Ramenos the Great Frog

February 24, 2011

One of my favorite tactics as a DM is to surprise players with creatures that are normally weak and pretty much push-overs, like kobolds, by tossing in some that have classes or skills the PCs aren’t used to seeing. However, you can only use kobolds so many times before the PCs begin to expect it.  So you need to mix it up, and this latest entry to my Monster Mythology update project allows just that, with bullywugs.  I had a lot of fun creating the spells for Ramenos’s priests, and it gave me an opportunity to cite one of my favorite monsters. If anyone uses the specialty priest in this write-up, let me know!  I’d like to hear about the PCs’ reaction.  :D

It’s a lot of fun dropping in Spelljammer references and adventure hooks, too.

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Skerrit the Hoofed Lord

February 15, 2011

As I mentioned in my previous post on Bahgtru, I’d burned out a bit working on another evil orc god. So for this update to Monster Mythology, I decided to work on something completely different, and Skerrit jumped out at me as something that could be a lot of fun, and it was.  I really enjoyed working on his writeup, and I think most of you will agree that he is makes a great addition to the existing set of nature deities, such as Silvanus and Rillifane Rallafil. Hopefully my additions to Spelljammer and the Forgotten Realms will be useful, interesting, and welcome.

Which actually reminds me.  I’d like to add some Greyhawk flavor to some of these write-ups, but I don’t know the setting all that well, and I don’t want to step on any toes, so to speak. So if anyone knows of any specific locations that are holy to one of the (non-demihuman) gods in Monster Mythology, please let me know! Alternately, if you know of a good location to put something, that would be welcome too!

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Bahgtru the Leg-Breaker

January 24, 2011

Here’s my third update to Monster Mythology; this time I worked on Gruumsh’s son, Bahgtru. I was originally planning to do all the gods in order, but I found when working on this one that it burned me out a bit to be doing the same sort of thing, so I’m going to start skipping around.  That way each one feels fresh while I’m writing it, and there will be a wider variety of options available to players and DMs earlier. Despite the issues I had with this one, I think it still turned out very well, so enjoy and let me know what you think!

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Gruumsh One-Eye

January 12, 2011

Okay, here’s the second entry in my project to update the gods of Monster Mythology to the 2nd Edition “Faiths & Avatars” format.  This time we have the chief deity of the orcish pantheon, Gruumsh.

This time I’ve created a couple spells for Gruumsh’s clergy to use, so I’m interested to hear thoughts on them, too.  One is a modification of an existing dwarven spell, and the other is a codification of a special ability granted to Gruumsh’s priests in Monster Mythology. I plan to do that for similar abilities listed for other gods.

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[Ankispace] Kanesh Pt.I

January 11, 2011

Kanesh is located in a mountainous plateau region on the planet Kigal.  They are a semi-feudal society, in that rather than conquering neighboring lands and trying to integrate them into a cohesive whole, they leave the existing social structures mostly in place and just demand fealty and tribute from them.  As such, the empire is a patchwork of smaller kingdoms with fairly substantial independence and self-identity. This also means that a handful always cause trouble with the anointing of a new king. Oftentimes a new king’s first few years are spent putting down rebellions it problem regions.

The people of Kanesh are a devoutly religious lot, who believe it is important to pay homage to every deity within their sphere of influence; as such, they effectively have one of the largest pantheons around. They do not make any sort of syncretization, so encountering the same deity in two different guises, to them, is no different than two completely separate deities. The great king, or Labarna as his title is said in their tongue, is the chief priest of this pantheist faith, while the great queen, or Tawannana, is the chief priestess.  The Tawannana is usually the primary wife of the Labarna, although not always; if a Tawannana survives her Labarna, she retains the title and powers she held. Now, while each of the positions are the chief priests of the pantheistic religion, their positions are a matter of ceremony, rather than policy.  The high priests of individual temple complexes and orders hold the real religious power.  However, occasionally an extremely charismatic king or queen will exercise religious power, but this only ever lasts for their lifetime before reverting back to the old ways upon their death (although the changes they institute may stay in place, depending on the effects). All of this is not to say the entire position of king and queen are ceremonial, mind you.  They do in fact wield real political power, and are truly the rulers of the land.

Kanesh has a long history of lower populations than is necessary to work the land, and is one of the great motivators for warfare and conquest.  Every few years the Labarna leads his troops on expeditions to neighboring lands, to either gain new vassals or to acquire material wealth and capture people to be resettled on Kaneshite farmland.

The legal system of Kanesh varies between vassal states, but in all cases, the Labarna (or his appointed representative) are the highest judicial authority. Most local disputes are handled by local magistrates, although there is a Royal Court that travels a circuit through the kingdom to hear appeals and more serious cases.  The final recourse of appeal is the king himself, although more often then not he lets the lower decisions stand (as he directly appointed the magistrates who make up the Royal Court). The ideal of the system is to strive for justice and fairness, with most penalties taking the form of fines to be paid to the king and/or the plaintiff; capital punishment is not uncommon for serious crimes, however. Justice and fairness are prime ideals of the kingship, which most of the rulers over the course of the kingdom’s history have striven to hold themselves to.

The Labarna is amongst the small group of highest ranked rulers, who hold themselves equals as “great kings”; the others in this rank include the king of Engir and the queen of Keftau. Rulers of other lands are of lesser stature, although that does not mean they are expected to pay fealty or acquiesce to demands. Their primary contacts are with Keftau, Varratu, and the city states of Akhna, as well as the minor border kingdoms that surround all these lands. They also have extensive contact with Engir, although there are buffer states between the two that prevents most direct trade and military contact.  They have much lesser contact with lands such as Rensenna, Khaltam, and other nations due to physical barriers and buffer states.

I’ll expand details on this land, and others, as I come up with it.  :)


Nebelun the Meddler

December 30, 2010

I’ve completed the draft of Nebelun, the gnomish god of artifice and invention, following the format established by the 2nd edition Faiths & Avatars book.  Please leave me some feedback on what you like, dislike, etc.  I look forward to discussions of this project.  :)

Once this project is completed, I’ll compile them all into a single document, much like Faiths & Avatars itself.

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Ancient Forms of Divination

December 29, 2010

I was recently thinking about how to incorporate the various ancient forms of divination (such as such as extispicy, haruspicy, augury, and astrology) into the 2nd Edition magic system for use in Bronze Age era adventuring without re-inventing the wheel and adding in a whole new system of magic.  I’ve been thinking that the best way to do it is to add in proficiencies for each type of divination, and require the use of them with the spells, and using the requirements of those proficiencies to replace most of the existing material and somatic components of the spells.  For example, to cast a divinatory spell using the Extispicy proficiency, a priest or wizard would need to examine the entrails of an animal of some sort; it would make sense that a larger animal would be required for higher level spells (birds for low level spells, sheep and goats for mid-level spells, and bulls for high-level spells, for example).

The main goal with this is to add flavor to a game without actually changing the rules.  Obviously, in this world, such divinations don’t really work (although haruspicy and extispicy can identify some aspects of poor health in local animals, which could indicate the area is poor for whatever plans the people have), however, it makes sense that in a fantasy version of the ancient world, they would work.   One thing that should not be done is making these types of spells any more explicitly difficult to cast, or no one would want to play characters who cast such spells.


Second Edition Class/Kit Spreadsheet

December 6, 2010

Another project I’ve been working on is a complete class/kit spreadsheet.  This isn’t nearly as clean or complete as the Deity Spreadsheet, but it’ll eventually get there.

Class/Kit Spreadsheet, Revision 2


Second Edition Deity Spreadsheet

December 6, 2010

I started this project quite a while ago, and I’m now up to my seventh revision of the spreadsheet; it is essentially done now. I don’t anticipate making many more changes to the columns and sheets besides just adding in and completing entries. A lot has changed since my first release, and it is a lot more colorful now. I’ve gone fully to the multi-sheet layout, so there is no longer a single-sheet version. I’ve removed a lot of various duplicate data (which unfortunately got the full list below 1000 entries), although I still have dupes for various gods that have different aspects in the generic setting and Forgotten Realms (and some other settings). I also added individual entries to the References page for the aliases of the gods, so it is easier to find them by those names.

Anyway, here are the latest versions in Excel 2003 and 2007 format:
Excel 2003 format
Excel 2007 format

I’d welcome any information people can add, as well. Let me know what you think. :)


Specialty Priests for Non-Human Gods, Part IX

December 6, 2010

Here are the races I’m thinking would be allowed to become specialty priests. When a majority of the priesthood is one race over the others, I’ve noted it with an asterisk.

Nebelun – Gnomes: Rock*, forest, svirfneblin, tinkers*

Gruumsh – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs, orogs*, scro, ogrillon, cyclops & cyclopskin
Bahgtru – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs, orogs*, scro, ogrillon, ogres
Ilneval – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs, orogs*, scro, ogrillon
Luthic – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs*, orogs, scro
Shargaas – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs*, orogs, scro
Yurtrus – Orcish blood: Orcs*, half-orcs*, orogs, scro
Note: Neo-orogs (Thayan hybrids) and ondonti (peace-loving orcs who worship Eldath) would not be allowed to become specialty priests of any of the orcish gods.

Maglubiyet – Goblins*, hobgoblins, norkers, koalinth
Bargrivyek – Goblins*, hobgoblins, norkers, koalinth
Khugorbaeyag – Goblins*, hobgoblins, norkers, koalinth
Nomog-Geaya – Goblins, hobgoblins*, norkers, koalinth

Hruggek – Bugbears
Grankhul – Bugbears
Skiggaret – Bugbears

Kurtulmak – Kobolds*, urd
Gaknulak – Kobolds*, urd

Kuraulyek – Kobolds, urd*
Meriadar – Mongrelmen*, goblinoids, almost any other race
Stalker – Bugbears*, any goblinoids

Zinzerena – Drow

Diirinka – Derro
Diinkarazan – None

The Elder Elemental God – Humans*, drow*, almost any other race
Juiblex – Aboleth*, humans*, almost any other race
The Dark God – Humans*, almost any other race

Ilsensine – Illithids
Maanzecorian – Illithids

Psilofyr – Myconids*, vegepygmies

Great Mother – Any beholder race
Gzemnid – Renegade beholders

Annam – Cloud*, storm*, stone giants*
Stronmaus – Cloud*, storm*, fog, reef giants
Hiatea – Firbolgs*, voadkyn*, almost any other giant
Grolantor – Hill giants*, ettins, ogres, half-ogres, cyclops, cyclopskin, mountain giants
Iallanis – Any true giant
Karontor – Fomorians*, verbeeg*, almost any other giant
Memnor – Cloud*, fog giants
Skoreaus Stonebones – Stone giants
Diancastra – almost any giant

Baphomet – Minotaurs*, evil giants
Kostchtchie – Frost giants
Vaprak – Ogres*, ogre magi, half-ogres, ogrillon
Yeenoghu – Gnolls*, flinds, ghasts, ghoul lords, vorrs
Gorellik – Gnolls*, flinds

Demogorgon – Ixitxachitl, Ixzan
Jazirian – None (couatl)
Koriel – Ki-rin*, lammasu, shedu, tu’en-rin
Panzuriel – Almost any evil aquatic race (kraken, koalinths, sahuagin, merrow, scrags, vodyanoi, sirines)
Eadro – Mermen*, locathah*, crabmen, shalarin, sirines
Persana – Tritons*, shalarin, sirines
Quorlinn – Kenku*, avariel, aarokocra
Sekolah – Sahuagin*, weresharks
Surminare – Selkies, star selkies
Remnis – Giant Eagles*, aarakocra, avariel
Syranita – Aarakocra*, avariel
Trishina – Sea Elves*, dolphins*, malenti, whales, orca, shalarin, sirines
Water Lion – Any good aquatic races other than malenti
Stillsong – None

Blibdoolpoolp – Kuo-toa
Laogzed – Troglodytes*, blindheims, firenewts, tren
Merrshaulk – Yuan-ti
Ramenos – Bullywugs*, blindheims, firenewts, grippli, grung
Semuanya – Lizard men*, firenewts, laerti, tren
Sess’Innek – Lizard men*, lizard kings, laerti, tren
Parrafaire – Nagas (revered only)
Shekinester – Nagas

Io – None
Aasterinian – Brass, copper, mercury dragons
Bahamut – Gold, silver, bronze, steel dragons
Chronepsis – None
Faluzure – Shadow dragons, dracoliches
Tiamat – Yellow, brown, blue, green, red dragons

Cegilune – Hags
Kanchelsis – Vampires
Mellifleur – Lich-priests, priests wishing to become liches

Squerrik – Wererats
Balador – Werebears
Ferrix – Weretigers
Daragor – Werewolves, seawolves, loup du noir, loup-garou
Eshebala – Werefoxes

Titania – Sprites, brownies, buckawns, hybsils, kercpa, other faeries
Oberon – Sprites, pixies, buckawns, kercpa, faerie-warriors
Caoimhin – None (Killmoulis)
Damh – Satyrs, korreds, atomies
Eachthighern – Unicorns, pegasi, asperii, pegataurs, hippocampi
Emmantiensien – Treants
Fionnghuala – Swanmays
Nathair Sgiathach – Faerie dragons, pseudodragons
Skerrit – Centaurs, pegataurs, chevalls, hybsils
Squelaichie – Leprechauns
Verenestra – Nymphs, dryads, hamadryads, sylphs
The Queen of Air and Darkness – Quicklings, elves, unseelie sprites, other evil faeries

I’m open to additional suggestions, too, of course.