Or at least it would be if I were asked any questions at all. Q1. What possessed you to start this when you have so many other projects, none of which really come close to completion?
A1. I resent that. You're all haters.
In all seriousness, it's because if I don't keep myself relatively busy I start going even more insane. Hence, this. I really wanted to write a novel set in my own fantasy world but couldn't find the motivation to do it. Thanks to Ladyhawk I was able to think of a solution to my problems, namely, do something else instead of a novel. So I decided to make another homebrew RPG instead, except this time from scratch. Q2. So what's this Norbayne place all about?
A2. Well, Norbayne itself is a large island/small continent about the size of Australia and makes up the centre of the known world. Therefore it is the most likely place for GM's to pick when they start a campaign. There are other continent thingies, like Sothbayne, Unterguardt and Varr. More detail will be added in time but for now, this is what we have. Q3. So who lives there?
A3. I'm glad I asked myself. Norbayne itself is populated by the native Midlanders, a human race. They are a strong race, tough and adaptable. Compared to the Northmenn of Unterguardt, they are quite slim and stocky, built more like wolves than the northern bears. They are the most populous race in the known world and most cities have at least a small Midlander population.
The eastern edge of Norbayne is covered in dense, mountainous forest. Known as the Wardenfells, this woodland realm is home to the fierce Danann. The Danann of the Wardenfells are a wild race of hunters and warriors. What little is known of their society is gathered from the outcasts who are propelled to seek a life of adventure in other lands. The eastern towns tell of summer nights when the Danann tear through outlying hamlets, seizing terrified villagers to take back to their tall cities to be brutally sacrificed. These are just tales of course...
Also living in the tangled Wardenfells, the diminutive Leathe of the southern bounds of the forest are known to be exceptional archers and intuitive hunters. Despite their small size, the Leathe fierce and canny fighters. If the great Northmenn of Unterguardt are as the great Ice Bears, the Leathe are likened to a fox, cunning and swift. They are marsupial, mothers carrying their young for almost a year before the children are finally allowed out of the pouch for extended periods of time.
A great empire once stretched across the majority of Norbayne. The Feartarbh are all that is left. When the Empire fell, the people split into two groups: The huge, fearsome Minotaurs and the smaller, more intelligent Feartarbh. Tall, well-built and powerful, the Feartarbh are slowly assimilating into the cultures which have risen since the fall of their Empire. Itinerent wanderers, there is very little that would willingly stand between an angry Feartarbh and its goal.
Other peoples are supported including the Northmenn of Unterguardt and the Roanfaille of Sothbayne amongst others. Q4. Looks interesting, where can I find it?
A4. Well, it's not published yet but when it is, it will be available for sale both online and through your local gaming stores. Q5. I hate you and I hope you die! In addition, do you hate me?
A5. To an extent which would amaze even you, yes. A thousand times, yes.Q6. Very well then. So what about classes?
A6. As of the time of writing there are 14 classes but changes are likely to occur between now and release. For now:
- 1. Assassin: Lightly armoured, focussing on stealth and backstabbing. A small amount of either Arcane or Black Magic depending on the player.
- 2. Bard: Medium armour, focussing on Charisma based abilities. Arcane or Spirit Magic may be accessed through music but I'm still a little iffy on that one.
- 3. Druid: Lightly armoured, focussing on Spirit Magic. Only Spirit Magic is available to the Druid but it has some powerful effects, Bestial Form in particular as it allows the character to become an animal for a period of time.
- 4. Duellist: Lightly armoured, focussing on finesse in close combat. Very good one on one, the Duellist is able to prevent enemies from attacking anyone else through Taunts and other such interesting effects. Quite effective at dealing damage, not so flash at taking it.
- 5. Engineer: Medium armour, focussed on building traps and temporary fortifications. Given a bit of time and some raw materials and Engineer is able to build all sorts of stuff. The Engineer is also able to repair/create equipment if the character takes the right Skills.
- 6. Guardian: Heavily armoured, the Guardian has access to healing and protective Spirit Magic while still being heavily armed enough to serve as a front-line fighter. Very Paladin-like but more about protecting others than healing and killing people.
- 7. Mage: Lightly armoured, the Mage focusses on Arcane Magic. The Mage may specialise in one field to the detriment of the others but this can lead to some really nasty Fireball-ery and such. Hopefully though the way Arcane Magic works in this system should stop the Mage from being overpowered.
- 8. Mesmer: Light armour, focussed on Illusionary Arcane Magic. I like the idea of a Thief type character who uses a speciality in Illusions to make their thievery better but perhaps this archetype could be covered by multiclassing a Rogue with a Mage who specialises in Illusions. Therefore, it is currently unlikely that the Mesmer will be in the finished product.
- 9. Necromancer: Medium armour, focussed on the manipulation of dead things through Black Magic. Tampering with the dead requires far too much power for Arcane Magic users, so Black Magic is the only way to access Necromancy. Quite powerful but also prone to being eaten by Daemons.
- 10. Ranger: Medium armour, focussed on outdoorsy stealth woodland stuff and archery. Through skills, can cover the Arcane Archery, Beastmaster and Hunter archetypes.
- 11. Rogue: Lightly armoured, focussing on stealth and thievery. Archery is possible and may, through skills be able to take Illusionary magic to cover the Mesmer.
- 12. Shaman: Medium armour, focussed on Spirit Magic. The Shaman is able to both heal allies and curse the enemy and has a handful of useful spells for odd occasions. Also able to old their own in close combat.
- 13. Warrior: Heavily armoured, focussed on killing armadillo up close. Warriors are both good at dealing damage and taking it. Through skills they can cover may different archetypes including the Berserker and the Knight. They will also have a little ranged ability but their skills will not offer any of the archery perks associated with the Ranger or Rogue.
- 14 Warlock: Medium armour, focussed on lots of Black Magic. Warlocks are very similar to Mages really, except with Black Magic instead of Arcane. They may specialise in the same way. I'm considering dropping the Necromancer as a full class and just having the Warlock cover the Archetype through skills.
Other potential classes:
Alchemist: A lightly armoured dude who specialises in making potions and can pull off all sorts of interesting stuff like transmuting enemies. Might be a specialisation for Mage's perhaps.
I'm sure others will come up but for now that's all for possible classes. As I said before though, a few of those stated might be dropped. For example, the Assassin could probably be pulled off with a Rogue multi-classed with a Warlock. A Guardian could be a Warrior multi-classed with a Druid/Shaman. So, don't make the assumption that what you see here is definitely being used. Q7. What sorts of animals can Druids turn into?
A7. Anything the player wants with the provision that the Druid must be carrying a piece of an animal he/she has killed. Q8. How powerful can you get?
A8. I'm aiming for enough Talents, Skill Increases and Perks that you should be able to get to Level 20ish before you get sort of bored with the options. That being said, I'm sure a really dangerous campaign run with Level 30ish characters would be a lot of fun. As always, consult with your GM.Q9. When do I get to play?
A9. Well, if you're one of the chosen beta testers (If you are one, you would know it) then very soon with any luck. Otherwise you will just have to wait until it is published.Q10. What's with the names man!?
A10. I am well aware that the names of many races and creatures contain many elements from many real-world languages. In the interest of saving much time and frustration, you will find that the language of Norbayne, or "Common," if you will, has been translated to English.
In addition to this you will find many Latin, Greek and especially Irish Gaelic terms coming up with great regularity. An intense interest in dinosaurs at an early age, and spending two-three years of my schooling at a tiny school with a Latin mass every Tuesday morning left me with a workable knowledge of Greek and Latin while writing a narrative about two years back (Which can be found in the Story-Teller's Corner
) has left me with a fairly basic knowledge of Gaelic.
I am attempting to add some Polish elements in some words, while the Loschain will have a language with many similarities to Nahuatl.
Gaelic in this case is pretty much the language of the Danann. As a race they are quite powerful, so many of their terms have become quite entrenched in the Norbayne lexicon. The name Feartarbh for example is not what the Feartarbh actually call themselves. Amongst themselves they are the Bosavir (Archaic Latin for "bull-man." Geez I'm imaginative.) however the Danann refer to them as the Feartarbh, which led to the Midlanders adopting the phrase.
As the Bovus Empire fell almost two centuries beforehand, I'm thinking the Feartarbh (or Bosavir as they call themselves) will have quite a Roman feel to them, leading to Latin being the translation of their language.
Basically I'm doing a Tolkien but without the whole making actual new languages bit. Hopefully that explained a little. Oh, and any inconsistencies are down to lingual drift. Or the fact that I'm not a fluent speaker in any of these languages except, possibly English. And considering that I originally typed English as "Enlgsih," it seems to be debatable.Q12. You say that arcane magic can be learned like sprinting, however some people are naturally better at sprinting than others; I assume therefore that some people will be naturally better at arcane magic?
A12. Naturally, yes. Some people are naturally more adept than others. This is represented by increasing your Magic Level. Your Magic Level can also be improved right from the off if you make certain choices at character creation.Q13. Black and Spirit magic come from resources, but is everyone able to learn that?
A13. Black and Spirit Magic can both be learnt by anyone, save that it is more risky and very hard work respectively. Q14. You say magic is dangerous. Just how dangerous is magic in Norbayne?
A14. There are three charts to be rolled on upon a "Miscast," one for each of the varieties of magic. These charts have effects which range from blood vessels bursting to temporary blindness to burning, all the way through to blowing yourself up in a maelstrom of "SHEER POWAH!" The amount of energy you're putting into the spell affects just how dangerous the ill-effects are, in addition to the type of magic. Buggering up a Spirit spell is far less dangerous than, say, Black Magic, which has effects like the bound daemon materialises and causing havoc. Q15. Given the prejudice against magic and the fact that everyone has the ability to do it, surely there are rebellions all the time over opression?
A15. Absolutely. The amount of peasants running around with the ability to throw fireballs and summon storms is relatively small however. Magic is dangerous and generally seen as too difficult to master. Therefore in most societies it's only those with formal education in those arts that will have access to learning magic as a whole. However, there are always outliers of course and rebellions offer rich picking grounds for GM's.Q16. Is every race allowed to be every class or are there restrictions? I can't in all honesty see a Feartarbh duellist.
A16. Every race can be any class. You are completely free in that. Some races are better at being some classes than others, but anyone can be anything. As far as a Feartarbh Duellist goes, well, I can see it. You'd just have to think of it as less of a rapier-wielding nobleman and more of a minotaur who stands upon his honour. And yells insults. It could be done.Q17. Will there be top hats? Important question.
A17. Top hats? Ask your GM. If it fits in the sort of game he would like to run, then absolutely. Have fun with it. Q18. How much will racial animosity feature in this world? Some of the 'elves' act a bit superior from what I've read but they are moderating themsevles. Everyone seems to be pretty much happy families.
A18. Racial animosity... Well Invarrians are like a cross between vikings and pirates. They raid the Northlands constantly, and to make things worse, they aren't remorseful in the slightest, thinking it's all a game. So there's problems there. The Geardarr were a slave class under the old Bovus Empire, so they hold a grudge against the Feartarbh. Plus they have inferiority issues with everyone. The Danann view the Leathe as a delicacy. That being said, the Danann also have a habit of preying upon other sentients, meaning that they're quite feared. The Dunscarth are just unfortunate. Having grey skin and living under ground means that they tend to cop a lot of discrimination.
Now how much this comes up in game is down to the GM but the possibilities are there for plenty of racism. Q19. Daemons. Are they a race that features much in cataclysmic world changing events? Are they the subjects of the worship of dangerous cults hidden in society? Or are they just magical batteries for the evil wizards?
A19. Daemons are all those things and more besides. They're entities that inhabit the Otherworld. They long for flesh and senses as they cannot see, hear, touch, smell, feel, anything in their own forms and in their world. The Otherworld is a void where they engage in scheming manipulations which in the end accomplish nothing. They fight their wars for nothing, with nothing and over nothing. Wondering how that is possible? Good. It's not. But it happens anyway. So when they get trapped by a Black Magic user they both hate and love it. It causes excruciating pain, but it is the only way they can feel. But in the end, they want bodies. They want a way to experience the senses, so you can make deals with them in exchange for this. This is how Necromancers work.
Anyway, daemons are complicated 'creatures.' But they do play an integral role in the game. Q20. Just how unified are the Midlanders?
A20. The Midlanders don't necessarily see themselves as sharing any real kinship with each other. For instance in medieval Britain, the Welsh, Irish, English and Scottish all hated each other despite being "the same." (I'm being horribly general here. The point I'm trying to make is that despite the fact that they were all four limbs, one head, pale skinned etc. they all still fought and killed each other.) So Northlanders probably view Southerners as heathen decadents while the Southerners see the Northlanders as uncultured barbarians. The wars and hatreds are generally built more around realm borders rather than racial differences. Generally. Q21. Feartarbh are gargantuan when compared to the Leathe. How does one go about choosing a door for an all-races-are-welcome tavern?
A21. As to the doors, believe it or not, I hadn't thought of this. I guess that places might do something similar to the gates of Bree in the Fellowship of the Ring, having a smaller door for peoples like the Leathe and then larger doors built around it for those who can't fit.Q22. Am I right in thinking that there are invasions onto the Isle of Varr every now and then to curb the piracy, much like the chinese did against the Japanese Woku Pirates?
A22. Sometimes a kingdom might get pissed off enough to attempt an assault on the source of the attacks, but due to the strength of the Invarrian navy, this is rarely very successful. How long that can last however?Q23. How did the Bovus Empire fall?
A23. Well then, the Bovus Empire was exceptionally powerful. They landed on the western shores of Norbayne as a people fleeing from an unremembered menace in their homelands. Compared to the indigenous people of Norbayne, the Bovus were both technologically advanced and physically powerful. They quickly took almost all of Norbayne as their own, though Dark Fen and the Wardenfells remained unconquered due to the climate not being conducive to the Bovus heavy infantry.
After having taken over, they began to build large cities, most of which are ruins today. The Bovus Empire eventually split when an Emperor died with three heirs who fought amongst themselves for overall power. Whilst this was occurring, the ancestors of the Geardarr rose up and freed themselves from their Bovus overlords. Other slave communities followed and in time the Bovus power was broken, their numbers too few and the technological gap too small to lord over the other peoples of Norbayne as they once did. The Bovus split into the Krowavir, massive, wild descendants of the old empire, and those known as the Feartarbh who keep the legacy alive.
To answer your question, infighting and mixed succession, followed by slave revolts and military campaigns over the course of a few centuries.
That's it for this edition of, "I'm a self-absorbed, attention-seeking twit," I'm afraid. If you have any suggestions please go to the Norbayne Suggestion Thread and post there. I would very much appreciate your help.