Monday, July 30, 2012

Heck If I Know

So a long long time ago my buddy Tony and I were going to make a campaign together, we didn't. However, I used some of my ideas from our talks, along with a bunch of others with Shawn, to make Hekinoe.  I also raped Iron Kingdoms for ideas as well, because I am thieving word raper devoid of creativity. So, we've played Hekinoe in 4th Edition and Pathfinder, finished one campaign, aborted another, and started a third. I was looking over some older material from the campaign and kind of felt like posting a little about what started all this nonsense that became the campaign book. Originally I had no name for the campaign, just a folder of stuff called Heck If I Know. Heck If I Know. Said that before, just tickles me to reiterate it sometimes.

So looking at the Torem Primer document, which was going to be the name of the campaign world at one point I guess. However, there was another folder in my campaign folder called Torem, so I dunno what was going on there. The first thing I talk about is how alignment is stupid and I won't be using it, which is still consistent with the current Hekinoe. Next, I go on to armor, and as I said in a previous post, I intended to use armor as damage reduction from the Unearthed Arcana book. I even built tables converting every form of armor available in 3.5 at that time into damage reduction. Seriously, everything from coral armor to Mechanus gear armor. I also go on to talk about currency and languages, and those are unchanged in our current campaign. Except Orcunraytrel uses traditional DnD precious metal currency. Hit points remain unchanged from that initial document.

Classes in this primordial version of Hekinoe operated a little bit differently. I still kept the whole anti-religion theme of The Known World, no Clerics or Paladins or that sort of thing. However, I created four new classes: Armiger, Bard, Warden, and Witch Hunter. The Armiger was a class that wore a lot of armor and focused on being tough. Which in retrospect is really weird to put into a pseudo-Old West world where firearms have sort of made heavier armor semi-useless. The Bard is a Bard without the magic and more assassin type stuff. It was based on Bards being assassins in Dark Sun, something I decided had to be in Hekinoe because it was awesome. The Warden is a cop from Kusseth, kind of like a Rogue, but with more investigatory abilities and no sneak attack. The Witch Hunter is kind of like a Paladin mixed with a Ranger but no spells or spell-like abilities.

None of those classes remain in the current version of the world, obviously. The Wardens and Bards work better as affiliations while the Witch Hunter works better as a Psychic Warrior archetype. Armiger is just stupid now that I think about it, plus, several of the Pathfinder Fighter abilities kind of duplicate what I was trying to achieve with it.

Additionally, I did this thing where certain classes could only come from certain nations. For instance, folks from the Fell Peaks can start play as Binders, Fighters, Hexblades, Rogues, Shadowcasters, Sorcerers, and Warlocks. I'm not really sure why I determined that certain classes could only come from certain nations. I've done a lot of weird things in my time with DnD. Half the time I do shit because it is cool and I saw it somewhere else.

I was using the point buy ability score generation system back then, but I had changed it a bit. Everyone had 84 points to distribute between their six ability scores. It wasn't like a scaling buy system, one point equaled one point. So you had enough points for a fourteen in every ability or three eighteens and three tens, or some variation on that. We use the normal point buy system in our game nowadays, with the high fantasy setting which give you twenty points to buy stats. Buying all sixteens under this system would cost thirty points, and three eighteens and a three tens would have cost fifty-one points. Just a wee bit overpowered.

Firearms were still in the game back then, but they were more like the Iron Kingdoms firearms, older single shot firearms that required a Craft (Gunsmithing) check to reload and whatnot. I also altered the rules so pistols were kind of the average or normal firearm while rifles typically had a wider critical threat ranges and shotguns typically had larger critical multipliers. Firearms also penetrated armor based damage reduction to a degree based on their damage die. The base firearms were also modified by whatever race/company built them. Firearms built by the Abraxen fired rounds at a higher velocity, so they penetrated damage reduction to a higher degree while those built by Dwarves (?) had longer range and those built by Goblins (?) were more prone to misfires and tended to explode.

Healing was kind of a weird thing in this early version of the game. All divine spells were folded into the Sorcerer/Wizard spell lists, but since magic was so unreliable, sorcerous healing would degrade over time until you were healed by the Heal skill. I also decided that the Heal skill could restore hit points, which it could not do in 3.5 Edition. Pathfinder added the ability to treat major wounds with the Heal skill, so that eliminated some of the need for this alteration. I ended up removing the sorcerous healing degrading over time thing because I eliminated the folding in of spells, plus magic was so effed in the first place I didn't feel the need to punish the players any further.

Magic was still fucked up back then, but it kind of evolved into a horrific thing in Pathfinder, eventually including magic items just exploding when used. The current version consists of three separate tables of effects, plus one that determines what your misfire does. The extra tables consist of lingering effects, misfires, and overcharges. With misfires, the spell works but it does something additional like a lingering effect, there are critical misfires which make the spell not work and do only the misfire effect. The misfires do stuff like start the area on fire, blind everyone, turn everyone invisible, or completely suppress everyone's ability to heal, which turns every wound into a bleeding wound. The lingering effects are annoying effects that are based on the type of spell you cast. For instance, with Abjuration spells you can end up filling the area with planes of force that make it hard for everyone to move or lock every window or door in the area with a band of force. Fire spells can drain all the heat from your body or fill you with too much heat so that it incinerates the oxygen in the air as you draw into your lungs, which can end up suffocating you. Necromancy lingering effects have a chance of drawing the attention of The Bleak Tyrant himself. Overcharges are pretty simple, they apply metamagic effects to spells.

One rule that didn't carry over into the modern version of Hekinoe was a rule about weapon size and initiative. Basically, smaller and quicker weapons had a bonus to initiative checks, while bigger and heavier ones had a penalty. The bonus also increased or decreased based on the size category of the weapon in the case of weapons that were built for larger or smaller sized creatures.

I also had a few skills that didn't really end up joining the game because there was no real purpose for them. Craft (Mechanical) was in there for creating stuff like turbines and steam engines, but there is far less steampunk flavor in the current Hekinoe than there was when I was first writing stuff. Craft (Gunsmithing) is still in the game, but for some reason I gave it special rules instead of the normal Craft rules from 3.5. I also added in a Repair skill because d20 Modern did, which is dumb because Craft skills cover repairing the stuff relevant to that Craft skill. I also threw in Craft (Demolitions), but again, I gave it special rules instead of the normal Craft rules. Seriously, I don't know why I do half the things I do. 

I also had intended to include healing surges in the game when I learned about them from reading some 4th Edition material. Obviously, since we ended up using 4th Edition to play Hekinoe, they were included and when we switched to Pathfinder I kind of forgot about them. Plus, they don't really fit with Pathfinder the way they do with 4th Edition. Shocking, I know, must have something to do with the fact that 4th Edition healing and recovery was kind of completely 100% designed around them being a part of the game and Pathfinder was not. 

I was also going to include starting occupations from d20 Modern, I didn't end up doing that in 4th Edition or the Pathfinder version of the world. Both Pathfinder and 4th Edition have traits, so they kind of cover the intend of starting occupations.

One final absence was the fact that when I was writing this initial primer document I was still calling the Sereth, Vyanth, and Children of Volung Elves. The Abraxen races were still referred to as Orcs and the Dwenoren were still called Dwarves. I changed lots of that type of stuff to kind of make the campaign world more my own, there are still similarities, but I think I've made the races my own in Pathfinder. When we played 4th Edition, I ran into a problem though. It was a new system so I didn't understand it well enough to sort of guestimate at the balance of created races, so unfortunately I ended up renaming a bunch of 4th Edition races and using their stats. For instance, both Fallen and Soulless use the stats of the Warforged. Dwenoren used the stats of Dwarves, which is stupid because the Dwenoren don't really have a martial culture anymore and most of the Dwarf abilities focus on durability and combat. If anything, Children of Volung make far more sense as Dwarves. Oh well, hindsight.

So there you go, a little bit about the beginnings of the rules of Hekinoe.  

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