It definately has a lot going for it, very interesting concepts on race and religion. It just seems to be lacking something, though...
It's like you've got a skeleton and musculature, but there needs to be a little skin. The sub itself is a little hard to follow with the formatting. I feel like there should be a few more details about these factions as well.
Overall, a 4.0 You've definately got something, it just needs a bit more to make it great. Go to Comment
Lavajack - If an appropriately strong material could be found - some sort of adamantine or mythril, perhaps - it could serve as the skin for a -jack made from molten lava. Depending on the outer structure, the body itself may be incredibly hot to the touch, giving 3rd degree burns to any that get near it. The downside, of course, is that such -jacks are short lived: either the material in the skin would gradually melt, or the lava would harden into stone.
Coinjack - What better way for a mage to guard her treasure than to have the treasure guard itself? -jacks made of coins could be easily disguised in regular treasure holds to keep an eye on the loot within. Joints would likely have to be constructed, but coinage could easily be welded on to appear as stacks of booty. In a proper storage area, these -jacks would need very little maintenance and could certainly haunt a royal tomb.
Ropejack - Rope is already a common, useful, and cheap material. Why not -jack it up? Flexibility and joints are not a problem, but rigidity would have to be taken into account; a wooden skeleton might do the trick. A ropejack would have a great reach, allowing it to scale just about anything. As an alternative, how about a chainjack? Go to Comment
Very nice! Far more interesting than some Warhammer 20K race variations and the like. If you needed to add anything, it would be some details about their ships. Do Salvorathan favor certain starship designs? It seems they'd want specifically something that doesn't use artificial gravity, but I wonder if there's historically certain ships they prefer to use.
You mentioned "a small pressurizing organ allows an extremely limited form of natural rocket propulsion". I'm curious: where is that located and what does it look like? Though I'm sure it wasn't your intention, I'm picturing flatulent dwarves rocketing themselves through space... Go to Comment
Young and spry, Danphir has the appearance of a champion swimmer or runner. Despite his lithe and athletic appearance, he stands statuesque, as though he struggles to maintain his posturing. Straw blond hair is combed, parted, and waxed to perfection while steely blue eyes peer out from his narrow face. He is taller than most but seems to not quite fit into his body, like a child trying to appear as a man. When he speaks, it is eloquent, brief, and persuasive, his half-boyish tone seeming to add weight to his words. Always on the edge of fashion, he is dressed in the sharpest and newest styles, not quite a dandy but certainly a cut above the common rabble.
Family and Life
Heir to the famous Bowerblade fortune, Danphir has had little choice in his career path. His parents, Salqueth and Adolina, have groomed him from birth to be a "true Bowerblade": a vicious, scheming, and ever-so-gentlemanly politician and businessman. As a boy, he was tutored by only the brightest scholars; in his youth, he graduated valedictorian at the Riversmouth University. No one would ever doubt Danphir is bright. But unfortunately, he never has filled the Bowerblade mold.
Danphir's trouble seems that he is in fact too intelligent and ambitious. Even from boyhood, he has always recognized people treat him different only because of his name, a fact that has ever plagued his conscious. The corruption of his family, especially that of his late grandfather Korzen Bowerblade, was never a mystery despite his relative's attempts to disguise or excuse it. Danphir wants nothing of the conniving political life; he would much rather become an explorer and chart the unknown world. He dares not voice this opinion, though: his parents would be devastated, then furious. In spite of his will, Danphir feels loyalty to his family and tries to play the unnatural roles of statesman and magnate.
Placed by his family in town to overthrow the Ranulphens' business domination, Danphir has had only marginal success. He has started a number of businesses and guilds, mostly retail and one carpentry association, and has managed to land a position as senior town clerk. Salqueth and Adolina, however, demand more of their son. Couriers from the capital frequent the town, always bearing the same message to Danphir: Why aren't you mayor of that damned town yet? Thus he continues struggling to take influence from Sir Midian and his cohorts. He is a closet philanthropist as well: under a pseudonym, he created the Renewal Foundation, a group dedicated to getting town beggars and poor farmers on their feet. His parents would certainly throw a fit if they found he was wasting money on such things.
Strangely, he is still a bachelor. Danphir's parents are quite ready to have grandchildren and raise them as the next generation of Bowerblades, new heirs to the empire. There's another trouble with that, too: Danphir has fallen head-over-heels for Midian's niece Ailsa. When Gavin Llawkeeper married her, Danphir fell into depression and sadness. He has recovered somewhat, but still pines for that which he cannot have.
Aside from the myriad treasures of any wealthy man, Danphir does have one powerful tool: the signet ring of the Bowerblade family. Documents marked with this seal immediately gain priority in political circles all throughout the kingdom, and beyond. Any request sent to a family member or consociate, sealed with this signet, are sure to be answered quickly and without question.
Everyone in town knows Danphir Bowerblade, and all have opinions of him. Most businesses in the town are likely to be owned either by him or by Midian of Ranulphens, and price and customer competition between the two may lead to aggressive business promotions. PCs might run into Danphir if they deal with town politics, or they may even know some of his more famous and powerful relatives elsewhere in the land. If they know he is a humanitarian - as some in the Renewal Foundation may accidently leak - Danphir might even be willing to fund them if he thinks their quest is admirable. Go to Comment
Sir Lord Baron Venfreid Harrold Senubus, Duke of Halfcreek, Count of Thesland, Khan of the Purrheus Empire, a.k.a. "Harrold the Herald"
A corpulent, middle-aged man of average height, Harrold looks all the world like a sewer rat. His straight silver hair is pulled back into a short pony tail, revealing a high forehead on a round face. Below his aquiline nose is a short and triangular moustache; and below his thick and pursed lips is a pointed goatee. Beady brown eyes peer out from beneath a thin brow. Harrold's walk might be described as a pompous waddle, an almost clown-like imitation of a royal stride. His attire is invariably unnecessary, consisting of thick and flowing robes of finer fabric, and often uses bright, gaudy colors. A coat-of-arms of some sort is always found on his clothes, usually featured prominently on the chest, back, or shoulders. When not frowning in disdain and noble stoicism, he is smiling through artificial ivory teeth.
Family and Life
Ah, Harrold. In some ways, he is a devise man: everyone either loves him or hates him, there are none undecided. Lenders met him long ago on one of his bardic travels, and they became fast friends of mutual humor, arrogance, and weakness. When Ferdinand returned to the town, he brought Harrold in tow, and both settled down to start a life of permanence.
It is difficult to separate Harrold's true biography from fiction and fantasy: a well-known liar and "decorator of truth" (to use his words), there are many stories about Harrold's past. Some say he is a disgraced noble of a neighboring kingdom, disguised here in shame. Others, that he is an outright fraud, a highway robber who stole deeds and titles in order to make riches. The truth certainly lies somewhere in between.
What is known is that Harrold is an excellent herald. His knowledge of heraldry - shields, crests, badges, coats-of-arms, and the like - is encyclopedic. Anyone that discovers a tattered flag from a passing soldier or a badge left from an old battlefield will find Harrold a wise and interesting man, immediately able to identify the family and perhaps even the individual. Along with his heraldic knowledge comes extensive history, and few in the town know the kingdom's storied past than he. Often, Harrold is considered the most knowledgeable man in the town.
Unfortunately, he also has a sordid past and ignoble career. As self-appointed town herald, Harrold is glad to research the family history and provide coats-of-arms to anyone at the right price. Indeed, any coat-of-arms or history can be purchased from Harrold, who will gladly "discover" (read: invent) ancient royal lineages and noble ties. An unusually large number of merchants and politicians in the town have some sort of nobility attached to their names thanks to the disreputable herald. Harrold's own titles are not invented, though: they were bought, purchased from disgraced lords and dissolved fiefs. Halfcreek, Harrold's own duchy, is completely underwater, flooded by a volcanic disaster decades ago and sold to Harrold by its unfortunate heir. Thesland, the county which gives Harrold his countship, is only an acre in size. The obscure and exotic Purrheus Empire was dissolved nearly a century ago; Harrold won the title of khan in a card game from a descendent of its last chief. His other titles are just as obscure, though Harrold surely has the papers to them somewhere around here. Even these have a price and may be bought for a hefty sum. Though true nobility despise and rebuke him, a number of merchants say he was their lifesaver: when the Ranulphens and Bowerblades gained economic dominance of the town, some small shops resorted to claiming lines as noble as their rivals' families, an attraction that attracted enough customers to keep many afloat.
Harrold married two decades ago to the comely Jildain who married him primarily for his titles. She has long since discovered the royal farce but refuses to admit it to anyone (though some say Harrold himself gets an earful of it every night). Their son Chervis, 17, is rather shiftless, sometimes minding the heraldry shop while his father is about, the rest of the time lounging with friends and unsuccessfully trying to court the town's maidens. Harrold is still proud of the boy, though. His only real friend in town is still Frederic Lenders. Harrold, aware of his "falling sickness," always covers for his friend at public events; likewise, Frederic excuses Harrold's occasional acute asthma attacks, something he developed from a bad (but since dropped) habit of pipe smoking.
Harrold has at his disposal a wide variety of coats-of-arms, badges, and other heraldry items. Many are authentic, but just as many are of his own invention.
Harrold is usually found either in his heraldry shop or wandering about town looking noble. If anyone needs some sort of official heraldic document, Harrold can produce one for the right price. He has another use as well: information. As a well-informed heraldic officer - legitimate or not - he can easily identify forged or otherwise untrue claims to nobility. Go to Comment
The people of the Great Forests often gather around campfires and tell tall tales of half-beast, half-man creatures that wander the Deep Quagmire. A variety of stories abound: some say they are the spawn of demons, the result of unholy unions between succubus and man; other that they are nomads, descendents of those who were banished from the tribes centuries ago, now made to scour the lonely swamps for food and lost family. Most adventurers scoff and dismiss the tales as legend and myth, hiding their true fears behind a screen of temerity. Just the name of these creatures is enough to frighten children and send a chill up rangers' spines: the Kuodokaki.
The reality of these creatures are somewhere between myth and skepticism. Kuodokaki do indeed inhabit the Deep Quagmire, as well as other swamps. Their appearance is disturbing as well: humanoid in form, wizened and hunched but with thick sinewy muscles. Their faces are muscular and neanderthal, with a heavy brow, thick cheeks, and narrow, hanging jaw. Their hands and feet feature only four digits, longer and thicker than human fingers and toes. Their skin seems to hang like torn cloth off their strong bodies, its tone as dark and green-black as the waters of the swamp. They often walk with a slow, deliberate lumber, almost moping, watching the waters and brush carefully. When needed, they move with surprising speed. If their appearance brings great fear, their tale evokes equal sorrow.
Millenia ago, the Kuodokaki's ancestors lived in the Great Forests and beyond, a great if simple civilization. They knew no war and lived in simple huts among the trees. Only occasionally did they trade, well known in the ancient kingdoms and empires for their elaborate wooden carvings. Their language, guttural yet flowing, seemed impossible to translate even by the greatest linguists. To the ancient rangers they were legendary, finding wounded hunters and adventurers before they even sought help and curing the gravest of wounds. Some said that their magic, seemingly innate among their people, was some of the greatest ever known. Most peoples left them in peace, few posessing the sheer rancor to make war on such an innocent and benelovent race. As happens, though, such malice is always found among men.
As the warrior empire of Thonderhaas conquered nation after nation, they began to cast their eye on the resource-filled Great Forests. The woods held many potential mines and lumber yards, and across their expanse lay greater kingdoms and new seas to conquer. Although even most citizens of the warlike Thonderhaas lacked the stomach to sack a defenseless people, the Great Emperor Mardeshan would hear no such talk. The Emperor held an unspeakable contempt for these ancestral Kuodokaki, refusing to even keep them as a subject people. Gathering only a small portion of his vast army, Mardeshan ordered his troops to march on the Great Forests and forcibly remove its denizens. With many soldiers shedding tears, a great slaughter commenced and the Kuodokaki peoples were destroyed. The few that survived were forced in the marshlands of the Deep Quagmire, their sorrow driving many mad. All these years later, by the nature of the swamps and the deep magics these people posessed, the Kuodokaki gradually changed into the beast-like hominids found in the swamps today.
The attack of Thonderhaas still seems to haunt these sad folk. They avoid any settlements and give any travellers a wide berth. Their dark skin, a natural camouflage, makes them difficult to spot. They do occasionally follow visitors to their swamps with great curiosity, always moving silently and just out of sword's reach. A skilled tracker might be lucky enough to see the glint of their eyes on a bright night, reflecting moonlight like the eyes of a cat. Encamped travellers will sometimes hear haunting sounds of groans and gargling; what sounds so vicious and ghastly is, in fact, the language of the Kuodokaki. Adventurers who are severely wounded in the swamps will sometimes awake to find a dark and harsh face hovering over them. What may seem like a carrion eater waiting for a meal is actually a Kuodokaki healing the injured with their natural magic abilities.
Long separated, the Kuodokaki live ferally and distant from each other, meeting only to mate. A mother will raise a child alone, then abandon it at adolescence in order that the young will learn to survive. They live off the swamp's bounty, eating raw fish, snakes, and vegetation. Their once-famous craft abilities have long since dwindled and Kuodokaki now survive without tools or weapons of any kind. They live in the safety of the trees, being naturally strong climbers. A few have returned from the Deep Quagmire with stories of finding sleeping Kuodokaki in lower limbs. Sadly, travellers often fall for the vicious myths of these people and kill them on the spot when confronted with one. Their unique composition of their bodies causes them to decompose very rapidly, and poachers are denied any prize in hunting them. Go to Comment
The party has found the source of the strange creatures roaming the countryside. The rift in this reality glows with a silver hue, rippling with the wind but never moving. They step through and are immediately assaulted with the scent of rotting meat, some have to muster all their strength not to vomit. Strange cries similar to the beasts the party had faced before can be heard in the distance. Looking around, they see they are in a forest of grey and red rather than the normal brown and green. The trees are sticky to the touch and writhe, perhaps to get away or perhaps as a warning.
The deeper the party goes, the more the forest seems to slither and move underfoot. The cries get closer and more numerous. Creatures lurk in the shadows, all the same color of their surroundings. Whatever the party came in here for, they had better do it fast.
The forest of flesh is waking up, and it is so very hungry.