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Old 12-19-2019, 02:33 PM   #1
Prince Charon
 
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Default [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

(Partly inspired by Yrth 1100.)

Offasmark is one of the many petty kingdoms that in the main Yrth timeline would eventually be absorbed into the Megalan Empire (indeed, even the capital does not appear on the canon maps, having been covered by the Blackwoods), though that may or may not occur in this setting. Offasmark's people are primarily a mix of Norse, English, Normans, Frisians, Celts, a few Jews and other humans, and a number of half-elves and other humanoid folk. The kingdom was technically founded in 1120, when King Offa I 'Ironfist' declared the village that became Offastown to be the capital of his kingdom (which at the time consisted of the village, a stretch of river, and the farms surrounding it - Offa I had a bit of an ego, but his optimism was surprisingly justified). The capital was watered by a river called Avon that flowed down from Zarak, and fed into the River Lindy (and was not big enough to appear on the canon maps, or perhaps had shrunk or dried up by the twentieth century). Of the kingdom's three bishoprics (and not coincedentally, largest cities), Norman-ruled Quartedec, cosmopolitan Offastown, and Celtic-majority Aberwyvern, only Quartedec's name survives.

The kingdom is bounded in the east by the Blackwoods, the Kingdom of Lindy (which currently has a few other countries between it and Megalos), and the Duchy of Hyrnan, to the north by Zarak, the Baran River, and part of Lake Styx, to the west by New Jerusalem and the Kingdom of Craine, and to the south by a number of smaller territories that are at risk of being absorbed by Craine, Offasmark, or Hyrnan. In the normal course of events, the Kingdom of Lindy would last another century, with Hyrnan, Offasmark, and Craine falling to Megalos some time later, and New Jerusalem signing a treaty with the Empire in 1350. At this time, though, the Megalan 'Empire' is smaller than either Offasmark or Lindy, and no-one in Western Ytarria sees it as a serious threat. Note also that this is long before the Ministry of Serendipity existed, and long before there would even be a known need for it.

Offastown (1213)

Population: 12,000 (Search +1)

Physical and Magical Environment
Terrain: Woodlands and Island/Beach
Appearance: Average
Hygiene: -1
Mana: Normal (Common Enchantment)

Culture and Economy
Language: Ytarrian Norse
Literacy: Broken
Tech Level: 3^
Wealth: Comfortable
Status: -2 to 6

Political Environment
Government: Feudal representative democracy
Control Rating: 2
Corruption: -1
Military Resources: $168,000
Defense Bonus: +6

Notes
The main body of Offastown sits on a set of islands in the River Avon (along with some expansion on both sides of the river), some natural, and a few artificial, created by digging canals or building up bits of land that were close to the surface anyway (a less difficult task with Earth magic). Due to its high population, the city is divided into four quarters, each with eight to twelve districts which form their own Things (assemblies) to send representatives to the civil Thing (the city council, basically), and from there to the Althing (the 'Assembly of All,' the kingdom's de facto parliament). The Celtic Quarter (two islands connected by three bridges, some islets where the water between is mainly covered by wide piers, and a couple of districts on the southwest bank) is notable for allowing women to speak, vote, and hold positions of leadership in the Things of its districts, though only those over the age of forty; this is not done in the other quarters, though the civil Thing is required by the city's charter to accept female representatives from the Celtic Quarter, and to count their votes equally with the men. The Jewish, Elven, and 'Oddfolk' (various humanoids, and humans who are neither Jewish nor Christian, or otherwise are considered strange) districts have islands of their own, and are not part of any quarter, but do send representatives to speak and vote at the civil Thing (some of whom are women). Half-elves often live in the elven district, especially if raised in elvish culture, but might instead have homes in other parts of the city.

Calling the government a 'feudal representative democracy' is the best approximation I can come up with for a situation in which the king and his lords have significant de jure and de facto power, but can still be legally and practically deposed by the representatives of the people.

Ytarrian Norse is understandable by speakers of the various branches of Old Norse at one step worse, and by speakers of related languages (including modern Swedish, Danish, Icelandic, and Norwegian) at two steps worse - someone familiar with modern English would maybe catch a few words, but not enough for even Broken comprehension. The language is common in Offasmark, and slightly less so in Lindy and Hyrnan. It is written with the Futhark alphabeta in Offasmark, but Lindy and Hyrnan mostly use variations of roman letters. The common tongue of Lindy is closer to Old Norman, though the court language is Latin. The people of Hyrnan speak a language resembling Anglo-Saxon with a lot of Celtic loan-words and loan-phrases. Where the borders of Offasmark and Hyrnan intersect, most humans on both sides speak a language that sounds like a mix of Old Breton, Old Cornish, and Old or Middle Welsh, written with either roman or ogham letters. The official language of New Jerusalem is Latin, while the Kingdom of Craine is another mixed Celtic region, linguistically, the capital city being mostly Middle Irish (early Manx)-speaking. The southerly territories vary a fair bit.


(Post is split into three due to the character limit.)
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-- Tacitus

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Last edited by Prince Charon; 12-19-2019 at 02:37 PM.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:34 PM   #2
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

The House of Offa:
Offa I 'Ironfist' - king from 1120 to 1131 (line-founder)
Hrollo 'Redbeard' - king from 1131 to 1133 (son of Offa I)
Offa II 'Hardnose' - king from 1133 to 1157 (son of Offa I)
Harald I 'the Posthumous' - king from 1157 to 1182 (son of Hrollo)
Harald II 'Bloodspear' - king from 1182 to 1209 (son of Harald I)
Offa III 'the Sickly' - king during 1209 (son of Harald I)
Ælfgar 'Dream-Reader' - king from 1209 to present (half-elf son of Harald II)

Offasmark has a technically-elective monarchy with a strong legal bias toward male primogeniture (because medieval kingdoms tended to be pretty sexist by modern Western standards), and a strong cultural bias against child-kings. Under the Law of Succession of Offa I (1125), which is still in effect:

'When the King dies, the Althing shall meet as swiftly as it can be arranged, and shall discuss his sons in order of birth, and vote on which of them shall succeed him, and the eldest son who shall have the confidence of two-thirds or more of the Althing shall be King.

If none of his sons are acceptable to the Althing, or if he has no living sons, his grandsons shall be discussed and voted on, first the sons of his sons by order of birth, starting from the sons of his eldest son, and then the sons of his daughters by order of birth, starting with the sons of his eldest daughter.

If none of his grandsons are acceptable and he shall have great-grandsons before his death, then they shall be discussed and voted on in like manner.

If he has no acceptable heirs of his body, then his brothers shall be discussed likewise, and then the sons of his brothers, and then the sons of his sisters, and the grandsons of his brothers, and the grandsons of his sisters, and so on in the same manner.

If discussion and voting on his brothers and sisters and their descendants produce no acceptable King, then the Althing shall discuss and vote on his uncles in order of birth, and the sons of his uncles, and the sons of his aunts, and so on in like manner to the above.

If this produces no acceptable King, then other descendants of King Offa Ironfist shall be examined in like manner, until a King be found. If no man descended from the aforesaid King Offa be accepted, then the members of the Althing shall resign their seats or be hanged, and the lesser Things of the Realm shall send new men to the Althing, and they shall begin again with the sons of the late King, as above.

If any King shall have lost the confidence of three-quarters of the Althing, as proven by a vote in session, then the Althing shall discuss and vote for a new King, in the same manner as if the unacceptable King had died.'

This law has worked out well enough so far: When Offa I died, his son Hrollo was elected within a week, helped by the fact that the Althing was already in session (they meet biannually, at the start of each spring and each autumn, plus emergencies). Hrollo's death was only slightly harder, as his elder son Hrollo the Younger was a child, his daughters were children, and his younger son, Harald, would be born three months into the reign of Offa II, himself the second son of Offa I. Offa II had daughters and one young grandson by the time of his death, but no sons, and Hrollo the Younger had died in battle years before, so the now-adult Harald became king. His oldest son Harald Bloodspear was well-respected as a warrior and war-leader (hence his byname), and so had few problem being elected. However, Harald II had married an elf, and many in the Althing were uncomfortable with the idea of a half-elf ruling them, and so when Harald II died, they at first passed over Harald II's children for the childless surviving son of Harald I, a man well-known for being of ill-health, and whom certain 'great men' thought they could rule through. Offa III's reign was cut short six months later when his long illness finally killed him (seriously embarrassing the men who got him elected), and Harald II's eldest son Ælfgar was accepted as king by one vote over the minimum.

Civil war is still possible, certainly, but in nearly a hundred years, there has been no war over the succession to the throne, and the internal wars that have taken place have been quite minor.

You might note that the law makes no distinction between children born in wedlock from those born outside of it. This was entirely intentional on Offa's part, since his parents were not married to each other, and he had no wife (although he was reasonably certain that all of his surviving children were swept up by the Banestorm with him, along with both of the women whom he knew gave him children).

One important issue that this law doesn't cover is what to do if there are no male descendants of Offa I left alive. However, other laws of the Realm allow adoption, even of adults, which could work as a substitute (though if there are no female descendants of Offa I left alive, the Althing will need to bend the rules a bit). This technically could also be done if the Althing just really doesn't like any of the living descendants of Offa I.
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Old 12-19-2019, 02:36 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

The various Things of the realm are fairly democratic gatherings of variable composition: The Thing of a village, hamlet, or other small settlement (Search-2 or worse) is often just every man over the age of thirty who is accepted as being part of the village, and is Status -1 or better; in a few areas, women will also have a voice in the Thing (which may be known by another name). They tend to be lead by men elected when the Thing is gathered, though this is often a formality, with the same men being elected every time, until they die and new men need to be elected. A local Thing covering several settlements (a shire-Thing or hundred-Thing, usually) will tend to be made up of men elected by the component Things to represent them (separate from the men elected to lead their Things), with the local Things electing representatives to attend their regional Thing (generally an earlshaft-Thing), and regional Things electing men to send to the Althing. The specific number of layers of administration varies a bit, as a hamlet or small village might be administered as part of a cantref, hundred, or similar territory (lead by a thegn, or a lesser reeve - possibly a younger son or brother of the hauld that rules the shire the hundred is part of, or elected by the hundred-Thing) with several other hamlets or small villages, while a larger village or town might effectively be its own hundred. Above this is the shire, usually administered by a hauld or shire-reeve (though some small or low-population shires are lead by a senior thegn, who isn't even a reeve). Above the shire is the earlshaft, administered by an earl or an ealdorman, sworn to the King of Offasmark.

A town or city (Search-1 or better) will tend to be divided into districts, tribes, guilds, or similar, which each have their own Thing (mostly consisting of citizens over thirty who are Status 0 or better), which elects members to the civil Thing, which depending on the size and administration, either sends men to a local Thing, to a regional Thing, or directly to the Althing (in the case of free cities). Thegns and other nobles are part of the Thing, and are often represented or represent themselves on a higher Thing, but while they have greater influence than other men, they do not generally control the Thing.

Some Things, including the Althing and the civil Thing of Offastown, require that anyone who would speak in the Thing (other than to request speaking-time) be wearing or carrying an item that imposes the disadvantages 'Honesty (6)' and/or 'Truthfulness (6)' on them for the duration (or that reacts in some obvious way if they do tell a lie), and not making use of any means of disrupting or neutralizing that item (which isn't to say that they have no way to get around it, including by deluding themselves).


Status

6: King and queen.
5: Prince or princess (the king's children & grandchildren, and often the king's brothers, sisters, and a few other relatives).
4: Earl or ealdorman, member of the Althing, Primate Bishop of Offasmark.
3: Bishop, hauld, high-reeve, member of a regional Thing.
2: Abbot, archdeacon, knight, lord mayor (of a city), master (in an important guild), reeve, wealthy merchant.
1: Master (in a minor guild), mayor (of a town), member of a local Thing, senior priest, thegn, well-off merchant.
0: Adventurer, bailiff, city-dweller, friar, huskarl, journeyman, merchant, monk, village leader, village priest, wizard.
-1: Apprentice, churl, poor merchant, prostitute.
-2: Beggar, criminal, lunatic, thrall.

The position of 'Primate Bishop of Offasmark' dates from 1156, when Offa II ended a dispute between the bishops of Offastown and Quartedec that nearly lead to military action, by ordering the Bishop of Quartedec to Offastown, and informing him that the Bishop of Offastown had primacy over all affairs of the Church in Offasmark. The Bishop of Aberwyvern was not involved in the dispute, as Aberwyvern didn't get a bishop until 1189.

Earls, haulds, and thegns are hereditary nobility, with most knights coming from the thegn class, or the younger sons of haulds and earls. Ealdormen, high-reeves, and reeves are appointed by the king, or in the case of some reeves, by an earl, ealdorman, or sometimes a hauld or high-reeve, or even elected by the local or civil Thing (a special right that the king may grant in a charter); they are generally taken from the thegn or hauld classes, or sometimes the younger sons of earls, though highly talented baliffs might also rise this way. An ealdorman is theoretically equal to an earl, they both run earlshafts, but in practice this depends on which earl you're comparing to which ealdorman. An ealdorman is distinct from a reeve in that ealdormen are basically appointed lords, having high, middle, and low justice, the incomes of their territories, huskarls attached to their own household, and so on, though their positions are not hereditary.

Reeves, even high-reeves, are magistrates with limited authority, limited use of territorial incomes, and do not have huskarls of their own, though they may use their family's huskarls, if they are from a family that has them, and if the head of the family does not deny them the right. For example, the Port-reeve of Quartedec's remit is the administration of the port and matters relating to it; while broad, this does not give him full authority over all of Quartedec. Though appointed by and reporting to the King, he cannot afford to ignore the Earl of Quartedec, nor the Lord Mayor (elected by Quartedec's civil Thing) - he can, however, overrule them in an emergency, but only in matters relating to the port, and he must be prepared to explain himself to the King on that matter later on. The Earl and the Lord Mayor likewise cannot afford to ignore the Port-reeve, as the port is vital to the interests of Quartedec, and Offasmark as a whole.

A high-reeve is responsible for some aspect of administration that covers a wider area, such as an earlshaft, or that overlaps several earlshafts. The High-Reeve of the River Avon, for example, is in charge of regulating commerce and travel on the Avon, which passes through a number of earlshafts within Offasmark.

Bailiffs might be appointed by a reeve or noble, but might also be elected by the Thing, or appointed by the leaders of a Thing. However they got their position, they are sworn to the office they serve, not the officeholder or the officeholder's family, and thus are separate from huskarls. Classwise, they tend to be the sons of thegns or merchants, though cityfolk and churls are not terribly uncommon in their ranks.

Churls are the peasantry, the small farmers and other villagers, that along with serfs, make up the majority of a medieval population.

Thralls are indentured servants - not quite slaves, or at least not chattel slaves, as they do have some basic rights, and are not necessarily bound for life in servitude. The killing of a thrall can still be tried as a murder, for example. Serfs are a form of thrall, being bound to the land rather than to a specific owner.


Feudal Rank

6: King.
5: Prince, earl, ealdorman.
4: Hauld or great knight.
3: Knight or experienced thegn.
2: Thegn, senior huskarl, sometimes senior bailiff.
1: Huskarl (professional soldier who isn't nobility), bailiff, and some adventurers and others.
0: Churl (peasant levy, and anyone else of Status 0 or -1 who isn't a huskarl or similarly respected, and can't avoid the draft).

Experienced adventurers, even if lowborn, often have one or two levels of Courtesy Feudal Rank, especially if they have a positive Reputation. They may also have regular Feudal Rank, though this normally comes with a Duty (in wartime, it would be odd not to have both, whether for the duration or a more limited term), and in certain cases, Wealth tied up in a bit of real estate that you need to rule well enough not to be ousted by the Thing of your fief. The churls are mostly left to the huskarls to organize (and train, if there's time), which is a large part of the point of maintaining good huskarls.


Thoughts?
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Old 12-20-2019, 06:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

Timeline, work in progress:

1118: A Dano-Saxon thegn called Offa Ironfist is swept up by the Banestorm, along with his household (family, huskarls, and other servants).

1120: Founding of the Kingdom of Offasmark.

1130: Position of Bishop of Offastown created, due to the number of surrounding villages that have or need priests. A few months later, the Duke of Quartedec creates the position of Bishop of Quartedec, despite having less need for it.

1131: Offa I 'Ironfist' dies of a 'bad belly,' and his son Hrollo 'Redbeard' is elected to succeed him.

1133: Hrollo 'Redbeard' dies of wounds inflicted at the First Battle of Quartedec, Offa II 'Hardnose' becomes king.

1135: Second Battle of Quartedec occurs. Duchy of Quartedec is absorbed by Offasmark, with the son of the last Duke becoming Earl of Quartedec.

1147: Bishops of Offastown and Quartedec begin feuding.

1156: Position of Primate Bishop of Offasmark created to end the dispute between the bishops.

1157: Offa II 'Hardnose' dies of drink, succeeded by Harald I 'the Posthumous.'

1170: A German missionary priest named Dietrich who had been living in a village in what would later be Norway, failing to find many converts, wanders south from what would later be called the Nomad Lands, having been caught by the Banestorm. Oddly, he believes that the year is 786, and his memories are consistent with what little the Church in Offasmark knows of that era. He isn't the only newcomer to arrive with an odd idea of what year it is, though he was the most notable at the time.

1182: Harald I 'the Posthumous' dies of poison, and Harald II 'Bloodspear' becomes king. Harald I's former mistress is executed for regicide.

1189: Position of Bishop of Aberwyvern created.

1209: Harald II 'Bloodspear' dies at the Battle of the Baran River. Offa III 'the Sickly' is briefly king, before dying and being replaced by Ælfgar 'Dream-Reader.'

1213: Campaign Start.
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"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 11/1/2021: Ssoranthhuul (Ice Warrior) Clan and National Forces article has been posted.
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Old 01-06-2020, 01:03 AM   #5
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Money, Equipment, and Services

The main coin of Offasmark is the silver pening or penny, generally 9/10ths silver and 1/10th copper by weight, which is often cut into halfs, fourths, or eighths; many penny coins are minted with an obverse or reverse with redundant marking in each quarter or eighth, to facilitate this. (GURPS dollars ($) should be assumed to be equivalent to Offasmark pence.) The only other coin commonly minted by Offasmark is the gold scilling, which is generally worth around eight to sixteen pence, depending on the size and content of each (the standard of 9/10ths gold to 1/10th copper by weight is not always met, but neither is the silver ratio of the penny), though the traditional value is twelve pence. Scillingas are sometimes cut into smaller denominations, though not nearly as often as the penny. The 'mark' and the 'pound' exist as units of accounting, but are not minted as coins, as the size would be ridiculous. A mark is worth 120 pence, and the pound 240 pence.

Foreign coins of various types are fairly common in the border regions, though merchants in the interior often distrust them. The most trusted foreign currency is the Roman-style coinage of New Jerusalem: the gold solidus (plural 'solidi') is roughly equivalent to the scilling, being worth 12 silver miliarensia (singular 'miliarensis,' equivalent to the silver penny or GURPS $), 24 silver siliquae (singular 'siliqua,' called 'half-pennies' in Offasmark), 180 bronze folles (singular 'follis'), and 7,200 copper nummi (singular 'nummus' - though the nummus is never minted as an individual coin, but as a series of denominations, such as 20 nummi or 100 nummi). Older coins from Earth, or from areas that have been conquered by Offasmark, may still be in circulation, especially the Norman and French denier (generally also equivalent to a penny) of Quartedec.

Barter, either with coins or with goods and services, is very common. The idea of fixed prices would be confusing, though it may be used in-game to save time. The listed prices in the books should be treated as average for the TL.

Most goods and services that would be available in 12th-13th century Western Europe, or modern Ytarria, can be reasonably assumed to be available at around the same prices in the region of Offasmark, thought exotic goods like silk and spices may be harder to obtain, and thus greater in expense. Magic items and elixirs are reasonably common, and items tend to be relatively affordable in the larger cities, where there are more enchanters working on them. When pricing elixirs, I suggest using the lower of the two prices in the book, unless you want a specific elixir to be rare in your campaign, but not totally unknown.


Thoughts?
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:13 AM   #6
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Magic

House Rule for this setting: Hit Points are worth M times as much magical energy as Fatigue Points, where M equals 2 in low mana, 3 in normal mana, 4 in high mana, and 5 in very high mana. Intentionally spending HP requires bleeding (of the caster or others), though it can be obtained through sacrificing animals (which may still be eaten after being bled, if not poisonous). Rarity can also serve as a multiplier (or add to the existing multiplier), set by the GM. This tends to make high mana and very high mana areas quite important to enchanters, but also means that they need cities, or at least lots of good hunters, nearby. This can also result (in areas where the church does not totally forbid animal sacrifice and/or magic) in enchanting shops and some magical guildhalls and such mostly being built fairly close to the butcher shops, or in apprentices building 'character' (or at least muscles) hauling carcasses through the streets, sometimes in carts. Matters that impact a city's Butcher's Guilds are likely to get the attention of the Wizard's Guild or Guilds (in some places, they might be the same guild). 'Rat-catcher' is also an important allied trade to magicians, though one that rarely has a guild.

Sacrificing humans or other sapients is usually murder in most of Ytarria, save for regions controlled by orcs or reptile men, and a small number of other areas (in some regions, sacrificing members of specific races is not murder, because members of that race are not considered people). Voluntarily bleeding far short of death (preferably no more than one third of one's normal HP) is often considered acceptable, though.

HP sacrificed to empower magic, willingly or otherwise, can only be healed naturally, or by energy gained from sacrificing HP.


Routine spellcasting rules: When casting under non-stressful circumstances in a prepared location, add +4 to all involved skills. Also, the more extreme results of a Critical Spell Failure are mitigated, or do not occur at all (a demon appearing on a critical failure of a routine spellcasting is very rare unless the spell is demon-related or summoning-related, for example).


Magery works mostly as normal in this setting, though some limitations are slightly different: instead of One College Only or Limited Colleges, Magery can be Aspected, in much the same way that mana levels are. The limitation percentage is usually the same, unless the GM feels that a particular Aspect is wider or narrower than a single college. It is possible to have multiple Aspects, much like the Limited Colleges limitation in GURPS Thaumatology p25. The Aspect might match an exiting college or symbol, but is not limited to that, as long as the GM agrees that it makes sense, and is not so wide as to not noticeably limit the mage ('Aspected: Life' covers at least Animal, Body, Healing, and Plants, so might be worth -10%; arguably it also covers Food, in which case it either isn't limiting enough to count, or it's worth only -5%, like a Nuisance Effect).

The equivalent of 'One Spell Only' is 'One Effect Only, -80%' for purposes of the Symbol Drawing system in this setting, and covers a single effect created by a particular combination of symbols. This may be equivalent to an existing spell (in which case the name of the effect should be listed as the name of that spell), or it may be some other effect. The symbols used should also be listed on the character sheet, though they may be listed somewhere other than the Advantages section, to save room.

Other forms of Limited Magery (e.g. Sun Magery or Dance Magery) work pretty much as written. A fair number of mages have Magery that becomes narrower as it increases in level, though the narrower aspects should still fall within the broader aspects, or at least not be contraindicated by them (e. g. Magery 0 and possibly Magery 1 with no limitations, another level or two of Aspected Magery (whether a college-equivalent, or something like Moon Magery or Song Magery), and then perhaps a level or two of One-Effect Magery, or with a fairly narrow Aspect (e.g. 'Lightning') that's still broader than One-Effect Magery).


Magical effects that would be equivalent to the Gate College spells mentioned as penalized in GURPS Banestorm p26 will also have a -25 penalty to skill under the same circumstances, regardless of whether they come from Symbol Drawing, Alchemy/Herb-Lore, Mysticism (pretty unlikely), or Skill-based magic (really unlikely, but it needed to be said).


Thoughts?
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"The more corrupt a government, the more it legislates."
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Five Earths, All in a Row. Updated 11/1/2021: Ssoranthhuul (Ice Warrior) Clan and National Forces article has been posted.
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Old 01-16-2020, 10:17 AM   #7
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Mysticism works pretty much as in GURPS Banestorm, though some styles may not exist, yet. Players are free to create their own styles, subject to GM approval; styles may be meditative and ritualistic without truly being religious, and still work (a fact which bothers some theologians, and relieves others). Some mystical styles seem to be rather 'bardic' in nature, with music, singing, dancing, and storytelling being part of their Ritualism or Disciplines, and often involved in activating their abilities (Nuisance Effect, Takes Extra Time, or Immediate Preparation Required).

The known native magical styles of Loren'dil are mainly mystical in nature, and those practitioners who have converted away from the faith of their homeworld have adapted these styles to their new religions. Though Olokun had no working native magical styles, many merfolk and shark men have an interest in mysticism, and have gained power from their disciplines - though only the shark men's devotions are associated with their native gods (and they tend to be pretty creepy to most folk of other races). The only known mystical styles from Gabrook are used by the reptile men, who are very rare this far north. Dolphins, wherever they come from, have a range of mystical styles.

Spirits, demons, and dragons have various forms of Magic as Powers, but without the devotion required of mystics (mostly - there are a few weird exceptions, but even then, the devotion is not likely to be religious in nature). There are a lot more demons who are capable of teaching mortals mysticism variants that have the 'Corrupting, -20%' limitation on their abilities, than there are demons who use something like mysticism, themselves.

I suggest that mystics that have multiple abilities should use the Alternative Abilities rules, though GMs are free to decide that this is inappropriate for their game.


Alchemy and Herb-Lore are fairly common, though alchemists are far more likely to be found in cities or the larger towns, unless they're out gathering important ingredients - a task normally given to apprentices and journeymen, though the Alchemist's Guilds do tend to hire bodyguards for them, if traveling through dangerous areas. Herb-Lore is more common on a per-capita basis (it would be odd to find a village or hamlet that doesn't either have one or two folk with the skill, or know where one lives nearby), but the quality and reliability of herbal preparations tends to be lower, even if they're quicker and cheaper than Alchemy. Alchemy seems to have been very common on Gabrook, especially among the goblins, but was unknown on Olokun. Herb-Lore was well-known on Loren'dil, and though a number of plants are different, the newcomers from that world have adapted well.


Skill-based Magic describes the way that various occult or esoteric skills become more useful in areas with low mana or better, and are enhanced by Magery. Functionally, they are very limited, though some experts have managed to create effects beyond what is normally expected (such as using Fortune-Telling to read minds or alter probability, or using Esoteric Medicine to cause illness, or to temporarily boost an attribute), with a skill penalty based on both how powerful the effect should be, and how far from the intended use it is, in the GM's opinion. Appropriate Magery limitations include 'Skill-based Magic Only, -50%,' and 'One Skill Only, -70%' (or -80% if the GM agrees that the skill is that narrow in application). All races have some form of this. Appropriate Skills include Dreaming, the Enthrallment skills (Captivate, Persuade, Suggest, and Sway Emotions), Esoteric Medicine, Exorcism, Fortune-Telling, and Musical Influence. Alchemy, Herb-Lore, and Symbol Drawing could be considered advanced forms of this. Optionally, cinematic martial arts skills and techniques could work under this system, rather than requiring Trained by a Master or similar advantages (check with the GM before you build your character around this - but you should do that anyway).

If the GM wished to include some form of Path/Book magic, this is a reasonable justification for it, using Ritual Magic or Occultism.


Symbol Drawing is the main 'this is what wizards do' magic system for this version of Yrth. All of the native races have some form of it, and many of the newcomers have either learned those forms, or adapted their own. Magery helps with casting effects (but not with learning or analyzing the symbols, nor drawing them, nor any other use of the skills) in this system, but it is possible to use Symbol Drawing without being a mage, even in low mana. If the caster has Aspected Magery or One Effect Magery (see Magery, above) and the GM determines that the intended effect falls under that aspect, all skills involved are enhanced by Magery for the purpose of activating that effect.
Example: When Hrulph needs to create a phantom, he has +1 from Magery, +1 from Magery (Aspected: Illusions, -40%), and +2 from Magery (One Effect Only: Phantom (Create-Image-Move), -80%), for a total of +4; this is applied to Symbol Drawing and all three symbols, but only for the purpose of activating the effect. When Hrulph wants to create a normal illusion, or to make an illusion or phantom operate independently of him, he only gets the combined +2 from Magery and Magery (Aspected: Illusions, -40%). If Hrulph needs to draw a set of symbols, or analyze symbols drawn by someone else, his Magery doesn't help.

Symbol Drawing can be cast using the Ceremonial rules (GURPS Magic p12, in the text box). It may also be cast in a similar manner, but using the extra time to increase effective skill, as well as or instead of gathering energy: for every extra 20% energy that would otherwise be gathered, the caster may instead take an extra +1 to skill. This variant does not require the leader to have skill 15 or higher.

Symbols may be learned as part of a Dabbler perk, as long as you have the appropriate Symbol Drawing skill. See also Whole-Language Symbol Magic (Thaumatology p177); Easy symbols default to Symbol Drawing at -4, Average at -6, Hard at -8, and Very Hard at -10.

It is not unusual for an experienced wizard to have a Rules Exemption Perk for the rule that limits the number of 'parchments' they can have ready for use (Thaumatology pp173-174).


Craft-based Symbol Drawing styles revolve around particular craft skills, like Carpentry or Sewing, or artistic skills, like Cooking or the various forms of Artist. Each object created with the style (if a physical item is produced) is either equivalent to a symbol parchment, a common symbol item (see the later post about magic items), or an enchanted object; relatively few of these styles involve symbol tokens, at all. GURPS Thaumatology: Urban Magics has two examples that exist in various forms on this version of Yrth: Lapidism (p18) and Sacred Architecture (pp21-23). The lexicon and philosophy of a craft-based style is often that of a regular Symbol Drawing style, though sometimes it is modified to one degree or another. If the craft skill is based on an attribute other than IQ, the Symbol Drawing skill and individual symbols skills will generally be based on that attribute, as well (e. g. a Dancing- or Sewing-based style would use DX, while one based on Singing or Sex Appeal, if allowed, would use HT). The skill the style is based on often acts as a level cap for Symbol Drawing, and thus for the symbols, themselves, but this is not usually a great burden, as the difficulty of a given art or craft tends to be lower.


Thoughts?
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:17 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

Symbol Drawing styles

Most human wizards in this part of Ytarria use Symbol Drawing (Futhark) and variants thereof. Other common human styles include Symbol Drawing (Ogham) in both forms (GURPS Magic p209 and GURPS Thaumatology pp170-171), Symbol Drawing (Gematria), and various craft-based Symbol Drawing styles, which are often connected to Futhark, Ogham, or Gematria, or to the dwarven/gnomish styles (see below). Some humans make use of the native styles of Ytarria, or styles brought by other newcomers.

For ease of use, I'm going to give each main racial style its own post.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:19 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

Symbol Drawing (Dwarven)

Nouns

Air - Average - 2
Chance (Destiny/Fate) - Hard - 4
Earth - Average - 2
Dark (Cold/Secrets) - Average - 2
Fire (Light/Warmth) - Average - 2
Life - Hard - 3
Magic (Mystery/Spirit) - Hard - 4
Metal (Prosperity) - Average - 2
Thought (Emotion/Illusion/Will) - Hard - 3
Travel - Average - 2
Undead (Corruption) - Hard - 3
Water (Ice) - Average - 2

Verbs

Control (Communicate/Move) - Hard - 3
Create (Invoke) - Hard - 4
Destroy (Begone) - Hard - 3
Sense (Knowledge) - Easy - 0
Strengthen (Repair) - Average - 1
Transform (Heal/Protect/Sicken) - Hard - 3
Weaken (Break) - Average - 1

This style of magic is very common among dwarves, but is rare among non-dwarves. Though some of the gnomes use it, they are more inclined to use craft-based variants of the style, or some form of the Elven style, below. Many of the newcomers have learned these styles from the gnomes, particularly humans and goblins, and oddly enough, some kobolds (who prefer DX-based artistic/crafting styles); very few newcomers use the regular Dwarven Symbol Drawing style, or even know that it exists.

The traditional Symbol Drawing styles of the elves and the dwarves are fairly closely related to each other, to the point that it's often claimed that one style is a branch of the other, though the elves and the dwarves disagree as to which style is the original. The gnomes are of the opinion that both styles are descended from a third, now-extinct style, but this belief hasn't gotten much traction with either the elves or the dwarves.
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Old 01-21-2020, 01:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Banestorm] The Kingdom of Offasmark

Symbol Drawing (Elven)

Nouns

Animal (Body) - Average - 3
Earth (Metal) - Average - 2
Fire (Heat/Food) - Average - 2
Image (Light/Dark) - Average - 1
Luck - Average - 2
Magic - Hard - 3
Mind (Madness/Wisdom) - Hard - 2
Spirit (Dream) - Hard - 3
Travel (Progress/Growth) - Average - 1
Undead (Illness) - Hard - 3
Water (Cold/Ice) - Average - 2
Weather (Air/Sound) - Average - 2
Wood (Plant/Fungus) - Average - 2

Verbs

Communicate (Summon) - Average - 1
Control (Bind/Rule) - Hard - 2
Create (Heal/Strengthen) - Hard - 3
Destroy (Banish/Weaken) - Hard - 3
Sense (Predict) - Easy - 0
Transform (Protect/Move) - Hard - 2

Most elves know at least the basics of this style (a point in the Symbol Drawing skill and a Dabbler perk with a few of the symbols), and half-elves often learn it from their elven parent. Humans likewise have learned it, more often from half-elves, gnomes or other humans than from elves, and it has grown somewhat common among the peoples who came from Loren'dil. Contrary to rumours of dreadful pacts with demons and worse things, the dark elves use the same style.

The sea elves use a variant of this style in which Fire has an energy cost of 3 and Water has an energy cost of 1. Some among the merfolk have learned this style, though the shark men disdain it. Few on the surface who are not elves even know that it exists.

Orc wizards frequently make use of a strange (the elves would say 'twisted' or 'degraded') variant of the Elven style, in which the Magic and Spirit runes are Very Hard and both have energy costs of 4, Destroy is an alternate meaning of the Control symbol, replacing Bind, and Weaken (Banish) is a separate, jagged-looking Average symbol with a cost of 2. Despite what the other native races sometimes claim about them, orcs do not have an easier time creating or controlling the undead, nor are they any more likely to consort with demons than a human wizard is. Half-orcs sometimes learn this style, and a few humans know it. Ogres rarely learn magic, but those that do tend to use the Orkish style (at least before the Banestorm began). Some goblins, reptile men, and others make use of this style, as well, though it is rare among the folk of Loren'dil.
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