Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Questhaven Campaign Setting Preview: Our Steely-Eyed Judge and his churches.


Our Steely-Eyed Judge
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Portfolio:  inquisitions, judgment, justice, law, magistrates, owls, retribution, sphinxes.
Worshipers: consuls, barristers, bounty hunters, inquisitors, judges, wyrd, magistrates, thief-takers, sphinxes,  
Aliases:  Sovereign of Souls, Master of Law, Judge of the Dead, Firstborn of Death and Mercy, Wielder of Justice.   
Cleric Domains: Law, Protection, Repose, Rune
Subdomains: defense, inevitable, judgement, language, purity, souls, wards
Favored Weapon: longsword
Superior:  Our Mother of Wisdom and Mercy
Allies: Our Reaper of Life and Death, Our Fairest Lady of Love and Song
Foes: Their Vicious Brother of Destruction
Symbols: silver sword or owl often both

The church of Our Steely-Eyed Judge has only a few devout worshippers, due to their rigid and inflexible codes of conduct.  Its power stems from the fact that it administers the law of any given location, and includes every member that administers that law as part of the church, so often times the church becomes more bureaucracy than religion. Governments give them such authority because they perform their duties without bias, judging all cases based on their merits and their rulings are always seen as wise, even when not seen with popularity, though the governments still control the creation of the laws.

In the city of Questhaven there are two separate courts the Common Court of Our Wielder of Justice and the High Court of Our Master of Law, often simply called the common court or the high court. The difference between the two is that in the common court’s judgments are pronounced by magistrates while the high court is trial by jury, this jury is always comprised of members of the Questor’s Society and it is presided over by one of four judges. The First Hero appoints these four judges for life in consultation with the church, but the Circle of Heroes must confirm them.  This arrangement allows for appeals to the high court though mostly the High Judges only hear appeals from members of the Questors Society. The First Justice (the highest level cleric of the church) can chose to hear any case he or she chooses and the Circle of the Heroes must sit as the Jury, though this has only happened 3 times in the history of the High Court. The last time being when the First Justice ruled “not guilty” in the matter of the Tanra Incident or as many of the common folk call it the Tanra Massacre.  The courts also have a special relationship with The Great Church of the Pantheon, which use them as a neutral third party to arbitrate disputes within the Great Church.

I have found myself serving as a member of the jury. Once while a member of a new company I had joined. The courts chose us to hear a charge of arson against another adventuring company. We found the Questors who committed this crime, guilty, and the Courts backed by Society forced them to pay restitution, though I thought we felt the judge should have exiled them as well. This led to an ugly battle in the Ruins Perilous at one point when both our companies crossed paths.


There are three orders belonging to the Courts: the clergy known as the Old Owls. Not all of the clergy serves in the bureaucracy as some quest for “The Holy Dictates” a collection of sacred texts written by Our Master of Law whose discovery will bring a new age of harmonious co-existence, these clerics are referred to as the Prolocutors.  The second order, the Steel Justicars, is a collection of bounty hunters, inquisitors, rangers, and paladins who help enforce that judgment and edicts of the courts. When criminals must be pursued, when judgment must be backed with force, the Steel Justicars are there performing their duty. The Steel Justicars also maintain the Isle of Gone (a penal colony guarded by boundfuries) and Salvation Keep the local prison facility though inmates refer to it as “Damnation Keep.”  The courts often hire members of the Questor’s society as bounty hunters and prisoner escorts. This has also given a rise to the hiring of thief-takers by the common courts. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

101 Subterranean Spells (Absorb Undead Spellpower) is now available.

101 Subterranean Spells is now available!
 Illustration by Marek Raku─Ź




Absorb Undead Spell Power
School: Necromancy; Level: Cleric/Oracle 7, Sorcerer/Wizard 7, Witch 7
Casting Time: 8 hours
Components: V, S, M (the skull of a slain undead spellcasting creature and 2,000 gp per spell level of crushed gems; see text), DF
Range: Personal
Target: You
Duration: Instantaneous

Mixing the crushed gems with other powders, you draw a circle around a powerful symbol of transfer-ence on the ground. After the symbol is completed, you sit inside the circle, on the symbol of transference, and pulverize and consume the skull. Once this ritualistic casting of absorb undead spell power is complete, you permanently acquire one spell, up to 6th level, from the spell list of the undead spellcasting creature whose skull you pulverized and consumed. You may acquire a spell normally unavailable to you; if you do, it is treated as though it were one level higher. You can only absorb a spell that you knew the creature was able to cast. The skull of the vampire, lich, or other spellcasting undead must be consumed no more than one week after that creature was slain.

If you are a cleric, witch or wizard, your spells per day for the level of spell you’ve absorbed increases by one, but that slot can only be used for casting the absorbed spell and you cannot cast the absorbed spell with another slot. If you are an oracle or sorcerer, your spells known increases by the one spell you’ve absorbed, and you gain one spell slot per day of that level, from which you can only cast the absorbed spell.

If you cast this spell again, the spell you gain replaces the one you acquired previously.


The costs involved with absorb undead spell power are significant and the limitations should be sufficient to prevent exploitation. However, it’s entirely appropriate for the undead creature whose skull is consumed by this spell to have had allies who are interested in retrieving the power that the caster has stolen. If a particular campaign is structured so that a skull cannot be acquired or acquired in time, choose another suitable device for that component. For example, if vampires turn to ash in your campaign if they’re staked, then the collected ash could replace the skull as the component.

Friday, July 10, 2015

101 Subterranean Spells Coming Sunday! (Garbage Dweller)


Illustration by Jack Holliday

Garbage Dweller
School: Transmutation (polymorph) [curse]; Level: Sorcerer/Wizard 6, Witch 6
Casting Time: 1 standard action
Components: V, S
Range: Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target: One creature
Duration: Permanent; see text
Saving Throw: Fortitude negates, Will partial, see text; Spell Resistance: Yes

You change the subject into an otyugh if it fails its Fortitude save. The initial transformation physically changes the target into an otyugh (it becomes Large, gains the aberration type, and gains the physical features and abilities of a typical otyugh, but gains no extraordinary abilities). While in this form, though the target retains its own Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma, it also is filled with an insatiable urge to gorge itself on waste. If the target confronts anything which could be considered refuse, offal or the like before the curse is lifted, it must attempt a Will save. If this second save fails, the target loses its extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities, loses its ability to cast spells (if it had the ability), but retains its class and level (or HD), as well as all benefits deriving therefrom (such as base attack bonus, base save bonuses, and hit points). It retains any class features (other than spellcasting) that aren't extraordinary, supernatural, or spell-like abilities, but otherwise fully becomes an otyugh until the curse is lifted. It becomes an average, typical otyugh in all respects.

If the target fails to encounter any waste on which to gorge itself, the curse is lifted after 24 hours.

If you and the target are underground when you cast garbage dweller, the DCs of all the saves are increased by +2.


Garbage dweller can be removed by a successful casting of limited wish, miracle, or wish; neither break enchantment nor remove curse has any effect.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

29 Things Rite Publishing is Working On!



Card Game
  1. Goblin Armies (formerly Code Name: Erlking)  likely Kickstarter Fall/Winter 2015.

Fiction
  1. Tales of the Grand Stair (Lords of Gossamer & Shadow, anthology). In the Idea stage.
  
13th Age Roleplaying Game
  1. Tarot Iconics in Development.
   
Fifth Edition Done Rite
  1. 101 1st level Spells in development

Lords of Gossamer & Shadow
  1. The Long Walk manuscript complete, in editing due out of editing by end of July, art complete. I am not going to comment further about this till it is out of editing.
  2. Addendum: Shapeshifting in  editing. 
  3. Threats: Threshold Ghosts in development by Jason Durall
  4. No Beast So Fierce adventure by me, manuscript in playtesting/development, art is complete. 
  5. Icon Deck: NPCs: Art Descriptions final 10 art pieces being ordered.
  6. Gossamer Worlds: Waterfall by Matt Banach in development.
  7. Gossamer OptionsCharacters by Mark Knights in proofing, preorder available.
  8. Gossamer Worlds: Planet Fiction a 32 page full-color Print and PDF (manuscript and editing complete) project in layout, cover art in development, interior art still to be ordered.
  9. Gossamer Worlds: Shatter Light in development.
  10. Lords of Gossamer & Shadow Icon Deck: Npcs waiting on 10 final pieces of art.
  11. Gossamer Worlds: NullDeath by Robert N. Emerson in development

Pathfinder
  1. In the Company of Dragons: The Lost Isles Kickstarter, Bonus Content in Development, Waiting on Funding to process before art orders are made.
  2. Pathways #50 Coming Soon, Paetron to launch in July to help create more content.
  3. Adventure Quarterly #7 in Layout
  4. Martial Arts Guidebook waiting on art, doing mock layout.  (print)
  5. 101 Not So Random Encounters: Desert manuscript in development
  6. Kaidan Campaign Setting in mock layout, final chapters in editing, art orders being placed.
  7. The Secrets of The Divine: Death, Healing, Law, & Madness in development.  
  8. Questhaven Campaign Setting in development with me writing. 
  9. 1001 Magic Items mock layout complete, cover art complete, needs interior art
  10. Ultimate Monsters Hero Lab (Book of Monster templates, 101 not so simple monster templates, 101 Monster Feats, 101 Variant Monsters etc.) assigned to the Rite Coder.
  11. In the Company of Fiends in Development.
  12. In the Company of Rakshasa in Development
  13. 10 Kingdom Seeds: Forests in Development
  14. 101 Subterranean Spells Coming Sunday! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Secrets of The Divine: Death, Healing, Law, & Madness (Preview) : Phoenix-Child


Illustration by Ubaid Ullah Ahmed


Phoenix-Child

Phoenix children give me great solace that no matter how deep in Damnation one has fallen, one can find the way up to Heaven. It gives me great solace that the vilest of villains can repent, and do good upon this earth, and that redemption does not end with death, but that penance begins with rebirth.

A phoenix-child in his or her previous life has always done wrong not just in their own eyes and the eyes of others but in in that of a particular patron deity, in Questhaven this is most often Our Reaper of Death and Rebirth. Phoenix-children are truly repentant individual who has been resurrected to set right what they have done wrong or to atone in this world for their sins. They always carry a list of deeds they must perform in this new life, even if it is just mental one, though most carry a written one. When they are reborn in the ashes of their own pyre they gain both a new god-given name, new abilities, and a new appearance, but always bear a prominent birth mark in the shape of a burning phoenix. Yet few mortals have the mercy of the divine, so they often must overcome great prejudice and persecution if it is discovered who they once were.

Phoenix-Child (Universal Archetype)
“Phoenix-child” is a universal archetype that is usually applied via the actions of the GM, rather than a choice by a player. Characters who multiclass apply this archetype to every applicable class, adding the class’ levels together to determine the archetype abilities gained.

Alignment:  becomes the alignment of the patron deity or ethos that sponsored the base creature becoming a phoenix child.

Special Qualities:
Rebirth (Su): The phoenix-child’s old body is consumed by flames and a new one walks forth from the ashes. When the DM determines an appropriate time, such as the end of the encounter that caused the character’s death, or a return that allows a phoenix-child creature to save the lives of former foes.

The fire of rebirth actually changes a person. When the phoenix-child emerges from the flames of its pyre, her appearance may have changed, including but not limited to her sex, race, and/or cultural background and basic physical appearance.  Her hair color, eye color, the shape of her nose – any obvious physical appearance is always changed in the process. The new face will be of someone killed by the phoenix in her prior life whenever possible. The phoenix-child may also gain new abilities and lose others, fundamentally altering her personality. The PC can change replace all class levels with class level of any other class allowed in the campaign, reassign skill points, reselect feats, and determine a new hit point total as if one were creating the character anew with this level of experience.  The GM is encouraged to provide new equipment via the wealth by level charts as if one had created a new character, replacing the characters previous equipment as if it had been transformed by a deity of death or rebirth, including the subject’s spellbook if any.  This is how a powerful and charismatic evil mage can be consumed by the pyre and come out a laconic but strong soldier.

Phoenix-children gain two permanent negative levels when they are reborn into to the land of the living, just as if it had been hit by an energy-draining creature. If the subject is 1st level, it takes 2 points of Constitution drain instead (if this would reduce its Con to 0 or less, it can't become one a phoenix-child). A character that is reborn as a spellcaster has a 50% chance of having the correctly prepared spell upon coming back as a phoenix-child. A spellcasting creature that does not prepare spells (such as a sorcerer) has a 50% chance of not losing any given unused spell slot as if it had been used to cast a spell.

A phoenix-child creature returns with a number of hit points equal to its current HD. Any ability scores damaged to 0 are raised to 1. Normal poison and normal disease are cured in the process of becoming a phoenix-child, magical diseases and curses are not undone. Missing parts of the original body are still missing when the creature becomes one of the phoenix-children.

Any bonded animals can become a phoenix-child if they were slain along with their master when she returns as one of the children of the phoenix.

The phoenix-child’s original form cannot be returned to life, though her new phoenix-child form can be by all the normal means. 

The List (Su) The first thing the phoenix-child does after taking her new name is write down a list of all the things she must do in order to right the wrongs of her prior life. The items must be specific (e.g. “kill the Last Warlord,” “destroy the Crematorium of Our Grim Wanderer,” “retrieve Stevon’s soul from hell’s damnation,” etc.). There may be as many or as few items on the list as the GM’s determines is appropriate, but everything that can be done to make amends for her prior transgressions against the patron deity or ethos must be listed, and the GM must approve the final list. One should be mindful not to make the list short or easy. Whenever the reborn is directly performing a task on the List, she receives a +1 sacred bonus to all rolls. At 4th level, this becomes a +2 bonus; at 10th level, a +3 bonus. When the Phoenix-child checks off the last item on the List she dies, absolved of all sins forgiven by the deity or ethos. This does not happen often, as children of the phoenix usually die pursuing the items on their list.  They can be returned though life via normal means.

Phoenix Gifts (Sp) At 3rd level, a phoenix child gains continual flame, detect magic, detect poison, and see invisibility as spell-like abilities with a caster level equal to her character level. She can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + her Charisma bonus (minimum +1) This ability replaces the character’s 3rd level class feature or two 1st level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.   

Shroud of Flame (Su) At 5th level, a phoenix-child can burst into fire as a free action. Thus inflicts an additional 1d6 points of fire damage with each natural attack, and any creature within reach must make a successful Reflex save (DC 10 + ½ her character level + her Con modifier) each round to avoid taking 1d6 points of fire damage plus 1d6 points of fire for every 5 character levels after that she possesses at the start of its turn. A creature that attacks the phoenix-child with natural or non-reach melee weapons takes 1d6 points of fire damage (no save) with each successful hit. This ability replaces the character’s 5th level class feature or two 2nd level spell slot if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

Wall of Fire (Sp) At 7th level a phoenix-child can cast wall of fire as a swift action once per day. At 11th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day, and again at 17th level a phoenix-child gains an additional use per day.  This ability replaces the character’s 7th level class feature or two 3rd level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

Phoenix Shape (Su) At 9th level, a phoenix-child gains the ability to turn herself into a Medium sized phoenix and back again three times per day. This ability functions like the beast shape III spell, except as noted here. The effect lasts for 1 hour per character level, or until she changes back. Changing form (to phoenix or back) is a standard action and doesn't provoke an attack of opportunity.  A phoenix-child retains her ability to speak while in phoenix form.

A phoenix-child can use this ability an additional time per day at 10th level and every two levels thereafter, for a total of eight times at 18th level. At 20th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape at will. As a phoenix-child gains in levels, this ability allows the phoenix-child to take on the form of larger versions.

At 12th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Large phoenix as beast shape IV.

At 14th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Huge phoenix and gains a +6 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, and a +6 natural armor bonus.

At 16th level, a phoenix-child can use phoenix shape to change into a Gargantuan phoenix and gains a +10 size bonus to Strength, a -4 penalty to Dexterity, a +8 size bonus to Constitution, and a +8 natural armor bonus.

This ability replaces the character’s 9th level class feature or two 4th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.

 Self-Resurrection (Su) At 13th level a slain phoenix-child only remains dead for only 1d4 rounds unless its body is completely destroyed by an effect such as disintegrate. Otherwise, a fully healed phoenix-child in phoenix shape emerges from the remains 1d4 rounds after death (even if she has no uses per day left), as if brought back to life via resurrection. A phoenix-child cannot self-resurrect if she possesses this permanent negative level. A phoenix-child that dies within the area of a desecrate or antimagic field spell cannot self-resurrect until the desecrate or antimagic field effect ends, at which point the phoenix-child immediately resurrects. This ability replaces the character’s 13th level class feature or two 6th level spell slots if the phoenix-child is a spellcaster and has no class feature at this level.