Codex melitensis

System-neutral discussion of campaign setting and game world design. Discussion of existing rules systems belongs in The Crunchy Bits and its sub-forums.

Which rules set

D&D 3.5
1
7%
D&D 5e
7
47%
Pathfinder
0
No votes
Other
2
13%
No rules just fluff
5
33%
 
Total votes: 15

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Ashtagon
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Sep 18, 2018 6:48 pm

Here's the photo I took that seems closest...
2018-09-11 DSC_0112 35percent.JPG
2018-09-11 DSC_0112 35percent.JPG (470.58 KiB) Viewed 419 times
In other news, having read through all the dmsguild stuff, I have no reason to publish the final product through that site.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Big Mac » Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:38 pm

Not bad. It looks a bit like the wall on the left has been rebuilt.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:33 pm

So I cracked open my 5e PHB to prepare groundwork on crunch for deities, and the cleric domains seem... lacking? We have Knowledge, Life, Light, Nature, Tempest, Trickery, and War (plus Death from the DMG). That's certainly sufficient to have a game, but it hardly seems to do justice even to the core list of deities included in the sample pantheon of 5e, let alone the plethora of gods in 3e. Translating that to the codex's deities, we have...
  • earth mother/fertility goddess: Nothing really appropriate. Life is more about healing than anything else, and Nature has a focus on wild nature rather than agriculture.
  • sky/seasons god: The situation is even worse here than for the main goddess.
  • moon/restfulness/lunacy: Nothing really appropriate. Maybe Trickery at a push.
  • architects/buildings god: Nothing really appropriate.
  • knowledge/healing goddess: Knowledge, Life are both appropriate.
  • burning sun god: Why is there no Fire/Heat/Sun domain? That would seem fairly fundamental to me :s
  • sea/storm god: Tempest domain fits perfectly
  • death goddess: Death domain fits well.
Am I missing something here?
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Yaztromo » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:27 pm

Ashtagon wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:33 pm
Am I missing something here?
All you need is LOVE! ;)
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:47 pm

Yaztromo wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:27 pm
Ashtagon wrote:
Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:33 pm
Am I missing something here?
All you need is LOVE! ;)
Well, I think the earth mother goddess fills that role, in her fertility aspect.


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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:04 pm

CODEX MELTENSIS: GENIEKIND

The Jinn is a catch-all term for a collection of hostile extra-planar spirits, much like demons or devils.

Genies in the Monster Manual

It should not be a great surprise to learn that the Monster Manual names for genie-kind are inspired by various terms found in Middle Eastern myth. As such, WotC (and TSR before them) used names from Semitic languages such as Arabic. While the word “genie” comes from Latin, the names for the common types (except dao, which TSR apparently invented from whole cloth) come from Arabic. The Arabic word root means both garden and madness, befitting a creature that drives people mad.

That said, there is no particular reason not to use these creatures. However, aside from the name changes (see below), their alignment should be changed to chaotic evil if it isn’t already. All should make use of the Disguises optional rule on (Monster Manual, page 144).

Monster Manual Codex Melitensis
Dao Jinn tal-Blat
Efreet Jinn tan-Nar
Marid Jinn tal-Bahar
Djinni Jinn tas-Sema

GHAFRIT (AFRIT)

An ghafrit is a creature formed of smokeless fire made solid. Their normal form is demonic. They are hairless, and have large mouths with pointed teeth, prominent bony ridges around their face, spines along their back, claw-like hands and feet, a long tail, and impossibly thin arms and legs. They move surprisingly fast, and it is supernaturally hard to observe them as they are running.

IBLIS

Iblis is the king of the Jinn. Legend has it that in the time before mankind walked the Earth, Iblis fought a mighty war against the gods themselves for the right to be counted amongst their number. He was eventually defeated, and now languishes in despair, banished to the extra-planar home of all genie-kind.

Physically, Iblis resembles his chief subjects, the ghafrit, except he is fully twice their size and has an even longer tail.

KARFUSU

Karfusu, the lame genie, lieutenant of Iblis, is said to walk with a limp. In the great war against the gods, Karfusu was Iblis’s mightiest general, but was struck down, and suffered a permanent injury. Not only does he have a limp, but his thoughts are muddled. He occasionally loses track of events around him or gets lost in his thoughts, but can just as easily race ahead to conclusions, which have a frighteningly high chance of being correct.
In game terms, he is slowed for 1d6 rounds, then has advantage on all checks for 1d6 rounds, alternating.

Kartfusu resembles his ghafrit kin, except his is more broadly-built, and has spikes not just along his spine, but across most of his back, shoulders, forearms, and legs.

XIFAJK (SHIFAIK)

Xifaijk resemble their ghafrit cousins, but are tiny, generally about 18 inches in height. They generally do not fight, but are found of tricks and pranks, stealing or breaking valuables, or simply hiding them so the owners think they are stolen.

MNIEFAH (IMNIEFAH)

Mneifah, sometimes known as dust devils, only ever manifest as miniature tornadoes, about the height of a man. If there is an embodied jinn within this whirlwind, neither hero nor sage has ever reported back to tell of it.

GHUL

A ghul is a large genie that has the upper body of a monstrous human with a demonic head, wiry arms ending in clawed hands, and a lower body that ends in a snake tail. Unlike most other genies, they have but animal intelligence. They are known to eat human corpses, and their mere presence can corrupt good men and women to do likewise.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:41 pm

Thanks for sharing those photos!
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:55 pm

Ashtagon wrote:
Sun Sep 23, 2018 9:04 pm
All should make use of the Disguises optional rule on (Monster Manual, page 144).
I like your list of jinn above. I especially like the specific creatures the latter part. The descriptions are evocative, and made me want to see illustrations.

Why are you suggesting that the reader substitute the names you provided for the names in the Monster Manual? Is that because the names are Arabic, and you're providing Maltese equivalents? Or because you want to avoid using the official names, so you can publish outside the DM's Guild (I'm not sure if the D&D names are part of the SRD that can be used freely outside the DM's Guild)? That wasn't clear to me.

Regarding the line that I quoted above, I think it works better without the word "on" in the sentence. You may want to provide a bit of explanation for why jinn all have Disguise in your setting. Sometimes, having this context in a sidebar can go a long way to helping other readers capture the flavor that you're trying to instill in the world.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Mon Sep 24, 2018 7:31 am

The chief reason for renaming the core rules genies is that their names are too similar to the new genies.

The generic genie term, jinn, is etymologically related to djinn and jann, and even pronounced the same as djinn. Similarly, ghafrit and efreet have the same etymology and basically the same pronunciation. Dao is technically fine, since it is unrelated to any Semitic root word. Marid has a core meaning of both sick/ill and disobedient/rebellious ("a devil is just a sick angel"). So marid is technically not a problem as far as the current list of jinn is concerned, but as there is a "real" mythological creature called a marid unrelated to the D&D concept of a "water genie", still worth renaming.

Once you've renamed half of them, it's easier just to rename them all than to leave two renamed and two in their original form. The renamings are essentially Semitic words that translate as "fire genie", "earth genie", "water genie", and "air genie".

The D&D ghoul and the ghul described above also have the same etymology. Technically no reason not to use both in a game, but Maltese folklore has nothing resembling D&D ghouls. This ghul (edit: and Lovecrft's reinterpretation of this ghul as a former human) is in fact the creature that inspired the D&D monster.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Tim Baker » Tue Sep 25, 2018 4:49 am

Thanks for explaining that. Makes good sense.

I love the ghûl from Al-Qadim, which sounds like it's similar but not precisely the same as what you've described.
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Ashtagon » Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:40 pm

Regarding 5th edition OGL/SRD/DMs Guild issues...

As I understand it, outside of the DMs Guild, I can only refer to the OGL SRD content, and not to actual PHB/DMG/MM content (unless that content is also in the SRD). Is that correct?

If my understanding is correct, there may be a problem in writing for 5th edition. As far as the cleric is concerned, for example, that effectively means that only one domain is available that I can talk about in a game product, unless I write a whole slew of domains (that may or may not be similar to previously-published material). It effectively gags me from talking about how a player can use the PHB class options to integrate the character better into the setting. I literally cannot say "clerics who worship the storm god should select the Tempest domain", because that domain is not in the SRD.

Have I misunderstood this?
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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by agathokles » Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:50 pm

Ashtagon wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:40 pm
Regarding 5th edition OGL/SRD/DMs Guild issues...

As I understand it, outside of the DMs Guild, I can only refer to the OGL SRD content, and not to actual PHB/DMG/MM content (unless that content is also in the SRD). Is that correct?

If my understanding is correct, there may be a problem in writing for 5th edition. As far as the cleric is concerned, for example, that effectively means that only one domain is available that I can talk about in a game product, unless I write a whole slew of domains (that may or may not be similar to previously-published material). It effectively gags me from talking about how a player can use the PHB class options to integrate the character better into the setting. I literally cannot say "clerics who worship the storm god should select the Tempest domain", because that domain is not in the SRD.

Have I misunderstood this?
I understand it the same way.

GP

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Re: Codex melitensis

Post by Tim Baker » Wed Sep 26, 2018 1:57 am

Ashtagon wrote:
Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:40 pm
Regarding 5th edition OGL/SRD/DMs Guild issues...

As I understand it, outside of the DMs Guild, I can only refer to the OGL SRD content, and not to actual PHB/DMG/MM content (unless that content is also in the SRD). Is that correct?

If my understanding is correct, there may be a problem in writing for 5th edition. As far as the cleric is concerned, for example, that effectively means that only one domain is available that I can talk about in a game product, unless I write a whole slew of domains (that may or may not be similar to previously-published material). It effectively gags me from talking about how a player can use the PHB class options to integrate the character better into the setting. I literally cannot say "clerics who worship the storm god should select the Tempest domain", because that domain is not in the SRD.

Have I misunderstood this?
That's the way I understand it as well. To work around this, I've seen supplements that will build their own domains (in the case of clerics), but will use the same mechanics from existing domains in the PHB. They're always careful to rename everything and to use different verbiage. Game mechanics can't be copyrighted (in the U.S., at least), but language can. So they might build a "Storm Domain" that has similar to identical mechanical benefits, just to fit it in.

I've also seen 5e books refer to something like a "cleric domain that focuses on storms" so that they're obliquely referencing features in the PHB or other books. If a domain is in the 3e SRD, you can still refer to it, as long as you don't tie the mechanics to anything in the 5e version. I've seen some books do that, too. So if the Tempest Domain was in the 3e SRD but not 5e, the book might refer to it, but it wouldn't refer to its Channel Divinity powers.
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