Over on The October Geek, the author posts about Monster Knowledge. I thought I’d throw down the relevant section from Dragon Heresy’s The Book of Heroes as a Sneak Peek.

Identify Fiend or Foe

One of the things players will inevitably ask about the screaming horrors emerging from hiding to do terrible things unto them is “what do we know about this creature’s strengths and weaknesses?”

Some of this knowledge is hard-won, and might only be known to the party if they’ve faced a particular threat before. But legends travel, and stories are told, of all manner of creatures. When asked, consider making an Intelligence check with the following guidelines. Only one check can be made per monster type unless you spend the time to dig up hidden lore.

Arcana will most frequently yield useful details about Aberrations (maybe), Constructs, Dragons, Elementals, and Monstrosities. However, some undead are created by powerful magic, and that might apply. Any creature with a reputation or history that makes them vulnerable (or not) to certain types of magical damage might have that known by making an Arcana check.

History will be useful for any type of creature that creates a civilization with a legacy and memory. Mostly Humanoids and Giants – but if a dragon decides to set herself up as Queen of a far-flung land, that territory’s stories, legends, conquests, and defeats will become part of the lore of the world.

Nature will tell for Beasts, Fey, Giants, Humanoids, and Plants. Some long-ago creations that have flourished and become part of an established ecology might also qualify (‘oh, the falcon-bear is native to these parts!’).

Religion will give some details about Celestials, Fiends, and Undead.

Take care to consider a character’s backstory when deciding what skills to use. A necromancer would certainly know about the dead and undead using his Arcana skill, while a cleric or paladin might have the same knowledge through Religion, and a bard via stories and songs passed down with the History skill.

Hidden Lore

Finding information about a particular creature is a matter of sifting through books, stories, rumors, and experience to determine what is known. Details such as overall appearance and behavior – such as determining what kind of monster is actually trying to eat you – might be an Easy or Medium task. Revealing tactically useful information should be harder (Medium to Hard), and doing that in the heat of combat should increase the difficulty level by at least one! The GM might give out one fact for making the roll, and more for each 5 points by which the ability check is made, or some other rationing of tactically-useful data.

Part of the challenge of the SRD5.1 is that all of the flavor text – or very nearly all of it – has been cut out of the document. It’s nearly all stat blocks and mechanics.

Part of the fun of the SRD5.1 is that all of the flavor text – or very nearly all of it – has been cut out of the document. It’s nearly all stat blocks and mechanics.

It really gives me a chance to shape each monster, race, and culture to fit within the game.

+Chris Mata noted that he loves elementals in my update post from Wednesday, so I promised to share. So, without further ado, here’s some of the goods on Elementals . . . but first a few notes.

I’ve played a bit fast and loose with Norse cosmology and the shape/interpretation of the Nine Realms to accommodate my needs. Most departures from the classic myths are purposeful.

I’m trying to get just the basics of each critter – because there are over 150 such monsters (more like 170) in the book, and that’s after some serious culling. Each should leave you with a basic description, a feel for appearance, where you might find it/ it’s natural habitat, and some notion of its behavior, which in many cases is “how does it fight, or does it flee?”

Some creatures, which play larger roles in the game setting, have much longer writeups.

Elementals
The elementals are creatures hailing from Niflheim, the elemental
realm. While common wisdom has Niflheim as an eternal realm of ice and cold,
that is only part of the attributes of the place. There are many elemental
archetypes and creatures that hail from this realm, and many powerful magics
and deadly dangers can be found and summoned from that place.
Most elementals are perfectly happy to remain in their home
realm, and are frequently distinctly unhappy
to be called forth from that place. The pure elementals of air, water, and
earth do not come willingly or exist peacefully in the physical world of Etera,
and are constantly wishing to return home. The fire elementals . . . are a bit
more eager to remain.
The essence of movement and force, the air elemental can appear
as visibly as a swirling tornado, or as subtly as a fog rolling in or an errant
breeze.
Its natural habitat is Niflheim, and it spends time in the Realms
of the Field only reluctantly, usually through a summoning spell.
If it is commanded to do so magically, it may attack or be
performing some service. It will cooperate with attempts to free it back to its
home realm.
Large elemental, neutral
Speed 0 ft., fly 90 ft. (hover)
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
14
20
14
6
10
6
+2
+5
+2
-2
0
-2
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
15
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
26
0-6
7-12
13-24
25+
DR
0
Control Thresholds
Vigor
90
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
12d10+24
0-7
8-14
15-28
29+
Proficiency +3

Damage
Resistances.
Lightning, thunder; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from
nonmagical attacks
Damage
Immunities.
Poison
Condition
Immunities.
Exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone,
restrained, unconscious
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages.
Auran
Challenge
5
(1,800 XP)
Air Form. The
elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. It can move
through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
Fog and Breeze. When
not engaged in combat or filled with violent intent, the Air Elemental appears
either as a rolling fog, or a disturbance in the air – a rogue breeze or errant
wind. It stands out against the background, however – it is DC 15 to detect in
an environment that should not have any breezes or fog, and DC 20 where such
effects are expected.
Actions
Multiattack. The
elemental makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon
Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) bludgeoning
damage.
Whirlwind (Recharge 4–6).
Each creature in the elementals space must make a DC 13 Strength saving throw.
On a failure, a target takes 15 (3d8 + 2) bludgeoning damage and is flung up 20
feet away from the elemental in a random direction and knocked prone. If a
thrown target strikes an object, such as a wall or floor, the target takes 3
(1d6) bludgeoning damage for every 10 feet it was thrown. If the target is
thrown at another creature, that creature must succeed on a DC 13 Dexterity
saving throw or take the same damage and be knocked prone.
If the saving throw is successful, the target takes half the
bludgeoning damage and isn’t flung away or knocked prone.
From the plains of Niflheim, the Earth elemental contains within
it the essence of rock and stone. It most frequently appears as a creature of
animated boulders, or a giant mobile pile of gravel or even dust.
When fighting, it appears as a humanoid creature of stone, but
that appearance can shift suddenly, as it changes form when it uses its earth
glide ability.
As with most elementals, the Earth elemental dwells on Midgard
reluctantly, and will mostly cooperate with attempts to aid it to return back
to Niflheim. It is usually not hostile unless commanded to be, but when balked
can be a steady and relentless foe.
Large elemental, neutral
Speed 30 ft., burrow 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
20
8
20
5
10
5
+5
-1
+5
-3
0
-3
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
9
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
20
0-9
10-18
19-37
38+
DR
8
Control Thresholds
Vigor
126
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
12d10+60
0-7
8-14
15-28
29+
*natural armor

Proficiency +3

Damage
Vulnerabilities.
Thunder
Damage
Resistances.
Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage
Immunities.
Poison
Condition
Immunities.
Exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages.
Terran
Challenge
5
(1,800 XP)
Earth Glide. The
elemental can burrow through nonmagical, unworked earth and stone. While doing
so, the elemental doesn’t disturb the material it moves through.
Siege Monster. The
elemental deals double damage to objects and structures.
Actions
Multiattack. The
elemental makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon
Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 14 (2d8 + 5) bludgeoning
damage.
Alone of all the elementals, the fire elemental relishes its time
on Midgard and the other Realms of the Field. Always seeking and hungry, fire
elementals unbound and unchecked are extremely dangerous and as unpredictable
as the fire of which they are comprised.
Fire elementals appear as wreathing, mobile, darting flames that
can seem to burn without needing fuel. They will happily consume anything that
burns, however, and will naturally seek out the most flammable objects they
can.
In combat, the elemental can be highly unpredictable, and is
known to go from being fixated on one target to flitting from foe to foe
randomly.
Large elemental, neutral
Speed 50 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10
17
16
6
10
7
0
+3
+3
-2
0
-2
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
13
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
24
0-6
7-12
13-24
25+
DR
0
Control Thresholds
Vigor
102
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
12d10+36
0-4
5-9
10-19
20+
Proficiency +3

Damage
Resistances.
Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage
Immunities.
Fire, poison
Condition
Immunities.
Exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone,
restrained, unconscious
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages.
Ignan
Challenge
5
(1,800 XP)
Fire Form. The
elemental can move through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing.
A creature that touches the elemental or hits it with a melee attack while
within 5 feet of it takes 5 (1d10) fire damage. In addition, the elemental can
enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. The first time it enters a
creatures space on a turn, that creature takes 5 (1d10) fire damage and catches
fire; until someone takes an action to douse the fire, the creature takes 5
(1d10) fire damage at the start of each of its turns.
Illumination. The
elemental sheds bright light in a 30-foot radius and dim light in an additional
30 feet.
Water Susceptibility.
For every 5 feet the elemental moves in water, or for every gallon of water
splashed on it, it takes 1 cold damage.
Actions
Multiattack. The
elemental makes two touch attacks.

Touch. Melee Weapon
Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) fire damage. If
the target is a creature or a flammable object, it ignites. Until a creature
takes an action to douse the fire, the target takes 5 (1d10) fire damage at the
start of each of its turns.
The water elemental hails from one of the four corners of
elemental Niflheim, and as with many elementals, wishes for little else but to
return there.
Water elementals resemble large pools of water if they can sit in
a depression, but on flat ground they are fairly conspicuous, appearing as
large coherent spheroids or other shapes of water that should absolutely not be
looking or behaving the way that it is.
As with other “pure” elementals, the water elemental is only
present in the Realms of the Field because it was summoned there, or by
accident (stumbling across a rift, or one of those annoying vortexes in
space-time that crop up now and then).
In combat, the water elemental will usually move to the largest
cluster of foes and attempt to grapple and drown as many as it can, usually two
at a time. It is more comfortable in depressions than on terrain where water
would naturally flow away (the top of a ridge), but that is a matter of
preference rather than any mechanical effect.
Large elemental, neutral
Speed 30 ft., swim 90 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
18
14
18
5
10
8
+4
+2
+4
-3
0
-1
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
12
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
23
0-8
9-16
17-33
34+
DR
2
Control Thresholds
Vigor
114
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
12d10+48
0-7
8-15
16-30
31+
*natural armor

Proficiency +3

Damage
Resistances.
Acid; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical
attacks
Damage
Immunities.
Poison
Condition
Immunities.
Exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone,
restrained, unconscious
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 10
Languages.
Aquan
Challenge
5
(1,800 XP)
Water Form. The
elemental can enter a hostile creature’s space and stop there. It can move
through a space as narrow as 1 inch wide without squeezing. Detecting a water
elemental in another body of water is nearly impossible. It is a DC 20
perception check to discern such while it is moving, and DC 25 if it is still.
Freeze. If the elemental
takes cold damage, it partially freezes; its speed is reduced by 20 feet until
the end of its next turn.
Actions
Multiattack. The
elemental makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon
Attack: +7 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning
damage.
Whelm (Recharge 4–6).
Each creature in the elementals space must make a DC 15 Strength saving throw.
On a failure, a target takes 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. If it is Large or
smaller, it is also grappled (escape DC 14). Until this grapple ends, the
target is restrained and unable to breathe unless it can breathe water. If the
saving throw is successful, the target is pushed out of the elementals space.
The elemental can grapple one Large creature or up to two Medium
or smaller creatures at one time. At the start of each of the elementals turns,
each target grappled by it takes 13 (2d8 + 4) bludgeoning damage. A creature
within 5 feet of the elemental can pull a creature or object out of it by
taking an action to make a DC 14 Strength and succeeding.
While some elementals are brought for benign reasons to the
Realms of the Field, the Invisible Stalker is always brought for one purpose:
to hunt and kill some quarry.
The invisible stalker is a limited form of air elemental, but has
sacrificed some of its cousin’s offensive power (the whirlwind attack) for true
invisibility, except for the exact moment it attacks. Even then, it is a DC 15
perception check to see the
“thickening” of the air that occurs when the creature uses its melee attack.
It is the attack itself that is visible (and very audible!),
however, and once it moves away from the target, it becomes invisible again.
Stalkers are not always summoned to evil intent, but they are always brought to the Realms of the Field
for lethal intent. Unlike many other
creatures, an Invisible Stalker will not stop attacking its target until it has
reached more than double its wound maximum – it beats its target until it is
defeated or the foe is broken and unmoving on the ground.
Medium elemental, neutral
Speed 50 ft., fly 50 ft. (hover)
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
16
19
14
10
15
11
+3
+4
+2
0
+2
0
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
14
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
25
0-4
5-8
9-17
18+
DR
0
Control Thresholds
Vigor
104
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
16d8+32
0-5
6-10
11-20
21+
Proficiency +3

Skills.
Perception +8, Stealth +10
Damage
Resistances.
Bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Damage
Immunities.
Poison
Condition
Immunities.
Exhaustion, grappled, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, prone,
restrained, unconscious
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 18
Languages.
Auran, understands Common but doesn’t speak it
Challenge
6
(2,300 XP)
Invisibility. The stalker
is invisible.
Faultless Tracker. The
stalker is given a quarry by its summoner. The stalker knows the direction and
distance to its quarry as long as the two of them are on the same plane of
existence. The stalker also knows the location of its summoner.
Actions
Multiattack. The
stalker makes two slam attacks.
Slam. Melee Weapon
Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 10 (2d6 + 3) thunder damage.
Ice Alf
The Ice Alf, like the fire elemental, is one of those rare
elementals that wants to be on the
Realms of the Field. It is, of course, not an “alf” at all – it has no
relationship to the svartalfs, other than being of similar size.
It is said that at a time long ago, an air elemental and a water
elemental chanced to meet in the Frostharrow. Perhaps under the influence of
the Winterfae, they combined, and from that union came a creature that not only
was an embodiment of living ice, but it wanted to see all things frozen.
The Ice Alf resembles a semi-humanoid cluster of icicles, but its
many frozen parts settle naturally into a formation that is indistinguishable
from other ice formations around it when it is unmoving. For this reason, Ice Alfs
tend to make their homes near cliffs where icy runoff forms icicles and mounds
of ice on the ground. The Ice Alf takes advantage of this to lay ambushes.
These elementals are “native” to the Frostharrow, but can be
found in any region where the ice lays thickly on the land.
These elementals are universally hostile, and will seek to attack
any warm-blooded creature that comes near. They will not, however, attack
Winterfae and Alfar, and will not attack elves first (half-elves seem to
inspire no fear or aversion in them) if other potential targets are available.
Small elemental, neutral evil
Speed 30 ft., fly 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
7
13
10
9
11
12
-2
+1
0
-1
0
+1
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
11
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
21
0-1
2-3
4-6
7+
DR
0
Control Thresholds
Vigor
21
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
6d6
0-1
2-3
4-6
7+
Proficiency +2

Skills.
Perception +2, Stealth +3
Damage
Vulnerabilities.
Bludgeoning, fire
Damage
Immunities.
Cold, poison
Condition
Immunities.
Poisoned
Senses.
Darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages.
Aquan, Auran
Challenge
1/2
(100 XP)
Death Burst. When the alf
dies, it explodes in a burst of jagged ice. Each creature within 5 feet of it
must make a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw, taking 4 (1d8) slashing damage on a
failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.
False Appearance. While
the alf remains motionless, it is indistinguishable from an ordinary shard of
ice.
Innate Spellcasting
(1/Day).
The alf can innately cast fog cloud, requiring no material
components. Its innate spellcasting ability is Charisma.
Actions
Claws. Melee Weapon
Attack: +3 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature. Hit: 3 (1d4 + 1) slashing damage
plus 2 (1d4) cold damage.
Frost Breath (Recharge 6).
The alf exhales a 15-foot cone of cold air. Each creature in that area must
succeed on a DC 10 Dexterity saving throw, taking 5 (2d4) cold damage on a
failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Earlier today I noted on G+ that I was slogging through some worldbuilding. I’m fleshing out the realms and areas that appear on the map of the continent on which Dragon Heresy takes place (I’d post an image, but the maps aren’t done yet, and so technically I don’t own them).

Morevel is a realm in the bottom-left-hand corner of the map. It really doesn’t play much of a part in the conception and execution of the game’s main area, which is a pseudo-sandbox north of the Norse/Viking-inspired country of Torengar. 

Still, it was on the map, and so I need to at least give prospective GMs something.

I decided to base the culture and history after that of Macedonean Greece, right after Alexander brought the region under his control, but before he launched his ridiculously successful campaign that ended deep into India.

This provided me with all sorts of goodness. A rich, prosperous country, but until recently, not a player due to internal strife. A 4,000-year history, with plenty of time to develop a local cultural identity, but also time for the political geography to change massively, several times. 

As I got writing, it got more interesting. I definitely will keep this in mind in case the project is successful enough to spawn follow-on works as either “wouldn’t it be fun” or stretch goals as part of a crowd-funding effort. Morevel’s neighbor to the immediate west, Inthriki, will be based on Kamakura-era Japan. Two rival lines to the throne, a not-so-stable military dictatorship, samurai, feudal systems, something like twelve different buddhist sects, and of course, there have to be ninja. There are always ninja. But that’s the rest of the night.

For now, I give you Morevel, in draft form. I suspect I may edit the hell out of this, since at this point in the draft, it’s mostly about getting thoughts on paper, rather than “yes, yes, publish this now.”

For the record: yes, Alidrus is Sparta.


MOREVEL

Land Area: 217,000 square miles.

Morevel lies directly to the west of Brousha and continental Barakthel, separated by 150-200 miles of the Neveri grasslands. It is a principally human-occupied realm, and is comprised of a significant continental land mass, as well as a vast archipelago sheltered inside a vast bay.

BRIEF HISTORY

The realm of Morevel is old, and came into existence around 1945 AS, in the last third of the three-millenium long dragon wars. It does not, however, owe its existence to the wars and their aftermath, as do the coastal cities bordering the Reithur Sea. 

The peoples which now comprise the lands of Morevel formed city-states and small kingdoms and domains, a pattern that exists to this day. The large archipelago that forms the heart of Morevel gave rise to a substantial naval expertise, which has also been developed and maintained as the realm matured.

After 500 years of exsiting as hundreds, if not thousands, of micro-domains, Soryuchis of Morevel began a period of expansion and conquest that would last for perhaps 200-300 years, expanding the small domain of Morevel into a country roughly the size of Brousha – about 60,000 square miles. Other areas formed similiarly-sized realms, either following Soryuchis’ example of conquest, or as a defensive alliance. Eventually, six large domains would form: Morevel, Dodeusis, Eretanes, and Cythmna were the largest, each of 30,000 to 60,000 square miles. Kepeira was the smallest at 12,000 square miles, and Alidrus was the final kingdom, at roughy 25,000. These six kingdoms existed as sometime allies, sometime enemies until the time of the Great Alliance. 

The daughter and the widow-king of Morevel had chance to meet with the son and the Queen of Alidrus. In was was surely a sordid affair, Orinon, Queen of Alidrus and Gunsus, widow-King of Morevel, and their children – Tytor of Alidrus and Iaira of Morevel both met, fell for each other, and plotted and executed the murder of the former prince-consort of Alidrus (who was apparently so beloved history does not record hs name). These countries were not geographical neighbors, nor had there been a long history of friendly relations between them. The death of the prince-consort was expected by those not involved to plunge the two nations into war. Instead, upon returning back to their respective countries, they mounted a dual-invasion of the next-largest and most powerful realm, Dodeusis. When the armies of Morevel and Alidrus met in the middle of Dodeusis, having subdued the country in a shockingly violent and successful campaign, the two couples married right there on the battlefield. 

They turned their eyes to the rest of the realms. Cythmna simply surrendered, having seen the violence of the recent campaign first hand. Kepeira and Eritanes did not give in, and did not fall immediately, but fall they did, with the last battle that unified the six realms under one ruler ocuring in 3006 AS, under the strategic command of Iaira, Queen of Morevel.
Since then, the realm grew unified, fractured into dozens to hundreds of component states around 4200 AS, was re-unified as the Republic of Dodeusis, broke apart again in 4440 AS, was reunified for the third time as the Autocracy of Alidrus in 4751, only to immediately break apart again upon the death of the Autarch in 4802, this time back to the six original realms that had been unified into Morevel in the first place.

Modern Morevel

In 5558, the King of Morevel watched the Neveri clans gather. Fearing the worst, he tried to rally his countrymen to mount a defense, only to find that the massed clans were directed at Torengar rather than the city-states. Vowing that they would never be that vulnerable, he and his heirs made plans to once again re-unify the realms under the banner of Morevel. Through a combination of hard fighting and hard negotiations, the country was consolidated again under Arcestus and Hypalia of Morevel, in 5772 AS – five years before Krail II made his proclaimation opening Tanalor to conquest.

PEOPLE AND SOCIETY

The realm of Morevel has been a single nation and comprised of a multitude of domains and city states over the roughly 4,000 years of its history. Nonetheless, mostly the peoples surrounding the Gulf of Otheoi (the body of water around which Morevel lies). It is realm that values education, literature, valor, and skill.

The population of Morevel is estimated to be between 7-8 million people, who are distributed relatively evenly throughout the six provinces of Morevel. Cities can be much larger than those found in the coastal realms, with the capitol of Morevel estimated to contain over 100,000 citizens, and several other cities being home to 50,000 people or more. 

Growing up in Morevel

A newborn in Morevel will be unnamed for the first ten days of life. If the child is sickly or weak, in most provinces clerical or magical aid will be brought in to assist. In Alidrus, it was – thousands of years ago – traditional to leave a sickly or deformed child to die of exposure; some from that provice will still follow that tradition. Others will give the child to the clergy to be adopted by others. Some, of course, will simply bring the mages, doctors, or clerical assistance that is common in every other province.

If the child survives that time, will be welcomed into the world with as glorious a feast and party as the parents and their family can afford to put on. A special dance is performed, with the mother, father, and the new child passed between them as they move through the four points of the compass, symbolizing the life-journey the newborn will take.

The child is educated at home until roughly age six, at which point they will be educated in mathematics, literature, debate, military skills, and generally be given as complete a physical, mental, and magical eduction as can be afforded, and as the talents of the child allow.

Again, Alidrus is a bit different – the child goes away to what is effectively a military academy until age 16, drilled under harsher conditions of discipline and physicality, but trained in substantially the same skills.

At 16, the child comes of age as an adult, and may marry, own property, and serve in a line of battle – in fact every year, each polity will send 1/40 of its adults to serve in the military for a two-year minimum term (service past two years is voluntary). This practice, called eikostos, keeps roughly 5% of the adult population of Morevel under arms at any given time.
At the age of 30, the citizen of Morevel is allowed to be appointed or engage in politics and serve as a government official should they wish to do so, and they are of the land-owner class.

Hierarchy in Morevel

Power in Morevel is mostly driven by wealth, and the noble familes are those with the largest resources. The nobles by definition are the landowners, but the lands and power is not hereditary, and it can be won and lost, bought and sold, as the fortunes of the land change.

Slaves. The lowest level of Morevelian is the slave. While those captured in warfare might become slaves if they’re foreigners or if the victorious commander has a personal grudge against his foe, that is not usual. The most common reason to become a slave is debt slavery. Where a citizen can no longer afford to pay land-rent on property, he can enter into a period of indentured slavery in exchange for funds. It is always possible to buy a slave’s contract, and the prices/terms are well established.

Citizens. The next level up are those who work or craft or serve in the military, but do not own their own lands. They are wage-makers, artisans, and soldiers, but as they do not control their own fortunes through land ownership, they are lower on the social pyramid.

Land-owners. Those who own real estate are at the highest level of Morevelian society. There are, of course, huge variations in how much land might be owned, and large estate holders could be almost comically wealthy. But to own land is to largely have the potential to be debt-free, or to receive revenues from others who work the land. One must also own land to hold political office or military command.

Military elite. A curious twist on the Morevelian culture was instituted by Arcestus and Hypalia – land owners who were also domain rulers must serve as heavy cavalry in the Morevelian army, or alternately provide and crew a ship in the navy. They must serve personally, not by proxy, for at least six months of the year when not on campaign, and if on campaign, until the campaign is over. Regents, spouses, and stewards rule in their stead while away. In this way, Arcestus and Hypalia keep the nobility busy, far from their homes and power base, and in constant mortal peril.

GOVERNMENT

Ultimately, the government is a military dictatorship under Arcestus and Hypalia, at least for the moment. They wield total power.

There is a senate of 500 advisors comprised of wealthy landowners and influential philosophers (who are also wealthy landowners), each of whom represents roughly a medium-sized city (15,000 people) and it’s surrounds. The provide advice, policy options, and intelligence from networks that they are encouraged to develop as part of the position in order to run the realm.

They are also responsible for the collection of taxes, with each senator responsible for the collection of roughly 20,000 gp per month of taxation revenue – or more – that flow to the treasury of Morevel.

ECONOMY

The economy of Morevel is based on the blessing of the land, whose average productivity rivals the best of that of Torengar, and the best of which produce an amazing bounty. Of highest value are crops that cannot be easily grown well in the more-northern climate of Torengar, such as olives, nuts, figs, and truly wonderful wines. They also have access to what amounts to a 125,000 square mile sheltered fishery on the continental shelf: the Gulf of Otheoi. 

The Morevelians also possess large access to limestone rocks, from which they have developed a remarkable variety of products, up to and including a pumice-reinforced lime cement, which is used both as a construction material and trade goods.

The natural metals of the area tend strongly to copper and alloys – iron is available but less plentiful, and so one finds bronze and brass in heavy use throughout the realm.

COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION

There have been many different styles of communication in the 4,000-year history of morevel, but the predominant ones have been through physical and mystical messengers. The recently-ended period of chaos and internal war that have led to the re-unification of the country under the banner of Morevel led to the breaking up of some of the established communication networks as strategic goals in the war. Arcestus and Hypalia have made the re-esablishment of these networks under trusted operations a high priority.

MILITARY

Though in recent history it has been used mostly against other Morevelians, the military of Morevel is large, sophisticated, and extremely well trained. 

Morevel maintains a standing army of professional fighters, and maintains discipline in the country through a two-layered system which is in effect a military dictatorship. The high-ranking nobles of nearly every domain must either command or ride as heavy cavalry with the King’s army. The peasantry is required to provide a continual portion of the population in service to the military, a personal levy called the eikostos (the “twentieth”). As such, it is estimated that there may be as many as a third of a million people under arms in Morevel.
Nobles and peasants alike are never stationed close to the lands where they were born.

Land Forces

Morevel maintains a powerful combined arms force and employs them in well-drilled maneuver. Such troops include:

  • Units of heavy cavalry, armed with bronze or steel breastplates and greaves, and each with a shortsword as a backup weapon. Their primary armament is a 12’ double-ended lance (treat as a pike).
  • Light cavalry in the form of horse archers armed with hide or scale armor and a shortbow, or with several javelins and a shortsword. These troops make darting hit-and-run attacks against opposing forces.
  • A phalanx of heavy infantry, each with a long pike usually used in two hands, a shield (used by those at the forefront of a formation), breastplate and greaves, and a shortsword.
  • Shock infantry with breastplate and greaves, a short spear, shortsword, and shield.
  • Light infantry, usually unarmored, carrying a light shield, several javelins, and a shortsword.

One notable feature of the armies of Morevel is that Hypalia has forbidden the use of wheeled transport when the armies are on the march, and limited servants amongs the troops to no more than one in ten. This significantly increases the speed of march and nimbleness of the armies of Morevel in recent times; several battles in recent history were won just because Arcestus’ army showed up days earlier than his foes’ thought they might.

Naval Forces

With well over 1,000 islands scattered through a central bay, and over 1,000 miles of coastline mostly enclosing a relatively narrow gulf, maintaining military power in Morevel has also meant maintaining a strong naval force as well.

The principal – and nearly omnipresent – vessel of the Morevelian military is the trireme. These large ships are built to a pattern, and tend to be about 120’ long, 20’ wide, and weigh about 40 tons. It has three banks of oars, 170 oars at one man per oar, and a total compliment of 200 souls. It had one large mast, and another small one in the front of the ship. Best continuous speed is about 10’ normal speed with half the oarsmen rowing, and sprinting under full power at 40’ per turn.

RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER NATIONS

Up until recently, the only nation that has been in regular contact with Morevel from the coastal realms has been Brousha, who trade across the Neveri steppes.

Morevel does have limited contact with Inthriki, though less than the map of Etera might suggest. Significant topographical barriers separate what would otherwise appear to be neighboring countries. Fennu and Shenho lakes are large and be quite turbulent, though there are two cities neighboring each other and trade and commerce occurs there. To the south of Shenho is a significant mountain range that extends south to the ocean, making the limited border along the lakes the primary point of contact.

As part of the run-up to Dragon Heresy, I quickly realized that the book was going to be very large. My initial estimates of a single 250-300 page volume were crushed under the heels of 90,000 words of just monsters. And that’s after culling things down and eliminating many that are thematically inappropriate. 

There are ways to deal with this, of course. One is “be even more ruthless about culling.” That’s valid. Another is to just suck it up, and publish a 550 – 600-page book, which would be even larger than the Pathfinder Core Rules (512 pages), and about the same size as Hero Fifth Edition (592 pages). Hero solved this problem in 6th edition by publishing in two volumes. This is the same tack GURPS took, releasing a Campaigns and Characters book with sequential pagination (if the Characters book stops at p. 250, the Campaigns book picks up at p. 251, in concept). Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition is something like 990 pages if you include every page (including the index and TOC, which isn’t entirely fair) of the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual.

By that yardstick, Dragon Heresy is the very soul of brevity.


Still – I was curious as to preferences, so I posted a poll, which was very well attended by the reading population – for which everyone has my thanks (the poll is still active here).

Poll Results

The results were illustrative. I figured “two volumes, please” would simply dominate. I was not entirely correct.

The first swing of voting broke sharply in favor of One Giant Tome. Subsequent voting broke hard the other way.

Eventually, things settled, with roughly 3 people preferring the two-volume set for every one person that wanted a single book. The most useful piece of advice came (predictably) from +Peter V. Dell’Orto, who suggested one PDF, but two (or more) printed books, so that you could have a combat rule, a campaign rule or map, and a monster open on the table simultaneously, but do a one-volume PDF search.

A Modern Print-on-Demand Solution?

Still, while from an RPG electoral college perspective, the multi-volume set won huge, 40% of the market, more or less, wants a volume they can just haul around. 60% wants multiple volumes. The reasons for both are valid.

A bit of a history of multi-volume sets

What I am considering, but I’d have to work out the logistics of it in a big way, is a “build-a-book” concept. You select a cover, get the intro, and choose the components of the book. Book A would be the character generation and core rules. Book B would be the campaign rules and setting information. Book C is monsters and stuff. The Index would cover A, B, and C. There would be three Table of Contents files, one for A, B, and C.

Each customer could then assemble the book or books that they want. Want the One Book to Rule them All option? Assemble Cover + ToC A, B, C + Intro + Book A + Book B + Book C + Index.

Want three volumes? Cover + Introduction + ToC A + Book A + Index; Cover + ToC B + Book B + Index; Cover + ToC C + Book C + Index.

Print on Demand how you like from the PDFs. 

Something like this was the favorite

The indices and ToC would obviously be free. The cover or cover variants maybe not, because you have to pay for good art, and if I have paid for a custom awesome cover, I need to charge for the work. If it’s my current decent but not eye-bogglingly-awesome cover, it would be free as well.

I would dearly love to do this. Everyone could get what they want, and Print-on-Demand means that I would not have to deal with the logistics and costs of stocking offset print runs of anything, much less infinite combos of A, B, and C.

Based on the poll results, though, my initial offerings will likely be “one-volume PDF,” “two-volume PDF,” and “two-volume print book.” If the product is well received enough to do more, I will do more.

Editing and Length

One reasonably-frequent observation was “if it’s that long, your editing is bad.” A less aggressive phrasing might have been “does it have to be that long?”

Yes and no. The largest sections of the book – fully half it’s length – are spells, magic items, and a gigantic section of monsters. I could easily chop the heck out of the magic items. I think I still need the 60,000 words (!!) of spells, since they’re core to at least five character classes, maybe more. The monsters could be reduced to “early challenges, a few big dogs, and if you want more monsters, make ’em yourself or buy this New Extra Volume!”

I’m loathe to do this, but it could be done.

I’ve never really asked for art before, so I’m going to post some art direction notes here and ask for reactions from artists as to whether this is the right kind of direction. Is this enough information? Is it too much? Does it get your juices flowing, or stifle creativity?

Art notes: Chapter 2 Core Concepts

Art Types

Full-page art.
These facing-page illustrations should tell a story.
Insert art. These
are small pieces of art that fill white space in the manuscript, frequently
next to a table that does not fill a column.
Column Art. This
is a full-column width, arbitrarily high (can be the entire column) piece of
art that tells a partial story or illustrates a concept found within a few
pages of the artwork. It is used for spacing out text.
Half-page art.
This is a full-page width, arbitrarily high piece of artwork that can be used
either for spacing out text or pushing an important section start to the
beginning of a page.

Art Notes

p. 4
Full page color art.
8.5 x 11, and art should run off the page/fill the entire sheet if possible.
Possible theme: Starting
out on the adventure! Fresh-looking adventurers depart from a safe haven.
Possible composition:
A group of norse-looking adventurers, starting out from a walled city or keep.
The mid distance should look somewhat inviting, and the far distance should be
threatening and dark, with wild woods and a scary sky. If it can be worked in,
mystical elements such as fae, goblins, and maybe a troll should be in the near
distance on the left. On the right, lizardfolk and kobolds, with a dragon
wheeling in the distance.

p. 7
Insert art: 1.5”
wide x 4.25” tall
Possible theme:
scaling, or anything that increases or decreases from up to down.
Alternate:
anything long and narrow!
Possible
composition(s):
scaling a ladder or wall. Yggdrasil – the world tree – done
in abstract view. A weapon rack with spears and swords.

p. 9
Insert art: 1.5”
x 2”
Possible themes:
the aftermath of doing something difficult
Possible composition:
A dented or pierced helm, Viking-style (please, no horns)

p. 16
Column Art. 3.5”
wide x 9.5” tall.
Possible theme:
avoiding a disaster by great effort. NOT avoiding a calamity. Calling on
powerful forces (magic or the divine) to help bring victory.
Possible compositions:
A dragon vaporizing one adventurer as another ducks behind a shield or other
cover. A powerful faerie casting a glamour or destructive spell on a group of adventurers.
A warrior in armor holding a glowing sword overhead, which is being struck by
lightning; a hint of Thor in the clouds providing the lightning would not go
amiss.
Special Note on p.
16-17.
 These two pieces of artwork could be pushed together into one piece that would cross over the book binding into each other, making a single wide piece of artwork.

p. 17
Column Art. 3.5”
wide x 9.5” tall
Possible theme:
avoiding a disaster by great effort. NOT avoiding a calamity. Calling on
powerful forces (magic or the divine) to help bring victory.
Possible compositions:
A dragon vaporizing one adventurer as another ducks behind a shield or other
cover. A powerful faerie casting a glamour or destructive spell on a group of adventurers.
A warrior in armor holding a glowing sword overhead, which is being struck by
lightning; a hint of Thor in the clouds providing the lightning would not go
amiss.
Special Note on p.
16-17.
These two pieces of artwork could be pushed together into one piece
that would cross over the book binding into each other, making a single
wide piece of artwork.

Starting to get layout chapters. Here’s the introduction. Tweaks are still being made, but this is starting to look like a real book. The Core Concepts chapter has tables and more box-text, and it looks very, very good to me.

Comments welcome!

 A 2-page spread from the Core Concepts chapter…


And another showing two full-column pieces of artwork placeholder. I’m tempted to ask for one illustration that will be split in half, bracketing the text with a complete picture like bookends.

I tossed this up on the SJG Forums as part of a discussion on the role of the GM in gaming. So I figured I’d share here as well. There’s nothing terribly profound, I think, that hasn’t been said repeatedly over the last 40 years.

WHAT IS ROLEPLAYING

No game would be complete without an introduction to roleplaying itself – or at least it seems that way.

Roleplaying is interactive storytelling. You will take the roles of characters who are mundane and magical, mighty warriors and cunning rogues, wandering bards (also called skalds) that tell the stories of mighty deeds of heroes – perhaps even performing them yourself.

In a roleplaying game, you create a character, which is a collection of descriptive and game-mechanical abilities that provide the lens through which you as a player interact with the world that has been created for you to adventure in.

A useful concept in thinking about roleplaying characters is that of the avatar. Originally a Hindu concept, it was the physical manifestation of a god on earth, usually as a human or animal form. In a way, your character is thus an avatar, the physical appearance of the player in the world of Dragon Heresy, the tool, body, and voice that the player uses to interact with the world.

Throughout the text of this book, and the Book of Heroes, the rules and text will refer to the player and the player’s character (avatar!) mostly interchangeably. This is done for convenience as well as some degree of accuracy – while it is hopefully unlikely that the actual players will draw swords and axes to settle conflicts with each other and the GM, it is the players making the decisions for their avatars, their proxy in the game world.

The Role of the Gamemaster

The Gamemaster, or GM, provides the voices and actions of everyone but your other fellow players and your own character. The GM provides the plot outline, plays the roles of the men, women, monsters, and gods you might meet during the course of adventuring, and will generally set the structure and tone of the game.

Rule Zero

Through these rules, there is one assumption that is made tacitly, but will be stated here explicitly and is often referred to as “Rule Zero” of roleplaying: The GM’s word is final in all discussions about the in-game rules, especially while the game session is in play. The Gamemaster is, as the name implies, the master of the game, and if the GM wants to change a rule, or even bypass the use of rules for a particular scene, that’s the way it goes.

The Golden Rule


There’s an important corollary to Rule Zero in social endeavors like roleplaying. Derived from “The Golden Rule,” – do unto others as you would have others do unto you – and recently referred to and popularized as “Wheaton’s Law,” the less-colorful phrasing of which would be “Don’t be a jerk”.

Yes, the GM’s word is final, but abuse of this role will lead to tension and strife, and the most important part of the roleplaying game is to have fun telling great stories playing your characters with friends and people with common interests.

As a GM, your job is to provide structure, continuity, and inspiration to the game so that the players can live fast, engage in epic struggle, achieve noble successes, or failing that, at least die gloriously and memorably. In short – you are creating a shared play area in which your friends will also have fun. Take that seriously – but Rule Zero is, in the end, yours.

The Dragon Heresy RPG player-centric book is finished, at least in complete first draft form. 
Based off of an extensively edited and modified SRD5.1, the player’s book consists of roughly 172,000 words, or between 235-275 laid-out pages depending on how that goes.
You can see the raw dump of the Table of Contents below. This represent Chapter and Section Titles (what I’d call A-HEAD and B-HEAD in a GURPS manuscript).
Next step for this one is for +Rob Muadib to pour it into our black-and-white layout format, and then make holes for art. In the meantime, my squad of nearly three dozen playtesters and readers will hopefully be looking at this with a “tweak and fix” rather than “suggest sections to write” eye.
I have also created an outline for the GM’s book, and ported the major already-written sections into it, whch means it’s over 120,000 words on day one. This is good. Not all of my effort is going into the GM’s book, but most of it will be over the next week.
So: a good bit of progress, but more yet to do. I’m still hoping to have a complete draft in a week, but that’s a lot of writing in a short time. We shall see.

Introduction………………………………………………………… 5
Core Concepts……………………………………………………….. 9
Using Ability Scores………………………………………………… 11
Saving Throws………………………………………………………. 22
Combat…………………………………………………………….. 23
The Order of Combat…………………………………………………. 23
Actions in Combat…………………………………………………… 25
Defensive Target Numbers…………………………………………….. 27
Making an Attack……………………………………………………. 30
Grappling………………………………………………………….. 36
Movement and Position……………………………………………….. 41
Mounted Combat……………………………………………………… 42
Underwater Combat…………………………………………………… 43
Injury, Rest, and Healing……………………………………………. 44
Inspiration………………………………………………………… 49
Generating Characters……………………………………………….. 52
Character Description……………………………………………….. 52
Generating Ability Scores……………………………………………. 54
Character Races…………………………………………………….. 57
Racial Traits………………………………………………………. 57
Dwarf……………………………………………………………… 57
Elf……………………………………………………………….. 58
Halfling…………………………………………………………… 59
Human……………………………………………………………… 60
Dragonborn…………………………………………………………. 60
Gnome……………………………………………………………… 61
Half-elf…………………………………………………………… 62
Half-orc…………………………………………………………… 63
Tiefling…………………………………………………………… 63
Character Classes…………………………………………………… 65
Barbarian………………………………………………………….. 65
Bard………………………………………………………………. 70
Cleric…………………………………………………………….. 76
Druid……………………………………………………………… 93
Fighter…………………………………………………………… 101
Monk……………………………………………………………… 106
Ranger……………………………………………………………. 122
Rogue…………………………………………………………….. 131
Sorcerer………………………………………………………….. 137
Warlock…………………………………………………………… 144
Wizard……………………………………………………………. 156
Character Background……………………………………………….. 165
Backgrounds……………………………………………………….. 166
Motivation, Cohesion, and Goal………………………………………. 190
Beyond 1st Level…………………………………………………… 192
Explicit Multiclass Options…………………………………………. 196
Equipment…………………………………………………………. 204
Coinage…………………………………………………………… 204
Selling Treasure…………………………………………………… 204
Armor and Shields………………………………………………….. 205
Weapons…………………………………………………………… 208
Magical Attacks vs Armor……………………………………………. 211
Adventuring Gear…………………………………………………… 212
Tools…………………………………………………………….. 218
Mounts and Vehicles………………………………………………… 220
Trade Goods……………………………………………………….. 221
Expenses………………………………………………………….. 222
Feats…………………………………………………………….. 226
List of Feats……………………………………………………… 226
Spellcasting………………………………………………………. 235
What Is a Spell?…………………………………………………… 235
Casting a Spell……………………………………………………. 238
Spell Lists……………………………………………………….. 245
Spells by Class……………………………………………………. 245
Cantrips………………………………………………………….. 262
1st Level Spells…………………………………………………… 268
2nd Level Spells…………………………………………………… 281
3rd Level Spells…………………………………………………… 300
4th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 315
5th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 327
6th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 345
7th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 358
8th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 369
9th Level Spells…………………………………………………… 376
Conditions………………………………………………………… 386
Open Game License Version 1.0A………………………………………. 389
A sample NPC/Monster writeup from the Dragon Heresy draft. This started life in the SRD5.1, but has been modified for the new game rules.
Archmage
Medium humanoid (any race), any alignment
Speed 30 ft.
STR
DEX
CON
INT
WIS
CHA
10
14
12
20
15
16
0
+2
+1
+5
+2
+3
Defenses
Wound Thresholds
Threat DC
12
Morale
Injury
KO
Death
Hit DC
24
0-3
4-6
7-12
13+
DR
0*
Control Thresholds
Vigor
99
Grab
Grapple
Restr.
Incap.
Vigor Dice
18d8+18
0-3
4-6
7-12
13+
*mage armor adds DR 1 per spell slot level

Proficiency +4

Saving
Throws.
Int +9, Wis +6
Skills.
Arcana +13, History +13
Damage
Resistance.
damage from spells; nonmagical bludgeoning, piercing, and
slashing (from stoneskin)
Senses.
passive Perception 12
Languages.
any six languages.
Challenge
12
(8,400 XP)

Magic Resistance. The
archmage has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical
effects.

Spellcasting. The
archmage is an 18th-level spellcaster. Its spellcasting ability is Intelligence
(spell save DC 17, +9 to hit with spell attacks). The archmage can cast
disguise self and invisibility at will and has the following wizard spells
prepared:
•  Cantrips
(at will): fire bolt, light, mage hand, prestidigitation, shocking grasp
•  1st
level (4 slots): detect magic, identify, mage armor*, magic missile
•  2nd
level (3 slots): detect thoughts, mirror image, misty step
•  3rd
level (3 slots): counterspell, fly, lightning bolt
•  4th
level (3 slots): banishment, fire shield, stoneskin*
•  5th
level (3 slots): cone of cold, scrying, wall of force
•  6th
level (1 slot): globe of invulnerability
•  7th
level (1 slot): teleport
•  8th
level (1 slot): mind blank*
•  9th
level (1 slot): time stop
*The archmage casts these spells on itself before combat.
Actions
Dagger. Melee or
Ranged Weapon Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 20/60 ft., one target.
Hit: 4 (1d4 + 2) piercing damage.
Archmages are powerful (and usually quite old) spellcasters
dedicated to the study of the arcane arts. Benevolent ones counsel kings and
queens, while evil ones rule as tyrants and pursue lichdom. Those who are
neither good nor evil sequester themselves in remote towers to practice their
magic without interruption.

An archmage typically has one or more apprentice mages, and an
archmage’s abode has numerous magical wards and guardians to discourage
interlopers.

Just for fun, here are the subclasses that will appear in Dragon Heresy. Bold are new, original, or heavily modified subclasses. Plain text appear in SRD5.1 and have been minimally modified for the game.

  1. Barbarian – Path of the Berserker
  2. Barbarian – Path of Primal Runes
  3. Bard – College of Lore
  4. Bard – College of Craft
  5. Cleric – Death Domain (Halja)
  6. Cleric – Fate Domain (Norns)
  7. Cleric – Fluidity Domain (Loki)
  8. Cleric – Justice and War Domain (Ziu)
  9. Cleric – Knowledge and Foresight (Woden)
  10. Cleric – Magic and Transcendence (Valfreya)
  11. Cleric – Renewal (Iduna)
  12. Cleric – Storms (Donnar)
  13. Cleric – Warding (Idris)
  14. Cleric – Winter (Skadi)
  15. Druid – Circle of the Land
  16. Druid – Circle of the Beast
  17. Fighter – Champion
  18. Fighter – Commander
  19. Monk – Way of Lausatok (grappling master)
  20. Monk – Way of the Valkyries (precision striking)
  21. Monk – Way of the Open Hand (unarmed striking)
  22. Paladin – Oath of Justice
  23. Paladin – Oath of Protection
  24. Paladin – Oath of Yggdrasil
  25. Ranger – Hunter (taken and adapted with permission from +George Sutherland Howard‘s work)
  26. Ranger – Spellstrider (taken and adapted with permission from +George Sutherland Howard‘s work)
  27. Rogue – Highwayman/Corsair
  28. Rogue – Thief
  29. Sorcerer – Aesir bloodline
  30. Sorcerer – Draconic bloodline
  31. Sorcerer – Winterfey bloodline
  32. Warlock – Pact with the Aesir
  33. Warlock – Pact with a Dragonlord
  34. Warlock – Pact with a fiend
  35. Warlock – Pact with a Winterfey
  36. Wizard – School of Doors
  37. Wizard – School of Essences
  38. Wizard – School of Might
  39. Wizard – School of Mischief
The only writing I have yet to do on the subclasses is to find the right level-boosts for the Wizard schools. I’m working on the 2nd level ability being finesse, the 6th level being understanding, the 10th level being power, and the 14th being resistance or overwhelm. So that (for example) the 14th level ability corresponding to the algiz rune (abjuration) will half the protection of magical shields and barriers, allowing your thurisaz rune spells (evocation) to penetrate magical protections more easily.