SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

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SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:51 am

Over in his Atomic Dragon Battleship blog back in February 2012, Rich Baker wrote that both his first and last published D&D products contain the reigar (a spelljammer creature):
Rich Baker at Atomic Dragon Battleship wrote:Speaking of Spelljammer… there is a surprising if somewhat obscure common element between Rock of Bral and Heroes of Elemental Chaos: Both sourcebooks touch on the reigar, a monster that was introduced in the Spelljammer Monstrous Compendium way back in the day. I included a reigar’s palace in the Rock of Bral way back in the day. When I was working on the epic destinies for Elemental Chaos, I had some idea of writing up a “lord of chaos” destiny—something a little bit like the princes of Amber or their counterparts in the Courts of Chaos, something not quite mortal and not quite god. Looking back through old D&D lore for something to anchor the concept to, I recalled Spelljammer’s reigar, and decided to marry the ideas together. The funny part is I don’t believe I wrote a word about the reigar at any point in between the 1992 2e sourcebook and the 2012 4e sourcebook. Strange.
Does anyone have Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos?

If you do, please would you let me know how much the book has about the reigar.

Would it be easy to incorporate that 4e stuff into a Spelljammer game, or has Rich Baker rebooted the reigar to fit them in with 4e rules?
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Jaid » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:38 am

if it's an epic destiny, probably not really much more than a page and a half, maybe two. including pictures.

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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by ripvanwormer » Sat Feb 08, 2014 10:25 pm

Big Mac wrote:If you do, please would you let me know how much the book has about the reigar.

Would it be easy to incorporate that 4e stuff into a Spelljammer game, or has Rich Baker rebooted the reigar to fit them in with 4e rules?
There's almost nothing, really, and it has nothing to do with spelljamming (they live in the Elemental Chaos, not wildspace) and very little to do with the reigar as they were originally presented. PCs with this epic destiny have the power to shape chaos in various boring ways; the backstory is that the reigar long ago created a sentient force that would gift worthy candidates with their powers. The only concrete connection to the original description of reigar is that a Lord of Chaos can create a shakti; otherwise they could be any ancient group of powerful sorcerers obsessed with creativity and art. Rich Baker could have just as easily decided the powers came from githzerai trainers, eating slaad eggs, a misfunctioning wand of wonder, or bathing in a mystical fountain somewhere without changing the flavor or mechanics. In fact, as written a PC might easily gain this epic destiny without ever learning anything about the reigar or their connection to these strange new abilities. The only way they would even find out is if a friendly reigar (or perhaps the force itself) decides to tell them "Hey, by the way, those powers come from us. You're welcome."

A DM might decide to actually force the PCs to petition the reigar for those powers before they can get them; perhaps they would have to pass a test or best other candidates in a contest. But as far as Heroes of Elemental Chaos is concerned, the reigar might all be long dead by now.

As usual with 4th edition powers, these are for the most part very "gamist" and tied to manipulating miniatures on a grid map. The highest-level ability allows the character to teleport up to ten squares, for example. If you're used to the narrativist-style powers of previous editions, which try to emulate fantasy fiction rather than chess pieces, these might seem as flavorless to you as they do to me.

If you were playing a Spelljammer campaign using 4th edition rules, there's no real reason you couldn't use this epic destiny as written, assuming some epic-level reigar made a weird power-granting force for some reason. Who can tell what they'll do? If you're playing Spelljammer under any other rule set, there's nothing here of any interest.

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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 25, 2014 11:19 pm

Jaid wrote:if it's an epic destiny, probably not really much more than a page and a half, maybe two. including pictures.
I know practically nothing of 4e. I found a page on the WotC website called Excerpts: Epic Destinies which states that they are for characters above 21st level. I didn't realise that before.

In 3e terms, that would mean this stuff would be on the same level as the Epic Handbook. In 2e terms, I don't recall epic rules, but I would be guessing that 21st level PCs would be doing things like becoming the captain of The Spelljammer, discovering the secrets of the Juna, becoming so focused at their religion that they permanently have a Contact Home Power effect and that sort of thing.

I found an article called Retooled Lord of Chaos Epic Destiny, but sadly, the different terminology meant that I could understand what the general theme was, but only barely understand what would need to be done at the actual tabletop.

If we are only talking of two actual pages, it does not look like it would be worth buying Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos for the Lord of Chaos Epic Destiny alone, but maybe - if there are a few other useful things in the book, and I find it being dumped at low prices, it might be worth picking up.

I wonder if other material in the book ties into the Epic Destiny in some way.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:If you do, please would you let me know how much the book has about the reigar.

Would it be easy to incorporate that 4e stuff into a Spelljammer game, or has Rich Baker rebooted the reigar to fit them in with 4e rules?
There's almost nothing, really, and it has nothing to do with spelljamming (they live in the Elemental Chaos, not wildspace) and very little to do with the reigar as they were originally presented. PCs with this epic destiny have the power to shape chaos in various boring ways; the backstory is that the reigar long ago created a sentient force that would gift worthy candidates with their powers. The only concrete connection to the original description of reigar is that a Lord of Chaos can create a shakti; otherwise they could be any ancient group of powerful sorcerers obsessed with creativity and art. Rich Baker could have just as easily decided the powers came from githzerai trainers, eating slaad eggs, a misfunctioning wand of wonder, or bathing in a mystical fountain somewhere without changing the flavor or mechanics. In fact, as written a PC might easily gain this epic destiny without ever learning anything about the reigar or their connection to these strange new abilities. The only way they would even find out is if a friendly reigar (or perhaps the force itself) decides to tell them "Hey, by the way, those powers come from us. You're welcome."
Well, this stuff could be from any other race, but Richard Baker says it is from the reigar, so that does add a tiny bit more to their story. Given that his blog mentioned both Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos and SJR5 Rock of Bral together, I was kind of hoping that he might be using the same reigar. But I looked up Hastain the reigar, on pages 24-25 of SJR5, and I'm guessing that an Epic Destiny based on him would be more likely to be called "Lord of War" and have world-shattering themes.

If the arcane can become the mercane in the Planescape environment, perhaps the reigar can also be doing "artistic" things in the planes. Perhaps converting a hero into a Lord of Chaos is the artistic passion of a planewalking reigar. :?

Would I be correct in assuming that a Lord of Chaos would be a singular thing that only one PC would become (rather than a group of people)?
ripvanwormer wrote:A DM might decide to actually force the PCs to petition the reigar for those powers before they can get them; perhaps they would have to pass a test or best other candidates in a contest. But as far as Heroes of Elemental Chaos is concerned, the reigar might all be long dead by now.
The Archmage, from the WotC Excerpt I linked to above, has this as a prerequisit:
Excerpts: Epic Destinies wrote:Prerequisite: 21st-level wizard

Your lifelong perusal of grimoires, librams, tomes, and spellbooks has finally revealed the foundation of reality to you: Spells are each tiny portions of a larger arcane truth. Every spell is part of some far superior working, evoking just a minuscule fraction of that ultimate formula. As you continue your studies, you advance your mastery of spells so much that they begin to infuse your flesh, granting you a facility in their use undreamed of by lesser practitioners.

You are often called to use your knowledge to defend the world from supernormal threats. Seeking ever greater enlightenment and the magical power that accompanies it, you are at times tempted by questionable relics, morally suspect spells, and ancient artifacts. Your destiny remains yours to choose—will you be archmage or archfiend?
That is something I can understand (as a theme). I'm not entirely sure how I would retro-convert it, but it sounds like the levels for specific powers would translate into something like an Epic Prestige Class for 3e and this Archmage description would tie in with this being built to only work with Wizards.

What sort of thing does it say for the prerequisite of the Lord of Chaos? Does it fit in well with a character class or some sort of non-class role that spacefarers might normally have?
ripvanwormer wrote:As usual with 4th edition powers, these are for the most part very "gamist" and tied to manipulating miniatures on a grid map. The highest-level ability allows the character to teleport up to ten squares, for example. If you're used to the narrativist-style powers of previous editions, which try to emulate fantasy fiction rather than chess pieces, these might seem as flavorless to you as they do to me.
The way that 4e game rules tend to remind me very much of how MMO players use shorthand like "tank" instead of talking about things from an in-character point of view. I'm not sure I would also say they are "gamist", as I don't know the rules enough to decide if I dislike them, but the terms seem more like out-of-character slang than in-character abilities. It is the way they talk about their 4e rules, rather than the rules themselves, that seems flavourless to me.

The ability to teleport up to ten squares could easily be reworded into an in-character distance, assuming I can work out what a "square" is in English, to make it feel more like a roleplaying ability. I think I would do that if I tried to retroconvert the Lord of Chaos and use it in the SJ universe.

But I don't really understand how a teleporting ability fits in with a reigar's shakti. Surely Richard Baker would not have dropped the shakti into this and not mentioned the reigar, at all. :?
ripvanwormer wrote:If you were playing a Spelljammer campaign using 4th edition rules, there's no real reason you couldn't use this epic destiny as written, assuming some epic-level reigar made a weird power-granting force for some reason. Who can tell what they'll do? If you're playing Spelljammer under any other rule set, there's nothing here of any interest.
Richard Baker said that the Lord of Chaos was supposed to be "something not quite mortal and not quite god". I can understand the Archmage (as it is an old concept). If Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos does not explain what this Epic Destiny is about, I think I would have problems working out how to use it in a SJ game.

Do you think it might be something like a reigar "virus" that turns certain powerful characters into reigar? I'm not sure what the advantage of that would be. Maybe the reigar could be rebooted as virus-transformed humanoids. Maybe Wonderseekers could be a step between humans and reigar and the result of the early stages of the virus or somesuch. :?

Or do you think it might be something like the backstory of Shadowrun (where humans kind of awakened to find they were long hidden non-human races)? Would it work to have some of the reigar bury their power inside themselves, so that vanish into the populations of "mundane" races. Perhaps if they are being hunted to extinction, transforming into what appears to be humans would be a good way to help the race survive. If it was done that way, perhaps the Lord of Chaos could set up some sort of colony, where other "awakened" reigar could come together and bring the race back from the dead. :?

There must be some sort of way to use this (without the 4e crunchy stuff). Maybe I'll go hunt down a copy of this book in the gaming store and see if I can skim through the book for ideas.
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Mar 09, 2014 2:29 am

Big Mac wrote:In 3e terms, that would mean this stuff would be on the same level as the Epic Handbook. In 2e terms, I don't recall epic rules, but I would be guessing that 21st level PCs would be doing things like becoming the captain of The Spelljammer, discovering the secrets of the Juna, becoming so focused at their religion that they permanently have a Contact Home Power effect and that sort of thing.
There was a 2nd edition book called Dungeon Master Option: High Level Campaigns that contained rules for 10th level spells and the like. There was also Dragon Kings, the 2nd edition sourcebook for the Dark Sun campaign that included rules for characters beyond 20th level, who began to transform into things like Athasian dragons, avangions, and elemental lords, which is probably the best 2e parallel of 4th edition epic-level characters.

An "epic destiny" in 4th edition is basically a prestige class available to characters at 21st level designed to bring a character to their ultimate destiny. Earlier editions were open-ended; famously, there were rules for 100th level characters in H4 Throne of Bloodstone, and during the 3e era the WotC message boards occasionally got posts from people talking about how their 300th level characters could chop planets apart with their swords. For 4e, the designers decided that 30 levels would be the absolute maximum for mortals, but the last ten levels would be spent giving the character's story a suitably epic conclusion. Some epic destinies end with the PC becoming a demigod, or a saint, a spirit of nature, a primordial, or they become one with the universal mind or the force of magic itself. The character is no longer a PC, but they become a legendary part of the campaign world, their name continuing forever in churches, schools of psionics, the names of spells, and so on.

The best analogy is probably that epic destinies are like Master-level characters in the old D&D Master Set, in which the characters are extremely high level and actively on one of the paths to Immortality. 2nd edition's Legends & Lore had brief guidelines for how high-level characters could become gods; characters trying to do it that way are like 4e epic destinies as well.

Lords of Chaos end their careers as an NPC, doing whatever it is that reigars do. "As a Lord of Chaos, you might commit yourself to shaping a vast swath of the elemental plane into a domain of your own. You or your descendants could rule over an extraplanar kingdom forged by your will and imagination. Or you might choose to roam the universe, immersing yourself in every experience that catches your eye. Whatever your path, you eventually leave your adventuring career behind, drawn by the challenge of shaping and ordering your own private universe."

So that's what the reigars are up to in 4e.
I found an article called Retooled Lord of Chaos Epic Destiny, but sadly, the different terminology meant that I could understand what the general theme was, but only barely understand what would need to be done at the actual tabletop.
That's probably a good indication that Heroes of Elemental Chaos won't be useful for you.
I wonder if other material in the book ties into the Epic Destiny in some way.
Nope.
Would I be correct in assuming that a Lord of Chaos would be a singular thing that only one PC would become (rather than a group of people)?
No, there can be as many Lords of Chaos in a campaign as you want.
What sort of thing does it say for the prerequisite of the Lord of Chaos?
The only prerequisite is that the character has to be at least 21st level. The character "embodies the exquisitely rare mix of brilliance, beauty, willfulness, and creativity that characterizes the immortal ranks of the Reigar," but the book doesn't attempt to quantify that in game terms. One would expect a Lord of Chaos to have high scores in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, but it's not actually required.
Does it fit in well with a character class or some sort of non-class role that spacefarers might normally have?
Any epic-level character could qualify in theory. It should probably go to a character who is smart and artistic. A bard would be fitting, but a mage or even a fighter with an artistic flare (like the bladesinger kit in 2e) would work.
I'm not sure I would also say they are "gamist", as I don't know the rules enough to decide if I dislike them, but the terms seem more like out-of-character slang than in-character abilities. It is the way they talk about their 4e rules, rather than the rules themselves, that seems flavourless to me.
That's what I mean by "gamist."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing_game_theory
Threefold Model
Developed at rec.games.frp.advocacy from 1997 to 1998; proposed by Mary Kuhner, and FAQed by John Kim. It hypothesizes that any GM decision will be made for the purpose of game, or drama, or simulation. Thus, player preferences, GMing styles, and even RPG rulesets can be characterised as Game-oriented, Drama-oriented or Simulation-oriented, or more usually as somewhere between the three extremes. It is sometimes called GDS theory.[5] Strictly, GDS theory is concerned with players' social interactions, but it has been extrapolated to direct game design, both in and out of the world of RPGs. A game can be classified according to how strongly it encourages or facilitates players reinforcing behaviors matching each category. Game designers find it useful because it can be used to explain why players play certain games.

GEN Theory
Developed at Gaming Outpost in 2001 largely by Scarlet Jester. It hypothesizes a top and bottom "tier" of play, with the top tier being dominated by "Intent" which is divided into Gamist, Explorative, and Narrative. It was influenced by threefold and GNS theory.[6]

The Big Model or Forge Theory
Developed at The Forge from 1999-2005 largely by Ron Edwards – It hypothesizes that roleplaying games are modeled by "The Big Model" with 4 levels: the social contract, exploration, techniques and ephemera, with creative agendas governing the link from social contract to technique. In this theory there are 3 kinds of creative agenda, Gamist, Narrativist, and Simulationist agendas. It is detailed in the articles "GNS and Other Matter of Role Play Theory," "System Does Matter," "Narrativism: Story Now" "Gamism: Step on Up" and "Simulationism: The Right to Dream" by Ron Edwards, at the Forge's article page.[7] The Big Model grew out of GNS Theory, a variant of the Threefold Model.
Being "gamist" isn't bad, but it's a distinctive approach to game design. A simulationist approach means the rules are trying to accurately simulate reality, or at least the reality of the game, so the emphasis is modeling what the effects of being hit by a sword or burnt by a fireball might be. These rules tend to be complex and combat is harder to survive. The D&D hit point system isn't simulationist, for example; it doesn't really try to simulate anything but a set of abstract resources that are exhausted as the character abstractly takes damage. A more simulationist system typically has rules to help determine what part of a character's body is hit, the cumulative effects of wounds on their ability to fight, rules to simulate how armor becomes less useful as it's damaged, and so on. A narrativist approach means the rules are created first and foremost to facilitate storytelling, and robustly mimicking physics or enabling strategies and tactics and "winning" are secondary goals. Narrativist players tend to care less about whether the rules are realistic or planning strategy and tactics in a fight and more about developing their characters and collaborative storytelling. A gamist approach constructs the rules as a game first and foremost, worrying less about accurate simulation or facilitating a story and more about making action scenes fun. A lot of people argue that this is the only point of rules; a pure-narrativist group doesn't need rules at all, any more than an author needs a set of rules to write a novel. And there's something to that, but of course a game system doesn't have to be only one thing or the other. Some narrativist games strive to provide a minimal amount of structure and mostly stay out of the way.

A given set of rules can support all three playstyles, but 4th edition seems to support gamist-style play better than the others. A lot of times characters will have abilities in 4th edition that I don't even know how to describe from a narrativist or simulationist standpoint, but which make perfect sense if you're approaching combat as a elaborate and imaginative game of chess. D&D has always been primarily gamist; hit points are gamist, armor class is gamist, character levels and classes are gamist, Vancian magic is gamist, even the alignment system is an incredibly gamist way to simulate something that in many games is purely left to roleplaying. I feel like 4th edition takes this even further, though, in the sense that the rules don't seem to show any interest in helping people with other styles of play. In previous editions you knew that hit points weren't an accurate simulation of combat either in a realistic or cinematic sense, but you could say that it was supposed to represent a character slowly acquiring so many minor cuts, bruises, and general exhaustion that they become vulnerable to a final deathstroke or a severe wound that they're rapidly bleeding out from. And you can describe that, even as you know the rules aren't exactly showing that. We knew that Vancian magic was nothing like how magic was described in most fantasy novels - it isn't even an accurate depiction of how it works in Jack Vance's fantasy novels - but we could at least describe it in terms of a character laborously constructing a matrix of sigils in their head that shatters as the energy is released, or in terms of a spell as a semi-sentient, almost living thing made of magical energy that uncoils itself from the tome in which it makes its home and temporarily burrows into the spellcaster's head.

Whereas... like, a dark creeper in 4th edition has a "dark step" ability that lets it move 4 squares, gains a +4 AC advantage against attacks of opportunity, and gains combat advantage against anyone in adjacent square. That's all pretty amazing for someone trying to make combat challenging and fun, but what is even happening? Previous editions would have given us a brief narrative description of what the monster does - is it actually stepping through the Plane of Shadow, teleporting between shadows, or is it just being very fast and sneaky? From a gamist standpoint it doesn't matter, but from the standpoint of someone interested in worldbuilding and describing the action like an author narrating a story, the rules leave you high and dry.

And yeah, there's an argument that worldbuilding and narration isn't the responsibility of the rules; you don't actually need rules to do those things, but if you like them you can come up with something yourself while the rules do what rules are best at. And it's not like there aren't 4th edition supplements with lots of flavor text; some recent sourcebooks don't have any rules at all. But other roleplaying games, and even previous editions of D&D, don't have quite this level of disconnect between what the rules do and any attempt to rationalize what the rules are doing in narrative or simulationist terms.
The ability to teleport up to ten squares could easily be reworded into an in-character distance, assuming I can work out what a "square" is in English, to make it feel more like a roleplaying ability. I think I would do that if I tried to retroconvert the Lord of Chaos and use it in the SJ universe.

But I don't really understand how a teleporting ability fits in with a reigar's shakti. Surely Richard Baker would not have dropped the shakti into this and not mentioned the reigar, at all. :?
The shakti isn't connected to the teleporting ability; they're different abilities that the Lord of Chaos gains at different levels.

21st level: The Lord of Chaos gains +2 charisma and is able to make a shakti. Their type changes to immortal (the 4th edition equivalent of outsider).
Level 24: Once per day, if the Lord of Chaos dies, they can reincarnate and create a new body 1-60 minutes later, anywhere within a mile.
Level 26: The Lord of Chaos can instantly reshape the substance of the plane of Elemental Chaos (up to five squares, which don't have to be nearby) making the terrain more or less difficult to navigate or creating weather effects.
Level 30: The Lord of Chaos can teleport 20 squares after they've scored a critical hit or bloodied an enemy.

Rich Baker did mention the reigar, but not in the context of the individual abilities. NPCs in 4th edition don't have the same abilities PCs have, so a 4e reigar wouldn't necessarily have all the abilities a 30th level Lord of Chaos would have.

But, like, that last ability. How the hell do you justify that sort of thing in simulationist terms? What's even happening? When they hurt people they can teleport away but otherwise they can't? That's an arbitrary rule on par with the crooked way knights move in chess, and while it might be fun to plan your tactics around that sort of complexity I have no idea why the power works that way or what the power has to do either with shaping chaos or a race of sparkly superartists from outer space. Is the teleport effect powered by blood or the lifeforce of their victims? Are they vampires? Can they carry a bag of blood and just empty that? Can they carry a mouse in their pocket and kill it in order to activate the teleportation magic?
Do you think it might be something like a reigar "virus" that turns certain powerful characters into reigar?
This is what it says: "Foreseeing that their race would eventually dwindle and stagnate, the Reigar created one last masterwork of cooperative magic: a sentient, self-guiding force that would seek out the most brilliant and worthy souls among mortals and gift them with the powers of the Reigar, thus renewing the race across the ages."

I suppose you could interpret a "sentient, self-guiding force" as a sort of virus.

One possibility is that the force was created prior to the destruction of the reigar homeworld by reigar who weren't certain their race would survive their world's destruction.

But if you don't actually intend to give PCs the option of gaining these abilities, which are pretty specific to the 4th edition cosmology (their level 26 ability, Whim of Creation, would only work on Limbo and similar morphic planes in previous editions), then you're left with a more general "the reigar sometimes train members of other races as their apprentices." They don't necessarily turn their apprentices into actual reigar, but they may seek to leave something of their culture and abilities to worthy members of other races. They could do that against their will, using a magic virus to transform victims into androgynous sparkly people, or they could find willing volunteers and train them in certain specific abilities. Or some reigar could actively work to hunt down and kill Lords of Chaos, who regret that members of their race ever created the "sentient, self-guiding force" and seek to eliminate those who have stumbled upon powers that don't rightfully belong to them.

A literal interpretation of the Heroes of Elemental Chaos material would suggest that the reigar are natives of Limbo or a similar plane, but that's not the way they were originally presented.
There must be some sort of way to use this (without the 4e crunchy stuff).
I'm sure there is, but without the crunchy stuff everything the book says about the reigar is in this thread, so there's no point in buying the book for that alone.

I'd question whether the Heroes of the Elemental Chaos spin is actually the best way to use the reigar, though. I think they're more interesting as a race of powerful, amoral artists than as a mysterious race of power-granters. An individual reigar might become obsessed with "sculpting" other races into beings like it is, but I wouldn't make it a characterization of the race as a whole.

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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Big Mac » Tue Mar 18, 2014 12:36 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:In 3e terms, that would mean this stuff would be on the same level as the Epic Handbook. In 2e terms, I don't recall epic rules, but I would be guessing that 21st level PCs would be doing things like becoming the captain of The Spelljammer, discovering the secrets of the Juna, becoming so focused at their religion that they permanently have a Contact Home Power effect and that sort of thing.
There was a 2nd edition book called Dungeon Master Option: High Level Campaigns that contained rules for 10th level spells and the like. There was also Dragon Kings, the 2nd edition sourcebook for the Dark Sun campaign that included rules for characters beyond 20th level, who began to transform into things like Athasian dragons, avangions, and elemental lords, which is probably the best 2e parallel of 4th edition epic-level characters.

An "epic destiny" in 4th edition is basically a prestige class available to characters at 21st level designed to bring a character to their ultimate destiny. Earlier editions were open-ended; famously, there were rules for 100th level characters in H4 Throne of Bloodstone, and during the 3e era the WotC message boards occasionally got posts from people talking about how their 300th level characters could chop planets apart with their swords. For 4e, the designers decided that 30 levels would be the absolute maximum for mortals, but the last ten levels would be spent giving the character's story a suitably epic conclusion. Some epic destinies end with the PC becoming a demigod, or a saint, a spirit of nature, a primordial, or they become one with the universal mind or the force of magic itself. The character is no longer a PC, but they become a legendary part of the campaign world, their name continuing forever in churches, schools of psionics, the names of spells, and so on.

The best analogy is probably that epic destinies are like Master-level characters in the old D&D Master Set, in which the characters are extremely high level and actively on one of the paths to Immortality. 2nd edition's Legends & Lore had brief guidelines for how high-level characters could become gods; characters trying to do it that way are like 4e epic destinies as well.

Lords of Chaos end their careers as an NPC, doing whatever it is that reigars do. "As a Lord of Chaos, you might commit yourself to shaping a vast swath of the elemental plane into a domain of your own. You or your descendants could rule over an extraplanar kingdom forged by your will and imagination. Or you might choose to roam the universe, immersing yourself in every experience that catches your eye. Whatever your path, you eventually leave your adventuring career behind, drawn by the challenge of shaping and ordering your own private universe."

So that's what the reigars are up to in 4e.
I have long thought that it would be good if AD&D and 3rd Edition had found a way to do what BECMI did. So if this is the "MI" phase from BECMI, I would be interested in seeing if I could do something (maybe not the 4e thing) with the idea of Epic Destinies.

(Of course the more logical Epic Destiny for Spelljammer would be "Captiain of The Spelljammer", rather than "Lord of Planejamming". ;) )
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I found an article called Retooled Lord of Chaos Epic Destiny, but sadly, the different terminology meant that I could understand what the general theme was, but only barely understand what would need to be done at the actual tabletop.
That's probably a good indication that Heroes of Elemental Chaos won't be useful for you.
It is starting to sound that way a bit.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I wonder if other material in the book ties into the Epic Destiny in some way.
Nope.
Shame. :|
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Would I be correct in assuming that a Lord of Chaos would be a singular thing that only one PC would become (rather than a group of people)?
No, there can be as many Lords of Chaos in a campaign as you want.
Hmm. Lords of Chaos. Maybe Lords of Chaos could be a Reigar plot. :?
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:What sort of thing does it say for the prerequisite of the Lord of Chaos?
The only prerequisite is that the character has to be at least 21st level. The character "embodies the exquisitely rare mix of brilliance, beauty, willfulness, and creativity that characterizes the immortal ranks of the Reigar," but the book doesn't attempt to quantify that in game terms. One would expect a Lord of Chaos to have high scores in intelligence, wisdom, and charisma, but it's not actually required.
I think I would be inclined to go your way with it.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Does it fit in well with a character class or some sort of non-class role that spacefarers might normally have?
Any epic-level character could qualify in theory. It should probably go to a character who is smart and artistic. A bard would be fitting, but a mage or even a fighter with an artistic flare (like the bladesinger kit in 2e) would work.
I agree. That would sound more logical.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I'm not sure I would also say they are "gamist", as I don't know the rules enough to decide if I dislike them, but the terms seem more like out-of-character slang than in-character abilities. It is the way they talk about their 4e rules, rather than the rules themselves, that seems flavourless to me.
That's what I mean by "gamist."

<snip - long explanation of "gamist">
Thanks for that. That makes sense now. I think that is the issue I have with 4e. I would love to have a better in-character connection to that stuff. They can do whatever they want, but I just want to feel that it is a "PC ability" rather than a "game ability".
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:The ability to teleport up to ten squares could easily be reworded into an in-character distance, assuming I can work out what a "square" is in English, to make it feel more like a roleplaying ability. I think I would do that if I tried to retroconvert the Lord of Chaos and use it in the SJ universe.

But I don't really understand how a teleporting ability fits in with a reigar's shakti. Surely Richard Baker would not have dropped the shakti into this and not mentioned the reigar, at all. :?
The shakti isn't connected to the teleporting ability; they're different abilities that the Lord of Chaos gains at different levels.

21st level: The Lord of Chaos gains +2 charisma and is able to make a shakti. Their type changes to immortal (the 4th edition equivalent of outsider).
Level 24: Once per day, if the Lord of Chaos dies, they can reincarnate and create a new body 1-60 minutes later, anywhere within a mile.
Level 26: The Lord of Chaos can instantly reshape the substance of the plane of Elemental Chaos (up to five squares, which don't have to be nearby) making the terrain more or less difficult to navigate or creating weather effects.
Level 30: The Lord of Chaos can teleport 20 squares after they've scored a critical hit or bloodied an enemy.

Rich Baker did mention the reigar, but not in the context of the individual abilities. NPCs in 4th edition don't have the same abilities PCs have, so a 4e reigar wouldn't necessarily have all the abilities a 30th level Lord of Chaos would have.

But, like, that last ability. How the hell do you justify that sort of thing in simulationist terms? What's even happening? When they hurt people they can teleport away but otherwise they can't? That's an arbitrary rule on par with the crooked way knights move in chess, and while it might be fun to plan your tactics around that sort of complexity I have no idea why the power works that way or what the power has to do either with shaping chaos or a race of sparkly superartists from outer space. Is the teleport effect powered by blood or the lifeforce of their victims? Are they vampires? Can they carry a bag of blood and just empty that? Can they carry a mouse in their pocket and kill it in order to activate the teleportation magic?
The 21st level ability seems like you are taking on the aspect of reigar. I'm not sure of the advantage.

The 24th level ability seems like an immortal power, so maybe inspiration from BECMI could explain why a PC would get that. But do they need to be in the Elemental Chaos for this to work or can they be anywhere? (I presume this ability would fail to work in the phlogiston.)

The 26th level ability seems a bit random. Perhaps the "Lords of Chaos" are a living artwork that will shape the Elemental Chaos (or whatever that is in 3e/2e terms). I think that something like that would explain it in terms I could go with.

The 30th level ability certainly does feel very random. It is more of a military power. I guess that if spelljamming helms can take power from mystical energy (including Death Helms and Lifejammers) a person could also take power from the mystical energy in others. But a power related to damaging others seems evil - perhaps vampiric - rather than artistic. And as you rightly point out, it is easier to do critical hits or take people down to half their hit points (I think that is what blooded means) if they are low level opponents.
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Do you think it might be something like a reigar "virus" that turns certain powerful characters into reigar?
This is what it says: "Foreseeing that their race would eventually dwindle and stagnate, the Reigar created one last masterwork of cooperative magic: a sentient, self-guiding force that would seek out the most brilliant and worthy souls among mortals and gift them with the powers of the Reigar, thus renewing the race across the ages."

I suppose you could interpret a "sentient, self-guiding force" as a sort of virus.

One possibility is that the force was created prior to the destruction of the reigar homeworld by reigar who weren't certain their race would survive their world's destruction.

But if you don't actually intend to give PCs the option of gaining these abilities, which are pretty specific to the 4th edition cosmology (their level 26 ability, Whim of Creation, would only work on Limbo and similar morphic planes in previous editions), then you're left with a more general "the reigar sometimes train members of other races as their apprentices." They don't necessarily turn their apprentices into actual reigar, but they may seek to leave something of their culture and abilities to worthy members of other races. They could do that against their will, using a magic virus to transform victims into androgynous sparkly people, or they could find willing volunteers and train them in certain specific abilities. Or some reigar could actively work to hunt down and kill Lords of Chaos, who regret that members of their race ever created the "sentient, self-guiding force" and seek to eliminate those who have stumbled upon powers that don't rightfully belong to them.

A literal interpretation of the Heroes of Elemental Chaos material would suggest that the reigar are natives of Limbo or a similar plane, but that's not the way they were originally presented.
I think the thing I'm looking at now is that the Lords of Chaos will be creating a lot of shaktis and that an increase in the number of shaktis may somehow help the reigar to return from the dead. But it is a pretty weak plot hook and does not explain the other abilities. :?
ripvanwormer wrote:
Big Mac wrote:There must be some sort of way to use this (without the 4e crunchy stuff).
I'm sure there is, but without the crunchy stuff everything the book says about the reigar is in this thread, so there's no point in buying the book for that alone.

I'd question whether the Heroes of the Elemental Chaos spin is actually the best way to use the reigar, though. I think they're more interesting as a race of powerful, amoral artists than as a mysterious race of power-granters. An individual reigar might become obsessed with "sculpting" other races into beings like it is, but I wouldn't make it a characterization of the race as a whole.
I suppose the one main thing I would take from this is that the 4e Era is in the future of the SJ universe. So the reigar still exist in the 3e Era (and we already know they exist in the 2e Era) and we can use this as a possible future, in the same way as Toril's Spellplague plot.
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:49 pm

Another thing that occurred to me is that the "self-guiding force" responsible for the Lord of Chaos epic destiny is actually the force that destroyed the reigar homeworld.

We don't, as far as I know, have any idea why it was destroyed in canon.

1. Maybe the destruction of the world was the demented art project of a single crazed reigar artist.
2. Maybe the world was dying anyway, and the reigar as a species decided to help it blow up in the prettiest way possible.
3. Maybe the world was destroyed when the reigar created the clockwork marauders, even though the MC specifically says nobody thinks the reigar created the clockwork marauders and the reigar always refer to the marauders as "bad art." That just makes it more suspicious.
4. Maybe there was a prophecy that the world would be destroyed, so the reigar collaborated in creating a force that would preserve their legacy. And the force decided to destroy the world so that its existence would have meaning.
5. Maybe the force was created to destroy the world, but later on it felt bad about it and started creating Lords of Chaos to partially atone for its actions.
6. Maybe the force was deliberately intended *both* to destroy the world and continue the reigar legacy.

Maybe the force has become a god. Maybe the force is Ptah.
Maybe the force is the Spelljammer.

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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by night_druid » Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:20 pm

All that is said is that the Reigar destroyed their homeworld in the ultimate expression of war. It was conducted by the space-bound reigar in their ecstatics against the groundling reigar. That's about it.

Personally, I tied it to the creation of the Spelljamming helms and the creation of the first Helm. :D
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Big Mac » Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:53 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:Another thing that occurred to me is that the "self-guiding force" responsible for the Lord of Chaos epic destiny is actually the force that destroyed the reigar homeworld.

We don't, as far as I know, have any idea why it was destroyed in canon.
You might have a point there. I was thinking of the Lord of Chaos thing as "the Work of the Reigar" and trying to see how it fit in with the reigar in general. But if it is infact the "artwork of a specific Reigar"* then it does not need to create some sort of effect to save or revive the reigar race - it just needs to be some sort of cool artwork that survives past the death of the artist.

* = I'm tempted to call him "Bob the Reigar" for argument's sake. :P
ripvanwormer wrote:1. Maybe the destruction of the world was the demented art project of a single crazed reigar artist.
2. Maybe the world was dying anyway, and the reigar as a species decided to help it blow up in the prettiest way possible.
3. Maybe the world was destroyed when the reigar created the clockwork marauders, even though the MC specifically says nobody thinks the reigar created the clockwork marauders and the reigar always refer to the marauders as "bad art." That just makes it more suspicious.
4. Maybe there was a prophecy that the world would be destroyed, so the reigar collaborated in creating a force that would preserve their legacy. And the force decided to destroy the world so that its existence would have meaning.
5. Maybe the force was created to destroy the world, but later on it felt bad about it and started creating Lords of Chaos to partially atone for its actions.
6. Maybe the force was deliberately intended *both* to destroy the world and continue the reigar legacy.
I'm not sure how well these fit in with what Night Druid said, but perhaps the "force" could be an attempt by one reigar (Bob the Reigar :P ) to alter the Elemental Chaos.
ripvanwormer wrote:Maybe the force has become a god. Maybe the force is Ptah.
Maybe the force is the Spelljammer.
The Spelljammer (at least the original version of the Spelljammer) existed at the birth of the universe, when the races left the Broken Sphere and travelled to new spheres. So unless you think the reigar are one of the primal races (along with races the Juna) that would not seem to fit in.
night_druid wrote:All that is said is that the Reigar destroyed their homeworld in the ultimate expression of war. It was conducted by the space-bound reigar in their ecstatics against the groundling reigar. That's about it.

Personally, I tied it to the creation of the Spelljamming helms and the creation of the first Helm. :D
I don't see how you can have spacefaring reigar before you have spelljamming helms. :?

However, I do like this thing of spacefaring reigar against groundling reigar. That sounds like a better way to have an explanation for the destruction of their homeworld.
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by night_druid » Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:44 pm

Lifejammers, furnaces, forges, and other, more esoteric helms were available before the spelljamming helms came about. Elves & thri-kreen are confirmed to have been flying about space at least 12,000 years ago & 4,000 years ago, respectively (and likely pre-SJ helms). And remember, a q'nidar that gets roasted in too much light turns into a functioning helm (ala the one that Leafbower lady used in Evermeet back 12,000 years ago).
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Re: SJ content in Player’s Option: Heroes of Elemental Chaos

Post by Big Mac » Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:30 am

I've recently heard that the Lord of Chaos Epic Destiny states that reigar are Wild Mages.

Can anyone confirm this?
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