Friday, March 27, 2015

Wastelands Player's Guide: City-State of Kreth

The next section of the Wastelands of Kreth - Book I: Player's Guide is an introduction to the City-State of Kreth, the largest and most powerful "nation" in the Wastelands. This section briefly describes the City-State, provides an overview of the major districts, and outlines some of its notable laws.


THE CITY-STATE OF KRETH
The City-State of Kreth. Jewel of Civilization. City of Divine Light. Home of the God-Emperor.

The City-State rests along the banks of the Kreth River, slightly west of a great range of hills which dominate the region known as the Kreth Verdant. Beyond the City-State walls lay fertile farmlands, orchards, plantations and dozens of villages. The vast majority of the City-State’s 1 million-strong population resides on and works the Crescent Lands. Roughly 350,000 folk live within the city walls, but only about one-third are legal citizens.

The City-State of Kreth is the largest, richest and most diverse realm of the Wastelands. The City-State’s markets teem with goods—from the local to exotic, the mundane to mystical, and everything in between. If it can be bought, sold, or traded, it can be found in the City-State.

Everyone is welcome in the City-State—just pay the Freedom Levy to enter and abide the law once there. Anyone may become a legal citizen too, so long as they convert to the worship of Odamaar and pay the Free Citizen’s Trust, an annual tax for the administration, beatification and security of the City-State. Humans dominate the population by a wide margin, but all races are found within the City-State.

The City-State’s districts vary widely. From the slum-shanties of the Havens to the utilitarian simplicity of the middle-class Old City, from the colorful market stalls of the Bazaar to the immaculate estates of the Villa Optima—the sheer diversity of social classes, architecture and functionality in the neighborhoods of the City-State is often bewildering to first-time visitors.

The City-State is ruled by the God-Emperor Aristan. His citadel, the Empyrean Palace, dominates the cityscape. Floating a quarter-mile above the streets, the Empyrean Palace’s golden towers and crystal spires gleam in the sunlight of day and sparkle radiantly under the night stars.

God-Emperor Aristan’s official title is grandiose: His Divine Majesty, Eternal Overlord, Conqueror of the Sky, Earth and Underworld, Savior of the Free Peoples, The Grandly Gracious, Magnificently Majestic, Infinite and Invincible, Aristan—Holiest Prophet of Odamaar the Lord of Light, and God-Emperor of Life, the Universe and Everything. His Divine Majesty is a mercatian human and has ruled the City-State of Kreth for well over 1,000 years.

CITY-STATE DISTRICTS
There are nine districts of the City-State, each summarized below.
  • Bazaar: A bustling market district. Locations include Rodric’s Provisions, Feglio’s Beasts, Golad’s Exchange, Shalek’s Curios and Shayla’s Signs & Portents. An adventurer’s respite is the Medusa’s Bane Inn & Tavern.
  • Coliseum: A recreational district dominated by Aristan’s Colossus, a 200-foot statue of the God-Emperor, and the Coliseum, a 50,000-seat stadium. Other locales include the Gladiator Pits, Strongman Square, Qortha’s Gaming Emporium, the Blood Kin Guildhall, Jinjad’s Shisha Parlor, and numerous gambling houses, feasting and drinking halls.
  • Empyrean Palace: The massive citadel floats a quarter-mile above the city streets. Fliers and airships are the only means of access; designated berths are heavily guarded and controlled. Bright spotlights surveil the city at night.
  • Grand Imperial Gate & Caravan Grounds: A gargantuan causeway rises 50 feet to the Grand Imperial Gate—the only city entrance and heavily guarded. Inside the gate are wide grounds for caravans to deploy and temporary bazaars.
  • Haven (Slums): Sprawling ghetto of slum houses, shanties, ruined buildings and dark streets. Ruled by gangs, criminals and a sinister group called the Syndicate. The city watch rarely, if ever, patrols the Haven. Notable locales include Cutthroat Alley Market, the Blood Pit, Too Dark Park, Sash’s Cantina, Madame Jasmina’s Velvet Vices and the Rat’s Ass Tavern.
  • Old City: The Old City features residences for lower and middle-class citizens as well as hundreds of artisan and specialty shops. Notable shops include Dinzil’s Arms, Saala & Zadar’s Scriptorium, Wunderbad’s Gargoylery and Ooglat’s Brews & Delights.
  • Temple Square: Administrative district of the city, including courts, bureaucratic offices, temples and houses of healing. Prominent locations include Odamaar’s Celestial Temple, Imperial Courthouse, Registrarium of Free Citizens, Splendor Baths and dozens of masjids, pagodas and shrines to the gods.
  • Undercity: Not a true district, but the Undercity is known to adventurers as a vast, sprawling network of sewers, tunnels, tombs, crypts and forgotten chambers.
  • Villa Optima: This district houses noble and wealthy families and their well-groomed, slave-built estates. The Hanging Gardens feature lush parklands, exotic flora and spirit pools.

CITY-STATE CURRENCIES
  • Gold-pressed Black Iron (gpbi): Trade bars worth 1,000 gp
  • Mercatian Steel Piece (st): 10 pp
  • Sapphire Star Gem (ss): 5 pp
  • Blood Ruby Gem (br): 5 gp
  • Obsidian Moon Gem (om): 5 sp
  • Jade Bits (jb): 5 cp

ARISTINIAN CALENDAR
  • Years: Each year has 366 days.
  • Months: 12 months of 30 days each.
  • Seasonal Days: Every second month has a non-calendar season change day.
  • Weeks: 5 weeks of 6 days each month.
  • Days: Each day is 24 hours long.

CRIMES & THE LAW
The City-State of Kreth punishes criminals in multitudinous ways. Common punishments include (in approximate order of magnitude) citations, fines, public humiliation, enforced servitude to the City-State, imprisonment and death.

Some well-known aspects of City-State law include:
  • Only Citizens Have Rights: Citizens are afforded full rights of protection and representation under the law. Non-citizens have no legal rights.
  • Peace Bonded Weapons: All weapons worn within the walls of the City-State must be tied or bonded securely. Using a weapon of any kind during a crime carries an extra sentencing term.
  • Magic is Restricted: No one may practice or use magic within the City-State without being approved and registered by the Imperial Guild of Dwimmercrafters. The guild’s dues, fees and levies on magic use are complex, often obscure and arcane themselves—and expensive.
  • Sorcery & Witchcraft Forbidden: The use of magic to commit a crime or to influence, deceive or otherwise harm citizens or their property is considered sorcery and witchcraft. These acts are punishable by various means, including death. The City-State employs powerful Spellbinders—silver and black-robed wizards of notorious repute who hunt down unlawful magic users and enforce the Empyrean Edict Against Sorcery and Witchcraft.
  • Tax-evasion is Seriously Bad: Of all the laws in the City-State, failing to pay proper taxes is the most heinous. The punishments are worse than for murder as tax-evasion is considered treasonous and a crime against the God-Emperor himself.
  • Forgery is Almost as Bad: Producing and distributing fake currency and documents are serious crimes. The punishments are severe and the social stigma carried by a forger in business and social circles is ruinous.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Wastelands Player's Guide: Equipment

The next section of the Wastelands of Kreth - Book I: Player's Guide deals with additional armor, weapons, mounts, vehicles, gear and tools available to adventurers in the Wastelands. Owing to the rich magical nature of the setting, a few of these items are actually "magic items," but they are common (or uncommon, to use the DMG rarity categories) and easily accessible by adventurers. Hence I included them in the Player's Guide.

Fliers are a special case. These magic-powered flying vehicles are rare ... and expensive. So, going by the DMG guidelines, characters should not generally have access to fliers until they hit level 5 or so. However, I did want to include them in the Player's Guide for verisimilitude. And to tease the players. :-)

As a side note, in a future series of posts I'll be discussing and drilling down on magic in the Wastelands. Specifically, I'll be introducing a new school of magic, Technomancy, as well as a new divine domain, for now simply called Magic.

On to the new equipment...

ARMOR
Armor
Cost
Armor Class
Strength
Stealth
Weight
Light Armor





Bone leather
20 gp
12 + Dex modifier
--
Disadvantage
16 lb.
Medium Armor





Bamboo cord
25 gp
13 + Dex modifier (max 2)
--
Disadvantage
25 lb.
Lamellar
45 gp
14 + Dex modifier (max 2)
--
Disadvantage
35 lb.
Heavy Armor





Chitin
50 gp
15
Str 15
Disadvantage
50 lb.
Shield





Buckler
5 gp
+1
--
--
3 lb.

ARMOR
Bamboo-cord: This armor is fashioned of cured bamboo scales or plates affixed to a suit of thin leather and reinforced with thick-braided cords.
Bone leather: As leather armor, but also fitted with small bone plates stitched together and covering vital areas.
Buckler: A small and light shield gripped with the fist.
Chitin: Heavy leather armor overlapped by plates of chitin from creatures such as ankhegs, giant ants and umber hulks.
Lamellar: The small hardened leather, bamboo or metal plates of this armor are laced together in horizontal rows and worn over a light undercoat and leggings.


WEAPONS
Weapon
Cost
Damage
Wt.
Properties
Simple Weapons




Cestus
1 gp
1d3 piercing
1 lb.
Light
Claw blades (nahaka)
4 gp
1d4 piercing
2 lb.
Finesse, light
Quarterstaff (thron)
1 gp
1d6 bludgeoning
3 lb.
Versatile (1d8)
Martial Weapons




Bladeshield (mogdu)
15 gp
1d6 piercing
4 lb.
Special (buckler +1 AC)
Goad (ankush)
10 gp
1d10 piercing
12 lb.
Heavy, reach, two-handed
Khopesh
25 gp
1d8 slashing
4 lb.
Special (1d6 bludgeoning)
Moon knife (chukra)
3 gp
1d4 slashing
1 lb.
Finesse, light, thrown (range 20/60)
Push dagger (narg)
10 gp
1d6 piercing
2 lb.
Light
Saber (shalashir)
20 gp
1d6 piercing or slashing
2 lb.
Finesse, light
Sword-glaive (jotat)
25 gp
1d8 slashing
5 lb.
Heavy, versatile (1d10)

WEAPONS
Bladeshield: The bladeshield, or mogdu, is a one-handed weapon favored by druqara warriors. It features two opposing blades fixed to a central handle which is covered by a hardened leather or metal plate to act as a buckler shield (providing +1 to AC when wielded). 
Cestus: A leather gauntlet-like weapon fitted with short metal blades or spikes. The cestus is sometimes favored in close-quarters combat as the hand remains free for grappling attacks. Pit fighters and gladiators often use two cesti. A shield can be gripped in the hand wearing a cestus, but the cestus can’t be used while doing so. 
Claw Blades: Also known as a nahaka, this claw-like weapon has several curved, dagger-length blades affixed to a reinforced leather or metal gauntlet. Like a cestus, the hand remains free for grapple attacks while wearing a claw blade. A shield cannot be gripped by the same hand that wields a claw blade. 
Falchion: A single-edged, one-handed sword with a wide, heavy blade for chopping. 
Goad: Also known as an ankush, this polearm features a sharpened spear-tip for thrusting and a hooked blade for snaring. 
Khopesh: Favored by qaarni warriors, this sickle-like, single-edged, slashing sword also features a blunted hook-tip for bludgeoning or hooking. When used to bludgeon, the blunted tip does 1d6 damage. 
Moon Knife: The moon knife, or chukra, is a disk-shaped ranged weapon with razor sharp edges favored by druqara warriors. The moon knife also features a central handle allowing use in close combat. 
Push Dagger: Also known as a nirothan narg, the push dagger features a wide, triangular blade for thrusting, and an h-shaped hand grip with two arms extending along the wielder’s forearm for stability. 
Quarterstaff: The thron is favored by elven ascetic warriors. This light, smooth-shafted quarterstaff is typically capped at both ends with iron or steel. 
Saber: This qaarni weapon, also called a shalashir, is a long, one-handed, curved saber with a thin blade for slashing or piercing. 
Sword-Glaive: Also known as a jotat, this two-handed, sword-like polearm is favored by nirothan warriors. Roughly half the weapon’s length is a wooden haft and the other half is a slightly curved, single-edged slashing sword. 

VEHICLES & MOUNTS
Vehicle
Cost
Speed

Mount
Cost
Speed
Capacity
Ice sled
250 gp


Lizard (dengaar)
50 gp
40 ft.
540 lb.
Palanquin
75+ gp


Llama (hukka)
25 gp
50 ft.
480 lb.
Flier
Special
120 ft.

Ostrich (raanti)
75 gp
60 ft.
360 lb.
Skiff
500 gp
4 mph

Tortoise (qarak)
100 gp
30 ft.
720 lb.




Triceratops (yarroth)
1,500 gp
40 ft.
2 tons

VEHICLES
Ice Sled: An ice sled is a vehicle of vragnak origin that resembles a chariot but rides on two widely-set skis instead of wheels. The sled is propelled by a removable sail or pulled by a pair (at least) of trained sled bears. An ice sled's maximum payload is 150 pounds in addition to its driver. An ice sled maneuvers best upon flat terrain, but may drive at half-speed in snowy, obstructed or steep terrain. Proficiency in Vehicles (land) allows you to add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to operate an ice sled. 
Flier: A glideskiff, or simply flier, is a single- or dual-rider aircraft powered by magic. A single-rider flier is about the size of a kayak or large motorcycle and its maximum payload is 150 pounds in addition to its rider. A dual-rider flier is roughly the size of a rowboat or small car and its maximum payload is 300 pounds in addition to two riders. Both craft can fly up to 120 feet per round. Proficiency in Vehicles (air) allows you to add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to operate a flier. All fliers are custom made to exact specifications, and each has a monthly upkeep cost in addition to the purchase cost. Please ask the referee for further information. 
Palanquin: A palanquin is essentially a carriage without wheels. The carriage and passengers are lifted and carried by porters or slaves using two or more long poles. Palanquins come in many sizes and may be equipped with various luxuries. 
Skiff: The lightweight skiff is propelled by a sail and wheels or sand skis. A skiff is about the size of a small catamaran and its maximum payload is 500 pounds in addition to the driver and two passengers. A skiff maneuvers well in flat terrain, but can sail at half-speed in sandy, obstructed or steep terrain. Proficiency in Vehicles (land) allows you to add your proficiency bonus to any ability checks you make to operate a skiff. 

MOUNTS
Dengaar: These animals are large, rotund lizards with powerful squat legs. Their coloring varies from sandy tan to charcoal black, and they have long red tongues and stark black eyes. When tamed they make excellent mounts that can go many days without water. 
Hukka: These domesticated animals are pack-beasts and mounts which resemble powerful llamas. They have fur ranging from purple-black to orange-white, black hooves and thin white tails tipped with a tuft of purple or black fur. They are notoriously temperamental. 
Qarak: These large beasts of burden resemble long-legged tortoises. Their shells vary from black to orange, their legs are blue-black, and their heads are yellowy-blue with white and black eyes. Qarak are even-tempered but slow, and possess a ravenous appetite (feed cost per day doubled). 
Raanti: These riding beasts resemble ostriches. Their feather colors vary from brown to red to dark blue, fading to cream-yellow along the neck and legs. They have bright orange and white heads streaked with blue, and padded brown hooves. Raanti are known for their speed, endurance and smarts. 
Yarroth: These huge beasts of burden resemble triceratopses. They are used to haul great wains or vehicles of war. Yarroth are colored a mottled brown-grey-blue with their thick legs ending in padded four-toed feet. Yarroth also have two long, curved yellow-white tusks, and a crest of cream-white armor plates tipped with at least six yellow horns.

ADVENTURING GEAR & TOOLS
Item
Cost
Wt.

Item
Cost
Wt.
Artificer’s tools
50 gp
10 lb.

Expanding pole
25 gp
1 lb.
Driftglobe
100 gp
1 lb.

Reclamation vest
150 gp
3 lb.
Dust goggles
5 gp
--

Sitar
30 gp
3 lb.

ADVENTURING GEAR & TOOLS
Artificer’s Tools: You have proficiency with artificer’s tools. These tools work as described under the Tinker rock gnome ability (page 37 of the Player’s Handbook). The following are examples of devices you can make with artificer’s tools:
Recording Pad. This device records up to a single page of writing or drawing. You can record by dictating or physically writing or sketching.
Simulacrum. You create a miniature mechanical likeness of a creature, person or object. If the original is mobile, the simulacrum may move or fly (as appropriate) up to 5 feet on each of your turns in a random direction. The simulacrum makes noise of a moderate volume appropriate for the object it represents.
Sound Cube. When activated, this device plays a single one-minute long song or other recording at a moderate volume. It can store only one such recording at a time. The cube stops playing when it reaches the recording’s end or when it is deactivated. You can set it to play the recording on a loop at any rate for up to 24 hours.
Driftglobe: As described on page 166 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
Dust Goggles: These glass-lensed goggles allow you to see normally in adverse conditions, such as dust or sandstorms.
Expanding Pole: This one-foot long rod magically expands to 10 feet upon speaking a command word (an action), and vice-versa.
Reclamation Vest: This intricate vest of thin tubes and hoses cleverly reclaims some of the moisture excreted by your body. It then cools and circulates the moisture within the vest to help keep you comfortable in hot conditions. Wearing a reclamation vest grants you advantage on any saving throws or checks you make to avoid exhaustion in extremely hot conditions.
Sitar: A popular musical instrument found in many variations in the cities and villages of the Wastelands.