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« on: September 07, 2011, 05:20:02 PM »

Cad Goleór
Discuss Cad Goleór Here


Cad Goleór Stat Block
System: Pathfinder + Certain Rules Variants
Theme:/Tone: Fate favors the Bold.  No man is an Island.  /Magical, Dangerous, and Wondrous.
Inspirations - Earth History, Celtic Myth, Celtic Folklore, Arthurian Legend, Norse Myth, Fairy Tales
Genre: Dark Age Fantasy
Technology Influence: Early Iron Age technology.  As many places use bronze tools and weapons as iron.
Magic Influence: Mixed. High-Level magic is rare, with less than 10 casters above level 15 in the known world. Weather and crop-related magic rituals highly integrated into society. Witches as midwives, apothecaries, and healers. Druids as priesthood, lawkeepers, and the ones who keep the world spinning, so to speak. Many places of "magic power," though not every ruin. Magic Stone circles, Magic Wells, and Magic islands are fairly common.  
Ecology/Races: All Kingdoms on the Material Plane are ruled by Humans, and humans make up at least 90% of the population demographic of any given kingdom, probably more.  In many campaigns, all PCs might be human.  Sometimes PCs can be half-blooded Sidhe or Fomorians, though.
Churches/Religion: Druidic Polytheism, which reveres a whole pantheon of gods, rather than having everyone worship only one.  May be some minor cults honoring single deities, but Druids and regular folk worship all of them.
Planar Cosmology: Only three main planes: Abred, the Mortal World (Material Plane); Annwn, Realm of the Sidhe (a la 4e Feywild), Gwynvyd, the Realm of the Gods (The Upper Planes)
Geography: Two main islands populated filled with several petty kingdoms.  
Places to start/Points of Interest: Tulainn, Abhainnath, Ceann Balor
Links -
10 Words - Daring, Enchanted, Mythic, Perilous, Wild, Raging, Noble, Heroic, Dreamlike, Madness

In Character

“Hold Men!” The shout came out above the din of battle.  Illand paused in weaving among the blades and thrashing arms of the battle. His eyes darted for the source of the command, and fell upon Eamon mac Mael, the Champion of King Rocháir, astride his great roan horse, the skin of him a map of battles near and far.  He had often told stories of great battles off at Caernarvon, where they forge metals unknown to Glasconneach smiths, and combat marauding giants from the icy hills of Niflmawr north of the great shelf.  Eamon had seen the great stone head at Ceann Balor, and had bested champions from Denbaeg.  Yet always he returned, with new scars and new stories to share.

“Let us end this as men, and have no more bloodshed.  Men of Beldangan, as Champion of Tulainn, I, Eamon mac Mael mac Bron mac Leigan mac Correus, do challenge the best man among you to single combat, here and now, on the banks of the Ashen River.  Let us not cease until one face of ours becomes as ashen as the river itself, and our blood stains the waters crimson.”

“I will answer that challenge.”  A figure emerged from the masses with long braided hair, dark as night—a thing unusual in these lands.  He wore a cloak of black feathers, and the inks upon his skin were black.  He strode into the center of the clearing that had formed around Eamon, and circled the gap. As the warrior turned to face the onlookers, the image of a raven could be seen emblazoned on her chest—her chest, for her bared breasts flaunted her sex.  Her arms were thick and powerful as the branches of an ancient oak, and bore identical elongated shields, bearing the image of winged triquetra.  The whole effect gave her the look of a massive carrion bird.  “You and I shall do battle.  If you can strike me down, your people will have your cattle back, and have gone with us.  But if it should be me who bests you, the herd is ours, and you shall be food for the ravens tonight.”

Eamon mac Mael threw back his head and laughed.  He shouted out.  “Let each one of you bear witness this day, that the best man of Beldangan is a woman!”

“Yes.” Her reply was instant, and the men fell silent.  “Will you fight a woman, Eamon mac Mael mac Bron mac Leigan mac Correus?” She looked at him with eyes that bit.  “Or do my tits frighten you?”

Eamon’s face went red, and he brought his horse sidelong to her.  Jaws clenched, he leaned forward to speak low to her, “There is no…honor…in striking a woman.”

“And how much honor is there in refusing a challenge?”

Eamon dismounted and stood to face his enemy.  “Know then” he said “that you do battle with one who brought justice against the Oathbreakers.  I am known in each of the six kingdoms of Glasconaí, and I have done battle on the coasts of Cwmvelod with foes from across the seas.  I have slain fomorians, and the head of Cogidonn the Iron-Skinned defends my home.  I bear the scars of fifty battles, and no man lives to say he bested me.”

“And I am Fiacha, the Raven.  My coming betides men’s deaths. 

“I will show this woman how we fight in Tulainn!" Eamon cried.  "Who wants to see the raven fly?”  The crowd roared in pleasure. 

“Nemain, make me fierce!  I will bathe in his blood and make of him an offering to the Queen of Battle!”  The Beldangan men began to chant.  Alltach ag dol chad, alltach ag dol chad. Fiacha slammed her shields together, making a terrible clatter of metal on metal.  The sound of deep bellowing reverberated throughout the space as three men blew upon long bronze carnyx horns. 

Fiacha began to twitch and spasm.  Her body convulsed, and her muscles began to seize.  She threw out her arms, which seemed to twist behind her at impossible angles.  Her whole form shook and shuddered, and Eamon looked on bewildered.  Her jaw moved and shifted off its hinge, and her eyes rolled back into her skull.  Eamon’s eyes widened, and his words came as a whisper to himself.

“The riastradh!”

The words were barely out of his mouth when Fiacha launched herself screaming at him in a whirl of metal.  Eamon stepped back, once, twice, and collided with a wall of spectators.  He cried out as the woman slashed his chest.  She looked at him with eyes full of madness, and a red drop fell from the bladed edge of her shield.  She’d drawn first blood.


Twenty-five Adventure Ideas
  •    It falls to the PCs to defend your homeland from a cattle raid, when the rest of the men are struck by a curse that leaves them indisposed.
  •    Venture into Annwn to save a friend claimed by the Wild Hunt
  •    The PCs must learn the art of crafting magical weapons from the Sidhe.
  •    A PC is cursed with a geas that requires drinking the blood of a dragon daily.
  •    A friend of the PCs has eloped with a king’s intended bride.  They must choose whether to protect him from the men the king sends to kill him, or to hunt down their friend and bring him to justice as a matter of honor
  •    A hero is seduced by a fairy, and neglects his duties.  The PCs must save him from his enchantment.
  •    The king’s magical sword, an heirloom of the kingdom, and a symbol of your clan’s power, has been stolen, and the rival kingdom to the North is suspected to be responsible.
  •    A series of talented craftsmen begin one-by-one to turn out their best works to date, shortly before dying mysteriously.
  •    A destitute man spins a tale of how he was king until a bard’s satire ruined him.
  •    A PC is given a geas to kill a close friend.
  •    A bard sings of the magical treasures and spoils of Annwn, waiting for any who dare to seek them.
  •    A Fliath goes mad when his bride leaves him.  He flees to the woods, living as a wild man, attacking anyone who comes too near.
  •    Two men claim the throne of High King, and the Líath Fáilte sings for both of them.  The island is divided, and a massive war seems immanent.
  •    The savage tribes to the East have acquired a magical Drum that paralyzes enemy hosts, allowing them to run rampant.
  •    Druids expelled from the order seek revenge on their former brethren
  •    A new religion appears, promising eternal life, but requires its members to engage in cannibalism.
  •    A wandering prophet is imprisoned as a charlatan, but then his predictions start to come true.
  •    Rumors spread about a magical fountain guarded by a black knight.
  •    When it snows in the summertime, the local druid determines that the Seelie and Unseelie Sidhe are at war.  
  •    A monster appears, claiming to be the son of the King, and demands to be enfranchised.
  •    A warrior comes to you for protection when a bean nighe foretells his death.
  •    A married woman’s jealous Unseelie lover tries to murder her husband.  
  •    Enter Annwn to seek a spirit who knows the secret to lifting a curse.
  •    A druid presiding over the truce between two warring clans is found murdered.
  •    If the welts covering the king cannot be cured, he will have to abdicate in favor of his beautiful but vicious nephew.
Cad Goleór is a world that is simultaneously wondrous and threatening, where magic is embedded into the fabric of living.  Without magic, the earth would not yield fruit and the people and animals would starve.  People are desperately reliant on magic for their day to day survival, but magic can be as deadly as it can be vital.  Fomorians with poisonous eyes kill with a look, and an experienced fili can kill with a song.  There are places inimical to life, and those that are bursting with bounty.  It is a place where the Gods are very real, if seldom seen.  They walk among us, however, often in disguise.  Their power is great, but not unlimited, and a Hero can stand up to them and win, if he possesses a stout heart, a keen mind, and a strong arm.  

Dirt and darkness surround, but can never drown out the light of human potential.  People are capable of a great many things, and destiny favors the bold.  Heroes may live short lives, but their time in the world glows with the light of glory that shines through the darkness as an example to all.  Those who try are, with a bit of luck, capable of extraordinary deeds.  These are the ones we tell stories about, the ones who single-handedly defend their homeland from invading armies, the ones who can win a kingdom with their cleverness, and those who through sheer nerve and determination overcome impossible obstacles.

Madness is next to Godliness: Sane, normal people rarely make history.  The ones we remember are the ones who stand out, who defy the order of things, or who are exceptional in some way.  To be truly great requires a touch of insanity, for no one in their right mind would go up against monsters and gods in search of glory.  Yet these heroes do just that, and sometimes win, and that is how legends are made.

No man is an island: It’s true of anyone, mortal or monster, good, or evil, hero or villain.  No one can get by on their own for long.  No villain can conquer the realm by themselves, No hero can defeat evil without a leg-up now and then, and even wild men need the occasional aid of a passerby.  Even the gods need companionship, taking mortal consorts, or working through mortal agents.  Communities exist because no one can do everything.  Your community is your strength.  Do not take it lightly, and do not take it for granted.

Table of Contents

Cad Goleór Discussion Thread


Base Classes

Caste System

Variant Rules and Combat
Defense Roll


Geography of Abred

[link=hyperlink url]Gwladwyn[/link]




Monsters and Enemies

Myth, Legend, and History
The Song of Invasions (Part 1)
The Song of Invasions (Part 2)

Running Games
[link=hyperlink url]Wealth[/link]
[link=hyperlink url]Enech[/link]

« Last Edit: August 15, 2013, 03:05:54 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 05:48:21 PM »

Characters: Races


Ever since the Battle of Aman Magh, in which the Milesians drove the Tuatha Dé Danaan from their last foothold in the mortal realm, Abred has been a very human-centric place.  True, it is populated with dangerous beasts and visited at times by the mysterious sidhe, ravaged by brutal Fomorians, or graced by the godly Tuatha, its daily rhythm is beat out by humans.  With the exception of any allowances made by the GM, the players will be playing humans.  Since character gifts are implemented which allow a character to be of Sidhe or Fomorian blood, the GM can choose to rule that Half-Sidhe and Half-Fomorians are acceptable race choices as well.  For this reason, the rules for these races are included below.  Cad Goleór assumes, however, that player characters are human.

Humans are prolific.  They possess exceptional drive and a great capacity to endure and expand, and as such are currently the dominant race in Abred.  Almost all realms of the mortal world the PCs visit will be ruled and populated by humans.  Other races and monsters are sprinkled throughout the land, but have few settlements.  Other races simply do not have the same drive to spread out and conquer that humans do.  

Human society tends to organize into Kingdoms.  The people of Abred have a tendency to pick a leader and follow them.  Sometimes these leaders are chosen by election, sometimes they are chosen by heredity.

Humans are driven to succeed.  While the average person is nothing impressive, as a race, they show remarkable potential.  They are capable of doing incredible things, including, according to legend, wresting the isles of Glasconaí and Gwladwyn from the gods themselves.  It is even said that some truly remarkable individuals have risen above their mortality to become something altogether different, and have become gods in their own right.  

Human Racial Traits
Humans use all the same racial traits standard for the Pathfinder Role-Playing Game.

Half-Fomorian (Optional)
The Fomorian giants are not creatures generally respected by mankind, having been driven out of power by the Tuatha centuries ago, Most humans view Fomorians as base and vile.  In some rare cases, however, humans breed with these creatures.  Some are excited by the primal quality of their giant partners, others marry them for the sake of maintaining peace between tribes of Fomors and nearby human villages.

As a race, the Fomorians are prone to mutations.  Sometimes these bizarre mutations carry over to their half-human offspring.  Most of these are cosmetic abnormalities, but on occasion, a half-fomorian might pick one of these up.

Half-Fomorian Racial Traits
  • +4 Str, +2 Con, -2 Int
  • Medium
  • Normal Speed
  • Darkvision: Half-Fomorians can see in the dark up to 60 feet.
  • Imposing: Half-Fomorians are intimidating without trying. They get a +2 racial bonus to Intimidate checks.
  • Fomorian Blood: Half-Fomorians count as both humans and Fomorians for any effect related to race.
  • Ferocity: Once per day, when a half-Fomorian is brought below 0 hit points but not killed, he can fight on for one more round as if disabled. At the end of his next turn, unless brought to above 0 hit points, he immediately falls unconscious and begins dying.

Half-Sidhe (Optional)

In Character

“There’s something not right about the boy.  No matter how much he eats, he stays thin as a sprig and no color in his cheeks to speak of.  He doesn’t play with the other boys; he just sits in the woods talking to spiders!”
“Do you think the lad could be a changeling?”
“No!” Deirdre shook her head violently.  “I know my own offspring!”
“Well what does your husband think?  Have you talked to the boy’s father?”

An image flashed in Deirdre’s mind, like a shadow of a half-remembered dream.  There was a horse, a white mare emerging from the mist.  Atop the horse was a rider in a dark cloak that glittered like the stars of the night sky.  His eyes were sunken, but they pierced her soul.  His dark hair fell over his shoulders in long braids.  Her basket of laundry dropped to the ground.  She felt the wind in her hair.  She smelled the cold air and the grass, felt the dew against her bare skin.  She looked up to the night sky and let out a moan.  

“Deirdre? Can you hear me?”
“I’m sorry, what was the question?”
“Have you talked to the boy’s father?”

Whether conceived in some Druidic ritual, or by an illicit tryst with a beautiful stranger passing through town, never to be heard from again, there are some people who are just plain different.  Sometimes a character bears the blood of the fae.  This imparts to them a certain grace and an otherworldly quality.  These will always be people on the margins of society, either shunned or worshipped, but never truly a part of their society.  But whether they are lifted among the stars or dragged into the mud is a matter of will, or perhaps fate.  

Half-Sidhe come in two varieties: Seelie and Unseelie.  The terms degenerated from words meaning “Blessed” and “Not blessed” but while Seelie Sidhe may have a greater tendency towards “goodness” than Unseelie Sidhe, the terms in no way reflect the relative power of the two varieties.

Half-Sidhe Racial Traits
All Half-Sidhe have the following Racial Traits:
  • Dex+2, Con-2
  • Medium
  • Normal Speed
  • Low-light Vision: Half-Sidhe can see twice as far as humans in conditions such as starlight, moonlight, or torchlight, and retain the ability to distinguish colors under these conditions.
  • Fae blood: Treated as both humanoid and fae for determining effects type-dependent effects.  This includes bonuses for finding entrances to Annwn.
  • Half-Sidhe gain +2 to two of the following skills: Bluff, Craft, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perform
  • Iron Vulnerability: Half-Sidhe bear some of their fae parent’s weakness to iron.  Half-Sidhe struck by iron weapons suffer an additional 1d4 points of damage.

Half-Seelie Racial Traits
In addition to all the Half-Sidhe racial traits, Half-Seelie also gain the following traits:
  • Cha +2
  • Aura of Glory (Su): The grace of the Seelie court grants them, and their offspring a supernatural calm.  Half-Seelie are immune to fear (magical or otherwise).  Allies within 10 feet of her gain a morale bonus on saves vs. fear effects equal to her charisma modifier (max +4).  This effect only functions while the Half-Seelie is conscious.
  • Vernal Touch (Su): The Seelie court is bound to growing things.  It is bounty personified, and full of life.  Once per day Seelie Half-Sidhe can touch a creature with its vernal touch.  This touch removes dazed, nauseated, fatigued, and exhausted conditions from living creatures.  To undead creatures, a Half-Seelie’s touch attack acts like a cleric’s ability to turn undead, with a cleric level equal to the Half-Sidhe’s total Hit Dice – 2.  This effects only the touched undead.

Half-Unseelie Racial Traits
In addition to all the Half-Sidhe racial traits, Half-Unseelie also gain the following traits:
  • Int +2
  • Winter’s Chill (Su): Unseelie Sidhe, including their mortal offspring, possess an aura about them that disquiets non-fae.  Sometimes it is an intimidating beauty, other times a disheartening ugliness or aura of general unwholesomeness.  Living Non-fae within 5 feet of her feel uneasy, suffering a morale penalty on saves equal to the Half-Sidhe’s Charisma modifier (max -4).
  • Autumn Harvest (Su): Unseelie Sidhe are associated with endings, and times of transition.  Autumn is both.  Once per day, a half-Unseelie can touch a creature with a special disarming touch, which acts like a targeted dispel magic.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 09:57:29 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 07:11:34 PM »

Characters: Caste System
Oftentimes in a society, people are divided up into different groups with different standing.  Sometimes rules apply differently to different 'classes' of people, or don't apply at all to some.  The oath of a king, for instance, is worth about ten times the oath of a common farmer.  The societies of Cad Goleór generally divide people into one of four main castes:

Fliath ('Nobles')
Noble families are considered to be the top of the heap.  They are a meaty group, but far fewer in number than the peasants.  The traditional and historic profession of the Noble class is warfare.  The most skilled fighters are frequently from the warrior nobility, and most professional warriors are drawn from among the Fliath.  Membership in the Nobility is very difficult to come by, as it is largely determined by birth.  Only marriage into a Noble family can offer any opportunity at slipping into their ranks.

Kings are chosen from the Nobles caste and elected by their peers.  Heredity is respected and factored into elections—any descendant of a past king, as far as four generations, can lay claim to the throne—but most importantly a king must be fit to rule, both physically and mentally.  If the Fliath do not have faith in a candidate for kingship, they will not submit to his rule.  In order to rule, a King must be physically without blemish.  This includes deformity, and serious injury.  Cuts and bruises inflicted during battle, while not problematic if they heal quickly, if they leave lasting scars, may render a king unfit to rule.  If a king is no longer fit, then a new king is chosen to take his place.

Aes Dana ('the Gifted People')
This caste is made up of skilled craftsmen and holy men.  Druids, bards, and Ovates all hail from this caste, as do famed blacksmiths, artists, chariot makers, weavers, and other highly skilled people.  This caste has no birthright, and is based on the merit and skill of its members.  If someone is talented enough, they will be admitted into the Aes Dana.  These are not the kings, but the kingmakers; members of the Aes Dana are highly respected, and a Druid's advice is always heeded, which the praise or satire of a fili can raise a king to glory or force him to abdicate.

People of the Aes Dana frequently make their living on the patronage of nobles, rather than by trade, as the Freemen do.  It is not uncommon for people of this caste to travel between different nobles, or even different kingdoms, living off the patronage of each until offered a better living elsewhere.  They frequently live within the stronghold or hill-fort of a noble or king.

The Brehons, those bards and druids who specialize in keeping the codes of law, arbitrating disputes, and passing judgment, are among the Aes Dana.  These are the ones who keep the knowledge of offenses, penalties, and retribution.  They are the keepers of the rule of law, and as such, while they live under the king's rule, even the king is subject to them.

Doernemed (Unprivileged Freemen)
This is the most numerous caste, constituting all citizens who are not of the nobility or members of the Aes Dana.  These are mostly farmers, fishermen, hunters, trappers, and minor craftsmen who do not make prestige products.  This is the peasant class; free, but not quite prosperous. Most PCs are presumed to come from this caste, although spellcasters are likely to come from the Aes Dana, and some PCs of the fighter type might come from the Fliath.  

The Doernemed come in two varieties: the Céile, and the more prosperous Aire.  These folk do not possess land directly, but must rather rent it from the Fliath for fees which might include cattle, or a percentage of the crops.  A member of the Céile may become an Aire by acquiring enough land.  If the Aire continue to acquire property by renting, and can prove that their ancestors were landowners, it is actually capable to rise to the level of Fliath.  The Céile and Aire are the foundations of society, forming the middle class and largest portion of the tribe.  They include both farmers and craftsmen of trades not prestigious enough to be a part of the Aes Dana.

Fuidir (Slaves)
The Fuidir are the lowest class within tribal territory. They are not members of the tribe and have no land rights. They are permitted to live within tribal territory only by the good graces of the King. Any transgression could lead to immediate expulsion. Generally, the Fuidir is a stranger, often a refugee from another territory who, for whatever reason, has become a person without a tribe. The Fuidir are of two classes; saer-fuidir and daer-fuidir.

The Saer-fuidir are the better off, and are not slaves in the strictest sense of the word.  They are low-class servants who work for their survival.  They have no legal standing, are not considered citizens and cannot take part in government.  They cannot provide evidence against those of higher rank.  Below them are the Daer-fuidir, the true slaves.

There is no group of people that is systematically enslaved.  Rather, this is a caste of people who, through crimes and offenses against the society have had their rights and citizenship forfeited.  Murderers, captured foreign invaders, rapists, and repeat offenders of various other crimes are relegated to slavery, performing tasks no one else wants to.  These are the dangerous or monotonous tasks, but ones without glory.  In times of great adversity, slaves may be offered up as human sacrifices to the Tuatha.

In spite of their low stature, the law favors emancipation.  If a slave lives long enough, and acts with honor and integrity, they may redeem themselves of their crimes, and gain, or regain, their citizenship.  These freedmen will always likely have low enech, and will be widely mistrusted, but even slaves can rise above their status.  

« Last Edit: September 09, 2011, 11:28:58 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2011, 02:04:02 PM »

Characters: Classes


Most people will always lead “mundane” lives, working fields, working a craft, or some otherwise monotonous task just to survive.  However, the human race has proven time and again its potential for the exceptional.  Heroes go toe to toe with powerful monsters, with Sidhe, and with Fomorians.  Some heroes even do battle with gods and survive.  Certain classes of people are extraordinary; powerful, with varied, and unique skills.  These types are the stuff of legends.

Most PC classes found in Cad Goleór are exactly as they are found in the Pathfinder Core Rulebooks, with the exception of the Druid, which has alternate rules to follow.  The Cleric, Monk, Paladin, Sorcerer and Wizard classes are not allowed in the Cad Goleór setting, but the Oracle and Witch advanced classes have been added to the class list.  By a GM’s discretion, PCs may play as a disallowed class as long as they are not native to Glasconaí or Gwladwyn.

Important Classes:  A number of heroes belonging to various classes are represented in myths and legends

Barbarian Variant: Gaestat
In Cad Goleór, the typical “Barbarian” does not exist.  Below can be found the Gaestat, a modified barbarian class.  The gaestat is a fearless warrior who throws himself into battle nude, to prove his bravery (and because it terrifies their more sensible opponents).  At the GM’s discretion, the following barbarian archetypes (using the standard pathfinder barbarian as a base) can be taken in a Cad Goleór game.  

Acceptable Archetypes: Brutal Pugilist, Drunken Brute, Invulnerable Rager, Savage Barbarian

Cuchulainn, a mortal son of Lugh Longfingers, was capable of many great feats of arms, the most notable of which was his Riastradh, or “Warp Frenzy.” Cuchulainn’s Warp Frenzy was said to be so powerful that he burned with a heat that took three vats of cold water to quench. The first vat would burst, the water from the second would boil, and the third would cool him to a comfortable temperature.

Bard (Fili)
Musicians, Storytellers, satirists, historians, and magicians, Bards are a special class of experts.  They are of the Druidic order, and the preliminary education of each is the same.  Their arts are different however.  Bards learn the power of music and stories.  They know people, and how to influence them.  They have the power of praise and satire, and are experts in the fitness of things.  Fili can bestow a blemish (ainmed) upon a king, rendering him unfit to rule, and forcing him to abdicate.  

Acceptable Archetypes: Arcane Duelist, Court Bard, Magician, Sandman, Savage Skald, Sea Singer

Gwion Bach was a human in the service of Ceridwen, a Tuatha goddess from Gwladwyn.  He had to flee after tasting a magical brew Ceridwen was preparing.  In a series of transformations, Gwion ultimately transformed into an oat grain, which Ceridwen ate.  She gave birth to him and sent him down the river, where he grew to be a powerful bard, capable of killing with his music.

Druids are the most respected of all people in Abred.  They are the people’s only link to the gods.  Without them the fields would run fallow, and the trees would yield no fruit.  They are the priests of the religion the local people.  They are wandering sages, keepers of law and makers of peace.  They advise kings, and strive to keep the world in balance.  They keep true the rituals to appease the gods and elicit their aid.  They are also considered among the most powerful magicians in the land.

Acceptable Archetypes: Menhir Savant, Mooncaller, Reincarnated Druid

Myrddin, the druid of the Milesians, calmed the seas when the gods themselves sent a storm to dash their ships.  He then went on to command fire, to counter the gods when they caused the rivers to rise up against them.  He was one of the first of the Order of Druids, and one of the first to learn the rituals to regain the favor of the gods.

The Fighter Class represents the trained warrior elite.  Most Fighters in Abred belong the Caste of Fliath, as they are the ones with the time and opportunity to regularly train for battle, and learn the feats of arms that other warriors cannot.  Taking their noble responsibilities into consideration, add Diplomacy (Cha) and Knowledge (Nobility) (Int) to their class skills list.

Acceptable Archetypes: Mobile Fighter, Polearm master, Shielded Fighter, Two-handed Fighter, Two-Weapon Warrior, Weapon Master

Scathach, a warrior woman of Gwladwyn, was famed as a teacher of many great warriors.  She taught feats of arms to Cuchulainn among many others.  Her knowledge of these feats was unmatched.

Ranger Variant: Fenian
The Standard “Ranger” class does not exist as such in Cad Goleór.  In its place is the Fenian, a member of a band of elite warriors who serve the High King of Glasconaí.  They are immensely loyal to the High King and to each other, forsaking familial ties and forming a new “clan” which is their “fian.” This band wanders half the year, living by their wits.  They are powerful warriors, and cunning survivors. With a GM’s permission, the following Ranger archetypes can be taken instead of the Fenian class.

Acceptable Archetypes:   Guide, Horse Lord, Shapeshifter, Skirmisher, Spirit Ranger

Fionn the Wanderer.  A king of sorts, Fionn ruled over the nomadic band of Fenians.  He and his tribe spent half the year in the wilderness, always defending the island of Glasconaí from invaders.  He could navigate the densest forests with as much ease as a flatland.  He required his men to be able to leap over their own height, and run under a log as low as their knee.  They also had to be able to remove a thorn from their foot without slowing.

There are always going to be criminals, thieves, and unsavory types.  There will always be braggarts and those better at staying out of the way of danger than waging war or doing honest work.  Be they street performers, assassins, brigands, or knaves, rogues of all stripes are populate the lands of Abred, some more open than others.  Since traps, especially mechanical traps, are not very common among the people here, archetypes or variants that replace trapfinding are encouraged.

Acceptable Archetypes: Acrobat, Bandit, Charlatan, Driver, Pirate, Poisoner (-5 Enech), Rake, Scout, Sniper (-5 Enech), Swashbuckler, Thug

Oracle (Ovate):
Ovates (Oracles) are the sighted ones.  They belong to the Druidic Order, but are not Druids as such.  They are god-touched.  They are sighted, seeing into the truth of things.  They also serve as healers.  These are complementary talents, as the ability to possess special sight is of use to one who must cure.  

Acceptable Archetypes: Seer, Stargazer

“Ancestor” and “Time” mysteries are added to list. “Stone,” “Waves.” “Wind,” and “Fire” are removed from the list.

Midwives, healers, and apothecaries at best; poisoners, hex artists, and schemers at worst, Witches have a tenuous place in society.  They have a role to play but are often met with suspicion.  They have congress with spirits and fairies, whose motives are not always in the best interests of humans.  People often fear witches, and not altogether without reason.  When accepted, they often serve much the same purpose as the druids, though more earthy, and less lofty.  They are without formal education.  Their skills and knowledge are learned through experience rather than schooling.  

Acceptable Archetypes: Beast-Bonded, Gravewalker, Hedge Witch, Sea Witch

« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 09:54:05 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2011, 11:25:52 PM »


In Character

Cutting a rash of mistletoe from the crotch of an old oak tree with the curved blade of his silver sickle, the druid Obhernan climbed to the ground.  He strode into the Nemeton and took up his ash staff.  He looked about the clearing at the space he had prepared: the stone altar to the north, on which rested the votive offerings of bronze shields, swords, and canine figurines.  With light steps he moved to the altar and placed the mistletoe upon it.  A brazier of fire burned, and threw light on the water in the cauldron.  Obhernan knelt before the cauldron and looked into its depths.  

“Ceridwen,” he said.  “Inspire my sight, and show me that which is lost.”
Magic—at least certain kinds of magic—seems as ordinary to the people of the Twin Isles as waking up with the sun.  It is really rather obvious, and usually nothing to marvel at.  Making the land yield crops requires that all things be in order: The land must be properly tilled, the seeds must be properly planted, the rituals must be properly performed, and the timing of it all must be right.  And the gods must allow it to happen.  The gods can make the rains come too early or too late, can make them drown the crops with too much rain, or given them none at all.  They can blight the plants, or send animals to root in the soil and ruin the fruits of the fields.  This is what magic is for: the Druids perform magical spells and make offerings to the gods, appeasing them, and gaining their favor.  Magic keeps everything functioning as it should, keeps the people from starving, and drives off threats.  

Three types of people wield magic in any significant way:  Bards, Druids, and Witches.  Bards and Druids are the keepers of knowledge.  They know the old legends, the lore and the law.  Bards are skilled with the magical songs, which reveal the truth, level those who have risen above their worth, and raise up those who live beneath their stature.  Their magic can cure sadness with laughter, can sooth to sleep, or bring one to tears.  Their magic is not just in enchantments, but in their influence of the minds of men.  Druids are the keepers of rituals.  They are healers, wise men, diviners, peace-makers, judges, and priests.  They offer council, and know the ways of the world and its people.   Witches dwell on the fringes of society.  They have contact with spirits and fairies, and peer into the future.  Often living in the wilderness, they are masters of herb-lore, and are well-versed in medicines, poisons, and contraceptives.  They are often healers, midwives, and apothecaries, providing any not afraid to speak to them with their services, a dram of something to cure an illness, or perhaps a trinket or “good luck charm.”

The tying of knots is a form of folk magic practiced by all sorts, from children, to midwives, to farmers, to craftsmen.  Knot-binding can be performed to ensure that an action is successful, or that someone take a particular action—“He’s bound to.” Sometimes, knots are simply a way to remember something, such as tying a string around one’s finger.  Sometimes it is a remedy for an illness, such as binding the illness to a tree, thus being rid of it, and allowing the earth to take care of it.  

All forms of knotting and braiding can be considered magical.  A warrior may braid his hair as a form of magical protection in a fight, may wear a belt of knotted rope, or use a shield with a painted image of knotwork on it.  A successful check in the appropriate skill can grant a character a one-time Luck bonus to a particular kind of activity usable that day.  The check can be repeated the following day, but you cannot retry the skill in the same day.  The kind of activity the bonus applies to is chosen at the time of knotting, and could constitute attack rolls, defense rolls, saving throws, or skills tied to a particular attribute (Str, Dex, etc.)

Appropriate Skills
  • Profession (Grooming)—Braid or Plait hair
  • Profession (Sailor)—Tie knots in rope
  • Craft (Art)—Paint an elaborate knot image onto a shield
  • Other skills the GM deems acceptable under the circumstance

DC of KnotLuck Bonus Provided
10 +0 (+1 in some situations)

Knot-Binding is also a means by which Druids, Witches, and other spellcasters may work their magic quickly.  Ordinarily, spells take a long time to perform: several minutes at the least, and hours or even days at the most.  A magician can, however, cast a spell into a knot, to store it for later.  Casting a spell in this way takes the normal amount of time, but the effects of the spell are delayed until the caster chooses to untie the knot.  Untying a knot is a full-round action that provokes attacks of opportunity.  When a caster binds a spell into a knot, that spell slot is used up, and remains used up until the knot is untied; no matter how many times the caster rests.  Once the knot is untied, the spell slot opens, and at her next rest, the caster may prepare a new spell.

Binding a spell into a knot, much like gaining a luck bonus from knot-binding, requires a skill check.  More powerful spells require more elaborate knots, and the DC of the knot is equal to 10 + the level of the spell, so a first level spell would only require a roll of 11, whereas a 9th level spell would require a roll of 19.  Since so much can ride upon successfully binding a spell, the caster cannot take 10 on the roll, even when at peace.

Magical Places

The people know that the land around them is infused with magic.  Much of it goes into keeping the land of Annwn separate from the mortal world of Abred.  Certain places, however, are natural conduits of magic.  Some of these are where ley lines of mystical energy cross.  Others are places where the doors to Annwn remain open.  These places are scattered about, and the one who knows where to find them can use them to her advantage.

Menhirs, Stone Circles, and Nemetons
The landscape is speckled with stone monoliths sticking straight up out of the ground as though standing.  There is no record of erecting these and they most likely are the relics of past civilizations—possibly made by the gods themselves.  They carry powerful draoíchta, or magic, and spellcasters may take advantage of this.  Druids, bards, and ovates may use standing stones called Menhirs to apply metamagic effects to their spells.  They may not choose which effect to apply, as the effect is tied to the stone in question.  They need not possess the associated metamagic feat, and the use of a standing stone to augment a spell does not use up a higher level spell slot.

The GM is free to determine the nature of any particular Standing Stone.  If no metamagic effect is specified, roll 1d10 on the following chart to determine a random effect:

d10 RollResult
1 Empower Spell
2Enlarge Spell
3 Extend Spell
4 Focused Spell
1 Heighten Spell
2Maximize Spell
3 Quicken Spell
4 Silent Spell
3 Still Spell
4 Widen Spell

Nemetons, circular clearings in a forest, also serve to increase the effectiveness of spellcasters. A spell cast within a nemeton is cast at the caster’s level +1.

Circles of massive stones combine the best features of Menhirs and Nemetons.  Spells are cast a +1caster level in addition to any metamagic effects.  If there are multiple Menhirs arranged within a stone circle which have different metamagic effects, the caster must choose which effect to apply to his spell by properly orienting himself within the circle.  In rituals with multiple casters working towards a single spell, each caster may apply the metamagic effect of a different Menhirs within the circle.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 10:05:25 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2011, 01:11:06 AM »

Religion: Gods

In Character

“They never go,” Cormac said grimly.  “Not the Tuatha Dé Danaan.  They’re always out there, night or day.  The Milesians defeated them once, and drove them out of their Tara, but they couldn’t kill them.  Not really.  They tried; with sword and spear they tried.  But the Danaans just melted away into the land and the mist.  We’ll have to fight them again one day, Finn.  The Tuatha Dé Danaan haven’t surrendered their Erin.  They never will.” –Morgan Llywelyn, Finn Mac Cool
Many years ago, humans took control of the mortal world of Abred, seizing it from the hands of the gods themselves.  That day, mankind proved its infinite potential, but they failed to realize what it meant to depose the gods.  The land needed to be wedded to a king—the many aspects of nature needed avatars, needed consorts to retain their vitality.  These were not roles humans were prepared to fill.  They knew comparatively little of the way the world truly worked.  They knew only how to wield their power over others; they had not learned to lift each other up.  They had not learned to become one with the land.  Their crops failed, their weather was chaotic.  Mankind found that what it needed most was that which it had driven away.  Mankind needed the Gods.

The Tuatha Dé Danaan are neither wholly good nor entirely evil—the words lack meaning to them—but some are better known for their benevolence than others.  Some help willingly, others only at great personal cost to the petitioner.  The goals of some of the gods may not always correspond to the best interests of humans, but most do not typically mean humans harm.  They may resent mankind, but will respect them as long as they are treated well.  It must be understood, however, that the Tuatha are not just a pantheon, but a race.  Like humans, they vary in power, from the comparatively weak to the nigh-indestructible.  Only the most powerful of these will likely be paid homage by humans.  Those lesser ones will likely be ignored, or even unknown.  The line between lesser Tuatha and Sidhe is hazy.  The distinction is mainly one of power.  The Sidhe may possess powerful magic, but are rarely of a divine power level, and never surpass divine rank 0.  The Tuatha are always of at least divine rank 1.


Aengus the Young
Intermediate God
: A swan
Home Plane: Gwynvyd
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Portfolio: Love, Youth, Poetry, charm, guile, swans
Holy Days: Beltane
Favored Weapon: Longsword

He carries a gold harp that makes irresistibly sweet music.  Four bright birds – his own kisses, given immortal form – always accompany him. He is the son of Dagda and is said to be the fairest man ever known beneath the stars.  Aengus has beautiful, long, golden hair and shining blue eyes that always seem on the verge of joining in on a good-natured laugh.

He spends his eternal days with his chosen companions – both mortal and immortal – and rarely thinks about the future or about responsibilities. He has no need for them, and does not often consider his place in the world.  Those who remain near Aengus the Young for too long will find themselves forgetting to eat or drink, simply wasting away in the sheer luxury of his presence.  

Aengus the Young is praised and admired by young lovers.  He is given offerings by those who wish to woo, marry, or begin an illicit affair.  He is a hopeless romantic, prone to aiding those who engage in quests for love.  He is idolized by adolescent girls, and there is much erotic poetry composed in his honor.  

He is known as a trickster, and seems to always bear the rebellious nature of youth.  He often comes into conflict with gods of order and law.


Lesser Goddess
: Flowers
Home Plane: Abred (Spends most of her time in Annwn)
Alignment: Neutral
Portfolio: Plants, the earth, crops, owls, sovereignty.  
Holy Days: Lughnassadh
Favored Weapon: Razorleaf (dagger)

The flower bride of Lugh, she was given life by Gwydion and Llyr.  Not one of the Tuatha per se, they created her form the forms of flowers, which they animated and gave life.  Lugh was given a geas that he would never marry from the Tuatha, Fomorian, or any foreign tribe.  Thus was Blodeuwedd made for him.  Native born she was, but belonging to no tribe named in the geas.  It is said that Lugh was the first of the Tuatha to be wedded to the land itself.  

She is thought to epitomize the earth itself, and is a paragon of nature.  She is considered the queen of the lands, and all kings are symbolically wedded to her by proxy to legitimize their kingship, and show their devotion to the lands they rule.

Blodeuwedd, in the legends, proved to be a fickle mistress, however, and ultimately plotted Lugh’s downfall.  She became the consort to four brothers who sought the High Kingship for themselves.  She is sometimes called the Strumpet queen.  After her initial betrayal of Lugh, she was transformed into an owl as punishment, and owls have ever since been messengers of hers.  

It has been recorded—though if it be truth or legend only, who can say?—that  when a particularly fit mortal king is crowned at Lughnassadh, that Blodeuwedd herself presents herself to him as his queen, and offers him her hand.  This may also have been a girl in costume serving in the symbolic role, which was taken literally by those who told the tales.  It may also have been that these kings married women named after the goddess.  It cannot be ruled out, however, that the goddess herself sat upon the throne of mortal queenship.


Intermediate Goddess
Symbol: Fire, Triskelion, Brid’s Cross
Home Plane: Annwn
Alignment: Neutral, Neutral Good
Portfolio: Fire, water, Sun, Sovereignty, Summer, Winter, Smithcraft, warfare, poetry, inspiration, healing, medicine
Holy Days: Imbolg
Favored Weapon: Ceantinne (Longsword)

A Goddess of both Summer and Winter, Brigantia is the youthful, beloved goddess of the tribes of Glasconaí and Gwladwyn.  She is a goddess of battle in manifold ways, ruling smithcraft and the making of arms, poetry and the songs of deeds done in combat, and healing of those injured in war.  She is a goddess of both fire and water; both summer and winter.  She is a goddess of the seasons, and as we cycle in and out of this life like the seasons, it is with her that the fitness of rule rests.  Brigantia is a goddess of Sovereignty, It is she who created the three kingly swords for gods, sidhe, and men, and there are tales that to share her bed on the eve of battle assures victory.  A king who retains her favor is all but guaranteed to be graced with a happy and glorious reign.

Brigantia is beautiful but strong.  She appears as a tall woman of over six feet.  Her hair moves about her like fire, and is both red and gold at once. She is often depicted wearing an eye patch made of leather, and depending on the function she is serving, white robes trimmed with gold, or a leather smock, hammering a sword.  Brigantia has a darker side, however.  In the wintertime, the youthful battle-maiden becomes Cailleach, a haggard old crone in tattered rags.   In contrast to her younger self, Cailleach has drooping flesh, and her frozen hair is white and stiff.

It is said that Brigantia has a number of items that she is famed for, including the three swords, a number of healing wells, and her mantle, which can spread to any size.  She has multiple symbols, but they all denote cycles: the triple spiral of the triskelion, and the Brid’s cross, with its spinning arms.  

Brigantia is said to be one of three sisters: battle goddesses known collectively as the Morrigna, the Great Queens.


Greater God
: The Sun, with Dagda’s face on it.
Home Plane: Gwynvyd
Alignment: Lawful Good
Portfolio: Order, The Sun, The Seasons, Fertility, protection, fatherhood, wisdom
Holy Days: Beltane
Favored Weapon: Greatclub capable of healing injuries

Bearing the epithet “Ollathair” or “All-father,” Dagda is the patriarch of the Tuatha Dé Danaan.  He is one of the oldest of them, in age, second only to Danu herself.  He is usually portrayed as a middle-aged, to elderly man with a long grey beard.  His beard is usually braided up in elaborate knots.  He is a figure that is both one of extreme reverence, and playful fun.

He is the most fatherly of the gods, and can often be counted on to be both stern and protecting.  He is also highly masculine, and it is common to use the figure of Dagda to epitomize male stereotypes.  He is sometimes portrayed as crude or oversexed, sometimes with a massive phallus dragging on the ground.

Dagda is the kind of figure that enjoys a good laugh, and is quick with a joke, but one whose funny stories always carry a point, or a moral.  He is a figure of entertainment, but one who uses his charm to convey something else entirely.

His is the voice of experience and knowledge.  He is in favor of pursuing many things, even some dangerous ones, or ones bound to end in unpleasantness, for the sake of making a complete life, learning from experience, and having a story to tell.

Amongst the Tuatha, he is the father of Aengus, Brigantia, Ceridwen, and Nemain.  His mother is Danu, goddess of the primordial earth, moon, water, and stars.


Donn Cernunnos
Greater God
: A Ram-horned Snake
Home Plane: Annwn
Alignment: Neutral
Portfolio: Death, Animals, the Hunt, Healing, Rebirth, Fidchell
Holy Days: Samhain
Favored Weapon: Dergallta (Long Spear)

The antlered Lord of the Dead, Donn guards the Cauldron of Life atop Tech Duinn in the realm of Annwn.  He is the keeper of the cycle of souls. He leads them to the cauldron and ushers them away.  He guards the gateways of Annwn against those who seek its spoils.  He possesses 3 beautiful cows whose milk never run out, the pack of red-eared hunting dogs known as the Cwn Annwn, and a trio of cranes who guide departed souls to the gates of the Blessed Isle.  A ram-horned snake is his constant companion.

He is an avid fidchell player, and is well known for playing the game at high stakes.  It is said that one can gain favors from him, or even forestall his death if he can defeat Donn in a game of Fidchell.  

One of Donn’s main duties, besides the guarding of the Cauldron of Life, is to lead the Wild Hunt.  Traditionally held on Samhain, the Wild Hunt comprises Sidhe of both Seelie and Unseelie courts, and sometimes is attended by members of the Tuatha as well.  The Wild Hunt seeks game to bring back for feasting in Annwn, as the fruit of that land, though lovely to look upon, and delicious to taste, offers no nutrients.  The Wild Hunt is not aimed at causing harm to mortals, but if mortals interfere or cross the path of the Hunt, their lives are forfeit.  Furthermore, Unseelie Sidhe often use the Wild Hunt to drag souls of mortals back to their fortress of Nenníus to be their slaves.  It is said that for a mortal to witness the Wild Hunt is an omen of death, but whether the Hunt is the cause of death, or merely the signifier of this death is uncertain.

The Cauldron of Life
Donn’s Cauldron is a potent magical artifact carrying powers of restoration and life.  Those who are injured, diseased, or suffering some malady or curse can bathe in the waters of the cauldron and be healed.  More famously, however, the cauldron brings new life to the dead.  Departed souls in Annwn make their way towards the Cauldron of Life.  Those souls who reach the cauldron atop Tech Duinn will be given life again—not their old life, but a brand new one.  They may not even be human in their next life, if the path of their soul has something else in mind.  

In Game terms, Donn’s Cauldron of Life is a large bowl, big enough to fit a human inside.  Those who bathe in the water are affected by their choice of greater restoration, heal, remove disease, or remove curse; drinking the water can provide the effect of neutralize poison; and fully immersing a soul or corpse in the cauldron has the effect of the reincarnate spell.


Lugh Longfingers
Greater God
: A hand
Home Plane: Abred
Alignment: Lawful Good
Portfolio: All Arts and Crafts, Kingship, Valor, Potential, Justice, Eagles
Holy Days: Lughnassadh
Favored Weapon: Gáe Ássail, a javelin that returns when thrown

Lugh Longfingers is a god of universal appeal.  His worship is broad, as he is skilled at all arts, and every craft.  He is especially loved by the lowly, however, as his defeat of the monstrous Balor is said to represent the triumph of the meek against the tyrant.  He is a symbol of justice and the proper order of things.  He is one of the most loved of the Tuatha.  His rule was said to be the most peaceful and prosperous of the Tuatha before the coming of the Milesians.  He is still highly respected by the rest of the Tuatha.

Lugh is one of the more frequent visitors to Abred.  Born there, he can travel there more easily than those born in Gwynvyd and Annwn.  He has been known to sire mortal offspring, and keep his eyes on mortal affairs.  He grants his grace to just kings, and is said to come to the crowning of each High King in the guise of an old man in a cloak, to offer his blessings to the king.  

Kings, upon their coronations at Lughnassadh, symbolically take the place of Lugh in his marriage to Blodeuwedd.  The festival of Lughnassadh translates literally to “Lugh’s Marriage.”  Blodeuwedd tricked Lugh into revealing how he could be killed, however, and she betrayed him with four brothers who sought the kingship for themselves.  When struck, it is said he flew away in the form of an eagle.  

Lugh is said to come to the aid of grand and worthy causes.  He always smiles on those who help others, and will help to defend a just ruler.


Intermediate Goddess
: A Raven, or three ravens
Home Plane: Annwn
Alignment: Neutral
Portfolio: Warfare, battle, frenzy, death, chaos, the dead, sovereignty.  
Holy Days: Samhain
Favored Weapon: Talon (dagger)

Nemain is the “Battle Raven,” queen of death and battle.  When nations are at war, she flies over the fields as a carrion bird, deciding who will live and who will die.  Her favor, often granted by bedding her, is often instrumental in surviving an important battle, gaining kingship, or otherwise conquering your foes, so like her sister Brigantia, she seems related to sovereignty.  Unlike her sisters, however, she spends much of her time in Abred, whenever there is a battle to preside over.

As the one who chooses the dead, she sometimes serves the role of a psychopomp, escorting the fallen across the sea to Annwn.  She has been known to curse the enemies of her consorts, or those who offend her.  She sometimes comes to heroes or kings in the form of a withered old crone as a test.  She asks their help with a task, or offers them to bed her.  If they help her or accept her offer, she grants them boons, and victory.  If they spurn her, they are cursed and will soon be killed.  It is said to be Nemain who inspires the barbarian’s riastradh.

Her reputation as a goddess of death causes many to fear her, but she is not exactly evil.  Death comes for all as naturally as breathing.  She is an unbiased harvester and guide.  One can gain her favor for a time, and forestall the inevitable, but no one eludes her forever.  She is sometimes seen as an agent of Donn Cernunnos, sometimes his equal.  In the form of a raven, or sometimes a trio of ravens, she escorts the dead to Annwn, accompanied by Donn’s three cranes.  In other versions, she is the three cranes, or is one of the three.  One legend even suggested that Nemain meets the cranes in mid-air, to arrange payment for her services.

Nemain is one of the "Great Queens" or Morrigna.  Spirits announcing or foretelling deaths, such as the banshee, Valkyrie, and bean nighe, are servants of hers.

The Fomhoire

Much as the Sidhe belong to the same race as the Tuatha Dé Danaan, so are the fomorian giants descended from the gods the Fomhoire.  These fomorians are of such age and power as to be called "gods," though the common folk of Abred may be more inclined to call them demons.  And where the Tuatha are appeased and placated to avoid their wrath, the Fomhoire are to be avoided at all costs.  Only the fomorians give them praise or worship.  They hold nothing but contempt for the weaker races.  Any "peaceful" interactions with humans last only as long as the mortal is "useful."   Approach them at your peril.

Greater God
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Profile: Death, Magic, Winter, Battle, The Otherworld, Secrets
Epithets: “The Evil Eye,” “The Baleful Eye” “The Sleeper,” “The Blind God.”

With a head the height of a man, the King of the Fomhoire is an intimidating sight.  A creature with shaggy hair and beard, tusks, and horns sprouting from his temples, Balor’s most distinctive feature is his single eye in the middle of his face.  This eye is pure poison, striking dead any it looks upon, and turning them to stone.  His own eyelid was petrified by it, and in Annwn he keeps a pair of servants on his shoulders to lift it for him.  

Having only one eye is no impediment to this Fomorian King, for he has such acute hearing and sense of smell that he can locate creatures, obstacles, and learn as much about his surroundings with them as anyone could learn with eyes.  Furthermore, having only one eye, it is said that he has an eye in each world.  He knows the secrets of this world and the next.  Those who seek this knowledge, if they are without fear, or scruples, may seek to bargain with Balor.  

Balor hates all Tuatha gods, but has a special enmity with Lugh Longfingers, his half-danaan, half-fomorian grandson.  Lugh killed him once on the plains of Magh Ruadh, and in his lives since then, Balor has not forgotten.  

Lesser God
Alignment: Lawful Evil
Profile: Agriculture, Stinginess, Tyranny, Vanity
Epithets: “The Beautiful,” “The Cruel”

Called “The Beautiful,” Bres is the image of physical perfection.  Unusually handsome for a fomor, he has chiseled features, golden hair, and a perpetual smirk upon his face.  At fifteen feet, he is not as tall as the mighty Balor, but easily towers over those around him.  A single horn sprouts from the center of his forehead.   He is seen wearing rich and luxurious apparel, usually layers of long, flowing robes.  

Fomorians might be inclined to call him “soft” for his prettiness and pomp, if not for his demonstrated cruelty and efficiency.  As a King he was an effective builder, and highly knowledgeable in agriculture, but inhumane and inhospitable.  As a god, he demands unquestioning service from his followers, and may give boons in return for performing cruelties upon his enemies (namely the Tuatha and the Sidhe).

Lesser Goddess
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Profile: Moon, Justice, Music, Sea

Silver haired maiden of the fomors, she is the daughter of Balor, and the sister of Bres.  She is much removed from her fomorian kindred.  Like her brother, she is beautiful, which is unusual for Fomorians.  Unlike her brother, however, she seeks out that which is just and fair, an alien concept for the Fomhoire.  She refused to aid Bres when he was exiled by the Tuatha from his seat of power.  She is often demonized in fomorian religion as a traitor to the community for this, and for sleeping with Elcmar of the Tuatha, a union which resulted in the birth of Lugh Longfingers, the villain who killed her father, King Balor.

She has associations with the moon’s fickle inconstancy.  She was said to ride out on the sea in a silver boat in the dead of night, and mingle with the enemy.  Balor was required to imprison her in a doorless tower to keep her away from the Tuatha, especially after it was prophesied that she would bear the mongrel son Lugh.  

She is considered weak for indulging the dignity of other races, and her aversion to treachery and murder.  They therefore consider her to not truly be one of them.  In the second battle of Magh Ruadh, she guarded Dagda’s stolen harp, and allowed it to be returned to him.

Morc and Conand
Intermediate Gods
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Profile: Revenge, Strength, Ferocity, Community, Brothers

Two brothers, always worshipped together, Morc and Conand represent the bond of brotherhood felt among fomorians.  They exemplify the belief in doing anything for your brothers, or brothers-in-arms.  These two were willing to break geasa for each other, and Morc slaughtered whole villages when Conand was killed.  It is this degree of passionate friendship, and the rage that springs from wild devotion, that fomorians love. It is right to fomors that a small slight should be avenged one hundredfold.

These two represent the power and strength of the community as a whole, and what can be accomplished by acting together.  Smaller than many others, these two only stand about ten feet high each.  Their heads are long and goatlike, with ram’s horns and scruffy beards on their chins.  They are sometimes depicted as conjoined twins, or a single two-headed being, but this is generally considered “artistic license.”  

« Last Edit: August 30, 2012, 07:06:57 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2011, 05:27:53 AM »



Annwn is many things. It is the land across the sea, and the land under the sidhe. Sidhe means "mound" or "hill." When the Tuatha left Abred for the Otherworld, they became known as Aes Sídhe, or "Those of the Hills." The Tuatha, who are often capable of changing their forms in numerous ways, gave birth to whole races of beings that are not mortal, but not quite gods in their own right. These are the Sidhe, being synonymous with the world to which they belong.

Annwn is a land of extremes and paradoxes. It is everywhere and nowhere. It is under every hill, across every ocean, and on the other side of every forest, and yet it exists nowhere on the physical plane. It is the land of the ever young. There is no aging, and no disease; no thirsting or starvation. Pleasure, pain, emotion; all of these are heightened here.  It is a place filled with vibrant colors, but it lacks substance. It is a place of intense freedom and intense restriction.

Geographically, Annwn resembles a triskele; It has three arms, each of which wraps around a plot of earth featuring a massive spiraling tower. In the center of Annwn lies Magh Mell, the Plain of Delights, onto whose shores the ships bearing the souls of the dead land. Atop a plateau in the center of Magh Mell is Tech Duinn, the home of Donn, horned god of the Dead and lord of the hunt. At the center of Tech Duinn, the Cauldron of Rebirth lies at the base of the Tree of Life.

Time functions much differently in Annwn than in the mortal world of Abred.  Time usually runs much slower in the land of Annwn, where years can pass in what seems like days.  This is not constant, however, for on certain festival days, such as Samhain, the veil between the worlds is dropped, and time syncs up.  Sometimes time can even run faster in Annwn.  Some rare stories exist of travelers who spend years in Annwn, only to return and find that no one noticed their absence—they had been gone only minutes.  The average timescale is 1 day in Annwn = 1 week in Abred, however, a GM can have time flow at whatever rate he or she deems appropriate.  

Though different worlds, the two share an indisputable and powerful link.  Many places in the mortal world seem to be mirrored in Annwn, and any change in one affects the other.  Like ripples in a pond, the events of one world extend out to touch the other.  It is impossible to foresee the nature of this effect, but disorder in Annwn will always spill over into Abred.  Conflicts between the Sidhe, or deaths of certain spirits result in bizarre weather patterns, or political chaos in Abred.  For this reason, some of the more cunning of Otherworld personalities may seek to grow armies in the mortal world, or influence affairs there, so as to indirectly improve his standing in Annwn.  This is an uncertain and risky move, however, for one can never truly tell what form the ripples will take.

Getting There
Annwn is a land of borders and paradoxes.  It lies beneath the hills and across the sea.  It is a world of in-between, lying cosmically between Abred and Gwynvyd.  Accessing the realm of Annwn is a difficult proposition: Abred and Annwn are different worlds with few, if any, permanent links.  Even if one finds a gateway to Annwn, nothing guarantees that it will still be there when you go looking for it next day.  In fact, many are only open on particular days, or at certain times of day.  

Paths to Annwn involve paradoxes: places that are in between--that are both and neither location.  Shores, which are neither Sea or Dry Land.  Rivers, which cut between realms.  Caves and thresholds of all kinds, which are neither indoors or outdoors.  Paradoxical times may also be important: twilight, which is neither day nor night; midnight, which is neither one day nor the next.  And some days are simply more amenable to entering Annwn than others.  The Feast of Samhain* for instance, marks the transition into the dark half of the year, and it is a time when the veil between the worlds grows thin, and travel between them becomes possible.

If you are intent on making it to Annwn, look out for the places and times that are most conducive, watch out for signs of the fae, try to acquire a guide, and hope for the best.  The GM, of course, is the final arbiter of whether Annwn can be found or not.  Presuming that there is an entrance to be found, locating it requires a DC 40 Perception roll.  The following conditions modify this DC:

Out of Character

This Table is taken largely from The Little People by Avalanche Press.  I have changed the % chance of finding Fairyland to the DC modifier for finding Annwn, and I have added and subtracted some modifiers, but I want to give credit where credit is due.

Circumstance DC Modifier
Liminal Time (Twilight, Midnight, etc.) -3
Liminal Place (Shore, cave, river, etc.) -3
Feast Day -2
Feast of Bealtine** -2
Feast of Samhain** -4
Equinox** -2
Solstice** -1
Full Moon -1
Sidhe-Blooded -4
Fomorian-Blooded +4
Seeking Faerie riches +2
Searcher has a faerie magic item -6
Searcher wielding or wearing Cold Iron +4
Searching grove of faerie tree triad (Ash, Hawthorn, and Oak in same grove) -6

*Samhain is the name of the real world Celtic festival.  I will probably have an equivalent festival, but haven't come up with a separate name yet.
**These bonuses stack with the bonus for being a feast day.

Geography of Annwn
Caer Sidi: Its name means “Turning fortress” but this is thought to refer to the turning of the stars around it, rather than to any revolutions of the castle itself. Caer Sidi is the spiral tower to Gwynvyd, and is home to the Gods, or Tuatha, who can freely commute between the two worlds via the spiral fortress.

Nenníus: The Gloomy Castle is home to Unseelie Side of many varieties. They keep as their slaves human children stolen to replace their own dwindling numbers, those mortals who have been dragged into the otherworld from the Wild Hunt, and those souls kidnapped on their way to the Cauldron of life.

Caer Fedwyd: The Castle of Revelry is a vast drinking hall and the home of the Court of Seelie sidhe. Like the others, it is a spiral castle, but Caer Fedwyd leads upward to Abred. It is tied most strongly of the three to the hills of Abred, though it sometimes links to the thresholds of homes. Seelie Court sidhe are sometimes known to be a boon to the people of Abred, performing household chores, offering gifts, or pointing the way for travelers at a fork in the road. They are sometimes known to play tricks on mortals, but these are generally harmless. While not often known to be warlike, Trooping Faeries of Seelie sidhe are sometimes seen patrolling for their Unseelie counterparts, or for such menaces as Fomorians.

Tech Duinn: The House of Donn, the horned god of the dead. It is the resting place of the Cauldron of Life. It rests atop a plateau overlooking Magh Mell, the Plain of Delight. From here, Donn oversees the journeys of the mortal souls and rules the animal world, which is better in tune with the world of Faerie. He serves as an intermediary of sorts between the worlds. He is the gatekeeper. He leads the Wild Hunt, and he commands the Cwn Annwn hounds.  

The Cities of Danu: Four Great Cities were once the glory of the goddess Danu and her tribe, the Tuatha dé Danaan.  These four—Falias, Findias, Gorias, and Mundias—were great strongholds of the Tuatha when they reigned in Abred.  Now that humankind has driven the gods away from the world of Abred, the cities have faded from the Mortal World, and have slipped into Annwn, They are now shattered ruins of their former glory.  They are no longer bustling strongholds as they once were.  Only a few scavengers, low-lives, and vermin populate the ruins anymore.  Their ruins lie at the edges of Annwn, to the North, East, South, and West, Just as the once lay at the edges of the islands of Glasconaí and Gwladwyn. They are difficult to find, and dangerous to get to, but they are said to hold riches and untold treasures.  Some of the most famed legendary magic items are said to have come from these cities, and it is said they hold many more.  In Murias are said to reside magical bells that peel of their own will, and a magical egg made of crystal that holds a swan that knows the secrets of creation, and many tales now lost to all those living.  In Findias is said to lay the lost sword of Nuada, capable of healing injuries, by touching someone with the hilt of it.  A spear fashioned from a ray of sunlight was fashioned in Gorias, and saw battle on the field of Magh Ruadh, which saw the defeat of the Fomorians.  It is from Falias that the Liath Failte of Abhainnath hails.  

Magh Mell: “The Blessed Plain” covers much of Annwn.  When not in one of its forests, or one of the sidhe fortresses, one is almost always in Magh Mell.  It is characterized by its tall grasses and occasional trees bearing faerie fruit.  It is a place of idyllic, supernatural peace.  

Faerie spirits of the Otherworld, the sidhe are closely bound with their environment.  Sidhe, also known collectively as the Fae, Fairies, the Good Folk, The Fair Folk, and the Little Folk, are spirits of nature descended from the Tuatha dé Danaan in the days when they were driven out of Abred by mankind.  They are nature spirits, tied either to nature generally, or to a particular aspect of it--an element, or a particular geographic feature.  The exact nature of the bond varies from fairy to fairy, but each Sidhe is bound to some greater external force.  This can be as small-scaled as a dryad's tie with a particular tree, or as large scaled, as a spirit of the winter.

Sometimes the Sidhe are necessary for their associated aspects of nature to function properly.  If a river spirit is killed, the water from that river might cease to flow, or its banks might flood out, spilling her 'blood' over the surrounding villages.  Such damage and chaos might continue until another spirit arose to take her place.  Natural disasters happen when Sidhe are removed from their proper place, or disputes between them turn unfriendly.

The Seelie Court
The Seelie, or 'Blessed' Court, is a term bestowed on a group of fairies known for their general benevolence and their opposition to their rivals, the Unseelie Court.  Theirs is the revelrous hall of Caer Fedwyd, the Hall beneath the Hills.  Mortals in Abred can sometimes hear music from inside, emanating from the hills, but the entrance is hidden, and they cannot find their way in.  

Though proud and aloof to the ways of the mortal world they have on occasion been known to seek help from humans, and typically have the courtesy and grace to warn those who have accidentally offended them--a service the Unseelie would be unlikely to bestow--and to return human kindness with favors of their own. Although they have a greater capacity for clemency than their cousins, still, a fairy belonging to this court will avenge insults fiercely, and many are prone to mischief.  These tricks are unlikely to result in actual harm, however, as the Seelie Sidhe are not mean-spirited, and only mean to have a bit of fun.

Much of the Seelie Court considers itself above the affairs of mortals.  However, they understand that humans are the caretakers of Abred, and that a certain degree of interaction must take place.  The Seelie Court seeks to live in harmony with mortals, to the mutual benefit of both.  They can be both accommodating, and firm, as the situation demands, but they are not above manipulation.  While the Seelie Court rarely abducts changelings as the Unseelie Court does, Seelie Sidhe may on occasion appear to a young child of potential, and bless him or save him from harm, making him indebted to her from an early age.  They may then call upon this debt when the time suits them.

The Unseelie Court
Though not universally malicious, the 'unblessed' or Unseelie Court refers to a dangerous group of fairies known for their ruthlessness.  They make their home at the gloomy castle of Nenní­us.  The Unseelie are spirits of death and decay, and are fixated on exerting their power over mortals and fae alike.  Unlike their Seelie cousins, no insult is needed to incur their assaults.  They will attack merely to exercise their power and 'authority.'

Seelie Sidhe may be proud and aloof, but their pride does not compare to Unseelie arrogance.  The Unseelie like to think that they understand how everything works, and they see all things as predictable.  They are known for their prophecy, and for their fatalism, chanting out omens of doom, often times with an undercurrent of boredom many find unsettling.  

If there is one thing all Unseelie respect, it is power, wielded with a strong hand and a tight fist.  They think highly of themselves, but welcome among them less-than-full-blooded fae.  They even are known to steal human children to increase their numbers.  Most changelings left in human villages are Unseelie sidhe.

Though it is attended by fairies of both courts, the Wild Hunt holds particular appeal to the Unseelie.  Riding out in force throughout the land of Annwn, venturing into Abred, wielding their power swiftly and mightily against whatever lies in their path.  The Unseelie Court often makes use of the Hunts to gather slaves in Abred.  They capture mortals, and take them back to Annwn, to force them to be their mortal servants.  What's more, not even the dead are free from their mischief, for they have been known to shanghai those of the gray host into their service.

Not every encounter with the Unseelie court need be hostile, however.  The Unseelie are accepting of mortals that know how to wield power, and will aid one who can prove his worth.  They are not above helping mortals when it serves their purposes.  They most certainly do not set such as a goal however.  When they give aid to mortals, it is always the means to an end.

Rules of Annwn
Annwn is a paradise.  Except when it isn't.  It is home to the gods and the fae, and one never grows old, or sick, or feeble there.  It is beautiful to look upon, and alive with sensation.  It is an intoxicating realm.  While they are expected to move on, Annwn is a place where one could feasibly spend their afterlife happily, as long as they stick to its rules and avoid its dangers.

(1)Iron is strictly forbidden.  The Fae are repulsed by iron, especially Cold Iron.  If you wish to meet any of the Sidhe peacefully, bring none with you when you enter this land.  The lesser fae will hide and flee from you.  The more powerful ones will attack you.  Entering Annwn with Iron, is practically a declaration of war on the entirety of the realm.  None will offer you safety if you come bearing this material.  Seelie and Unseelie Sidhe alike will hate you, possibly forever.  It is an intense insult, and a sign of enmity with the fair folk.  Do not cross them.  If you must bring weapons, make sure they are made of bronze.

(2)Don't eat or drink anything you didn't bring with you.  The Fae are used to their own fruit, but it can be devastating to mortals.  While not poisonous in the literal sense, it is devoid of any nutritional value, and highly addictive.  Those who taste of the fruit may never want to eat anything else again, which becomes problematic should you ever wish to leave Annwn, and go back to the world where such succulent but empty treats do not exist.  Additionally, if one eats a fruit from a tree that belongs to another, and did not have permission, they may take it as an insult.  

(3)Gifts and insults are repaid strongly.  In our world, Enech, or honor, is of extreme importance.  In faerie, it is supreme.  It cannot be adequately stated how important it is to follow through on every debt, and to repay every favor graciously.  The Sidhe have not only their sense of Enech but a geasa as well to repay gifts with equal or greater gifts. If you are good and kind to them, they by necessity must do you a service in return.  But if you slight them, even a little, they will pay you back ten fold at least.  So be kind and courteous, offer help,  repay the favors you've been given, and make sure to always stay on their good side.

(4)Follow instructions.  Annwn is a strange land, but when you are told to do something, it is best to do it.  To the letter.  Often times your survival depends on it.

(5)Don't stray from the path.  Time and space in Annwn are fluid.  Much like on can enter Annwn one day and the next day they can leave only to find that a century has passed in Abred, when you stray from the path, the path tends to stray from you as well.  Forests have been known to shift, landmarks vanish.  Travelers become hopelessly lost, and either wander into some dangerous area, break some other rule of Annwn, or exhaust their supplies and start to look longingly on the fruit of the Sidhe. . .

« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 10:52:24 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2011, 06:05:56 AM »

Geography of Abred
The history of Glasconaí is a history of invasions.  One of the largest cycles of history and legend surrounds these invasions, which seem to follow some great prehistoric flood.  It is said that a number of different races invaded the land, from the ancient Nemedians of which almost nothing is known, to the Fir Bolg, the Fomorians, and the Tuatha themselves.  Legend tells that Glasconaí was the last stronghold of the gods in Abred before mankind drove them under the hills to Annwn.

Nowadays, the isle of Glasconaí, or “Green home” is a fractious one.  Petty kings from all over what could only loosely be called a nation vie for power and dominance.  Society is very tribal, focusing on Clans, and politics is tenuous at best.  The island is divided into six Major Kingdoms, or provinces: Ardmore, Chonailar, Clarath, Galrock, Samildán, and Thiodonn.  The city of Abhainnath, which lies at the heart of the isle in the Kingdom of Chonailar, is the legendary seat of the High King—a seat which has been empty for generations.  It is said that the seat will not be filled until a man who is worthy stands upon Líath Fáilte and is welcomed by the Singing Stone.

The law of the lands is determined by a group of bards and druids called Brehons.  They determine the laws, and the punishments for crimes.  According to law, the lands are publicly owned, but the king of each region has the authority to distribute land on a semi-permanent basis among the fliath.  The fliath can then rent out land to the doernemed.    Both men and women are allowed to own land, but it is more common for men to be land holders.  Women are considered full citizens with all the legal protections men of their social caste have.  They can own land and property, have a say in local matters, be employed in a profession, and fight to defend their lands if they so choose.  Women are rarely, if ever, required to serve in war, however.  Most professions are open to women, though men are more common, and women are more commonly expected to remain at home.  Both genders are expected to be able to prepare food, and mend clothing.  

Paleness is considered attractive, especially among women, though rosy-cheeks are sometimes in style.  Fatness is considered grotesque, but thinness is not considered attractive either.    Muscles are almost universally considered attractive among men, and in some groups, also amongst women.  Muscular men seek opportunities to showcase their bodies.  The working classes like their women muscular, as do some of the more war-like tribes, who boast the battle prowess of their women.  Nobles often want softness in their women, as they have less use for hardened women.

Glasconneach Names
Male:  Adaric, Alastar, Amorgen, Aran, Berach, Braden, Bran, Brogan, Bron, Cathair, Calbhach, Cian, Conall, Conare, Dallan, Donnell, Duncan, Eogan, Ewan, Faolán, Feargus, Fionn, Gobán, Lughaid, Mal, Manech, Niall, Oengus, Rochad, Sualtaim, Triathe

Female: Aifric, Áine, Aisling, Bidelia, Branwen, Brighid, Cáilin, Ciara, Clíona, Dáirine, Deichtine, Deirbhile, Deirdre, Dorean, Eimher, Fedelm, Fiachna, Fionola, Grania, Ide, Lennabhair, Niam, Scathach,


Ruler: King Brogan mac Grania
Capitol: Drochead
Government: Elected Monarchy
Realm Alignment: Lawful Good
Population: ~500,000
Major Settlements: Beldangan, Ceann Balor, Drochead, Torliath

Ceann Balor
Government: Petty Kingdom
Population: ~2000 (more in the lands surrounding the town proper)
Demographic: 96% Human, 2% Half-formorian, 2% Other
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Personalities: Lvl 8 Ftr (King), Lvl 6 War (Sheriff or equivalent), Lvl 6 Witch (Cult)

Ceann Balor, which literally means 'The Head of Balor', is so named for a legend that, following the Cad Magh Ruadh, in which Lugh Longfingers slew the fomorian tyrant Balor, he severed the giant's head and brought it here to ward against attacks from the west.  The head was said to remain animate and sentient, even when separated from its body, and was said to warn the inhabitants of attack on multiple occasions.  There is a massive boulder here, which stands out from the surrounding grasslands, and is said to be the head of the fallen fomorian king.  The people here claim that Balor's evil eye turned its own head to stone when it was removed from his skull, which is why it is now a great sarsen.  

There is a cult of Balor here, a few who believe the stone head is a god who has the power to protect them, to avenge its defeat, and grant strength to his followers.   They view him as dark and fearsome, but not truly evil, and make offerings to their god at the site of the stone head.  Most of these offerings are harmless enough, but the cult has been known to on occasion make human sacrifices.  This sometimes brings them the attention of the King, who does not condone this behavior.  Most of these sacrifices are slaves with no protection under the law, however, which makes the offense difficult to pursue legally.    The populace generally fears and mistrusts, them, but there are those who feel that the existence of the cult is good for the town, as it brings attention to it.  

Government: Petty Kingdom with secondary power center (Druid Circle)
Population: ~6,200 (more in the lands surrounding the town proper)
Alignment: Lawful Good
Imports: Metal Ores
Exports: Peat, wickerworks, certain wood crafts.
Personalities: Adaric (Lvl 10 Ftr Champion & lawman), King Brogan mac Grania (Lvl 9 Ftr)

Perhaps an unlikely location for a capital city, Drochead is in the boggy marshlands in the south of Ardmore.    The people here traverse the watery parts of the city in small boats covered in stretched animal skins to prevent leaks.  Willow trees are common here, and the people of Drochead are known for implementing reed darts and javelins in battle.  The people of Drochead have a religious (some would say superstitious) attachment to their trees.  They believe the trees speak to them, and watch over them.  It is a rite of passage in this area to survive out in the bog by listening to the gods and tree spirits.

There is some farming here, but farms are almost always subsistence farms.  There is rarely enough space for swaths of farmland large enough that one could make a profit at it.  The development of irrigation systems has at least allowed for a stronger and larger crop than would normally be possible on such small plots of land.  Dried peat is used for fuel, heating hearth fires.  A statistically high demographic of doernemed and fuidir devote their time to harvesting peat.  

Navigating the bogs has made the people of Drochead famously keen of senses.  They are known for being able to spot dangers—finding the almost imperceptible differences between firm land and mud sinks that can swallow a man whole.  Trackers, survivalists, guides, and other woodsmen are well employed here in helping outsiders to navigate safely.  There is an unusual prevalence of rangers here.  It is said that part of what makes Drochead great is that it is in a dangerous area, which requires greatness from its citizens.  

Drochead is more fervently dedicated to cremating their dead than other kingdoms. Cremation is thought to send the soul directly to Gwynvyd, rather than letting it fester in the bog and creating bogborn.  Only slaves, murderers, or others whose eineachlan has been revoked are denied this courtesy.  Even these are not buried as such, instead their bodies are consigned to the bog, offered up by the druids in an intricate ritual meant to appease the spirits of the bog, and hopefully prevent the deceased from becoming a bogborn.  Also called mudmen, Bogborn are zombie-like creatures thought to be the result of one who sinks into the bog.  Also of danger are the Will-O-Wisps, who frequently beguile their victims into falling into the bog, where they become stuck, and can easily be preyed upon.  

The Sun is highly venerated in Drochead.  They value their dry seasons, as it renders the bog safer and more passable.  It helps prevent their homes from rotting, and their weapons from rusting.  The symbol of the city of Drochead, which can be seen when they bear their standard into battle, is a flame upon the water.


Ruler: Queen Deichtine of the Ten Fires
Capitol: Abhainnath
Government: Elected Monarchy
Realm Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Population: ~666,000
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Major Settlements: Abhainnath, Cois Muir, Tulainn

One of the largest and most powerful realms of Glasconaí, the Kingdom of Chonailar is noted most for its central location.  Literally named 'Home Center,' it is the longitudinal center of the island.  Trade routes from the East and West must pass through here, giving the realm tremendous influence.  Also working in its favor is its famed capitol of Abhainnath.  It commands more material resources than most , and only Clarath surpasses it in military might.   Chonailar still needs to exercise caution and maintain diplomatic relations with the other kingdoms, however.  In times of political or social unrest, the kingdom might be rendered vulnerable, and they might not be able to fend off attacks if multiple kingdoms were to join in the attack.

Fortress: Dun Gorm
Government: Petty Kingdom (Potential Seat of High King)
Population: 84,300 (40/km2)
Demographic: 95% Human, 2% Half-Sidhe, 3% Other
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
Personalities: Queen Deichtine of the Ten Fires, Aifric

Lying in the center of Glasconaí, Abhainnath, or 'Riverford' in the tongues of outsiders is the traditional seat of the High King. Legend tells that this is where the Tuatha made their court on Abred before they were driven into the sidhe. It is the resting place of the Singing Stone, also known as 'Líath Fáilte' or 'The Welcoming Stone.' A symbol of sovereignty, the Líath Fáilte is located at the fortress of Dun Gorm'”'The Blue Fort' on the banks of the River Dearg. The throne of the High King is placed atop the stone, which is said to emit sweet music when a just king stands atop it. None can take up the throne of High King unless the Stone will sing for them.

Abhainnath is famously located on the Plains of Magh Ruadh, the site of the battle wherein the Tuatha ousted the Fomorians from the rule of the island. It was the pivotal battle of the mythological cycle. According to legend, this was the seat of power of the Gods, when humans arrived.  It was settled as a strategic location, and Dun Gorm remains a strategic location due to its being atop a steep hill, and surrounded on two sides with water.  A channel has since been dug as a moat to fortify the town against invasion.  It is also near enough to several other settlements to have plenty of trade partners.  Abhainnath interacts most frequently with the nearby villages of Tulainn and Cois Muir. Those looking north from Dun Gorm have a view of the gap of Cill Bearna, and if one climbs to the tall tower on a clear day, you can see Torcnoc. It is a three days' hard ride South across Magh Ruadh to Dun Glorach.

The town surrounding Dun Gorm boasts a population of over 8000, which for a single settlement is impressive.  The King keeps an active host of 80 men as his personal company and permanent guards of the town and castle.  In times of war, however, theoretically as many as 5000 of the town's total population could be fielded, should the need arise.  This includes large numbers of women volunteers, however, and 3,500 would be a more realistic figure.  Since most battles are simply small-scale raids, this is nearly always sufficient.  Abhainnath has the riches and the resources to arm its soldiers with iron weapons, giving them a clear technological advantage over the armies of the surrounding kingdoms.  Abhainnath sometimes uses Iron shields for a strong defense against enemies, and uses its swordsmen to break the shields of its enemies.

Cois Muir
Government: Petty Kingdom
Population: 23,400 (30/km2)
Demographic: 98% Human, 1% Half-Sidhe, 1% Other
Alignment: Neutral
Personalities: King Duncan, Aifric, Calbhach, & Faolán

Literally meaning 'By the Sea,' Cois Muir is one of Glasconaí's coastal towns.  It sits at the mouth of the River Dearg, and overlooks Cuan Cuilleann--a bay named after the local word for a species of holly that grows there.  The holly here grows large and tree-like, and is often used by the locals as building material.  The prickly leaves are often left on windowsills to deter thieves and ward off dangerous fairy spirits.  Holly leaves are also one of the measures used to protect against changelings: they are used to line the crib so the fairies will prick themselves on it when they try to switch the babes.  A more common method, however, is merely to place an iron medallion around the baby's neck.  Since fairies are repulsed by iron, they will not touch a baby who wears it, nor could a changeling stand the touch of iron against its skin.  Therefore wearing an iron pendant, usually in the shape of a sword, is considered proof that the child is indeed human, and indicates that they are safe from fairy magic.  Iron pendants are considered a common defense against fairies across Glasconaí, but the holly-based methods are unique to Cois Muir.

Fishing is a common profession here--and is the primary animal consumed here.  Some woodland provides for a small amount of game to be hunted, but a small group of druids has forbid large-scale hunting parties.  Cois Muir also has relatively little farmland, compared to some other places, so what farmland they have is used for crops, not for grazing.  Between their wisdom, their knowledge of natural cycles, and their magic powers, the druids Calbhach and Faolán, and the druidess Aifric, have helped the people of Cois Muir to make the most of their limited land, and thus yearly stockpile enough food to last the winters.  

Fortress: Dun Loch
Government: Petty Kingdom
Population: 23,400 (30/km2)
Demographic: 96% Human, 2% Half-Sidhe, 2% Half-Fomorian
Alignment: Lawful Good
Personalities: King Róchair, Obhernan the Druid

A town south of the Range of the Maiden Moon.  On its northern border lies Loch Scáthan, 'Mirror Lake,' named for the reflective stillness of its surface. Fishing on the lake is common, and is one of the main food sources of the clan.  In the west are the cattle-holds of Clan MacCorreus, and the Ashen River, which separates Tulainn from Beldangan in the Province of Ardmore.  In the south is Tech Coelbren, the hill fort of one of Tulainn’s oldest and most powerful clans, as well as the Brug na Bóthar, a hostel for travelers on the road.  To the east is Tech Inloth, on the border of the fae-haunted forest known as Coilliath—a place few dare to go.  Only the druid Obhernan, keeper of the sacred rites of the gods, goes there with regularity.  The road to the southeast leads to the River Dearg and Abhainnath, at the center of the isle of Glasconaí.

King Róchair mac Cor, a petty king ruling over the three clans of Tulainn, sits upon a modest throne at the castle Dunloch, which rests on the edge of Loch Scáthan.  He has been king here for a great many years, and none except perhaps Obhernan can remember a time when he was not.  He was always fair, but firm; a man who loved to laugh but will not abide insults without recompense.  But his mind is failing of late, and his days as king are all but ended. 

Clan Inloth
One of the oldest clans in the region, Inloth produced the first local kings to rule multiple clans, but it is several generations since Tulainn has had an Inloth king.  Clan Inloth owns the land nearest to Coilliath, and the clan chief Olgrim is highly superstitious, keeping a witch on permanent retainer, and fostering close relations with the local druids.  The Clan’s symbol is the otter, and the clan is known for being crafty, clever, and swift. 

Clan Coelbren
Rivaling Inloth in history, Coelbren is the clan “in power” at the moment.  With a brief interlude for Bron Mac Leigan of Clan MacCorreus, Coelbren has held the kingship of the region for the past seven generations.  Their sigil is the boar.  Róchair mac Cor is a fiery old man, though his mind is failing.  Coelbren is known for its spirited warriors, and tenacity.

Clan MacCorreus
A young clan, MacCorreus bears the emblem of the bull.  Leigan Mac Correus made his fortune raiding cattle from Beldangan, and so made the bull his sigil.  They value strength, endurance, and determination.  Like the charging bull they attack their problems head-on, in the most direct manner available to them. 

« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 03:18:07 AM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2011, 05:49:16 PM »

Religion: Festivals


The Calendar
Days, months and years are the same length in the Cad Goleor setting as in the real world.  The months, however, are often named for the principal festival therein, and the season are arranged differently than our usual calendar.

Winter- Samhain, December, January.  
Spring - Imbolc, March, April.
Summer - Beltane, June, July.
Autumn - Lughnassadh, September, October.
The year begins with Samhain and the coming of winter.  The year begins in darkness, like life in the womb.  Similarly, the day begins at sunset.
Mankind turned to its druids for aid.  The druids were wise and powerful.  It was they who had helped to drive the gods out—they who had known how to control the weather and take on the forms of animals.  If anyone could undo the damage men had done, it was the druids.  The Druids taught the people the cycle of the seasons in its proper form, so they knew when to make offerings, and when they might best be able to make contact with the gods they had banished beneath the hills.  Thus did the Druids commune with the Tuatha, and learn from them the ways to earn their favor.  The gods would rule the landscape, so long as the mortals kept their end of the bargain, offering them praise and worship, and appropriate offerings.  The Tuatha taught the druids the necessity of a king without blemish in keeping the land healthy.  The Tuatha taught them the proper rituals to perform, and the proper days to perform them, in order to gain and keep their favor.  They taught them many secrets, and left the druids with the task of guarding mankind, and acting as their stewards in the mortal realm, guardians of the earth and the servants of the gods.

The Feast Days are well known now, and consist of four principle fire festivals, and the four lesser feast days that lie between them, marking the longest and shortest days of the year.  The four Fire Festivals are Samhain, Imbolg, Beltane, and Lughnassadh.  Between them lie the solstices and the equinoxes, the rites of Midsummer and Midwinter being the more important.  

Coming at the tail end of the month of October, Samhain is the festival of the New Year.  Meaning “Summer’s End” it signals the return to the womb of the earth, and the descent of the hero into Annwn.  It is a time of purification, and great bonfires, and wicker men are burnt on this night and with them all the wickedness that we wish to banish from our lives.  These bonfires and wicker men are stuffed full of objects of magical significance.  It is a time of lifting the weights of grief, honoring and celebrating those who have died, and looking forward to the rebirth of all those who have been lost.

Samhain is the last harvest before winter sets in, so it is on this day that the final crops are stored up to prepare for winter’s chill.  This does not prevent feasting, however; to feast just before the onset of winter show confidence that you will survive the winter, and leaving an offering to the gods is paramount.  On this day, each family prepare enough food not only for themselves, but also sets a place for any relatives departed in the past year, for on this day, the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is lifted, and spirits walk the earth again.  Hollowed out turnips bearing candles are placed on each doorstep, to light the way home for the ancestors.  A place is also set for the Gods themselves.  The Gods are said to come by in the night, invisible, and to feast on the meals.  They do not consume the physical matter of the food, but absorb its foison: the essential energy and value of the food.  It is considered to be in very bad form to eat these leftovers.  They are best buried in the field.

There is a dark side to Samhain, however: when the veil between the worlds is lifted, the bad spirits roam alongside the good.  Sometimes, evil spirits, or those seeking revenge for some slight done to them in their lifetime, plot to harm mortals.  These spirits are known to drag people off to Annwn, never to be seen again.  The Wild Hunt is in full force this night as well, and gods and Sidhe, Seelie and Unseelie alike, troop the mortal world in search of game.  To interfere with the Hunt, or stand in its path means almost certain death.  Those who see the Wild Hunt, it is said, will die within a year’s time, and count among their number the following year.  To avoid the wrath of these spirits, the townsfolk, especially children, don masks of death and conduct a macabre masquerade through the streets of town.  It is said that the culaiths—the disguises they wear—trick the vengeful spirits into counting them among the dead, and by this means, they escape the vengeance of the dead.

Midwinter (Solstice)
Information to follow

A festival celebrating the first of the thaws, Imbolg signals the end of winter.  It is a joyous time, as it marks that the worst is past, and that you have survived.  It is the day most sacred to Brigantia.  Candles are lit in her honor, a symbol of heat returning, and the light of hope.

It is a time of dancing and divination.  Druids consult natural signs and auguries to determine what the weather be like, the favorability of planting and when, and consult on all manner of questions.  It is said that Brigantia walks Abred on Imbolg Eve, and it is a folk custom to set out the ashes from the hearth fires to see if she has left an indication that she has come to the house to bless you.

It is a time of fertility and motherhood, associated with the lactating of ewes.  Nine months after Beltane, it is a time associated with birth and new life.  Children born on Imbolg are considered blessed by the gods.  They are considered to be under the protection of Brigantia, and as such she is their patroness. Such babes are often prophesied to be great warriors, healers, smiths, or poets.  A druid divines which of these is true.  

Considering the timing, if a baby born on Imbolg was also conceived on Beltane, she is considered doubly blessed and destined for greatness.

Though of little religious significance, Ostara is one of the more popular holidays.  It is a day of inversion and upset of the social order.  Servants rule their masters, and one person from the unprivileged caste is chosen—usually at random—to be “King for a day.”  It is a day of pranking and merry-making.  It is a day for blowing off steam, and for play.  

Opposite Samhain in the Year-Wheel, Beltane is one of the most important of all days.  Like Samhain it rests outside the year and is a time when the otherwold is close at hand.  Beltane is above all a fertility festival.  It celebrates the strength and power of life.  It is one of the purification festivals, and one of the fire festivals.  It marks the beginning of the major planting season.  People copulate in the fields to ensure a bountiful harvest, and leap over bonfires to cleanse their spirits.  It is a wild, joyful, and erotic festival.

It is associated with purification.  A huge bonfire is erected in each Glasconai and Gwladwyn, from which several ritual runners carry burning brands.  On Beltane Eve, all the hearth fires are extinguished, and one by one, these runners rekindle them with the flame from the Beltane fire.  The bonfire is thought to contain the essence of the god Bel.  In this way, all of Glasconai and Gwladwyn are under his watch, given new life, and a new source of heat.

It  It is a time of high energy and possibility.   Rituals and magic are conducted at this time to protect people from harm by the Sidhe and other spirits.  The Song of Invasions points out that many successful invasions took place on Beltane.  As such, it is considered a lucky day for endeavors.  

Midsummer (Solstice)
Information to follow

The Wedding Festival of Lugh celebrates the mythical marriage of Lugh Longfingers and his flower bride Blodeuwedd.  It is associated with sovereignty, and is the designated day for the coronation of kings.  It is celebrated every year regardless, but the festival is particularly impressive when a new King has been elected.

The Festival often runs for multiple days—up to a week on coronation years—and consists of games, competitions, and other forms of entertainment.  Hurley, Wrestling, and Chariot races are all popular at Lughnassadh, as are bardic competitions.

Information to follow

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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2012, 08:51:43 PM »


Much of the common equipment found in Glasconaí and Gwladwyn is influenced heavily by the concept of Enech, or “face.”  It refers to one’s reputation and honor.  Armor, while known, and within the grasp of these people, is considered cowardly by Gaedhelic culture, and is thus shunned.  They may sometimes wear helmets, but do not typically wear suits of armor.  A character wearing armor suffers -1 to their CHA for every point of DR they gain from armor.  This applies for as long as they wear the armor.  Since Cad Goleór defense rules assume a character will be unarmored, as a GM, if you allow your players to wear armor, you should implement Armor as DR rules to maintain game balance.  The Table below provides figures for which armors are available, their cost in trade goods, and the Damage reduction (And associated Cha penalty) they get from each type.  
Warriors tend to fight with either a sword or a spear, and often a shield.  Shields are used heavily, and many heroes will possess feats to use these shields more effectively.  Slings are sometimes used for ranged attacks, as are javelins, but extensive ranged combat is discouraged, again, for being cowardly.

In a different, though related vein, many weapons, such as bows, axes, and hammers, are not typically used by the people of Abred in battle, as they are seen as tools not befitting a warrior.  Axes are for chopping wood.  Hammers are for building and metalworking.  Bows are for hunting.  While nothing prevents a warrior from using such a “tool” as a weapon if no other is available, he will suffer a blow to his Enech if he carries one onto the field of battle.

ArmorCostDR/CHA Penalty
Light Armor
Padded1 lb. of salt
Leather1 cow
Studded Leather1 cow + 1 ox
Chain Shirt2 lb. of gold
Medium Armor
Hide1 ox
Scale Mail1 lb. of gold
Chainmail1 lb. of gold + 1 lb. of platinum

ShieldCostBlock Bonus
Buckler1 ox
Shield, light wooden1 pig
Shield, light iron3 pig
Shield, heavy wooden1 sheep + 1 lb. of salt
Shield, heavy iron2 cows
Shield, tower2 oxen
Shield blade+1 cow
Shield spikes+1 cow

Cad Goleór is an early Iron Age setting, at a period in which iron and bronze technologies are intermingling.  Bronze weapons are largely being replaced by the cheaper and easier-to-work iron.  Quality bronze is harder to come by, as the tin necessary for the alloy is not readily available on the islands of Glasconaí and Gwladwyn.  As such, the more powerful bronze is reserved largely for the noble Fliath, and those who have gained the favor of a king or wealthy patron.  Some of the very poor may even craft weapons from bone or stone, but this is not the norm for those who make a career of combat and adventure.

Bronze: An alloy formed from a mixture of copper and tin, bronze is substantially harder than both, and stronger even than iron weapons.  The special qualities of bronze mean that only master smiths can work it.  Bronze is so costly and difficult to forge that weapons and armor made from it are always of masterwork quality.  Thus, bronze weapons and ammunition have a +1 enhancement bonus on attack rolls, and the armor check penalty of bronze armor is lessened by 1 compared to ordinary armor of its type.  Damage reduction for bronze armors are increased by 1.  

The downside of Bronze is that it dulls more easily than iron.  Once per day a bronze weapon is used, it must be sharpened, or it takes -1 to hit.  This is cumulative if the weapon is used over several days without being sharpened.  Its malleability is such that blow that would break an iron weapon simply blunt a bronze one.  It has a hardness of 15, and 30 hit points per inch of thickness.  Bronze weapons cost +10 Bulls or +500 gp more those listed in the Core Rulebook.

Iron: Iron is more plentiful in the isles of the Gaedhelic tribes than bronze, and as such is the metal most available to the common people.  Furthermore, Iron overcomes the damage reduction of fae, fomorians, and several other creatures.  Iron weapons have a hardness of 10 and 30 hit points per inch of thickness.  Iron weapons cost the usual amount in gold pieces or in equivalent trade goods as those in the Core Rulebook.

Cold Iron: This variant of Iron is mined deep underground and known for its effectiveness against fae creatures, is forged at a lower temperature to preserve its delicate properties. Weapons made of cold iron cost 4 times the amount as weapons in the Core Rulebook, and have the advantage of causing an extra 1d4 damage against fae.  Also, adding any magical enhancements to a cold iron weapon increases its price by 2,000 gp. This increase is applied the first time the item is enhanced, not once per ability added.

Items without metal parts cannot be made from cold iron. An arrow could be made of cold iron, but a quarterstaff could not. A double weapon with one cold iron half costs 50% more than normal.

Though some tribes abjure any protection whatever, and others allow only shields, helms are sometimes worn to protect the head from injury.  The head is thought to be the seat of the soul, so more care is taken with it than with the rest of the body.  It is not considered cowardly to wear a helmet into battle, as it is to wear armor.  In general, a well-made iron helmet adds +1 to any block rolls made versus an enemy’s critical confirmation roll.  A bronze helm typically adds +2, and any helm of masterwork quality provides an additional +1.

Chariot: Many kings and heroes travel by chariot.  A typical chariot is drawn by two horses, and is large enough to carry three people, including the driver.  This is for all intents and purposes the same as the Medium Chariot described in Ultimate Combat.

Chariot Scythes: These curved blades are affixed to the wheels of chariots for warfare.  As the chariot moves past enemies, anyone adjacent to the chariot at any point along its path must make a DC 13 Reflex save or suffer 1d6 points of slashing damage.

Cloak, Wool: The peoples of Glasconaí and Gwladwyn are fond of their cloaks, which are typically made of lamb’s wool.  These serve primarily to stave off the cold, granting DR of 2 against cold.  A particularly fine (Masterwork) cloak can grant a +1 boost to Enech.

Fidchell set:  This wooden game board is similar to chess, with a typical board being 11 x 11 squares.  One player is the attacker and one the defender, and the outcome depends on the fate of the defender’s king.  

Firedogs: These are iron caps used to hold logs together in an open hearth fire.  They grant a +2 bonus to skill attempts relevant to containing a hearth or camp fire, such as Survival or Profession.  In addition to the practical purpose, they are decorative items, and serve as status symbols.  

Shield Blade: Rounded shields can be fitted with a blade that runs the edge of the blade.  You can make a shield bash with the shield blade in order to deal 1d6 slashing damage.  

Staunchgrass:  A special rare herb that is useful in healing wounds.  It has minor magical properties that tend to stop the flow of blood, so it is coveted for the treatment of the grievous wounds warriors soften face.  Using staunchgrass grants a +5 circumstance bonus to any heal checks to stabilize a dying character, and can be used to make healing salves.  A DC 20 heal check can be made to turn staunchgrass into a dose of salve that heals 1d4 points of damage.  Failing the check uses up the materials.

Torc: This is an elaborate neck-ring that denotes authority.  Gold torcs are only worn by kings, but silver or copper ones are sometimes gifted to heroes, or those who hold some lesser authority position.   Wearing a torc grants a +8 circumstance bonus to disguise checks made to imitate an authority figure, and a +2 circumstance bonus to all diplomacy checks.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 10:18:18 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 01:30:22 PM »

The Defense Roll

Out of Character

This is the updated way of calculating defense rolls.  It is streamlined, so that GMs do not have to keep track of 2 different defense mechanisms, and now no character needs to use up precious skill points on a "Dodge" skill to have a chance of not getting hit.  Now EVERYONE gets a chance automatically.  I stole the table for defense bonus from the d20 SRD, but I believe it originally came from Unearthed Arcana.


Table: Defense Bonus/Level    
Use column A for Ovate (Oracle) or Witch.
Use column B for bard, ranger or rogue.
Use column C for barbarian or druid.
Use column D for cleric, or fighter
Class LevelABCD
In Cad Goleór there is very little armor used, as it is seen as cowardly.  Going into battle armored involves taking a penalty to Enech.  Since armor is so important to character survival in games like Pathfinder or D&D, this is problematic.  People are freely allowed to use shields, however, and are under no obligation to allow themselves to be hit when it can be avoided.  Therefore it seems to me most fitting, and somewhat more cinematic to boot, to change the combat roll from a static roll against an opponent's "Armor Class" to a dynamic roll against their opposed "Defense Roll."  This way, enemies are seen to be actively defending themselves, and survival becomes plausible.  No fighting master teaches his students how to cut a man down without also teaching them how to avoid that same fate.  The art of combat is as much about avoiding harm as it is about inflicting it.  And anyone who finds themselves in harm’s way on a regular basis will learn something about defending themselves.  The table below provides the progression per level of each class.

Characters make their attack rolls as normal, but resolving these attacks involves comparing the results to the defense rolls of the target, rolled simultaneously. The Defense roll takes the following form:


« Last Edit: August 23, 2012, 10:10:00 PM by Seraphine_Harmonium » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 06:58:35 PM »

So how would you handle a heavily armorers warrior from a distant land wearing banded mail?

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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2012, 10:26:16 PM »


So how would you handle a heavily armorers warrior from a distant land wearing banded mail?
Ah yes, since armor does EXIST, of course a mechanic is needed to handle it.  I convert the AC score of the armor into DR x/-.

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