A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #31
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by EggKookoo View Post
    I first read that as "Elvis interpretation," which I suppose would also fit your setting.
    Elvis interpretation must be done carefully to avoid blasphemy or contradiction of the dogma of the Curch of The King.

    An Elvis Bishop must be on the panel of judges. Don't be cruel or you may find yourself accused of being a hound dog.

  2. - Top - End - #32
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    HalflingPirate

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    In my setting there are no alignment-based planes or afterlives. Deities often, but don't always, congregate by pantheon, so that the gods of the human cities have Aos, the Eternal City which is contiguous with the plane of the more rural deities of the human culture, and connected to, but not a part of the planes of the nature deities worshipped by humans. Meanwhile, the dwarves have their own planes seperate from the human ones, though a human devoted to the dwarven dieties would go there.

    There are three dominant human cultures and each has its own pantheon and planes associated with them, with some dozens of lesser human pantheons. Other races and mixed race cultures have their own final rewards, and devils, demons, and other nameless horrors have their places.

    Any being powerful enough can go to the Astral Plane and through an act of will create and establish the physical laws of a pocket dimension. Of course, it must be maintained. A shared belief system of the inhabitants can usually do this, but only immensely powerful and intelligent beings can create a new living thing of even the complexity of a virus. Usually a plane's creator imports life.

    There are uncounted billions of such dimensions in the process of growth or dissolving, or being maintained by their creators or their creators heirs.
    Last edited by brian 333; 2021-08-27 at 10:10 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #33
    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    From my post-human setting.

    There was an early period where demons largely controlled the world, and so many cities were founded by demons and some cultures use writing systems derived from the demons. The demons themselves are a multi-racial, multi-planar civilizations that tend to exploit "lesser" worlds.

    Goblins all speak (at least) two languages. One is a tribal language which is not taught to outsiders and changes rapidly. The second is a "market" language for talking to outsiders (including most goblins).

    Gnrolls have very subtle secondary sex characteristics and all appear male to other races. Indicating anyone's sex is considered obscene.

    Humans are recently extinct.
    Excuses and explanations are different.

    Sometimes when there can be no excuses we must look the hardest for explanations.

  4. - Top - End - #34
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    For a Celtic inspired setting I redid Orcs as a similar creature to Kelpies and Selkies, inspired by an old celtic word for boars/pigs being orc. Several things from celtic folklore got incorporated and lumped together as a collective of exiled fairies of a sort.

    Orcs, along with kelpies, selkies, each uisge, boobries and a few other shapeshifters are fairies who chose to remain in the surface world when the others were driven into the otherworld, and were forced to adopt animal guises in order to bypass the oaths sworn by the fairy kings when they made peace with humanity.

    Orcs took the form of monstrous boars, with humans hands instead of hooves, both front and back, and scattered into the forests of the world. Each orc claims a stretch of woodland for themselves, hunting and killing any human who enters without first offering them a sacrifice, and even then only if the human fails to show them proper respect during their time in the woods the orc will fall upon them and throttle them. Orcs make lairs in caves or hollows dug out under large trees, which are the only places they can return to their true form, as tall and proud fey warriors. The trees and rocks around their lairs are strung with the remains of their victims, guts and sinews strung across branches and bones fashioned into totems.

    Orcs, like the other shapeshifters, hate other fairies. They view them as cowards and traitors, weaklings who capitulated to mankind. This hatred leads to them driving other fey from their territory. In turn the fey kings view them as traitors who abandoned their lords, and consider them acceptable targets for their infrequent hunts in the mortal world, chasing them with dogs, spears and arrows and fashioning their magical remains into trophies and trinkets.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  5. - Top - End - #35
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Well here is a simple one for those who have read to many generic fantasy stories: Dwarves are one most "magically" races in the setting. They have more magic than humans or elves, in fact only a few races that use active and deliberate magic* actually have more than dwarves.

    * So a dragon that can fly doesn't count.

  6. - Top - End - #36
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grim Portent View Post
    For a Celtic inspired setting I redid Orcs as a similar creature to Kelpies and Selkies, inspired by an old celtic word for boars/pigs being orc.
    Oh cool, I didn't know that, I wonder if that's why Orcs had pig snouts so often way back when?

  7. - Top - End - #37
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    Oh cool, I didn't know that, I wonder if that's why Orcs had pig snouts so often way back when?
    That or because it sounds like "pork"

  8. - Top - End - #38
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Planetar

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    On my classic D&D one, definitely the pantheon. The lawful good goddess of justice is also the goddess of freedom and revolutionary war. The CG god of learning is the promethean god of mercy and wizardry. The God of Family is lawful evil and both a war god and patron of sorcerers. The Lawful Neutral God of Oaths is a wheeling and dealing, fast-talking merchant god of peace instead of a stern, unforgiving judge. Those are the most abnormal of the bunch.
    Vincent Omnia Veritas
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  9. - Top - End - #39
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Enixon View Post
    Oh cool, I didn't know that, I wonder if that's why Orcs had pig snouts so often way back when?
    Most likely not. Orc's as they appear in DnD are drawn from the still really old, but not actually extinct at the time Tolkien used it, english usage of orc as a generic term for demons and monsters. The pig faces are probably from some illustration of LotRs that made them more snouty than originally described, or from early D&Ds process for picking art being extremely lacking in direction.

    Nevertheless it made for a good inspiration to take them in a different direction.
    Sanity is nice to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

  10. - Top - End - #40
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Hmm, I'm not certain if it's off-beat. But I think what I've done with elves is somewhat interesting in a way that explains them.

    Elves, in my setting are Tolkienesque so they don't die of old age. Some powerful diseases and weapons can still ravage them, of course. Over the centuries they have been warped by essentially the equivalent of the Feywild to feel emotions deeper and wilder than any of the other race. When they find something happy they will cheer and holler as loud as a child. But when something sorrowful occurs they fall into deep and terrible depression.

    Over the centuries, these sorrows inevitably build up. Causing the elf to shrivel away unable to move or eat or think other than to dwell on their misfortunes and losses. So elves systematically cut themselves off from their path. Forcing decades or centuries of their own lives into the deep subconscious parts of their mind. Along with all the experiences and skills they've accrued that have now been tainted by their sorrows. It is not impossible to see a master craftsman or great warrior one day, only to find they have cut off all their learning about their craft or skill at arms because of something they've experienced that tainted what they once dedicated their life to.

    And to be certain that they do not have their subconscious mind bring their burdens on them unwanted, the elves have cut themselves off from sleep.

    But those skills and experiences are still in there. And when the need is dire, an elf might try to call upon the skills they've locked away. But in so doing they risk having all their sorrows return to them. And if these sorrows prove too much, an elf may choose to end their misery. Many choose to go wandering so their grief does not affect others, but sometimes an elf is more direct and obvious, and their grief then spreads through the elves that knew them like a wildfire.

    There is only one elf that seems unaffected by this. One who claims to be the first and oldest of all elves, the Eternal King. Who may be the most powerful and knowledgeable character in the world, who remembers everything he's seen and done throughout his life. And that's because the sorrows of others does not effect him at all. Because he's a sociopath.

  11. - Top - End - #41
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    lacco36's Avatar

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dienekes View Post
    Hmm, I'm not certain if it's off-beat. But I think what I've done with elves is somewhat interesting in a way that explains them.

    Elves, in my setting are Tolkienesque so they don't die of old age. Some powerful diseases and weapons can still ravage them, of course. Over the centuries they have been warped by essentially the equivalent of the Feywild to feel emotions deeper and wilder than any of the other race. When they find something happy they will cheer and holler as loud as a child. But when something sorrowful occurs they fall into deep and terrible depression.

    Over the centuries, these sorrows inevitably build up. Causing the elf to shrivel away unable to move or eat or think other than to dwell on their misfortunes and losses. So elves systematically cut themselves off from their path. Forcing decades or centuries of their own lives into the deep subconscious parts of their mind. Along with all the experiences and skills they've accrued that have now been tainted by their sorrows. It is not impossible to see a master craftsman or great warrior one day, only to find they have cut off all their learning about their craft or skill at arms because of something they've experienced that tainted what they once dedicated their life to.

    And to be certain that they do not have their subconscious mind bring their burdens on them unwanted, the elves have cut themselves off from sleep.

    But those skills and experiences are still in there. And when the need is dire, an elf might try to call upon the skills they've locked away. But in so doing they risk having all their sorrows return to them. And if these sorrows prove too much, an elf may choose to end their misery. Many choose to go wandering so their grief does not affect others, but sometimes an elf is more direct and obvious, and their grief then spreads through the elves that knew them like a wildfire.

    There is only one elf that seems unaffected by this. One who claims to be the first and oldest of all elves, the Eternal King. Who may be the most powerful and knowledgeable character in the world, who remembers everything he's seen and done throughout his life. And that's because the sorrows of others does not effect him at all. Because he's a sociopath.
    I love this.

    Question: does it have any mechanics behind it?
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Avatar comes from the talented linklele.
    Formerly GMing: Riddle of Steel: Soldiers of Fortune

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    Instead of having an adventure, from which a cool unexpected story may rise, you had a story, with an adventure built and designed to enable the story, but also ensure (or close to ensure) it happens.

  12. - Top - End - #42
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    Quote Originally Posted by lacco36 View Post
    I love this.

    Question: does it have any mechanics behind it?
    Yes, though it's a bit limited since I run a d20 game. I'm trying to go through all the major D&D races with this sort of thing, but I think elves came out the most interesting.

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    GRIEF OF AGES.

    Ancient and wise, the elves have lived longer than a human mind can comprehend. Through those years they have experienced all life has to offer, and survived through sorrows that would drive others mad. To survive, all elves learn to compartmentalize their past, choosing to live in the moment with what skills they are currently using. Purposely ignoring the details of their past along with the pain that comes with it.

    But, when the need is dire, elves can call upon their centuries long history to use lost skills and hope that the tragedies that befell them do not come with them.

    Grief Die

    You start the game with a d4 Grief Die. This die grows and shrinks depending on the sorrows you see or remember through your gameplay. When a Grief Die increases or decreases the Die becomes one step larger or smaller (d4 to d6, d6 to d8, etc. reverse when decreasing). A Grief Die cannot get larger than a d12 or smaller than a d4.

    Using a Grief Die

    At any time, you can announce to your DM that you are using your Grief Die. You gain one of the following benefits:

    -Roll your Grief Die and add the results to any Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma check.

    -Gain proficiency in any one weapon, instrument, or tool for the next eight hours.

    -Learn any non-secret language for the next eight hours.

    After using any of these abilities roll a d20, if the result is within the range of your current Grief Die, you gain the Grief-Stricken condition for the next eight hours. Then, regardless of if you pass this check or not, increase your Grief Die by one step.

    Once a Grief Die is used, you cannot use it again until you take a Long Rest.



    Becoming Overwhelmed with Grief


    If your Grief Die is at a d12, and would increase, you automatically gain the Grief-Stricken condition. Unlike other means of falling into grief, this condition will last until your Grief Die decreases to a d4.



    Grief-Stricken

    While Grief-Stricken you cannot gain Advantage on any ability check, saving throw, or attack roll, nor can you gain any temporary bonuses to ability checks or saving throws such as through Bardic Inspiration or Guidance. The only exception is you can continue to use your Grief. While you are Grief-Stricken, your Grief Die is considered a d12. You gain an additional three uses of Grief Die before needing to refill them with a long rest.



    Other Means of Increasing Grief

    While the primary method of gaining Grief is through using the Grief Die, there are other traumatic events that can occur while will have the same effect. The following is a partial list of such events:

    -You face some horrifying trauma, such as a near fatal wound that knocks you to 0, or being tortured.

    -Losing a war or large battle, especially those that result in the loss of cities.

    -Personal failure of a vitally important task, especially if people you cared for were trusting you with its success.

    -The death of someone close to you, such as a friend or relative. Usually the death of a party member will count. Though the GM can determine not to increase your Grief if the party member was traveling with you for less than a few months or there was known antagonism between you.

    -Betrayal of a close personal friend.

    -The loss of a true love, through death, abduction, or separation.

    -Losing a Bond.

    -Having an Ideal proven false or warped.

    -The return of a great enemy power from the past. Particularly one that was thought defeated, or abandoned their machinations on the world.

    DM Note: There is a lot that a DM can do to make the elf's life miserable and have them constantly stuck in Grief. While there are certainly dramatic moments where a few such events may pile up, as a general rule, Grief cannot increase more than two steps per day. And increasing an elf's grief should be somewhat rare. An elf gaining Grief-Stricken a handful of times in a campaign is an interesting roleplay opportunity. An elf getting stuck in Grief for most the game is a bore, and you're a mean DM.



    Decreasing Grief

    It is all too common for an elf to become consumed by their Grief, becoming hollow shells of beings too depressed to act in any way. Others waste away, leave the world and join with their gods, and some pitiable elves commit violent suicide too wary to continue fighting against the Grief of Ages. Sadly, such actions often increase the Grief of all who knew them in life.

    That said, many elves have learned to live with their Grief and counter-act the effects through various methods. But these methods are often only fleeting.

    -Spending a weeks of downtime specifically in the goal to decrease your Grief. Nothing else may be accomplished in this time. Usually such downtime is spent either cavorting, drinking, and debauchery in an excessive exuberance for life or in quiet contemplation and meditation where they make piece with the fleeting nature of the world.

    -Achieving some great victory against a persistent or powerful enemy.

    -Accomplishing a long running personal goal. Something that took several months of dedicated work to achieve.

    -Living through a rare life affirming event, such as a proclamation of true love, a marriage, or the birth of a relative.

    -Beholding one of the great natural beauties for the first time in your life.

    -Not using their Grief Die for an entire week.

    Work with your GM to allow some of these outlets to occur through the course of play. Though do not abuse such mechanics. For the purposes of Grief, a player is only allowed one True Love at a time. One cannot celebrate the marriage to a true love every day of the week. Breaking up with one True Love would cause a level of Grief so you would only stagnate. But more importantly, thatís against the very nature of these very optional rules.

  13. - Top - End - #43
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: What's Your Most Off-Beat Setting Detail?

    It hasn't come up much in game, but I tried to base the religious system in my world on a sort of neoplatonic system. The classical Greek gods exist, but they are merely reflections of some deeper truth.

    Souls pass through a cycle of reincarnation. The conventional view is that you retain knowledge in some form between lives. This is why, with some prompting, people can often figure out basic things like certain mathematical formulas on their own. This also includes philosophical learning. It is thought that those who study philosophy in a previous life can come to a deeper understanding in their next. Over many cycles of death and rebirth you will come to a true understanding of the nature of the universe.

    Philosophy plays an important part in the setting. Philosophical academies take the place of monasteries, and some of the treasure the party has found were ancient philosophical texts, thought lost to history.

    I also have an idea about using my vague understanding of Aristotelian physics to do a trip to the moon type game. Everything has a natural place in the universe. Earth type materials fall towards the center of the earth, moon type materials fall towards the center of the moon. But, through the marvels of modern alchemy enough selenium has been produced to construct a vessel capable of taking a mission to the moon. Now, of course you can't build the entire thing out of selenium, so the vessel will have to start its voyage being fired out of a cannon to escape the Earth's influence.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flickerdart View Post
    Why be Evil when you can be Lawful?

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