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Aiden Wildenlander Courtyard

I rendered this portrait in DS 4.9.  I used Genesis 3 Male with the Aiden Character and Thomas Hair.  The outfit is Wildenlander Watch HD by Luthbel.  It is extraordinary.  The environment is my own Temple of Lost Gods Courtyard.

 

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What about a new game system for Asdar?

I have been looking at bits and pieces of Pathfinder. I really like the richness of the system and the seemingly unlimited possibilities.  On the other hand, I think more and more about what I’d like to have in a RPG system of my own for Asdar.  For example, classes and multi-classing vs a primarily skill-based system.  I think I would like something modular.  I don’t like a purely skill-based system, because it seems too amorphous. I like the inherent templates in the various player classes like fighter, wizard, sorcerer, rogue, and so forth.  But I would like more flexibility.  What about a major and a minor class system?  The minor class can either be a contrasting area or an extension of like powers to the major class.  The two classes level with each other and it’s still possible to multiclass, so that you have can have a second major class.  NPCs could alternatively have a major class, a minor class, or a major and minor class.  If a player multiclasses and choose a second major class that is really just the full version of the previously chosen minor class, then he can swap out the minor class and choose another minor class, too. But the player cannot reduce a major class back to a minor class, based on the idea that you keep the knowledge and experience you’ve gained. You also have to role-play the minor class in the level before you earn it and the major class two levels before you earn it.  If you don’t actively role-play acquiring a new class level (major or minor), then you can only advance in what you already have.as your classe(s).  Spells level up, so a ‘Burning Hands’ spell gradually builds into fireball and then the equivalent of meteor swarm.

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World of Tzirpacallarion

This past week, I outlined a new fantasy world.

 

Tzirpacallarion

Great world, surface area is about 800,000,000 square miles (about 4x earth), diameter is about 16,000 miles, circumference is about 50,000 miles.

artificially created, hollow interior. crust is only about three hundred miles thick

An artificial field of energized water wraps the world, lying in the atmosphere about fifty miles above the surface. This protects the world from harmful radiation and insulates the world. Due to this insulation and its particular weather, the climate is more or less a mild tropical jungle everywhere.  Strange creatures and aquatic life actually live in this water barrier.

The world orbits a huge sun, but in an orbit that is quite far away.

The water barrier allows some of the sunlight to pass through and scatters it.  Some of the creatures living in the water barrier are phosphorescent and from the world’s surface, appear as shifting herds of luminescence.

The surface of the world is almost continuous wetland with numerous small seas and massive, dense tropical jungles stretching as far as the eye can see. Many hills in some areas, but very few mountains.

A pyramid like massive structure rests on the land of the surface on the equator.  This tower extends up 50 miles into the water barrier. It has a hollow channel in the middle, enable passage from the hollow interior of the world out into the atmosphere.

The sky of TC during the day is golden, intensifying to a bright golden center which is where the sun is.  At night, the sky is a deep, dark cobalt blue, but never perfectly black.

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By Under-Rail to Another World

Tonight, I took my friends on an RPG trip to the world of Asdar. We used virtually no game mechanic structure at all. Angie and Eric developed their PCs (Player Characters). Angie’s character is Gabriel Zafy, a Madagascarene Foreign Student working on a master’s degree in Computer Science at the University of Toronto. She speaks Malagasy, English, and French and likes dolls, math, and techno. She is 28 years old. In addition to Canada and Madagascar, Gabrielle has lived in France. Eric’s character is Gareth Jones, a professor at the university who teaches Criminal Science and martial arts.  His background is in the Canadian military.

It is summer and Gabrielle has enrolled in a martial arts course in the fall to balance out her master’s work.  She see Professor Jones in the hall, introduces herself, and asks some questions about his martial arts course.  He answers her questions and she tags along.  They are walking in a tunnel and see a detour through a newly dug tunnel, evidently due to the summer excavation for new construction.  The two see a strange luminescence down the tunnel and hear a man shouting.  They investigate, but see rough gravel and a film of water on the ground.  They back out to get help, but find that the tunnel they came through has completely changed.  Rather than the squarish shape with the temporary wall panels they saw only minutes earlier, they find a semi-circular shaped tunnel with cobblestones embedded into the interior wall, lined with strangely shaped light fixtures that glow an inconsistent brilliance.  Realizing they are lost, they go back down the tunnel and see that the strange light they saw only moments earlier is gone.  They double-back and proceed in what seems to be the direction they had originally come in and find the tunnel proceeds about forty more feet, entering into an underground station with a crowd of people.  There are people in unusual costumes ambling about or waiting.  There are two depressions with what appears to be rail tracks.  The chamber is evidently a stop for a subway train. The people look European but speak a language that Gabrielle and Professor Jones have never heard before.  It sounds almost like Irish.  There are signs on the wall in a foreign language that resembles a cross between Devanagari and Arabic, unlike any language they’ve seen. In addition to obvious humans, the two find squat men with great beards, dressed in a livery.  Eric’s character, Professor Jones, attempts to speak to a dwarf in a service box, but they do not understand each other.  The dwarf gives him a train schedule. In a tunnel, the lights of a great metal machine accompany the sound of an immense weight making its way along the tracks.  When it emerges into the station chamber, the visitors see what is evidently a train engine with cars behind it.  But the first conveyance, the engine, has the metallic likeness of a dragon’s head on the front of it.  The engineer is a dwarf and the conductor emerges from from one of the cars and shouts out an announcement in the same foreign language. Among the people, they see a confident man with a distinctive skull cap and robe.

At this point, Professor Jones realizes that something extremely unusual has happened to him and Gabrielle.  They look for an exit from the chamber and see stairs on either end of the station.  Heading for one, they step up about forty feet to the surface of a city they’ve never seen before.  The buildings are faintly old European, but the exact style is not recognizable.  The characteristics are something akin to a fanciful mixture of French Baroque and Art Nouveau.  In the cobble street, they see carriages, carts, wagons, and riders on horseback.  The two unwitting visitors press down the street.  Gabrielle wonders whether they’ve stumbled onto a high-budget movie set.  They see a glittering aerial conveyance, similar to a winged zeppelin, gliding above them about one hundred feet in the sky, vanishing over the buildings.  After they walk several hundred more feet, discovering they are in a truly great city, they realize this is surely not any movie set and are flummoxed.

Five men in tan colored robes pass them on the promenade.  Professor Jones approaches them in desperation.  The men attempt to speak to him in their strange language.  One of the men seems genuinely concerned about the two visitors’ plight, trying to understand.  Gabrielle feels a conscious presence just outside of her mind and shouts out instinctively, “Get out of my mind!”  Sensing something at work, Professor Jones looks at the robed stranger and forms an image of the city of Toronto. In his mind, Professor Jones hears a mental reply from the robed man that he has never seen the place before.  Professor Jones feels a great sense of helplessness.  The robed man senses his plight and invites the two strangers to accompany his fellow.  He tells Gabrielle and she agrees, but says she’s ready to run if they need to.  They follow the robed men for about a half an hour through the huddled streets of this foreign metropolis, encountering dwarves, halflings, and seeing a class distinction among the humans between commoners and privileged.  At length they arrive at the stone portal to an old stone building.  Their new found friend ushers them in and he has a heated discussion with a robed man in the foyer about the visitors.  Prevailing, the visitor’s friend leads them down a hall into a simple but comfortably furnished room.  They again attempt to communicate, but make some headway.  It becomes clear that Gabrielle and Professor Jones are not from this world.  Their new friend introduces himself to them as Ithrave, an Incarnandist Monk of the Order of Saint Kerimond the Disciple.  He leaves and returns with a higher ranking monk of the order, Gorrig.  At this point, Professor Jones and Gabrielle can hear his thoughts distinctly and a fluid conversation emerges.  Gorrig explains that they are in the city of Trevirs in the Empire of Magdala.  Professor Jones asks if this is normal for people to show up in his world. Gorrig explains that it is very unusual, but not entirely unheard of.  Gorrig further says that there is a force, magic, that some use to bring such things about.  Gorrig explains that he and his fellow monks, however, use powers of the mind, called energism.  Gorrig asks the professor where they entered his world and the professor visualizes the place in the tunnel where they emerged into this strange world.  Gorrig explains that he will have some monks investigate it.  Professor Jones expresses his overwhelmed frustration and asks if there’s anything he can do for them.  Gorrig says they are here to help and they they will take things one at a time.  He tries to assuage the fears of the visitors.

A crash and shout are heard outside, followed with the sounds of a ruckus.  Gorrig explains that times are difficult and many people are unhappy with the present order of things.

The RPG session ends.

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Deviantart Account

I started a deviantart.com account today.  It has some of the digital pictures I’ve made.

http://asdaricus.deviantart.com/

 

 

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RPG Money System in World of Asdar

This is the simplified monetary system for the world of Asdar. It is simplified because it does not keep track of which currency is in use and assumed a common format of denominations for most monetary systems.

Most monetary systems follow this format and for game purposes are the same.  Players can attempt to determine the state of origin for the coins.  This adds game flavor and can also be useful in role-playing situations.

Gold Pieces
The gold coin is the standard high denomination monetary unit.  It is halved from its standard value in Pathfinder and D&D.  This reflects the fact that gold is rarer in the world of Asdar than the standard fantasy rpg.  This means that the costs and income given in the PF book are halved.  Thus, even though prices are half their gold value, the income and payment one receives is also halved.

Silver Pieces
In the standard monetary system, twenty silver pieces equal one gold piece.  In PF, only ten silver pieces equal a gold coin.  So, any price in silver pieces is not halved.  This of course can lead to confusion.  The important thing to remember is that gold is worth twice as much in the world of Asdar.  Silver pieces are the only thing roughly the same in value between Asdar and PF.

Copper Pieces
These are also changed in value.  In the standard monetary system, one hundred copper pieces are the same in value as one silver piece. This differs from PF where only ten copper are worth a silver piece. Logically, this means that any cost in the PF core rule book given in copper should be multiplied by ten to give its equivalency in the world of Asdar.

I haven’t warmed up to the idea of platinum coinage.  In AD&D, platinum coinage was meant to be the ancient coinage of lost empires.  There are plenty of lost and fallen empires in the world of Asdar.  The Yophenthean Empire loved gold coinage and Yophenthean gold coins are actually larger than standard modern gold coins.  They are also very rare and most have been melted down to make modern coinage centuries ago.  I could have orichalcum coinage from some forgotten empire many thousands of years ago, but I’m still working that out.

This is the exchange rate across the board:
1 gold piece = 20 silver pieces = 2000 copper pieces.

It’s not simple like 1:10:100 in PF, but it doesn’t offend my sensibilities and I figure if I’m up to using PF, then it’s not undoable.

 

NOTE: I’ve since looked at my notes and see that 12 asses (Roman pennies) were equivalent to 1 silver denarius.  This means that 100 copper pieces to one silver piece is way off.  So, I have revised it so that 10 copper pieces equals a silver piece.

1 gold piece = 20 silver pieces = 200 copper pieces.

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Currency and Monetary System

I’ve always wondered when I’ve played Dungeons and Dragons and other similar fantasy role-playing games, how much could I relate the costs of goods and services in game with expenses to which I am familiar in the real world.  Gary Gygax mentions in the first edition AD&D Dungeon Master’s Guide that the cost of goods and services in the D&D world is inflated due to the influx of adventurers’ gold coin, comparable to the inflated price of eggs in the gold rush.  But in the world of Asdar, not every place is stuffed with adventurers dumping their latest hauls of loot into the local economy.  Additionally, the great size of the largest cities in the populous Pallathantic Region in 2750 AS would effectively dampen the effect of the influx of coin.

The technology and monetary practices of the West are somewhere between a medieval fantasy game and the real world.   In a medieval economy, manufactured goods are much cheaper than their modern counterparts because wages are very low.  The exception to this is for very skilled labor, but even then I suppose it could be less than the modern world.  The artisans who did the vast, elaborate, and unending enrichment of the interior of the Alhambra would have cost an exorbitant fortune in today’s economy.  Additionally, modern Asdar (ca 2750 AS) enjoys a certain degree of mechanized manufacturing thanks to titancraft technology.  In the modern world, countries use fiat currency.  In the world of Asdar, all currencies are backed up by gold or silver, even if paper is exchanged.  The gold coin is the de facto standard of wealth in D&D and Pathfinder.  In Asdar, the gold coin is the most widely used currency for purchases of significant value, such as a horse, a house, the skills of a very costly mercenary or master craftsman.

In the real world, the price of gold fluctuates quite a lot, especially as it has in the past six years.  As of this evening today, the cost of one troy ounce of gold is $1315USD.  For some time during my life, the price of gold was more or less $400USD.  At one time in the past six years, the price shot up to nearly $2000USD a troy ounce.  So, even if I convert a gold coin into US dollars, the amount can vary.  Anyone who has regularly bought groceries, knows that the cost of food has virtually doubled in the past six years (2008 to 2014) as well.

Sorry, but I have to get nit-picky here. According to PF (Pathfinder) Core Rulebook, “The standard coin weighs about a third of an ounce (50 to the pound).”  Since 16 times three makes 48, we know they mean the standard avoidupois ounce as an avoirdupois ounce is 1/16 of a pound.  This also means that a gold coin in the PF Universe is smaller than a US gold dollar which 1 troy ounce.  This compares well to the ancient world where the gold coin of the Romans (aureus) was also smaller than a troy ounce.  A troy ounce is 1/12 of a pound. A troy ounce is 1.09714 avoirdupois ounces which means there are 17.55424 troy ounces in a US Pound which I assume is the same as the imperial pound.  That means a pound of gold today on the commodities market is worth $23,083USD.   At the old price of $400USD, a pound of gold would have been worth about $7022USD.   A gold coin in the PF Universe is 1/48 a US pound, so that means it would 1/48 of $23,083USD which is about $481USD.  If the old average of $400USD were in force, a gold piece would be worth about $146USD.

So $480US (353 Euros) for a gold piece.  But this is really not a perfect comparison.  First of all, gold today is not currency. It’s a commodity.  Secondly, the comparison assumes, incorrectly, that the availability of gold in the real world is the same as it is in the PF universe (or in the world of Asdar, for that matter).  Even in the real world, gold can have differing degrees of availability in different regions and in different historic periods.  Compare the availability of gold in pre-Columbian Peru, medieval Spain, post-Pizarran Spain, Medici Florence, medieval Hungary, in the Amarna period in Egypt versus the Amarna period in Babylonia, Alaska during the gold rush, and in the US today.

In the world of Asdar, gold is not any rarer than it is in the real world.  Even if ‘guestimate’ that one standard gold coin in the Pallathantic Region around 2740 AS is worth about $500USD, I still cannot instantly calculate the price of goods and services in the world of Asdar.  Consider a house.  Modern manufacturing technology and cheap labor from Mexico means that your house in the US could be comparably cheaper than the rough equivalent would be in the world of Asdar.  Additionally, a house in the modern world would have technological conveniences (central heating, central cooling, electricity, natural gas, possibly solar power) which most homes in Asdar would not have.  Indoor plumbing, municipal water supply, and sewage disposal are probably the only thing they would have in common in this regard, and only in the large, advanced cities.  It is possible that some houses could have natural gas (“essence”), but that would only be in larger cities.  So for this reason, I can’t really calculate the price of a house with scientific certainty.  As with all real estate, the location (and thus the desirability) is the most widely varying factor.  An old, but well-kept three-bedroom penthouse in the nicest neighborhood in Trevirs would cost more than a large

What if I wanted to compare the cost of a nice suit in the real world with the cost of the cultural equivalent in the world of Asdar, 2750 AS?  Labor in the world of Asdar is cheaper than in the modern US.  Similar to the real word, textiles in the world of Asdar in 2750 are manufactured by means of titancraft textile mills, so they are made more cheaply than in a medieval setting.  The suit itself in Asdar would be made by a professional tailor — what is called ‘bespoke’ in the UK.  The equivalent of that in the US is a lot more expensive than an off-the-rack suit.  But there’s no equivalent in Asdar of an off-the-rack suit, except, perhaps, the second-hand clothing market.  A nice tailored suit in the US would be at least $2000USD, and that’s really at the low end of the scale.  A very nice suit would be $5000USD.  The price rises higher if you ask for ridiculously luxury add-ons, like metallic gold stripes in the fabric and with that kind of “Michael Jackson” whimsy, there’s no upper limit to the cost. With a price range of $2000 to $5000USD, the equivalent at $500/gp is 4 to 10 gps.  In the PF Core Rulebook, a peasant’s outfit is 1sp.  PF defines 1 gp as 10 sps.  That means that a peasant’s outfit is worth $48 to $50USD.  PF says a noble’s outfit is 75 gps and a royal outfit is worth 200 gps.  By simple division, the noble outfit is worth $36,000USD (480 x 75) and the royal outfit is worth $96,000USD (200 x 480).  Those prices clearly are for the upper-crust and very well-heeled.  We can safely assume they are made of the very best cloths (wool, silk) with the highest state of the craft (immaculately fitted, richly embroidered), set with fine adornments like gold, semi-precious, and precious gems.  But would it really cost that much?  It’s hard to tell.  The high end wardrobes of Hollywood and the upper crust are due mainly to the cost of the designer rather than the materials. Silk cloth which cost a small fortune in the middle ages is not so costly today.  True, along with fine wool, silk is one of the most expensive textiles, it is however not exorbitantly expensive.  High end silk brocade or very fine suiting wool costs about $300USD a yard.  If you need six yards of the stuff for an outfit, that’s still only $1500USD for the material.  In the PF Core Rulebook, it says 1 square yard of silk is worth 10 gps.  Keep in mind that a square yard is necessarily only 36inches wide.  The yard in my example at $300USD/a yard is at least 45 inches wide or about 1 1/2 square yards, so six yards in my example make 9 square yards.  I would pay $1500USD in the real world.  In the PF universe, I would pay 90 gps which as a commodity today in the real world would be worth $43,200USD. There’s a big difference between $1500USD and $43,200USD.

According to the PF Core Rulebook, the average starting character wealth is from 70 to 175 gps.  Those 70 gps on earth would be worth, today, (70 x$480) $33,600USD.  The high end amount of 175 gps would be $84,000USD.  If I use the tentative amount of $500/gp, the amounts would be 35,000 and 87,500.  These may in fact be useful figures, but only in relationship to goods and services bought in the PF universe.

So, as you can see, simple division cannot adequately covert the cost of goods in the real world to the cost in an imaginary world.  The use of fiat currency in the real world only complicates matters.  But even without fiat currencies, it would still be difficult to convert the cost of goods and services in the PF universe or the world of Asdar to year 1900 era US dollars (or Euros or Pounds, etc.).

NOTE: The PF Core Rulebook gives 48 coins as weighing a pound, but doesn’t say whether this is a gold, silver, or copper coin. I assumed they meant a gold coin.  The reason this is important is because gold, silver, and copper have different densities and the same volume of gold would weigh less if it were silver.  Perhaps, the difference is insignificant.

 

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Summer Solstice

It’s summer solstice on the earth.  Asdar has its own calendar based upon its movements around its sun.  On Asdar, summer solstice is the first day of the common year and the middle of the Arathracian year.  In Aurice, summer solstice is the first day of the games of High Summer.  At this time, the three gibgibsew rider teams play off against each other on their eight-legged beasts on the waters of the Golden Phœnice RIven.  It is a time when the strades (streets) of Aurice are stuffed with visitors from the provinces and foreign countries, lodging is stuffed to capacity, and quite a few people have placed wagers on their favorite team.  Riots are not uncommon after the winner has been determined.

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Too Modern?

I have been reflecting more and more over the past year or so that the ‘modern’ world of Asdar or the time for ‘now,’ the year about the year 2750, is too modern for the genre of a fantasy world.  There’s plenty of magic and orcs and secret cults, so I suppose, it still falls within the sphere of a fantasy world, but it’s not a traditional world.  Titancraft engines and the huge cities (as much as one million inhabitants in a few cases) are not typical of fantasy worlds such as Forgotten Realms or World of Greyhawk or Golarion (I’m not sure about Eberron).  Titancraft vessels of the sea and of the sky mean that the vast distances from one side of the supercontinent of Asdauria to the other can be traversed within much less than a month.  I set 30 mph as the top speed of most titancraft vessels.  It may not seem like much, but if one takes into account that  a titancraft sky vessel could be flying continuously in nearly a straight voyage and that the distance from Bryndyd which is in southern Pytharnia all the way to Vakyathubwo in eastern Sungo is 133.6 ddwmir (16.7 karusagda) ( (8755 kilometers or 5440 statute miles), the aerial voyage would be less than eight Asdaran days.  The world of 2750 Asdar is smaller than the world was in the age of steamships.  Titancraft makes the modern world of Asdar much more similar to steampunk than to sword and sorcery.  I’m not sure I like that.

There are some balancing factors.  Titancraft sky transportation is rather expensive and reserved for the wealthy.  In the context of a table RPG, low level characters would not be able to pay for it.  It’s also dangerous unless the craft is flying over a friendly country.  Central Asdauria is not civilized and all sorts of hazards such as pirates, disturbances in the panstream, flying beasts, and competing corpora mercia can arise.  The Empire of the Saikusahi, a civilization inspired by medieval Japan, only dwelling in skynesses over the Tatsurochio Sea to the northwest of Sungo could exact a tariff to vessels passing through and could impound the vessel permanently for study by their imperial wizards.

Combat is also complicated.  There are two additional kinds of weaponry: dwarvenfire (gunpowder) and titanarms.  Titanarms are essentially energy weapons.  Dwarvenfire can be negated and protected from special kinds of anti-dwarvenfire magic.

I am considering developing an RPG setting at an earlier time in Asdar’s history, such as the Middle Ages (about 1200 AI to 2300 AI).

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World Size Comparison

Here’s a comparison of world sizes.  The rectangle on the right half of the map is the region of Gary Gygax’s “Oerth” known as the Flanaess or more commonly as the ‘World of Greyhawk.’  To be fair, the implied size of the globe, Oerth, is much larger, probably the size of the actual Earth.  The world of Asdar is about the size of Earth also.  I’m indulging in a bit of my-world-is-bigger-than-your-world.  But in fact, if I just look at the part of the world of Asdar that I most focus on, the Pallathantic Region, it’s really not bigger than the Flanaess.  My world of Asdar map doesn’t adjust for a spherical surface and I assume the Flanaess map doesn’t either.  As I take into consideration skycraft and titancraft vessels in ‘modern’ Asdar, travel time could be short from one side of the Pallathantic Region to the other.

MapWorldSizeComparisonFlanaess

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