Jul 23, 2014

Juggler Class and some Thoughts on Trade

I'm working on an adventure for a group of jugglers and drew this up this morning.

Juggler (Draft 2)
HD 1d4
Light Armor
Light Melee Weapons

Juggle: The juggler can simultaneously hold (juggle) items of size value equal to 3 + Dex mod, where Small = 1; Medium = 2; Large = 3
Juggled items can be thrown. Items can be caught into the juggling pattern so long as this is within the maximum total size value of the juggler.
Juggling requires both hands.
If the juggler takes damage, he must make a Dex check to continue juggling.
Throw: The juggler can use items or melee weapons as projectiles, as though making a normal ranged attack. Melee weapons do their normal damage.
The juggler can also throw an item to an ally. If the ally is not occupied, she catches the item. If the ally is occupied, catching requires a Dex check.
Catch: Jugglers always catch thrown items.

Weapon Notes:
A thrown torch has 25% chance of igniting the enemy, who then burns for 1d4 damage per round until the flame is extinguished.
A metal juggling ball (like a small cannon ball) can be thrown for 1d4 damage, and is a small item.
Standard club is small item, 1d4 damage. Heavy club is medium, 1d6 damage.

Just a few notes for my own purposes, preliminary to the development of some more complex tables for commerce in cities.
- Termine Bay: Inexpensive standard goods, obscure church items can be bought from the temple if you have connections, many more exotic items in transit but you have to buy them off merchants who are already shipping them
- Riverstadt: Lots of blackmarket trade. This is the place to get illegal items, but it will cost you.
- Marsheville: Has everything, but proximity to the emperor means taxes are collected more strictly, which drives prices up. Moderate blackmarket trade
- Halfhill: Has tech. Too bad it is almost impossible to get into the city, and most of the good stuff is proprietary of Count Ferdinand. Still, there are smugglers...
- Mesa: It's hard to get much of anything out here, but they have a healthy market for textiles and other such dry handicrafts.
- Sudenport: All sorts of great stuff. They sell things on the street that are illegal in the empire. A weak sense of law leaves scams common and quality control nonexistent.

Jul 17, 2014

On the Uniform of the Battle Mages

Those in Hommund who are convicted of magic use in Hommund are faced with a choice: execution or enlistment. It is no wonder their ranks swelled so quickly.The Battle Mage Corps is the only force authorized in the use of magic within the range of Rohan's empire. Where they walk the streets in blue coats and shining helms, the townsfolk usher their children inside and watch the passing breathlessly.

Some wonder why the Mages are not more heavily armored. Surely they could be better protected, they could be even more untouchable.
There are two answers to this question.

The first is the reason of practicality. In the interest of breeding an army overnight, it was not practical in the early days of the empire to commission fitted suits of armor for thousands of men. Magic-users, too, are accustomed to long hours of study. While the Mages are trained in competent swordsmanship, both for self-defense and fitness, many more hours are spent studying tomes and memorizing spells. With a light uniform, the fit Mages are free to march for hours and still have a calm, even pulse and a clear head to recall every word of incantation.
To suit up in plate is to acknowledge a change in environment between the tower and the streets. This is going to war. But magic is above all a mind game, and it is important that the Battle Mages be untouched by any stress of a battleground environment, where the mind dulls and slows and becomes subject to urgent gut responses. No, the Battle Mages study in their uniform, in something manageable for constant wear, and they learn to associate it with the comfort of the school, and they will have it like a blanket of safety out on the street.
Likewise with the pervasive use of the uniform. Every Battle Mage must wear it, and so breed the feeling of brotherhood that comes with the identical appearance and close association. So you can see that the Mage's uniform is designed to encourage a feeling of calm, safety, and brotherhood in the face of danger, so that it does not in fact appear to the Mage as danger, and his mind is left unfettered to manage his spells with removed efficiency.
Just as the garb inculcates a feeling of unity between the Mages, the heavy beaked helm forms a separation between the Mage and his surroundings. Inside the helm, outside sounds are dulled, everything is clearly outside the self, and one's identity is definitively anonymous. Those familiar with the psychological effects of masks will see where this is headed. A Mage who cannot be identified by others cannot be held accountable for his cruelty, and uniformity of the Corps encourages the mentality of us-and-them, as does the training of the Mages. They have a power all but their brothers lack, they are superior, they study and are smarter, they are above the peasants and commoners, they are special. They are told this day after day until the townsfolk seem but insects. The thick helm blocks out distracting sounds and the pleas of commoners, anything that might distract from the magical cants that resound in the metal case.

The second answer is more terrifying, and is all that the city-goers know: the Battle Mages do not wear armor because they do not need it. They are nightmares, they are wizards with charms and curses in their defense. There is no use in striking them, there is no use in fighting back.
The best one can do is to stay out of their way.