Sunday, November 10, 2013

Experience by Critical Fail

So no post in a while.

Study work, yada yada.

Something that I thought would be worthy of a blog-post would be the idea of gaining Experience from rolling critical fails. This is currently my preferred method of advancement in my homebrew campaign.  I like it because it goes a step to modelling the idea that characters advance in the areas they use, rather than the areas they don't use.  For me at least it helps to combat the orc-who-does-nothing-but-cut-people-with-axes-but-somehow-learns-to-multiclass-as-a-wizard problem (other than dealing with this outside mechanics with GM's discretion to say "look buddy I know you want to be a wizard, but you really gotta roleplay that before I'm going to let you multiclass.")

The essential premise is that you could supplement normal experience or replace normal experience gain  (and I think supplement is best in this case) from combat or looting or whatever your system uses, with experience gain from critical fails, critical fumbles or whatever you want to call them.

By this I mean quite simply when a character rolls a natural 1 something horrible happens to them. The GM fiats something nasty and the player has to deal with it, AND they gain experience. Monte Cook plays with a similar idea in Numenera of the GM Intervention granting experience if accepted, and from my wikipedia and web gained understanding of the Burning Wheel something similar might be at work there.

Anyway. Down to the specifics of this idea and I'm going to try and keep this as system agnostic as possible, which is kind a difficult to do because this assumes several factors about the game your playing, but I'm sure if your game is that fair removed you can lift the general premise from this. This will all generally revolve around d20 systems that use experience, and has similar advancement thresholds to DnD.

My homebrew uses a buy-whatever-ability-or-advancement-you-want-for-experience-cost model of advancement (it has no levels) so for that when a character critical fails they gain experience directly towards the next level of whatever ability or skill they were checking on.  I think this idea of experience from failure can still be hacked into a level based system, you just need a little more math.

What I would suggest is that when a character rolls a natural 1, and fumbles or critical fails the GM comes up with something bad to happen to them based on the check (falling over, falling off the cliff, angering the noble, dropping their sword, fainting) and they gain experience. This idea of critical fails is already quite salient and lots of people/games use it so adding experience to it shouldn't be hard. It also has the brilliant effect of kinda-being-how-we-learn-in-the-real-world, in that we don't get experience from killing monsters or looting treasure, but rather from fucking-up-and-learning-how-not-to-do-that-again.

After telling the player the effects of the natural 1 you should then dish out some experience to them. This should be some sort of appropriate amount. I think that based on some quick d20 calculations that the number of experience gained should be:

10 x DC or Target Number of the Check

Thus rolling a 1 on a DC 15 check gives 150 experience, and rolling a 1 on a DC 30 check gives 300 experience.

Hmm good so far but not enough experience gain, particularly at higher levels, this would slow to a crawl.

I would then modify this by adding some edition experience based off the target's skill/modifier on the check they are making. This doesn't make intuitive real world sense, but works well in the structure of d20. Thus I would run the full experience gain as:

(10 x DC or Target Number of the Check) + (100 x Relevant Class Ability or Skill Modifier for the Check*)

or more simply

Experience = 10 x DC +100 x Modifier

* I wouldn't include ability score bonus here, just things like Skill Ranks, Feats, Abilities, Base attack Bonus, if it's a save then the save bonus is fine, if its spell check perhaps Caster Level is appropriate. What exactly applies to this modifier is I guess entirely up to GM discretion, but I would be inclined to include everything but ability score bonuses, or if you are running a earlier than 3.5th system maybe you would want to also include ability score bonuses  I leave this up to you because you are more than capable of figuring it out. Equipment bonuses should definitely not count though.

This means that your Fightorson son of Fightor will gain more experience from rolling a natural 1 on his attack roll, than your Magessia daughter of Mageon will.  It also means that as characters level up the experience gained from natural 1s also increases at a small rate, to account for the dramatic shift in level experience. Things will still be quite slow going however. For example:

Fightor rolls a natural 1 on his attempt to skewer the knight in plate. The AC of the Knight is 18 and Fightor has a BAB of +6. The GM declares that Fightor has been disarmed and lets the Knight make a free attack (or whatever they think is appropriate) and he awards Fightor with experience. This is equal to 10 x 18 (10 x AC of the Knight) + 100 x 6 (100 x BAB of the attack roll) and Fightor gains 680 experience !

Similarly Sneakthief the halfling attempts to disarm a trap DC 20 and he has a +10 to disarming traps with his relevant skills and feats. He rolls a natural 1 and the GM declares that the trap goes off and resolves the trap's potentially dismembering effects on Sneakthief and awards experience, the Halfling gains 10 x 20 + 100 x 10 experience yielding 1200 experience.

Whilst the amount gained from modifier may seem quite large (being 100 x Mod rather than 10 x mod) this means that characters who fail spectacularly in their respective professions and specialities gain more experience than if they had failed spectacularly at something that is unrelated to their class. This has the benefit of modelling characters advancing according to skills and specialities actually used. A Fighter who doesn't make many attack rolls under this system will advance more slowly than one who does.

In a different system simply change the amount of experience gained and the exact modifier and presto. Also systems which are level-less can track this experience gain against certain upgrades if you like, meaning that critically failing a test gives you experience directly towards whatever you checked on, rather than anything else.

There are definitely tweaks this system needs for your own game (I'm thinking crazy numeric modifiers from synergy and skill and ability in 3.5) but should fit with a little creativity.  It is also important to note that this system is not entirely designed to replace experience via slaying monsters, or from adventure rewards or from loot but rather to compliment it. The potential issue with gaining experience from critical fails is that some people are lucky and never roll 1s. Also some people are horrendously unlucky and always roll 1s. If this balance issue causes you concerns, you use your common sense and balance this out but giving experience at the end of the session or whatever you normally do, just decrease the amount slightly over-all to account for the new experience gain from horrendous failure.

The only other thing to be said would be, if they roll a natural 1 and you can't think of something horrendous to inflict on them for their critical fail / fumble then maybe don't award experience, or vastly reduce the experience gain!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Goodbye Damage Dice

Damage dice are totally unnecessary, yet the majority of gaming system has them (or at least some random damage component).

The reason they are illogical is because when you have damage dice in a system you are taking a random component in your effectiveness twice. This places damage dice in the similarly bad philosophical position of taking an ability score modifier or skill bonus twice in the same mechanic. It's illogical, and is unnecessary duplication.

Also it fails to model reality, which is essentially what games try to do. I'm sure many players are familiar with the feeling of scoring a really great hit, exceeding the AC by many points and rolling a 1 for damage. Alternatively when you try and explain combat to non players, and how you roll to hit and then roll damage, sometimes they just balk and say "Ummmm but that doesn't make sense?".  This is because of the dissonance between rolling to hit and then even if you hit really well, or only just hitting, your damage component being unmodified by the whether the hit was good or not.

A better way of modelling weapon damage is to apply them a set amount of damage.

For example:

A shortsword (commonly d6 in d20) we could say has a Damage Score of 3.

A longsword (commonly d8) we could say has a damage score of 4.

D10 = 5
D12 = 6
2d6 = 7
2d8 = 9
2d10 = 10
2d12 = 12

...and so forth.

When you hit a target (by equaling or exceeding their AC) you deal this amount of damage plus 1 point of additional damage for each point you exceeded the targets AC by.

In d20 this would make your damage:

Strength Bonus + Weapon Damage Score + (Attack Roll - Targets AC)

The additional benefit of this system is that whilst big weapons hit much harder on low hits, on a really good hit, small weapons are just as deadly, and this models the capacity a dagger or short sword has to really maim somebody if it gets in a vital spot or through armour.

It also increases the benefit of heavier armour, as it makes you not only harder to hit, but more likely to take less damage (which is kinda cool in d20 because heavy armour is pretty bad considering the penalties).

This would require a bit of hacking to make it work for spells, but you could potentially leave their damage as is, as this does not work for area of effect attacks (or any attack that doesn't roll to hit though you could base the damage off how close to the epicenter of the attack the target is, which is what I'm doing). You could also mess wit the mechanics for Called Shots and the like by giving them extra damage for better hits. I would suggest critical hits double the weapons damage score and the Strength Bonus of the wielder, but not the extra damage points, but this is all up to you.

I am sure their are games out their that have set damage for weapons like this. I'm just young and I haven't read them.

My groups are currently using this set damage with my homebrew system, as well as having hacked it into Rogue Trader. In both it is working super well and has been well received.

Because who doesn't want a Damage 22, Pen 12 inferno pistol?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Feudal Military Ranks

So, its been a long time between posts.

My 2d10 hombrew is like 79,000 words and 150 odd pages. Still definitely not share able unfortunately. Far too many spelling mistakes, grammar and unresolved conflicts. Suffice to say it plays awesomely thought and I swear i will offer to run a game on G+ some time. 

This is something I mocked up the other day for a military campaign I am running. I made this because doing my research I found that medieval military ranks are ridiculously confusing. Suffice to say that Lords basically commissioned whoever they wanted as officers before our much more sensible modern systems.  I thought that sharing the reasonable interpretation of how ranks worked might help with some peoples setting stuff. It might not, but hey, that's okay too.

I have taken the liberty to add a Magus rank, which is obviously not a real rank, but works in fantasy settings, as you would surely have mages in command ranks in armies. Also I have pulled Bombardier from more Renaissance style warfare because that may be applicable to some campaigns, and also because it is applicable for my magepunk campaign.  

The Thick of it;

Note that these ranks are all fairly fluid, and forces whilst always lead by a captain and Lieutenant, may not have need for any other ranks. These ranks are generally based on the requirements of a Company, rather than the structure of ranks determining a Company's leadership. A Commissioned officer is one who's authority is vested by the Regent, or in the case of Mercantile Armies, the Commander/Owner. Warrant Officer's are those given rank (warranted) by the Officers above them, rather than a Regent or Lord.

In some cases ranks and specialities will be denoted together. For example, Magus-Lieutenant is both a Lieutenant and a Magus, in charge of the Mage Platoon and the Captains second. Similarly Bombadier-Sergeant could be used the company artillery Platoon is only one squad. Other examples are Magus-Sergeant, Magus-Corporal and the like. Mages are usually denoted by Mage or Mancer as a prefix to their rank, as frequently are Artillery officers and sometimes Cavalry officers.


Lord-Captain or Captain (if not the Lord himself)Commissioned by the Regent or Empire; Nearly always Nobility.Has command of what is called a Company, but the size of a company is variable but is generally made up of at least two Platoons. A company is the amount of men contributed by a Master, to his Regent for battle. Lords are default the leaders of a company, but may give command to a Captain they commission on behalf of the regent.
LieutenantCommissioned by the Captain, is the officer assisting commandThe Lieutenant is the the second of the Company, but need not be appointed. Lieutenants are generally in charge of unit of soldiers called a Platoon, and this is normal specialised. It could be common for  Lieutenants to be Magus-Lieutenants, as a second to the martial Captain and to command a companies Mages.
MagusThe Commissioned Officer in charge of Magic.This ranks second to the Lieutenant and is in charge of a Mage Platoon.
CornetThe Commission Officer in charge of bearing the Cavalry's banner.This rank is second to the Lieutenant, and is generally in charge of the Calvary squad, or Platoon. He bears the Company's cavalry standard.
EnsignThe Commissioned Officer in charge of bearing the Infantry's banner.This ranks second to the Lieutenant, Cornet and Magus and is in charge of a Infantry Platoon. He bears a Company's infantry standard.
BombardierThe Commissioned Officer in charge of artillery.This ranks second to the Lieutenant, Magus, Ensign and Cornet and is in charge of an Artillery Platoon.
SergeantHighest Warrant OfficerThe rank of Sergeant is a catch all term, as Sergeants are generally a jack of all trades. Their main role is to administrate the men under their commmand, less than a field command role. Typically a sergeant will have commanded a squad, a small unit of men that makes up a Platoon. Generally a Platoon is at least two squads of men.
CorporalSpecialised Warrant OfficerA corporal has command of a squad, and is generally warranted by a Sergeant or their Lieutenant, Cornet or Ensign. Most of the time a Corporal is specialised into a specific area, perhaps recon, intelligence or magic. It may be common of many mages to obtain the rank of Corporal simply because of their specialisation.
Lance CorporalLowest Warrant OfficerAn Lance corporal is promoted to the role by his Corporal, they are the second to a Coporal. Almost always non official the Lance Coporal is essentially there in case a Corporal is killed. In some cases a Lance Corporal may be a private who leads as squad who has no Corporal warranted.

Other Ranks

AdjutantA Warrant or Commissioned Officer in charge of Administration and assistance.They are outside the direct chain of command, typically promoted by their commanding officer to assist in a administration capacity. These roles are filled by Mage- Adjutant who's specialties lie outside Battlemagery (such as Divination).

Monday, September 3, 2012

Excel Random Domain Events

I love excel.

I started building random NPC generators in Excel. They are great even though half finished, but unfrotunatley useless to anyone else because they are in my homebrew rules.

The only problem with excel is that the random formula and conditional functions take a literal age to write out and then it's heinous to make sure they are correct. It would be much easier to copy and paste and make use of already working tables.

So here I have the functions for random domain/realm events. The events are taken from an ancient Dragon Magazine (i can't remember which issue).

Simply put =RANDBETWEEN(0,99) in cell A1 and then paste this formula next to it in cell B2;

=IF(A12<3,"Comet flies across sky",IF(A12<4,"Death of a Ruler or Official",IF(A12<5,"Earthquake",IF(A12<6,"Arcane Explosion",IF(A12<11,"Minor Fires",IF(A12<12,"Major Fire",IF(A12<17,"Flood/Floods",IF(A12<19,"Hurricane or Typhoon ",IF(A12<21,"Market glut",IF(A12<23,"Market shortage",IF(A12<24,"Meteor Strike, major",IF(A12<26,"Minor meteor shower",IF(A12<28,"Plague",IF(A12<30,"Major population change, double normal",IF(A12<31,"Resource lost",IF(A12<32,"Resource found",IF(A12<33,"Sinkhole/landslide",IF(A12<41,"Major storm",IF(A12<43,"Tornado",IF(A12<44,"Loss of trade route",IF(A12<45,"Gain a trade route",IF(A12<46,"Volcanic event",IF(A12<48,"major water based event, tsunami, waterspout, whirpool, spring tide",IF(A12<50,"Assassination",IF(A12<55,"Bandit activity",IF(A12<57,"Birth in ruling family",IF(A12<61,"Border skirmishes",IF(A12<62,"Cultural Discovery",IF(A12<63,"Fanatic Cult",IF(A12<64,"Insurrection",IF(A12<65,"Lycanthropic outbreak",IF(A12<67,"Magical happening or cosmic alignment",IF(A12<68,"Migration",IF(A12<69,"Pretender or ursurper",IF(A12<71,"Raids from other dominion",IF(A12<72,"Minor rebellion",IF(A12<73,"New resident specialists",IF(A12<79,"Spy ring",IF(A12<82,"Traitor",IF(A12<84,"Accidental death of official",IF(A12<85,"VIP visitor",IF(A12<91,"wandering natural monsters!",IF(A12<95,"Undead plague",IF(A12<100,"Daemonic intervention",ERROR))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

It should end up looking like this;

So on the left you have your RANDBETWEEN(0,99) function, and then directly next to it you have your FORMULA from above. Drag down once you have the first line and it will copy the cells and make them referential to their own neighbors as opposed to the first cell.

On the other side you can add the names of your domains - as like I had done, or simply use the generator on the fly.

The reason I have used two cells for those of you who are savvy is so that the maths is easier and that my RAND functions aren't dependent on each other (which happens when you internalize to a  function them).


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Updated - Mass Combat

Mass combat is conducted almost exactly the same as normal combat with the following exceptions;

Each square or hex represents 10 metres, by 10 metres, enough to fit 100 men into.

A character is replaced by units. Units have a strength of 1-100 men (as only 100 people can realistically squash into a 10m x 10m space, this is a bit abstract but whatever) but a summarised by the average statistics of the creatures in the unit, and have skills, talents and traits as if they were a character. Whilst individual members of a unit may in fact have different stats or skills to each other (and this may come into play in normal skirmish combat, or roleplay) for mass combat we essentially ‘average’ the abilities of a unit of men into composite statistics.

Each unit may have a designated leader, who should be treated as a Character or NPC. If they don’t have different out of mass combat stats already, then they have the exact same profile as the rest of the unit, except they have Command as a skill.

Units have Facings, a unit may only shoot or charge or move into the hexes/squares that are 45 degrees in front of them.

Move distances are converted into 10s of metres rather than metres.

Each unit has a single action in a turn. With which they may;

  • Move their move distance
  • Move half move distance rounding up (or change facing by 45 degrees) and then shoot or make a half  action reload.
  • Charge, moving their move distance and making an attack at +2.
  • Attack
  • Change facing by more than 45 degrees and then move half their move distance rounding up. (or vice versa)
  • Brace for Charge gaining +2 against a charging enemy.
  • Form shield wall/phalanx (if they have shields, to double their shield damage resistance) and may only move at half speed.
  • Take cover, receiving a -2 penalty to hit them with ranged attacks. A unit may then shoot, but not attack. When a unit breaks cover in a subsequent turn they may change their facing for free, they unit essentially breaks ranks and goes to ground.
  • Double time, receiving +2 to their movement, but doubling melee casualties if they are engaged.
  • A unit may elect to Flee (see the morale section)

Units do not have reactions (such as Dodge or Parry in DH/FF style).

Damage is replaced by Casualties.

When units attack they roll to hit opposed by the enemy units same check. For each degree they beat the enemy by they count as dealing an extra causality. For each degree they are beaten by the enemy they count as doing one less casualty. When a unit makes an attack action it automatically deals its weapon damage with all normal modifiers in casualties. Both units then roll damage.

Unit strength modifies the attack rolls. For every 10’s of creatures in a unit the unit gets +1. So a unit of 100 gets +10. A unit of 90-100 gets +9 etc.

Casualties are reduced by Armour Resistance but instead of armour resistance applying to single points of the body, simple add total armour Resistance of all body parts for the creatures in the unit. This is for an armour as damage reduction system, if using AC, us non dex based AC/unadjusted AC from Weird Fantasy Role Playing if you prefer that term.

Critical hits do not provide extra damage, but rather provoke a Command check for the opposed unit, and  if that unit fails they begin to flee.

Weapon profiles are the same, though instead of reach, reach weapons gain +2 damage against cavalry, and roll as many attacks as their Reach (x) number and roll damage twice.

Units may try to make special attacks, all of which do casualties as per weapon damage.

  • Break the line. Instead of extra casualties, every degree of success forces the enemy unit to make Command check at negative the amount of degrees of success.
  • Skirmish, instead of making an attack you roll opposed Dexterity attacks s and the skirmishing unit can move up to half its move distance, rounding up, the same for the pursuing unit. The enemy unit must make a Command check to refrain from pursuing if they do not want to make the opposed Dexterity check. For every degree of success the Skirmishing unit does a single casualty, and for each degree of failure they take a single casualty, this allows them to break from combat. If the skirmishing unit or pursuing unit have ranged weapons they deal their ranged weapons damage in casualties.

A unit’s strength is measured by the amount of fighters in the unit. A unit may never do more casualties than fighting creatures in its unit.

  • Swift attack doubles the maximum casualties a unit could do instead of make two attacks.
  • Lightning Attack triples the maximum amount of casualties. (Both of these are multiple attack talents, if using standard D20 attack progression, more than one attack doubles or triples the maximum number of casualties, etc)

Each unit has Morale. Morale is check in certain circumstances. Morale is a Command check by the leader of a unit.
  • Each turn a unit that is reduced to below 50% strength takes casualties it makes a Command check. For each 10% it is lower than 50% it suffers an additional -1 to the check.
  • If this check fails then the unit flees.
  • Fleeing counts as a Double Time move, and the unit makes its way to the nearest Cover/Terrain or back to friendly units not engaged in combat. When it reaches cover or friendly lines it may attempt a command check to rally. If a unit breaks from combat in this way the enemy engaging them unit must make a command check or pursue the enemy unit. If they pursue they must have equal to or greater move distance than the fleeing unit (not including the fleeing units double time). They make a dexterity check against the Fleeing unit. If they beat the fleeing unit then they catch the fleeing unit, dealing twice weapon damage in casualties, and both move double time from their original positions. If they fail the dexterity check then they move half their movement, rounding up.
  • If a unit begins to flee within sight (next to, or in front of) an friendly unit, the friendly unit must make a command check (with penalties for not being at full strength) or also begin to flee. These units receive a +1 bonus on their command check for every friendly unit within sight that is above half strength.

Ranged attacks and other miscellany; 

Ranged attacks still reload normally. A half action reload can be accomplished with an attack action but incurs a -2 penalty to the attack roll. Full action reload is a full action as normal.

If the overall army general can be seen or heard by any unit that has to attempt a Command check then they may use his command instead of their leaders.

Mages convert their damage based on the total dice they roll. If a mage is rolling 4d6 for damage, he instead rolls d4 against a unit. Etc. The same for single attacks, except generally these ignore armour.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Grim Dark Cleric Casting

Now I haven't posted in a while, and there is a good reason for this.

In between working and life I have been working on a HUGE homebrew system that isn't ready yet for public dissemination. Suffice to say its like if D&D in all its tropey iterations, with old school ethos had beautiful beautiful sex with Dark Heresy.

I will post it when its public ready and not a hybrid of copy and pasted good things from different systems. However I can say that it works on a 2d10 system trying to roll under your statistic. Beautiful beautiful normal distribution gameplay. 

One concept that it will be using will be rolls to cast, with doubles being miscasts, a mechanic ported over from fantasy flight games. This means that magic users can cast as much as they want, whenever they want, the only problem being that they risk horrible horrible effects. Go read the Dark Heresy phenomena and perils of the warp tables if you are not familiar with this.

For clerics however this is a little harsh, as I essentially want them to be hybrid casters. They get to wear armour and such so their magic should be a little weaker and more 'themed' than a generalist arcanist. It would seem a bit rough if they could randomly turn into a daemon.  Furthermore it just doesn't follow the fluff my system is trying to evoke.

Thus I propose a mechanic, that I will label, Divine Favour and this can be ported to any d20 system (or non d20 system, just convert the maths). Also someone somewhere has probably come up with this already and I just don't know it. But I think this is awesome so I am going to post anyway, and kudos to whoever they are.

Clerics get Divine Favour for doing things that honour their deity. Saving children for good deities, killing folks for evil ones.  Generally +1 at a time, and the clerics keep track of this on their sheet.  GM's should also penalise clerics who go against the tenets of their deity by reducing their Favour. -1 for not praying at a holy site etc.

Clerics have a number of spells that they can cast whenever. To cast a spell they have to succeed on a Spellcraft/Cleric check. This is either d20+wisdom+cleric level trying to beat 10+the spell level (for DC systems) or roll under the Cleric's Wisdom/Charisma stat (whichever you might use) +their level or relevant modifier. You include your Divine Favour modifier on all these rolls, whether it be positive or negative.

A success on this roll and the spell is cast at the Cleric's caster level. HOWEVER. Because they successfully cast the spell they reduce their Divine Favour, by the spell level.  Thus from casting they lose a store of their Divine Favour by invoking their deity to help them.

If a Cleric fails a spell casting roll, it indicates that they have momentarily fallen into disgrace with their deity and cannot cast until the next day or until they gain at least one more point of Divine Favour.

This is awesome because it combines the cleric's roleplay requirements with their class abilities, which means in order to get the bonuses of being a cleric, they HAVE to follow their deity, or they will lose spells, and this mechanic does it without requiring as much GM's fiat.

Sound epic? I think so.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reworking some of the more 'interesting' type 4 races

So some of the type 4 races are a bit ridiculous. These are my alternate racial backgrounds for them, which grimdarkify their backstories;


Known to some as High Elves, the Eladrin are the most ancient of all the Fey races.  They first came into the material world a millennium past as a punishment for their hubris in the World Between Worlds, having been exiled for their desire to master the chaotic forces of magic.  Thousands of years in the the material have changed them from the fey sorcerers they once were, and forever shut their minds out from the fey mysteries they once understood.  As a result they Eladrin are constantly striving to regain their lost grace through their live's pursuits, as their entire race is beset by the memory of their profound and existential loss.  The Eladrin to this day are the consummate masters of the arcane, bending reality and eldritch entities to their will.  They fear not undeath or the corruption of magic, and they openly embrace it as a step towards their rigthful return to the World Between Worlds, their huge gleaming cities being ruled over by Undying Councils of Eladrin Liches and Revenants. 


The Wilden are a race that has only recently appeared among the other races of the world. They first appeared in a swathe of druidic and elven reincarnations, though it is now thought that are the new forms of the thousands of forest spirits and dryads massacred by the catastrophic destruction of ancient and primal forests across the earth, or even perhaps other planes.  It is these poor amalgams of briar and animal  in which the spirits of ancient fey have taken root, having failed to find any unoccupied trees and forests to come to reside in. Sects of them can be found within the forest, particularly among the wood elf and wild elf cultures.  Nearly all Wilden are very, very angry about the destruction of their forests and their unjust entrapment in their mortal coils.


Shardminds are refugees from some astral cataclysm that occurred many thousands of years ago. They are the last of an ancient race of void-farers who once ruled the Starry Paths, and the Void in the Heavens. That time is passed though, and the Shardmind are but a dwindling fragment of their once mighty power.  They come to the earth in small droves of nomadic bands, appearing through ancient and fragile crystal gates in the forgotten places of the earth and trying to make new lives for themselves.  When asked about their past, the enigmatic Shardmind simply say that a Shadow devoured their civilisation, and they have been running ahead of it ever since.  The Shardminds ferociously protect the remaining crystal gates, as these are the portals to the surviving parts of their ruined empire, lest they be forever separated from their kin should the Darkness ever come for them.  Suffice to say their presence in the world increases the likelihood that their very destroyer will come for this world next.


Warforged are the products of forbidden technomancy and arcane arts.  During the great wars magewrights and sorcerers produced the Metal Legions of the Warforged to replace the easily killed soldiers of flesh and blood.  The Metal Legions scoured the earth, and with complete subservience destroyed all in their path, cementing the rule of their overlords and commanders.  All Warforged began as one of these unstoppable metal soldiers, undying, unfeeling, unliving, totally controlled by the power of their technocrat. However over many battles and campaigns, the arcane processes in surviving Warforged become more and more corrupted that only frequent sapience-wipes and refreshing rituals can keep them functioning appropriately as they acquire new memories and experiences. This spell maintenance is necessary to keep the Metal Legions functional, to prevent too many 'ghosts' from accumulating in their protocols. The sapience crystals of some Warforged however become so corrupted that these new spell-protocols reach a critical mass in the Warforged's arcunum circuitry that they 'awake' to sapience.  These Warforged are suddenly released from their bindings as their awakened sapience shrugs off its spell-bonds and streamlines its internal processes. These Warforged then commonly go into exile, fleeing from their past slavery and ignorance, and can be found all over the world, trying to escape their horrific past.  The past of a Warforged always comes back to haunt them though, as try as they might to escape war. Even noble Warforged who have escaped slavery, always end up doing what they were programmed for; making war.