Playing with Fantasy XXII

I actually wanted this to be a general spec fic post, but as it turns out I only wanted to talk about FRPGs some more.
  • Turns out it was actually fairly easy to do my blackletter and uncial scripts, I just needed to actually write with a pen in a notebook rather than trying to create directly from Inkscape. I even made capitals and small letters for the blackletter (I don't think they use the two quite the same way we use our two cases). For the cursive version, used by the remnant of the "evil Atlantean" culture, I decided to connect the letters at the bottom, rather than at the top like in most European cursives.

    Was kinda at a loss as to what to do for the human script from the other continent, the Tainish-inspired language. Briefly toyed with basing the shapes on the simplest hanzi radicals. But it looked too much like actual Chinese characters. Instead, I went with a more Indic-inspired script, with a line at the top like Tibetan (not like Devanagari because they don't connect), but with several of the characters distinct from anything Indic. (And not an abugida. Have I mentioned that I do not like those?)
  • I discover the people who did the Dothraki script for Game of Thrones apparently did a script for Valyrian, too, but I don't think they worked it out in time for it to appear in the show, at least not before they had done a bunch of stuff in Roman script and it would be weird to change halfway through—but if Game of Thrones ever gets a Special Edition they should totally change it, the way later versions of Star Wars changed Roman letters to Aurebesh.
  • Have done some work on my setting's sign languages. Among other things, I decided to ignore iconicity—the quality in sign languages of a sign suggesting what it's the sign of. E.g., ASL for "baby" is rocking an imaginary one. Whereas the ASL for "name" is tapping the index and middle finger of one hand against the index and middle fingers of the other, which has nothing to do with names.

    Iconicity is very common (something like 60% of ASL signs are iconic) in real-world sign languages, because they mostly come from deaf people (or occasionally travelers, e.g. "Plains Indian Sign") communicating with people who don't speak them. But my setting's sign languages come from elven hunters not wanting to spook game, dwarven smiths needing to communicate despite the noise of work, and humans from the other continent needing to communicate while silent rituals were taking place, without disrupting them. I.e., they were mainly used with other people who spoke them. And for comparison, only 1.15% of Japanese words connect their sound to what they are (onomatopoeia, the buba-kiki effect, etc.), and Japanese has an unusually high percent of words formed that way.

    That's the worldbuilding justification for my sign languages ignoring iconicity. The meta reason, of course, is it's easier to randomly generate your sign words if you don't bother about iconicity. Instead, I just have a small number of handshapes, orientations, and locations, plus internal motions, randomly combined, that mean lexemes, then "path" motion marks things like agent, patient, and verb aspect. My elven and dwarven signs are all one-handed, the former from being done while holding onto weapons or treebranches, the latter from being done while holding a tool in the other hand. I still need to do a bit more work on the human sign language, though.
  • I like how Pathfinder gives you a lot of granularity in what mix of primary caster (like wizards, sorcerers, clerics, and oracles), secondary caster (like maguses, warpriests, and inquisitors), or tertiary casters (like bloodragers and paladins) you want. They even have a prepared, Intelligence tertiary arcane caster, a fighter archetype called "child of Acavna and Amaznen", that can prepare and cast 0th-level spells, from 2nd level, and then at 5th (presumably 4th if they rate a bonus spell, though the text is unclear) gets the spells per day of a ranger, but from the bloodrager spell list. So if you want a more martial arcane-caster class than a magus, and prefer Intelligence prepared casting to Charisma spontaneous, and/or don't want to bother with the hybrid bloodrager class, that's your guy.

    If you want a more arcane arcane-caster class than the magus, but still one that's more martial than the default wizard, there's the "sword binder" wizard archetype, which is basically a wizard but can use their bonded sword (personally I would let them bond to and use any one-handed weapon) at range, like the universalist's "hand of the apprentice" ability, but delivering touch spells through the weapon like a magus, including at range if they use the hand of the apprentice. And can eventually make their weapon fly around, and clairvoyantly spy on the area around it. (If you like spontaneous Charisma casting instead of prepared Intelligence casting, there's also the "eldritch scrapper" sorcerer archetype, which has some features of the brawler hybrid class.)

    I might let rangers have the option of 0th-level druid spells, on the same basis as the fighter above, instead of one of their combat-style feats? Can't really let paladins do the same, except maybe if they delay getting divine health till 7th level? I'd take "0th-level spells, usable at-will an infinite number of times a day" to lose one bonus feat or hold off total disease immunity for four levels.
  • Decided that I'm going to base the lawful planeborne in my setting on (heavily modified) aeons, not qlippoth, mostly because the aeons are more thematically similar; a lot of them do have four arms, which I can hang "is now a spider spirit" off of, at least as easily as turning all the qlippoth into spiders. Also think I'm going to have ethically-neutral "planeborne", probably based on psychopomps, as well as the morally-neutral elementals (which use modified div stats).

    Also decided that dead giants will definitely become titans, dead goblins become kytons (but focused on fear instead of pain), and probably that dead dark dwarves become daemons and dead dark elves become asuras (all modded somewhat). Not sure if dead ogres become rakshasas or oni; leaning to the former. Also added demodands and nabasu and vrolikai demons to the otherwise devil-based fiends, along with succubi (which include incubi, here).
  • As I've almost certainly said before, dead (good) humans, including halflings, become agathions, elves become azatas, gnomes become kami, and dwarves become inevitables, all modified in various ways to reflect the different cosmology. The never-mortal (I call them "firstborn" or "first generation") "planeborne", other than the ones I just mentioned, are evil fiends, based mainly on devils (but with all three ethical alignments), good celestials based on angels, morally neutral elementals based on divs (with all three ethical alignments), and chaotic (with all three moral alignments) nagas, based on proteans.
  • I've been calling my setting "Thrice Two Worlds", because there are six planets or moons that intelligent beings originally came from, though they've since all converged on the main planet due to fiend invasions of their homeworlds. (Reminiscent, perhaps, of every continent other than Tamriel, on Nirn, except Summerset, eventually disgorging its Ehlnofey population onto the Tamriel mainland, but I don't have any conscious influence from that.) I believe there is an in-universe reason Faerûn is called "the Forgotten Realms" (all those lost civilizations, I think?).

    "Thrice two", of course, is just a cool way to say "six", but I think I might have the in-universe backstory of the name be that the snake people actually call it the Quartet-Two Worlds (110II), but people of other species, not being familiar with binary numbers, took the first word for "times three" rather than "four". Maybe go with "Half-dozen Worlds", named by the elves or dwarves? You do say "half a hundred" in decimal, maybe the dozenal-users start those idioms one order of magnitude lower (I bet there are plenty of decimal languages with the concept "half of a set of ten").
  • Kinda unsure what to do with the Dark Tapestry oracle mystery or the Void cleric domain (except I know I'm leaving the latter off my humans' calendar—I might not keep it off my list of dwarf clans, though). I just don't subscribe to the Lovecraftian, post-Victorian petulance of "the sidereal universe is insanity-inducing and scary, mostly because it doesn't cater to our Early Modern humanist narcissism". As I've mentioned before, actually, one of the things about Relativity, general covariance, is the literal opposite of what Lovecraft tried to make Relativity mean.

    Unless maybe the scarier effects of Dark Tapestry-mystery, Void-domain, and Dark Tapestry- and Isolation-subdomain spells and granted powers are just that mortal ego does not like being confronted with the infinite? And maybe the Dark Tapestry subdomain's summoning-augmentation power, It Came From Beyond, instead of making the summoned creature "deformed or hideous" (an example of the incipient eugenicist subtext infesting cosmic horror), just reinforces its body with invisible force, i.e. "non-Euclidean geometry".

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