Sunday, 22 May 2011

[To Coin a World] Facts about Wizards

Wizardry is Not Hereditary
The prime reason there are no dynasties of magic-users on the Coin is that the Talent for spellcraft, which is a rare gift to be born with, is an order of magnitude rarer in children born of parents who are magic-users, or who hang around magic-users on a regular basis (such as most royalty and their court magi). Areas of high background magic also seem to reduce the likelyhood that their inhabitants will be born with the Talent (while increasing the likelyhood of freakish mutations...).

Wizards Love Hats
universally across the Coin, those with the power to bend reality to their will like wearing some form of headgear, be is a traditional pointed hat, a horned helmet, a hood, a jeweled circlet, or a fez (fezzes are cool), even to the point of feeling quite uncomfortable when deprived of said accoutrement.

Wizards Can Fly
In addition to being able to cast spells that allow them to fulfill mankind's most ancient dream, the very process of learning magic makes a wizard exceptionally adept at thinking and navigating in a three-dimensional environment, whether it be on a broom, or at the helm of a skyship. Sadly, many of them are still utterly useless at navigating in two dimensions.

Monday, 16 May 2011

The Poisoner's Art

two ideas for poisons that would be interesting to see used in combat.


Victim gets +2 on ALL rolls for 30 seconds (however many rounds that would be in your particular edition), after which must make a save. On a success, the victim loses half his HP and Strength points. On a failure, his heart explodes and he dies.

Lasts 1d6 hours. During that time, the victim takes damage from horrendous pain equal to half the "natural" result of any dice rolled. A successful initial save will halve all damage taken.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

[To Coin a World] Locations around Pyresburg

The Dead Rat Tavern
The original owner of the Dead Rat Tavern, a seedy joint down by the docks, was not the wisest of men, and stiffing a sorcerer half his fee for brewing a dozen barrels of illegal Liquid Fire is a classic example something only an idiot would do. Nobody was surprised when a string of bad luck ended with the tavern burning down, and the owner being arrested less than a week later. What has surprised many is the original owner's nephew re-opening the tavern in various locations around the city. The word various is used since the sorcerer's curse seems to still have plenty of juice in it, causing the tavern to be spectacularly destroyed on a regular basis. Why the new owner doesn't just walk away from the establishment is a mystery.

The Adventurer's Guild
The previous PyresBaron founded the official Adventurer's Guild in an attempt to rest taxes from the heavily-armed vagabonds that frequent the city. The project was a complete failure, as the city's adventuring population, while small and usually quite fractious, banded together in their utter refusal to band together. Now the small but rather grandiose building sits and molders, its windows boarded up and doors locked.

The Pyresburg Zoo.
The zoo has a long history in Pyresburg. It started out as a facility to house creatures used for fighting in the Arena, but was later expanded to house the private menagerie of one of the Pyresbarons. When the Arena was burnt down in the great fire, the Zoo miraculously survived, and shifted its focus to showing its exotic animal collection to the public.

Pyresburg Academy of Magic
Originally the Academy was one of the best on the Coin, famous the world over for producing wizards of the highest caliber, especially in the field of fire magic. Sadly, about 20 years ago, the Academy buildings exploded in a fireball of horrendous proportions, causing the great fire. When the fire was put out, the only surviving wizards were the handful of students and staff who had been elsewhere at the time. This handful were tasked with rebuilding the institution, no easy task after the loss of hundreds of years of accumulated magical works. Now the Academy has a more reasonably sized staff and a sizable student body, but they're desperate for additions to their library. PCs with looted books, or a new spell they've found or developed could do well visiting the new Academy.

The Catacombs
The ground under Pyresburg has more air in it than an Orzorvian Cheese. Basements (including those of the destroyed university), sewers, crypts, smugglers' tunnels, dwarf squats all jumble together under the streets. Many valuable things are lost, or appear, in the undercity, but many unpleasant things frequent the darkness down there as well...

The Pyre
A 25-foot-wide, 120-foot tall solid tower topped with a great fire, the Pyre for which the city is named has stood on its small rocky spit, serving as a lighthouse for as long as recorded history. In times of danger it is also used as a signal to the surrounding countryside by the simple expedient of adding an alchemical agent to change the colour of the flame.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Fighters of Pyresburg

Pyresburg, jewel of the Grand Reman League, is a city renowned for many things. It's arena is not one of them. A dilapidated ruin, it hasn't seen use in over a century. Yet the populace still have the bloodlust of the old Reman Empire. So how do they get their fix of stylized public violence? Two different groups, near antitheses of each other...

The Barfighters' League.
The rich folk of Pyresburg have a strange relationship with the poor. On the one hand, they hold themselves aloof, but on the other, they find many of their "quaint" traditions fascinating. Combine this with dilettantish boredom and a surfeit of money to gamble and the end result is nobles ensconced in private booths of seedy bars, watching professional barfighters duke it out, and gambling on the outcome. The fights are staged, but for all that various crime bosses try to rig them, the fighters are usually too drunk, stupid, or dedicated to their violent art to be relied upon to follow orders in the heat of a brawl. They will, however, usually follow the rules: no weapons (except for bar fittings), no spells, no bothering the rich folk.

The Duellists' Association
Conversely, the poor are always interested in how the high-flyers act. Even how they fight. Many nobles train as swordsmen, and will challenge each other to public duels over the most minor slight. These duels are almost never (intentionally) to the death, and are mostly about showing off and gaining the adulation of the crowd. Official Association Rulekeepers watch such fights and will declare a winner on points, based on style, technique, flourishes and sportsmanship.

Members of both groups despise the other, although their fighting styles share a great deal of theatricality. Adventurers could combine them to great effect in combat, although they would be jeered at mercilessly by any "pure" fighter