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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EisenKreutzer's Avatar

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    Default I need help with ideas for mechanical representations of setting elements.

    I have a rough sketch for an all-psionics setting (using DSP's Ultimate Psionics) that I want to set a future campaign in.
    To help make the setting come alive, I would like to offer my players some homebrewed options that represent organizations, faiths and ideas in the world I have built.

    I'm terrible with mechanics however, and could use some initial ideas to get me started on the design work.
    This is the rough sketch of the setting:

    Spoiler: Kerebra, The Sapient Land
    Show
    The world is called Kerebra, and it is alive. Or atleast it's sentient, perhaps even sapient. The whole world is enveloped in a field of psionic energy, like an enormous, unfathomable consciousness that touches all thinking minds. The people of Kerebra call it the Worldmind, but they don't fully understand what it is or why it is there.
    All intelligent beings in Kerebra (and some animals) share a connection with the Worldmind. Some learn to harness their innate connection to the Worldmind and become psionicists, but all who live in Kerebra share a bond with it. People sometimes experience prophetic dreams, visions and sensations that clearly come from somewhere outside of their own consciousness. Such experiences are called gleanings or glimpses, and they are common enough that everyone knows about them.

    What isn't common knowledge is that Kerebra itself is an immensely powerful psionic being. The entire plane is a slumbering entity that manifests everything within it from it's vast stores of psionic power. In essence, Kerebra is dreaming the world, and dreaming it brings it into physical existence through psionic power.

    Life in Kerebra is peaceful. Or it was, once. There are no kingdoms, empires or nations, only small cities and villages. People live in harmony with each other and nature, a gift of the Worldmind and the link it provides between all thinking beings. Everyone is connected, and they feel this connection in a vague way, and instinctively know that negativity, harmful acts and any kind of evil would harm themselves as much as it would harm others. Villages and towns are guided by their elders, and crimes are adjudicated by the elders and the community.

    That was the way it used to be. Now, a darkness has crept into Kerebra, spreading from the edges of the land towards the centre. The once lush and beautiful crystal forests are being consumed by a creeping rot, a wrongness that infects plants and wildlife and twists them into nightmarish creatures who thirst for blood. This rot is starting to affect the Worldmind, and some people exibit dark, twisted urges and behaviours previously unknown in Kerebra.

    As the rot spreads and grows, the people are looking for ways to defend themselves. Two organizations have emerged, and spread through most of the inhabited world.

    The Purple Knights are a brotherhood of warriors and mystics who wield psionic power in order to defend their people. Purple Knights are found all over Kerebra, and they are building strongholds at the edges of the rot and trying to contain it's corruption. The Knights are divided into Orders with different responsibilities, like the Knights of the Crossroads who patrol the roads and pathways between communities, defending farmers and travellers from marauding beasts of the rot, and the Knights of the Glade who delve into the rot-infested forests to seek an answer to the mystery of what the rot is and how it might be stopped.

    The other organization are the Executores Justitia. The Executores arose when crime and violence started becoming a problem as the rot spread it's influence through the edges of the Worldmind, and some people started becoming affected. They fill the role of travelling police officers, solving crimes, making arrests and carrying out sentences. Unfortunately, those who become affected by the rot cannot be cured, and it is the responsibility of the Executor Knights to carry out final sentencing on the perpetrators they catch.
    The Executores Justitia are led by the Praetor General, the most powerful psion in the order, and every Vigiles patrol has a praetor that accompanies the Executor Knights and carries out the sentencing. Each praetor is a powerful psionicist, and he or she is both judge and jury.

    Nobody knows exactly what the rot is or why it has afflicted Kerebra and the Worldmind. The psions who have attempted to plumb the depths of the Worldmind for answers have reported being attacked by strange dreamlike creatures of darkness and fear, and the deepest reaches of the Worldmind are inaccessible to all but the most powerful and foolhardy of dreamdivers.

    The rot began maybe 100 years ago, but it spreads very slowly. The Purple Knights and the Executores Justitia began as groups of concerned villagers and townsfolk who saw a gradual frightening change in the world. The Purple Knights arose as farmers and villagers armed with tools and psionic talent banded together for protection, and evolved over a thirty or so year period into full fledged knights. They had to learn how to forge tools into weapons, how to wield them and how to combat the rot based on experience, trial and error. Many of them had some measure of psionic power, but the combat applications of those powers had to be developed from nothing. They are still more armed idealists than true knights, but they have enough experience fighting the rot that they have begun to train new recruits based on the knowledge and techniques they have gathered and developed. It was not easy for a peaceful people to develop the trade of war, but the Purple Knights have managed to do so.

    The Executores Justitia are much younger, and grew out of the Purple Knights about ten years ago. The Praetor General was one of the founding members of the Knights, but he saw that the idealistic attitudes and methods of the Purple Knights were not enough to deal with the darkness and corruption of the rot. He was ready to break with the Knights on his own when news began to spread of the rot affecting people, and that was the push he needed to gather those loyal to him and leave the Order. He took with him the experience with violence he had gotten from his time in the Purple Knights and created a new doctrine of justice and it's execution on which he founded the Executores Justitia.
    His methods are brutal but effective, and the men and women of the Executor Knights are taught to show no mercy and to deliver swift and final justice.

    The two organizations are often at odds, as the Purple Knights react strongly to the often inhumane methods of the Executors, while the Praetor General and his followers feel the Knights are too idealistic and soft to be dependable for the safety of Kerebra. There have been no violent conflicts between the two organizations yet, but conflict is bubbling beneath the surface.


    In addition, I have designed three religions or philosophies that are closely connected to the setting:

    Spoiler: Faiths of Kerebra
    Show
    There are three religious traditions in the land of Kerebra.

    Pisteis is the primary belief system, a philosophy centred around contentment with ones life, detachment from physical and emotional connections, and pacifism.
    The Pisteic monks teach that all beings in Kerebra are connected through the Worldmind, and that the Worldmind is the shared psionic energy field subconsciously manifested by all living minds, intelligent and animal alike. Since all people are one with the world, hurting others is hurting oneself. Likewise, all desire towards the physical world and other individuals brings only sadness; the physical is transient, and the pain of losing a connection to death and destruction spreads to everyone through the Worldmind. To be happy, content and detached is to spread contentment and happiness to everyone, and healing the world.
    To the Pisteics, the Rot exists because people are too attached to the world. Their unhappiness and greed has infected the world and the people with Rot, and only through abandoning material things and embrace contentment and detachment can the Rot be overcome.
    Pisteis is the most common religion in Kerebra.

    Enkéfalos is the competing religion to Pisteis. The monks of the Enkéfali believe that the Worldmind is not a product of all the minds of Kerebra, as' the Faithful believe, but rather a huge ocean within which all living minds are born. The Enkéfali revere the Worldmind not as a diety, but as a force of nature which births all minds, and from which psionic power flows. The Worldmind, according to the Enkéfali, is a tremendous source of power within the world of Kerebra, and every mind in Kerebra spontaneously forms from this power.
    To the Enkéfali monks, the Rot is a taint within the Worldmind from an unknown source, and many monks dedicate their loves to searching for this source. Enkéfalos is a popular faith among the Purple Knights

    Soma is the third major religion in Kerebra, and the youngest by far.
    Soma teaches that each individual is a holy being, born to psionic power. Power is our birthright, the Somatics say, and the Worldmind is our legacy. Within the vast oceans of the Worldmind lies the knowledge and experience of the ancestors, ripe for the picking, the rightful property of all Kerbrans with the power to seize it. Every individual has an inborn right to this divine legacy, but not everyone is born with the power to seize it.
    To the Somatics, the Worldmind is a power to be wielded, studied and understood.
    Somatic monks teach that the Rot is an infestation of tainted power from deep within the Worldmind, and many Somatic Dreamdivers plumb it's depths to look for an answer.
    Soma is a popular religion with the Executores Justitia.


    These religions have no clerics and grant no divine magic, they are purely philosophies that the people of Kerebra follow.

    Ideally, I would like to create a couple of Prestige Classes that tie into the Purple Knights and the Executores Justitia, and a few other options (either archetypes or Prestige Classes) tied to the three religions.

    Does anyone have any ideas that could get me started?
    Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
    - G. K. Chesterton

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Are you some sort of Wizard?
    This is Ćl-Ceald, an ice-age fantasy campaign setting. Updated!

    Avatar by gurgleflep!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    May 2013

    Default Re: I need help with ideas for mechanical representations of setting elements.

    Well, the Purple Knights look like they'd work well as a class set with the ability to be entered by any class, without needing to be able to manifest powers. You'd preferably want to have one "basic" version and have the various Orders be archetypes or one of the other class alteration methods that doesn't involve a new class table to save on writing similarities and focus on writing differences. For abilities, basic PP-to-number things and simple effects like knocking prone are the way to go. Just a bunch of mechanically simple effects with good power behind them. Basically, make them a very simple class to play, with really basic but effective abilities. It fits with the fluff of being a sort of peasant's militia that grew into a slightly-psionic Knightly order.

    The Executors Justitia seem like they'd be rather similar overall, but more complicated or focused. Given the fluff, tracking and high damage seems the way to go. You could have the Purple Knights focus on defensive measures, being highly tanky or focused on wearing out the enemy, while the Executors Justitia focus on offense, relying on killing the enemy too fast for them to be killed in turn. Archetype-based changes might focus on various parts of tracking and damage, like Favored Enemy, Sneak Attack and Spellstrike for damage and having different types of tracking, like simple Survival check tracking, whatever the DSP version of psionic Divination is and Gather Information checks.

    I... don't have many suggestions for the faith-based archetypes and PRCs other than making them the exception to the psionics-only nature of the setting and giving them Pazio Psychic things. Given their likely-close connection to the Worldmind, it makes some sense to use stuff defined by Emotion and external power sources in official fluff.

    I'd also like player-accessable Rot stuff as Evil or Chaotic(or both) PRCs and feats. Like, damaging your Wisdom and Intelligence for extra power and becoming an all but literal nightmare made flesh, dealing piles of Psychic damage.
    My most liked class, thematically, is the Artificer. Make free items! (fail by RAW to)Hold up the setting! Have access to every magic item...
    My most liked class, mechanically, is the Bard. I sing the enemy to death! (at level 21)I talk you into a suicidal fanatic! I need to cheese rules that make me sing as I fight or talk to get things done...

    I prefer t2 over anything else, because t2 lets you become anything. I think Psionics is more versatile than magic.

    Homebrewer's sig

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    EisenKreutzer's Avatar

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    Default Re: I need help with ideas for mechanical representations of setting elements.

    Quote Originally Posted by Morphic tide View Post
    Well, the Purple Knights look like they'd work well as a class set with the ability to be entered by any class, without needing to be able to manifest powers. You'd preferably want to have one "basic" version and have the various Orders be archetypes or one of the other class alteration methods that doesn't involve a new class table to save on writing similarities and focus on writing differences. For abilities, basic PP-to-number things and simple effects like knocking prone are the way to go. Just a bunch of mechanically simple effects with good power behind them. Basically, make them a very simple class to play, with really basic but effective abilities. It fits with the fluff of being a sort of peasant's militia that grew into a slightly-psionic Knightly order.

    The Executors Justitia seem like they'd be rather similar overall, but more complicated or focused. Given the fluff, tracking and high damage seems the way to go. You could have the Purple Knights focus on defensive measures, being highly tanky or focused on wearing out the enemy, while the Executors Justitia focus on offense, relying on killing the enemy too fast for them to be killed in turn. Archetype-based changes might focus on various parts of tracking and damage, like Favored Enemy, Sneak Attack and Spellstrike for damage and having different types of tracking, like simple Survival check tracking, whatever the DSP version of psionic Divination is and Gather Information checks.

    I... don't have many suggestions for the faith-based archetypes and PRCs other than making them the exception to the psionics-only nature of the setting and giving them Pazio Psychic things. Given their likely-close connection to the Worldmind, it makes some sense to use stuff defined by Emotion and external power sources in official fluff.

    I'd also like player-accessable Rot stuff as Evil or Chaotic(or both) PRCs and feats. Like, damaging your Wisdom and Intelligence for extra power and becoming an all but literal nightmare made flesh, dealing piles of Psychic damage.
    I like all these idea! I'll definitely keep them in mind moving forward with this!
    Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.
    - G. K. Chesterton

    Quote Originally Posted by Red Fel View Post
    Are you some sort of Wizard?
    This is Ćl-Ceald, an ice-age fantasy campaign setting. Updated!

    Avatar by gurgleflep!

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