Monday, December 1, 2014

Who are the Segurak Tal?

Segurak Tal, which translates to "blood of Segurak," is the name given to an extended family of sorcerers originating in the free city of Beamoor. Most of its members are direct descendants of Segurak, who now refers to himself as Segurak Prime to distinguish himself from certain other members of his family. Segurak is a powerful sorcerer with the undead bloodline, and the powers of undeath have been passed along to his progeny. Outsiders are sometimes admitted into this distinguished clan, but only as infants, and only after a rigorous screening process for potential based on the accomplishments of the infant's birth family. If the applicant is accepted, they are inducted into the family and raised with the trappings of wealth and power. The induction invariably includes feeding the infant the fresh blood of Segurak himself, provided in nonlethal doses alongside breast milk, and for at least two more years after the child has been weened off the natural fluid. Most inductees are human, but many hobgoblins have been admitted in the last two generations, children of prestigious hobgoblins in Beamoor. The family is now in its 6th generation, assuming Segurak Prime as the first.

The most infamous member of the family, perhaps even more than Segurak Prime, is Sarlu Segurak, one of his grandchildren. Sarlu Segurak was active for about 18 years, during which he terrorized the world with undead armies and terrible necromantic cataclysms called Blights, which he caused in areas scattered around the continent. These Blights were created by draining the life for many miles in a roughly circular area, and infusing the area with self-sustaining concentrations of negative energy. Undead rise on their own and flourish in these areas, and there seems to be no way to reverse the devastation with the same speed that created it. Castings of consecration, followed by fertilization of the ground and seeding of new plant life, are effective, but progress is slow. In the larger Blights, namely the Estilica Blight, the negative energy is self-replenishing at a rate greater than the progress can be made.

Over the course of his career, which ended almost 80 years ago, Sarlu created six Blights, each one larger than the last, ending with the Estilica Blight, which depopulated six settlements and snuffed unquantifiable amounts of plant and animal life. Sarlu's career would have culminated in a seventh Blight, one that would draw from the others and cover the entire continent, but he was stopped by a brave handful of powerful heroes, in conjunction with other Segurak Tal, who take every opportunity to remind the world that they are not all like him.

The family is still feared in most civilized areas, but afforded a measure of respect for having helped save the world. This respect, as well as the family's wealth and prestige in academic matters, allow members to insinuate themselves into positions of power in many organizations - governmental, mercantile, and even some religious groups have Segurak Tal in mid-to-high ranks among their number.

A player who plays a human or hobgoblin sorcerer or bloodrager with the undead bloodline, who also hails from the Free City of Beamoor, has the option of taking Segurak Tal as a Special Background. 1st-level Segurak Tal have the Spirit Sense faith trait, the Outcast's Intuition magic trait, the Rich Parents social trait,  and the Family Ties drawback.
At 1st level, a member of the Segurak Tal gains Diplomacy and Knowledge (nobility) as class skills, and gains a +2 bonus when using these skills to insinuate themselves into a position of power or learn more about the power structure of an organization. They also gain a +2 bonus to Knowledge (religion) checks to identify undead, as many undead that exist today were invented by Segurak Prime or one of his descendants. The cost of this is one spell slot at the spell level they can cast for sorcerers, and 2 daily rounds of bloodrage for bloodragers.
At 4th level, a member of the can make an intimidate check once per day with a bonus equal to half their level. The number of uses per day increases by 1 for every three levels beyond 4th. This is a supernatural ability and the effect includes obvious visual and auditory components (swirling winds, strange lights and shadows, etc). The cost of this is one spell slot at the spell level they can cast for sorcerers, and 2 daily rounds of bloodrage for bloodragers.
At 8th level, any fear effect that the member creates has its duration doubled, and a successful intimidate check to make a target act friendly instills such dread that the target is considered permanently friendly as long as their level does not equal or exceed the level of the Segurak Tal. The cost of this is one spell slot at the spell level they can cast for sorcerers, and 2 daily rounds of bloodrage for bloodragers.
At 12th level, a member gains a +4 bonus to saves against disease, mundane and magical, as well as immunity to Mummy Rot. This is an extraordinary ability. The cost of this is one spell slot at the spell level they can cast for sorcerers, and 2 daily rounds of bloodrage for bloodragers.
At 15th level (for sorcerers) or 16th level (for bloodragers), the ability to become incorporeal is replaced by the ability to ignore half of all physical damage for a like amount of time. In addition, the member becomes immune to bleed effects, poison, ability damage, and energy drain, but becomes vulnerable to fire. This is a supernatural ability. The cost of this is one spell slot at the spell level they can cast for sorcerers, and 2 daily rounds of bloodrage for bloodragers.
At 20th level, the member surpasses all other Segurak Tal, including Segurak Prime. It is unknown what powers a member of this might would possess.

Roleplaying: A member of the Segurak Tal is expected to bring money and prestige to the family at large. He or she must invest in businesses whenever presented with the opportunity, and any profits must be split with the rest of the family. When a member is in a position of power, the member represents the Segurak Tal and must conduct themselves accordingly (acting with integrity, making good on threats, accepting challenges to power and winning or losing with grace, etc.). A member of the Segurak Tal must defend the practice of necromancy as a tool for cheap labor and military might, even in the face of danger or loss of prestige. Should the member fail to meet these requirements, they will lose the favor of the family, and must make amends or be marked as unprotected (and the Segurak Tal has many enemies).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Introduction to Thargothras

This is a world I am building. This is a world in progress. This is a homebrew world for my latest Pathfinder campaign, and it is splendid. I have, after hours of deliberation and searching, decided to name it Thargothras. A lot of other good names were taken.

The world is big. The world is old. The world is alive with magic and intrigue. Dragons. Lost treasures. Elves and orcs and dwarves and the endless struggles between them. Trolls and fairies and princesses.

You've seen this like before. But you have not seen Thargothras. Not yet. Over the course of this blog, you will come to know this world, its inhabitants, and the little things that make it both unique and compelling.

The maps are made using the free version of Hexographer, and special thanks go to the following random generator sites for giving me the names, inspirations, and in many cases foundations of Thargothras as it exists today:

And, of course, many huge thank-yous to Zak Smith, over at D&D with Porn Stars.