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Old 12-23-2019, 07:56 PM
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A Town Called Sweetwater

Game StatusREOPENED

I am inviting a player to take over a specific character whose player stopped posting 2 weeks ago. This would be a 1st level human summoner tempted by corruption and spiritually linked to a necromantic power. For details see here. Over several levels, wrestle with this and break free or perish. If I don't find a player for whom this is their cup of tea, then I'll reopen a general slot.

The game folder is here: https://www.rpgcrossing.com/forumdisplay.php?f=18382
Game NameA Town Called Sweetwater
Game SystemPathfinder
ThemeSteampulk/wild-west; with magic & gods limited and a science-vs-magic conflict brewing
FlavourHeroic fantasy with an emphasis on storytelling and collaborative world-building
Plot Summary
Opening Scene
 

 



Character Creation
Party group: 6 players
Starting Level: 1st level - 0XP
GP: Average for your class
Stats: 20 point buy
Alignment: Non-Evil
Deities: Many people in the nation the game occurs in belong to a monotheistic anti-magical religion called the Church of Azerka (which is part of a broader movement called the Consensus), many others have individual patrons or follow pantheons, you could choose from here.
Races: Just the core races. Alternate racial traits allowed, if worked into origin.
Classes: Any Core, Base or Hybrid class found here. Characters could eventually take Core or Advanced Prestige classes. You may also draw material from Pure Steam (however we are not using that specific campaign background.)
Archetypes: Allowed, if worked into origin.
What's banned?: If Pathfinder Society has banned something I lean toward banning it, but we can discuss it.
HP: Max HP on your largest HD, (max/2)+1 on all other HD.
Skills: In addition to the regular adventuring skills we will use background skills and unchained skill unlocks.
Feats: Consider taking one Regional Feat in place of a normal Feat.
 

I am not fully using the Feat Tax Fix -- however, all feats that page identifies as problematical will be "buy one get one free"; except any of the intro Improved maneuvers which are "buy one get two free." All prerequisites must be met.

If any of the Regional feats give you a feat discounted by the Feat Tax, then you get associated Feat Tax benefit.

If you get any Feat via any means other than purchasing the feat permanently (e.g. a Brawler's martial flexibility, or an item that grants it while worn, etc.) then you do not get the Feat Tax advantage.

Drawbacks If you chose a drawback, then gain an extra trait and bonus feat.
Traits: Choose 2 traits. If none of your traits afford combat or magic boosts, then choose one more bonus trait that also doesn't.
Hero Points: Gained 1 per level, and at some achievements.
Other: When building a character, don’t refer to concepts that don’t exist in this game world. These are: the moon and stars, sunrise/sunset, lycanthropy, planes, particular specific countries or locations from other games -- this is a different world! Ask questions and we will sort out character details.
Optimization: Don’t overdo it. I care about play balance.


The Environment
Firearms: Reference here. https://www.d20pfsrd.com/equipment/weapons/firearms/ Gradually transitioning toward Guns Everywhere. Early firearms are 10% of listed prices and available broadly; advanced firearms are 50% of listed prices and available in advanced nations but hard to find on the frontiers or less developed nations. Firearms are Martial Weapons, not exotic.

The World: Is a Dyson sphere, an incredibly vast surface that surrounds the sun -- about half a billion times larger than our earth. The sun cycles on and off in a 24 period, creating days. Sages say that time passes at a different rate for the sun than the lands beneath it. Day lengths gradually vary, creating seasons, but the sun always appears directly overhead. There is no moon or stars, but at night the skylands come out and dimly twinkle. The game occurs in the Realm which is of unknown size but one could fly or sail a lifetime in any direction and never reach the end of it, yet the Realm is just a tiny part of the Sphere.

Magic: There are zones of magic that range from very high (wild or primal), to normal, to very low. Regions of null magic and anti-magic exist. Technology is usually limited to steam and clockwork devices, with more advanced technology supernaturally suppressed -- except in relatively few regions where technology is ascendent over magic.

Religions: The gods -- called Powers -- are just mortal. They live at most 20-30 centuries, and the Powers' lives depend critically upon the faith of their worshippers. They draw their power for mana upwellings which gather forming pools of radiance. Ley lines originate at the upwellings, then travel approximately downhill, and terminate at the sea or in subsidence zones. A geographical watershed depending on its size can contain a dozen or more interconnected ley lines -- and the Powers which inhabit their upwellings together form a pantheon. The strength of magic is proportional to the distance from the nearest ley line. High level persons (level 15+) can enter a pool of radiance, challenge the resident Power, and if successful, achieve apotheosis. Levels, even of the Powers, are capped at 20.

Planes: there are no planes, no other dimensions. There are far-away Powers elsewhere in the Sphere who oversee afterlives, preside over heavens and hells & etc.. Much the same variety of creatures can be encountered in the Sphere as in vanilla Pathfinder. But planar travel is more like hyperspace travel. It is point-to-point in a region the size of a single solar system. (Low level characters don’t need to worry about this yet -- of course!)

Azerka: Azerka is a nation which formed out of a confederation of smaller nations and city-states, drove out native and aboriginal races, and overthrew and killed most of a pantheon of native gods. They “capped” the mana upwellings in the regions they control, replacing the former gods with constructs. They enjoy the most advanced technological civilization known in this part of the Realm. The Church of Azerka is monotheistic and belongs to a much larger anti-magical but pro-technological religion called the Consensus. The MageCorp is a very sophisticated, disciplined, militaristic magic-wielding army. Those two powers, existing at some tension with each other, dominate Azerka. They are nominally subordinate to an elected civilian government.

Environs: Azerka is about 1000 miles east-west and about 700 miles north-south, crisscrossed by rail lines, and about 25 million inhabitants (comparable to the US. population density during the Roaring 20s before the start of the Great Depression). Azerka has oceans to its south, two equally powerful and hostile polytheistic nations to the south east (the Gundulun Oligarchy) and south west of them (the Bright Empire), and a number of smaller nations and city states around its periphery. The north is a vast frontier wilderland of ruins, deserts and hostile native tribes.

 

 

 




Game Play
Posting frequency: Aiming at 1 post daily, ~5 days a week. In combat, if you fail to post I’ll either stack one turn which you can post as catch-up later, or if you are facing imminent risk I’ll have you do something safe but obvious. You can also delegate another player to NPC you.

Experience awards: I’ll follow the https://www.d20pfsrd.com/classes/character-advancement/”]Medium progression chart[/URL]. XP Awards are at my discretion based on roleplaying posts, and achieving challenges, proportionate to difficulty relative to character power. So having a highly optimized build should not be advantageous relative to an “inefficient” build that uses its roleplaying opportunities well.

Treasure: As earned in adventuring plus some income during interludes.

Chapters: The Chapters will aim to give about +1 level XP per character with a mix of town, dungeon, and wilderness adventures.

Interludes: These will be end-of-chapter intervals where for about 1 week in RL we let the clock go into warp speed and allow game months to go by. I will invite each player to write narrative threads that others can interact with to GM your own brief (non-combat & low-stakes) stories. I’ll award bonus XP/resources based on how your threads dovetail with the theme and story development. I will retcon away anything that does not fit the story world or seems to abuse the privilege. At these points based on your character’s skills and standing in the game you may be able to retrain, craft items, and ready resources for the next chapter.

Player Acceptance: First come first served among those who present a character writeup that demonstrates solid creative writing. Give character appearance, personality and a background that justifies the character build, fits the game world, and proves that you were attentive to above guidance.

Before investing in a full writeup, you can express the gist and I’ll let you know if you are on track and looking to fit in a party.


Who am I
 

Last edited by CatCanCook; Yesterday at 07:32 PM. Reason: Added spoilerbutton giving a small bio of me.
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Old 12-24-2019, 10:08 AM
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The setting seems interesting, and I should be able to maintain the posting rate, though it is a bit high. That said I'm inclined to make an application (yet to decide on what that'll be). For now I wonder if you've ever heard of/read through/considered spheres of power and if you'd allow it?
Also, I'm curious after the Consensus, a manufactured god seems really interesting, is it capable of giving out divine power? What domains does it grant?

Currently I'm thinking about either a tribal elf, who's left home and the struggles of the frontier to hope to find riches in Azerka, a really progressive and perhaps a bit too militaristic member of the church of the Consensus. I've also got "Gunslinger/Spellslinger" and "Maffiamage" as reminders of character concepts I once thought cool. There's strictly speaking nothing keeping me from playing a combination of them all.
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Last edited by Sirviantis; 12-24-2019 at 10:13 AM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 02:02 PM
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Oooh, posting this as a placeholder.
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Old 12-24-2019, 02:26 PM
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(edited to fix typos from mobile phone post)

Hi Sirviantis, thanks for your interest.

Re: posting rate, the daily rate is what I've used in years past and it kept things humming. I'm willing to be flexible about it especially if the party has a consensus for a slower pace. I just don't want combats to drag on forever and to give you all enough tempo of accomplishments to level up at a reasonable pace.

I'd like to stick to the core materials listed, plus Pure Steam. I'll use some Legendary Games for more advanced tech, but that will unlock later. The decision to stay narrow is intentional, to keep focus on the environment's distinctives.

A bit later I'll post a list of regional feats which are about a feat-and-half.

When the Azerkans cap a pool of radiance, the construct is strictly mindless as it is their intention to not be ruled over by Powers. The multi-million GP construct starts as a pyramid of intricate machinery. As it floats in the Mana pool it encrusts with crystals until the pool is completely overgrown and covered. The magic is diverted to levitate and spin a giant stone and metal wheel. That provides kinetic power, distributed by a vast system of gears, axles and belts to provide for the needs of of industry and hundred of thousands of inhabitants. The second Wheel constructed many decades ago was improperly regulated. It overspun and detonated, laying waste to an entire city. Since then, a high ranked arcane expert in the MageCorp is appointed as an Arbiter. That person acts as a kind of living fuse, and would at cost of his life prevent an overspin. The Arbiters also have oversight over a School of magic within the Azerkan primary watershed. In that region they have a certain surveillance and influence over their particular form of magic: so there is an Arbiter of Illusion, an Arbiter of Abjuration, etc. (not a full list as the Azerkan conquest stalled as soon as their borders expanded toward the Gundulun Oligarchy and the Bright Empire.) The Arbiters are not worshipped and do not distribute spells/benefits/gifts as the Powers do.

The Consensus is a Lawful Good (or one step) non-magical faith. They label all magic (arcane, divine, supernatural abilities, items, creatures -- all of it) as belonging to the Alternative which they oppose -- though by nonviolent and non-coercive means unless combatting evil or violence. Ki force and abilities are kosher, however, so long as it is not used as a backdoor to channel magic. Suitable Consensus classes are Fighter, Mink, Gearhead, Gunslinger -- or other non spellcasters. At higher levels, Consensus characters take various Oaths that grant forms of personal antimagic and allow use of advanced technologies which are otherwise suppressed by the Alternative's emanations.

The Church of Azerka collaborated with the MageCorp to fabricate the Caps -- but they did it to eliminate several tribal gods, both facilitating religious conversions and greatly reducing divine magic in the Azerkan basin, as well as wiping out an entire ecosystem of magical beasts (which immensely aided conquest and domestication of a large territory).

The MageCorp handles the actual day-to-day operations of the Caps, and have all their top academies and workshops clustered in the peak magic zones around them.

That's all background, but re: your specific character ideas:

The game -- at least for now is in the frontier -- so a character motivated to leave the frontier would not fit, at least not at this time.

A spellcaster who could belong to the Church but as a sectarian or schismatic in actual rebellion against the core and leadership. The source of magic would either be arcane (drawing from key lines) or divine (worshipping a non-Azerkan Power.)

Re: Mafiamage -- we are running non-evil characters.

So -- many if your ideas work, with some adaptation. Focus down and don't try to have too many elements from day one

Last edited by CatCanCook; 12-24-2019 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-24-2019, 04:33 PM
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I updated the original post to include a list of regional feats.
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Old 12-24-2019, 05:30 PM
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Old 12-24-2019, 06:15 PM
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Hi Kshnik --

Thanks for expressing interest. I am going for core races only, at this time. Do you think you'd like to craft a character with a tone and style you might like within the core race parameters?
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Old 12-24-2019, 09:45 PM
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Hm...well, the setting's interesting, but it's not really my cup of tea, so I'll pass. Not really into the whole idea of science versus magic, myself. Thanks for the invite to apply, though.

Last edited by AllyDJ; 12-24-2019 at 10:05 PM.
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Old 12-25-2019, 11:26 AM
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I updated the original post with a spoiler box giving a short personal bio -- so if you are interested in joining i'm not a total stranger.

Also, merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah.
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:13 PM
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I absolutely love the themes going on here! Not a huge fan of PF, but I am interested for now :O
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Old 12-25-2019, 03:44 PM
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I find myself stuck with a question @CatCanCook: What type of theme are you going for with the game?
I ask because I'm really intrigued with the setting, and I'm excited to see some strife between the consensus and adherents to the Powers, as well as some corruption in the system.
But from the adventure pitch I feel like the game will consist mostly episodic, local, adventures based in the town of Sweetwater (hence the name) and helping everyone survive in the frontier. Which is a valid and popular theme, it's just not something I typically look for in games.
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Old 12-25-2019, 06:10 PM
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Oriana -- welcome! Much thanks for the enthusiasm. Please construct a character and I'll be happy to answer questions.

Sirvantis -- The game is starting with Sweetwater, and I did not want to immediately plunge into themes of grand conflict, but rather let them spiral up gradually (and using the downtime between chapters to advance the state of both characters and the world around them). The first couple adventures will have an episodic local flavor -- but the connections to national-scale institutions will steadily escalate. The frontier will not remain the frontier: think of how rapidly towns grew in a gold-rush era California, for example. The connection to the core nation is by monthly dirigible; that will change eventually to rail lines, and when/if the area proves strategic, to permanent teleportation circles, etc.

There are seeds of particular tensions (among them colonialists vs tribals, church vs state, science vs magic, mortals vs. powers and seeking to overthrow/become powers). If players respond strongly to them they may mine those particular seams to a greater extent.

The game name can become an anachronism given substantial level advancement, but my thought is it can always remain a "home base" however the party roves, if characters have built allies there and not burnt bridges. I don't aim to start near the finish line of a campaign. :-)

Last -- the "retraining" option will be viable if a character wants to start a more humble frontiers-person and then mature and retune as someone perhaps who has taken sides in one of the larger conflicts.

Last edited by CatCanCook; 12-25-2019 at 11:43 PM.
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Old 12-25-2019, 06:27 PM
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For tracking purposes this is the current status of prospective players.

PlayerCharacterRace,ClassStatus
Sirviantis none none Interested
OrianaOleander none none Interested
Touketsu none none Placeholder
Kshnik none Dwarf, fighter/brawler Interested
None none none none
None none none none

I'm not sure of the local jargon, whether "placeholder" means substantial interest or just lurker.

Also -- status: It's the holidays, I'll be traveling off and on and visiting with people. So I'm expecting slow/intermittent interactions of both myself and others for now.

Last edited by CatCanCook; 12-26-2019 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 12-25-2019, 06:39 PM
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Okay, thanks for elaborating on your intentions. I'll continue working on the ideas I had for a character.
As for your question, placeholder means they like the concept, are interested in playing and will have a character up soon-ish.
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Old 12-26-2019, 01:49 PM
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Dwarf brawler/fighter using a pair of dwarven war shields is the concept I am going to run with.

A feat called healing hands appears to be a decent way to heal without “magic”. However it requires knowledge plane. In your write up planes don’t really exist. So first is healing hands feat allowed? And is there a substitute I can use in place of Knowledge Planes.
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Last edited by Kshnik; 12-26-2019 at 01:55 PM.
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