Friday, April 21, 2017

Death, Trauma, and Retirement: I'm Gettin' Too Old For This Shit

So, with my current group, I'm trying something new.
Let me tell you why I'm doing these things.

by Jose Segrelles
click it

Trauma

PC retirement is a replacement for PC death, not an additional risk.  I'm making death less likely in order to make retirement more likely.  Retired characters are more interesting and more useful than dead ones.  (And a lot less demoralizing.)

For example, ". . . and then he bought a turnip farm and swore never to leave it" is more satisfying end to a character's story than ". . . and then he died in a filthy hole, and the rats nibbled his eyes until he was quite dead".

And of course, forcibly retiring a character still accomplishes the primary punitive aspect of dying: you lose the opportunity to play your character.

So here's my first draft:

Whenever you have a near-death experience (roll higher than a 10 on the Death and Dismemberment Table) and survive, you gain a point of Trauma and put a question mark next to it (if a question mark isn't there already).

Whenever you return to place where your character could conceivably retire, erase the question mark and roll a d20.  If you roll equal-or-less than your Trauma score, your character decides to retire.  You cannot stop them.

The player can dictate the conditions of the retirement.  They are free to give away their magic items if they wish; they will have no need of them in their new life as a turnip farmer.  They are also free to retire penniless if they desire; surely a beggar will have a longer life than those fools venturing back down into the maw of the earth.  (But see Retirement, below.)

Give them a bonus to this roll if they are on an Epic Quest and are deeply invested in it.  They're more than just a mere murderhobo.

Give them a penalty to this roll if the retirement is especially tempting.  If a grateful king offers the hobbit a bucolic tobacco plantation, for example.

Retirement

I started writing up a big set of rules for how to adjudicate this, but now I think it's probably just best for the DM to rule on an ad-hoc basis.  

So here's my first draft:

Retirement is just retirement from adventuring.  It can be literally anything they way, as long as it's not adventuring and they do not continue on as a player character.  They become a friendly NPC instead.  If they retire with enough loot, they can become a friendly and powerful NPC.  You can retire at any time, not just when Trauma forces them.

Inform the players about everything in the last paragraph.  This rule needs to be mostly transparent.

1. When a player retires, ask them what sort of retirement they intend, and how much wealth they are retiring with.

2. Multiply the wealth by the character's level, and look up the result on the table below.  Adjudicate the details of the new NPC using your vast prowess, using the numbers below as a guide.

Level x Wealth = Retirement Points (RP)

Less than 100 RP
Probably going to die in a nearby gutter.

100 RP
A chance at a normal life.  Apartment, job, loans, loyal dog, relationship problems, taxes.  Just a citizen.

1000 RP
Comfortable retirement in position where they can give modest assistance.  A bartender who gives you free drinks and rumors.  A rancher who gives away horses and rations.

10,000 RP
Excellent retirement in position where they can give major assistance.  A tavern keeper who can give you secure lodging and introductions all over the city.  A master assassin who will do a couple of jobs for free.  The captain of the guard who lies under oath in order to get your case dismissed.

100,000 RP
Go wild, bro.

A Softer Death Table

My most recent groups have been getting less hardcore and more casual.  More beer and cheese, less blood and grit.  Which is fine--we have a lot of fun.  But I'm getting the impression that they don't like how easily their characters die.  It's true; I put death on a low shelf.

Luckily, death rules are very easy to tweak, since they usually don't interact with the rest of the game at all.  So I'm rewriting my Death and Dismemberment Table (for the fifth fucking time lolololololol).  I'll probably post it once it's been playtested a bit maybe?

From a game design standpoint, the purpose of a Death and Dismemberment Table is two-fold.  
  • When players start Losing The Game, the Death Table delivers the most final punishment the game offers: death and all its lesser cousins.  It answers the question of "what happens if we lose?"
  • It introduces complications and that should drive the type of gameplay that you want.  This is a complicated question, and I've spent a lot of time thinking about best tweak it so it can drive the game towards its intended gameplay.
But here are some design goals for the rewrite:

1. Lingering injuries aren't that much fun.  They're fun to give out, but they're a pain in the ass to track, and it creates a need for a lot of downtime, which doesn't always mesh with the player's goals.  Also, it requires a lot of mandatory downtime in town while player's rest, and although my Downtime Event tables produce interesting results/plots, they usually aren't as much fun as the rest of the well-prepped dungeon shit.

Plus, players never keep track of negative conditions (they only remember bonuses) and so it's up to me to remember that their skin is all burned off and they can't wear armor for 9 more days.

So no more "Broken Leg: half speed for 75 days", despite that injury being both accurate and metal.

Injuries will last for minutes, 1 day, or 1 week.  I think I'm going to try to do away with permanent mutilations, because I think the 

2. Less instant death.  It's still going to be on the table (because dragons need to be able to bite people in half), but I no longer think it should be something that has a chance of happening when I goblin bites your hand.

And anyway, it's more tactically interesting to have to choose between stabilizing a dying friend or stabbing the owlbear that just spit him out.

3. No permanent mutilations.  In my Willows game, I'm pretty sure we had 3 players lose a leg across 6 months of gameplay.  That's a lot.

And anyway, I think the forced retirement thing (see below) will help drive them away from adventuring without gimping them towards the end.

Because one of the reasons why I liked the idea of players losing arms and legs, is because it would (a) motivate them to go find a cool new hand, or (b) encourage them to retire their character and roll up a new one.  In practice however, I find that players tend to just drive their characters until they fall apart like an unlubricated Corolla.

So why not create a mechanic that takes a straight path route to that goal, and forces characters to retire directly?

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heaven, Hell, and the Souls Betwixt

I started writing a post about the various psychopomps who come to collect your soul after you die, and how you can fight them off and live forever, but I realized that I need to write a bunch of background first, about souls and the afterlife.  So consider this a preamble.

I’ll write the psychopomp one next.


Heaven and Heavens

Everyone knows that Heaven is located in the Immortal Mountains.  I mean, if you stand in the right place, you can fucking see it.

The big heaven—the Heaven with a capitol ‘H’—is of course the Hesayan heaven, ruled over by Zulin and his court.  But there are other heavens: some small, some secret, some dead, and some still thriving.

<sidebar>Remember that Centerra tries to avoid using planes.  What would be another plane in another setting’s cosmology is instead a specific location on the Centerran globe you can walk to.  What Centerran wizards call “The Plane of Air” is actually the Sirium nation of air spirits, located in the air high above Outer Basharna.  Similarly, the Hesayan Heaven and all the lesser heavens are also located on the map somewhere.</sidebar>

Most of the Fire Cult heavens have been discovered and razed by the Hesayan Church.  After the Fire Gods were killed, there was nothing to stop the Church from finding these heavens, rounding up all the resident souls, and sending them to whatever corner of hell is reserved for unrepentant pagans.

Most of the old Fire Cult heavens were beneath volcanoes, now dormant and mostly collapsed.  They’d make good dungeons.

The Heralds of the Immaculate Morning have their own private heaven.  It’s rumored to be even nicer than the Hesayan heaven.  It's certainly less bureaucratic.

Even Zala Vacha has their own heaven, although it is technically located somewhere in the Underworld.

The Underworld

The Underworld isn’t the Underworld because it’s bad.  It’s the Underworld because it’s literally underneath the entire world—everything trickles down there eventually.  It’s the psychic drip tray beneath the continents.

The Underworld is bad because everything trickles down there eventually, except the souls who are saved by their religion and transported to their appropriate heaven.  Unless your deity makes an effort to scoop you out of the River of Souls, you’ll end up there.

<sidebar>The River of Souls is located on the eastern side of the continent.  It empties into Greywing Bay, near the Abominable Colossus.  Mortals view Greywing Bay as a placid bay ringed by mud flats and sea birds, but on the Ethereal Plane it is a screaming vortex of struggling souls.  It’s a hole in the psychic world, and the negative spiritual pressure it creates pulls souls in from all over the continent.  Unless you die deep in the Madlands, your unclaimed soul will end up here.</sidebar>

And because decent, caring people tend to band together and form religions, they tend to be the ones that go to Heaven (or at least, one of the heavens).  And since all of the decent folk don’t trickle down to the Underworld, and most of the terrible people do, the Underworld ends up being a pretty horrible place.

Hell, by the way, is only a small part of the Underworld.  It’s merely the known fraction, populated by the psychic ejecta of the Hesayan religion.

The rest of the Underworld is full of the architecture of dead civilizations, dreams whose dreamers have died, and souls who have forgotten who and what they ever were.  Lost continents, some impossible and some merely forgotten, grinding through eons of abyssal geology.

The Underworld is enormous.  Zulin didn’t arrive until about a millennia ago, at the end of the Time of Fire and Madness.  And since Heaven wasn’t constructed until then, most clerics believe that everyone who died prior to that has ended up in the Underworld.

The Soul

You have seven, according to Church Doctrine.

The first three are the lower souls.  They stay with the body when you die.  The last four souls are the upper souls.  They 

Identity is a more nebulous concept in Centerran culture than in our own.  Don't think about it too hard.

Mineral Soul

This soul stays with the corpse.  Its the deepest soul, and the oldest soul.  It's the type of soul that stones have.  It is the one you are talking to when you use speak with corpse.  It knows facts about material interactions ("A knife entered the ribs and blood filled the space where air once was.") and a few facts (“I am the corpse of King Amontep the Illuminated.  This body was born on the island of Mesos.”)

Vegetable Soul

Molecular biology doesn't work the way you think it does.  This soul is the second oldest and the second deepest.  It builds cells and tissues.  It formed you in the womb.  It knows a lot about your endocrine system.  It's what animates a zombie, if your body is ever a zombie.  

Animal Soul

Concerned with istinct, food, shelter.  Sex and violence.  Maybe a little bit of rock and roll, if its played loud and enough.  Elves lack this one.

Purple Soul (Memory)

If you lack this soul, you have total amnesia.  You are a stateless mind.

Red Soul (Personality) 

This is the soul's syntax.  Not so much what you say as much as how you say it.  It's the one that most people would most strongly associate with style and individuality.  Are you a good fuck?  That's something your red soul handles.

It is said that dwarves lack this one.  (They all fuck the same.)

White Soul (Goals)

This is your intellect and your goals.  Not so much the knowledge you have (that's purple soul), but the machinery that pumps that knowledge around.  It's also the part of the soul that wants

Blue Soul (Spirit)

This is the highest and most important of the souls, because this is what allows your connection with the divine and the magical.  This is the religious soul, the intuitive soul.

24 Illuminating Items of Interest

Weaponized Animals

Always a popular category.

1 - Ripper Eggs

Rippers are fierce little things.  A bit like gaudy red raptors (the lizard kind, not the feather kind) with a row of black spikes running down their spine.  They imprint very quickly when they hatch, and are exceptionally easy to train.

They are popular pets, due to their intense loyalty (starting morale = 20) but they are hyperaggressive.  Whenever they see something that is red, loud, or even vaguely threatening, their owner must succeed on a loyalty check to keep them from attacking.

They abhor being left alone.  Each time you leave your pet Ripper alone, it loses 4 points of loyalty, in addition to all the things that stress out a pet.

Just stat them up like little raptors/lizards.  They eat an incredible amount: about 1 days worth of food per HD.

2 - Throwing Snakes

HD 1.  Str 8.  Will try to strangle anything you throw them at.  A well-trained snake can can tie itself into very strong knots (useful as part of a self-releasing rope mechanism).  And the best snakes are capable of the "suicide knot", where the snake knots itself to death and creates an incredibly strong loop.

Popular among the people of the Fog Caverns in Outer Basharna.

3 - Acid Slug

Transported in glass vials.  Thrown from glass-bucketed slings.  As acid arrow.  Will also crawl inside locks and melt them.  Single use.

Can also be fed in order to grow them larger.  This is a bad idea, but I'm sure adventurers will do it anyway.

4 - Murder Urchins

When taken out of their oil-filled sacks, they die within 24 hours.  They grow 1' in diameter for every sentient creature killed within 1 km of them.  They eat corpses telekinetically.  When they're large enough, they eat people the old-fashioned way.

A scattering of these urchins in a city's streets during a battle will quickly fill the streets with rapidly growing urchins.

5 - Termite Swarm

A 1 oz vial holds 500 lbs of termites.  Will devour a cabin's worth of wood in 1 hour, and then disperse outwards to terrorize more distant climes.

6 - Giant Zombie Hand

A proper mount for necromancers. The wrist functions as a back rest.  The necromancers of Kel Dravonis also use them as scribes, for all those times you need your message clawed into the side of a castle.

7 - Horse Train

Just take a bunch of horses and sew them together into a caterpillar thing.  Zombie horses are notoriously stupid, and this way you only have to keep track of one of them.  Popular among vapor-maddened wizards.

8 - Proxy Mouse

If you breathe into this mouse's mouth, you exchange all wounds with it, up to a mouse's capacity to absorb damage, which ends up being about the same as a normal healing potion.

Magic Items

The eternal engine of our hobby.

1. Dawn Tent

Can only be used once.  Anything inside this silken tent when it is sealed is sent forward in time until the next dawn.  For someone inside the tent, it is as if dawn arrived suddenly.  Effect ends immediately if someone destroys the integrity of the tent.

2. Spinal Bow

Made by the bone-and-metal worshippers of the Ashen Archipelago from your own spine (which is then replaced with a piece of metal that was once part of a ship's mast).  Your spinal bow is a bow +1.  If you sleep with an animal spine beneath you, the spine will turn into an arrow +3 that is functional against the same species.  Usable 1/night, but the arrows it creates are permanent.

3. Black Sheep's Wool Cloak

Whenever you sleep in this cloak, you are safely entombed 4' beneath the ground.  This is true for both magical and non-magical sleep.  As soon as you wake up, you return safely to the surface of the ground.

4. Nostalgia Poison

Causes creatures to reminisce.  Once combat has died down, they are compelled to immediately return home and/or seek out a loved one they haven't seen in a while and/or seek out their grave.  As suggestion.  Intelligent creatures will take time to pack, inform people of their decision, but they will not be halted.

5. Crown of Chaos

All spell's cast within/into 100' of you have their targets randomized.  The crown is actually an especially lazy slaad.

6. White Lotus Powder

Kills the drinker, no save.  Exactly 13 hours later, they wake up at full health and without diseases (as long as their body hasn't been  mangled during that time).

Oddly enough, the powder is black, as are the flowers it is made from.  (It's just a play on black lotus powder, of course.)

7. Alternate Self Ring

When this ring is put on the finger, you are replaced with a version of yourself from an alternate dimension.  This effect is reversible, and ends as soon as the ring is removed.  The effect is consistent with each person--that is, each person who wears the ring will turn into the same alternate universe self each time.  If the ring turns you into a corpse (from a timeline where you are dead), you will always turn into that particular corpse when you put on the ring.  For someone else, the ring might switch their gender.

Whenever a new character tries on the ring, roll a d6 and a d4 together.  (You're probably going to ignore the d4 roll.)

1. Minor difference, such as a facial scar or a goatee.
2. Different gender.
3. Different class.  (Roll randomly.)
4. Inverted stats.  (18s become 3s.)
5. Corpse.
6. Actually an evil twin that will reveal themselves only at the worst possible time (basically turning into an NPC at that point, but let the player play them as normal until then, and don't even tell them).  Roll a d4 to see what alternate version they seem to be.

Alternate selves, although basically the same character under the control of the same player, still notice things that are different from their home timeline.  As in: "Whoa, the sky is blue here!  Weird!"

8. Demon Blood

You get +1 Attack and deal +1 Damage each turn.  This stacks.  Make a Con check at the start of each round.  After you fail two checks, or after 6 rounds (whichever comes first), you are paralyzed as all of your muscles attempt to clench at the same time.

9. Shacklebolt

Struck targets take nonlethal damage from this arrow and must then make a Str check or be wrapped in a full set of manacles.  Only binds 4 limbs.

10. Choodoo Doll

Perfectly imitates the actions of the person whose lock of hair is affixed to it.  Mostly used to spy on people, since you can see what actions the person is performing at any given time.  If you build a model of their house, you can see what part of the house they are in at any given time.  If you give them a miniature pencil, you can see what they are writing as they write it.

11. Mountain Maker

Looks like a propeller attached to a chain.  When bolted to the ground, will immediately fly up, pulling the ground with it and creating a hill.  The resultant hill is 10' tall for every maker used, and 40' wide for every maker used.  Chance of toppling a castle, if used adjacent to a castle = X in 20, where X is the number of makers used.

12. Blood of Luroc

If poured on the ground of a building, will cause it to grow 1d3-1 hallways and 1d6 new rooms, riddling the structure like a cancer.  Will spread outwards from your current location, distorting the position of current rooms) until it reaches an outer area where it can grow rooms there.  Each room has a 50% chance of containing a creature (equal chance NPC or monster), 50% chance of containing a treasure, and a 2-in-6 chance of containing a trap.  These creatures are drawn from the Halls of Luroc (a living, moving, sentient dungeon that is obsessed with collecting history, as recorded by architecture.  Expect mad librarians, living gates, and collections of keystones, keys, and/or bricks that hold thumbprints).

13. Skeevu Stingers

Heal you similar to a healing potion, but your HP total decreases by 2 points each time.

14. Sacred Cake

Heals you like a healing potion, but it makes you fat.  Fat takes up inventory slots, the same as items do, and you can't just throw it away.  Every 2 weeks of adventuring will remove 1 inventory slot's worth of fat.  This can be accelerated if you are starving in a desert, or halted if you are feasting in a city.

15. Stoneweaver's Needles

Basically allows you to cast a version of the stone shape spell, except it's much more dramatic--you're drawing out strings of stone from the earth and weaving them into shapes.  It's actually a version of a crochet needle.  You can control the hard and soft parts of your stoneweave, so you aren't limited to only shapes that you could knit.

24. Blood Pillow

When this small hand pillow is drenched in a creature's blood and then wrung out, the blood will begin flowing in the direction of that creature's home.  If the creature knew the way to get back home, so will the blood.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Paladins of the Blue Kite

There are 77 orthodox orders of paladins in the Hesayan Church.  They include:
  • The Sons of Saint Arquette, who use cannibalism to fuel their gigantism.
  • The Order of the Moth, devotees of Saint Caldi, who each swear to spend 50 years fighting the undead.  Those who die in service are raised as undead to continue their duty.
  • The Order of the Red and Blue Rose, who are wrestlers and swordbreakers.

There are at least 3 heretic orders that are in hiding.  They include:
  • The Winged Legion, who followed the Simurgh after her divorce from Zulin and subsequent excommunication.
  • The Order of the Shepherd's Crook, who seek to bring the kingdom of Hell to earth.  Not literally, but they do want to use enslaved devils to police the world.  (Officially, they are condemned by the paladins of hell and have no affiliation.  They're just fans.)

And although the Celestialist Hesayans of the north do not have paladins, they have schools of swordsmanship that often serve the same function.

Anyway, this post is about one of the orthodox orders.

The Order of the Blue Kite

They're also known (somewhat mockingly) as "those naked paladins".  This is a little misleading.

Zulin's divine divorce caused quite a few shockwaves throughout the Church.  One of the secondary or tertiary effects was the relaxation of quite a few nuptial laws.  These were mostly sensible, good things.  Farmers no longer had to have their horses married before siring a foal, for example.

In this new marital climate, one vocal personage was the North Wind.  He had many lovers, and sought to make his trysts honest and open.  After a long period of debate, this was granted to him, and in less than a year, he had taken his first three wives.

Although the North Wind, the Windwives, and the House of Miraculous Windmills originally set itself up to be a religious power center similar to Concrayda, but it eventually failed at this task.  After being marginalized for half a century, the Blue Kites reinvented themselves as a martial order.

The first set of Windwives (now retiring into old age and death) were soft things, full of poetry and expensive wine.  But in the decades that passed, the North Wind's amorous tastes changed.  His newest brides are all warrior women and lawyers.  The formation of a paladin order was inevitable.

His newest bride is a man: Thornis Oglafar, possessor of a magnificent mustache, dyed a magnificent blue.

There are many members in the Order of the Blue Kite.  The Windwives are merely the ones that tend to occupy most of the high positions (but not all of them).

Can a starting PC play a Windwife?  I don't see why not.  Perhaps a Windwife just starting out, or one who has fallen from favor for some reason.  Have fun DMing the inevitable sex scene when hubby visits.

Crusades of the Blue Kite

There are two:
  • To catch the rebellious South Wind and either bring it among Hesaya's faithful, or kill it.
  • To protect the sanctity of marriage.  There's a lot of debate about what this actually means, though.  The North Wind has a fairly lax interpretation of marriage, but he isn't in charge of the Blue Feather.  His wives are--and their opinions are as varied as the clouds. 
And so the paladins sometimes work with things like domestic abuse, reconcile estranged spouses, and investigate claims of infidelity.  I mean, they fight dragons, too, but dragons aren't one of the official crusades, so. . .

like this, except with swords instead of brooms
and also they're the good guys and you can play one
by Luis Falero
Class Abilities

Originally, I was going to put them all in a little level progression for you.  But fuck that--there's too many systems, and too many scales of power level.  I'm just going to list them all here, and you can assemble them however you want.

Okay, fine.  I'll type something up, just so people can refer to it if they want to a FLAILSNAILS game I'm running or something.

Level 1 - Wind Squire, Speak with Wind, Gust of Wind (1x per day per level), Armor of Wind
Level 2 - Throw Arrow, Immunity to Wind
Level 3 - Negotiate Windstorm, Lightened Body
Level 4 - Flight, +1 Attack

Wind Squire

You travel with a squire wind.  It mostly hangs on you, messing with your hair and making sure that no one ever smells your farts.

Speak with Wind

Each day brings a new wind.  At a minimum, this functions similar to gathering rumors.  You should also roll a d10 to see what direction the wind is blowing from, since the wind will bring news from that direction as well (and not only the stuff that is visible from the sky).

You can talk to your squire, of course.

Gust of Wind

As the spell, gust of wind.  You'll get a lot of castings of this.

1 - North
2 - East
3 - South
4 - West
5-10 - The predominant wind direction in the area.

<sidebar>I actually have an old map of Centerra with all of the prevailing winds drawn on it.  I used it to figure out which side of the mountain range got all the rain, and which direction the trade winds blew the caravels.  I was much more interested in simulating a realistic world then.  Nowadays, it seems like useless fussing--pointless unless you want to publish a gazetteer.</sidebar>

Armor of Wind

This is the reason why so many of the Blue Kites walk around naked.  Those who have always trusted the wind will be protected by the wind.  This benefit is lost as soon as the trust is betrayed: i.e. the paladin willingly wears conventional armor at any point after they take the oaths.

Make your own level chart, but here's an example:
  • Level 1, AC 11, AC 13 vs small projectiles (arrows or smaller)
  • Level 2, AC 12, AC 14 vs small projectiles
  • Level 3, AC 13, AC 15 vs small projectiles
  • Level 4, AC 14, AC 16 vs small projectiles
  • Level 5, AC 15, AC 17 vs small projectiles
  • Level 6+, AC 16, AC 18 vs small projectiles.
A sacrifice now for a payoff later.  And not all of them are naked.  Many wear simple robes.  And others just wear armor like a normal person.

This ability is useless against really big things.  At a minimum: a boulder hurled by a giant, a dragon's claws.

Throw Arrow

You don't need a bow to fire an arrow.  Your squire accelerates it for you.

At high level, you can use this to fire around corners, as long as your squire can see the target.

Immunity to Wind

Lame now, but useful later on when you can summon a windstorm.

Negotiate Windstorm

You will need to negotiate with a local wind in order to do this.  Probably a wind duke, actually, since most minor winds don't have the ability to call in a windstorm.  (Military actions are regulated among the winds, just as they are among us.)

Windstorms are environmental, usually last for at least an afternoon, and only work outdoors.  Arrows are impossible.  Speech is difficult.  Shoving people is very easy (+4), and everyone gets -4 to attacking and defending (which usually cancels itself out).  Flight is impossible.  Shoddy buildings will be torn apart.  

Expect pissed off treants to show up the next day, cradling broken limbs.  They usually wish to repay one broken arm with another.

Lightened Body

By controlling their breath, a Blue Kite Paladin can make their body much lighter. This lets them walk across water and stand on tree branches that are normally too small to support them.  This doesn't let you jump any further, since the lowered mass also means that you have less momentum.

It also makes you immune to fall damage.  Fun!

"Flight"

It's not quite the same as the fly spell.  It's more like being picked up by a huge wind and carried through the sky in a horrifying vortex of deafening winds.  Expect bruises from your clothing as it flaps around (unless your clothing is tied down tight).  It's like skydiving, while the wind teases you and tries to crack jokes.

You can bring your friends with you, of course.

Not coincidentally, skydiving is a popular past time among the Blue Kites.  

You can fly large distances (miles) but not small ones.  Small hops of less than half a mile are out of the question.  And you will take 1d6 fall damage when you land, unless you can find a decent spot of water to land in.  (By default, 50% chance that your Wind can find one in time.)

Many Blue Kites wear an enormous silk scarf tied up around their waist.  Enormous, as in 30' long.  You might think that it's a swordswoman wrapped up in a weird, bulky burka, but then the wind unfurls it and BAM it's this huge scarf tied around their waist, shaking like the arms of God.  

The giant scarf makes sense: it means that the Wind will pull you through the air by your center of mass (your waist/ass) and not by the part of your body that has the greatest wind cross-section.  This prevents you from spinning uncontrollably as you fly through the air (a common blunder among first-time flyers).

This is their love token.  It's given to them by the North Wind as a sign of his favor.  And it serves a function: it allows you to make an attack for double damage upon landing.

Blue Kite strike teams usually blow in the window, and open up with an attack like that.

This also requires talking to a powerful local wind, and negotiating the cost.  What does the Wind want?  See below.

Other Stuff

Swords of the North Wind

If the love token scarves were a sign of approval, then a sword is a full-fledged admission of love.  If you aren't already a Windwife, you will probably be one soon.

These are +1 swords given out by the North Wind only after some seriously big favor has been earned.  They can be used to attack anything within 50', since they "throw" their slashes through the air.

Every Paladin of the Blue Kite aspires to own one.  The magic of the blade is dwarfed by the immense prestige it confers.

The House of Miraculous Windmills

This is your home base.  It's a cross between a church and a mansion, and it is covered with short towers that are themselves covered with windmills, large and small.

The house uses minor Winds as servants.  But since Winds have a hard time clearing the table after dinner, they mostly just turn the windmills and sing mariner's work songs all the damn day.  Expect a high level of automation within the house.  Crudely automated dishwashers, that sort of thing.

Nabba Sunbeam runs the house.  She's 55, a Windwife, and an inventor.

The most interesting room is the Flight Room, stocked with skydiver's wingsuits and with several ways to take to the sky.

Generating a Wind NPC

Roll up starting attitude and personality normally.  You may want to use this altered goals table, though.

This Wind NPC wants. . . [d6]
  1. To punish a particular piece of the earth, which has offended it.  Please roll this impudent boulder into the ocean, explain the Wind's displeasure, and sink it someplace cold and lonely.
  2. A wife, like the North Wind.  Not only does this mean finding a willing bride, but it also means convincing the Church to perform the ceremony.
  3. Less smoke.  Get these people--those ones over there--to stop burning fires.  I don't care how you do it.
  4. To go on an adventure.  Take me with you!  Expect to have a very difficult time lightning a campfire, having a quiet meeting in the library, and having all of your arrows miss.  Remember that Winds can't go underground or in confined spaces.  (Or more accurately, they can, they just risk dying if someone shuts a door and traps them in a space too small for them to circulate.)
  5. To kill some noxious creature.  Perhaps a monster that controls wind, a wizard that captures wind, a roc, or a sky whale.
  6. A vacation!  You'll have to do the wind's job for it.  Turning the windmill, spreading seeds, drying laundry.  Expect bewildered villagers and hilarious complications.  The Wind will probably bring you a souvenir from wherever the fuck it goes.  Probably something stupid, like 800 pounds of snow.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Sky Executions

Shitty Fiction

They had found his victims tied to stones at the bottom of the pond.  And so, for irony’s sake, they tied him up as tight as they could.  The coarse twine made red valleys of his flesh, crisscrossing his limbs like rings on an aspen, and it was still not tight enough.

The wind was picking up.  Even with all the dried blood weighing it down, the murderer’s hair was a tempest.  It thrashed in the gale as if striving to escape his head.

One by one, the people came up.  Each carried a kite, each string taught in the wind.

While the paladin took the kite and affixed it the condemned, the person recited their condemnation.  Their tears dried in the wind.

By the time they were done, the crucifix was covered in over a hundred kites, straining at their leashes like sled dogs.  The wood groaned; the murderer was silent.  He was watching the sky.

And then the crowd marched down the hill, the paladin following.  The condemned was alone on the hilltop with the priest.

A few words were exchanged.  No one heard them, not with the wind roaring like an angry sea.  No one read their lips, not with their eyes squinting against the stinging dust. 

And then the priest raised his arms.  The wind cracked like thunder.  The trees bowed their heads.  The crowd knelt, or fell.  On top of the hill, they could see the unruffled priest, untouched by the hurricane.

And the crucifix, it was gone.  Like a stone fired from a sling, they watched it arc out over the patchwork of pasture and farm, bleeding torn kites all the way down.  When it landed in the Sinner’s Field, they could see splintered wood tossed out from the dust of the impact.

The paladin wasn’t watching.  He was calming his horse down.  In a couple of minutes, he would ride down to the Sinner’s Field, confirm the execution, and ensure that nothing was buried where the vultures couldn’t find it.


It didn't take long, but by the time the paladin got returned, most of the crowd had drifted away, scattered like clouds in the wind.

If No Priest Is Available

In that case, the condemned is merely thrown off a cliff.  It is considered more respectable to walk off the cliff yourself, and those that request it are allowed to do so.

If no sufficiently high cliff is available, it's a journey to the nearest one.

Weaponizing the Wind

What kind of spells do you think high-level wind clerics have access to?

In the War Against Heaven, Emperor Tamerian's entire army was picked up and hurled, like chess pieces swept off a board.  They found dead soldiers up to four miles away.

Of course, the Nivian elephants and horses were too large to be thrown, so the wind merely rolled and dragged them for about half a mile.  Scavengers reported that their meat was quite tender, being well pulped by all the pounding and abrasion.

Emperor Tamerian's body was found on what is now called the Emperor's Hill, pierced by over a hundred swords that had been stripped from his honor guard and thrown in the tempest.  

While the emperor's corpse was removed, the swords remain.