Wednesday, January 7, 2015

5th edition D&D- My condensed review

OK, I've had some time to look at WotC's latest iteration of D&D now, and I have to say that my reaction is mixed. Not just on the aesthetics either.

The Player's Handbook- I think I have made my opinion on the art in the Player's Handbook pretty clear, not a fan. However, the rest of the book, and I am willing to let the art slide if I like the content, still left me with an over all negative opinion. I mean, I realize this is the Player's Handbook, but 170 pages on character generation? Really? OK, that covers advancement too, but in the 1st edition AD&D Players Handbook it's a mere 38 pages, which is far in excess of B/X's 14 pages in the Basic book. I found myself skimming in a lot of places and had to force myself to slow down, go back and reread sections. That was tedious. Sure, I could just pick a "standard" Dwarven Fighter instead of reading through all the class/race choices (which would save me roughly 110 pages of reading), but then there's a bunch of fiddly stuff (that I will likely forget about as a player, not to mention trying to remember all of it as a DM) before I even get to buying my starting equipment. Now, my caveat here is that I have not played yet, so maybe it will all go easier than I think. My personal bias is also irked by the fact that the tallest Humans are now only 6'4", according to the random table. I am 6'6" and I am not the tallest Human I have ever met. Overall grade D.

The Monster Manual- Not a huge fan of the art there either, but it is an improvement over the Player's Handbook. There is a design aesthetic at work here that seems too homogeneously stylized, but this isn't really new to this edition; just, disappointingly, continued. The stat blocks, ranging from roughly 1/4 to 1/2 page are too much, in my opinion. B/X D&D gave us about 6 monsters to the page, here we might get 2. It's pretty hard to screw up a Monster Manual too bad though, so overall grade C.

The Dungeon Master's Guide- Probably the saving grace of the core books of this edition, the art still didn't appeal to me, but damn, it's a meaty tome. Chock full of real advice that is practically system neutral, I'd have to say it's the best effort on a DMG since 1st edition AD&D- and I loved that one. The overall greatness is diminished by a couple of the things that I find to be anathema to DMing- Tailoring your encounters to your party, and it's ugly cousin; tailoring treasure yields to the party. They are small parts of the book, but they remind me too much of 3e and the reason I quit D&D. They mar an otherwise awesome book, but they are core to the build of the system, as they were in 3e (and, presumably, 4e). Anyway, it's a pretty darned solid book for any GM, but it's weak art and a few later editionisms that were kept drag it's grade down, a solid B.

Other random thoughts-
Backgrounds: I actually thought I would like them, I like the concept, but they left me cold when I read through them. Power Level: Easily as amped up as 3e.

Races: Their proliferation irritates me, but at least it's the DM's explicit say as to whether or not any given race is allowed.

Art: yep, I know, I keep harping on the art. I think they would have done better with LESS art direction. Give an artist a general description of what you are looking for, and let them do it, maybe you take it maybe you don't, but I think that this edition could really have benefited from having different art styles represented. I think too that this edition has taken itself too seriously and has produced a lot of self conscious mediocre art as a result. My wife is an artist, so I have grown, over the years, to appreciate how much of an impact the art has on the product. Early editions mixed it up
with a bunch of different artists, with wildly different styles and levels of talent. Sutherland, Roslof, Dee, Willingham, Otus, Darlene and Trampier (just off the top of my head, and I apologize to the artists I missed and their fans) put their stamp on Gary and Dave's game. Just looking at the illustrations in the Holmes Basic, B/X and AD&D books made me begin to imagine, and still does today. This edition just doesn't. I think it was the love for the game, and the use of their own imaginations that made the early D&D artists so good, they pored their souls into the work. Art is subjective, but I think that these-




are more evocative than this-



So I guess that gives 5th edition D&D a solid C average. My opinion of it may change with play, and again with DMing.

Monday, January 5, 2015

New Updates




Just did some pretty major updates on the World of Garnia campaign site on Obsidian Portal. Some of it was stuff I added from this blog, some stuff I had been working on elsewhere (mostly sub-campaign stuff, like Tenchuko and Norseworld) and transferred there, but I also did some editing of older entries and added some wholly new content. I also changed the look of the site, kind of a make-over.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

You Know...

I was considering deleting this blog, because neither myself, nor Darryl have posted here in 2 years. Then I came and looked at it and realized that I can't; it just contains so much information about our shared creation, even when we were just spit-balling ideas.

I'd actually like to get back into development mode and start an AD&D 1st edition game there soon. I may have to do a PBEM game though, due to lack of local players available.

Plus I don't think, after a cursory look, that I ever even wrote about "The Castle", a mysterious, moving castle that has been, at one point or another, a major plot focus in my original Garnia campaign groups. Darryl and I once played out a massive miniature battle for possession of that castle that had major, campaign repercussions for my Dempster group. Originally, they had all been there to play their own characters' units that they had painstakingly adventured to gather for months, but most of them were younger than me, and they had to go home before the battle was fully joined, just because it took so bloody long to set up, and it was a school night. Darryl and I were high-school seniors at the time, so apparently didn't need sleep. I remember it was my senior year because I got bored in Physics and started writing a pretty epic poem about one of the NPCs that had died there.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Played a Garnia Game



Granted it was not in the Garnian heartlands, but it was Garnia. We set up to try out my draft Oriental Adventures rules in the empire of Tenchuko and, after guiding everyone through the still somewhat lengthy OA character generation rules, we actually got to play some.

The party are all retainers of lord Asano, and he needs to retrieve the lost battle standard of the Asano clan before the Shogun's visit. The characters all have complex relationships to lord Asano. One is a Samurai from the Niwa family that was really kind of screwed over by the Asano a few generations back, but they are hereditary retainers and still serve them. One is married to Lord Asano's older brother, and is a member of his counter-intelligence service. One is his first cousin. One is a Sohei from a monastery that is heavily funded by lord Asano.

Making matters more complex, and I love to do that, Lord Asano is not a great lord, he is young and not terribly fit for the job. He over compensates by being overly harsh a disciplinarian and lavishly supporting the Pure Land sect. He also gambles away his fortune and is a notorious womanizer. If the party fails in their mission though, the entire clan will suffer.

Complicating matters is the fact that the banner in question is being held by an enemy clan, the Takeda, and there is the matter of the salt trade, possibly the opium trade and an unrevealed rival family that wants to see the Asano fall.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Not Getting Ignored



Garnia seems like it's been getting ignored for a while now, but nothing could be further from the truth- I have just been doing my ruminating and design thing more or less in my head and back and forth with Darryl and Dalton, and too a lesser extent Mona, in person.

I do understand the need for some updates here, and the core areas of the world need some detailing, but the revamping is largely done.



I am starting a new campaign in Tenchuko- the Japanese area of Garnia soon. I have been running a Viking related Garnia/Dwarf campaign on and off for a while now. I am also considering a run through of the Roman  area of Garnia. The less developed areas need love too, right?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What do you all want to see?

What part of the world do you want to see developed first? I am doing Mongol month on my other blog, so it would be easy for me to slip in a bit of detail about the Altan Ordu, but that's a really obscure area for play. I had been pretty hot to do the Nova Roman Empire with it's Ape citizens and it's Goblinoid Egyptian Satrapy but I am waiting on some art for that. I haven't really been working on Garnia World at all since my sister died last month, but I need to get busy doing stuff again, so if there is a part of the world that you all would like to know more about I can oblige. I'll start with a 20-questions and move on from there.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Blog




The intention of this blog was always to invite other people into the design process with Darryl and I, wherever in the world they were, as long as they could share the vision of our Garnia with us. Darryl and I don't always agree on everything, and I usually have final edit rights to most things about the entire "World of Garnia" project, but for the most part we're on the same page.

A lot of you have been following this blog since I started it and watched the various phases of our "reboot" design process, I'd like to formally open up the world for everyone's input since I never explicitly stated it. We are looking for people to help us with several different parts of the project now that we are shifting into high gear, including, but not limited to, helping with the development and playtesting of a Garnia specific RPG system, setting art, writing short fiction set in Garnia World, helping develop portions of the world via Gazetteers, and converting adventures and campaign setting stuff into game systems that we don't play, like D20/Pathfinder for instance.

If anyone is interested in really being a part of the team, reply here or send me an email at williamjdowie AT gmail DOT com.

Thanks,

Also, check out my Viking themed One-Page Dungeon contest on my other blog, it is tangentially related to Garnia and if you enter, you get a free magnet.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

New Garnia World large scale map



Ok so this is sans political borders. Nova Roma is around that large sea in the north-west. The big land mass along the western third of the map is a real melting pot. The Sidhe enclave is in the southern tip. The Altan Ordu is just north of there. There are Aztecs and African bushmen somewhere in the mix. About where that first little bay is going south from the "Med" about a fist sized chunk of land is the Jurassic relocation place with dinosaurs.

At the bottom is the island chain where the Vikings live. Somewhere not pictured yet are Byzantines. The peninsula in the east is Tirnakaur, the southern strip of which is the lands of the Necromancer. Above that are those pirate isles. The land mass to the north has coastal Iroquois then the Ming Liang dynasty. Towards that giant rift are the Mistlands. West of there will be the great steppes to the north and Garnia to the south covering all of the territory that forms the northern border of the great Al-Mah sea. That first big island in the middle of that sea is Balgof, a Sidhe outpost. At the western elbow of the Al-Mah is the east coast of Frodia and Wodanslund. NW of that (west of Garnia) are the mountains of Khazarak, and west of that is the Romans again.

I'm a little unsure of some of the political boundaries, so that's why they aren't there yet, but this way folks should be able to get more of a gist of where things are.

Friday, July 27, 2012

A bit of a "catch-all" post




I've been holding on to some pictures and art for this blog that I wanted to show off here, so I thought I should start with some standard B/X D&D stats for the Apes and move on from there-

Apes (Gorilla Sapiens) [uses the Simian Empire line of miniatures from Black Orc Games]



Apes are a variant species of Terran Gorilla that developed a roughly human level of intelligence and speech. The Sidhe brought them to Garnia World tens of thousands of years ago when it was obvious they would be wiped out on Earth. Apes are roughly human sized, but weigh about twice as much due to denser bone and muscle structures, even their skin is tougher than that of man. When the Romans came to Garnia World they ended up in the same general area as the gentle and friendly Apes and, strangely, the two species hit it off. The Romans introduced the Apes to higher culture and sophistication, their own language was abandoned in favor of Latin within a generation. Now there are Apes in the senate and in the legions, they make up a significant minority within the empire, the only thing they have retained of their own ways is their vegetarianism.

Restrictions: Apes use eight sided dice (d8) to determine their hit points. They may advance to a maximum of 10th level of experience. Apes may use any type of armor and may use shields. They may use any weapon. They must have minimum Strength and Dexterity scores of 9. They use twice as many rations. They never get an XP bonus.

Special Abilities: Apes have tough hides and receive a +1 AC bonus to whatever armor they are wearing. Upper body strength is part of their genetic heritage too, they gain +1 on all damage rolls. Outdoors Apes are difficult to spot, having the ability to seemingly vanish into woods, jungle or thick brush. There is only a 10% chance of detecting them under such circumstances. Upon gaining the 4th level of experience (Ape Hero) an Ape may, once per day, use an "Intimidating Show of Strength"; which works exactly like a Cleric's "Turn Undead" ability, only on the living, and as if they were a Cleric of 3 experience levels lower and the target had the same Hit Die type as the relevant Undead target, ie. a 4th level Ape Intimidates as though he were a 1st level Cleric and a 1st level Fighter would be intimidated as a Skeleton. The "Intimidating Show of Strength" takes one round to complete and is the only action that can be performed, it only works on creatures with animal intelligence or above and they must be living, not Undead.

Ape

Level Title XP Hit Dice
1 Ape Veteran 0 1d8
2 Ape Warrior 2,200 2d8
3 Ape Swordmaster 4,400 3d8
4 Ape Hero 8,800 4d8
5 Ape Swashbuckler 17,000 5d8
6 Ape Myrmidon 35,000 6d8
7 Ape Champion 70,000 7d8
8 Ape Superhero 140,000 8d8
9 Ape Lord (Lady) 280,000 9d8
10 10th Level
Ape Lord 400,000 9d8+3*

*Constitution adjustments no longer apply.

Since these guys only ever show up in the Roman empire I may change their level titles to represent that fact. I left their stronghold off the list at 9th level for now, because I am not quite sure how to handle that yet. I am thinking either an appointment as a legion commander or to the senate, but I am open to suggestions.

Now the AD&D 1st edition version-

Classes available:
Cleric 4, Druid 6, Fighter 9, Paladin -, Ranger 6, Magic-User -, Illusionist -, Thief 6, Assassin 8, Monk -.

My thinking on limiting their Thief levels is that they are going to be stuck at a lower level because they don't really blend into a crowd and they are not terribly manually dexterous with their giant hands. Their Thief abilities are going to amount largely to thuggery, which is why I made them better at being Assassins. They are smart enough to plan assassinations and when it comes to the thuggery bit, that can be helpful. Given their connection to the natural world, which I assume isn't totally washed away after a few centuries of Romanization, evolutionary biology and all, it only made sense to me that they would be able to be Rangers and Druids, and be better at that than they are at being Clerics. Making them unable to do Arcane magic was a choice I made looking at the PH, most Demi-Humans can't, so I decided to follow that trend. Still, their best class is Fighter, as I always intended. For the purposes of multiclassing they can be pretty much any core class plus core class or subclass that is not a subclass of the core class they already have variation or any subclass variation within alignment restrictions, so C/F, C/R, C/T, C/A, C/F/T, C/F/A, C/R/T, D/F, D/T, D/F/T, F/T, F/A, R/T. If you are using Unearthed Arcana rules, which I don't recommend, D/R & D/R/T become available with an alignment of NG.

Their ability modifiers are +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity -2 Charisma, they still get all the B/X abilities I gave them, except the no XP bonus thing, that would be by ability score and class in AD&D.

Now someone else can write them up for other game systems, using this as a base.

Anyway, you all have seen the pictures of all the Gorilla Sapiens miniatures, so that was a pretty long, but fruitful, digression from my original posting point. Now, here are some other miniature pictures that I found on some blogs with Roman Legions, think of them as a supplement to the Roman Apes-

Click to embiggen anything that seems small to you.








Now we move on to this drawing of a poor Christian Cleric being tormented by a hot demoness, probably a Succubus. I think this is a scene right out of the Mistlands-



Here are some miniatures from various companies of Mongols and Mongol Dwarves! I still plan on getting a "20 questions" article about the Altan Ordu out to you, but you can think of these cool pictures as a preview. Trust me, I have tons of Mongol oriented art on my hard drive.








Lastly, I found these Samurai Skeletons that I wanted to use for a post on the Empire of Tenchuko, but I haven't gotten around to that yet either, so here you go-



And that's all for today. I hope you enjoyed it!

Monday, July 23, 2012

This was a fun exercise

Brought to us by Blue Boxer Rebellion, I present the Garnia Campaign mixing board -


I am almost ashamed of how difficult this was for me to make. GIMP is a harsh mistress. Comments? Agree, disagree?

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Humans - All in one post, in chronological order, with demographic information




First, I understand that this is largely a copy/paste job, some sections have minor edits, some have been completely rewritten, others have just had demographic data added; but I did make the effort to put all of the Human ethnic groups and their appearances on Garnia world into chronological order and add that demographic data, plus the minor edits, so, here you go.

The Egyptians (now extinct) migrated circa 2500 BC - Their culture would have been here for 1504 years, more than enough time to build their entire civilization up around their new Nile in Alt-Africa. Then the Goblins Zerg rushed them and ate them over the course of a few generations, adopting their culture and religion, but in an evil, Goblin kind of a way. Along with the Goblins in Egypt, at campaign present a tributary kingdom subject to Nova Roma, there are significant populations of Rakasta and Flind. For what it's worth, they would have been here for 125 generations and had a starting population of 5,000.

The Kushites migrated circa 1000 BC and were presumably placed by the Sidhe, for whatever reason right next to their real life Earth neighbors the Egyptians. I am going to make a judgment call here and say that in the 1004 years (which is 50 generations) they've been here they started out as allies of the Egyptians and when the Goblins killed off Egyptian culture they fled away from that losing war, and have fought a long guerrilla war against any Goblinoid incursions into their territory ever since. Their starting population will be 5,000.

Vedic era Indians - I am bringing them in circa 750 BC Earth time and they live at the southern end of the Tirnakaur peninsula, I am thinking one small, forgotten city that was destroyed by disaster, I think a great flood, 5,000 people. This makes them Hindu with all of the Vedas and they speak Sanskrit and work iron. Time compression means they've been here for 920 years or 46 generations at campaign present. That's longer than the Celts, but they start in a crappier area, those mountains are infested with Goblinoids and worse, then there's a vast expanse of forest to cross to get to the really good lands.

Pagan Arabs - They could really be from anytime before Muhammad, but I am going to try and keep a more ancient focus here and say they are from the semi-Mythical kingdom of Sheba; which is mentioned several times in the Bible and was probably in modern Yemen. They were traders and controlled the Red Sea trade route so coastal shipping is not beyond them, they were conquered by their Arab neighbors to the north in the 2nd century BC and their capital city was destroyed. They made a comeback eventually, but I am grabbing them from their powerful classical period, when they straddled the Red Sea as a kingdom. So, 300 BC, random natural disaster, say sandstorm of enormous proportions destroys major Sheban settlement of say 8,000 people. They end up on the same end of the Tirnakaur peninsula as the Vedic Indians, who welcome them as they are being hard pressed by an invasion of Goblins, Ogres, Giants and Trolls when they arrive with their slightly superior technology. They've been here for 770 years or 38 generations, also longer than the Celts. Their culture and language became slightly dominant over the Vedic Indians, but they mostly are pretty cool with each other.

The Celts come in next, starting in 60 BC, at 687 years ago, or 34 generations, within 2 1/2 Garnian years their population goes from the initial 120,000 religious pilgrims, to 280,000 people, the extra 160,000 Celts being refugees from Caesar's conquest of Gaul. A further 100,000 refugees from the Roman conquest of Britain arrive over the course of the next 30-50 Garnian years. Circa 428 AD a mass migration of Irish pagan Celts arrives, St. Patrick, on Earth declares victory for having "Driven the snakes from Ireland"; 25,000 Irish Druids, Bards, Warriors and Farmers arrive. That's about 10% of the total estimated Irish population at the time of St. Patrick, but you know how stubborn the Irish can be about religion. Next migration will be from Scotland as Picts resist Christianization at the same rate, they are the last Druids on Earth. Assume at about 600 AD 3,500 Picts arrive, as there just aren't that many of them. Further Celtic migrations will continue to happen, but they will continue to get smaller and smaller as the magical power of Earth fades. The Celts will give birth to five major nations in this world, and are the largest Human ethnic group.

Next we get a substantial population of Romans from the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, we may get a few more, here and there, and there may have been a few before, but this is like direct divine intervention by the Sidhe since they know the Celts and Romans are traditional enemies by now and the Celts are becoming a nuisance. They get the summer population of 1/2 of Campania for their start 644 years ago the Romans estimated 16,000 citizen deaths, so take that for what it's worth. How many non-citizens and slaves died there too? 2 for every Roman? Did they only count men as citizens? Modern archaeologists have no way of estimating the total death toll, it's certainly in the thousands, is it more than 20,000? 30,000? 50,000? Pliny the Elder died there and he was one of the greatest minds of his time. The Romans get to move into an area that is pretty much exactly like the one they left behind too, so they are going to get some serious advantages. Let's call the total sarting group 35,000 and they've been here for 644 years, or 22 generations. They also have the Gorilla Sapiens living in their empire, and they have readily chosen to adapt to Roman culture, as have significant numbers of Dwarves.

Then the Chinese, who have only been here for since 250 AD earth time or 587.3 years Garnia time, equaling about 29 generations, building the Empire of Ming Liang. I demonstrated with math before, at the early stages of the blog how I made my assumptions of population growth for the Celts, the Ming Liang are in an area that is actually pretty well suited to them, I am willing to give them a greater rate of growth than the Celts because their traditional way of life is in no way compromised, they just moved, as though they were moving to new village lands- the first generation might have a tough time building stuff from scratch, but after they're cultivating rice and silk and all the other traditional Chinese things they would have brought with them, it will be easy to expand. Assume 50,000 original settlers, and an 80% growth rate/generation until they fill all the good coastal and river lands, then slow them down to about 65% until all of their country is at peak capacity.

Additionally, this area also is the homeland of the Halflings, should they continue to exist, and they are a race that is by nature Good aligned, so they would probably help the new settlers. Although that's going to work out kind of like the Native American Indians helping the European settlers. Halflings may live longer but they don't breed as fast, mature as fast, or have the capacity to become as powerful as Humans, the Halflings are going to become a subject people of the Ming Liang, but not really in a bad way.

Next up are the Saxons. They showed up in Wodanslund about 450 AD or 520.6 Garnian years ago, which is about 26 generations; and have divided their time between building fortresses, sweeping Humanoids from the plains (and ultimately making expeditions into the mountains surrounding their vast plain), becoming horse riding cattle lords, and hiring themselves out as mercenaries, primarily to their neighbors to the north- Frodia. Most of Frodia's professional soldiers are Wodanslunder mercenaries, leading many outlanders to believe that Wodanslund is a subject kingdom to Frodia, but this is not the case. The Wodanslunder Saxons will have a starting poulation of 1,500.

Next up are the Norsemen, who have been here, off map, since 862 AD for about 383.3 years, or roughly 19 generations, since they live on an island chain that is unlikely to affect the main campaign area and are too far off map to make the voyage to the nearest part of the map, they are, in essence, a separate campaign. They are also only starting with about 2000 people.

San - Apparently these guys, also known as Bushmen, have been in South Africa for something like 15,000 years. I am going to grab some from about the time the Zulus start to rise up and kick all of their asses into the Kalihari desert, these guys are serious stone age hunter-gatherers. They store water in Ostrich Egg shells and eat caterpillers and grasshoppers, along with anything else they can forage up. I am doing them the "favor" of moving them to the desert west of Wodanslund, otherwise they'd easily end up as a slave caste to the Muslim Arabs too. Now the Zulus really start to rise under Shaka, pre-Shaka they were just another clan of Bantu speakers in southern Africa, they mostly got kicked around by the other Bantu speakers and lived in crappy land that they forced some of the San out of. Shaka comes to power in 1816, Zulu ancestors had been in the neighborhood since about 1000 AD. So I am bring my San over in 1000 AD, they don't live in villages, just mobile bands, so this group of mobile bands, say 2000 people, just walk directly to Garnia World, how? Who knows, ancient San magic? Sidhe felt bad for them? Anyway, they have been here for 337.3 years, or roughly 17 generations.

I guess the next people on the list are the Chagatai/Golden Horde coming from circa 1300-03, when a severe drought caused untold devastation and starvation to both hordes, they were at peace with each other and everyone else for this brief period, so we'll save some people and animals and move them over to Garnia World then, it's the perfect time, neither horde is religiously zealous yet. The Khan of the Golden Horde is a theoretical Muslim, but he gets married to the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, an Orthodox Christian and Muslims of his court referred to him as an Idol worshiper (either Buddhist or Tengerist), despite his favoritism towards Islam. So, if they came in 1302 AD, they've been here for about 236.6 Garnian years, or about 12 generations; I am going to start them off with a conservative 15,000 people roughly 1/2 Turkic and 1/2 Mongol, plus their yurts and herds; but they're in an odd position of actually being near remnant cities of the Sidhe Empire who have learned how to play the ancient game of "let's keep the Humans divided", so they are really broken down into many warring clans of either Turkic or Mongol speaking peoples with shifting alliances and a fading memory of the golden days of Genghis Khan.

Muslim Arabs - These guys can come from anytime after Muhammad, but I want them to be not right after his revelation or lifetime. I want them to have Damascus steel and Scimitars, so I have to wait until both of those are invented. I looked it up and it's later than I thought when I talked to Darryl about it earlier. Damascus Steel isn't a problem, it dates to the 3rd century BC, but Arabs didn't START using Scimitars until after the Mongol invasion and conquest of Baghdad. Call it a century or so later for them to be in common usage and we're looking at the mid-14th century. I am cool with that, we have some fairly late arrivals yet to come, and it explains their superior sailing technology. So in 1350 AD, a hardy group of Arabs end up over here, that's 220 years, or 11 generations, since they arrived and formed their "Maritime Emirates/Pirate Isles" and began wondering which direction was Mecca I guess. Give them an initial population of 5000 people or so.

Then we get the Japanese from the end of the Nanboku-Chō war 1399 AD earth time. That gives them 204.3 years here, or 10 generations, during which time they've colonized an island chain, established a Shogunate and greatly improved their seafaring skills, ironically based on Chinese designs. They have recently established trade with the Ming Liang, but have a vast edge in seafaring technology and many other skills that the Japanese originally got from the Chinese. Assume a starting population of 15,000 retainers and loyal peasants.

Next are the Greeks from Trebizond, who are beating feet to out run the Ottoman empire when they find themselves on a weird foreign shore. They made their voyage in 1404 AD Earth time, so they've been here for 202.6 years, which is roughly 10 generations. They're a civilized and advanced medieval/renaissance people so I think they'll do OK. The only people close to them are the Norsemen, with whom they have made trading contact. The Greeks got the better island, it's almost a mini-continent all off by itself. They get a starting population of, say, 5,000.

The Aztecs - they entered the valley of Mexico fairly late, they were relative newcomers when Cortez came and kicked their asses. They showed up and started kicking ass around the 1300's AD, so we need to grab some before they all get infected with various White Man diseases by the Spaniards, before 1519. Let's pick a spot in the middle and say they were supposed to be wiped out by a volcanic eruption, but the Unseelie Court really loved their heart-ripping-out mass Human sacrificial style, a small Aztec city of, say, 12,000 people are transported to their new home, buildings and all, right near the coast so there's fishing too. They formed the Empire of Xochitli (which means "Flowers" in Nahuatl, the Aztec language). They've been here since 1425 AD, so that's 195 Garnian years, or about 10 generations.

The Roma - commonly known as Gypsies, they don't even come into existence until the middle ages, so we have to wait for that anyway. I am bring them in from 15th century France, they've got all the traits associated with Gypsies at this point (fortune telling, bright wagons & metal working) and they'll be happy to get away from the increasing prejudice. So 1450 AD, meaning they've been here for 187.3 years, or about 9 generations. We'll bring 1500 or so of them.

Iroquois - Their confederacy wasn't even formed until sometime after 1450 AD, possibly as late as 1600, although the proto-Iroquois peoples were living in the Finger Lakes region as early as 1000 AD. I am acting under the assumption that we want real Iroquois and not their ancestral group, so I will pick a spot in the mid-range 1525, meaning they've been here for 162 years, or 8 generations. I will be nice though and move them into the forests of Tirnakaur instead of the Swamp that the Muslim Arabs live in; otherwise I think a stone age people are going to be slaves, even as bad-ass a stone age people as the Iroquois. The Celts in Tirnakaur have too much else to worry about to try too hard to make this new band of Humans their property. Which tribe of Iroquois do we want to bring? Should I just roll a D6? Or a D10 and divide by 2 because technically the Tuscarora weren't part of the league until 1722. We can't have them all. I rolled Mohawk, which is the result I think most people would have wanted anyway. Their relative low population density means I can't see them losing more than about a 1000 people without it being really noteworthy, and that's pushing it.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Humans I missed




Vedic era Indians - I am bringing them in circa 750 BC Earth time and they live at the southern end of the Tirnakaur peninsula, I am thinking one small, forgotten city that was destroyed by disaster, I think a great flood, 5,000 people. This makes them Hindu with all of the Vedas and they speak Sanskrit and work iron. Time compression means they've been here for 920 years or 46 generations at campaign present. That's longer than the Celts, but they start in a crappier area, those mountains are infested with Goblinoids and worse, then there's a vast expanse of forest to cross to get to the really good lands.

Pagan Arabs - They could really be from anytime before Muhammad, but I am going to try and keep a more ancient focus here and say they are from the semi-Mythical kingdom of Sheba; which is mentioned several times in the Bible and was probably in modern Yemen. They were traders and controlled the Red Sea trade route so coastal shipping is not beyond them, they were conquered by their Arab neighbors to the north in the 2nd century BC and their capital city was destroyed. They made a comeback eventually, but I am grabbing them from their powerful classical period, when they straddled the Red Sea as a kingdom. So, 300 BC, random natural disaster, say sandstorm of enormous proportions destroys major Sheban settlement of say 8,000 people. They end up on the same end of the Tirnakaur peninsula as the Vedic Indians, who welcome them as they are being hard pressed by an invasion of Goblins, Ogres, Giants and Trolls when they arrive with their slightly superior technology. They've been here for 770 years or 38 generations, also longer than the Celts. Their culture and language became slightly dominant over the Vedic Indians, but they mostly are pretty cool with each other.

Muslim Arabs - These guys can come from anytime after Muhammad, but I want them to be not right after his revelation or lifetime. I want them to have Damascus steel and Scimitars, so I have to wait until both of those are invented. I looked it up and it's later than I thought when I talked to Darryl about it earlier. Damascus Steel isn't a problem, it dates to the 3rd century BC, but Arabs didn't START using Scimitars until after the Mongol invasion and conquest of Baghdad. Call it a century or so later for them to be in common usage and we're looking at the mid-14th century. I am cool with that, we have some fairly late arrivals yet to come, and it explains their superior sailing technology. So 1350 a hardy group of Arabs end up over here, that's 220 years, or 11 generations, since they arrived and formed their "Maritime Emirates/Pirate Isles" and began wondering which direction was Mecca I guess. Give them an initial population of 5000 people or so.

Iroquois - Their confederacy wasn't even formed until sometime after 1450 AD, possibly as late as 1600, although the proto-Iroquois peoples were living in the Finger Lakes region as early as 1000 AD. I am acting under the assumption that we want real Iroquois and not their ancestral group, so I will pick a spot in the mid-range 1525, meaning they've been here for 162 years, or 8 generations. I will be nice though and move them into the forests of Tirnakaur instead of the Swamp that the Muslim Arabs live in; otherwise I think a stone age people are going to be slaves, even as bad-ass a stone age people as the Iroquois. The Celts in Tirnakaur have too much else to worry about to try too hard to make this new band of Humans their property. Which tribe of Iroquois do we want to bring? Should I just roll a D6? Or a D10 and divide by 2 because technically the Tuscarora weren't part of the league until 1722. We can't have them all. I rolled Mohawk, which is the result I think most people would have wanted anyway. Their relative low population density means I can't see them losing more than about a 1000 people without it being really noteworthy, and that's pushing it.

San - Apparently these guys, also known as Bushmen, have been in South Africa for something like 15,000 years. I am going to grab some from about the time the Zulus start to rise up and kick all of their asses into the Kalihari desert, these guys are serious stone age hunter-gatherers. They store water in Ostrich Egg shells and eat caterpillers and grasshoppers, along with anything else they can forage up. I am doing them the "favor" of moving them to the desert west of Wodanslund, otherwise they'd easily end up as a slave caste to the Muslim Arabs too. Now the Zulus really start to rise under Shaka, pre-Shaka they were just another clan of Bantu speakers in southern Africa, they mostly got kicked around by the other Bantu speakers and lived in crappy land that they forced some of the San out of. Shaka comes to power in 1816, Zulu ancestors had been in the neighborhood since about 1000 AD. So I am bring my San over in 1000 AD, they don't live in villages, just mobile bands, so this group of mobile bands, say 2000 people, just walk directly to Garnia World, how? Who knows, ancient San magic? Sidhe felt bad for them? Anyway, they have been here for 337.3 years, or roughly 17 generations.

The Roma - commonly known as Gypsies, they don't even come into existence until the middle ages, so we have to wait for that anyway. I am bring them in from 15th century France, they've got all the traits associated with Gypsies at this point (fortune telling, bright wagons & metal working) and they'll be happy to get away from the increasing prejudice. So 1450 AD, meaning they've been here for 187.3 years, or about 9 generations. We'll bring 1500 or so of them.

Lastly, the Aztecs - the entered the valley of Mexico fairly late, they were relative newcomers when Cortez came and kicked their asses. They showed up and started kicking ass around the 1300's AD, so we need to grab some before they all get infected with various White Man diseases by the Spaniards, before 1519. Let's pick a spot in the middle and say they were supposed to be wiped out by a volcanic eruption, but the Unseelie Court really loved their heart-ripping-out mass Human sacrificial style, a small Aztec city of, say, 12,000 people are transported to their new home, buildings and all, right near the coast so there's fishing too. They formed the Empire of Xochitli (which means "Flowers" in Nahuatl, the Aztec language). They've been here since 1425 AD, so that's 195 Garnian years, or about 10 generations.

Are we good now? Or do I have to add an addenda for initial populations for all of the ethnic groups I did yesterday too?

The Steppes don't need to be full.




Darryl rightly pointed out that the 65 year filling up the steppe period was way too short and we either needed to adjust the numbers of Celts upwards or take a longer time to fill the area of the steppes. With the time compression between Garnia World and Earth, we can get a lot more settlers a lot earlier, Darryl had very early on suggested that the Helvetii get brought over after Caesar defeats them and forces them to leave Gaul for their homelands. I was initially kind of against that idea, but I have changed my mind; if even 1/2 of the surviving Helvetii make it to Garnia World that means 60,000 more settlers on top of my conservative 120,000 that had been collected from all Celtic nations, and these Helvetii are supplied with wagons and grain; and these Helvetii are showing up within a year of elapsed Garnia time of the original settlers.

On top of that, Caesar's naked imperialist aggression in Gaul ultimately is estimated to have dropped the population by 40% from 5 million to 3 million, with roughly 1 million of those being taken as slaves to Roman markets and the other 1 million killed. These are not Caesar's numbers, these are the numbers of modern historians and archaeologists. Not all of those dead would have been battle casualties, some would have just been the victims of the devastation of war; if we migrate a conservative 10% of those dead to Garnia, that's another 100,000 people coming in during that 7 year period on Earth which is a little over 2 years on Garnia. Presumably they aren't all coming at once, so it should not be too hard to assimilate a few hundred refugees with their goods they could carry into the well planned community of the original settlers at each small migration. This brings our total up to, during the initial migratory period, about 280,000 people, mainly Gauls at this point.

Now, I was thinking that the steppes would have to be full before the Celts would run into the Sidhe empire and decide to conquer them, but Darryl pointed out something important that I missed. Dun Math, the holy city of the Druids and near the site of migrations, is on the southern steppes, closer to the eastern end than the middle or the west, and people are going to spread out probably concentrically from Dun Math, along the paths of least resistance. That means they are going to discover the heartlands of the Sidhe Empire, AKA modern Garnia and it's rich green lands and want it soon, probably their explorer types will have found it within the first generation of getting there, but with the steppe so much easier to conquer and so full of game, and the Sidhe having their powerful Illusions and Charms, the first few generations probably don't stand much of a chance against the Sidhe.

But, there will be a great influx of refugees again during the Roman invasion of Britain, in 3 main waves starting in 43 AD. I can't seem to find any good source of pre-Roman population figures for Britain with a quick Google search, but it does say that 70,000 Britons died during Boudicca's revolt some 30 years later. I think that between 43 and 96 AD Earth time we should be able to pull out an additional 100,000 People; that's 34.3 to 52 years in Garnia after the initial migrations to make room for another 3 major migrations, of about 33,000 people each, assuming they're all roughly equal in size. The British language is pretty much the same as Gaulish, so there is no real linguistic barrier, I am thinking the original Celt-Iberians, Picts and Gaels and our possible Ligurians are starting to feel a little pressured.

But we still have a common cause, religion, culture and similar languages. 34 years in would mean that a second generation had already been born here and a lot of the original settlers, the adults anyway, were dying off; at 52 years in we'll be lucky to have any original settlers left and a third generation is starting to be born here. The Sidhe are also starting to lose their advantage in magic, Human magic may be raw and brutal, a little wild and prone to mistakes, but we don't live long enough to test it like they do. We've figured out how to counter their spells and whipped up some mighty offensive stuff of our own while we were hunting the disorganized Humanoids and other Monsters that live on the steppe.

Now I am going to do some math. The first 2 1/2 years bring in 280,000 people, they have a conservative population growth of 75%/20 year period. Some have asked if that was too high, I counter with the argument that the Celts have both a technological edge, with horses, the wheel, and iron weapons, not to mention agriculture, fishing and a host of other skills (including at least one form of literacy); but on top of that, most all of the Celts magic on Earth was dedicated to one of three things- either making them victorious in battle; or making them more fertile, their women, their land, their flocks and herds, abundance was the order of the day; or healing, which is going to keep more women from dying in child birth and more men and women from dying in battle, it will probably lower infant mortality too. So, 75%/20 year generation population growth it is.

490,000 after 20 years in Garnia World, 857,500 would be their natural population growth, but they are going to get an influx of 66,666 Britons in this time frame too, half of which will have the time to breed here too, bringing our total to 949166 at 40 years in Garnia. The next generation, 60 years in will see the last wave of Britons, but they'll be early enough to count for breeding, so our 60 year population will be 1,719,375. The Celts are one of the few societies in the world that were "top-heavy" on the warrior caste, and the steppe life is only going to make this worse, like the Huns or Mongols or Bulgars, pretty much every able bodied person CAN be mobilized for war, and they can easily do 10%; 171,937 would represent the nobles and their warbands alone, the rough steppe life means I think they could easily count on pulling in some pretty tough non-professional warriors too, say another 10% of the total population, mostly male in both cases, but not exclusively.

60 years in can be the time of Gwaryn the High King and the Sidhe War. I don't see the Sidhe going down that easy, and I don't see Gwaryn living to see their ultimate defeat, much like Genghis Khan didn't live to see the defeat of the Sung. But he will live long enough to lead his people off the steppes, and into the most fertile farmlands in the world, he will be remembered as a great warrior King, and I think that, in the end, elective Kingship will lose out to the line of Gwaryn; but not until after the Sidhe are defeated and the fallen Elves enslaved.

I also find it interesting, in a good way, that the time compression keeps us closer to the ancient world. Now we don't have to find excuses to make Ancient Romans a credible threat, everyone else is, more or less, on the same page technology wise, or far away and without the technology to come over and interact.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Time & the Compression Ratio Between Earth and Garnia World




I am just putting this out there, because Darryl and I spoke about the fact that it doesn't necessarily need to be held at a constant ratio, I'd rather it did though. So I started doing some calculations, and I came up with some interesting ideas. A 10:1 ratio of time passage rates Earth to Garnia (or the Realm of the Sidhe, Fairy Land, The Otherlands, Alfheim, or whatever you want to call it), gives us a campaign present that takes place roughly 207 years after the initial Celtic peoples arrival on the northern steppe.

Given that my initial Timeline had the Celts coming over initially in 60 BC, then filling the steppes in roughly 130 years, which would have been circa 70 AD and starting to fragment and feud after that until the Sidhe sparked an incident (as yet undefined) that united them in what would have been 150 AD and they unite under their first High King Gwaryn in 175 AD. He provides, in a mutated form, the name for the campaign world. The problem is, that at a 10:1 ratio we need 235 years just to get to the first High King for whom the setting is named, or we have to bring more Celts; which I find unrealistic, or we have to speed up events in unlikely ways otherwise. Additionally, our "multiple migrations" become kind of a serious pain in the ass if everyone is migrating to the steppes pretty much on top of each other. So while 10:1, or even faster, works better for fairy tales, I am going to have to slow things down quite a bit.

I thought about 5:1 and that doesn't solve a lot of our problems either. Sure, it gives us twice the time and history on Garnia World as 10:1 does, but it still has the disadvantage of running things too fast paced to allow for any real human history or societal divergence to take place. We only end up with about 415 years to work with, which gives us the completed overthrow of the Sidhe Empire in it's heartlands and Frodia's separation from Garnia, but it doesn't give a lot of time for late comers to develop their civilizations at all (Japanese I'm thinking of you), or for major events like the Necromancer War or the multiple envisioned overthrows of Garnia by Celtic invaders from the steppes, or the Orcish kingdom coming into existence on Garnian soil.

So I settled on a 3:1 ratio, for ever 3 years that pass on Earth only 1 year passes on Garnia World. That gives us 687.3 years since the initial Celtic Migration to Garnia World. They would have first become aware of the time compression ratio when the next migration of Celts arrived during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD, because 103 years would have passed on Earth but only 34 on Garnia World. Over the next 35 Earth years more refugees arrive but only 11-12 years pass for the Garnians. Now, the original Pan-Celtic settlers spoke a wide variety of Celtic languages, these new imports are skewing the linguistic base pretty heavily towards Brythonic, assuming that they are coming in large enough numbers, which I am. This also is going to affect how quickly the steppes fill up, and consequently, how rapidly the Humans come into conflict with first each other (old feuds die hard, and the new people aren't all religious fanatics like the original settlers) and then the Sidhe. I am going to assume that the people are going to form new tribes/clans along linguistic lines, but I also think that the refugees in particular are going to stick with their old tribal connections.

Now I haven't figured out the numbers of British refugees that should be coming over in each wave, but there should be three major waves coinciding with the three major waves of Roman conquest in Britain. Actually, now that I think about it, and I don't want to rewrite this, maybe they should become aware even sooner, surely there would be refugees from Caesar's conquest of Gaul, right? Of course that was from 58-51 BC, so maybe no one noticed the effect yet. Gaul is any easy place to get people out of fast the Gallic campaign only lasted 7 years but it killed 20% of the population (and enslaved a further 20%), 1 million dead, we could sneak quite a few out I think. Although that further speeds up the filling up of the steppes and skews the linguistics towards Brythonic, they wee already going that way anyway though. Or do we assume that the "missing" Gauls are just Gauls that left in the 60 BC migration and to hell with anyone that stuck around for Caesar? They were warned after all.

Of course the 60 BC migration also included Gauls from Roman Gallia Cisalpina and Galatia in modern day Turkey, plus Britons, Picts, Celt-Iberians and Gaels from Ireland. I am undecided on Ligurians. Of those groups, the Gauls in Gallia Cisalpina were conquered by the Romans following the 2nd Punic war. The Galatians were conquered for being allied to the Seleucids, then freed and allied to the Romans since the Mithridatic war, they would eventually become a province rather than a client kingdom. the Celt-Iberians technically lived in the Roman provinces of Hispania, but the Romans kept a pretty light hand on them. I guess initially conquering them was hard enough and Spain was rich enough that riling up the primitive natives was just a stupid idea when you could leave them to their business. The Celt-Iberians probably spoke a Goidelic language, like the Irish.

So in the 60 BC migration 3 of the groups already lived under Roman rule or as their allies, as did some tribes in southern Gaul. In southern Gaul and Galatia they had contact with the Greeks. Celts had served as mercenaries for several truly ancient civilizations, the Persians, Carthaginians, Egyptians and the Greeks to name a few of the bigger, better known ones. Literacy, while not valued among certain castes of Celtic society, is not unknown, and since, by the time of the migrations, the Mediterranean is a Roman lake, they're largely preferring to be literate in Latin. We'll discuss Ogham at some other time.

Anyway, back to the Timeline-

The Egyptians (now extinct) migrated circa 2500 BC - Their culture would have been here for 1504 years, more than enough time to build their entire civilization up around their new Nile in Alt-Africa. Then the Goblins Zerg rushed them and ate them over the course of a few generations, adopting their culture and religion, but in an evil, Goblin kind of a way.

The Kushites migrated circa 1000 BC and were presumably placed by the Sidhe, for whatever reason right next to their real life Earth neighbors the Egyptians. I am going to make a judgment call here and say that in the 1004 years they've been here they started out as allies of the Egyptians and when the Goblins killed off Egyptian culture they fled away from that losing war, and have fought a long guerrilla war against any Goblinoid incursions into their territory ever since.

The Celts come in next at 687 years ago, they conquered the heart of the Sidhe Empire using their Iron Weapons and powerful offensive magic, given that the bulk of Celtic migrations arrive really close to the initial one, I am going to say that the time table for them expanding across the steppe and filling it to capacity is shorter, 1/2 the time 65 years, the war with the Sidhe starting maybe 50 years after that, and ending 20 years after that; all the territory that comprises Garnia, Frodia and the Steppes are briefly united under the rule of one High King; it's probably not Gwaryn, since that would be an exceptionally long lifespan for a warrior King. With Celtic elective Kingship it really could go to anyone, I vote for Erc Mac Cai, unless I already used that name somewhere else. I just really like the name.

Next we get a substantial population of Romans from the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, we may get a few more, here and there, and there may have been a few before, but this is like direct divine intervention by the Sidhe since they know the Celts and Romans are traditional enemies by now and the Celts are becoming a nuisance. They get the summer population of 1/2 of Campania for their start 644 years ago the Romans estimated 16,000 citizen deaths, so take that for what it's worth. How many non-citizens and slaves died there too? 2 for every Roman? Did they only count men as citizens? Modern archaeologists have no way of estimating the total death toll, it's certainly in the thousands, is it more than 20,000? 30,000? 50,000? Pliny the Elder died there and he was one of the greatest minds of his time. The Romans get to mve into an area that is pretty much exactly like the one they left behind too, so they are going to get some serious advantages.

Then the Chinese, who have only been here for about 587.3 years building the Empire of Ming Liang. I demonstrated with math before, at the early stages of the blog how I made my assumptions of population growth for Humans, the Ming Liang are in an area that is actually pretty well suited to them, I am willing to give them a greater rate of growth than the Celts because their traditional way of life is in no way compromised, they just moved, as though they were moving to new village lands- the first generation might have a tough time building stuff from scratch, but after they're cultivating rice and silk and all the other traditional Chinese things they would have brought with them, it will be easy to expand. Additionally, this area also is the homeland of the Halflings, should they continue to exist, and they are a race that is by nature Good aligned, so they would probably help the new settlers. Although that's going to work out kind of like the Native American Indians helping the European settlers. Halflings may live longer but they don't breed as fast, mature as fast, or have the capacity to become as powerful as Humans; yes I believe in Human superiority over Demi-Humans. I am a supporter of level limits in D&D, because that's how I grew up playing and that's how this world was initially designed, so some of AD&D and B/X D&D are going to leak through as assumptions even when I try to design as system neutral as possible.

Next up are everyone's favorite almost Rohirrim, the Saxons. They showed up in Wodanslund about 520.6 years ago and have divided their time between building fortresses, sweeping Humanoids from the plains (and ultimately making expeditions into the mountains surrounding their vast plain), becoming horse riding cattle lords, and hiring themselves out as mercenaries, primarily to their neighbors to the north- Frodia. Most of Frodia's professional soldiers are Wodanslunder mercenaries, leading many outlanders to believe that Wodanslund is a subject kingdom to Frodia, but this is not the case.

Next up are the Norsemen, who have been here, off map, for about 387.3 years, since they live on an island chain that is unlikely to affect the main campaign area and are too far off map to make the voyage to the nearest part of the map, they are, in essence, a separate campaign.

I guess the next people on the list are the Chagatai/Golden Horde coming from circa 1300-03, when a severe drought caused untold devastation and starvation to both hordes, they were at peace with each other and everyone else for this brief period, so we'll save some people and animals and move them over to Garnia World then, it's the perfect time, neither horde is religiously zealous yet. The Khan of the Golden Horde is a theoretical Muslim, but he gets married to the daughter of the Byzantine Emperor, an Orthodox Christian and Muslims of his court referred to him as an Idol worshiper (either Buddhist or Tengerist), despite his favoritism towards Islam. So they've been here for about 236.6 years, but they're in an odd position of actually being near remnant cities of the Sidhe Empire who have learned how to play the ancient game of "let's keep the Humans divided", so they are really broken down into many warring clans of either Turkic or Mongol speaking peoples with shifting alliances and a fading memory of the golden days of Genghis Khan.

Then we get the Japanese from the end of the Nanboku-Chō war 1399 AD earth time. That gives them 204.3 years here, during which time they've colonized an island chain, established a Shogunate and greatly improved their seafaring skills, ironically based on Chinese designs. They have recently established trade with the Ming Liang, but have a vast edge in seafaring technology and many other skills that the Japanese originally got from the Chinese.

Next up to bat would be the Greeks from Trebizond, who are beating feet to out run the Ottoman empire when they find themselves on a weird foreign shore. They made their voyage in 1404 AD Earth time, so they've been here for 202.6 years. They're a civilized and advanced medieval/renaissance people so I think they'll do OK. The only people close to them are the Norsemen, with whom they have made trading contact. The Greeks got the better island, it's almost a mini-continent all off by itself.


Damn this is a long post already and I know I am leaving people out. I need a break though, so I'll do a part two. I need to establish things for non-Humans too. Orcs are the newest arrivals, Elves have always lived here. Their civilization is not necessarily as old as I originally thought though due to the time compression ratio.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Finished reading 43 AD and Warband




I finished Warband just this morning and I have to say that the rules are great, they cover pretty much every aspect of what we want in the Garnia World campaign with one glaring exception- there are no rules for non-human characters. This makes sense because it was written as a historical RPG with fantasy/horror elements, but Garnia World is chock full of other races that HAVE traditionally been PC races; ie. Dwarves, Elves, Half-Orcs, etc.



Now, I know we're planning on starting the 43 AD/Warband dual campaign soon, and having it ultimately lead as a gateway to Garnia World; just as my Norse B/X campaign will ultimately do if it ever comes back online. I suspect I'll have to wait for September or October for that, after Lance's work schedule pretty much grinds to a halt at the State Fairgrounds. Lee Ann is already antsy for some RPG action, but her 12 hour shifts and near constant "on call" status as the new RN at the ER have kept her from making games for like two months now. Besides, I think it's probably better that her husband and her daughters get to see her, despite the fact that it's kind of killed my home game.

Anyway, I wandered pretty far off point with that tangent. 43 AD and it's Warband supplement give us, when combined, the ability to make both Roman and Celtic characters; a way for GMs to design entire campaign areas in either the Roman or Celtic style, fairly quickly and easily; a magic system that is pretty easy to use and rather open ended; a bunch of Celtic monsters, because the game takes place in Britain, although seeing the design style I think it would be pretty easy to import D&D monsters over or create anything. Warband also gives us mass combat rules for both huge combats with 10,000+ combatants and smaller scale skirmishes.



The real pro of the system is that it's pretty rules-lite, the con of the system is that it's less "heroic" than D&D, more realistic in a lot of ways. Character advancement is, essentially, religion based, and the points you receive are, more or less, based on the monetary worth of the sacrifice that you make at the Temple or Altar of the God you are sacrificing to, if your character is a Roman. Celts can make either sacrifices of items of worth or enemies of honor. You may only try and improve one ability per game session, and it doesn't always work. So, in play, I fear character advancement may be damnably slow, the character you start with, you had best get used to, because he's going to be roughly the same for a long while. On the other hand, improving stats and skills isn't everything, Roman Legionaries can get promoted to various higher ranks or than can be decorated for valor. Celtic characters can achieve higher status through gaining honor in various ways.

The only real complaint I have is the disparity in possible social classes between the Roman characters and the Celtic ones. All of the Roman characters start out as simple Legionaries, there is no chance of being an officer or from an important family in Rome, or even an important provincial family. You are almost to a man poor, sometimes freedmen, occasionally vicious criminals that were just never caught. The Celts on the other hand, are all Heroes of Honor level 3, but at the GM's discretion can be brought up to as high as Honor 7 Warchief. I guess that would settle the question of who is going to be party leader though.

I am also making the assumption here that when I run into any difficulties with this system in trying to convert to the eventual Garnia World setting, that I'll be able to fall back on the older, free version of the rules, that were much more fantasy, although still somewhat based in a Romanesque campaign world; that actually might be helpful for filling out the Roman space in Garnia World. Now I fear I'll have to read those rules too.