One of the founders of our hobby and one of the most unsung contributors to Dungeons & Dragons, Len Lakofka has passed away at the age of 76.
Along with the many adventures, classes, spells, and rules he created, Len was also father of the Suel in Greyhawk, designer of their gods, and namesake of the Lendore Isles.
The value of his work goes without saying, but his presence will be sorely missed. The adventures of Leomund go on.
Greetings, colleagues of Oerth. I’ve been going back and forth about sharing my own campaigns for a while now, and recent discussions (PMs) with a few of you (you know who you are!) have inspired me to try this out and see if anyone is interested based on feedback.
Here's some preliminary information about my game: as many of you know, I am an ardent 2e fan, with some 1e crossover, and use those rules as well as the “Player’s Options” additions. I also have access to most of the “Complete Guides” and incorporate those into my game system, too.
I have a single player (who also doubles as my DM) who is highly adept at playing multiple characters, each quite different from the next, and I allow him to do so. He and I have known each other and played since high school; yes, that was decades ago! We play with numerous ‘house rules,’ so if something seems ‘odd’ from a “rules” perspective, then chuck it up to that. Between us we are running many campaigns, some interwoven with others, and often switch off DM duties to keep ourselves ‘fresh.’ All of them are set just prior to the Greyhawk Wars, some more closely than others (a few characters are on the ‘back burner’ til we return to them…).
Although there are many adventures I could share, I have chosen the game I am currently running. It is set in the fall of 582 CY in the City and Domain of Greyhawk. The main characters are as follows, with some background information as well:
-Shandra Zumachus: 7th lvl specialty priestess of Pelor; approaching middle age, the ‘right hand’ to the High Matriarch of Sarana in the running the daily duties and operations of the Temple in Greyhawk City; also acts as liaison to the minor nobles of the City due to her connections; was raised by a minor Lord and knows how to negotiate the politics and social norms of ‘high society’ on behalf of Sarana and the Temple; has pretty much remained a ‘cloistered’ cleric with little in the way of experience outside the City which may have slowed her progression in the ranks; has recently shown promise in priestly spellcrafting, including the manufacture of magical items to aid the cause; considered attractive with sandy blonde hair (minor streaks of grey beginning to show) with an equally pleasant demeanor; Jeremy is her ‘little’ brother
-Jeremy Zumachus: 7th lvl crusader gloryaxe of Heironeous; a HUGE man with incredible physical strength and vigor; sometimes brash and tends to rely on his brute power and size to overcome most problems instead of acting wisely or with foresight; friendly with most of the guards of the City, especially those who revere the Archpaladin; raised primarily by his older sister, Shandra, but very much looked up to his (now deceased) father, a local minor Lord (and highly regarded, decorated warrior) who embraced the teachings of Heironeous and passed those on to his (only) son; Jeremy continues to live in his father’s shadow, at least in his own mind, and do him proud…part of that legacy was to embrace the Faith of the Archpaladin; served early in his priestly duties as a highly mobile crusader in the Cairn Hills militia guarding the interests of the City; strongly associates with the ‘ideal’ of the heroic figure and is still grappling with past failures (including losing his beloved +3 battle axe, an heirloom from his father!)…but that is another tale and another post, perhaps
-Brandis Morgenthwain: 9th lvl “retired” peasant hero fighter (actually 11th lvl, but ‘atrophied’ due to retirement) with a LONG list of past adventures, campaigns, and heroic deeds throughout this immediate part of the Flanaess; a former member of the Mercenary’s Guildhall, now retired and trying to settle down with a family (married to a much younger woman, with a single child, a son) but recent events have disrupted that dream; an accomplished blacksmith; very well connected with the commonfolk throughout the River and Foreign Quarters, but also as contacts in the guard, various guilds (Wizard’s included), and a few Temples (Pelor among them) due to his extensive past experiences as an active adventurer and numerous “good” deeds; mentor and friend to Horatio, Kai-tel, and Muamar; most weapons are deadly in his hands, but Brandis prefers the spear and bastard sword (learned later in his career)
-Jaran Blackfair: 6th lvl priest of Fharlanghn; keeps it a secret that he is one of many children of Lord Blackfair (renowned for his fine horses) and wants to earn respect for his actions, not his ‘birthright,’ a very gregarious and extremely handsome young man who is still ‘finding his own path’ and attempting to range further than merely the Plain of Greyhawk; just recently had a disastrous stint in the Cairn Hills with Jeremy and still ‘recovering’ from that episode; has many outdoor skills and, like his father, is an avid horseman
-Vincent Paglione: 9th lvl mage, originally hails from the Duchy of Urnst and a well-to-do family (noteworthy glassblowers in that land) who traveled to the City of Greyhawk for the finest magical training that money can buy; a dedicated but not necessarily “spiritually devout” member of the Temple of Pelor; has a flamboyant personality in social circles but can be shrewd in business dealings who has made a career as a ‘component hunter’ for the Guild of Wizards and as such, has a decent rapport with Bubka (as decent as one can achieve with that man, of course!); owns a spell book with a good magical arsenal at his command; has many useful skills, including outdoor abilities (perhaps unusual for your “average” wizard) and a decent knowledge of potion ingredients, that greatly aid him in his ‘work;’ willing to barter and haggle; considers his Ring of Wizardry and Cloak of Displacement to be his most prized possessions (spell book aside, of course!)
-Horatio: 6th lvl ranger (primary terrain are the hills); one of three friends and ‘mentees’ to Brandis who grew up in the Domain of Greyhawk; met the veteran warrior towards the end of Brandis’ adventuring career; a follower of Phaulkon and skilled archer with lightning fast reflexes; member of the Mercenary’s Guildhall
-Kai-tel: 5th lvl mage; another one of Brandis’ entourage, a more ‘civilized’ tribal Flan of the Cairn Hills who has taken to the ‘old ways’ of magic by harnessing it through his body as well as his mind; as a result, has tattooed parts of his body with magical woad through which he channels his arcane powers; thusly, has no need for a spell book (but still employs somatic, verbal, and material components) but most reconnect with Mother Oerth and elemental spirits to meditate and recharge his magical abilities; looks very intimidating with his shaved head and ‘body art’ to most (city) folk but is actually a friendly person with a good heart and has a pantheonic view to religion
-Muamar: 5th lvl Bakluni/Flan warrior; the third member of the Brandis coterie who physically leans to his Flannish heritage, but was brought up with Baklunish traditions (by his father); like Horatio, he is a member of the Mercenary’s Guild; stoic and stand-offish to most people with little to say yet is steadfastly loyal to his friends; a skilled dog handler and trainer with a tracking hound (Reba) and a stocky war dog (Romulus); strong and quick, he is a warrior who prefers the crossbow and scimitar
-Sir Owen: 8th lvl errant paladin of Pelor; doesn’t fit the stereotype of a holy knight of the Sun Father with an enormous, muscular body and powerful build rivaling that of Jeremy; jovial and easy-going personality but willing to take charge and offer his pointed views; is enchanted by Shandra for her external and internal beauty and secretly (?) falling for her; travels far and wide to carry out Pelor’s work but uses Greyhawk City as a sort of base of operations; is now considering settling down with a family (would VERY much want to court and wed Shandra, but is reluctant, and clumsily awkward when speaking alone with her); has an albino mare warhorse named Vallah who refuses to let anyone else ride her unless Owen is present; owns magical armor (chain and shield) and a few minor magical items, but also a highly prized Flametongue broadsword; knows Brandis from a MUCH earlier ‘holy’ mission when both were younger men; he highly regards the veteran warrior and commonly defers to his greater experience and common sense on most matters
Now that you are somewhat familiar with them, my next post will set the stage for the campaign plot…stay tuned.
Last edited by Lanthorn on Wed Aug 15, 2012 9:14 pm; edited 1 time in total
Since Pelor is a sun god, and most gods of sun, moon, creation, and rebirth, have been associated with magic. I don't see an issue with Pelor nor Beory as being worshiped by these two. Besides if Boccob was not so uncaring, then maybe he would have two more worshipers.
@Mystic Scholar, I knew you knew that I knew, you would say that!
Vincent is a 'worshipper' of Pelor more out of 'duty' and because he is originally from the Duchy of Urnst, which has Pelor noted (in the LGG) as one of the more prominent Gods. Vincent was raised in a 'dutiful' family that went to the temple/church of Pelor. As such, Vincent has carried on the family religious tradition, again, more out of structure and routine than anything else. He is more of a 'lip service' kind of worshipper (like many people, in my opinion) but DOES try to help out the church with his talents and skills because, again, 'it is what is expected of him.' If it helps or matters, he is Lawful Neutral in alignment.
Kai-tel is a pantheonic kind of Flannish worshipper, and as we all know, Pelor is a Greater Power. Kai-tel does not singularly worship Pelor over any other Flannish Power, but very much reveres the Sun Father...as he would to any other God(dess) from his ethnic background. Finally, as a "good" person, there are aspects of Pelor's portfolio that appeal to the man.
Magicians revere magic, above and beyond all other things -- that's why they're Wizards. They "pay lip" service to the gods. Because of their reverence for magic, they would revere Boccob above any other god, a.k.a. they would render him "more" lip service than the others. But there are execptions:
Suel would be more likely to reverence We Jas and the Flan (Kai-tel) might well reverence Mok'slyk -- The Serpent -- more than they would Boccob.
Magicians revere magic, above and beyond all other things -- that's why they're Wizards. They "pay lip" service to the gods. Because of their reverence for magic, they would revere Boccob above any other god, a.k.a. they would render him "more" lip service than the others.
Far be it from me, your 'humble servant', to take a different path but...
I don't necessarily think that wizards automatically revere Boccob b/c of their magical skills. True, I think that they would prefer to 'pay their respects' to him, but those mages who have a strong moral compass and who are not so...uncaring and detached...surely could, would, turn to another Power. Take somebody like Jallarzi who, it states clearly, is a staunch reverer/follower of Pelor. I doubt she gives much thought, beyond a 'thank you Boccob,' on Godsday. I don't think that other mages of a 'good' (or even 'evil') alignment would do much more than that, too.
Lighting a candle, or burning incense to Boccob each week is not the same as worshiping Pelor.
You can't look at it like a DM. In a perfect gaming world, players have never seen -- much less read -- the DMG. Unfortunately, in truth, everyone has their own copy.
All that magicians "know" is that magic comes from Boccob -- whether or not that's really how it works. That's what the "people" of the world "know" and believe. An Archmage might know differently, but he's not a Cleric and therefore does not espouse "religious truths." The Archmage might well have not even told his apprentices ("Let them believe what they will. Some truths must be learned for oneself, to be believed.").
I would put Jallarzi into that class. It's just me, but, I don't rank a 15th level mage as an "Archmage." I believe that an Archmage should be able to cast at least a couple of 9th level spells -- not just one. So in my campaign, to call yourself an "Archmage," you need to be at least 20th level.
As I said, that's just how I play it. So, in my world, Boccob is the "creator" of magic and no wizard would neglect giving him -- showing him -- reverence.
Worship Pelor, but do not neglect to burn incense to Boccob.
But, by all means, play it as you will. It's your game, not mine!
I'm just responding to your request -- in other formats -- to give you my opinion. This is it.
As I said previously, for Flan it would be different. You have heard of "Ur-Flan." These were not a different "race," but rather, were the rulers of the race: Powerful Nobles, Clerics and . . . Magicians. Ur-Flan Magicians believed that magic came from Mok'slyk, rather than Boccob. That is, they viewed Mok'slyk in the way that others races viewed Boccob and We Jas.
Sounds to me the homunculi was humbled! Stop spreading the word of Mok'slyk. Mystic is trying to revive the Flan nation using Ur-Flan rituals and other foul magics. Poor homunculi, you can not free yourself the two of you are ever entwined.
First, the band of adventurers are a combination of PCs and NPCs, right? I assume Shandra is the recently designated stablehand.
...-Shandra Zumachus: 7th lvl specialty priestess of Pelor... has pretty much remained a ‘cloistered’ cleric with little in the way of experience outside the City which may have slowed her progression in the ranks...has recently shown promise in priestly spellcrafting, including the manufacture of magical items to aid the cause...
-If she's never been anywhere or done anything (other than craft a few magical goodies), how'd she make it to 7th level?
This is one of my few beefs with Bastion of Faith. When I converted it to D&D 3.5, I corrected the levels for the cloistered rear-echelon types by cutting out 80% of the earned XP above 3rd level (and 50% for the adventuring types, which I also found bloated). I also tended to give the cloistered types levels as non-PC class adepts, experts or aristocrats, as I determined appropriate (although all had at least 1st level cleric).
I give out some XP for facing weather extremes, disease/parasitic infection, training, and even childbirth (no PC takers yet) which has some threat of physical harm, but its minimal (maybe 1-2 XP/ month for the weather and 5-10 XP for disease/parasitic infection), and it usually has to be applied to progression in NPC classes (sorry, no AD&D2 equivalent- maybe it would allow a 0 level type to make it to 1st level). A cloistered cleric, being relatively safe and secure, would probably get even less than that. That might get a gray hair to 4th level, but not 7th level.
Any chance Shandra may have an as yet unrecognized early adventuring career to earn her spurs? For Bastion of Faith, I asume the Heironians would expect that, and it's sort of implied in the material.
One other possibilty (which I use by cutting XP for defeated creatures in half) is the mission points or story points (or whatever you want to call them). If Shandra seriously assisted adventurers (or soldiers, or whatever) in some way, and they gained "adventure" points, she might get a small proportion of them, even if she was in the rear with the non-alcoholic beer.
...considered attractive with sandy blonde hair (minor streaks of grey beginning to show) with an equally pleasant demeanor...
...of course she is!
Do you use Comeliness (COM)?
...Brandis Morgenthwain: 9th lvl “retired” peasant hero fighter (actually 11th lvl, but ‘atrophied’ due to retirement)...
-I think it's like a bicycle: Once you learn, etc...
I'd have him get those levels back after (say) two weeks per level after being back in the grove, intelligence and wisdom modifying. In game terms, it might come in handy if the party needs more juice as time goes own. It might also be interesting to see the old guy slowly get his full mojo back.
...Magicians revere magic, above and beyond all other things -- that's why they're Wizards...
Depends on the wizard, I'd say. For some wizards, the ability to play with magic is in itself their primary motivator. But others see magic as a means to a wider end. You could compare to other fields. Some guys are pilots because they love to fly, but others because they want to fight (or at least be ready to do so). Some people love being in the medical field because they love helping people, others because they like solving a problem (diagnosis) or fixing it (surgery), others because they needed a job. None of these are mutually exclusive. Most wizards would have several motivations, with the difference being in the degree to which one or the other is important.
JDG, thank you for your contributions and comments to my adventure thread. I will pick it up once I finish with the thread-post entitled "Curse of the Cairn Hills," which is the backstory to all of this!
Now to address your statements and questions:
1) You aren't gonna believe this...and there will likely be others as well... but there is only ONE single player in this campaign! I run a bevvy of NPCs, but my player (and best friend since high school, who double as my own DM) is a very accomplished role-player, and runs multiple PCs simultaneously.
2) Shandra is a born and bred native city girl. At best she ventured only occasionally to the outskirts of Greyhawk City. She mainly tends to the city's populace in her clerical roles. She is in her early to mid-40's and has crept to 7th over those many years. If you consider that a cleric could still earn XP for any and all tasks, spell-casting included (100 pts per spell lvl) if used to further Pelor's goals and aims, then you can imagine the level gain, though it would be markedly slower than an active adventuring priest. Undoubtedly, Shandra has used her skills as well as spells to aid the downtrodden, impoverished, sickly, wounded, childbirthing, etc. She has only recently begun delving into magical item creation, ostensibly under the tutelage of Sarana.
3) YES, I use Comeliness. You can be very handsome or beautiful on the outside, but an utter SOB...or vice versa, ugly as the rear end of a baboon, but awfully kind, nice, and with a pleasing demeanor.
4) There is something to 'muscle memory' but I thought it appropriate to include skill atrophy since Brandis is no longer actively training or adventuring, instead pursuing his duties to a newly acquired family and continuing his blacksmithing career. However, I worked in a system for him to regain his former levels as he began active fighting. He was initially, formerly, a KICK A$$ 11th lvl fighter, but I knocked off 3 levels. He gained one back during the barghest debacle in the Cairn Hills, and has risen up to 9th. We'll just have to see how long it takes him to get the other two levels.
5) I FULLY agree with you about the mages worshipping 'magic' controversy. Mystic and I don't necessarily agree fully on this, though I do think that many/most wizards likely offer up an occasional, Godsday "Amen!" to Boccob (or Wee Jas), if just to placate them.
For some wizards, the ability to play with magic is in itself their primary motivator. But others see magic as a means to a wider end.
If you think about it, you're not really contradicting me.
If you "listen" to what I am saying . . . To the average person -- which includes average level magicians and clerics -- the "God of Magic" is where magic comes from. So, the general attitude is: "If I piss Him off, he won't let me do magic, right?"
As I said, High Priest and Archmages may know better, but the vast majority of people would not. So, they would never neglect showing him "respect." Should they fail to do so, He won't let them "do magic."
And you're kidding yourself if you think the Church of Boccob is going to tell anyone differently.
Personally, I don't like a game where the DM treats it as though everyone in the world has a Ph.D. -- "Oh! Everybody knows that Boccob doesn't actually create the magic. And they know that the Gods didn't really create the Universe too!"
Such DMs should to stick with 21st Century or futuristic games and not medieval ones. People of the middle ages were STUPID. There were a great many priests, kings and noblemen who couldn't read and write. Most knights (including Paladins) couldn't even spell their own names. It's one of the reasons there were "tradesman" called Scribes. The "common" people were simply "poop" out of luck when it came to any kind of an education. No, they didn't "know that."
If everyone in your world "knows" these things, then what in the heck makes your PCs so special?
Really like your character blurbs and they really round out the group of PCs and my only wish is to be a fly on the wall to watch how your player juggles them as a group.
You and your player have managed to create personal obstacles that can be fun to use and I appreciate your different use of gods for mage characters. I've seen some players use their respective religions to define their characters and I've seen others use them as though they were distant notions to invent superstitious ticks to round them out during play. Nice twists and it's interesting to see everyone's style of play showing a little.
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