The Lost Marches – Taunting

A New Feat

One of the common statements from my players is that from a mechanics standpoint, there are few ways to generate ‘aggro’ in D&D. While I’m not strictly convinced that it’s needed, I’ve put together a feat to hopefully help with this. 

Only a Test

 I’ve made it a Feat, as opposed to a mechanic that anyone can use, in an effort to mitigate how overpowering this could be.  I consider this a Test, which I may pull out from play, or change if it seems unbalanced compared to other feats. I’m only allowing this feat in my Lost Marches game for now (as of Sept 15th).

Taunting

You are intimately familiar with gestures, and phrases which will provoke others to attack:

  • Increase your Charisma score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
  • As a bonus action, you may taunt or goad one creature that you attacked this round. You force your target to make a Wisdom save (DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus + your Charisma modifier). On a failed save, the target is overwhelmed with animosity toward you and can not target anyone but you. On a success, the target has disadvantage on all attack rolls against targets other than you until the end of your next turn.

The Church of Pelor

A work emergency slowed me down, but here are my working notes on Paladins and Clerics of Pelor in The Lost Marches.

Order of the Radiant Sun

Pelorian paladins, known as Crusaders, are quite rare. Pelor’s paladins see themselves as bringers of light, those which scour away darkness and evil and bring strength and comfort to the innocent. Recently, the Order has declared to the King of Insulia that they shall move their headquarters to The Lost Marches in the year 1440, as they are most needed in the unsettled lands.

Crusaders believe that laws are helpful, but that they are at best a secondary goal and must be tempered with mercy. Their slogan is Equity for the Meek with Perseverance and Strength.

When not in formal dress, Crusaders favour light-coloured tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or greys. Some dress in commoner’s clothing, especially when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, they wear a black cloak emblazoned with the symbol of the sun. They blend into the darkness, only the shining symbols visible to their foes.

By their nature, Crusaders typically follow the Paladins Oath of the Crown (Sword Coast Adventurers Guide pg. 133),  and swear allegiance to either the Kingdom of Insulia or the Baroness of Limen in equal numbers. This has resulted in two factions within the Order of the Radiant Sun, those who belong to The Shield of the Realm and those who are Yeoman to the Baroness (https://worldofdarkness.ca/?p=1037#Factions).

 

The Grand Temple of Pelor

Clerics of Pelor are constantly aware that they are the moral compass of the civilized lands. The Grand Temple of Pelor has a monopoly upon the spiritual devotion of every goodly person. Within the civilized lands, every village, and most hamlets benefit from the services of a local Priest or Adept of the Light, while every town has a Radiant Servant to see to offer guidance. Whereas the cities are overseen by High Priests of Pelor, the Capitol is home to both the King and the Patriarch of Light, herself.

When not in formal dress, Clerics favour clothing similar to the Paladins of Pelor, light-coloured tunics, particularly sky blues, pale greens, or greys. Unlikely Paladins, never will a Cleric dress in commoner’s clothing, even when serving as community healers or in disguise. On formal occasions, Clerics wear a Cope, a form of symbolic cape emblazoned with the symbol of the sun.

Given the influence and respect that the Grand Temple of Pelor commands, Clerical ranks are typically drawn from the second and third children of Noble families. Due to these family ties, there is a heavy skew toward adventuring Clerics favoring the Shield of the Realm faction and the domain of Light within The Lost Marches. Exceptions are of course not unknown, and more than one humbly born peasant Cleric has become a Yeoman to the Baroness of Limen and studied the Domain of Nature.

Damn Goblins!

I’ll be keeping this short (I hope), but it is mostly to sing the praises of three tough little Adventurers. You see, these three little Adventurers were on their way to Points More Interesting™ when they needed to rest in the ruins of an ancient village.

Finding a convenient, and obviously well used, campsite, they camped down for the night. Being prudent, they had set watches (as one does in the wild), and it was good that they did! Unbeknownst to the Adventurers, Goblins had realized some time ago, that they could lay traps around this campsite and attack groups that camped there.

As trial and error had taught this Goblin tribe that they could likely deal with any group that didn’t have a man who wore Full Plate armour or that didn’t carry a Long bow, this seemed like the perfect group to attack! Late in the night they struck, firing at the campfire lit Adventurers from the darkness. Luck was against the Tribe, arrows did not find their mark and no one panicked enough to run at the Archers. With their numbers dwindling, and their traps unused, the Tribe pulled back to the sewers beneath the ruined village.

The cunning of the Tribe was not a small thing. The sewers were their home, and they had long ago taken an active interest in its defence. Their Chieftain had given clear instructions, the Warren must be defended at all times, and it is better to let others do the killing when possible.

With that in mind, Skeletons were rounded up and led into a room, then left a nasty surprise to would be invaders. Likewise, a giant snake was permitted to grow even larger and allowed to nest in a collector pool. The whole Tribe knew of these dangers, and their young were taught to avoid these traps.

Days later, the same group of Adventurers stormed the sewers beneath the town! Cruel Fire and Steel they carried! The Chieftain rallied the Tribe, they would defend their home with anything at hand! The Tribe must survive! For once, The Chieftain saw a threat that scared both he and his Tribe.

Game Calendar – The Lost Marches

For more details on the calendar used in The Lost Marches, you can check it out here: https://worldofdarkness.ca/?p=1037#The_Calendar_of_Insulia

Our current game has begun in the month of the High Water (first month of Summer)

In game dates for the Sunday, The Lost Marches game:

  • 21 Day of High Water, Waxing Crescent Moon
    • Player Characters arrive in The Lost Marches and journey to Limen
  • 22 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • The PCs head out toward the Gnollwode, Adroil falls ill, the other three continue on but discover a ruined village.
  • 23 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • 3 PCs return to Limen after fighting Gnolls and Goblins.
  • 24 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 1 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 25 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 2 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 26 Day of High Water, Waxing Gibbous Moon
    • Training day 3 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 27 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 4 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 28 Day of High Water, First Quarter Moon
    • Training day 5 of 5 for Aria, Joxer and Varlock
  • 29 Day of High Water, Full Moon
    • Level 2 training completed for Aria, Joxer and Varlock

The Lost Marches – Gaining Levels

Here I go again, adding in something else from days of yore! Or at least a toned down version of it.
The following will apply to characters of level 5 or less in my Lost Marches games, and must occur in a Town. Once a Character has surpassed level 5, they learn exclusively from ‘On the Job Experience’.
TRAINING TO GAIN LEVELS
As a variant rule, you can require characters to spend downtime training or studying before they gain the benefits of a new level. If you choose this option, once a character has earned enough experience points to attain a new level, he or she must train for a number of days before gaining any class features associated with the new level.
The training time required depends on the level to be gained, as shown on the Training to Gain Levels table. The training cost is for the total training time. – DMG PG 131
Level Attained…………………..Training Time…………………Training Cost
2nd……………………………………….5 days……………………………..10 GP
3rd………………………………………..10 days……………………………..20 GP
4th………………………………………..10 days……………………………..30 GP
5th………………………………………..20 days……………………………..40 GP
For clarity, characters could adventure forever without training, and they will continue to gain experience (they are not capped), they simply can not gain any feature of leveling until they have trained the required levels (up to 5).

The Lost Marches – Random Encounters

This will likely be a boring post.

Random Encounters, Wandering Monster Tables, and Unplanned Events are just a few names for a chance interaction within a Tabletop game.  I’m mainly sticking to the idea of combat encounters in this post, and using that to frame how I’ll be using random encounters in The Lost Marches.

So what am I talking about? Think back to the 80’s/early 90’s video games DragonWarrior or Final Fantasy games? As you wandered around the world, there was a chance that you’d trip across a bad guy. The more dangerous the area, the more likely you trip across a bad guy (and the more powerful that bad guy is). If you understand that, you understand Random Encounters enough to follow along here.

The second concept is also fairly simple. Every time there may be a Random Encounter I roll 2d6 and add up the total. If the total is 11 or more, there’s a Random Encounter. Normally there is only a 8.34% chance of an encounter. It’s that simple!

Now, The Lost Marches are composed of a number of different areas that I (as the DM) have decided are more or less dangerous. I’ll call out a couple of pretty direct examples that are unlikely to be spoilers for my players.

  • First Valley (24H, -1, Settled) – Out of any areas of The Lost Marches, The First Valley has been settled for the longest time. It’s fairly secure and quite removed from raiders.
  • The Barrows (8H, +2, Barrows) – The Barrows are an unsettled area, composed of ancient burial mounds. Undead are known to frequent this area.
  • Gnollwode (4H, +4, Forest) – The name should give it away. It’s a forest inhabited by Gnolls.

The names and descriptions likely make sense to you, but the part within the parenthesis, may not be as intuitive. I’ll break this down for you now.

  • The first number is the number (24) of hours (H) that must pass before the DM performs a check for a Random Encounter.
  • The second number is a modifier to the check. A negative number suggests that this area is safer than normal. A positive number increases the likeliness of an encounter and indicates that an area is more dangerous.
  • The third part, a descriptor, tells you what table the check should be on. In this case, we’d be checking on the “Settled” table.

Putting this into action with the examples:

  • The Party spends two days within the First Valley, Every 24 hours I need to check to see if there is an encounter. As the First Valley is fairly safe, I subtract 1 from the roll/check. That means I roll 2d6-1. This makes it very unlikely that the PCs will be attacked in The First Valley. Actually, there’s only a 2.78% chance that they are attacked within 24 hours.
  • The Barrows are far more dangerous, and the Party bravely decides to explore them for two days. We need to perform a check within The Barrows every 8 hours, and over the course of two days, that works out to 6 checks. In addition to this, The Barrows require us to add 2 to the dice roll, making it 2d6+2. The odds of rolling an 11 or higher is now: 27.78 percent, and must be checked 6 times! Good luck!
  • And finally, the Gnollwode is pretty deadly. Two days in the Gnollwode will result in 12 checks (one every 4 hours). Each one is 2d6+4, for a 58.34% chance of an encounter every 4 hours. That’s twice per long rest!

Wondering where I’m getting these percentages from? http://anydice.com/

 

Factions and Orders in The Lost Marches

To Be Added to The Lost Marches Primer….

Introduction

The Lost Marches lie on the bleeding edge of the wilderness. The countless Guilds, Noble Families, Merchant Alliances, and intrigues of the Civilized Lands have not yet fully spread to the Barony Limen. Those that have can be broken down into Orders and Factions.

The Orders

What has made its way there, are the various Orders that guide young Campaigners. These Orders take a multitude of forms, and all have their roots in the Civilized Lands, but each seeks to train and recognize its members.

As a Campaigner advances in skill, the Orders recognize this with certain titles and training. While titles hold less value in The Lost Marches, they are still respected and all would be advised to heed the word of a Radiant Servant of Pelor, least they need his healing might later.

Numbers in parenthesis indicate a level or level range. 

Druidic Circles

  • Aspirant (1-2)
  • Druid (3-8)
  • Archdruid (9+)
  • Hierophant (Wisest of the Druids)

Brotherhood of Warriors

Fighters and Rangers

  • Novice (1-2)
  • Sergeant (3-4)
  • Captain (5-6)
  • Marshall (7-8)
  • Warlord (9+)
  • Grand Marshall (Determined in Trial by Combat)

College of the Open Hand

Monks of the Way of the Open Hand

  • Initiate (1-2)
  • Brother/Sister (3-4)
  • Disciple (5-6)
  • Enlightened (7-8)
  • Master (9+)
  • Grand Master (Determined in a Contest of Wills)

The Academy of High Magic

Wizards of all three Orders

  • Apprentice (1-2)
  • Wizard (3-4)
  • Spellweaver (5-6)
  • Archwizard (7-8)
  • Magelord (9+)
  • Magus (Most senior Wizard of the Order)

Church of Pelor

All Clerics and Paladins of Pelor

  • Order of the Radiant Sun – Paladins of Pelor
    • Squire (1-2)
    • Sir (3-4)
    • Commander (5-6)
    • Holy Knight (7-8)
    • Knight Commander (9+)
    • Grand Knight of the Sun (Determined in a Trial by Combat)
  • The Grand Temple of Pelor – Clerical Worshipers of Pelor
    • Acolyte (1-2)
    • Priest of Pelor (3-4)
    • Adept of the Light (5-6)
    • Radiant Servant (7-8)
    • High Priest of Pelor (9+)
    • Patriarch of Light (Most senior servant of Pelor)

Factions

While a Campaigner is accepted by an Order for who they are, Factions are groups that work toward specific purposes. They are composed of members of nearly any of the Orders, and work toward goals of their own choosing.

The Shield of the Realm

The Shield is a solid traditionalist group. They wish to bring the First Valley, Second Valley, and Limen under the Fedual oversight of the Kingdom of Insulia. All expansion is done in the effort to gain political power and advantage for the Nobility of Insulia.

Symbol: A cloak clasp in the shape of the Royal Arms of Insulia. The clasp will cast Gentle Repose upon the body of the owner if they die.

Advantages: In exchange for your dedication, The Shield protects their own. If your body is returned to The Shield’s headquarters in Limen, they will raise you from the dead.

Disadvantages: You must tithe 20% of all new wealth to the Crown of Insulia.

The League of Cartographers

Dungeoneers, Tomb Raiders, Relic thieves, and Mystics make up The League. Set upon plundering The Lost Marches for the riches of the Great Compact, The League will frequently aid one another.

Symbol: A pin in the shape of a Feather/Quill worn on the lapel or chest. This pin is well known, merchants will charge you 10% less for all of your purchases and pay you 10% more for goods they buy from you.

Advantages: You have the option to purchase items that were nearly unknown (or frowned upon) in The Civilized Lands. You may purchase Potions of Healing, Greater Healing, and Poisons at the League’s Hall.

Disadvantages: Each lunar cycle, you spend at least one-day copying notes and/or carrying messages/packages for The League.

Yeoman to the Baroness

Yeoman serve Baroness Limen, the founder of Limen and the woman accredited with taming The First Valley. Yeoman act as a force of Order and Law in the name of the Baroness.

Symbol: A heavy silver chair worn about the neck. This chain grants you advantage on Charisma saves and checks within Limen or the First Valley.

Advantages: As a Yeoman, you answer only to the Baroness and her Constable. While in Limen, you are provided with accommodation befitting your rank in the Castle at no cost. Further, you will be granted land and assistance should you wish to settle/fortify The Lost Marches.

Disadvantages: You are in Fedual service to the Baroness, and as your Liege, she may call upon you at any time for any service.