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Part One: Playing in the Realm

  1. wizarddog
    To enhance the atmosphere of the horror genre, certain rules have been generated to give the feel of the dark and dangerous world and the intimate connection PC will have with the folk of the region. Focus is placed on roleplaying and character development.

    The game only works if all the players accept that this a horror based campaign. The conventions of role play and the mechanics are different in order to create best story and atmosphere. Included in some of the text is a Justification for the change from a typical D&D campaign.

    The campaign utilizes the World of Greyhawk as a basis concentrating in the Kingdom of Pale. The Ffenargh is the conquered renaming of the Troll Fens after the Trolls were driven out many generations ago. The Fortress of Eylea expanding into the small theocracy it is today ruling for about 100 years.

    Humans in the region stock are consider of Ordiean descent or mixed with Flan heritage. The villages in the Ffenargh predate Eylea and the inhabitants have been interbred and forced converted to Pholtus’s worship. Their ancestors have been referred to as “The Peat People” with traditions that are still practiced in remote villages.

    NOTE: Knowledge of the Greayhawk mythos is not necessary to play this game.

    Justification: This sets up a gothic tradition of horror by concentrating on one known power structure and religion that can be explored in detail

    Magic is rare and forbidden:
    Magic is not common place and the use of magic is full of suspicion and fear. Those who show extraordinary powers are feared, hunted and executed in the name of heresy and holy virtue. Even clerics that have been given favor by their gods with access to divine powers hide them for fear of being persecuted for heresy. Magic, no matter it source, is associated with making pacts with forces of evil and corruption.

    Magic in this world is very subtle. The effects are not easily detectable to the untrained eye although one can feel the presence of being under the influence of a spell. Verbal components of a spell are a clear give away of their nature and causally casting spells in front of suspicious and paranoid persons always illicit a negative response. Bards weave their spells through poems and songs, clerics utilize prayers, wizards and warlocks speak in the otherworld languages of abyssal and infernal, druids speak in primordial while a sorcerer may speak draconic to activate their spells. Speaking such languages draws suspicion of the learned and those that dabble in the dark arts.

    Using magic Spell casters must be cautious in their use of magic around the civilized common folk or suddenly find their attitudes turned hostile and uncooperative. The secrets of magic are held tightly within secret cabals in all organizations or families. These cabals are actively hunted by the Lord Spiritual’s decree. The only figures who may not be startled by such power are themselves extremely evil and corrupted; hoping to align and use this power to their own ends. Magic is not an effective tool of intimidation in itself; righteous people know that collaborating with a figure with demonic powers is just as worse as committing an evil act.

    Magic Items In addition, magic items are stuff of stories and legends and should be consider priceless artifacts when acquired. The creation of such items outside of the players’ own inner circle will be unheard although many stories of dwarven and elven crafted blades and armor exist. The mixing of chemicals to create alchemical devices is also a mystery to the common folk and found with suspicion. Wizards and other spell casters will find that extensive research is need to acquire new spells; including delving into forbidden text and scrolls.

    Magic for NPCs: Non-spell casting people do use magic although in the use of rituals that require ancient texts. In these cases, they become part of the cultural/religious ritual of the church or community. Typical rituals cast by such clergy, shamans, astrologers and wise women are augury, animal messenger, comprehend languages, detection spells, and speak with animals. More powerful members of society have the ability to seek divine answers although through much in the way of resources.

    Justification: Magic becomes more sinister element in storytelling and the restrictions help to enhance the terror and danger of the advisories and the environment.

    Divine Magic and Gods:
    The most common god of the human people is Pholtus (FOHL-tus). Pholtus is a stern Oeridian guardian of unbending Law, depicted as a tall, slender man in a white robe, with fair skin and hair, and eyes that shine with the fires of devotion. He carries the Staff of the Silvery Sun, an ivory object shod in silver and topped by an electrum sun-disk. His holy symbol is a full moon (Luna) partially eclipsed by a smaller crescent moon (Celene). He believes that he is the authority on Law and the natural order, which makes him unpopular with other gods. He particularly despises the Oeridian wind gods and is opposed by St. Cuthbert.

    Pholtus Doctrine: The One True Way is a strict path, but guarantees rightness. Show no tolerance for those who do not give all for the cause of Law, Fanaticism in the name of the Blinding Light is praiseworthy, and Law's champions shall be rewarded in the era when chaos has been vanquished. This church does not have much respect for those of other religions, especially chaotic ones. The anthem of the worshipers is "O Blinding Light"; the church has three ascending orders: Glimmering (preferring white garments), Gleaming (preferring white and silver), and Shining (preferring white, silver, and gold).

    Clerics of the Blinding Light are expected to bring the word to unbelievers, and brook no argument against this practice. This quest means they must travel far from their churches, usually in groups should unbelievers and heretics turn hostile. They smite chaos where they find it, and Evil once chaos is rooted out. These clerics get along well with conservative paladins although not with the secular cavaliers. When not preaching, they act as judges, lawyers, and arbiters.

    Typical Domains: Good, Knowledge, Law, Sun. Players are free to choose other domains.

    NPC Clerics and Clergy: Despite their religious order, very few actual clerics exist and magic even from this divine source is suspicious and feared. Therefore, even the most devote who can tap the power of the Blinding Light do so humbly and discretely. The ranks of the church are simply scholars and evangelists of the order.

    PC Clerics For story purposes, clerics choose Pholtus as their god although their connection to him is stronger than other clergy. However this connection is kept secret as jealously and envy among the theocratic order would certainly be a charge of heresy.

    Justifications: A more Monolithic religion helps to create the atmosphere and storytelling plots.

    Resurrection and divine healing by the commoner is non-existent:
    Nothing prevents the players from learning the spells of healing but these abilities are not available even for the common herbalist. Common folk are suspicious of instant healing of ailments and wounds and are never view positively.

    Justification: Limiting magic and creating tension in storytelling and dangers.

    Other Religions: Secret offerings are made to Beory, Phyton,and Oeridian agricultural gods by many farmers in the countryside. These are sometimes hidden in local festivals and traditions.

    Enemies of the Realm: Iuz, Stonehold, all orcs, goblinoids, and giants; all other states and peoples of the Flanaess are regarded as pagans or heretics, minor enemies of the Pale by default; wizards are suspect by default as they often worship other gods; all religions with criminal or evil aspects are especially hostile
  2. wizarddog
    Questions you may ask:
    Can I play a spell caster? Yes. Just plan your caster to adhered to the atmosphere of the story. Be prepare to explain why things happen around you that cannot be explained and not be surprised every draws suspicion on you when you cast a spell. Other players know of your abilities and know better than to expose you else they end up being a co-conspirator of heresy.

    How can a cast a spell without others noticing my abilities? That depends on the spell and the effects in the description. Casting a spell with verbal components requires speaking languages that are of other worldly, even if you don't know the language itself. Depending on the source of power determines what language you use to cast your spells. Those who recognize the language will have to make a judgment call on whether a spell is being cast (usually an arcane check). A successful arcane check to identify a spell being cast while knowing the language helps to identify the target(s) and the desired outcome. They also know the source of the power as the name of the source is revealed in the incantation.

    Bard: A bard sings his spells and thus brings little attention to the effects he is creating unless they are highly unusual. Bard spells take on the language of whatever song is sung.; usually common and elvish tend to be the most pleasing to the ear. Only a keen ear and knowledgeable of magic and decipher a spell being weaved through song.

    Cleric A Cleric speaks the language of his god which is determined by alignment. Good gods typically speak in celestial while evil gods uses infernal and abyssal. Other gods may speak in primordial or draconian depending on their origins. Speaking Infernal words in a church of a good deity draws immediate attention and suspicion.

    Druids Druids use their own language when casting spells which bridges the words of Sylvan and Primordial quite well. It is impossible to decipher druidic without magical means and even then, direct translation cannot fathom the meaning as it deals in metaphors and experience only nature can explain.

    Fighters: Eldritch Knight See wizards.

    Monks: Way of the Four Elementals Monks of this path cast spells using Primordial.

    Paladins Cast spells using celestial.

    Ranger Cast spells using sylvan.

    Rogues: Arcane trickster: see wizards

    Sorcerer A sorcerers language depends on their bloodline; A draconic blood line speaks draconic and a wild magic bloodline speaks primordial.

    Warlock A warlocks casting language is dependent on its patron and pact. The arch-fey is sylvan, the fiend is abyssal and the great old ones is Deep Speech.

    Wizards A wizards invocation is a multitude of languages depending on the school of magic. The school of Abjuration relies on the Draconic language, while the schools of Conjuration and Divination rely on the language of Celestial or Infernal depending on who the contact is. The schools of Enchantment and Illusion rely on Sylvan while the schools of Transmutation and Evocation rely on Primordial. The school of Necromancy is usually uses Abyssal but some other languages serve specific purposes in managing negative energy forces.
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