Saturday, July 04, 2009

House rules: alignment change

Alignments should not be chosen lightly; they determine the effects of lots of game mechanics while simultaneously dictating a certain style of play.  Character is everything in role-playing, and sticking to your character makes the game more fun, so to the extent that alignment determines character, it should be stable.

Still, sometimes people decide that they want to play a differently aligned character (or that they have been, all along).  They should be able to do so, but not lightly.  There are two ways to change alignment in the world of the Nest of Candles: By Quest, or By Ability Drain.

By Quest

Changing your alignment By Quest means you arrange with the GM in advance for a solo adventure, the primary outcome of which will be to change your alignment.  If you change your alignment By Quest, the GM will design a quest which has trivial or no benefits whatsoever, other than the alignment change.  It should fall in line with the existing story and make sense in the context of both the character you have been playing and the one you want to change.

By Ability Drain

A character can change alignment at any time by agreeing to an alignment drain.  The penalty is: -2 wisdom, and -2 to ability score of the player's choice, per notch on each axis.  For example, Ferdinand the level 7 Berserker wishes to change from Chaotic Good to Chaotic Evil.  This involves no change in the Ethics axis (Chaotic->Chaotic) but two notches shifted on the Morals axis (Good->Neutral->Evil).  Ferdinand chooses to penalize Charisma, and therefore takes a -4 wisdom penalty and -4 charisma penalty.

The ability drain may not be restored by any spell; it goes away on its own the next time the character gains a level, and prior to applying any other level increase benefits.  At level 8, Ferdinand gains back his charisma and wisdom, and then gains his permanent ability score increase, as usual.

It should be noted that the guaranteed wisdom drain means that clerics will be penalized more heavily for alignment changes than other classes.  This is intentional, as clerics' dieties do not take lightly to alignment changes.  In most  cases a cleric will not need to choose a new diety (as gods of Gabbent are not explicitly aligned), but may choose to do so at the same time as they make the alignment change.

In addition the ability drain, any other penalties related to class or race or special circumstances (such as a paladin losing all class abilities) that accrue due to the alignment change still apply.  Any penalties that accrue due to changing a worshipped diety also apply.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Selt Lat

The characters reach the underground town of Selt Lat.  Here's a synopsis of some things that happened:

  • The characters first enter the impoverished shantytown where the bugbears live, but find nothing of interest there.

  • They next visit the orcs. A large group of box zombies passes by them, and the rest of the inhabitants give it a wide berth. The zombies pay no attention to the party.

  • There they also meet a female orc apothecarist (who helps them identify potions), and a grotesquely rotund orc weapon dealer.

  • The orc apothecarist tells them of Mohjgan, a beneficent individual who wishes to lift the orcs up above all other races by destroying them.

  • They purchase a non-magical shield and a ton of arrows from the weapon dealer, who also shows them a few magical items he has for sale, including a very valuable shapeshifter's sorrow (longsword). Tiffy vows to steal it.

  • They pass through a checkpoint separating the largest orc area from the largest lizard area. Orcs guard it on the west side, lizard men on the east. One of the lizard guards reaches out to stop the party and question them, but another lizard man stops him and lets them go by.

  • The visit the jeweler's in lizard territory and sell gems.

  • They visit the tavern in lizard territory. There they encounter a gargoyle named Cul-de-Gil and his two gargoyle friends. Cul-de-Gil asks the party to destroy some boats, in exchange for a large ruby he owns. He will not say why he wants the boats destroyed, or why he won't do it himself. He does show the party where they can be found. The party hears an accompanying rumor that the boats were left there by a Valkyrie, who failed to bring a number of viking ships to Valhalla.

  • In the tavern they also hear these rumors:

    • Mohjgan is conducting a violent campaign against the "scum" races to elevate lizard mankind above all other races;
    • Don't eat the fish from the fishmonger;
    • A vampire, in the form of a flock of birds, was seen flying through Selt Lat recently, but nobody can agree on which way he went;
    • The bugbear chieftain was murdered by a medusa named Carcatta.
  • On the subject of Carcatta, Dev recalls that she assisted the party when they were fighting the grimlocks; she was their shaman, until she determined that the party could help her, at which point she briefly fought with them against the grimlocks.

  • The party stays the night in a lizard inn. When they wake up, Meraud is hysterical; it seems that Jago has disappeared in the night, and she claims that it is "impossible" that he left on his own.

    • She explains that vampires exist because of their "contract", which somehow makes them possessed by a single mortal master. They must obey the master.
    • Jago had his contract transferred to Meraud long ago.
    • Since Jago was ordered not to leave her side he could not have left on his own, and he must have been physically stolen.
  • The party decides to go find Carcatta in bugbear-town. There they meet Carcatta, who has once again set herself up as the shaman of a tribe. The bugbear chieftain is still around and alive, although they do not meet him.

    • Carcatta asks the party to go find her sisters and shows them where her sisters can be found.
    • She asks them to bring her sisters back; she promises that if they bring a message to her sisters, she will use her network of contacts in Selt Lat to find Jago.
    • Everyone in the party (except Ellira) allows Carcatta to inject them (by snake) with a special poison. She says it will have no ill effects, but will allow her sisters to smell them and identify them as her friends.