Thursday, October 13, 2016

Monvesian Culture: Vasyl's Legacy

After uniting the petty kingdoms of Voztok under a single banner, Tsar Vasyl Vladovich Korolov (r. 890 ye - 105 ye) lived an unnaturally long life--long outliving his own children. Unlike Jostin or Ignatius, Vasyl did not ascend to sainthood.  Instead, he transformed his body into something new, like the transcendence of elvenkind.  Some say that Vasyl was a warlock sworn to the Undying patron; others claim that he was a blood mage (or even a bloodline sorcerer).

During his life, he passed on his secrets to his grandchildren and other members of his inner circle.  These acolytes further spread what they learned, establishing a cult in Voztok--and, by extension, the Barrier Mountains region of Cuorria.  Several institutions have thus survived Vasyl to this day:  1) The Dominion of Voztok and the Tsardom of Volka, remnants of Vasyl's empire; 2) the Strigoi, a race born from Vasyl's blood experiments; and 3) the Sanguinati, a faction that shares Vasyl's obsessions.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Alignments of Monvesia 2: Codifying Perception

Last year, I posted an overview of Monvesia's alternate alignment system.  In this setting, alignment is more about public perception than it is about personality or creed--a character is not a good person, but is believed to be a good person.  The actions one chooses to perform and vocations one chooses to pursue will color the way a character is perceived.  Using the Temperaments of Monvesia, I am going to outline how alignment can be treated as a mechanical property of the game, instead of an arbitrary description of character.

As a game mechanic, player characters will earn alignment points (AP).  Characters earn these points in all temperaments simultaneously.  Generally, the temperament with the highest score will be a character's perceived alignment--and this is the alignment that the character is "bound" to when dealing with spells such as detect evil.

The Seal of Mohas
representing the Six Temperaments of his philosophy

Starting Alignment Points

The first APs that a character receives are based on their race, initial ability scores, starting class, and birth season.  These associations are detailed in the previous post about alignment.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Homebrews for Monvesia - The Wayfarers Guild

"Official" sources are fine and dandy ... but what about all that fun stuff out there that isn't from Wizards of the Coast?  The Dungeon Masters Guild opens up options  for getting homebrew content out to others--but it has very specific setting requirements.  I follow several gaming blogs that include a lot of great options for 5th Edition D&D--and I've already incorporated (and adapted) a few of these into my Monvesia campaign.  But there is so much more out there. 

Earlier this year, I posted an index of [mostly] official 5th Edition character options.  On this list, I included components I believe are missing from the official, core rules.  Some of these have links to homebrew content, others do not.  As I seek out what others have done to fill these gaps, I run into some great options that I would like to share.

Today, I have chosen to share some options from The Wayfarer's Guild.  Ian Burns has created some great archetypes here--and there is more to come.  I look forward to seeing the Strength and Fortune domains.
All of this information has also be added to the appropriate, existing posts--revising and/or replacing information in those posts as necessary.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

I'm DMing Without XP, and my Players aren't B*%@#ing about It

I have received some ... dissenting opinions in response to my post "Eliminating XP."  The general theme of these responses is that XP are a good way to reward characters not only for the typical reasons, but also for ingenuity and playing in-character.  I attempted to advance the idea that these could be rewarded using game mechanics other than XP.  However, my initial post doesn't really go into this--it glosses over it with links to another post wherein Hero Points are discussed in an epilogue.  I have since made an effort to gain some experience with this type of play, and will share with your my experience and insight.


As most of you should be aware, I have been running a Pathfinder campaign since last fall. In this campaign, I have chosen to avoid experience points.  My regular players include two D&D veterans, two players with only a couple of years experience, and two brand new initiates into RPGs.  When I informed them that I would be awarding experience levels based on attendance and participation instead of combat, no one complained.  When I told them they would receive Hero Points as rewards for special actions, they didn't really know what I was talking about.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

DMs Guild Options in Monvesia, Part 1

Twice in recent months, the writers behind Unearthed Arcana decided to call out some fan creations published through the Dungeon Masters Guild.   While these articles feature different gaming aspects from adventuring to setting flavor, I will only be focusing on the highlighted character options--exploring how (or even if) they fit in Monvesia.
As with similar posts, all of this information will also be added to the appropriate, existing posts--revising and/or replacing information in those posts as necessary

Blood Magic

Of the three items chosen in March, one included character options:  Joshua Raynack's Blood Magic.  In this resource, we are presented with blood magic for both the Sorcerer and Wizard classes, as well as other realted archetypes and sundries.  This DM's Guild entree has been updated several times since being featured in Unearhted Arcana.

Though feared as much as any undead, not all blood magic options are tied to the Necrosphere.  While neccromancy is only demonized by the Universal Orders, true blood magic is shunned by both the Universal and Metropolitan Orders.  Alternate forms of blood magic are integral parts of eastern and rakasta and cultures, however.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Super Generic RPG Post Go!

I like RPGs.  I also like lists:  I think in lists.  I organize in lists.  I conceptualize in lists.  It is, therefore, natural for me to detail my experiences with RPGs in lists.  So, here is a handful of lists that I have been kicking around for a while.  Each could be its own post with details and almost-thought-provoking commentary.  But they have been sitting in my drafts for so long that maybe they just want to be lists.

Also, a picture of my dice collection.

Describing RPGs

While working at a game store, I developed a larger tabletop gaming vocabulary.  I learned the "proper" way to describe games to customers--and the necessary keywords to link one game a player enjoys to another they might want to try.  This has led me to ask the question:  What are the best "gamer buzzwords" to describe RPGs?
  • Adventure
  • Cooperative
  • Immersion
  • Legacy
  • Resource Management
  • Storytelling
Did I miss any important ones?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

More Unearthed Arcana in Monvesia, Part 3

The time has come again to examine the character options introduced in the last few months of Unearthed Arcana; and to explore how (or even if) they fit in Monvesia.  The last few months have been dedicated to both WotC staff works as well as fan homebrews.  In this post, I will focus on the "professional" options; I will visit the fan content in another post.
As with similar posts, all of this information will also be added to the appropriate, existing posts--revising and/or replacing information in those posts as necessary.

Gothic Heroes

The Gothic horror theme continues in April with more options for The Curse of Strahd storyline.  In Monvesia, the home of Gothic Horror is the Tsarlands and the nations of Cuorria along the Barrier Mountains.

Revenant Subrace

While the various reasons that a character might return from the dead are innumerable (and generally non-specific to this or any other campaign setting), the ways in which a character could come back from the dead can be tied to fundamentals of Monvesia.  Previously, revenants were identified as undead that are tied to the power of the Ethereal Plane--the transitive aspect of the Hierosphere.  This is only accurate as is applies to Altruist revenants, however.  In fact, there are revenants tied to each of the Spheres (and temperaments).