Tuesday, March 29, 2005

House Rules

  1. Official SRD rules say that each round a character is Dying, they get a 10% chance to stabilize. This rule is amended: to stabilize, a character must make a DC 19 Fort save.

    Justification: Makes characters with stronger constitutions more likely to survive grievous wounds; at high levels it makes stabilizing easier to do, but then, at high levels it's far more likely that a powerful attack will kill the character outright anyway.
  2. Leveling up requires 2 days spent "in town", reviewing the skills of their new class level with another skilled adventurer's assistance. This person does not need to be a member of the class, they are merely helping the character concentrate. The buddy can also be training at the same time, it is not a fulltime job; therefore, both buddies can level up simultaneously if they both have enough XP. If a "mentor" can be found to act as buddy, the time is reduced to 1 day. A mentor is a character at least 2 class levels greater than the character leveling up in the same class.

    Justification: Makes a more realistic transition for the PC, and puts a higher premium on keeping an escape route open to town. It's short because the PC has really been training for the next level the entire time they've been adventuring, and the training session merely represents an effort to concentrate on what was learned.
  3. Alternate unbalanced multi-class penalty. There is no 20% XP penalty for class levels that are not within 2 levels of the primary class. Instead, the penalty is that the "leveling up" period, described above, is doubled to 4 days for classes 2 or more levels apart from the primary class. Even with a mentor, an unbalanced class takes 4 days to level up, not 2.

    Justification: Simpler rule. The 20% XP penalty means it is impossible to "work backwards" and figure out a character's class levels from his XP, which is one of the best things about the new XP system. The amended rule means it will always be possible to work backwards.
  4. Official SRD rules say that drawing or sheathing a weapon is a move action, unless you have a BAB of +1, in which case it is a free action when done simultaneously with a regular move. This rule is amended: Drawing or sheathing is still a move action, but it may be done as a free action during a regular move, by anyone. This also applies to readying or loosing a shield.

    Also, a clarification: this rule also applies to swapping one weapon or shield for another. It does not take two move actions to swap a bow for a sword, for example, only one. Swapping a bow for a sword and a shield is still two move actions.

    Justification: This is much easier to adjudicate by the DM. There's no reason why BAB would affect this.
  5. The following PC races and classes are not found in the Nest of Candles world: Gnome, Halfling, Wizard (and specialists), Sorceror. An adapted version of the sorceror called Arcanist is available. Gnomes and Halflings simply do not exist in the world of Gabbent. Wizard becomes an NPC-only class, and is simply a scholar with some of the abilities of the arcanist. New variants of PC races and a new prestige class will be available to play further into the campaign. (More details on this to come.)

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Map of Olemheiden

The forest home of most of the PCs, this is where the Nest of Candles campaign begins. Olemheiden is unique for its orulins, mile-high trees where half a dozen elven tribes spend their entire lives.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Campaign: The Precarious Earth


The Precarious Earth: From the Forest

Who leaves the pine-tree, leaves his friend,
Unnerves his strength, invites his end.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Woodnotes"

This is a tale of a world called Gabbent. It begins in a forest named Olemheiden. This forest is unlike almost all of the other forests on Gabbent. In Olemheiden grow the orulins. Imagine a misty-topped mountain made of oak, with bark so thick elves carve homes in it without reaching the hard wood, and branches so wide pigs and poultry are ranched there and gardens are grown there. Imagine a tree which, if you climbed to the very top, the highest redwoods in the forest below would be no more than blades of grass, and mountains a hundred miles away are clearly visible. Imagine a tree that is unreachable from the ground without climbing a staircase a thousand feet high that wraps round the trunk 5 times. Before you've even reached the lowest living area of the orulin, you are far, far above the treetops. Once you do reach them, you are protected by unassailable defenses manned by the tribe's defenders at all hours of the day and night.

And for five of the six tribal trees of Olemheiden, this still holds true. For the sixth, tragedy has struck. A massive earthquake of unprecendented force ripped Jeraslan in half. In this home of the most influential tribe, the strength of nature overwhelmed the tightest defense and tore these people from their home by tearing their home apart at the roots. For most of the trees of the forest, their roots only reach into the soft earth. The singular earthquake shook them, tilted some, displaced others, killed but few. Jeraslan, on the other hand, has roots that reach down to the very bedrock. And when that bedrock split, Jeraslan tried to go with it in two different directions.

The aftermath was swift and violent. Branches a quarter mile long fell from the tree, destroying elven homes and tossing elven bodies like leaves dropping onto the distant forest floor. The trunk, splitting up the middle, sliced elven homes in half as if cut with a razor. The Jeraslan tribe panicked. Those who could flee with magic did, perhaps taking the older and infirm with them. Others had to build rope bridges just to climb down the stairs. Jeraslan's fabled Cataract was washed out by the shifting earth which meant that the pulleys the elves normally used were useless. The entire tribe evacuated in two directions. Some went south to the smaller orulin named Kellingeth. Most went north, to Tulerohk.

Lucas, a battle-worn Paladin from Jeraslan, took his granddaughter with him to watch the last of the refugees. Their task was to escort these stragglers from Jeraslan to Tulerohk, through a forest filled with enemies. As if this weren't hard enough, the breaking of the Cataract flooded most of northern Olemheiden. The weary travellers had to fight hard through gnoll-infested swampland to reach their destination.

In Tulerohk, the statesmen called a joint council of the two orulins to discuss what to do about the Jeraslanders. Tulerohk, now badly overcrowded, needed many new dwellings built for the Jeraslanders; and who was going to pay for this? Who would provide the labor? The council of Jeraslan agreed that in exchange for the concession of room to live in Tulerohk, Jeraslan's engineers would reroute the Showerhair canal and build a new Cataract for Tulerohk, giving them the economic advantages Jeraslan had before the earthquake.

At this same council meeting, an expert in the caretaking of orulins revealed a surprise: that Jeraslan was alive, but dying. Steps would have to be taken to rescue the tree. This arborist by the name of Haft made a motion to bring a party of warriors with him back to Jeraslan and try to heal the breath roots, the vital stems which regulate the growth and are necessary for the survival of an orulin. When it was agreed that this would be done, one more proposal was made: send forces to stamp out the gnolls, once and for all. It was Lucas who proposed this, and his proposal to lead these forces was enthusiastically accepted.

The characters chose to accompany Haft and heal the breath roots, despite the rumors of an infestation of creatures living in the caverns underneath Jeraslan.


Welcome to the Nest of Candles blog. I am creating this so I can use the Internet for the duty of explaining my world to new players.

Important links for players:

Game Sessions Calendar (updated link): Nest of Candles Calendar

We play approximately 3 sessions a month, usually on Saturday evenings (PST).

RPTools Maptool: http://rptools.net/doku.php?id=downloads
Make sure to download Version 1.2 of Maptool. Our game sessions are conducted using Maptool.

PCGen: http://pcgen.sourceforge.net/

A character creator. This is the preferred way to make a PC, as it interoperates well with Vellum (the name of the bot), it has a lot of features, and it's free.

Vellum: http://vellum.berlios.de/

A Paper & Pencil RPG client/server. The implementation will allow GMs to use maps and miniatures, coupled with an IRC bot for role-playing and tracking the combat actions with our rich character model. Emphasis is on ease-of-use, fun and robustness. Eventually you will need to download the client to play with us. For now, you only need Maptool.
And, if you're curious about my maps and want to make your own:

Dundjinni: http://dundjinni.com/