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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    NOTE: This thread is no longer updated as per the forum's "thread necromancy" guidelines. Check out the Heplion Wikia for information and updates on the Haliburn Galaxy setting!

    Spoiler: Introduction/Commentary
    I'd like to share my current work on a campaign setting that sprung out of some ancient discussion on the D&D forum here about giving things like races and classes alternate fluff interpretations while maintaining the rules crunch. One thing led to another, and now I'm working on a big sci-fi-ish interplanetary setting predicated on working around the D&D 3.5 rules crunch but with radically different fluff. To accomodate for the particularities of D&D, I ended up having to pretty much come up with a whole new genre of fiction that I've dubbed "psy-punk", which is pretty much cyberpunk/space-opera without any significant technology but with psionics (i.e. D&D's magic) taking its place.

    There are three big premises that guided this setting's development and give it its feel: (1) Instead of Material, Inner and Outer Planes, there are simply planets that have been settled or explored by the galaxy's more advanced civilizations through psychic means - mostly the sci-fi equivalent to plane-hopping spells such as Gate, Plane Shift and Astral Spell. (2) Instead of outsiders such as celestials and fiends, we have transhumans, people who have improved their bodies and minds through psychic means and their descendants, and which pretty much rule human society. So these beings are theoretically human, although much different in practice and much more powerful. However, many of D&D's Outsiders are simply alien races here. (3) Technology hasn't improved much past the equivalent of the Middle Ages or maybe Renaissance in our world (depending on the field), although in some fields such as economics, mathematics, chemistry and others it's equivalent to our own time or even more advanced. The only hard-and-fast rule I've got is that there is no gunpowder or anything more destructive than that (i.e. nuclear), no combustion engines (nor anything more advanced such as rockets), and no electrical or electronic devices. There are, however, psychic devices that do the job of many of our modern technologies, though usually in a very different way.

    This is, of course, very much a work in progress, which is why feedback is highly appreciated. Keep in mind that this setting is predicated on taking D&D's crunch (I'm using 3.5, mostly for the SRD's ease of use) and trying to figure out how to fit it into a setting with radically different premises. I see it as a form of constrained writing, which does wonders to stimulate creativity. Therefore, there may be places where I refer to D&D concepts, at least until I've gotten around to assigning a setting-specific name for that thing; in those cases, I'll try to remember to use brackets. For example, I might say that [orcs] are actually a genetically-modified version of [half-orcs], which are a peaceful if primitive race from Rancent's World. I've got a big spreadsheet with a "translation" table between D&D and this sci-fi setting; theoretically, all you'd need to play a campaign in this setting would be the D&D books and this table. I'll try to find a way to post it here sometime, though right now it hasn't got that many entries yet.

    Spoiler: Overview
    In the planet known as Iriond, humankind evolved on a different track than the one we know. Having discovered the full potential of the mind from an early age, the different human civilizations quickly shaped themselves around the use of psychic powers, ruled by dynasties psychically altered into superior beings. When they looked to the stars and developed powers advanced enough to explore distant planets, they found these had sentient races of their own, many mysteriously similar to the ones known back in their homeworld, and some of them possessing psionic abilities similar to the mightiest humans. Now, milennia after the rise of interplanetary exploration, humanity has joined several planets into a web of communities interconnected by trade, culture, science, and the occasional war.

    Three supranational political entities rose to the fore of the now-interplanetary human civilization (having also accepted several alien societies into their fold): the Confederated States of the Pact of Tarinnia (also known as the Tarinnish Confederacy), the Pan-Muranian Union and the Allied Free Nations. There is also a Universal Forum, created with the intent of mediating the international relations of all humankind, but which largely serves as a common political arena and buffer zone between the three major entities.

    The Confederacy hails from the continents of Emish and Gulorien in Iriond, and has expanded to the planets of Asherah and 6072 Reshep II (although, after a bloody secession war, Reshep maintains a high degree of autonomy, and is somewhat of a "rebel province".)

    The Union was forged from a merger of several countries in the Iriondan continent of Murania, and extended its rule to the Muranian-colonized planet 4658 Austolus III, also known as New Eugeron (after an ancient Muranian empire).

    The AFN is a loose coalition of like-minded countries, mostly from northeastern Murania and Hellonde in Iriond, largely based on the idea of free enterprise. It has colonized the planet known as Chertan V.

    A few centuries ago, a new planet (officially named 2514 Bhadrapada VI, also known as "Rancent's World" after its discoverer) has been found and settled by representatives from all three human factions, which vie for its dominance. It's remarkably similar to Iriond in physical characteristics, weather and ecology, which is why some call it "New Earth". Its native life is remarkably varied and developed, with many interesting civilizations. Its largest city is Harmony, founded by Dr. Rancent himself, an independent city-state where people from all sorts of different places and species mingle freely.

    Now, human society has grown highly decadent, with overpopulation and the exploitation of psychics driving most planets to the brink of their capacity, and with corporations growing ever more powerful and ruthless. Rancent's World stands as a beacon of hope for a better future, with its fresh civilizations and well-kept natural resources... although it is also a fresh source of conflict, with the potential to plunge the worlds into a new, bloody interplanetary war.

    Spoiler: History
    Iriondan history is divided into the following periods:

    Stone Age: Before civilization emerged; not much different from Earth prehistory. Several hundred thousand years at least, depending on the criterion for when “mankind” starts.

    Classical Age: Development and flourishing of civilizations; wars and other historical events happened that set the basic cultural substrate for the different Iriondan peoples; saw a gradual development of psychics, highly inefficient and nearly irrelevant at first, growing into a force to be reckoned with toward the end of the age; ended with the Wars of Sorcery. About 6000 years.

    Dark Age: As powerful psychics threatened the very fabric of civilization in several parts of the world with the Wars of Sorcery, there was a general trend for societies to grow isolationist and authoritarian, either due to the iron rule of psychics, or to paranoia of psychics and the resulting (literal) witch-hunts and surveillance state. Large and powerful empires, a general state of “cold war” and heated political intrigue marked by the occasional (and short) military conflict marked this period. Many transhuman races were developed in this period, usually confined to the highest psychic ruling families. Ended with the Liberation Wars that toppled many regimes and sparked a new era of hope. About 2000 years.

    Golden Age: Marked by both a steep development of psychics (refining it and applying it in ever more innovative ways, opening up whole new areas of human endeavor and experience), and refinement of social and political customs, leading to more stable societies and allowing for thriving cultural, technical and psychic progress. Saw fierce competition between nations and other interest groups, usually restricted to commerce and business in general. Transhumans developed more fully. Saw considerable development in astronomy, including the prospecting of livable planets and hyperspace-exploration psychics. As space exploration became a reality, fighting over psychic resources led to the lengthy Great War, which devastated the world and ended the Golden Age. About 3000 years.

    Age of Exploration: Reeling from the Great War, Iriondan nations formed an uneasy truce and turned their focus toward the newly-settled planets of Asherah, Chertan V and New Eugeron. Expansion into this new territory, the subsequent building of whole new societies from scratch, and the difficult dealing with native races turned the main Iriondan powers’ attention away from each other, allowing for a period of protracted peace. Still, disputes over territory and resources remained relevant, and tensions occasionally flared. The three main political entities of the Core Worlds were consolidated during this period. The Wars of Secession that raged within the Confederacy, sparked by political disputes over territory and native-peoples policy regarding the recently-settled Reshep II, led to the Second Great War that raged all across the Core Worlds, with seizing of territories by all three major factions. About 2000 years.

    Modern Age: As the Golden Treaty ended the Second Great War and settled the territorial borders of the Core Worlds into roughly the same shapes they have now (and creating the Golden Treaty Territory to boot), civilization reached a new era of peace and prosperity. Business interests have become gradually more powerful and prominent in the interplanetary scene as the centuries went by, now being more important than nation-states in many instances. On the other hand, individual nation-states have faded into the background as the three big transnational entities assumed an ever-larger role in politics and law – in fact, countries are now practically like provinces, with sub-national law regulating little of importance and national leaders having little autonomy in face of the overarching transnational entities. Disputes and conflicts have largely moved to the commercial and political arenas (though of course war never stopped being a reality), with a much more diverse and complex set of players and rules than ever. As natural and psychic resources in the Core Worlds grow ever thinner and societies grow stagnant and decadent, the recently-settled (about 800 years) Rancent’s World appears as a hope for a fresh beginning, being fiercely disputed by all three factions and dominated by none. About 1500 years so far.

    Spoiler: Languages
    -Common: the lingua franca of the Core Worlds. It first developed as a pidgin of Abyri, Semkashan and Kaldurish, peppered by terms from a variety of other local languages. As the nations of Iriond and later the Core Worlds grew ever more integrated during the Golden Age and Age of Expansion, this pidgin became a creole and then a well-established language, used more and more frequently by humans all worlds over, especially the lowborn, later being adopted by several alien races as well. It is currently even more frequently spoken than the three languages below, having become the vernacular of lowborn humans throughout the settled worlds, especially in AFN territory. It uses a highly bastardized and simplified version of the Eugrathic alphabet, influenced by Semkashan and other scripts, called the Common alphabet.

    -Abyri : the native language of Abyron (a large Muranian nation), and evolved into the de-facto unified language of the Pan-Muranian Union. Spoken in most of the Union territory, it also has currency in much of Gulorien, Sirastir and northern Murania, and is widely learned by civilized peoples throughout the Core Worlds. Descends from old Eugeric, which makes it an Eugrathic language. It utilizes the Eugrathic alphabet.

    -Semkashan: the native language of Semkash (major Emishan country), largely spoken in Confederacy territory and not much anywhere else, although it too is often learned by civilized peoples throughout the Core Worlds. Faintly related to old Arkechan, but mostly to more recent linguistic groups. Utilizes its own complex hieroglyphic writing (Semkashan script).

    -Kaldurish: the language of Kaldur, a small NE Muranian nation that rose to prominence in the commercial arena, and ended up becoming the trade language (and later official language) of the Allied Free Nations. Used in territories under the AFN’s purview, and frequently learned by other peoples from the Core Worlds, especially by those who work with commerce or business in general. Distantly related to Eugrathic languages. Uses the Eugrathic alphabet.

    Spoiler: The Planets
    Note: This is far from being an exhaustive list. There may be other planets that humans know of or explored. However, planets not included below won't have a significant level of human settlement.

    Haliburn: the name of the setting’s galaxy

    Iriond aka Earth (star: Dievs; 3rd planet): Homeworld of the interplanetary human civilization

    Asherah (star: 5114 Mezravi; 4th planet): Primary planet dominated by the Confederacy; slightly toxic atmosphere (SO2)

    6072 Reshep II: Secondary planet dominated by the Confederacy; heavy storms

    4658 Austolus III "New Eugeron": Planet dominated by the Union; planet is tidally locked, map’s north towards sun

    Chertan V: Planet dominated by the AFN; heavy storms and volcanism

    2514 Bhadrapada VI "Rancent’s World" aka "New Earth": Disputed "new planet"

    9911 Maenali IV: "Primal" planet (not settled by humans); heavy volcanism and radiation, CO2-rich atmosphere (w/ sufficient oxygen)
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2015-04-28 at 01:54 PM. Reason: Redirecting to wiki

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Known Planets

    Iriond is the birthplace of humanity, and is the most highly-developed world. Although there are indications of advanced societies in Rancent's world that are much older, Iriond boasts the oldest civilized race (i.e. humans) with a continuously-recorded history.

    Spoiler: Iriond World Map

    Spoiler: Iriond Notes
    Between the mountain chains in Gulorien and Murania: Arathol Valley

    Political entity in Arathol Valley and neighboring regions: Golden Treaty Territory

    The GTT itself is administrated by a semi-autonomous government, influenced by the three major factions. Defense, “hard” international relations and foreign trade decisions are made by the three factions’ governments directly, by majority vote (2 out of 3), via specially-appointed representatives. Other major, non-urgent executive decisions are made by majority vote of the Executive Council, composed of 9 councilmen, 3 appointed by each faction, whose nominations are approved by majority vote of the GTT Parliament. The President makes day-to-day executive decisions and directly manages urgent affairs (the latter subject to further review and veto by the Executive Council), and is elected by popular vote and approved by majority vote of the Ex. Council. The ministerial cabinet is chosen by the President and approved by EC majority vote. Supreme Court ministers (9) are appointed by the EC and approved by Parliament. The GTT Parliament has 1/3 of its chairs automatically appointed to each faction’s supporting party, with representatives chosen by popular vote, with the position of Speaker of the House rotating between the three parties. Also located within the GTT (but independent of its government) is the Universal Forum, Iriond’s UN equivalent. Anyone who is born into the GTT or establishes permanent residence there for a certain period may apply for GTT citizenship, if citizenship in other countries is unavailable or renounced or if fleeing for political reasons. GTT citizens have safe conduct throughout the Core Worlds, as well as certain protections against extradition, as established in the Golden Treaty itself.

    Major lakes between Gulorien and Murania, N-S: Taham, Rhesda, Bergarth and Essead

    Abyron: Large country in eastern Murania, easily the most politically and economically influential one in the Union. The ruins of ancient Eugeron are in Abyron.

    Semkash: Large country that takes up most of Emish, and is highly influential in the Confederacy (although it has been eclipsed by Asheran powers for several centuries).

    Council of Ancients: A traditional part of Semkashan government, located in its capital, it is comprised of hundreds of Angulkinnar (dead Semkashans given a “second life” as paranormal disembodied beings), which deliberate by forming a “cloud” and communicating quietly in a networked structure. They also have individual pedestals which they use to consult with citizens.

    Kaldur: Small country in NE Murania that nonetheless has a considerable amount of economic power, as well as influence in the AFN’s political arena.

    Eugeron: Ancient empire from the Classical and Dark Ages, which dominated much of Murania and Gulorien at its highest (toward the end of the Classical Age).

    Arkech: Ancient, Classical-era empire rooted in southern Emish, which at its height (before the rise of Eugeron) dominated practically all of Emish and much of northwestern Gulorien.

    Lagash: Large, Golden-age era country that occupied much of Inyad, and was one of the major players on the political, cultural and (most remarkably) scientific arenas during the Golden Age. Lagashic was one of the main languages any learned person in Iriond was expected to learn. Broke apart during the wars that ended the Golden Age.

    Tarinnia: City in Gulorien where the Confederacy was founded (not its capital)

    Seat of the Golden Treaty Territory and Universal Forum (on the SE shore of Taham Lake): Eormish

    Confederacy major city on Taham Lake’s W shore: Unnar

    Union major city on Taham Lake’s E shore: Rewold

    AFN major city north of Taham Lake: Gilukkhar

    Capital of the Confederacy: Nimri (in mid-south Gulorien)

    Capital of the Union: Rewold

    Seat of the AFN Treaty: Gabadush (in NW Murania)

    Rancent's World is a planet only recently settled by humans (about 800 years), but which is home to a variety of civilized and not-so-civilized species, and archaeology points to a rich civilized past hundreds of milennia old.

    Spoiler: Rancent's World Map

    Spoiler: Rancent's World Notes
    Dr. Nidalli Rancent: the [babau] psionicist who pushed for the colonization of 2514 Bhadrapada VI, through a consortium of interested parties and funders from all nations (the New Earth Consortium, or NEC), all acting as independent individuals (no major government initially supported the enterprise). He called this world “New Earth”, and aimed to build a peaceful society where people from all geopolitical factions could live in harmony, with limited initial success. Of course, when word of Bhadrapada VI’s natural riches, metahuman resources and thriving psychic matrix reached the core worlds, all three major factions jumped headfirst into its colonization. Dr. Rancent died a couple decades after this colonization rush, under mysterious circumstances.

    Harmony: City founded by Dr. Rancent and the NEC in Bhadrapada VI, intended to be the model society of a new era. After his death, it swayed from its idealistic origins, but remains to this day a fully independent political entity, strongly guided by a policy of political neutrality, non-discrimination and free enterprise, leading it to be a major trade hub and a popular destination for corporations who seek a high level of independence from governments. One of the largest cities, possibly the largest, in Rancent’s World, and certainly the one with the greatest diversity in races and species. Although Dr. Rancent’s ideology is no longer official policy, his ideas remain highly influential in modern-day Harmony, and he as a historical figure has risen to semi-mythical stature. The NEC no longer exists as a commercial entity (its capital eventually getting broken up into varied business interests), but its public works make up the foundation of the city, and it has a spiritual successor in the non-profit Rancent Heritage Foundation.
    -Joint Defense Task Force (JDTF): A relatively new institution in the Harmony government, the JDTF is a project run jointly by the armed forces, police corporations, the Strategic Intelligence Agency and a few advanced research institutes of Harmony, in which they cooperate by lending personnel to this new organization, where the talents from all these institutions are put together to combat unprecedented and unorthodox threats to the city, that the police, military and other instances can't fight on their own. They have a number of divisions where members from all participating institutions work together, including: Strategic Analysis (nicknamed "the Farm"), where experts process information gathered from many different sources to figure out what's going on behind enemy lines and what to expect for the future; Peace Ops ("the Meat"), which help stabilize risky places and situations, both by physically defending unstable areas and by establishing ties to the local community; Strike Ops ("the Goons"), which intervene in situations where force is necessary, they're powerful and effective but have zero subtlety; and the Special Ops ("the Cleaners"), which act in situations that require more force than the Peace Ops employ but more subtlety than the Strike Ops have, mostly covert ops like espionage and "wetworks". There's also an administrative division and the High Command, which is neatly divided between military, police and Strategic Intelligence.

    Asherah is one of the first few planets to be explored by humans (after Iriond, of course), having been colonized by the Confederacy. Home to a few humanoid races such as Eblians and Shaugmar.

    Spoiler: Asherah World Map

    Spoiler: Asherah Notes
    United Asheran Republic: The earliest Iriondan colonies in Asherah, settled by Semkashans, which later attained their independence in the Age of Exploration, united as a single country. One of the major players in the Confederacy, practically eclipsing Semkash itself.

    New Arkech: Capital of the UAR, renamed after the ancient empire that long predates Semkash when the colonies went independent.

    Council of Ancients: A consulting body within UAR government, modeled after its namesake in Semkash. Has a less active role than its Iriondan equivalent, and its meetings are grander and flashier (as are its facilities), with its deliberations taking longer as they don’t follow the same networked structure as the older Council, favoring instead a series of statements that can be heard and recorded by onlookers. Its constituents include both Angulkinnar that migrated in from Iriond and ones created in Asherah. The angulkinnar in Asherah are more commonly seen roaming about the city and participating in various activities with other citizens, as opposed to the Semkashan ones, which usually stay in their abode.

    New Eugeron: Colonized by Muranian humans, this planet became an extension of the Pan-Muranian Union. It is tidally locked; the upper portion of the map points toward the sun, and the lower half is plunged in an eternal night.

    Spoiler: New Eugeron World Map

    Chertan V: A stormy planet colonized by people affiliated with the Allied Free Nations (mostly from Inyad and Hellonde).

    Spoiler: Chertan V World Map

    Reshep II is home to a powerful psychic race, the Reshepans. It was colonized by the Confederacy, which has brought Reshepans into their fold, although relations are uneasy.

    Spoiler: Reshep II World Map

    Maenali IV is a scarcely settled world (by humans, at least; it has a considerable variety of native life), much of which is rather inhospitable.

    Spoiler: Maenali IV World Map
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2014-12-04 at 06:03 AM. Reason: Added the JDTF to the description of Rancent's World/Harmony

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Races

    Note: More races coming soon!

    Spoiler: Humans (Lowborn)
    The staple of the human civilization that spread out from Iriond to conquer the galaxy, the lowborn are those humans not fortunate enough to come from a transcended lineage, retaining the same form and traits as their Classical-era forebears. They make up the majority of humankind, comprising the proletariat, workmen, farmers, corporate wage slaves and other such bottom-rung professions, sometimes falling through the cracks and ending up in a life of crime, scavenging and other such unsavory activities.

    Personality: Lowborn humans are an extremely diverse breed, coming from a variety of cultures and nations as they do. Their personality will often reflect their regional and cultural upbringing, but even that is hardly a given, especially for those who come from larger, cosmopolitan cities where many different cultures mingle and clash. Coming from the lower end of the social spectrum, though, the lowborn are often filled with ambition, feeling the need to rise above their humble origins and prove their worth to the world.

    Physical Description: (Same as D&D's Humans)

    Relations: Humans as a whole tend to get along rather well with most races, and the lowborn are no exception. Humanity has found ways to cooperate with the native denizens of the planets they've encountered, although their colonialistic tendencies sometimes rub a few races (such as reshepans and kyrrztli) the wrong way; even then, however, such aliens are often more understanding toward the lowborn, who are victims of systemic oppression just as much as the colonized peoples.

    Alignment: There is no overall alignment trend across all humanity, even toward centrism; however, individual cultures may have a predominance of a given alignment, although even then there are many who stray from it. People from the Tarinnish Confederacy tend toward collectivistic alignments, those from the Pan-Muranian Union lean toward the bureaucratic, and the Allied Free Nations favor libertarianism.

    Lowborn Lands: Most human nations and states are rather under the control of transhumans, with the lowborn having little to no say on the government, even though many of them are nominal democracies where all citizens theoretically have equal standing. Therefore, the ambitious and fast-paced nature of common humans is often not reflected by their leaders, which tend toward the conservative and old-fashioned.

    Humans have spread throughout all known worlds, and the lowborn are usually at the forefront of such colonization, always looking for opportunity. Therefore, there is a considerable number of lowborn humans living amongst other races, at even greater proportions (compared to transhumans) than in human lands.

    Religion: Religious belief has fallen somewhat among human cultures in recent centuries, with a greater emphasis on science and on universalist thinking, although this tendency is less pronounced among the lowborn, who often cling to the beliefs of their ancestors. The main human religions are detailed in the Religions section, under Culture and Daily Life.

    Language: The countless languages of humanity's past have largely been whittled down to a few official languages encouraged by the existing factions (Semkashan in the Confederacy, Abyri in the Union and Kaldurish in the Alliance), although these "high" languages are most used by the transhuman elites. Through an endless flux of trade and migration back and forth across faction borders, lowborn humans have largely settled into a trade language born out of a pidgin of all three dominant languages, generally called Common. (See "Languages" in the first post.) However, they often learn other languages - their faction's language is an obvious choice, but they also like to learn how to communicate with alien races living in their vicinity.

    Names: Human names vary a lot across cultures, and the lowborn tend to show even greater variety, often appropriating names from other human ethnicities or even non-human races. Below are some sample names from a few selected Iriondan cultures, as humans from other planets tend to follow the naming patterns from their Iriondan forebears (although they are likelier to mix and match across cultures and otherwise innovate in their naming).
    Emishan Names: (male) Apannan, Ditatta, Ezzer, Halamma, Sannapar; (female) Astal, Eshkis, Lili, Nisab, Saba; (surnames) Agash, Epponar, Muktar, Shemarq, Zadabbi
    Muranian Names: (male) Azeor, Doranthir, Finre, Galadan, Rewalt; (female) Adriellan, Ellanth, Findanye, Imrodel, Pliana; (surnames) Beloriand, Harpenor, Karningion, Medesith, Vallania
    Hellondan Names: (male) Aghar, Bjotr, Gwali, Sido, Trolfi; (female) Ingidg, Rada, Shainan, Urdun, Zdara; (surnames) Adingskali, Girimor, Kholedzir, Sobrutky, Undum

    Adventurers: Lowborn humans are quite often thrust into a life of adventuring due to a lack of economic opportunities or means for social ascent, leading them to cruise the worlds in search of a better standard of living. Others simply want to carve a place for themselves in the universe, rising above their lowly status and earning the respect of society through sheer power or brave deeds. Many simply feel like they don't fit into the mould society has prepared for them, and set out to find a place for them somewhere "out there".

    Lowborn Racial Traits: As per D&D's Humans

    Spoiler: Eblians
    These Asheran humanoids are notorious for their hardiness and instinctive connection to earth and rock, owing to their underground-dwelling origins.

    Personality: Eblians are highly adaptable, and after a couple days living in a new location they already feel completely at home. They are extremely logical and literal, completely missing the subtleties of language and interpersonal relations most races take for granted, which makes them sound cold and rude to most.

    Physical Description: Eblians stand 4 to 4 1/2 feet tall, but their bodily tissues are so dense and tough that they are about as heavy as humans. Their skin feels grainy and rough to the touch, and comes in tones of brown and gray, similar to earth and stone. They are completely hairless. Their eyes are bright and pupil-less, in varied colors like silver, green, amber and violet, and reflect the light that catches on them much like a cat's eye. They tend to wear simple and utilitarian clothes, mostly made of leather, which they like to decorate with small rhinestones, which are their main expression of luxury and elegance. Eblian males and females look and dress the same, and only the most trained non-Eblians can tell them apart.

    Relations: Eblians get along well with most races, being rather easy to adapt and fit in into any society. They are especially close to shaugmars, who they share a homeworld with, and to humans of the Confederacy, which have largely adopted Asherah as a home. They have frequently warred with [orcs] and [goblinoids] in Rancent's World, and in fact even developed special techniques to fight them, but are usually open to developing relations with individuals of these races, and will give them a chance to earn their respect.

    Alignment: The logical tendency of Eblians is reflected in their regulatist alignment, and their culture also has a strong tendency for collectivism, meaning that the average Eblian is a Paternalist. Many stray from those tendencies, however.

    Eblian Lands: Eblians hail from the dry and high portions of Asherah, where their largest nations are, although there are Eblian settlements all over the planet. They have adapted to shielding themselves from their homeland's harsh weather by building most of their cities underground, in sprawling tunnel complexes that sometimes reach many hundreds of meters deep. They are also found in most major cities of other races, especially in Rancent's World, which has seen a considerable influx of Eblian immigration.

    Religion: (pending)

    Language: (pending)

    Names: (pending)

    Adventurers: Eblians have an undying curiosity and a certain sense of wanderlust, which compels many to take up adventuring. They hold the exploration of new frontiers and the expansion of Eblian influence into new places in high regard. Many are also driven by economic necessity into a life of mercenary activity or foreign trade.

    Eblian Racial Traits: As per D&D's Dwarves

    Spoiler: Kyrrztli
    Kyrrztli are able hunters and raiders, bringing their keen senses, stealth and psychic training to bear in their predatory outings, which has turned them into a force to be feared by most other races.

    Personality:Kyrrztli are patient and calculating, known to wait for absurdly long periods of time while hunting or warring, until their enemies tire, starve or simply give up. Although they value community (and will aid their allies to the best of their ability), they are largely unfamiliar to the concepts of emotion and personal attachment, which makes them frighteningly cold to the minds of most humanoids. It's said that a kyrrztli by your side is one of the best allies you might have, but the moment you turn your back, the very same kyrrztli might turn into your worst nightmare.

    Physical Description: Although they come from the same basic genetic stock as most humanoid races, kyrrztli have an insectoid nature and look much like humanoid bugs. Their skin is a thin but tough chitinous tissue, in tones varying from creamy white to sandy-yellow to mossy green to dark brown, usually mottled with darker specks. They have thin limbs and torsos with segmented carapaces. They have three articulated digits in each hand and foot, and their heads look largely humanoid but with large multifaceted eyes, no visible ears and nose, a multi-articulated mouth and a pair of antennae above their eyes. They have a thin layer of clear hairs throughout most of their bodies, but mostly in their heads and limbs. They average about 5 feet tall and little over 100 pounds. Kyrrztli rarely bother with clothing, preferring instead to wear utilitarian fixtures like leather belts, sashes and straps to hold their weapons and tools, as well as decorative items such as bracelets, necklaces and circlets.

    Relations: Most other races distrust kyrrztli, owing to both their predatory nature and their alien psychology. The feeling is largely mutual, though, and kyrrztli tend to keep to themselves, rarely interacting with other races outside of warfare and raiding. They have a keen sense of opportunity, though, and will gladly trade or ally with other races when convenient.

    Alignment: Kyrrztli are significantly collectivistic, due to their dulled sense of individuality and instinctive drive to protect their species; however, despite their collective nature, they are also loners, unable to form personal connections and accustomed to operating as free individuals, leading to an anomist bent to their alignment. Therefore, the prevailing alignment of Kyrrztli is Cooperativist. Some will stray from this tendency, however; those often go adventuring among other races, as they have trouble fitting kyrrztli society.

    Kyrrztli Lands: Kyrrztli originally hail from the desert mesas and canyons of Rancent's World, but have spread to many parts of their homeworld and beyond. Their greedy expansionism has led them to encroach into the lands of many other peoples, often with temporary settlements they abandon once local resources are depleted. They are among the few races to have significantly explored 9911 Maenali IV, which they discovered many centuries ago, long before humans.

    Religion: (pending)

    Language: Kyrrztli have a strange language, composed of trilling, chirping and buzzing sounds. It can be learned and spoken by most humanoids, but its prevalence of tight high-pitched vowels and chirping consonants sounds weird to most. They have their own writing system, a syllabary comprised of flowing symbols with diacritical markers for vowel pitch, which is written vertically from the bottom up.

    Names: Kyrrztli receive a brood designation upon birth, which reflects not only their parentage but also the general place and time of their birth. Since they are born in very large numbers but few of them survive infancy, kyrrztli do not receive personal names until somewhat late into their development, around the time they are learning how to speak and stalk. Although the youngling has some agency in choosing his or her own name, it is mostly chosen by one's brood tutor. The traditional order is brood name first, then personal name; however, brood names are rarely used outside one's homeland.
    Brood Names: Zit'lillil, Ghyrrikti, Krikryzzi, Zikhyzidi
    Personal Names: Dykstri, Trizkly, Likdi, Nikhydi

    Adventurers: Being natural hunters and raiders, Kyrrztli are wont to roam the world looking for loot to collect, which is highly conductive to an adventuring life. Most, however, tend to return periodically to their homeland, to enjoy the fruits of their raiding. Kyrrztli who do not fit well among their peers may choose to set out into the world, living among other races or simply moving constantly from place to place, always looking for the next opportunity to acquire knowledge and riches.

    Kyrrztli Racial Traits: As per D&D's Elves

    Spoiler: Sen-Ji
    The sen-ji are a race of intelligent monkeys from the forests of Rancent's World. They are small and agile, leading them to rely on stealth and hit-and-run tactics to fight larger adversaries.

    Personality: The most remarkable trait of sen-ji is their unending curiosity. They are always exploring, poking, prodding, testing everything, which often puts them in perilous situations, but they persevere nevertheless. For that reason, they are rarely afraid of anything, facing the strange and the powerful with curiosity rather than fear. They are also rather tricky, often playing pranks on one another, which makes them both very alert to unexpected threats and talented at finding creative ways to overcome their foes.

    Physical Description: Sen-ji look like small monkeys, about three feet tall, with short grey fur covering their whole bodies, white tufts of hair on the sides of their faces, short black hair on the top of their heads, and slender tails ending in a black patch. Their hands, feet (which are rather like a second, less nimble set of hands) and mouth show bare, dark gray skin, and their eyes are dark. They don't wear much in the way of clothing (usually just a loincloth), but rather like decorative items such as colored ropes they coil around their torsos and limbs, beaded collars, bone and bead earrings, bracelets, ankle rings, and similar pieces. Females are slightly smaller than males, and have darker and smaller face-tufts.

    Relations: Sen-ji are rather insular, living in remote patches of jungle, but their curiosity has often led them to seek contact with other races. They get along rather well with [half-orcs], and have actually managed to bridge the alienness of the kyrrztli to forge good trade relations, although they maintain a healthy distance from those bug-men. They've enthusiastically embraced the new races that arrived in Rancent's World in recent centuries, especially humans, in whose cities they can often be found.

    Alignment: Sen-ji are centrists in all respects, preferring to keep their options open. They don't lock themselves down with rigid rules, but don't like to give up the prerogative to regulate things tightly when it suits them; they also tend to neither tie themselves up too much with their community, nor distance themselves so much they won't be able to rely on it when they need to.

    Sen-Ji Lands: These monkeys hail from the forests and jungles of Bhadrapada VI, where they live in tribes rarely more than a few hundred individuals strong, always migrating so as not to deplete their food sources. Although they have explored drier lands, they've had difficulty settling outside forests, except for the large cities of humans, where they've found a new niche to thrive. Many have set off to exploring other worlds, mostly sticking to human cities when they decide to settle outside their homeworld.

    Religion: (pending)

    Language: (pending)

    Names: (pending)

    Adventurers: The great curiosity of sen-ji is usually more than enough reason to go out on adventures, just for the sake of exploring new places and seeing strange things. They often tag along with groups of explorers or mercenaries of other races, offering their sneaky and tricksy talents to round out adventuring parties.

    Sen-Ji Racial Traits: As per D&D's Halflings

    Spoiler: Shaugmar
    Another race from Asherah, these small humanoids have the study of psionics as a significant part of their culture, being among the foremost experts in the manipulation of sentient minds.

    Personality: Shaugmar appear much more pleasant to most than Eblians, despite having an even more logical and literal mind; that's because they have an innate knack for understanding the psychology of others and using that knowledge to their advantage. They are highly patient and cautious, preferring to study whatever situation they are faced with until they can logically analyze all potential outcomes before taking action. They'll use indirect means (such as psychics or manipulating other parties to do their bidding) to accomplish their goals whenever feasible, in order to avoid unnecessary risk.

    Physical Description: Shaugmar are rather diminutive, standing little over 3 feet tall. Like their Eblian relatives, they are completely hairless, although their skin (usually in bluish and purplish tones) is much smoother to the touch. They have lithe bodies with proportionally large, oval-shaped heads, with pointed ears, small nose and mouth, and large, oval, pupil-less eyes of a dark blue color, that glimmer the same way as those of Eblians. They also have three dark blue protuberances in their forehead in a downward triangle formation, which are actually vestigial, non-functioning eyes. They too have practically no visible distinction between males and females. Their clothes tend to consist of intricate flowing robes made of glimmering silk-like thread, festooned with elaborate shoulder-pads, belts, back-plates and other design elements, all of which much more concerned with style than practicality. They greatly appreciate jewelry such as rings, bracers, necklaces and especially circlets, which are a very important article of Shaugmar fashion.

    Relations: The Shaugmar strive to have good relations with practically every race they encounter, although how much of that is sincere is a matter of long speculation. They are especially close to the Eblians, who they are distantly related to and who share their homeworld, and have also forged rather good bonds with the humans of the Confederation that settled on Asherah. Having encountered particular difficulty bonding with [goblinoids] and derleths, though, the shaugmar developed special techniques for fighting these races, and have influenced the eblians into doing likewise.

    Alignment: The logic of the shaugmar is much more subtle and adaptable than that of eblians, which is why this race does not share the eblians' tendency for regulatism, being rather of a Centrist alignment. However, collectivism is still ingrained in most of them, seen by shaugmars as the most logical way to ensure one's security and protection.

    Shaugmar Lands: The Shaugmar have occupied much of the more humid regions of Asherah, closer to the coast and in well-irrigated lowland basins, where they have built sprawling metropolises filled with impressive spires. However, there are settlements and enclaves of the Shaugmar people in many parts of the planet, and some subsets of this race like to build subterranean complexes in higher terrain similar to those of Eblians. They are not as likely to venture outside their homeworld as Eblians are, but many are still found in major cities in other planets, especially Rancent's World.

    Religion: (pending)

    Language: (pending)

    Names: (pending)

    Adventurers: While most shaugmar tend to be somewhat timid and cautious, there are sill many who choose to take matters into their own hands and go out into the world to pursue their interests, which usually involve acquiring wealth, power and influence. These may be either agents of shaugmar governments or organizations, or particularly ambitious individuals who failed to find a niche for them in shaugmar society, and decided to build their power-base among the less subtle races.

    Shaugmar Racial Traits: As per D&D's Gnomes
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2015-01-08 at 06:52 PM.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Classes and other character options

    Note: More classes coming soon!

    Spoiler: Alignment
    Across many milennia of study, Iriondan philosophers, psychologists and sociologists have developed a theory of psychosocial classification based on two axes, which has proven quite effective, and works well within the framework of telepathic powers and many other psychic phenomena. Politics is largely centered around this alignment system, with different forms of government reflecting the prevailing alignment of each civilization. Different alignments have their own positive and negative points, and the relative merits of each on the moral and ethical arenas are highly debatable - in fact, the main driving point behind the different alignments consists of one's interpretation of which moral values are most critical, and how to best uphold them through ethical behavior.

    The two axes (which may be combined to form a total of nine alignments) are:

    Collectivism vs. Individualism: This axis reflects how one weighs the good of the many vs. the good of the individual. Collectivists tend to view the greater well-being of the largest possible number of people as the highest value to be aspired to; while they are often compassionate to the plight of the needy, they can also be willing to sacrifice a few individuals for what they view as the greater good, which indicates a certain ruthless practicality. Individualists consider that each individual's welfare and interests take precedence, which usually translates into holding freedom and self-determination as the ultimate value, and also protecting disenfranchised minorities from the tyranny of the mob; on the other hand, their lack of concern for communal welfare may also be seen as egotistical and self-centered. Centrists (along the collectivist-individualist axis) are somewhere in the middle, usually considering that one ought to balance one's own interests with the community's, and that it's best to consider the common good while also respecting individual rights and freedoms.

    Regulatism vs. Anomism: This axis reflects one's philosophy on how to regulate society and make sure it serves its purposes, and how the individual should work in relation with the community. Regulatists believe that well-defined and strongly-enforced rules are necessary to uphold the common good, since lack of regulation leaves a community wide open to abuse by ill-meaning individuals; however, their penchant for control and rigidity may be stifling and overly bureaucratic. Anomists consider that the best course of action is to leave people to their own devices and regulate as little as possible, as the sum of their individual actions will naturally tend toward a balance that is fairer and more effective than any arbitrarily conceived rule; the downside is that the uncoordinated and conflicting efforts of anomists may lead to chaos and mayhem. Centrists (along the regulatist-anomist axis) are in the middle of the road, believing that rules are necessary to guide the behavior of individuals, but need to maintain a good dose of "elbow room" and flexibility.

    These two classifications can be combined to determine an individual's alignment. Characters that are centrist along one axis are generally designated only by their alignment along the other axis (for example, a character that is neither Collectivist nor Individualist, but rather Centrist along that axis, and who is also a Regulatist, will be called simply a "Regulatist"). Characters that are centrist along both axes are often called "Core Centrists".

    For characters that have a non-centrist orientation along both axes, there are the four following alignments:

    Paternalist (Collectivist/Regulatist): Such characters usually believe that individuals must be contained through rules, so that their egotistical interests do not interfere with the common good. While they tend to be champions of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, they may also be tyrannical and authoritarian.

    Cooperativist (Collectivist/Anomist): Cooperativists usually believe that the natural tendency of an unregulated society is to favor the community, and laws are merely the tool that the powerful use to oppress the majority. While they tend to foster harmony and peaceful cooperation, their tendency for inaction may also hamper progress and give too much leeway to the ill-intentioned.

    Bureaucratic (Individual/Regulatist): These characters usually believe that the "mob" is both unthinking and malicious, and needs to be reined in through strong laws and strong institutions so that the truly inspired can thrive. While they tend to provide a great environment for talented individuals to shine and act most effectively, they may also promote unfair privilege and stifle social mobility.

    Libertarian (Individual/Anomist): Such characters usually believe that the most prosperous society is that which arises naturally from a combination of individual actions and interests, and any attempts to hinder people from pursuing their own individual happiness will only harm society in the long run. While they tend to favor freedom and the right to pursue one's dreams, they may also foster selfishness and indifference.

    Spoiler: Parapsychologist
    Psychic powers are the main driving force behind modern civilization, being responsible for spreading the intelligent races across the galaxy and creating the many wonders of the modern world, and no class embodies them better than the parapsychologist. The oldest organized discipline of psychic study, and to this date one of the most powerful, parapsychologists rely on diligent study and exhaustive mental training to develop their psychic abilities. They unlock the secrets of the mind via complex patterns, which must be recorded on special plates (usually stored in catalog binders) that are used for priming their powers.

    Adventures: Parapsychologists are the scientists of the galaxy, and as such, they are always in search of knowledge, of new insights about the universe or simply of novel sources of psychic power. These researches often take them to the farthest reaches of civilization, where they can explore the unknown or test their theories. Others are motivated by more prosaic concerns, working for a paycheck or selling their powers to the highest bidder, as their psychic abilities are highly valued by powerful organizations.

    Characteristics: Being the epitome of psychic study, parapsychologists are focused almost exclusively on the research and manifestation of psychic powers. They learn and master a vast catalogue of powers over their careers, discovering new powers through research or learning them from plates recorded by other psionicists. They also learn how to manipulate their psychics, changing parameters such as
    duration, length, intensity, and so on. Some parapsychologists choose to specialize in a given field, becoming significantly more powerful in psychics encompassed by their specialty, at the cost of losing access to some psychics in certain other fields. They also have the ability to establish telepathic bonds with small animals, similarly to savants.

    Alignment: All alignments are open to parapsychological study, and there are representatives of the class in all ends of the alignment spectrum. However, the highly structured and disciplined nature of their studies tends to make the class more attractive to regulatists than anomists.

    Background: Parapsychology was developed independently by several intelligent races, resulting in a number of different parapsychological traditions (the main ones being those of humans, shaugmar and kyrrztli), but they all share a penchant for intellectualism and academia. Therefore, parapsychologists are likely to hail from universities or similar institutions of learning, where they often work as researchers or professors before setting off to adventuring (if they ever do so).

    Races: Knowledge of parapsychology is spread throughout most civilized races, although not all are equally talented in it. Humans have a long tradition in this area, having used psychics to extend their civilization across the stars, and many of the mightiest parapsychologists are highborn humans.

    Kyrrztli are highly talented psionicists, being especially proficient in parapsychology. They tend to be more interested in warfare than pure research, however, making their presence in the academic milieu somewhat small in relation to the large number of parapsychologists of this race. Many gryzzik share the psionic talent of their kyrrztli forebears, which combines with the adaptability of their human relatives to make rather powerful parapsychologists.

    Shaugmars, too, have an uncanny talent for psionics, especially for psychics in the perception field, which makes them great specialist parapsychologists. They do have a certain inclination for the savant class though, despite their long-standing parapsychology tradition. Although eblian society has long possessed knowledge of parapsychology, eblians are not very inclined toward psionics, and have relatively few members of this class.

    [Half-orcs] and sen-ji don't have much in the way of a tradition in parapsychology, and the few parapsychologists among them are likely to have learned their trade from kyrrztli, directly or indirectly. [Half-orcs] are especially unlikely to follow this path, though, given their poor natural aptitude.

    Classes: Parapsychologists work very well in tandem with non-psionic classes; while they appreciate the company of fellow students of the psychic sciences, having more than one of them in the same party may lead to competition for the role of psychic specialist, not to mention that their lack of combat ability means they usually require the protection of brawnier characters. Their abilities nicely complement the fighting prowess of fighters, barbarians and other such combat-heavy classes, and their psychics generally do not overlap with those of channelers, who parapsychologists tend to have a healthy dose of respect for.

    Role and Game Rule Information: As per D&D's Wizard class

    Spoiler: Spook
    Warfare can take on many forms. Away from the field of battle, where swords and offensive psychics clash, a silent war rages under everyone's noses, undetected, with whispers as weapons and subtlety as the measure of one's might. Information and influence are powerful currencies, and while many dabble on spycraft, none are as skilled on it as the spook. Bringing an array of mundane skills and specialized psionics to bear, these agents prove themselves invaluable not only in the halls and offices where espionage takes place, but also in the battlefield, where their secret techniques of manipulating minds through specific sonic frequencies can be used to bolster their comrades' fighting prowess.

    Adventures: Spooks are usually out on the field under the employ of some government or powerful organization, infiltrating themselves into enemy ranks or simply keeping themselves connected to the right circles, so they can gather intelligence and influence whoever best serves as a pawn in their masters' schemes. Such missions may lead them to the most diverse environments and activities, where they will often encounter other adventurers and work beside them. Other spooks work on their own, either selling their secrets to the highest bidder or simply building around themselves a web of influence, which they can use to fulfill their own obscure goals.

    Characteristics: Spooks have a specialized selection of psionic powers, generally focused on telepathy, stealth and deception, as befits their expertise. They have fewer and less potent powers than parapsychologists, however, due to their varied array of skills. They utilize such powers in a largely instinctive way, much like savants do, and do not need to prepare them in advance.

    They are also versed in a considerable number of mundane skills, from stealth to social skills to general knowledge to combat, not being particularly specialized in any of those, however. Although they may not have the same expertise in burglary as a scoundrel, or the combat prowess of a fighter, special agents are nonetheless able to hold themselves well in any of the myriad unpredictable situations their job might put them in. Of particular note is their ability to connect loose pieces of data and recall most information they come across, allowing them to have general knowledge about people, events and items they come across.

    The spook's most distinctive ability, however, is the secret technique they use to master resonant harmonies and manipulate minds, bodies and psychic energies through sound. Through precise notes and chords, which they achieve vocally or through musical instruments, they can induce a heightened mental state that improves skill or combat prowess, hypnotize targets and implant suggestions in them, and counter psychic abilities that rely on sound.

    Alignment: The special techniques employed by spooks require a specific type of mind to work, one which maintains a certain level of flexibility and adaptability. The structured mind of regulatists is incompatible with such requirements, and as such, characters with a Regulatist alignment cannot gain levels in the spook class.

    Background: Many spooks come from respected military academies, having labored hard to get themselves admitted to such institutions. Others got singled out for their talents by recruiters, often not even realizing who they were working for until deep into their training. Even those who set out on their own are likely to have received their training from some powerful organization, which can often come back to haunt them over the course of their adventuring careers.

    Races: Although they are shrouded in secrecy, the tradition of spooks is said to have originated among shaugmars, and the most talented agents tend to come from this race. Humans have adapted extraordinarily well to it, though, and their versatility makes for exceptional spooks. Kyrrztli have taken a liking to this class as well, but their mutated brethren, the gryzzik, have been shown to be especially talented in it. Although eblians have long known the tradition of spooks, they are ill-suited for it, and thus rarely pursue this career. Other races have no tradition of spook training to speak of, but some rare individuals might come to receive this training.

    Classes: Being especially trained to fit into any environment or company, spooks get along well with members of any class, and their versatility makes sure that they will both have something in common with almost everyone and also be able to fill practically any gap a party might have. Thus, they will find ways to cooperate with practically any character.

    Role and Game Rule Information: As per D&D's Bard class
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2015-01-08 at 06:54 PM.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Culture and Daily Life

    Note: The following details refer to the interplanetary human civilization, unless otherwise noted, though I will try to flesh out non-human societies as well.

    Spoiler: Transportation
    Several methods of transportation are used across the known worlds, depending on your means and the distance you want to travel.

    Yourself: The simplest and most obvious way to get around is, of course, through your own natural movement capabilities. However, that might go far beyond merely walking, depending on who's doing the traveling. Several transcendent beings are capable of flight, and many buildings in cities with a significant transcendent population, especially in the Core Worlds, have entrances set far above the ground for the convenience of such beings. Three-dimensional thinking is certainly a staple of modern human architecture. Many of the more powerful transcendents also have access to innate teleportation ability, thus practically negating the need for any of the following means of transportation, at least for getting around the same planet (although alternative methods might be needed to reach unfamiliar locations for the first time).

    Mounts: Aside from walking, the most common way to get from one place to another is on horseback. Other, more advanced means of transportation notwithstanding, horses are highly adaptable to a variety of terrains and situations, and remain the most cost-efficient private way (i.e. not depending on a pre-existing public transport infrastructure) to get around on land. Other, more exotic mounts exist, some of which capable of flight, but those may get prohibitively expensive for the common citizen. Horse-drawn vehicles such as carriages and buggies are also rather common, especially in cities, where they're frequently used in taxi services.

    Trains: Powered by animate objects psychs and running on metal tracks, trains and subways are a staple of the public transportation network. Subways are the most efficient way to move between distant areas within a city, and cross-country trains are used both for passenger travel to areas not supported by public teleportation, and for transporting cargo and trade goods. However, the necessity of a significant initial investment for laying out train and subway networks means their areas of coverage are often less than ideal.

    Ships: For travel across the ocean, if teleportation is unavailable (or for transporting cargo, which gets prohibitively expensive to do by teleport), ships are practically the only way to go. Many modern ships are equipped with control weather devices, which ensures a strong constant tailwind that significantly reduces travel times; however, cheaper ships (especially those used for closer distances and coastal navigation) depend on natural winds or rowing. Boats and barges also make use of natural rivers and lakes as a much cheaper (although slower) alternative to trains for moving cargo overland.

    Teleportation: For passenger travel, the most favored way to cross very large distances, whether over land or sea, is by the teleportation network. Teleport stations in most medium and large cities house a number of teleport platforms (made with teleportation circles), each of which sends anyone stepping on it to a specific spot (generally on a "receiving platform" in another teleportation station) somewhere far away. You buy your ticket to a specific destination with a teleport station, get in line, step on the platform when your turn comes up, come off at your destination - it often takes several "leaps" across a number of teleport stations, organized in a hub-and-spoke network, to get to your final destination - and then go through immigration and customs on your way out, if necessary. People with the necessary psychic abilities (or the money to pay for such services) can of course teleport on their own, to any point they're familiar with (with varying degrees of accuracy, depending on the specific psychs used), but such abilities are rare enough that the demand for public teleportation is always strong. Each passenger can carry only as much luggage as they can hoist, though, which makes transporting commercial cargo over teleport prohibitively expensive.

    Portals: Taking the form of two large vertical rings (one on each end) with a permanent wormhole effect (note: D&D's Gate) connecting them, portals are by and large the only practical way to move between planets. Although there are psychs that allow interplanetary travel, most of those are either unreliable or slow; only wormhole is truly dependable, and since very few beings can manifest it innately, commercial portals remain an efficient and cost-effective way even for powerful psychics. Each end of a portal is situated inside a portal station, which tends to be an extremely well-guarded facility, with the best of the country's military protecting it from potential invaders. Immigration and customs tend to be quite thorough, especially since all sorts of traffic move over portals, including commercial cargo. The transportation itself is instantaneous - you simply walk into the ring from one planet and come out the corresponding ring on the other planet - but the bureaucracy and lines involved can take a while, sometimes hours. Traffic on each portal goes either way, so the two ends take turns and periodically reverse the direction of traffic flow. Each end of a portal has a "failsafe" switch that temporarily deactivates the portal, with a security officer standing by to do so at any sign of trouble, as well as a well-protected (and hard to use) permanent failsafe that undoes the wormhole effect altogether.

    Spoiler: Time and Measurements
    Most measurements used in the Core Worlds, at least by the interplanetary human civilizations, were established around the Golden Age, based on the natural characteristics of Iriond, humanity's home planet.

    Time: Naturally, the passage of time is based on the concepts of "day" and "year", which depend on the rotation and orbit of each individual planet. Therefore, most planets have their own calendars (with the exception of New Eugeron, which, being tidally locked, effectively stays permanently in the same position relative to its sun, and just adopts the Iriondan calendar). However, for practical purposes and to allow cross-planet coordination, the Iriondan calendar is kept and followed by humans in all planets, simultaneously to the local calendar. Also, humans across all worlds use traditional Iriondan measures for time periods shorter than a day, and tend to measure long-run spans of time in Iriondan years.

    1 Iriondan day = approx. 98% of an Earth (real-world) day
    1 Iriondan year = 376 days and change (adjusted by leap days)
    1 hexad (civil week) = 6 days
    1 lunad (lunar week) = 13 days (approximate)
    1 domain (astrological "month"/sign) = 29 days (approximate)
    1 year = 13 domains or 29 lunads, the last of which is "short" by one day in non-leap years
    1 sector ("long month") = 47 days, or 1/8 of the year
    1 half-sector ("short month") = 24 or 23 days (alternating), 1/16 of the year
    1 sector has just shy of 8 hexads (1 day short), so each sector begins in the previous civil weekday from the previous one
    1 half-sector has either 4 full hexads, or 3 full and 1 "short" one
    Leap days are added at the end of the year, so leap years end on a 48-day "full" sector (with 8 full weeks), or a 24-day "full" half-sector
    1 day = 20 "bells" or hours
    1 bell or hour = 100 "turns" or minutes (about 70 minutes in real-world measurements)
    1 turn or minute = 100 "beats" or seconds (about 42 seconds in real-world measurements)
    1 beat or second (about 0.42 seconds in real-world measurements)
    Smaller units are in milibeats, microbeats etc.

    Length: Iriondan length measures are based on the concept of "daylight length", which is the distance covered by the noon sun over the planet, measured in the equator and in an equinox (and roughly corresponding to the concept of time-zones).
    1 sun day = circumference of Iriond at the equator = just shy of 40 000 kilometers
    1 sun hour = 1/20 of a sun day = about 2 000 km (ideally, the width of 1 time-zone around the equator)
    1 sun minute = 1/100 of a sun hour = about 20 km
    1 sun second = 1/100 of a sun minute = about 200 m

    Day-to-day measures are based on the sun-second. Real-world equivalents are approximate. The most common unit is the span, as well as the league for cross-country measurements.
    1 league = 10 sun seconds = 2 km
    1 furlong = 1 sun second = 200 m
    1 rope = 1/10 sun second = 20 m
    1 fathom = 1/100 sun second = 2 m
    1 span = 1/1 000 sun second (1 sun milisecond) = 20 cm
    1 finger = 1/10 000 sun second = 2 cm
    1 line = 1/100 000 sun second = 2 mm
    1 point (or micra) = 1/1 000 000 sun second (1 sun microsecond) = 0.2 mm
    Smaller units are expressed in terms of the sun microsecond: nanosecond, femtosecond and so on.
    Units of area are just squared versions of length units, the most usual being square spans and square furlongs.

    Speed: Units of speed arise naturally from Iriondan units of time and length, and the relationship between them. The most obvious unit is the sun speed, or second-second (1 sun-second per second, also known as 1 furlong per second). However, this is way too fast for use in daily life, so lower-order derivates are normally used, the second-minute and league per hour being especially common.
    1 second-second = 1 furlong per second (fps) = a bit over 1000 miles per hour
    1 second-minute = 1 furlong per minute (fpm) = a bit over 10 miles per hour
    1 league per hour (lph) = a bit over 1 mile per hour
    1 second-hour = 1 furlong per hour (fph) = a bit over 0.1 mile per hour
    Interesting note: 1 second-hour (or fph) roughly corresponds to 1 foot of tactical movement in D&D, so a character with a move speed of 30 theoretically moves at 30 fph.

    Volume: The most common volume unit is the jar. Real-world equivalents are approximate.
    1 tank = 1 cubic fathom = 8 000 L
    1 drum = 1/10 tank = 800 L
    1 keg = 1/100 tank or 10 vases = 80 L
    1 vase = 1 cubic span = 8 L
    1 jar = 1/10 vase = 800 mL
    1 dram/thimble = 1 cubic finger = 8 mL
    Smaller units are in milidrams, microdrams etc.

    Weight: The most common weight unit is the grave. Real-world equivalents are approximate.
    1 tun = 1 cubic fathom of water = 8 000 kg
    1 stone = 1 cubic span of water = 8 kg
    1 grave = 1/10 stone = 800 g
    1 grain = 1 cubic finger of water or 1/1 000 stone = 8 g
    Smaller units are in miligrains, micrograins etc.

    Spoiler: Religion
    Unnamluar: The “Song of Creation” is a very old (Classical-age) religion from old Arkech, which may be considered polytheistic or monotheistic depending on one’s interpretation, since its many and varied deities are said by many to be simply facets of Annam, the Creator. Its name derives from the Edurnum, its main religious text, which describes how Annam wove the world through song – it’s said the Edurnum itself (which is written in poetry) is the song that Annam sung, and the world itself is the continuation of that song. Its followers believe in reincarnation and that the world has a cyclical nature, that everything that is has already happened infinite times and will happen again infinitely. Believes in the existence of several realms of being, inhabited by souls with varied levels of evolution, from demons to gods (with humans in-between). Some believe transhumans to be a more uplifted state of being, closer to gods, which is why the main religious leaders tend to be transhuman. Some believe the current iteration of the world will end when humanity is advanced enough to meld psychically into a single immortal mind, thereby creating Annam, who will then create the world anew. Has no institutionalized clergy, but has “wise teachers” (Nuzuri) who are considered the authority on religious issues. Rituals are traditionally performed by the head of the family or other familial elders; in larger cities and some immigrant communities, where families may not be structured enough to meet that need, there are nuzuri who perform the role of a “surrogate elder” for the more important rituals (birth, death, marriage), assuming a role similar to that of a priest. Such professionals do not have a hierarchy or organization, however. Common in Emish and parts of Asherah, and somewhat extant throughout the Confederacy’s area of influence.

    Delemism: Founded by the Gulorieni prophet Delemmir in the Dark Age, this religion worships the triad of Elder (also known as Sage or Judge), Father (aka Warrior, King) and Mother (aka Healer, Queen). The three are frequently seen as the three aspects or manifestations of divinity (embodying the three core virtues of Wisdom, Valor and Compassion), making it a triune deity. Delemmir himself is also venerated as not only a prophet but a mythical figure, said to embody the essence of all three deities, and to have not died but attained mystical immortality, and watching over mankind ever since. It is derived from an older, polytheistic Gulorieni religion. Delemism believes in eternal judgment, with the souls of the worthy ascending closer to the triune divinity (Delemmir being the highest ascended being), and the wicked being doomed to “eternal darkness” (beliefs are divided over whether that means some form of punishment/suffering or simply oblivion). The worthiest religious leaders and other hallowed figures of the past are revered as saints. There is a priestly class, responsible for both religious doctrine and performing rituals. Delemism is highly fractured, with many denominations around, the level of priestly organization/hierarchy depending on the individual denomination (but often tending toward a decentralized model where influential priests lead their own congregations independently, aided by a few junior priests). There is some friction between rival denominations, but there hasn’t been anything serious for several centuries. Some denominations believe that a “Time of Judgment” is at hand, and wish to prepare themselves and the world for the final reckoning. This religion has spread very far, to most places colonized by humanity, but is strongest in Gulorien, Murania and in New Eugeron.

    Eugeric Polytheism: This “pagan” religion held sway in much of Murania (the area of old Eugeron) before the rise of Delemism, having been largely supplanted by the newer, evangelical religion. In more recent times, however (dating from the Age of Exploration), and influenced by Muranian nationalism, some have sought to reconstruct this old religion. It worships a pantheon of traditional gods, has a non-hierarchical priestly class (somewhat modified from ancient times, when civil leaders were also religious leaders), and has a mystical bent. Most of the dead are said to dwell in “the shadows”, but a few highly worthy individuals may dwell in the realm of the gods – in the recent, nationalistic context, those generally include influential political leaders. Is a minority religion in Murania and New Eugeron.

    Burdwari: A monotheistic Inyadish religion, with a highly mystical bent. In fact, it’s better described as “pantheistic” than “monotheistic”, as it teaches that all souls are shards of God’s soul, which temporarily separate from it at birth, only to reunite with the One upon death. Attaining a state of oneness with God in life is the highest spiritual goal of Burdwarists. This religion comes from very ancient (Classical-age) origins, but its present form dates from the Golden Age. Meditation is a common practice in Burdwari. Its doctrine focuses a lot on pacifism and purity of the soul, both through meditation and through moral action. There is no priestly class in the traditional sense, but there are monks who devote their lives to study, devotion and meditation. Its rituals may generally be performed by anyone, and more important rituals (birth, death, marriage) are generally performed by family elders or, rarely, by monks. Most influential in Inyad, has also spread to Hellonde and many areas of the civilized worlds, attaining surprising popularity in Chertan V. Note: In Lagashic, the language of Burdwari’s birthplace, Burdwari means “Path of Purity”. Burdwarists would more properly be called Burdghata, or “Adepts of Purity”. “God” in this same language is Pradhi, which is used sometimes in Burdwari rites, although its adherents generally use the common word for “god” in whichever language they’re using.

    Reshepan religion: Reshepans traditionally hold animistic beliefs, believing that most things (not only intelligent beings, but also animals, plants and natural features) have souls, and that the souls of ancestors linger around to help guide their descendants. Therefore, they worship both nature spirits and ancestors. Some particularly ancient and important spirits (especially the ones involved in creation myths and other traditional legends) have a status more akin to gods. Clan elders take the lead in religious rituals and teaching. Harmony with others and with nature is the main goal in this religion. Practically exclusive to the Reshepan race.

    Spoiler: Sports
    Loopball: A team sport somewhat similar to handball. The goal is to throw the ball into the loop at the end of the opposing team’s side of the court. The loop is supported by three beams and has a net behind it to catch the ball. Players may hold the ball in a single hand, but not grasp it, and must throw the ball after taking two paces. When a player has the ball, no other player from the same team may be within a pace’s length of the ball; players are allowed a “save” (i.e. a chance to leap away) when a teammate catches the ball, or when one drops the ball (since a dropped ball may not be caught by the last player to hold it). Judging whether a save was valid or “failed” (which is a foul) is the main refereeing issue, and the main source of arguments. Fouls (failed saves, having the ball go out of the court, incorrect ball handling, and most other violations of the rules, including minor violence) are “called” by a player of the opposed team, who gets to toss or carry the ball from the foul spot. Loops are awarded 1 point if tossed from inside the inner zone or directly from the foul spot (i.e. without moving), 2 points if tossed from the outer zone, or 3 points if tossed from outside the outer zone. Matches are timed and have two half-times.

    Skeever: A team game that is somewhat between baseball and tennis. Each team has paddlers (who wield special skeever paddles) and catchers (characterized by their gloves), each staying in their specified area most of the game, the catching area being behind the paddling area. There’s also a scoring area behind the catching area. After a catcher from the team that has a “foot” (i.e. initiative) pitches the ball into the opposing field, paddlers hit the ball back and forth until the ball either falls to the ground or gets caught by a catcher. If a team lets a ball fall anywhere within its field (paddling, catching and scoring areas), or paddles or tosses a ball outside of either field, or if a player violates a basic rule (mostly by stepping outside one’s designated area), it’s a foul, and the opposing team scores. If a catcher catches a ball coming from an opposing batter and into their team’s catching or scoring areas, the catcher’s team scores. One single catcher per throw is allowed to take up to two steps into the scoring area in order to catch the ball; if he touches the ground a third time, or the ball hits the ground without being caught, it’s a foul. When a team scores, it gains a foot if it doesn’t have one, and a point if it already has a foot. Each match has up to five games, and a game ends when a team scores a specified number of points; the team to win three games wins the match.

    Fighting: While “fighting” is a rather vague term, and several types of fighting sports are practiced in the Core Worlds, the most popular by far is Federation-rules fighting, held and regulated by the Unified Combat Sports Federation (UCSF). Grappling and pinning are forbidden, and there are restrictions as to which types of strikes are allowed for each body area (or at all), but both hands and feet/legs are used. Fighters cannot wear any sort of protection (other than tooth guards), including in their hands and feet, which must be bare. If three timed rounds are completed without a knockout (ten seconds down, i.e. supported by anything other than feet), a scoring system determines the winner.

    Wrestling: United Wrestling Associations (UWA) rules wrestling is also rather popular, and it bears resemblances to both sumo and American-style wrestling. Strikes other than slaps, as well as chokes, fingers in eyes, orifices or vulnerable spots, arm- or leg-breakers, finger-holds, and certain other maneuvers are forbidden. The goal is to either pin down the opponent (i.e. make them continuously touch anything other than arms or legs to the ground) for three seconds, or make the opponent touch the ground outside the ring.

    Chulzan: An ancient tradition from mountainous Murania and Gulorien, this is a game where two opposing teams of three horsemen try to catch a goat and bring it to their “corral” (a ring-shaped low fence). Two riders carry bolas which they use to bind the goat, and the third catches it with a hook-like implement. All riders also have whips which they use to direct the goat. There’s a maneuver where a hook-rider both removes an opponent’s hook from the goat with one end of the hook-staff and catches the goat with the other (hooked) end in a single circling move. The hooked goat is then carried to one’s corral and thrown inside. Several goats are often used, in which case they’re released one by one. In recent times, accusations of animal cruelty nearly ended the sport, until it began to be performed with artificial goats created via animate objects. Illegal Chulzan with live goats is still practiced though, especially in relatively-isolated mountain communities.

    Racing: Races are also very popular throughout the Core Worlds, the main modalities being horse races (both track and cross-country), chariot races (often in large and complex tracks), and podracing, performed with modified racing flightpods (note: D&D's Carpets of Flying), which have to fly through hoops or other specified areas in order. Podracing is especially challenging and risky, not to mention costly, which makes it a rather popular if elitist sport.
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2014-10-31 at 03:26 PM. Reason: Added Time and Measurements.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Jun 2009

    Default Creatures

    Spoiler: Derleths
    This diminutive race from Bhadrapada VI is distantly related to the powerful and mysterious vukhars, in ways that only those ancient creatures are likely to understand. Regardless of which relation they had to vukhars or their forefathers in the distant past, however, in this day and age derleths are a highly isolated people, hiding away in subterranean hives where few outsiders dare venture.

    Derleths look like small (2 to 2 1/2 feet tall) gaunt humanoids, covered in rubbery, light gray skin that sags at the joints and collects in folds on the sides of their torsos and chins. Their hands and feet are lightly webbed as a remnant of a distant aquatic past, ending in short talons. Their mouths are wide, arcing downward (as those of deep-sea fish), and lined in tiny pointed teeth. They have only slits for noses, and very large, round eyes, with tiny pin-point pupils and pale irises. Their heads are festooned with fleshy strands jutting from a line running from the top of their heads to their spines, and also from their broad chins. Their clothes are simple and utilitarian, made from leather and metal, lacking in color or visual decoration.

    Language: Derleths speak a version of Vukharic changed by centuries of isolation (with many guttural and clicking sounds), but which can be understood by those proficient in the language.

    Alignment: This race tends toward a Bureaucratic disposition, with extensive and byzantine rules inherited from their long-past days as vassals of the vukhars and an individualistic streak borne out of the hardships of subterranean life.

    Habitat: Derleths live exclusively underground, as they are quite sensitive to sunlight. They come from Bhadrapada VI, where they've spread to most of the planet, living in elaborate maze-like hives of their own construction, deep under the earth, in colonies that often reach thousands of individuals. Some have taken to other planets, however, especially Asherah, as well as the dark side of New Eugeron.

    Society: Derleth society is highly structured, with multiple clans, craft associations, psychic schools and other institutions vying for power within each colony. Colonies tend to be highly independent and isolated from one another, each one being a sovereign entity, but with inter-colony relations forming a worldwide network of trade and politics. Government institutions are quite solid and traditional in Derleth society.

    Culture: Derleths tend to be quite crafty, relying on subterfuge and deception rather than direct confrontation to achieve their goals. They have a storied past of former glory by the side of the vukhars, which they praise in song, and which gives them a sort of uncharacteristic pride that clashes with their overall discreet demeanor. Derleths have somewhat poor eyesight and no capacity to see color, which is why their visual arts are nearly nonexistent; however, they do have a rich tradition in crafts, both metalwork and stonework, which tend to favor elements that are interesting to the touch.

    Combat / Game Stats: As per D&D's Kobolds

    Spoiler: Ghalkinnar
    The Ghalkinnar are among the first transhuman races to be created in Iriond, back in the Dark Ages. They descend from the nobility of old Arkech, twisted by psionics into creatures of considerable psychic might, whose latent power fills the air with a palpable aura of dread.

    There are three races of Ghalkinnar: the Angulkinnar, the Shakminnar and the Gulpakminnar.

    Angulkinnar are the remnants of Semkashan political leaders and other notable personalities who died of old age. While beyond the reach of revivifying psychics, they have been granted a type of "second life" through powerful transformative psychics, which preserve their central nervous system and grant them the powers necessary to continue functioning and interact with the world around them even without a body. They look like floating brains, with a coiled spinal cord attached, glowing in grayish-silvery light and encased in a clear, shimmering membrane, which forms a roughly spherical cell around them. They float through the air and interact with the world around them through telepathy and other minor psychics. They have little individual power, and even their mental faculties are relatively limited, as little of their psychic capacity can be salvaged by the process that creates them, although their personality and memories are mostly preserved.

    Shakminnar are the descendants of the old Arkechan warrior elite, which evolved over the centuries into a psychically-augmented knightly class. They look like desiccated human beings, with ropy muscles lining their emaciated bodies, and the grayish, cracked skin of a mummy. Their fragile appearance belies a great physical strength and fitness, though. Their most distinguishing feature is a pair of curved, forward-jutting, ox-like horns, which they use to great effect in close-quarters combat.

    Gulpakminnar are the highest stratum of Semkashan society, descended from the psionicists who came to rule Emish in the Dark Ages, changed over the centuries into beings of truly fearsome might. They too look desiccated and mummy-like, just like their lesser shakminnar brethren, but lack horns - instead, they are imbued with a pair of great, bony wings, with a grayish leathery flap connecting the bone spikes that make up the wing's structure. They tend to carry a specially-crafted greatsword each, which they can make to vibrate, sending a terrifying shockwave all around them.

    Language: Semkashan is the native tongue of the Ghalkinnar, and is the one they prefer to use whenever possible. However, most of them learn Abyri and Kaldurish as well, and they can also use telepathic psychics to converse with any sapient being regardless of language.

    Alignment: Ghalkinnar are fiercely Paternalist, having come from a society shaped by the ideology of shepherding the community with rigid rules for the benefit of all. In fact, like many transcendents, their alignment is deeply imbued into their very being through their psychic makeup, making it hard for them to stray from it.

    Habitat: Ghalkinnar are most associated with the country of Semkash in Iriond, but they can also be found throughout the Confederacy's area of influence. There is a significant Ghalkinnar colony in New Arkech, in the planet Asherah, where they compete with [angels] for control of the government and society.

    Society: Being the ruling class of Semkashan and New Arkechan society (even after the advent of democracy, Ghalkinnar families still control most political and private institutions in these countries), the Ghalkinnar are accustomed to living in luxury, supported by the effort of the lowborn human underclass. While they occupy the highest political and corporate positions in their native homeland, they tend to remain rather isolated from the common people, mostly mingling among other transhumans. Angulkinnar are especially aloof, rarely interacting with common citizens, other than through their official consulting capacity.

    Culture: The ghalkinnar are proud and old-fashioned, quite attached to tradition and social status. Thus, they tend to dress in the traditional tunics and robes of Golden-Age Semkash, ignoring more modern fashion sense and customs. Most of them place high stock in Unnamluar, the traditional Semkashan religion, although in recent times many of them have turned to more secular views, and a few are converting to Delemism. They are quite conservative, both in their tastes (preferring more erudite artistic expressions over modern popular fare) and in their habits and social mores. Lowborn humans often accuse them of being out-of-touch, an accusation they appear not to care the least about.

    Combat / Game Stats: As per D&D's Archons, namely Lantern Archons (Angulkinnar), Hound Archons (Shakminnar) and Trumpet Archons (Gulpakminnar).

    Spoiler: Reshepans
    Native to 6072 Reshep II, this is a powerfully psychic people, on par with some of the mightiest transhumans, whose innate psychic abilities allowed them to develop a mighty civilization with practically nothing in terms of technology or modern cultural refinements. Thus, while they appear to be primitive (on par with Stone-Age humanity), their considerable mental acuity and abilities such as telepathy and teleportation, among others, grant them a deceptively complex society under a thin veneer of barbarism.

    Reshepans are divided into two main races, generally called "Claw Reshepans" and "Wing Reshepans", although there may be other, less well-known groups.

    Claw Reshepans look like hulking, brutish humanoids of a reptilian nature, with their heads, scales and short tails looking somewhat between an iguana and a crocodile. They sport a set of long and sharp fangs on their mouths, as well as the large and vicious claws on their hands and feet that give them their name. Their scales come in shades of gray, brown or green, usually with a faint lighter diamond-like crisscrossing pattern. They also have iguana-like spines (actually enlongated scales) on the back of their heads and along the center of their backs. They stand close to 7 feet tall and weigh about 300 pounds.

    Wing Reshepans look like vaguely humanoid pterosaurs, with a pair of wings consisting of forelimbs with a single enlongated digit, and a patagium (a sort of stiff membrane) forming the main wing surface, anchored by the arm, enlongated digit and the side of the body. These wings have nimble digits at the end of their arms (about midway across the wings), capable of grasping and manipulation. They have enlongated lizard-like faces, with a long and thin mouth lined in small but sharp teeth and a fin-like bony protuberance jutting toward the back of their heads, a short lizard-like tail, and slightly short but powerful legs ending in vicious talons. Their small and smooth scales are a metallic, grayish blue, sometimes leaning more toward gray. They tipically stand little over 6 feet tall, but are very light, rarely exceeding 150 pounds.

    Language: Reshepans (of either kind) do not have a native language, having enjoyed telepathic ability since early in their evolution, which they use to convey complex meaning to one another. They do have a number of vocalizations, which vary by region and culture, that indicate mood and convey a few simple messages such as "danger", "help" and "hungry", and have advanced vocal capabilities that allow them to speak the languages of other races. Since coming into contact with human civilizations, most Reshepans have learned the Abyri, Kaldurish and Semkashan languages.

    Alignment: Reshepans are Collectivists, having a considerable sense of community and societal collaboration, largely due to their innate telepathy. They are neither Regulatists nor Anomists, having a robust but not quite restrictive set of traditional and unwritten rules of social behavior, handed down from generation to generation.

    Habitat: Reshepans have spread to most of their native planet of 6072 Reshep II, with the Claw people mostly keeping to the forests and plains closer to the sea, and the Wing people dominating the mountains far inland, although there are enclaves of both peoples in practically all regions of the planet. Although some have traveled to other worlds, those are few and far-between, and they rarely settle down outside their homeworld.

    Society: Reshepan society is based on a complex web of clans and tribes interconnected by familial relations and trade routes. Their basic unit of settlement is the tribe, usually a few hundred to a few thousand individuals strong, ruled by a chieftain (who handles security, war and justice) and a council of elders with representatives of the tribe's main clans (which determines policy and dispenses and interprets laws). They are also organized along genetic lines in clans, which are extended families sometimes comprising many hundreds of individuals, the larger of which having branches in many different tribes. Clans are led by clan elders, which settle familial and civil disputes (inheritance, marriage etc.) within their clans, and also lead their clans in hunting and other economic activities. There are also many inter-tribes councils of varied scopes and levels of representation, which gather periodically to discuss matters of region-wide (or even species-wide, in the rare High Councils) policy and law.

    Culture: Both Reshepan races are traditionally predators, and their culture has largely evolved around hunting, which has infused them with values like courage, close-knit cooperation and a taste for exploration. They also place a high value on harmony with nature, which (along with their migratory habits) has allowed them to develop a large civilization without over-hunting their planet or otherwise seriously disrupting the environment. Their dwellings are simple and somewhat makeshift, owing to both their short-term nature (since they periodically migrate) and the Reshepans' lack of technology, and usually consist of wooden huts and tree-houses for the Claw people and mountain cave dwellings for the Wing people. They wear simple clothing and decorations, mostly consisting of animal skins, bones, fangs, claws and so on, as well as cords and ropes made from bark fiber. Theirs is a simple animistic religion (see the Religion section under "Culture and Daily Life"), and their artistic expressions consist of simple cave paintings and clay sculptures, as well as stories of traditional heroes passed down telepathically from one generation to the next.

    Combat / Game Stats: As per D&D's Guardinals, namely Avorals (Wing Reshepans) and Leonals (Claw Reshepans)
    Last edited by SirKazum; 2015-01-15 at 08:35 PM. Reason: Added Ghalkinnar.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    Shame this project appears dead, it's a pretty amazing concept

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    Oh it's certainly not. I'm just a bit swamped with other things right now. I'm probably posting more material in here tomorrow, when I've got a day off...

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Dwarf in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2014

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKazum View Post
    Oh it's certainly not. I'm just a bit swamped with other things right now. I'm probably posting more material in here tomorrow, when I've got a day off...

    Good to know.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Equipment and Items

    Spoiler: Wealth and Money
    For the past few centuries, humanity has enjoyed a unified form of currency that's accepted throughout the three political factions, based on a form of gold standard that was established in the Age of Exploration, and which (due to its economic strength and ubiquity) also tends to be accepted by most non-human civilizations that humans trade with. The basic unit of this currency is the GP (short for General Pecunia), generally called "geep". Each GP is further divided into 100 CP, (Centi-Pecunia), a unit better known as "ceep". (In D&D terms, 1 GP = 1 gp, and 1 CP = 1 cp, for purposes of character wealth, treasure and item prices. All monetary values from D&D material can be directly converted to GP and CP this way unless otherwise noted.)

    Money in the GP standard comes in banknotes and coins, which can be issued by several different authorized financial institutions (whose printing is regulated by the Universal Banking Organization). Although most places will use money issued by local institutions, all money from authorized issuers is accepted anywhere equally, and money from the First Bank of Kaldur is especially widespread, due to Kaldur's prominent role in the commercial arena. Coins are generally issued in values up to 1 GP (commonly in 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 CP as well as 1 GP values), with a few rare 2 GP coins in circulation; higher-value coins are generally commemorative and not used in commerce. They are made of a variety of metal alloys (usually involving copper for lower-value coins and nickel for higher-value ones) that improve durability and make counterfeiting tougher. Banknotes are slips of paper with colorful designs printed on them, consisting of their value, issuing entity, and all sorts of artworks and design elements that make them both aesthetically pleasing and harder to counterfeit; UBO-accredited banknotes also have a faint psychic aura, imprinted on them on the moment of their printing, that can be detected by specialized equipment and serves as an additional anti-counterfeiting measure. They usually come in values higher than 1 GP (although some places print 1 GP notes, most consider the cost of doing so to be counterproductive), commonly in 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 GP varieties. Notes higher than 100 GP are extremely rare, and generally of a commemorative nature. However, different issuing entities may choose different selections of coin and note values to print.

    Aside from legal tender, money can also exist in more abstract forms, tied to the financial sector - most commonly as bank credit. Banks have become a nearly ubiquitous feature of modern civilization, being among the first institutions to appear in a newly-founded city or colony, and everybody who's anybody will have an account in at least one bank. Besides storing one's wealth in a safe location, banks also provide the convenience of allowing their clients to use their money anywhere that has a branch of their bank without having to physically transport it, not to mention having a variety of available investments for those with extra cash. The most common way to use bank money without withdrawing it is through cheques, which must be signed by the account holder and may be cashed at any branch office of the issuing bank. Most modern banks also provide clients with bank tags - specially-made metal plates (a little smaller and thicker than a credit card) with a unique psychic pattern imprinted on them that allows tellers and merchants with specific reading equipment to verify the holder's identity and credit, thus allowing clients to use their bank money without having to withdraw it from a branch office first. Many banks also have automated teller devices (ATDs) in several locations, consisting of an artificial brain (an intelligent psychic item) with a telepathic link to the local branch office, which is authorized to dispense money and perform a few other financial operations for clients holding bank tags. Aside from bank credit, there are other abstract ways to store and circulate money such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and so on, which tend to have less liquidity (i.e. they're not so easily cashed out or transferred to others) but may earn a significant return on investment on the long run.

    Non-human peoples, especially those in Bhadrapada VI (Rancent's World) and Maenali IV, will have their own currencies, which may come in a variety of forms, with metal coins or tokens (with varying shapes) being especially popular. Of particular note is Kyrrztli money, which comes in intricately-engraved oblong metal plates, with a hole near one end so they can be carried on strings. Their unit of currency is the zikt (usually worth near 1 cp), and their plates come in values of 1, 3, 9, 27, 81, 243, 729, 2187 and 6561 zikt (owing to their base-9 mathematics). Many of the more primitive races, such as reshepans and [half-orcs], simply use barter for commerce. For bartering (or just dealing with trade goods), D&D's Trade Goods table is a good starting point, although prices will often fluctuate based on a given good's availability and usefulness in a given society.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    Just a reminder that I've been adding stuff to this thread through edits, such as several races (recently Shaugmars and Sen-Ji) and the entry for Derleths... so it's more active than it looks from the board index

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground

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    Jun 2009

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    For those of you following along, who want to see it "in practice", I'm translating and publishing a story I'm writing in serial format, The Heplion Contingency, in the Arts & Crafts forum. I'll be posting new chapters, hopefully on a weekly basis. Why don't you have a look-see?

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Durham, UK

    Default Re: The Haliburn Galaxy: D&D (3.5) as Sci-Fi [WIP]

    For everyone other than me and SirKazum, I've been giving feedback on this project via pm, and figure posting here would be better! Below is the discussion so far... I'm the nested quote boxes

    Quote Originally Posted by SirKazum
    Quote Originally Posted by Avaris
    So, this is what I wrote on my journey, hope its helpful. I'm quite keen to help flesh out some ideas, though as you'll quickly see I've got a few major divergences/thoughts.
    Thanks a lot for the feedback! I was pondering each part of your response, and there's one big theme that seems to permeate all that pondering: there's much more to the setting than what you've seen. Of course, that's my problem for not putting up more stuff on the thread, but anyway. Maybe I'll use this as an incentive to write more On that note, I'm writing some fiction in this setting, that might help you get a feel for what I'm going for. It's in this thread. I know you already had your train trip, but if you could find time to read it, I think it might make the picture a bit clearer...

    Can post to the discussion thread if you'd prefer.
    That... may actually help, I think. It's easier to read threads than inbox messages, and it may encourage others to participate in the discussion as well. So, if you don't mind, it'd be cool if you replied to the thread next time instead of in here

    Ok, so given the length of the setting I'm just going to note my thoughts as they come to me going through the thread. I make no promises of coherent thought!

    Putting this at the top, cos it seems relevant. Have you read the webcomic Nimona? You should: I think its got a similar aesthetic to what you're going for.
    I hadn't, but started reading it as soon as I got this message. It's cool! Not exactly what I had in mind though, since it still maintains a medieval aesthetic in many ways, while my setting generally goes for a more modern or futuristic aesthetic. Still like it though...

    This first point might come across as rather critical, but it's very important. I don't see the sci-fi. Now, i've only read the overview and history bits so far, so there may be more later, but first impressions don't see anything that make me see it as sci-fi beyond you saying it's sci-fi.
    See, that's where reading my fiction might give you a better idea of what I'm going for. The "sci-fi" part is not that visible in practical details (a necessity of working with a system made for medieval fantasy), but it should pop up in the themes and feel of the setting.

    The way I understand it, fantasy is all about meaning, imagination and belief. That's why it so often deals with myths and legends. Things exist because they're symbolizing something, or demonstrating some sort of morality, or are a reflection of the human psyche in some way. Fantasy could be said to be made from the stuff of dreams that way. A central component is magic, and magic is largely shaped by belief, feeling, faith, morality and such concerns.

    Sci-fi, on the other hand, has a more modern and "rational" view of things. Science is part of the genre's name, and it's an important element - the idea is that things happen not because the Gods want it so or because of Fate or morality concerns or whatever - they happen because the world operates on strict, logical rules that make things happen that way. There are no Gods watching over us in sci-fi - we have to use whatever knowledge and technology we can amass to make our way in life. There is no cosmic justice or ultimate sense of Good and Evil that punishes the wicked and rewards the good - just survival of the fittest and the daily struggle to make a living among cold, monolithic, ruthless corporations, governments, alien races and other such perils. It's a much more bleak and cynical genre that way.

    And ultimately, that's a large portion of my focus when I say this is sci-fi. It's partly a matter of attitude. Symbolism and belief don't account for much in this setting, but practicality and common logic do. That, and the aesthetics. There are no castles, no knights, no kings, no scrolls, no candles and torches. Instead, you have glass-façade skyscrapers, trenchcoated soldiers of fortune, corporate overlords in smart suits, moleskine notebooks and psychic light rods. The lack of technology may make some things antiquated (weapons, armor, horses etc.), but the psychics make other things look futuristic (gates, artificial intelligence, energy weapons a.k.a. wands, and so on). The general feel should be "cyberpunk, but with swords rather than guns and magic rather than technology".
    I guess I get what you're saying here? I see quite a clash though between your understanding of sci-fi as being about using whatever technology is available to result in survival of the fittest, and the stated lack of progression beyond medieval aesthetic of swords and stuff. Why have some modern things, like corporation, developed but certain areas are completely stagnant? I suspect the answer is that psychics render technological advances unnecessary, but I have issues with the logic of that: not everyone intelligent is a psychic.

    What I mean by this is, there is no reason I can see why having your initial world colonising other worlds is any different from the other worlds being just different continents. This may be intentional, but a simple reskinning is to me just a starting point... We can do so much more.

    What is the essence of sci-fi? My first answer would be travel, and exotic locations. The latter may come across once I read the planet descriptions, but the former is sort of cut short by the proposed travel methods of gate and planeshift. Nothing wrong with that, it's efficient, but given the distances between worlds in a standard solar system there is no real difference between planets and the standard plane based cosmology.

    How then do we give this essence of travel? My answer would be to drastically reduce both the distances and the size of the worlds. Think asteroids. Think moons. A world shattered into a thousand shards now drifting through the cosmos together. Rivalry exists between worlds because the inhabitants can literally see their closest neighbours hanging in the skies above them. Their telescopes allow them to gaze upon the works of other worlds, and they know those worlds are gazing back. The shards are ever shifting, making travel between them difficult: you need to carefully calculate the target for your travel spell, and permanent gates are impossible because they move relative to each other. With such short distances other forms of travel are possible, such as crafting a ship that rides on a sea of psychic power between worlds. Or zeppelins. I like zeppelins.

    My view of this concept would make your wars of sorcery into an apocalyptic event. The world was once one planet, but it was shattered through the war (have you played star wars knights of the old republic 2? Sort of like that). Part of the psychic residue means that the fragments retained a breathable atmosphere and sensible gravity, and over the years it has become impossible to tell what was once the planet's surface.
    That sounds cool, but... I'm a bit attached to the whole planetary exploration thing. It's part of the sci-fi aesthetic, making it "space age" with aliens and bizarre planets and stuff. Yeah, the gates make travelling across planets too easy... but first you have to find a habitable planet, and get there without the benefit of Gate or Plane Shift (since you've never been there before), all of which make for an extremely difficult and costly undertaking. If travel between known and explored planets is relatively easy, that to me just makes the whole thing even more Space Age Anyway, space travel itself may not be a big deal in this setting - there are certainly no spaceships at all - but exploring new planets and dealing with the alien creatures within is.
    Oh, by all means have planetary exploration, just have them closer together. Doesn't need to be easy, but should be reachable. Again, the gulf in technology required to travel the vast distances between planets that you want is at odds with the lack of technology beyond horses etc on the worlds themselves. Why haven't innovations required to travel the stars been applied elsewhere?

    Incidently, now I'm back at my main computer, I can link to an image of the planet from KOTOR2

    If the relationship between planets sounds a bit too similar to the relationship between planes in D&D, that's because those planets *ARE* D&D's planes. They're just what seemed to me as the most logical way to explain them in a sci-fi setting. Rancent's World is the material plane, Maenali VI is the Inner Planes smushed up into one planet, and the other planets in general roughly correspond to the Outer Planes.
    I guessed as much, and it makes sense. My point though is that there is no difference between a planet in this setting (which is almost impossible to reach physically, so people teleport/gate) and a plane in the standard D&D setting (which IS impossible to reach physically, so people teleport/gate). Personally, I would take the opportunity to physically show the players that this is a strange and interesting setting, and that there are other worlds they can travel to which are radically different to their own.

    Hopefully that makes sense? Going to carry on reading now, see what else occurs to me.

    Timescales: you want to keep a medieval technology level? That really doesn't seem feasible with your timescales. Total history since the war of sorcery is 8500 years? That's a very long time. I was particularly struck by rancent's world: 800 years is far too long to still be considered as 'newly colonised'. America is only a few hundred years old, and look how much has changed there! Personally, I'dd reduce all timescales by a factor of 10, so Rancent's world was discovered 80 years ago, and the war of sorcery was 850 years ago. May want some refinement though, this is a gut feeling.
    The idea is that, once psychics (i.e. magic with a different name) entered the picture, there was no incentive for technological development, at least not in any significant, revolutionary way. For example, gunpowder - early applications of gunpowder were terribly unreliable, cumbersome, took a lot of time and effort to use, and had a risk of blowing up in your face. It still allowed you to do things that were simply not possible otherwise (such as tear down fortifications and pierce armor), so people kept working at it until they managed to develop more practical gunpowder weapons. Now, if you have magic, you wouldn't really bother pursuing gunpowder, since you can accomplish the same goals in more practical and reliable ways using magic. Sure, modern guns and bombs might be better than D&D magic (or at least more practical to mass-produce anyway), but in order to develop it, you have to cross the hurdle of putzing around with ineffective low-powered technology, and there just wouldn't be the incentive to do so if magic was available. Same with combustion engines, electricity and other technologies.
    Again, I disagree with this premise. In the short term yes, but over the long-term, I believe technology would advance despite existence of magic. As said, not everyone has access to magic, and there are some clever people out there. Things aren't necessarily developed with the practical application in mind: early firearms may be developed by magic-users as a hobby, an amusing pastime away from the 'day-job'. And magic would be combined with technology, so that wizards can focus their power and energy on things they can't use technology to do. It's in their interests to develop technology.

    This is not to say that you can't have a setting with stagnation in this way, but 8000 years seems far too long imo.

    I imagine there being some forms of technological and technical advances in the world, though, especially if they can be done incrementally in a practical and effective way. For example there would be more advanced materials to make weapons and armor with, than medieval Earth ever had - I'm thinking of the special materials in the equipment rules (adamantine, darkwood and so on); those would be synthetic materials other than just something you find in nature. Also, sciences, engineering, economics and other such studies should be either at the same level we have today or even more advanced. People certainly haven't stood still all those centuries.

    I guess the main idea behind my timeframe is giving societies the time to develop to the point I want them to be in, with sprawling, heavily-populated cities equipped with extensive psychic public works and other alterations to the landscape (such as terraforming). I wanted the colonization of most planets to be long in the past, to the point that the humans who moved there to feel like that's their homeland. And in the specific case of Rancent's World, I originally imagined the humans having just arrived there, but eventually realized that I'd rather have big human cities there, which take some time to develop, and there are also some races that have been deeply affected by the interaction between out-worlders and natives, in a way that should take a few centuries. That timeframe of the colonization of Rancent's World is still kinda flexible in my mind though, I still go back and forth on it, because I still want to keep a sort of "Wild West" feel to that planet. That remains to be pondered further.
    It doesn't take long for a place to feel like your homeland, or for a sprawling city to develop. Realistically, if your grandparents were born on your world, you probably feel like you belong there, that that's your homeland. I think you're overestimating how long it takes for outsiders to have an effect on a locale and the native people there, especially if they have a high level of technology and the drive to use it.
    Languages: like the logic here, especially with common

    Iriond: what are the three factions of government? I feel you could have some fun here... Are they ceremonial and have always been the same? Are they simply the three most popular political movements of the time, and so change through history? Can someone be a member of more than one faction? What stops them?
    Those factions are the three supranational political entities that humanity has divided itself into, as per the first post's Overview: the Tarinnish Confederacy, the Pan-Muranian Union and the Allied Free Nations. The idea is that, across the Exploration Age, the various human nations began coalescing into those three groups, which became more well-defined and rigid with the Second Great War that ended the Exploration Age, being the three sides in that war. They are groups of countries, with varying degrees of political union and sovereignty. As for being a member of one of those factions, it's just a matter of being a citizen of a country that belongs to one of them. So, just like being a citizen of any European country makes you part of the European Union, being a citizen of any country belonging to the Tarinnish Confederacy makes you, well, a citizen of the Confederacy. The only human territory not belonging to any of the three factions is the Golden Treaty Territory, described in the Iriond section, which is considered as "neutral ground" and has a system of government meant to make sure it continues that way. Non-human races, of course, may exist entirely outside of this three-faction system (although many alien races have joined the three factions; for instance, Eblians and Shaugmar are in the Confederacy). Other than political boundaries, those factions are also marked by the predominant alignment in each: Collectivist in the Confederacy (leaning toward Paternalist in Asherah and Cooperativist in Reshep II), Bureaucratic in the Union and Libertarian in the Alliance. Those aren't hard-and-fast restrictions though; there are members of all alignments in all factions. I suppose you could belong to more than one faction if you have dual citizenship in countries in different factions, which might lead to an interesting conflict of interest and even an identity crisis; also, there are plenty of spies and double agents from one faction infiltrated in another.
    Ah, I guess. Again, with such timescales I find it unlikely that the same three factions exist in the same form, including the separate countries making them up. Hence why I wondered about change over time. Why do the countries maintain individual identities when to all intents and purposes they are part of the faction? Why have the factions remained as they are in terms of mindset for so long? Not to say that none of them remain in the same form, but all of them feels weird.
    Council of Ancients: love this, I'm a big fan of strange ghosty things. How are people selected to get a second life? Wealth? Influence? Blind luck? Is life in this way seen as a blessing or a curse? (Could have views on reincarnation or the afterlife which this practice is at odds with)
    I go into a little more detail in the Ghalkinnar monster entry (the Ancients are the Angulkinnar), but basically, they're political leaders and other important personalities that have reached old age or otherwise cannot be brought back from the dead, so they have been given an alternative way to continue functioning after death. They're a traditional institution, and serving an an Angulkinnar is a sign of great honor, even though they have very little actual power. As for afterlife concerns... those that are religious may have second thoughts about being denied access to the afterlife (most Semkashans believe in reincarnation), but they generally don't mind. I guess most of them figure they'll just progress to the next life when their tenure as Angulkinnar is over.

    Races: I like the race variations, and that they're more exotic than standard d&d. Not sure on the names... A big barrier you'll experience with players is learning the names of things, and you've got a lot of complicated ones! Maybe need nicknames or something?
    I can see that with the Kyrrztli (and their hybrid brethren, the Gryzzik), which I suppose might be nicknamed "insectoids" and "half-insectoids" respectively. Didn't think the other races' names were going to be difficult... do you really think so?
    None of the names are especially difficult, but remember that you have a universe with a new name for every planet, and every race, and that none of them have a grounding in other works of fiction. This is not like a new player understanding 'elf', 'dwarf' and 'halfling', this is a new player understanding 'illithid', 'beholder' and 'aboleth'. Not necessarily complex words, but a bit like throwing into the deep end!
    Alignment: congratulations on making a system where it isn't clear which is 'best'! I hate the standard good/evil d&d system, so this is a good take on it.
    I don't really have much of an issue with D&D's alignment system for fantasy settings, but for the reasons I explained above, I don't think this strict "good vs. evil" thing works well in sci-fi. Things should be more "gray" in a sci-fi setting, with the idea of who are the good and bad guys being highly murky. Hence the new alignment system. I also tried giving it a more political rather than moral spin, to make it better fit modern sensibilities. Honestly, I would've preferred to do away with it completely, but it's too ingrained into the 3.5 rules to be ignored. I'd have to homebrew classes, monster stats, spells etc., and I'm deliberately not changing any "crunch" rules.

    Classes seem like a good start. Amused that Bard was one of the first you've done!
    Thanks! I thought I'd illustrate how classes can mean radically different things in this setting than what we're used to in D&D. Spooks aren't minstrels like D&D's bards, but rather spies and international men of mystery I'm thinking of doing clerics next, which in this setting are Executives, who channel psychic power from corporations or other powerful institutions, and serve as their field agents.

    I'll probably have more comments on religion at a later point... Same for the monster races. Just to say, I like the use of archons etc as a major element.
    Looking forward to it! I'll try and update more from now on. As for religions, unlike D&D, they have no practical game effects here (since as I mentioned, clerics are no longer religious people), so I thought I'd design them more as a cultural background element, something to help figure out how the different peoples think. Also, nobody knows what the afterlife is like in this setting (or even if there's any), as people brought back from the dead have no memories of the other side, so it's still a matter of pure belief, like in the real world.
    I still need to look at these properly...
    Evil round every corner, careful not to step in any.

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