Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

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Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby OldDawg » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:30 am

As discussed in this thread, I am looking for contributions for a new project called Mystara 5300 BC: The Burrower Wars. The setting occurs during the age when men were in the early phases of civilized development, which was turned bloody and insane in part by the psychic influence of the Burrowers.

This thread is to collect ideas for playable characters. The setting is an era where people are a mix of wildmen, hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and some few city builders (think Mesopotamian and Canaanite). Demihumans and other alt-races commonly attached to Mystara are generally unavailable - it is a human-centric world. Climatologically, we are looking at sub-tropical to cold temperate, with locations amid grasslands, desert hills, and on the coast.

The standard BECMI human classes are bit too evolved for this setting, so I am looking for ideas for a simple suite of classes that would work for this project. Suggestions can came from any system (e.g. 2e kits, 3e prestige classes) - just give a quick run down of the concept. Or you can offer your own ideas.

In addition, feel free to suggest race options that could be adapted to a human-only world. In particular, 4e goliaths sound promising, but I don't really know more past the name.

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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Seer of Yhog » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:43 am

Hi OD,

Here are some thoughts:

Classes
-Fighter (possible option of an elite subclass at higher levels of charioteer)
-Scout (use the rake as a model)
-Shaman
-Druid (can start from 1st level)
-If magic users allowed, perhaps use the wokani as a model, or a modified version of our noaide class.

Suggested Races
-Human (natch)
-Brute-Man (live on the fringes of the setting, in decline)
-Lizard Man (I'm thinking of compatibility with other settings that presuppose reptilian civilisation in general decline at this time, which has created a vacuum - such creatures are rare in this part of the world, but available)
-Fey folk (they've been around in various forms since the dawn of time, and faeries/forest spirits figure prominently in early mythology - I would recommend sprites, centaurs, pixies, and sidhe as the only allowed types)
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Chimpman » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:26 pm

Hey OD,

I like Geoff suggestions. I have a few of my own to add (mostly coming from a 3X point of view):

Classes
- Barbarian
- Ranger
- Binder - 3.5, basically makes a pact with an other worldly being in return for power - basically a martial class augmented by arcane bonuses. This could represent pacts made with the Outer Beings themselves.
- There were some classes from one of the dragon source books that basically represented a character who had bonded himself to a dragon master (can't remember if these were base or prestige classes). Anyway forget the dragon aspect, but maybe they could bind themselves to primal forces of nature or even to OBs.
- Warlock - 3X or 4E as above a really good way to have an arcane class that is tied to some other worldly power.

Suggested Races
- Neanderthal - probably equivalent to OD&D Brutemen
- Merfolk/Tritons - could be associated with the kopru or with aquatic burrowers/OB types.
- Spirit Folk - from 3E OA, could be a good way to represent fey creatures. Spirit folk are associated with one of the 5 (or 4) elements
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Seer of Yhog » Thu Apr 22, 2010 4:46 pm

I like John's ideas, too.

The Binder idea has a lot of promise, as I'm bouncing around ideas for a Cultist NPC class (in the same vein as the Anti-Paladin). It also relates to another notion I've played with at times, but have yet to develop, and that's the idea that various people would have made pacts with the Outer Beings in order to receive special favours or powers. Needless to say, there was always a price to be paid - sometimes a horrible one - but that didn't stop people from stepping up.

If we were to create a modified Binder class, I would expand the benefits to encompass magical ability, physical enhancements, weapons (sometimes grafted to the wielder's body, or bound to their souls), special immunities, etc. These people would essentially be mortal lesser avatars of the OBs.

The obvious campaign hook is that the player has these "gifts", but has decided at some point that they are backing the wrong horse. Finding a way out of a commitment to the OBs is a quest that would last much of an adventuring career, and doing so would make the oath-breaker some powerful enemies. Then there are those gifts, which tend to grow more powerful over time, accompanied by physical and mental changes. The key motivation would be breaking the soul bond with the OBs before the last scrap of sanity and humanity is sucked away.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby maddog » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:46 pm

Chimpman wrote:Binder - 3.5, basically makes a pact with an other worldly being in return for power - basically a martial class augmented by arcane bonuses. This could represent pacts made with the Outer Beings themselves.


This could be a template for a shaman class too. I could see a shaman doing this.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Chimpman » Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:09 pm

maddog wrote:
Chimpman wrote:Binder - 3.5, basically makes a pact with an other worldly being in return for power - basically a martial class augmented by arcane bonuses. This could represent pacts made with the Outer Beings themselves.


This could be a template for a shaman class too. I could see a shaman doing this.
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I agree. Magic of Incarnum also provided some good ways to implement a shaman class IMO. It's similar in many ways, but more geared toward binding elements of nature to ones own chakras. Now that I think about it, this class might be a good fit as well.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Seer of Yhog » Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:07 pm

Another possibility (again, borrowing from earlier GAZF work) is taking the Littonian amber mage class, and working out a primal wild mage class - the sort of spellcaster who simply tapped into the ambient magical energies of the planet, without the aid of spellbooks and the like.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Havard » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:15 pm

How about Cryons? Do they go back this far? Also Yeti might be appropriate.

What is the climate like at this time? Are we talking about an Ice Age style game here?

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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Havard » Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:25 pm

Havard wrote:How about Cryons? Do they go back this far? Also Yeti might be appropriate.

What is the climate like at this time? Are we talking about an Ice Age style game here?



Gaah, you already answered that in the original post didn't you. :oops:
I guess the Ice Age stuff is out then, except if we want to explore the areas closer to the arctic.

OD, you mentioned Goliaths elsewhere. Cthulhudrew once suggested that Stalwarts (AC9) were the Mystaran equivalents of Goliaths. Maybe we could have a sort of merged Goliath/Stalwart race as a PC race/class? Not much is established about the Stalwarts anyway, so the idea would be to steal Goliath lore, but use the name Stalwart to keep the Mystara connection, along with the few facts AC9 provides about them.

In terms of Classes, Geoff's list seems good. How about allowing humans to take on the Monster spellcaster classes at this time, as Geoff is pretty much suggesting? The Blackmoor d20/4E lines introduced a few new classes which I believe are based on these classes; Wokan, Elderkin and Idolator. While we probably wont be using those names, I like the idea of a more primitive cleric/druid-type focusing on idols for their form of worship.

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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Seer of Yhog » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:17 pm

Havard wrote:In terms of Classes, Geoff's list seems good. How about allowing humans to take on the Monster spellcaster classes at this time, as Geoff is pretty much suggesting? The Blackmoor d20/4E lines introduced a few new classes which I believe are based on these classes; Wokan, Elderkin and Idolator. While we probably wont be using those names, I like the idea of a more primitive cleric/druid-type focusing on idols for their form of worship.


Thanks! That was the assumption I was working from, that spellcasting would be very primitive and probably work directly with the earth itself. I might even suggest limiting levels too.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Havard » Tue Apr 27, 2010 4:34 pm

Seer of Yhog wrote:Thanks! That was the assumption I was working from, that spellcasting would be very primitive and probably work directly with the earth itself. I might even suggest limiting levels too.


That would make sense.

IIRC the RC has three monster spellcaster "classes".
Shaman
Wokan
Monster(Primitive) Druid

In the ZGG Blackmoor line these are represented as follows (my theory):
Shaman ->Elderkin; The elderkin is a spellcaster who has spirit guides to assist him.
Wokan -> Wokan; This should be obvious. A primitive arcane caster using alternatives to spellbooks.
Primitive Druid -> Idolator : Idolators use primively crafted idols which he uses to draw power from nature.

Of course, we dont have to use the ZG stuff, but it might be useful to have as inspiration. The Ethengar/Athruagin Shamans could also be used. The Codex Immortalis has some interesting theories on the origins of Druids. Might be worth looking into...

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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Dave L » Tue Apr 27, 2010 6:36 pm

Havard wrote:
Of course, we dont have to use the ZG stuff, but it might be useful to have as inspiration.

Also, it gives you an extra bunch of spells to look through to choose an appropriate list.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:13 am

For a more "natural" version of magic users, you can find the "wise women" (rune magicians) in the Nothern Reach Gazzetteer (pretty well described) and Maka wizards (tribal magicians, that need to use some ingredient as part of casting) in Ierendi (but they are just briefly described with a couple of quick examples of spells, it's not a very thorough description at all).
They may be of some inspiration.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:37 am

I just read the Western Alliance GazF Gazzetteer and they have a "magician" class that is a kind of "advanced charlatan" (that can cast proper magic spells only at higher levels, otherwise it's more tricks and prestidigitation) that may be appropriate for your needs as well...
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:44 am

...and now that I think about it, in The Principalities of Glantri Gazzetteer, they have some special "natural" magic sects: the Seven Secret Orders of the Great School of Magic (Alchemists, Dracologists, Elementalists, Illusionists, Necromancers, Cryptomancers (runemasters), and Witches) that don't rely on magic books + standard magic paths, morning meditation etc. but are more linked to "natural" magic abilities and that may really be what you are looking for...
This could be an "old school" of magic that has been preserved in Glantri (1000AC) and forgot in other parts of the world, but more spread and well-known several millennia BC...
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Havard » Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:35 pm

Hey guys,

I have been posting this elsewhere, but the Burrower Wars have become the focus of my attention in recent blog articles:

The Sleeping Ones
The Burrower Wars
The Burrower Wars Part II: The Murder of Temrin

The GazF material has been an important source of inspiration for this project so far.



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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Fri Dec 07, 2012 9:53 am

OldDawg wrote:The setting is an era where people are a mix of wildmen, hunter-gatherers, pastoralists and some few city builders (think Mesopotamian and Canaanite).


If you're referencing Mesopotamian / Canaanite (and Caldeans?), then I definitely think you should have an elite of mages with interests in astronomy / astrology!!!









They will come with gold, frankincense and myrrh sooner than you think!!! ;)
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Brett McKee » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:27 am

For nature magic the npc adept class (found in the 3.0/3.5 DM's guide) could work well. Also for the binder class- the sorcerer could work since they don't need to use books for magic. As an example a binder(sorcerer) connected to the element of fire is given fire based spells to channel through his body.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:13 pm

Havard wrote:Hey guys,

I have been posting this elsewhere, but the Burrower Wars have become the focus of my attention in recent blog articles:

The Sleeping Ones
The Burrower Wars
The Burrower Wars Part II: The Murder of Temrin

The GazF material has been an important source of inspiration for this project so far.



-Havard


Is there any follow up to these articles? I think the story is very powerful.
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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Havard » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:26 pm

Yaztromo wrote:
Havard wrote:Hey guys,

I have been posting this elsewhere, but the Burrower Wars have become the focus of my attention in recent blog articles:

The Sleeping Ones
The Burrower Wars
The Burrower Wars Part II: The Murder of Temrin

The GazF material has been an important source of inspiration for this project so far.



-Havard


Is there any follow up to these articles? I think the story is very powerful.


Thanks for asking about this!

I ended up using some of this material as backstory and tie ins for the Age of Id PDF that is half completed on my computer.....

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Re: Burrower Wars - Playable Characters

Postby Yaztromo » Thu Dec 22, 2016 6:41 pm

:)
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