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  1. - Top - End - #781
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Heavenly Shepherd

    ”I will guide my flock through thick and thin. People they may be, but the guidance of the heavens are upon me, and my word will save them from death, danger, and destruction. It will be the words of heaven that guide my people, though me.”
    -Sohfia Airena, Sister of the Chalcedony Chapel, Heavenly Shepherd

    Solania, known as the crystal heaven, is the layer of Celestia most commonly regarded with spirituality. In it resides Pistis Sophia, along with many hundreds of monasteries and cathedrals, where Archons and priests alike observe, study, and try to understand existence, meaning, and many other facets of philosophy and religion. Some mortals commune with those who reside in the monasteries and cathedrals of Solania, in order to better understand their place in the mortal world. To be sure, those who reside in Solania do not simply give away their understanding, but the mere snippets that are given are enough for many to understand more of their lives and their place. Some even spend their whole lives in communion with the monasteries, using their teachings in order to help those who live in the mortal world and who cannot communicate with Celestia.

    BECOMING A HEAVENLY SHEPHERD

    ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
    Skills: Knowledge (the Planes) 9 ranks, Knowledge (Religion) 9 ranks, Diplomacy 9 ranks
    Feats: Gift of Faith (BoED), Servant of the Heavens (BoED), Spell Focus (Divination)
    Spells: Must be able to cast 3rd level Divine spells, and at least one third or higher level Divination spell
    Special: Must have made peaceful contact with an Outsider from Solania
    Alignment: Any Good

    Class Skills
    The Heavenly Shepherd's class skills (and the key ability for each skill) are Concentration (Con), Craft (Int), Diplomacy (Cha), Heal (Wis), Knowledge (All; taken individually) (Int), Profession (Wis), Sense Motive (Wis), and Spellcraft (Int).
    Skills Points at Each Level: 6 + int

    Hit Dice: d6

    {table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special|Spellcasting

    1st|
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +2
    |Heavenly Scholar|

    2nd|
    +1
    |
    +0
    |
    +0
    |
    +3
    |Communion 1/Day, Bonus Exalted Feat|

    3rd|
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +3
    |Protection of the Crystal Heaven|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    4th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Lore of Angels|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    5th|
    +2
    |
    +1
    |
    +1
    |
    +4
    |Communion 2/Day, Shield of Faith|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    6th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |Crystal Sight, Bonus Exalted Feat|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    7th|
    +3
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +5
    |On High|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    8th|
    +4
    |
    +2
    |
    +2
    |
    +6
    |Communion 3/Day, Foresight|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    9th|
    +4
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +6
    |Strength in Knowledge|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class

    10th|
    +5
    |
    +3
    |
    +3
    |
    +7
    |Heavenly Apotheosis, Bonus Exalted Feat|+1 level of existing divine spellcasting class[/table]

    Weapon Proficiencies: The Heavenly Shepherd gains no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

    Spellcasting: At each level of Heavenly Shepherd besides first and second, the Heavenly Shepherd gains additional spells per day (and spells known, if applicable) as if she had also gained a level in whatever divine 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 (bonus feats, turn undead, etc etc).

    Heavenly Scholar (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd’s ability to talk to the Archons in Solania have given her additional knowledge and understanding, as well as the magical ability to see past what mortals may. The Heavenly Shepherd gains a bonus to all Knowledge checks equal to one half of her Heavenly Shepherd levels, minimum 1. In addition, she adds all spells of the Divination School to her spell list.

    Communion (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd may speak with the divine powers from which all knowledge is formed, and gain their understanding. Starting at second level, the Heavenly Shepherd may gain the effects of the Commune spell, as a standard action. The conversation, rather than being a part of the casting time as per normal with the spell, happens instantaneously, with the Archons that live in Solania. The Heavenly Shepherd may ask up to a number of questions with this effect equal to her Heavenly Shepherd levels. The questions may only be answered in up to one sentence of at most 25 words, although it is usually answered in yes or no form. This ability may be used once per day, and an additional time per day every three levels thereafter (5th, 8th, etc etc). After using this ability, the Heavenly Shepherd gains a sacred bonus to all Knowledge checks for up to one minute.

    Bonus Exalted Feat (Ex): The Heavenly Shepherd gains greater ability and connection to celestia. Starting at second level, the Heavenly Shepherd gains a bonus Exalted feat. They must meet all prerequisites for the feats. She gains another bonus Exalted feat every four levels thereafter (6th, 10th, etc etc).

    Protection of Crystal Heaven (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd has developed powers in order to protect her flock. Starting at third level, the Heavenly Shepherd may protect her allies, creating a web of protection around all allies within 30 feet, as a standard action. All allies within thirty feet of the Heavenly Shepherd gain Damage Reduction equal to the Heavenly Shepherd’s Charisma modifier, and gain Fast Healing equal to the Heavenly Shepherd’s Heavenly Shepherd levels. The effect lasts for 3 rounds. The Heavenly Shepherd may only use this ability once per encounter.

    Lore of Angels (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd can use her Archonic knowledge in order to understand the past or the present. Starting at fourth level, the Heavenly Shepherd adds twice her Heavenly Shepherd level and her Wisdom modifier to the lore check, which functions otherwise exactly like a bardic knowledge check.

    Shield of Faith (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd’s ability to protect her flock increase, allowing her to create veritably impenetrable walls made entirely out of her love for her flock. Starting at fifth level, the Heavenly Shepherd may create a shield of hope and faith, as a swift action. One ally within 30 feet gains a Deflection bonus to Armor Class equal to the Heavenly Shepherd’s Charisma modifier, and every time an opponent hits the shielded ally with an attack, that ally gains a +2 stacking bonus to attack rolls against that opponent. This effect lasts for 3 rounds. After using this ability, the Heavenly Shepherd must wait 1d4 rounds before using it again.

    Crystal Sight (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd’s eyes have been clouded over by a layer of crystal from Solania, gifted to her by the Archons that live therein, so as to further see the truth in the world around her. Starting at sixth level, the Shepherd may gain the effects of the True Seeing spell, once per day, as a swift action. The spell lasts for 10 minutes, or until the end of the current encounter, whichever comes first (ten minutes if outside of combat).

    On High (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd may spurt wings from her shoulders allowing her to fly and watch her charges without impunity. Starting at seventh level, the Heavenly Shepherd may gain a flight speed equal to her base land speed, with a maneuverability of perfect, as a move action. This effect lasts for four rounds. After the duration ends, the Heavenly Shepherd must wait 1d4+1 rounds before using this ability again. She may use it at will outside of combat.

    Foresight (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd can enter a state of perfect understanding, fueled by whispers from Celestia. She knows what is to come, and what will harm her. She can react with almost supernatural speed. Starting at eighth level, the Heavenly Shepherd may, as a full round action, enter a state of perfect understanding. She gains an insight bonus to Armor Class and Reflex saves equal to her Wisdom modifier, and, for the duration, never loses her Dexterity bonus to armor class, and becomes functionally immune to being Flat-Footed. In addition, she automatically succeeds on any Knowledge (Religion) or Knowledge (the Planes) check she attempts for the duration. This effect lasts until the end of the encounter. This ability may only be used once per day.

    Strength in the Knowledge (Ex): The Heavenly Shepherd may use her knowledge in order to understand her foe’s weaknesses and faults. Starting at ninth level, the Heavenly Shepherd may make a melee attack that resolves as a touch attack. If she hits, she may make a Knowledge (Religion) check. The struck opponent must make a will save (DC = the Knowledge check result). If they fail the save, they take 2d6 Wisdom damage, and become Stunned for 4 rounds, as the Heavenly Shepherd whispers secrets about the origin of the universe in their ears. If they make the save, they take 1d6 Wisdom damage, and become Dazed for 4d4 rounds. This ability may only be used once per day.

    Heavenly Apotheosis (Su): The Heavenly Shepherd becomes almost angelic in appearance, able to synthesize the knowledge she has gained from the Archons into physical might as well as magical power. Starting at tenth level, the Heavenly Shepherd gains the Archon subtype, as well as the Good subtype. The Heavenly Shepherd gains a bonus to Caster level equal to their Wisdom modifier whenever they cast a spell upon an ally who is of the Good alignment, or who has not committed a known evil act for up to 24 hours (an evil act that the Heavenly Shepherd is aware of). The Heavenly Shepherd gains a bonus to all attack and damage rolls equal to her Wisdom modifier.

    PLAYING A HEAVENLY SHEPHERD
    Heavenly Shepherds play like especially pious clerics. In fact, that would be an almost exact description of the Heavenly Shepherd. Unlike many clerics, who simply gain power from their god, the Heavenly Shepherds actually are in communication with those that grant them most of their power. They do not necessarily have to worship the Archons, and many simply worship a god of knowledge or protection, or what have you, but that tangible communication is very important to the Heavenly Shepherd.
    Combat: Combat, as a Heavenly Shepherd, tends to be either healing and buffing, as well as protection, or maybe some direct damage via self buffs and Knowledge devotion. Most of the Heavenly Shepherd’s abilities are out of combat related, or knowledge and skill related.
    Advancement: Loremaster is one common option, as is any divine casting prestige class that utilizes divination magic. More levels of the original class that qualified is also a good option.
    Resources: The Heavenly Shepherd does not gain any directly related resources. The Archons they serve do not have direct material wealth, and may only give the Heavenly Shepherd knowledge, which they already do.

    HEAVENLY SHEPHERDS IN THE WORLD
    ”Sister Sohfia was always there for us. Our parents were dead, our families were gone after those gods dam- no, I am sorry. After the Orcs came. She stayed with us. She comforted us, and dried our tears. We were devoted to her; I could not imagine life without her. She was like my mother, probably more of a mother than my mother had ever been. She was a baker, you know, my mother. Before those fuc- I am sorry. Before the orcs came.

    But Sister Sohfia saved us. The church where she lived, where she had given her life, had banished her, because she refused to bless the soldiers. She didn’t want to even imagine that they would kill, and that she could help them. She saved more orc children than human. But we were never bitter. They were like our brothers and sisters. She saved us all. She taught us, without even a holy book. She taught us from memory, or maybe from something else...

    But we loved her. Unfortunately, as with any protector, who would be there to protect her. When the church came, with their paladins and their army, she stood in front of us. She protected us. She saved us.

    I have never seen anything like it. Those great, billowing wings. She seemed to be more than a person, more than anything we could imagine. She told them; no! She commanded them to leave. And they did.

    But she looked so sad afterward. We heard her crying, late at night, after they had left. She told us that she would have to move, have to leave. She couldn’t stay were they could find her. They didn’t care about us, they only wanted her. They called her a blaspheme. We cried, and cried, and cried. Our tears hurt her, I know now looking back, but we could not imagine a future without her.

    We could not imagine a world in which she did not exist.

    On the day before she left, we were playing in the garden. Sister Sohfia used to grow the most wonderful plants. There were flowers, and fruits, and vegetables. But we were never to kill any of them. Sister Sohfia would cry whenever she found a plant dead. She would never yell at us, or strike us, but those tears hit harder than any fist could. But anyway; we were playing in the garden, as we were wont. Sister Sohfia hadn’t been seen, but we didn’t worry. She was always gathering herbs, or gathering books for us.

    When it came time for lunch, we still hadn’t heard from her. We went to go look for her, all of the children. We came up to the little cottage we had called home, and we gaped in awe. Instead of the quaint cottage we were used to, there was a glittering tower, pure white, and many stories tall. Sister Sohfia was panting, sweat dripping down her brow, collapsed on the ground. She smiled at our wonder and our worry for her well being, and slowly stood up. She went inside, and ushered us in. She had done great magic, magic we could not even comprehend. She had made it so that we would never be wont of anything, and that we could live in the tower forever, never afraid of invasion or harm.

    I did not realize then how much it had cost her, to make us that wonderful home. She took me aside, as the oldest of the children, and looked me in the eyes. She told me that there must always be a keeper of the tower, and that it would be open to any who came to its doors. I took her words to heart. I was the protector of these children, and they were my flock.

    She had left by the next morning. We would never see her again.

    They... I am sorry, I should not be crying. They came the next day. The paladins, in their shining horses. They came, and they wanted to know where she had gone. I said I did not know. I was such a fool, such a damned fool.”


    He spends a moment sobbing, and then continues.

    They... they asked if they could come inside. I... I didn’t see any reason why not. I was such a fool, such a ****ing fool. I let them inside. They took the orc children. They took them outside. I tried to stop them... I tried to stop them!”

    He stops for several minutes, crying and sobbing. He gets out a soaked handkerchief, blue with daisies embroidered on it. It has the initials S.A. on it, presumably those of the Sister. He shudders for a few moments, his eyes red and tear stained. He draws in a breath, a deep, terrible and terrifying breath, and goes on.

    ”They took them out to the old cottage.... They made them line up, and then...”

    He makes a line across his neck with his finger, not able to say the words.

    ”I... I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t even remove the bodies. I was cold. I was dead. I was so... so hard, inside. Like crystal. I felt like ice, and if I moved too fast, too hard, too suddenly, I would shatter into a million fragments, and never be able to recover again.”

    He looks down while saying it, and then suddenly looks up into your eyes.

    ”It was the children that did it. They saved me. I can see now why Sister Sohfia put so much of her heart into this place. It is the children who are worth saving, it is the children who are beautiful. I couldn’t see it when she was here, or even really then, but I understood, suddenly. They would feed me, when I couldn’t feed myself. They would distract me from the waking nightmares, from the terrible images. We had all lived terrible lives, we had all gone through hells, probably more hells than the demons and devils could imagine. But the children... they saved me.”

    He is crying while saying it, a smile on his face, while he seems to be looking behind you, into the distance.

    ”They saved me, and I found myself being reborn. I would save these children, and I would make sure that they would never have to suffer like I had suffered, suffered like we had suffered. I would carry on for Sister Sohfia, I would make these children my own, and I would raise them.

    Others would come to the tower. Children would come from surrounding towns, from villages that could not feed them, from terrible families, from no families left, from bullies, from death, and we would take them in. Me and Sister Sohfia.

    For I had realized something then. Sister Sohfia had never really left us. She had stayed with us all this time, placing herself in the tower. Her essence, her soul, and her spirit. She had become a part of the tower in a way no one else could have. Sometimes, that realization was the only thing that allowed me to live through the day. The children helped too.

    That is why I stay here. That is why I can never leave, or could never leave. How could I leave these children here? They need someone to care for them, to keep them alive. I don’t care for their race, their sex, their whatever; children are children, and I am here to protect them, and guide them. These children are my flock, and I their shepherd.”

    -Colin Airena, Brother of the Chalcedony Chapel, Heavenly Shepherd

    The Heavenly Shepherds are very, very well respected in most good communities, as well as many lawful and even chaotic communities. Their actions are almost always with good intentions, and this gives them a very good reputation.
    Daily Life: Most Heavenly Shepherds spend at least some part of their day in meditation on the teachers of the archons, and the knowledge they have gained. The more powerful Heavenly Shepherds might spend part of their day in direct communication with the archons of Solania.
    Notables: The Heavenly Shepherds are uniquely placed. Many are not notable as anything other than a kind person, a sweet soul, or a simple priest who helps others. Their communication with Solania is not something that directly defines what they do, usually only guiding their actions and their knowledge of their religion. One especially well known Heavenly Shepherd, although not well known because of being a Heavenly Shepherd, is Sohfia Airena. She founded a very well known orphanage, after her own children were slaughtered by an orcish raid. Her church told her that the orcs were evil and must be destroyed, even the children. Her communication with Solania made her doubt what her church was saying. She started her orphanage during a war between the kingdom where she lived and the orcs. She took in every single child that came, orc, dwarf, human, whatever, and made sure that they felt safe in her orphanage. Her church hounded her actions, especially the empathetic actions towards orcs. She was eventually driven from the orphanage, but sacrificed her life, as a part of a deal with the Archons of Solania, in order to make an impenetrable building that would be able to house her children until the end of days, with tables that automatically create food and water, beds that heal those that sleep in them, and walls that repel enemies. Because she sacrificed her very soul into the magic of the orphanage, it actually cannot be truly destroyed.
    Organizations: There are no organizations that are absolutely directly devoted to Heavenly Shepherds. Many Heavenly Shepherds are not known as such, but are commonly found in many churches and priesthoods.

    NPC Reaction
    Many people view Heavenly Shepherds very, very well. They are known as intelligent, knowledgeable, kind souls, priests of the highest caliber, regardless of their denomination.

    HEAVENLY SHEPHERDS IN THE GAME
    The Heavenly Shepherds are not very powerful, combat wise. A lot of their powers are in protection, or being able to gather information. This means that, although their value to a party may be relatively high, their combat related powers are lesser, which can be frustrating to some players.
    Adaptation: Heavenly Shepherds, as celestially guided priests who are not necessarily devoted to a single denomination, are not unknown in common fantasy texts or settings, and the Heavenly Shepherd could easily be translated to just about any setting.
    Encounters: Unless the party is evil, literally any encounter that the party will have with the Heavenly Shepherd will be peaceful.
    Last edited by unosarta; 2011-05-30 at 09:18 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #782
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I like it, although I would suggest making it more about Pistis Sophia than the plane as a whole. Rough draft of Azazel should be ready by the end of the day.
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  3. - Top - End - #783
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by Iamyourking View Post
    I like it, although I would suggest making it more about Pistis Sophia than the plane as a whole. Rough draft of Azazel should be ready by the end of the day.
    I was thinking of doing that, but I was thinking that the Tome Archon of the plane wouldn't actually help the individual clerics, but rather teach the Archons, and through them help the clerics. Do you think that she would directly do it? It didn't really seem in her personality/flavor.
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    NOTHING is simple. NO EXCEPTIONS. No, not even that.

  4. - Top - End - #784
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I was just suggesting it because I figured that it would make a better theme to tie the prestige classes to the Hebdomad rather than the layer; seeing as how if we are going to include one we'd probably have to include the other six.

    Also, since I promised, here is the description for Azrael:
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    This mighty celestial towers above all giants, and even the mighty Titans pale in comparison. His arms, are like tree trunks, his legs like the support columns of the greatest temples, and the gleaming muscles on his bare chest almost defy description. His head is that of a great lion, the mane magnificent in its glory, and golden rings encircle both his biceps and neck. Beyond the rings, his only ornamentations are the orange cape that reaches only to the small of his back and the banded metal kilt girding his loins and terminating right above his knees. His hands are empty, but his posture and massive musculature make it obvious that he needs no weapon.
    I'm still trying to figure out how to handle him mechanically; with the template applied to an advanced Archon with class levels or built from the ground up.
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2011-06-01 at 01:03 AM.
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Uno, the prestige class is great. Thanks so much for it.

    King, I like where you're going with Azrael, and don't worry about the High Castes. We're in no rush.

    I added some SLAs to the DA and tried to clear up Break the Seal.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    So has this thing died or is it finished?
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I'm still working and have no intention of giving up.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    This hasn't died, exactly, but its got four people working on it, and I'll freely admit that I'm not one of them.


    I don't think we ever settled on a "we're done when it kinda looks like this" point though. So... yeah.

  9. - Top - End - #789
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I like to think we're just moving at our own pace. But hell, even if this project dies, it will have had a pretty damn good run. Twelve new archons, stats and backstory for a Hebdomad, two classes, and a fleshed out layer of Celestia. Not bad. Not bad at all.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Well I'm willing to help if you need any.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Ok, sorry about my abscence everyone; but I've got a finished entry for Azrael.
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    Of all the mighty Archons in Celestia, the most physically powerful is Azrael, the Lion of Heaven and Champion of Raziel. Always exceptionally strong and known for his unflinching courage, Azrael was a well known Sword Archon until his commanding officer, the decorated war hero Moloch, attempted to recruit him into the burgeoning rebellion. Azrael’s response was to flatten Moloch with a single punch and bypass the chain of command by going straight to Raziel with the news. The grateful Tome Archon rewarded him with a promotion to Authority status, and he was given a battalion of troops to command once hostilities erupted. His heroism in the fighting was noted by his commanders as he time and again fought his way out of seemingly impossible odds, even fighting, and besting, his former commander on multiple occasions.
    Azrael’s greatest hour came when the final battle of the Great Fall loomed. In a desperate gambit, Barachiel’s vanguard had been pulled away from Lunia; leaving Celestia open to attack but almost doubling the amount of troops that the loyalists could muster. Outnumbered to this degree, even the strategic acumen of Triel and Eblis proved insufficient to escape the opposition and the rebels were boxed in for a desperate defense. Victory would end the rebellion all together, while defeat would find the archons swept away by the fiends; who were watching the events and preparing their attacks with varying degrees of subtlety. When the final battle began, Azrael was always in the thick of the fighting; leading by example to strike down those who stood for tyranny and oppression. He had been entrusted with a vital vanguard mission, and was to hold the rebels in place while Raziel and Barachiel came in for the kill. Recognizing the maneuver, Eblis hurled his forces at Azrael and his men in several assaults; but they fought on without regard for casualties. Finally Eblis was forced to enter the battle personally, yet even as they were cut down by Heaven’s Sorrow, pierced by Heaven’s Tears, and barraged with all of the divine might that the Lord of Flames could muster they fought on; even the knowledge that they could not possibly harm he who was once the greatest warrior in all Celestia hindering them little. Even when Eblis confronted Azrael personally and sundered his Jovar with contemptuous ease, the valiant Authority threw down his worthless hilt and tackled Eblis to the ground; his mighty arms proving superior to even Eblis’ prodigious strength and every scrap of magical power he had going into preventing the Fallen from teleporting away. Bereft of Eblis’ leadership, the rebels were completely unable to handle the loyalist flanking maneuver and the rebellion crumbled right then and there.
    Azrael was found covered with burns and battle wounds and still clutching the struggling Eblis; and in recognition of his heroism was elevated to the status of a Power, receiving the title of the Lion of Heaven. With this title, he doubled in height and almost tripled in bulk; while his head was replaced with that of the beast whose name he bore. Further, he became the champion of Raziel; representing him in combat with the most powerful of Celestia’s foes and leading the armies of the Platinum Heaven into battle. There are those who mistake his savage visage and aggressive tactics for stupidity, but he is a brilliant strategist and inspiring leader who has even demonstrated no small amount of political savvy. To symbolize his greatest victory, he has never replaced the blade that Eblis destroyed; and from that point onward has needed only the strength of his thews and the sharpness of his fangs to defeat any opponent he faces.

    Now, I'm sort of modelling these after how Dicefreaks does them and they normally have a final paragraph describing the character's relations with other important planar figures; but I opted to leave that out for now. I'm going to finish the Throne, and then we really need to start thinking about how we want to handle the Powers and Hebdomad.
    As for a total project goal, I figured it was going to be something like: The history of Celestia, indepth descriptions of all the layers, new variants for the common archons, new prestige classes for mortals, stats for the Hebdomad in line with what Dicefreaks did, and entities such as High Castes and Powers that bridge the gap between common archons (CR 2-20) and the Hebdomad (CR Late fourties to mid sixties for the first six, late seventies or early eighties for Zaphkiel).
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I like the notion of Azrael as "The Angel of Death"- and maybe another name for "The Lion of Celestia"- since there's precedent for that being Azrael's role.

    In Discworld he's "The Death of Universes".
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Sorry this was a long time coming. I like the backstory you have for Azrael so far, very in tone with DiceFreaks. But you could work on the formatting a bit? Also, I'm with hamishpence on this one. I'm familiar with Azrael as (one of) the angel(s) of death. Then again, I suppose multiple spellings could come from multiple entities.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    You are absolutely right, I ended up with Azrael (I certainly know the conotations) because I couldn't think of any suitably impressive angel names. The four famous Seraphim are out, I considered a name that means 'Lion of God' but I'm pretty sure Ariel isn't exactly intimidating (Or for that matter Wrestler of God, Israel, which opens up a whole nother issue), he was originally Azazel; but that's a Fallen. If you know any more names let me know; but Azrael is probably the best I've got at the moment.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    List of Angels?

    Though I must admit, most don't sound very impressive.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    We could always just spell 'Ariel' as 'Arael'. Personally, I have no objections to the name, though I will admit that its only because that particular spelling has a rather sinister pedigree.
    Last edited by The Tygre; 2011-07-26 at 04:02 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I think I'll go with Arael, I'll edit it in the next time I make a substantial update to his entry. Just have to finish the Throne and we can finally say that we've completed a segment of the project.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Well, are you bound into Hebrew-derived names with the theophoric suffix -el?

    Because you could switch out the un-suffixed Ari- for a synoym from a different language...and if you stayed inside the Semitic family, it wouldn't even sound wrong. For example, anbasa, asad, arslan, (Semitic) sangi, simha, singh, sigri, siha (Indo-Iranian) lowe, lev (Balto-Slavic).

    Alternately, you could apply consonant mutation--that is, tweaking one letter's pronunciation, ie Arael -> Aryael; Arael-Arayel, or more radically Arael -> Attael, Arael -> Adael, Andael, Arael -> Anrael or vowel apophony: ie Arael -> Aruel; Ariel -> Araiel

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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Those all sound like great options, Yanagi. Maybe we should keep you in reserve for names...

    Anyway, King, I've got an archon question. I've been thinking about writing up the last hound, the harrier. The thing is, looking at their profiles, they're awfully close to foxhounds, dont'cha think? I mean, do you have any ideas on how I could flesh them out?
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I'm not sure how the two are particularily similar; I wrote the Foxhound as Counter-espionage while Dice's list claims that Harriers do endurance and delayed damage. If you mean Greyhounds, which they are much closer to, I would say that the primary difference is that Greyhounds are about speed while Harriers are distance; just take the stock Hound, shuffle its stats around to have less strength and more constitution, along with any other stat changes you find necessary, then give it something like the Crusader's delayed damage pool and Bear's Endurance as a Spell-Like. As far as the weakest types of Archons are concerned, there really isn't going to be a whole lot of variety in the variants; Eldan's Lantern Variants only differ in having one unique spell-like per variant. (I also didn't do the Retriever, but it just seemed too silly).

    As for Sanagi, you make good suggestions but I'm fine with Arael. The Hebraic suffix doesn't necessarily have to be appended to every name; but the fact that the Hebdomad use it suggests that it's in common use for Archons, which is why two out of my three Powers use it and I believe that Eldan and Tygre's Powers do so as well.

    Edit: Ok, Tygre doesn't actually have any Powers while Eldan and blackjack's don't have any -el. My point still stands. As a side note, since blackjack abandoned us over losing the Hell vote, is anyone willing to take his Powers?
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2011-08-09 at 03:07 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Quote Originally Posted by The Tygre View Post
    Those all sound like great options, Yanagi. Maybe we should keep you in reserve for names...
    Thanks.

    I'd like to contribute more, but I'm tied up researching a legal matter that's eating my downtime.

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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I was talking more about how similar in actual dog breed the foxhound and the harrier were. But thanks for the advice.

    And I'd be more than happy to work on some Powers of my own to replace Blackjack's.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Work on the Throne is going well, although I swear that you guys are making the next many Archons with cleric casting. However, I was thinking about how Eldan mentioned that almost all of Celestia's gear comes from Bytopia; and it struck me that perhaps there should be an Archon equivalent to the Hiermagons, or Smith Devils, to reduce dependence on another plane for their armament. Without a dedicated smith, their only real option is for the most powerful Archons to be reduced to crafting duty and using Wish/Miracle for anything under 20,000 (For those who aren't familiar with them, Hiermagons can treat their HD as their caster level for the purposes of making items, can use their SLAs in place of spells, and make their progress checks in silver per day and gold per week) . However, I wasn't sure how to handle it; as a variant of an already existing Archon (Probably Sword or Warden, maybe Throne) or as a whole new type. What do you think?
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Couldn't the job be done by petitioners? I think there's a realm of dwarven petitioners on the fourth layer, isn't there?
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    They could, but Hiermagons have a +26 to Craft (Weaponsmithing) and Craft (Armorsmithing) along with the aforementioned special abilities. I doubt there is a ton of petitioners with that kind of ability around, let alone ones who would be willing to work around the clock mass producing weapons and armor.
    Last edited by Iamyourking; 2011-08-27 at 10:38 PM.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Oh, can you digg'it?! Tygre's back, and he's gotta' a quintuple hit! What's that, you say? How can Tygre back that talk up? Well how about a new archon! *BAM* And it's got martial maneuvers! *BAM*
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    Harrier Archon
    Medium Outsider (Archon, Extraplanar, Good, Lawful)
    Hit Dice: 6d8+27 (51 hp)
    Speed: 40 ft. (8 squares)
    Initiative: +4
    Armor Class: 19 (+9 natural); touch 10; flat-footed 19
    Base Attack/Grapple: +6/+8
    Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+3) or halberd +9 melee (1d10+4/x3 crit.)
    Full-Attack: Bite +9 melee (1d8+3) and slam +4 melee (1d4+2); or halberd +9/+4 melee (1d10+4/x3 crit.) and bite +4 melee (1d8+2)
    Space 5 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
    Special Attacks: Furious counterstrike, martial maneuvers
    Special Qualities: Aura of menace, change shape, damage reduction 10/evil, darkvision 60 ft., immunity to electricity and petrification, magic circle against evil, outsider traits, scent, spell resistance 16, steely resolve, teleport, tongues
    Saves: Fort +8 (+12 against poison), Ref +5, Will +7
    Abilities: Str 16, Dex 10, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 14
    Skills: Concentration +9, Diplomacy +5, Gather Information +2, Heal +12, Hide +5 (+9 in canine form), Intimidate +5, Knowledge (Planar) +5, Listen +7, Move Silently +5, Search +5, Sense Motive +7, Spot +7, Survival +9 (+13 in canine form), Swim +8
    Feats: Endurance, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Toughness (B),
    Environment: Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia
    Organization: Solitary, Pair, or Squad (3-5)
    Challenge Rating: 4
    Treasure: No coins; double goods; standard items
    Alignment: Always Lawful Good
    Advancement: 7–9 HD (Medium); 10–18 HD (Large); Favored Class: Crusader
    Level Adjustment: +4

    This humanoid has an air of strength and endurance around it. Its canine head has a blunt snout with short, floppy ear, and its body is muscular and toned. Despite its friendly countenance, its eyes hold an air of determination, and it keeps a firm grip on its halberd. This is a being that has weathered many trials, and is prepared to weather many more.

    The harrier archons are the trailblazers of Celestia. Whenever Heaven is required to travel into the most brutal of environments, or face the most dangerous of foes, the harrier archons march forward. Harrier archons are often found on elemental or often lower planes; their hearty natures lend themselves to survival in such brutal locales. As such, they are generalists in other forms of work, such as tracking, reconnaissance, or extermination. However, it is a harrier’s purpose to endure, and that is what separates the breed from other hound archons. A harrier goes and fights where its brothers have nobly fallen.

    Combat
    Harriers prefer to travel in packs, or at least with one other ally. They have been known to join other squads of archons, just in case their assistance is needed. Harriers rarely run from a fight, preferring to stand their ground and wear down an opponent. If an enemy flees, then a harrier will pursue them for hours before letting them escape.

    Aura of Menace (Su): Will DC 16 negates.

    Change Shape (Su): A harrier archon can assume any canine form of Small to Large size. While in canine form, the harrier loses its bite and slam attacks, but gains the bite attack of the form it chooses. Also, while the harrier archon is in canine form, it gains an inherent +4 bonus to Hide and Survival checks. For the purposes of this ability, canines include any doglike or wolf-like animal of the animal type.

    Furious Counterstrike (Ex): A harrier archon can channel the pain of its injuries into a terrible rage. During the harrier archon’s turn, the archon gains a bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls equal to the current value of its delayed damage pool divided by five, and rounded down.

    Martial Maneuvers: A harrier archon knows several martial maneuvers and stances (initiator level 6th). The archon recovers expended maneuvers by resting and meditating for five minutes. The maneuver can use each maneuver once per encounter
    Stances: Bolstering Voice (1st), Silver Crane Stance (1st)
    Strikes: Blazing Crane’s Wings (2nd), Enduring Crane Strike (1st), Leading the Attack (1st), Mountain Hammer (2nd), Silver Knight’s Blade (3rd), Stone Bones (1st), Tactical Strike (2nd),
    Disciplines: Silver Crane, Stone Dragon, White Raven
    Each of the harrier archon’s maneuvers can be initiated once per encounter, with no recharge.

    Steely Resolve (Ex): As the Crusader class ability. The harrier archon may temporarily set aside pain and hindering effects of injuries. When the harrier archon is struck, the archon is not immediately affected. Instead, the damage is transferred to the harrier archon’s delayed damage pool.. Healing effects and spells can be applied directly to the delayed damage pool, or to the harrier archon’s hit points. Special effects attached to attacks, such as energy drain and stun, still affect the harrier archon. The harrier archon’s delayed damage pool can hold ten points of damage.


    Oh, but that's not all! How about not one, not two, but -three- brand spankin' new Powers!

    *BAM*

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    Seraphiel: Heaven's emissary to the Angels of the neutral good planes, eagle-winged Seraphiel is a key political figure in Celestia. He once contended with Duma for the rank of Power of Silence, but has since resigned himself to more universal functions. It is Seraphiel's duty to oversee the employment and occupation of aasimon in the service of the Mount's deities, while also organizing the dispersement of archons through the neutral good planes. Seraphiel is also one of Heaven's judges, though he is called in more for matters of ethical quandaries than the condemnation of the fallen. Seraphiel has definitely taken to his charge as an Angelic ambassador. Many are the times that he has gone into battle with the Angels, and he is considered an honorary member of the Seraphim choir.


    *BAM*
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    Dominic: Heaven's grand high inquisitor, Dominic is a cold and humorless archon. Hidden under a great cloak of sack-cloth, the Power of Judgement resides on the fifth layer of Heaven in the service of Raziel. He cruelly and ruthlessly interrogates prisoners of war, and nearly every major witch-hunt in Celestia's history can be traced back to his paranoia and zealotry. He considers the Duke Carniveau a worthy adversary and an admirable threat. This has led to many archons calling for his exile, if not his outright condemnation to the Pit. Despite his cruelty, though, Dominic (or Dominique, in his female aspect) has consistently produced results. Nearly all bloodhound archons report back to him, he has quelled several rebellions before they even began, and he has proved an invaluable source of intelligence to Heaven's military. It is only Pistis Sophia who knows one of Dominic's greatest secrets; the archon serves as a minor power of penance. On at least one occasion, The Ascetic has seen Dominic and a train of flagellants and priests wandering through the mists of Solania, wailing prayers of forgiveness and discipline.


    *BAM*

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    Yves: Yves is one of Celestia's most ancient and mysterious powers. Consistently taking the form of a kindly old man, Yves always seems to know more than he ever lets on to. He claims to have come from Chronias, and there are few if any archons who can recall a time when he did not have some presence on the sacred Mount. Despite this, he refuses to wield any direct political power, and as a staunch pacifist, refuses to contribute any military aid to Heaven's fights. This has made him something of a pariah in more militaristic archon's eyes, though more kind-hearted archons see the truth in the wisdom he gives. Yves is a master true-namer, and when he chooses to display his skills, even the Hebdomad must defer to his power. While Yves' official residence is on Jovar, he is more often found on the material plane, conversing and fraternizing with the mortal races in secret.
    Last edited by The Tygre; 2011-09-27 at 01:28 PM.
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  27. - Top - End - #807
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Very nice, very nice indeed; I like that I'm not the only one around here who can throw out references to Gates of Hell. However, are you sure about giving the Harriers martial manuvers? I can certainly add them to my Hounds, but right now they're the only ones who have them. I've got the Throne powers finished, so now it's just a matter of trying to devise a spell list that stands out from the other four. After that, I think it's time to turn the Lion of Heaven into a full fledged entry.
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    I just wanted to try something different with the martial maneuvers. I mean the idea just hit me; they've got Crusader class features, we've got Silver Crane. Why not use em'. But I'd have no problem just giving them a spell-list instead if you like.

    Dig the new sig-avatar, by the way!
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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Okay, cool, but "Yves"? Really? I know an "Yves". That's not an angelic name. Of course, Germanic names rarely sound Angelic. But "Yew"? That's a nature power, if anything at all.

    I also don't like his fluff much. I think it cheapens the mystery of the seventh heaven if anyone other than the highest Archon can enter (and leave!) it.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2011-09-26 at 04:19 PM.
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    Aprčs le monde - le gris; aprčs le gris - le monde de nouveau.
    "

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    Default Re: The Gates of Heaven: Giving Celestia the Dicefreaks Treatment

    Don't worry about the martial manuvers, I'll probably go back and add a few to my Hounds at some point. I'm glad you like the banner, it took me four years, 8 threads, 20 reposts, and 4 artists before Ceika finally agreed to make it and actually did.

    Eldan, while I agree with you about the Yves thing; did you forget that I have Melchizedek able to go to and from Chronias? While he is the oldest and greatest Power, the leader of the Thrones, and Zaphkiel's representative in secular affairs; there is a precedent for non-Zaphkiel archons being able to enter Chronias.
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