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    Default 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H.]


    The Island of Kerynia


    “It wasn’t an island, Your Grace! It was a monster that lay on the sea!”
    ~ Duke Meracchio of Mantova, Admiral of the Veldarian Imperial Fleet and Conqueror of the Three Seas , apologising to the Emperor for his failure to subdue the island of Kerynia.






    1. Introduction


    Welcome to the Island of Kerynia. Think of a clan-based society ruled by custom law. Think of blood feuds and honour and omertà. Think of a proud and stubborn people, poor but independent, hardened but artistic, uneducated but cunning. Think of rough men up the mountains, and fearless, though not entirely law-abiding, sailors. Think of short people.

    This is an alignment-free “realistic fantasy” setting, taking social factors into account and tailored for gritty games. It suits best players who enjoy immersion more than beating things with pointy sticks. It's not extremely high-magic like FR, but it's not low-magic either. The supernatural element will hint to folk-tales rather than epic heroic fantasy. And it doesn't really have Good Guys and Bad Guys.

    Note: This campaign setting would be used for a PbP game right here in the boards. (Hence the 2nd person, for recruitment.) But then I lost my co-DM (don’t ask), and she was the left brain of the team. Fluff was mostly mine, crunch was mostly hers. I can stat NPCs and run a battle Vs specific monsters. But I can’t homebrew creatures, I can’t judge CRs and I can’t tailor an encounter to a specific party. If anyone is interested in helping me, either in homebrewing, designing encounters or running the game with me, I would be most grateful. Please leave a note here or pm me. Update: Co-DM found. This setting is now a collaboration, between me and the invaluable Ponce_LeRue.

    And of course, any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-05 at 11:51 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    2. The Island of Kerynia: The Long Story, fluffy flavourful fluff



    Map courtesy of the amazing Zeta Kai.

    Kerynia is a big, leaf-shaped island in the Lebian Sea. While not so far from the mainland to make travel by sea impossible, and while many Kerynians are indeed famed sailors and merchants via sea routes, the majority of the population lives in blissful derision, if not complete ignorance, of the rest of the world.

    Kerynia provides them with everything they need, although they need to work hard to get it. The island has a huge rocky mountain in the middle, and there are few flat lands to cultivate, but they have dug and carried rocks and transformed the mountain's sides to a series of tiny fields, each horizontal and a step higher than the previous one.

    But the most improbable thing is that, with the island's capricious geography, there are virtually no major land-owners. Even the poorest family has a small piece of land, a few olive-trees and vines, a few sheep and goats. Working the land and tending the animals in this inhospitable terrain is hard and exhausting, but every hard-working man can feed his family and enjoy the fruits of his labour. The island's cheese, wine and rak (a thrice-distilled spirit made of grapes) are considered delicacies even in faraway lands.

    The mountains
    There are scattered villages in every part of the island. Near the mountain's tops, there are shepherds and goatherds who don't even know how to swim. And those are the proudest of a proud people. They speak no other language but their own, they sneer upon not only foreigners, but even their own people from the lowlands, and take their traditions very very seriously. They are commonly called "goats", but woe to the foreigner who will call them that to their face. Ignorance of their customs, like refusing a drink you have been offered or staring at an unmarried sister, can cause brawls or even killings in a matter of minutes. "Goats" have no manners as those are perceived in more civilized places of the world, they never say "please" or "thank you" or address a lord the proper way. But despite their pride, they are the most hospitable people in the world. A stranger who knocks on their door is to be welcomed, offered food and shelter with no questions asked, and an improvised feast is sure to follow in his honour, even if they have to spend the last of the family's provisions for the winter.


    The coasts
    Near the shores, Kerynians tend to be a bit more open-minded. They are sea-people, and even if they have nothing to do with trade and exploring, even if they are simple fishermen, at the very least they hold the sea's vastness in their souls, and know that the world is endless and doesn't stop at a rocky mountain slope. They are more inclined to learn new things, people and places, though in a way they only want to confirm their certainty that Kerynia is indeed the most blessed place in the whole creation.


    The harbours
    And in the two large harbours of the island, Sernia and Mirabel, where big ships come and go and trade flourishes, there are many sailors, all sea-beaten and all salty, notorious for their foul-mouthed jokes, immensely proud of their profession, measuring a man's worth by his knowledge of the sea, and always dreaming - but never getting - to withdraw with their savings in a village by the shore. There are also the few wealthy men of Kerynia, ship-owners and merchants usually, respected when they board their ships themselves as captains, and almost openly laughed at when they sit at the comfort of their rich homes.

    In both harbours there is a sort of official administration, arranging the taxes for incoming ships and handling problems of the nearby area. But for the most part, the villages of Kerynia are independent and self-governed, usually by a group of elders or a self-proclaimed chief, sometimes even by an assembly of all the villagers. However, they consider all islanders compatriots, almost kin, and despite their occasional internal differences and bickering, they are sure to stand by each other in the face of an external danger.


    The Fey
    Many magical beasts and fey creatures are known to dwell in the island, and they usually hide from humans when possible. But they are also very territorial, and if a mortal steps in their hideout (which may be a cave, a spring, a clearing, or an undistinguished rock) they tend to become hostile. Some men and women are blessed (or cursed) to sense those creatures even when they turn invisible. And since tradition dictates that only a blade with a black hilt can harm the fey or draw a circle on the ground to bind them, these men and women are called "darkhilts", and are equally revered and feared in their communities. Be that as it may, it is a common challenge for young men of the mountain to spend the night in such a haunted place. They grab a black-hilted knife, and off they go, sometimes to return heroes, sometimes never to come back.

    Beliefs
    All Kerynians share a more or less common culture. They all worship Talea, the goddess of the sea, and her son Denar, the sky-god of the mountain. But they also see and worship spirits everywhere - trees and rivers and gusts of wind. They believe that the spirits of their ancestors never leave this world for good, but roam the island, mostly invisible, and occasionally appearing to help - or to trick - the mortals.

    Traits
    Kerynians are notoriously proud and stubborn. Admitting a mistake is considered a weakness, while insisting that you were right, even against all evidence, seems natural. They keep grudges for years, and pass them to their children, so that a stolen goat generations ago may be a very real blood feud today. Stealing goats and sheep, incidentally, is a timeless tradition on the island. While burglars and highwaymen are considered dishonest criminals and are almost unheard of, stealing animals from a herd is thought to be courageous and happens all the time, to the point of being nothing short of an initiation rite in some villages. Kinship usually nullifies blood feuds, so marriages and the wide-spread custom of fostering children have significantly kept Kerynians from killing each other over this. Another traditionally accepted criminal activity is piracy, provided that the raided ship isn’t a Kerynian one.

    Men and women must prove worthy to be accepted in their community, and if one fails, the merciless and continuous derision of the village and the rejection by one's own family makes life impossibly difficult. But worth can be proven in many ways. Strong hands or quick wits, down to earth hard work or an aloof connection with the spirits, battle ardor or knowledge of the herbs are equally respected in Kerynia. But avarice, denying hospitality and hoarding material wealth is universally frowned upon. For the "goats" in particular, selling one's home-made wine instead of just giving it away is considered despicable.

    All native Kerynians are humans, and some of them are fey-touced. Other races may be feared or laughed at, but for this proud people, anyone born outside the island is equally inferior. Therefore, Kerynians who travel far away from their homeland are known to be arrogant and racist to all. But if they come to respect a person for some reason (which could be for similar ideals, worth in battle or drinking, disregard for material wealth, out of gratefulness for saving a Kerynian's life, or even due to pure and simple fondness), it makes no difference at all if that person is human, dwarf or the most obscure race in the world. A Kerynian's friendship is a rare and precious thing, that lasts till death and beyond, passing to the next of kin like a prized possession.

    Looks
    Kerynians are usually dark-haired, tanned, short and agile. They are always dressed in black or dark blue, and customarily wear a black headband. Jewellery is rarely seen, except for a couple of charms and blue beads for good luck, but men and women alike have very long hair, and surprisingly spend a lot of time grooming it. They favour light armours, if at all, and slender, easy to draw blades.

    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-14 at 08:18 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    3. The Island of Kerynia : The Short Story, in bullets


    • Arcane Magic: uncommon but not unheard of, always spontaneous. Doesn’t make people hostile, but it may make them wary.
    • Divine Magic: less uncommon, usually spontaneous. May also make people wary, since the distiction is often lost to them. Heck, it’s often lost to the casters themselves.
    • Planes: no angels and demons and no elemental planes, but there is a (slightly modified and refluffed) ethereal and shadow plane.
    • Undead: they are always free-willed and not always a threat (no zombies and skeletons, plenty of ancestral spirits, one might bump into a vampire)
    • Monsters, including undead: not from the manuals. I’ll be filling you in on “common knowledge” about them, if any, and you can always make knowledge checks
    • Elementals: they are not tied to a plane, but to a specific place on the island - so if you summon the water elemental of a river and it dies, the river dries up.
    • Summoners: I’ll provide you with a Themed Summoning List, depending on class and background. You can ask for specific creatures, but don’t get your hopes up.
    • Tech Level: In common use, pretty low, but almost any trinket can be found in the harbours and from the sailors. This includes magic items. Many such items have also been acquired during the recent rebellion (see Recent History below), by the noble act of looting occupying forces.
    • Education Level: formally, non-existent. Not even the harbours have schools or a university. A “learned man” in Kerynia is either well-travelled or very old and wise.
    • Religion: there is no organized church, just shrines in villages, and occasionally in the wilderness. The priests (who may or may not be casters) are not necessarily allies even if they worship the same god. Their obligations are first with their village. By the way, there are no “evil” gods and no rival gods.
    • Gender equality: there isn’t one, sorry. Women may be able to defend themselves, but don’t, as a rule, walk around armed to the teeth. In the villages, their place is at home – with the father or husband, who is more or less in command. In the harbours, they often own and/or run shops, and can be more independent. Priestesses, healers and sorceresses are just as acceptable as their male counterparts. And of course, all Kerynians dread and worship their mothers at the same time. Do NOT, under any circumstances, insult anyone’s mama.
    • Timeframe: early Renaissance, but most of the island has seen none of it yet. In the harbours though, there are alchemists’ labs and painters’ workshops etc, as well as literate people.
    • Administration: technically, Kerynia belongs to the Veldarian Empire, but it enjoys a semi-autonomous state. Imperial tax-collectors don’t make it past the harbours, they accept whatever the local administration give them on behalf of the whole island (knowing fully well they are being robbed blind), and there’s only one imperial official – a figurehead with no real powers and no intention to travel inland, ever. Practically, there’s no centralized power at all, and villages are self-governed.
    • Defences: The two harbours are heavily fortified, and there’s at least a small fort (though not very well preserved or manned) in every settlement by the coast. Inland, the defences comprise solely of the mountainous terrain and the ruthless – when their independence is at stake – people.
    • Navy: the Kerynian fleet is mostly for commerce, but all ships are manned adequately and can be easily transformed to warships if they have to. The naval tradition goes back to thousands of years. Smuggling, piracy and unorthodox naval battles are an inherent part of this tradition.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-03 at 05:27 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    4. Geography : Home on the range


    KERYNIA
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    Map courtesy of the amazing Zeta Kai*. Full resolution here.

    * Zeta Kai was kind enough to provide two maps, as requested, one with labels and one without. The reason was that I change my mind about names on a daily basis. This map is with my labels, and I can assure you that Zeta Kai's version was infinitely better. If I wasn't so goddamn indecisive, this would have been avoided. But...

    to be expanded later



    THE LANDS BEYOND
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    to be expanded later



    COSMOLOGY
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    There's the world, and then there's the Other Worlds.

    Kerynia (some other lands, too)
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    Good ol' reliable Material Plane. Nothing to see here.


    The Spiritland
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    Home of the Spirits and retreat of the Fey.

    Crunch: Ethereal plane, though it's not that empty. In fact, it's rather densely populated.

    How to get there: the usual, plus you can be "invited" by a Fey.


    The Dreamland
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    The landscape of the mind, in which some are lured and others willingly seek. The land of dreams and nightmares, where hidden thoughts and wishes materialise. If only humans could control what they wish for.

    Crunch:
    • Light Gravity
    • Flowing Time (1 hour on Material Plane = 1 day on Dreamland)
    • Infinite
    • Highly Morphic
    • Wild Magic
    How to get there: The usual, or drink a shaman's brew...


    The Underworld
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    Home of the Forgotten Dead. When a man dies, he finds himself here, and he has options. He can fly back to the Spiritland as a spirit, with a nice view to his old home and a limited potential to interfere in the world's affairs. He can wander the bleak plains of the Underworld. Or he can drink from the River, forget irrevocably his past life and never return.

    Crunch:
    • coterminous with Material, Spiritland, Neverending Night
    • Normal Gravity
    • Timeless
    • Finite Shape (but constantly expanding)
    • Static
    How to get there: You cannot Plane Shift to or from the Underworld. A Wish or Miracle can get you in, but not out. It is said that you can walk to it, if you find the way. In Kerynia, one such supposed entrance is from the sulfurous caves of Vesura, the Sleeping Volcano. But some say that it's a metaphor, stupid. Those who walk in that poison end up in the Underworld, alright.


    The Neverending Night
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    Home of outsiders. Largely unknown to Kerynians. +10 to DC for relevant Knowledge checks.

    Crunch: Plane of shadow.

    How to get there: the usual, provided you know about it.
    Last edited by nefele; 2010-05-25 at 08:11 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    5. Recent History : The natives are restless


    Without any valuable resources to speak of, but coveted for its strategic position in the Lebian Sea, Kerynia has been conquered by a series of Empires for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. But the Kerynians’ constant rebellions make the island a difficult prize to hold on to.

    • Until 35 years ago, Kerynia was part of the Empire of Khadra (think Al-Andalus). The Khadrin settled for controlling the harbours and left the inland in peace.
    • 35 years ago, the Veldarians (culturally, think of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, only it isn’t a Republic) raised an unprecedented fleet and fought the Khadrin in every part of the Sea. The Kerynians joined them, yearning for independence.
    • 29 years ago, the Veldarians won and naturally occupied Kerynia themselves. Feeling betrayed, the Kerynians rebelled as usually and the response of the Veldarians was brutal. For the next 7 years, the island was drenched in blood, they say. However, their guerilla warfare on land and unorthodox methods on the sea left the conquerors with more losses then they could accept.
    • 22 years ago, the Admiral threw his hands up in the air and agreed for a Kerynian “surrender” which gave him almost nothing in return for his troubles. Veldarian forces were removed from the island, and a Baron was appointed to rule nominally.
    • Now. The Veldarians receive (token) taxes and supposedly control all naval commerce. Kerynians are supposed to hunt smugglers in their area on behalf of the Empire, but in reality they do most of the smuggling themselves. And as long as they don’t overdo it, the Emperor prefers to look the other way than resume hostilities with “the monster that lay on the sea”.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-04 at 05:38 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    6. Custom Law : the Blood Feud


    • “Blood calls”, Kerynians say. If a kinsman is killed, his blood calls for revenge, and the revenge is blood. (No fireballs and spells and poisons please, just blades.)
    • The burden falls on the victim’s closest male adult (14 or more) relative (Brother>son>godson>cousin>nephew>2nd cousin>etc. In order, elders first.)
    • If the offender is already dead or if it’s proved that he’s fled the island, the hunt goes on for his closest relative.
    • Omertà: A blood feud killing is an honour killing, and the authorities – if there are any - never find any witnesses, not even from the victim’s family.
    • Honour killing doesn’t mean fair fight, though. Most such killings are backstabs (but not ambushes, it has to be one on one.) Some dirty tricks, like poisons or spells to weaken the opponent, are dishonourable, while others, like getting him stone drunk or tricking him to appear unarmed somewhere, are acceptable.
    • If you happen to be the next in line to be killed, the most sensible thing you can do is hide. Some men are known to hide for decades in the caves of the mountains. Omertà applies: the locals aren’t going to give you in, your enemies have to find you themselves. But if a local is their relative, no matter how distant, he’ll spread the word.
    • Blood feuds within the family are rare but not unheard of. Families may be split in two and it’s usually a nightmare until someone stops it: this is the only case where one may refuse to kill the offender.
    • Women are not expected to participate in the family’s blood feud, and as long they don’t, it’s considered dishonourable to hurt them. But if they go ahead and do it anyway (which happens), their life is forfeit just like any man’s.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-03 at 07:52 PM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    7. Religion : Man seems, Spirit is



    The Kerynian Gods are don’t roam the land in person. Their existence and power is attested by supernatural phenomena. A scholar from some other part of the world might point out that this, in fact, proves nothing, but scholars from other parts of the world are not well-received in Kerynia. As far as Kerynians are concerned, their gods are real. And so are the Spirits.

    Kerynians are very pious (or superstitious, if you prefer), but not in a self-righteous way. They simply pay more attention to the Other World than the material one. They may favour one or more gods, but worship their entire pantheon. Foreign gods (just like foreign customs, foreign people and foreign anything) make them suspicious, but they won’t embark on a crusade, neither burn an infidel at the stake. They’ll just sneer.

    THE PANTHEON

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    Talea: The Sea Goddess
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    Domains: Air, Travel, Water.

    Like all sea-people, Kerynians have a love & hate relationship with their goddess of the sea. They adore her and coax her and leave her offerings to bring back their ships intact and their sons alive, and they curse and spit at her when she drowns them instead. They call her the All-Mother, they call her the Lady, and they call her the Whore. Go figure.



    Denar: Sky God of the Mountain
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    Domains: Earth, Strength, War.

    Named after the highest mountain of Kerynia and revered the most by Noghian goatherds, who climb impossible heights to summer their herd, Denar is the god of strength and, in a way, freedom. Freedom to roam and gaze at the world from above. And in times of war, his name becomes a war cry. They call him the Lord of the Mountain.



    Kissa: The Magpie
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    Domains: Animal, Luck, Trickery.


    The Magpie steals trinkets out of pure, childish mischief and not greed, but she's good at it nonetheless. She is worshipped in mountains and coasts alike, by shepherds (who may steal a couple of the neighbour's animals for the fun of it) and smugglers and the occasional actual thief. "He has Kissa's luck" is a colloquial expression not for lucky people, but for successful outlaws. They call her the Thief-up-the-tree.



    Vesura: The Volcano
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    Domains: Destruction, Fire, Plant.

    Vesura is the second highest mountain of the island, an inactive volcano actually. On the south side, it has sulfurous caverns, dangerous and poisonous and rumoured to include an entry to the Underworld. The goddess is equally dangerous, volatile and easy to anger. On the north side, the volcano has slopes with exquisite lava soil, filled with vineyards - vineyards producing the most tasty grapes in the world. So the goddess is said to have given mankind the greatest gift and the greatest curse: alcohol. They call her the Sleeping Fire.



    Yurka: The Midwife
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    Domains: Death, Healing, Magic

    Oddly enough, the goddess of witchcraft and all things that go bump in the night is also the one who holds the mother’s hand at labour and heals the wounded. She’s a fickle sort, but you can’t do without her. Wherever three roads converge, there’s a humble shrine to her name, and at a starless night, you can be sure to bump into something there. They call her the Witch, the Hag, the Mother, the Crone…



    Haval: The Sun God
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    Domains: Knowledge, Protection, Sun

    The Sun God of Kerynia sees everything and knows everything under the, err... sun. He flies in the sky with a bow and a quiver, and he's mostly revered by hunters - who seek his blessing to track and spot and shoot an arrow through the heart of their prey. And he is an (unusually) wise god, who favours the elders and seekers of knowledge. They simply call him the Archer.

    Note: If you need a non-core domain, ask and ye shall receive. We’ll squeeze it somewhere. Alignment-based domains don’t exist as such, but you may tweak and refluff them.



    THE SPIRITS

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    to be added later

    Note: Spirit Shamans who deal with spirits are far more common (and potentially useful) than Clerics who deal with undead. In either case, if you choose one of the above, I suggest you don’t Turn Undead/Chastise Spirits on sight. This isn’t generic D&D. A spirit and/or undead may very well be harmless or a potential ally. Or the protector of the village. Or your late great-grandfather. Of course, it may also aim to devour your soul or something…
    Last edited by nefele; 2010-08-02 at 09:48 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    8. Races : For he comes, the human child

    Humans
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    The world is filled with diverse races, but the native population of Kerynia is entirely Human.


    Fey-Touced
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    Some of the humans are Fey-Touced. Interaction with fey is always considered a special, supernatural experience, but it’s not really uncommon. The fey, on a whim, may bestow gifts on humans, as traits that can be passed to the next generation. They may even foster human children and, very very rarely, have children with humans.

    Crunch-wise, these humans can be Feytouched, Elves, Half-Elves, Goliaths, Aasimars, Tieflings or Lupins, or have the Half-Satyr template. All these races are refluffed as a different variety of fey-touched humans. (The Crunch Remains The Same, except Languages and Favoured Classes. Also, fey can immediately recognise a fey-touched human they interact with.) Differences in appearance are from non-existent to subtle and up to you – though the Goliaths’ powerful build shows.

    It is entirely possible for a human to possess such a heritage and not even know it. The community’s reaction to a fey-touched varies, but the rule of thumb is simple: a popular person who has proven worthy will be praised and admired for his otherwordly heritage, while an unpopular person who has proven unworthy will be scorned and derided for the exact same thing.


    Half-Janni
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    The Half-Janni are very rare humans touched not by native fey, but by genies brought to the island by the previous conquerors, the Khadrin. For the most part and for the common folk, they are indistinguishable from normal humans – or at least normal fey-touched humans.


    Lycanthropes
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    Finally, Lycanthrope is allowed - just don’t pick anything more exotic than wolf or boar.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-06 at 05:00 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    9. Classes : Sword and Sorcery



    In the Kerynian language, there's no word for "adventurer". Neither do Kerynians identify themselves as Fighters, Bards or Sorcerers. Instead, they identify themselves as shepherds, fishermen, craftsmen or musicians.

    However, the constant blood feuds, the dares (in feats of strength or wit) with which young men challenge each other all the time, the widespread smuggling and piracy, and of course the rebellions against anyone who fancies to occupy the Island, mean that shepherds and fishermen are more than likely to prove worthy warriors if they have to.

    All this would work wonderfully in a classless system, but for D&D we just assume that Player Classes are not a "calling" - just a tool to customise a character. Almost anything can be tweaked and refluffed to fit this setting. For example, Martial Adepts don't need to be schooled in a prestigious institution or by a famed master: they learned from their fathers, from their peers, by themselves. And when supernatural abilities are granted, the Fey must have had something to do with it.

    As for Casters, the omnipresence of Spirits accounts for their abilities. They may believe their powers are granted by the gods or the fairies or a spiritual wholeness - it makes no difference. They do have powers.

    That said, some things are incompatible with this setting:
    • Wildshape and relevant abilities are not available.
    • Alignment-dependent abilities do not exist.
    • A lot of PrCs from CCh, CDiv, BoED and BoVD are inappropriate.
    • Necromancers are banned. (no mindless undead)
    • Paladins are beyond local repair, and therefore banned.
    • Knights, Kensai etc can be accepted only with a lot of tweaking and refluffing.
    • Incarnum and Psionics are probably out.
    • Batman wizards don't make a lot of sense.
    • Dragon Shamans etc are out, since there are no dragons as such.


    Finally, note that Generic Classes are very fitting for a low-level game.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-05 at 04:38 AM.
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    10. Creatures : Great and Small


    to be added later. I hope.
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    11. Languages : In the Beginning was the Word


    There is no common. Available languages are:
    • Kerynian: your language, you get it automatically.
    • Noghian: mountain dialect of Kerynia, so accented and capricious that, if you weren’t raised up there, you need to be trained to understand it. Otherwise, you’ll get half of it, maybe.
    • Parsi: rudimentary (at best) knowledge an ancient, now extinct, local language, written form only. You’ll find it in inscriptions at ancient sites.
    • Veldarian: the language of the present conquerors of Kerynia. On the island, it isn’t even used in administration, but it is a sort of “common” for the outside world, and travellers often speak it. There are a few Veldarians in the harbours, but not one inland.
    • Khadr: the language of the previous conquerors of Kerynia. Oddly, there are more Khadrin than Veldarians left in the island, famed crafters and devious, gentle-spoken merchants as they are. Only in the harbours, of course.
    • Sylvan, Aquan ,Auran, Ignan and Terran as normal.


    The Speak Language skill works differently. All characters gain Kerynian automatically, and Noghian if they come from the mountains. Furthermore, they can spend at any time 2 skill points and learn another language, provided that they have enough Intelligence: 12 for Noghian, 13 for Veldarian or Khadr, 14 for Sylvan and 15 for Parsi or an elemental language. In any case, this must be justified in the background or in game.

    Literacy, regardless of Class, is probably something alien to you, at least if you weren’t actually home-schooled in one of the harbours (or didn’t have a very unusual upbringing). But I have no rules for that, I’ll leave it up to you.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-03 at 12:25 AM.
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    12. Important House Rules


    GENERAL
    • No alignment: At all. Not even outsiders have one. Alignment-dependent abilities (such as Smite) will either be banned or modified to affect anyone.
    • Defence Bonus variant. I just can't picture an armoured warrior in Kerynia.
    • Fractional BAB and saves, no multi-classing penalties: Since classes are a tool and not a "calling", it's important to facilitate multi-classing.
    • Skills: Out of combat support is crucial, and skills need all the help they can get. Merge Spot/Listen to Perception (Wis), Open Lock/Disable Device to Disable Device (Dex) and Hide/Move Silently to Stealth (Dex).
    • Social skills: This is a setting for heavy roleplaying. Social interactions will be roleplayed and the outcome will be determined by what you say. Ranks are still useful, they determine your body language and tone of voice, so they give an important bonus (just like your appearance, your social status etc). But don’t expect to diplomance the Wise Old Man Of The Mountain with just a roll.
    • Knowledge skill: The basic fields of the knowledge skill are modified thus:
      • Land (Nature, Georgraphy and magical beasts of the land, caverns)
      • Sea (Nature, Geography and magical beasts of the sea, trade, other cultures)
      • Society (History, Local, clans)
      • Sorcery ("arcane" AND "divine" spellcasting, magic traditions, symbols, cryptic phrases)
      • Spirits (Religion, The Planes, fey)
      All these are class skills for every Kerynian.
    • Background bonus: Good backgrounds will result in several skill-related goodies. Don't bother spending skill points to Profession, Craft, Perform (unless you're a Bard) and the like, you'll get everything for free if the story is nice. For example, if Bob was born on a village by the shore and has been a sailor all his life, you can rest assured that he can swim well, climb the rigging, balance a bit, weave a net, tie a knot, recognize sea creatures, catch and cook a cod, that he has heard all sorts of fables about the wonders of the sea and that he can tell you whether these fish are fresh or not. It doesn't matter how smart Bob is, neither if he's technically a Warblade or a Spirit Shaman. All this, however, is up to DM's discretion, so please don't try to take advantage of a houserule made for the sake of verisimilitude and of characters that feel more real, eh?

      Rule of thumb (needs testing): up to 5 skills become class skills permanently, you get 2 to 4 bonus skill points to each at 1st level, and a custom Knowledge field, tailored to the background, is maxxed automatically at each level. So, spend your regular skill points on whatever your class is about, have fun with your background bonus, and don't pick Use Magic Device.


    MAGIC
    • Spontaneous healing: Any class that has access to Cure spells gains Spontaneous Casting as a Cleric.
    • Summoning works differently.
      Spoiler
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      The summoned creatures are animal spirits, elementals or fey.

      Animal spirits (animals and celestial/fiendish creatures) are magically and immediately teleported from the Spiritland and act normally. If they die, they return from whence they came, in full health. However, should they die horribly in the service of the caster, this isn't a trifle matter. Helping a mortal (who is enlightened enough to cast the spell) in combat is one thing, and worth the incovenience of "death". Becoming trap fodder is quite another. Expect a visit from the Spiritland if you are so direspectful.

      Elementals of Medium size or larger need to be called by name. You can summon the Water Elemental of a river or the Earth Elemental of the hill if you know its name - usually, but not always, the toponym. But if it dies, it stays dead: in time, the river will dry up and the hill will crumble. Summoning an elemental at its own location counts as summoning it with Augment Summoning. (If you have the feat already, the bonuses stack.) But it will refuse to do something against its nature, e.g. harm the environment it's supposed to protect. Summoning Small elementals works normally.

      Fey, when summoned, are not compelled to obey the caster - though they are restricted from harming him and his allies for the duration of the spell. Casters can bargain, bluff, promise a present or simply beg for the fey's help. It is possible to summon a specific fey by name - as well as a random one. Fey who die stay dead.
    • Plane Shift becomes also available to Druid 5 (and Spirit Shamans). It cannot be used to reach the Underworld.
    • Turn Undead: Undead are normally harmed by "positive" energy and healed by "negative" energy. This energy is refluffed as "of this world" and "otherwordly" respectively - good and evil have nothing to do with it. Anyone with this ability can Turn AND Rebuke Undead, at his choice.
    • Alignment-dependent spells are modified or banned. For example, Detect Evil is banned, while Protection from Evi becomes Protection and works Vs any foe.
    • Unavailable Spells: Animate Dead, Command Undead, Control Undead, Create Undead, Planar Ally and Planar Binding.
      Spoiler
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      These spells actually do exist in the world (though the practice is rare), but are completely unknown in Kerynia - and therefore unavailable. If relevant information is revealed, they can be researched and learnt.

      Planar Ally and Planar Binding are Khadrin spells and can only be used to call genies and <insert other Arabian-flavoured creatures????>. Alignment and deity is irrelevant, but the genies WILL bargain.

      Undead-related spells function normally, and they are known only to a handful of casters in a secluded location of a faraway northern land. Once you master the basics, you can indeed raise an undead army. Let's see how that works for you in a land where the dead are honoured more than the living, and where the Spirits of your raw materials are somewhere around the corner, watching.
    Last edited by nefele; 2010-05-25 at 09:34 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]


    13. Appendix

    to be added later. maybe.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-02 at 01:58 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    So. That's it for now, you might have noticed that several elements will be added later. Feedback is welcome. :)

    My main question is if all this can pass as a themed, concise setting. The rest of the world is fleshed out in my head and may be included in the appendix at some point, but for now I'm concerned with the Island itself. Does it have a distinct character? And do you find it appealing enough to host a series of adventures?

    I know that it's humble, that it has nothing Epic in it, and that no cataclysmic events are detailed or expected. This was intentional, since the main goal is simulating a specific society as realistically as possible. But did that work? And is it enough?

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-02 at 01:59 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    I think it's all great so far, and I can't wait for more. I'll be subscribing.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Thanks, Lynd, I really appreciate this.

    Update log: Added Classes - that is, guidelines for what kind of classes would be acceptable and how. And a few images. :)
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    My only question is: Do you need a map?

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Err... yes, actually.

    My cartographer's skills are not so hot. I have the maps in my head, and I could draw them with a pencil, I suppose (nothing fancy), but that's about it. I could use the help.

    Now, the big question is how to move the maps from my brain to yours... Hmmm...

    Update Log: Added a couple of Important House Rules. And a couple of songs for the mood.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nefele View Post
    Err... yes, actually.

    My cartographer's skills are not so hot. I have the maps in my head, and I could draw them with a pencil, I suppose (nothing fancy), but that's about it. I could use the help.

    Now, the big question is how to move the maps from my brain to yours... Hmmm...

    Update Log: Added a couple of Important House Rules. And a couple of songs for the mood.
    PM me a rough sketch, & I'll see what I can do. Nothing fancy, just whatever you can do.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Nice setting. It's... fairly restricted as far as options for players. I like and respect that. No room for the person who must play a flying elf or a dragon disciple. I feel that, when done properly (such as here) that it really gives the setting a nice, consistent, focused flavor.

    Quote Originally Posted by nefele View Post
    My main question is if all this can pass as a themed, concise setting. The rest of the world is fleshed out in my head and may be included in the appendix at some point, but for now I'm concerned with the Island itself. Does it have a distinct character? And do you find it appealing enough to host a series of adventures?
    Yup, I'd say it is pretty solid. Its character is fairly distinct, if a little bit humble (no crazy flashy snazzy stuff). I wouldn't host a series of adventures in it, because I'm tired of DMing at this point, but I would certainly play in an adventure or a few!

    I know that it's humble, that it has nothing Epic in it, and that no cataclysmic events are detailed or expected. This was intentional, since the main goal is simulating a specific society as realistically as possible. But did that work? And is it enough?
    Yes, that worked. It does have a nice, realistic, workable feel. I would like to see a list of twenty or fifty plot hooks, though, to help folks think of how to actually run games in such a setting. The fey, of course, seem a good source for many. I could also see this setting as having potential for more roleplaying adventures, or ones where the character(s) are more like common folks than adventurers.

    Keep posting more!
    Last edited by The Neoclassic; 2009-09-03 at 07:49 AM.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    What is your intended medium of play?

    Edit: Didn't read the introduction properly, nevermind. A very compelling premise, though. Sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck!
    Last edited by Ponce; 2009-09-03 at 11:58 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Sorry my friend for interrupting, but you just turned the island of Crete in Greece into a Campaign Setting! Was that by accident?
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Woo, feedback! Nice!
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeta Kai View Post
    PM me a rough sketch, & I'll see what I can do. Nothing fancy, just whatever you can do.
    Thank you so very much. Will do. :)

    Quote Originally Posted by The Neoclassic View Post
    Nice setting. It's... fairly restricted as far as options for players. I like and respect that. No room for the person who must play a flying elf or a dragon disciple. I feel that, when done properly (such as here) that it really gives the setting a nice, consistent, focused flavor.
    Thank you. I understand it's restrictive but that's what I was aiming for. First and foremost, it's a themed campaign - as opposed to a mishmash of irrelevant fantasy elements.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Neoclassic View Post
    Yup, I'd say it is pretty solid. Its character is fairly distinct, if a little bit humble (no crazy flashy snazzy stuff). I wouldn't host a series of adventures in it, because I'm tired of DMing at this point, but I would certainly play in an adventure or a few!
    Now I am encouraged and happy.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Neoclassic View Post
    I would like to see a list of twenty or fifty plot hooks, though, to help folks think of how to actually run games in such a setting. The fey, of course, seem a good source for many.
    Good point about the plot hoots. I can think of twenty from the top of my head, but I should write them down. Oh, so many things to do!

    Quote Originally Posted by The Neoclassic View Post
    I could also see this setting as having potential for more roleplaying adventures, or ones where the character(s) are more like common folks than adventurers.
    That was the idea, except that it's common folk who are unusually powerful - at least for D&D standards, where a farmer is easy prey for a cat. The PCs will still be more powerful than NPCs, but picture this:

    The mid-level party meets a shepherd on his way back to the village, whistling to the sheep. He is unarmed except for a stick and a knife and is about 50 years old (=old). Well, this shepherd probably fought viciously the occupying forces 20 years ago, and then was dragged in a blood feud. He has killed many men, has organised ambushes, and knows how to disappear in the mountain caves. The inconspicuous shepherd has Ranger and Swordsage levels, and he's not the exception: he's the rule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ponce_LeRue View Post
    A very compelling premise, though. Sounds like a lot of fun. Good luck!
    Thank you. Expect a pm from me shortly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ambu View Post
    Sorry my friend for interrupting, but you just turned the island of Crete in Greece into a Campaign Setting! Was that by accident?
    No. No it wasn't. It's mostly Crete, part Sicily and part Corsica, an idea that's been floating in our (the group's) mind for a long time. Apart from Crete, major points of inspiration are Italian Neorealism (what? can't a DM use a style of film for inspiration?), Mafia lore and Corsica's independence movement.

    EDIT- And since you're Greek, disclosure: The first photo is from Sfakia. Lebian Sea= Λιβυκό Πέλαγος, Noghia=Ανώγεια, goats=πετσιά/πέτσακες (άντε μετάφρασέ το αυτό ). And the motto, top of the page? Yeah, that's stolen too. "Δεν ήταν νησί, ήταν θεριό που κείτουνταν στη θάλασσα." ~ Καζαντζάκης.

    EDIT2 - Also note that all this, despite being distinctly Mediterranean, is not very far from the cultural traits of any mountainous, isolated land, with an emphasis on herds rather than farms, a society organised around clans rather than individuals, and a couple of Empires over its head: from Ireland and Scotland to the Caucasus.

    Update Log: Added Cosmology (in Geography section)
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-08 at 12:14 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Well, you've certainly piqued my interest with your fine world craftsmanship, yet I don't have time to really give you any detailed critique. Be sure to keep updating so I can give you some feedback in the future

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    Thank you, Lappy.

    Update Log: Expanded the Important House Rules section to include rules about magic, which is important. I fear that I messed up with the structure here. Please bear with me. I will try and fix it when I'm (mostly) finished. :)
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    I skimmed through your material, not thoroughly enough to criticize anything (yet, I will likely go through it again).

    One thing that raised a question mark (concerning blood feuds), assuming someone kills my brother (I am the closest to him and am of age)... I have to kill that person, yes? So, when I kill that person... does the next consecutive male of that family have to kill me? If so, I personally think that's silly, because eventually it seems like everyone would have to kill everyone else.

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H., co-DM wanted]

    That's a very good question, actually.

    Yes, it sounds silly. Unfortunately, when blood feuds aren't simply a replacement for a system of justice (in that case, killing is regarded as lawful execution and only comes to pass when the family of the offender refuses to pay the fine for the offence, or "blood money" - Ireland and Wales were organised like that for centuries, incidentally), it does happen like that and is silly.

    Crete has blood feuds like that even today (few, thankfully). The Mafia killings and any gang feuds you can imagine are also similar. (Though of course they are much more complicated, since the group's criminal activity plays an important rule.) Kurdish blood feuds work exactly like that, and young men flee the villages for dear life, because of a blood feud for a crime they didn't commit themselves.

    From a western, modern perspective, of course it's stupid. But it happens even today. Imagine in the Middle Ages.

    EDIT- I think I failed to address the important part here: why this doesn't end up in swift genocide. Here's why. A blood feud killing is not a crime of passion, it's a crime of premeditation (and honour, yeah yeah). If someone kills your brother, you won't grab a weapon and go after him just like that. This isn't High Noon. You'll wait to catch him in a vulnerable situation, and this might take years.

    Because, if he has a lick of sense, he'll try to evade you. Going back to our fantasy setting: he'll remain around the family at all times (family is brothers, cousins, nephews... in any case, dozens of armed people), and flee as soon as he gets the chance. Move to relatives in another area, hide in mountain caves, disguise and go incognito in a remote village... If all else fails, he'll attempt to flee the island in secret, disappear and never look back.

    So, an honour killing is more likely to occur years after the offence than, say, a couple of days later. And this, my friend, is what keeps the population from dwindling in ridiculous rates.
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-04 at 05:25 AM.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H.]

    I neglected to announce that a co-DM appeared! Ponce_LeRue is now helping me to make this thing work, and I'm very very grateful. :)

    Update Log: Finished the Pantheon.
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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H.]

    I must say, Kerynia is marvelously realized in its simplicity. You've done a great job making everything come together without making anything too complex. I normally don't much care for settings that (pretty much) only use human, but I think you've made it work pretty well here.

    I especially like the spirits and the new summoning rules. Question: Where did those pictures from the pantheon come from?

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    nefele's Avatar

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    Default Re: 3.5 Campaign Setting : Kerynia [P.E.A.C.H.]

    Quote Originally Posted by Lappy9000 View Post
    I must say, Kerynia is marvelously realized in its simplicity. You've done a great job making everything come together without making anything too complex. I normally don't much care for settings that (pretty much) only use human, but I think you've made it work pretty well here.

    I especially like the spirits and the new summoning rules. Question: Where did those pictures from the pantheon come from?
    Thanks, Lappy. :).
    About the "Humans only" (at least fluff-wise) restriction, I understand how it can put off people. Crunch-wise however, the variety is more or less like a Core game. Players have 10 races to choose from - except that there are no Small races. This may be nothing for people who want to have dozens of options, but it's still better than what I had hoped for at the beginning. (First draft had humans only, period. I'm glad I changed that.)

    The pantheon pictures are from Heroes of Might and Magic. (I've never played it, though.)
    Last edited by nefele; 2009-09-05 at 06:09 PM.
    The ghost of freedom ever comes
    with a knife between her teeth


    Gestalt Warrior Arena Tournament (Tactics Galore) is now recruiting.
    Kerynia is a homebrew 3.5 Campaign Setting, currently on hold. But who knows...

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