Playing with Fantasy XIX

Fantasy game thoughts—this is the only thing I'm really thinking about right now. One day to get it in this month!
  • My setting's elf population of c. 262 million cannot be entirely supported by forest deer, since (averaging 3.25 elves supported by deer per square mile of forest) the 22,780,027 square miles of a preindustrial forest can only support about 74 million elves, or can only cover about 28% of the diet of all of 'em. Presumably you make up the other 72% of their diet with fully domesticated poultry, rodents like squirrels and marmots (maybe guinea pigs?), and rabbits or hares.

    Think my elves also buy some grains and legumes, and dairy products, from human farmers; I decided that my elves and dwarves, though ancestrally generalist hypercarnivores like wolves (diet more than 70% meat)—hypercarnivory still being the diet pursued by goblins and ogres—are, now they're civilized, mesocarnivores (diet 50–70% meat) like foxes or coyotes (or gnomes, who were always mesocarnivorous). So they only need to get 22–42% of their diet from meat other than deer. Maybe their talking Homotherium sometimes work as "buffalo hunters" on the plains, going after longhorn bison? Can feed a lot of elves with those, and it's sustainable if you don't slaughter whole herds.

    Similarly the dwarves presumably make a significant portion of their calorie-intake from the giant prairie-dogs they raise herds of; they probably sell a good chunk of their meat and dairy-products to elves, too (and elves sell them venison).
  • What are Japanese game-makers smoking, making slimes a basic enemy in games like Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy? (If you wondered why "flan" was a monster name in the latter…) Like…we can't chalk this up to something like "Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay is more popular than Dungeons & Dragons in Poland", because the popular game was D&D in Japan.

    D&D slimes are an abomination. They do things like dissolve your flesh and armor or paralyze you; when green slime was a monster instead of just an environmental hazard, it was a hell of one, killing you and turning you into green slime in 1–4 rounds, with no revival possible short of wish (and this was a 2 HD monster, meaning you might meet them as early as 1st level). Good grief, Gygax, who hurt you?
  • Thinking I'll have the formerly-protean "nagas" be the chaotic planeborne (as 'twas known in my time), and—somewhat less obvious fit—formerly-qlippoth spider spirits be the lawful ones. (The Weaver in Werewolf: The Apocalypse, anyone?) This lets me have to do less rebranding in my setting for things like the protean sorcerer bloodline or the Protean subdomain of the Chaos domain (not that I call sorcerer bloodlines "bloodlines"; I call them "lineages" since they represent observing and copying the powers of other beings, including wizards in the case of the Arcane one).

    I was thinking this would let me have two subdomains for each of the alignment domains (Law and Chaos each having my "Elemental"(which can't be based on Protean any more, of course—thinking Demon would actually work, with slight rebranding) plus Protean or Qlippoth-but-Lawful (which I think I'll actually use Archon for), whatever I decide to name them. But then I realized I actually have three for Good, "Celestial" (Redemption, maybe?), plus Protean and Qlippoth-but-Lawful. (Yeah my lawful and chaotic planeborne can be good or evil too, just like my celestials and fiends can be lawful or chaotic.)

    I can't have Agathion, Archon, or Azata be the Good subdomain, because I decided to earmark those for the human, dwarven, and elven gods, instead, like the race-specific domains in the 3e Forgotten Realms setting. And then give gnomes Aeon.
  • Related to law and chaos (now I want one of those D&D based gag-comics to have someone reading a book called Law and Chaos in the Bedroom), given that good is white magic and evil is black magic, does that mean law is blue magic and chaos is red magic?

    Or is the unfortunate parallel with Final Fantasy just best left avoided? (The only one of their magics that makes sense, by the way, is white; "black" magic, being elemental, ought to be green, and what's blue about copying enemies' powers, or red about being a gish?)
  • "Gish", by the bye, is hilarious to me. It's the githyanki word for "skilled", and refers to multiclass fighter-mages, who are a distinct social class in githyanki society; gamers have expanded it to refer to any part-martial part-caster class (though I question its use for paladins, rangers, and even bloodragers). I wonder if that's why maguses in Pathfinder were called that? The Persian word that gives you Latin magus and Greek magos probably comes from the same Indo-European root as "might", and implies "one who is skilled or learned", hence its use for priests. (English also once used "mighty" more broadly, to include all forms of ability—see e.g. Chesterton's use of "a mighty clerk" for "a very learned man" in The Ballad of the White Horse.)
  • Did some meta-gaming. Darkleaf-cloth "leather" lamellar armor lets someone wear light armor with no check penalty for not being proficient with it, but the only people who don't have Light Armor Proficiency are arcane casters who can run afoul of the spell-failure chance. (Psychic casters, I guess, but let's be real, nobody uses most of those.)

    I suppose Arcane Armor Training, but Light Armor Proficiency is its prerequisite and that defeats the purpose. On the other hand darkleaf-cloth "hide" armor can be worn even by those without medium armor proficiency, which is much more people, but then you run afoul of medium armor reducing their speed. (I assume not reducing the speed and the arcane-spell fail chance not going below 5% was to keep it cheaper than mithral?)

    Moot in my setting, of course, where the elf leaves and gnome mushrooms give the same benefit as mithral to both metallic and nonmetallic armor (but also cost the same for all of them). There's also a half-version, for lower-level play, that weighs only three-quarters as much instead of half; it reduces armor check penalty and increases max Dex by only 1, and reduces arcane spell failure by only 5%. (There was a thing in 3e's Arms and Equipment Guide that did that, but I think it increased max Dex by 2. Mine follows the "always round down" rule.)
  • Relatedly, think I might make my dwarves' coraline-algae armor act like it's double-plated, and maybe their bludgeoning weapons have the effect of being brutally weighted? And then dwarven weapon familiarity makes them act like ordinary weapons of that type for dwarves? And only dwarves be able to wear heavy armors of their manufacture without the Armor Adept feat? Huh yeah I like that. Might take a bit of finagling to make it work, of course.
  • Decided on some slang for my setting: the Owl society are known as "heart-faces", because of their barn-owl helmets and masks, and the Kingfisher society "beak-faces", given their plague-doctor masks. Think the two Bears, the two Tigers, and the Wolf will be called "roar-faces", because their helmets are sculpted so they're looking out of the roaring mouth of their animal. And then the Wildcat and Fox societies will be "ear-hats", because they wear kasa-like leather helmets, with ears on them.

    Coins are called "Zs" ("I blew ten gold Zs on that, it better work"), because the letter Z in my main human alphabet is a triangle, and so are the coins—"yen", "yuan", and "won" all mean "circle", and those aren't slang. (They might even be called "Zs" on the other side of the planet, since the people who came up with the alphabet in question were seafarers and had several wars with the other civilization. Come to think of it I really ought to work out the other people's script.)