World of Esaene (ENWorld)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Esaene outline (working)

I'm still brainstorming this and it is subject to much change...
I think each release should be focused on an adventure and have it include the supplementary information along with it. Have an adventure in the Riverlands, the Pellinans, the heart of Amara or the highlands of Rone.

Esaene primer

  1. Introduction

  2. Races
    1. All characters are human
    2. Certain feats represent bloodlines (half-elves, etc.)
    3. Regional benefits are granted to different groups of people (cultures, etc.)
    4. Many cultural groups will be detailed in separate regional books.

  3. Classes
    1. Fighter
    2. Mageknight
    3. Ranger
    4. Rogue
    5. Sorcerer
    6. Wanderer
    7. Wizard

  4. Skills
    1. Skill updates
      1. Language
      2. Profession
      3. Spellcraft

    2. Changes
      1. Remove Use Magic Device
      2. Remove Magical Skills from EoM - Dispel Magic, Divination, Scry

  5. Feats
    1. Magical feat changes
    2. Magical traditions
    3. Combat style trees
    4. General changes

  6. Magic
    1. Elements of Magic revised
    2. Changes to base system

  7. Starting region for base game

Regional Book

  1. Introduction
    1. Overview
    2. Map
    3. Politics
    4. Religion
    5. History
    6. Organizations
    7. Adventure hooks/seeds

  2. Races
    1. Regional Feats
    2. Languages available
    3. Physical characteristics
    4. Religion/Faith
    5. Benefits/Drawbacks
    6. Magical Traditions
    7. Standard and exotic weapons/equipment
    8. Preferred and restricted classes/traditions

  3. Focal point write up
    1. Location description & statistics
    2. Important characters
    3. Full adventure in setting

A question of criticals

This is something I have been wrestling with for months, if not years...

Is it better to have a static percentage chance of a critical (a natural 20 is a 5% chance to threaten, regardless of who the attacker is) or make it a matter of degree? For example, if a target's base armor class without modifier is 10, a natural 20 is beating the target by an additional 10 (10 will hit on the nose, as will 11-20).

So a rapier, normally a 18-20 threat range, would threaten/critical on a +8 (getting a result of 18 or better against an AC 10). Of course, at low levels critical hits would be less common as armor class often outstrips attack bonus. At high levels, however, this would reverse itself. It would probably require a defense bonus to mitigate it a bit, so high level opponents squaring off don't just crit each other to death. I'll have to run the numbers, I think.

On the positive, certain maneuvers (like feint, trip, etc.) designed to make your opponent temporarily vulnerable would have a very real impact on combat. Feinting an opponent to make him flat footed against your next strike could very well end the combat. A trip attack puts a target in a very vulnerable position, making a wolf pack a very real and deadly threat.


Well, I have all but finalized the classes. Minor tweaks still remain, but this is the current list*: Fighter, Mageknight, Ranger, Rogue, Sorcerer, Wanderer, Wizard.

Fighters will handle all of the combat-intensive work and can be customized quite a bit - they get a feat or ability every level toward this end. They are the only class with the full attack bonus. Fighters have a hit die value of 1d12.

Mageknights, Rangers, Rogues, and Wanderers all have a 3/4 attack bonus and different specializations. Mageknights are obviously spell-casters and their abilities are groomed in that direction. Rangers specialize in the hunting, guiding, and tracking; Rogues are experts in finding, avoiding, and acquiring; while Wanderers are jacks-of-all-trades who are good travelers - a "gypsy" class if you will. These classes all have a hit die value of 1d8.

Sorcerers and Wizards are opposite sides of the same coin - 1/2 attack bonus, full magic, with their own strengths and weaknesses. Sorcerers have a greater breadth of power whereas Wizards are much more focused and have a more classical "wizard" feel to them. I really like the differences and unique feel to both. These two both have a hit die value of 1d4.

All classes have starting abilities - class features they only gain if they start as a class. This consists of all weapon and armor proficiencies, as well as initial saving throw bonuses. Technically, the initial burst of skill points is also part of this, but it isn't listed that way.

* I may add a "noble/leader" class, but that has not been finalized.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The game goes on

Session two of our game was last night - it brought us through Act 2 (of 3) of the first adventure. The group has done well and they all advanced to level 2 after resting at a safe house in the city (a temple). In the process of all of this I have made adjustments to the magical skills (combining the Scry and Divination skills into a Divine spell list; moving Dispel Magic to spellcraft). I'm also in the process of creating my first tradition.

In the adventure, the main NPC the party interacts with is a cleric/fighter called Torrent. I have made her a level 2 mageknight instead and I started creating a magical tradition to encompass her faith. This will be the first in, I hope, many of such traditions.

It's tentatively named the Order of the Blue Circle - a religious order devoted to a god/goddess protecting travelers. They will have certain restrictions on which spell lists they can take first and they will have some bonuses to certain types of magic. The faith began around water magic, so I think I'm going to require followers of the faith to make 3 of their first 6 spell lists water-based or air-based and give them a +1 MP limit on air/gen and water/gen spells.

Monday, May 21, 2007


You can use items of your foes to enhance your spells.

Benefit: When casting a spell that targets a single creature and grants a saving throw, the DC to resist is increased by +2 if you possess an effigy – an item of physical, emotional, or spiritual significance to your target. If you possess a body part of the target, the DC is increased by +5.

If part of a ritual, possessing an effigy will give the caster a +4 bonus to the caster level check. A body part will give a +10 bonus. If you use this ability, the target is always considered unwilling, so it must attempt a save to resist, even if the spell is normally harmless.

Any effect on the target will affect the effigy or body part. For many spells, this will do nothing; evocations will often destroy the focus.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Game update

I have started a game using some of my new rules, although I am starting out very slowly on that front. I plan to introduce rules one at a time in order to not inundate the players with changes. I'm running an existing campaign (WotBS), although I have changed the place names to protect the innocent (or guilty).

Rich is playing Cyrus, a fighter. He was nearly killed by a mercenary and later made a rousing speech to inspire the citizenry in a time of crisis, organizing a bucket brigade to put out a burning building and generally acted heroically.
Scott is playing Nabron, a sorcerer. He is cowardly and self-serving, thinking only of his immediate goals.
Brian C is playing Arwin, a rogue with some fey blood. He heroically saved a woman from a burning building by scaling the wall and carrying her down from the fourth story.
Brian D was absent, but is playing a yet to be seen MageKnight.

I have changed the classes slightly, added a few feats, and changed the magic system to Elements of Magic (Revised) along with the existing errata and Lyceum Arcana.

Current Classes:
  • Fighter (slight modification by adding combat styles at odd levels)
  • Rogue (more akin to the Thief from Conan)
  • Sorcerer (Mage from EoM)
  • Wizard (Arcanist from LA)
  • Taskmage (EoM)
  • Mageknight (EoM)
Future Classes (tentative):
  • Hunter/Ranger (non-magic)
  • Expert
Class Mechanic Change: All classes have "Starting abilities" and "Class features". Some class features are only gained when you start as a class. This includes weapon/armor proficiencies, some first level abilities, and any initial saving throw bonus. This prevents picking up a single level of a class just to get a special ability and never going back. You have to invest to get something back from anything.