Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Elduman

Alright, so this one is just another one I've previously completed. The Elduman.

Origin: Elduman originally came to The Known World due to their empire of Kaleshmar being destroyed by a sorcerous cataclysm and partially crashing into The Known World when it fell from the sky.
Favored Regions: Haven, The New Empire, The Old Empire.
Appearance: Superficially, the Elduman resemble their descendants of The New Empire and The Plains of Dust that were born from Elduman and Uncout interactions. Like their descendants, Elduman have a humanoid appearance. The most obviously different feature of the Elduman race is that their eyes appear to be uncut gemstones.
The hair on Elduman bodies is actually composed of thin crystalline fibers that appear to be pale shades of normal hair colors such as brown or blonde. This fibrous hair only grows on the face and head of Elduman. Elduman flesh also appears paler than the skin of Uncout and does not tan or burn when exposed to the sun. Aside from this oddity, the flesh of Elduman is fairly normal. It sweats and bleeds and heals. However, it feels somewhat waxy to the touch.
Racial Characteristics: The most well known trait of Elduman is their ability to wield psionic powers. This trait is possessed by some of their descendants as well. These powers are varied in nature and do not appear to be linked to sorcery in any way, despite being able to perform similar effects.
Because the eyes of the Elduman are living crystal, there is no need to keep them moist or protect them with eyelids. While Elduman do have eyelids of flesh, they do not need to blink to moisturize their eyes or protect them from grit. This endless, unblinking gaze has been described as unnerving.
While their flesh appears to be somewhat unnatural in nature, the oddest quality of the bodies of the Elduman are that this flesh is merely a thin covering. Beneath this faux-flesh is a body composed entirely of bluish crystal. This crystal flesh is somewhat flexible, though somewhat stiffer than that of flesh and blood creatures, and flesh-like and contains crystalline versions of muscles, bones, and internal organs.
In addition to their various advantages their psionics and crystalline bodies provide them, Elduman are well adapted to the hot climate of The Known World. The Old Empire is a scorching desert of gleaming sands utterly devoid of shade and Elduman bodies have adapted to survive in similar environments.

Elduman Racial Traits
0 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 8 - 14
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 8 - 14
Secondary Characteristics
SM +0 (5’ 6” - 6’ 6”)
Advantages [46]
Alternative Sustenance: Doesn’t Eat or Drink [10]
Crystalline Flesh: Temperature Tolerance 2 (Cold 1/Hot 1) [2]
Elduman Resilience: Damage Reduction 5 (Biokinesis, -5%; Active Defense Roll, -40%; Costs 1 FP/Use, -10%; Requires Attribute Roll: Will, -5%) [10]
Groinless: Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2]
Immortal: Unaging [5]
Psionic: Energy Reserve 3 (Psionic) [9]
Reduced Sleep: Less Sleep 4 [8]
Disadvantages [-45]
Crystalline Flesh: Fragile (Brittle) [-15]
Shatter Prone: Vulnerability (Occasional Substance: Sonic Damage; Damage Multiplier x2) [-20]
Strange Biology: Unusual Biochemistry [-5]
Vulnerable To Gifts: Revulsion (Occasional Substance: Gifts) [-5]
Quirks [-1]
Stiff Limbs: Stiff Limbs (-1 on Climbing, Escape, and Erotic Art rolls) [-1]

Optional Traits
  • Enhanced Elduman Resilience [+2/1 DR]: The Elduman may increase their Elduman Resilience up to Damage Resistance 15 and may do so at any time.   
  • Passive Resilience [10 - 30]: Some Elduman possess a passive form of Elduman Resilience that functions at all times, this form of the resilience ability replaces the active ability and because it requires more effort and psionic energy to maintain, it is weaker. Passive Elduman Resilience is purchased as Damage Reduction 2 - 6 (Biokinesis, -5%).

Feature: Elduman are psionic creatures and my use all five types of psionics and may purchase a wide variety of advantages as psionic powers.

Feature: Elduman may not purchase sorcerous advantages or access sorcerous energy in any way.

I'm not going to bother with Elduman Descended Uncout. They would normally be next, as these are going alphabetically. Basically they're human, but they have a longer lifespan and a feature that allows them to use some forms of psionic powers. Specifically they have access to a more limited form of biokinesis than Elduman, a more limited form of esp than Elduman, as well as psychokinesis and telepathy. They can also use sorcery, making them one of two races in The Known World that can use both psionics and sorcery.

The next race is the Fallen. They're always where I typically get stuck when doing GURPS versions of Hekinoe's races. This is partly because they're somewhat difficult to craft, as they are completely immortal and that and their transformation to their spirit form is somewhat complicated to craft. We'll see how it goes.

Friday, February 19, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Dwenoren

Next up, we've got the Dwenoren, who have appeared on the blog here several times. So once again, we're just going to copy and past without really getting into the nitty gritty of everything. Again, please excuse any formatting or font oddities. 


Origin: The Dwenoren are native to The Known World and have existed here since before the fall of Kaleshmar.
Favored Regions: Kusseth, Volungshemle, Whurent.
Appearance: The Dwenoren are a relatively short race of humanoids, typically only reaching around five feet in height. They have pale, perpetually moist, hairless skin, no finger or toenails, and though their heads appear normal, relatively speaking, they completely lack eyes and eye sockets.
The fluid coating their skin is not sweat, it is an oil they secrete that insulates them from the cold temperatures in their lightless caves. Instead of empty eye sockets they have a bone plate above their nose that provides further protection to their brains. Their ears are large and wrinkly and are decidedly bat-like in shape. Along their jaws and chins they have thick grey spines, almost like a beard, that are a sensory organ that is able to detect minute shifts in air current and pressure.
Racial Characteristics: Dwenoren possess the ability to emit a form of ultrasonic noise that allows them to sense their environment similar to the noises emitted by bats. Their highly developed hearing and unique ear structure allow them to sense the echo of these normally imperceptible noises as they strike objects. This allows them to form a mental picture of their surroundings. Though completely blind, these noises coupled with their sensory spines allow them to navigate their surroundings.
The Dwenoren race does not have a male/female gender distinction, though they can perceive and understand the difference in other races. Most Dwenoren accept being referred to as male by other races, though they have no gender prefixes in their own tongue. Their method of reproduction is primarily unknown, but the Dwenoren are supposedly related to some manner of worm or grub.
Because of the cold temperatures found below the surface, Dwenoren are resistant to cold temperatures. This is a byproduct of the oils secreted naturally by their skin. This oil is somewhat thick and also serves to make them rather slippery, giving them an advantage when grappling with foes or attempting to escape bonds.

Dwenoren Racial Traits

25 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 8 - 14
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 9 - 15
Secondary Characteristics
SM +0 (4’ 6” - 5’)
Advantages [75]
Echolocation [51]: Scanning Sense (Sonar; Extended Arc: 240, +75%; Targeting, +20%; Increased Range: 2x, +10%) [41], Ultrasonic Speech [10]
Excellent Hearing [2]: Acute Senses (Hearing) 1 [2], Ultrahearing [0]
Eyeless [5]: Injury Tolerance (No Eyes) [5]
Groinless [2]: Injury Tolerance (No Groin) [2]
Sensory Spines [12]: Vibration Sense (Universal +50%; Limited Effect: Front 120 Degree Arc, -30%) [12]
Skin Oils [3]: Slippery 1 [2], Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1]
Disadvantages [-50]
Eyeless [-50]: Blindness [-50]

Optional Traits
Enhanced Echolocation [+2]: Some Dwenoren possess a greater ability to emit and receive the frequencies of their race’s echolocation. These Dwenoren replace the Increased Range: 2x, +10% enhancement of their Scanning Sense (Sonar) advantage with Increased Range: 5x, +20%.

Feature: Dwenoren may purchase Acute Senses for their Scanning Sense (Sonar) and Vibration Sense advantages.

Alright, so that's the Dwenoren. Weee.

Monday, February 15, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Racial Templates: Children of Volung

Alright, here goes. Forgive any font/formatting oddities here, I'm basically going to be typing these in the main Google Drive document and pasting them here. I've already completed the Children of Volung racial template before on the blog, so I'm just going to copy and paste that into the post instead of getting into the what and why of the various advantages and disadvantages and whatnot. Once I get into some races I haven't finalized before I'll take longer and discuss things as I figure out the precise components of each race.

Children of Volung

Origins: The Children of Volung originally came to The Known World in the year 5006 DK from the distant homeland they refer to only as The North.
Favored Regions: Kusseth, Volungshemle, Whurent.
Physical Appearance: Volung's Children stand head and shoulders above other races, with the majority of them reaching at least seven feet in height when their bodies mature. Their bodies are composed of very tough hide-like skin, lean and wiry muscles, and thick bones that are evidently more durable than the bones of other races. It is said that beneath their skin, their ribcages have an additional layer of protection in the form of bony overlapping plates similar in structure to that found in dragon scales and archaic forms of scaled armor.
Their hair is universally raven black, as are their eyes. The eyes of Children appear to be orbs of solid black with no sign of white or iris. Their lips are thin and like their skin they have a leathery appearance and behind them are the pointed teeth of a carnivore. The ears of their race are long and taper backwards to points.
Like the Uncout and the other humanoids of The Known World, they have the standard collection of humanoid features, two arms, two legs, a head, ears, a nose, etc. Like other races, they require food, water, and air to live.
Racial Characteristics: One of the main characteristics of the Children of Volung is that they are physically immortal. Once they reach maturity, their bodies cease to age. Barring injury, their lives seem to extend indefinitely. They also appear to have an innate resistance to poisons and diseases. This resistance to ailments is fortunate as common treatments and elixirs found in The Known World often work unexpectedly on Children unless specifically designed for them.
Perhaps due to their origins in the distant north of Hekinoe, the Children of Volung possess an increased tolerance for cold temperatures. This advantageous adaptation is unfortunately of little use in the warm climate of The Known World.
Children of Volung also appear to be incredibly durable. Whether this is merely a side effect of their tough skin, muscle, and skeleton, or a separate adaptation is unknown. Regardless, they tend to be more difficult to kill outright or knock out than other races.
The most iconic characteristic of the Children of Volung is their rage. Admittedly, popular culture and gossip makes the rage of Volung’s children out to be more than it is, but as a species, they do possess what might be called a racial rage or bloodlust, though how vulnerable they are to this innate aggression is of course down to the individual.

Children of Volung Racial Traits

8 points
Mandatory Traits
Basic Attribute Ranges At Character Creation
ST 9 - 15
DX 8 - 14
IQ 8 - 14
HT 9 - 15
Secondary Characteristics
SM +1 (6’ 6” - 7’)
Advantages [33]
Hardiness [10]: Resistant (Common: Diseases; +3 HT To Resist, x1/3) [5], Resistant (Common: Poisons; +3 HT To Resist, x1/3) [5]
Immortal [5]: Unaging [5]
Northern Blood [1]: Temperature Tolerance 1 (Cold) [1]
Plated Rib Cage [5]: Damage Resistance 1 (Partial: Torso, -10%) [5]
Tough Bones [5]: Injury Tolerance (Unbreakable Bones; Limited Effect: x1.5 Damage To Cripple Limbs, -50%) [5]
Tough Hide [3]: Damage Resistance 1 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3]
Tough To Put Down [4]: Hard To Kill 1 [2], Hard To Subdue 1 [2]
Disadvantages [-25]
Strange Biology [-5]: Unusual Biochemistry [-5]
Volung’s Rage [-20]: Berserk (Self Control: 12, x1) [-10], Bloodlust (Self Control: 12, x1) [-10]

Optional Traits
Secret Access [25]: At character creation, Children of Volung characters may take Unusual Background: 24 [25]. This advantage grants you access to a special selection of equipment available only to Children of Volung. You may not know what this equipment is before taking this Unusual Background, and neither the player nor the character may speak of what is available to other players or characters. Doing so will cause the advantage and the purchased gear to be removed with no refund of character points or marks.

Feature: Children of Volung may purchase up to 3 levels of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue (4 levels for player characters) rather than the normal maximum of 2 levels (3 levels for player characters).
Feature: Volung’s Rage is a longstanding biological trait of the Children of Volung, and the Self Control numbers to resist their Berserk and Bloodlust disadvantages may be modified, but the disadvantages themselves may never be completely bought off.

Alright, so that's the Children of Volung. Woo!

Friday, February 12, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe: Racial Templates

I need to kick it into gear here. This campaign for The Known World is taking stupid long. It's been in the works for over a year. I keep slacking and losing focus and getting distracted by shiny things (or ugly pixelated things in the case of Minecraft). Need to focus up. Magic is about where I want it, so it's time to move my ass along. I have an introduction and character creation chapter that's mostly complete. At least until I figure out what else needs to go in there. Heh. Those sections are followed by a section on optional rules and that sort of thing.

My thought is that following that stuff should be the races and nations of The Known World. The people and places are so integral to the setting, for obvious reasons, so they should come next. From time to time I've worked on the racial templates and gone back and altered them as I've become more familiar with the system. I feel like the time has come to finalize them. For reals. So let's do that.

The first thing we need to do as part of finalizing the racial templates is establishing a format for the entries. This isn't difficult, I've mostly already done it in the various entries. One thing I really truly want to hammer home in these racial templates is separating biological and cultural traits. So each racial template will consist of the actual racial template, a physical description of the race, and any noteworthy biological traits that are common to them. That's it. Anything else like attitudes and relations with other races, like you see in DnD race entries, is cultural information. Which will go in the cultural template section.

We're going to break the rules section into a fairly normal arrangement of parts: mandatory traits, optional traits, and features. Mandatory traits will contain the biological advantages, disadvantages, quirks, and perks of the race, as well as the character creation attribute ranges. Optional traits will govern special biological advantages, disadvantages, etc, etc, that some, but not all of the members of the race have. For instance, some Sereth retain the innate resistance to sorcery that their ancestors had when the Sereth and Vyanth were just the Vyanth. Features are special options and allowances that the race has. For instance, Rankethlek and Soulless have no FP, so they are immune to most effects involving FP, but they also can't use FP.

Before I get into the racial templates, I want to establish a sort of player character template. GURPS is a very very deadly game, especially with things like magic and firearms added into it. I like this aspect of GURPS. There's a reasonable chance for characters to die or be seriously injured in any combat. It's a design focus they had, because combat is typically deadly, so they made combat deadly. GURPS is a game where you're not throwing combat encounters at the players simply to wear away 10% of their resources. Which is the design intent of many DnD combat encounters. Even though I like this, I'd like player's to have an edge, because I like players to grow attached to their characters and for those characters to not drop like flies. 

First off, we give the template Weirdness Magnet [-15]. This is a disadvantages that I have re-purposed from what it exists as in the rules. I forget what it normally does. What it means in my campaigns is that as player characters, there are going to be things that happen to the players because they are player characters. There are going to be lots of unforeseen consequences to their actions. Some random mook they kill will end up having a extra powerful witch as a mother. Some random mook they maim, but don't kill, will end up surviving and swearing vengeance. Ancient supernatural entities will decide they are interested in the players. Etc. Weirdness Magnet is me recognizing that and granting you extra points because of it. 

The first two features are going to allow players to increase their HP and FP to 40% of their Strength and Health, rather than the normal 30%. So a normal character with a 10 in Strength and a 10 in Health can have 13 HP and 13 FP, but a player character could have 14 and 14. It's a small modification, but it is recognition that players are special. 

The second two features are going to allow players to purchase up to three levels of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue, rather than the normal two levels. Again, a small boon, but still one that definitely sets PCs apart from mooks. 

Player Character Template
0 points
Disadvantages [-15]

  • Weirdness Magnet [-15]

Feature: Player characters may purchase HP up to 140% of their Strength, rather than the normal 130%.
Feature: Player characters may purchase FP up to 140% of their Health, rather than the normal 130%. 
Feature: Player characters may purchase up to three levels of Hard to Kill, rather than the normal maximum of two levels.
Feature: Player characters may purchase up to three levels of Hard to Subdue, rather than the normal maximum of two levels. 

Alright, so that's the player character template. We'll move on to the races next week. Hopefully. Maybe. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

GURPS Hekinoe Magic: I'm Bloody Fucking Brilliant

So one of the reasons I switched to the college skills for casting spells instead of having characters buy spells was because I wanted to represent the fact that there are not individual spells with specific incantations and uses in Hekinoe. You're just using fire magic and shaping it with your will. This style of magic is normally called wildcard magic and you typically purchase a very hard skill called magic at triple the cost and apply penalties to your effective skill level for each prerequisite spell the spell has. I split it into very hard college skills for two reasons. The first was to reduce the cost of magic, at least for specialists that don't want to cast all types of magic. The second reason was so I could associate a skill with each college that allowed you to buy it higher than the normal cap on purchased level, in addition to certain advantages granting that permission.

Those advantages were Unfazeable, Versatile, and Visualization. This coupled with the skills associated with each college allowed the college skills to be purchased at up to attribute+5. The reason I capped the college skills was because there is only so much you can do to get better at making magic in a certain way. It's not something you can endlessly get better at. I also increased the Magery cap of The Known World to 10. The reason I did that was because of the prerequisite spell modifier to effective skill level issue. 

I had discussed adding a technique that allows you to negate the prerequisite penalties, but I felt that that was not in keeping with the intent of techniques, which is to modify specific uses of a skill, not every use of the skill. 

Last night (two weeks ago) I think I hit upon a solution that balances all of my goals and desires here. 

The first step is to switch the college skills back to one very hard magic skill that is triple the normal cost. The next step is to cap that skill at attribute+2, with having the Unfazeable, Versatile, and Visualization advantages each increase the purchase cap by +1, allowing you to potentially purchase the Sorcery/Magic wildcard skill at attribute+5.

The second step is to drop the Magery advantage cap back down to 7 (with the one individual on Hekinoe with the highest Magery having a 7, not a 10). 

The next step is to add a technique associated with each college of spells that allows you to negate part of the prerequisite spell penalty for that college. So there will be a technique associated with the fire college, air college, technological college, etc, etc, etc. This fits more with the design of techniques, instead of modifying every use of a skill, you're modifying using the skill to cast air spells or fire spells, or whatever. 

Now the issue becomes representing the fact that knowledge of a certain type improves your ability to shape magic of a certain type. My thought is that each of these techniques, regardless of how high you buy them, only negates 1/3 of the prerequisite penalties to effective skill level with a spell. So with fireball having three prerequisite spells, regardless of how much of Fire College Better Yeah technique you had, you would only negate a -1 penalty to effective skill level with fireball. My thought is that having a skill level of 15 with a college's associated skill would allow your technique to remove up to 2/3 of the prerequisite penalty for spells of that college, and having the associate skill at 16+ would let your technique remove all of the prerequisite penalties for spells of the associated college. 

With this system, I'd separate the colleges of spells again to be closer to the way they appear in GURPS Magic. Metal would still get lumped in with earth and weather would still cease to exist. The whole purpose of reducing the amount of colleges was to reduce the amount of points it would cost to be a generalist sorcerer, and switching it to one wildcard skill for magic instead of one skill for each college already does that.  

So yeah, I'm brilliant and whatnot and that works pretty nicely for my tastes and purposes and allows the prerequisite penalty issue to be handled.