Regional Guides of Porphyra Poll

It has been suggested by Perry that perhaps I should write one of the regional guides for Porphyra. Writing a guide of this kind is sort of out of the my wheelhouse because I usually perform conversions of older materials or work on mechanical bits. The Heroes of line has a significant amount of fiction writing as well as mechanical writing in it.

We have released nine regional guides so far:

That means there are roughly 30+ more regional guides to be developed. There are a couple that are earmarked or in some stage of development such as the Empire of the Dead and the Mist-Shrouded Isle of Erkusaa.

So I am looking for customer input on which of the following lands I should work on as a regional sourcebook. Leave your votes in the comment section of this page. I want to get started on this work by Sunday night. (Perry is not eligible to vote).

Here are my options:

Voting Opens Immediately. Voting Ends Sunday Morning (when I wake up). We will do a run off vote if there is no clear winner.

 

 

 

 

The Cloven Lands!

Greetings, hope everyone is enjoying their summer!  Aren’t the lands of men much more civilized now?  I mean, relatively… Mankind is looking to space where once they looked at the deserts, the poles, the jungles as uncharted territory, Explorers once regularly lost their lives exploring, as the examples of Robert Falcon Scott and his party, Umberto Nobile in his ill-fated airship, Sir John Franklin and his lead-sealed tins, and poor Amelia Earhart, flying into oblivion.  On the Patchwork Planet of Porphyra, there are many lands that could use exploring, including the Eternal Ice of the extreme south, thought to be inhabited by ith’n ya’roo of strange demeanor; the deep interior of the Northlands, said to be the domain of the exiled Ice Tyrant, member of the Elemental Lords; much of the trackless wastes of the southern deserts, much of which the zendiqi have forgotten and themselves avoid, especially the eastern Ghadab; many of the jungle-covered Rainbow Isles, ignored by the femanx in their glittering resort; even parts of the Great Green, the forest-continent, much of which the elves leave as a sacrosanct preserve for creatures wild and strange.  But an odd land stands out, the shunned land of Nor-Du-Mag, the Cloven Lands, the Deadlands, sundered from all magic, arcane and divine, a large magic-dead wasteland literally on the doorstep of many of the most populated, progressive and prosperous lands on Porphyra, the Middle Kingdoms, the Trade Consortium of Blix, and the Gardens of Meynon.

But as we all know, the porphyrite borders of Porphyra can hold famine next to feast, blizzard next to sunburn, and antimagic next to the power of gods.  Passing over the border into Nor-Du-Mag shuts everything magical off, like it never was; summoned creatures wink out of existence, continuing magical effects cease to be, the gods cannot be contacted, channelling energy does not work, and magic items are just ‘items’… though a magic weapon or piece of armor is still of masterwork quality!  In game terms, all (Sp) and (Su) effects cannot be accessed or used, though all (Ex) effects are just fine.  This makes Nor-Du-Mag the warrior’s domain above all others, no matter what the Jheriaks say.  No spell-like abilities, no potions, not even a simple orison.  Monsters that dominate the Cloven Lands megahumans; humanoid bandits, ogres and giants- and of those the ogres are probably the most successful, as they have developed survival skills of great finesse, living in the dust in their tunnels wrapped in cloth like so many trap-door spiders.  Giants, to their racial shame, often have to herd giant goats or sluggish lizards to have enough to eat.  Dust-ogres- “dust’res” disdain husbandry, hunting and raiding for their sustenance, which does not seem to be much.

Alchemy is the only science that has any sway here, for any mundane alchemical items can be produced that do no have any magical aspect to them. Alchemists are revered here, and some do claim godlike powers, but it is a precarious position, as kidnapping skilled alchemists is a dominant activity in the Cloven Lands.  There seems to be a lot to say about Nor-Du-Mag, the Cloven Lands, so I will continue this next week with some more antimagic musings… make a comment or drop me a line if you want me to talk about anything else regarding Porphyra, or anything at all!  ‘Til then, a little tidbit, the dust-ogres…

Dust’res (Variant Ogre species)

Dust-ogres, or dust’res, are a widespread variant of the standard ogre adapted to live in the sere wastelands of the Cloven Lands, Nor-Du-Mag.  They resemble large humans more that their brother ogres, with rough brown skin and tiny eyes. They swathe themselves in long rags and plant fibers, and cover the eyes with bone eyeshields; they wield large spears (1d12 damage) rather than greatclubs, carry a sheaf of javelins, and most carry garrotes and lassos.  One of their favorite tactics is to string a number of their clan (typically no more than 12) on a ridge with the setting sun behind them, to spark terror in the hearts of caravans or travellers trying to cross the Cloven Lands, a silent promise that they will not reach their destination…

Quick Rules: +1 to AC, initiative, thrown weapon attacks; -1 hp/HD, +4 racial bonus to Stealth in Nor-Du-Mag (deserts)

Rebuild Rules: Ability Scores +2 to Dexterity, -2 to Constitution Special +4 to Stealth in desert terrain, proficiency with lassos and garrotes; Endurance as a bonus feat

Project Selection

Office Work is a series of posts where I talk frankly about the work of Purple Duck Games including what goes on behind the scenes.

Lewis asked, “How you decide which products to move forward with. The balance between thing you know people are looking for & putting great ideas that might not be as popular forward.”

It can be really hard to decide what to go ahead with when publishing roleplaying games in support of other people’s systems. It is not uncommon to publish something that is profitable to have the finances to work on riskier projects. I do have a couple of handy rules that I use for greenlighting projects.

  1. Trust Your Freelancers Pet Projects

There are a number of freelancers that I have worked with multiple times. I rarely have to assign them work. Typically, they show up on my email with a document in hand with an intro that says something like, so I know we have never really talked about this but I’ve been working on this thing for a while and I think its really come together, are you interested. Some of our most consistent sellers have been created this way.

Both David N. Ross’s Random Encounters Remastered line and Carl Cramer’s Prestige Archetypes line started as these sorts of books. Initially, I didn’t have a lot of faith in either of these initial projects but I took a risk on them and they have turned out well.

So when Carl Cramer approaches me about a Duckfolk book for Porphyra.  Now, I doubt that it will be as successful as Prestige Archetypes but Carl has earned the right to pitch pet projects for our publication.

    2. Trust your Editor

Perry Fehr is the primary editor for Purple Duck Games. He has had his hands into everything Purple Duck for at least the last five years. He is the primary archetict of the Lands of Porphyra Campaign setting and works to keep things reasonably consistent. The Lovecraft Fantasy Gaming Toolkit was rescued from oblivion by Perry.  It was an older project that went through many hands and was generally in a pretty disorganized shape. Perry took the document, reworked it, rewrote some, and expanded it a lot more… and then I continued to bury it for almost a year. If Perry hadn’t nagged me about the book on a regular basis it would have never seen the light of day. I was so concerned about this book and how it would be received that I was willing to just take a loss on it an never publish it.

That would have been a mistake. Reviewers and customers both agreed on that. Its sales have dropped off (probably do the influx of other mythos support available) but it was more than worth finishing.

Perry sometimes notices the value in things that I overlook.

3. Trust your Market(s)

Some markets are better than others. There are many Pathfinder supplements that I have not broken even on. There is not a single DCC book that hasn’t broken even for me. So when it comes to DCC, I have published everything I could have for it. I suspect MCC may treat us the same way as well. So we have been actively recruiting more writers for both Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics.

   4. Timing is Everything

Particularly with Pathfinder-related content it is important to get your work out there first. When the Occult Adventures book came out there was a lull in Pathfinder Support from 3PPs, traditional companies like Rite Publishing and Rogue Genius Games had backed away from immediately supporting Paizo’s newest thing. I do not know for certain why that gap in support existed but it did exist. I looked at the Occult rules and immediately knew that I did not get the intracies of the classes (probably still don’t), so I recruited an expert.

Checking out the Paizo boards, I saw that Ehn Jolly had wrote a Kineticist class guide. So I approached him to write Kineticists of Porphyra. Kineticists sold very well due to the quality of the work and due to the lack of competition in that arena. Customers were looking for more ideas in this area and we were one of the first products to address that need. (Ehn Jolly is an excellent self-promoter as well).

   5. It Is Okay To Build a Line

Some products sell okay. They don’t sell great… just okay. And sometimes you might be tempted to end a series at the first book. The thing is when a second book comes out, there seems to be sense within customers that if a new volume comes out then the early volumes must have strongly warranted it. When Purple Mountain VII: Domain of the Hidden God came out we saw an uptake on previous volumes. There are customers that will by part 7 (having read no others) and then go back and complete their collections. Much like how new customers to Caster Prestige Archetypes has lead to bumps in sales of Prestige Archetypes and Warrior Prestige Archetypes. You do not need to build on indefinitely though, you need to recognize when the market has finished with a concept.

   6. No One is Infallible

There are projects that I have greenlight that I thought were going to be failures that were successes, and projects that I was sure were going to be successes that never amounted to anything.

I think at the end of the day, you just need to produce the kind of books you want to create.

All Aboard!

Hello again, welcome to the blog!  I spent today watching one of my favorite movies Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World; can’t get enough of it, best movie ever!  So, this translates into creating the navy of the “most powerful” of the Porphyran world, ready to travel for the service of the Twenty-Seven Gods (but really, only the one…)

Ships of the Line- The Kamaarian Naval Service (K.N.S)

The nation of The Middle Kingdoms still acts much like the “police force” of Porphyra, and the sea needs patrolling as much as the land.  What follows is a summary of the naval forces of this powerful Deist nation, which allies with its Deist partners whenever possible.

Ship Combat simplification: A ship’s weapon breaks down with a roll of natural “1”, an ordinary miss with a 2 or 3; range increments are -2 for each increment.  GM can rule on environmental factors such as fog, smoke, rough conditions and the like, which impose -2 penalties.  Ship’s cannon are -6 to hit in any case, but have a long range.  Critical hits are indicated with a “20” or “19-20” for ballistae.  Barrages aimed at stern or bow impose a further -4 penalty.  A hit that penetrates hardness and does damage removes from hull points 70% of the time, damages crew 20% of the time, and weapons 10% of the time.  This can be further simplified by the GM to speed combat play.

“Captain #” is the assigned captains “Profession (sailor)” modifier.

Flagship of the Deist/Middle Kingdoms Fleet

The current flagship of the Deist (Middle Kingdoms) fleet is the intimidating galley Treaty of Siwath, resplendent with precious metals dressing its flanks and sails.  Captain +15

K.N.S. Treaty of Siwath

Enormous flagship of the fleet, typically circles the island of Calopia; normally armed with 8 heavy ballistae, 4 firedrakes and 3 naval ship’s cannon on firing platforms.  Modified with: bronze ram, extended keel, magically treated hull, oars and sails

Territorial Flagships

Heavy war-galleys crewed by natives of the four kingdoms; typically armed with 40 heavy ballistae, acid treated to bypass 2 hardness.  Modified with rams and sturdy hulls.  One territorial  flagship  leads the Southern Guard fleet in the Eastern Cold sea, watching possible Elementalist activity. Captain +12

K.N.S. Geranland- currently with the Southern Guard fleet.

K.N.S. Rotwald

K.N.S. Pium –captained with clerical officers, stays within flag distance of the Treaty of Siwath.

K.N.S. Vinterre – currently with the Pyramid Fleet.

Warships of the Line

Versatile warships that prowl the seas of Porphyra representing the might and power of the Middle Kingdoms and the Deist cause.  They frequently cooperate with foreign fleets in joint operations and always contain at least 50 troops that can act as marines. Typically armed with 6 light ballistae and 4 light catapults on each side, with a variety of purposed shot. Captain +10

K.N.S. Arbitress –with the Southern Guard Fleet

K.N.S. Belle Ville

K.N.S. Codion- typically stays with the home fleet in the northern Bay of Sphinxes.

K.N.S. Gerana’s Dawn- stationed off the Rainbow Isles, with the so-called Pyramid fleet.

K.N.S. Justice- with the Southern Guard Fleet.

K.N.S.  Nachtburg

K.N.S. Regent- old and decrepit, the “punishment duty” of the fleet, currently running prisoners to Gulag Black

K.N.S. Thame

 

Sailing Ships of the Line

These third-rated ships are the workhorses of the Kamaarian Naval Service, replaced on a regular basis if needed and of various configurations.  Most are built in Klemt, from the endless forests of Rotwald; all are made with sturdy hulls. Captain +10

K.N.S. King Arturus- assigned to the Pyramid Fleet

K.N.S. City of Gold –fleet tender for the home fleet

K.N.S. Port of Kamaar- well known to be a company ship of the Purple Hands intelligence service.

K.N.S. Port of Klemt

K.N.S. Sea of Ithreia- permanently assigned to the Sea of Ithreia, protecting Deist interests.

K.N.S. Silent Monastery

K.N.S. Serenity Guard- with the Southern Guard Fleet.

K.N.S.  Three Rivers

K.N.S. Vindictine- assigned to the Pyramid Fleet.

Royal Trading Frigates

Sometimes dubbed the “merchant fleet”, these semi-independent vessels are free to ply a mercantile trade under the auspices of an auxiliary fleet of the Kamaarian Naval Service.  Through an onboard magical message service, they can be called into service at any time to serve the needs of the Deist cause.  Royal frigates have the statistics of a ‘junk’ vessel, armed with ship’s cannons fore and aft, and banks of six light ballistae on each side of these fierce traders.  It is an old tradition that the R.T.F. be given names of flying monsters, regardless of their intent.  Captain +10

R.T.F. Chimera- currently crewed by Purple Hand intelligence operatives, trading between Erkusaa and Sharira.

R.T.F. Cockatrice

R.T.F. Dragonnel

R.T.F. Hippogriff- in drydock for repairs in Freeport; crew not behaving themselves

R.T.F. Manticore

R.T.S. Pegasus- currently engaged, with Peryton and Phoenix, blockade running to New Karkoon

R.T.F. Peryton

R.T.F. Phoenix                                      

R.T.F. Sphinx- crewed entirely by non-humans, a common strategy in the Naval Service

R.T.F. Wyvern

Glerps of Porphyra

Glerp
A glerp is a class of sentient oozes that is easily affected by elemental energies. They seem to have sprung naturally from the elemental chaos of the NewGods War.

Glerp
Languages one elemental tongue
Ecology
Environment any
Organization solitary or pool (2-5)
Treasure 1d3 glerp fragments
Special Abilities
Acid (Ex) A glerp’s acid does not harm metal or stone.
Coalescence (Ex) Glerps rest in an inactive form, and undetectable, of miniscule droplets expressed over a large area. When a creature approaches into its blindsight, the glerp coalescences into an active form as an immediate action.
Death Throes (Su) When killed, a glerp pops in a 10-foot-radius burst that deals 1d6 points of glerp damage per 4 HD (DC 10 +1/2 Hit Dice + Con modifier; Reflex half).
Glerp Damage (Ex) Glerps deal acid damage but can become attuned to any other type of energy damage (cold, electricity, fire, force, radiation, or sonic). Glerps gain the damage type of any energy damage they receive. This attunement lasts 1d6+2 rounds.
Leaping Charge (Su) Glerps can leap 30 ft. as a charge action that draws no attacks of opportunity.

Medium Glerp (CR 3; XP 800)
N Medium ooze
Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +9
Defense
AC 7, touch 7, flat-footed 7
(-3 Dex)
hp 50 (4d8+32)
Fort +10, Ref -2, Will +3
Defensive Abilities blind, coalescence; Immune ooze traits
Offense
Speed 20 ft.
Melee slam +5 (1d8+3 plus 1d4 glerp)
Special Attacks death throes (W-DC 19), leaping charge
Statistics
Str 14, Dex 4, Con 24, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 12 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Great Fortitude, Toughness
Skills Perception +9, Survival +9


Large Glerp (CR 5; XP 1,600)
N Large ooze
Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +13
Defense
AC 8, touch 6, flat-footed 8
(-3 Dex, +2 natural, -1 size)
hp 116 (8d8+80)
Fort +13, Ref -1, Will +6
Defensive Abilities blind, coalescence; Immune ooze traits
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +11 (2d6+9 plus 1d6 glerp)
Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Special Attacks death throes (W-DC 23), leaping charge
Statistics
Str 22, Dex 4, Con 28, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +6; CMB +13; CMD 20 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness
Skills Perception +13, Survival +13


Huge Glerp (CR 7; XP 3,200)
N Huge ooze
Senses blindsight 60 ft.; Perception +17
Defense
AC 10, touch 5, flat-footed 10
(-3 Dex, +5 natural, -2 size)
hp 198 (12d8+144)
Fort +13, Ref -1, Will +6
Defensive Abilities blind, coalescence; Immune ooze traits
Offense
Speed 30 ft.
Melee slam +18 (2d8+15 plus 2d4 glerp)
Space 15 ft.; Reach 10 ft.
Special Attacks death throes (W-DC 27), leaping charge
Statistics
Str 30, Dex 4, Con 32, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +9; CMB +21; CMD 28 (can’t be tripped)
Feats Bloody Assault, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus (slam)
Skills Perception +17, Survival +17


On Porphyra
Within the Trade Consortium of Blix there is an active market for glerp fragments that can be used as supplemental spell components for spells that deal energy damage. A glerp fragment is worth roughly 25 gp.

Codionic Offsets in the Middle Kingdoms

Hello again, welcome to my second installment of the blog.  Campaign-wise, the iconic Middle Kingdoms are a good place to start in regards to Porphyra, as they are a mostly-safe, stable land that nonetheless has a plethora of rules and regulations that the typically free-wheeling party of adventurers will have trouble obeying. They are:  no gratuitous use of the “elements”; varying degrees of racism towards non-humans (except half-outsiders, who are usually treated with awe); and implied monotheism, in spite of the collective victory of the Gods as a plurality- with the “True” god being Gerana the Arbitress.  Add in an observant population and the vigilant ‘police’ force that is the para-palatinate Codionic Knights, and you have a minefield of social niceties that will try role-playing skills on many levels.

The introductory adventure The Ruins of Greencastle in the Lands of Porphyra campaign setting is a great place to start a party adventuring in Porphyra, especially if the GM wants to begin a 20-level campaign to bring At’f’aal, the Rainbow Child to the Material Plane and heal the rift of faith factions- but we’ll speak more on that in later blogs!

The Middle Kingdoms

Whereas the four principalities called by Porphyrans The Middle Kingdoms consist of Vinterre, an agricultural land steeped in lively arts; Geranland, of varied terrain and industry supported by a powerful wizard’s guild; Rotwald, a heavily forested land with wild and monster-haunted corners; and Pium, seat of Sanctus Templum, the Golden City and headquarters of the vast Church of Gerana, and its leader and potentate, the Codion.  This quadripartite confederacy is bound by their world of origin, their faith, and their common cause in the NewGods War, which had an effect of solidifying what was once drifting apart in the World-that-Was.

 So know that The Middle Kingdoms has an overarching law, the Code of Four, which precludes overuse or overdependence on the four classic elements, so revered by their enemies, the Elementalists.  Earth alone is casually utilized, as Gerana is deity of that element, and so farming, mining and stone-work are performed with little comment. Dependence on fire is frowned upon, as is flight and swimming.   The Kamaarian Navy is titled for its port, not its nation or faith for this reason, though they are as pious as most, if a little rough.

Midlanders, as they are so yclept, tend to remain in their villages and cities and wax industrious there, so there are opportunities to explore little-frequented regions of the Middle Kingdoms, perhaps to seek ruins abandoned during the turbulent years after The Calling, or old battlefields from the NewGods War, of which there are, sadly, many.    The Sowmoors in the south, the central Moonwood of Rotwald, and the sad environs of Greencastle are all places ignored or abandoned by the Codionic Knights- though they have every right to do so, as I acknowledge as a historian sanctioned by the Codion’s Inner Council, long may he preside.”

-Gazetteer I, Lands of the East, Odulaki the Seer

Mundane Item

Codionic Offset

These small metallic tickets cannot be counterfeited, as they are manufactured by the Hall of Sanctions in the Iron Basilica of Sanctus Templum.  They are sold or granted in four different colors: white, brown, red and blue, and allow the bearer a dispensation to engage in ‘elemental’ activity in the eyes of the authorities and populace, temporarily bypassing the regulations of the Code of Four.  Thus, a white offset holder could cast a fly spell without sanction, dig a deep trench for non-commercial use or cast an expeditious excavation spell, burn off a section of scrubland or cast a fireball spell, or dig a well or cast a control water spell.  Though not magical, the bearer gains a +1 morale bonus to concentration checks when using a codionic offset.  Offsets are licensed by date or duration, with a sliding scale of cost according to the task or tasks described to the attending cleric-bureaucrat.

Cost: 5 gp per spell level or day-length worth of activity (0-level = 1 gp/ day)

Spell-in-a-Can Items

Some designers have a severe aversion to spell-in-a-can type magic items. I understand the thinking behind that aversion, but there are so many good spells created for Pathfinder that I think we could benefit from a few more spells-in-a-can like the following items for warrior classes.


Bracers of Heavy Shots

Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st

Slot wrists; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

[Description]

Each of these purple bracers is marked with an image of a basllista. After being worn for 24 hours, these bracers place the wearer under a constant gravity bow effect in which the weight and density of arrows or bolts fired by the wearer is increased. All shots deal damage as if the weapon were one size larger.

[Construction]

Prerequisites Craft Wondrous Item, gravity bow, crafter must be proficient in bows or crossbows; Cost 4,000 gp


Bracers of Mighty Strikes

Aura faint transmutation; CL 1st

Slot wrists; Price 8,000 gp; Weight 1 lb.

[Description]

Each of these blue bracers is marked with an image of a great sword. After being worn for 24 hours, these bracers place the wearer under a constant lead blades effect in which the momentum and density of melee weapon strikes is increased. All melee weapon attacks deal damage as if the weapon were one size larger.

[Construction]

Prerequisites Craft Wondrous Item, lead blades, crafter must be proficient in bows or crossbows; Cost 4,000 gp


Both of these items are fairly low cost and can provide a noticable advantage to martial classes in terms of damage.

When we are talking about design aversions, I personally hate recursive spells.