Renaissance Primer

Section 1: Know Your History

    Peace and Prosperity. Qualities that were long absent from Shakandara. With the defeat of the armies lead by the Crymorians, and the rebuilding process well under way, Shakandara's people are enjoying a time of growth, renewal, and rebirth. The Elven borders are once again open to travellers, and long time territorial fueds have been set aside between neighbors. The world has become an exciting and dynamic place to live. But dangers still lurk in the darker corners on the realm. Political intrigue and power struggles play beneath the everyday workings of cities across Shakandara. Remnants of defeated armies use the increased trade traffic to fatten their bellies and gain strength. Even the Crymorians, leaderless and devastated, still maintain small bases of operation in secret. High adventure awaits those who are but willing to step out their front door and seek it. A vast, clean slate awaits the heroes who desire to make their mark upon it.

Section 2: Dates and Times

    Shakandara has 24 hours to each of its days. Each week is composed of 5 days. These are Dawnday (also known as Traveler's Day), Toilday, Harvestday, Fairday (also known as Duskday), and Godsday. Most people in Shakandara work the first four days of the week, resting and honoring The Gods on the fifth day. A span of two weeks is known as a tenday. There are 30 days to each of the months, of which there are twelve. The months roughly correspond to ours as follows:

Earth MonthShakandaran Month
JanuaryMolus
FebruaryDeepfrost
MarchStaurgos
AprilRenaius
MayPriteen
JuneJunus
JulyAuros
AugustFierus
SeptemberHarvest
OctoberBlazarian
NovemberFloodwatch
DecemberTerminus


    There are four seasons to the year. Winter begins in Molus, Spring in Renaius, Summer in Auros, and Fall in Blazarian. The sun rises in the West and sets in the East. Shakandara has two moons, Serenas and Argeaon. Serenas completes its full-to-full cycle in 20 days, Argeaon in 30 days. There are ten years to each Cycle. The years of the Cycle are named as follows:

Year OrderYear Name
1stDragon
2ndOgre
3rdElf
4thLeviathan
5thTree
6thTitan
7thWolf
8thMountain
9thOcean
10thSerpent


    The current campaign begins on the 22nd day of Fierus, 243rd Year of the Tree.

Section 3: Creating Your Character

    All characters begin at 4th level. Choose your race and adjust you level according to the level adjustment. All non-standard (even +0 level adjustment ones) must be approved by the GM before play; satyrs are banned as a PC race. +1 or higher CR races receive racial hit die equal to their race's natural HD or their CR modifier as a PC race, whichever is less. See Section 7: Races for more information on the common peoples of Shakandara.

    Generate your character's six ability scores using the point-buy system with 32 points. Hit points are calculated as follows: max at levels 1 and 2, then 75% of the die (round down) thereafter. Calculate racial hit die before class hit die, if any. Determine skills and feats normally (see Section 6 for a few new feats available). Your character may be of any alignment except those which include the Evil axis component.

    Each character begins the campaign with the following equipment: Light War Horse (or Heavy Riding Horse), Saddle & Other Tack, Large Sack, 1 Week of Iron Rations, 2 Wineskins, 4 Qts. of Water, 500gp to spend on mundane equipment, & 1 non-magical item of up to 1,000gpv (ex. Spyglass, Trained Falcon, Barding for a Horse, Gem or Jewelry, Spell Lab, etc.). All purchased equipment is, of course, subject to DM's approval and may only be purchased from the PHB, MoF, FRCS, and splat class books. Thunderstones and Poisons are banned from purchase during character creation. Mages (core class only) begin the campaign with 2 standard spellbooks of 100 pages each (see below for starting spell information).

    Each character may also select one item set from each of the four groups listed below. For items that are generic (ie. weapons, type of armor, type of shield), you may select the specific properties of the item(s). For example, you might decide that the +1 melee weapon from Group 1 is a Long Sword +1 or a Heavy Mace +1. The +1 shield from Group 2 could be a Large Steel Shield +1 or a Small Duskwood Shield +1.

  1. Group 1
  2. Group 2
  3. Group3
  4. Group 4

    Next, create a basic history for your character with "plot-hooks" in it. The more information you give me in your history, the more involved in the game you will be. Omit names of cities from the history; when we meet to discuss your character, I will fill in those details for you.

    Create a "wish list" for magic items and such. It should be from 3 to 6 items long. Be as general or as specific as you like, but keep in mind the following points. First, the more general you are, the more likely you are to get an item that will fall into that general category. For example, if you ask for a magical weapon, you will most likely get some kind of magic weapon. Second, if you really want a Flame Tongue Longsword, ask for that item. Since this is more specific, you are less likely to get the exact item, but if you don't let me know that it is the specific item that you want, you have an even smaller chance of getting it. Third, these are simply "wish" lists. I will not guarantee that you will receive any of the items that you ask for. I will try to accommodate requests whenever possible. Magic Item creation and purchase will be available during the course of the campaign; see Section 4 for further details.

    Some notes now on the various classes. Paladins may be of any alignment, as long as it matches the alignment of the god that they have chosen. In my opinion, a paladin is a champion of the cause of their god, or more simply put, a holy warrior. Any god should be permitted to have holy (or unholy) warriors to champion their cause, be it for good, evil, law, chaos, or to balance all (neutrality). Because of this, each god's paladins will be different. If you wish to play a paladin, contact me, and I can fill in the information about each paladin's special powers. Likewise, priest's domains are determined by their deity's portfolio, contact me for more information on the domains available to various priests. This applies only to priest's using the core rules version of the class (see Section 4).

    When choosing spells for a mage's spellbook, follow the rules presented in the PHB, with the following exception: apply your Intelligence modifier for additional starting spells at levels above 1st. Specialist mages also receive an additional spell in their school for each level as well. Ex. A 4th level mage with an 18 Int would receive all 0-level spells, 7 spells for 1st level, and 6 more for each level 2-4. If he is a specialist mage, he would have 8 from 1st level and 7 more for each level 2-4. This applies only to mages using the core rules version of the class (see Section 4).

    All sourcebooks, PClasses, equipment, spells, and special rules are considered available on a provisional basis, with the following notations. If it is from a source I do not have, you must present me with complete documentation for it, and bring said documentation with you to every session. If you fail to bring it with you, and there is any question about the related text, the ability, spell, item, or feature is considered unavailable and may not be used for play in that session. It is recommended, if the section is small enough, that you photocopy the relevant information and give a copy to the DM to keep.

Section 4: Magic in Shakandara

    Shakandara is covered by a web of magical energy. The strands crisscross the entire surface of the world, including running through it. Each force line carries a specific type of magical energy. When many force lines of a type of magic connect in one spot, it forms a Locus, a place of great power. The spellcasters of the world have constructed towers, temples, and schools at many of these points. Casters use spells to draw upon these magical force lines. Magical items are also tied to the force lines. It is possible to determine a magical item or creature's nature by examining the force lines connected to it.

    Shakandara uses the Elements of Magic supplement by Matt Blakeley from Natural 20 Press for its magic system. It is available in PDF format from RPGNow.com for $7.95, or I can provide you with a copy of mine for perusal. The system is optional at this time; alternate spellcasting classes for mages, sorcerers, clerics, druids, bards, rangers, and paladins can all be found within the book. If you wish to use core rules versions of those classes instead, you may, but I still advise reading this material, as you opposition will be using this system.

Note the following changes to EoM document: Note the following changes to existing core document spells: Note the following adaptations of core rules spells for EoM spellcasters:     Casters may create new spells. To do this, they must spend time researching the spell. It takes 1 week/per level of the spell for the time to research it. During this time, the caster must spend 8 hours out of the day working on the spell research, but they can still adventure, cast spells, etc. They cannot also be involved in magic item creation while researching a spell. Every day, the caster must succeed in a Knowledge Arcana roll (DC = 20 + spell level, cannot take 20). Any day this roll fails, it extends the time to complete the spell by one day. However, if the caster has access to a library worth at least 500gpv x spell level (this library can be owned, rented, or borrowed), the DC is only 15 + spell level. The actual spell research will cost 25gp x # of days to research it. This would mean a newly researched 1st level spell would cost a total of 125gp to research if the caster made their Knowledge Arcana checks every day. A 5th level spell would require a 2500gpv library and cost 625gpv to research. If a second caster is involved in the process, the DC for the Knowledge Arcana check is reduced by 2, and each caster need only spend 4 hours per day in spell research.

    Casters may create magic items, but Shakandara uses a variant system to the core rules. First, all items require one “component” per 1,000gpv (or fraction thereof). Some of these components are obvious, like a suit of masterwork armor for a magical suit of armor. However, some will be less obvious, and are completely up to the GM's descretion or whim. Each of these components can vary wildly in cost and rarity, but the total of all components to craft a given item cannot have a value greater than ˝ the item's market value* (i.e. the gp cost to create an item has now been broken down into the value of its components). Components can either be found and collected during adventuring (a Knowledge Arcana check with a DC set by the GM - generally 20 to 25 - can help spot these items when they appear), or can be sought out intentionally through research or purchase. Any components collected in this manner take a day each. Note that such a task can be shared by companions of the crafter; this can help to dramatically decrease the time necessary to gather the components required for making an item. The time to create any item is now a single day, assuming that all the components have been collected (and the caster has the correct spells and sufficient XP available). Specific item creation requirements will be addressed on a case-by-case basis with regards to EoM caster characters.

* note: special materials, as described in the DMG and other sourcebooks, follow the special rules. Their cost is still included in to total gpv of the item for determining the number of components required. Their value, however, is counted as full, and to be deducted before calculating the cost of all other components. For example, a mithral chain shirt +1 (value 2,100gp) would still require 3 components, one of them being a mithral shirt with a value of 1,100gp. Further, it would require an additional 2 components valued at a total of 500gp (1/2 of the remaining 1,000gpv) to complete its enchantment.

Section 5: Experience Points

    Experience points are gained through several means. Experience is done every night, and all players will receive a role-playing award each night as well as XP for defeating encounters. This role-playing award will include adjustments for successful completion of story elements, creativity in problem solving, and actual roleplaying, both between characters and with the DM. Note that "defeating" an encounter can be accomplished by several means, including negotiation and completely bypassing the encounter due to creative play. Sometimes the experienced gained by not fighting is as valuable as that which is gained through confrontation and conflict.

    Experience is divided equally among all party members (including NPCs that are working with the group at the time). To receive the full awards for a given night, the player must be present for the entire session. If they miss any signficant portion of the session (more than 1/2 hour), they only get a half share of the XP. Characters may not be run by other players or the DM in their absence and therefore receive no XP for sessions for which they are not present.

    To advance to a new level, a character must only have the experience (points) necessary. Training is an assumed part of the game. Characters are continually learning while they are adventuring. Most features of advancement may be put into play immediately upon leveling up; new spells are the notable exception to this. New spells, spell slots, MP and spell lists gained for level increase are only available after the caster has had the opportunity to rest and recover spells.

    Some Shakandara-specific rules:

Section 7: Races of Shakandara

    A violent and wide-spread war has left its mark on the political and racial boundaries of Shakandara. The following is a brief description of the standings of each of the main races after the War.

    Minotaurs are considered a barbaric society, but not bestial as in most other worlds. They are excellent sailors. The culture is brutal and often deadly, but they are also known to take pride in their honor and will uphold promises to death. They are historical enemies of the Steppe peoples that border their realm. Most of the conflict was limited to raids and small unit skirmishes. These conflicts have all but disappeared since the War (see Steppe people's entry for more information). The minotaurs of Shakandara are considered a +3 EL race and use the following adjustments: +4 Strength, Con +2, Int -4, Cha - 2; +3 Natural Armor; gore attack for 1d6 (2d6 charging); 10' reach; Scent (Ex); Natural Cunning (Ex); Keen Senses (Ex) - +2 racial bonus on Listen, Search, and Spot checks.

    The Steppe people live the life of nomads across the northern prairies and grasslands. They follow the herds of elk and caribou during the summer, and retreat to the areas around the border-towns of the north during the winter, trading furs and horses with the frontier merchants. The Steppe tribes fought hard during the War, lead by their Khan, Tingtoagis. His quests during the War brought him into direct contact with a Minotaur, Scar, and their friendship has become a model for most of their respective peoples to emulate. A few small bands still resist the change, but they are a isolated fragment of this society at best.

    After the Race Wars at the beginning of time, all the races of elves banded together in one forest kingdom on the border of the Darklands, the place where most of the evil races were driven to during the final months of the battles. The various races of elves still exist, though the differences that once set them apart from one another in physical appearance have receded quite a bit. The exception to this are the drow and aquatic elves. All of the elven races have retained their various special abilities, advantages, and disadvantages. The elven kingdom has large deposits of mithral in the northern section of the country. These were used to create the legendary Elven Chainmail. They have been untapped for several centuries and may even be panned out. During the War, the dark elves tried to take the elven lands by emerging through a passage to Underdark near an abandon keep in this nothern territory, but they were pushed back. While the elves are still quite secretive by most races' standards, they have opened their borders considerably since the War, and there are few peoples that would find themselves denied access to these verdant lands. Queen Lessa Goldbrook rules over the Elven Nation, and her General Gil Shalos matains order within the realm. Lady Protector of the Forests Shakira Kree oversees the border patrol that keeps a watchful eye on the Dark Lands.

    The Southgate Dwarves represent the richest, most secretive people of all the races. The dwarven kingdom is the only known source of adamantine, and possibly the only extant deposits of mithral, in all of Shakandara. It is also rich in gold and platinum. For all this wealth, they have little arable land for growing food, so they trade extensively with surrounding countries for these goods. The journey to the Southgate kingdom was dangerous by any route, so the merchants that made these trips charged exorbitant prices for the goods. Many of these trading missions never made the complete return trip; bandits and monsters knew the value of these groups exiting the kingdom and ambushed them. These paths, though still dangerous by most accounts, have become safer since the War. The War was very taxing on the dwarves, as they suffered heavy losses both at home and abroad. Their export of weapons and armor has shifted to primarily masterwork items, with exceptional material items becoming increasing rare in availability. The dwarves also posses two islands off the coast that supply most of the mithral and adamantine that the smiths work with. These deposits are worked by deep dwarves (+2 Con, -4 Cha; Darkvision 120'; otherwise same as normal dwarves). Very few hill or mountain dwarves are found on these two island. The mainland is the opposite; the population is mostly hill (use gold dwarf stats from FRCS) and mountain dwarves (core rules dwarves) with very few deep dwarves. The population of hill dwarves handles most transactions with surface races, often acting as a go-between with the mountain and deep dwarves. There are no gully dwarves in Shakandara (thank the gods for small favors!).

    The gnomes of Shakandara almost exclusively inhabit a stretch of hilly and mountainous land bordering the ocean just south of the Minotaur Realm. The rock gnomes have constructed several cities in the hill regions and even along the ocean for trade. The deep gnomes work mining operations in the mountains and bring the valuables that they uncover to the surface cities. The Knife Edge Mountains are rich in silver and gems of many kinds. There are no tinker gnomes in Shakandara. There have been reports of forest gnomes, but they have never been confirmed.

    The only race of halflings found in Shakandara (use strongheart halfling stats from FRCS). They inhabited burrows among the hilly fields of their land. They traded frequently with their close neighbors, the dwarves of Southgate. The path from the halfling villages were well-traveled and fairly safe. The halflings never over-charged the dwarves for food and other goods. Likewise, the dwarves provided them with excellent weapons in trade, often masterwork quality. Despite the shady reputation that the race bears, this is one of the safest civilized areas to be in. The halflings are friendly to all but the most obnoxious or threatening outsiders.

    Humans are the most populous race on Shakandara and can be found across the realm in every settlement, town, and city. The majority of the main continent's landmass is divided into many human kingdoms of varying sizes and political structures. Look hard enough, and you can find just about every possibility among them.

    Many varieties of outsiders and other oddities can be found across Shakandara, including Tieflings, Aasimars, Genasi, and Half-dragons, as well as Incandents and Voidlings (see Andy Collins' website for more info on these two races). While none of these races have any known settlements, higher or lower numbers can be found of each individual race in different areas.

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