Night Reign by Mikan
IntroductionOriginal SA post
Dungeons and Dragons Fourth Edition never received the ridiculous amount of third party support 3.X did, which sucked both for people who like awesome games and people who like making fun of the worst. (too many to link)
A few writers set out to fix this. Unfortunately, almost all chose to address the lack of shitty projects first. There are maybe a handful of decent 4e 3pp products - and I would know, since I bought almost every single one. So many are creepy as hell, only passingly familiar with 4e rules or created to "make a point" about WoW babby game for children.
I could post about all of those - and I will - but I wanted to start with one of the few good ones. Let's talk about Night Reign .
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Racial Lore (new races, info on core 4e races)
Chapter 2 - Paths of Destiny (Five - no shit, five brand new classes, plus features/paragon paths/epic destinies.)
Chapter 3 - Feats (...)
Chapter 4 - Arms and Equipment (mundane items, magic items, artifacts)
Chapter 5 - Bardic Lore (trivia about the setting, detail stuff like holidays and economy and weather)
Chapter 6 - Geography Lore (all of the Night Reign locations)
Chapter 7 - Organizations (eight different organizations in the setting)
Chapter 8 - Creature Lore (new monsters, diseases, traps)
I'm going to be spending the most time on Chapter 2; Night Reign has five unique classes and a new Warlock pact. Unlike every single other 4e 3pp ever the classes are awesome! Each has a unique mechanic, is relatively balanced and owns.
The Mother created the world, Falamar, and the Sun and Moon to support it. The Sun provided life and warmth, while the Moon introduced death and entropy.
Both grew lonely, reigning over the world without seeing one another. The Sun created the twin wyrms of Spring and Summer. The Moon, however, could not create anything. He asked the Mother why this was, and she explained he held no dominion over the power of life. The Mother attempted to comfort him, but it was no help; the Moon's jealousy grew, and in his anger he imprisoned the Mother deep within the earth.
After the Sun rose once again, he was understandably confused to find the creator of, y'know, everything missing. The Moon explained the Mother had died during the Moon's reign, creating the first lie in the world, and the Sun fell into deep mourning.
The Moon seized upon the opportunity and helped comfort the Sun. The days grew dark and cold as the Sun continued to mourn and the Moon used his brother's weakness to extend his reign. It is then when the Moon used his brother's power to create Autumn and Winter, wyrms equivalent to Spring and Summer.
The Wyrms went on to combine the rays of the Sun with various metals upon Falamar, creating the dragons. And the Dragons then used rock, water and earth to create the first humanoids: the Eladrin.
Loth, the first great sorceress, and Syladrin, the great hunter, grew lonely as well. The Sun created twin Dwarves from a lock of Loth's hair and the mountains - who would become the Voice of the Sun and Moon - and Humans from the tears of Syladrin and the wind - who would gain dominion over the physical and emotional worlds of Falamar. And so other races were created, including the Cushani (a race new to Night Reign.)
All of the races loved the Sun and wept whenever he was away, which upset the Moon greatly. The Moon's jealousy grew once again, and he took the form of a mortal to learn about the world. It is then he met a human man named Ilius, whose pale white skin led others to believe he was cursed by the Sun. The Moon tricked Ilius into retrieving an item of great power; as a reward, he granted Ilius the knowledge of divine magic and a vision - the birth of an Eladrin girl. Ilius sought the girl out, and when her mother would not give her up, Ilius committed the first murder.
The earth shook in anger; Ilius returned the girl to the Moon. The Moon granted Ilius with the knowledge of arcane magic as reward for his service.
Ilius brought the girl to the innocent Braun, cursed to sleep during the day and remain awake at night. Ilius tricked Braun into believing the Sun had disappeared and only the sacrifice of the Eladrin child could bring him back. Braun believed him, and with the child's sacrifice the Sun howled out in pain.
The Moon granted Ilius power over shadow and death, promising Ilius he would be undisputed ruler of Falamar. Ilius exhaled a dark fog over the world, known as the Breath of Ilius, and the Night Reign began.
That was pretty cool! The next section is an overview of the setting as a whole. As you might expect, Night Reign is a dark fantasy game with an emphasis on horror. Even daytime is dark and awful, thanks to the Breath of Ilius. Night Reign actually goes into interesting detail about what this means - the people are depressed, starving (can't easily grow food) and pale. Many are malnourished and diseased. The fear, however, is presented as the worst part of the deal - the people of Falamar live under constant fear. Fear of starving, of turning into undead, of what hides in the dark, of everything. Many turn to the Church of the Moon, as it can deliver food and safety in exchange for total obedience. (Guess whether they're evil. At least the people in Falamar know the Church is evil, but don't have a choice.)
There are Heroes in Falamar, those who fight against the darkness and attempt to make a better world. Some even gain power from the Sun himself. Like Midnight or Ravenloft, evil already won - but in Night Reign, the heroes can make a difference. They may even win.
Bardic LoreOriginal SA post
Hold on folks, we're passing Go and jumping straight to Chapter 5. monopoly is a bad game
Chapter 5 - Bardic Lore
While the race sections mostly make sense without reading further in the book, they reference things like wars and dragons doing stuff and what races used to be like a whole bunch. I'd rather go into them with full knowledge so we can have a more entertaining discussion about creepy Halflings and dragon-riding cat people.
Here in Chapter 5, we're gonna see:
Timekeeping and Holidays
I may have to separate this into two updates, depending. Let's get started.
Language, Commerce, Timekeeping and Holidays
Night Reign doesn't use the standard D&D languages. No Common tongue, even. Rather, there are a number of languages more or less divided among the races. Elves, dwarves and humans (the "divine races", the ones created first) have the most common languages - almost everyone speaks at least one of these languages, if not two. There are some dead languages as well, if you want to get deep into the history.
Due to the constant eclipse of the Sun, food and other supplies are in high demand. Slaves too - slavery is A Big Thing in regions of Night Reign and presented as something for the PCs to do something about. Most people abhor the practice and many religions speak out against it, but life is so awful nobody really has the energy or means to do anything about it. Combined with the lack of food, slaves in general are treated as disposable and any slaveholders are likely to go through a lot. Life under the Ilium Empire is shitty unless you sign up with the Moon.
Days are 20 hours long, split into 10 days a week, with 10 weeks (100 days) making a full season. The Falamar calendar keeps track of time dating from the Betrayal of Ilius and seasons are a big deal.
None of the holidays are that exciting; they all focus on the changing of seasons, events in history. There are a few spots of light though, like Lover's Day on the 25th of Spring (every other day sucks though)
This part's a lot more interesting!
The Sun used to be a cool guy. He made dragons, liked hanging out with his brother and wanted everyone to be happy. That was before his brother the Moon threw a tantrum and ruined everything. The Sun spent some time crying and refusing to believe his brother was a bad guy.
Now, the Sun is pissed.
Currently, the Church of the Sun almost ended up destroyed (an event known as the Blood Culling). Outright worship of the Sun is forbidden.
There is a writeup of the Church's organization prior to the Blood Culling. In short, there were three branches - the Sun's Choir (divided into ten subgroups, with one Arbiter overseeing each), the Clergy, and the Shield (a martial branch, dedicated to destroying the undead and the followers of the Moon). Normally there's also a Dwarf serving as The Voice of the Sun but the position's been vacant for a long time. Shit is not good for dwarves right now.
Originally, the Sun's message was one of love and order. He believed the world must practice compassion and provide order for everyone's safety. Through compassion comes love, through love comes life, through life comes peace and through peace comes eternal happiness.
Now? The Sun's tenets are:
Destroy the Undead
To embrace the Moon is to embrace death
Gone are the days of joy and happiness
Disrupt the Breath of Ilius, cull the infected
Those in service of the night may repent or be delivered to the afterlife
A follower of the Sun prays three times a day: at sunrise, mid-day and sunset. Each day of the week has a significant meaning for the church. There are also a number of holy days - but since the Church is nearly destroyed, they aren't so important any more.
The Moon is supposed to act as a balance, maintaining death and life, destruction and creation. Instead he couldn't handle the loneliness and lashed out at both the Mother and the Sun. Everything shitty in the setting right now is the Moon's fault. He lied and lied and lied and nobody caught on (even his direct servants) until the Betrayal of Ilius.
The Church of the Moon is by far the dominant religion. In a lot of cases, joining is the only way to keep yourself safe and fed.
The major tenets of the Moon are loyalty, devotion and protection. (Seriously.) The Moon believes the world will be a better place once everyone joins in pursuit of the same goals and desires. One must display loyalty at all times to all superiors - to doubt is to act against faith.
While not everyone in the Church is outright evil - there are some relatively positive messages and not everyone is down with the creation of undead or spreading the Breath of Ilius - it's still a thoroughly awful organization. It would still be possible to have PCs acting through the church, though difficult, and it avoids being all cartoon villain about things. The Moon is less evil than deranged and lonely and trying to cover up all of his mistakes. (he's still evil though)
Remember when the Moon locked her underneath the earth? Well, she's back. She hasn't started interfering in the affairs of mortals but it's only a matter of time.
Some mortals do worship her and the hero who freed her, though it's a small group right now.
The first creations of the Sun and the Moon, the seasons themselves. They created the dragons and the Dragonborn. The Cushani are particularly overzealous in their devotion to the Wyrms.
The Wyrms rule over each season in turn, and they have the usual domains. (Autumn is all about arcane knowledge, Summer is war, etc.)
Next time I'll cover the Cosmology and Timeline, then we'll head back to Races and Classes. (I can't wait to talk about the classes!!! This book came out around the PHB3 and I was pretty vocal about how much more I liked these classes than what we got in the PHB3)
CosmologyOriginal SA post
Sorry folks, got busy with the new design contest and a hundred other things. Today we'll talk about the Night Reign cosmology and the history.
This is 4e here, so we're working with relatively familiar material. There are three Domains - Prime, Elemental and Divine - with a big void known as the Crossroads connecting them.
There are direct analogues to the 4e planes - Avengard is the Feywild, there's an Elemental Chaos, Vorgard is the Shadowfell, etc.
Avengard sets up planar gates throughout Falamar to provide them with food
This part isn't super exciting and planar stuff is boring anyway, so:
Dwarves devised the official Falamar calendar. Time's separated by two events - bi (Before Ilius) and ab (After Betrayal). Historians generally agree this is the Fifth Age of Falamar, beginning shortly after the end of the Blood Culling and the rise of the Ilium Empire.
First Age, Age of Creation
We talked about this in the introduction. The Mother creates the Sun and Moon, they create the Wyrms, also a bunch of other things. It spans from about 5000 bi to 0 bi.
Second Age, Age of Night
The beginning of the Ilium Empire, led by Ilius the Betrayer. This is when the first Night Reign begins. Important events:
First humans make pact with Ilius, become Tieflings.
Loth leaves; any Eladrin who did not follow her find themselves trapped in Avengard for a thousand years.
Cushani abandoned by their creator (Loth), are pressed into slavery. They go to war against the Eladrin and others to regain their freedom, succeed.
Around 30 ab the first mention of the Prophecy of the Solar Champion.
Loth returns from her journey, twisted by the shadow, begins the race of shadow elves (drow). Drow and Eladrin war for nearly 150 years, ending with a treaty.
- 968 ab, the Solar Champion Horan born. Around 1000 ab, Horan and Ilius slay each other in battle, ending the Breath of Ilius and the first Night Reign.
Third Age, Age of Heroes
This is the bright spot in Falamar history. People put their efforts into technology, agriculture, art. The Wyrms also thought it would be cool to go to war, ending in a split between the chromatic and metallic dragons.
The children of the Seasons appeared during this Age, incredibly gifted individuals with great powers. They went to war with each other, and the Age ends with the aftermath of a brutal Crusader War. Important events:
Loth dies. Any Eladrin on Falamar lose their magic powers and become regular elves.
The Voice of the Moon, the dwarf Ikar, goes crazy and kills Ikos (Voice of the Sun) and the Council of the Divine. Dwarves eventually go to war amongst themselves.
- Cushani make first pacts with the dragons, resulting in giant tiger-people riding dragons. It's as cool as it sounds.
Fourth Age, Age of Sorrows
The Age of Sorrows isn't terribly exciting; it sets the stage for the Fifth Age and is mostly nonstop war between the nations that would become the current kingdoms in Falamar.
However, at the end of the Fourth Age something awful happens: someone succeeds in reviving Ilius.
This is the "modern" Falamar, when the RPG takes place. The revived Ilius goes to war against the world, destroys the Church of the Sun and reestablishes the Ilium Empire. The Night Reign begins again, and the Breath of Ilius corrupts everything in its path.
I'm going to jump back to Chapter 1, Racial Lore after this, then we'll look at the classes (I can't wait). After that we can jump back into history with a look at the current state of each nation, along with the biggest modern organizations.
Races/ClassesOriginal SA post
Been a while, sorry! I am busy with doing other cool things. Today let's talk about the Night Reign races and then jump to the best part, classes.
The Cushani are the new race in Night Reign. They are huge cat-people (no furry) who ride dragons Cushani have a cool relationship with dragons, actually - as mentioned in the timeline write up earlier. They tend to worship the Wyrms instead of the Sun or the Moon, and protect young dragons.
They get +2 Str +2 Cha and Speed 7. If I updated them to the new race standard, I'd probably go with +2 Strength, +2 Dexterity or Charisma. They can push people an extra square (which makes them fun Controllers). Their racial power is a close burst 2, -2 defenses to enemies if you make the attack roll.
Overall I like the Cushani, they have a cool place in the setting and the idea of giant tiger-people riding dragons and leaping into battle to rip people apart is pretty awesome.
The other races are the regular 4e races, and I've covered their major differences in earlier sections. I don't know if I mentioned the Halflings , descended from humans who craved power, who appear jovial and friendly but are secretly hate-filled terrors who see the world in a constant state of death and decay.
Hell yes this is the whole reason I'm doing this. Let's do a class at a time.
There are five new classes and one new class option in Night Reign. They're all related to the new Solar power source. Remember how the Sun decided it was time to stop fucking around and beat up the Moon? These are the guys who are gonna do it.
The Circle Dancer is a mobile striker who gets awesome bonuses while fighting within a ritual circle. Lots of pulling enemies where you want them and forcing enemies to fight on your terms.
Destiny Knights are mounted defenders. I know, I know but it actually works! The mount actually functions more like the beast Ranger but better and more useful. Their mark mechanic forces enemies to reroll attack rolls.
The Solar leader is the Judge . They're an offensive leader, lots of granted attacks and seriously lots of granted attacks.
The other striker is the Martial Artist . It's all about combo attacks! I liked the Monk in PHB3 but this guy would have been cool too. Martial Artists get bonuses for chaining at-wills into encounters and dailies. (There are also some things to make fun of when we get into the full summary so look forward to that)
The Summoner has multiple summoned creatures and area attacks to control the battlefield. Also
Then there's the Sun-Pact Warlock , anyone who forges a pact with the Sun to destroy the Moon. They are off-leaders - when their pact boon hits, they have an aura that damage enemies and heals allies.
There are also paragon paths for other 4e classes, and I'll cover those in their own thing.
Later today or tomorrow I'll start with Circle Dancers and Destiny Knights.
Circle DancerOriginal SA post
I'm supposed to be cleaning the house and nothing is better for productivity than slacking off on something else so
Since we talked a little about the art earlier thought I'd include this. There are actually some good pieces in here and there's more art than you'd expect from a 3pp 4e setting, but there's a lot like this too.
The Circle Dancer is a Solar Striker. I'm not a hundred on what Solar's secondary role tends to be (like how Martial characters tend to be a little more strikery, Divine classes have a little leader, etc) but I'm sure we'll figure it out as we go through the classes.
The main gimmick for Circle Dancers is the Circle of Power. Some of their powers have a range of Close Burst (Circle), which uses the size of the Circle of Power to determine range.
Unfortunately, Circle Dancers are a v-shaped class. There are two rough builds. Ritual Dancers use Dexterity as their primary ability score, and specialize in one-on-one combat. Most of their powers pull enemies into the Circle of Power or toss foes out of it. Storm Dancers get a lot of area attacks, usually damaging enemies in their Circle, and use Wisdom as their score. Circle Dancers can use Wisdom for AC so it's not too bad.
The big difference between the two - generally a Ritual Dancer wants to be inside the Circle of Power, while the Storm Dancer is more likely to drop the Circle down and run off to do something else. You can mix and match too, of course.
Otherwise, Circle Dancers get bonuses inside the Circle depending on what kind of weapon they use. They can also use most weapons as implements; like Artificers, their powers are a mix of weapon and implement attacks.
I'm not going to go through all of the powers, but I'll pick a few as examples of what they can do.
Here's an example of a Circle power, one of the at-wills:
It damages one enemy within the Circle. The cool thing is, you don't need to be in your Circle of Power to use it. You can set the Circle directly in the enemy's path and rain down fire on them from range, while still open to attack enemies who come after you.
Sun Snare is a great way to keep someone inside the Circle.
Some powers, like Sun Storm, create a zone centered around your Circle of Power. It's really good battlefield control.
The Circle of Power is really versatile, and the class reminds me of the Shaman (despite being a badass melee combatant). Depending on how you build your character, you can do a lot of unique stuff with the Circle. It's amazing if you want to protect a certain area or establish a chokepoint or establish a sorta safe zone, especially with utilities like Reactive Movement since you can haul ass back to the Circle as a reaction.
All I can picture is one of those giant cartoon clouds of dust with fists flying and people trying to get out and it owns.
There are three Paragon Paths for Circle Dancers.
The Fire Dancer is for Wisdom-based Dancers. It focuses on damage and zones, lots of abilities to punish enemies for being in the Circle of Power.
Ritual Dancers can look to the Earth Dancer . It trades damage for increased defenses, regeneration, resistances.
Water Dancers are Dex-based too. It's a mix of the other two, in a lot of ways - there's some increased self-healing, but also methods of dealing extra damage to enemies in the Circle of Power.
Overall verdict? I really like the Circle Dancer. The Circle of Power itself is an awesome gimmick in the vein of the Shaman's spirit companion, and it's so freakin versatile. The Circle Dancer is probably the best of the new classes mechanically and conceptually. There are things I'd change (no V-shape) and I'm not a hundred on how balanced all of it is but I want to play one.
I'm not really sure how much detail to go into with the classes or how much of their powers I should show off so if there's anything I can add let me know. I'll do the Destiny Knight next.