Saturday, December 31, 2011

Another Repost II

This was originally entitled "Re-imagining monsters and Dwarves re-imagined as a bonus" on my other blog, it seemed relevant enough to repost here. Interestingly enough, it also explores at the end of the post, slightly, another campaign world that Darryl and I worked on together. We whipped that one up over the course of maybe a week in the late summer or early fall of 1990.

For my Garnia campaign world there was some serious re-imagining of all of the races PC and monster for their origins anyway. Mechanically nothing really changed, since I designed it to be, at first at least, a pretty much "standard" AD&D fantasy world. In Garnia the only sentient race that is native to the world are the elves. Every other race was either brought to the world by the elves through their gate magic technology, years ahead of Stargate I might add; or they were brought in by the forces of evil in an invasion scheme. Now that I think about it that is pretty much what was going on in Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits.


Anyway, most of the monster races were engineered by the forces of Evil, usually by whatever demon lord is their master. Yeenoghu for the Gnolls for instance or Lolth for the Drow*. The Goblinoid races were a result of Evil tinkering with a species of humanoids on an evil plane. The Orcs were bred on an evil plane and transplanted late into the setting. The Trolls actually were the shock troops that destroyed the Dwarven home civilization on a neighboring good plane, ergo all Dwarves are refugee descendents, and the Trolls followed them to Garnia before the Elves sealed the gates. This period is known as the Troll war and Dwarven exile in Garnian pre-history.

Only Humans have the capacity to choose alignment in Garnia. Humans come from earth which is on a Neutral plane. They were brought to the Elf home plane by the forces of Evil who were using them as a wild card in their war against the Elves. This turned out to be a mixed blessing (curse?) because Humans destroyed Elven civilization, but then largely chose Good** and took up the fight against Evil where the Elves left off.

So, other than there being magic genetic manipulation to create some of the evil species of humanoids, my primary campaign world of Garnia is largely absent any real remaking or re-imagining of classic D&D creatures. Having said that, I had a Roman empire themed world where the only PC races were Human and Dwarf. We only played there once and I didn't DM. Darryl C. and I had created it together while we were brainstorming some D&D stuff because we wanted to start a new campaign. Darryl wanted to run the initial game because he had an idea for an adventure taking place in a pyramid tomb (that didn't involve mummies). The game went well and my character was, uncharacteristically for me, a Cleric named Gaius Flavius Maximus priest of Neptune. This was the first time I played D&D with Mona, who would eventually become my wife, having only met her once before. The game was pretty good. Unfortunately Jamie W. showed up and managed to quench my enthusiasm for the campaign before I even got my chance to DM an adventure there.

Anyway, the point was that the Dwarves had an unusual racial background in that they were all male, born to human families only in a mountainous region of the game world. They had a natural affinity for metal working and were thought to be the sons of Vulcan. They could become priests of Vulcan only and when they did military service they were organized into their own units. They were all Lawful Good or Lawful Neutral. Usually their mothers died in child birth. There may have been some other quirky, interesting things about them, but I don't recall anything else off the top of my head.

*The Drow are actually a special case because they are a fallen Good race. My cosmology has very definite Good vs Evil element and Evil races are beyond redemption, they have no choice about being Evil, it is inherent. Rarely, an inherently Good race can be corrupted, the Drow are the premier example.

**This may be a result of an inherently neutral species living on a Good plane, the emanations of Good may cause a disproportionate number of Humans to lean in the direction of Good. In real terms it is because as a DM I prefer to run more heroic campaigns and limit the alignments of characters to Good or Neutral; as Evil aligned characters seem to largely be used by immature players that just want to disrupt the game with intra-party conflict, or worse act out rather disgusting fantasies.

Another Repost

This is another repost from my other blog- it is an old document I found on a back up disk and it makes clear references to starting skill packages for what was probably a modified 3rd edition D&D game, I don't still have the document (or documents) it is referring to though. I thought I'd bring it over here though, since it so clearly relates to Garnia and it's developmental history.

Garnian Social Classes
Garnian Character Background
Roll to determine the starting social class of a character.
1: Bondmen
2-7: Freeborn
9-10: Nobleborn
The practice of being bound to service is falling by the wayside but still exists. There are 3 types of bondsmen. Hereditary bondsmen are born into servitude. Several orders of priesthood are opposed to the practice and it exists mainly in older more established lands. The frontiers of society being a great equalizer of humankind.
Bondmen are protected against abuse by law and custom and there are many ways to achieve free status.
The first type of bondmen are hereditary. They are born to a life of servitude to whomever owns the land they work.
The second type is criminal bound. The criminal bound have committed some minor crime and have been bound as a punishment to repay society. The criminal bound are fairly rare and it is usually for a set time.
The third type is debt bondage. Debt bondage is more common than crime bondage but still uncommon. Debt bondage occurs when a person is substantially in debt and is reduced to bondage to pay the debts. Ordinarily a persons family will pay the debts to avoid the dishonor of having bondmen as kin but occasionally a person has no family in a position to help. Children are sometimes sold to bondage for repayment of their parents debts.
Characters from a bondman background are assumed to have been freed before the beginning of play, technically being freedmen; however, if a player wishes they can roleplay a runaway bondman. All bondmen characters receive skills from the farmer skill set. All bondmen characters are penalized 50% of their starting money by character class.
Roll to determine the type of bond background.
1: Criminal
2-3: Debt
4-6: Hereditary
Hereditary bondmen can roll to determine to whom they were bound.
1-6: Temple bound
7-9 Royal bound
10 Noble bound
It is a great irony that most folk are bound to temples despite many orders being opposed to the practice; clearly not all are. Older, more conservative temples are much more likely to keep bondmen, as they are opposed to the breaking of the orders of men laid down in ancient times. Those born to bondman status in a royal domain are also fairly common. Royal bondmen are usually quite well treated, but find it harder to become free simply because ultimately they are only freed by royal decree, and it can be difficult to attract the notice of royal officials. Those born bound to the nobility are quite rare and their treatment varies as much as the attitudes of their masters, though generally within the bounds of the law and accepted custom. Bondmen are known by several distinguishing features shorn hair being most common, followed by cropped ears and/or iron collars in more conservative regions.
The bulk of the population is freeborn, also known as commoners. They may be farmers that work land owned by the lord, but merely pay rents on it or they may own the land in freehold. They may be craftsmen, or merchants or any of a myriad of occupations. Most characters will come from the freeborn class of society.
First roll to determine Freeborn origin.
1: Freeholder
2-8: Farmer
9-10: Townsman
Freeholders own their land, generally it is enough land to support one family, but occasionally they may have tenants. Since freeholds are granted by the crown they are fairly rare, but they are hereditary. A freeborn character of freeholder origin will have the farmer skill set plus perhaps one or more others from the townsman-villager skills list, they tend to be jacks-of-all-trades.
Freeborn farmers are the most common commoners. They receive the farmer skill set, on a roll of 1 on 1d10 they may also receive the townsman-villager skill set.
Townsmen are where the middle class comes from. From among their numbers come respected craftsmen, rich traders and other specialists like millers, bakers and brewers. There are also a variety of unskilled laborers and fairly destitute types among them, as well as the less savory prostitutes, actors and thieves. Towns offer the freeborn a chance at success, not a guarantee. Towns can be a small as an outlying village or as large as a bustling metropolis, the larger the town of origin, the greater variety in skill set.
Roll for town of origin size.
1-12: Village
13-17: Town
18-19: City
20: Metropolis
Village- the village is the standard proto-town. Most village inhabitants are actually farmers that live in the village and work fields around the village. There are, however, in villages skilled craftsmen that supply the villagers and the outlying farms with both necessary and luxury goods. Villagers receive the townsman-villager skill set. A village will usually have a population of at least 100.
Town- Towns are, in many ways, like big villages. However fewer townsmen are farmers and more are specialists. Towns will have a population of 1000 or more. Towns will nearly always have a standing militia that doubles as a police force. Towns thrive on trade and are often based on a single trade that supports the bulk of their residents. Mining towns, market towns and fishing towns are quite common. Towns often have a charter that gives their citizens rights and exemptions that vex local nobles because the town falls officially outside of their domain. Townsmen receive the townsman-townsman skill set.
City- Cities are what happens when a town hits it big. They may have been lucky enough to be on a major trade route or have an excellent natural harbor, perhaps they have a major temple or college; as often as not more than one of these things in combination with what would have made a successful town. They have hordes of specialists usually organized into guilds for quality control and price-setting. They have wealth and and a free population that makes your average noble look askance at them. Often they are ruled by a council of guilds, or an appointed lord-mayor. They nearly always have a royal charter. A city will have a population of 10,000 or more. A city will always have a militia, usually doubling as a police force. Characters from cities receive the townsman-urban skill set.
Metropolis- A metropolis is like a city with a glandular condition, huge, sprawling and densely populated. A metropolis is likely to be an old, wildly successful city; a massive trading port, a national capitol, or a very sacred site. They are likely to have a multitude of temples, centers of learning, and centers of culture. A metropolis will have a population not less than 50,000 people, and nearly always have foreign ghettos. Dwellers of a metropolis receive the townsman-metropolitan skill set. There are very few metropolises in the world. Oddly enough, though metropolises are really just huge cities, they are usually directly in fealty to either a king, a major temple, or a great noble; they do enjoy both great status and great privilege, usually the day to day governance of the metropolis is handled by appointed noble and commonborn officials in conjunction with elected magistrates and guild councils. A metropolis will often have a militia, always have a professional police force and quite regularly have actual full-time military units stationed there.
The Nobleborn are a hereditary warrior aristocracy. Most live on fortified estates in the country called duns. Many are land rich and cash poor, but the vast bulk of society is still rural and feudal so they get by. Most of the Nobleborn men are trained to be warriors from an early age. There is still enough chaos, especially in frontier regions, to warrant this. However, in the interior nobles that can’t find an external threat often engage in petty wars with each other. Border disputes, slights to their honor (real or imagined), water rights, grazing rights, cattle raids or a multitude of other reasons can be the cause of these small wars. Sometimes the wars can escalate, the death of a noble may start a blood feud, or a noble may call in allies and family members to help if they are likely to be overwhelmed; which, in turn, causes his enemy to do so as well. If both nobles are vassals of the same lord their lord may step in to dispute the grievance or may be called in by one or the other of the warring parties. In short, most nobles live for war. The flip-side of this are the Nobleborn courtiers. Courtiers live and serve in the courts of high nobles or royal courts. Courtiers are less inclined to warfare and more inclined to cultural and educational pursuits. Courtiers are more likely to be land poor and cash rich. Courtiers are more likely to be involved in trade (at least peripherally). Many never see their country estates, instead living in cities or the duns of high ranking nobles. Their country kin consider them to be weak, effeminate and backstabbing, they consider their country kin to be rough, uneducated barbarians. However, they are all kin, and there is no outright hostility (usually), it is usually just mild condescension from the courtiers towards the country nobles and bemused derision towards the courtiers from the country nobles. They still freely and happily intermarry and often exchange fosterlings.
Roll to determine noble status
1-7: Simple Lord
8-9: Low ranking Noble
10: High ranking Noble
Roll a second d10. On a 10 you are a Courtier.
A simple lord is known as an Arcloedd, Argwydd, Tiarna, Tighearna , Cingeto, Cingedd, Boneddig, Bonheddwr all of which mean roughly lord.
Low ranking noble titles include Toaiseach (chief), Tieryn, Righ-Tuatha, Brehyr (roughly baron) and sometimes Rix, Rig or Righ which mean king but often a very petty king.
High Ranking noble titles include Vergobrete, Gwerbret, Gwledig, Righ-Cuicidh (roughly Count or Duke), Flaith, Tywysog, Edling, Gwrthrychiad (Princes of various houses), Righ, Rig, Rix, Brenin (Kings of various lineages and territories), Ard-Righ (High King of Garnia, assumed titles of the ruling houses of Torakor and various other pretenders).
Simple lords may or may not be from landed families. Roll 1d10, on a 1 your family is landless, you receive 50% starting money by class, mostly paid out by concerned kin. Simple Lords receive the Noble Skill set and the farmer skill set.
Low ranking Nobles receive the Noble Skill set and 1d10 roll
1: Farmer Skill Set
2-9: No additional skill set
10: Courtier Skill set
Also 1d4 multiplier to their starting money by class.
High Ranking Nobles receive the Noble skill set and 1d10 roll
1-5: No additional skill set
6-10: Courtier skill set
Courtiers all receive the Courtier skill set and 1d10 roll
1-7: No additional skill set
8-10: Noble skill set

Repost from my other blog.

I hadn't planned on reposting stuff from my other blog to here, but I found this while I was working on another post and thought it would be helpful.

Jeff's 20 Questions-

See- here

1. What is the deal with my cleric's religion?

I just may be the best prepared DM around for this question. I have studied a wide variety of religions and have based the dominant religion of my main campaign area on the religion of the ancient Celts, based on archaeological evidence and primary source information with the gaps filled in from "sister" Indo-European religious practices ranging from ancient Rome to Hinduism. Non-dominant religions in the primary Garnia campaign area include Celtic Christianity, Anglo-Saxon Heathenry (reconstructed in a similar manner, leaning heavier on Germanic sources), some Turkic animist/shamanist beliefs and, of course, purely fantastic demi-human religions; mostly just the pantheons taken directly from old Dragon magazines. Other areas of the campaign world have other real world religions that have mostly not come into play.

2. Where can we go to buy standard equipment?

When you create your character you can buy it out of the book at standard prices, after character creation "standard" equipment gets a little harder to find, I give a random roll based on the item you're looking for and the size of the village, town or city that you are in. Obviously the more common the item and the more populous the area, the more likely you are to find it. Then, the price of the item will be based on the same criteria plus a reaction roll with the merchant.

3. Where can we go to get platemail custom fitted for this monster I just befriended?

The short answer is no where, but if you insist, look to a large metropolis with a lot of expert armorers, expect to pay through the nose and hope for a good reaction roll. Most armorers aren't in the practice of armoring the enemies of mankind, regardless of what you might say this beast is.

4. Who is the mightiest wizard in the land?

Tough call there. Which land? In Garnia proper there are certainly some powerful wizards, mostly working out of the royal court like Merlin at Camelot. In Garnia the ability to become a wizard is genetic and not everyone with the right bloodline wants to do it, nor is every wizard created equal. The Witch-Kings of Frodia are certainly a very powerful cabal of wizards and they maintain an academy to train younger generations. The Necromancer is probably the most powerful sorcerous force that the world has ever seen, but he has been locked in magical slumber (some say frozen in death) for over a millennium.

5. Who is the greatest warrior in the land?

Most people would agree that it is the once dishonorable mercenary captain, now noble lord of the Orcish march Erc Mac Cai.

6. Who is the richest person in the land?

That honor would go to the miserly chief of the union of trading guilds of the free city of Castra Alba, whomever that honor belongs to, usually a member of the UI'Mael family. They control all trade between Garnia and Frodia, as well as having a stranglehold on the river traffic along the Avergwyn and the Averyraen, which includes all trade with the Dwarven kingdoms.

7. Where can we go to get some magical healing?

Most Temples in cities have priests capable of performing magical healing. Some towns have sacred springs or wells that can help too.

8. Where can we go to get cures for the following conditions: poison, disease, curse, level drain, lycanthropy, polymorph, alignment change, death, undeath?

This is where it gets trickier. You need much higher powered priests to do this sort of magic and they are either going to be located at major temples and holy sites or at priestly colleges. Regardless of where you find them, there is likely to be something more involved in getting your magical mojo done than just a monetary donation (although there will probably be that too), think Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series and scale the quest to the party's need.

9. Is there a magic guild my MU belongs to or that I can join in order to get more spells?

Not so much an organized guild as a master/student relationship and an informal alliance of like minded wizards. A friend of your master is likely to help you out; a friend of a friend, maybe with a letter of recommendation; a rival of your master not too likely without a good reason. They also tend to break on a Good/Evil axis and evil magic or witchcraft (maleficium) is illegal and strictly enforced. Good wizards usually have to watch themselves, because popular myth tends to tell the story of their corruption by power.

10. Where can I find an alchemist, sage or other expert NPC?

Large cities for the most part. Occasionally with lesser nobles or in "adventuring" towns.

11. Where can I hire mercenaries?

Lots of places. Companies of mercenaries can be found sniffing around looking for hires in cities and sometimes the courts of nobles.

12. Is there any place on the map where swords are illegal, magic is outlawed or any other notable hassles from Johnny Law?

Depends on which map we're looking at. Garnia usually doesn't have any rules about carrying weapons, although you might get hassled for having weapons "above" your station, and most cities don't want to see armored men wandering about unless they wear the livery of their town guard. That's fine, nobody likes to wear armor all the time anyway, players just need to be reminded of that point of realism from time to time.

13. Which way to the nearest tavern?

It's usually just ahead on the right. Seriously.

14. What monsters are terrorizing the countryside sufficiently that if I kill them I will become famous?

Orcs. Seriously, they breed like flies and are always on the move. They have the ability to level like Humans and a "standard" Orc is tougher than a "standard" Human. They have a secure, fortified home base that we Humans have not been able to drive them out of since they took it from us centuries ago. They can interbreed with us and plant spies among us. They are smart enough to use tougher evil races for their own ends.

15. Are there any wars brewing I could go fight?

There's always a war somewhere. Most of them don't amount to much more than a feud and maybe produce a corpse or two before they get settled, but some get downright deadly. Major wars between rival nations are pretty scarce though.

16. How about gladiatorial arenas complete with hard-won glory and fabulous cash prizes?

There's always going to be someplace where there are people willing to pay money to watch men fight, whether it's to the death or not. That said, it doesn't always have to be a seedy underworld thing either, there are plenty of festivals and tournaments where you can test your skills for cash and glory, but a full on Roman arena gladiatorial combat thing, not here, sorry.

17. Are there any secret societies with sinister agendas I could join and/or fight?

It really wouldn't be much of a secret if I told you now would it?

18. What is there to eat around here?

Mostly beef and dairy products. Mutton is also common, as is pork. Near the sea seafood is also common. All of this is supplemented by hunting, particularly in noble households. For vegetable produce the common grains are wheat, oats, barley and rye; flax is also grown but mainly for the production of linen. Other common vegetables are turnips, onions, carrots and peas. Fruits and berries include apples, pears, peaches, plums, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and grapes. Most houses also keep an herb garden for their own kitchens. Beef and Wild Boar are the highest status foods. Domestic pork and shellfish the lowest. Usually the higher your status the more protein your diet includes.

19. Any legendary lost treasures I could be looking for?

Like the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords or the Rod of Seven Parts or the Wand of Orcus? I have a couple of things adapted to my campaign world, but mostly used the DMG as a template when I was designing, so I guess this part could use some sprucing up.

20. Where is the nearest dragon or other monster with Type H treasure?

Does anything other than a Dragon have type H treasure? Anyway, Dragons are rare and wonderful creatures that are generally far from civilized areas. Seek them hundreds, if not thousands of miles from the nearest lands settled by men or in the deepest levels of ancient megadungeons.

EDIT: There are a few things I might change now, like the demihuman religions, but most of the human stuff still works.

Friday, December 30, 2011

a jumbled mess

Ok, so bear with me on this one.

A few days back after talking to Will about the need to codify and identify development issues on this blog, and my desire to work out magic on Garnia World (which I refer to frequently as GW, despite the fact that Gamma World had that way before me, oh well) I sort of reverse engineered the backbone of a rules lite system that is probably based on numerous stuff I've played sometime in my past. I don't remember things so good - things like names of games and whatnot. Someone will, I'm sure, tell me what this is similar too...that's ok - maybe I can check those ideas out too.

My notes are kind of disjointed. I'll present now the whole of what I sent, then at the bottom some more of what I just wrote down tonight. This will be very long and probably confusing. If no one reads any further that's ok :) As I look at this, a lot of it needs to be worked out in better detail - so I welcome feedback and questions...

Players will create characters. Each character will have 4 abilities. For each ability the player will assign either a d4, d6, d8 or d10. Each die must be used only once and each ability must have a different die. The 4 abilities are:

Abilities: d4,d6,d8,d10

Physicality (STR/DEX/CON):

Acuity (WIS/INT):

Mana Attenuation (INT sort of):

Presence (CHR/WIS sort of):

Health = class dice x level (roll number of HD (char dice) times the level)


Fighter: d8 (class dice) physical combat, d4 magic

Spell caster (Holy, educated or wild): d8 (class dice) magic use, d4 combat

Items, situational mods can alter some or all of dice type.

Armor absorbs damage

Tie goes to defender

Levels = Max # of dice – up to current pool (like action points) (idea - players buy tiers of pool max for xp modifier? – higher pool max = less xp for adventure?)

Class = type of dice

Ability = Bonus die

Oppose rolls. Type vs type. (combat) Some spells/items can allow to flip type)

Unopposed rolls GM set difficulty of task based on ability. If class type task player can use class dice instead of ability die.

Saving throws are typically just opposed rolls between NPC and PC, PC and PC (oh noes!) or GM event and PC. Adjudicate accordingly.

magic:(added after) All spell type magic effects (or simply spells I suppose) are the result of a caster focusing the flow of magical energy (called mana long before diablo or whatever made it popular and impossible for me to use here, but until we rename it, along with damn near everything else, its mana [and in my games it always will...]). Mages, magic-users, evokirs, enchantirs, divinirs, wizards, sorcerers, clerics, priests, holy spell casters, shaman, acolytes, whatever - all magic comes from the same place. Wizards trained in arcane arts learn mystical enchantments and spells to trigger and shape the mana. Wild mages and sorcerers "see" the flow and intuitively force it to their will. Priests rely on their faith in their divine deity to find the clarity of mind to allow them the understanding of how to manipulate the mana to work the will of god. No matter the shape of the final product, all spell casters share a common link - mana

How that is rule-ified can vary. If you like lists, use them. Even the wild mages probably chant command words to evoke their magicks. If you don't like lists, don't use them. Examples on how to use this fledgling system to adjudicate spells is below.

Focus (general v specific)

Range (short/med/long)

Scale (mundane to fantastic)

Target (single/many)

spells will have pt values determined by those 4 factors, modified by any special items, devices or circumstances. Mana rich areas lower the value (1 pt spells may be free in these areas – hell in very rich areas maybe even 2 pt spells free…), mana poor raise it. Casting spells costs pool pts = to pt value, and cost cannot exceed caster character level or the current pool dice available.

(for example: Create Food/Drink for a single nearby person would be a general, short range, single target, mundane kind of magic spell, so cost it at 0 pt (or say 1 is minimum for any spell). A short ranged, single target energy blast (general, short, fantastic, single) could cost 1 pt if low damage, or up to as many points for damage as caster can throw. Resurrection on a nearby fallen comrade would be specific, short ranged, fantastic on a single target, and would cost at least 2 points + target level. The sticking point (and really its the best answer ever - GM discretion) is where things fall on the fantastic scale and what the range of that scale should be to give basic min and max points for spell costs. If the desired spell effects exceed either the caster's level or his current available pool dice he can't cast spell without some help.)

Fighters can use pool pts to parry, dodge or otherwise influence attack results, values for actions dependent upon rp of action and GM discretion. Maybe allow to use for offensive adjustments as well.

--I know that everyone has about the same health here - and thats intentional. Fighters aren't able to take (much) more physical damage before their bodies break than other humans. Mages have learned ways to avoid getting hit/avoid physical combat, and their spells hurt. They can probably wear armor, but those are details for later...

System is self scalable. For example – spell crunchiness – GM can have spell caster describe effects of spell and how powerful he (caster) wants ti to be and assigns a SP (spell point) value. If value is equal to or lower than the caster’s level AND current pool value, the spell goes off. If player doesn’t have enough pool dice or is not high enough level, perhaps spell can be scaled back. This interchange can be role-played very easily like this example:

Xastor (lvl 7 evokir mage): I’m going to launch a fireball at the pursuing horde of orcs. That should get them off our trail.

GM: Ok, the orc horde is at close range in hot (so to speak) pursuit. To get all of them you’ll need a decent sized fireball, medium at least. Call it 7 SP.

Xastor’s Player: Ok, I’m 7th level so no worries, but I’ve only got 6 pool points. Maybe a slightly smaller fireball that will shock and disrupt the pursuit instead of incinerating them all would work. Can I do that for 6 SP.

GM: That could work. Xastor’s fireball explodes with modest fury in the midst of the bloodthirsty beasts. Those who are not thrown asunder by the blast are confused long enough for the party to make good its escape.

In a rules lite game, I'd figure that SP value quickly by determining it is a 1. general (non-specific) spell (1 pt), 2. It is determined to be short range (1 pt), 3. It is fantastic - the degree of which is up to the GM. In this case, I assigned (3 pts), 4. it has multiple targets (2 pts) for the 7SP quoted to the player. By scaling it back to 6 pts, it will target fewer targets, be a little less fantastic, or both to some degree - in this case still scattering the pursuers if not destroying them...

If you are playing GW as a rules light game, the GM and player can simply and relatively quickly determine the SP value of any particular magic “spell” by breaking the desired effect down the into four basic magic elements: focus, range, scale and target. These can all be arbitrarily determined by GM in the scope of the game, or a more formal scale can be agreed and established in advance. If you want to get D&D crunchy, feel free to create a pre-determined list of actual spells and use the 4 element guidelines to determine their values ahead. That way if you like memorizing spells off a list, you’ve got it – it wouldn’t be very hard to assign values to the existing D&D list – if I’m forced to I could do it as an appendix. In this way I can go forward with presenting this system (if we ever get it silky) as my preferred way to play GW, while making it very simple to swap out this magic system into most existing D&D and play GW that way if that’s what the user desires.

The thing I don’t know yet for certain (although the tying experience awards into max pool size is a fun crunchy rule (that I won’t use coz I probably will have a very loose XP system in GW lite) – anyway the thing I don’t know is what the initial pool size should be (unless tied to xp) and how does the pool get replenished. No matter how you do it D&D and any of its alts are going to at some level be a resource management game. If we keep the main resource (pool points) constantly fluid it gives a lot of opportunity for rewards, for generating conflict (and conflict drives plot – always a good thing) maybe for xp too…

I know that some of this system is similar to something – I played something somewhat (in that it used progressive dice) similar with that other group – but you know I cannot ever remember the names of what I play. I have absolutely no idea what it was. I’m also taking the pool thing from Lady Blackbird maybe…whatever…let legal figure it out…

I’m going to try to post this in some coherent fashion now.

(note - this was my best attempt at doing so)

Thursday, December 29, 2011

An Observation

I started this as a second blog for two reasons.

First, Darryl and I were having a long running conversation, partly on the phone and partly in a Google doc, that was getting, at least for me, too unwieldy, so I copied it here into the series of posts titled From the Google Doc 1-7. This was pretty much just what I said, then what he said, back and forth, raw creative processes in a semi-question and answer format.

Second, I wanted other people to have some input too. I figured that if Darryl and I get stuck too much together sometimes we get bogged down in our respective academic and gaming backgrounds, so a little more diversity of ideas and opinions would be nice.

On the first part, I think the transfer has had some growing pains. We have ground to a near halt to be honest, and I can't decide if it's the Christmas holidays making our schedules tighter, since I did start this right before Christmas, or if the blog format is making us too conservative about what we have to say because we know other people will see it before it's really ready for prime time. I know I am spending a lot more time polishing what I have to say rather than just sending it out stream of consciousness style to see what ideas are good and what sucks, then sorting the wheat from the chaff later.

As to the second point, I think we're doing OK. I like the comments so far, they have been pretty helpful and I encourage more commenting. I actually encourage anyone who wants to write a guest post here to drop me a line, even if it's just to ask us some questions about the campaign world that we haven't answered because I know most of it is still stuck in my head. So go ahead and ask me questions, try and stump me, I know this is a reboot, but it's a reboot that's more of a sifting out wheat from the chaff, to use my agriculture reference again (my dad would be proud), so there's a whole lot locked in my brain that's not going to come out unless someone asks the right questions.

Oh yeah, and what percentage of the vote in the poll should a group need to have to get to stay?

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Norselands-

I figured, since most voters seem to like them, that I'd tell a little bit more about my Vikings in Garnia World. They started off, as I mentioned before, as a completely different campaign that just had the same sort of "Lost Colony" Stargate SG-1 style set up, where a group of Norsemen from a lost Norse colony ended up in a fantasy world. The same set up worked for me for Romans (twice) and for the entire concept of Garnia since the time I was in 7th grade, so I figured why change a winning premise.

The Norsemen are, oddly, placed in the southern hemisphere on Garnia World, although that placement could easily be changed to the western or eastern hemisphere really, it's not set in stone which hemisphere Garnia is in; I just actually needed a place for them that was "off map" when I put them in "here be dragons" kind of a place. The one time I ran an actual pen and paper, face to face campaign there was right after we adopted 3e and we were all still in love with the new rules set*. I ran it kind of sand box style, although I'd never heard that term yet, that was how I ran a lot of my old games in AD&D and thought I could get away with it in the new edition too, and I did for the most part because my players in that game were old AD&D players that were used to my style. I started them in a seaport town called Kaupang (which is Old Norse for marketplace if I recall correctly), on Kaupangrfjord on an island whose name escapes me at the moment. The island was the major market/trade center for the island chain; which I modeled on the Hawaiian islands and then made cold; where the major source of income was fishing and whaling. There was also some agriculture and the islands were forested, so they weren't barren, frozen cold, just short growing season, harsh winters cold.

The town of Kaupang was modeled on my friend Tim's town of Specularum that we used as a home base from back in the 1980s when we got to play D&D all the damned time, but I nordicized it. There were a bunch of adventure hooks I threw out at the players, but they took the obvious and easy one, which I knew they would, which led them to excavate an ancient burial mound in the old (pre-human habitation!) graveyard on the big hill overlooking the town. This actually led them to the upper levels of an ancient Dwarven fortress that had been overrun by what they never found out exactly. Sadly, that campaign kind of fizzled out due to scheduling conflicts and other adult life BS that kills this hobby. You would think that a game that only had three players and a DM would be easy to keep going, but you'd be wrong.

Anyway, time passed, Bioware released Neverwinter Nights and it's module building software and this was the setting that I revisited when I started messing around with the design tools. Now, to be fair, because I am chronically dragging behind the times with my computer technology, until I decide it's time to make a great leap forward, I didn't get NWN when it was released or even soon. I waited until I bought new computers that could run it**, and run it very well, and bought the platinum release; so it had been out for quite a while when I set myself to this task. When I did, I started by rebuilding the town and developing the NPCs there. I set the same plot hooks as I had with my pen and paper game, but without me to actually emphasize which choices might be better, the playtesters, my wife and kids, went off in every direction; which forced me to learn the software better so I design the rest of the areas that they wanted to check out***.

I developed the rest of the island, which was on the brink of a civil war, there were still Dwarves in that old Dwarven fortress, deep underground, fighting a long, losing war of attrition against the Dokkalfar and their humanoid slave soldiers and undead minions. The Dokkalfar were also stirring up strife between the men on the island. The Norsemen had a bigger land off map that I was starting to develop areas for. but mostly I worked on the main island, some of the outlying islands and the underground fortress. Oh, and a non-Nordic mainland area with an Il-Khanid Persian feel****, and one island with bad-ass kilted Scottish Highlanders.

Sadly, despite my many long hours of work on this project, all that remains of it are my design notes. After being a persistent NWN world for something like 2 years, a hard drive failure and the loss of my only back up copy of the NWN module has turned it into a memory. No, I still don't make back ups as often as I should, but I do store things on multiple drives fairly often now.

*Although as DM it didn't take me long to start to see a downside.

**I do that, I wait until my systems are absolutely obsolete, then I replace them with cutting edge technology. There are currently four computers in my house, they range in age from 4 to 7 1/2 years old, replacement time for the oldest systems is soon.

***Also an interesting way to figure out how any player will exploit any bug, take my son John and my daughter Ashli and let them run amok for an hour or two on your server, they will find and exploit any potential bug, loophole or problem of any kind. I had a NPC that would buy your items from you at full price and sell you Boots of Speed really cheap, he was there as a playtest helper so you could move quickly to the new areas. The kids figured out how to buy the boots for the cheap price, then sell them back to him for full price, repeat as needed until you are wealthy. I needed to turn off his buying stuff. I had an area that was accessible by boat, only the boats don't really go anywhere, you just transition areas like through a door; they would go raiding this area by taking the boat there, attacking the nearest guys and then taking the boat home, then, when the attackers followed them home the town guards would fight and kill the tough guys for them and the kids would loot the corpses for their sweet gear.

****This really does owe it's existence to the Steppe Warriors, all of the major NPCs were members of the Steppe Warriors guild from AOL's NWN and the plot for the area and the magic items were specifically designed for Steppe Warrior nostalgia's sake. Sadly, they still didn't have good ridable horses yet, so I had a bunch of dismounted Mongols running around.


This recent OSR post seems relevant, so I thought I'd bring it to everyone's attention to see what they think. It kind of explains, better than I did, how I feel about the old Garnia maps and they way they seemed more medieval to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Some Links to Make Garnia Easier to Understand

I probably should add these as I remember them or find new ones, but these three links have been helpful in the past when I was working on Garnia. Two of them are language links for Gaulish, one of the is for medieval demographics and is designed with RPGs in mind.

Gaulish Glossary Link

Modern Gaulish Link

Medieval Demographics Made Easy Link

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christianity in Garnia World

Lets talk about God. I am actually growing more in favor of allowing Christians into the setting. I think that a sidebar explanation that for game mechanic purposes only Christianity is treated the same as other religions, many of them historical or mythological and no comparisons or allusions are implied. Then if people still get uptight fuck them plus - free publicity!

From a game standpoint Christianity would be the same as any other religion and/or divine power that provides the source of priest magic of whatever pantheon. Given the different Christians we can bring it even adds more to the political intrigue. I don't think we need 100 million Christians running around, but some couldn't hurt I don't think, and, as you point out, it makes adding certain other cultures to the party easier.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Races and Ethnicity in Garnia World Past & Present

Currently Canonical-


Celtic- Still divided between P-Celtic and Q-Celtic speakers, plus some that are mixed. I have given them enough time and space to develop in a bunch of different ways. Various clans, tribes and nations would probably consider themselves separate ethnicities or "races" of men regardless of how closely related they are culturally, or even genetically. That seems to be how we humans have historically seen ourselves, but I am, of course open to seeing the opposite argument of "There are many other actual sentient humanoid species here".

Saxon- These guys are the only non-Celts currently canon in Garnia World. They are the ethnic group in Wodanslund.


Dwarves in current canon come in two types Broken and Khazarak. All PC types are Broken Dwarves, ie. they come from Dwarven territories that have been lost to humanoid incursions and are effectively exiles in human lands. That's my current idea anyway, I guess it's open for negotiation. It's also worth pointing out that the Dwarves on Garnia World are also from another world, and they are kind of holding a grudge against the Elves/Sidhe for sealing their gate home. The Sidhe did it because the Dwarven homeworld was absolutely overrun by Trolls and Ogres, another product of the multi-planar war between the forces of the Light and the forces of the Darkness, but the Dwarves have never forgotten that they can't ever go home. This is also where all of the Trolls and Ogres in Garnia World came from, the Dwarven homeworld. There is a history in this of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Troll Wars, which occurred long before the coming of man.


Sidhe- are NPC uber-Elves. Immortal, Good, but unfathomably alien.

Dark Sidhe- Less well developed, but like a corrupted version of the Good Sidhe- NOT the Drow. They are tied into the idea that, even on a plane of "Good" there are pockets that radiate "Evil", and there are High Magic and Low Magic (and No Magic, Magic dead) areas, on Garnia World, the original Dark Sidhe were probably mighty Sidhe Sorcerers studying a magical phenomenon in an area that happened to be both High Magic and Evil, after a certain extended exposure they became corrupted.

Fallen Elves- These would be PC elves, they are the mortal descendants of the Ancient Sidhe, they are the ones that surrendered, or were captured and enslaved, or were cut off from the rest of Sidhe society somehow. Many of them have no real idea of the actual nature of their ancestors. They still have a natural affinity for magic and a sensitivity to it, they are extremely long lived, but not functionally immortal. Perhaps the cause is their adoption of iron tools, or perhaps it's just because they were cut off from some arcane source of their race's immortality. Maybe it's something else entirely, who knows?

That covers current canonical PC races.

Ethnicities Recently Canonical and up for Review-

Let me start by saying that this opens up a whole can of worms.


Romans- Let's not forget that the Romans were a multi-ethnic empire to start with, so this gives us not just actual Romans from Rome and it's immediate environs, but also lots of other Italians, Greeks, and lower classes (including slaves) from everywhere the Roman empire touched, depending on where and when we take the Romans from. I find it particularly amusing that this would include even more Celts. I have mentioned several times that I think the only way we're going to get a real, significant population of Romans is by taking them from the area of the Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, that gives us two complete, if not really large cities, numerous villas in the vicinity and all of the ships in port at the time, plus whatever we can pull from the military rescue effort. The downside is that it is later in Roman history than I would have liked, being post-republican and it gives us the sticky problem of adding Christianity to the religious mix of D&D, which turns a lot of people off. Crypto-Christianity is OK, actual Christianity is not. Worse, it's a Christianity from when Christianity was an underdog religion, so that's something to think on too. We discussed multiple Celtic migrations lasting up into the Viking age and decided against it for the same reason, we didn't really want to introduce Christianity into a D&D campaign setting; although, for the record, I already had in old games and no one really cared, but if this is going to be marketed someday, I guess I can make this one little concession.

Han Chinese- I covered these guys briefly in my nations post, they exist pretty much just to give me some ethnic diversity and a chance to run Oriental Adventures games without leaving my own campaign world.

Japanese- Same as the Chinese.

Norsemen- Just because I love Vikings and I ran a couple of pretty cool Viking campaigns. Because I had a whole world to use and was using the same type of transported to a fantasy world background I thought I'd add them to Garnia. I am not married to the idea, but I do think it's cool if nobody is opposed on the grounds that it's a stupid idea to keep bringing over more human ethnic groups just because I think they are cool. From an agent of the Darkness perspective, most of these cool warrior type cultures seem like a pretty safe bet for destabilizing the world when they get brought over. Plus I have like a default naming switch for NPCs that sets to Norse as one of it's most common settings when I have to think of a name on the fly. Plus, Norse religion totally kicks ass. I know we already have a variant of it with the Saxons but for some reason Odin and Thor roll off the tongue easier than Wodan and Thunor; probably because of Marvel comics.

Turks & Mongols- Again, I didn't actually include these guys because of the Steppe Warriors and my often professed love for the Mongols, but because they actually featured in a campaign I ran during the late 1990s for Mona and the lads. I am actually not sure how Darryl ended up missing two pivotal Garnia campaigns back then, when John & Amy, Matt, Carl, Ted and Pat all got in on at least some of the action. Dude, you were living 25 minutes away. One of those campaigns ended because we left together to go to Truck Driving School in Indianapolis.

Aztecs- Solely because I thought they would be cool and I had a pretty big blank area on the map, clearly open for discussion.

Kung San- Mostly because I think they got a pretty raw deal here on earth, although instead of shitty desert territory they pretty much got shitty swamp territory. I guess they should have learned to work iron like the Celts and Chinese they got squeezed between.

Kushites- They were the "Black" conquerors of Egypt. They pretty much adopted Egyptian culture as best they could and took it home with them. They worked iron, their civilization eventually fell. I included them mostly so I'd be able to have Black people in my world so I wouldn't look like a racist douche, which actually probably has the opposite effect, since they are pretty much token Blacks, along with the Kung San. I remember wanting to use the Zulu so bad, but they were WAY too late on the scene, so I had to find the most ancient bad-ass black people I could and they were it.

Byzantine Greeks- If ever there were a people that needed to get out of dodge, it's the Byzantine Greeks. They spent centuries being the battered shield of Europe against the advancing forces of Islam. Sadly, they are a REALLY Christian empire, there is no hiding or denying it for them; if we keep the Byzantines we have got to really confront the Christianity issue. That said, I only really started developing them as a a trading partner for the Norsemen, none of them are "on map" so to speak. They were part of an entirely different campaign world before I added it to Garnia World, Darryl played Hrolf Black-Ear there. You guys only scratched the suface of what was beneath that burial mound. Andvari knew it all too, ask about the clan Korin Dwarves, and the Graveyard fights and Ghost-Cleaver; this all got way more explored in my Neverwinter Nights Persistent World- Norseworld, it was online (nearly, except for power or internet outages) 24/7/365 for over 2 years.

Hindu- Actually this is a religious designation for an ethnicity called Indo-Aryan, which has like dozens of sub-groups. I never broke it down because I just wanted an Indian people that were Hindu and spoke Hindi. Mostly because I wanted a Thuggee cult, like in the Temple of Doom.

Arab- I loved Sinbad movies as a kid I guess and the Tales of 1001 Nights book from the library. Arabic names are also one of my default switches, I don't know why. Additionally, the Necromancer was originally an Arab, albeit one trained in Frodia under the Frodian tradition. His name was "Al-Khalid" I believe, and I just Googled that and it is Arabic for "The Immortal", so that's pretty awesome for an adversary like the Necromancer. Back in the late 1980s I ran a campaign in Garnia where we had a party that had NPCs named Hakim and Abdul, an Ivar too but he was actually a PC.

Romany- Gypsys get a raw deal here on earth too, so I helped them out a bit on Garnia.

Basques- They are the pre-Indo-European people that the Sidhe saved some of, the stone age tool users that lived inside the Sidhe empire that I have been so secretive about for all these years.

Homo Sapiens Neanderthalensis- The Sidhe saved a bunch of these guys too, as part of their preservation project. They still live in small bands scattered around in the really rough areas that human don't like to live. Some have been taken as bondservants by humans in the past but they breed poorly in captivity. Their numbers are dwindling here too now.

Non-Human ethnicities-

1/2 Orcs- I recently ranted that I was going to ditch all the 1/2 breed races altogether, but Darryl gave me a compelling reason to keep 1/2 Orcs, spies. They work for both sides really. But you have got to throw away the stupid idea that PC 1/2 Orcs are giant green skinned monster looking things and go back to the idea that they pass for human, like in 1st edition AD&D. The jury's still out, but my mind is more open to the possibility.

1/2 Elves- This one is actually in keeping with Celtic mythology since the Elves are really the Sidhe, so I am going to probably have to let it slide back in.

Halflings- I don't have any good reason to ditch them other than the obvious Tolkien comparison and the fact that they have become an expected D&D player character race, but I don't have any good reason to keep them in either, other than the outcry when I said I was thinking about getting rid of them. On the one hand little people are a staple of folklore worldwide, on the other, why should that make them a playable race? Dragons are a staple of folklore worldwide too, I am not going to make the a PC race based on that criteria alone.

Gnomes- I ditched Gnomes back in the 1980s. Nobody cared. I don't see any reason to bring them back now, they're just the "other" Dwarves.

Various Sub-Races of all the different PC Races, for example Hill, Mountain and Gray Dwarves or the High, Wood, Gray, Wild and Dark Elves. I am really torn on this issue, I used to be all about sub-races and their various differences. Now I am more of the opinion that an Elf is an Elf is an Elf, regardless of where he is from or what color his skin is, there shouldn't be a mechanical, game difference. I am not really sure I want to be playing AD&D at this point though, the simplicity of S&W White Box or Labyrinth Lord is so appealing to me right now and that would make an Elf really just an Elf, but that may just be because I am burning out on crazy Oriental Adventures late 1st edition AD&D weirdnesses right now. DM fiat has already killed two complete sub-systems in that campaign.

maps and stuff

I mentioned this in the comments, but decided it deserved its own entry.

I am planning on creating a rather large-ish globe that I can paint to match the GW terrain. Any tips or suggestions on the actual construction, etc are welcome (and encouraged).

Earth is unique in that she is titled roughly 23 degrees on her polar axis. It is this tilt that really gives our seasonal weather diversity. Do we assume a similar type situation exists on GW? Is the GW planetary system like the Solar system? How big/far away is her sun? How about moon(s)?

A New Map for Better Scale.

It still isn't perfect, but I was never the cartography guy and I can't draw well with my mouse.

Countries of Garnia World Past & Present

Currently Canonical-

Garnia- The core nation of mankind on the planet, it also used to be the core of the Sidhe (Elven) empire. Most of the other nations of man are related to them in some way or another. The culture there is conservatively Celtic, at the time of the "present" the technology level is roughly equivalent to 1000 CE western Europe on Earth, but with magic.

Frodia- The frequent foil to Garnian ambitions and vice versa, the two nations share a long river border. Frodia has developed somewhat independently of Garnia, eschewing a warrior elite in favor of a Wizard-Priest elite ruling caste. They speak essentially the same language though, and share much of the same material culture otherwise.

Tirnakaur- Actually divided into eastern and western factions on their large forested penninsula, this civil war torn nation is a remnant of the original Garnian ruling dynasty that was deposed by an incursion of steppe barbarians from the north that established a new ruling dynasty.

Steppe Barbarians- A catch-all term for everyone living on the northern steppes. Periodically they get their act together and invade Garnia with overwhelming force, then establish a new Garnian dynasty. Usually the new High King doesn't maintain control of the steppe tribes for very long after "trading up" to Garnian civilization. They are also the "Parent" group for all of the worlds Celtic nations.

Wodanslund- A Saxon kingdom to the south of Frodia. Their warrior aristocracy often serves as mercenaries to the Frodians, to the point where some have considered Wodanslund to be a sub-kingdom or satellite state of Frodia. They introduced the stirrup to this world!

Khazarak- the mountain kingdoms of the Dwarves. Every year they lose a little more territory to the marauding hordes of humanoids. They form the western border of Garnian territory.

Sidhe Empire- They're still out there, their power has been shattered by the coming of man and they lost the vast majority of their territory, but every now and again they make their presence felt.

Recently Canonical and up for Review-

Mistland Clans- A confederacy of Clans that control territory northeast of Garnia to the east of the Great Rift. Iron rots there within days. The people there are fiercely independent. They are a Q-Celtic speaking people.

The City-States of the Far West- Another catch-all term, they are like Greek city-states, in that they are all independent and each have their own forms of government, they are descended from the original Celtic tribesman too. Most of the cities are in mountain valleys of the far west, south of the steppe, far from Khazarak and it's humanoid problems.

The Empire of Ming Liang (AKA- The Bright Empire)- A Chinese Empire to the East of Garnia with whom they have had some trade and occasional military friction, the rough territory between them keeps them from really fighting anything out. These guys have gone through a lot of incarnations over the years, making them Chinese was the latest attempt to make them relevant and interesting, plus I figured it would let me play Oriental Adventures campaigns without ever leaving my home campaign world, always a bonus.

Tenchuko- I never fleshed these guys out, but they were Japanese and were just off map, I wanted them in game for the same reason that I made the Bright Empire Chinese, so I could play OA in Garnia.

Altan Ordu- These guys are a Turko-Mongolian horde, they seem like just an attempt to add my Steppe Warriors to Garnia, but they actually appeared in a campaign I ran in the 1990s as mercenaries that the PCs needed to hire on and work with to halt an invasion from the steppes, this invasion was actually being led by some pretty hard-core evil dudes, so it wasn't just the run of the mill change of dynasty type of invasion, the Darkness was deeply involved.

Imperium Romanum- This is the other side of the mega-continent. I didn't really plan it this way, but in the mid 1990s I ran an AD&D Roman campaign set in a fantasy Roman Empire that I designed. There was a quasi-Mediterranean area, a goblin-conquered Egyptian Empire, recently acquired by Rome, and a large, mountainous set of Dwarven kingdoms to the east. That campaign never got the chance to play out, but I realized later on that the maps for it and the maps for Garnia matched up perfectly; so I welded the two together. I had read Harry Turtledove's "Misplaced Legion" and Jerry Pournelle's "Janissaries" by then, as well as worked on Garnia for like a decade or more, so transferring a bunch of Romans to another world wasn't exactly a new concept to me, and I always liked the idea of using real world cultures as a base for my fantasy games, clearly.

Nynorsk States- They are a bunch of Viking states. I made them descended from Viking settlements that disappeared in our world. I ran a 3e campaign there based out the trading port of Kaupangrfjord, and I made a pretty extensive Neverwinter Nights module called Norseworld based out of there. The NWN module eventually started to stray from my 3e game's canon, and my 3e game was never actually set in Garnia, but since the apparatus was pretty much the same, and they could be placed off map, I figured it couldn't hurt to put them there.

Trebizondic Empire- I wanted a Byzantine remnant. I never designed anything. These guys would be easy to cut.

Xochitli- I thought it would be cool to add some Aztec/Meso-Americans and I had an open space on the map. They were never developed in the slightest either.

Kushan- I realized that I didn't have any black people in my world and didn't want to look like a racist dick. Of course, then I never developed this part of the world either, so take that for what it's worth.

Demotic- Really just a linguistic phase of Egyptian culture, I picked this to describe the language spoken by the Goblins that conquered this alt-Egypt and were in turn conquered by Alt-Rome.

Orcish Kingdom- This has been a staple of the Garnia campaign since the first days of it's existence. The Orc Kingdom was originally called the "Royal Orc Kingdom", but about the time I turned 13 I decided Royal and Kingdom in the country's name were redundant. It needs a new name, but I am cool with them sticking around. They are the real source of tension and adventure in Garnia, they are a former territory of Garnia.

Necromancer Lands- Another staple of the campaign world, the Necromancer is a world class bad guy, exiled from Frodia to a barren wilderness he continued his studies into the dark arts and attempted to conquer the world. He was defeated, but not destroyed. When will his evil rise again? The dude is practically a living evil god with cults of followers that still hold sway over his old territory of exile.

Elf Cities- I figured that the Elves, fallen as they were must have some place where they hold sway, I never developed them though, not in the slightest. These would be cities of exiles.

Places that haven't been Canonical in so long I forgot they existed-

Asros- I have no idea what this county's story is, except that it is in between Garnia and the Bright Empire apparently on an old map Darryl found.

The Halfling Lands- I knew they had to have had a homeland somewhere, turns out it was in the southeastern corner of the Bright Empire.

Stejyn- Apparently a vassal state of Wotan, AKA Wodanslund.

The Maritime Emirates- These guys are apparently vassals of Asros, on the coast, and evidence of the existence of Arabs in my world from the earliest dates. That's funny to me because the ethnic groups that pop up time after time for NPCs in my games are Arabs, Vikings, Turks and Gaels; pretty much in that order. I have to work hard to keep the majority of NPCs having P-Celtic names. Oddly, my last Garnia campaign picked up an Italian NPC named Lorenzo too.

The Pirate Isles- Not too much information here, they're islands and apparently pirates live there.

That's all I can remember. Darryl, do you have any more? I think I covered everyone anyway.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Every Garnia Map I Have

All of the extant Garnia maps in my possession.

I made this using GIMP so I'd have a rough map for my game.

I threw the ethnic groups on this version.

Darryl made this one in 7th grade.

This one too.

My wife drew this one based on my rough map. It isn't to scale or anything, and the countries don't have their modern names, but it is a damned sight better than the rough map it's based on.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

the Sidhe event

Is it possible that the Sidhe, even with all their years of experience (or maybe somehow because of it) observing alien culture somehow fuck up things diplomatically through misunderstandings, and maybe some human pomposity/Sidhe perceived haughtiness or something? Some kind of courtly thing, maybe stirred up by agents of the Darkness working covertly - do they intervene on that precise a level - the Darkness I mean - getting involved at street level, or just cosmically? I think its more fun if they can be anywhere...the Light too...
Wait - did you say they'd fill up the Steppe in like 130 years? Even with that 75% rate that seems awfully quick - its like 5 or 6 generations right? I didn't do the math, so maybe that would be right - but if so - well hell...let me do some research and some math before I just question everything...I'll be back...

...ok, so I know there is no real world example to draw on of an organized mass migration of sentient hominids to a fertile, vast and largely unoccupied terrain - so RL facts are only vaguely useful - that said, in the "high middle ages" (according to Wikipedia) from 1000-1250 or so the population of Europe exploded from say 30 million to maybe 100 million as warming temps and the vast expansion of agriculture to formerly forested areas in central Europe and (not mentioned by wiki - my own addition) the beginning foundations of nationalism and nations-states leading to more social stability allow for the rapid reproduction of humans to go wild. But that was like 250 years and population tripled under pretty favorable circumstances, and that comes on the back of established civilizations - these transplanted Celts will need to start over from scratch...

BUT, even if you are right and the numbers escalate that fast, we can always limit growth. For one thing, there are a few carnivorous predators that might really enjoy the taste of Celt...and some of these predators are magical in nature...whole villages and towns could be destroyed by 1 small dragon...the area is also sort of chilly, unless we are creating a warmer period in the past (which given the timeframe is absolutely logical and indeed certainly wold have happened assuming RL geophysics apply at some point...) If its warm thats ok, if not, a short growing season could be a limiting factor - not sure what the Treveri are used to for climate, but I'm guessing the Helvetii homelands were warmer than the GW Steppes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

From the Google Doc 7

WJD TUE 12 DEC 2011
The linguistic differences are enough that, for all intents and purposes, you can divide them into two separate languages ie. they are similar in structure, but not mutually intelligible, like say English and German, but less pronounced; so I guess more like French and Spanish. Realistically, there are different dialects that count as separate languages for every single tribe, but we are attempting to keep things simple, and even Caesar knew that the Gauls really just spoke Gaulish (and the language of the Britons was nearly identical, also it was noted by Romans that had spent time in Gaul that Galatian was the same as Gaulish) Whether Ligurians or Picts joined the migration too is something we can decide now, I never considered the Ligurians in the 1990s, but I did bring some Picts. The vast majority of migrants were Gauls and Britons though, with a substantial minority of Celt-Iberians & Irish Gaels, then a smattering of Picts.

The Saxons show up circa 450 CE as part of their invasion of/migration to Britain. I have always assumed that they got brought over during a storm at sea where most of them would have died anyway and landed near the site of Wodansburgh, they are led to believe they were brought here by Wodan. The Agent of the Darkness that brought them here did so using a powerful direct transference gate type spell and “rescued” the entire tribe of migrating Saxons. I figure 10-15 thousand people and their goods isn’t really out of line there. They immediately run into some Sidhe refugees fleeing the Garnian invasion of their homeland and wackiness ensues. Saxons have stirrups too, thanks to Attila’s invasion of the Roman empire, which is actually one of the reasons they are moving to Britain.
Updated Garnia Timeline-
60 BCE- Pan-Celtic religious movement results in mass migration of Celts from all over central and western Europe and the British Isles migrating to GW.

58-51 BCE Caesar conquers Gaul.

43 CE Roman invasion of Britain (Prydain to the natives, FYI, Britain is a Latinization), the campaign will have three major phases and never completely conquer Britain, but the Roman province of Britain will become a fairly important outpost of the empire until it is abandoned in the 5th century. This will leave the thoroughly Romanized Britons at the mercy of their Celtic neighbors to the north that avoided the Roman yoke, their Celtic neighbors across the Irish sea, who also avoided the Roman yoke, and the Saxon hordes descending upon them from across the north sea. I assume that if we are going to use the multiple migrations model, this period of time 43-78 CE is a good time to get out, after this the power of the Druids is broken in both Britain and Gaul, they have the one religion the Romans worked hard to exterminate, despite what the Christians say.

Meanwhile in GW- from 50 BCE to 150 CE the Celts are busy becoming masters of the steppe.

Circa 70 CE they are going to have filled the Steppe to capacity and begin competing with each other for resources and/or searching for other places to go. That means inter tribal warfare begins again, probably on a small, raiding scale- heroic proving your manhood type stuff. It also means moving into mountain valleys where they are hospitable and that means building towns (Oppida) probably. Northern Khazarak probably isn’t the most welcoming place for new human settlements, just because it’s full to bursting with Goblinoids and worse, but to the far west, where I put the Celtic city-states on the map anyway, seems pretty reasonable. They could also build ocean coastal cities out there because of the lower latitude if we wanted them to. Otherwise, the great rift and the big glacier cut them off from anything but a narrow approach to what will eventually become north-eastern Garnia.

Where to go from here? I figure by this point the Sidhe have certainly noticed the humans on the northern steppes, but they are immortal and take the long view, so they study the problem and debate amongst themselves and, I guess we would consider it procrastination or ignoring it; but they’re immortal so there’s just no need to make a hasty decision. I am sure some of the Sidhe, particularly the soldiers, are alarmed, but since it’s not a pressing threat, and they have other really pressing threats, the “human problem” can wait. Until it can’t.

I figure sometime around 150-ish the Sidhe make the mistake of riling up the humans, by 175 CE they are united under their first High King Gwaryn (a P-Celtic speaker, if you’re interested), and they invade the Sidhe Empire much to the dismay of the Sidhe. Elves may be uber-everything, but they have their weaknesses, and a key weakness is their inability to adapt. Humans have hyperadaptability as a key advantage. Sidhe also breed slowly, because of their immortal nature, Humans breed pretty quickly. Sidhe take fewer chances with magic because of their natural connection to magic, Humans are natural risk takers and really curious besides.
By 230 CE the Sidhe are driven from modern Garnia’s borders (except Tamigwavr). Assume there has been a successful succession in the interim, and around 230 CE a succession crisis, tanistry will do that. The Mistlanders break off and go their own way (the mountainous area to the northeast of Garnia bordering the great rift). The Sidhe Empire is still in control of the territory that will become Tirnakaur (tenuously) and Frodia (more securely), Khazarak has been neutral in the conflict, for their own reasons.

I have started a Garnia development blog, because I think it will be easier than scrolling through this long document.

From the Google Doc 6

Any theories on why that is with the Picts?

Would these P-Celtic and Q-Celtic speakers be able to communicate if they found themselves transproted to a strange new world and had to face it together?

From the Google Doc 5

WJD MON 19 DEC 2011
The main difference is linguistic, Brythonic speaking vs. Goidelic speaking or P-Celtic vs Q-Celtic, the Goidelic speaking Celts represent an earlier migration from their central European homeland, the material culture is similar and their beliefs are largely the same, there is some differentiation in their burial practices.

The Gauls and Britons are Brythonic or P-Celtic speakers, in the modern world the surviving languages in this family are Welsh and Breton. The Celt-Iberians and Irish are Goidelic or Q-Celtic speakers, surviving branches of this language family are Gaelige (Irish), Scots Gaelic and Manx (resurrected). None of them are what I’d call healthy languages, Welsh is probably doing the best.

Related to these people are the Ligurians, sometimes called the Celto-Ligurians, from south eastern France/north western Italy, their language and culture were similar to the Celts, and the Romans and Greeks considered them, at least sometimes, to be Celts, at other times to be their cousins. Also, the Picts, not much to go on, just a few personal names and place names viewed through the lens of other languages, some scholars believe they, along with the Ligurians, may have represented a third, even earlier migration from the Celtic heartland. The Picts, for their part, after centuries of maintaining their own identity separate from the Britons, lost all trace of a separate identity within a couple of generations of being absorbed into the Gaelic Kingdom of Alba, which later became known to us as Scotland.

Most of the Stone circles are along the Atlantic seaboard or in the British Isles, there exist similar phenomena all over the world though, including China and North America, just not on as grand a scale. There are also extant wood henges, or at least the archaeological remains of them, so perhaps they were designed as temporary gates?.

From the Google Doc 4

That all works for me, although I’d like to add some Helvetii as well - give the call to arms as it were of your Boga-Treveri as another motivating factor in the Helveti migration. That they burned 18 villages in preparation of the move ought to earn them some role in the founding of GW :)

So the Sidhe are kinda like early Vulcan scientists observing other worlds’ cultures and zapping home certain species to avoid their extinction if necessary - kind of a damn the prime directive sort of society as it were - do they just repopulate other places and leave the newly relocated species to their own devices? With animals, how often do things backfire on them - you know how adding a non-native species to an eco-system can fuck things up - with sentients do the Sidhe interact at all or just let them figure it out on their own? Are they truly free here, or on preserves or refuges or the like?

After some research, I don’t see any menhir or similar anceint stonework of note in the area of the Helvetii migration according to Caesar...doesn’t mean they weren’t there 2000 years ago though...

So French Celts and Irish Celts - how different? I think you were telling me something about it, but I forget. (And I suppose its Gallic Celts and Gaelic Celts?)


From the Google Doc 3

Actually, I had the Druid/Priest Math trained in and from Ireland living with a small tribe of Gauls called the Boga-Treveri, an offshoot of the Treveri mentioned in Caesar’s Gallic Wars, but my own invention. Druids were international throughout the Celtic world, and traveling between tribes was fairly common, or so I have read. It is said they actually renounced their own tribal allegiances when they became Druids (or Bards). There was a Seeress of the Boga-Treveri that predicted the dominion of Rome over all of the free Celts, and that’s where the quest begins, to try and avert the future, then they realize they cannot stop it, so they have to figure out how to use the ancient magic of the Sidhe to migrate. I don’t have a problem with incorporating the Helvetii into this too, but in my original Celtic campaign they did it all as a race against time to first try and unite the Celtic world against the Romans, which was destined to fail, and then they figured out how to summon the Sidhe to make the magic gates work; ancient stone circles, the most famous of which is Stonehenge. The Sidhe they summoned through the use of their blood sacrifices were, in fact, actually minions of Darkness, but it worked and got them out of there; to the short term advantage of the Darkness.

The actual Sidhe that had built the gates, which greatly predate our modern scientific calculations, used them as something like transporters to observe our earth and to remove samples of creatures to preserve, since the Sidhe (Elves) are kind of hard-core preservationist conservationist environmentalists with an eye towards keeping all living species alive, they don’t believe in the “Law of the Jungle” or “Survival of the Fittest”, there are plenty of empty worlds where, say Wooly Mammoths can live without being hunted to extinction or have their habitat destroyed by climate change. Their world, for instance, has no such dramatic climate change.

From the Google Doc 2

12/19/11 01:55 DAC
Doing some research (reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars) - Did you have the Helvetii in mind for this? They seem perfect for it. The numbers could support up to 120,000 but we could easily halve that and be in line with RL history and still give a society a fighting chance, especially one like the Celts, unified and united in this strange, new world. Caesar says 268,000 Celts never made it back to the Helvetii homelands, but of course his numbers are full of shit. I favor a total migration of 100,000-120,000 of which half-ish make it home. Any more than that and the “generous supplies” Caesar forced the other local tribes to give the retreating Helvetii would have starved those tribes out as even Caesar makes a big deal about the lack of ripe corn or silage even for fodder. Caesar never really describes any massive battles, so while 10,000 or 20,000 may have been killed, its easy to get up to 60,000 coming thru to GW.

I need a separate timeline of events that happen on Garnia World (GW). When do elves evolve, major anthropoligical periods and whatnot, when did Dark Elves develop and subsq. when do the Darkness and the Light get involved. When and what type of other humanoids arrive and where? What is the steppe like when the Celts arrive? Who lives there?

btw, I am running outlines for 3 trilogies thru my head...once I get more details i’ll hammer out a rough thing a ma something....
Chap 1 of 1st tril will open with the Helvetii mustering for mass migration. Intro a couple chars at varied social level - young mother with family - young soldier - our religious seer - tribal leader - *********************
12/19/11 01:55 DAC
Doing some research (reading Caesar’s Gallic Wars) - Did you have the Helvetii in mind for this? They seem perfect for it. The numbers could support up to 120,000 but we could easily halve that and be in line with RL history and still give a society a fighting chance, especially one like the Celts, unified and united in this strange, new world. Caesar says 268,000 Celts never made it back to the Helvetii homelands, but of course his numbers are full of shit. I favor a total migration of 100,000-120,000 of which half-ish make it home. Any more than that and the “generous supplies” Caesar forced the other local tribes to give the retreating Helvetii would have starved those tribes out as even Caesar makes a big deal about the lack of ripe corn or silage even for fodder. Caesar never really describes any massive battles, so while 10,000 or 20,000 may have been killed, its easy to get up to 60,000 coming thru to GW.

I need a separate timeline of events that happen on Garnia World (GW). When do elves evolve, major anthropoligical periods and whatnot, when did Dark Elves develop and subsq. when do the Darkness and the Light get involved. When and what type of other humanoids arrive and where? What is the steppe like when the Celts arrive? Who lives there?

btw, I am running outlines for 3 trilogies thru my head...once I get more details i’ll hammer out a rough thing a ma something....
Chap 1 of 1st tril will open with the Helvetii mustering for mass migration. Intro a couple chars at varied social level - young mother with family - young soldier - our religious seer - tribal leader - Caesar

From the Google Doc 1

Garnia working file

Timeline- Circa 60 BCE- Earth- Gaul- Pan-Celtic religious movement starts, ends several years later with a migration to Garnia.

50 BCE- 150 CE- Northern Steppes- Celtic People develop a semi-nomadic lifestyle, following herds of cattle and sheep. Semi-permanent settlements along rivers are developed into small fishing communities. Druidic colleges and cultic centers of worship are mainly found in the areas with permanent settlements, but there are holy men traveling with every band of nomads. In this time there is plenty of space to explore and peace between the nations of men is the rule. Magic is discovered to work very well, and is refined. Humanoids are discovered, as are giant kind, they are considered the Fomor of legend. With their horses, chariots and iron weapons, the warlike Celts quickly become masters of the steppe, hunting tribes of disorganized humanoids to near extinction there.

I am thinking that, despite the alien environment of the steppe, the technological advantages they possess, and the power of their magic are going to make the Celts potent enough to increase their population by at least 50-75% every 20 years in what is, essentially, open country full of game and grazing territory for their herds. Their summer settlements will provide them with the opportunity to grow some crops, so they will never become complete pastoralists either. Additionally, the permanent settlements, mostly along the rivers, will not only become centers for learning, religion and trade for the more nomadic clans and tribes, but also maintain their knowledge, at a minimum of a rudimentary level, of carpentry, stonework, small watercraft and fishing. These “towns” will also be able to support larger populations per square mile than the steppe as a whole in general.

(As an aside, we really need to figure out the numbers of original settlers, I just ran the numbers with a conservative 120,000 original settlers, and they end up with well over 37 million people at 75% population growth/generation, so we either need to give them higher infant mortality rates and shorter life expectancies or they are going to feel the pressure of having filled the steppe to it’s maximum support capacity in about ½ the time I gave them, and I assume, start fighting amongst themselves to keep their populations down.)

Also noteworthy, Gaulish Celts in particular are literate, to a degree, in Greek and Latin, these people had the opportunity to pack their belongings and plan for the journey, so I think we can assume that some educated people may have brought some books, actually codices or scrolls, with them on the journey, and it is possible that they also brought some educated slaves with them to teach their children. These would be mostly Greeks, but it is possible that a Roman ended up in Gaulish hands here too. Clearly this is irrelevant after more than a century, but it does lead to the idea that there is a chance that there will be a literate class of people among the Celts even in the early times on the northern steppes. That literate class is most likely going to be traders though, and maybe some clergy; warriors are never going to see the point.