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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    As I elluded to previously in this forum, I've been working on a setting for 4e. Some problems have arised, but I'm far more willing to work through them than I have been in previous projects. Afterall, 4e should be around for a long while, and I'll be happy to use this setting time and time again. Even happier if other people use it.

    Planes



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    The Planes are all bound to the material planet (called Refuge.)

    The Elemental Ring is an invisibile 'shadow copy' of Refuge's planetary building blocks. It's uninhabited, but elementals are created from it by spellcasters.

    The Blankets of Life and Death (Positive and Negative energy planes) revolve around the earth, giving the essence of life during the day and collecting the essence of the deceased during the night. Also uninhabited.

    The last plane is where all outsiders and deities normally live. Neutrals live in the middle of the Heavens & Hells, while celestials and infernals live opposite one-another.


    I have a few problems that present themselves, mainly...

    What to do with all the Feywild and Shadowfell creatures? Should they just be considered natural inhabitants of Refuge like humans and orcs?

    Setting Plotline & Themes

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    For some reason, the Gods have been diminished to roughly 10% of their power. This means that anything vaguely related to living beings is all out of whack, since Gods are essentially what causes the world to live and breathe (as opposed to becoming a toxic soup like Earth was a few billion years ago. The Elemental Ring maintain's Refuge in a material sense, while the Gods maintain Refuge's living creatures, you know?)

    Ecosystems began failing since animals no longer cooperate with one another. When the ecosystems failed, everything green went to hell. All fey are now mentally insane with grief/decay. Some Elves got lucky- Eladrin didn't. Thus, we need a race to replace them. More on that, later.

    People die for no reason and spirits don't make it to their final destination.

    These are the largest problems, but not all of them.

    Unrelated to the gods' absense (or are they?) is the steady influx of demons and devils that have come to have their way with Refuge.


    Why are the Gods gone? How? I was thinking of having them all become Atropals by some horrible cataclysm- or the evil gods trapping/melding their essence in the body/soul of Terrasques.

    A third option, which I'll admit is pretty lazy, is to simply let the DM decide what happened.

    A note; It's not that the gods are dead, per se. It's that their power is being limited. Killing one (as the setting's name implies) would likely release that limit on their power, and a new deity would be able to restore the wounded planet's vitality.

    Races

    No more Eladrin, Elves are rare. Tieflings are 95% evil, being created by devils to corrupt the mortal races' genepool (Tieflings give birth to tieflings, regardless of who they mate with. Thanks for that handy fact, PHB.)

    Replacements/Additions?

    I'm considering the Shadar-Kai to replace the Eladrin. But that presents some problems. Mainly, how to incorporate a death-worshipping branch of humans that aren't just culturally different; but physiologically. How/why did they come about? And so on and so on.

    I woulden't know what to replace tielfings with (Disgraced celestials walking innocuously among humans, rendering what little aid they can muster?), and quite frankly- enough of this emo crap, tieflings are remorseless killing machines, barring the 5% who are actually raised by non-tiefling mothers in a misguided attempt to wield their enemies' weapon against them. They're jaded and/or evil because everyone wants to lynch them, if they haven't already been killed, that is.

    Classes

    Clerics and Paladins now suck. The lack of gods have caused them to lose virtually all power. A player can still be one (with a feat that grants a permanent +2 bonus to all rolls to boot... don't worry, even I don't think this makes up for the total nerfing that divine powers receive...)

    Replacements may include a Celestial Pact Warlock for the Cleric or a Engineer/Chemist type class who is skilled in administering potions and buffing/debuffing chemicals. A replacement for the Paladin's role may or may not be needed. Who knows?

    I have some of the actual 'official rules' written down in a 9 page Word document (along with a rather lengthy creation story), but I'd prefer to have everything pristine and shiny before I post a thread with this information all in one place, prefferably a nice table of contents... I'll copy and paste any of that information here if someone asks.

    So, first things first; Shadar-Kai?
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    Where are all the heroes, and where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?

    Sorry, felt like I had to. Other than that, I can only say that I think it looks interesting. I don't know what I'd play in it, myself, because I'm usually the cleric.

    Oh! I could be the struggling cleric who is still devoted to the gods despite their decline in power.
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    The Feywild is supposed to be the bright, vibrant, magical counterpart of the world. The Shadowfell is the dark, sinister side. These two seem to match up well with the Blankets of Life/Death you have set up - or rather, as the planes that used to buffer between the Blankets and Refuge. One thought is that the loss of the gods' powers have collapsed the Feywild/Shadowfell into Refuge, causing a lot of the chaos. Just an idea.

    As for the Shadar-kai, I don't see them as death cult worshippers - more as exceptionally fatalistic. They don't view death as something to achieve; it's more of an inevitability, so why avoid it? Fight to the end, show no mercy, and let the Raven Queen sort things out. I also think of the Shadar-kai as referring directly to the Raven Queen as a person, as if she was an actual monarch that ruled over their lifestyle; after all, the Shadar-kai think that they will personally be returning to the Raven Queen after death, reguardless of how distant she becomes.

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    Quote Originally Posted by mikeejimbo View Post
    Where are all the heroes, and where are all the gods? Where's the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds?

    Sorry, felt like I had to. Other than that, I can only say that I think it looks interesting. I don't know what I'd play in it, myself, because I'm usually the cleric.

    Oh! I could be the struggling cleric who is still devoted to the gods despite their decline in power.
    Actually, I didn't want the world to become an irredeemable crapbucket. The PCs are expected to be directly the cause of Refuge's healing as they climb into epic levels.

    Not alone, mind you... Because of the harsh conditions; the average commoner can usually handle themselves pretty well (cats beware) and someone who organized the various town-states together into an army might have be fortunate enough to get a solo encounter with a devil rather than dealing with hundreds of tiefling/cambion minions beforehand. An idle thought.

    Also, what I have so far on clerics;

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    Because of the gods’ greatly diminished power, the Cleric and Paladin classes have been relegated to NPC-only status. The uses for all divine-based powers is increased by one (At-Will to Encounter, Encounter to Daily) and the action time is increased by one (Free to Minor, Minor to Move, Move to Standard) A character is counted as being at half-level for meeting the prerequisites for prayers. All numerical effects from divine-based powers are halved (minimum 1)

    Blessed [Cleric or Paladin]
    Prerequisite: Wis 17, Cleric or Paladin only.
    Benefit: Though the gods have been greatly weakened and many have lost faith in them, you have served your divine master unswervingly. In return, you have been truly blessed by what little remains of that deity’s power. You gain a permanent +2 bonus to all rolls for as long as you continue to worship your deity.
    Special: This is a feat specifically designed to offset the reduced power of clerics and paladins in Deicide, and is not suggested for other campaigns or for evil clerics who may have their full power.


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    Any Ritual that has Religion or Heal as its key skill takes 10 times the length and material cost to perform, and a character must have one and a half of the required levels.

    Preservation of Clarity
    You halt the slow corruption of death that seethes within the minds of those sensitive to nature’s plight.
    Level: 6, Category: Restoration, Time: 1 hour, Duration: 1d12+8 years, Key Skill: Heal
    Component Cost: 200gp, Market Cost: 500gp

    A lesser (but longer lasting) version of ‘Remove Affliction’, Preservation of Clarity creates a semi-permanent barrier over one’s thoughts- protecting them from the harmful cries of the natural world. This is a ritual used commonly on elves once they reach maturity (and every few decades in case it wears off, though the duration roll must be made secretly)

    Unfortunately, this ritual isn’t perfect. Many who undergo it suffer some side-effects. The ritual commonly ‘locks’ one’s mindset in place. For this reason, most who undergo it must unfortunately endure a few years of mental decay until they reach maturity- lest they think like children all their lives. Additionally, memories are firmly established at the time the ritual is conducted, but new ones are harder to form.

    This ritual wards off new influence and restrains existing corruption, but it cannot undo what decay has already occurred, nor does it seem to work as much as one would hope- the oldest elves are known to have quite a skewed perception of the world.

    Many elves spend a good portion of their wealth to purchase this ritual (though few ever refuse to perform the service, even if it can’t be afforded) and debt has slowly accumulated with each new generation of elves struggling to pay off the rituals of their parents and grandparents. A common solution is to offer elves a waiver if they offer lifetime service to town guards and militia, making them a common sight in armor.


    The Feywild is supposed to be the bright, vibrant, magical counterpart of the world. The Shadowfell is the dark, sinister side. These two seem to match up well with the Blankets of Life/Death you have set up - or rather, as the planes that used to buffer between the Blankets and Refuge. One thought is that the loss of the gods' powers have collapsed the Feywild/Shadowfell into Refuge, causing a lot of the chaos. Just an idea.

    As for the Shadar-kai, I don't see them as death cult worshippers - more as exceptionally fatalistic. They don't view death as something to achieve; it's more of an inevitability, so why avoid it? Fight to the end, show no mercy, and let the Raven Queen sort things out. I also think of the Shadar-kai as referring directly to the Raven Queen as a person, as if she was an actual monarch that ruled over their lifestyle; after all, the Shadar-kai think that they will personally be returning to the Raven Queen after death, reguardless of how distant she becomes.
    Hmmmm... The Blankets are uninhabited, but there used to be areas where their influence seeped through and melded with Refuge, creating the Feywild and Shadowfell. With negative and positive energy all out of whack, they've combined completely at some areas.

    That's actually a pretty good idea! ^_^ I'm inclined to say that the feywild and shadowfell aren't planes but actual places that randomly dot the landscape on Refuge, just highly influenced by positive/negative energy seeping through the cracks, so to speak.

    Regardless of their origins, if I kept Shadar-Kai's fluff- they would not be pleased that souls keep going stagnant, as is common nowadays. It certaintly makes for an easy motivation for them as a people.

    I'm thinking the life and death gods are a father(life) and a mother(death) as a bit of an inversion. The father is a disgruntled artist, manipulating life essence to breath life into each of his creations- but grows angry at his (apparantly) flawed creations and flings them off to Refuge. The mother is a gentle being who collects the wayward souls of those who die each night and is eager to have her children return. Fondly, she turns their souls into the life-essence that the father uses to produce his art.

    I had a thought that Refuge's globes would have two figures at opposite sides of the equater, walking along on a rotating ring to signify this constant cycle.
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Do you really want a round world? Or was that just your default?

    And is it a good thing to roll back the "in 4e, we try to make cosmologically significant areas places to have adventures in"?

    Ie, why not have the area where there are elementals full of beings who are being elemental? Why not have the source of death be a place where you can go on a quest? Or the same for the source of life?

    Ie:
    Start with a flat world.

    The Day is when the world moves closer to the Feywild, and the Night is when the world moves closer to the Shadowfel. Some parts of reality have a bias that exists even during the day: a shadowfel forest might have eternal gloom.

    Heaven is still up, and Hell is still down -- but now down means down, not just "around".

    Instead of sticking the Elementals into a Ring, make it a cone that goes sideways. This isn't "down", but rather "sideways": remember, down is hell.

    But reality itself is sitting on the Elemental foundations. Going in the Elemental direction, everything becomes less reality-based, and more about the basic building blocks of creation.

    The apex of the Elemental foundations is a single spot from which all reality falls.

    The problem is that these Elemental foundations are universal. They support the Feywild, they support the Shadowfel, they support Heaven and they support Hell. And ... Hell is corrupt. That corruption has leaked down into the Elemental foundations (in an attempt to break through the barriers keeping Hell away from Reality).

    It has reached the very apex of the Elemental Foundations. And it has twisted it. An Abyss has opened up, at the deepest parts of the Elemental Foundations, and horrible demonic beings are creeping out.

    Barriers exist -- the City of Brass maintains an army holding off the Demon armies. The Gods themselves might be fighting a holding action. Even some of the Devils of Hell might have realized their mistake, and be at war with these newly created Demonic beings.

    ...

    This creates a rather neat effect. Each point in "Reality" (Refuge) has corresponding sets of points in the other Realms.

    You can shift towards the realms of Life, Death, Hell, Heaven or the Elemental Foundations.

    But this might not be what you are looking for. :)

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yakk View Post
    Do you really want a round world? Or was that just your default?
    Actually, I was going for a (relatively) scientific universe. The creation story starts with a big bang, and the planet forming due to gravity.

    There were no gods before mortals ascended and took control of all the portfolios. (Before, the powers of the gods were distributed throughout all life, if that makes any sense. An oversoul, so to speak.)

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    Scholars theorize that the universe began with a great expansion of energy and matter, and that all things are attracted to one another. As such, Refuge began as an invisible ring of an unknown energy. This energy could only attract to itself at two points, but its gravity to matter was omnidirectional. Naturally, the ring’s gravity was strongest at its center and matter began to collect at this point, mostly dust. This space dust became larger and larger, becoming a spherical rock until it was roughly the shape of Refuge today. Simultaneously, the energy ring took on the traits of this material. As time passed, Refuge’s core became hot- and the ring was simultaneously divided into two parts; pure rock and pure heat. Soon, air was formed on Refuge’s surface and with air came water. The ring took on these aspects as well, and thus the Elemental Ring was formed. It is said that the Elemental Ring is not full of actual earth, heat, air, or water… but rather that it is a mirror existence to the material world’s basic elements, a shadow copy so to speak.

    Time further passed, and Refuge became covered in oceans. Inexplicably, life appeared. Tiny organisms that cannot be seen by the unaided eye soon covered the earth. As the first living being came about, Refuge was veiled in two blankets, or planes. One plane always faces the Sun, and the other always faces away from it- leading scholars to theorize that life itself is derived from yet another invisible force coming from the Sun. The light plane is thought to be the cause of life, while the dark plane is thought to be the cause of death. Fetuses are given life essence in the day and the life essences in corpses are removed during the night. Some particularly powerful fonts of positive or negative energy has seeped through, creating feywild or shadowfell areas on Refuge’s surface.

    At the dawn of such microscopic life, this was a time when there were no gods or any other beings of the sort, but the divine power that kept all things alive was spontaneously created as these small organisms appeared. Every creature shared a portion of this power, perhaps just enough to keep itself alive. The ‘Gods’ are thus thought to be mortal beings who somehow gained the power to wield the life force of other organisms, to such extreme lengths that they became solely responsible for all life, in additional to spontaneously developing equally powerful responsibilities. A dangerous situation, indeed…

    It is unknown who (or what) the first gods were, or even if their divine positions have ever changed hands. Yet these beings had differences among one-another, and divided into two factions. They each created a plane for themselves and this was eventually known as the heavens and the hells. The two warring factions rallied the souls of mortals yet to be recycled into their ranks. The gods of the heavens favored mortals of virtue, while the gods of the hells favored mortals of vice. Many believe the two planes were originally very similar in appearance and nature; yet the slow accumulation of mortal souls led to the Heavens shifting into the paradise that its inhabitants desired, while the Hells shifted into the misery that its inhabitants wished upon others. The mass of souls was powerful enough that they even shaped the very personality of their godlords. The gods of the Hells became evil simply for its own sake, whilst the gods of the Heavens became good for its own sake.

    Thus, Refuge was finalized into four aspects; The Material Sphere, The Elemental Ring, The Blankets of Life and Death, and the Heavens’ Peak opposite the Hells’ Pit.


    And is it a good thing to roll back the "in 4e, we try to make cosmologically significant areas places to have adventures in"?

    Ie, why not have the area where there are elementals full of beings who are being elemental? Why not have the source of death be a place where you can go on a quest? Or the same for the source of life?

    Ie:
    Start with a flat world.

    The Day is when the world moves closer to the Feywild, and the Night is when the world moves closer to the Shadowfel. Some parts of reality have a bias that exists even during the day: a shadowfel forest might have eternal gloom.

    Heaven is still up, and Hell is still down -- but now down means down, not just "around".

    Instead of sticking the Elementals into a Ring, make it a cone that goes sideways. This isn't "down", but rather "sideways": remember, down is hell.

    But reality itself is sitting on the Elemental foundations. Going in the Elemental direction, everything becomes less reality-based, and more about the basic building blocks of creation.

    The apex of the Elemental foundations is a single spot from which all reality falls.

    The problem is that these Elemental foundations are universal. They support the Feywild, they support the Shadowfel, they support Heaven and they support Hell. And ... Hell is corrupt. That corruption has leaked down into the Elemental foundations (in an attempt to break through the barriers keeping Hell away from Reality).

    It has reached the very apex of the Elemental Foundations. And it has twisted it. An Abyss has opened up, at the deepest parts of the Elemental Foundations, and horrible demonic beings are creeping out.
    I was never a big fan of interplanar adventures. It's a setting suitable for truly epic games, but the theme I'm going for in Deicide is 'Little people against big odds', like how Frodo took down an entire evil empire of monsters by his lone little self. I'm hoping the PC's interaction with the common people will be a means to the ends as much as their own power (Most commonors are really tough and laugh in the face of cats)

    The theme that humanity is on the edge of extinction, but still clings on stubbornly is something I think epic level adventuring would diminish. Plane-hopping is a signifigant show of power.

    That being said, you have given me some ideas. Namely, to expand upon the Feywild and Shadowfell concepts explored above;

    The seperation between each plane is weakening, and they're now meshing together. Areas around the equator (roughly where the Elemental Ring is) are becoming largely effected by earthquakes/volcanoes/tornados/hurricanes. (At random locations, since the Ring is spinning faster than Refuge) and elementals could be beings born from the planes' melding. Positive energy + Elemental energy = IT'S ALIVE!

    In fact, this gives me an idea for a major god whose liberation would greatly help Refuge; The God of Seperation/Balance, responsible for keeping the planes seperate.

    As far as the elemental plane being a cone; I've decided duality is a major theme in Deicide (Light/Dark. Life/Death. Good/Evil) ...though the ring is more like quartality, with it being divided in 4 parts. (Though the Ring is more like a clone of Refuge's building blocks) So I'd lean towards assigning another plane to face opposite the Elemental plane like the Heavens/Hells have.

    That being said; I do like the idea that everything is slowly becoming one world/plane. And that it's a bad thing.

    Barriers exist -- the City of Brass maintains an army holding off the Demon armies. The Gods themselves might be fighting a holding action. Even some of the Devils of Hell might have realized their mistake, and be at war with these newly created Demonic beings.

    ...

    This creates a rather neat effect. Each point in "Reality" (Refuge) has corresponding sets of points in the other Realms.

    You can shift towards the realms of Life, Death, Hell, Heaven or the Elemental Foundations.

    But this might not be what you are looking for. :)
    Indeed, geographically- the tips of the heavens/hells are a few hundred thousand miles 'north' and 'south' of the poles. The Elemental Ring is around the equator, and the Life/Death sides revolve every day. All the planes overlap at some geographical point with one another, too. If plane-hopping becomes common, at least PCs will be able to get around.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Seems like a sound setting, though I would try not to limit the places players can go. The light and dark zones are perfect fits for feywild and shadowfell, and when a part of the world is in such a phase, that is the only time when the barrier can be crossed. This could lead to tons of fun scenarios like getting stuck in the shadowfell and needing to survive until your location becomes coterminous again. This would be especially fun if time flows differently there. Or something.

    This also could give a reason for elves and shadarkai. They could be varient (read: Mutant) humans who are born rarely when the different zones are coterminous and breed true, gradually starting their own cultures and societies based on their unique traits, origens and powers.

    If you are looking to include dragonborn, eladrin, and tieflings, there are some interesting flavor options available, that might be neat to give you total - flawless symetry.

    Dragonborn could originate somehow from the elemental rings, having strong elemental ties mechanically already.

    Eladrin could have a much more angelly and less elfy vibe to them and come from the heavenly realms.

    Tieflings could be their mirror, as the mortal representatives of the hellish realms on Refuge.

    I understand you may not like these races, but it is usually good to provide allowances in a campaign setting, because many players I know are REALLY set on Dragonborn, and after all, the success or failure of a setting is up to them.


    Plus, everyone likes planar symmetry! and this way everyone has their own neat planar origin. Which may be common knowledge or not.

    Tis Halcyon Dax! Forsooth!

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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by Halcyon_Dax View Post
    Seems like a sound setting, though I would try not to limit the places players can go. The light and dark zones are perfect fits for feywild and shadowfell, and when a part of the world is in such a phase, that is the only time when the barrier can be crossed. This could lead to tons of fun scenarios like getting stuck in the shadowfell and needing to survive until your location becomes coterminous again. This would be especially fun if time flows differently there. Or something.
    I suppose I could make plane-hopping occur without it seeming too epic. Could go for a 'stranger in a foreign land' kind of vibe. Maybe rifts exist in a few places; so the players don't quite plane-hop under their own power.

    This also could give a reason for elves and shadarkai. They could be varient (read: Mutant) humans who are born rarely when the different zones are coterminous and breed true, gradually starting their own cultures and societies based on their unique traits, origens and powers.
    You've given me something to ponder on. I'll see what blossums.

    If you are looking to include dragonborn, eladrin, and tieflings, there are some interesting flavor options available, that might be neat to give you total - flawless symetry.

    Dragonborn could originate somehow from the elemental rings, having strong elemental ties mechanically already.
    Dragonborn are still present, but they have undergone some changes. They were persecuted by humans long ago when they realized something was wrong. (Ie: Not too similiar to how everyone blamed the jews during the Black Plague, which is where this setting heavily derives its influence from)

    So they've become a bit isolationist, and formed an even more martial and combat-oriented society. I'm not sure how far I'd want to take it; but they've had to fend for themselves all alone on the frontier; and the effects this has on their culture shall be obvious..once I figure out what those effects are.

    Though an elemental history would certaintly be able to fit with that.

    Eladrin could have a much more angelly and less elfy vibe to them and come from the heavenly realms.

    Tieflings could be their mirror, as the mortal representatives of the hellish realms on Refuge.
    Also interesting takes on the Eladrin as being more divine than fey, I never thought of it that way.

    I understand you may not like these races, but it is usually good to provide allowances in a campaign setting, because many players I know are REALLY set on Dragonborn, and after all, the success or failure of a setting is up to them.
    Aw, is my aversion to those races so well known?

    Plus, everyone likes planar symmetry! and this way everyone has their own neat planar origin. Which may be common knowledge or not.
    Actually, that's an interesting idea.. Each of the planes effecting Refuge's inhabitants in some way, and even giving birth to new races.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Huzzah! Many races are playable now, though somewhat conditionally.

    Dragonborn
    In ancient times, before dragons had fallen from grace, they had a race of servants. Originally presumed as humans converted to the purpose (bearing vestigial breasts to this day), the Dragonborn widely populated a few regions throughout Refuge. Always slightly mistrusted, they sought to build upon their draconic culture after their masters became a thing of a past. Fashioning themselves now as a collective equal to the Dragons, this new race had been among the finest architects of the world. Using their affinity with other reptilians, The Dragonborn found themselves at the head of a large union of former draconic slaves. With such allies (and their own innate strength) they forged great vertical cities. While other civilizations expanded outwards towards the horizon, Dragonborn cities were a series of spires surrounded by fields, often having one side’s weight supported by a sharp artificial cliff face. Many assume this was intent as a show of power to their former draconic overlords.

    Times have passed, however. Many blamed the dragonborn for the cause of their troubles, citing the race’s draconic heritage as blight to the gods’ divine nature. Alliances between nations fell, and in the end, there was no common defense between races when the demons and devils attacked. The great dragonborn spire-cities collapsed upon themselves, their fragility all too evident when the population could no longer support the high-maintenance structures. Even today, a crack of thunder is said to be the noise of a dragonborn spire falling.

    Many still live in these ruins, eking out a living amid the rubble and resorting to guerilla tactics whenever an infernal host seeks to claim their ancestral homes.

    There is still much animosity (on both sides) between dragonborn and the other races, though it has been somewhat abated by the passage of time. They rarely live among the other races, but commonly interact with one-another on the basis of necessity.

    Dwarves
    In old times, Dwarves had forged great kingdoms in the rock and stone. Declaring the limits of their lands as being wherever the land went flat, they enjoyed a peaceful existence as their empires bordered nearly every other nation. Becoming great traders and owning many embassies throughout the world.

    When Refuge began its slow descent, however, the long-lived (yet less fertile) dwarves felt their numbers diminishing. All the while, mountainous beasts grew more deranged and bold, attacking the weakened dwarven strongholds. After long deliberation, it was decided to abandon their homeland to the beasts. As stubborn as dwarves are known to be, their leaders put survival over pride (Most ironically and unsurprisingly, this decision is fiercely defended to this day) and they spread out among their neighbors, huddling together for mutual protection.

    Nonetheless, there is an unofficial pact among all dwarves; when the troubles of the age have been overcome; the halls will be reclaimed and the dwarven empires will be rebuilt.

    Eladrin
    Elves were always prone to living by areas particularly infused with positive energy. It is known that there were slight gaps between the barriers that separated planes, even before the world became corrupted. Areas particularly weak led to a small amount of positive energy from the Blanket of Life seeping through in brief (yet seemingly permanent) bursts. The areas affected became known as the Feywild, and were characterized by an abundance of life and vitality. The elves who settled in these areas also flourished, eventually changing physiologically and becoming Eladrin. As they became an entirely new civilization, the elusive Eladrin separated themselves from most of the world. This came at a heavy price, however. With the slow decay of nature, those sensitive to it began to feel everything collapse. Refuge’s Fey slowly became deranged, and subsequently, Eladrin. Those precious few who were fortunate to realize it fled their native lands, joining human settlements and struggling to find a way to resist their own inevitable descent into madness. It is common for an Eladrin living with humans to annually offer a prayer to their fallen brethren, expecting (and hoping for) death to heal them from their suffering.

    Within the communities, Eladrin often do not fit well within any particular economic class. They do not favor combat like their elven brethren, nor are they particularly well suited for such mundane trades as blacksmithing or agriculture. This leaves them to fill a certain niche; mainly, magic and intellectualism. Those unable to wield the universe’s power are usually restrained to the secondary role, and few people have any use for information when survival is at stake. The Eladrin wizards, however, are greatly revered (if somewhat feared for the race’s natural tendency to be a bit mentally unstable.) yet kept at arm’s length.

    Elves
    Few elves live out in the wilds anymore. The slow decay that took the majority of Eladrin was much kinder to elves, though still very catastrophic. Seeing that the wilderness was becoming inhospitable, elves began living within human settlements like most other races.

    Being less wealthy and earthier than their Eladrin cousins, the elves found they could not afford the routine rituals required to keep their mental instability at bay. Rather, they choose to waiver the costs by serving in many towns’ militia, an important job in this day and age. Subsequently, a vast majority of town guards include elves in great numbers, and they have taken on a much more martial and industrial culture, having lost much of their reverence for nature.

    This had led to a highly organized and military-based shift in elven society. The strict hierarchy of military life has made most elves focus on grooming their children for service, and they have a nigh unquestionable loyalty for their superiors.

    Half-elves
    With the world in such dire straits, and the great increase of infertility among all races, the slow barriers between races faded, and marriages between them became common (at least among races that could produce children with one another.) A clear example of this is the rise of half-elves. While elves are generally considered ill-fit as mates due to their mental illness, many have considered this unimportant in the greater scheme of things, when breeding is vital to survival. To many citizens’ relief, half-elves do not inherit the fey ancestry of their elven parents, and are almost completely immune to the insanity that comes with it. They are accepted warmly by both races, and usually serve in the town guards alongside their elven parents. Those who don’t (are there are a few) fit easily enough in the roles that humans commonly employ.

    Halflings
    When the infernal host came, the halflings’ long hidden settlements were finally unable to endure. After hundreds of years of staving off the increasingly violent monsters of Refuge, the halflings helped organized settlements alongside humans in the two races’ shared lands.

    Serving as a social backbone among the different races in these settlements, Halflings became well-known and liked among all races. They served as both merchants and town leaders, keeping many settlements well-stocked and wisely rationed in the dark times.

    Shadar-Kai

    Like Eladrin, the Shadar-Kai are beings particularly effected by the negative energy that occasionally pierces into Refuge. Most often human in origin, they existed in tribal clans spread throughout the Shadowfell. As the world decayed more and more, they could keenly feel that death was no longer a powerful force in the world. Spirits became an ever-present concern, and the souls of the deceased could not be recycled into living beings again, soon after stagnating. This led to a mass exodus of Shadar-Kai from their hidden homes, and many have devoted their lives to helping regulate the spirits of the dead, including those of previously distrusted foreign races.

    Many Shadar-Kai wander Refuge alone (certainly a dangerous thing to do with demons all about, though a good deal of Shadar-Kai are cunning enough to evade them) as they offer their services to anyone willing, guiding their dead to the afterlife or removing undead. All the while they search for the cause of this great problem. Some, however, have settled down within the human settlements for one reason or another.

    See page 279 in the Monster Manual for details on playing one.

    Tieflings
    When the devils first arrived, they had methodically planned the destruction of all the goodly races. One of these foul strategies involved corrupting the gene-pool with their own spawn, easily controllable and innately evil. The first tieflings were thought to be kidnapped humans used as slaves. They were eventually turned into an entirely different creature, and the devils were pleased with the results, seeing as how tieflings begot tieflings, regardless of whom they mated with.

    Thus, they were bred en masse by their devil overlords, and more horrifyingly, commanded to breed with their victims during attacks on settlements. Most children born of a tiefling mother are raised to be just as evil as their devil masters, while children unfortunately born of a tiefling father and surviving mother…

    They usually do not survive long enough in the womb to be born. Those who do are usually carefully raised to uphold good morals and hate their kin born into infernal influence. Some view them as a weapon to wield against their enemies, as the devils sought to use them. Nevertheless, despite many attempts to raise tieflings as proper citizens, they hold them at arm’s length. It is usually illegal to marry or mate with a tiefling, seeing as how a corrupted gene pool is their very purpose. Other times, they are trusted with only the most mundane or unimportant jobs, and rarely are they trusted with a town’s defense. People occasionally come to accept them, but usually on a ‘guilty until proven innocent’ basis, which makes such ascension difficult.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    By the way, I am fully aware that there are alot of apocalyptic 4e settings coming about. Heck, there are alot of apocalyptic settings in any genre. Most of them don't turn out so well, and I hope Deicide goes above and beyond the standard. Mainly, I am trying to not have the world 'outsuck' every other setting in existence for its own sake. It's crummy, yes, but I will be content if a player can ask 'Why does the world suck?' and find a solid awnser in the setting.

    Additionally, I want to emphasize over-arching themes.

    Isolationism; the stark loneliness of it, and the balance between its pros and cons. Both in macro (isolated villages throughout the countryside) and microcosm (individual people being emotionally detached from everything)

    Good for its own sake; Despite Deicide's grim demeanor, I want it to be clear that the PCs make a difference. The difference may be subtle, but its there. And such progress is worth it.

    Cause and Effect; Nothing is deus-ex-machina, and every action has a reaction.

    The Nature of Man; How would people adapt to such a horrific situation? In good ways or bad?

    But those are just a few... The introduction to the word document should elaborate;

    Spoiler
    Show
    Deicide is a campaign setting that seeks to present a very dark and grim world, but one with a lot of flavor and depth beyond the simple doom and gloom. Deicide isn’t a post-apocalyptic setting; it’s a mid-apocalyptic setting. It explores what it would be like to truly live on the brink of annihilation, and how its inhabitants have coped with such a bleak future. Proudly taking thematic influence from such titles as Children of Men, Diablo, Earth Abides, Legend of Legaia, Shadow of the Colossus, Soul Reaver, Mary Shelley’s The Last Man, Twelve Monkeys and most importantly, real-life accounts of the Black Death, Deicide attempts to present an incredibly verisimilar setting detailing the cause and effect of all things that a seemingly unstoppable apocalypse would bring.

    Deicide primarily takes place in a world known as Refuge, and five hundred years ago- it would have been considered paradisiacal. While Refuge had always contained fantastical inhabitants like eladrin and goblins, dire animals and bugbears were about the most monstrous beings even the most experienced traveler could conceive of. Great cities with tens of thousands of citizens dotted the land, and that era would be known as the zenith of Refuge’s long history.

    But the world began to change. The transformations were subtle and innumerable, but everyone felt the slow degradation into chaos. The ‘Tranquil Death’ took people suddenly and unerringly, while a good portion of children were born still. Souls were not carried to their destination and stagnated. The balance within ecosystems fell to pieces and even the most docile creatures of the wild went feral and mad, while plants became warped shadows of their former selves. The separating barriers between the planes weakened and Refuge was slowly being overcome by the harmful energies of neighboring planes. Worse of all, the weakening barriers led to an exodus of infernal beings from their native plane, eager to conquer the enfeebled inhabitants of Refuge. All this time, people could only wonder where the Gods had disappeared to.

    It is at this grim moment, on the brink of oblivion, that the PCs make their appearance.


    I hope this setting manages to stand above the pervasive 'darker and edgier' settings that fall short (both in gaming and literature, film, ect.)

    Spoiler
    Show
    20 Heroic Plot Hooks
    While this is a list of side-quests or adventures for low-level characters, it serves a dual purpose of exposition about the setting; many of the events in this list are not unusual or extraordinary in any way. This list has a preference for adventures set in small settlements and villages.

    1. A mad wizard has turned his deceased family and friends into harmless zombies. The jaded villagers don't seem to find it all that disturbing, save one.
    2. A ghost-town has been taken over by a small clan of demons and their worshippers. The neighboring villages are greatly threatened.
    3. The PCs witness a tiefling being lynched by a number of villagers. There seems to be as much evidence for the tiefling’s execution as there is evidence against it.
    4. A woman has chosen to keep her tiefling baby after an attack a few months ago, and the other villagers are considering taking action in their own hands.
    5. The PCs witness a traveler battling demons.
    6. The PCs meet a Paladin on the verge of giving up her faith.
    7. A ranger has gone feral like the animals of her wood.
    8. A villager has asked the PCs to investigate a nearby settlement that she has not heard from in awhile...
    9. A town's youth have run away to pledge their lives to a nearby host of infernals.
    10. With the new settlement of a nearby host of devils, a village asks the PCs to help protect them as they relocate.
    11. The PCs are followed by the shy ghost of a child.
    12. An Eladrin asks the PCs to protect her on an expedition to salvage the library of a nearby ruined city. The town guard see it as folly.
    13. Peasants are revolting against their lord, blaming her for being unable to protect them.
    14. A depopulated town has more food than it needs, but its caravans to other villages require protection.
    15. A noble has fixed the cost of buying and selling products, negating supply and demand. Her peasants are not pleased and a full-scale revolt seems likely.
    16. One noble has decreed that women cannot walk in public; citing that it tempts lecherous demons and tieflings to attack.
    17. A village has quarantined the sickly and old, believing the Quiet Death to be infectious.
    18. A nearby tribe of humanoids seem interested to form an alliance, yet the villagers refuse to accept it as genuine. Whether or not it really is, however…
    19. A cult favoring ritual sacrifice is slowly gaining influence in a local town.
    20. A village seems bizarrely cheerful...

    20 Paragon Plot Hooks

    1. A city leader asks the PCs to act as a sort of Special Forces during an attack upon the nearby city occupied by devils.
    2. The previously saintly monarch of a city-state kingdom declares war on her neighbor, and seems to be growing increasingly irrational...
    3. A city has locked down all access from outsiders, citing its recent history with shape-changing infernals.
    4. Devils are amassing an attack force against a nearby city.
    5. A recently vibrant city is devoid of all life, yet there is no sign of trouble.
    6. There are plans for two neighboring city states to merge and combine their strength, but there is opposition on both sides.
    7. A particularly nasty demon has gathered a cult of worshippers.
    8. Someone…or something is raising the dead from a city’s extensive graveyards.
    9. Something is causing earthquakes near some dragonborn ruins, its inhabitants are slowly being picked off.
    10. The PCs find a hamlet hidden somewhere safe, but it appears they were followed…
    11. An expedition asks the PCs to join them in the search for the rumored location of a God.
    12. A clan of devils seems to have developed a new weapon; they are manufacturing a strange kind of fog…
    13. A village the PCs previously visited has been massacred; the attack happened recently...
    14. There is talk of a raid being organized to rescue slaves in the nearby devil city.
    15. A few citizens fear that their city’s leaders are being influenced by some dark power.
    16.
    17.
    18.
    19.
    20.


    A good number of those heroic hooks were taken from things that occured during the black death. -Including the 'no women in public' rule. Others are merely nods to some of the games, novels, and films I took inspiration from. Legend of Legaia is perhaps one of the biggest influences on this setting so far.
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  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    (Yes, another post... So sue me. )

    But a new class.... sorta. Another warlock pact, which just means a crapload of powers to do. Less than if I was making a new class, but still alot.

    I've ran out of ideas, though... And having no knowledge of 4e in practice, might have made some inbalanced powers..

    Spoiler
    Show
    Additional Warlock Pact (Celestial)
    You have met a wandering Celestial and they have seen your potential in the ongoing fight against evil. Though you do not serve a deity in the fashion that a cleric does, one of their divine servants has siphoned a portion of its power to you. Celestial pacts require the warlock to be wise and sagacious, and often represent a sacrifice on the patron’s part, disallowing its powers to evil warlocks. At least, willfully... Some Warlocks have enslaved the celestial powers to do their bidding.

    Healing Light: You know the Healing Light at-will spell.
    Holy Vigor: You have the Celestial Pact boon. When an enemy under your Warlock's curse is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, you gain an additional healing surge. This can surpass your maximum healing surges allowed (to a maximum of 3), but the additional healing surges are no longer usable at the start of the next encounter.

    Healing Light [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    You invoke the power of your celestial patrons, mending the wounds of your allies.
    At-Will ✦ Arcane, Healing
    Standard Action (Melee Touch)
    Target: You or one ally
    Effect: The target may spend a healing surge, and gains the Warlock’s wisdom modifier plus one additional hit point for each level the warlock possesses.

    Level 1 Encounter Spells

    Smite [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    Waves of energy course through your arm as you attack, releasing violently upon your foes and hindering their defenses.
    Encounter ✦ Arcane, Implement, Radiant, Weapon
    Standard Action (Melee or Ranged Weapon)
    Target: One Creature
    Attack: Strength (Melee) or Dexterity (Ranged) vs. AC
    Effect: 1[W] + Strength (Melee) or Dexterity (Ranged) modifier radiant damage, and the target’s AC is reduced by 1 until the end of your next turn.
    Celestial Pact: The target’s AC is reduced by 1 + your wisdom modifier.

    Level 1 Daily Spells

    Constriction [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    Faint golden bands fly from the wound of your foe and wrap around their body, compressing them in a heavenly glow.
    Daily ✦ Arcane, Implement, Radiant, Weapon
    Standard Action (Melee or Ranged Weapon)
    Target: One Creature
    Attack: Strength (Melee) or Dexterity (Ranged) vs. AC
    Effect: 2[W] + Strength (Melee) or Dexterity (Ranged) modifier radiant damage, and the target is weakened until your next turn.

    Level 2 Utility Spells

    Guidance [Warlock (Celestial) Utility]
    Encounter ✦ Arcane
    Minor Action (Personal)
    Effect: On your next attack roll, you gain a bonus equal to your wisdom modifier.

    Level 3 Encounter Spells

    Protect [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    Encounter ✦ Arcane
    Standard Action (Close Burst 5)
    Target: Each ally in burst.
    Effect: The targets gain a +1 power bonus to their AC and saving throws until the end of your next turn.
    Celestial Pact: The targets’ AC and saving throws are increased by 1 + your wisdom modifier.

    Level 5 Daily Spells

    Summon Aid [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    You pray to your celestial patrons and they offer the souls of the righteous fallen. Hovering spirits appear from the air, and the virtuous dead continue their eternal crusade against evil.
    Daily ✦ Arcane
    Standard Action (Personal)
    Effect: 4 Deathless (described below) appear as close as possible to you and fight your enemies until they are destroyed or the encounter ends. They cannot be commanded and always aggressively attack hostile minions, or if that is impossible; the highest level enemy.

    Deathless (Level 5 Minion, 0 XP)
    Medium Shadow Humanoid (Undead)
    Initiative: +2 (Senses: Perception +4, Low-light vision)
    Bolster (healing) aura 5; allies that enter or start their turn in the aura regain 2 lost hit points each round and gain a +1 power bonus to AC.
    HP: 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
    AC: 20; Fortitude 19, Reflex 18, Will 19
    Speed: 6, fly 6(hover); phasing
    Phantom Sword (standard; at-will) ✦ Necrotic
    +10 vs. Reflex; 1d8+4 necrotic damage
    Alignment: Any Good (Languages: Common)
    Str 14 (+2) Dex 12 (+1) Wis 12 (+1)
    Con 10 (+0) Int 10 (+0) Cha 14 (+2)

    Level 6 Utility Spells

    Martyrdom [Warlock (Celestial) Utility]
    As a powerful blow strikes you, a faint glimmer flows through the air, and your foe mysteriously suffers a far more grievous injury, as if they had struck themselves with greater strength and fury.
    Encounter ✦ Arcane
    Immediate Reaction (Personal)
    Trigger: You are damaged by a melee attack.
    Effect: Your attacker suffers twice the amount of damage they inflict upon you. You may use this power if incapacitated or killed from the attack, and in doing so, the attacker suffers 4 times the damage of their attack.

    Level 7 Encounter Spells

    Bind [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    A great silvery chain bursts from your arm and rushes towards your foe, wrapping around them with frightening vigor and locking you and your enemy in a powerful grapple.
    Encounter ✦ Arcane
    Standard Action (Ranged 5)
    Target: One creature.
    Hit: Wis vs. Fortitude
    Effect: Both you and your target are restrained until the end of your next turn. If the target saves, you cannot sustain this power.
    Celestial Pact: Both you and the target are dazed until the end of your next turn as well.
    Sustain Standard: Make a Wis vs. Fortitude attack against the target. On a hit, both of you remain restrained. On a miss, the effect ends.

    Level 9 Daily Spells
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    Troll in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    Healing Light: You know the Healing Light at-will spell.
    Holy Vigor: You have the Celestial Pact boon. When an enemy under your Warlock's curse is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, you gain an additional healing surge. This can surpass your maximum healing surges allowed (to a maximum of 3), but the additional healing surges are no longer usable at the start of the next encounter.
    Not that useful, really.

    Healing Light [Warlock (Celestial) Spell]
    You invoke the power of your celestial patrons, mending the wounds of your allies.
    At-Will ? Arcane, Healing
    Standard Action (Melee Touch)
    Target: You or one ally
    Effect: The target may spend a healing surge, and gains the Warlock’s wisdom modifier plus one additional hit point for each level the warlock possesses.
    At-will powers are supposed to be at-will ATTACK powers.

    Not only is the above power not an attack power, it is also way way way way way too good. It blows the leader class feature (2 burn 2 healing surges of other players per encounter with a bit of extra healing) away -- you can do it at-will.

    What is worse is that it turns your character into a serious heal-bot -- I'm not aware of another power that is a standard action, does no damage, and just heals other players.

    Every at-will attack power is supposed to do damage, and then have a minor secondary effect. The better the secondary effect, the worse the damage.

    ...

    You made the same mistake elsewhere.

    The at-will, encounter and daily powers are all attack powers. Utility powers are the source of your non-attack powers.

    Utility powers should be mainly defensive abilities, and tend not to do damage.

    AC: 20; Fortitude 19, Reflex 18, Will 19
    Holy ****, those defenses are too high for a level 5 minion.

    Note that Daily powers should be useful for up to 10+ levels after you gain it, in general. Level 5 minions will be utter crap by level 10, let alone level 15. Don't rely on retraining as a crutch.

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    Default Re: [4e] 'Deicide' Feedback/Contributions

    Healing Light: You know the Healing Light at-will spell.
    Holy Vigor: You have the Celestial Pact boon. When an enemy under your Warlock's curse is reduced to 0 hit points or fewer, you gain an additional healing surge. This can surpass your maximum healing surges allowed (to a maximum of 3), but the additional healing surges are no longer usable at the start of the next encounter.

    Not that useful, really.

    xxx

    At-will powers are supposed to be at-will ATTACK powers.

    Not only is the above power not an attack power, it is also way way way way way too good. It blows the leader class feature (2 burn 2 healing surges of other players per encounter with a bit of extra healing) away -- you can do it at-will.

    What is worse is that it turns your character into a serious heal-bot -- I'm not aware of another power that is a standard action, does no damage, and just heals other players.

    Every at-will attack power is supposed to do damage, and then have a minor secondary effect. The better the secondary effect, the worse the damage.

    ...

    You made the same mistake elsewhere.

    The at-will, encounter and daily powers are all attack powers. Utility powers are the source of your non-attack powers.

    Utility powers should be mainly defensive abilities, and tend not to do damage.

    xxx

    Holy ****, those defenses are too high for a level 5 minion.

    Note that Daily powers should be useful for up to 10+ levels after you gain it, in general. Level 5 minions will be utter crap by level 10, let alone level 15. Don't rely on retraining as a crutch.
    Gah. I am not fond of homebrewing for 4e. Powers are inherently focused for combat, damaging in particular, and rituals are meant to serve the purpose that most non-combat class abilities did in 3e. Now, this would be fine if rituals were inherently applicable for this use. But they are not.

    Yet...

    For the pact boon, what would make this more useful? I'm trying to provide a viable alternative for the cleric class, and keeping fluff in mind that the warlock is granted healing/buffing powers akin to the standard angelic cliche.

    Actual healing was what I leaned to originally, but the infernals already have that.

    And Healing Light was meant to work in lieu of the Cleric's Healing Word. On closer inspection, I wonder what I was thinking.

    The Warlock does have a few defensive non-utility abilities, Armor of Agathys... Okay, so just one now that I look for it. And that damages adjacent enemies now that I look closer. Great.

    But is this a bad thing? I mean, isn't diversity among powers better? -Rather than "X damage. Or X damage, and an additional effect!" >_<

    I just whipped that minion up from the DMG's guidelines and the closest level minion available (Vampire Spawn), i'll push the defenses down a bit and should have the minion's level scale upwards, to a maximum of...something. Granted, not many other powers in the PHB scale so... yeah. Except maybe class features.

    The lesson for today? I should stick to my strength; fluff. But 4e doesn't quite lend itself to fluff. Yes, it hinders overpowered builds. But at the same time, it hinders creativity. It views itself as a game before a representation of a setting, which is a viewpoint that has its merits- but it also has its drawbacks that I am not fond of. Yes, yes, I'm complaining about 4e again- whine about my whining if thou must. In a few years, though, I won't have a choice- because the majority of players will play 4e and there will be no new material for 3e.

    I'm still working on this setting, though. Perhaps not for D&D, though...
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