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Over the weekend a young acquaintance mentioned his desire to play a (D&D3) minotaur paladin, and some resistance he had met to the idea. I took the time to explain that the resistance was probably not to the idea as such, but the extra work that would be required to align the DM's world such that any minotaur character and their companions would not be confronted by torch-and-pitchfork wielding mobs / local adventurers / bounty hunters / heroes of the realm in every dominion and at every outpost of civilisation.

By the time the conversation had finished however my worldbuilders brain had come up with an outline for how a larger race with a reliable number of relatively peaceable members would probably be incorporated into a fantasy society without ending up in charge. I present a minotaur version of that below as a plug-in suitable for dropping into a fantasy world, but first would like to take off on a couple of tangents.

chaaanges )

availability )

balance )

Place in civilisation )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Kiera)
Champion of Night 5 / Sibeccai 3 / Shadowdancer 1

I thought I had written up this character at the start of the campaign, but apparently not. Busana is one of the more challenging (and challenged) characters I have played from a survivability perspective, rolled ability scores giving a +3 total character as rolled with a 6 CON (boosted to 8 by her race at a trade off of -2 to INT).

In the Arcana Uneathed setting Sibeccai are a humanoid dog/jackal-like race lifted to sentience in times past to serve the giants. Busana displays several traits drawn from this heritage, she is protective, loyal and single-minded in the pursuit of her quests. Presented with another quest she will generally weigh up if it seems more important than her current one and which can be easier set aside for later. As the party is currently trying to prevent the dragon-goddess Tiamat from being summoned into the world ushering in a age of destruction this pretty much always takes precedence, any side-quests undertaken with the intent of bringing them to either a swift resolution or a condition of stability which can later be revisited.

In appearance Busana is a dark-furred Sibeccai with white speckles throughout her fur. She is usually heavily armoured and swathed in veils to shield her sensitive eyes from light, sensitive nose from strong odours, and others from the sight of her sometimes intimidating toothy muzzle. By preference she spends her days napping and relaxing only becoming fully alert and watchful at night, but from long experience easily switches these when required.

Rather reluctantly Busana has found herself the most level-headed and generally socially apt and well spoken (with her whole 10 WIS and 11 CHA!) of a small group of companions. Although her general protective instincts have deepened into a fierce devotion for these few she rarely lets this or her pride in them show. She is similarly stoic about the many times their quest has led them into places uncomfortable for her, not just the oft-found sewers and midden pits but any underground environment or enclosed, claustrophobic space. Preferring to step up and tackle her fears head on Busana often even leads the way into such situations, once a decision has been made or no other path seems practical.
crunch )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Kiera)
There are a few leftovers from the previous couple of posts on healing in D&D3E that I wanted to express.

A quirk of abstraction )
Variant damage system )
Alchemical/herbal healing items )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Kiera)
Ability damage whether through poisons, energy drains, feats or other effects is fairly common in D&D3 and it's close relatives. In fact as hit point totals grow I've found that the easiest way to make the players concerned about the ability of an enemy to damage them is to break out an ability-damaging critter, taking them back to worrying about a total which is likely in the teens to start with rather than the tens.

Monte Cooke's Arcana Unearthed (and revision for 3.5, Arcana Evolved) deliberately make healing harder to come by. For HP damage the lower level healing spells either cure less (fast and with no side effects) or cure more but at a cost to the caster.

After diligent searching I found the following options for ability damage:

#Iamblind #rightundermynose
The Restoration spell is a Complex, Positive Energy (specifically accessible by certain classes / feats), level 5 spell. It requires the target have a Truename to be effective. Diminished (cast using a 4th level spell slot) it removes all temporary damage to one ability score and dispels negative levels; cast normally it dispels negative levels, restores one drained level, removes all temporary ability damage and one point drained from a single ability score, and heightened (cast using a 6th level slot) it restores all lost levels and all points drained from a single ability score. At best you need to be a 9th level caster before you get access to this spell in any form, 11th to use it heightened.

For comparison the 3.x spell Lesser Restoration cures 1d4 points of ability damage and is 2nd level (3rd level caster), Restoration dispels negative levels, restores one drained level, cures all temporary damage, restores all points drained from a single ability score and is a 4th level spell (7th level caster)

Other options appear to be:
- The heightened version of Transfer Wounds (Total) (Simple, Positive Energy, using an 8th level spell slot) in addition to healing all hit point damage removes all temporary ability damage, applying half of that damage to the caster as per usual for the Transfer Wounds spells.
- Perfect Health (9th level, Simple, Positive Energy, requires Truename) removes all temporary ability damage but explicitly does not remove drain.
- Heightened Neutralise Poison (Complex, Positive energy, 5th level slot) heals damage inflicted by poisons within the past hour.
- Heightened Remove Disease (Complex, Positive energy, 4th level slot) heals any damage inflicted by diseases in the last week.
- Remove Malady (Complex, Positive energy, requires Truename, 5th level slot) can take away (among other things) a poison or disease affecting a character, but it is not clear if this will restore ability damage. Comparing it to the levels of the previous two I would say not; this spell instead has the flexibility of being effective against a wide variety of conditions.
- the Runethane (class) Rune of Rest doubles the rate of healing while during rest, presumably including ability damage.

The lack of lower level magic for addressing ability damage is clearly a deliberate design decision but it's a bit problematic when a series of horrendous FORT saves leaves your low-to-mid-levels group mostly incapacitated by a few spiders. By the rules it also makes ability healing items (eg potions) prohibitively expensive at lower levels. Google has not revealed unto me any existing house rules for this out there, so here are a couple of ways I see to address this while still keeping the availability of healing a bit more scare.

1. Easily within the rules Lesser Restoration can be brought in as an exotic spell. I would probably make it 3rd level, Positive Energy, restoring 1d4+1 points of damage to one ability score, diminished restoring 2 points but at a cost to the caster of 1 point (ala Transfer Wounds), heightened restoring all points of damage to one ability score.

2. The Lesser and Greater Transfer Wounds spells could be modified such that the heightened version additionally / instead restores some amount of ability damage at the usual cost of transferring half the damage to the caster (effectively having half the effect if cast on oneself). If I were taking this route I would probably make the amount 1d4+1 points to one ability score for LTW and all points to one ability score for GTW (heightened is a 5th level spell so Restoration may be available, but GTW is a Simple spell and doesn't require a Truename).

As a side note even with multiple applications of these spells there would always be one point left /somewhere/ which has to recover naturally #math.

3. The Lesser and Greater Battle Healing spells could be similarly modified. These are already a level higher than their Transfer counterparts which seems reasonable for the utility. Restoration is still preferable if it is available if only because it now uses a lower level slot (heightened GBW uses a 6th level slot to achieve what Restoration does using a 4th level slot).

My preference would probably be to use both 2 and 3 but for the stingier DM introducing an NPC who has spent the feat for or an Amulet of Spell Knowledge containing the first option might be more palatable.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Author's note: it has been some months since the campaign ended, but life. So I am presenting the remaining highlights in two posts.
From the city to the castle )

An Anthony in the basement )

Some easy successes )
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The Fleet )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)
A few items my Sunday Broken Kingdoms group have just come across, for their reference.

Wand of Lesser Transfer Wounds
This slim wand is made of a pale wood carved to resemble a forearm ending in an outstretched hand.

Wand of Touch of Disruption
This slim wand is made of a dark wood carved to resemble a forearm ending in a clenched hand with one finger extended.

Leather Coat of Sneaking
This magical leather coat was removed from the burnt corpse of the undead named Esolith. It is filthy (with chunks of his flesh still adhering in places) and will need a /very/ good clean and minor repair before it is again fit for use by the living.
(Leather Coat +1, +5 to Sneak skill)

Ring of Ramming (modified Ring of the Ram)
This heavy iron ring is carved with the head of one of the massive mountain sheep the hill tribes use as livestock and mounts.

"The wearer can command the ring to give forth a ramlike force, manifested as a vaguely discernible shape that resembles the head of a ram or a goat. This force strikes a single target, dealing 1d6 points of damage if 1 charge is expended, 2d6 points if 3 charges are used, or 3d6 points if 3 charges (the maximum) are used. Treat this as a ranged attack with a 50-foot maximum range and no penalties for distance. The ring has 5 charges per day.

The force of the blow is considerable, and those struck by the ring are subject to a bull rush if within 30 feet of the ring-wearer. (The ram has Strength 25 and is Large.) The ram gains a +1 bonus on the bull rush attempt if 2 charges are expended, or +2 if 3 charges are expended.

In addition to its attack mode, the ring of the ram also has the power to open doors as if it were a character with Strength 25. If 2 charges are expended, the effect is equivalent to a character with Strength 27. If 3 charges are expended, the effect is that of a character with Strength 29."

Boots of Stomping (from the Magic Item Compendium)
"When you stomp your feet and activate boots of stomping, you generate a 15-foot-long cone-shaped burst of psychokinetic force that travels along the ground, toppling creatures and loose objects. The shock wave affects only creatures standing on the ground within the area. Creatures that fail a DC 13 Reflex save are thrown to the ground, prone, and take 1d4 points of nonlethal damage.

Boots of stomping function three times per day."

About 200 pairs of these boots were originally commissioned by an Old Kingdom Duke for the front rank of his army. The range and vigour of the effect is said to be increased for each adjacent pair being activated. Unfortunately many were lost or destroyed when in the midst of a major battle the vibrations caused by their use attracted a terrible worm-like beast from deep underground which proceeded to crush or consume the bulk of the forces present.
A number of prototypes and attempts-at-duplication are known to exist - the effect of these may include but are not limited to
- affecting also (or only) the wearer.
- creating their effect in a random direction relative to the wearer
- Creating a Muddy Ground spell effect centred on the wearer
- One particularly powerful pair known as "The Boots of Earthquakes" generated a strong enough force to demolish small buildings nearby and could be felt for some distance ... these were lost when a crack in the earth opened beneath the user and closed over again moments later.

Viper bolts
These 10 +1 crossbow bolts came carefully wrapped in soft leather and are fashioned in an extremely fine likeness of a tiny snake from the tail at the point to the head at the butt. On a hit they transform into a tiny viper which makes one attack on the target struck before falling to the ground and wriggling off (100% non-recoverable).

Tiny Viper +5 To Hit, 1 point of damage, Poison DC 10 1d6 CON Primary, 1d6 CON Secondary.

On the event of a natural 1 being rolled to hit the bolt animates before it is fired and attacks the wielder of the crossbow instead.
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Upon returning to Murdered Bow Markos made good his promise to the ki-rin and removed the last of the metal bindings. Sa paid a visit to the baker's widow discovering that business had not been good since the death of her husband; something he remedied by buying a round for everyone in a local drinking house and pronouncing the greatness of her wares. The word of such a great hero soon had people flocking to the bakery.

Zenon had been busy in the intervening time and presented the other members if the party with a number of useful one-shot items such as tokens of Obscuring Mist and powder of See the Invisible.

The treasure ships were investigated for an item of power suitable for a new member of the party and Val chose to replace one of her bladed gauntlets with the one name Mageslayer - a bleak, black iron piece with a taste for the blood of spellcasters. Markos replaced some of the blades on her other gauntlet with ones of meteoric iron; the better to face Anthony's never-ending creations.

Back to the caverns )
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Honourable deal )

Honourable? duel )

Hostage situation )

Party and aftermath )
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Author's note: something like 5-6 sessions behind on logs again
old fashioned dungeon crawl part 2 )
The many-headed Anthony )
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Sanctuary and conspiracy )

A plan and an ambush )

Homecoming )

At this point we bid a sad farewell to Aiu's player whose real-world adventures are taking her from us. Aiu will continue on as personal speechwriter and counsel to the Prince but the rest of the party are taking their leave of him to once again challenge the multi-headed monster which are the Anthonys and the resources they might lend to the usurper Quinten.
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Dramatic Escape )

Author's note: still a session and a bit behind.
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A very short entry, for reasons which will become apparent.

Betrayal )
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Author's note: I think I am four revelation-and-drama filled sessions behind as I start writing this.

Gideon is worried )

A trail gone cold )

From the Shield of War )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Author's note: Three intense sessions in this log. Finally back up to date!

Ol' Stoney )

The many faces (and other parts) of Robin )

The big score )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Journal link: Sa-Dagget's version of events from joining the party until the end of the previous entry.

Author's note: I wasn't present at the table / Markos was not involved for much of the next two vignettes.
Sa punches a bear )

Getting Eric back on his feet )

An ocean excursion )

Brother Anthony )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Authors note: as I write this I have also gone back and added a couple things to the previous session.

Unplanned exits )

A world below )

The reveal )
marsden_online: RPG log icon for this character (Markos)

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Authors note: I am several sessions behind at this point. ...
A new PC, and Complications )

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