posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Originally created in 1987 by the now defunct Bard Games, then shuffled about from company to company and kept alive by a dedicated fan community, Talislanta is now available, in all forms, for free at

Talislanta is a weird ass game. It actively resists metaplot, laughs at munchkins, and is absolutely in love with a setting custom made to have ADVENTURES! in. The skill resolution is a mutant d20 system with a table, magic is Ars Magica for Dummies, and character creation has more to do with Dark Souls than Dungeons and Dragons.

I will be reviewing the 4th edition, the so called “Big Blue Book”. Why an older edition? Because 1st through 3rd have some obvious polish issues which are (mostly) fixed in 4th. 5th is blatantly both fan-driven and tries to mix other RPG’s with Talislanta diluting its uniqueness. Also it has terrbile writing and looks really bad.

Next time Chapter 1: The Rules , but first have a big honking fantasy map! (This will be important when we get to the Setting bit)


posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Talislanta 4th Edition

This chapter is a basic overview of the rule system. I'm skipping the magic and combat sections as they get their own chapters, but I like how they stick everything you need to know right up front.
It opens with the bog-standard “What is Roleplaying?” intro every single RPG has ever had.

Section 1: Resolution

Then we launch right into the resolution mechanic, which is bog simple and actually universal.

1. Compare Skill or Attribute rating with Degree of Difficulty.
2. Take difference of the two numbers as a modifier.
3. Add to a d20 roll and check the Action Table.

Whoah! New Edgy Vocabulary! This is no D&D! I’ll explain skill and attribute rating when we get to skills and attributes. Same for Degree of Difficulty.
As for the second bit, the Action Table:

Yeah, that’s it. While there are some hard rules, mainly relating to combat, 99% of the time what each result actually means is up to the GM. I actually really like the Action Table, it’s easy to remember, lets players memorize phrases instead of a constantly shifting number as a metric of success, and it gives the GM good guidelines for encounter difficulty. When you know what numbers your players should be rolling you don’t have to rely on crappy Hit Die calculating or Challenge Rating which is almost always worthless. Also it’s right on the default character sheet, so that’s a nice touch.

Okay, now I need to touch on something really simple that Talislanta puts a lot of emphasis on. This is Intent. See, the action table judges how well you fulfilled your intent. If you want to knock someone out, their head won’t explode on a critical success. What you want to do matters, not what actually happens. It’s a little thing, but it really makes the game more player-friendly.

Section 2: Attributes and Skills

Attributes can be both positive and negative numbers. Mr. Average is going to have 0 in everything, with +5 and -5 being the normal human maximum and minimum. Attributes are added to skills (or subtracted for negatives) to get your Skill Rating. When using just an attribute you double it (once again, works both ways, negatives get lower).

The Attributes are:

Strength, Dexterity, Perception, Charisma, Constitution, Willpower, Intelligence: You know ‘em, you love ‘em, it’s D&D standard.

Speed: Determines Initiative, and how fast you travel unaided.

HP: It’s hitpoints. Hit 0 you die.

Combat and Magic: Yes, these are their own skills. You can have an inbred hick Wizard, or an asthmatic Warrior. This is actually kinda nice and leads to some interesting builds.

There’s some rules for special stuff attributes do like Encumbrance, Movement, and first impressions, but they’re boring.

Skills are the same as attributes, but no negatives. Everyone starts at 0 and can only go up. Once again, add to attribute to get Skill Rating, what you actually use in your rolls. Skills increase by spending 2 times the new skill level in XP. So going from 5 to 6 costs 12 XP, 6 to 7 costs 14, you get the idea.

Also creatures don’t get skills. PC’s and NPC’s are basically identical, but monsters just get an Ability Level which a range of numbers used for all their checks. Try to keep it realistic though, a cat probably isn’t swordfighting no matter its Ability Level.

Degree of Difficulty is the all-in-one modifier. It’s how easy or difficult a task is to accomplish for someone with 0 skill rating. Opposed actions use whatever the “defenders” opposing skill is. Sneak is opposed by Guard, Sword would be by Shield, etc. Once again, take the difference of the Skill Rating and Degree of Difficulty to find what you add (or subtract) from the d20 result.

You can also take multiple actions per turn, but each after your first adds a cumulative -5 to all rolls, until you get a Mishap result or end your turn. Note that the penalty persists all round, meaning you have a -5 until it’s your turn again, and this game has active rolling for defense. Maxing out your actions every turn can turn really nasty for you.

Section 3: Character Creation
I know what you’re thinking, “Wait, isn’t this its own chapter?” Well, it’s not. See, the book gives you an 8 step process to make a dude, but it’s really only 3.

1. Pick an Archetype.
2. Redistribute up to 2 attribute points.
3. Fill out character sheet. (Name, History, Motivation, etc.)
What’s an archetype? This is:

Remember when I said this is more Dark Souls than D&D? Archetypes are basically a starting package. They’re Race, Class, Inventory, Attributes, and Skills all in one. There are tons of Archetypes, and they are all basically starting packages. Talislanta has free leveling; you spend XP to buy skill levels, so there are no real limits, just more XP needed to overcome poor attributes.

And that wraps up the basic rules, next time COMBAT! (and art I can show you! This book likes to repeat art from the setting section, so I can’t post some stuff. Sorry.)


posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Talislanta 4th Edition

This is going to be a real short chapter. Most of the chapter is suggestions for modifiers and optional rules I won’t go over because, once again, they’re really goddamn boring.

First off is how weapons and armor work. Each weapon has a Damage Rating, which determines how much damage it does on an attack. You add or subtract your strength to the Damage Rating of melee weapons and some ranged weapons like javelins. Armor has Protection Rating, which is a straight absorption of damage. If your Damage is lower that their Protection, you can’t hurt them, at least not with a standard attack.

Oh and you can use shields. They reduce the attackers roll by -2, and give +3 to Parrying, while lowering all Dexterity based rolls by 2. If you don’t have any levels in the Shield skill you use your Combat attribute, but attackers only take a -1, you only get +1 to Parrying, and you take -4 to all Dexterity based rolls.

Now, how do you hurt something with Protection higher than your Damage? Well, there’s two ways:

1. Aimed Shots: They can be used to hit a specific target on an enemy, or completely bypass an enemies armor. It only works on a Success or Critical Success, Partial Success is treated as a failure, and your Degree of Difficulty is the Protection you’re trying to bypass.

2. Critical Wounds: Get a Critical Success on an attack to inflict a Critical Wound. This forces the opponent to make a Constitution roll with Degree of Difficulty being the attackers Damage. Critical or Success means nothing happens, Partial Success means a -5 to ALL rolls until healed, Failure or Mishap is instant KO or Kill, depending on intent of attack.

Lastly there’s Defense, which is active in this game. You make a Parry or Evade (Both use different skills) to stop an attack. It’s nice to have players actually be able to do something when it’s not their turn instead of standing around getting wailed on. Plus it uses the same action penalty, so multiple attacks can lead to cumulative -5s until they can’t defend anymore, giving some strategy to choosing offence over defense.

Oh, and healing without magic is at 5 plus or minus Constitution. Critical Wounds recover whenever the GM says they do without magic.

Next time Something Interesting! MAGIC! Huzzah! No seriously I love this games magic system, and it’s the first taste of fluff we’ll be getting. So, BE EXCITED!


posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Okay, now we have something interesting. This chapter is pretty much the only reason I bothered with the rules sections instead of just going right to the interesting part of the setting fluff. I love the magic system of this game. The closest thing I can really compare it to is a more simplified Ars Magica.
Okay, first the basics. The magic system is made up of two parts, Orders, and Modes.


Modes are the mechanical half of the magic system. The Modes are as follows:

Alter : Change Skill and Attribute levels.
Attack : Cause direct damage.
Conjure : Create non-living things. Dirt, water, air, tables, a sandwich, etc.
Defend : Active defense against attack.
Heal : Heal living things and repair non-living things.
Illusion : Makes sensory illusions.
Influence : Mind Control!
Move : Forcefully moving something. Picking up objects, controlling people like puppets, flying around, etc.
Reveal/Conceal : Sees through illusions, detect lies, see magical energy, invisible things, and of course Scrying. Conceal can do the opposite, hiding those things and preventing Scrying.
Summon/Banish : Call forth and send away Horrible Abominations From Beyond the Ken of Mortal Man! Also ghosts and stuff.
Transform : Shape shifting. Works on inanimate objects and other people too.
Ward/Hex : Give passive defense against a specific effect, or inflict that effect on something or somebody.

Modes work just like skills, and are based on Intent. If what you want to do is cause direct damage to something, no matter how you describe your actions, you use Attack. This keeps Mr. Clever Dick from ruining everything by cheesing the system with dumping tons of points into only one or two modes.

You can boost the effects of a spell by increasing it’s Spell Level. Each level makes a spell more powerful, determined by the specific mode, but gives you a -1 to our roll for each level above 1.

This is surprisingly nasty because Mishap results on a spell roll means you get a Magical Mishap. These can range from the spell just hitting yourself to you getting thrown forward or backward in time. It’s basically GM choice so you know this can be evil.

You can offset this though by casting from a book or scroll. This gives you a +5 to your spell roll, but takes 10 rounds of time/1 minute per spell level, so it’s suicide in a combat situation.

You can also Counterspell, by making a roll of the same Mode using the spell you are trying to counter’s level as a Degree of Difficulty. Full or Critical Success negates the spell, Partial cuts it’s effect or duration in half, Failure does jack, and Mishap strengthens the target spell.

Mind you really want a high spell roll because of Spell Penalty. This is how Talislanta limits your daily casting. Every spell that has a result lower than a Critical Success gives you a cumulative -1 to all spell rolls until you take at least a 7 hour rest.

Last mechanical thing is Enchanting. Enchanting is either increasing a weapon or armor pieces Damage or Protection, which is indicated by a +(number) next to it, where the number is the increase or grafting a specific spell onto an item so that it can be used without actually casting. Encantments acan be continuous, but cost more and can only be passive, active enchantments need to be activated at a maximum of three times a day and must be recharged either daily or through a specific ritual depending on GM and Player desires.

Players can make enchanted items, but it costs a ton and takes forever (Minimum of 2 weeks) so it’s easier to just find or buy them.

You can only have 7 enchanted items on your person at any moment. The second you have 8 or more all enchanted items cease working and just become normal until you are back to 7.

Christ that was a lot of crap nobody will read but I still typed up. Okay, now to something INTERESTING!


Orders are a combination of Fluff and Crunch. They are actually things in-lore, the school or type of magic you cast. Orders determine what your spells look like, how you cast them, and what they can do beyond the mechanics of the Modes.
Each order you learn has its own set of modes, a high Attack mode in one Order can’t be used to cast an Attack spell in another Order.

The Orders are as follows:

Cartomancy : Spells cast by using the triangular Zodar, essentially Tarot cards. You must have cards and be able to manipulate them to cast, but that’s all. No need for gestures, words, or other materials. Cartomancy is learned individually, you can’t be taught it and just have to figure it out yourself.

Cryptomancy : Spellcasting using magical writing, runes, and inscriptions. Cryptomancy spells cannot be cast instantly, but must be triggered by circumstances determined at the time of casting. They will remain dormant until those situations are met though, so allowing clever Cryptomancers to set up traps and keep a massive stock of pre-made spells ready to go. They also know the Cryptomancer code, a secret language of runes that only Cryptomancers understand.

Crystalomancy : Regarded as a divine gift from Terra, the Earth Mother, Crystalomancy casts spells using special enchanted crystals, which are required to use their magic. Crystalomancers are almost always nature-lovers and are seen as priests and holy-men of Terra.

Elemental Magic : Magic drawn from the Elemental Planes. Each caster of this Order must specialize in one of the four elements, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. A second element is treated as a second Order. These casters are immune to their own elements, fire does not burn a Fire Elementalist, Water Elementalists cannot drown, etc. This magic is the least subtle, creating massive special effects whenever used.

Invocation : Calling upon the powers of magical beings and forces. Invokers are often extremely religious or superstitious, believing their powers come from gods, spirits, and demons. Invokers will lose their powers if they act contrary to the will of their patron, or believe that they have acted as such. Invokers must at minimum be able to speak to cast their spells, so as to plead their patron for aid.

Mysticism : Zen Wizards. Mysticism is based upon using pure willpower and a trained mind to manipulate magical energies. Mystics need nothing to cast their magic, no tools, no movements, not even words. A bound, blinded, and gagged mystic is as dangerous as a free one. But mystics require inner peace to use their abilities. Their minds cannot be distracted to utilize their magic, so most practice meditation religiously.

Natural Magic : Standard Druid stuff. Commune with nature, hug trees, etc. Not that interesting.

Necromancy : Anything involving the dead. Most necromancers hold Death as a diety-like figure, some even worshipping it. Necromancers are also the foremost authority on anatomy and physiology in Talislanta due to their obsession with corpses, and so can use their Necromancy rating in place of the Anatomy skill. Must have some sort of personal fetish, usually made from body-parts, to cast spells. Can earn XP from ritually killing something, but most people hate their guts and nature spirits shun them.

Shamanism : Magic cast by accessing the Totems, archetypal spirits that reside in the otherworldly Dreamrealms. They must utilize complex rituals to cast their magic, and ingest dream-state inducing drugs, but get a bonus to one Mode cast using their personal Totem selected upon learning the Order.

: Voodoo basically. Casting spells using a symbolic link between the subject and a symbolic item. Can work across any distance, but on a roll of 13 the spell doesn’t work.

Wizardry : Most widespread magic in Talislanta, this is the direct manipulation of Arcane Energy. Big, showy, with lots of glowing and sparks and fancy lights.

Next Time: The Travelers Guide to Talislanta! Introduction.

A Traveller's Guide to Talislanta

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Written as an in-universe travel guide by the Wizard Tamerlin, the guide takes up most of the 500+ page book. The fact that it is an in-universe travel guide is important. It is explicitly both out of date and possibly wrong about many things due to (as the Editor’s Preface states) Tamerlin basically being a big fat liar who makes things up to sound interesting.

Here's the map again, you'll need it for this entire chapter(Dozens of Posts)


The guide opens with a history of the continent of Talislanta. Yes, continent, once again that distinction is important. There are races and things that come from other lands so remember that the map is one continent, not the entire planet.
Okay, way way back in the past is called the Forgotten Age because nobody knows jack about it. We just know that back then the Wild Races (descendents of the modern people of Talislanta) were a bunch of nomadic hunter-gatherers ruled over by the First Folk, a race of frog-men.

Then a group of Wild Races that came to be called the Archaens found a space-ship where they learned to become wizards.

No, I’m not joking, they straight call it an “alien ark”.

They learn magic, and team up with the other Wild Races to blow the First Folk out of existence. This started the Archaean age.

At first the Archaens and the Wild Races got along pretty good, until the Archaeans started getting all uppity. They started building “cities” and “roads”. It also didn’t help that they started using magic to change their appearance to look less like the Wild Races.

The Wild Races started getting fed up with those lazy Archaeans and their “civilization” and the Archaean citystates started kicking each other’s asses to see who had the biggest wizard dick. These constant wars got so bad that the Archaen Cabal, a body made up of the seven most powerful magicians in the world, forced a peace treaty. The Wild Races would get free reign over all the land and sea, while the Archaeans lived in giant floating cities supported by magic.

This arrangement worked pretty well for a while, until the Archaeans started getting bored again. This became the Age of Decline where the Archaeans started acting like gods. They trafficked with demons and devils, created hordes of magical abominations that still blight the world, used the Wild Races as combination guinea pigs and target practice, and basically shat on everything from their floating palaces.

Then the Great Disaster hit. All the magic the Archaeans had been flinging around had ruptured the fabric of space and time and the universe took a big runny shit on everything. Demons swarmed from a million portals, fire and ice rained from the sky, magic storms warped and twisted the landscape. Islands rose and fell, rivers changed their course, volcanoes erupted, deserts formed, the world got fucked seven ways from Sunday and all civilization ceased to exist.

This led to the Age of Confusion where everyone just tried to get themselves unfucked after the Great Disaster and start trying to rebuild civilization.

Now we’re in the New Age, the sixth century according to Tamerlin, and civilization is getting back in order. Mostly the world is just a few scattered city-states and villages separated by miles of hostile barely-explored wilderness. Some people have formed something resembling modern nations, and there’s even an Empire, but on the whole civilization is just getting up to feudalism.


Basically every sentient race in Talislanta is split into four categories:

The Wild Races: The original inhabitants of Talislanta. Mostly primitive tribesfolk and hunter-gatherers. Hate the Archaens for being dickwads.

The Archaeans: The “civilized” peoples of Talislanta. Descendents of the original Archaeans. Hate the Wild Races for being ugly brutes.

Magical Mutations: Races created by magic, either intentionally by a bored wizard or accidentally, also probably by a bored wizard.

Extra-Dimensional Entities: Beings from other planes or worlds. Brought here on purpose or by accident, both can be blamed on wizards.


Money! Talislanta has a standard universal currency of the Lumen. One gold equals ten silver that equals one hundred copper pieces. Talislanta also has several other currencies with varying values pegged to the Lumen.

Aamanian Coppers: Wafer-like coins from Aaman. Worthless outside of Aaman, within equivalent to a copper Lumen.
Antique Coins: Old Archaean coins, value varies due to collector interest and rarity, but always worth a bundle.
Dracartan Pyramids: Triangular coins made of red iron, worth five silver. Honored everywhere but Rajan, where carrying them is a death sentence.
Gold Pentacles: Star shaped coins made in the Seven Kingdoms. Worth five gold, and beloved by traders due to the difficulty of counterfeiting them.
Imrian Brass Rings: Used by the Imrian slavers and normally worn on the neck or wrist. Wirth two coppers, they are only used by slavers and refused anywhere else.
L’Haan Adamants: Snowflake shaped coins of L’Haan. Worth 20 gold in L’Haan, 40 outside due to rarity of Adamant.
Oceanian Radiants: The scales of Sea Dragons. One gold lumen on the City-Fleet of Oceanus, worthless anywhere else but as a trinket.
Orgovian Yatma: Led coins without any worth. Saying, “not worth a lead Yatma”.
Quan Emperors: Coin of the now defunct Quan Empire. Rarity means they are worth 100 gold a piece to collectors.
Zandir Crescents: Moon shaped coins worth 10 gold in Zandu, once gold or nothing elsewhere.


Land travel in Talislanta is risky. There are only four road systems in Talislanta. The Phaedran Causeway links most major cities west of the Seven Kingdoms, but goes through the Talislantan equivalent of the Korean DMZ. The Wilderlands Road links up major cities west of the Seven Kingdoms, but goes through some of the harshest and most bandit infested country in the world. The Seven Roads link the seven capitals of the Seven Kingdoms together, but don’t go anywhere else, so their use is limited. The Emperors Road covers most of the Kang Empire, and is the safest road in Talislanta. Problem is the 5 gold toll at every city and bridge.

Most Talislantans prefer river boats or, if you can afford it, passage on a flying Windship. Sailing on the Ocean is avoided if at all possible, the seas are full of giant monsters, pirates, hostile natives, and nasty storms.


Talislanta has a lunar calendar based upon the planets seven moons, which might actually be giant gaping holes in reality that spit forth demons onto the world, but I digress. It’s seven days to a week, seven weeks to a month, seven months to a year. The months are named after whatever moon in highest overhead, days have no names and are just called by number of the month.

Next Time : Astar of the Seven Kingdoms, home of the Muses!

The Seven Kingdoms 1

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Hey guys! I'm not dead! So it's time for...


The Seven Kingdoms are a loose coalition of seven city-states located in south-central Talislanta. It is ruled by the Council of Kings, a group made up of the leader of each city-state. The Seven Kingdoms are one of the safest and most stable regions in all of Talislanta, in part because of their existence bordering both the hostile Wilderlands and the fanatical Aamanians.

Still, the Kingdoms are not perfect. While internationally the Kindoms stand united, they are split by domestic strife. Council meetings are rarely productive due to the vast array of conflicting cultures that make up the kingdom. The threat of foreign invasion makes the Seven Kingdoms overly-protective of its borders, leaving the interior to the predations of bandits and wild beasts. This does allow some opportunity for employment though; the Borderlands Legion is always looking for mercenaries.

The Kingdom of Astar, Home of the Muses

Astar itself is only notable for its beauty. Sweeping fields of wildflowers, sylvan glades that seem made for lazy strolls, babbling brooks and crystal lakes, these make Astar a paradise of nature, but little else. Astar has no cities or towns. The only road is one of the Seven Roads, which leads to empty land. What Astar has instead, are the Muses.

The products of interbreeding between Archaeans and forest nymphs, the Muses are among the most striking denizens of Talislanta. All muses, male or female, are beautiful beyond compare. Their skin, hair, clothes, and even the great gossamer butterfly wings that sprout from their back are a rainbow of pastels in every shade.

Muses perform no labor that is not artistic. Buildings are tents made of vines and gossamer, constructed by Whisp servants. Roads are simply well-tread paths through the forests. What food they need or desire is taken from the forest, water from the streams and puddles of Astar. Their only industry is individual art. Muses craft the finest textiles and cloth in the world. Muse instruments are of a quality unmatched anywhere else in the world, and are highly valued by performers.

One thing that set the muse apart from all other beings on Talislanta is their ability to perform telempathy. This mystic talent, the ability to broadcast emotions and images into the minds of others, makes Muses utterly alien to most Talislantans. Instead of speaking, which they do only in the most extreme circumstances, muses prefer telempathic communication, or leaving it to their Whisp servants to translate. This makes them seem aloof and arrogant, while muses do not see why other races even bother with something as crude as speech.

A strange quirk of this ability is the tendency for Muses to “bond” with other beings. They become incredibly infatuated with the subject of this bond, following them wherever they go and seeking to experience everything they can with them. While these bonds may last a few days or a few decades they almost always end as suddenly as they came, with the muse returning to their own life bearing fond memories of their past partners.

This telempathy though, is also what makes the muses a valuable member of the Seven Kingdoms. No army or hostile force has every successfully invaded Astar because of it. When a muse is threatened they first broadcast emotions of terror toward their enemies, hoping to make them flee entirely. If this does not work they send images of horror. Monsters and demons, impossible things of primal dread, every nightmare they can conceive, is visited upon the invader. Finally the muses utilize full hallucination, completely taking over the invaders senses, crushing their mind in layers of unreality until they go permanently insane.

The Muse Government is non-existent. They are a totally anarchic society, with their representative on the Council of Kings selected by random lot. The only punishment in Muse society is banishment from Astar, for they see anything else as utterly unthinkable.

Denizens of Astar


The whisps are a type of Nature spirit found mainly in Astar. They come in three distinct varieties, Woodwhisps, who act as servants and confidants of the Muses; Waterwhisps, who are secretive denizens of streams and ponds; and Nightwhisps, who come forth at night to play cruel tricks on anyone they come across.
Whisps know some little bit of magic, but are normally seen as more of a pest than a threat. Most will leave if ignored, due to short attention spans.

Dryad Bush

A strange type of plant, that during the day looks like a small tree in the shape of a woman. At night the Dryad Bush comes alive, transforming into a green forest nymph. Little is known about these creatures, as they are highly secretive and rare to find.

The Kingdom of Cymril, City of Magic

Cymril is the capital of the Seven Kingdoms, by virtue of both its position at the center of all the Seven Roads, and as the capital of magical learning in Talislanta. The kingdom itself is mostly gentle hills and sparse woodlands, with scattered villages and the odd stone watchtower. It is sparsely populated except by a few farming villages and rest stops that serve the capital city.
The city of Cymril is a glittering metropolis of elegant buildings, crystal spires, and mighty airships plying the skies above. Cymril is also the cultural and trade hub of the continent. Representatives of every race and nationality can be found in its streets. Items from as far off as L’Haan and the Kang Empire can be bought it its stalls and stores.

This land is the home of the Cymrilians, green skinned and golden-eyed, they are one of the few races who can claim a direct descendancy from the ancient Archaeans. The Cymrilians are overall a flexible, cosmopolitan people, though they have friction with a small group of “Traditionalists” called the Tanasians who hold to the old feelings of Archaean supremacy, and at one point tried to sieze control of the city.

The Cymrilians most notable feature is their fascination with magic. While less than a tenth of the Cymril population are spellcasters, the reverence for the mystic arts infuses their entire society. Their head of state and Council representative is the Sorceror King, while elected he is traditionally the most powerful spellcaster in the city. He is assisted by the Cabal, a group of the five greatest members of the Lyceum Arcanum, the foremost academy of magic in the world. Children play with enchanted toys, and adults wear enchanted clothes. Makeup is replaced with spells to alter ones physical form, and art almost always has a magical component.

Denizens of Cymril


The Equs is a reptilian herd-animal used throughout the continent as a mount. There are few creatures faster than an Equs at full sprint, and almost none who share the in the Equses other, greater, advantage over most Talislantan creatures. The Equs are beings who posess not only near-human levels of intellect, but their own language, with some even learning humanoid tongues. This intelligence means a trained Equs bests any other riding mount by a long way simply due to its agency and problem solving skills.

Monitor Imp

Small devils used by Talislantan wizards as assistants and spies. A notable quirk of Monitor Imps is that they are incapable of lying, which can be both a boon and a curse, depending on who is questioning the Imp.

Sorcerer Trees
Tall conifers whose leaves resemble a man in hat and cloak. They are seen as frightening by more primitive denizens of Talislanta, and their wood is the preferred materiel for magical staves and wands.

The Kingdom of Durne, The Crystal Caverns of the Gnomekin

On the surface Durne is a sparse and dry land. The Great Disaster sapped the life from Durne, leaving it worthless for farming. As a result the denizens of Durne make their home in the massive cave systems found in the area, where the diminutive Gnomekin tend their farms of tubers and crystal.

Gnomekin stand about three foot tall, with dark brown skin and childlike faces. Their most striking feature is the mane of black fur than runs from their foreheads to the small of their backs. Gnomekin are kindly and friendly to an extreme degree. They love socializing and often have massive families, with a dozen or more children not being uncommon. It is said that all Gnomekin are part of a single massive family, and in most cases this is true. The Gnomekin are also greatly faithful to the Earth Goddess Terra, revering her as their protector and provider. They prefer small private prayer services delivered by the Godesses priestesses.

Gnomekin government is a hereditary monarchy, with the Queen controlling trade and domestic affairs, while the King handles the military and foreign concerns. Their primary exports are crystals from their mines, a wide variety of roots and fungi from their underground farms, and maps of the Underground Highway, a massive system of tunnels that spans the entirety of Talislanta.

Denizens of Durne


Gigantic armored denizens of the deep Underground Highway. Little is known about them, except that they are universally hostile and wield weapons forged of an unknown black metal. They are immune to fire and heat, but bright light hurts and blinds them.

Scarlet Sporozoid

Bright red fungus found in underground tunnels, ruins, and dark swamps. When disturbed they fire clouds of spores that dissolve any organic material they come in contact with, devouring the victim before sprouting as new Sporozoids. They are most vulnerable to fire, but the spores can be cleansed with a medicinal purge.

Next Time: Jews, Vulcans, Clones, and the Man-Birds, in Seven Kingdoms: Part 2!


posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Long ago, before work and school devoured my free time, I wrote of a game called Talislanta!

Lo’ the text was far too brief, and the images too frequent, for such was the fate of one bearing the mark of the Stupid Newbie. But I have returned! Stronger, wiser, to relate unto you the story of the great game known as Talislanta!

As I’ve already made some posts eons ago (They’re linked in the wiki) I’m not going to go over the game mechanics. I think I covered them decently well, and any posts would just be repeating myself. Instead I’m going to cover the entire Lore section of the book, A Travelers Guide to Talislanta, from the beginning because the posts I’d already made sucked Equus nuts.

A New Introduction

Talislanta was first published in 1987 by Bard Games, as was seen at first as a breath of fresh air among the endless D&D clones on the market. Ten years later and the game went through tons of publishers, 4 official editions, one fan edition, and now exists totally free on This review will be of the Talislanta 4th Edition AKA the Big Blue Book. This is because 5th edition I feel introduced too much complexity to the system and is much less professional in many respects. So, feel free to grab a copy and read along if you wish!

A Quick Recap

This is a quick recap of the mechanics chapters so that people who don’t want to read my old posts don’t feel confused.
Attributes are standard stuff and range from -10 to +10 with 0 being the average. Everything is based off of a single skill-based resolution mechanic, which is Skill Rating (Skill level which is 0-100 + the relevant Attribute Rating)- Challenge Rating/Opposing Skill Rating + d20. Then you look up your result on the action table to get Mishap, Failure, Partial Success, Success, or Critical Success. The results depend on what the intent behind the action, and how successfully you fulfill that intent. Attribute rolls take your attribute and double it to stand in for the Skill Rating.

Magic is a set of skills called Orders that cover such things as Attack, Summoning, Influence, and Defense. What your magic looks like/does is up to you, only the intended effect matters for deciding which skill to use.

Combat is just Opposed skill rolls. Each weapon has a Damage Rating (Listed Damage + Strength) and each type of armor has a Protection Rating. Damage is DR minus PR, easy. Grappling works the same as a normal attack, just with special results from the action table. A critical success on an attack does full damage, and also causes the opponent to make a Critical Wound roll. This is a Constitution roll using the attackers DR as a modifier. Success or better means nothing happens, partial success means they take a wound and get -5 to all rolls until it is healed, and Failure or below removes them from combat entirely.

Healing is 5 HP a day plus Constitution. Minimum is 1 HP a day, and critical wounds heal after 24 hours of inactivity, or longer if they have to stay active. Magical healing speeds this up of course.

Character creation is simple. You pick an Archetype, which is a premade package of Race/Attributes/Skills/Equipment that fits the lore of Talislanta. You then spend XP to increase your skills after that. Attributes can only be increased by magic, not XP.

A Travelers Guide to Talislanta

The Continent of Talislanta exists on an otherwise unnamed world orbiting twin suns and orbited by seven moons. These moons may or may not actually be gaping holes to other planes of existence, but no one’s really sure. Nobody knows what lies off the shores of Talislanta, due to the danger of navigating the open sea.

The continent of Talislanta itself is made up mostly of City States separated by massive spans of wilderness. Roads are few and ill-maintained, and outside of cities is generally wilderness.

The peoples of Talislanta are split into 4 rough categories:
1. The Wild Races : The primitive tribefolk and “uncivilized” peoples of Talislanta. Generally beastial or animalistic in appearance.
2. The Archaens: “Civilized” peoples. Generally very human in appearance.
3. Magical beings: Peoples either created or changed by magic. This is everything from mutants, to artificial lifeforms, to nature spirits.
4. Extra-dimensional beings: Both normal people not native to this world, as well as Devils, Demons, and other such beings.

To understand Talislanta you must understand its history. Long long ago there was The Time Before Time, when the world was ruled by and amphibious race known as the First Folk. They ruled over all the Wild Races, until the rise of the Archaens. Originally a tribe of simple hunter-gatherers, the people who would become the Archaens found a strange alien vessel, which contained the knowledge of Magic. With this newfound power the Archaens rose up agains the First Folk, and drove them to extinction in a great war.

This gave rise to the Archaen Age. As the Archaens knowledge of magic grew so did their power. They began to build cities, settling the lands and starting the first “proper” civilizations. They used their magic to change themselves, so that they began to look totally unlike the Wild Races they were descended from. As they grew and expanded they began to come into conflict with the Wild Races and one another. They pushed the Wild Races from their lands, until inevitably they began to run into one another. Soon the Archaen city states began a period of almost constant war, as they began to fight over land and resources. These wars lasted for centuries, until a council of the seven greatest magicians in the world, known as the Archaen Cabal orchestrated a great truce. Under this truce the Archaens left the land entirely, using their magic to lift their cities into the sky, to float above the world, leaving the surface to the Wild Races.

At first this created a Golden Age. With the worries of power and land gone, the Archaen peoples expanded their knowledge and culture beyond comprehension. Magical knowledge reached its height, and the secrets of the universe were unraveled. But, this could not last. As their power grew, so did their arrogance. They came to see themselves as gods, and so entered the Age of Decline.

The Age of Decline is marked by gross abuse of magical powers. Entire species were formed by magic, monsters and horrors loosed upon the world. Demons were loosed upon the world. Magicians made pacts with Devils. The forces of reality were warped and bent to the breaking point. Mad Gods reigned horrors down from their floating cities, and feasted among Devils and blood.

Then came The Great Disaster. What caused the disaster no one knows. Some believe it to be Divine retribution for the Archaens evil. Others, a consequence of gross mishandling of magic. Some even think it was a deliberate act by a rogue magician. Whatever the cause, the Great Disaster brought the Archaens low. Their cities were torn from the sky as the spells that kept them aloft failed. Magic swept the world, twisting the earth and changing beasts into monsters. Rivers flooded, mountains rose and fell, islands sank and were born. The world died and was reborn, fresh and new and alien.

Now it is the New Age. Civilization, annihilated in the Disaster is once again sending out pioneers and scouts. Roads link up new city states, empires and confederations are born of conquest and necessity. The world has begun to move again, and the intrepid and mad shall steer its course.

Next Time: The Seven Kingdoms, or The Good Guys

The Seven Kingdoms 2

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Before I begin, I’m going to explain how I’m organizing this thing. Each post is going to be a “Region” of Talislanta, with some of the longer ones getting split in two. Each “Land” in that region will get its own section that looks like this:

Land: Name and description of the geography.
People: The Race/Races that live here.
Beastiary: The wildlife/dangers/monsters of the land.
Interesting Things: Anything that doesn’t fit above that I think is cool.
Adventure Hooks: Things that could be used as the basis for a game.
Archetypes: A rough overview of the Archetypes tied to this area.

Right, with that settled let’s get into it!

The Seven Kingdoms is a loose confederation of seven sovereign states. It is ruled by the Council of Kings, made up of the leader of each kingdom. Ideally this means the Seven Kingdoms exist as a primitive republic, all contributing to a common good in a union of brotherhood and peace. In actuality the confederation was formed through sheer necessity. Council meetings are marked by constant arguments over tariffs, taxes, trade routes, supply lines, and law. The Kingdoms are primarily united by trade, each land naturally being very specialized in their industries forcing cooperation between states.

Astar: A land of idyllic pastures, sylvan glades, and babbling brooks. Untouched by civilization, Astar is as as close to paradise as it is possible to get.

The Muses: Residents of Astar, the muses are thought to be crossbreeds of Archaens and nature spirits. They are best known by the large pair of butterfly wings that grow from their backs, as well as their pastel hair and skin. The Muses lack any sort of government. Their Council member is chosen by random lot, and “leadership” generally falls to the oldest Muse in an area. They also lack any sort of industry. While their crafts are famed throughout the world, in particular their fine fabrics and musical instruments, they are all the work of individual artists. Anything a Muse needs they magically create from the surrounding woodlands, gathering fruit and growing their tent-like homes from living plants. Each muse is accompanied by at least one Whisp, a type of minor nature spirit that acts as their servant and companion. Muses are often seen as either aloof and arrogant, or creepy and invasive, due to their powers of telempathy. They are able to send emotions and images into the minds of others as their preferred means of communication. This is seen as disturbing to most other races, and as such they use Whisps to translate, leading to them being seen as arrogant. Sometimes a muse telempathically “bonds” with another being, the Muse equivalent of marriage. As long as the bond lasts the muse cannot bare to be separated from the object of their affection, and follows them everywhere. This Telempathy is also a deadly weapon. In times of war the Muses are capable of combining their abilities to affect entire armies, instilling dread, creating illusions and hallucinations of their greatest nightmares, and with enough time, completely destroying their enemy’s minds.

• Whisps: A breed of minor elementals, that resemble small winged people. They are widely considered to be pests, and enjoy petty thievery and playing pranks. They know some minor spells, but are generally seen as harmless annoyances.
• Dryad Bush: A strange type of shrub that resembles a woman. At night they transform into living forest nymphs, thought to be the ancestors of the Muses.

Interesting Things: Lake Zephyr in Astar is a major source of water for the desert kingdom of Dracarta. Traders use magic to solidify the water for transport back to their home city.

Story Hooks: Joining a caravan of Dracartan Water traders, trying to retrieve an item stolen by Whisps, dealing with a Muse who has bonded with a member of the party.

• Muse Telempath: A typical Muse. Some minor Nature magic, limited flight, and art skills. Main draw is Telempathy.

Cymril: Capital of the Seven Kingdoms. Surrounded by a temperate woodland is the City of Cymril, a massive metropolis of crystalline buildings. Cymril is the capital of Magic on Talislanta. Buildings are crafted of translucent crystal, airships ply the skies, and magic is literally everywhere. It is also known as a trade hub, practically located at the center of the world. As such it is a metropolis of incredible diversity. Cymril is home to the Lyceum Arcanum, the foremost institute of magic in the world.

Cymrilians: Descended from the Archaens, the Cymrilians are a tall slender people with pale green skin and hair, with golden eyes. They are the chief exporters of magical goods in the world, everything from wands and scrolls to enchanted toys and color changing clothes. They are ruled by the Wizard King, an elected official who heads the Cymrillian Cabal, a body made of the five greatest wizards of the Lyceum Arcanum. Magic totally pervades Cymrillian culture, and can be found in everything. It is rare to find an object in Cymril that has not been enchanted in some minor way. Their favorite entertainment is Illusion art, a magical form combining visual spectacle with musical accompaniment. Cymril is split between three political groups, the Moderates who make up most of the population, the Conservatives who are a diehard group of traditionalists who attempted a coup agains the Moderate government, and the Radicals who have mostly fled the city and wander the world as traders due to dissatisfaction with the Cymrillian government.

A horse is a horse of course of course...

• Equs: Resembling a cross between a horse and a lizard, they act as the primary mount and beast of burden in Talislanta. This is in large part due to their intelligence, which is near-human levels, with some Equs even known to be able to speak humanoid languages.
• Monitor Imp: A low-level Devil, summoned by magicians to perform menial bookkeeping tasks. They are incapable of lying, but are often mocking and sarcastic, rarely enjoying their grueling lot in life.

Interesting Things: Cymril is the only place where Sorcerer Trees grow, named such because they resemble the silhouette of a hooded man. They are the finest wood for magical staves and wands, and are considered ill-omens by more primitive cultures.

Story Hooks: Cymril is the “Main City” of Talislanta an can be used as an easy starting place for any campaign. Best setting for a political campaign in the Kingdoms. Likewise for Magic based games. Stealing an airship is something most groups would probably like to try.

• Cymrilian Magician: Your standard Wizard type guy. Robes, lots of magic, some social skills.
• Rogue Magician: Trades in magic for some stealth and combat skills.
• Swordsmage: Trades in magic for a lot of combat skills, and the ability to pilot a Windship.

Durne: On the surface Durne is a land of grassy knolls and sparse woods. The soil is too poor for farming, and too wild to settle. But below the ground lies the real Durne, a network of tunnels and caverns giving access to the massive mineral wealth hidden within the land.

Gnomekin: A small people with dark brown skin, child-like features, and a mane of black fur running from their forehead down to the small of their back. They live in the underground tunnels and caverns of Durne, mining magical crystals and tending great mushroom farms. They are ruled by a traditional hereditary monarchy. The Queen is responsible for domestic affairs of government, making laws and managing trade. The King commands the military and manages Durne’s foreign affairs and diplomacy. Gnomekin are best known for their love of family, with most immediate families numbering well over a dozen. It is said that all Gnomekin are related, and so all treat one another as family. They are incredibly religious, and worship the Great Mother Terra, goddess of the earth. Gnomekin art is based off of the growing and shaping of crystal, and they make some of the finest sculptures in the world.

Hobbit sounds like Rabbit, get it?

• Subterranoid: A race of massive armored creatures who dwell deep underground. They are immune to heat and flame, but weak to bright light. Little is known about them, they are only seen when ambushing travelers on the Underground Highway.
• Scarlet Sporozoid: A type of subterranean mushroom. If disturbed they release a cloud of spores that eat away at all organic materials. The recommended cure is a medicinal purge, but fire applied to the wound is an effective emergency treatment. They are stunned and cannot attack if exposed to direct light.

Interesting Things: The Underground Highway is a massive system of tunnels that spans the entire continent of Talislanta. It is almost totally unexplored, and is considered extremely dangerous outside of a handful of safe routes.

Adventure Hooks: Exploring the Underground Highway, Rescue from Subterranoids.

• Gnomekin Crystalomancer: Magician who uses magic crystals to cast spells. Also some crafting abilities, and is good at exploring underground.
• Gnomekin Protector: Combat archetype, with exploration skills for underground adventuring.

Next Time: The Seven Kingdoms Part 2; Vulcan Sherlock Holmes and Clones on Dinosaurs.

The Seven Kingdoms 3

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

It’s time for Part 2 of the Seven Kingdoms! This is where the… weirder aspects of Talislanta start showing up, and things get way more interesting from here on out, so let’s get started!

Kasmir A barren and arid desert land dominated by shifting sand dunes, it serves mainly as the eastern entrance to the Seven Kingdoms from the Wilderlands that dominate the heart of Talislanta.

The Kasmirans A short lean people with bronze skin and shriveled wrinkly skin. The Kasmiran’s are seen as greedy, cheap, snobby, cheats who can swindle the clothes off your back if they think there’s profit in it. They are also seen as totally trustworthy, morally infallible, and the wisest businessmen in Talislanta. This seemingly contrarian view is due to the unique culture of the Kasmirans. Formerly made up of tribes of desert nomads, the Kasmirans gained their land at the same time as the formation of the Seven Kingdoms. Their time as nomads ingrained a set of cultural norms that seem pure sense to Kasmirans but utterly alien to other peoples. The Kasmirans live in massive stone towers, heavily fortified and armed by the finest mercenaries money can buy, where only family is trusted within. This is because the Kasmirans remember the raiding desert bandits and wild beasts, and now arm themselves against all threats. The Kasmiran’s obsessively hoard wealth, spending as little money as possible and never giving gifts, an equal trade being the closest thing they’ll allow. This is because they remember when a single coin was the difference between life and starvation, and will not want again. The Kasmiran’s force all business partners to sign lengthy, exhaustively outlined contracts that are violently enforced, because they remember the cheating traders and lying nobles, and will not be taken advantage of again. These traits naturally lead to the Kasmirans being excellent bankers and accountants, and practically run the Talislantan finance industry. So important is this industry, that the 100 richest financiers are responsible for electing the Kasmiran King or Queen, who holds office until the financiers decide to hold a new election. They are also known for their locksmithing and security devices, which secure tombs, treasuries, and other such important places against intruders across the continent.


Land Kra A species of giant armor plated land eel, the Land Kra is the dominant predator of Talislantan deserts. They can reach up to 50 feet in length, and tunnel through sand and soft earth using their massive jaws. Their one weakness is their lack of eyes, relying on sound and vibration of the soil to track prey. They only come to the surface when food is scarce, preferring to hunt other underground fauna.
Interesting Things Kasmir hosts the Borderlands Legion, a corps of soldiers from across the Seven Kingdoms responsible for protecting the eastern border. They are always in need of new blood and will take any recruit who offers. Currently they hold three fortress outposts on the edge of the border, but a great Wilderlands Wall is under construction, at least if they ever pay for the thing it will be.
Adventure Hooks Kasmiran bank robbery, Joining the Border Legion, getting funds for the Wilderlands Wall, enforcing a contract, defending a Kasmiran tower-manor.


Kasmiran Trapmage Combination of rogue and mage, with emphasis on disarming traps and lockpicking. Some business skills. Only Archetype with Cryptomancy, a magic school using enchanted symbols and runes to cast spells.

Sindar A country of deep canyons and towering mesas. Strange stone formations and twisting rapids form a natural three dimensional labyrinth. Sindar is home to both Talislanta’s silver production, with most of this metal coming from Sindar, and its medical and alchemical arts.

Pretty sneaky Sis...

Sindarans One of the strangest peoples in Talislanta, the Sindarans come from another world entirely. They crash landed on Talislanta in some sort of magic ark or ship, the location of which was lost during the Great Disaster. The Sindar stand over seven feet in height, and are rail thin. They have wrinkly sandy skin, a row of horn-like bumbs across the head, long drooping ears, and a curly length of cartilage growing from their chin. By far the most peculiar aspect of their physiology is their possession of a dual-brain. This allows them to think along two separate lines of thought independently, often looking at both sides of an argument or both outcomes of a decision at the same time. This also leads to an obsession with duality and intelligence. Mental ability trumps physical appearance as a measure of beauty to Sindarans. This unique brain does have a downside though; Sindarans are completely incapable of practicing magic, even trying only results in permanent brain damage, turning the Sindaran into a Sindra, “demented one”. Sindarans are culturally obsessed with two thing above all else, collecting and Trivarian. Trivarian is a type of game, incomprehensible to non-Sindarance that seems to involve slotting orbs of crystal into slots in a crystal pyramid to produce patterns of light. This “game” is considered incredibly important culturally to Sindarans, and is used to select the head of their government, known as the Nadir Absolute. Every Sindaran also has a “collection”; a topic or area of knowledge that the Sindaran is obsessed with. They seek to gather every available piece of information about that topic they possibly can. As this is frankly impossible, most collections are inherited, passed down from generation to generation of a Sindaran family. Their main industry is silver minding and medicine, Sindarans being the foremost Alchemists of the land.


Satada A species of lizard-like humanoids who travel the Underground Highway in nomadic groups, but are found mainly in Sindar. They use a weapon called a capture-bow, a modified crossbow with a barbed bolt attacked by rope to a cranking spindle to catch other humanoids to be consumed as food.

Chasm Viper Giant serpents growing up to 8 feet long. Their venom is highly prized by alchemists as a key ingredient in poison antidotes.

Interesting Things Sindarans are known for having the fairest and most skilled courts in the land; with Prosecution and Defense arguing both sides of the case before a pair of Magistrates, and investigators who never stop before finding every fact possible.

Adventure Hooks Hired by a collector, Satada prisoner rescue, Chasm Viper milking, Trivarian tournament


Sindaran Collector Mainly scholarly skills, they also know Alchemy, and come with a Rod of Alchemy, a springloaded tube used to fire alchemical concoctions at distance.

Sindaran Effectuator Literally Sherlock Holmes. Tons of skills relating to detective stuff like stealth, interrogate, analysis, and cryptography. Also comes with a rod of alchemy, but gets a proper weapon skill.

Taz Godforsaken jungle and swamps, filled with deadly wildlife, poisonous insecsts, and carnivorous plants. The only reason to live in Taz is if you want your life to be in non-stop danger.

Thralls Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Thralls want. Thralls were made for battle and war, and that isn’t being poetic. Created by a cabal of Archaen sorcerers in ancient times as a private slave army, they are literally built to be the finest army in the world. Every thrall, except for sex, is identical in every way. They are as non-descript as possible, with pigmentless skin and a total lack of hair. To distinguish themselves, Thralls are covered in elaborate colorful tattoos. These tattoos show the Thralls name, rank, allegiance, ancestry, skills, past accomplishments, and even personality, for those that can read the symbology. Thralls lack any sort of industry. All professions and skills the Thralls possess are those directly related to maintaining an army. Their “government” is a military chain of command, with the greatest Thrall warrior as the Warrior King or Queen. This means that Thrall make the best soldiers in the world. While other peoples may be stronger, faster, or more ferocious, the Thralls best them all in discipline and efficiency. They form the heart of the military of the Seven Kingdoms, and Thrall mercenaries are highly prized in foreign lands. They live in the hostile Tazian jungle as a sort of constant training exercise, to ensure that every Thrall is capable, or dead.


Tazian Fly A small biting insect that swarms in the thousands. They carry a wide variety of deadly diseases, but do not bit Thralls for some reason.

Stranglevine A species of carnivorous plant that hangs from the branches of trees. When an animal walks beneath it, the vines catch and strangle them to death, feeding by absorbing nutrients from the rotting corpse.

My chair is a dinosaur.

Mangonel Lizard Huge aggressive reptiles that have a massive spikey bone knob at the ends of their tails. Used as mounts by the Thralls, who are the only people crazy enough to try and train the things.

Interesting Things None here, I covered everything in the above.

Adventure Hooks While the Thralls are interesting, Taz itself is just a godforsaken swampy hellhole with no reason to go there ever.


Thrall Warrior Beefy as hell fighter-type, immune to fear and gets an intelligence boost when dealing with combat related stuff.

Vardune A heavily forested region that acts as the breadbasket of the Seven Kingdoms. The north is dominated by massive old-growth forests, and the south by fields and orchards. Most travel is done by the Axis River, which makes up Vardunes western border, and is regularly plied by shallow barges.

The Aeriad A race of birdlike humanoids not native to Talislanta. They are believed to be descended, along with all other avian races on the continent, from a single much more birdlike ancestor race who came to Talislanta in the Archaen age. Aeriad are thin people, with metallic skin, a crest of feathers instead of hair, and rudimentary wings crowing from their forearms. The Aeriad are capable of gliding on their own, but must use magical aid to properly fly. They are split into two distinct groups, the smaller peaceful Green Aeriad who live in the south of Vardune, and the larger more warlike Blue Aeriad who live in the northern woods. Green Aeriad work mostly as farmers and botanists, and provide most of the food and plant based materials for the Seven Kingdoms. Blue Aeriad are scouts, warriors, and hunters, serving primarily as military scouts and skirmishers. The largest controversy among the Aeriad is their slow loss of their ability to fly. While the Green take this in stride, the Blue often rebel against it. They feel this is devolution, robbing them of their uniqueness. They often fetishize the “old days” attempting to live as their ancestors did in nomadic hunter-gatherer lifestyles.


Plant Demon Also known as a woodgrue, they are parasitic organisms that drain the life-energy of vegetation around them. They are a major pest and hazard in Vardune, as they rely on crops to survive.

Interesting Things Most of the Vardune economy relies on the Viridia plant. Created by the ancient botanomancer Viridian, it was designed to be the perfect plant. Its roots are a nutritious food and can be used for baking, the tree regularly discards its branches to provide an easy source of dry wood, young leaves can be used in an herbal tea, and old leaves as a roofing material. The tree’s six foot long pods can be used as one-man skiffs, and the down inside the pods is woven into a fine linen.

Adventure Hooks Plant demon removal, dealing with river pirates


Blue Aeriad Ranger A ranged attack class with some neat features. Uses a rapid-fire Tri-bow, as well as a bunch of throwing weapons., Comes with Bracers of Levitation to allow aerial combat and scouting.

Green Aeriad Botanomancer A weird ass Archetype. Skills relating to agriculture and plants, including plant-based alchemy. Has good Botanomancy, which is the ability to identify, find, and breed plants. While it sounds useless, remember that we’ve seen a vine that strangles people and a flesh-eating mushroom, so having a dude that knows plants is more useful than you’d think.

And that wraps up the Seven Kingdoms! These are by far the most boring parts of the setting, and serve mainly as a low-level adventuring place and a “homebase” that is relatively safe and stable for adventurers to hang out in.

Next Time The Western Lands, God Botherers and Knife Knuts.

Highlights of the World

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

This time we begin some interesting areas of the world! The Seven Kingdoms are meant as a “home” for your characters, a good place to defend from evil, somewhere to go hock loot, and a source of low level or fairly generic adventure ideas. Now that we're out of there things are going to get WAY more complicated. As you'll soon see the Kingdoms are very unique in Talislanta because there isn't some horrible thing happening or some great impending doom. Also, there is going to be a shitload more art. Most art in the first section was just pictures of the races or bestiary entries, but now we get big nice artwork to show off! So, let's begin!

Aaman A low, hilly land on the western coast of Talislanta. The Phandril forest covers the southern half of Aaman, with all other forests having been clearcut for timber and farmland. The eastern border of Aaman is the Axis River, which seperates it from the Seven Kingdoms, and to the north is the Great Barrier Wall, constructed to guard against the nation of Zandu.

The Aamanians Both land and people are named for the Great God Aa, also known as Aa the Omnipotent, Aa the Omnificent, and Aa the All Seeing, whose holy tenets are written in the great Omnival, the one and only true source of knowledge in the High Orthodoxy of Aaman. To show their humility under Aa they shun all aesthetic displays. All Aamanians are hairless thanks to an extract of the bald nettle. All Aamanians dress in plain, loose smocks and robes of white linen. Aamanian cities are made of plain, square, whitewashed brick buildings, all identical. The only decoration allowed is the holy All-Seeing Eye of Aa. To show respect to his word, the government of Aaman is a theocracy, ran by the Heirophant of the Orthodoxy, sole keeper of the Omnival. As such, one's worth in Aamanian society is based upon ones worth to Aa. As such the nation is structured in a strict caste system, where people are sorted based upon their “aalms” a sort of spiritual currency awarded to those who benefit the Church-State and it's priests. Obviously any who do not follow the commandments of Aa are heathens and traitors, determined to destroy the faith and state. For that reason the “All Seeing Eyes” are more than theological. The Inquisition keeps a close eye across the land for heretics and troublemakers, so that they may guide all safely through the Halls of Penance and into the faith of the High Orthodoxy, as Aa wills it.

Interesting Things : The Aamanians have a long rivalry with the nation of Zandu to the north. Always in fear of invasion from their neighbors to the north, they constructed the massive Barrier Wall to guard their border. To determine which nation controls the border, the two nations hold the Clash of Champions every year. There a handpicked champion for each nation battles, the winner taking control of the wall for the next year. The even itself is a popular specator event, and is seen on the level of a major religious festival.

Adventure Hooks

Arim A wild land isolated by thick wood and high mountains. Arim is sparsely populated due to its remote nature, the only reliable way into the country is up the Axis river into Lake Venda. Arim's primary industry is mining the mineral rich hills, particularly for iron.

Arimites Best recognized by their dark swarthy complexion and habit of wearing several black-iron knives, the Arimites are the hard and dour residents of Arim. To the Arimites two things matter above all else, the clan and revenge. Ruled by the paranoid Exarch, who has locked himself away in the Forbidden City of Ahrazahd, law and government means little to the Arimites. Instead most follow clan law, bound by blood ties to their extended families. Loyalty is to the clan above all else, and clan elders are held far above any king. Due to this lack of law, the standard manner of criminal punishment in Arim is vigilante justice. Lesser crimes are rewarded with being tied to a post for a beating by the victim, with more serious offenses ending in a drop into a lake after being tied to a heavy stone. This vigilante outlook breeds a great fondness for grudges and vendettas. An Arimite will never forget an insult, and always pays them back. Most of an Arimite's time is spent in hard labor, traditionally in the iron-mines. They have no native art forms, and care little for the art of other peoples. Their preferred method of entertainment is telling bloody stories of battle and revenge while getting hammered on chakos, a powerfully hard drink fermented in black-iron kegs. This had lead to an international view of Arim as a country of cutthroats and lunatics, a notion not without merit.

Interesting Things The Revenant Cult is a shadowy group based in Arim who act as agents of revenge-for-hire. They are the true rulers of Arim, and the reason the Exarch has locked himself away inside Ahrazahd for fear of assassination. The Revenants are hired by posting a notice containing the requested revenge in a public place, along with an appropriate fee, guaranteeing the task will be done by the following day. To call off the Revenants requires either the victim, or the employer to pay the cult double the original fee to stop the job. This means that brandishing or shaking a coinpurse in front of someone is generally considered to be a serious threat to their life.

Adventure Hooks

Drukh Lands While technically a region of Arim, the Drukh lands are a very different world to the mining towns of the Arimites. These lands are wild and untamed, and are the homes of some of the most vicious predators in Talislanta, as well as one of its most savage peoples.

The Drukhs What is known about Drukh society was mostly gathered by distant observation, due the Drukhs' habit of murdering outsiders and turning their skins and bones into musical instruments. Drukh culture is based greatly upon the idea that withstanding pain in the greatest virtue. They cut scars and primitive tattoos into their flesh, to prove their tolerance to pain. They capture and torture enemies and strangers to see whether they have the will to live. Drukhs consider mercy and kindness a sign of weakness, and can only be befriended by a show of great tolerance toward agony. The one great weakness of the Drukhs is their suspicious nature. Dukhs see all extraordinary occurances to be omens and prophecies, to be determined by the tribe's shaman. Manipulation of these superstitions may aid travelers to safely pass through Drukh lands, by making the Drukhs believe them to be cursed.

Adventure Hooks
The Azure Ocean The western sea of Talislanta, the Azure Ocean is lightly explored and even more lightly settled. There is little in this dangerous sea to prompt sailors to venture here, as most trade is conducted along the southern coast of the continent. There are only two islands of interest in the Azure Ocean, Castabulan and Talisandre.

Castabulan and the Castabulanese A tiny rocky island just off the coast, where the Castabulanese live in a single massive “observatory” made of rough stone and timber. The scarce resources and lack of room means that the Castabulanese exist in an idyllic communal lifestyle, with equal share of labor among all residents, and a total lack of crime or community strife. The Castabulanese act more like one giant family than a village. As their island has no natural resources short of sparse lumber, the Castabulanese make a living as professional weather-watchers and meteorologists. All who sail the Azure Ocean make sure to get their charts and predictions from the Castabulanese weather-watchers, and they are seen as nearly infallible.

Talisandre and the Azir Roughly analogous to the Galapagos Islands of our world, Talisandre is a different world from the rest of Talislanta. Species exist here found nowhere else, and its people, the Azir, are unlike any other culture in the world. Thought to be direct descendants of the first Archaens, the Azir are a living museum, an example of the oldest existent culture in Talislanta. Little is known about these people though, save that they live in simple grass huts and always wear elaborate carved masks, thought to show their mood. This is because the Azir believe that if they ever come in contact with outsiders, their own civilization will be destroyed. So, whenever visitors reach the island, they are either driven off, or fled from, leading to distant observation being the only source of knowledge about these ancient people.


Next Time: Western Lands Part 2, Holy Shit This Is Actually Kinda Creepy


posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Chapter 3: Magic

Magic in Talislanta is built off of a variation of the game's standard skill system, with some additional rules already covered. This chapter is meant to cover specifics of Orders, Modes, and creating Enchanted Items. In short: Modes are essentially magic Skills, they’re what you roll and define the mechanical aspect of your spells. Orders are the narrative category of Magic, what flavor or style you practice. This does have mechanical effects, generally in the form of bonuses to certain modes or some modes not being available at all, but it is mostly for narrative effect. I’ll also be incorporating some additional information and rules from Codex Magicus, which is a 4th Edition supplement about magic, the Talislantan Multiverse, etc. These rules are optional, and I don’t like some of them, and some of them are actually useless because they didn’t think the book through very well, but it does add some very useful new mechanics and fluff. This Chapter I’ll split into four posts, Covering Modes first, then Orders, then Enchanted Items, and finally the Codex Magicus stuff. So let's get started!

Before we actually get to the Modes though, first some general rules of magic:


First up is just a quick overview of the mechanical parts of the mode, and what a spellcaster can modify to customize their spells.

Okay, now for the MODES!


This mode is what you use to buff and debuff things. It’s about altering the abilities and stats of a target. Basically, if it’s a number you can change it up, though each type of number has some special rules. Each alteration is classified as a Specific or Broad alteration with different effects. Specific Alterations increase the Spell Level by 3 for level of that stat you change, while Broad increases it to 5 Spell levels per point of change. In short these are:

Now, if you want to Alter something that isn’t represented in mechanics, like making someone more attractive or how much others respect them the GM just assigns a value of 1 to 10 based on what they think the target’s “rank” in that quality is, and treat it as a Specific or Broad alteration from there. This is specifically allowed to mess with abstract qualities not just physical ones.

Now for other limitations and rules: For every extra person you want to affect with the spell, you get a -1 to the casting roll. The base duration for any Alter spell is 1 minute, with a -1 penalty per additional minute. And all Alter spells are Touch range. You can’t cripple a guy from the next county over, you gotta slap skin to do it. So if you want to affect a bunch of people, they all have to be touching in a giant magical conga-line. Last thing, Alter spells don’t stack, only the highest level spell affection a specific quality applies, any lower level spells don’t work and higher level spells overwrite the weaker. This is so you can’t just cast +1 Combat Rating ten times to become a combat monster with an easy spell. Depending on your Order there may be additional limitations to this mode.


This is your kill dudes Mode. You use this to reduce something’s HP, and it does nothing else. This one’s a lot simpler than Alter. You do 1 HP more damage per spell level, the default range is 50 feet with a -1 to the roll for each additional 10 feet of range. Ranged Attack spells don’t have a duration, so no persistent damage effects. If instead you want to do something like make a fire-sword for melee combat, then the melee spell lasts for 1 round per Spell Level and uses an appropriate Weapon skill to hit with instead of the Mode which is just used to make the weapon or start the effect. By default they have no area, but you can increase the area of effect for a -1 to the roll per foot of radius. You can’t specifically target multiple things, just use area attacks.


This mode allows the spellcaster to create material objects from magical energy. Each Spell Level can increase the mass by 10 pounds and amount by 1 cubic foot. Default range is 50 feet, with -1 for each additional 10 feet, duration 1 minute with -1 per extra minute. As you can see a lot of the modifiers are standardized between modes, for easy memorization.

You cannot conure living stuff, just inanimate objects or substances. The caster has to be familiar with the substance or object, at the least knowing what it looks like. Creating an exact or convincing replica of an existing object may be subject to an additional penalty at GM’s discretion. When the spell duration ends, the object vanishes, returning back into magical energy. The exception is magical consumables, as their effects still persist. Conjured water still holds off dehydration, magic food satisfies hunger, etc.


Defend is used to protect against attacks. Specifically, it is used to absorb damage from an attack. A Defend spell absorbs twice its Spell Level in HP before being dissipated. Defend spells last 5 rounds at minimum, unless they are destroyed first. Each additional round of duration is a -1 to the casting roll. There are two kinds of Defense spells, Auras and Barriers, with different modifiers for each.

Aura’s are your classic magic shield. They affect a single target and surround them with magical protection. Unless hidden by an Illusion spell, aura’s are always visible to the naked eye, though what it actually looks like depends on the Order. They are always air and light permeable, so the target can see and breath through them, and they do not protect against blinding light, poison gas, drowning, etc. You cannot have multiple auras on a target at one time, if a new one is cast then the one with the highest HP remains. While in an aura, the target is immune to Critical Wounds.

Barriers are your magical wall or whatever. They can be any simple shape the caster desires, namely a flat surface, cylinder, cone, and dome or sphere. This is where you get your walls of fire and such. Barriers are a lot tougher than Auras, and have a Protection Rating equal to the Spell Level. In exchange, they are immobile, and must be fixed or supported, and cannot just float in the air disconnected from a solid surface. They can prevent the all physical intrusion though, including light and if desired air depending on the nature of the barrier. They cannot stop non-offensive magic though such as Illusions.


It’s healing. Recover HP, cure diseases, repair objects. 1 HP recovered per Spell Level, and you can cure diseases as long as the Spell Level is higher than the level of the Disease. There are several pre-made diseases in the GM chapter, and of course you can make up your own.. Heal spells are all Touch range. Spellcasters can actually use Heal to harm people by causing wounds and disease at 1 HP of damage per level of the spell or by inflicting a disease at the level of the cast Spell. The reason this is worse than attack is that all Heal spells can only affect a single target at Touch range, and have no area of effect.


Magic Illusions, pretty simple. Base modifier stuff is: 50 Foot range, _1 to roll per 10 Foot of range, duration of 5 rounds -1 to casting roll for each additional round., you get the idea. Now, for fancy Illusion specific stuff! The basic Level 1 Illusion creates an illusion that affects a single sense, of low magnitude, and does not move, and lacks any specific details. For 3 additional Spell Levels you can add one feature:

Illusion’s can be broken either by casting a Reveal spell, or with a successful Perception Attribute roll both against the level of the Illusion as the Difficulty. Success means that you know the illusion is suspect or unnatural, though it generally does not dispel the illusion completely.

If you want to blind someone with illusory light or something similar, it’s considered to be a ranged attack roll separate from creating the illusion itself. This is specifically for blinding with illusory light, though I see no reason it couldn’t be used to deafen someone with a booming noise, nauseate them with disgusting smell or taste, etc. Per the rules it’s a -7 penalty to the ranged attack, and the effects last for 3 rounds with an additional +1 round for each magnitude feature added to the spell. This… seems poorly thought out. I’d use the duration of the effects, as there’s nothing wrong with that, but just use modifiers as normal for a ranged attack.

To make something invisible is a starting level 10 spell, level 13 if you want to be invisible and move as well.

Illusion’s can be cast while Scrying, giving them effectively infinite range in combination with the Reveal mode. That’s the one what does scrying you know.


Charms and mind control magic. Influence spells have a maximum range of 5 feet, and last 1 round by default. When affected by an influence spell, the target obeys a single simple instruction from the caster transmitted directly into the subject's mind. The command should fit in a sentence of less than 5 words it looks like. The subject can’t do anything that it can’t naturally do or that it doesn’t know how to do, and won’t do anything that involved directly harming itself IE: no commanding people to slit their own throats.

Increasing the spell level makes it harder to resist the spell. When someone is the target of an Influence spell, they can make a Willpower roll, with every 2 Spell Levels amounting to a -1 to the Willpower roll. The subject will remember everything that happened during the spell, but if the casting roll is a critical success then the subject thinks everything was their own idea.


Spells involving… moving things. This involves things like Telekinesis, levitation, that sort of thing. Move spells basically act the same as a Strength roll, with a base Move spell affecting up to 100lbs, and increasing as +1 Strength per 3 Spell Levels. You can also boost the speed of moved objects from a base of 10 foot per round, make it area of effect, and increase the duration above the base 5 rounds. Range is the standard 50 feet.

You cannot move an object while performing multiple actions, though you can leave it levitating or similar while you do other things. Move can both hold and lift things, and can even attack as a Grapple, though they cannot be restrained or moved in addition to the attack. Magician’s can also use move to perform mundane tasks at a range, such as fighting with a floating sword, or writing with a pen from another room. This is done with whatever applicable skill fits the action, the spell merely allowing the object to move.


This is for supernatural senses, detecting spells, scrying, that sort of thing. See through walls, detect lies, find hidden doors, you get the idea. Base conceal spells are effective up to 50 feet, and last for 1 minute. More powerful spells are used to defeat both mundane and magical attempts to conceal the desired information.

Scrying is given special note: When scrying you have a range of 1 Mile per spell level, it requires the caster to look into a reflective surface, and can’t automatically “go to” a specific spot unless the caster knows the location. Magical senses do not work when scrying, only sight and sound.

Conceal is the Reverse of Reveal, similar to Heal and Harm. Conceal spells are used to hide things from normal or supernatural senses. The protection is specific, making a single lie harder to spot, protecting from scrying, blocking magical senses, etc. It cannot be used to make something invisible though, that’s Illusion, but it can make something more difficult to see than otherwise.


Calling up things from another dimensions! What exactly depends on the Order, but Elementals, Ghosts, Demons, etc. are all possibilities. The level just determines how powerful the summon is, giving them an ability level equal to the Spell Level. Summoning requires a number of rounds equal to the Spell Level, and the summoned being sticks around for a base of 1 minute.

If cast correctly, the summoned being appears and will either answer any 3 questions it knows the answer to, or to perform a single specific service for the summoner. A failure still summons the creature, but it is unrestrained and can just do whatever it wants.

A mishap straight rips a hole in spacetime, letting things from another realm into the material plane uncontrolled. It lasts for one minute per Spell Level, and the book specifically asks the GM to make it very very nasty.

The reverse of Summon is Banish, and is used to send extradimensional things back home. The Degree of Difficulty is the target’s Ability Level, and takes 1 round per Spell Level to cast.


Transmutation, transmogrification, animation. Spells that change the nature and form of something. The level of the spell required is based on how different the starting form and the end result are.

Transformation affects a single subject at a time. Subjects retain their mental abilities regardless of the form. The new form just gets an Ability Level based on the Spell Level of the Transform spell cast. To turn into a specific creature the spell has to be equal to that creature’s Ability Level, and cannot increase the creatures Ability Level beyond it’s normal maximum.


Ward allows you to place specific defenses on a target you can touch. Wards are cast at minimum Spell Level 10, and cannot be cast any lower. A ward will make the target completely immune to that specific effect. You can have multiple wards active that protect against different types of effects, though you can’t have more than one ward that effects the same type of effect.

The things you can protect against with ward are:

Wards last a base of 10 minutes, and are always visible as a sigil or sign that can be read by those who know magical scripts. Warded items are considered to be enchanted items.

You can also reverse a Ward to make a Hex, which causes the target to take double damage from the specified source. If the source is also an attack, the attack is harder to defend against, the defender getting a -1 penalty to defense per 3 Spell Levels for the Hex.

Woof! That’s all the Modes finished! Next time we get into the more fun and fluffy part of magic! Orders!

Magic Part 2: Orders

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Magic Part 2: Orders

Orders are the second half of the magic system. While Orders are mostly flavor, tied to the setting, they also have a variety of mechanical effects, as well as narrative limitations that make each Order unique. I’ll be going over the basic flavor of each order, what makes them unique, and a few of the cooler sample spells for each.


It means “Card Magic”. This is an Order which casts spells using an enchanted deck of “Zodar” cards, the Talislantan equivalent of Tarot, made of twenty cards each with a unique meaning and use. The most common use of the Zodar is in fortune telling and prophecy, which are generally difficult to understand if always correct. More traditional spellcasting is done by shuffling the cards, arranging them in specific orders and combinations that shape the magic, with each card having a specific function and use in spells. Cartomancers keep the actual spellcasting part secret, using it rarely. It isn’t an art learned in schools, and is self-taught. Anybody who uses the Zodar long enough slowly becomes attuned to the magic, slowly developing Cartomancy.

The Zodar Deck posted:

The twenty cards of the Zodar are:

1. Zar: The Dark Moon. An ill-aspected card, signifying evil, conspiracy, black magic.
2. Laeolis: The Blue Moon. Sorrow, disappointment, heartbreak.
3. Jhang: The Crimson Moon. Rage, violence, dark passions.
4. Ardan: The Purple Moon. Romance, passion, desire.
5. Phandir: The Green Moon. Mystery, things unknown.
6. Drome: The Amber Moon. Peace, repose, relief.
7. Talisandre: The Silver Moon. Good fortune.
8. The Lesser Sun. A matter of little import.
9. The Greater Sun. A matter of great import.
10. The Charlatan. Deception or deception discovered.
11. The Rogue. Loss, thievery, distrust.
12. The Warrior. Confrontation, conflict, vigilance.
13. The Assassin. Treachery, betrayal, death.
14. The Peddler. Opportunity, the chance for profit or loss.
15. The Wanderer. Travel and adventure.
16. The Wizard. Sorcery, chance, uncertainty.
17. The Mystic. Hidden knowledge, secrets.
18. The Alchemist. Change, transformation, the unexpected.
19. The Reaper. Inevitability.
20. The Archon. Victory.

Physical Components: Cartomancers cast spells by shuffing and manipulating the Zodar. A Cartomancer must have at least one hand free to manipulate the cards to cast spells. No need for magic words or other gestures, just the cards.

Advantages: Basically, Cartomancy is stealthy. Most people don’t know it even exists as a form of magic, just considering Zodar to be playing cards or fortune telling toys, and Cartomancy have no magical effects like magic lights or noises. A Cartomancer can cast spells in a crowded room, and just look like he’s playing solitaire.

Limitations You need your Zodar deck to cast spells. If you don’t have it, you can’t cast magic. If you lose your Zodar, or it’s destroyed, you can’t just pick up a new one. The Zodar are inherently magic, and you need to spend one week attuning yourself to the new deck before you can cast spells again.

Modes Cartomancy cannot use the Transform or Summon Modes. Alter spells can affect anything relating to one of the cards of the Zodar, such as The Warrior improving Combat Rating, or The Wanderer increasing Speed.

Enchantment Cartomancers can only Enchant new Zodar cards, and are unable to make other magical items.

Sample Spells posted:

Hand of Destiny (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Casting Modifiers: -10 (10th level)
Description: Rahastrans use this spell all the time, as it
is as much a part of their belief system as anything else.
By laying out two cards and divining their meaning, a
skilled cartomancer can determine his destiny. In game
terms, this is the PC asking the GM "What is likely to be
my best course of action?" The level of the spell should
be used as a ruler in deciding how accurate and helpful
the insight will be. For example, a 5th level divination
might yield only general information, such as, "The
future is obscure, but it seems that subtlety is the best
course of action." For a 10th level divination the result
might be more specific, as in "Signs indicate that deceit
would yield greater fortune than direct action." A 20th
level divination might yield more detailed information,
like "Fortune would shine on sneaking into the tower in
disguise", while at 30th level the GM might really get
specific, as in "Use a spell to hide your life-essence and
enter the necromancer's tower in the guise of undead."

Fool's Gold (Conjure)
Duration: 5 minutes
Range: 50 feet (usually cast on self)
Casting Modifiers: -5 (1st level, -4 for extra duration)
Description: Casting this spell and tapping The Peddler
three times will cause a cache of coins (up to 100 g.l., as
the caster requires) to appear in the casrtomancer's
pocket. The conjured coins look and feel quite real, but
will remain in existence for only 5 minutes, after which
they will vanish without a trace. This spell has many
practical applications, though its use is not without
certain risks. Kasmirans in particular have little fondness
for enchantments of this sort.

The Fold (Illusion)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -19 (1st level base, +9 levels for
Touch, Sound, and Scent, +3 levels for Motion, +3 levels
for Complex Elements, +3 levels for Magnitude.)
Description: Every Rahastran knows when to fold a bad
hand and make a discrete exit when his or her luck has
changed for the worse. By drawing The Charlatan the
caster can appear to vanish into thin air, leaving nothing
behind. Even someone holding the caster will believe
that the cartomancer has disappeared, and even beings
with keen senses of smell and hearing may be fooled by
this illusion. While the spell is in effect, the cartomancer
can move silently, hide, or make a quick getaway, as

Wrath of the Warrior (Attack)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -6 (6th level)
Description: By tapping the Warrior card three times
and pointing at a target, the cartomancer causes her
victim to be pummeled by a pair of ghostly fists for 6
points of damage. If the spell is cast at a higher level,
the disembodied hands will appear to hold weapons.


Cryptomancy is the magic of writing. It uses mystic sigils, runes, and inscriptions to cast spells. Once created, these sigils can maintain their magic indefinitely, until activated. Cryptomancy is taught, generally by memorizing the various magical symbols from Cryptographic manuals. These books are always encrypted in a secret alphabet only known to other Cryptomancers.

Physical Components Cryptomancers must have one hand free to at least trace the mystic patterns needed to cast magic. Most spells actually require the cryptomancer to make a physical mark of some kind, so many cryptomancers carry papers, ink, charcoal, brushes, pens, knives, and chisels to write with.

Advantages When a Cryptomantic spell is cast, the magician may define a “trigger”, a condition that activates the spell. The spell will last until that condition is met and the magic is activated. Spells in this stasis condition can be detected and countered like any other spell. Setting a trigger on a spell adds a -5 to the difficulty, and the sigil must be clearly inscribed. These spells only activate once, for runes and such that work multiple times you’d use the enchanting rules to make a magic item.

Limitations Because a Cryptomancer has to accurately duplicate complex magic symbols, casting a spell can take a while. The default casting time for all Cryptomantic spells is 2 rounds minimum.

Modes Cryptomancy cannot use the Transform Mode. Cryptomancy gets a +3 bonus to Ward and Reveal, but a -2 penalty to Illusion and Influence. Cryptomancers use magical runes to communicate with extradimensional beings for the purpose of summoning. Cryptomancers use Alter by inscribing or drawing runes upon the target of the alteration.

Enchantment This Order is very useful for enchantment, and it’s honestly one of the main uses for Cryptomancy. Some example uses are making magical traps and alarms, magical tattoos, inscribing on magic jewelry, and enchanted cages, manacles, and chains meant to hold extra-dimensional or super-powerful beings. It’s magic runes, it’s really really suited for enchanting things.

Sample Spells posted:

Symbol of Clarity (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: 50 feet
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -Variable (see below) +3 due to Order
Description: Inscribed in the air above a page or other
written surface, a Symbol of Clarity will render any form
of writings or inscriptions clear and intelligible to the
caster. The symbol functions no matter what language
the original inscriptions were written in, or what efforts
may have been used to obscure the message (codes,
obscured letters, etc.) The level of difficulty entailed in
the translation is used as a spell penalty in this case.
For foreign languages, the penalty is -1 to -10, depending
on the age and/or relative obscurity of the writings. For
codes and cyphers, subtract the skill level of whoever
devised the encryption. Obscured writings may cause a
penalty of -1 to -20 to be applied, depending on how
badly distorted, faded, or smudged the original
inscriptions are. All penalties are cumulative.

Talking Runes (Illusion)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -6 (1st level, -5 for trigger effect, -2
due to Order modifier)
Description: Talking Runes are symbols that slowly
"speak" a secret message when activated by a specific
trigger, which may be as simple as someone opening a
door or as complex and specific as the caster desires
(such as, "When the magician Azradamus reads the last
page of this book"). Talking Runes may speak up to 20
words in any language known to the caster, at a rate
of about 4 words per round. Talking runes may not speak
magical phrases in order to cast a spell.

Sigil of Deterrence (Attack)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -10 (5th level, -5 for trigger effect)
Description: A favorite of Kasmiran trapsmiths, this sigil
is usually placed inside a locking mechanism, and is
activated by touch. Unauthorized individuals who
attempt to open a lock protected with this sigil will suffer
a painful blast of energy (5hp damage) sufficient to
damage a key or lock-pick; or incapacitate a thief's hand.
A successful Traps skill roll (with a penalty equal to the
Traps skill rating of the magician that set the rune) will
alert a thief to the rune’s presence.

Shaladin’s Blade-Icon (Conjure)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: Touch
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -6 (1st level, -5 for trigger effect)
Description: This symbol is commonly sewn into the
sleeve of a robe, or carved into the face of a ring. When
triggered by the wearer, the rune causes a dagger to be
conjured into his or her hand. Shaladin's Blade is not a
magical weapon per se, but does damage equivalent to
a common dagger. Note that a Blade-Icon can be
triggered only once and must be re-cast before it can be
used again. Also note that an untriggered Icon counts
as one of the seven magical items that a person can


Crystalomancy is both a form of magic and a holy art, seen as a gift from Terra, the Earth Mother the chief god of the Gnomekin. Crystalomancy is therefore protected as a holy order, and practitioners are considered to be priests as well as magicians. It is passed down orally from one magician to another, and has no known written works. It is almost impossible to be allowed to learn if one is not a Gnomekin. This order casts spells using magical specially grown crystals.

Physical Components All spells require a specially grown crystal of the appropriate type for the mode to cast:

Alter Topazine Rich yellow
Attack Rubiate Fiery crimson
Conjure Albinite Milky white
Defend Amberite Warm orange
Heal Emeralite Deep green
Illusion Prismatite Clear/refractive
Influence Amethyte Vivid purple
Move Azurite Bright blue
Reveal Glassine Perfectly clear
Summon Ebonite Glossy black
Transform Variagate Multicolored
Ward Umberate Dark brown

Advantages A Crystalomancer can store a spell inside of the proper crystal for later use. This adds 10 rounds to the casting time per level of the spell, but once stored the spell can be used at any time. Even non-Crystalomancers can activate the crystal to cast the spell. Once a crystal’s spell is cast, the crystal is now useless and cannot be used to cast magic again. When a crystal has a spell stored, it counts against the limit for enchanted items.

Affinity Crystalomancers get a +1 to spell-casting when using crystals they grew themselves.

Limitations A Crystalomancer cannot perform magic without their crystals. Crystals also have a carat level, which limits what level of spells can be cast with that crystal.

Modes Crystalomancer’s cannot use the Conjure or Transform modes. They get a +3 bonus to Defend and Heal spells, and a -3 to Attack and Summon. Alter spells can only affect stone, earth, and crystal, not living beings or abstract qualities. Summoning can only be used to call up Earth elementals.

Enchantment Crystalomancers can create permanently enchanted crystals, which can be used on their own, such as crystals that heal the holder when activated, or worked into other objects, such as a supernaturally sharp sword with the crystal set into the pommel.

Crystal Growing A Crystalomancer can create their own crystals! It’s covered by the Agriculture (Crystals) skill. Crystals grow at 1 carat per week. A Grower can maintain one growing crystal per skill level. Crystals stop growing once harvested.

There are also wild crystals, which work for spellcasting, but at a -5 penalty to use. Crystalomancers still seek them out though, in the hopes of finding a new kind of crystal, or one that allows new uses for their magic.

Sample Spells posted:

Rubiate Beam (Attack)
Duration: Instant
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -9 (6th level, -3 for Order modifier for
this mode)
Description: This spell uses a rubiate crystal as a focus
to create a fiery beam of light that will do 6hp damage to
any creature or object that it hits. Targeted creatures
may try to dodge the beam.

Safe Passage (Ward)
Duration: 5 minutes
Area of Effect: 5 foot radius centered on the crystal
Casting Time: 2 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -19 (10th level, -4 for extra duration,
-5 for area of effect)
Description: By casting this spell on an umberate crystal
and dropping it in a passageway, the crystalomancer
can make it impossible for a certain type of creature
(such as Darklings) to pass through the area for 5
minutes. This spell is very useful when fleeing from
pursuers underground.

Sense of Terra (Reveal)
Duration: 5 minutes
Range: Self
Casting Modifiers: -9 (5th level, -4 for extra duration)
Description: This spell gives the caster an infallible
sense of depth and direction while underground. As
long as the spell is in effect the crystalomancer will not
become disoriented or lost, even in total darkness. In
addition, the magician may make Perception rolls at +5
to detect deadfalls, traps, and potential cave-ins.

Glassine Eye (Reveal)
Duration: 2 minutes
Range: 2 miles
Casting Modifiers: -6 (4th level, -1 for extra duration, -1
for extra range)
Description: By placing a glassine crystal in a desired
location, the crystalomancer can use this spell to turn
the crystal into a remote scrying device. As long as the
crystal is within range, the caster can see through the
Crystalomantic Eye as though he or she were there,
with a +4 bonus to Perception for purposes of seeing
hidden things/beings.

Okay, I’ve realized that these are going to be giant posts at this rate, so I’ll be splitting Orders up into about… 3 posts I’d say. So next time, more orders!

Magic Part 3: Orders Continued

posted by Wapole Languray Original SA post

Magic Part 3: Orders Continued

Elemental Magic

This Order is technically four in one. Elemental Magic obviously covers magic that controls the elements! When you get an Elementalism Order though, you have to pick one of the four elements, Fire, Water, Earth or Air. If you want to learn a second element it’s a whole new Order.

Physical Components Elementalism requires no external components, but to cast spells a magician must have both hands free to perform the necessary gestures.

Advantages Elemental Magic doesn’t get any special bonuses until you get a +10 or more in a Mode under the Order, but when you do depending on the element you get immunity from that element.

Limitations Elemental spells are not subtle. You cannot hide that you’re casting them, and their effects are big, loud, and obviously unnatural. This makes it basically useless for any sort of stealth.

Modes Elemental Magic cannot cast spells of Alter, Heal, Illusion, or Influence modes. They get a +3 bonus to Conjure though, and an additional +3 in another Mode based on the element: Attack+3 for Fire, Move+3 for Air, Defend +3 for Earth, and Transform +3 for Water.

Elemental magicians can use Transform to change their chosen element into any related form: Fire into smoke, water into ice, air can turn normal air into clouds of toxic gas, water can turn into ice or steam, Earth from stone to sand to mud and back, you get the idea.

Elementals can only use Summon to summon Elementals of the appropriate kind for their chosen Order. Pyromancer’s get Fire Elementals, Aeromancer’s get Air, etc.

Enchantment No limits to elemental enchantments really, though the most popular uses are to create elemental warded items (Ring of Water Breathing), objects that produce an element for offensive purposes (Flaming Sword), and items that can produce an element (Infinite Waterskin).

Sample Spells posted:

Scryer of the Deep (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: 5 miles
Casting Modifiers: -9 (5th level, -4 for extra range)
Description: This spell allows an aquamancer to locate
missing persons, sunken ships, or almost anything that
has been lost below the surface of any sea, ocean, lake,
or river. In order for the spell to be effective the caster
must have in his or her possession some item or piece
of the lost subject, such as an article of clothing from a
missing person or a piece of a sunken ship. Once the
spell is cast, the aquamancer must make a Perception
check at +5 to locate the specific item being sought.
The GM sets the Degree of Difficulty from 1 to 20 based
on how distant, buried, or hidden the item is.

Pyroclasm (Attack)
Duration: Instant
Range: 50 feet
Area of Effect: 5 foot radius sphere
Casting Modifiers: -12 (10th level, -5 for area of effect,
+3 due to Order modifier for this mode)
Description: This spell creates a stream of coruscating
flames that will inflict 10hp damage to all in the area of
effect and ignite all combustible materials. Victims
caught in the area of effect may continue to take an
additional 3 hp of damage per round from burning
clothing, hair,and/or other items until they spend at least
one round to extinguish the flames. Items of paper or
light cloth (such as books and normal clothing) will
almost certainly be set aflame, while other items may get
a roll at the GM's discretion. Individuals targeted by
this spell may attempt to evade or dodge as usual, but
at a -5 penalty (in addition to the normal penalty of the
caster's Attack rating) due to the spell's area of effect.

Whirlwind (Move)
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -15 (6th level for +2 Strength, -12 for
increased speed, +3 due to element modifier for this
Description: This spell allows an aeromancer to use the
minor spirits that exist everywhere in the air to create a
whirlwind that can be made to move individuals and
objects weighing up to 150 lbs. At the caster's discretion,
the whirlwind can be used like a spell of levitation to lift
either the aeromancer or a designated subject into the
air. Or it may be directed in a more forceful manner, to
force back assailants, scatter small objects or creatures,
disperse mists or gasses, and so forth. In the latter case,
the vortex will cause up to 2hp of damage per round and
move objects or creatures up to 50 feet per round (Speed
rating of -5).

Flameform (Transform)
Duration: 4 minutes
Range: Self
Casting Modifiers: -33 (20th level, +10 spell levels for
Ability Level in Sunform, -3 for extra duration)
Description: Only the most skilled pyromancers are
capable of using this spell, which transforms the caster
into living flame. Once transformed in this manner, the
pyromancer is as intangible as fire and cannot manipulate
objects or be hit by ordinary attacks (spell attacks and
magic weapons still hit as normal). Anything touched
by the Flameform takes normal fire damage and may be
set alight. For the purposes of striking and dodging, the
Flameform has a combat rating of +10. While in this
state, the pyromancer cannot cast additional spells, but
can communicate by speaking normally. Any items on
the pyromancer's person when the spell is cast become
part of the Flameform, but revert to their normal
substance once the spell has lapsed. Other elemental
versions of this spell are:
Windform: Intangible and invisible. Cannot make
attacks. Flight at +5 Speed.
Stoneform: Appears as a humanoid pile of stones. +5
Strength bonus. Can wield weapons. Armor Rating 12.
Seaform. Appears as humanoid fountain of water. Can
pass through any opening or through porous materials.
+5 Speed bonus in water. Immune to normal attacks.
Can attack with jet of water (DR 4).


Invocation is magic drawn from higher powers, usually in the form of religious worship, though it also covers pacts with Demons and Devils. The main variations in the game are Aamanian Orthodoxy your vaguely catholic Monothiestic faith, Mirin worship of Borean, God of the North Winds, Rasmiran Death-Worship, and Demonology and Diabolism.

Physical Components
Invokers obviously are fond of various holy symbols and icons, but the only requirement is that they must be free to speak and gesture in order to properly call upon their patron.

Advantages When using magic in line with the goals and wishes of their patron, Invokers can get a variable bonus of +1 all the way to +20 on their casting, based upon how much the patron cares about the act.

LimitationsThe same thing in reverse: If you work against your patrons desires and goals your spells get penalized.

Modes Invocation has no banned modes. They get a +2 to two modes, and a -2 to two others based upon what patron they have. Aamanian’s get +2 to Influence and Reveal -2 to Illusion and Summon, Mirin +2 to Defend and Move and -2 to Illusion and Influence, Rajan get +2 to Attack and Summon -2 to Defend and Heal. Other possible patron bonuses are left to the player and GM to work out. Otherwise, no real rules as the flavor of the spells is heavily based upon what entity the magician invokes.

Enchantment Ditto, pretty much anything goes based upon your patron diety or being.

Sample Spells posted:

Conversion (Influence)
Range: 5 feet
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Casting Modifiers: -10 (10th level)
Description: Aamanian Priests sometimes use this spell
while traveling to simplify dealing with non-believers.
The target may resist with a Will check at -5. On a partial
success, they will generally agree with the priest on
matters of religion, but will not do anything out of their
nature. On a failure, they will be complete believers in
Aa for the duration of the spell, and will obey simple
commands given. On a mishap they will continue to
believe in Orthodoxy after the spell's duration, and as
long as they are not exposed to anything outside
orthodoxy's teaching, may remain that way until the
magic is dispelled or countered in some way.

Northwind's Blast (Attack)
Duration: Instant
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -15 (15th level)
Description: Mirin Priests of Borean developed this spell
for combat against the Ice Giants of Narandu. The
fearsome blast of this supernatural wind deals out 15 hit
points of damage to one target.

Demonic Swarm (Attack)
Duration: Instant
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifers: -20 (15th level, -5 for area of effect)
Description: This spell was originally created by the
witch doctors of Pana-Ku. When this spell is cast, a
momentary stream of demonic force is unleashed,
allowing hundreds of 1-inch sub-demons to streak out
and attack anything in the area of effect, causing a total
of 15hp damage. Those unfortunate enough to be
subjected may attempt to dodge, but at -5 (in addition
to the normal penalty of the caster's Attack rating) due
to the area of effect. Once the sub-demons have inflicted
their damage, they fade back to nothingness.

Sacrificial Trance (Influence)
Range: 5 feet
Duration: 5 rounds (30 seconds)
Casting Modifiers: -18 (18th level)
Description: Rajan death-priests use this spell to put a
victim into a deep trance so that they will not disturb a
ritual. The target may resist with a Will check at -9. On
a partial success they will be lethargic for the duration,
but still able to act, albeit slowly. On a failure the target
will walk where lead, lay down where told, and die when
stabbed. On a mishap, the target will remain in the trance
even after the spell expires, although any shock (such
as a slap) will awaken them.


Mysticism is basically D&D Psionic powers, as well as covering magic involving spirits and mediumship.

Physical Components None. Mysticism is an art of the mind, not the body.

Advantages Mysticism is completely undetectable. Spells make no sound or visual effects unless desired, and are not detectable by other magical means. Only another Mystic can detect the use of Mysticism. Mysticism requires no gestures, words, foci, or rituals to cast.

Limitations What it does require is a clear and focused mind. Loud noises, bright lights, mental stress, etc. can effect a Mystics casting and cause penalties to the casting roll. A Mystic can remove this penalty, but must first make a successful Meditation skill roll to calm down.

Modes Mysticism cannot use the Transform and Conjure modes. They get a +3 bonus to Influence and Reveal, and a -5 to Attack. A mystic can alter any quality of the Mind, Body, or Spirit of a living sapient being. They cannot alter animals, abstract concepts, or inanimate objects. Mystics can use Summon both to summon astral beings and spiritforms, as well as to Astral Project into the Spirit World.

Enchantment Mysticism doesn’t really do enchantment, but what few items they make are generally meant to either reveal hidden or astral presences, or to protect against mental or spiritual attack.

Sample Spells posted:

Subtle Ways (Influence)
Duration: 6 rounds (36 seconds)
Range: 5 feet
Casting Modifiers: -15 (18th level, +3 due to Order
modifier for this mode, -1 for extra duration)
Description: Subtle Ways is a means by which a mystic
may use the power of suggestion to influence others.
To do so, the mystic speaks a phrase in a subtle tone of
voice while focusing on the subject of the suggestion.
If the influence is not resisted (with a Will check at -9),
the subject will believe that the suggestion originated
within his or her own thoughts.
For example, the mystic might suggest something like,
"No need to check that door, no one could be hiding in
there." or "These aren't the slaves you're looking for.
Move along." If the subject fails to resist, he or she
succumbs to the suggestion without hesitation. On a
partial success the subect will be inclined to agree with
the thought, but not completely convinced. On a failure,
the target will go along for the duration of the spell. On
a mishap, they will continue believing the suggestion
after the spell duration, unless shown evidence

Astral Travel (Summon)
Duration: 5 minutes
Range: Self
Casting Time: 10 rounds
Casting Modifiers: -20 (15th level, -5 for extra duration)
Description: This spell allows the mystic to project his
consciousness in astral form, leaving behind the
physical body and material possessions. Enchanted
items, which have an astral form of sorts, may be brought
along into the astral plane. While in astral form, the
caster will be able to see clearly for great distances on
the astral plane, and will also be able to perceive events
transpiring on the material plane, though with somewhat
less clarity; PER rolls are necessary to find the caster’s
way around and notice what is happening on the material
On the astral plane, the mystic may meet astral entities,
dreamers, and other beings. All these beings will seem
physical to the astral mystic, and they will be able to
cause and sustain damage exactly as material beings
Like spiritforms, astral entities cannot be seen by
individuals on the material plane, nor can they interact
with physical objects or beings except through psychic
abilities or spells of mysticism.
If the mystic’s astral form is slain on the astral plane, his
physical self will also perish. On the other hand, an
astral traveler may be stranded in noncorporeal form if
his physical body is slain on the material plane.

Death Touch (Harm)
Range: Touch
Casting Modifiers: -30 (30th level)
Description: As part of their study of the lines of energy
that flow through the mind and body, mystics also learn
how those lines of energy can be disrupted . One such
method is the Death Touch. By touching a living
creature or being at the exact center of its life's energy,
the mystic can disrupt the victim's lifeforce, with fatal
results (30hp damage). The Death Touch is regarded as
a black art among most mystics, few of whom would
ever use it except under the most dire circumstances.
Nevertheless, certain Mandalan legends tell of mystic
warriors who were tempted to follow the dark path of
this deadly discipline, and of the terrible consequences
that befell them.

Mindprobe (Reveal)
Duration: 1 minute
Range: 50 feet
Casting Modifiers: -variable (12th level, -difficulty of
probe, +3 due to Order modifier for this mode)
Description: By concentrating, the mystic can use this
discipline to reach into the mind of another and read
surface thoughts, relive memories, or even bring to light
hidden knowledge and blocked memories. The target
may resist with a Will check at -12, though individuals
who have been trained to keep secrets may receive a
bonus to the resistance check. For example, a spy may
add their Espionage skill level. The level of knowledge
sought determines difficulty of the probe as follows:
Surface thoughts -0
Recent memories -3
Old memories -6
Forgotten memories -9
Suppressed memories or subliminal observations -12
Past lives -20 or more

Next Time: The last few Orders!