Monday, August 24, 2015

An Angle on Osriel, Pt. I

800 CE: In the early days, colonial powers called Dawn Wilds the vast region tucked between what would become Nav-Gandar and Eastern Ellyrion. Tribal fellfolk owned these lands, and they knew trouble was coming. By 848 CE, southern tribes had crossed through the Osirim Range, seeking refuge from Munaani settlers stealing their lands. During the next thirteen years, native stone clans migrated from the Great Mountain Island, along the Alvern Heights, while water tribes sailed up the coast to the shores of Crimson Deep. Disputes flared for control of ancestral lands until the shamans came to an agreement, and the new tribes settled. But peace was short lived.

A few fleeting years later, rulers of Munaan, Alorea, and Kragdûr watched as unclaimed lands of the Great Caldera were quickly being snatched. In a bid to grab more territories before all would be settled, Nicareans landed at the site of Lorical, and pushed across a large lake, claiming its southeastern banks. A great battle against the fellfolk gave it its present name, the Lake of Tears. Another Nicarean force disembarked close to the Osirim, marching in a pincer move to seize much of the south. Their forces stretched thin and barely able to hold their ground, the Nicareans prayed to Teos for help. The sun god heard their prayers and turned to the Gate Keeper (see CAL1 “In Stranger Skies,” page 63). Through the celestial vortex came humans from another reality, joyous and sun-loving people taken from a world ravaged by the plague. They spoke an elegant-sounding language that sang to Nicarean ears. None of them remembered whence they’d come, but they honored Teos and that was good enough as far as the Nicareans were concerned. Monfalconia became the name they gave their new homeland.

861 CE:  Araldûr dwarves followed the same route as the native stone clans once did, driving them out of the Alvern Heights. Meanwhile, newly-invented Kragdûras steamers flew to the tall mountains in the east, prospecting for favorable construction and mining sites. They soon found themselves in the same predicament as the Nicareans and prayed to Khrâlia for help. The Gate Keeper dutifully fetched more people. These were good-hearted folk, northerners to be sure. They sounded awfully strange to the dwarves, but they fiercely praised the All Mother. Some still remembered the secrets of delicacies such as pierogi, kielbasa, and smoked cheese, and all was fine with the ravenous warriors of Kragdûr. The newcomers called their new homeland Czarziemia.

874 CE:  To prevent forces of Kragdûr and Nicarea from heading north, the Aloreans seized a vast area, arching from Devansy Island through to the great central valley and down to the outskirts of Monfalconia. This huge elven territory became known as Linnefarn. To help his faithful contain their rivals, Delathien resorted to the same stratagem as his divine counterparts had used. Soon, humans joined the elves east of the Lake of Tears. Shod in wooden clogs and with a penchant for growing tulips and erecting windmills, they honored Delathien just the same, and that was tolerable enough to the Aloreans. These newcomers soon gave this fertile region of Linnefarn a name that they liked better—the Rijkland.

Unable to summon the Dread Lands, fellfolk tribes were forced to flee wherever they could. In the wake of hopeless battles ending with disasters and epidemics, many natives resumed their northbound flight or scrambled to the shores of the Eastern Calderan Sea. Those who stayed became the servants of the fast-spreading newcomers who settled the tribe lands while warriors of Alorea, Kragdûr, and Nicarea remained entirely too busy squabbling over borders.

To be continued.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vipermen of Draconia

One creature that did not make it into CAL1 “In Stranger Skies” was the vipermen. This led to many questions being asked afterward about them. Now that I’m done with building “translatable” game stats and filling your heads full of gods and mythologies, it's a good time to develop these nasties from the hollow world of Soltan’s ephemeris. Mind you, I already “tested” these generic game stats when I posted the description of the Spirit Lords in the new web site’ forum. More testing by people other than me would be a plus.

The original vipermen come into existence when Sayble crossbreeds with favored Draconic knights—commanders and high-ranking priors. This species called drekans, is able to reproduce in its own incestuous ways. Though drekans are born of a living deity, they aren’t divine in nature but they do live very long existences. They mate for life and reproduce as long as their couples live. When a drekan passes away, its spirit is reincarnated among Sayble’s next clutch. Each couple and their progeny embody distinct broods assigned specific territories or duties. The first and oldest brood is responsible for protecting Sayble. Others, those of later-born drekans typically work faraway territories, such as other worlds and their moons. Sayble’s broods all work independently from each other, as separate organizations. They do cooperate with Draconic knights, should they be in contact with them. Tattoos are often used to distinguish different broods.

Drekans sport black scales and, although bipedal, they still look more monstrous than human. They possess a long and powerful tail and claws, and can inflict a nasty bite. If wielding weapons, drekans prefer oversized polearms, usually magical. Magic attracts them. They often keep the best of magical treasures their progeny brings back to them, handing much of the rest to their divine liege, the Black Queen. Drekans occasionally gift magical weapons to hetmans and priors who have distinguished themselves. Dragon rulers of Draconia may also breed drekans and vipermen (or some other similar creatures). Their appearances match the rulers’ colors, affinities to certain environments, and their general nature.

Vipermen are the progeny of drekans. These creatures are sterile and genderless. They possess basic abilities and can improve their skills through experience. Their life expectancy is slightly less than that of a human being, maturing at about 15. Within the context of Sayble’s rule, they are her spies and assassins. An off-world brood typically includes 100-160 individuals able to live as much as 60 years. On average, they die out in their early-thirties as casualties of their dangerous lives (a drekan couple lays one clutch of d3+2 eggs annually). Only Sayble knows how many broods exist, their missions, and their locations.

Vipermen are capable of passing themselves off as humans, especially when wearing a hood and gloves. Many resort to using masks and cosmetics to cover up their somewhat reptilian faces. Their scales are smooth and flexible, brown to black. They often wear armor, preferably leather, to improve their survival chances in combat. Vipermen mostly behave as rogues rather than warriors.

Game stats are given below. Use earlier blog posts (Game Mechanics & the conversion table) to translate them into your chosen game system. This is a first draft. Feel free to ask questions or make suggestions based on your experience reading about or playing in the Calidar setting. Thanks!

EDIT: the stats conversion PDF is now available as a free download.  Click Here!

Minions of Sayble

Abilities
Vipermen
Drekan
Young
Mature
Hetman
Prior
Life Force (%)
3+1
8+2
17+4
14+3
25+6
Size (feet)
5’
6’
7’
Movement:       walking
swimming
90’ (30’)
150’ (50’)
120’(40)
180’ (60’)
150’ (50’)
210’ (70’)
180’ (60’)
240’ (80’)
Armor Rating (%)
AR25
AR30
AR35
AR30
AR40
# of Physical Attacks
1 bite + 2 claws, OR 1 spit, OR
1 weapon (blowgun, bolas, or sword)
OR 1 spell
As vipermen
+1 tail
Physical Damage
Bite
VL+1
Lo+1
2M
2Lo
3M+2
Claws
minimum
VL each
Lo+1 ea.
Tail
n/a
M+1
Spit
M
2Lo+2 acid damage
as a dragon
Weapon
n/a
by weapon
by wp. +2
by weapon
by weapon +4
Venomous Bite
10%
15%
25%
20%
30%
Special Abilities
All vipermen:  As rogues with comparable Life Force, high agility, night vision, background mimicry (90% chance to remain unseen when motionless or moving slowly), acid spitting (one target up to 10’ away, once per encounter). Their bites may be venomous (negated with a successful defense roll); effect (d6): 1-3. Double damage, 4-5. Paralysis for several minutes, 6. Death.
Priors:  Faithful to Sayble; as a prior with half as much Life Force.
Drekans:  Add 1 tail attack to unarmed combat routine; acid spit three times per day, 90’ range, damage inflicted as an acid-spitting dragon).  Males cast spells as wizards with half as much Life Force; females act as priors of Sayble with half as much Life Force. Both detect magic at will.
Defense Rolls
as monsters with the same Life Force rating
Basic Immunities
Drekans only:  Acid-based attacks, non-magical weapons, and mind-affecting magic (such as fear, sleep, charms, and demonic possessions).
Magic Immunity (%)
n/a
15
Minimum Int. (%)
39+
44+
50+
67+
Philosophy/Per.
predominantly rational/malevolent
Morale Rating (%)
MR50
MR67
MR75
MR83










Tuesday, August 11, 2015

#Calidar Multi-Project Update

As I'm approaching the later design and writing stages for CC1 "Beyond the Skies," it's time to give everyone an update of where things are and what follows next. 

All CC1 chapters are fully written and proofed, save for three pantheons (actually two and a half, plus the final version of Teos/Soltan and his servants). Each takes me realistically two to three weeks to complete properly if I don’t burn out in the process. Most of the temple floorplans are also done. Yes, I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel! It’s been a very long project, hitting somewhere between 150-200 pages, two-column format, with fairly small type size. I may add a section about Ghüle and an overview on the gods of sapient monsters. In any case, if you have questions about CC1, please check the original article first, and get back to me asap. There’s still some time to address topics I may have overlooked.

What next, you might ask? As soon as the last bit is done, proofed, and off my mind, I can start working on CC1’s Kickstarter. I probably will be doing little writing during the funding process, save for the blogs to keep you posted. As soon as that’s over, several contracts will be going out for text editing, internal illos, and cover painting. While all these people gear up for CC1, I’ll be finishing the last few temples’ floorplans.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

You Say Potayto, I Say Potahto

Calidar Game Conversion
This article is a follow-up to the earlier one about Calidar's Game MechanicsIts intent is to suggest a table that helps convert stats listed as percentages into common practical ranges.  In most cases, scores allocated to character or monster statistics in CC1 "Beyond the Skies" are expressed as percentages of practical ranges used in the players’ chosen game system.  For example, a range of scores running from 1-20 is easy to translate from percentiles; on the other hand, the corresponding percent scores aren’t intuitive for a range of 1-36. The table below translates percentile scores into commonly-found numerical ranges. All results are rounded to the closest number.  If you see any other range that ought to be listed in the table below, do let me know.  Thanks!

 Table XXX. Range Conversion Chart

%
10 to –10
1–12
1–18
1–20
1–21
1–30
1–36
%
0
10






0
3





1
1
3
5
9


1
1


5
6


1



2
6
7





2

7
8

1




3
8
10
8


2
2
3

10
11


2



4
11
13





4

13
14




3

5
14
15
7


3



15
17

2
3


5
6
17
19




4

7
19
20
6


4

6

20
22


4



8
22
23





7

23
24




5


24
25
5
3

5


9
25
27





8

27
28


5



10
28
29




6


29
30
4


6

9

30
31






11
31
33

4
6

7
10
12
33
35
3


7



35
36






13
36
37





11

37
38




8


38
39


7



14
39
40
2


8

12

40
42

5




15
42
43




9
13

43
44


8



16
44
45
1


9



45
47





14
17
47
48




10


48
50
0
6
9
10

15
18
50
52




11


52
53





16
19
53
55
-1


11



55
56


10



20
56
57




12
17

57
58

7




21
58
60
-2


12

18

60
61


11



22
61
62




13


62
63





19

63
64






23
64
65
-3


13



65
67

8
12

14
20
24
67
69






25
69
70
-4


14

21

70
71




15


71
72


13



26
72
73





22

73
75
-5
9

15


27
75
76




16


76
77





23

77
78


14



28
78
80
-6


16

24

80
81




17

29
81
83

10
15


25
30
83
85
-7


17



85
86




18

31
86
87





26

87
89


16



32
89
90
-8


18
19
27

90
92

11




33
92
93





28

93
94


17



34
94
95
-9


19
20


95
97





29
35
97
100
-10
12
18
20
21
30
36
100