes and Dwarves, excepting a damn good backstory. Developing certain "technologies" that are largely based on spells/invocations of Warlocks from Complete Arcane. Can make mechanical weapons/ buddies.

    A note on racial sensitivity: The races portrayed above are not intended to offend. They are simply intended to portray the various cultures that existed in the west. I am aware that half-orcs and orcs have an intelligence penalty. This is not intended to be a racist gesture. Intelligence represents study and memorization; "book smarts," if you will. For a race that was disalllowed access to books, I think a penalization in this regard is pretty accurate. Charisma penalty: Most people are racists in this world. It was the truth in the West then, so it is in my world. Accordingly, Orcish folk have a harder time trying to convince somebody of something. Same goes for Lizardfolk.
    Full Orcs have no Wisdom penalty in my world, by the way. It has been converted into an additional -2 to charisma. Let's face it: by and large, ex-slaves were not well liked. With those who are not prejudiced, DC's will be according lowered.

    More updates later, mebbe.
    Last edited by raptor1056; 2009-05-25 at 12:35 PM.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    How powerful are Tinkerers compared to normal Wizards? What are you doing about Clerics?

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Flickerdart's Avatar

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    What about other races/classes? Tome of Battle? Binders? Incarnum?
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by The_Glyphstone View Post
    How powerful are Tinkerers compared to normal Wizards? What are you doing about Clerics?
    No magic=no clerics, so it's going to be pretty gritty. Tinkerers will probably be a lot of utility. Not as controlly, as there is no big magic, but more combat oriented.
    Other races/ classes: anything in core will be thought about. Only core, though.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    What about Bards? They aren't full casters, but their magic is a significant part of the class. I don't think they have a variant like Paladins and Rangers do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Inevitability View Post
    Greater
    \ˈgrā-tər \
    comparative adjective
    1. Describing basically the exact same monster but with twice the RHD.
    Quote Originally Posted by Artanis View Post
    I'm going to be honest, "the Welsh became a Great Power and conquered Germany" is almost exactly the opposite of the explanation I was expecting

  6. - Top - End - #6
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    What about other races/classes? Tome of Battle? Binders? Incarnum?
    He said core only.

    I'm really curious to see that Tinkerer class.

    And also, you should really think about stuff like how cities interact with each others since it's all a big desert, most cities won't be able to be self-suficiant. They'll need to have trade routes and such. Or maybe there just is no city and it's a whole lot of little settlements.

    With no magic (or limited since the Tinkerer seems to fill up that role) think of ways for players to heal themselves. Or use a mix of Unearthed Arcana's Armor as Damage Reduction and the Damage Conversion , unless player's have a viable way of healing themselves. (You could also homebrew the Heal skill to heal a little bit, I dunno, just throwing out ideas).
    Last edited by Cedrass; 2009-05-24 at 05:37 PM. Reason: Forgot to quote Flickerdart

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    What about Bards? They aren't full casters, but their magic is a significant part of the class. I don't think they have a variant like Paladins and Rangers do.
    I can see a really bad ass bard being something like Antonio Banderas in Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Except with less guns I suppose.

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    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Yeah, think about horses, ya know cause that was a major thing in Old Westerns. Also, with no magic, what about healing?

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Hmm.... Goblin banditos

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    K, so, questions.
    Healing: This world is supposed to be pretty damn gritty. As such, little healing seems to fit. That being said, I think I'm going to allow for some sort of quick-ish healing, with a more tech flavor. Like tweerers, stitches and disinfectant. Soaks up maybe 1d8 per character level, but takes a good 15 minutes, with another 15 of chilling afterwards required, so if you get jumped, you're out of luck.
    In that regard, I think armor modification systems are not the easiest out-- after all, this is a desert world, so not many people want to have any significant armor.
    The Desperado Bard idea is very badass, but unfortunately, magic is too much of that class progression, so I think that would just be a Rogue with specified Perform ranks. I'm going to edit the first post to include some more specifics.
    Horses and the tech-ed out pneumatic crossbow are going to play a large roll in this world, to simulate the American west as best possible. Pneumatic crossbows are not nearly as overpowering as guns, are hella expensive, and are explained by this world's lack of sulfur.
    As for Tinkerers: They are largely siege-engine based, and can use a lot of cool mechanical tricks. They can get robot-y companions, build electric "buffs," and use electricity to some extent. Since this world is going to see a lot grittier combat, a back-rank Evoker type becomes actually viable. Plus, low armor makes Gatling-gun type stuff more effective. I haven't actually written out the full class progression yet; the concept is still highly... erm... conceptual? I was actually looking for help on these guys, mostly. Suggestions on them?

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    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    I don't know about tinkering, but for healing, maybe have certain potions healing herbs/salves only known to the native tribes? It could make a nice plot/hook quest chain - if the players want access to self-healing beyond long amounts of bed rest, they've got to get in the good graces of the local lizardfolk tribes...who, say, might need a marauding beast killed that's been preying on their herds...

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    One idea I've had, that could be applied to normal wizards as well as these, is to change how 9th level spells work. First, make it so that 8th level spell slots are the highest you can get. Then, at level 20, you can pick one, single ninth-level spell to learn. You can change this, but doing so takes at least a month. This spell is basically the culmination of all of your studies and research over the course of your career. Very powerful, but it'd basically be the wizard capstone ability, so it should be. You can't get more than one per day, though, so you have to make it count.

    As for healing, why not go for some sort of 4E style system of healing surges? You can skip on the second wind power, but just let character spend 5 minues or so resting up to gain back some strength, but doing so draws from their reserves. You could even make the healing surges only come back at a rate of once per rest or some such. Healing checks should allow you to gain more HP from each surge, and possibly to gain back more surges each night, so having a "medic" character would still be a huge help, even if there is no magical healing.
    Last edited by AgentPaper; 2009-05-24 at 07:40 PM.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    You might want to consider using the Class Defense Bonus rules to give your players a little more survivability if armor isn't around. It seems appropriate to the genre somehow.
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    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Haven View Post
    You might want to consider using the Class Defense Bonus rules to give your players a little more survivability if armor isn't around. It seems appropriate to the genre somehow.
    Plus it won't be much fun for your player's if they always have to sit around doing nothing but healing... I know I wouldn't enjoy it that much. Having a hard time to actually find some ways to get healed or having some cheap, but not efficient way of getting healed, is fun though. Makes you think before you fight.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    I'll just leave this here...

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    @^: If you're going to plug your essay, please either make your own thread for it or post it in a thread that it's more relevant to.

    @V: "Your hobby is predicated on assumptions of white superiority!" is not relevant to "I want to play a game inspired by the old West," whether or not having lizardfolk as a stand-in for Native American tribes is insensitive.
    Last edited by SurlySeraph; 2009-05-24 at 11:34 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thespianus View Post
    I fail to see how "No, that guy is too fat to be hurt by your fire" would make sense.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    It's not mine. Just something I found. Trust me, it's relevant to what the OP is talking about here. (In a sort of indirect way, I'll admit)

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    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    If you want a non-magical replacement for bards, you could introduce the Marshal from Miniatures Handbook (and conveniently also available online).
    Time travels in divers paces with divers persons.
    As You Like It, III:ii:328

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Glyphstone: That is a very cool idea. I will definitely be incorporating that idea. Thanks!

    AgentPaper: No Magic means no magic, not very little level 9 magic. A healing surge style idea might work, but might not be quite as gritty as I want this to be. I'll fool around with it.

    Haven: :). Now a no-armor world. Thank you!


    Anyways, Tinkerers will now be loosely based on Warlocks, in that they will have a number of gradually developing abilities (like, say, wrist-mounted flamethrowers) that can be used at will, fuel allowing. They will be able to craft certain types of siege weapons (think gatling guns, cannons,) and be able to make robot-y dudes as well. OP soon to be edited with more class specifics.

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by raptor1056 View Post
    In this world, some cataclysm has made the whole damn continent into a desert, which is kind of what the West was largely about.
    Sounds familiar

    *points to Sig*

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    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    My first suggestion was for if you went with the wizards as tinkerers idea. The various spells would be the life's-work invention of the tinkerer. The warlock is probably a better fit mechanically though, and definitely more balanced. You might want to think about giving them a "masterpiece" type ability though, even if it's not nearly on the power level of ninth level spells.
    Excellent avatar by Elder Tsofu.

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by elliott20 View Post
    I'll just leave this here...
    Please don't. Because its utterly wrong on so many levels and is an insult to everyone here.

    That, and its not relevant to this thread at all. Feel free to make another one if you really want, and I'll write a much more in depth reply as to why it fails on every point it brings up.

    But really, if you want to point out how creating a world which highlights and feeds of real world examples (not necessarily believing or thinking it themselves, just sourcing from it) might indeed be wrong, please actually say that. Otherwise this is just a poor case of trolling which no one will take kindly to.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    AgentPaper: Ah, sorry about that. Yeah, good idea on that one. I think I might work with the one Tinkerer in the party (my girlfriend, and a very fast learner) on developing this little by little. But a masterpiece of some sort would be very cool. I'm feeling Time Stop, myself. It would somehow allow her to move and perceive very quickly, simulating the effect. The limited duration would be for safety, as any longer would wreck the character's metabolism. Furthermore, elliott, I would appreciate if you could post your own opinions inside the forum. I really don't have time to read some didactic, assumptive essay on symbolic racism. Personally, I think that the races are a stand-in for cultures, not races, if anything. And different cultures-- surprise!-- tend not to get along. Hence war. Our game is not a "proxy war between races." Firstly, this statement misuses the term "prixy war," as there are no black dudes playing orcs and goblins with the express purpose of wiping out humanity. Additionally, the only campaign I ever ran that was decidedly fixed on the elimination of a certain race was EVIL. That means bad. The good guys in this game are trying to stomp out EVIL. Evil does not mean black people, or different people. It means BAD THINGS. People need to learn to take things literally. This isn't freaking Nietzsche.

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    in which case, what constitutes "pure evil" which needs smiting, and what constitutes cultural evil, which should be handled with more care?

    I'm guessing that in this context, the orcs are either Neutral or Evil By Upbringing, rather than having a "natural tendency" towards it?

    Whereas the more monstrous monsters, if they exist in this setting, may be more "pure evil- attack wherever found"?

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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Not to derail this excellent thread, buuuuut...

    Quote Originally Posted by hamishspence View Post
    in which case, what constitutes "pure evil" which needs smiting, and what constitutes cultural evil, which should be handled with more care?

    I'm guessing that in this context, the orcs are either Neutral or Evil By Upbringing, rather than having a "natural tendency" towards it?

    Whereas the more monstrous monsters, if they exist in this setting, may be more "pure evil- attack wherever found"?
    Presumably. Demons and other evil outsiders are evil because they're made out of evil. They're literally evil incarnate. Orcs, drow, goblins, etc. tend to be evil because their cultures tend to encourage evil acts. Said acts are often not necessarily evil from their perspective, as they may need to do them to survive. Orcs raid civilization because they have huge populations and the untamed wilderness doesn't have enough food to support them all, and illithids eat brains because they need to to live. There are some cultures that are closer to being genuinely evil; drow don't need to enslave and torture pretty much everything they find, but their culture encourages it - and let's not forget that for the drow, violating cultural norms is likely to get you killed by Lloth and/or her clerics.
    Last edited by SurlySeraph; 2009-05-25 at 04:09 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thespianus View Post
    I fail to see how "No, that guy is too fat to be hurt by your fire" would make sense.

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    Colossus in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    seems like a reasonable way of handling it- question is- which of these exist in this setting? Or is it closer to Wild West in having minimal intelligent monsters?

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Quote Originally Posted by raptor1056 View Post
    AgentPaper: Ah, sorry about that. Yeah, good idea on that one. I think I might work with the one Tinkerer in the party (my girlfriend, and a very fast learner) on developing this little by little. But a masterpiece of some sort would be very cool. I'm feeling Time Stop, myself. It would somehow allow her to move and perceive very quickly, simulating the effect. The limited duration would be for safety, as any longer would wreck the character's metabolism. Furthermore, elliott, I would appreciate if you could post your own opinions inside the forum. I really don't have time to read some didactic, assumptive essay on symbolic racism. Personally, I think that the races are a stand-in for cultures, not races, if anything. And different cultures-- surprise!-- tend not to get along. Hence war. Our game is not a "proxy war between races." Firstly, this statement misuses the term "prixy war," as there are no black dudes playing orcs and goblins with the express purpose of wiping out humanity. Additionally, the only campaign I ever ran that was decidedly fixed on the elimination of a certain race was EVIL. That means bad. The good guys in this game are trying to stomp out EVIL. Evil does not mean black people, or different people. It means BAD THINGS. People need to learn to take things literally. This isn't freaking Nietzsche.
    Fair enough. I simply posted that as a means of spring boarding the discussion but I see what you mean. It would be derailing the thread and probably very rude of me. My apologies.

    Having said that, it does help, I think, to distinguish between "genetic" evil vs. "cultural" evil.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    elliott: by the way, my indignation was towards the essay, not you particularly. My apologies in return for assuming that the opinions expressed in the article were yours.
    As for the issue of evil in my world: there is going to be no preconception of evil among races. Orcs are not going to be more evil than humans, yada yada yada. There are gpoing to be veery few intelligent monsters in this world, as giant hulking brutes seem more fitting. Instead of worrying about wolves, say, worry about giant spiders!

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    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    it's cool, man. the contents of the essay are actually very inflammatory and I really should have known better. I wouldn't say that the opinions expressed there are my own, but I do find it, how shall we say, interesting. (Though I'm not of the school that EVERYTHING needs to mean something in real life)

    ooooh, have you ever played Dogs in the Vineyard? The premise of the game is that a bunch of western lawmen, inspired by God, are going around punishing evil and wiping out injustice. When I read your paladin description, I immediately thought of that. You should give that game a quick read for some yoinkage.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Howdy, Y'all. Roll Diplomacy.

    Might check that out. My biggest influence to start this whole thing was Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. tis amazing. I'm planning on basing the BBEG on Judge Holden.

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