Archive

Posts Tagged ‘homebrew setting’

Gods for a Highlander

May 31, 2011 1 comment

With Eric and my characters in Le Morte de Mordred both having pagan gods in our backgrounds, I thought it might be fun to flesh them out a little more, replete with alignments and domains for Dungeons & Dragons 4e, along with suggested classes and builds to fit. The names are Scottish Gaelic, though you could make them more or less Irish, Welsh, or Saxon according to your taste or setting.

The Greater

Alluidh-boireann

Moon Den Mother
Alignment: Lawful Good
Domains: Life, Moon, Protection
She who howls the moon into the sky, who counts the months, governs the cycles of females and childbirth. With her consort Alluidh-geal, the Silverwolf, she leads her pack, raises her young, and defends against any who would threaten her territory or den. She is also the harsh mother, known to kill pups if they won’t be able to make it on their own. But to those who make it she is fiercely loyal, and would lay down her life for her young if need be.

Winter is her season; the solstice is most holy to her. When the sun has retreated and snow blankets the land, it is to our dens that we return, to spend time with family, and it is the moon that brings some comfort and light to the longest night.

The devoted might wear an animal claw or tooth as her symbol.

Suggested Classes: Any Primal class, especially Wardens, Shamans, and Druids, but also Beastmaster Rangers

Iolair-bhuidhe

Soaring Sun Father
Alignment: Good
Domains: Freedom, Skill, Sun
He who flies high, sharing the sky with the sun, unbound from the earth and keen in sight. His golden wings are the rays of the sun, the ripening wheat fields, the warmth of life itself. And yet, he also is a bringer of death. The golden eagle is a peerless hunter, swift and precise in the kill. He is the best at what he does, and serves as an example for all to follow. Freemen and craftsmen are his, and those held in captivity or darkness pray to him for release.

Summer is his season; the solstice is most holy to him. The sun is at its zenith, the long days providing the farmers and craftsmen extra hours for their work. The fields are full of beasts and the earth’s bounty, ready to be harvested by those who have the skill–and drive–to take them.

The devoted might wear a brown feather or golden disk as his symbol.

Suggested Classes: Any Martial class, especially Fighters, Rangers, and Warlords, but also the Bard

Sailetheach

Stag Star-bearer
Alignment: Unaligned
Domains: Arcana, Fate, Wilderness
The white stag is the one who carries the stars in his antlers, walking across the entire world from dusk to dawn, that they might see the deeds men have wrought, both good and ill. He cannot be found except by those who are not looking, in those remote places of the wilderness rarely touched by men, and in those whose pure hearts still beat in time with the land. As keeper of the stars, he is privy to their wisdom, whispering all that they have seen in his tufted ears, and portents of the future besides.

The transition seasons are his time, the spring and fall equinoxes when life itself is in a state of balance. To those with the knowledge, stars are tools of navigation, be they for journeys of the foot or soul.

The devoted might wear forked twigs with tiny glass pebbles as his symbol.

Suggested Classes: Any Arcane class, especially Cosmic or Wild Sorcerers and Fey or Star Pact Warlocks, but also Seekers

The Lesser

Nathair

Shadow-stalker Serpent
Alignment: Evil
Domains: Change, Darkness, Poison, Trickery
The Greater gods did not deign to give her a place at their side, though shadow should have been hers. Cast out from alongside her brothers and sister, she has lain in wait, plotting their demise, waiting for the time to strike. The black adder is often hidden, waiting to bite the unwary adventurer, and let her venom do the rest. Sneaks and thieves pray to her for luck in the shadows, and apothecaries look to her to perfect their poisons. She is the patron of the traitor, the lady of turmoil, and the consort of darkness.

There is no time that is hers alone. She is always there, lurking out of sight. Moonless nights are her time, and eclipses are her high holy sabbats.

The devoted do not wear a symbol, or they might wear another god’s, so as to not be marked as hers.

Suggested Classes: Any Shadow class, especially Assassins and Rogues, but also Vestige and Dark Pact Warlocks

The Selfish GM

May 28, 2011 10 comments

When you realize that your once-weekly game becomes a chore, something you dread and stress over, you’re doing something wrong. The game is supposed to be fun, for players and GM alike. So this week and next I’m taking a break to re-focus and hopefully answer the question that’s bugging me most: why have I lost interest in running my campaign? And, more importantly, what can I do to fix this?

I see Grand Vizier
Rainier Desmarins

They see Grand Vizier Jafar

It seems to be boiling down to the truth that many GMs run the games that they wish they were playing, as Telas points out at Gnome Stew. Or we try, to, anyway. Right now I just don’t like the way my players are taking the game. I have an epic movie playing in my head, something along the lines of the original Assasin’s Creed or Kingdom of Heaven. At the table I feel more like I’m running Aladdin and its sequels, with progressively crasser jokes and characterization. My players have even gone so far as to refer to one of my top-ranking NPC’s, the Lord Admiral and Grand Vizier Ranier Desmarins, as Jafar.

I’d rather they be brushing elbows with the thieves guild, delving into the politics of the city, while they would rather try to steal the underwear off a drunken nobleman or fling shit in the eyes of their French adversaries.

And I have a hard time standing by and watching them make a mockery of my homebrew setting. So on Wednesday, after a hour and a half of what felt like pulling teeth, I gave up, unceremoniously sent everybody home, and called off the next week’s session. (For any other GM’s out there, please, please listen to your gut instincts and deal with the problem before it blows up in your face, like it did for me.)

But there’s a bigger question at stake here: is that really their problem, or is it mine?

Am I too prideful as a GM? Am I violating Oakspar’s cardinal rule that the game is about the players, not the campaign world (“Lessons from GMing with my Girlfriend”)?

It may very well be the case that I’m too protective of my own creations, since I had a much easier time with their torturing of the NPC’s when I was running Dark Sun pre-made adventures. In any creative work, ego does get involved, and it’s a better wo/man than I who can keep them separate all the time.

But at the same time, isn’t a little too much to ask the GM to run a game he has no interest in running? He or she isn’t the group’s private role-playing server to program however they like. I firmly believe we have a right to have fun, too.

So then we have to come to a compromise. And that requires, most of all, communication. (Looks like I should have taken Gamemastering’s advice from the first section better to heart.)

When I set out to start a campaign in late January, I essentially offered Marrakesh as-is to my players; I had complete creative control, and they could either play if they want or leave, as one player did early on. It’s likely my own inflexibility that led to the total disintegration of session Wednesday night. And so it’s with a heavy heart that I realize I need to tie it up, reach a suitable conclusion, and move on to another setting, genre, maybe even system.

Gloomwrought:
My next campaign setting?

Because I need to run the game that we both want to play. If that means I need to find some different players, then so be it. They’ll be happier for it too, to be able to play with a GM who likes–encourages even–their wild hijinks.

Am I selfish, then? Maybe. I want storytellers and actors who are in it for a serious campaign, preferably with a good dose of dark fantasy and intrigue.

Then again, so is everyone who plays–we all want to have fun our way. The trick is to find the way to bend those styles just enough to make it enjoyable for all, player and GM alike.