Quick Update on Polyhedral Pantheons

A-Z 2015 "Q"The April A-Z Blog Challenge is proving to be a great way to encourage me to work on Polyhedral Pantheons. I have completed drafts of all deities of the Goblin Pantheon and the Elemental Tetratheon. The Halfling Pantheon is hardly started, but I should be able to get back to that one soon.

Reviewing against the book outline I wrote:

  • Introduction drafted
  • Process (Crunch-Oriented) drafted, retitled ‘Creating the Pantheon’
    • Glossary (point, face, edge, node) drafted, likely to move
    • Choosing Polyhedron added, one paragraph per polyhedron
    • Domain Allocation random table
      • Subdomains included in domain table for reference, but not rolled
      • Hybrid Domains out of scope
      • Exalted Domains out of scope
  • World Building added, explains briefly how to expand on base material in stages from low-detail to increasingly higher detail
    • First Pass: Simple Description Round out summary information (chosen weapon if not yet known, symbol)
    • Second Pass: Setting Information Provide basic setting information: theme, shrines and holy grounds, prayers, followers, manifestations
    • Third Pass: Fine Details Expands on information previously created. To be rewritten
  • Fleshing Things Out (Fluff-Oriented) Replaced by Worldbuilding
    • Portfolios
    • Portfolio vs. Domain
    • Alternate Channeling
    • Adapting Paladin Codes
    • Religious Dress
  • Polyhedral Examination Reduced to section in ‘Creating the Pantheon’. Might expand on in appendix, haven’t decided.
    • d12, d20 Dual
    • d6, d8 Dual
    • d4
    • d10, 2d10
    • Alternate d8 (d10-style)
  • Sample Pantheons in progress; will take only to second pass
  • Appendices List of appendices to be revised, might be reduced to ‘helpful references’ page
    • Worksheets May or may not include, already available as free/PWYW product
    • Domain Lists (with sources) Likely to be dropped; domain table in first chapter, subdomains are manually selected to fit, not planning to delve into hybrid domains or exalted domains
      • Domains
      • Subdomains
      • Hybrid Domains
      • Exalted Domains
Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Water Deities of the Elemental Tetratheon

I was asked how ‘water can be chaotic’. Certainly the surface of the water can be unpredictable, but water, fluids in general, follow rules. In fact, the movement of water encourages and grows toward more orderly movement (erosion cuts channels so water will be more likely to follow ‘previous water’).

Which is all true, but does not take into account how those who use the water might use it.

Goddess of Water

Vodenjak

  • Domains Water, Trickery, Protection, Darkness
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Spear
  • Symbol Heron

This goddess of water is most often found in pools and behind waterfalls, and enjoys playing pranks on those who think too lightly of the power of water. She is most powerful near moving water, but even still and stagnant water bends to her will. Those who approach her properly can sometimes elicit her aid.

Shrines to Vodenjak are simple cairns and small altars (much as tiny dolmens, really) made of found materials near waterfalls, pools, and springs.

Daily prayers are offered at dusk, as darkness falls, and offerings are left to float away on the water.

Vodenjak’s followers are called Herons, after the long-legged freshwater birds.

She has been known to manifest as a deep blue-grey heron, and as a small, sleek woman wearing only a feathered cloak and bearing a spear with a shaft made of reeds.

Aspects of Vodenjak

Izvodac

  • Domains Trickery, Glory, Weather, Chaos, Water, Luck
  • Alignment Chaotic Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Rapier
  • Symbol Flamboyant feathered hat

This trickster god is an intrepid explorer and revels in going to sea during storms to go where the storm takes him. It is never known where he will be, and while his presence on board a ship may be a good sign the ship will not sink, the sheer uncertainty of the destination that will be reached quite reduces his welcome. It is said that sometimes ships end up in places that should be impossible to reach in the time traveled, or even the space traveled.

Shrines to Izvodac are most often found in harbors, near the docks, where sailors can make offerings in hopes of returning safely, or in hopes of discovering new lands previously unseen by those who don’t already live there.

Daily prayers are offered at noon, when the sun is highest and a navigator has a chance to learn where the ship is.

Followers are known as Explorers. They spend much of their time at sea serving aboard ships, ideally seeking out new places.

Izvodac sometimes manifests as a grandiosely (and inappropriately for the job) dressed member of the gentry, wearing (his vision of) a dashing uniform suited for a sailing officer or well-tailored and pressed explorer’s outfit. His influence might be seen in a serendipitous discovery of a life-saving resource such as food that isn’t full of weevils, or a barrel of fresh water.

Staratel

  • Domains Protection, Glory, War, Community, Water, Good
  • Alignment Neutral Good
  • Chosen Weapon Trident
  • Symbol Clasped hand and fin, as a handshake

Staratel is a guardian deity working to improve the relationship between land dwellers and the shallow-sea locathah, for the betterment of both. Just as locathah exhibit sequential hermaphroditism (i.e. switch back and forth between male and female), Staratel may be male or female, or in-between, at any given time.

Shrines to this deity are located on the shore and made of driftwood bound in kelp found only at depths difficult for humans to harvest. The need for the shrines to be periodically rebuilt is a repeated opportunity for the land dwellers and the locathah to work together.

Prayers are offered at one of the daily low tides, with each follower choosing which one based on personal schedules of responsibilities and duties.

This deity’s followers are called Seawardens.

Staratel manifests as a seven-foot tall locathah wearing glistening scale mail and wielding a vicious trident.

Osvajac

  • Domains Darkness, Weather, War, Travel, Water, Evil
  • Alignment Neutral Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Cutlass and pistol
  • Symbol Skull above crossed cutlass and pistol

This goddess is the patron of pirates, raiders, buccaneers, and privateers. Whether sanctioned by a letter of marque and thus sanctioned by some governments, or merely out for plunder and slaughter, all fall under her bailiwick.

Shrines to Osvajac are always hidden from public view, and often are accessible only by boat (and small boats at that). They are often in grottos that are partially flooded at high tide, or on forbidding uninhabited islands. Even in a pirate town you are unlikely to find a true shrine to Osvajac. The shrines accumulate mounds of treasure, offerings from her followers in exchange for her boons, and dire curses await anyone foolhardy enough to try to steal from them.

Prayers are offered on first waking, since later in the day is likely to be busy with work and possibly with raiding.

Followers of this deity are known by many unsavory terms including Pirates or Privateers.

Osvajac most often manifests as a bloodthirsty pirate queen, lightly armed and armored, and possibly drenched with sea water and blood. She might be suspected when raiders ‘get lucky’: sentries fall sleep or are drunk, gates are unlocked, or powder stores of the enemy are damp.

Associates of the Water Deities

Velican

  • Domains Glory, Sun, Trickery, Protection
  • Alignment Chaotic Good
  • Chosen Weapon Longsword
  • Symbol Lighthouse

This god of glory and protection is a beacon to his people. Weathered by his time on the water, crafty enough to see through attempts to mislead, and cunning enough to draw invaders into his traps. He is a sworn foe of Osvajac, pledged to stand in her way.

Velican’s shrines are lighthouses, towers with powerful search lights to seek out attacking ships (and to a lesser extent, ships attempting a clandestine landing). It is not uncommon to find them surrounded by trophies taken from defeated pirates – the torn, burned, and bloody flags from their ships, the transoms with the ships’ names, and so on.

Prayers are offered to Velican at noon, when attack is least likely and the sun is highest in the sky.

The most prominent followers of this god are called Bright Sentries, always on watch and prepared to fight for their god and protect the city in their care. Little spoken of are the more covert followers, known to few, who gather information from less savory sources and in less obvious ways.

Valican almost always manifests as a mighty warrior clad in white ship’s uniform and wearing a gleaming mail shirt, bearing a long sword. At need, however, he might appear as a disreputable longshoreman or dock rat, such as to pass on a secret message or trick information out of someone. His influence might be suspected in a lucky break – the gleam of light reflecting from a blackened weapon, sound that carries over water, or a timely wind that blows an attacker’s ship out of position.

Jurisati

  • Domains Weather, Trickery, Liberation, Darkness
  • Alignment Chaotic Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Shortsword
  • Symbol Sinking ship

This goddess of storms delights in jailbreaks and in capricious weather sinking ships. She can be found in the darkness of the stormy night, and among the black-greased pirates swimming ashore to rescue their mates.

Jurisati’s shrines are durably built and well-concealed. They are often surprisingly close to coastal fortresses and towns that might be worth raiding, whether for riches, for ships, or for prisoners.

Prayers to this goddess are offered at dusk, when night’s work begins.

Her followers are called Saboteurs, well-trained in infiltration techniques and how to scuttle ships.

Jurisati manifests as a slender woman clad in tight black leather (suede, to reduce reflections) wielding a wickedly-curved shortsword.

Ubojni

  • Domains War, Protection, Destruction, Darkness
  • Alignment Neutral Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Heavy flail
  • Symbol Broken bones

This goddess of war embraces her role. Even protecting something, be it a city or a child, is only an opportunity to wage war with no restraint as long as the goals are met. No tactic is too underhanded, no act too vicious. Her only sense of honor toward her troops and allies is to not waste them, to save them so they can be spent to greater effect.

Ubojni’s shrines are training grounds for dirty fighting. Bloodstains abound, and broken teeth can be found swept into corners and cracks in the floor. Pit fights and gambling are seen as training exercises and revenue opportunities.

Prayers are offered daily at dusk, after the daily work is done (whether ‘civilian work’ or ship work) and before ‘night training’, the pit fights mentioned above, begins. In a large enough group, each follower might be involved in a fight only once every month or two, depending how often his bones get broken and how long they take to heal.

Her followers are called Bonebreakers because of their training practices, and how they go about warfare. A dead enemy is a good enemy, but a broken enemy is still out of the fight and distracts or demoralizes his allies. Or both.

Ubojni manifests as a muscular, scarred woman wearing an eyepatch, with a previously-broken nose and missing a few teeth. She bears a heavy flail that still bears shreds of previous foes.

Closing Comments

The deities of water tend to the chaotic. There ended up being a fairly strong nautical theme (though not explicitly mentioned in all deities), we’ve got an explorer that hints at ending up on strange seas (on other worlds?), pirates and brigands, one who would protect against them, and one that care for little beyond carnage.

This wraps up the twenty-eight deities of the Elemental Tetratheon. I ultimately decided that though there are deities with alignments, and deities with alignment domains, the culture does not have the philosophical abstractions that would have a deity focused on each alignment (no ‘god of good’ or ‘goddess of law’, etc.). In fact, I feel like this pantheon has enough nuance that such deities might not even be needed.

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Air Deities of the Elemental Tetratheon

Here are the air deities of the Elemental Tetratheon. Not actually part of the A-Z Challenge, or I would’ve done it three weeks ago for ‘A’, but I have a use for it fairly soon.

Much of this pantheon was shaped, even created, by a tragic misjudgement on Povjetara’s part. It broke her mind, and the fragments were scattered far.

Goddess of Air

Povjetara, The Anguished Wind

  • Domains Air, Death, Liberation, Madness
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Heavy mace (actually a twisted battleaxe)
  • Symbol Broken skull with shards of a crown embedded

This goddess of winds once was seen as a loving deity who sought to free her people from the rule of a cruel emperor. When her agents and allies finally defeated the oppressive ruler, it was discovered that his policies were not due to malice, but necessity. The fall of the ruler released the evil that had been held back by his will and his power. A deadly wind swept the land, devastating her people. This torments her to this day, and being a deity she still sees every one of her followers that died.

Povjetara’s shrines are tall, open places exposed to the wind. Her followers still gather, but there is a feeling of stillness, of absence.

Prayers are offered to this goddess at evening, when changing temperatures cause the wind to shift.

Her followers are called Vagabonds, and wander without direction until they find a quest that might reduce Povjetara’s anguish.

This goddess has not openly manifested in centuries. From time to time it is thought she might manifest indirectly as a surprising patch of dead air where a wind would be expected, or as an unexpected wind bearing a stench of death.

Aspects of Povjetara

Promijena

  • Domains Death, Air, Law, Magic, Healing, Repose
  • Alignment Lawful Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Dagger
  • Symbol Balance with a cheerful face and a skull on the pans

This god of eternity acts as a breeze that clears away debris and stale air, guiding and enforcing the incontrovertible cycle of life and death. Separated from Povjetara when her mind shattered, his power is her fervent hope that all things end so that new things may begin, and the harm done to her people will ultimately be undone. Undead are anathema in his sight, and he countenances the creation of undead only as a punishment, to remove an offender from the great cycle.

Promijena’s temples are well-ordered places, clean and well-aired. Those who suffer injury or disease can come here, certain that one way or the other the problem will end. Life and health, or a death no worse than it must be, are the likely outcomes.

Prayers to this god are offered at midnight, as one day becomes the next.

His followers are called Guides, because they escort the unwell to health or to their next lives.

Promijena manifests as an ordinary-looking man dressed in brown, possibly wearing a bloodstained apron and bearing a small, very sharp knife (scalpel).

Nesmetan

  • Domains Liberation, Air, Weather, Chaos, Magic, Travel
  • Alignment Chaotic Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Staff
  • Symbol Battered hat, or a ragged fan

The god of freedom was torn from Povjetara in the moment her mind shattered. He goes where the wind blows him, satisfied with the consequences of the deadly wind because “at least they died free”. It is thought that if Povjetara does regain her mind that he will seek to evade her and fight returning to her.

Nesmetan has no shrines, they could ultimately be a way to find and capture him when Povjetara is restored. However, given how much and how quickly he travels, any prayer offered to the wind can reach him.

Prayers are offered to the wind as much as possible, at no set time. The greater the wind the more likely it is Nesmetan will receive the prayers, and many followers have used fans (or their hats) to try to create or increase wind and increase the success of their prayers.

His followers are known as the Unfettered, seeking always to avoid entanglement and commitment.

Nesmetan manifests as a disheveled, wind-blown man with a furtive look, bearing a curiously-carved staff.

Razuma

  • Domains Madness, Strength, Air, Travel, Repose, Evil
  • Alignment Neutral Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Flail
  • Symbol Face with eyes torn out

This amorphous being is the projection of the mind of a mad goddess. Povjetara’s anguish is so great it has expanded beyond her immortal body to spread among mortals. Razuma wanders the world and causes situations to drive others mad. Where Vydirani strives to torment mortals into suicide, Razuma stretches them to the breaking point and keeps them there indefinitely.

All shrines to Razuma are constructed by those who have been broken by this mad deity, and they vary in form. Each is strewn with the remnants and mementos of what the broken one has lost.

Prayers are offered to Razuma at midnight, in the depth of the night when there is no one else to hear.

Razuma’s followers are known as the Broken, the shattered remnants of people who were once healthy and strong.

This deity rarely manifests openly, instead appearing as disturbing images to the one being attacked. These images might be unpleasant lies, even more unpleasant lies, or painful reminders. All are formed specifically to drive the viewer to madness.

Associates of the Air Deities

Charolija

  • Domains Magic, Nobility, Death, Liberation
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Longsword
  • Symbol Steel mask with fiery eyes

This god of magic grants people the freedom they deserve. Charolija is an unusual god of justice that is less concerned about order than returning to people what they have given. Those who give weal or woe will be rewarded in kind… and Charolija’s burning eyes can see all.

Shrines to Charolija always take the form of a court, with a raised throne where a ruler might give judgement. A steel mask rests on the throne, and during ceremonies rises with flaming eyes to accept obeisance.

Prayers are offered at noon, when mortals come closest to seeing as well as Charolija.

This god’s followers are called Magistrates, as they make all effort to ensure balance as does their patron.

Charolija manifests as a majestic wizard with rich robes and wearing a polished steel mask. His eyes can be seen burning through the holes in the mask, and nothing can be hidden from his sight.

Putovanja

  • Domains Travel, Liberation, Darkness, Madness
  • Alignment Chaotic Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Hammer
  • Symbol Broken shackles made of gold

This deity is a further extension of Razuma, and similarly amorphous. Putovanja is a cloud of darkness that breaks people from the doldrums of a secure life. This deity delights in disruption and the breaking of social contracts.

Shrines to Putovanja are light and portable. Most often a shrine is little more than a brazier.

Prayers are offered at midnight, consisting of burning a litany of grievance and hatred, stained with the blood of the petitioner, so the ashes can be blown into the night and received by Putvanja.

This deity’s followers are called Solicitors, as they seek out those who wish to call on Putovanja.

Putovanja manifests as a cloud of darkness, full of smoke and the ashes of petitions received. This deity might be suspected present when people seem to suddenly change personality or break commitments, throwing away what they have worked for.

Pokonici

  • Domains Repose, Death, Plant, Madness
  • Alignment Lawful Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Sickle
  • Symbol Bloody hand with dirty fingernails

This goddess of death is a dark reflection of Promijena. One of the consequences of the deadly winds that cross the lands were many people and animals died, providing fertilization for the soil. Trees and other plants grew wildly, in some cases overgrowing parts of settlements, to the point that some have been entirely lost. Where Promijena is the cycle of life and death, Pokonici aggressively works to see that more people die so the rest of the land can return to forest.

Her shrines are all untended groves and thickets of well-grown plants and trees, fertilized by those who died in the deadly winds.

Prayers are offered just several hours before dawn, when sane people sleep and will not see the offerings being buried.

Followers are called Planters, and they spend much of their time spread seeds and planting seedlings in ‘surprisingly fertile soil’.

Pokonici manifests as a farmer with vines and small plants growing from her clothes and hair, and bloody hands with dirt under her fingernails.

Closing Comments

When I started working on this pantheon the air deities tended toward evil. I originally thought of something along the lines of taking the old ‘Wind Dukes of Aaqa’ and making them sinister. Instead, I ended up with a mad goddess whose broken mind has scattered, like the wind, with the power to spread the harm that she experiences.

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Points and Nodes and Paths, Oh My!

A-Z 2015 "P"Chris Kutalik of the Hill Cantons and I share an interest in the use of graph theory in roleplaying games. He refers to it as ‘pointcrawling‘ (an obvious allusion to hex crawling), and has Kickstarted and published an adventure featuring a pointcrawl, Slumbering Ursine Dunes.

I never really got to naming it, but since my node-based megadungeon (see final map at the bottom of this post) was designed in a similar manner other people have taken to referring to it as ‘nodecrawling’. I design at this level, drilling down and refining each node until I am satisfied I have sufficient detail for my purpose. In the node-based megadungeon series this was two levels, one identifying regions and one identifying areas in each region.

The critical element of graph-based adventure design is that it focuses on key entities (places, creatures, and things) and the relationships between them. By largely ignoring the physical implementation at first you can ensure all the necessary connections are present, and start preparing the information the PCs will need to navigate the adventure with knowledge and agency.

Then, when I thought Chris and I were each so clever, a couple of other folks came along with ideas to make the mechanism even better.

Lionel's Abandoned Tower Transitions

Lionel’s Abandoned Tower Transitions

Lionel di Giacomo made an obviously great addition: transitional notes. This is especially useful for GMs who like to improvise, and for less improvisation GMs during their development process. Put simple, make notes about what may be seen or experienced while moving from one node (or point) to the next. The linked article has an example where Lionel took the graph (node map) of the Abandoned Tower and added notes to most of the edges between nodes. They indicate some continuity of design (the oak steps in the tower proper and the brass steps in the clockwork tower), differences and challenges (the fallen stairs between the second and third floors, the locked grate preventing access to the iron ladder), and so on.

Daniel Davis had another very good addition to the process: the pathcrawl. It is much like the pointcrawl or the nodecrawl, but like Lionel’s idea it puts greater emphasis on the edges between nodes, the paths between them. Paths connect ‘interesting things’. The GM has probably prepared the major paths the PCs might interact with, but new paths might be found that could take you somewhere else. For instance, while traveling between the Keys of Heraka-at to Spire of the Bronze Sorceress, the PCs might stumble on a long-abandoned trail that leads… somewhere else. The old path still exists, but this new (well, new to the PCs) path is another option. Unlike simply striking out overland, though, a path goes somewhere interesting, so the PCs can be reasonably confident there will be something at the other end. There might be clues as to what’s at the other end, there might not, but at least they can be confident that they’ll find something.

If you found this article interesting and want to learn more, go read Chris’ most excellent material on point crawling.

You may find Daniel Davis’ article on pathcrawling useful as well, as it extends the mechanism to provide a way for new elements can be added to an existing graph.

Between the graph theory Chris and I explore, and the suggestions from Lionel and Daniel, I think there are some great mechanisms for use in designing and developing adventures.

And because I tend to think in abstractions, I find many of the same processes can be applied to campaign and setting design, and at many levels. And the branching mechanism of the pathcrawl makes me want to think again of how Ben Robbins’ Microscope RPG can be adapted to physical exploration.

Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph

Node-Based Megadungeon Final Graph

On Wandering Monsters and Random Encounters

A-Z 2015 "O"While working with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Reference Document (PRD) monster information I’ve noticed that there are very few wandering monster or random encounter tables. There used to be pages of them in each of the monster manuals of previous editions (at least, up to 3.5; I can’t comment on 4e).

So I went looking through some of the Adventure Path modules and found — or rather, didn’t find — much at all about random encounters. Again, back in the day you could pretty reliably count on finding at least one wandering monster table per level or region of an adventure, and now I don’t see them.

This makes me sad, a little. I play mostly old school games and find during play that the random encounters bring out things that might otherwise have not been seen. I think there is something gained by unexpected events in a scenario, even when the scenario itself is well-mapped.

If you’re familiar with my scenario design process, I develop an entity map, a graph showing the major entities (locations, characters, events, etc., as needed) in the scenario and how they are related to each other. This makes it quite easy to see and understand the scenario and how the pieces fit together. It works. Left at that, though, it comes to feel like everything is related to the scenario.

Strangely enough, this high cohesion can in fact reduce engagement in the setting because it is outside the scenario and thus not important. It becomes easy to forget that there is more to the world than just the quest the PCs are following.

Random encounters, random events, wandering monsters, they all can serve to remind the players that there is more going on. Their intrusion into the scenario or question can actually increase engagement because it becomes more evident that there are other things to explore. There may be other avenues to pursue goals, perhaps allies to be gained, or previously undiscovered threats to defeat.

Types of Random Encounters

Random encounters are often set up as just that. Throw a few monsters together, give them some hit points and loot, and drop them on the PCs when the dice say to.

This is a wasted opportunity.

I split random encounters into three broad classes: local notables, notable passersby, and local flavor, for lack of better names. I usually try to have about one third of the random encounters from each class.

Local Notables

These are encounters with creatures or situations relevant to the current scenario. The PCs might run into some patrolling guards (or wandering inhabitants), or a named NPC, or stumble on something one of the locals is looking for (“What has it got in its pocketses?”). This can cause a sudden shift in plans, potentially because the PCs have to quickly silence some guards, alarms are raised, a peaceful conversation happens that reveals some information.

Notable Passersby

Unless a scenario is in a tightly controlled area such as a dungeon (but not so much a megadungeon), it can be easy to have outside influences intrude. In a city scenario you could potentially interact with almost anyone: a pickpocket who lifts your purse, a drunken noble who is about to be mugged and could use some help, a traveler with news from abroad. A smaller town or village is likely more insular, but still you can have travelers and unexpected events.

These can all be opportunities to introduce information, hooks to other adventures, and (failing all else) experience points and loot.

Local Flavor

These random encounters and events provide an opportunity to make more evident the tone and nature of the scenario. The PCs might encounter local, unimportant monsters, or stumble on a natural feature of note, or find ‘dressing’ that helps make the place more memorable.

Designing an Encounter Table

To this day I still find the AD&D 2e encounter table design practices to be quite good.

Make a list of potential encounters and events, grouped loosely by how common you want them to be (common, uncommon, rare, very rare).

If you prepare your scenario to focus on ‘level-appropriate’ encounters you might plan to have APL (Average Party Level) encounters ‘common’, APL+1 and APL-1 ‘uncommon’, APL+2 and APL-2 ‘rare’, and APL+3 and APL-3 ‘very rare’. In class dungeon terms these might point to encounters from higher or lower levels.

Prepare a table with 19 entries, numbered 2..20. When an encounter is called for, roll d12+d8. This provides a range of frequencies from 1/96 chance of being rolled (2 and 20, each) to 8/96 (9 through 13).

Roll Frequency Frequency Description
2 1/96 Very rare
3 2/96 Very rare
4 3/96 Very rare or rare
5 4/96 Rare
6 5/96 Rare
7 6/96 Uncommon
8 7/96 Uncommon
9 8/96 Common
10 8/96 Common
11 8/96 Common
12 8/96 Common
13 8/96 Common
14 7/96 Uncommon
15 6/96 Uncommon
16 5/96 Rare
17 4/96 Rare
18 3/96 Very rare or rare
19 2/96 Very rare
20 1/96 Very rare

Assign the potential encounters or events to the table above so they align with your desired frequency. That is, place common encounters or events on the rows marked 9..13, rare ones on rows marked 4..6 or 16..18, depending what else you have present. I might have another column with notes about the encounter, such as (for local notables) their ‘normal home base’ (that’s where you might find the NPC’s stat block, after all, and if you kill him here you won’t find him there later), or how many goblins are actually present to be encountered (again, if you kill them all there will be none left for later).

Then, when the dice indicate a random encounter, roll d12+d8 on the table and you identify your encounter.

There are nine entries that are common or uncommon, accounting for 66/96 (slightly more than 2/3) of the entire table. I would try to assign two or three encounters or events of each type above to these entries. In places where access is constrained I might reduce the notable passersby. In cosmopolitan places I might increase them. The rare and very rare encounter entries are good places for weird or unlikely events, ideally ones that are not important to the advancement of the story.

Variations

I like to have multiple columns of potential encounters or events. There may be something I want to have likely to happen, but only once. In this case I might populate the first column of a ‘common’ row with that event or encounter and mark it ‘once only’, with a different encounter (or none at all) in the next column in case this row gets rolled again.

This can also serve as an escalation mechanism. The first time you run into goblin guards, if you don’t successfully evade them (or talk your way past, or pay them off) it might be a patrol of d4+1 goblins. On a subsequent encounter it might become 2d4+1 (with one being a sergeant) because the place is becoming more alert and patrols are going out in force. There might be an ‘alertness level’ that could move you from one column to the next even if you haven’t encountered the row before (i.e. if an alarm is raised then all patrols are doubled — next column over for ‘goblin encounters’ automatically).

Closing Comments

There was a time when I found random encounters arbitrary and time-consuming, and they could interfere with the expected activities and events.

I have since come to the conclusion that this is actually a useful feature. They provide me a way to introduce hooks and information about things that are outside the scope of the current scenario, to provide flavor to reinforce the tone of the scenario, and provide opportunities to do things that will change how the scenario plays out.

Naming Things with Style

A-Z 2015 "N"I find that naming things well can be difficult.

  • If I just make up a name, I fall into patterns (similar sounds and emphasis and rhythm) that cause the names to be overly similar and thus no longer distinct.
  • Using ‘real world’ names is great for matching real-world settings, and can help evoke the real-world source of the name (‘Frederick of Haversham’ is a great name for a scenario based in England) but I’ve found they tend to break down and become ‘Fred the Paladin’.
  • Purely random name generation, as by using word fragments assembled randomly (a common technique) can emulate the language the fragments come from, but often sound silly in my ear.
  • Name based on epithets or descriptive phrases. ‘Fiery Sun’ (flaming battleaxe), ‘Fading Twilight’ (could be anything), and the like can be workable. I find this method leads to flowery descriptive names that get tedious after a while.

Even so, the techniques above can be workable for character names. However, I find they fall down when naming places, creatures, and other things.

The single best mechanism I’ve found for naming things: Google Translate. While I would not want to use it to try to translate anything of significance, beyond trying to gain a superficial understanding, it works very well indeed for naming characters and setting elements.

The process is dead simple:

  • Enter a word or phrase that describes the entity being named.
  • Translate to other languages until you find something that looks or sounds the way you like, or close to it.
  • Munge the translation a bit as needed.
    • English is my primary language, and I’m good at emulating other language sounds, but even so there are letter combinations I find are hard to pronounce.
    • English uses very few accents compared to other languages. I tend to discard them when using this technique.
    • Sometimes I like how part of the translation looks, either a word fragment or even the ‘wrong word’ if there are multiple words in the translated result.
  • Write down the new name. I usually make notes about what languages were used in the translation and the exact phrase I translated, in case I want to recreate or adjust things later.

I use this method frequently. Beobachten, The Dragon Watching, is named based on ‘watching’ or ‘watcher’ in German. All of the goblin deities are named using English words or phrases translated to Czech. The deities of the Elemental Tetratheon are named using English words or phrases translated to Bosnian. The  halfling deities are named using translations to Chinese. In fact, I only learned they were Chinese when I found the name of their culture — Shu-shi — and it worked out quite well.

This technique has several benefits:

  • You can start with a word or phrase that describes the subject (easy starting point), but hides it.
  • You can get names that ‘feel similar’ (word fragments, sounds and rhythm), without being random.
  • You can manipulate things so similar entities have similar name structure (much as many German cities have names ending with ‘burg’ or ‘stedt’).

Between them, you can generate names that are consistent in form and yet distinctive, something I find difficult to do simply making things up. By switching target languages you can work with several cultures and evoke different feel for each group or source of named objects.

A useful tool to have in your pocket when it’s needed.

Musing on Spell-Like Abilities in Echelon

A-Z 2015 "M"In almost all editions of D&D many creatures have abilities defined in terms of spells, such as the succubus’ suggestion. These are like spells (subject to spell resistance, etc.) but not exactly (each may be limited to a certain number of uses per day, and they don’t share all the casting requirements of normal spells). ‘Spell-like abilities’ is an appropriate expression.

I have never much cared for the ‘uses/day’ style of limitation, and I’d like to see it gone. All creatures in Echelon have magic points. These are used by casters to fuel their magic, other characters might use them to power magic items, and so on.

Using these points to pay for the use of spell-like abilities makes sense. However, at that point they become even more like spells.

By itself it doesn’t bother me, but it does lead me to question whether the distinction between ‘creature with spell-like ability’ and ‘creature that is a spell caster’ is relevant any more.. and if not, should a creature with spell-like abilities, inherently magical, have that count toward ‘normal’ spell casting?

I see several ways forward with this:

  • Treat as spells. Casting them requires magic points, just like spells, and they interact with all other rules as spells do. This suggests that the talents that grant access to these abilities will behave either as casting tradition cornerstone talents or as spell knowledge common talents that provide a training bonus.
  • Treat as magical abilities. Using these abilities requires magic points, just like spells, and when used they interact with most other rules as spells do (subject to SR, but don’t require material components). Both cornerstone talents and common talents can grant access to tier-appropriate spell-like abilities. These will be narrower in scope than casting tradition cornerstones or spell knowledge common talents and don’t provide a training bonus, but they can provide direct access to higher-tier spells than either of the other two talent types.
  • Treat must as D&D 3.x. Using these abilities consumes ‘uses per day’, and when used they interact with most other rules as spells do (subject to SR, but don’t require material components). No interaction whatsoever with the casting system.

What are some other possible approaches?

Lusus Naturae is Live in PDF

A-Z 2015 "L"Lasus Naturae is now available in PDF at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow. In fact, it comes in three forms: hyperlinked PDF, “art only” PDF so you can show your players (“print them at work, it might make more time for gaming!”, says Bad Advice Guy), and a “text only” PDF for ebook readers and tablets and whatnot. All text written by Rafael Chandler, all art by Gennifer Bone.

It’s no secret that I like Rafael Chandler’s work. He writes freakish and macabre monsters, and Lusus Naturae continues the trend. They are not for the timid or easily disturbed, and they’re not for all groups. However, he wrote it to support Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and I think it is a good fit for people who like that game.

I had early access to the PDF and spent some time (most of Sunday, really) reading it.

One of the things I find he does with his monster books, that I rarely see done to this degree in others, is associate the monsters with each other. Many books might mention a couple of associations (vampires create vampire spawn, gnomes and kobolds are enemies, and so on). There are few of them, and they are quite limited.

Rafael goes rather beyond that. Lusus Naturae has slightly more than one hundred monsters listed. I found there were enough relationships to warrant mapping them out, resulting in the relationship graph below. This graph is not present in the book, but I find such things helpful for me to understand relationships.

Lusus Naturae Relationship Map. Blue lines mean 'created', green is 'likes/allies', red is 'hates/enmity', purple is 'summoned', black is 'other'. Dashed lines mean the link is mentioned elsewhere but not directly where used. The two grey nodes indicate non-monster elements that are mentioned by more than one monster.)

Lusus Naturae Relationship Map. Blue lines mean ‘created’, green is ‘likes/allies’, red is ‘hates/enmity’, purple is ‘summoned’, black is ‘other’. Dashed lines mean the link is mentioned elsewhere but not directly where used. The two grey nodes indicate non-monster elements that are mentioned by more than one monster.)

There are several obvious groups here (creatures summoned by the Ideologue, or created by Davinia Marrow, and so on), but the groups are not entirely distinct. There are some interactions between them.

This doesn’t take into account the number of entities named but not defined. There appears to be a rich implicit setting behind the monsters, just as there was with Teratic Tome, that makes me want to learn more.

But never, ever visit. This is a bad, unsafe, unhealthy world.

The cover of the book itself should be a pretty clear hint. I’ve reduced it to thumbnail so it’s not as vivid as it would be at full size.

This is a picture of an abstruct, a monster that builds Citadels of Perpetuated Joy from the bodies of dead children.

This is not the worst thing in here.

Lusus Naturae Cover

Lusus Naturae Cover

Kouzelnik Deities of the Goblin Pantheon

A-Z 2015 "K"The kouzelnik are the third of the tribes involved in the revised goblin pantheon. A decent fit for ‘K Day’ of the A-Z Blog Challenge, and I’m happy to finally have this pantheon fully drafted.

I’m taking a break from Polyhedral Pantheons work tomorrow. I spent a big chunk of this last weekend — when I wasn’t at a judo tournament — doing a final review of a monster book for a friend. It starts with ‘L’, it’s gaming related, it’ll likely be my topic for tomorrow.

Kouzelnik Deities

Goblins are often described as being wary or fearful of magic, viewing it with trepidation at best.

The kouzelnik are probably a large part of the reason. Even the jhesiri, as destructive as they are, realize that anything that is mentally corrosive enough to create the kouzelnik is too dangerous to be treat casually.

Like the jhesiri, the kouzelnik are itinerant, wandering the land looking for ‘jatemst’. The kouzelnik claim they will know it when they find it, but have never been able to articulate what it is to anyone else. Most descriptions of jatemst appear to be contradictory.

Selinsi

  • Domains Madness, Death, Community, Knowledge, Magic
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Shovel (treat as handaxe)
  • Symbol Magic staff (complete with knob on the end) with a shovel blade on the other end.

This deranged god is perhaps the most moderate of the kouzelnik deities, which might explain his position as nominal leader. It is thought that since the other deities cannot find a way to compromise or agree on where to look for jatemst they might as well follow a drunkard’s walk.

Like all kouzelnik shrines, Selinsi’s are portable, at least nominally. Hauling the stone altar full of scrolls typically requires a cart.

Daily prayers are offered at dusk, or when the caravan stops movement for the day.

Selinsi’s followers are called Azyl, ‘seekers’.

He manifests as a grubby kouzelnik with dirt-encrusted nails and muddy streaks on his face.

Zakon

  • Domains Law, Air, Water, Knowledge, Magic
  • Alignment Lawful Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Flail
  • Symbol Balance with measures of different-colored liquids on each side.

Zakon is Selinsi’s son, and while not as obviously mad as his father is very, very organized and precise in all his works. He would have the kouzelnik seek jatemst by measuring and observing all fluids (including the wind and water), sifting them for their elusive target. And keep records of everything, in case they find a clue and need to go back and check something again, or to hopefully avoid that.

His shrines would be lighter than Selinsi’s because they are made of wood rather than stone, but bound books are rather denser than scrolls. Zakon’s portable shrines are at least as hard to haul as Selinsi’s.

Daily prayers are offered at dawn, while examining a mug of tisane for any clues to what the day may bring.

Zakon’s followers are called Myslitel, ‘thinkers’.

He manifests as a tidy kouzelnik with clean clothing, orderly hair, and a distracted look in his gleaming eyes.

Panovity

  • Domains Air, Evil, Weather, Law
  • Alignment Lawful Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Javelin
  • Symbol Lightning bolt

This goddess of storms can be relied on to follow orders when it means she gets to compel others to obey or suffer. She isn’t particularly interested in jatemst herself, but since that’s what the others are looking for and she gets to compel others to obey or suffer, she’s going along.

Her shrines are much lighter than Selinsi’s or Zakon’s. Each is still carried in a wagon, easily identifiable by the metal rod sticking up and the trailing chains. In severe weather kouzelnik try to keep the other wagons and carts from being too close.

Daily prayers are offered at dusk, in the hopes of a sudden storm overnight.

Panovity’s followers are called Jiskra, ‘sparks’.

She manifests as a kouzelnik with a corona of hair and constantly flickering eyes.

Umiraj

  • Domains Death, Evil, Travel, Madness
  • Alignment Neutral Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Blowgun
  • Symbol Dart with a bead of poison on the tip

This goddess of death encourages her followers to embrace covert murder and assassination.

Her shrines are much more portable than most of the others, made of wood with many hollows. Almost all contain secret drawers and the like loaded with tools useful to assassins and thieves.

Daily prayers are offered at dusk, not infrequently before setting out on night missions.

Umiraj’s followers are called Komari, ‘mosquitoes’, for their ability to inflict death and pain while causing only very small wounds. There is a certain enmity between the Zimije, Stvoren’s followers, toward the Komari, because of the indiscriminate nature of Komari assassination. Neither group is really aggressive about this enmity at this point, the Zimije because it is not a particular threat to their people, the Komari because they’re not paid to.

Umiraj manifests as a slender female kouzelnik closely-dressed in dark colors. She has no visible weapons and yet still exudes a sense of subtle threat.

Osada

  • Domains Community, Rune, Travel, Madness
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Staff
  • Symbol Colorful, ribbon-strewn wagon wheel

Osada is another of the mad deities of the kouzelnik, caught between the need to settle and build a community, and the need to travel. This deity seems confused about sexual identity as well, switching back and forth on an irregular basis.

This deity’s shrines are carved wood with rune-carved stone panels. They can be disassembled and used as major components of temporary structures at each camp that will last more than a few days, but even then they rarely stay assembled for more than a week.

Daily prayers are offered at noon, during a rest break in travel or, by preference, a break in the work day while encamped.

Osada’s followers are called Osadnik, ‘settlers’. They would be ideal candidates for establishing permanent settlements if they didn’t feel compelled to wander and seek out jatemst. Instead, the kouzelnik depend on the other goblin tribes – the hilljacks, mostly – to provide those things that require settlements.

Osada manifests as a colorfully-dressed kouzelnik (male or female varying by day), often with a frustrated look caused by the various unresolved dichotomies.

Znalost

  • Domains Knowledge, Evil, Madness, Law
  • Alignment Lawful Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Dagger
  • Symbol Scroll dripping blood

This god of knowledge and madness has delved too deeply into forbidden lore in his quest for jatemst.

His shrines are bloodstained wood and carry scrolls written in blood (often on human skin — goblin skin would be more convenient, but is too irregular and not smooth enough to make a good writing surface… elven would be even better but is much too hard to acquire).

Daily prayers are offered at dusk. Midnight would be better but there are often other things that must done at that time.

Znalost’s followers are called Odpadlik, ‘apostates’, for turning to the darkest powers, away from anything that is holy.

He manifests as a male kouzelnik with ink- and blood-stained fingers, staring into the distance at and reacting to things no mortal was meant to see.

Carodej

  • Domains Magic, Rune, Luck, Animal, Madness, Law
  • Alignment Lawful Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Light mace (heavy stone pestle)
  • Symbol Crow

This deity of magic has broader interests than the other kouzelnik deities, and under other circumstances might have been their leader, but is so engrossed in study and experimentation that all other matters tend to be ignored or forgotten. Carodej delves into the mysteries as deeply as Znalost, but in a direction that thankfully has not resulted in this deity’s mind being polluted as badly. Damaged perhaps, and probably monomaniacal, but at least not willing to embrace atrocity as a means of reaching goals.

Carodej’s shrines are rune-carved wood and often bear acid and fire scars, consequences of experimental mishap.

The deity’s followers are called Badatel, ‘investigators’.

Carodej manifests as a kouzelnik of indeterminate sex, paying little to no attention to appearance or personal grooming. The only concern regarding ‘male clothing’ vs. ‘female clothing’ is cleanliness and utility, male and female mannerisms are largely ignored, and so on.

Closing Comments

This completes the first draft of all twenty-two deities of the goblin pantheon. I still have to finish the halfling pantheon (which is hardly started), and the elemental tetratheon (half drafted), and should look at what I’m doing with the Samoora pantheon created by John Payne.

Then go back to review and revise the process sections, decide what to do with the appendices, and so on. Well, I’m only halfway through this year’s A-Z Challenge, maybe I’ll be able to find ways to wedge enough of the book requirements into the remaining letters.

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Jhesiri Deities of the Goblin Pantheon, Rewritten

A-Z 2015 "J"I started writing about the jhesiri deities some time ago, but never finished. I found I had gotten into too much of a rut, and while a little bit of atrocity was fitting, it was too much. I wasn’t happy with what I’d written and basically abandoned it.

A few days ago I started the goblin pantheon over, changing some of the focus and emphasis on certain elements. I drafted the hilljack deities and felt pretty good about how they ended up, so I wrote a new set of deities for the jhesiri.

Zinicit is still pretty close to the original (Ramdzasha), but I caused the various aspects to diverge more from the original. Two of the aspects are deliberately sinister and use methods other than simple violence (Neplatny works to return the world to amorphia, primal chaos, while Vydirani works to socially and emotionally ruin victims). The remaining jhesiri deities are no longer willfully malicious, but instead represent other inherently destructive things: war, fire, weather, and dreadful, regrettable necessity.

Jhesiri Deities

The jhesiri are a violent, nomadic tribe of goblins that ranges the countryside, raiding and pillaging pretty much any settlement they think they can get away with. They will remain in a single place only a short time, until it falls apart too much or becomes too filthy with their discards even for them to stand.

Their primary deity is Zinicit, a bloodthirsty being who exults in the destruction of other races. Two of her aspects similarly embrace destruction, the others endure that part of their nature.

Zinicit

  • Domains Destruction, Chaos, Evil, Travel, Weather, War
  • Alignment Chaotic Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Greatflail
  • Symbol Six-headed flail, each head representing one of Zinicit’s aspects

This deity of destruction is thought to be primarily female, but it never been possible to tell for certain. Zinicit’s aspects are torn from the deity’s body at need, so the composition of what is left changes over time. There literally is no way to tell who, or what, is in Zinicit’s pants.

Zinicit has no shrines. When the deity needs a shrine or temple they simply destroy one belong to another deity and repurpose it. All of Zinicit’s ‘holy places’ are desecrated and defiled remains of other deities’ holy places.

Daily prayers are offered at the end of the day, either dedicating the day’s destruction to the deity or sacrificing, destroying, something personally valuable. Those who fail to do one or the other are likely to find a greater cost is demanded and collected.

Zinicit’s followers are simply known as jhesiri. Even those who have closer ties to one of this deity’s aspects ultimately belong to Zinicit.

Zinicit most often manifests in the form of one of the deity’s aspects, but in those infrequent cases where Zinicit openly appears it is a multi-headed jhesiri (number and identity of the heads depending on what aspects are present).

Neplatny

  • Domains Chaos, Destruction, Strength, Trickery, Darkness
  • Alignment Chaotic Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Shortsword
  • Symbol Black shortsword dripping purple stars

This god of chaos wishes to, and is working to, reduce everything to primal chaos. Where Zinicit is malicious and enjoys the pain of others, Neplatny embraces and finds pleasure only the unending, roiling change found in amorphia.

Neplatny’s shrines are always in places of extreme weather. Storm-blasted heaths are a favorite, as are wave-torn coastlines. What altar is present is almost always well-worn and without ornamentation. Best are the remains of holy places formerly associated with other deities.

Daily prayers are offered at midnight, the change of one day to the next. And not coincidentally a usefully private time to make sacrifices when rational beings are sleeping in a safe place.

Neplatny’s followers are called Prazdny, ‘the Empty’, and almost all exhibit some degree of nihilism and strange detachment.

This deity manifests as a dead-eyed jhesiri dressed in dark purple and bearing a black blade.

Vydirani

  • Domains Evil, Destruction, Air, Death, Knowledge
  • Alignment Neutral Evil
  • Chosen Weapon Poisoned dagger
  • Symbol A severed hand holding a scroll bound with a black ribbon

While Zinicit’s sex cannot be determined because of how the deity changes, none have had an opportunity to observe clearly enough to discover Vydirani’s sex.

This is the most subtle of the jhesiri deities. Zinicit wants everything to smash, Neplatny wishes all to reduce to formless chaos, Muceni rampages about the world leaves victims in anguish. Vydirani finds ways to cause his victims to torment themselves. The deity blackmails targets with secrets, manipulation using vicious lies, hoping to see the victims shrivel in despair before they suicide.

There are few shrines dedicated to this Vydirani. Instead, most often the followers of Vydirani will insinuate themselves and infiltrate the holy places of other deities in order to spy on the unwitting followers of these other gods.

Daily prayers offered before sleeping, and are whispered (or written and concealed) secrets learned that day, and a litany of what might be done with them.

Vydirani’s followers are rudely referred to as Chamtivucho, “the Greedy Ears”. They of course know this, and enjoy how little the speakers truly know of it.

This deity manifests physically only rarely, but can be found in a hardly-heard whisper holding a secret the hearer does not want shared, or a message written in sand or water that blows away or dries up.

Potreba

  • Domains Travel, Destruction, Fire, Death, Community
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Spear
  • Symbol Bloody sack hanging from a spear

Potreba is the goddess of regrettable necessity. The perception of jhesiri as bloodthirsty marauders is A little misplaced. They mostly lack the resources (physical, mental, or emotional) to settle down as more civilized races might. The closest they can get is to group together so they can better act as ‘hunter-gatherers’ who prey on the most concentrated sources of what they need: other communities and civilizations.

This deity does not have permanent shrines of her own. As the followers of Zinicit do, her followers will desecrate captured shrines with the blood of their former users and use those before moving on.

Daily prayers are offered at dusk and recount the deeds of the day, and include blood offering if there was no other blood shed that day.

Potreba’s followers are called Sberac, ‘Gatherers’.

This deity manifests as a female jhesiri bearing a spear and a bloodstained sack with unpleasant contents.

Hurikan

  • Domains Weather, Destruction, Trickery, Air, Water
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Chakram
  • Symbol Six-armed spiral

This god of storms is not at all subtle, but at least is not actively malicious. Hurikan represents the sheer devastating force of the weather.

Hurikan’s shrines are typically built lightly so the remains can be picked up and easily reassembled at need, rather than daring to defy the deity’s power by being strong enough to withstand the storms.

Daily prayers are offered at dawn to greet the day and all the wind and rain and waves that will come.

Hurikan’s followers are known as Vichrice, “the winds”.

This deity manifests as a wind-swept jhesiri, or as an unexpected wind.

Valceni

  • Domains War, Destruction, Strength, Fire, Earth
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Greatclub
  • Symbol Fiery stone-headed greatclub

This goddess of war is not actively malicious, instead representing the violence and destruction inherent in warfare.

Her shrines are the remains of pyres and the gathered, shattered arms and armor of the fallen.

Daily prayers are offered at dawn, before embarking on the challenges of the day, and are an acceptance of the trials and possible harm to be suffered that day.

Valceni’s followers are called Vojak, ‘soldiers’. They are typically hard-bitten and stoic, too worn down by constant warfare to embrace anything but their goals.

This deity manifests as a battered, hard-used jhesiri with world-weary eyes and worn but well-maintained gear.

Pozarni

  • Domains Fire, Rune, Travel, War
  • Alignment Neutral
  • Chosen Weapon Longbow
  • Symbol Three arrows crossed, flaming

This goddess of fire and war is Valceni’s sister. She represents the dual nature of fire – useful tool, and devastating hazard – and the need for military movement at both the strategic and tactical level.

When needed she shares her sister’s shrines, but her followers all learn to improvise and create temporary shrines at need by carving the appropriate sigils on stone and setting fire over it.

Daily prayers are offered at dawn, looking for direction and guidance to what is needed. Pragmatic as any old soldier, Pozarni is not offended if her followers then use the fire for a brew up or to cook breakfast before moving out. She knows how often that can be a luxury.

Poznari manifests as a lean, weathered jhesiri in mottled brown and green bearing a longbow and fiery arrows.

Closing Comments

I am much, much happier with these results. The original jhesiri deities were almost a caricature of destruction and murder and torture and rapine. That was over the top and unnecessary, and I didn’t like writing them.

This set of deities is much better balanced. It is still generally sinister (leader is chaotic evil and destructive, two of the others either wish to see everything destroyed because he likes it that way or wish to reduce victims to suicidal despair — perhaps as a similarly unholy pleasure) but the bulk of the deities are almost not so bad. Still dangerous, still associated with inherently destructive things, but I think have a little more nuance and credibility.

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover

Polyhedral Pantheons Cover