Codex Alera DnD

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OK, so I've had a radical idea floating around in my head for a while now, and I've started writing it down.

I figured I'd share and see if I sparked anyone else's interest, and possibly generate some feedback.


The idea revolved around a campaign set in the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher.  If you have not read that series I HIGHLY recommend it.  It is easily one of the top 5 book series I've ever read, right up there with LotR, and several things by David Weber.


Here's the big twist: Alera has six types of elemental magic which mostly-kinda match up with the six ability scores, and once I realized that I couldn't turn my brain off. 

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So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

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At this point I'm just going to copy/paste my notes and idea outlines:


The World of Carna

Furies


Carna is a world defined by its abundant elemental spirits, known as Furies.  Furies vary greatly in size, power, and appearance, but most seem to behave as guardian spirits of a particular geographic region, such as a stream or a field. 


A Fury’s power is generally proportional to the size of its territory, but there are exceptions.  Furies of truly frightening power, called Great Furies, are feared and respected much as gods are on other worlds – gods of retribution and anger.  These furies typically embody enormous territories; an entire mountain, a volcano, or an entire ocean.


Great Furies are rarely benevolent, and often hostile to outsiders, though exceptional individuals have been known to approach these titanic spirits and survive.  Great Furies are rarely active, and seem to spend much of their time in a sort of slumber, heedless to the world around them.


 


Ancient spirits aside, most furies exhibit basic emotions and behaviors similar to that of intelligent animals.  They react to new experiences and old acquaintances; they remember people and events; they seem to recognize innocence, intentions, and purpose.  For example, children playing in the woods are less likely to provoke a wild Fury than a group of hunters or loggers, even before they begin cutting timber.


That’s not to say a wild Fury won’t attack a child – Furies are unpredictable creatures of great power, with little concept of restraint and conscience.  Still, smaller Furies can be driven away, and are harmless to a competent adult.
 


The origin of Furies remains a mystery – sometimes they manifest overnight, such as the water Furies found in a rain-filled puddle, or fire Furies found near a campfire.  Forest Furies can frequently be found nestled among the roots of young saplings, growing as the tree matures.


Earth and Wind furies are difficult to pinpoint, as they roam such large territory.  These spirits form small packs that wander the countryside, gaining or losing members without any visible pattern.


Most curious of all are the metal furies – creatures of raw elemental power that are only found in man-made items.  These furies frequently express a desire – eagerness! – to perform the task their host tool was designed for.  Furies inhabiting a shovel live to dig, while stationary items (such as a fence) are content to sit.  Disused tools inhabited by furies have been known to cause mischief when they are feeling underappreciated.

Not all metal items are home to furies, nor are all trees, ponds, or hills.  


 


Races and Cultures


Populated by many diverse creatures, Carna is a world of bizarre contrast.  The number of different creatures on Carna, including many different ecosystems, make for an improbable mix. 


Some cultures believe the world (and its inhabitants) were/are created by a god, or gods, but most scholars suspect the world is a hub of extra-dimensional or extra-spatial pathways.  New creatures have been known to appear at random, including entire ships or military encampments.  Sometimes the new arrival(s) remember life on another world, and tales of getting lost in a mysterious fog are common.
 


Of the plane’s current inhabitants, the continent of Alera is by far the most stable.



  • Humans, descendent from a lost legion of Roman Legionaries

  • Cainum, large wolf-like humanoids who value honor, and ruthless combat

  • Icemen, yeti-like creatures from the frigid north; strong empaths

  • Marat, savage humanoids with a primal culture. 

    • Marat can form spirit bonds a totem creature, sharing physical traits

    • This seems very similar to furycraft, but with an animal and not a fury




 


 


Campaign Setting


High Adventure – Rule of cool


Planet of Mages – Magic is, literally everywhere
 


Rituals – daily point system for rituals that don’t produce a permanent effect.


> IE: waterwalk, flight, etc can be used on a point system, and don't cost gold

> Quick idea: 1/2/3 points per day, and costs of rituals vary.  Some feats or paragon paths may give additional points, etc.  Classes that are supposed to specialize in rituals may get several points.

> Captured furies can be purchased and used as 'residium' if you don't have enough points? 

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So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

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Alera and D&D Game Mechanics

Ability Scores


The six ability scores mostly match up with standard DnD ability scores.  For the most part, the six ability scores can be renamed and refluffed, though some classes may need considerable reworking to preserve the intended flavor.


In Aleran terms, the six ability scores become the six elements.















































Element      AbilityDescriptor    Abbr 
Steel(Strength)FerrousFe
Earth(Constitution)  TerraTe
Air(Dexterity)AiresAi
Nature(Inteligence?)FloraFl
Water(Wisdom)AquaAq
Fire(Charisma)IgnusIg

The six elements have natural strengths and weaknesses, and each element is generally countered by its opposite.  The obvious pairs are Fire/Water and Earth/Air, with the final pair being Nature/Steel.


 


In general, each person has a natural affinity for one or two of the elements.  This means people generally exhibiting a greater degree of control and understanding of a few elements, and are relatively weak in the others.


This association is sometimes due to a person’s personality, naturally lending themselves to the strengths of that element.  For example, a particularly passionate person may find Fire magic easier to wield, as that element is closely associated with strong emotion, such as passion and conviction.
 


In other cases, this affinity is expressed in a more literal way.  Some wild Furies will take interest in a person, following them around and observing them.  If this interest is returned, the Fury may form a spiritual bond with the person, lending its power to its person, like some form of intelligent elemental pet. 


Why some Furies do this has remained a mystery since the discovery of Furycrafting.
 


Either way, every Aleran finds themselves capable of performing some basic Furycrafting, often with particular skill in one or two elements.  That’s not to say people don’t understand Furycrafting of other elements; they simply aren’t as skilled in those pursuits.


As a person’s skill in a particular craft improves, he or she usually develops a deeper understanding of that element, learning subtle new applications of the element.  Some people become highly specialized in one (or two) elements, perfecting every aspect of that branch of Furycrafting, but exploring the other elements very little, if at all.
 


Other individuals may begin to understand how that element interacts with others, and become capable of multi-elemental Furycrafting that their mono-focused fellows could never hope to understand.  As this growth continues, some find themselves drawn to even more elements, sometimes becoming proficient with all elements, as is the case with most Great Lords.
 


Metalcrafting – A largely tactile art, but range can increase with skill



  • Melee Weapon Mastery, endurance, forge items

  • Sense nearby metal, melee weapon supremacy

  • Ranged metal manipulation


Earthcrafting – Difficulty increases for harder materials



  • Physical strength and toughness, create earthen structures

  • Tremor sense and manipulation of stone

  • manipulation of crystal


Windcrafting – Takes great skill, due to the frenetic behavior of wind furies



  • Speed, stealth, manipulation of breezes

  • Cloaking (invisibility), flight

  • Weather manipulation


Woodcrafting – Complexity and scale increases with skill?



  • Control over greenery (vines, leaves, grass), superior bow skills

  • Control over old plant matter, instinctive understandings

  • ??


Watercrafting – Power and complexity increase with skill



  • Healing powers, natural insight and “people skills”

  • Regenerative powers (IE: regrow limbs, not just heal the stump), close range empathy

  • Physical shapeshifting, long-distance communications


Firecrafting – Surprisingly subtle; firecrafting is actually the manipulation of energy



  • Damage, illumination, passion

  • Heat transference, (aka removal of heat = cold)

  • Manipulation of raw energy

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So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

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As you may notice by this point, most of the ability scores fit pretty well with their DnD counterpart.  The only odd man out is really Flora (nature), which was classically Wisdom.

This doesn't feel right, but it wouldn't be that hard to replace Wisdom with Flora for most primal classes.  The AC and Reflex bonuses make lots of sense from the "primal instinct" point of view.


Skills


Like ability scores, the skills match fairly well with the classic skill table, but there are a few changes, namely to stealth, perception, arcana, religion, and dungeoneering.  These changes mostly involve re-envisioning which ability scores apply to which skill.


The other major change is the addition of secondary abilities.  For skills with a secondary ability, you may add one-half of the secondary ability score modifier, instead of the primary ability score.  This will help characters who don’t have the primary ability score contribute in a non-sucky way.


The six furycrafting skills would be used to represent skill at that particular craft.  Most class choices would either require or grant training in the appropriate skill.  Most paragon paths, EDs, or feat trees would require training in the appropriate skill.


 


Skill                          Primary          Secondary      Other
Name                        Ability             Ability             Notes


Metalcrafting           Fe
Earthcrafting            Te
Windcrafting            Ae
Woodcrafting           Fl                                             (Nature)
Watercrafting           Aq                                           (Heal)
Firecrafting              Ig

Acrobatics                Ai                    Fe                    
Athletics                   Fe                    Te                    Varies with nature of the check     
Bluff                        Aq                   Ig                    
Diplomacy                Aq                   Fl                             
Dungeoneering         Te                                           
Endurance                Te                    Fe                   
Insight                      Aq                   Fl                    
Intimidate                Ig                     Te                            
Perception                Fl                     Te                    Tremor sense
Stealth                      Ai                    Fl                             
Streetwise                Aq                   Fe                   
Thievery                   Ai                                           

Religion (removed)        
Alerans aren't all that big on religion.  They respect the great furies, and try not to piss them off.

Arcana & History (removed)      
These two skills really want to be tied to particular elements, so just use the appropriate furycrafting skill.  Removing Int as an ability score requires a bit of abstraction.


 

Casual Magic player since 2003 (Onslaught Block). 60% Johnny, 40% Timmy. Want a free, graphics-based, collection database to inventory your cards? I made one! Feedback welcome. Program runs offline, includes powerful search options, art, Oracle text, data import/export, and a rigorously updated list of every card ever printed. Version 5.13 (Theros) now available!

So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

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Last post for now.  I'm drifitng off into untraveled territory, so here's some basic concepts:


> Races don't grant ability scores any more, though they still encourage the appropriate elemental powers.  (IE: Dwarf feats still encourage lots of Con, as do the racial weapon profs)

> Themes grant ability scores, and help set up and represent a character's background and non-combat prowess

> Classes would remain as unchanged as possible, but the available classes may need to be restricted.  Some divine classes kind of break the flavor, but others are easy to refluff.  The obviously valid classes are:


  • Fighter (duh)

  • Rogue (double duh)

  • Ranger (more duh)

  • Paladin (chaladin = playing with fire, straladin = guy with sword)

  • Cleric

  • Warden

  • Barbarian

  • Monk

  • Sorcerer

  • Druid - Handwave the shapeshift breaking the world's rules, and you're fine.

  • Shaman - flavor gold with the spirit companion

  • Seeker - dead on for fluff and mechanics



Less ideal classes


  • Invoker - no idea what to do with this

  • Avenger - stats and fluff do not match the changes, at all.  

  • Bard - eeh, kinda.  That Int is a killer

  • Ardent, Battlemind, Psion, Runepriest - Not familiar enough to say

  • Swordmage - seems like this should be the Metalcraft + Other class, so replacing Int with Fe should work.  Be wonky though.  Also, teleportation really breaks the world's rules.

  • Warlock - weird mechanically for the switchover, but not really hard, esp with Charismalocks

  • Wizard - The ultimate problem child...  Use highest ability score?  That seems blatantly OP, but honestly wizards never seem to use their secondary ability scores for much of anything, and Int is only primary because thats obviously what a studious class should use.  This would also make the Wizard the 'jack of all trades' class...

  • Artificer - More flavor gold, but Int is awkward.  This could work as another 'choose highest ability score' class.


Casual Magic player since 2003 (Onslaught Block). 60% Johnny, 40% Timmy. Want a free, graphics-based, collection database to inventory your cards? I made one! Feedback welcome. Program runs offline, includes powerful search options, art, Oracle text, data import/export, and a rigorously updated list of every card ever printed. Version 5.13 (Theros) now available!

So. Green needs an iconic creature type, eh? How about wurms!

One Billion Words - 1001 Fantasy Landscapes: Share DnD-ish landscapes for use in homebrew campaigns!

Ok what is replacing the ability scores supposed to accomplish?

Just craft themes or feats or even builds around the alaren magic system, trying to muck around with the skills and ability scores strikes me as excess work for no pay off. 
I agree with Rampant.  Leave your ability scores and just know from experience which attribute applies to which element.  I agree with your difficulty linking flora to intellegence.  Leaving attributes alone allows you to leave skills alone.  Arcane=fury knowledge-- Tavi knew alot about how furies work, but couldn't actually manipulate them.  Also, flora enabled invisibilty in book one when they scattered hay everywhere.  I would leave your ability scores and you are proficient in the element associated with your highest attribute (so plan accordingly).  Feats allow you to add new elements.  I wouldn't allow more than 3 heroic tier.  Add the others during your paragon tier.  I think Element Proficiency kinda replaces class.  If you're a watercrafter, you're not a fighter.  If your a metalcrafter, you're not a healer.  Adding elements is like multiclassing.
Metal as 1st proficiency +2 Con.  Metal gives your blade-focused fighter abilities but use Con for attack instead of Str and add Con and maybe half Str damage.  If also proficient in earth, add whole Str mod to damage and full full Con mod + half Str mod to Fort.  Add Con mod AC vs. metal attacks (arrowheads, daggers, swords, etc.) when weilding a metal weapon (this replaces Dex or Int, does not stack)- this results in 2 ACs- one vs. metal, one for all else.  If also proficient in wind, you may instead use Reflex with half Con added- this results in 2 Reflexes- one vs. metal, one vs. all else.  Utility power-Steel's Endurance- daily- minor?- while holding something metal, gain resistance to damage equal to your Con mod.  Sustain minor.  Special: If you sustain for more than 2 rounds, you lose half your healing surges when the power ends (because the process if very painful).  You cannot use metalcrafting if not touching steel/metal.
Earth as 1st prof +2 Str.  Use fighter powers pretty much as written?  Add appropriate earthen powers from Warden or wherever you find them using Str mod instead of Con or whatever.   Add you may slide opponent 1+half Str mod to earth powers.  If also prof in flora, add Str mod to damage rolls with a bow (stacks with Int mod from flora).  See above if prof in metal.  Utility- Ride Earth Wave-encounter-move action- shift your speed + half Str.  (Shifting does not provoke opportunity attacks) Special- You cannot use this power to move through any occupied space (normal  movement would have allowed you to move through ally spaces)  This move represents your ability to stay focused on your opponents while your earthcraft moves you.  You cannot use eartcrafting if not touching the ground. 
Air as 1st prof +2 Dex.  Wind gives you speed and wind manipulation (perhaps represented in force spells).  Use many ranger and rogue powers as written?  Add Magic Missile and other similar spells as wind damage.  Add you may push opponent half Dex mod squares to wind powers.  Gain fly speed equal to Dex score- not suitable for combat, and many wind powers may not be available while flying, may require some multitasking feat to prove your skill to do both with the same element already in extreme use.  See above if prof in metal.  If prof in flora, add Dex mod to attack rolls for bows (stacks with Int for flora).  Utility- Invoking the wind-daily-minor action- increase Dex mod by half for all Dex related rolls/stats (attack, damage, AC, Reflex, checks) until end of encounter.  Special: The first time you use this power per daily, you can instead pay healing surges equal to half your Dex mod instead of expending the daily power.  Cannot windcraft covered in dirt/mud.
Flora as 1st prof +2 Int.  Woodcrafting seems relatively subtle.  It affects wooden bow abilities and abilities supported but woodland stealth and cunning.  Use Int mod for ranger bow powers.  Warp/cause damage to wooden objects- range equals Int mod, damage on skill check- d4 for every DC (determined by your level, like most DCs) level passed by roll (example: if DC for your level wear easy 15, moderate 18, hard 21 and you rolled a nat 15+3 Int mod, you would do 1d4 (easy)+1d4(moderate)=2d4 damage to the wooden object).  If also prof in wind or metal, see above.  Utilities- Entangle-at will-minor-one target in flora terrain- Int vs. Reflex- target in immobilized.  Invisibility- I'm sure this power is already somewhere, so not finding it.  Requires flora terrain.  Must have flora appropriate to power to woodcraft. 
Water as 1st prof +2 Wis.  Watercrafting affects healing and empathy.  If appropriate water source is available, find force spells, replacing force with water.  Kinda thinking more waterbender than watercrafter maybe...  You don't have to be adjacent to aid ally to use second wind if ally is adjacent to water.  Use powers that allow allies to use healing surges as a part of the attack when adjacent to water source.  Add Wis mod to Diplomacy and Bluff.  Use cleric cure wound utilities.  Not really combat oriented...  Not sure how it works with other elements...  Maybe if prof in fire add Wis mod to Intimidate (stacks with Cha for fire).  Cannot watercraft in extreme dryness. 
Fire as 1st prof +2 Cha.  Fire affect fire and cold attacks and encites emotions.  Look at bard abilities to affect allies and enemies.  Use fire and cold powers found in spellcasting classes.  Use Cha mod for attack and damage in those powers. 

I don't know, I'm just spitballin'.
Parenthood: Gain rage class feature. While enraged, take ongoing psychic damage equal to half the child's level. Dealing damage while enraged is against your Code of Conduct and you will be depowered.

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^^Wow, is that really how I came across in that personality thing or was this chosen at random?