Gates Sample World: Fair Isles

Today we’re taking looking further into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

Fair Isles

To the north of the Western Wilds is several large islands collectively known as the Fair Isles. This is the home of the Islian Elves and the center of magic in Islia. If magic was like water, then the Fair Isles would be an ocean. The creatures of the Isles are often born with magical qualities. Bears that can speak, birds who lay diamond eggs, or fire breathing lizards. Some of the plants and natural geography of the Fair Isles are just as magical. Rare flowers that brew a tea of immortality, a lake that heals all wounds, or even a cave which echoes your deepest regrets back to you.

The Elves of the Fair Isles were human many thousands of years ago. But the magic seeped into their very being over the generations, turning them into elves. They live in cities and villages, farm the land, and tend to their seas. They trade with both Nenmaa and the Western wilds. Mages are also drawn to this land in order to study magic.

Twilight Spire

Six hundred years ago, seven mages decided to join together and study the Magic of the Fair Isles. Two elves, Three humans, a Dwarf, and a Lourulf. At first, they made a campsite, which turned into an outpost where their knowledge was recorded. Soon, they were joined by other researchers, craftsmen, and adventurers and they needed to expand. So, together the seven decided to erect a tower to hold their magical secrets and to house their workers. A 40 foot tower was erected and called the Twilight Spire. However, in two short decades even it was too small. So, they built it again.

The Tower, as it is today, is a 2000 ft tall tower that functions more like a city than a scholars tower. At its center is the original tower with a small garden around it. It is left intact as a reminder of its beginnings. The outside of the tower is built from a special stone found in abundance not far from the tower. It has a magical property based on the time of the day. At noon, the tower is stark black, and easily spotted from miles away. Midnight the tower becomes a gleaming white, which shines like a beacon in the moonlight. At twilight, the tower turns a red and blue color, making it almost invisible in the twilight sky. It is separated by one hundred floors, each with their own communities and purposes. At the base of the tower is a small village where farmers, tradesmen, and those who need to travel live. These farmers tend to the earth around the tower, providing enough food for the Spire.

The seven who have built the tower are now dead, but statues have been erected in their honor. Now the Spire is ruled by a magistrate. Eleven mages and an alchemist who each love the Tower dearly. Magic absolutely permeates through the Tower. Elevators powered by magic replace stairs, lights burn without fuel, and animated constructs keep the Spire clean and repaired.

Quest Hooks:

  • Something evil entered the original tower and has locked it from the inside. Someone needs to find a way in and rid it of evil magic.
  • One of the Magistrates was assassinated, and the others have been threatened. The investigation leads to a cult of mages which seek to take the tower as their own.
  • A powerful artifact crafted in the Tower was stolen. It could destroy cities in the wrong hands, and must be returned.
  • Something is draining the magic from the Tower. The investigation leads to a magical experiment gone wrong.
  • Time stopped outside the Tower, and no-one can leave. The adventurers must help fix this. The investigation leads to a spell mishap.
  • Untouched Island

    There was an island in the Fair Islands that has been untouched by man or elf for as long as anyone can remember. Any attempts to reach it have been thwarted by weather and strange, invisible monsters. However, recently the storms and monsters have gone away. People flocked to this island seeking treasure, knowledge, and adventure. It is fairly small, with several smaller islands surrounding it. You could walk from one side to the other in a single day. A small village was found on the island in ruin, and its inhabitants are gone. The village looks recent.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Some insight on the previous inhabitants were discovered, but the proof was stolen by thieves. They must be recovered.
  • Strange monsters attack the new settlers. They seem to be constructs and newly made. Where are they coming from?
  • A fae is found on one of the islands who claims to know what happened, but it speaks in nothing but riddles.
  • A tree with strange delicious fruits has been found, and wine has been made of the fruit. However, when this wine in drunk then the inhibitor becomes violents and sees strange illusions. This wine was shipped to a mainland, and someone needs to stop it from being sold in the market.
  • Spirits of the previous inhabitants warn settlers to stay away. What does this dire warning mean?
  • Ira, the City under the Sea

    There is a coral reef between two of the islands which has a strange property. Anyone in the coral reef can breath the water as though it were air. Elves discovered this and soon built a town into the coral itself. They harvest the coral area, fish from under the sea, and even mine the rare minerals under the coral reef, which they trade to others. The town is simply called Ira but the nickname City under the Sea is used often. The elves who live in Ira have developed a new way of life, and have been called mer-folk despite the fact that they are the same elves as any other.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Sharks are coming close and closer to Ira, and they need to be eradicated.
  • A race of sentient squids is trying to invade Ira, the town needs strong warriors to help defend it.
  • Ruins under the coral suggest that there may be more to this reef than originally thought.
  • An addictive drug is released in the party scene of Ira. This drug is highly addictive and causes magical mutations. The towns leaders wants the Players to track down its source.
  • A leviathan of tremendous proportions is headed straight for Ira. The Players need to find a way to save the town.
  • Brotherhood: Party Based Factions

    Last time on our faction system walkthrough, we finished off the main rules for factions by showing you faction advancement.

    In this post we’re showing you how to turn your current party into a faction.

    Skills

    Getting faction Skills out your party is easy to work out:

  • Your newly made faction’s Notoriety and Treachery will be 1 by default, so that’s two out of the way.
  • Your Might Skill will be the number of player characters in the party
  • For the Wealth Skill, add together the first digit of each player character’s Wealth Skill Levels (so a 3 for a Level of 34)
  • Lastly, for Reputation, each player chooses a Social Skill for their characters; add together the first digit of these.
  • And there you are, you’ve turned your party into a faction. It probably won’t be the grandest of factions, but then it is only the few of you thus far.

    Specialisations

    Until you get another member (that isn’t a player character), there is no need for Specialisations. But, you can already work them out beforehand to make life easier.

    Much like Wealth and Reputation, for each Specialisation you will add together the first digit of each player character’s assigned Skill Level to create the Specialisation Level. Each Specialisation is tied to a character Skill (or sometimes more than one, and you can choose one of the Skills to use), so just have a look at the list below for which Specialisation goes with which Skill.

    Athletics: Athletics
    Combat: Fight or Shoot
    Craft: Broad-Craft or Fine-Craft
    Drive: Drive
    Mental: Logic
    Perception: Perception
    Negotiate: Diplomacy
    Special: Special
    Stealth: Stealth
    Coercion: Intimidate

    As an example: say you have three player characters with Logic Skill Levels of 39, 37 and 41. To work out their faction’s Mental Specialisation Level, add together 3, 3, and 4 to get 10.

    Using a party faction

    In nearly all respects, a faction created from a party works exactly the same way as a faction created through the faction generator. The main difference will come from the lack of members. If the faction only consists of player characters, then there won’t be any Treachery Events, since there are no (potentially) treacherous NPCs. Similarly, without NPCs in the faction, you can’t roll faction Might Skill Checks to get faction members to come help you in times of trouble, since you are already there.

    If you start a faction as a party, the first goal is to get more members into your faction in order to get the most benefits out of your new faction.

    And that’s it for party factions; and the rules of Brotherhood!. Next time we’ll start showcasing a few factions to show you what can be done with the system, and so that you can quickly pick up a faction and run with it.

    ———-

    Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Brotherhood faction Mod has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

    Z-LAND S2 Chapter 7 “The Second Chance” Part 4

    Our survivors split to attempt to deal with the overwhelming numbers that march their way.

    Missed out on the previous episodes? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

    Get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

    ———-

    If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

    Stormforge Halloween 50% off Sale on DriveThruRPG

    We’ve hit October and that means one thing: it’s time for all things horror with Halloween just around the corner.

    So to celebrate all things spooky, we are giving you 50% off on all our horror-themed products over on DriveThruRPG. From now until Halloween you can grab Z-LAND, Haunt, and the two Ruined Man adventures all for half price!

    So click on the banners below to start your Halloween season off to a good start!

    Brotherhood: Advancement

    Last time on our faction system walkthrough, we showed you the silent heroes of the faction, the Specialists.

    In this post we’re showing you faction advancement, and how to increase your faction’s Skill and Specialisation Levels.

    Advancement

    Faction advancement comes in three forms; and we’ve already shown you the first. The members and specialists will be the main driver in your faction’s advancement. Each time you recruit a new member, one Skill or Specialisation will be increased, and another will decrease. It won’t add anything to your faction, but it will change it. The specialists on the other hand, will add a lot to your faction. If you get a Manager, you can bet good money that your faction’s Skills will increase.

    The other two ways that your faction will advance works much in the same way as character advancement. The only main difference will be whether you are advancing a faction Skill or Specialisation. Regardless of which one it is, just like character advancement, it will happen between each session so that it doesn’t interrupt gameplay.

    Specialisations

    Specialisation advancement works just like character advancement. At the end of each session, if certain criteria are met, your GM will give you some EXP. You can then spend that EXP on the Specialisations that you actually rolled in that session. You can also trade 1 Level from 1 Specialisation to another, but it must be from a Specialisation you didn’t roll, to one you did.

    For each criteria below, you will get 1 EXP:

  • Making at least one Faction Skill Check.
  • If the faction was instrumental to advancing the current plotline.
  • Finishing a faction based mission or quest.
  • Getting a Might Location Destroyed Wound.
  • Getting a Wealth Location Destroyed Wound.
  • If you roll a Specialisation Check and you roll exactly on the Specialisation Level, that Specialisation automatically increases by 1 Level.
  • Getting a new member into the faction.
  • Getting a specialist.
  • Purchasing a new base.
  • Accomplishing your current faction goal.
  • So there’s a lot that can give you EXP, and if you’re lucky and get all of them in a single session you’ll get a whopping 10 EXP to play around with.

    Skills

    Skill advancement is a bit more nebulous, as the Skills don’t really show what your faction can do, but rather what your faction is. As such, Skill advancement (other than through the changes brought about by members) is entirely handled by the GM. Each session your GM will make a judgement call for each of the five Skills to see if what the faction has done that session has been good for that particular Skill, neutral, or bad; and he will either add 1 Level to the Skills, subtract 1 or leave it alone.

    For example, if the faction (and players in particular) have gone around and bullied whomever they saw to get their way, the GM might feel that this hasn’t been good for their faction’s Notoriety and so at the end of the session will increase the Notoriety Skill by 1. However, if through all this bullying, the players got a new money-maker for the faction, the GM would also increase the Wealth Skill by 1. In the same session, with all the bullying going on, the players insulted the wrong person who turned out to be the local noble of the lands, who decided to confiscate some of the player faction’s weapons as punishment. This was disastrous, so the GM decreases both the faction’s Reputation and the Might Skills by 1. The faction members are more angry at the local noble than the players, so the GM doesn’t touch the faction Treachery Skill.

    Each session, the GM can do this for all five Skills to advance the faction based on what has happened.

    However! There are two Skill that have an extra rule: Notoriety and Treachery. If there is a Notoriety or Treachery event going on and it is not finish by the end of the session, then the Skill gains 2 Levels. If the Event is finished successfully, then that Skill is decreased by whatever the Event Roll was that started it all (so if you rolled a 39 for which treachery event to happen, the Treachery Skill will be reduced by 39). If however, the players fail to stop the Event and it all ends in tears, if the faction is still left standing, the Skill in question is increased by 10.

    And that’s it for Advancement. Next time we’ll show you how to turn your own party into a faction.

    ———-

    Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Brotherhood faction Mod has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

    Gates Sample World: Central Woodlands

    Today we’re taking looking further into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

    Central Woodland

    This part of the world is north of Nenmaa and South of the Stone-Carved Mountains.The vast majority of the land is a large boreal forest. The southernmost point of the woodlands is a large plain which bleeds into Nenmaa and eventually converts into a desert. The Central Woodland is a difficult place to live. While it is beautiful and vast, it is also filled with all sorts of monsters, evil creatures, and dangerous tribes of goblins. The only people wild and tough enough to tame this land is the wolf-like and centaurian Lourulf.

    The Lourulf have over a hundred different tribes which wander the boreal forest of the Central Woodlands. They are nomadic in nature, and consistently scrabble and fight for territory. Travelers to the Stone-carved mountains who must pass through the Central Woodland often seek out tribes of Lourulf to guide them.

    The animals of the Central woodland tend to be large and healthy. There are true rumors of several animals spotted that are much larger than they would naturally be. Moose which stand twenty feet tall. Bears that knock over trees. Eagles who make nests the size of a large house. These are just a few of the examples.

    The First and Last

    There is a single tree in the Central Woodland which towers above all others. It is seen by anyone above the treeline and can be seen with a spyglass from atop the Stone-Carved Mountains. This tree is known as the Otskai which means both beginning and end. It is told by Lourulf story tellers to be the first tree of the Central Woodland and to be the last tree to fall. It is a sacred tree that, some say, has a spirit of its own.

    Several of the Lourulf tribes use the tree as a point of pilgrimage. When a Lourulf of one of these tribes reaches adulthood, they travel to the tree. Upon arriving, they carve their name or personal symbol. The carvings reach approximately 15 feet up the tree, which makes it difficult for a Lourulf to reach. There are many large stones around the tree that are used to make a makeshift stair to reach, but the stair is always dismantled. The journey is dangerous. Many monsters and dangerous animals roam the area around the tree, protecting it seemingly by instinct. However, what is more dangerous is the Guardian Tribe. The Guardian Tribe, which is how they are introduced to other races, is a group of Lourulf who live at the base of the tree. They attempt to stop anyone from reaching it. Not out of protection, malice, or hate, rather it is a practice of allowing only the worthy to carve their name into the tree.

    The Guardian Tribe does not kill, but they will maim. If they do wound a fellow Lourulf to the point where it is dangerous to return to their tribe, they will escort them back to their tribe. Once the Lourulf seeking the tree places a hand on the tree, the Guardian Tribe halts their efforts. The methods of bypassing the Tribe do not matter, each way shows a different skill and talent. Some simply charge forward and rush through the differences, using brute strength to push to the tree. Others distract the guards, convince them to let them pass, bribe them, sneak through, or even hire mercenaries or adventurers to help them through.

    Quest Hooks:

  • A small, but clever, Lourulf seeks adventurers to hire to get them to the tree.
  • A strange glowing fungus is growing on the tree, and the Guardian Tribe cannot stop it. Discovering its origin leads to a strange cult.
  • The Guardian Tribe is slowly being killed, one by one, by an assassin. But, no Lourulf are currently trying to get to the tree.
  • A large wolf the size of an elephant begins to guard the tree, and kills all who approach. Even the Guardian Tribe. It must be stopped or reasoned with.
  • Strange creatures are climbing down from the top of the tree. Perhaps something is up in its branches?
  • Hidden Village

    There is a rumored monster that wanders the Central Woodland. A large, hairy beast which walks on two legs. It is not strange for monsters to live and roam in the Central WOodland. However, this one is strange in that it is only rumored to exist. There have been many sightings of this creature, called Sasquatch, but no proof. It is widely regarded as a legend, a hoax, and a tale to tell around a bar.

    However, the sasquatch does exist. In fact, it is an entire race of creatures. A small race, with less than 50 members, but they exist. They almost never leave their village, but when they do they act with utmost stealth. The large, furry humanoid is surprisingly stealthy. Able to avoid being seen from less than 5 yards away. The village is situated in the treetops of a certain part of the forest, and it is constructed in a certain way as to be able to be moved. If someone were to find it, it could be moved overnight. An entire army could walk under this village and not notice its presence at all.

    To access the village, one must simply climb a tree connected to it and hope the sasquatch archers do not strike you down. The village is a peaceful place made of wood bridges (disguised as leaves) connecting simple huts together. The Sasquatch have no rulers, but instead live in a hive-mind like society. Each has a slight psionic connection to the others. This psionic connection extends to other creatures as well, but where the sasquatch can communicate with each other and sense each other’s feelings, other creatures merely have their perception shifted. A skilled Sasquatch can stand five feet in front of a human, and the human might not even register something is wrong.

    Quest Hooks:

  • The Sasquatch face an enemy that is hunting them down, and they seek out powerful people to help them.
  • A Sasquatch has somehow been disconnected to their psionic hive-mind and is seeking a way to get back to the Hidden Village.
  • A animal life researcher is desperately looking for signs of the Sasquatch, and they are looking to hire help.
  • The Village has been found by cruel Lourulfs, who are trying to enslave them.
  • Something is turning the Sasquatch into wild, raging monsters and a Lourulf shaman in the know wants to know why.
  • The Serpent’s Maw

    Long before the Lourulf claimed this land, there was an unnamed civilisation which held dominion over the land. Little is known about them, but they were known to be a serpent-like race which has since died out. When this civilisation existed, the Central Woodlands was a steaming swamp and the Stone-Carved mountains were nearly half the size they are now. They left only a few traces of their existence, but they did leave behind something. The Serpent’s Maw.

    During an Elven archeology expedition in the Central Woodlands, an entrance to a vast underground structure was discovered. It appears to be a skull of a giant python, its mouth agape. Down its gullet is a tunnel which leads deep into a winding and twisting maze. At first, the Serpent’s Maw appears to be skeleton. It is constructed of bone. Soon, it becomes apparent the Maw is man-made. Explorers have yet to head deep into the Maw yet, but those who have explored have returned with strange, otherworldly treasures.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Every snake in a 50 mile radius began to migrate to the Serpents Maw, and no-one knows why.
  • An expedition has been sent in, but only one member returned, as a zombie.
  • An artifact deep within the Maw whispers telepathically to a Player to retrieve it.
  • An archeologist wants to hire the party to explore the Maw.
  • Giant snakes have been crawling from its mouth. What else survived down there?
  • Brotherhood: Specialists

    Last time on our faction system walkthrough, we showed you the faction members and how their flaws and strengths will change your faction.

    In this post we’re stepping it up a notch and showing the Specialists, members who will do as much for your faction as you will.

    Specialists

    Specialists are members that take an active role in leading your faction in a specific manner. They aren’t the rulers of your faction, but they certainly are head and shoulders above the rest, and they have a certain set of skills that can guide your faction in specific direction.

    Before you can get Specialists, however, you need to get some Specialist Quarters. These are base acquisitions that you can purchase with your faction’s Wealth Skill, and we covered it when we did Base Building. This is because a Specialist isn’t a lone wolf that goes about things in his own way; he needs the support and infrastructure of the faction in order to get his job done. The Specialist Quarters become the office, workshop, design space, classroom, whatever the Specialist needs in order to carry out his duties.

    One Specialist Quarters is only good for one Specialist. They don’t bunk up and they don’t share offices. However, once you have a Specialist Quarters, you can choose any Specialist you want; and you can have as many Specialist Quarters as you can afford, and you can also have more than one Specialist of a given type (eg two Quartermasters).

    Types of Specialists

    Specialists come in 3 flavours: Managers, Mentors, and Minders. Managers are tied into the Faction Skills and they make sure your faction is performing as best as it can. Mentors are tied into the Faction Specialisations and they boost the performance of a specific Spec. Minders are the miscellaneous pile that takes care of the faction in one way, shape or form.

    Managers

    Getting a Manager on board will immediately make your life easier and your faction better. Each Manager will either raise or decrease a Skill’s Level (depending if it’s good or bad), and this will happen during every Upkeep (in between sessions). So if you have a Quartermaster and you’re lucky, your faction’s Might Level can increase every session like clockwork.

    Quartermaster: During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is less than 60, the faction’s Might Level is increased by the first digit of the result (1-9 being a 0). If result is 90 or greater, the Level is decreased by 1.
    Lobbyist: During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is less than 60, the faction’s Notoriety Level is decreased by the first digit of the result (1-9 being a 0). If result is 90 or greater, the Level is increased by 1.
    Spokesman: During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is less than 60, the faction’s Reputation Level is increased by the first digit of the result (1-9 being a 0). If result is 90 or greater, the Level is decreased by 1.
    Sergeant : During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is less than 60, the faction’s Treachery Level is decreased by the first digit of the result (1-9 being a 0). If result is 90 or greater, the Level is increased by 1.
    Shopkeep: During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is less than 60, the faction’s Wealth Level is increased by the first digit of the result (1-9 being a 0). If result is 90 or greater, the Level is decreased by 1.

    Mentors

    Each Mentor is attached to a specific Specialisation, and they allow the players to spend their own Sigils on the faction members Skill Checks as if the players were rolling themselves. This gives the faction a safety net, and gives the players some control over their faction’s destiny.

    Coach: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Athletics Skill Checks
    Enforcer: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Coercion Skill Checks
    Instructor: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Combat Skill Checks
    Tradesman: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Craft Skill Checks
    Chauffeur: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Drive Skill Checks
    Tutor: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Mental Skill Checks
    Diplomat: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Negotiate Skill Checks
    Lookout: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Perception Skill Checks
    Sage: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Special Skill Checks
    Scout: Players can spend Sigils to reroll or give a +25 bonus to faction members’ Stealth Skill Checks

    Minders

    Each Minder does something unique, but each one is geared towards making up for a weakness in the faction. Whether that is actually going out to find recruits, getting missions, or even reducing the costs of base acquisitions. They are the unsung heroes of the faction, but without them, the faction definitely isn’t doing as well as it could.

    Recruiter: During Upkeep, GM rolls 1d100. If the result is greater than the faction’s Might Level, a prospect is recruited.
    Liaison: During Upkeep, GM rolls a Reputation Skill Check. If successful, Liaison brings a job opportunity to faction during the next session.
    Taskmaster: Handles all faction member missions, and missions gain a +10 bonus to the Skill Check.
    Architect: Reduce the cost of a base acquisition by 1, to a minimum of 1.
    Physician: Spend a Sigil to reduce the severity of a Might Wound by one step.
    Treasurer: Spend a Sigil to reduce the severity of a Wealth Wound by one step.
    Bouncer: Spend a Sigil to reroll either the Strength or Flaw of a prospect.

    The Righteous Prophets.

    Back when we did Base Building, the Prophets didn’t have any money left over to buy Specialist Quarters, so unfortunately for them, they won’t start the game off with any. In saying that, when they do have enough Wealth do get a Specialist, the first one they are going to lay their hands on is a Physician. It’s dangerous work that they do, and they need all hands on deck all the time. They don’t have the luxury of waiting for members to recover, so a household Physician will get them back on their feet in no time.

    And that’s it for the Specialists. Tell us what specialists you want to get and how you want to use them; and if you have ideas for more Specialists, we’d love to hear them.

    Next time we’ll show you Faction Advancement and how to level up your faction.

    ———-

    Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Brotherhood faction Mod has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

    Z-LAND S2 Chapter 7 “The Second Chance” Part 2

    The survivors continue to search for safety, but trouble brews as tensions rise.

    Missed out on the previous episodes? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

    Get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

    ———-

    If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

    Gates Sample World: The Western Wilds

    Today we’re taking looking further into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

    Western Wilds

    The Western Wilds were named not for the wild of nature, but for the wild nature of people. It is a land constantly at war. The men of the Western Wilds constantly build castles, keeps, and fortresses to hold a small amount of land. It is a land full of several dozens of small kingdoms where at least three kingdoms rise and fall a year. This makes for a fluid and ever changing political landscape. This unstable land makes it difficult to educate anyone, so few people can read and write.

    The wars fought in the Wilds are violent, but they are less deadly than many of the wars elsewhere. Magic is used to heal the wounded, and even rival kingdoms feel a kinship with each other. Two men from the Wilds who meet in a faraway land will greet each other as comrades, even if their kingdoms hate each other politically. Even Kings have high opinions and respect with one another, sometimes meeting in peace for a fine meal while the two kingdoms are at war.

    The Wilds are located in the western continent, south of the Fair Isles. It is ruled by humans, but kingdoms or orcs, goblins, and other creatures occasionally arise.

    Land of the Castle Graves

    At the most western point of the Wilds, is a stretch of land several hundred miles long. This place was a bountiful and wealthy kingdom a long time ago. This kingdom had a powerful mage in its court which cursed the land. The curse meant that any invading force would be cursed while inside a castle that is not their own. This curse befell bad luck and hauntings on those in a castle. Guests are immune to this curse, but the moment they are no longer welcome they are affected by the curse. However, when the kingdom fell, its conqueror moved in. Soon, the new conqueror realised they could not use the castle.

    Rebuilding a castle out of the same materials used for the old castle did not seem to work and destroying the castle was too difficult to be worth doing, so they built their own. The next kingdom to conquer this land was faced with the same dilemma. They could not use either castle, so they built their own. This process repeated over many generations, filling the land with castle after castle. Now, it is a graveyard of crumbling castles of different ages. One could stand from the top of a tower and count three or four other structures in view. Not all of the abandoned structures are castles, of course. Some are fortresses, others are inns that are unable to be entered, old houses, farmhouses, and even a over a dozen lighthouses on the shore. If the building could be destroyed easily, then it is.

    There are three small kingdoms that rule in the Land of the Castle Graves at the moment. They are at war, as most kingdoms are. They often try to use the existing structures tactically in their skirmishes. Finding ways to trick the enemy into using the castles, only to be afflicted by the curse.

    Quest Hooks:

  • A Player receives a deed for a long abandoned castle, but the deed does not explain WHICH castle is theirs.
  • Vast treasures are rumored to be in the treasury of a particularly large castle. But, the curse prevents anyone from reaching it.
  • One of the castles has been seen in several different locations, and a scholar wants to know how it moves, and why.
  • Travelers have become locked in a castle, and have managed to send for help by tying notes to bird legs.
  • An ambitious prince has placed the corpse of a king back on his throne and used magic to force the corpse to “tell” the prince the castle is his. Now, the prince is viciously attacking the surrounding kingdoms and is seeking the graves of old kings.
  • Nameless City

    The Nameless City is a misnomer. The City actually has several names. At least four. However, these names consistently and constantly change. This city was once a city-state ruled by a now extinct people. It was called Khawell. One day, every member of the city disappeared. The city’s inhabitants left behind no signs of murder, mass migration, or any other legitimate cause. They simply disappeared.

    The City-state was powerful because it controlled a key strategic point as well as being situated on an important trade route. Now, the Nameless City is situated at the border of four kingdoms. Each of these kingdoms want control over the city. None can hold it, as the walls have over a dozen breach points. Instead, it has become a battlefield. Lives are constantly lost in this city, but no kingdom will give up for fear of one of the others claiming it permanently.

    Rumors of a constant, slow war held in and around a city have spread throughout the world, and many bandits, mercenaries, and assassins migrated to the city to make a profit from the war. It is a dangerous wilderness inside a city filled with cutthroat bandits, ruthless soldiers desperately holding ground, and assassins offering their services to kill key commanders.

    Quest Hooks:

  • One of the four kingdoms will pay handsomely for the Players aid in the war.
  • An unknown fifth army arrives from beyond the hills, and is making alarming progress in taking the city. The problem is, however, this army seems to have worse intentions than simply taking the city.
  • New evidence of what happened to the original inhabitants of the city is found in a basement. A researcher thinks they can be saved.
  • Monsters have been spotted wandering the city at night, but no-one knows where they came from.
  • One of the generals of the armies has gone mad and has built a magical bomb to destroy the city, and its inhabitants, once and for all. This bomb will be more potent than the general anticipates, and can have lasting effects on the Wilds weather.
  • Caidor, Kingdom of the Dead King

    Caidor is one of the oldest and largest kingdoms of the Western Wilds. Its territory stretches for several hundred miles, and its capital is located in the southern point of the Wilds. What makes this kingdom particularly interesting, is that it is ruled by a king who died over a decade ago. The king is not a ghost nor undead. Simply a corpse on a throne.

    The reason for this is a mixture between tradition, laws, and greed. In Caidor, it is law that only the heir of the king may take up the throne. The king may declare a an heir if no children live. The current king, who is dead, had no heir and claimed none. Stating “This kingdom is now, and forever will be, mine.” The King was never removed from the throne officially. Thus, by the letter of the law, he is still the ruler. By Caidor law, the advisors to the throne, of which there are three, make decisions when the king refuses or is unable to do so.

    Thus, the three advisors rule over the kingdom. They know the ridiculousness of their rule. But they would rather have power on a technicality than no power at all.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Suddenly, the kings corpse begun to move and speak, making wild demands and creating illogical laws. The advisors want to know why, and who is behind the sacrilege.
  • A rival kingdom has declared war, but legally Caidor cannot do anything about it. They need help, or a revolution.
  • One of the advisors to the throne has been murdered, and the weapon was found in the hands of the Dead King.
  • The Dead Kings head is missing, and must be returned before the people riot. The trail leads to a smuggling ring.
  • An Ikydro has possessed the Dead king and is slowly turning Caidor into a force of evil.
  • Brotherhood: Prospects and Members

    Last time on our faction system walkthrough, we showed you all the faction specialisations, and brought you the first real contact you can have with faction members.

    So for this post, it’s all about the members; what they are, how they affect your faction, and how to use them.

    New Prospects

    A faction member has two traits, and mechanically speaking those two traits is the sum total of the member. With the faction Specialisations acting as the member’s skills, these two traits sets him apart from the rest. These traits are the member’s Strength and his Flaw. Other than showing a bit of personality to help the GM roleplay that member, the traits have huge mechanical significance. After all, a faction really is just its collection of members. If they are all good at something, the faction is good at something; and the reverse is equally true: you can’t have a combat faction if none of its members are good at fighting.

    So each time you get a new prospect and member, look on the table below for his Strength and Flaw and permanently increase the associate Skill/Specialisation of the Faction if it’s a Strength and permanently decrease it if its a Flaw. In this way, your faction’s capability will constantly be evolving as it gains new members, and the faction you start off with may look dramatically different to the one you end up with.

    The Strengths and Flaws

    When you get new members into your faction, your GM will either choose or roll on the tables below to pick the Strength and the Flaw. When rolling, it’s a single roll that works for both tables. Whatever result you get for the Strength, reverse the numbers on the dice (96 becomes 69) and that shows you what the Flaw is.

    You’ll notice that there aren’t just Specialisations and Skills here though, but also Criticals. When you get a Critical Something as a Strength, it means that not only is rolling on the Skill in a Check a critical success, but so is rolling a 1. Get another Critical Something as a Strength, and it means also rolling a 2 is a critical success. The more of these you get, the higher the chance of rolling a critical success. The same works for the Flaw. For each Critical Something you get as a Flaw, you work backwards from 99 (since 100 is always a critical failure), and they become critical failures as well.

    The unique option on the tables are Lucky and Unlucky. These either increase or decreases your faction’s Sigil Threshold, and is in fact the only way it can be done. If you ever want to use Sigils for your faction, you better pray for Lucky members.

    Roll – Strength – Specialisation/Skill/Critical
    01-05 – Adventurous – Drive
    06-10 – Agile – Athletics
    11-15 – Content – Critical Treachery/Notoriety
    16-20 – Brave – Might
    21-25 – Cunning – Mental
    26-30 – Deft – Craft
    31-35 – Dependable – Critical Reputation
    36-40 – Diplomatic – Negotiate
    41-45 – Discreet – Stealth
    46-50 – Formidable – Coercion
    51-55 – Gregarious – Reputation
    56-60 – Supportive – Critical Might
    61-65 – Loyal – Treachery
    66-70 – Lucky – Sigil
    71-75 – Meticulous – Critical Wealth
    76-80 – Observant – Perception
    81-85 – Taciturn – Notoriety
    86-90 – Thrifty – Wealth
    91-95 – Tough – Combat
    96-100 – Wise – Special

    Roll – Flaw – Specialisation/Skill/Critical
    01-05 – Sedentary – Drive
    06-10 – Sluggish – Athletics
    11-15 – Ambitious – Critical Treachery/Notoriety
    16-20 – Coward – Might
    21-25 – Inept – Craft
    26-30 – Gullible – Mental
    31-35 – Rude – Negotiate
    36-40 – Unreliable – Critical Reputation
    41-45 – Antisocial – Reputation
    46-50 – Clumsy – Stealth
    51-55 – Meek – Coercion
    56-60 – Grouchy – Critical Might
    61-65 – Treacherous – Treachery
    66-70 – Slovenly – Critical Wealth
    71-75 – Unlucky – Sigil
    76-80 – Talkative – Notoriety
    81-85 – Oblivious – Perception
    86-90 – Foolish – Special
    91-95 – Greedy – Wealth
    96-100 – Frail – Combat

    What if I’m special?

    Ten of the options on each table has a Specialisation associated with it. If you get a member with one of those (eg Meek or Observant), not only does it increase/decrease your faction’s Specialisation, but if you ever use that character they will get a +15 bonus to using that Specialisation (for a Strength) or a -15 (for a Flaw).

    The Righteous Prophets.

    With all that has happened to the Prophets, they are ready to rebuild so let’s see what their first new conscripted member looks like. With a roll of 80 their Strength is Observant, so not only will the Prophets’ Perception Spec increase to 41, this fellow will also get a bonus to using it. However, an 80 becomes an 08 so his Flaw is Sluggish, which means the Prophet’s Athletics go down to 29 and we won’t be using this guy when it comes to fast paced action. Looks like he’s going to be stuck on guard duty for a long time.

    And that’s it for the Prospects and Members. Tell us what your members look like and how they’ve changed your faction.

    Next time we’ll show you the special sort of members: the Specialists.

    ———-

    Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Brotherhood faction Mod has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!

    Z-LAND S2 Chapter 7 “The Second Chance” Part 1

    The first part to the final chapter of Season Two is alive! What will the chapter have in store for our survivors?

    Missed out on the previous episodes? CLICK HERE to catch up on all the apocalyptic action.

    Get your hands on the Z-LAND corebook now by CLICKING HERE.

    ———-

    If you want to chat about Z-LAND with other players and the developers, then come join our Discord server!

    Gates Sample World: The Land of Nenmaa

    Today we’re taking looking deeper into the world of Islia, a sample world from Gates, the upcoming game from Stormforge West. So without further ado, here’s James:

    ———-

    Nenmaa

    Nenmaa is a vast desert located in the south western aea of the world. It is also the largest singular empire. Nenmaa’s control includes the southern half of the eastern continent. Nenmaa is an empire ruled by a Queen. Always a queen, a lineage of daughters. They have spread from their desert lands down to a large island to the south, and north into the Central Woodlands. They conquered the other desert peoples of Isla, uniting them under one rule.

    Nenmaa is a empire built upon slavery. They do not enslave humans, but rather varrious magical creatures. Most of its power comes from 1001 Djinn bound into servitude. 99 to the city of Nemnei, 200 to keep the land safe, and 701 to expand the empire. 201 of the Djinn designated to expand have been killed, and the rest now realise they are mortal, which has slowed the expansion of the Empire. Other creatures have been magically bound to their servitude as well, including elementals, Lesser Sphinx, and even giants captured from the stone carved mountains.

    Nemnei

    Perhaps the most beautiful city in all of Islia, it is certainly the largest. Nemnei was constructed by the hands of 99 Djinn who can control the elements of wind, fire, and earth. All 99 helped construct the central palace, which formed the foundation of the city and became the capital city of Nenmaa. When the city was first built, 99 sections of the city, designed with spiraling roads which give the city the appearance of a flower from above, surrounded the palace. Now, the city is much larger with nearly 5 times that number. Each of these sections are large enough to be a city block and make up the several districts of the city.

    The Djinn of Nemnei are constantly working to maintain and improve the city. They do not need to sleep, and can move vast amounts of earth, water, glass, and other objects with ease. One Djinn can clean and repair an entire block in one day. Each Djinn is given several blocks of the city to maintain, which they are compelled to do. When they are not maintaining, they are building. Currently, the Djinn are working on a complex sewer system for the entire city, thus the Djinn are harder to find as of late.

    Nemnei is a center for trade and politics in Nenmaa. It is also known throughout the world for its beauty. Each of the blocks of the city were hand constructed by a Djinn. By their nature, the Djinn believe they are superior to others, even other Djinn. Thus, they constantly tried to make more and more beautiful crafts to prove they are better. Every street in Nemnei is crafted with tiles that are hand painted. The buildings are constructed of sandstone, colored glass, and seemingly impossible architecture. Trade in the city is plentiful, as craftsmen and tradesmen from all over the world flock to its wealth.

    There are ten major districts in Nemnei:
    Upper South Craftsman District: Originally this district was a place of wealth and prosperity. Most of its populace have worked in a metalsmiths factory. Unfortunately, a cursed sword was thrown into the fires, which caused a massive explosion. Now, it is a place where the poor and impoverished are forced to live. It is rampant with crime, filled with abandoned buildings, and is avoided by most locals. A tourist may not realise how run down this section of the city is, as it is clean and pristine. A result of the Djinn keeping the city clean.
    Palace District: The Palace District is simply the Palace and its surrounding garden. The Palace itself is large enough to house a village, and on most days it does. Diplomats, ambassadors, scholars, and officials live and work within the palace. The Queen and the royal family lives in the palace as well.
    Exotics District: This district is a trading hub for all travelers. It is filled to the brim with taverns, inns, merchant stalls, and gimmicks. All year round the Exotics District is handled like a festival, with live musicians playing on the streets, performers looking for coin, and food stalls set everywhere.
    Garden District: The Garden District is where most of the cities Wealthy live. It is named thus because the large amount of garden life used as decoration, upkept by Djinn.
    Lower South Craftsman District: The Lower Craftsman District has several factories which provide jobs for the middle class of the city. It is the largest and most populated district, but there is little for visitors to the city to do in it.
    Temple District: Named for its large temple dedicated to the pantheon of Islia, it is a home for the faithful. There are several smaller, more focused temples in this district as well. The people who live in this District usually work in the temples.
    Arena District: Two hundred years ago, the city had an arena which held gladiator style battles as well as public events. However, it was deemed cruel by the queen at the time and the gladiator battles were ended. Now, the district holds a zoo where it once held a prison for the beasts for battle. The main arena is used for various activities, including plays, circus, contests, and speeches. The arena itself is enchanted to enhance all sound within, which makes it perfect for these purposes.
    Clay District: The Clay District is situated just outside the walls to Nemnei. Technically, this is not a part of the city. However, it is considered to be. The Clay District is a small village where those too poor to live in the city and those who are not allowed into the city live. Most homes here are temporary, with the only permanent buildings being inns for visitors who arrive at the city at night, when the walls are closed.
    Barracks District: This is where the guards of the city live, train, eat, and realx. There is a prison here as well. Most of the people of this district are the family members of guards.
    Tombs: Nemnei is a large city which has over a hundred deaths per year. Overtime, this influx of the dead would clog up any conventional cemetery. Thus, the tombs were built. This section of the city is the quietest. It is constructed of many large pyramid-like tombs which house the dead. The dead are placed in plots within the tombs. When full, they are sealed. Some families own their own tomb, but most go into communal tombs.

    Quest Hooks:

  • A tomb has been breached, and all of the thousands of dead are somehow missing.
  • A Djinn has been found murdered, and the guard are stumped.
  • The Queen has been kidnapped.
  • A mysterious temple whose doors cannot be opened has been erected overnight.
  • A unassuming commoner is suddenly targeted by over a dozen assassins.
  • The Dreaming Sands

    In the vast desert that makes up the most of Nenmaa’s land, is a stretch of sand that has a silver quality to it. The sand is no more precious than normal, but it does contain high traces of a metallic-crystalline substance. However, the silver quality to the sand is not what makes the Dreaming Sands so dangerous, beautiful, nor fascinating. The Sands have a magical quality to them. Mirages in a desert are not unheard of, but the mirages of the Dreaming Sands is particularly real. Travelers have claimed to have come across entire cities they have never seen before, spending a night of excess and joy before awakening the next morning in an empty desert, just as hungry and thirsty as before.

    These Mirages are rare enough to simply be rumors. However, they are real. They can range from anything from a tropical paradise, a small ocean of gold, illusory travelers who disappear, or even huge monsters which disappear moments before ripping a lone traveler to pieces. Because of these rumors, any fantastic stories of The Dreaming Sands are dismissed as false. This social property of the Dreaming Sands have turned it from an oddity in the desert to a perfect hiding place for criminals, monsters, and others who wish to stay hidden.

    The Empire of Nenmaa used this desert to march an army to a small city state at it’s border. The rumors of an army in the desert were ignored, and the Empire was able to quickly and easily siege the city-state.

    Quest Hooks:

  • A mansion has been found in the Dreaming Sands which seems real, but the inhabitants change regularly. Why?
  • Bandits dressed as strange-otherworldly beings have been raiding the surrounding settlements.
  • Illusions have gave the same dire warning to everyone who passes through the desert. Is the rumor true, or another trick?
  • A guide claims to be able to control the illusions, offering exuberant fees to give a tour of the desert.
  • A hunter claims that a rare, albino Griffon has fled into the Dreaming Sands and is looking for hired help.
  • The Uncovered Necropolis

    This oddity has been recently discovered. While traveling from Nenmaa towards the Central Woodland, a young merchant and his caravan were befalan by a powerful sandstorm. They hid the night in their caravans, but were shocked to discover an entire, ancient city has been uncovered. Since then, archeologists, researches, scholars, and treasure hunters have been sending party after party to discover as much as they can about this unknown city.

    The city is large enough to have 5000 or so citizens, and many of the citizens have been located. Throughout the city are mummified corpses of the past civilisation. They are arranged like they would have been in life. Children in the streets, families dining, and even a king at a large golden throne. No-one has yet discovered why they have died, become mummified, or how the city has been buried for so long.

    The city has tunnels which lead underground in vast chambers which are very dangerous to explore. The civilisation had created golems which guard its treasures, crafted traps that ward off tomb robbers, and strange riddles to keep away the foolish. Even stranger, some of the mummified corpses continue to move deeper in the tunnels. The Queen of Nenmaa will pay handsomely for any treasures recovered, but few are courageous and dedicated enough to collect anything more than common household items.

    Quest Hooks:

  • Deep in the tunnels, deeper than anyone thought possible, is reports of an alien and powerful magic. Something that has never been seen in this world for many thousands of years.
  • A series of cursed magical items have been recovered from the city, and must be tracked down to prevent disaster.
  • A scholar is seeking guards to protect her while she decodes and examines information deep in the city.
  • The Queen has received a formal invitation to a social gathering at the necropolis, but the note was written over three thousand years ago, and no-one knows how it was delivered.
  • New evidence of an artifact locked in an ancient vault is uncovered.
  • Brotherhood: Faction Specialisations

    Last time on our faction system walkthrough, we showed you what the Wealth Skill can do and how you can dip into that collective fund in game.

    This time we’re showing off faction specialisations, which is all about using your faction and faction members in game.

    From Skills to Specialisations

    Much like with characters in the Sigil System, Specialisations are focused form of a Skill that is used in a specific and particular way. What differs in the Brotherhood faction system is that the Skills are what makes up the faction, while the Specialisations are how the faction (particularly) the faction members interact with the world in all its various ways in game. There are ten Specialisations, but before we get there, let’s start at creating the Specialisations.

    Faction Generation

    During faction generation, after you have rolled your Skill Levels, and after the historical events have added or subtracted from those levels, have a look a the list of Specialisations below and assign to each Specialisation the Skill Level of the listed Skill. In effect, the Skill Levels become the Specialisations

    Athletics: Might
    Combat: Might
    Craft: Wealth
    Drive: Notoriety
    Mental: Wealth
    Perception: Treachery
    Negotiate: Reputation
    Special: Reputation
    Stealth: Treachery
    Coercion: Notoriety

    This is the only time that the parent Skills and daughter Specialisations will be connected. After this point, if the parent Skill Levels go up or down, the Specialisation won’t be affected, and vice versa. In this way, the faction’s Might can go up or down, but its Athletics or Combat will stay the same.

    Using the Specialisations

    The Specialisations serve two main purposes in game. The first and most important is that they can form the “Skills” of your faction members. You can always go through the whole Sigil System character creation process for each faction member, but this is only really practical if you have a handful of members. No one wants to go through fifty-odd character sheets to find the one member they are looking for, and it will be even more difficult to remember who is good at what. Instead, you can simply use the Specialisations to act as the character sheet for all your members. You only need to remember ten levels and that’s it. When we get into the members next time, we’ll show you how you can do a little customisation to make each member feel unique, but even this won’t change the fact that if you need a member to go do something, you won’t have to worry about which of the dozens of members you have is the only one that can get it done. All that bookkeeping can go away and you can just use the Specialisations.

    The other main use for Specialisations is to abstractly portray the way your entire faction does something. If you have a faction vs faction battle going on, rather than trying to manage a combat encounter with possibly a hundred people in it, you can simply use each faction’s Combat Specialisation, and the damage inflicted will be shown by the Might Skill’s number of Wounds. Or if you want to send most (or all) of your faction out on a stealth mission, rather than rolling Stealth two dozen times for each member on the mission, just roll once. Or if you have a building project you want your faction to undertake, or a research project, just roll Craft or Mental (respectively) and it gets done.

    High Level or Drill Down

    In the uses for the Specialisations above, you can see that the Specialisations allow you the flexibility to abstract the details when you need to, or if you don’t want to do the bookkeeping; but they can also step out of the way if you do want to have a character sheet for all your members, or want to have those mass battles or group crafting sessions. They are what you need them to be.

    The Righteous Prophets.

    Throughout this walkthrough we’ve been rolling for the Prophets’ Skills, and this is what we got:

    Reputation: 10
    Notoriety: 50
    Treachery: 40
    Might: 30
    Wealth: 30

    This means that their Specialisations look like this:

    Athletics: 30
    Combat: 30
    Craft: 30
    Drive: 50
    Mental: 30
    Perception: 40
    Negotiate: 10
    Special: 10
    Stealth: 40
    Coercion: 50

    It’s not too bad, although not too good. In fact, the average for this is 32 which makes it completely average for a character and that in turn means it will do exactly what we need it to do. With 22 members, we can confidently use the Specialisations in lieu of character sheets and we won’t be giving ourselves too much of a disadvantage. Looking at the Specialisations we can also see what our faction will be good at. Drive and Coercion is at the top, which makes sense for a smuggling ring, and Perception and Stealth is tied for second place. For the type of people the Prophets are, this is exactly what we are looking for. We can send them on stealth missions and smuggling missions without worrying too much about them, and we can bully our way out of a fair bit should it come to that. All in all, quite pleased with how the Prophets’ Specs turned out.

    And that’s it for the Specialisations. Tell us how your faction stacks up and how you plan to use them in game.

    Next time we’ll show you how to recruit faction members and how they will shape your faction simply by being there.

    ———-

    Remember that you get to choose what we work on after the Faction System has been made, so CLICK HERE to vote!