Alchemy in Nor-Du-Mag

Kemmers in the Cloven Lands!

Getting by in a non-magical, uncivilized land is hard, and life in Nor-Du-Mag, the magic-dead Cloven Lands west of The Middle Kingdoms is doubly so.  Making life a little easier (or harder for others, as the case may be) are the deadlands kemmers, non-magical alchemists that make fire and ice, and have most of the firearms of The Deadlands.  It is unlikely that a kemmer would prosper outside Nor-Du-Mag, but their increased martial prowess serves them fine within their harsh homelands. Enjoy the deadlands kemmer, I got a real Mad Max, the Road Warrior feel from the archetype.

Deadlands Kemmer (Alchemist Archetype)

Deadlands kemmers (a local term for “alchemist”) are prized members of any clan in Nor-du-Mag, the Cloven Lands, as they fill the vacuum left by the absence of magic in the departments of healing, area damage and other conveniences.  Smarter than average half-ogres and ogrillons usually fit the bill for ogre clans, though the business of kidnapping other clans’ proficient kemmers is a constant occurrence.  Kemmers are skilled at making alchemical items out of the most base materials, though they usually have a base camp where a primitive lab is kept.

Class Skills: As they serve little purpose in the Cloven Lands, deadlands kemmers remove Fly, Knowledge (arcana), Spellcraft and Use Magic Device from their list of class skills.  Deadland kemmers add Escape Artist, Intimidate, and Knowledge (engineering) to their list of class skills.

Weapon and Armor Proficiencies: Deadland Kemmers are proficient with light armor and hide armor (medium armor), and are proficient with one type of firearm (one or two-handed), they are not proficient with shields.  They also gain proficiency with one martial weapon at 1st level, and gain proficiency with another martial weapon at 8th and at 15th level.

Field Alchemy (Ex): The signature weapons of a deadlands kemmer are their often rickety looking firearms, and thrown alchemical weapons, especially alchemist’s fire.  Deadlands kemmers add their Intelligence modifier to the damage done by thrown alchemical weapons, and can, with a full-round action, concoct a container (it need not be glass) of acid, alchemist’s fire, or liquid ice, if the make a successful Craft (alchemy) check.  This may be done a number of times per day equal to their alchemist level plus their intelligence modifier.  A deadlands  kemmer must successfully forage for materials every day that they make alchemical items, making a DC 15 Survival check in the wilderness.

This replaces bombs.

Guns in the Wasteland: At 1st level, a deadlands kemmer starts play with one of the following firearms of her choice: blunderbuss, musket, or pistol. Her starting weapon is battered, and only she knows how to use it properly. All other creatures treat her gun as if it had the broken condition. If the weapon already has the broken condition, it does not work at all for anyone else trying to use it. This starting weapon can only be sold for scrap (it’s worth 4d10 gp when sold). The gunslinger also gains Gunsmithing as a bonus feat.

This replaces brew potion and the use of alchemy extracts.

Exceptional Mutagen (Ex): Deadlands kemmers may use mutagens as other alchemists, but their mutagens are Exceptional, not Supernatural, and provide only half the bonus as appropriate.

Deadlands Discoveries: Only the following discoveries can be chosen by a deadlands kemmer.  All discoveries that have the word ‘bomb’ in them only apply to thrown mundane alchemical items such as acid, alchemist’s fire or liquid ice.  All effects are (Ex) effects.

Feral mutagen, greater mutagen, grand mutagen, healing touch, lingering plague, lingering spirit, malignant poison, mummification, preserve organs, purging mutagen, spontaneous healing.

Grease bomb, greater plague bomb, plague bomb, poison bomb, stink bomb, smoke bomb.

Classes of Porphyra: Part One

The Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting is a very accomodating place. The Patchwork Planet was described by Endzeitgeist as:

Porphyra is inspired in that it consciously inorganic – like its namesake. Instead of trying to put a layer of consistency over the hodgepodge nature that campaigns become when one allows a ton of material, it embraces the theme and makes it internally consistent; Porphyra’s central achievement lies in the sheer guts of managing to properly depict a world that is rooted in a can-do attitude, in a design philosophy that embraces the diversity of tastes and themes.

The setting itself has grown over time as we continue to explore new ideas. Since the Land of Porphyra is consistently, inconsistent it allows us the flexibility to welcome all sorts of classes and races into our setting. Starting today, we will review some of the classes we have created for the setting.

Legendary Classes

Back before Legendary Games existed as a company we had released a number of “Legendary” titled releases (Legendary Weapons, Legendary Races, Legendary Classes). We have since abandoned that naming scheme as we don’t want to cause confusion or step on anyone’s toes.  Still many of our pre-Porphyra releases carry those sorts of names an a number of our original classes come from that line.

Legendary Class: The Rook

Written by Thomas Baumbach in 2011, the Rook was our take on magic-using thief that specializes in enchantment and illusion magic. Looking at it from a 2017-lens, I think we would now consider it to be a hybrid bard/sorcerer class with a focus on illusion, enchantment, and necromancy. This Charisma-based spontaneous caster has a dedicated spell list of 1st through 6th level spells.

Legendary Classes: Rune Magic

Written by Josh McCrowell in 2013, Rune Magic introduced two alternate classes. First up was the runecaster, an alternate alchemist class, who draws explosive runes on surfaces and uses words of power (from Ultimate Magic) as their primary spellcasting option. Second was the runereaper, an alternate barbarian class, who has runes etched into their body that they can activate to unlock additional power in combat. They do not rage but instead always deal damage on the first round of combat. Rune magic, with its ionic elf and orc characters cemented the early concepts that lead to the development of The Calling in the Lands of Porphyra Campaign Setting.

Legendary Classes: Covenant Magic

Written by David N. Ross in 2013, Covenant Magic introduced the medium class to the game. Since then Paizo has released their own medium class, so later this year we will be releasing an updated and expanded Covenant Magic book that rechristens our class as a covenant mage. Similar to Radiance House’s Secrets of Pact Magic, our covenant mage makes pacts with otherworld powers to gain access to magical power. Julian Neale later came on board to write two additional supplements for the Covenant Magic series (More Covenant Magic and Further Covenants).

Legendary Class: Illuminatus

Written by David N. Ross in 2017, Illuminatus introduced the chaos illuminatus or chaos mage. This 9-level caster gains a number of random tables of spells. Everytime they cast a spell of a particular school, dice are rolled to determine which spell is used. Perry played an illuminatus in our home campaign. I can’t say the character was the most helpful party member, but he certainly kept things lively. The chaos illuminatus uses implements to focus their magical power like books, bottles, cards, coins, knucklebones, rods, seeing stones, or flickering flames.

Legendary Classes: Quartermaster

In 2016, Carl Cramer wrote the Quartermaster for me in an effort to create a class that didn’t rely on magic but that could still be very versatile. The quartermaster has resources, an Int-based renewable pool like the gunslinger’s grit. They use Resources to power deeds, which gives it a range of different abilities, including the ability to craft temporary items at no cost in gold (McGyverism). Quartermasters also have Deep Pockets, which allows them a large pool of undefined items in their inventory, items they can specify on demand; they then have to pay to refill their deep pockets capacity. They can also coax additional uses out of charged items like scrolls and wands, but do not create magic themselves. They also gain Equipment Trick as a bonus feat several times, learning new ways to use mundane items.

Legendary Classes: Eternal Mage

In 2015, N. Jolly created the Eternal Mage for us. The eternal mage is able to cast spells from only three schools of magic and from those schools only a limited number of spells. Castings spells causes the eternal mage to accumulate eldritch burnout which weakens the effectiveness of their casting. Eldritch burnout degrades over time when the eternal mage is not casting spells. With an eternal mage, you shouldn’t need to worry about running out of spells in the middle of the dungeon.

Legendary Classes: Sacerdote

In 2015, Carl Cramer created the sacerdote class for us (I always spell the name of this class wrong). The sacerdote is a wisdom and intelligence class, a scholar and divine spellcaster class that is powerful and versatile enough to compete with the arcane wizard. Specialized in magic, they are less practical than clerics and are not leaders or warriors. They cast cleric and domain spells, know numerous divine secrets, and can use all the domains of a typical deity or draw power from a whole pantheon. They have a huge number of spells per day and rely on magic in combat and on channeling their spells into devastating manifestations of divine wrath. Sacerdote maintain two spell lists, the clerical spell list and a 5-domain spell list.

(continued in part 2).

 

 

CE 8 – Goblins of the Faerie Woods

CE 8: Goblins of the Faerie Wood is a Dungeon Crawl Classics Role-playing Game 0-level funnel for goblin characters using an exciting appendix for creating goblin adventurers who can be stealthy warriors or tricksome witch doctors.

Now we designed this for use with the DCC role-playing game but not all reviewers see it that way. The following review was published to DTRPG.


Review:

Very fun module. Exactly what i was searching for for my “goblin funnel”. I know it’s a niche product for a a sub-genre, but if you want to play a goblin funnel, this is exactly what you need ! I played the module with D&D5 and the “fifth edition funnel” rules (you can find them on DTrpg), re-worked some rules for about 3 hours to convert DCC to 5th and it went really smoothly. We had a real good time and quite a laugh 🙂 Thx purple duck !


I think it best to use our stuff with whatever system you want. Its your game after all. I’m glad to see some 5e players finding some use for our DCC adventures.

You can find CE 8: Goblins of the Faerie Wood exclusively at the DTRPG family.

 

 

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