Saturday, May 16, 2009

Nic's Law

One of the things I find when building a setting or world is there hits a point when it becomes an organic process. Case in point with the last two posts being about Dragonborn society in Sauria. Thing about the organic process is the world truly is alive... it unfolds on its own! And because of that, it grows in unexpected ways- producing things that its creator doesn't expect. Case in point- Asianic Dragons popping up in Sauria...

So the stab I'm making here is that RPG setting building should, stress on should, go through a number of phases along the lines of;

Nic's Law
1- The Basics, just write up the bare minimum of ideas you've got for your world.
2- Expand a little- just enough so its playable...
3- Map the damn thing. Thanks to Tolkien, we all expect maps now...
4- Leave it be... Don't touch it...
5- Start using it...
6- Once you start using it both yourself and your players will probably think of things beyond and outside the original conception... just let it grow...
7- Don't worry about new additions breaking the theme of your world...They'll end up highlighting the key themes with contrast if done well.
8- Little additions can be the biggest changes.
9- Don't use every bit of your world... Just because all this stuff is there doesn't mean it has to have an impact on your game. Part of having a HUGE fantasy world is the fact there's usually too much to have in a single campaign. Plus... it lets players incorporate bits of background themselves...
10- Do not convert your setting between rules forms... This is akin to changing the laws of physics! Its a bigger shift than most realize!

So through some development my current world, Sauria, ended up like this...

From starting like this...

Just by adding...
Saurian Background: Dragon Magic & Form
Dragons aren’t just the first sorcerers. They were also the first race to master magic. The Sorcerer, crude in their Arcane discipline, must thus choose one of two paths. Either to forge their own or walk the vast pathways left in the Dragons’ collective wake. Indeed, for the first practitioners of the Arcane, there were no other disciplines other than Sorcerer and no paths other than wild magic. From this foundation, all other forms of Arcane mastery were born.

Sorcery has thus always been a transformers art; the turning of raw magical matter into something more solid through force of will alone. With it the Dragons built the Dragonborn from the crude mutual ancestors the shared with the Kobolds. The latter race being descended from those left to their own evolutionary path. Dragonspawn are, similarly, a failure on the trail-and-error process of which the Dragonborn are the end process. Lizardfolk? Yuan-ti? Who knows precisely how many other creatures the Dragons birthed through their sorcery?

Why then do Dragons only have one form? The short answer is they don’t. Like the Dragonborn there is an accepted form. This form is the one shared by all major Opri- including both Metallic and Chromatic -of Dragon. But, just as the Dragonborn were produced from after strings of experimentation, deviant examples of the Dragon exist. The Druki are one example of such deviations of the Dragon form.

Saurian Monsters: Druki
The Druki (pictured above, image "Lung 2" from D&D gallery, Oriental Adventures gallery) are deviant Dragons from the miniature continent of Druki to the east. Though it is often thought that the Druki are more magic than Dragon; a series of spell given the shape scale, claw and fang. Despite rumours that the Druki ancestors were living spells and not Dragons, the Druki do not heed this claim. Rather, they claim descent from the great Dragon-Sorcerers of old- masters whose Arcane skill was such that their spells became physically part of them.

Druki Deviant
Level 8 Brute 350 XP
Large Magical Creature (Dragon)
HP 105; Bloodied 52
AC 20, Fort 19, Will 20, Ref 21
Speed 8, Overland Flight 15
Action Points 1
Crackling Bite (Standard; At Will) * Lightning
Reach 2, +11 vs AC, 2d6+5 Damage
Flaming Claw (Standard; At Will) * Fire
Reach 2, +11 vs AC, 1d8+5 Damage
Ice Blade Bubble (Standard; Recharge 10) * Cold
Close Burst 5, +9 vs. Fort, 4d8+5 Damage.

Alignment; Unaligned, Languages; Draconic
Str 20 (+10), Dex 20 (+10), Wis 17 (+8), Con 15 (+7), Int 17 (+8), Cha 15 (+7)

Druki Portalist
Level 12 Artillery 350 XP
Large Magical Creature (Dragon)
HP 100; Bloodied 50
AC 22, Fort 21, Will 23, Ref 22
Speed 8
Action Points 2

Side-Step (Move; At Will) * Teleportation
The Druki Portalist may teleport itself 3 squares at will.

Portal-over-Fangs (Standard; At Will) * Teleportation
Range 10, +17 vs Will, Target is Teleported 8 Squares for no damage or is Teleported directly up for 2d6+5 falling damage.
Teleporting Claw (Standard; At Will) *Psychic, Teleportation
+17 vs Will, 1d8+5 Damage, Target is teleported 8 Squares
Boom! (Standard; Recharge 10) * Fire, Teleportation
Close Burst 6, +19 vs. Ref, 4d8+5 Damage, target is teleported 8 squares
Zap! (Encounter; Move) * Lighting, Teleportation, Zone
Burst 4 within 10, +19 vs Fort, 3d8+5 damage, target is teleported 8 Squares.
Alignment; Unaligned, Languages; Draconic
Str 19 (+9), Dex 19(+9), Wis 22 (+11), Con 17 (+8), Int 22 (+11), Cha 17 (+8)

Still to come (maybe)… Druki Golden Sorcerer & Druki Crimson Wyrm

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