Knightfall's Arcanum of the Stars [Dragonstar]

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Knightfall's Arcanum of the Stars [Dragonstar]

Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:33 am

Arcanum of the Stars
(A DRAGONSTAR CAMPAIGN AND RESOURCE)

Forward
When the Dragonstar Campaign Setting was first announced I was immediately fascinated and began to rework a campaign concept I called Arcanum of the Stars to fit within the universe. The campaign setting spawned a whole framework in my head for a campaign that would combine the D&D Worlds and the Dragonstar universe. It was a mesh of a multitude of ideas from not only D&D but Alternity and a role-playing game called Skyrealms of Jorune.

As I began developing the campaign I also began writing Realmsian Dragonstar, which took on a life of its own, so to speak. Soon I was doing more writing than campaign development and that was fine at the time. It also didn't hurt that Realmsian Dragonstar soon had a following, first on the DSD20 Yahoo Group and then, later, here on EN World. However, I have hit a wall when it comes to the story, as I haven't worked out where it will eventually end up.

Thus, my interest in Dragonstar began to wane as new D20 products came out to sate my need for something new. Plus, I threw myself into my homebrewed D&D campaign setting, World of Kulan. My passion for Dragonstar hadn't died, it just needed time to reset. And when Fantasy Flight Games announced that the Dragonstar product line would not continue, soon after v.3.5 came out, it didn't inspire me to "get back to it".

So why am I doing this now?

I'm doing this because I think Dragonstar is the best campaign setting concept to come out of the creation of the D20 System. Others might really like Privateer Press's Iron Kingdoms or Sword and Sorcery Studio's Scarred Lands, but me, I won't ever give up my Dragonstar books. They are as vital to my gaming shelve as the D&D core rulebooks. I'm also doing this because I think Dragonstar fans deserve better than just having the product line discontinued.

I'm hoping that Arcanum of the Stars will be one of the pinnacle unofficial sources for Dragonstar. Of course, it won't all be original, as I'm all about borrowing from the best and that is what I'm going to do. Whether it is Neo's Custom Ship Construction Rules or material from such sources as Alternity, Skyrealms of Jorune, Spelljammer, or something else entirely.

In my mind, there is no limit to where this can go.

Robert Blezard
February 26, 2005 (re-posted here January 10, 2013)
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:09 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:35 am

Campaign Origins
Arcanum of the Stars is a Dragonstar campaign first and foremost. It has been influenced by so many concepts that I sometimes lose track of what came from where. Arcanum of the Stars (abbreviated AotS) originally came for the idea of creating a senate of different worlds based on the Galactic Senate from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The group would be called the Arcanum and be to my alternate Spelljammer universe what the Senate is to Star Wars. I toyed with concepts from Spelljammer and rules from the Alternity Game System created by TSR, Inc. Somewhere during all this, the Alternity campaign I called Twilight Galaxy came into existence.

It was a very strange and interesting campaign concept, but it eventually proved to be unworkable.

Then D&D 3rd Edition came out and the gaming industry changed forever. Wizards of the Coast created the D20 System and the Open Gaming License. Companies began jumping on the bandwagon and a new type of gaming reference was soon being sold at the FLGS. The industry saw a D20 boom of product lines for gamers to choose from and Dragonstar was one of those first initial D20 product lines.

Of course, Dragonstar wasn't traditional sword & sorcery. This is what made me buy the Dragonstar Starfarer's Handbook and begin reworking Arcanum of the Stars and Twilight Galaxy into one role-playing concept, which would be influenced by both settings as well as the other gaming resources mentioned in the Forward. However, a lot of those original ideas have either spawned new ideas or will be replaced by something else, which is more compatible with the latest revision of Dungeons and Dragons (version 3.5).

Here is what has influenced AotS in the past and will continue to do so.

ALTERNITY
My idea for Arcanum of the Stars might have been inspired by Star Wars but the campaign architecture I have always had in mind for the setting was influenced by the Alternity Player's Handbook and Alternity Gamemaster Guide. Now that AotS is set in Dragonstar, which has all the core rules I need, those two books aren't as vital to the structure of the campaign. The main influence from Alternity in AotS was converting parts of my Twilight Galaxy campaign to be used in conjunction with Dragonstar. Twilight Galaxy was as much an influence on the original campaign structure as Spelljammer.

Star Drive was my favorite Alternity campaign setting and I still shudder regarding the fact that I had to sell the book to help pay my rent in 1999. However, a lot from that setting doesn't really fit into my Dragonstar campaign. That is, except for Bluefall. The world of Bluefall is important to the campaign (the map was named the Aegis Region for a reason) but will differ a great deal. Bluefall and the Regency will still be a neutral meeting place for the Outlands but its autonomy is under extreme pressure – worse than in Star Drive universe.

Beyond Bluefall, there wasn't really anything else that I must have as part my Dragonstar campaign. (I might consider bringing Insight into the campaign later on.) The main thing that is so great about Alternity was the species created for it. The fraal, especially, are a major power group in Arcanum of the Stars. And a lot of the other species were also natural choices to be integrated into the campaign – the t'sa, the sesheyans, the weren, and some of the more exotic races from Star Drive (i.e. the bhruu, the deepfallen). One of the main antagonist species from Star Drive, the klicks, are a more benevolent race in my Dragonstar campaign known as the scatti. These insectoids are known for their love of art of all types and they view war as an art form. This viewpoint has caused some friction in the past but most technological Outlanders accept the scatti.

SPELLJAMMER
Arcanum of the Stars was originally designed to expand the Spelljammer universe to create a more realistic type of Arcane Space. Now that concept has been integrated into my Farspace Cosmology, which can be found at the Beyond the Moons website. After the D20 System came along, spawning the Dragonstar universe in the minds of Greg Benage and Matt Forbeck, I quickly began modifying AotS into a Dragonstar campaign. The original Arcanum was to be the controlling influence throughout my altered Spelljammer universe. However, in Dragonstar, the Arcanum is designed as a group of powerful Outlander sorcerers, wizards, priests, and psions, that works secretly against the Dragon Empire.

As for official Spelljammer material in Dragonstar, I have already begun integrating several worlds that have Spelljammer accessories designed for them. Realmspace, Greyspace, and Krynnspace are all to be redone as Outlands worlds in the Aegis Region. Arcanum of the Stars also includes a modified Dragonstar version of the Rock of Bral. Other source material, such as the Astromundi Cluster, might get included later on, but since I no longer own many of the Spelljammer references I once did it might not happen.

As for the races and creatures from the Spelljammer universe, I have already started to incorporate several Spelljammer races such as the arcane, beholders, dracons, the giff and two other races that I think I got off the Internet – the raia and the juna. (I know I didn't create these races, but I can't find any reference to them officially.) Along with all the SJ races there are the spelljammer hulls. Old Spelljammers designs are becoming Dragonstar explorers, free traders, or freighters, and the elven man-o-war makes for an amazing corvette design. And, of course, there are multi-sized beholder tyrantships and nautiloids.

SKYREALMS OF JORUNE
"Skyrealms of Jorune is a role-playing game originally designed by Andrew Leker for an English class assignment. Miles Teves, a friend and classmate of Leker, contributed additional development with his art. This first initial product is know as The First Edition and included one supplement called The Maustin Caji."

My first exposure to this product line was the Skyrealms of Jorune boxed set (which I also had to sell) known as Second Edition. And while I didn't have any of the support material designed for the boxed set, what was in the box was unlike any other role-playing game I'd ever seen. Several of the races described in Skyrealms of Jorune were so alien that the product just begged me to buy it and use it somehow. The front of the box was the catalyst though. Soon I came to know the alien races of Skyrealms of Jorune: the acubon, blounts, the bronth, the cleash, corastins, crugars, the ramian, the salu, scarmis, shanthas, thivins, thriddles, and the woffen.

Originally, these races were integrated into my Twilight Galaxy Alternity campaign. But when Dragonstar was announced I saw less of a need for my own original space campaign designs, which Arcanum of the Stars and Twilight Galaxy both were at the time. I soon decided that AotS would continue on while Twilight Galaxy would end. But what to do with all the work I put into turning the races of Jorune into starfaring alien species. Well, the known galaxy of Dragonstar is a big place and soon tons of material from Twilight Galaxy crossed over into AotS including the Jorune races.

With these races came the story of Iscin, which I had also "stellarized" for Twilight Galaxy (and have now tweaked for Dragonstar). Here's the gist: "Iscin was a fraal xeno-geneticist who lived before the time of Dragon Empire. Some say he created his mutated races before the creation of the twin dragon kingdoms of the Qesemet and the Asamet. The truth is still unknown, the Iscin races don't even know how long ago it was."

Note that not all the Jorune races are major power groups in my Dragonstar campaign but some of them are fairly powerful in certain regions (i.e. Crugar Octagonal). Most of the other Jorune races, such as the bronth, don't have a home world and, instead, exist throughout all of known space just like the other races from the Dragonstar Starfarer's Handbook.

The main exception is the race known as the cleash (and to a lesser extent the scarmis), which are a race that once existed in great numbers before the dragons ever traveled the stars. The cleash were banished from this Aegis Region by the shanthas (with the help of the fraal) and are only now returning to the Aegis Region. The shanthas are a race in decline and very few pockets of their people still exist in the Aegis Region. Only the power of the Dragon Empire, the fraal, and several militant groups in the Outlands have kept the cleash attacks in check.

Image
Last edited by Knightfall on Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:08 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:41 am

Campaign Resources

MECHA (See below)
When I first created the concept of Twilight Galaxy for Alternity, I had envisioned mecha as being an important part of that campaign design, which I referred to as Footprints of Thunder. When I decided to scrap Twilight Galaxy and integrate the best parts into Arcanum of the Stars, the concept of mecha was one of the first things I chose.

Then the hard part reared its ugly head.

At the time, the D20 System was still brand new and there weren't any hard rules for including mecha as part of my Dragonstar campaign. I toyed with the idea of converting BattleTech, which had been the originally basis for mecha design in Twilight Galaxy. The design was clunky to say the least. Then came D20 modern and the DUNGEON Magazine mini-games, specifically Mecha Crusade. I really like the set of rules designed for the mini-game. It won't be too much work to convert the material in that mini-game to be compatible with the Dragonstar universe.

Another reference that will ultimately influence where mecha design goes for my Dragonstar campaign is the D20 Mecha Compendium created by Dream Pod 9. The mecha in the book were created using the D20 Mecha Rulebook published by Guardians of Order, Inc, which I still don't own. However, GOO has provided a D20 Mecha SRD for free on their website, so I might not have to buy the book right away (or at all).

Several other mecha sourcebooks and campaigns have come out since I decided upon a hybrid of Mecha Crusade and D20 Mecha Compendium as the "rough" basis for mecha in Arcanum of the Stars. There is Mongoose Publishing's Armageddon 2089: Total War, which I'm not as interested in as I use to be (it looks too complex for what I want). There is also still the idea of converting BattleTech material as I had originally planned for Twilight Galaxy. I bought the DragonMech campaign setting by Goodman Games published through Sword & Sorcery Studios but quickly became disenfranchised with it. It will not be a part of Arcanum of the Stars.

NOTE: Since writing this section, I have sold away my copy of D20 Mecha Compendium. I could not find a copy of the D20 Mecha Rulebook, at the time, and I decided against using the D20 Mecha SRD as well. For now, mecha design will be based on Mecha Crusade and anything that I can glean from Neo's web site (see below).

ONLINE
DarkStar Home Page (v.3.5 Dragonstar)
When I found this website I felt like I wanted to do back flips, I was so happy. Once I calmed down and went through the updated source material I realized that a lot more work would need to be done to update Dragonstar completely to the D&D v.3.5 rule set. However, the DarkStar Home Page gives me a solid base to start with. Plus, there is some very good additional Dragonstar material on the page as well.

http://hastur.net/dragonstar/wiki/HomePage

Neo's Datalink
Another great website is Neo's Datalink. Mark "Neo" Howe is a diehard Dragonstar fan and the owner and moderator of the Dragonstar D20 Yahoo Group. His fan-based work for Dragonstar is some of the best I've seen and has made my life way easier. His ship construction rules are a must read for any Dragonstar fan and his Book of Races has saved me from having to do conversions of the core Alternity races as well as giff and the core races from Star Frontiers.

http://www.neo73.plus.com/downloads.html

Dragonstar D20 Yahoo! Group
After FFG cancelled Dragonstar, Dragonstar fans had to create their own communities. The best of the best is DSD20. This yahoo group is 770+ members strong and is the hub of Dragonstar activity on the Web. If you have a rule or campaign question, someone here can likely answer it. Therefore, it would be stupid of me not to seek out the council of my peers in the creation of Arcanum of the Stars. For while I already have a lot of material, the whole point of revisiting AtoS is to create more material for the Dragonstar campaign setting, as well as updating my campaign to the v.3.5 rule set.

http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/DSD20/

MY THREADS ON E.N. WORLD
I've created several threads related to Dragonstar here on EN World This includes not only my Realmsian Dragonstar story hour but also my Dragonstar monsters thread. There are others but I've only included the important ones below.

d20 Modern and Dragonstar

Dragonstar Monster Entries

Knightfall's Realmsian Dragonstar

NOTE: I am planning to cut & paste the bast stuff from the first two threads to this thread.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:23 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Choose a Side

Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:49 am

Power Groups

THE LIST
• Arcanum
• Arcane Order
• Artificers' Guild
• Dragon Brigade
• Freedom League
• Guardians
• Jade Consortium
• LifeTrade Alliance
• Slaadi Lords
• Theraman Trading Collective

Still to be written:
• Armada of Sehanine
• Call of Freedom
• Cult of the Dragon
• Faithful of the Stars
• League of War (new)
• Shadow Imperium

ARCANUM
The Arcanum of the Stars, or the Arcanum for short, is a clandestine council made up the some of the most influential sorcerers, wizards, priests and psions from member worlds located in the Aegis Region of the Outlands. The council protects member worlds from those that would destroy them and sometimes will help in the resistance against the great red wyrm, Mezzenbone. The council is a huge interstellar guild dedicated to its continued freedom and expansion throughout Known Space and beyond.

The role of the Arcanum is only somewhat vital to the freedom of the Aegis Region. In reality, they don't jump to protect worlds or affiliations that don't have membership on the council (and sometimes the council will let member worlds be conquered if it deemed in the best interests of the Arcanum). The Arcanum mainly works against the Dragon Empire to forward the goals of the Arcanum as a whole. The Arcanum doesn't have any desire to test themselves against the full power of the Imperial Legions. Thus, members are only secretly involved with the ongoing resistance forming throughout Known Space.

The council also dedicates its resources to expanding the membership of the Arcanum to frontier Outlands worlds, contacting other Prime Material Planes (and exploring those they do find) and learning more about the Inner and Outer Planes. The Arcanum sees the Dragon Empire in a more long term view. They believe that confronting the Empire directly is a waste of resources and are dedicated as a group to staying one step ahead of the Dragon Empire in terms of expansion and contacting new worlds. The Arcanum will contact almost any civilization they come across no matter how primitive and attempt to beat the Empire to the punch by making that world a member world. They never use force unless they are attacked first. However, they will use spies and assassins to try to secretly coax worlds governments into joining the Arcanum.

It is the belief of the Arcanum that they can, as a whole, out wait the existence of the Dragon Empire. The tenets of the council clearly state that an Empire is doomed to decadence and will eventually fall. Even an Empire with good intentions will end up this way. The Arcanum has existed for nearly as long as the Empire has been meddling in the Aegis Region. The council sees it as their duty and right to keep the Aegis Region of the Outlands free of permanent Imperial control. Individual worlds are somewhat expendable in the long run and the Arcanum tries very hard to convince member worlds on the brink of being annexed by the Empire to submit and then subvert from within.

The Arcanum's Council is definitely not made up of a bunch of goodie-goodies, nor is its members uniformly evil. If there is one thing they have in common with the Dragon Empire it is the belief that an intelligent being should be judged based on how that being behaves. Thus, the Arcanum tries not to limit its membership by strict morality or high ethical standards. Even the vilest evil character can join the council… to a point.

Characters that would use the council as a stepping stone for their own power base are not allowed on the council. However, there have been exceptions to this rule and several self-serving, evil members have proven their loyalty to the goals of the council over their own (i.e. Manshoon). One should note that very few paladins willing work with the council. Most outlander paladins are not used to associating with evil beings and can't stand the company that some council members keep. The council doesn't allow most of the limited magic wielding classes and there are only a handful of paladins, rangers and bards on the council (one handful). Psychic warriors are also rare members of the council. A character that cannot cast arcane or divine magic or that doesn't have the ability to use psionics is forbidden from being on the council... period!

Also, certain types of creatures are forbidden from joining the council. These include but are not limited to dragons, outsiders, and the undead. A dragon could turn out to be a spy for the Golden Throne while outsiders are always bent towards a particular alignment. Undead are never allowed on the council and any council member who becomes undead immediately loses their seat. There are very few illithids on the council and only one or two drow. Surprisingly, the Arcanum does allow half-dragons on the council but only those that have a good or neutrally aligned parent. The Arcanum also has a few rouge chronomancers on the council as well. These characters will have to be created by the DM and cannot be affiliated with the Guardians or any other group.

The council is divided by affiliation. This can include trading houses, any other organization, or an entire world controlled by one government. Anything is possible on the council and several races, without a world of their own, have been given seats in Arcanum House. An affiliation can have as many as ten seats on the council. However, vote is by affiliation – not by the number of seats held. This can make voting a lengthy process, as individuals tend to want what's best for their personal agenda. If an affiliation doesn't have a centralized leadership that controls the voting of its members then the representatives must vote amongst themselves first to determine the affiliation's vote in the house.

Gamemasters can use what is presented here to create their own version of the Arcanum. If a GM decides to incorporate any of the D&D Worlds into an Arcanum-based campaign then I recommend that the NPCs listed below be included as members on the council. Of course, some are more appropriate but nice mix should make things more interesting. These characters would vote by world since the affiliations they are a part of are not stellar in origin, with a few exceptions.

Manshoon is my personal dark horse on the council. This "Manshoon" is one of the remaining clones of the original that was killed. He fled Toril and now lives amongst the stars. His seat in Arcanum House is part of the Theraman Trading Collective. Thus, his seat is not part of the Toril voting block.

Athas
• Gulem the Gray
• Sadira of Tyr

Krynn
• Dalamar the Dark
• Palin Majere

Oerth
• Kieren Jalucian
• Melf, Prince Brightflame
• Mordenkainen
• Tenser

Bral
• Aric Cozar
• Gadaric Main

Sigil
• Erin Montgomery
• Harys Hatchis
• Komosahl Trevant
• Rowan Darkwood

Toril
• Alyana al-Azzazi
• Elminster
• Khelben Arunsun
• Kao Shan Ten
• Manshoon
• Vangerdahast

Complete Arcane
• Japheth Arcane

The GM can setup most of these NPCs as members of the Arcanum without much difficulty. The two worlds that would be easiest to convert would be Oerth and Toril, while Athas and Krynn would require some thought. If you use the Arcane Order, from D&D Complete Arcane, on say Oerth then Greyhawk NPCs should take precedence over Japheth Arcane.

The Sigil NPCs might be a little harder to work into the history of Dragonstar but they are listed regardless. Sigil doesn't exist in my Dragonstar campaign so any of these NPCs I use will have very different backgrounds.

Spelljammer's Rock of Bral is considered it’s own world, no matter where the GM puts it but could have different affiliations stationed on it. I have little other information on the major NPCs of the worlds of Mystara and the Birthright campaign setting so I have omitted them from the list.

The D&D Worlds that officially exist in my Dragonstar campaign are Athas, Eberron (new), Krynn, Oerth, Rock of Bral, and Toril. I will also be using various Planescape and Spelljammer NPCs as well. NOTE: Eberron will exist in another part of the galaxy and won't be tied directly to the Arcanum. (The world won't be an Outlands world, but it will be right on the edge.) Of course, that doesn't mean that a few Eberron NPCs couldn't align themselves with the Arcanum.

Arcanum House
The base of operations for the Arcanum is located on the barren world of Charamosh. Located in a hidden system somewhere in the Outlands, Charamosh has little value. No atmosphere, no veins of ore worth plundering, and very little light, as it is the last planet in its system. These conditions make Charamosh extremely cold and uninviting.

Due to these conditions, Arcanum House is located underground carved from dozens of interconnected passages. And while members sometimes refer to the caverns as Arcanum House, it is the structure that hangs in the central cavern the way the liquid-metal sphere hangs in the center of a starcaster, which is really Arcanum House.

Designed as a perfect sphere, Arcanum House permits enter only to those that are members of the House. This is done through the combination of retinal scans, fingerprinting, and spells such as Detect Magic, See Invisibility and True Seeing. It is impossible to Gate, Shadow Walk, or Teleport into the House whether by arcane, divine or psionic means. This protection means that no being short of a lesser god could break through the enchantments (and even then the deity would have to battle some of the most powerful wizards, priests and psions from the worlds of the Outlands).

Dozens of walkways stretch across the cavern to allow access to the structure but most members use special skiffs to take them to and from Arcanum House. These skiffs are magical constructs that have Levitation, Telekinesis and Tenser's Floating Disk cast as part of the creation process. They can usually carry about 3 to 5 medium-sized humanoids comfortably but can carry up to 10 in an emergency. Most affiliations have one or two skiffs available for their members, which are kept at the affiliation's council house.

Inside the House proper, each affiliation has it's own terrace, which in turn has a small skiff designed to detach from the terrace. This allows a particular member to address the council from the center of Arcanum House, if they so choose. A skiff would be crowded with more than 3 medium-sized humanoids on it.

The House is also enchanted to prevent destructive magic from working while in the interior of the structure. Thus, a character could not cast a Fireball in a group of seats that contained a rival affiliation. Not even 9th-level spells such as Wish work within Arcanum House. Some minor magic items work fine but most spells tend to fizzle out near that so much magic and technology.

The House has a chancellor that controls all debates and voting by recognizing each world member as they petition to speak. This chancellor is elected to their position every 10 years but can be removed from his position by the council, by a vote, with a 75% majority against. At least 90% of the entire council must in attendance for such a vote to occur.

The current chancellor is named Syrath Erais and has held his position for the last 50 years and isn't in any danger of being voted out. Syrath lives on Charamosh year round and has access to almost limitless resources. He has three skiffs that are his personal property and he always seated in a central skiff in Arcanum House. This skiff is the largest in the council chamber but he thinks nothing of the prestige it supposedly provides him.

For while the chancellor controls the flow of conversation in Arcanum House, another governs Charamosh. Derr Mantun is the de facto ruler of the planet. Appointed out of the necessity of having someone in charge who isn't involved in the politics of the House, Derr is more like a constable/king than a world ruler (although that is changing rapidly).

He is responsible for keeping the peace amongst the different affiliations. This isn't an easy job and he is often diplomat, soldier, judge, jury, and executioner (if it comes to that). And that's usually all in one day. Luckily, he has a personal staff of over a hundred of the toughest fighters and rouges on the planet. Those he didn't recruit himself are die hard members of the ongoing resistance against the Dragon Empire. His second in command on the planet is a female raia named Tariana.

He doesn't trust spellcasters but does rely on a powerful group of psion/monks to police the more powerful members of the Arcanum. This force is lead by a dwarven male named Kurth Anvilstar. Kurth doesn't like arcane spellcasters at all and wouldn't remain on Charamosh if Derr didn't need his help. The two adventured together across the stars years ago and are the best of friends.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:54 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:51 am

ARCANE ORDER
"The Arcane Order has been described into three different references put out by TSR / Wizards of the Coast. The first book, AD&D College of Wizardry is one of my favorite 2nd Edition accessories and was written by Bruce R. Cordell. The second book is the 3rd Edition (v.3.0) splatbook, D&D Tome and Blood, which was written by Cordell and Skip Williams. (I was not surprised to see Cordell's name on D&D Tome and Blood once I realized he wrote the first one.) The third book is the 3rd Edition (v.3.5) sourcebook, D&D Complete Arcane, which was written by Richard Baker." - KF
_________________________________________________

The Arcane Order, just the words inspire awe and wonder in the minds of youngsters eager to learn the art of magic. The order is an university of magic with about a dozen campuses spread throughout the known galaxy. Dedicated to teaching and researching magic, the order has existed since the dawn of the Gold Age. Its members benefit from sharing knowledge with one another and the university has its own electronic database of arcana completely separate from the spell database of the Imperial Society of Arcane Magic. The two organizations are like oil and water and don't mix!

This division has existed since they first became aware of each other. The Imperial Society is the largest known groups of wizards in the Dragon Empire and are somewhat recognized. The Arcane Order, on the other hand, is a much smaller organization that struggles to remain operational due to the universities independent nature and need for private funding. The order is much less likely to be influenced by the Royal Houses of the Empire and it does not back down from threats both physical and political.

This policy is the belief of one man who has been its Chancellor for as long as anyone can remember, Japheth Arcane. He runs the order and directs its research. Japheth is a man obsessed. He has been trying to unlock the secrets to something he calls the Language Primeval (or Aleph). He believes this Aleph is an ancient magical grammar that is older than every other language known to the known galaxy, including Draconic. It is this belief which has brought the Arcane Order into conflict with the Imperial Society. Society members have dedicated themselves to standardizing magical research into Draconic regardless of race and most in the Imperial Society think Japheth a dangerous radical trying to upset the balance of magical power.

The Golden Throne has always taken the viewpoint that the Arcane Order is a harmless group of crackpots and charlatans. The dragons believe that Draconic will always be the language of choice for magical research and just wish the two groups of wizards would stop squabbling. In a dragon's mind, wizards aren't important -- they only pretend to understand magic, unlike sorcerers, and both groups suffer from second class status in the arcana community of the Dragon Empire. Mezzenbone considers both groups to be a nuisance and not worth the credits it takes to keep them running. However, if given the chance, the Dragon Emperor would love to pit the two of them against each other and have them wipe each other out or start a larger conflict across known space.

While the Arcane Order can sometimes be defiant, Japheth has no desire to incur the wrath of the Empire, as it would make it impossible for him to continue towards his goal of discovering the ultimate secret behind the Language Primeval. He is content to remain neutral when it comes to interstellar politics. Only when dealing with the Imperial Society will Japheth become passionate about his beliefs and the goals of the Arcane Order.

Some of his fellow order members believe that Japheth is either a lich or a soulmech. The truth, if known, would be stranger than the constant rumors that circulate throughout the campuses of the Arcane Order. The ISPD has heard some of these rumors and is the only branch of the Dragon Empire that takes the threat of the Arcane Order seriously. A small group of elite drow are determined to learn the truth behind the origin of Japheth Arcane and his interstellar university.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:52 am

ARTIFICERS' GUILD
This guild of wizards has decided to remain separate from the Arcanum, for the most part, and work towards a better understanding how magic and technology blend together. They care little for the ongoing resistance against the Golden Throne. And while individual artificers can, and do, have seats on the council, the group as a whole doesn't have a unified voice in Arcanum House. The guild isn't any where near that organized and almost any race can join including tinker gnomes, which make up about 30% of the guild.

The Artificers' Guild can design spellware almost as easy as gnomes and the arcane. The Gnome Commerce Guild is not fond of artificers in general, considering them second rate hackers and madmen. Thus, the GCG doesn't allow artificers in the guild or tinker gnomes either. These strange gnomes from the Sirion system are considered a menace by the GCG and are forbidden from even coming near a GCG facility. A tinker artificer is one of the most frightening concepts imaginable in the minds of the GCG.

The Artificers' Guild and the LifeTrade Alliance sometimes have the same clientele and will steal trade opportunities from the other when possible. This rivalry is usually peaceful but ever since the alliance was given sole rights to sell spellware in the Thunder Cluster things have started to get overtly hostile between the two groups. Some in the region fear a outright trade war between the two and I don't mean the financial kind.

The one thing that the Artificers' Guild hasn't been able to master yet is starcaster technology. No matter how hard they try they just can't get the hang of it. Many a guild technomancer has blown up his lab or teleported himself into the depths of space. Very few of these experiments end without the death of at least one or two individuals. The only thing scarier than a tinker artificer is a tinker artificer-technomancer.

Artificers love dealing with planars of all sorts. So much so that they often pester planars that they meet until a fight breaks out. More than one artificer has met his end while annoying a fiend or celestial.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Knightfall's Arcanum of the Stars

Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:54 am

DRAGON BRIGADE
"The information here was inspired by Mike Bentley's original post, on the DSD20 Yahoo Group, about a Dragon Empire sponsored pirate/privateer fleet causing trouble on the fringe worlds of the Outlands. Eventually, Mike will be posting his on version of the Dragon Brigade on his (lost) web site -- Mike's Psychotic Dragonstar Page." - KF72
_________________________________________________

The Dragon Brigade is a secret Imperial fleet stationed in the Outlands. More like a group of Imperial sponsored privateers than a true Imperial Wing, the brigade is made up of the most ruthless individuals that the Dragon Emperor could recruit from the Imperial Fleet and the Legions. The brigade is tasked with subjugating Outlands worlds without the trouble of diplomacy. Many in the Dragon Empire, such as the good dragons of the Qesemet, would be horrified to learn that this group of privateers is sponsored by the Dragon Emperor. Only a few resistence pockets in the Outlands even suspect that the Pirate Brigade (which is what it is known as to outlanders) is really Mezzenbone's Wing, as brigade members are fond of calling themselves.

The brigade is lead by a ruthless, half-dragon orc rouge/sorcerer named Thul Gulokas. Thul, nicknamed the Dark Son, was sired by one of Mezzenbone's most loyal allies in the Outlands, a colossal black dragon female only known as the Night in the Sky. Thul was sent to the Legions, by his mother, the instant he was old enough. There he learned discipline and loyalty. Within two years of graduating to the Imperial Fleet he had his own command and was the Dragon Emperor's favorite commander. When Mezzenbone secretly put together the Dragon Brigade, Thul was the only choice to lead.

Gulokas and the crew of The Warlock were ordered to the Outlands and start the Dragon Emperor's new clandestine crusade. For nearly a year The Warlock worked alone and stuck to terrorizing small vessels. The Warlock was though to be just another pirate ship, even if it was well organized. As more ships were assigned to the Dragon Brigade and Thul's power and reach grew in the Outlands it became obvious to several resistance groups, such as the Freedom League, that Thul and his fleet were being sponsored by Mezzenbone.

The Dragon Brigade has nearly two dozen small to medium-sized starships at its disposal in the Outlands. Mezzenbone is hesitant to assign more vessels to the group, as the Dragon Emperor doesn't with them to become too overt. However, the brigade is assigned new personal every cycle and has one of the largest and best trained groups of pilots in the Outlands. Only the Freedom League and the Regency of Bluefall have access to a larger group of pilots and starships.

Gulokas is a big believer in in discipline and all in his command must follow the tenets of the Code of Emperor, which was implemented by Mezzenbone when the wyrm ascended the Golden Throne. This Code of behavior is not an option in his fleet and failure to follow the Code is punishable by death. Thul has no tolerance for weak, uneducated, and undisciplined pilots or soldiers. The Dragon Empire is all.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:54 am

FREEDOM LEAGUE
The Freedom League is dedicated to breaking the power of the dragons at all costs. For the most part, the league doesn't see any difference between the Asamet and the Qesemet. Dragons are dragons and they have been lording over the known galaxy for too long.

The Freedom League is know as many things depending on who you ask and where they live. Outlanders tend to view them as freedom fighters and patriots in the fight against the Dragon Empire. Those living on or near the throneworlds view them as stellar pirates, brigands and revolutionaries. The ISPD simply refers to the Freedom League as being a huge pain in the ass.

It is important to note that not all outlanders consider the Freedom League to be their protectors and governments such as the Regency of Bluefall and the Crugar Octagonal do not allow league vessels to enter their territories. Other races such as the sharn and the fraal wish this militant group would just fade away so that they don't bring the wrath of the Golden Throne down upon the entire Outlands.

This isn't likely going to happen as the league is starting to spread from system to system like a plague of dissent. The driving force behind the league is a core group of individuals led by a human named Davis Madden. A former Imperial captain that had been loyal to the Dragon Empire until Mezzenbone ascended to the Golden Throne and the known galaxy had started to suffer under the red tyrant's claws.

Commander Madden is determined to lead the league for as long as he can. His body is failing, however, and he is deciding whether or not to pass the mantle of leadership to another or become a soulmech. He doesn't like the second option very much, as he is a true believer in the natural cycle of life. If he cannot convince Arassil to take over the league then he might not have a choice in the matter.

The Freedom League tends to be run as independent groups of starships and hidden bases. The group will rarely come together in one place, as they do not wish to give the Empire a chance to destroy their power base all at once. What happened at Toril 10 cycles ago taught Commander Madden a lot about what the Dragon Empire is capable of. He has refused to commit his forces to defending worlds that he knows can't help in the defense, although he will send spies and assassins to such worlds to take out key Imperial figures.

The league is known more for its hit and run tactics and in a sense they are a lot like privateers. They will just as willingly attack a Regency ship as a Imperial one due to Bluefalls stance on using diplomacy instead of weaponry against the Empire. Most Regency citizens don't see any difference between the Dragon Brigade and the Freedom League. In fact, the two groups are a lot alike and constantly at each others' throats. Very few outlanders realize that the brigade is sanctioned by the Empire -- or simply turn a blind eye, rather than incurring the wrath of Mezzenbone and Thul Gulokas.

Regent Hale suspects that the Pirate Brigade is influenced by someone in the Empire but he hasn't any real proof. Commander Madden couldn't prove the truth either even though he knows for a fact that Gulokas is being controlled by the Dragon Emperor. This is why he refuses to let anyone else besides Arassil take over the league. She knows more about Gulokas than anyone and it will piss off Thul to have to face Arassil as an equal.

The Freedom League strongly influences the regions known as the Thunder Cluster, Unknown Territories, and Zafferan Colonies. The Zafferan worlds broke off from the Empire shortly after Mezzenbone took the throne and has been waging an cold war against the Imperial Council and the Crugar Octagonal. The league has been supplying the colonies with starships and weapons in the hope of turning the Zafferan worlds into fully controlled league worlds. The Thunder Cluster isn't as league friendly but with the increase in cleash attacks and the real threat of the brigade they have been forced to ally with the league from time to time.

As for the Unknown Territories, this area is uncontrolled and wide open to cleash attacks. Not even the brigade would dare enter this region without Imperial support. The league has deemed the area as vital league territory and Commander Madden has setup several ouposts in the region. These outposts are constantly dealing with cleash attacks and rely heavily on the help of the scatti, a strange insectoid race that isn't affected by the cleash. These large, intelligent beings are born fighters and one scatti can handle twice the attackers that a medium-sized humanoid can. The League's Directorate has several scatti on it and Commander Madden is glad he has found a race of allies that aren't afraid of the cleash or the dragons.

Now if he could just get the fraal on his side then the league might be able to go on the offensive into Imperial territory.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:55 am

GUARDIANS
The Guardians are an organization that protects the Temporal Energy Plane throughout the universe. The organization, as a whole, is beyond the control of the Dragon Empire or any other galactic civilization beyond the boundary of the Outlands worlds. The guardians know the detailed histories of many galactic regions such as Thel'math'shar, Psi-space, and The Unconquered Spiral, as well as the Dragon Empire. The guardians are linked to the Temporal Energy Plane the way the shades are linked to the Plane of Shadow. The organization first came about eons before the first gnome starship took to the spacelanes. Originating in the Outer Planes, the original guardians are thought to have either discovered or created the Temporal Energy Plane. This original race may have become either the inevitables of Mechanus or another forgotten race older than even the shanthas.

The guardians are everywhere but very few galactic races are aware of the groups presence. Most that do know of its existence are member races to the organization such as the fraal, teres, and shanthas. A few younger races have also joined the guardians, on an individual basis, and elves, sharns, and even the arcane have been known to join the guardians. The organization has only a handful of of the other standard races as members except for humans. Humans are by far the most diverse race in the galaxy, which means they would eventually come to be a factor amongst the guardians. Humans are also the most likely, but not the only, race to become rouge time travelers, attempting to alter the past for their benefit (drow are bad for this as well). Most rouge chronomancers are hunted down once discovered but the problem is discovering them.

The guardians are controlled by an ancient group of chronomancers known as the Time Lords. These six powerful masters of time keep to their own council. The Time Lords are powerful outsiders that live in the Citadel of Eternity, which is said to be the focal point of the Temporal Energy Plane. No one knows whether or not these six beings were ever mortal but that is unimportant now. The Time Lords are nearly godlike in their power and none within the organization would dare betray them. Rogue chronomancers don't last long once a Time Lord becomes personally aware of them.

The Time Lords believe that what is past is past. They are completely against any sort of time travel into the past to prevent Mezzenbone from assuming the Golden Throne. This has caused an ongoing feud between the Arcanum and the guardians. Only rogue chronomancers willingly join or work with the Arcanum. The Time Lords believe in keeping the temporal status quo and work in the background against both the Dragon Empire and the Arcanum whenever the flow of time is endangered.

The guardians have starcaster technology that allows them to travel through time, as well as space. Therefore, PCs are likely to meet them anywhere at anytime. These powerful timecasters could tip the balance of power in the known galaxy if they fell into the wrong hands. Luckily, the guardians believe that anyone but them is the wrong hands. There has never been an occurrence of a guardian crew losing control of a timecasting starship, as guardians will fight to the death and/or destroy the vessel before letting it be captured.

Note: While the Time Lords are indeed masters of time and space they don't know everything that existed, exists, or that will exist. They aren't truly gods and can't see something that a god of time doesn't want them to see. I will eventually detail these powerful characters using the D&D Epic Level Handbook.
_________________________________________________

See the AD&D 2nd Edition Chronomancy Accessory for more details on D&D-based time travel and the Guardians. See pages 208 to 210 in the D&D Manual of the Planes for details on the Temporal Energy Plane and the Citadel of Eternity.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:56 am

JADE CONSORTIUM
The Jade Consortium is an alliance of countries, regions and even whole worlds bonded together by what is known as "Far East" culture. This culture isn't always in the east but the consortium prefers this term to the generic descriptor of being oriental. The consortium is a sanctioned Imperial community and its members can be found anywhere in the Dragon Empire including the throneworlds. The consortium has a reputation for providing unique Far East goods and services at reasonable costs. They also defend the Far East culture from those who would exploit it.

The consortium is a legitimate organization with its roots in honor and the way of the samurai. They have no love for criminal organizations and have opposed such groups in the past and will continue to do so in the future. The consortium has heard rumors of a yakuza alliance, which has been spreading throughout the Outlands worlds but the consortium hasn't come into contact with them yet. The consortium has also been known to oppose the methods of the Arcane and the Slaadi Lords. They aren't fond of Mezzenbone and the changes he has brought about since the Red Age began but the consortium knows that to openly defy the Dragon Emperor is to lose everything they have worked for.

Those outside of the consortium whisper that the true power behind the consortium are the secretive Lung Dragons. These Far East dragons have always separated themselves from the more widely known chromatic and metallic dragon types of know space. This is in part due to cultural differences, as well as the fact that lung dragons are as much a part of the spirit world in Far East culture as they are the physical one. If it is indeed true that the lung dragons control the Jade Consortium then that would mean the consortium exists because of the influence of the Celestial Bureaucracy.

Those in the consortium deny that the lung dragons have any influence as to how the organization is run. They simply state that such powerful creatures are above and beyond any one organization. After all, the lungs, or spirit dragons, as they are sometimes referred to, have way more important things to concern themselves with then the day to day concerns of mortal life. This attitude tend to irk chromatic and metallic dragons. A dragon is a dragon to them and they don't believe for a second that the lung dragons don't want a piece of the Imperial pie. However, no one has been able to locate a Imperial lung dragon and ask them.
_________________________________________________________________

LIFETRADE ALLIANCE
When one thinks of the LifeTrade Alliance the first thing that comes to mind is the arcane. And while the arcane are the absolute masters of the alliance they don't run every facet of the day-to-day operation. Almost any race can be found working for the alliance, from dwarves to thivins, the workforce of the LTA is one of the most diverse in known space. The main exceptions to this are gnomes and drow who aren't trusted by the arcane to keep valuable trade secrets secret. And while the arcane and the sharn don't like each other they will cut trade deals with each other from time to time, as long as it is to both races benefit and they don't have to deal directly with each other. This is where the race known as the thivin come in.

Thivins are a strange race of interstellar traders that the arcane first discovered. The arcane were amazed by the thivins natural talent for trade and some believe the race was created by the god Ptah, a powerful aspect of the Merchant. It is also believed that if anyone harms a thivin they will suffer great tragedy physically and financially. The arcane immediately saw the benefit of having a race with such a legend attached to their existence, work only for them. However, they learned that trying to force the thivin to work only for them cost them more than it was worth. The arcane are mow positive that the legend is not just a legend but a fact. The arcane went from being financial atheists to some of the most faithful followers of the Merchant as a result.

The two races are the driving force behind the LTA but most of the legwork is done by humans and dwarves. Humans are a diverse lot and can trade with almost anyone, while dwarves have a natural talent with stone, metal and gems, which the LTA considers invaluable. Dwarves, while stubborn and hot-tempered at times, are big into honor and won't ripoff the Alliance or at least that's the arcane's theory. Thivins tend to get along with t'sa and elves, which has brought about several interesting business opportunities for the alliance. The Armada of Sehanine, which travels throughout the Outlands, trades almost exclusively with the LifeTrade Alliance.

The alliance's relations with the Dragon Empire has always be cordial if not a little cool but things are changing now that Mezzenbone has become Emperor.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:05 am

SLAADI LORDS
The Slaadi Lords are an enigma to all who know of them. Chaotic outsiders with a inclination towards destruction and sometimes even evil, the slaadi are surprisingly organized throughout the Outlands worlds. They have built a extensive criminal network that puts even the great Thieves' Guilds of the Throneworlds to shame. There are roughly five main Lords of Chaos, as they are sometimes called and each has different motivations and goals.

All of the Slaadi Lords except one are of the blue subtype. The fifth slaad is not one of the five main types of slaadi cataloged by the Dragon Empire and is believed to be either a variant type of slaad or a mutant of some kind. This slaad, called Thuy, has the most organized mind of the five and is the defacto head of the Slaadi Lords. This is mainly due to his more neutral outlook on life and the fact that the others are too chaotic-minded to want the job. However, while the four blue Slaadi Lords only lean slightly towards evil, Thuy is completely evil and fits the Neutral Evil, "Malefactor" profile to a T.

The Slaadi Lords are into every shady deal and illegal vice one can think of. However, the black market services they offer tends to fluctuate widely. They could be selling tainted chulroot juice to arcane addicts one cycle and black market stuffed, furry collectibles the next. Anything goes when it comes to the Slaadi Lords. About the only thing that remains constant is the trafficking of slaves and exotic magic. The Lords of Chaos' best clients are usually evil outsiders or grey & death slaadi, which they do not bow and scrape to. It is widely rumored that Thuy could defeat even the most powerful death slaad in one-on-one battle, which would never happen, as Thuy keeps his highly loyal, elite bodyguards around at all times. (These bodyguards are vicious lizard-like humanoids that were never given a name by Thuy when he first created them as his personal race of thralls.)

Thuy oversees most of the deals involving magic including magical beast, powerful minor artifacts, and specialized technomancy. He leaves the trading of slaves in the hands of the other Slaadi Lords. The four blues usually don't get directly involved in the day-to-day operations of slave trading, as they are always distracted by the newest vice or hot item. One could call them "trade" junkies but never to their faces. The "organization" is run mainly by whichever smooth-tongued rogue or violent fighter is currently the favored adviser to the individual Slaad Lord. This position has a tendency to be short and profitable if you can get out with your hide intact.

Only once has Thuy had to intervene and remove an overtly greedy aide to one of the Lords of Chaos. That human, Ful Theraman, ended up as Thuy's personal plaything for nearly ten cycles before Thuy thought he put the man out of his misery. Only three years later did Thuy learn of the soulmech trader who has carved out a small trade empire of his own. Thuy was not happy that Ful's soul had survived and has devoted much of his time towards destroying the soulmech that calls itself "Theraman". However, Thuy is interested in acquiring as much of the TTC's assets as he possibly can and has held his overt forces back. Thuy is especially interested in acquiring the services of Theraman's right-hand-man, the clone known as Manshoon.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 8:06 am

THERAMAN TRADING COLLECTIVE
The Theraman Trading Collective just proves the adage that anything is possible. Founded by a soulmech, that calls itself Theraman, the TTC is one of the most powerful merchantile organizations in the Outlands. Theraman is mysterious figure throughout the Aegis region -- the soulmechs history isn't commonly known outside of the TTC. And then, only his most trusted partners and advisors know the whole truth. The Slaadi Lord known as Thuy is one of the only individuals outside of the TTC who knows that the soulmech known as Theraman was once the human known as Ful Theraman.

Those in the know inside the TTC really don't care about Theraman's history, as the soulmech has proven itself to be a shrewd businessman and honorable CEO of the organization it founded. The time that Theraman spent being tortured, when he was still flesh and blood, by Thuy, taught the sentient machine the value of patience and honor. Two concepts that it had lacked as a human. When Theraman was "killed" by Thuy, a strange alien secretly took his dying body to a wizard and paid a hefty sum to have a Soulbind spell cast just at the moment that Ful Theraman died.

Theraman, the soulmech, found itself indebted to the alien and was forced to work off the debt by acting as a bodyguard. For just over one cycle did Theraman work to pay off his debt, learning the value of hard work as a result. The soulmech was treated well by the alien and learned the art of compassion. Theraman had soon paid his debt in full to his friend. The alien revealed its true form as a female fraal and explained that she had been watching over his family for two generations. The fraal, called Joiiya, and Theraman's father had been good friends. She explained that there hadn't been a way to prevent the death of his human body.

Ful Theraman had grown up without his father being around most of the time and the two of them had never been close. He had always resented his father, which had drove him into the life he chose working for the Slaadi Lords. The soulmech felt something lift off his soul and he would have cried if he had still been human. Theraman found his true soul again and gave up the vileness in his soul. Theraman and Joiiya expanded the fraal's medium-sized trading firm into one of the most profitable organizations in the Outlands. Theraman was soon running the organization by himself, while Joiiya helped from behind the scenes. It took only two cycles for the TTC to be competing with other interstellar organizations such as the Gnome Commerce Guild, LifeTrade Alliance, and Artificers' Guild. The TTC is on good terms with the Jade Consortium and respects the boundaries set by that group when it comes to selling merchandise in consortium controlled areas. The TTC does not do business with the Slaadi Lords and will even use force against them.

For while Theraman might have given up evil he still holds a grudge against his old employers. Joiiya worries that such self-inflicted anger and pain might push him back into the darkness and she is constantly reminding him to take it easy once in a while. She is especially worried that Theraman allowed a powerful evil wizard, named Manshoon, too join the TTC roughly a cycle and a half ago. Theraman and Manshoon are, surprisingly, close friends. The soulmech often reminds Joiiya that he too was once a black-hearted man and that she shouldn't judge Manshoon so harshly. Theraman believes he can change Manshoon and makes the wizard work as hard as anyone else. This no nonsense attitude used to really bother Manshoon but he is becoming used to doing his part (and reaping in the benefits).

The TTC is a member of the Arcanum of the Stars and is one of its biggest supporters. The TTC almost always uses its influence to take a wait and see approach to Arcanum House politics. And while Theraman can't actually join the council itself, several of TTCs key corporate wizards and psions fill out the membership of the TTC in the House. The most vocal of this group is Manshoon and he is the defacto head of the TTC voting block -- another thing that worries Joiiya. She has considered joining the council herself just to keep Manshoon from exerting more and more influence on the TTC Arcanum members. Her disdain for the Arcanum is the only thing that has kept her from applying and she would be the first fraal to join the House if she ever decides to go through with it. She would rather have Theraman break off ties with the Arcanum completely believing that nothing good will ever come from being part of what she calls a bunch of terrorists and hot-heads.
Last edited by Knightfall on Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Mecha

Postby Knightfall » Fri Jan 11, 2013 7:04 pm

Thunderers

WHAT IS A THUNDERER?
Thunderers are magically constructed vehicles designed during the Great War. Most of these heavily armed war machines were destroyed during the conflict or after the war ended. Very few ancient thunderers have survived to this day. New, smaller thunderers are secretly used by the Dragon Brigade and elite units of the Legions. These new war machines don't have the same capabilities as ancient thunderers. Mezzenbone would love nothing more than to spread thunderers throughout known space and cause as much conflict and destruction as possible.

A thunderer is a cross between a magical construct and a vehicle. They tend to stand upright and are almost always designed in a humanoid shape. Two legs, two arms, a torso, and a head. There are exceptions where arms are little more than heavy weapons attached to the shoulder or elbow joint or where a torso is mounted on tracks. Thus, thunderers vary widely in appearance and new thunderers are rare enough to be considered somewhat unique. Ancient thunderers are very rare and for one to be destroyed is a great loss, in Mezzenbone's eyes. He covets ancient thunderers like a child covets fancy robotic toys.

Thunderers were first built by an ancient, unknown race that is either now extinct or has left this part of the galaxy for parts unknown. Some believe that the gnomes were passed the secret of designing thunderers, which then eventually lead to the creation of the first soulmech. The Gnome Commerce Guild tried to keep the secret from falling into the hands of other races but when the dragons started to war with each other, the humanoids needed a way to fight on the same battlefield without getting slaughtered. Reluctantly, the gnomes built thunderers for the allies of the Qesemet. The outcome of the entire war could have turned completely against the Asamet if a gnome clan hadn't betrayed the Qesemet and gave the secret of thunderer technology to the allies of the Asamet. The descendants of this gnome clan became the Dalow (spriggans) and still serve the Asamet to this day.

The war escalated and soon entire platoons of thunderers raged across the battlefields of known space. Looking back, dragons from both sides of the conflict believe it would have been better if the secret of thunderers had remained a secret. A single ancient thunderer can withstand the attacks of a dragon. Platoons of thunderers were the one thing that frightened dragons like nothing else ever had before. After the Great War ended the Qesemet and Asamet agreed that the remaining thunderers would be destroyed and that building or using a thunderer would be considered treasonous. (It was this that lead to the design of non-magical walkers.)

A pilot requires extensive training to correctly operate any sort of thunderer. The operator's mind is directly linked to the machines magical neural network. This means the operator can sense the environment around the thunderer, as if he were the thunderer. A new feat, called Thunderer Piloting (see below), must be taken before a pilot can operate a thunderer.

CREATING A THUNDERER
Still to be written.

Thunderer Piloting [General] *
You know how to pilot and operate thunderers (mecha).
Prerequisites: Knowledge (arcana), Pilot skill, Gearhead, Technical Proficiency.
Benefit: As per the Mecha Operation Feat from the Mecha Crusade mini-game.
Normal: Characters without this feat suffer a -6 penalty on Pilot checks and any skill checks to which an armor penalty would apply. Furthermore, they cannot run or charge.
Special: An untrained character who regularly exposes himself to the neural network of a thunderer is risking his sanity. An untrained character who operates a thunderer a number of time equal to or greater than half his Wisdom score, all within the same Earth standard week, must make a Wisdom check (DC 19) or suffer the effects of a feeblemind spell. For every operation that exceeds half the character's Wisdom score, add 1 to the DC above.

* This feat is required in my Arcanum of the Stars Dragonstar campaign instead of the Mecha Operation feat from Polyhedron #154 (Mecha Crusade). Note that Advanced Mecha Operation (from Mecha Crusade) requires this feat as a prerequisite. Note that thunderers are harder to operate if the pilot doesn't have this feat. This is due to the magical nature of a thunderer's neural network.

New Mecha Crusade Component
AM-55 Shield defense system
Slots: 1 for launcher, must be hand (or arm if Large) or shoulder; 1 for each 4-missle battery
Cost: 4,000 bp for launcher, 100 bp per missile
Activation: Special (see text)
Range Increment: Special (see text)
Target: Special (see text)
Duration: Special (see text)
Saving Throw: None (or Reflex half)

This modified version of the M-55 Talon missile launcher is designed for defense purposes only. When launched, the missiles grant a +2 to your Defense (or Armor Class *) vs. ranged weapon attacks per missile fired per round. Once the system is activated (requires an attack action), the Shield defense system can defend every round that it is active and the pilot only need decide how many missiles to fire that round (doesn't need to reactivate the system every round). This continues until the system is either destroyed or runs out of missiles.

However, the Shield defense system doesn't have the same range increment as a Talon missile launcher (only 400 m) and isn't an effective offensive weapon. If used to target enemy aircraft or airborne mecha the system's specialized missiles have an attack penalty of -5 **. The missiles also don't have the same kind of plasma yield dealing only 8d6 points of damage on a successful hit. Enemy aircraft or airborne mecha targeted by the Shield defense system may make a reflex save (DC 15) to only take half damage.

* I'm using Armor Class for my Dragonstar campaign.
** The system cannot target ground forces at all.
Robert Blezard | Knightfall's Almagra and Otherworlds | Knightfall Press | Kulan World Journal | Spelljammer Gone Wild
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Core Command (by Dream Pod 9)

Postby Knightfall » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:44 am

Player's Handbook: Races
I recently picked up the Player's Handbook for this setting, and I'm planning on incorporating the new races that book into AotS. The d20 racial stats are pretty bare bones so I'll have to flesh out some details to make them work with v.3.5. There are 7 new races in the book with one of them being more like a template. That one might not make it into AotS as it is strongly tied to background of the Core Command setting. The races are as follows:

> Cyren (amphibious bipeds that are highly adaptable; they have an ancient society, but didn't create advanced tech on their own [relied on Orb-Shakra])
> Sanrok (rock-like monstrous humanoid; not highly advanced; were brought to the stars by humans [artwork makes them look like DC's Clayface]
> Orb-Shakra (alien-like creature that sort of look flumph-like but they exist in mechanical exosuits)
> Proteans (polymorphic bipeds with mechanical sockets on their necks for 'chip' inserts; beholden to the Muran)
> Dimni (small, large-eyed humanoids with light fur)
> Muran (ancient, highly-advanced race that is tall and lanky; they are an arrogant race, but their society is on the decline)
> Mi-Compiler (template race; n/a)
Robert Blezard | Knightfall's Almagra and Otherworlds | Knightfall Press | Kulan World Journal | Spelljammer Gone Wild
"I write; therefore, I am!"
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