Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Humans of the Iron Canyons: Best Avoided if Possible

Masters of Horse and Bow
Touchstones: Comanches, Sioux, Mongols, Huns, Celts, Vikings, and other warrior-centric cultures
Known for savagery and brutality but have a rich culture of stories and religion
Wealth measured in horses, captives, falcons, gems, and trinkets
Tribal; non-unified, multiple bands exist with no central governance
Nomadic - follow herds of wooly rhino across the high plains
Warrior culture - chieftains lead bands of families but independent war chiefs recruit warriors for specific raid/campaign/battle
Always favor tactical advantage - flee if outnumbered or outmatched - never attack in strategic way to gain an objective at the cost of lives - each warrior always does what is best individually
Raid elven trade posts, dwarven supply chains, other humans, skaven burrows. 
Max armor: ring mail
Weapons: Shortbow, lance, Harpoon, club, flail, short sword, axe, bola
Never take a penalty for fighting from horseback
Bardic tradition of storytelling, dances, horns, sitars, drums, pantomime
Druidic priestly caste 
Live on the high plateaus but venture into the canyon basins to hunt, winter camps
Rangers, Barbarians, Bards, Druids, Warlords

Food: herd animals (horn to hoof), hunting, gathering, flatbreads, roots
Drinks: Fermented Mares Milk liquour, Spruce tea, tequila
Sometimes leave male dwarves alive but 'beard-scalped'
There might be other kinds of humans somewhere else but this is the only kind here.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Iron Canyons Dwarves: Lawful or Just Really Annoyingly Zealous?

Advanced Expansionist Culture of Chivalry, Piety, Honor

Strongly Monotheistic with Large Families

Crusaders and Colonizers - NEED MORE CAVES
Always looking for new habitable underground areas like Elvish Ruins, natural caverns

Classes: OD&D Dwarf, 1E OA Samurai, 2E Runecaster, 3E Crusader, Pathfinder Inquisitor, 4E Paladin
Manifest Destiny brings them aboveground to conquer

Once the slaves of the elves, they are sworn enemies

Clash with humans over territory

Subjugate or work with Skaven to colonize and spread

Armor: Plate, Chain, Scale, Breastplate, 3/4 Plate, 1/2 Plate
Very Early Firearm Use: ~1520s or so - Arquebuses and first Matchlocks

Swords, Pikes/Ranseurs, 2H Swords, Early Firearms, Crossbows, Hammers
Only dwarves know the secret of creating/using gunpowder

Preferred wealth: gold, gems, silver, garnets, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, topaz

Dwarves have no penalties to fighting in darkness

Linguistic Basis: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese

Food: Spicy preserved meats, mushroom flour noodles, rich sauces, breads

Drink: Mineral waters, whisky, white wines

Puritan, intolerant attitudes

Sometimes hire/coerce humans as scouts
Strong Warrior Religion - Paladins are warpriests, dress in Blue

Inquisitors dress in Green

Crusaders dress in Yellow

Samurai in the colors of their house

Iron Canyon Elves: Evil or Just Necromantically Misunderstood?

Live Thousands of years but have imperfect memories - only recall last ~150 years or so
Thus, many elves seek to discover their own distant pasts
Civilization in complete decline; a shadow of the glorious elven past

Powerful, terrible magic with fearful results

No religion remaining except death cults - necromancers as priestly caste

Captured humanoids become thralls or terrible experiments
White, yellow, gray, or greenish skin - not always easy to tell undead elves from living elves

All elvish armors:  chitin, bone mail, skinsuit, Ichor - all dead things, no minerals

Most remaining cities are in river valleys but the high plains are full of elvish ruins and massive undercities

Immune to undead special attacks

Linguistic basis: Greek

Food: None; sometimes partake of bitter herbs or nutrient supplements made from dead sentient races and beasts

Drink: Fermented Bloodwine, various serums and chemicals

Largely asexual or with highly abnormal habits

Grafts or other magical body-modification 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cross-Edition D&D in Iron Canyons

The basic ideas for Iron Canyons arose from a design constraint I put on myself at the very beginning: No fighters, no Magic Users, no Clerics, and no Thieves.  I still wanted fantasy races, so there are Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Skaven (which take the place of Halflings), but none of the class options available for any class are available for any other.   I also wanted to play with the idea that each race would have a (non-base) class option from each edition of D&D and would use the rules from their edition when resolving combat or other situations, just as has been done when incorporating characters from different games or editions in FLAILSNAILS games on G+.

So here is the current race/class options chart, subject to frequent revision as I flesh this out:

EditionHuman (C)Elf (E)Dwarf (L)Skaven (G)
OD&DZak's Random RangerOD&D ElfOD&D DwarfOD&D Halfling
AD&D 1EUnearthed Arcana BarbarianAD&D MonkOriental Adventures SamuraiAD&D Illusionist
AD&D 2EVikings Campaign BerserkerNecromancer Specialist MageVikings Campaign RunecasterDark Sun Trader?
D&D 3.5EDruid*HexbladeCrusader (Tome of Battle)?Scout
PathfinderCavalier (with flavor changes)WitchInquisitorBard
D&D 4EWarlord (with constraints*)Assassin (with constraints)Paladin (with constraints)Warden (with constraints)

*So, for the later editions where its all feat-trees and ability-combo building, I will probably highly constrain the choices so its more like the traditional "at-this-level-you-get-this" rather than "choose from these 15 things" to bring it a little more in line with the amount of variation available in older editions 

Humans may not be any kind of Lawful.
Elves may not be any kind of Good.
Dwarves may not be any kind of Chaotic.
Skaven may not be any kind of Evil.

 A lot of the choices in the above chart will make more sense as I explain the different cultures of the PC races.

Iron Canyons Touchstone Pics

What is Iron Canyons?

Iron Canyons is a fantasy rpg setting that I'm currently working on to flesh out some ideas rattling around in my head.  Its both post-apocalyptic and prehistoric, in an unforgiving land full of ruins and adventure in high arid plains and wild canyon basins.

No Fighters. No Mages or Sorcerers. No Clerics or Priests. No Thieves or Rogues.

Horse Nomad Humans. Crusader Conquistador Dwarves. Decadent Death-Obsessed Elves. Matriarchal Sly Skaven.

Each race will have class options unique to it based on the flavor of the setting for that species.

This blog will be a kind of design journal as I explore the ideas and play with rules and concepts. Plus, everyone in the whole OSR seems to have a game blog, and while I have some creative endeavors that are RPG-related (eg Subterranean Design and Abulafia), I didn't really have a place yet to put down setting ideas in a readily-commentable format.

So here we go.