Saturday, March 28, 2015

Surely, you Joust

Bad blogger is bad.

Been failing my saves vs. real life lately. So, to provide a bit of dubious amusement while I regroup, here's some notes for my goofy arcade-game-inspired RPG project from the late 20th Century.

Joust Kingdoms - Mini RPG campaign.

Inspired by the arcade game and its sequel. Expanded and modified to suit an RPG environment.

PCs and Allies 
·      Sky Knight: Main PrC class of the setting. Plumes signifying rank, along with rare magical plumes. Exceptional riding and melee skills. Superior armor and main weapon(s). Animal handling for mount type. Will be obligated to follow a "knightly code" and wear the crest/coat-of-arms of a specific region or noble. A cavalier-like character type. PCs should be able to qualify at about 5th level.
·      Setting-Specific PC Classes: As the majority of core enemies will be of the demonic, elemental, and undead varieties, character classes will often focus on battling these types of foes.
·      Jousting (and possibly Aerial Jousting) will be a skill where an opponent makes an opposed check to help determine success. There will be joust-related feats. Aerial movement and combat will be a focus of the setting. Comparative altitude will have an effect on aerial jousting success. Naturally, there will be jousting- and aerial jousting-related feats.
·      Possible mounts include Ostrich, Stork, Winged Horse (these first three from the arcade games), Griffon, Hippogriff, or (rarely) Wyvern (replacing the pterodactyl from the game). Lesser mounts will not be able to maintain altitude for long periods of time and must rest rather frequently.
·      Pyrostrich: Phoenix-like mount (though ostrich-like in appearance) that may rise from the flames of the lava pits to become a burning steed for a Sky Knight who wears the extremely rare Phoenix Plume. Wild pyrostriches can sometimes be found roaming the Cinderlands.
Enemies and Monsters
·      Bronze Heron: The metal-feathered wading birds with the steam attack from the original Fiend Folio – giant strider? Obviously influenced by Stymphalian Birds. These bronze-feathered monsters could serve as mounts for some kind of enemy Steam Knight and be native to the Scalding Lands of geysers and bubbling mud pits.
·      Enemy Knights: Bounder (weakest and poorest flyers), Hunter (roughly equal to an average PC), and Shadow Lord (possibly similar to death knights). Their buzzard mounts fly somewhat better than ostriches or storks, but do not accept non-evil riders.
·      Destroyed enemy knights dissipate and re-form into an egg that falls to the ground at the end of the round. An egg will usually hatch at the end of the next round into an undead version of the slain knight: Bounder Wight, Hunter Wraith, Shadow Vampire Lord – and fall under the sway of the Shadow King. When slain in the Cinderlands, their souls usually descend to the Underpits – domain of the Underlord of the Pits. This puts the Underlord at frequent odds with the Shadow King. The Underlord creates demonic minions from these fallen undead knights.
·      If destroyed before hatching, or during the one-round development period, the knight is slain permanently.
·      An egg that falls into the lava may be destroyed, or it may hatch into a Lava Troll Knight – a rare, elite variant of the standard lava troll that can control and ride the pyrostrich.
·      Lava trolls dwell underground and often drag unwary victims down into the fiery depths of the Underpits. A lava troll’s grip is burning hot, but generally weak. These creatures will resemble primitive efreeti with trollish features and stony skin. They regenerate only in very hot conditions.
·      Plunderlord of the Shining Clouds: Stories tell of a flying castle that rides the winds above the scintillating clouds of the plunderstorms. It is possible that the legendary Plunderlord is a type of mighty noble djinni with power over the winds and the lightning. His colors are said to be silver and sapphire.
·      Shadow King: Logical progression above the Shadow Lords of the arcade game. Ruler of the Twilight Reaches and lairs in a castle found inside a dormant volcano under an eternal cloud of ash and smoke. The Shadow King will be some kind of cold, dark efreeti or shadowy balor. Possibly a sort of mirror image of the Underlord. Perhaps even related, somehow. Indigo and silver.
·      Underlord of the Pits: Great winged lava troll resembling a pit fiend. Major villain of the setting. Crimson and gold. Ruler over the demonic hordes of the Underpits.
·      Wyvern: These creatures make their homes in the Grim Heights and tend to be smaller than the traditional wyvern. Aeries of Scarlet Wyverns can be found among the cliffs surrounding lava pits. These creatures hunt and harass sky knights that linger too long in their territory. There will be ancient specimens that are similar to dragons, along with a rare Crimson Wyvern that breathes fire.
Realms and Locales
·      Cinderlands: Scene of many jousting encounters. Treacherous lava pits and sinkholes. Many lava pits develop a thin crust of hardened ash and magma that collapses easily under a small amount of weight. Beneath this crust is usually a pocket of gas that offers just enough support to make the pit look like solid ground. Occasionally, these pockets will burst free to create a dangerous geyser of steam and sulfurous fumes. Situated roughly at the middle of the map as a central battleground.
·      Grim Heights: Found between the lands of the ‘griffs and the Cinderlands. Probably to the north. Home to wyverns.
·      Scalding Lands: Found between the Cinderlands and the marshy delta where riding storks are found. Probably to the east.
·      The other (human) kingdoms of the realm surround, and usually border, the Cinderlands. Each will generally be known in heraldry by the mount their sky knights chiefly use – suggesting about six such realms. One kingdom will be a savanna which is home to the ostrich mount (west, ruled by a queen), another will be a marshy delta which is home to the stork mount (east, ruled by a duke), another will be a region of hilly plains which will be home to the winged horse mount (south, ruled by a king), while the rest will probably be somewhat mountainous to accommodate the griffon, hippogriff, and wyvern mounts (north, ruled by kings and queens).
Events and Stuff
·      Plunderstorm: Named thus because one is always cause for a raid to recover fallen hailstones. Opalescent clouds and multicolored lightning signal a storm where hail falls to the ground in the form of silvery metal pellets, called cloudsilver, encased in thick ice.
·      Cloudsilver: These pellets are the rare metal known as cloudsilver – a weightless substance of unknown origin. It is often used to fashion armor for Sky Knights and their mounts – as most winged mounts cannot bear a lot of weight and still maneuver or remain aloft for extended periods of time. While it has no significant weight, cloudsilver does have mass. It is still somewhat bulky to wear (though not as much as steel armor) and will eventually drift to the ground by force of gravity alone. The majority of plunderstorms occur over the Cinderlands and is the chief reason for the frequent battles there as cloudsilver is possibly the most valuable substance in the kingdoms. Additional enchantments on cloudsilver armor allow an unsaddled Knight to fall slowly to the ground – as Feather Fall. There is little in life more important to a sky knight than this armor – or his/her mount. Accordingly, armoring the sky knight's mount is almost as important as armoring himself.
·      Thundergold: Very rarely, a plunderstorm will yield a different form of precious metal that is brassy or golden in color. These pellets fall to the ground in flickering trails and are encased in a crust of blackened cinders. Despite its appearance, the metal does not melt easily and comes to no harm from the conditions of its fall. Thundergold is similar to cloudsteel in that it is essentially weightless, but it is also proof against heat and flame. The metal's name comes from the tendency of the pellets to resemble lightning bolts as they fall from the sky and to strike the ground with a thundering impact.
·      Early Campaign Hooks:
---Ankheg, bullette, umber hulk, xorn, or other burrowing monster threatens livestock or mining operation.
---Clear an aerie of wyverns.
---Come to the aid of an outpost under attack.
---Protect a shipment of cloudsilver.
·      Mid-Campaign Hooks:
---Become a Sky Knight (after meeting PrC prerequisites) or qualify for similar PrC.
---Break the power of the Shadow Lords.
---Destroy a clutch of Scarlet Wyverns.
---Explore the Underpits.
·      Late Campaign Hooks:
---Confront an ancient Crimson Wyvern.
---Confront the Shadow King.
---Confront the Underlord.