Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Druids Sage Abilities & Alchemy

This could change dramatically, but for the moment I thought I would make at least an effort to do something other than make more maps.  I have included exactly one druidic study . . . but it is an interesting one:


A field is a sphere of activity or interest that covers a wide range of knowledge. Each field is comprised of specialties, which are distinctive lines of inquiry or interest. Possible specialties which the druid does not choose are called studies. Studies within the druid’s field are called field studies, and those outside the field are called non-field studies.

For example, from the list below, a druid chooses ‘Animal Life’ as their field and ‘amphibians’ as their specialty. This would mean that reptiles (etc.), birds and sea life would all be ‘field studies.’ All the other possible subjects, such as astronomy or trees, would be ‘non-field studies.”

Druids possess three fields: Animal Life, Earth & Sky and Plant Life. The studies within these fields are listed below:

Animal Life: 1) birds; 2) bugs & spiders; 3) golems; 4) jellies; 5) mammals; 6) morphing creatures; 7) reptiles; 8) sea life
Earth & Sky: 1) alchemy; 2) astronomy; 3) geography; 4) geology; 5) oceanography; 6) physiology
Plant Life: 1) bushes & shrubs; 2) flowers; 3) fungi; 4) grasses & grains; 5) mosses & ferns; 6) trees

At 1st level, druids gain one field, and one specialty within that field. This reflects the knowledge that the druid was able to gather while studying their religion while in the wild and from their master’s teachings. This knowledge is then expanded as the druid increases in level, for it is presumed that the druid is naturally inquisitive, experimenting, chatting with other persons, observing, along roads or at the inn, even if the character never expresses their intention to gather knowledge. Moreover, some of this knowledge, such as that pertaining to earth or oceans, could be gained by the druid through visions, dreams and other non-traditional sources.

The knowledge is measured by points, awarded to all possible studies, though in different amounts. The druid’s chosen specialty is awarded 10 points; each field study is awarded 1d6 minus 1, which the druid rolls; and non-field studies are each awarded 1d4 minus 1.

Upon gaining a level, the druid increases all non-field studies by 1d4 minus 1; field studies by 1d6 minus 1; and specialties (for later on the druid gains others) by 1d10.

At 5th level, and every four levels thereafter (9th, 13th, 17th, etc.), the druid gains an additional specialty from the druid’s field studies (that is, within the druid’s present field). At that point, the druid begins rolling a d10 for additional level gains in that specialty. Suppose that a given field study rated 11 points at 4th level, the druid having rolled 4d6-4 up until then. At 5th, the druid chooses that study as a new specialty; a d10 is then rolled (for gaining a level) and added to the original 11.

At 7th level, and every six levels thereafter (13th, 19th and 25th), the druid gains an additional field. All the studies in that field henceforth become field studies, and increase at 1d6-1 per level. Druids may choose additional specialties from any field they possess.

For every 10 points of a druid possesses in any study, the druid is entitled to one piece of knowledge about persons, places, objects, creatures, living things or features, the exact knowledge depending upon a) the chosen study; and b) the competence of the druid.

Competence is graded as follows: possessing 10-19 points in a study defines an enthusiastic amateur; possessing 20-39 points defines an authority; possessing 40-79 points defines an expert; and having 80 points or more defines a sage.

The questions that can be answered, depending upon one’s competence, are listed below. Note that knowledge is not meant to provide any special ability or power. It is employment of knowledge, not the knowledge itself, that offers power through the creation of tactical planning. Some of the below studies, such as astrology. will offer minor skills gained from continued study.


Amateur: distill liquid, identify substance, prepare ingestive poisons, smelt natural metals
Authority: fabricate minor acids, ointments & salves, identify uncommon substance, isolate gas, prepare insinuative poisons
Expert: fabricate & identify major ointments, paints & potions, smelt magical metals
Sage: fabricate exceptional elements

Each of the above presumes that the druid is in possession of the necessary space, tools, furnace, materials and ingredients required to create each of the above substances. It should also be clear that, unless the druid possesses other skills that may originate elsewhere, the various metals, earths, liquids and so on that are created cannot be then manufactured into items. For example, while the expert may be able to smelt mithril, it does not follow that the individual would then be able to process that metal into a sword or armor. Such would require an artisan with those skills. Similarly, while the druid might be able to create a potion of fire resistance, it does not then follow that this ability could be installed into a suit of armor or a helmet. The druid can create the potion, not the effect as it would occur in other mediums.

Moreover, note that none of the above is created by spell or magic, but rather by hard, difficult work. Some items, such as the creation of the portable hole (which is a pure elemental substance) would be subject to danger rolls, in keeping with the DMG’s discussion of such things. The creation of these things will take time, effort and coin, along with potential loss of health.

Distilled liquids would include pure water and alcohol, along with a host of other liquids that could be obtained from their source by the druid. Identify common substance gives the name for natural earths and liquids. Ingestive poisons must be drunk to be effective. Natural metals include those which may be obtained from earthly minerals.

Minor ointments and salves include quicksilver, gripcolle, prepared aloe and healing salve. Acids include all naturally occurring destructive liquids. Uncommon substances consist of natural concoctions or preparations. Insinuative poisons can be applied to weapons or otherwise introduced through the skin.

Major ointments include Keoghtom’s ointment. Paints are those with magical effects. Potions include all those listed among magic items. Magical metals include adamantium and mithril.

Exceptional elements include the lodestone or luckstone, the aforementioned portable hole, the smoke contained in the ever-smoking bottle, along with a host of other similar magic items where the substance itself is the magic.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Overreach and Western Siberia

At last I finished this map:

At the centre bottom of the map the reader can pick out the town of Sibir, which is the original name for the present city of Omsk, just north of the Kazakhstan border ... that border would run along the bottom of this map, or thereabouts.  The real Sibir was actually further west and north, near the town of Boloine Ob (Tobolsk) that appears on the right side of the last map I posted, the Ural map.  The Russians, however, destroyed that city in 1582 ... and none of this works for the history of my world, since there are no Russians in this part of the world, the Russians never took over, there are orcs and goblins and hobgoblins here, etc.  I wanted a 'Sibir' however, so in renaming many of the Russian cities to give them an 'orc' flavour, I renamed Omsk and so it goes.

At the bottom right there's another large city called Zosk-Sibir; this is actually the correct location for Novosibirsk, which really only means 'New Sibir" anyway.  'Zosk,' then, is colloquial orc-speak for 'New' ... and it all comes together somehow.  Plus I get to retain the justification for calling all of this vast area 'Siberia.'  Which is nice.

For those who do not know their history, Novosibirsk is where the Russians moved the center of their munitions production in the Second World War ... and it has taken me three maps to get this far east.  For fun, I thought I would put all three maps together, what with Moscow being at the far west of all three, and Novosibirsk being at the far east:

I've slightly cut off Zosk-Sibir on the right, but its clear where it is.  The above is the distance in 20 mile hexes - through the hills east of Moscow, then the Urals, then the swamplands of western Sibir - that the Germans would have needed to traverse to finally destroy the Russian war machine, which was supported by America and also by the furnaces of the Kuznetsk and Minusinsk coal and iron basins even further east.

Talk about overreach.