A Visit from St. Nicholas
The Kindle version of Pirate Fort will be available free on Amazon for 5 days, starting on 12/13/2014.
After the Empire expanded into the Aegus region via the transport towers, Imperial scouts searched for valuable resources. Investigating tales about a mountainous island containing wealth and monsters, Imperial scouts (Althus, Altus, and Ulthus) located caverns that contained rich veins of copper-already being mined by Troglodytes. Eager for the resources, the Empire slaughtered many of the troglodytes and enslaved the rest as miners. A small village, Ulthus, grew up around the mines and a large town, Altus, grew on the coast. The influx of wealth enabled the town to thrive and even construct a theatre for the entertainment of the people. While the theatre was originally a place of the finer arts, as the Empire became more debased, so too did the performances. Eventually, corruption spread throughout the town, infecting even the church.
When the Cataclysm struck, Altus was cast into ruin. The theatre and those who frequented it became the focus of much of the curse. They were transformed to match the evil and depravity in their souls, creating a dangerous and vile show upon the accursed stage. The church also met a terrible fate, becoming a haven for undead beings.
While Ulthus was mainly spared the direct effects of the Cataclysm, the destruction of Altus gave the troglodytes the chance they had been waiting for. They rose up and fought their enslavers. The battle was brutal and costly, but eventually the troglodytes won and were free to go back to enslaving their own kind in order to work the mines for their mysterious masters.
In more recent years and far away from Althus Island a great power arose in the lands of the Old Empire. Servants of this power have captured numerous Imperial transport towers and have made use of these to expand into areas once controlled or visited by the Empire. Recently a force of humanoids arrived on the island and established a fort. This fort serves as a base for a variety of pirate operations in the area. These pirates have been raiding various small islands in the area including Althus Island.
See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
The most recent offering in Blackwell’s Philosophy & Pulp Culture Series is the appropriately named Dungeons & Dragons & Philosophy. I was offered a free copy in return for mentioning the book on my blog and I am making good on that deal. If time permits, I’ll write a review of the book as well. I am not one of the authors and wasn’t asked to contribute, so there is no conflict of interest. Well, other than the free copy.
Here is the back cover info for the book:
“Does justice exist in the drow city of Menzoberranzan?
How does one cope with the death of a player character?
Is it ever morally acceptable to cast necromancy and summoning spells?
Is Raistlin Majere the same person over time?
Do demons and devils have free will?
First introduced by war-game enthusiasts Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson in 1974, Dungeons & Dragons developed into a cultural phenomenon that continues to cast a spell on millions of gaming aficionados around the world. Dungeons & Dragons and Philosophy delves into the heroic quests, deadly battles, and medieval courtly intrigue of the legendary role-playing game to probe its rich terrain of philosophically compelling concepts and ideas. From the nature of free will and the metaphysics of personal identity to the morality of crafting fictions and the role of friendship in collaborative storytelling,D&D players and gaming enthusiasts will gain startling insights into the deep philosophical issues that underlie a broad swath of role-playing tactics and strategies. Put the broadswords away and letDungeons & Dragons and Philosophy transport you across the philosophical divide.”
To answer the questions:
1. No. Or yes. Traditional drow are always chaotic evil, so they have no justice. Except that which is dispensed by the adventurers who give them the deaths they really, really deserve. New drow can be any alignment, but tend to be evil and crazy. So, justice is possible, but usually not actual. But, in D&D justice is whatever the DM says it is.
2. Roll a new one.
3. Yes. Necromancy includes healing spells like cure light wounds (look at the spell descriptions). Healing people is morally okay, in general. Summoned creatures are (in the standard game) not permanently harmed by their battles. Also, most of the time they match the summoner in alignment and usually advance the cause of the alignment when summoned to fight. So, summoning them is fine. Plus, they are often things that really like to fight. In D&D that is most things.
4. No idea who that is. I’m getting vague memories about the Dragonlance books I never read, though. I’ll go with the usual answer about games: whatever the DM says.
5. Depends on the DM. Metaphysical issues in RPGs are settled by the dungeon master. In my campaign, they get free will. So yes. For me. Some DMs take devils and demons to always be evil and without free moral choice. That is AD&D Monster Manual-they are always evil (lawful for devils, chaotic for demons). So no. For them. D&D metaphysics is easy.
While most human cities grow with life, the great city of Thetos arose from a devotion to the study of death. Over the centuries, necromancers from around the world (and perhaps other worlds) have been drawn to the secret wisdom hidden within her walls. It is said that even the great necromancer Rils abided for a time within the city.
Tales speak of those who came seeking the knowledge of Rils and most tales end with the final death of the seeker. Some few, such as Kerakos, managed to survive the tests and become great necromancers. When Rils departed from the city his students honored him by creating their own challenges in imitation of those they had faced. Kerakos, reputed to be among the greatest of Rils’ students, reputably created just such a tomb within the desert near Thetos. While the tales of the tomb vary, most of them share a common detail: anyone who can survive the dangers of the tomb can shed the bonds of mortality and gain everlasting existence.
Tomb of Kerakos is a Pathfinder Role Playing Game compatible adventure. It is intended for a party of 3rd-6th level characters. It is written to follow Rils’ Lesser Sanctum, but can be run as a stand-alone adventure.
Here are some of the features of the adventure:
- Detailed color maps for the adventure.
- Full statistics are included for all encounters—no need to look up monsters.
- New Monsters ( Desert Ghast, Desert Zombie, and Kerakos Mummy)
- New Magic Items (Armor of Kerakos, Scarab of Kerakos).
- Free Hero Lab portfolio.
- Giant scorpions.
See paizo.com/pathfinderRPG for more information on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.
I started my gaming lifestyle when my mother got me the basic D&D boxed set over three decades ago. Since I was already solidly classified as a nerd by the other kids, I made no attempt to conceal my gaming ways. I also did track, cross country and debate—which actually resulted in more mockery than my gaming. When I went to college, I continued my openly gamer lifestyle, although I also continued my running ways.
In graduate school, I took my gamer lifestyle to a new level—I began writing professionally and my name appeared in print as solid evidence of my gaming lifestyle. While some people leave gaming behind after college, I stuck with it and still have a regular game, usually Pathfinder or Call of Cthulhu, each week. I also have my own tiny publishing operation and obviously still am open about my gaming ways.
Thanks to the popularity of video games, fantasy and science fiction, gaming now has less stigma than it did in the past. However, I know numerous gamers who are careful to conceal their gaming lifestyle from others. For example, one person tells people that he is playing poker or watching sports when he is, in fact, rolling D20s and pushing around miniatures. He also forbids any photos of him engaged in gaming. Another person is careful to conceal his gamer status from his professional colleagues out of concerns that it will negatively impact his career. Others are less secretive and do not deny being gamers—if directly asked. They do, however, do not usually talk about their gaming around non-gamers and tend to have anecdotes of bad experiences arising from people finding out about the gaming.
Jokingly, I tend to refer to people who actively keep their gaming secret as being in the dungeon. Folks who voluntarily tell people they are gamers come out of the dungeon and those who are involuntarily exposed are outed as gamers.
In my own case, being openly gamer has been a no brainer. First, I was obviously a nerd as a kid and there would have been no point in trying to deny that I gamed—no one would believe that I didn’t have a bag of strange dice. Second, I studied philosophy and became a professional philosopher—in comparison being a gamer is rather down-to-earth and normal. For those who are curious, I am also openly philosophical. Third, because I am socially competent and in good shape, I do not have any fear of the consequences of people finding out I am a gamer.
I also have moral reasons as to why I am openly gamer. The first is my moral principle that if I believe that a way of life needs to be hidden from “normal” people, then it would follow that I should not be engaged in that way of life. Naturally, there are exceptions. For example, if I were in a brutally repressive state, then I could have excellent reasons to conceal a way of life that those in power might oppose. As a less extreme example, some gamers do believe that they will suffer negative consequences if people find out about their gaming ways. For example, someone who knows her boss thinks gaming is for Satanists would have a good reason to stay in the dungeon.
The second is my moral commitment to honesty. Being a gamer is part of what I am, just as is being a runner and being a philosopher. To actively conceal and deny what I am would be to lie by omission and to create in the minds of others a false conception of the person I am. While I do recognize that people can have good reasons to create such false conceptions, that is something that should be avoided when possible—assuming, of course, that deceit is wrong.
I do know some gamers who hide their gaming when they start dating someone—I recall many occasions when one of my fellows went on a date or met someone and others, on learning this, said “you didn’t tell her you are a gamer did you?!” The assumption is, of course, that being a gamer would be a deal-breaker. While I do not advocate being an in-their-face gamer (just as I do not advocate being an in-their-face runner), honesty is the best policy—if the dating leads to a relationship, she will eventually find out and dishonesty tends to be more of a deal breaker than gaming.
Naturally, some gamers have made the reasonable point that they want to win over a person before revealing that they are gamers. After all, a person might have a prejudice against gamers that is based on ignorance. Such a person might unfairly reject a gamer out of hand, but come to accept it once they get to know an actual gamer. After all, gamers are people, too.