Posts Tagged ‘Sea of Stars’

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Astrolabes and Astrology (A to Z)

1 April, 2020

The Sea of Stars is well named, below, there are stars and, once the Sun is out of the sky, there are stars everywhere at night.  So many that it is a bright as a full Moon (which there never is these days).

By guided by the starsThe stars are used for light, for navigation and fortune telling:

As night, the stars provides considerable light, as long as it is not overcast, with slight enhancement it is even enough to read by.  But those that wish for shadows and stealth, should wait for an overcast night.

The density of stars usually make navigation basic navigation a simple task, though proper tools such as astrolabes make it even easier for those skilled.  The most precise navigational tools are used by the pilots of starships and, especially, skyships,  Those made by the elves are considered to be the finest available and are passed through generations, though most others use the nearly as good dwarven made astrolabes which are also more user friendly but still extremely expensive.  Other groups make their own astrolabes, usually made with a particularly specialized purpose in mind.

The stars and astrology are a vital part of many of the cultures across the Sea of Stars, most people know at a minimum what sign they were born under and, often, their entire horoscope with influences of other stars and signs.  Not everyone takes astrology seriously but everyone knows someone who does.  In any town, you can find an astrologer and in a city, there are usually dozens of them serving wealthy and paupers alike.  There can be good money made in transporting astrological charts and new sighting to believers and astrologers alike.

Many of the most famous astrologers choose to live in strange and inaccessible places that give them unique perspectives on the stars.  Escort petitioners to these locations can be challenging but valuable in money or information.

Notes: And so the A to Z Challenge begins.  Just with some information and plot seeds.

Photo The spherical astrolabe from medieval Islamic astronomy, c. 1480, in the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford found on Wikimedia Commons and taken by Brian from Glasgow, Scotland and used under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

 

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Giant-Blooded, descendants of the Giants for D&D 5E

29 March, 2020

The Giant-Blooded

Sometimes it pays to be bigIn the Sea of  Stars, there are no humanoid monster races such as orcs and goblins (for reasons discussed here) but there are still giants, not many, but some and some of them have had human lovers and their bloodline survives in a diluted form among many of their descendants.

Giantblooded Traits

Your giant-blooded character has certain traits deriving from your distant giant ancestry.

Ability Score Increase. Your Strength score increases by 2, and your Constitution score increases by 1.

Speed. Your base walking speed is 30 feet.

Darkvision. Empowered by your giantish blood, you have superior vision in dark and dim conditions. You can see in dim light within 60 feet of you as if it were bright light, and in darkness as if it were dim light. You cannot discern color in darkness, only shades of gray.

Age. The giant-blood mature as humans. They age as humans but often have a slightly longer lifespan if their violent lifestyle does not catch up with them sooner.

Alignment. The gaint-blooded are often loners, finding themselves outsiders wherever they go.

Size. The giant-blooded are useually somewhat larger and bulkier than humans, and they range from 5 to well over 6 feet tall. Your size is Medium.

Languages. You can speak, read, and write Common and Giantish.

Menacing. You gain proficiency in the Intimidation skill.

Relentless Endurance. When you are reduced to 0 hit points but not killed outright, you can drop to 1 hit point instead. You cannot use this feature again until you finish a long rest.

Strong Attacks. When you score a critical hit with a melee weapon attack, you can roll one of the weapon’s damage dice one additional time and add it to the extra damage of the critical hit.

They may also select one Giantish Trait:

Blood of the Elements, the giant-blooded chooses an elemental damage type (acid, cold, fire, lightning or thunder) and gains resistance to it.
Hard Hands, the Giant-blooded unarmed strike uses a d4 for damage and if unarmed or without a shield or weapon in their off-hand, they gain a +1 bonus to armor class.
Home in Nature, choose one terrain type and ignore the penalties for moving through difficult terrain in that terrain and gain advantage on Wisdom (Perception and Survival) rolls in that terrain.

Notes: Half-orcs are actually an interesting option in D&D 5E so I wanted players to have access to similar option for characters in the Sea of Stars, but had to work around that whole “no orcs” thing.  Luckily, I had already done the Giant-Blooded for Pathfinder.

Image: Poster: London Pavilion : Giant Constantin. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

 

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Of Souls and Seals – A Petrichor Campaign Report

23 March, 2020

Having fought demons and been rescued by Erishum, a guardian shedu, our heroes have agreed to explore the depths of the ziggurat temple and find out what is going on in the depths.  Erishum being too large to venture within.

The first expedition involves dealing with traps and robed humanoid creatures that are just shells of people animated by strange worm like beings.  It is a standard dungeon crawl but not much more.

When we return to play, its starts in media res in the lowest level of the ziggurat, everyone wounded with Elsbeth unconscious.  Pedr uses a healing potion to get Elsbeth back to her feet and sends her back up.  (Elsbeth’s player could not make it.)  They advance further down the tunnel and find a shattered door behind which is a looted and destroyed armory . . . except for a massive bronze reinforced maul surrounded by a circle of black ash.  Pedr finds fragments of black bone and a feather in the ash.  Lorrend just grabs the maul and adds it to his arsenal, mentioning that he had read about such a weapon belonging to a hero who slew demons back before the Sundering.

Pazuzu of famines and locustsThey continued down the corridor where it became hotter, dryer and brighter as it fell away into a bright orange desert-scape.  They discuss what to do and hear a voice from the other side commenting blackly upon their options.  They venture into the portal and find, just around the corner, a black tree filled with crows, one, the largest, has four eyes and has been the one talking with them.  Its name is Gon and it offers to guide them to the master of this realm.  They set out across the dusty wastes seeing occasional ruins of different styles of buildings in the distance before arriving at an impossibly tall tower made of brass and iron.  A cage is lowered on a long chain and they ride up, Pedr finding it disconcerting and vomits on the way up.  Arriving near the top they see an ogre like creature with small legs and massive arms operating the winch and then pulling the cage into a safe spot to disembark from.  From there, they moved deeper into the tower, which is hollow and on a platform suspended in the center, is a throne, upon which sits the demon lord, Pazuzu.

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Adventure Report – Storybooks and Witches

17 March, 2020

So, every three to four weeks, I run D&D at my local game store (Tyche’s Games in Athens, GA, come by and visit) as part of our Friday Night Initiative program to let people try roleplaying games.  This last game was just really fun so I wanted to write it up so that other people could enjoy.

We had nine(!) players, four returned, five new to the game (of those three new to D&D entirely) and the campaign is Sea of StarsPetrichor, the hexcrawl part of the world.

Crystal MountainsThe existing group was on a mission to find a missing cousin who was last seen heading for the crystal mountains, the new group was venturing to the crystal mountains in search of (surprise) valuable crystals.

The original group was just coming out of the village of Yarrow when they were spotted by the new arrivals.  A few members of each group had noticed that the horizon low looked like a painted backdrop, like a stage set or an illustration in a book.  They meet and talk.  A raven lands on one of their shoulders.  Just in time to hear the thump, thump, thump of heavy steps as a two-headed giant approached the village.  He (they?) is not armed and is here only to collect butter from the village, they two heads are Nog and Tog and they are quite chatty.  Before leaving, with his butter, he drops a bag with a loud clank saying “You will need these.”  Inside were nine pairs of iron shoes, matching the size of the characters feet . . .  The original group took the new members to the place where (last session) they found a blood trail leading to a body which Kron, giantblooded barbarian, decapitated and the body turned to paper and blew away.  The blood trail then turned to a narration of the event.  No one knew what to make of this.

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Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report Episode 15 – Under the Dome

12 March, 2020

This takes place directly following Episode 14.

Our cast for this episode (for more information on the game background, see here):

Reed Greenbottle and Skathfka (with Mercutio is a GMC for this episode.), introducing:

Natya Gefeltewulfa, brave if none too bright scion of a noble family, trained in the arts of the eldritch knight and assigned to a desolate border region to keep her out of trouble. (Fighter – Eldritch Knight, played by B2).

Episode 15: Under the Dome

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Legends and Lore – The Sun, the Last of the Gods

27 February, 2020

This month’s RPG Blog Carnival is Legends and Lore hosted by Endarra.  As I like to contribute to the Carnivals when I can, here is my addition:

A Sun God something like thisWhen the dragons went to war with the gods, the Empress had a plan, she had studied the gods for hundreds of years, preparing weapons and magics for this confrontation.  She knew that the majority of the gods were too dangerous to let live but one god, the Sun, could not be killed for then the world would be plunged into eternal darkness.  The Sun had to be captured, chained and convinced to keep up his tasks.

She had prepared chains made of black steel and platinum quenched in dragon’s blood, imbued with the essence of beings of the deep frost, reinforced with draconic magic to survive even the raging of the Sun.  But more importantly, she had a plan.

The Sun was overpowered and bound, it was almost the first act of the war, and left to rage in the sky as the dragons and gods battled and died.  He was able to see his sister, the Moon, escape from the dragons as she tried to rescue him fleeing swiftly away from the grasping claws and teeth of the Empress’ guard.  He struggled and raged until the Empress appeared leading one hundred and one of his high priests and priestesses each with a golden collar around their neck.  The Empress explain that each time the Sun tried to break his bonds, the heat and fury would be transmitted to the collars in sequence.  Not trusting the dragons word, the Sun released a flare of solar fire against the chains . . . and the two eldest high priests collapsed into glowing ash under the radiant flame of the Sun.  The Empress has the collars cleaned and set around the necks of two more of the Sun’s followers.  He bowed his head as asked what she wanted.

Only what you have done since the world was young, bring light and warmth to the world and its people, she said.  Serve as you always have and your temples and followers are safe.  Chafing but seeing no other way to keep his worshipers safe, he agreed and since then has served at the Empress’ will.

The Empress ensures he is well tended with servants, good food and drink, books and music; The Sun is a pampered prisoner but a prisoner all the same.  The rare child from his dalliances with the servants are raised in the Imperial household and each wears a golden collar.

Notes: Image of Apollo from the Rijks Museum and is in the Public Domain.

Additional Notes: Endarra has taken itself offline so the links to the L&L Blog Carnival are no longer functional and the link to their main page is just an announcement that they are closing down.  A bit sad.  You can visit the site is it heyday via the Internet Archive here.

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Down and Out in Taren Kost – Campaign Report Episode 14 – Road to Ruins

22 February, 2020

This takes place following Episode 13.

Our cast for this episode (for more information on the game background, see here):

Reed Greenbottle and Skathfka, later joined by Agrippa.  (Mercutio is a GMC for this episode.)

Episode 14: Road to Ruins

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