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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Hello all! I've been noting down some basics for a setting I'm working on, and I thought I'd develop a few things here as well, both to keep things organized as I develop them and to get some feedback from the Playground as they develop. I'll start off with some general thoughts on the world and the feel I'm working for, and I'll get into more detail in future posts.

    First off, huge shoutout to the folks over on the Real World Weapons, Armour, and Tactics thread! I asked a question regarding how a real-life medieval army would deal with one of the main races in this game to get a baseline, which generated a lot of discussion and a lot of really great information.

    General notes on the setting:

    The general stood on a large hill, watching his army waking up in its camp as the sun peeked over the eastern horizon. Shouts in dozens of languages blended into a dull roar as officers formed their troops for battle. In the distance, he could see his opponents doing the same across a wide plain. The glint of their armor and weapons caught his eye in the early morning light. Around the general, his bodyguard flexed their wings restlessly. He could smell the eagerness on them, the thirst for battle. Good. It appeared that their enemy would finally meet them today. Blood would be spilled before the nightfall.

    The general turned to his aide. "Is the army prepared?"
    "Yes, m'lord. All contingents present and accounted for. Ten thousand spears ready to march at your command."
    "Very well." He had briefed his commanders the previous evening, detailing what he expected of all of them. Preparations were complete, now all that remained was the execution. The battalions marched into place, ranks of infantry and cavalry from all races and peoples who swore loyalty to the corven. Their battle cries resounded from the hills, and met answering shouts from the enemy across the plains. The general donned his helmet and took his lance from a servant.

    "Sound the advance."

    As the low trumpet moaned its notes across the field, the army set into motion. The general reveled in the neat ranks marching in lockstep, disciplined troops who would fight to the death if needed. He turned to his own retinue, the finest corven warriors. "Today we make the Emperor proud, brothers. To wing, with me!" Taking a running start down the hill, the general spread his wings and took to the air, his fellows following him. As he glided overhead, he saw the enemy forces advancing to meet his own. Puffs of smoke appeared where enemy musketeers were taking shots at his fliers, but they were too far to concern him. "Today is the day," he said to himself. "Today, the kingdoms of man accept our rule."


    In this setting, the primary antagonist-empire to the PCs (at least to the most likely group of PCs) is the Corven Empire. It is the largest empire since the elder days, ruling over many different races and cultures. The corven are a race of winged humanoids, initially an isolated warrior society which defended its mountain homes from the previous dominant empire of the area, ruled by the nagaji. Eventually, during a period of turmoil and internal conflict, the corven began to conquer more land... and then kept on conquering, until they ruled the extent of the previous nagaji empire and more. The petty human kingdoms and city states seemed to be an easy conquest for the mighty empire, but in the face of an outside threat the humans showed surprising unity, setting aside centuries-old feuds to fight the invaders. For years humanity has kept largely free of corven rule, though they are still fragmented and the corven have not given up their ambition to see humanity under their dominion.

    This will be a campaign setting for the Pathfinder rules, most likely using Spheres of Power to replace the standard spellcasting system. The initial idea came from me looking through the ARG, seeing the Strix, and thinking, "that's a cool concept that doesn't get used often!" Toss that in with a few other ideas I've had floating about and here we are.

    Some major, general points about the world:
    --I wanted to break from standard fantasy races. Aside from humans, only one core rulebook race exists in this world, and they are heavily altered. Playable races will be a mix of uncommon races from the book, tweaks to other more common existing races, and custom races of my own design.
    --Magic is powerful but understated. Thus Spheres of Power. Most casters will only have access to basic talents. I might grant access to advanced talents through rituals, lost ancient secrets which can be recovered, or powerful magical items. Preferably through some combination of the three. I might also limit this to an E6 world, but I'm not as sold on that concept. Plus, Spheres of Power allows me to play around with different magical traditions. Instead of a clearly defined Arcane/Divine/Psychic split, you have varying ways of accessing a similar pool of power. That also ties into the next point:
    --The past is mysterious. Elves and dwarves used to be the dominant races on the world, but the dwarves have withdrawn underground and the elves have simply disappeared. The reasons why are largely a mystery, but they did leave their mark on the younger races before they departed. No one particularly knows when the world was created--it existed long before even the elves or dwarves. Fey creatures have existed on the outskirts of civilization since time immemorial. Ancient people fought against terrible creatures whose names have been lost to time. And if the PCs dig deep enough... they might wake some of those creatures up.
    --Technology is standard fantasy, roughly corresponding to late medieval tech real-world. Firearms and black powder are fairly common. (Similar tech to Warhammer Fantasy, actually, if what I know about Warhammer is correct.) Most social structures are more similar to the classical/pre-classical world, however--this is largely due to meddling from the elves and dwarves, introducing technological advances to the other races at earlier points in their history than occurred in the real world.

    Topics I have covered:

    --Races of the world: Posts 2, 3, 4

    --Magic and magical traditions: Posts 8, 9

    Topics I will cover:

    --Ancient history of the world, both actual history and legends around it

    --Geography

    --Political structure

    --Religion and deities

    This is entirely a work in progress, so I very well might change things as I go. Feedback and/or constructive criticism welcome!
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2018-11-14 at 02:55 PM.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Overview of the races:

    Elves (Aes-Danna):
    The elves were children of the Sky Father, formed from the light of the stars themselves. They came down to this world upon the Bridge of Light, and at the site of their arrival they built the great city of Connemara. At the same time they arrived, they found the dwarves breaching the surface of the world as well for the first time. Together, the two races set about colonizing the world around them, fighting creatures of darkness and chaos. The elves were masters of magic, and taught the art to the dwarves, who took elven magic and made it their own. The elves took a more active role in teaching the younger races they found than the dwarves. They were functionally immortal, though they could be killed in battle or taken by disease. Eventually, the Bridge of Light closed and the elves vanished--their cities stood abandoned, with only the barest traces beyond their existence that anyone had lived there. The location of the city of Connemara has since been lost, though many legendary claims of its whereabouts persist. Since the Bridge closed, no trace of the elves has been seen, and no indication of a reason for their sudden disappearance has been found.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    The elves are basically standard fantasy elves, though drawing a bit more from Tolkien than D&D. I haven't statted them out or anything, because they're gone. I'll go into more detail about the elves (and dwarves, as you can probably tell their histories are linked) when I post about ancient history.


    Dwarves (Duergar):
    The dwarves were crafted deep underground by the Earth Mother, from the stuff of the earth itself. They learned to work stone and metals deep beneath the surface, until they were told by their goddess to begin digging upward. When they made it to the surface, they found the elves had just landed, as their goddess had told them, and the world overrun with all manner of foul creature. Like the elves, the dwarves began to make their mark on the world, establishing cities on and below the surface, fighting back dark creatures alongside the elves, and teaching the art of smithing to the elves and to the younger races. The dwarves were not immortal, though it was said that they could easily reach an age of five or six centuries, and when it was their time they would simply crumble into rock and dust and be returned to the earth from whence they were born. When the elves departed, the dwarves abandoned their aboveground cities, retreating back under the earth. For many centuries it was believed that they too had vanished, until a dwarven underground city was discovered.

    The dwarves today are typically distrustful of outsiders, and many who have sought them out have never returned. Still, they maintain occasional trade with the surface-dwellers, hoarding wealth below the mountains. They are gruff, ill-tempered, and swift to anger. They never forget a grudge or an owed debt. Today, dwarven lifespans are shorter, but still on the order of 2-3 centuries, though they die and are buried like other races. Asking about the legends of ancient dwarves who would return to the earth is met, at best, by icy silence.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    The dwarves are the only core book race still in existence other than the humans, and they're more modified duergar than classic dwarves. Again, more to come about them in later posts.


    Humans:
    Humans are, well, us. When the elves came, humans were living in stone-age pre-tribal societies, without knowledge of language, technology, or magic. As time went on, humans learned from the elves and later the dwarves, and eventually fought alongside them. Many great heroes are said to have wielded elven magic and dwarven weapons, earning the admiration of the rulers of both of those peoples for their bravery and tenacity. Though the elves are gone their influence still remains--images of deities often take elven form, as the elves were initially mistaken for deities. As time went on humanity grouped into many different states and kingdoms, all vying for supremacy over the others and showing a remarkable propensity for infighting. Several times human kings have united large portions of their people, but such empires have never lasted for very long. However, when faced by an outside threat in the form of the corven, they surprised all involved (including themselves) to band together to fight a common foe. In the deep forests and open plains, humanity has proven to be a bastion against corven rule, though the petty realms are still fractious and fight among themselves.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    I'm drawing largely from ancient Greece for the human civilization and political structure. Most of the details (how many city-states there are, how the social structure is set up, etc.) are still up in the air and will be developed as I go on.


    Corven:
    The corven are a race of winged humanoids that, until recently, were fairly minor overall. They fought against the nagaji empire to maintain independence, but did not begin conquering until the nagaji splintered due to internal conflicts. Since then they have come to rule a massive multi-species empire, larger than any seen since ancient times. They are a proud warrior people, though through several centuries of imperial rule they have lost some of their martial tradition, and possessed with fair skill in magic. Due to their size they need to launch themselves from a height in order to fully take advantage of flight, so they prefer to stick to mountainous regions as much as possible, and have developed sophisticated systems of terraced farming in order to sustain themselves in the mountains. Their empire allows a large degree of self-rule among conquered people, so long as they do not become restless, but certain rights which even the poorest corven have are denied to the most powerful of subject kings. As their saying goes, "the lowest on the wing is still higher than the tallest on foot." They have come to see human resistance to their rule in particular as an affront to them, their skill as warriors, and their right to rule--the corven emperor or general who could bring all the human cities to heel would be greatly honored. Other people have remained independent of their rule, but that is more because the corven have not made a serious attempt to conquer most of them--many of the people living on the borders of the edges of the corven empire don't really have anything that's worth the effort to conquer. Their appearance is largely human-like, though they can have unnatural skin tones (from pallid grey to soot black). The corven universally have large eyes, and black, raven-like wings.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    As I said, the corven are heavily based on the Strix, though their exact stats are not the same. My initial inspiration for their empire was Persia, and the dynamic between the corven and humans would be analogous to that of Persia and Greece historically. However, due to the discussion over on the Real World Tactics thread which this has sparked, I'm actually switching the primary inspiration to the Inca. More details to come about corven political structure and politics.


    That's all I've got for tonight, but more races are to come soon!
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Some more races:

    Wildlings:
    Similar to humans in appearance, the wildlings live on the fringes of society in various tribes or chiefdoms. Despite their outwardly similar appearance, they are almost supernaturally stealthy in their homelands, moving effortlessly through forests, hills, or mountains. Many also show a natural propensity for nature magic, illusion, or enchantment. This has led several scholars to conclude that wildling tribes may have intermingled with elves or fey in the distant past. They are generally fiercely independent, resisting all attempts to bring them into the folds of civilization, though they are capable of basic metalworking and will trade with outsiders. Some tribes do fall under the spheres of influence of either the various human leagues or the corven empire.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    The first of the races I've designed for this setting. Similar to humans, but with several racial traits pertaining to stealth, dodge, and movement in a given terrain. Which terrain that is depends on the location of the wildling tribe. They all possess some innate magic as well.


    Ratfolk:
    The ratfolk are a race of clever tinkerers, known for their pioneering in the realms of alchemy and several highly experimental (read: dangerous) engineering projects. Their people live among various other races, generally not having cities or civilizations of their own. Some ratfolk warrens do exist that are extensive as cities and have organized leadership, but this is the exception rather than the norm. Overall, so long as they are allowed to explore their natural curiosity, ratfolk have proven willing and able to thrive under whatever rulership they find themselves. Most other races have learned to be wary when they hear a ratfolk say, "Hey, look what I've made!"

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    These are basically core ratfolk. They fill the role of gnomes, more or less--erratic tinkerers, with a unique perspective and a fearlessness that lets them try out ideas others would find appallingly dangerous. Sometimes those ideas even work.


    Nagaji:
    The nagaji are a race of reptilian humanoids who, for many centuries, had no contact with humanity. Far in the past, they learned the arts of metalworking and magic from the dwarves, and used them to overthrow their rulers, a brutal race of serpent-men who have long since passed into legend. Once the dwarves retreated, the nagaji eventually united under a powerful warlord and conquered the lands around them. They maintained their empire through force of arms, but they are generally too crafty for their own good and as it expanded factions began vying for control. Many emperors were killed by their generals, and eventually the realm fractured into countless pieces, allowing the corven to swoop in (literally) and fill in the power vacuum. The nagaji have spent the longest under corven rule, and the corven have proven adept at keeping them in line. By reinforcing their natural strength and craftiness, providing rewards and support to the leaders of the nagaji people so long as they stay loyal. In return the nagaji have fought fiercely for their new overlords. The enemies of the corven have learned to fear a battalion of nagaji heavy infantry charging with their unnatural war-cries.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    Again, more or less using the nagaji straight from the core book. They're another race which I find interesting but underused.


    Shisr:
    The Shisr are desert nomads with a reputation for shrewdness, similar in appearance to humans but not related as far as anyone can tell--although it is not impossible that they branched off far in the past. They are a hardy people, capable of living in a hostile environment with relative ease and showing no fear in the face of the terrible creatures found in their desert homes. They maintain cities with vast marketplaces, and nomad caravans crisscross the desert. Most of their relations with other races come via trade, as the various empires generally find their desert environment too hostile to invade, and the Shisr too dedicated to defending their freedom. Outwardly humanoid, their skin ranges from deep bronze to pitch black, and their eyes are often brown or red. They have a strong culture of hospitality toward strangers, and though they do not tolerate insult, they will offer anything they can to someone who asks for hospitality at their door.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    Another custom race, fairly standard desert dwellers.


    Hyperboreans:
    The hyperboreans are native to high, cold mountaintops. They have a race of being simple people, but in reality they are every bit as intelligent as humans. They share much of their homeland with the corven, and also came under corven rule fairly early, although there are some chiefdoms which still still maintain independence further from corven homelands. They rarely leave their mountains, content to stay to themselves, but will defend their homes fiercely. Some are particularly large, capable of wielding weapons too large for normal humans, which have led some to speculate they may be descended from giants, at least in part. Among corven armies, when a position needs to be held against any assault, few can do so better than the hyperboreans.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    And another race I created, (loosely) based on the hyperboreans of Greek myth.


    A few more races still to come, but that's all for this post.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    I haven't posted here in a while, but this is far from dead. Work is still sporadic, but I thought I'd put a few more races on the table.

    Even more races:

    Beastmen:
    The beastmen are a race of jackal-headed humanoids; tough, brutal, and just intelligent enough to be dangerous. Legends hold that they are descended from the very creatures from which the dwarves and elves wrested control of the world in the distant past. Generally beastmen live in tribal societies on the edges of civilization, coming into conflict with one another and with other races nearby. They are fractious, but on the rare occasions a great chief comes along and unites several tribes under one banner, cities will burn. A few are subjects of the corven, though they are unconstant vassals. In reality, their society is far more complex than most outsiders give them credit, though strength of arms is valued more than other virtues in their culture.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    Unsurprisingly, these take the place of the orcs in most settings. Orcs may still exist as well, but the beastmen will be more prominent antagonists. It's a highly martial culture, not necessarily evil in and of itself but valuing strength in battle and seeing property as belonging to whomever is strong enough to take it.


    Fey-Touched:
    The fey have been a mysterious presence on the fringes of civilization since time immemorial, present even before the elves or dwarves arrived in the world. They have no known cities or civilizations, apparently living largely solitary lives in the jungles and forests. However, there are civilizations of humanoid creatures with fey-like features who inhabit the jungles where fey are found. Their precise origin is unknown, though it is suspected they may be the result of some ancient intermingling of human and fey blood--possibly the result of the many abductions the fey are known for in legends. Regardless, the fey-touched live in loose societies deep within the jungles, largely staying out of the way of outsiders. They show a particular affinity with illusion or enchantment magics, hallmarks of the fey.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    A custom race, occupying a similar niche to the wildlings but more separated from central societies. They will be not overtly antagonistic, but generally not welcoming of strangers.


    Goblins:
    Goblins are the most prominent remnants of the fey, and the fey creatures most people have had contact with. Goblins are small, elfin creatures, generally wearing a wide grin and bright eyes that lend themselves to be trusted--although they are generally tricksters, with an uncanny ability to deceive. While mischievous, and possibly dangerous to the targets of their pranks, they usually don't have ill intent. While stories of goblins accidentally leading an unwitting victim to their death do exist, other stories have them put someone in a precarious position only to realize they've gone too far and rescue them afterward.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    Goblins are another rewrite, replacing the standard fantasy goblins with the arcane tricksters of folklore. They aren't out to kill you... but they find your misfortune far funnier than you do.


    Plane-Touched:
    The plane-touched are a collection of cultures, predating human (but not elven) civilization, of separate origin to humans despite their appearance. Each plane-touched shows an affinity to one of the four elemental energies, even when a result of a mixed elemental bloodline or a child of a human and a plane-touched. The majority live in their own cities and kingdoms (generally including members with an affinity to all elements), some of which are independent and some are subjects of the corven.

    Spoiler: Notes
    Show
    These are basically the elemental races from Pathfinder (ifrit, sylph, oread, and undine), modified slightly to fit with spheres of power. The biggest change is in the fluff, instead of being offspring of humans with some ancestral connection to an element they are their own separate people.


    There are a few more races I plan to add in, but these are the major ones I have details for so far. I plan to post next about the different magical traditions practiced in the world.
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2018-06-25 at 04:10 PM.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Question: the name of the primary antagonist apears to be related to the Latin version of Crow. Is there any relation?

    Are your winged humanoids hexapodal, or do they have hands on their wings?

    Some weapons, such as slings and bows, would be unwieldy for winged creatures. Do they have substitutes for ranged weapons which are designed to be fired by winged creatures?

    Some examples:

    Bag Of Rocks - depending on the weight allowance of the fliers, a bag of hand-sized rocks can be used by dropping individual stones or spilling bags of stones onto an enemy group, especially just before a ground-based attack. Caltrops would work as well.

    Crossbows - with two working hands free while flying, a stirrup or lever can be used to crank a crossbow, but if the hands are required for flight this is a less viable option.

    Weighted nets - flung onto enemies from on high or tossed into the path of a flier, nets can be devastating, especially if they are large enough to catch groups. I would imagine enemies who have prepared themselves to face flying armies would build net flingers of various sizes, beginning with trebuchet sized flingers which can entrap a dozen formation-flying folk.

    Finally, do the Corven have hollow bones and other weight reduction adaptations? If this is the case, their culture will have emphasized bludgeoning weapons in their development from tribe to empire in much the same way human weapons development favored piercing weapons.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2018-06-25 at 03:17 PM.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Hey, thanks for the interest! A few of these things I've discussed when I first floated the idea over on the Real World Weapons, Armor, and Tactics thread. I'll answer what I can from these questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by brian 333 View Post
    Question: the name of the primary antagonist apears to be related to the Latin version of Crow. Is there any relation?
    That is where the name is from, yes. It may still change as I develop things. The primary influence for their culture is not Roman, however; I'm planning to draw mostly from the Incan Empire for the political and religious structure, and the imagery they use. I'm in the process of doing some research on the history of the Inca as we speak.

    Are your winged humanoids hexapodal, or do they have hands on their wings?
    Hexapodal. The shoulder joints aren't particularly practical, but hey, we already have dragons. While I plan to keep things as near to the realm of plausibility as possible, there are going to be some things that require suspension of disbelief, as with any D&D game.

    Some weapons, such as slings and bows, would be unwieldy for winged creatures. Do they have substitutes for ranged weapons which are designed to be fired by winged creatures?

    Some examples:

    Bag Of Rocks - depending on the weight allowance of the fliers, a bag of hand-sized rocks can be used by dropping individual stones or spilling bags of stones onto an enemy group, especially just before a ground-based attack. Caltrops would work as well.

    Crossbows - with two working hands free while flying, a stirrup or lever can be used to crank a crossbow, but if the hands are required for flight this is a less viable option.

    Weighted nets - flung onto enemies from on high or tossed into the path of a flier, nets can be devastating, especially if they are large enough to catch groups. I would imagine enemies who have prepared themselves to face flying armies would build net flingers of various sizes, beginning with trebuchet sized flingers which can entrap a dozen formation-flying folk.
    This was something that got discussed over on the other thread (and that I plan to flesh out some more as I go). I'm imagining crossbows will see pretty common use among the corven, though it may still be difficult to load them while flying. I don't know if they'd be easier or harder to use than a bow. Many of the corven's aerial weapons will be dropped--from the aforementioned bag o' rocks to metal darts. Plus, gunpowder will be in use on both sides--giving the human cities another weapon to shoot down a flier as well as a weapon that can be easily fired (if not reloaded) from the air.

    Finally, do the Corven have hollow bones and other weight reduction adaptations? If this is the case, their culture will have emphasized bludgeoning weapons in their development from tribe to empire in much the same way human weapons development favored piercing weapons.
    I haven't decided on this. Given that this is in Pathfinder, the best way to represent that kind of adaptation mechanically would be to give them a penalty to con score, which they currently don't have. It would certainly make sense for them to be lighter, but I don't know if that's going to be one thing where physics has to yield a bit. Regardless, I'll definitely keep an emphasis on bludgeoning weapons in mind--it seems to fit, even just considering what kind of weapon would make sense for someone in the air. It might be hard to get enough purchase to slash and a piercing weapon might get stuck in a target if you dive on them. Where a heavy piece of rock or iron at a decently high speed will do some damage and stay in the wielder's hand.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  7. - Top - End - #7
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Just an idea to use or discard as you like:

    The solid black feathered corvins are the most variable in size, and the largest and smallest corvin are feathered completely in black. They tend to be warriors, with the smaller ones about the height of dwarves and the larger ones larger than the largest of men. Their wings measure three times their height, and they are powerful, fast fliers with limited mobility.

    There is more uniformity in the size of black-and-white feathered corvin which tend to be larger than the average corvin. A significant minority of these are priests. It is common that these corvin have white patches of feathers under the wings or across the breast, but some few have larger white patches or are mostly white with black patches on the upper wing surfaces.

    On average the blue corvin are smaller and far more agile than the others. Their wingspan can be over four times their height, but the wings are not as broad as other corvins' and they taper to sharp tips. Though they lack the endurance of the other corvin, they are faster. A significant minority of thesd corvin are spellcasters while the majority tend to be Dexterity-based fighters and rogues.These corvin are very uniform in their coloration, with grey feathers on their undersides and black-barred blue feathers on top with distinct white bands on each wing located just before the elbow. The blue feathers across the shoulders tends to purple.

    Note that any corvin can be of any character class; the noted tendencies are based on average group samples.

    The blue corvin may be a different species, but cross breeding is common, usually resulting in black-and-white offspring. Rare hybrids retain the blue and grey coloration, usually with heavier black barring in the blue feathers.

    Unlike humans, corvin mobs are ruled by councils. Corvin leaders can be of either sex; (outside of breeding sex plays little part in their social lives.) No single corvin, outside time of need, would presume to act without a concensus. Thus, at each step of their heirarchy corvin form councils which agree to plans before carrying them out. Humans think this system clumsy, but it appears to work for corvin who, in spite of a social organization that would fracture human societies, display a uniformity of purpose and coordination at all levels.

  8. - Top - End - #8
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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Hmm, I like the idea of different "subraces" of Corven... It would work nicely with PF's alternate racial traits. Something I'll definitely keep in mind. Thanks!

    Instead of talking about more races, I thought I'd detail a few of the magical traditions I've written up for the world, and talk a bit about how I intend magic to work in the setting.

    As I said in the first post, I intend magic to be a bit more understated than it is in default 3.5/PF. That's why I'm going with Spheres of Power for the magic system. By restricting access to legendary talents (available only via rituals, artifacts, or lost training), I can tune down the power which casters have available. I'm also intending the gods of the setting to be less prominent, with animistic, spiritualistic beliefs being common. Without a clear divide between arcane and divine magic, it allows for a bit more nuance and mystery in how characters access magical power. It doesn't make much sense to doubt the existence of gods in a setting where divine casters can pray for spells and receive them, but using SoP I'm hoping to break that dichotomy up into many avenues to access the same pools of power. Whether a character is doing so by way of gods, spirits, or simply ritualistic behavior which has taken on religious meaning is open to some debate (in-setting).

    I will post the specific drawbacks and boons associated with the magical traditions, but I also intend to write a bit on where they come from and how they're generally used for those without as much interest in the mechanics. Some of these are example traditions from SoP, either worked into the setting or edited slightly.

    Magic of the Aes-Danna:
    The elves were renown for their mastery of magic, able to wield it nearly effortlessly by comparison to other races. Their magic was very much natural and spontaneous, flowing easily from the caster. While the elves are gone, some of their magical traditions survive in the practices of other races.

    Battle Magic: Elven warrior-mages were the first of their kind, blending martial and magical skill into one deadly package. Followers of this tradition work their weapon into their casting, drawing and directing power through their combat drills. By achieving a kind of battle-trance practitioners are able to focus on both fighting and casting, and the caster's wounds serve to fuel their magical effects. However, it is difficult to regain that trance-like concentration if it is lost.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Emotional Casting, Galvanized, Magical Signs, Mental Focus
    Boons: Deathful Magic, Easy Focus


    Elven Magic: Nearly every elf had at least a little skill with this type of magic, the first way the elves learned to interact with the magical world. In fact, if the legends handed down from that time are to be believed, this practice was the first magical tradition to be developed. Elven mages would seek out rare herbs, elements, or other items--they could be purchased, but it was believed that the personal connection gained from gathering components on their own made the magic more potent--then channel effects related to those items with word and gesture. The elves produced accomplished healers, though they had to transfer the afflictions of the one being healed onto themselves. This tradition was taught to several mortal races by the elves, and is still in use today, although many capabilities of the old elven mages have been lost.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Material Casting, Somatic Casting, Verbal Casting, Sympathetic (Life)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point per odd level in a casting class


    Song Magic: The songs of some elven mages were laced with power, their voices carrying the ability to soothe the spirit or fool the mind. This tradition was not as commonly practiced among the elves or those who learned magic from them, though a few practitioners can still be found. Skilled practitioners can create magical effects without a target even realizing they are casting.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Perform (Voice)), Verbal Casting
    Boons: Virtuoso


    Magic of the Duergar:
    Dwarves were better known for their command of metal and stone than magic. Nevertheless, they developed their own branches of magic, often more regimented than elven magic but just as powerful. The dwarves did not teach their magics as readily as the elves, but some dwarven traditions are practiced in the outside world. The most prized magical weapons are those of ancient duergar-smiths, bearing the runework of the smiths who forged them in the distant past.

    Artificier: This art is mostly lost, even among the modern duergar. The ancient smiths had a mystical connection with their tools and their constructions, magical energy flowing effortlessly through their tools into their constructions. This magical tradition requires more time and attention, but gives its wielder unparalleled ability to create and work with machinery.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Focus Casting (Artisinal Tools), Magical Signs, Material Casting, Rigorous Concentration, Skilled Casting, Unnatural Transformation (Alteration), Elongated Summoning (Conjuration), Obvious Enhancements (Enhancement), Kindred Spirit (Mind, Constructs))
    Boons: +1 Spell Point per level in a casting class


    Rune Magic: The most common magical tradition used among the dwarves utilizes rune drawings, which when created precisely and used as the focus of the caster's energy allow the caster to store magical energy into the symbols. This tradition can be learned by anyone, though the rune drawings often take years of practice to master.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Extended Casting, Magical Signs, Skilled Casting (Craft (Rune)), Marking Enhancement (Enhancement)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point per odd level in a casting class


    Other Magical Traditions:
    Though the elves and dwarves pioneered the use of magic and taught their ways to other races, many more ways to access magical power have been discovered or developed.

    Apothecary: Though most ratfolk are more interested in mechanical devices than magic, a few have an innate magical talent which they channel using a process that is half magic, half alchemy. Apothecaries can create tinctures and potions with a wide variety of effects.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Material Casting, Skilled Casting (Craft (Alchemy)), Special Delivery (Enhancement), Medicinal (Life)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point, +1 additional SP per 3 levels in a casting class


    Beast Charmers: Shamans of certain Wildling clans possess an unnatural ability to influence the behavior of animals. Using voice or instrument, they are able to influence wild animals in a way that other casters cannot match.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Perform (any one)), Somatic Casting (x2), Animal Shaman (Mind)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point, +1 additional SP per 3 levels in a casting class


    More to come, this is all I have time to type up right now.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Been a while since I've posted here, but this is still being worked on! I've looked back over what I've posted so far, and I think I need to try and pull the world back together a bit thematically. I like what I have, but it feels a bit disjointed. So, I think the next thing I'll work on is a rough timeline of the world. That will help me flesh out details regarding the customs, religions, and social structures, rather than creating them from scratch and trying to shoehorn them in.

    In the meantime, have a few more magical traditions:

    Old Magic:
    The elves and dwarves are not the only ones to have mastered magic long ago. Other traditions whose roots are similarly shrouded in prehistory exist, having developed independently among other races with an affinity to magic.

    Elemental Channeling: The plane-touched were the first to harness raw elemental energy. Though the link a plane-touched has to their particular element does make mastering this kind of magic easier, it can be learned by anyone who wishes to. This is a flashy, energetic kind of magic, generally not well suited to subtle applications. It is also quite stressful to the body of the caster.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Magical Signs, Strenuous, Wild Magic (Variant), Material Focus (Creation), Energy Focus (Destruction)
    Boons: Fortified Casting, Overcharge


    Fey Magic: This type of magic is common among the fey-touched, mimicking the magic of their fey ancestors. Practitioners tend to focus on illusions and enchantments, things the fey are well-known for. Like all other traditions this one can be taught, but the secretive nature of the fey-touched mean few outside of their race use this type of magic.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (x2), Wild Magic, Emotional Casting, Blatant Side-Effects (Mind)
    Boons: Easy Focus, Overcharge


    New Magic:
    In recent centuries new magical traditions have sprung up as the younger races experiment on their own. These are some of the more common examples.

    Blood Magic: The corven were not the first to realize the power of blood for use in magic, but they were the ones to create a practice centered around using a caster's own blood to fuel their own magic. This tradition was kept secret for a long time, and though there are non-corven practitioners now, it is a capital crime for a caster of any other race to practice blood magic in corven lands. It is one of the few magical traditions developed completely independently of either the elves or dwarves.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Draining Casting, Verbal Casting, Somatic Casting (x2), Extended Casting
    Boons: Deathful Magic, Overcharge, Fortified Magic


    Divine Petitioner: This practice dates back to the earliest invocations of deities and spirits. Practitioners attempt to call upon a higher power in order to create magical effects. How much of this magical energy is innate and how much actually draws from another entity is debated among magical scholars.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Prepared Caster, Aligned Combatant (Destruction), Aligned Protection (Protection)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point per odd level in a casting class


    Monastic: This tradition is rare, tending to find use in remote temples and cloisters. Its users rely on intense self-discipline and inward focus, and as such this tradition usually requires many years of study and practice before even the most rudimentary level of mastery is achieved. It also tends to create effects directly on the caster, rather than in the outside world.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Somatic Casting (x2), Lycanthropic (Alteration), Meld into Dark (Dark), Deathful Touch (Death), Destructive Touch (Destruction), Bodily Enhancement (Enhancement), Personal Magics (Enhancement), Personal Fate (Fate), Personal Illusion (Illusion), Touch of Light (Light), Regenerate (Life), Nature Spirit (Nature), Protected Soul (Protection), Personal Time (Time), Solo Combatant (War), Personal Warp (Warp)
    Boons: +1 Spell Point, +1 per three levels in a casting class


    Mysticism: This tradition is one of the few human-created magical traditions, focused around arcane rituals, gestures, and objects. It is considered to be a less-refined descendant of Elven magic. Generally, orders of mages closely guard their secrets, only teaching them to apprentice mages as they prove themselves loyal to the order. Very few practitioners exist outside of some kind of organization of mages such as this.
    Spoiler
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    Drawbacks: Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, Magical Signs, Wild Magic, Sympathetic Magic (Life)
    Boons: Empowered Abilities, Metamagic Expert


    Pact Magic: This type of magic explicitly draws power from an agreement with some kind of outside being. The nature of the being is usually mysterious, even to the caster--while there are no shortage of entities that will grant power to mortals as part of some kind of agreement, they tend to keep their nature and motives hidden. While this type of magic was first used by humans, by it's nature it can be employed by anyone. The kinds of creatures who will create this kind of pact are not picky. While power comes easily to the practitioners of this kind of magic, they quickly become dependent upon it.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Drawbacks: Addicting Casting
    Boons: Easy Focus


    That's all I've got for now. My next post will be a rough timeline, to help me flesh out how the world got to where it is now and see what I can get to come organically from the initial conditions I've chosen.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    As a beginning to the general chronology, I've decided to roughly sketch out the history of elves in the world, since they (and the dwarves) had such a hand in shaping the world as it stands in the time frame of the game. I will generally be writing this in terms of what actually happened, though much about the elves will be fragmentary myths and legends. Characters in-setting will not have this detailed of information regarding the history of the elves in the world. Even in this case, I am keeping several dates approximate--in part because I will refine things as I go, in part because this period is supposed to be poorly understood. Many of these events will never get set dates.

    ----

    According to their own creation myths, the elves were formed from the light of the stars by the Sky-Father. From their glass kingdom in the sky, a group of elves under the High King Nuada came across the Bridge of Light, said to be a brilliant, silvery beam of light reaching from the heavens and resting on a large hill between two rivers. Nuada and his followers arrived and began clearing a settlement around the point where the Bridge of Light fell.

    The first creatures the elves met were various foul creatures of chaos, probably some mixture of fey, demons, and magical beasts who roamed the land. These creatures were either unintelligent or evil, and the elves defended their settlement from them. Eventually they began sending parties out into the wilds, both to hunt the evil creatures of the world and to explore further from the little plain where they had landed.

    The first creatures they met who did not show outright hostility were the dwarves. An elven hunting party ran across a newly-founded dwarven settlement roughly fifty years after landing. The dwarves claimed they had been told they would meet a race of tall, beautiful people on the surface, who would be their allies against the evil creatures they had fought for generations. The elves certainly seemed to fit the bill. Emissaries were chosen from the dwarven settlement and brought back to the elves, who by this point had used their magic to create buildings and walls, and increased the fertility of the soil around them. King Nuada and his wife, Queen Boann, welcomed the dwarves as friends and sent word back to their Queen, Ivallda.

    By the end of the first century after landing, the city of Connemara was established and an alliance with the dwarves firmly in place. The city featured a grand palace from which King Nuada ruled, and strong walls of iron. The dwarves had introduced them to metals, and the elves had found their magic capable of manipulating the new material. Dwarf-smiths had aided in the building of the walls--while they were erected with magic, they had to support their own weight, and the dwarves ensured that the city's walls and structures would stand. Outside the palace was a sacred grove honoring the Sky Father and other elven gods, and a grand promenade was built between the palace and the Bridge of Light. The elves continued their efforts, clearing much of the land around Connemara of evil creatures. Elven envoys were sent to the dwarves as well, beginning to teach them of magic and other elven arts.

    Roughly 250 years after landing, the second elven city was founded. This and other successor cities were placed as the elves and their dwarven allies continued to drive out the various monsters and evil beings. Nuada would grant kingship of the new cities to the leader of the expedition or the warrior who was most influential in its success, and for that reason the position of a commander was highly sought after. These kings ruled their cities in their own right, though still swearing allegiance to High King Nuada in Connemara.

    This situation continued for a long time. The elves continued to expand their influence and found new cities, and the dark forces continued to steadily retreat. Connemara became a center of culture, art, and trade, and both elven and dwarven civilization flourished.

    Around two thousand years after landing, the first humans came in contact with the elves. Humanity lived in various hunter-gatherer societies at the time, with only the most rudimentary concepts of language. At first these people were wary of the elves, though slowly an understanding was reached. The first tribe of humans settled around elven lands, and the elves taught them language and agriculture. By degrees, little villages began to spring up in the shadow of the grand elven cities. Shortly thereafter, High King Nuada returned across the Bridge of Light, entrusting his kingdom to his three sons.

    The pace of elven expansion slowed as they began focusing on building their cities and teaching the humans and other races who had begun to settle in the lands which no longer were filled with various monsters. Nuada's eldest son took over rulership of Connemara, and the two younger ones moved to other elven cities and set up their own palaces there. Nominally they still shared rulership, but became more interested in ensuring their own city was the greatest of the three. They began teaching the younger races magic, not out of charity but in order to have magically-capable allies, even if human mages could never hope to match their elven counterparts.

    Roughly 2800 years after landing, the youngest of the three brothers was murdered in his palace--supposedly the first time an elf had murdered another on this world. The elder two brothers went to war, and though both claimed the office of High King the position effectively held no power. Each brother ruled their own little collection of allied cities, and other cities acted independently or sought to influence their neighbors. Non-elven populations around the area declined as people migrated away, and those who stayed were often drawn into the conflicts. Trade plummeted, various monsters began to encroach once more on land they had been driven out of for centuries, and the dwarves--their alliance with the elves having long ago lapsed--began attempting to spread their influence into elven lands.

    About 3000 years after landing the constant warfare of the previous centuries gradually evolved into a tenuous peace. The elven cities stopped attempting to control one another, and began taking less and less interest in the world around them. They governed the hinterlands around the city and occasionally made proclamations to the various people living around them, but eventually even those stopped.

    By about 3200 years after landing, the elves began to abandon their cities. The process was not always immediately noticed since little word came out of the cities, but gradually even the small signs of habitation ceased. By 3300 years after landing the Bridge of Light closed. No elves have been seen on the world since.

    ---

    A little about the culture of the elves:

    The elves spoke very little of their glass kingdom in the heavens, or of the nature of the Bridge of Light which brought them to this world. Other than their Sky Father, they did not reveal much about their gods--it is possible that they only worshiped the one. Their religious ceremonies were secretive, held in groves, springs, and other natural places kept preserved in their cities.

    Elven grasp of magic was innate and effortless. It is said that when an elf spoke, their words would become real as they did so--illusion magic forming a picture of what they described as they spoke of it. This innate magic in their voices was an obstacle to establishing communication with other races, though they had practice communicating with the dwarves, who spoke their own language before the elves arrived. Elven agriculture relied more on magical assistance than complicated irrigation systems, though they did understand the concept.

    Elven society had very little class divide, with the poorest not seen as innately lower than kings. Charity was very common, at least before the decline and conflicts began. Any elf could increase their station by performing valuable service to the king and to the elven people. There were gender expectations in their society, though they were not strongly enforced. Matters of war, rulership, and business were considered male pursuits. Matters of diplomacy, mediation, and religion were considered female. Neither gender had a superior position to the other, as queens ruled alongside of their kings, often speaking on the king's behalf outside of the palace court. These roles were not strongly enforced--seeing a female elf on the battlefield would be odd but not unheard of, for example--with the exception of the priesthood. A male elf could become a low-ranking priest, but no more. All of the upper parts of the religious hierarchy were female. The queen was expected to act of the behalf of her king and her subjects in religious matters, and certain ceremonies were only attended by women--even lay women could attend, while male priests were excluded.

    Elves were immortal, as far as anyone on the outside knew. Certainly none were known to die of old age, though injury or sickness could still kill them. Many older elves were known to return across the Bridge of Light, even those born in this world, and of those who did none were known to have returned. High King Nuada and his wife Boann stayed longer than any other elves known, more than two thousand years. Others tended to leave sooner and allow younger elves to take over. Of those who died, they were traditionally taken to the mountains and burned on pyres there. Failing that, they could be burned on a hilltop, or in some other sacred space. Elves would go to great lengths to recover the body of another elf who had fallen, and only in the darkest days of the wars between them would they begin to simply leave their dead on the battlefield or burn them in mass cremations. Traditionally, a scroll bearing the name of the fallen, along with a list of their deeds and written memorials from those close to them (usually along with a bit of hair or blood) would be burned with the body.

    ---

    That's all I have time for at the moment! I intend to flesh out the dwarves a little more next. I may also tweak the time-spans out some. I want elven expansion and decline to be slow--they are immortal, after all. However, I also want to balance it with the development of humans and others alongside them. As always, feedback is welcome!
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2018-11-24 at 09:46 PM.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    So... this hasn't been updated in a long time. More than a year But I have still had this setting floating about in the back of my head, and I want to get it into a state where I can put it on a table and at least have enough of a framework to be able to fill in the gaps as I go. So, I'm coming back to the setting and the thread with a bit of an update!

    First off, I plan to go back through and tweak a few things I already have--clean some things up, make some changes which have come to mind since I last posted here. Spheres of Power has updated pretty extensively, and I think it's worth another look-through on my magic to see what new options I could make use of--and on review it strikes me that the different types of magic, while being related in-setting, are in some cases completely different mechanically. So I'm considering making a couple of "base" traditions, which the others key off of. Basically, I want dwarven magic in all its variations to have some recognizable quirks and eccentricities, and differences from elven magic. I'll see what I can come up with in that vein.

    Second, my inspirations have shifted a bit. I've gotten into a kick about ancient Mesopotamia, and I think those political dynamics fit a TTRPG in general and this setting in particular well. I still like the idea of drawing on the Inca for the Corven in terms of imagery and some bits of culture, but in terms of political situation and general outlook right now I'm leaning towards modelling them off of the various incarnations of Assyrian empires. I've also vacillated a bit on the overall tech level--I'd originally written it as a bit of a renaissance tech kind of setting, but I've toyed with the idea of pushing it right back to late bronze age/early iron age. I did consider keeping (primitive) gunpowder and some other more medieval techs, as there are two races who might come up with such things (the ratfolk especially, and the dwarves to an extent). If I do go for low tech with some higher-tech elements, I want to consider ways to make them rare, unpredictable, or both.

    Third, to keep from letting this languish again (and to keep myself honest!) I intend to regularly post updates--right now I plan on once weekly. That way it might actually be far enough along to see a table in a reasonable time frame!

    As always, I'm open to suggestions, feedback, and criticisms! Especially now, as I'm considering which way I want to go with several elements.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    GreataxeFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    I like it! I did have one question: what do your custom, close-to-human races look like? They're a bit light on visual description, and as of now, I'd love to know what makes them distinct from humans.
    Currently worldbuilding Last Haven: a setting formed on a titan's corpse! If you have a moment, I would love your feedback!

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Thanks, glad to hear some folks are taking a look!

    To be honest, I haven't given racial appearances a whole lot of thought. But here are a few comments:

    Wildlings:
    These are the most similar to humans. They are generally a bit more stoutly built and tend to have a bit more body hair, but overall you'd be pretty hard pressed to tell a wildling from a "normal" human--overall body sizes, heights, skin tones, hair and eye colors, etc. are within normal ranges for humans. Some people theorize they might be normal humans, altered by closer exposure to the fey living at the edges of civilization. Instances of human-wildling children tend to inherit their wildling parent's supernatural abilities. (Mechanically, a half-wildling would be treated just like a full wildling, though I might stat out some alternate racial traits for half-wildlings or those raised in more "civilized" environments.)

    Shisr:
    While being very humanoid in height and build, the shisr could not pass for human, save for a small few. They tend to be somewhat slimmer than humans, with skin tones ranging from metallic bronze to jet black, and their eyes can be unnatural colors--usually red. Their hair is generally fairly straight, and in general have less body and facial hair than humans. They tend to dress in long, loose clothing, for protection from the desert sun.

    Hyperboreans:
    The mountain-dwelling hyperboreans are large and broad, ranging from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 feet tall on average, and weighing in at upwards of 250 pounds. Their skin tends to be pale, usually a bluish-white hue, sometimes with ice blue birthmarks on their bodies. These markings are often given religious significance, and hyperboreans so marked tend to become priests, diviners, or advisors to chiefs. Their faces tend to be broad and their eyes slightly deep-set, giving them a "simple" appearance and lending to the stereotype that they are not that intelligent (one which is largely undeserved). Their hair tends to range between blond and wispy-white, and they usually dress in heavy furs in their mountain homes (for obvious reasons).

    Fey-touched:
    These also look very similar to humans, though they usually bear some defining characteristic that makes their fey heritage obvious--often unnatural eye colors, such as gold or purple. They tend to be shorter and slimmer on average than normal humans, often with larger eyes or slightly pointed ears. Their skin and hair color can very greatly, through the full human range and into some colors not seen in humans. (Now that I think of it, lore-wise Fey-touched and Wildlings occupy somewhat overlapping places. I might tweak one or the other, I'll have to see.)

    Plane-touched:
    To be honest, I haven't quite decided how I want them to look--whether I want to follow general Pathfinder guidelines for the elemental races, or go with something closer to Forgotten Realms genasi.

    I think those are all of the near-humans, but I will add one as a bonus:
    Goblins:
    Goblins look very different from normal Pathfinder goblins. Their skin is not green, for one, generally following the same range of colors as the fey-touched. Overall, they look more like you'd expect a gnome to look, though with more goblin-shaped heads. They tend to stand about 3 to 3 3/4 feet tall, and weigh in the range of 50-75 pounds or so. Their fingers are exceptionally long and slender, and polydactlyism is relatively more common among goblins than other known races--"Six-Fingers" is a common surname/nickname/title.

    Any other questions, let me know. I'm not that great at describing people (probably why I didn't have much description to begin with, haha!), so if there is important detail lacking let me know.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  14. - Top - End - #14
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    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Big fan of magic systems and magic traditions here; it looks like there are a few general categories:
    Drawing on inherent powers within the practitioner or within life: Fey Magic, Blood Magic, Monastic, Elven Battle Magic. Arguably Elven Magic.
    External magic, drawing on a particular energy source or patron: Pact Magic, Divine Magic, Elemental Channeling.
    Linguistic magic; some kind of inherent power to words or language: Song Magic, Rune Magic, Beast Charmers, Mysticism
    Object-connected magic, using inherently powerful items: Elven Magic, Artifice, Apothecary, Mysticism

    I'd expect that casting traditions within these different categories would be more easily hybridized with each other; it's easier to be a Fey Magic/Monastic specialist than a Fey Magic/Pact Magic specialist.

    One thing that might come out of this is superstition; it's likely that people attribute specific effects to types of objects (especially plants; expect a large number of "folk remedies"), and beliefs that certain words or phrases are connected to good or bad luck.
    My one piece of homebrew: The Shaman. A Druid replacement with more powerlevel control.
    The bargain bin- malfunctioning, missing, and broken magic items.
    Spirit Barbarian: The Barbarian, with heavy elements from the Shaman. Complete up to level 17.
    The Priest: A cleric reword which ran out of steam. Still a fun prestige class suitable for E6.
    The Coward: Not every hero can fight.

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    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Welp, already missed the "one post a week" goal... I could make excuses and blame the pandemic, but no, it's my fault. But better late than never, I suppose, so here goes:

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Big fan of magic systems and magic traditions here; it looks like there are a few general categories:
    Drawing on inherent powers within the practitioner or within life: Fey Magic, Blood Magic, Monastic, Elven Battle Magic. Arguably Elven Magic.
    External magic, drawing on a particular energy source or patron: Pact Magic, Divine Magic, Elemental Channeling.
    Linguistic magic; some kind of inherent power to words or language: Song Magic, Rune Magic, Beast Charmers, Mysticism
    Object-connected magic, using inherently powerful items: Elven Magic, Artifice, Apothecary, Mysticism

    I'd expect that casting traditions within these different categories would be more easily hybridized with each other; it's easier to be a Fey Magic/Monastic specialist than a Fey Magic/Pact Magic specialist.

    One thing that might come out of this is superstition; it's likely that people attribute specific effects to types of objects (especially plants; expect a large number of "folk remedies"), and beliefs that certain words or phrases are connected to good or bad luck.
    Some good insights here, and this put a finger on a few things that I'm not quite happy with in the magic system as it stands. Ideally, I'd like the magic traditions derived from the elves to fall into the same general category, and same with those of the dwarves. I'd like there to be some unifying theme between the two "super-traditions," plus something which sets aside those outside of those two general categories.

    Here's what I'm thinking of as a starting point for the elven and dwarven tradition groups:

    Elves: The elves drew on the magic of life itself, mostly from within the caster. For the elves, magic was as natural as speaking (literally--when teaching language to other races, they had to simplify their language to account for the fact that other races couldn't create illusions along with every word they spoke). The form that magic might have taken changed depending on the user, but it was always highly personal and inwardly-focused. In the current day of the game world, there might be more "wizard-like" casters who learn by study even in the elven traditions, or who use an external object to focus their magic, but the source is still primarily internal--study unlocks pathways to power which always existed but the caster didn't yet know how to access, or items channel power due to their intimate personal connection to the caster allowing them to form a link between the caster's reserve of power and the physical world.

    Dwarves: the dwarves never got the hang of the internal magical sources of the elves, but they instead learned to draw magic from the earth. Arcane runes and sigils served as batteries for magical power, resonating in harmony with the earth in order to harness magic from the outside. Less flexible and spontaneous than elven magic, but also potentially more robust. Dwarven magic would be more scientific as opposed to artistic; one can learn dwarven magic by rote, while elven-style magic must be learned more by feel. In other words, two casters of the same elven-type tradition might look very different in terms of the details of their casting, while two casters of a dwarven-derived tradition will be much more similar in their methods.

    Other sources: Fey draw on the magic of the natural world, of the living things around them--in a way taking a middle ground between that of the elves and dwarves. Other external sources of magic include things like pact magic, in a simple "bargain for power" type deal.

    Now, what will that look like mechanically? Not sure yet. I need to give the various traditions another pass, decide on exactly what I want the common threads to be within each group and how best to express those. Plus, since I first wrote these traditions, Ultimate Spheres of Power has come out with some balance changes, tweaks, additions, and removals to the various drawbacks and boons. So I've got some work to do on the magic of the world. As always, suggestions/feedback is more than welcome!

    Next week I plan to take another look at some of the inspirations for the setting, how those have changed since I first conceived it, and how I'm thinking of progressing with it.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    OrcBarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Hmm.
    I'll point out that the divisions I described are focused less on the source of the power(life, earth, etc), which is usually not something explicitly expressed within casting traditions (note that Pact Magic says nothing about the being on the other side of the pact), and more on the method by which the power source is used.

    Elven Magic: I think verbal casting as a common theme is a bit of a miss; the fact that elves create illusions with magic is a symptom of their innate magic-ness, and their ability to use magic is another symptom- the two symptoms aren't innately linked. Center of Power, Mental Focus, Emotional Magic, or Draining Casting might be more appropriate common themes to indicate that the user is drawing from within themselves.
    I'd cut Material Casting as an aspect of Elven Magic, since "uses material components as a booster for low innate ability" is one of the defining attributes of dwarven magic. This moves it squarely into category 1: Inherent Powers. Song Magic is probably fine as is; a reread of the fluff indicates I miscategorized it.

    Edit: Phrased another way, I think Material Casting should be taken off Elven Magic because their magic is fundamentally from within, not from the tools and reagents they use, and removing the reagents makes that clear.


    Dwarven Magic: First, Rune Magic should probably have Material Casting, to represent damaged or destroyed runes due to accumulated wear and tear from each use (if you let the material cost be grouped into large units, a 100 gp rune will last a player 1000 caster level*uses), or a variant of Expensive Locus, to represent the collection of runes the caster uses; this ties it closer to Artifice by moving it from a linguistic magic to a more clearly object-connected one. Second, the concept of magical runes requires the shapes of the runes to have some inherent magical meaning, which means that there must be some fundamental magical language that the Dwarves discovered or created; this gives the dwarves a more impressive magical achievement than currently noted.
    Last edited by aimlessPolymath; 2020-04-05 at 03:10 AM.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    BlueKnightGuy

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    Default Re: Reign of the Corven: (Very) WIP

    Regarding what exactly a casting tradition describes... I'd argue it could be either related to the source or to the way its used, or both (as a counter-argument, you can create distinct "arcane" and "divine" classes of magic with sphere traditions, which explicitly are different sources of magic). Regardless, though, I think the way a caster channels magic--what means they use to draw power from creation and bend it to your will--does constitute a bit of a "how you use it" distinction. Whether it's coming from within or without, whether you draw power through living things or symbols with fundamental power... Regardless, this is getting more into the metaphysics of the world than I'm really intending.

    I'm gonna try giving each of the magic "categories" a unique drawback: one that every tradition within that group has. And, if I can manage it, that no other tradition outside that group does. That may be a bit too restrictive, but I'm gonna try it on for size and see what happens.

    Quote Originally Posted by aimlessPolymath View Post
    Elven Magic: I think verbal casting as a common theme is a bit of a miss; the fact that elves create illusions with magic is a symptom of their innate magic-ness, and their ability to use magic is another symptom- the two symptoms aren't innately linked. Center of Power, Mental Focus, Emotional Magic, or Draining Casting might be more appropriate common themes to indicate that the user is drawing from within themselves.
    I'd cut Material Casting as an aspect of Elven Magic, since "uses material components as a booster for low innate ability" is one of the defining attributes of dwarven magic. This moves it squarely into category 1: Inherent Powers. Song Magic is probably fine as is; a reread of the fluff indicates I miscategorized it.

    Edit: Phrased another way, I think Material Casting should be taken off Elven Magic because their magic is fundamentally from within, not from the tools and reagents they use, and removing the reagents makes that clear.
    Oh, absolutely, material casting for Elven magic was the big "why did I put that in?" moment I got when I was reviewing the casting traditions. I want Elven forms of magic to be much more internal. That said, those who practice "elven magic" in the world now aren't actually elves. So the route the caster uses is still from within, but casters now must compensate for that lack of "innate magic-ness" which the elves had. Put another way, none of the traditions will actually reflect the way elves did magic, rather how the elves taught others to do magic. Thus, elven-derived magic generally requires a heightened mental state, and often involves focusing through a song, battle-drills, or the like. That said:

    Elven-derived magic:

    The unique drawback for elven magic is Mental Focus

    Battle Magic: This tradition, dating from the latter days of the Elves on the world, is a very martially-focused tradition, blending skill in battle and in magic. The caster achieves focus through a series of battle drills, becoming one with their weapon and channeling power from themselves through it.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Wis
    Drawbacks: Mental Focus, Galvanized, Verbal Casting
    Boons: Easy Focus; +1 SP, +1 per 6 levels


    Song Magic: Drawing closely from original elven traditions, this method uses the power of the voice to focus magical energies. It can be very draining on the user's voice, though as the song crescendos so too does the strength of the wielder's magic.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Cha
    Drawbacks: Mental Focus, Skilled Casting (Perform (Sing)), Verbal Casting, Emotional Casting, Lost in Translation (Mind)
    Boons: Empowered Abilities, Virtuoso


    Elf-blood: In reality, this magic tradition is used by people with traces of some kind of magical creature in their bloodline. While it can be the result of some trace elven ancestry, it can also result from an ancestor receiving a blessing from a dragon, a close run-in with a fey or outsider, or from some other link to a magical creature. The link manifests as a visible birthmark. Regardless of the source (which is usually unknown anyway), such individuals are called "elf-blooded." They are generally very well-regarded, though it takes much practice to bring their unpredictable abilities back under control.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Cha
    Drawbacks: Mental Focus, Center of Power, Magical Signs, Wild Magic
    Boons: Overcharge OR Wild Surge; +1 SP, +1 per 3 levels


    Mysticism: This tradition is one of the few human-created magical traditions, focused around arcane rituals, gestures, and objects. It is considered to be a less-refined descendant of Elven magic, using said arcane foci - generally of some personal importance to the caster - to channel their power. Generally, orders of mages closely guard their secrets, only teaching them to apprentice mages as they prove themselves loyal to the order. Very few practitioners exist outside of some kind of organization of mages such as this.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Modifier: Int
    Drawbacks: Mental Focus, Verbal Casting, Focus Casting, any one of: Wild Magic, Magical Signs, Skilled Casting (Knowledge (Arcana)), Material Casting
    Boons: Metamagic Expert, any one of: Draw Magic, Overwhelming Power, +1 SP, +1 per 3 levels
    The variable drawback and boon are usually inherited from the caster's teacher


    Monasticism: This tradition is rare, tending to find use in remote temples and cloisters. Its users rely on intense self-discipline and inward focus, and as such this tradition usually requires many years of study and practice before even the most rudimentary level of mastery is achieved. It also tends to create effects directly on the caster, rather than in the outside world. Though its practitioners generally claim to be practicing an independent tradition, it is in fact an offshoot of a rare branch of elven magic.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Modifier: Wis
    Drawbacks: Mental Focus, Somatic Casting x2
    Boons: +1 spell point per odd level in a class
    In addition, the caster is considered to have all "Personal X" sphere-specific drawbacks and other sphere-specific drawbacks which restrict the caster to only effects which target themselves.



    Dwarven Magic: First, Rune Magic should probably have Material Casting, to represent damaged or destroyed runes due to accumulated wear and tear from each use (if you let the material cost be grouped into large units, a 100 gp rune will last a player 1000 caster level*uses), or a variant of Expensive Locus, to represent the collection of runes the caster uses; this ties it closer to Artifice by moving it from a linguistic magic to a more clearly object-connected one. Second, the concept of magical runes requires the shapes of the runes to have some inherent magical meaning, which means that there must be some fundamental magical language that the Dwarves discovered or created; this gives the dwarves a more impressive magical achievement than currently noted.
    Hm, I'll think on that some. I do kind of like the idea of making dwarven magic material-focused, that would probably fit. And yes, if I haven't made it clear-the dwarves were every bit as skilled and accomplished as the elves in their own way. while they lack the innate magical ability, they had an unrivaled skill with metalwork and other physical crafts - and were able to take these skills and make up for that.

    I'll have to do some work on the dwarven traditions. I'm a bit undecided on their unique drawback. I think many (all?) of them will have either Extended Casting or Charged Spells, but I don't know if I want that to be the defining trait. I have also considered Skilled Casting (with a craft skill chosen), but that infringes on a couple of the elven traditions as well - though Mysticism and Song Magic don't use a craft skill for theirs. I'm happy with Mental Focus for elven magic, I'm less enamored with any of my ideas for the dwarves, so I'll think on it.

    EDIT: Despite some of the Elven traditions using skilled casting, I think I am going with that for the dwarven unique drawback. I think the defining feature of dwarven-derived traditions is the creation of magically-charged runes which store the energy used in the spell. Most also will have extended casting times and/or require preparation in order to draw said runes, but I feel like that's more a side effect than a thematic base upon which to base the dwarven traditions. This started as more of a coincidental side effect, but I'm also shooting for dwarven traditions granting more bonus spell points - so while you sacrifice some flexibility, you gain in raw power. So, updated traditions:

    Rune Magic: The most common magical tradition used among the dwarves utilizes runes drawn or carved on a surface, which when created precisely and used as the focus of the caster's energy allow the caster to store magical energy into the symbols. This tradition can be learned by anyone, though the rune drawings often take years of practice to master, and the tools used by more accomplished casters can become extremely expensive. Most casters create partial runes for more powerful effects which can be quickly completed to complete the effect.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Wis
    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft (Rune)), Prepared Caster, Expensive Locus, Extended Casting, Marking Enhancement (Enhancement)
    Boons: Easy Focus; +1 spell point per odd level


    Runebreaker: This variation on Rune magic utilizes the magical storage properties in a different way. Instead of storing partially-completed runes which release their energy once completed, these casters draw their runes in such a way that they instead store their energy until broken. This sacrifices some of the flexibility of standard rune users, as their runes must be carefully crafted in advance, but once the caster wishes to use the spell it is quicker to release the energy. On the other hand, the release of energy tends to be very noticeable.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Wis
    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft (Rune)), Charged Spells, Expensive Locus, Magical Signs
    Boons: Easy Focus, +1 spell point per level


    Circle Mage: Utilizing dwarven runes in yet another way, these casters are limited to affecting targets within their rune diagrams. Often they create intricate metal circles within their workshops or laboratories, though they can improvise diagrams elsewhere. Once the diagram is created it is very easy to generate magical effects with simple runes.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Wis
    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft (Rune)), Diagram Magic, Expensive Locus
    Boons: +1 spell point, +1 per 1.5 levels; or either the Magic Runes or Prepared Diagram Drawback feat and +1 spell point, +1 per 3 levels


    Apothecary: While this isn't a strictly dwarven tradition, it has its roots in the same principles. This tradition, primarily pioneered by ratfolk, utilizes various items of mystical potency and alchemical processes in a process that is half alchemy, half magic. Practitioners can make various tonics and tinctures which carry their magical affects.
    Spoiler
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    Casting Stat: Int
    Drawbacks: Skilled Casting (Craft (Alchemy)), Material Casting, Prepared Caster; in addition, the caster is considered to have all sphere-specific drawbacks limiting them to [instill] talents
    Boons: +1 spell point per odd level


    I decided to nix the artificery tradition - I felt it didn't quite fit the theme of dwarven magic I was going for. In exchange I added two more traditions, using runes in slightly different ways. Overall I think I'm pretty happy with the feel of these traditions. There's a bit of variation, but they all exchange some degree of flexibility that elven traditions have for a good chunk of bonus spell points. Now the miscellaneous traditions need another pass as well; I've got some ideas for those.
    Last edited by rs2excelsior; 2020-04-25 at 01:09 PM.
    A worldbuilding project, still work in progress: Reign of the Corven

    Most recent update: another look at magic traditions!

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