I have a feeling I’ll be doing more Pathfinder-compatible fantasy in early 2012 than I did in all of 2011. First, expect the release of Black Tokyo Legends: Races of the Tatakama, which Anthony Cournoyer has returned to do art for, sometime in January or February. That will probably be my first big release of the year. This massive sourcebook will include 13 new player races drawn from Japanese hentai and myth, with tons of alternate racial traits for each. It will also include alternate racial traits for core demi-human races, to better fit them to Tatakama campaigns, and conversions of most of the feats from the D20 Modern-powered Black Tokyo.
Around the same time Races of the Tatakama hits, I’ll be releasing Ghosts & Promises: Kodiak Island Citybook, for Otherverse America and D20 Modern. That will include a new basic and prestige class for use by Lifer characters, tons of world info, and a fairly complete ‘strike file’ detailing several new Lifer threats, from first level grunts to high level superheroes and villains.
Sometime in late Summer 2012, I’ll release the World of Endara Campaign Setting. This is going to be my big He-Man inspired fantasy. I’m usually fairly bored with fantasy, but He-Man has always been a favorite- it was my introduction to fantasy back in the day, and while other gamers think of Tolkien’s writings as their mental go-to for standard fantasy, Masters of the Universe is mine. Races of the Tatakama is perverse and satirical enough to hold my interest- basically this year I’ve created two fantasy settings that hold my interest as a writer. These two, which I’m hoping will both be good revenue streams, will get lots of support in the succeeding months.
My D20 Modern stuff will be cleaving closer and closer to Pathfinder, too. I’ll be putting out the revised Guide to the Known Galaxy sometime in 2012, as well as the Witch Hero basic class. In addition, I want to do some supplemental material for Otherverse America: I want to write up kick-ass city books for San Francisco and Boston and do a character creation guide exclusively for Choicer characters, in the way Ghosts & Promises is a char-builder for Lifer protagonists.
The Gods and Monsters of Endara
When I start building a fantasy world, I usually start with a map. After that, I just work in the way that seems most logical at the time. For Endara that means I started writing out the religions, and then started in on the setting’s monsters. It sorta gives me a grand sweep of the setting, of the gods and monsters that drive the action. I’m going to be starting in on detailing the factions and regions, alternate racial traits for the core races and new player races after Christmas.
With the gods, I wanted simple, easy to understand polytheism, a sort of G-rated take on classical Greek mythology. I wanted to retain the fairly black and white morality of the Filmation cartoon, but at the same make the world a bit more complex, give it more a sense of culture. I also wanted to include some homages to the major concepts and tropes of the old cartoon. Take a look at three of the major gods of the setting: the Royal Tiger, the biggest ‘good guy’ god, the Lich, a hybrid of Skeletor and the classic D&D villain Vecna, and the Jewel, which I created as a homage to some concepts from the classic She-Ra cartoon.
The Royal Tiger
LG Greater God
True Name: Skaron
The Royal Tiger, fabulous in his grand coat of azure fur and golden stripes, is wise and benevolent king of all gods, and forms the model of Endaran society. The Royal Tiger teaches mortal leaders that their true duty is to protect their servants, and to raise the best among their followers to leadership in their own turn. The Royal Tiger is said to have nourished and protected Andar I as a child, and taught the young king-to-be how to rule well and wisely. The Tiger’s grand ideal of leadership forms the model for Endaran feudalism.
As omnipresent as tame and semi-tame blackbirds are in Ravenna, Royal Tigers are equally common across the Endaran Empire. Heroic knights ride specially bred, champion Royal Tigers into battle, and Endaran heraldry celebrates these smart, noble felines. Children play with ‘Royal Prince Tigers’, a specially-bred miniature breed of cat, pretending to joust from the back of their cowardly little tigers.
Clerics of the Royal Tiger are active in Endaran politics, and most officiate the Endaran Senate, or advise the Royal Family. Most wear robes bearing the great, cosmic cat’s colors, and many wear golden feline masks during high ceremonies. Others tattoo or magically brand their bodies with colorful stripes to proudly proclaim both their faith and their heroism.
LE Greater God
True Name: Demoskal
The Lich is a terrible god risen from the ranks of mortal man. Some say he was the first necromancer-king to become undead. Each and every undead, from the lowliest ghoul prowling a forgotten battlefield and gnawing on bones, to the greatest and most terrible vampire queen, is a servant of the Lich. More so, all undead are the Lich’ children; the ritual this immortal tyrant enacted had two effects. First, it expunged virtually all life from Terra Mortis, turning a once fertile continent into the blasted wasteland it has been for the past ten millennia or more. Second, the Lich’s black magical rite created a rift in the cosmos, though which the anti-life energies of undeath first entered our Multiverse.
The Lich now schemes to conquer the cosmos, to sacrifice all living souls on Endara in an even more terrible ritual that would elevate the Lich even beyond the power level of the Ducharri’s One God, and make the Lich the true master of the cosmos.
The Lich’ clergy dress in purple and ebon robes, and hide their faces behind skeletal masks of hammered gold. They scheme tirelessly to create more and greater undead, to command the legions of monstrous horrors attracted to Terra Mortis, and to further the Lich’ schemes in the mortal realm. When the Lich expunges all life in the cosmos, these necromancer-priests will rule at his side, transformed into immortal, all powerful wraiths.
NG Greater Goddess
True Name: Cata
The Jewel is sister to the Stone, and like the Stone, she fell from the sky. All jewels and gems are a reflection of the Jewel. The Jewel is worshipped by Dwarves who practice crafts of beauty rather than practicality- gemcutters, gold and silversmiths, seamstresses and finish carpenters- as well as by the fanciful, endlessly colorful Gnomes. The Jewel is a popular goddess among the wealthy and often ostentatious nobility in Ghiles. Quite a few Halflings worship the Jewel, as well.
The Jewel’s clergy believe it is their duty to bring beauty to the world, and they often learn the bardic arts or become masters of glamorous illusion magic. Jewel worshippers are especially welcome in the city-state of Ducharr, where they meticulously grind and polish the lenses that power the city’s great observatories, and debate matters of faith with local science-priests.
Some Sample Gods of Endara
The Royal Tiger
Animal (fur), Glory (heroism), Law (archon), Nobility (leadership), War (blood)
Royalty, duty, nobility, protection of the weak. Patron of the Endaran Empire.
Death (undead), Destruction (rage), Evil (devil), Magic (either), Rune (wards)
Necromancy, evil, undeath, genocide, universal conquest.
Artifice (construct), Charm (love), Earth (caves), Glory (honor)
Jewels and gems, fine craftsmanship, romance, beauty.
Over the last two weeks or so, I’ve also put together a fairly comprehensive list of monsters, most of which are either directly inspired by a Filmation creature or something in one of Earl Norem’s amazing paintings. Here’s a list of monsters, as they stand a few days before Christmas 2012…. I’ll probably be adding to this list of threats as the project progresses.
- Brog (CR ½)
- Razor Tongue Brog (CR 1)
- Slime Spitter Brog (CR 3)
- Cloud Wing (CR 4)
- Skyscreamer (CR 5)
- Duplikatt (CR 7)
- Blue Duplikatt (CR 7)
- Endaran Pegasus (CR 5)
- Enforcer Droid (CR 1)
- Enforcer Elite (CR 3)
- Meteorite Creature: Ape (CR 5)
- Meteorite Creature: Elephant (CR 10)
- Meteorite Creature: Lion (CR 6)
- Meteorite Creature: Stegosaurus (CR 10)
- Monster-Mek: Ettin (CR 8)
- Monster-Mek: Horse (CR 3)
- Monster-Mek: Giant Spider (CR 3)
- Mosnter-Mek: Tyrannosaurus Rex (CR 11)
- Mosquitron (CR 2)
- Night Ape (CR 11)
- Royal Prince Tiger (CR 4)
- V’Lak Ice Tiger (CR 8) and others
- Sea Crusher (CR 9)
- Seeker-Peeker (CR ½)
- Skull Soldier (CR 3)
- Steelvore Relic (CR 23)
- Swamp Drainer (CR 5)
- Techno-Phantom (CR 15)
Now, I want to preview a couple of monsters. Take a look at the Cloudwing, a Horse with the Monster-Mek template attached, and the Royal Prince Tiger’s flavor text. I’m not including the stat block on the last one, because that creature is simply a more intelligent version of a standard CR 4 tiger from the Pathfinder Bestiary. The real interesting stuff is all in the flavor text anyway.
Cloud Wing (CR 4)
N Large Magical Beast
Cloud Wings are creature’s of Endara’s ancient, primordial past. They are all but extinct in the modern day, but still may be summoned into battle by priests of the Lich, or encountered in distant jungles. A few flights are said to still linger in the deep forests of the Serpite Kingdom.
These muscular fliers resemble an exceptionally large and ungainly pteranodon. Their powerful wing muscles are anchored to a barrel chest and their forearms are mighty and powerful. Cloud Wings have spade-shaped heads decorated with a wide, V-shaped crest. Their leathery hides are a dark violet, splotched with blue or aquamarine.
Cloud Wings prefer to swoop in for the kill only after softening up their prey with a blast from their foul smelling, acidic breath weapon. Cloud Wings favor cattle, bison and herbivorous dinosaurs. They don’t want a meal able to fight back effectively, but aren’t above swooping down to feast on a weak or unwary human.
Init +7; Senses Darkvision 60 ft
AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 12(+3 DEX, +3 natural, -1 size)
hp 5d8+30(42 HP)
Resist Acid 10
Fort +8, Ref +7, Will +4
Speed 20 ft Fly 50 ft (clumsy)
Melee +8 melee (bite 2d4+5 slashing)
Melee Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +3; CMB +12 CMD 25
Breath Weapon (30 ft line, 2d8 acid, REF DC 18 Half plus acid vapors linger for 1d4 rounds after firing. FORT DC 18 or be sickened for one round).
Abilities STR 20 DEX 17 CON 19 INT 1 WIS 16 CHA 4
Feats Ability Focus (breath weapon), Improved Initiative, Dodge.
Skills Fly +14, Perception +5
Racial Modifiers Fly +8
Environment warm forests
Organization pair or wing (1d4+2)
Breath Weapon (EX): Once per day, the Cloud Wing can breathe out caustic vapors that both burn and choke its prey. This breath weapon takes the form of a 30 ft line of acid (2d8 acid, REF DC 18 half). Vapors from the linger for 1d4 rounds, anyone entering the area during this time must succeed at a DC 18 FORT Save or be sickened for one round.
Skyscreamers (CR 5)
Skyscreamers are a distant cousin of the extinct Cloud Wings. A more slender flier with a pale blue hide and navy crest, Skyscreamers are known for their fierce hunting cry, which can be heard for miles and is capable of shattering stone.
- A Skyscreamer’s breath weapon may be used up to 3 times per day, and is a 40 ft line of sonic energy. (2d8 sonic, REF DC 18 half). Targets within the line must succeed at a DC 18 FORT Save or be deafened for one round.
- Skyscreamers lose acid resistance, but gain Sonic Resistance 5.
- Skyscreamers receive a +8 racial bonus on Stealth checks when flying in blue skies.
Monster-Mek: Horse (CR 3)
XP 800 XP
N Animal (augmented)
A Monster-Mek Horse is a massive destrider with bronze cybernetics sheathing its powerful legs. The horse’s mane has been replaced with a heavy bronze helmet protecting its steel-laced skull. A single laser blaster rifle grows from the beast’s left shoulder like a strange lance.
Init +1; Senses Darkvision 60 ft, scent, Perception +6
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 13 (+1 DEX, -1 size, +4 natural)
hp 2d8+6+20 (35 HP)
Immune Bleed, Disease, Stunning
Fort +6, Ref +5, Will +1
Speed 50 ft
Melee 2 hooves +1 melee (1d4+3 bludgeoning)
Melee Space 10 ft.; Reach 5 ft.
Base Atk +1; CMB +7 CMD 18 (22 vs. trip)
2 hooves +melee (1d4+3 bludgeoning)
+2 ranged (laser blaster rifle 2d6 force, 19-20/x2, 180 ft range, maximum 25 shots per day)
Abilities STR 20 DEX 12 CON 17 INT 2 WIS 13 CHA 7
SQ docile, Mecha-Mount
Feats Endurance, Run (B)
Skills Perception +6
Environment temperate plains
Organization solitary, pair or herd (3-30)
Docile (EX): Unless specifically trained for combat (Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook, pg 97), a horse’s hooves are treated as secondary natural attacks.
Mecha-Mount (EX): Monster-Meks grow a natural item that functions identically to an exotic military saddle for a creature of its size and type. The Monster-Mek creature can carry a rider one size smaller than itself in this natural saddle. Monster-Meks make excellent mounts: riders receive a +2 template bonus on Ride checks made to control a Monster-Mek creature in combat.
Royal Prince Tiger (CR 4)
NG Large Animal
Royal Prince Tigers are a beloved breed of feline. They are the patron animal of the Endaran Empire, lesser versions of the great Royal Tiger who taught the first Endaran king to rule justly and well. Endaran knights ride to war on the back of Royal Prince Tiger steeds, merchants have a pair of grumpy, runty Royal Prince Tigers pulling their wagons in exchange for a cut of the profits (paid in rare steaks, of course), and children love their Royal Tiger pets with all their hearts.
Endaran Royal Prince Tigers stand about four foot tall at the shoulder, and weigh upwards of 400 lbs. Their velvety fur is a vibrant blue, like the sky as darkness falls, broken with golden stripes. The creatures are obviously intelligent, with a good grasp of the Endaran dialect, though most cannot speak. Intellectually, a Royal Prince Tiger is on par with a 5-6 year old human child; they can puzzle out complex concepts, follow detailed instructions, and even manipulate simple tools with their paws and muzzle.
Royal Prince Tigers are most common to the Wheatlands of Amn. They prowl the whispering wheat fields, disappearing between the wavering stalks. They typically feed on deer, wild hogs and other game, but they’re not above snatching an unguarded goat or pig, or even muscling their way into a human’s home to steal food hot from the stove. Royal Prince Tigers are gentle beasts, and will rarely attack a humanoid, even in self defense. Unless specifically trained for war, a Royal Prince Tiger will turn tail and run from two-legged opponents.
Aside from their enhanced intelligence and swapping Skill Focus (perception) for Diplomacy, Royal Prince Tigers use the same stats as a tiger animal companion.
Other Royal Tiger Breeds
Endaran blue tigers aren’t the only breed of Royal Tigers roaming Endara.
New Sulanni Dukes
Dukes prowl the deserts outside the Elven city of New Sulan. These creatures have mottled brown and amber coats, streaked with grey and gold. They have a great affinity for those of Elven blood and hybrid-folk, forming lasting partnership with New Sulanni Half-Elves and feline Anthros.
New Sulanni Dukes modify the Royal Tiger statblock in the following ways.
- Their racial bonus on Stealth checks applies in desert terrain.
- They are well adapted to hot climates, gaining Fire Resistance 1.
- New Sulanni Dukes are especially keen eyed, and receive a +8 racial modifier on Perception checks, giving them a total Perception modifier of +13.
- Characters with Elven blood (including Half Elves and Drow) and any creature with the Anthro subtype receives a +2 bonus on Handle Animal checks made against New Sulanni Dukes.
Royal Queen Tigers
Queens have lurid maroon coats striped with black and green. These great cats are even more intelligent than the norm. Both males and females of this breed are referred to as ‘queens’. Royal Queens are a favorite of the royal court, and are equally popular among the young nobility of Schendenwatt.
- Royal Queen Tigers have human-like vocal cords and can speak.
Scaled King Tiger
Deep in the Serpite jungles, even the great tigers have some serpent blood. Scaled King Tigers are majestic beasts whose lean bodies are decorated with dull bronze scales. A Scaled King’s abdomen, forelimbs and spine are sheathed in scales, while their pelt is dark green striped with gold.
- A Scaled King’s natural armor bonus increases to +5.
- Scaled Kings are immune to poison.
- Challenge Rating 5 (XP 1,600)
V’lak Ice Tiger
V’Lak Ice Tigers are massive beasts with long shaggy white coats and saber-like fangs more than two feet long. Use the statistics for a Dire Tiger (smilodon) with the following changes; the creature’s Challenge Rating is unchanged. .
- The V’lak Ice Tiger has Cold Resistance 5.
- The V’lak Ice Tiger has a Swim speed of 20 ft, and a +8 racial bonus on Swim checks.
- The V’lack Ice Tiger has an Intelligence score of 3, and understands V’laki but can’t speak.
The political and theological differences I have with atheists are minor compared to the fact that as non-Christians, we both have a boot on our necks. That said, it's good to hear from my brothers and sisters their opinions of this holiday. Their tweets are sad, proud, purposeful, intelligent, and kind in equal measure. Give them a read.