The Strangle


  1. The Strangle crossed the rivers and splashed against the mountainsides. The great monster forest, home of the wild and unknown, took the Idle Lands in its threatening embrace according to its namesake. Cut off from the rest of Corrine, life changed.
  2. The Idle Men made acquaintances of the weird denizens of the Strangle, peoples apart with strange drives and custom...much to the surprise of the kingdoms of Corrine.
  3. Nearest to the Ryvern which pours its swift lifeblood spring into the mouth of the Strangle are the tiny waypoint of Pilfer, little more than a couple taverns and inns; the spare but sprawling kingdom of the master equestrians, Brescheau; and Adleroc the River-Top, the great castle and keep with its thick city walls. The Ryvern itself is vital for bringing goods in and out of the Strangle, since no roads long survive...and without that lifeline the Idle would surely perish.
  4. Men who have lost their way and survived - strangely - have fueled wild rumors with stories of half-glimpsed stairs of gold, diamonds that grow like grapes, a spring of stout beer cascading into a rocky waterfall...And, also, rumors of women and of men wild in character, scintillating in appearance.
  5. The Strangle has tested those who live in its shadow and tempted many a traveler. The forest is filled with bones and ghosts. There are said to be things beyond beasts. There are whispers of a green heartbeat which threatens to snake its way up the Ryvern to Adleroc herself. It is said light cannot there live.
  6. Within the Idle Lands the Strangle always threatens to encroach but never does. Not really. Still, within the villages, many things grow which should not. These things are also considered to be the Strangle.
  7. It is the 714th year of the New Pact, when the Concord Divine was redrawn and made plain to the priests in distant Frawley...or so they say. It is an age of little magic, and an age when certain beasts of legend are more scarce. It is a time when the gods themselves are passive, negligent even, yet also accessible.
  8. There are rumblings here in Corrine of a not too distant war engulfing the subcontinent, a war threatening all good Delts, a war of scalding and of spiritual alchemy. Sometimes new word or a glimpse of a deserter spreads through the kingdoms. This has fueled unrest within Corrine, for the scions of Brescheau and Adleroc are whispered to be both of them ill and indisposed.
  9. As the Strangle threatens the Idle so are Corrindi threatened by the waylaying of supplies, shipments lost in the night, travelers and peddlers vanished...traveling to or from Corrine offers no guarantee of safety any more.
  10. The Strangle is winding up Ryvern toward River-Top. War presses on Corrine from the south. The prophets say the sea is coming. The sages say the ice is getting colder. Beyond the red mountains storms continue to build, breaking themselves against the mass of the mountain again and again until some day they scour the basin of Corrine clear...The Idle Lands themselves may represent a danger. The drunks in Pilfer maintain that none of this is as bad as the threat of a single man...if that's what he is. Walk the trails together, you'll still ultimately walk them alone: all roads lead only into the Strangle, and the Strangle cannot abide roads.


RACES

To determine race, roll 1d12:
  1. Human (Wilderness)
  2. Human (Farmer)
  3. Human (Adleroc)
  4. Human (Brescheau)
  5. Human (Pilfer)
  6. Colonist
  7. Local
  8. Hole People
  9. Kind
  10. Dvalinn
  11. Choose your own
  12. Reroll. If you roll a 12 again you get to be something weird like some other forest spirit.
  • Humans get +1 to all their ability scores. They speak Common and any 2 languages. Their base speed is 30. They gain additional benefits depending on whence they hail. Roll 1d20 to determine class.
  • Humans from the Kingdom of Adleroc come from a land of prosperity and enlightenment. They receive an additional 100g.
  • Humans from the Kingdom of Brescheau hail from a land of roving hillsides, home to hunters and horsemen. They receive a free horse and an additional 30g.
  • Humans from the village of Pilfer are from a small way station, home to a large transient population and a diverse culture. They know an additional language.
  • Humans reared on rural farms have worked their whole lives to be self-reliant and multitalented. They get 2 additional tool proficiencies.
  • Humans who have made their homes in the wilds of The Strangle have had to do without much, but, hey, it's home. They have a spartan 1-room cabin here in the forest as a place of relative safety.

  • Colonials (also called Ants) gain +2 Constitution and +1 Wisdom. They gain 1HP bonus per level. They have proficiency with any 4 weapons and with Tunneling tools, beginning play with a set of these tools. Armor worn by Colonials never reduces their base speed of 25. They speak Common and Hill.
  • Colonials are considered doubly proficient with History checks to identify the origin of underground features. They possess tunnel vision, allowing them to see well in dark or dim conditions when underground. They are also resistant to poison and have advantage to save against poison.
  • Colonials all HATE something. Colonials all like making things, and undervalue things they don't make themselves. Roll 1d10+8 to determine class.

  • Locals (also called Hopeless) gain +2 Dexterity and +1 Wisdom. They can attempt to hide even when only lightly obscured by nature. They have nightvision, allowing them to see well in dark or dim conditions from nighttime or the shade of the forest canopy. They are proficient in Nature and have advantage against magic that paralyzes. They enter a state of torpor instead of sleep, needing only 4 hours to fully rest and, as such, are immune to magical slumber.
  • They speak Common and Hopalong. They have proficiency with any 4 weapons and begin play with a free set of armor. Their base speed is 35.
  • Locals are always especially PROUD of themselves in some specific way. They prefer to get what they want through guile. Roll 2d8 to determine class.

  • The Kind (ONLY the Kinds collectively) receive +2 Dexterity and +1 Charisma. Their land speed is 20 but they can fly up to 60 in open air (Within the gnarling canopy of The Strangle they may only fly 30). Their talons and beaks may do 1d4 Slashing damage and they may be considered to always be fighting two-handed. They may not use normal weapons and armor, and if they wear any specially-created armor heavier than Studded Leather they may not fly. They speak Common and all the languages of the Kinds, and have a 1/6 chance of learning any other language. Kinds receive +1 to Passive Perception.
  • Kinds are each, as a type, exceedingly GREEDY when it comes to a specific thing, be it jewelry, food, magic items, secrets, flowers, etc.
  • Kinds do not see other creatures as evolved or intelligent and always assume they can just have whatever they want. Roll 1d10 to determine class, or just choose Witch.

  • Hole People (also known as Wolders) are small creatures with a base speed of 25. They receive +3 to Dexterity. They can move through the space of creatures larger than them. They have advantage on saves against fear and may reroll a 1 on an attack, save, or check.
  • Hole People all know the cantrip minor illusion. They can communicate simple ideas to small animals and begin play with an animal friend with CR0. Hole People all have a TABOO they won't break, often relating to a place or creature they cannot allow to be harmed.
  • Hole People are used to being left small sacrifices and tributes, and often eschew things which aren't given to them (though they have an expansive definition of what is there for them to have). They roll 2d6 to determine class.

  • Dvalinn (also called Mags) gain +1 Constitution and +2 Wisdom. They are trained in Survival and double their proficiency when finding water. Dvalinn may be ridden or  may carry a load equivalent of a Large creature but not both. They have advantage on checks made to leap or to land safely. They have a pair of antlers that do 1d10 damage and grant advantage on attempts to shove a creature. Dvalinn are not hindered by forest terrain.
  • Dvalinn must each PROTECT a certain place, thing, or person. Dvalinn rarely act in self-interest, but if something will help serve the needs of that to which they are sworn they will righteously demand it. They may not wield normal weapons or wear normal armor. Roll 3d6 to determine class.

CLASSES

To determine your class roll 1d20:

1: Magic-User (Wizard Without School)- Instead of school benefits learn 2 spells from any spell list at level 2, 6, 10, 14.
2: Wizard (Any Normal School)
3: Monk(Open Hand)- Must have Hermit background.
4: Rogue (Bardic Trickster)- Arcane Trickster but spells come from Bard list
5-6: Cleric (Nature)
7-9: Fighter (Champion)- May take Feats instead of Ability Score Bonuses.
10: Fighter (Paladin)- Draw spells from Cleric list.
11: Rogue (Thief)
12: Rogue (Assassin)
13: Rogue (Mastermind)
14: Ranger (Hunter)- Built using a spell-free variant.
15: Ranger (Beast Master)- Built using a spell-free variant.
16: Cleric (Life)- May also draw spells from Paladin list.
17: Cleric (Death)- May also draw spells from Paladin list.
18: Barbarian (Berserker)
19: Witch- See below.
20: Reroll. If you roll 20 again then yes you can be a Green Dragon Sourcerer.

ALL SPELLCASTERS have the option of converting their Cantrip slots into a +1 to their Spellcasting DC/hit bonus. This does not include the Kinds, or the minor illusion granted to Hole People.

Sourcerers are only eligible if they are (by the rules) Green Dragonborn who also choose the Green Dragon bloodline; these creatures are known as Serpients and they are near-extinct. They may also select spells from the Ranger spell list. No one's first character may be a Serpient unless they randomly roll two 20s. They are excitable and GLUTTONS for their favorite foods. They only think of themselves as having one possession at a time (My shirt, my rock, my spear, my helmet) but they have large bags of interesting things and do not otherwise distinguish between personal property, turning things over and looking at them and setting them down again. They do not require material components when casting a spell on a creature who can see the Serpient's eyes.

Witches are alternate Warlocks. They gain the Pact of the Chain at 1st level but their familiars are generated and controlled by the DM. Any time they would gain a Cantrip or other feature apart from spell slots and spells known they instead get a random feature from this table. (This means they roll twice at level 2, once at level 3, may CHOOSE to roll in lieu of ability score bonus at level 4, once at level 5, so on.) They may select their spells from the Druid spell list.

BACKGROUND

Remember: compose your Background before picking out any Class skills. Your Background will be built out of 4 proficiencies (languages, tools, vehicles, skills, weapons, shields; no armor proficiencies). We'll work it like this:
  • You have one proficiency of your choice because this is how you make your living. Tell us about that in 10-50 words.
  • You have one proficiency of your choice but whatever it is, you learned the hard way: once in your past you seriously fucked up and either personally paid a big price or someone else did. Tell us 10-50 words about that.
  • You have one proficiency that one of your fellow players thinks would make sense for you to have, given what you've told us so far. They need to explain their reasoning.
  • You have one proficiency given to you by the DM on the basis that it makes sense for the rest of what the character has.
 ADVANCEMENT

Advancement will be done through XP tracking but I'm going to be handling it differently (IN A WAY THAT NOBODY BUT ME HAS TO TRACK OR CARE ABOUT).

Whenever you put yourself at great risk or inconvenience in the interest of roleplaying your character super well you get a Bonus XP Die. You can decide at the end of the session that someone else has earned that die instead and give it to them. This Bonus XP works out to 1d4x10, multiplied by your character level (1d4x20 at level 2, 1d4x30 at level 3, etc).

Whenever your Background (that is your personal history) is successfully exploited to your benefit, you gain 1 Bonus XP Die. This is in lieu of the normal Background benefits granted by the books.

I will also hide Bonus XP Dice as basically XBox Achievements to reward you guys for putting in the work with my various lore writing and adventure prepping; the more stuff I make that you touch, the more Bonus XP you get.

EQUIPMENT

At first level Humans, Colonials, Locals,  may start with 6 points of the following. Hole People may start with 4 points worth.

A horse 3
Heavy armor 3
Two-handed weapon (bow, maul, etc) 3
Medium armor 2
Versatile weapon 2
Animal (pony, attack dog, falcon) 2
Hireling 2
Shield 1
One-handed weapon 1
Light armor 1
Lantern or 4 Torches 1
Rope 50' 1

You also have 1d10x5 gold to purchase other equipment, especially ammo and provisions. You also begin with anything your class would depend on for class features such as casting (spellbook, holy symbol, crystal focus, etc).

For encumbrance you can basically carry 10 "slots" of stuff, after which you move at half speed. Two-handed items, heavy armor, and stuff like ladders and 10' poles take up 2 slots. Coinage, rations, and ammo stack in a slot.

PERCEPTION

You don't make a Perception check. Your Passive Perception is your Perception check. I'll have everyone's PP always close at hand. If you're looking for something specific I'll let you know based on an Investigation roll or based on your Passive Perception score.

DREAMS

You only dream in The Strangle. In The Strangle you always dream.

HEALING, REST,  AND DEATH

You must break for lunch once a day and may heal using as many HD as you wish to spend.

You can break to regroup, debrief, or center your chi once a day to heal 1 HD and regain any character features you normally recharge on a short rest.

You heal back up after a night of full sleep and regain features you gain after a long/short rest.

If you are attacked in the night you only gain partial benefit: that is, you have to choose between gaining your full HP and no long-rest-benefits or refreshing only up to HALF your max HP/HD but regaining your long-rest-benefits.

If you drop to 0HP you stay there basically forever if unmolested, and will return to 1HP in 12 hrs. However, any creature can basically immediately kill you when you're dying like this.

THE STARS

For the most part Feats are off the table except for Fighters and a couple other instances. However, every character was born under a certain sign. This confers some feat-like benefits but also comes with a taboo: if you break the taboo you lose the benefit until you're the subject of a Remove Curse or a secret ritual. You can choose what sign you were born under.

The Bone Father- Boon as the feat Durable. May only eat a meal if there's meat in it.
The Camellia Open- Boon as the feat Observant. Must never pick or cut flowers or crush flowers.
The Empress Commands- Boon as the feat Keen Mind. Must teach any who seek it.
The High Church- Boon as the feat Resilient. Must aid the destitute whenever possible.
The Lions Five- Boon as the feat Mobile. Must never own an animal.
The Oracle Boar- Boon as the feat Alert. Must never allow harm to befall the blind, must never blind another.
The Serpent Wheel- Boon as the feat Tough. Must never have sex.
The Well Forgotten- Boon as the feat Lucky. You may never decide your path; you may follow others or else leave your path to chance.

THE GODS

There are gods-who-are (True Gods) and there are gods-who-are-worshipped (Lesser Gods). Not all gods are venerated, some just ARE, and who is worshiped where is largely regional rather than racial. Remember also that this is a polytheistic culture who do not just believe in or venerate in just this god or that god, a priestess to the Bomdutra will pray to the Strangle when beneath its boughs.

Moon Slave- Father of monsters, the god who keeps dying, stalker of all battles; king of smoke, nightmares, and witches.
Edsu Voi- Almost-maker of the worlds, she who would be the destroyer of all, she who dies forever impaled on the far, red mountains.
Metterokezikias- Coward and bastard-god who fled from the divine war at the dawn, the hidden god, saint of liars.
Thunder King- Made of all magic from a world made only of him, his existence permits the nature of existence; boundless power, size beyond scale, Masculinity Elemental.
Spirit Queen- The animating force, creator of souls, keeper of the departed, warden of thoughts; ruler of the widest kingdom, a god without a body but with so, so much more.
Great God Good Weed- The medium of physical expression, the mellow master of all matter, the god who you can visit for dinner.
Bomdutra- She-god of strength, celebration, and inebriation. She who forgot a thousand wars, she who scorns her own priests.
Fastapono- Merciful golden sex horse, bringer of comfort, repose, forgiveness, pleasure, and company.
A Gu Zi- Traitor, failure, and lord of feasting, the god who was once a man, the prisoner god, the servant god, the harbinger of choices.
The Strangle- The living green itself, implacable, relentless, hungry, impatient, and unkind; a thing that isn't a mind within every squirrel, tree, or stone.
Walker- The stranger behind you wherever you walk, a thing concerned only with space, with place, but not with persons or with time. Considered by some a merry or prankish figure when actually he is just cosmically ambivalent.
Hallas the Falconer- Long-gone great ancestor spirit, hunter-king of the rolling lands, his most famous falcon Corrine is a kind of venerated god-creature herself, having ruled four years after his death.
The Unseen Flesh- Not really a mind or a will, only, like the Strangle, a presence, an instinct, a drive, only not of any life or mineral or green: a thing beyond from an entire ecosystem that exists alongside ours, over ours, which we are incapable of perceiving.
Father Patience- He follows you everywhere and, when you fall back into his arms, he takes you to his home. A shepherd of blood. A friend to the living, despiser of life.