The Cosmology of Urd/Leviathan

Hey everyone,

It has been awhile since I posted so I wanted to give another spoiler to hold you over.  The Book is still in edit… we have brought on Tim Snider (The Savage Aftermath) to help with this project.  I do feel bad that the project is a bit over due, but I am working to make sure this happens by May.  If you are a backer, you would have received the GM screen in PDF this evening (well a link to Drive Thru RPG to download it) and the actual screens are sitting upstairs in my guest bedroom ready to go out when the book is finished.

So let me introduce you to an awesome piece by Doug Kovacs entitled “Cosmology”

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The Tower of Sand

For your enjoyment a Sorcerer Spell from the upcoming Tales From the Fallen Empire…

Spell Tower of Sand
Level 2
Range Touch
Duration 10 rounds + CL rounds.
Casting Time 1 action
Save Will save negates
General The caster creates a column of sand beneath his feet, raising him aloft. This spell only functions in sandy areas with sufficient quantities of sand to form the tower. The tower can be of any size up to the maximum allowed by the caster’s spellcheck, but ceases growing if it encounters a barrier such as a ceiling or rocky overhang. The top of the tower is a flat, even surface of a diameter up to the limits of the spellcheck as determined by the caster. The caster can raise or lower the tower at the rate of 10’ per round at will. If the spell is cast beneath an unwilling creature, the target is allowed a Will save to negate the spell’s effects. The tower collapses when either the spell’s duration elapses, the caster wills it, or if the column is subjected to dispel magic, transmute earth, or physical attacks that destroy the tower (treat as AC 15 and 40 hit points). Creatures knocked off the tower by attacks, high winds, and other conditions suffer falling damage as normal.
Manifestation A column of sand rises from the ground beneath the target’s feet.
Corruption Roll 1d8: (1) caster sinks in sandy terrain, requiring a DC 8 Reflex save each hour to avoid becoming mired; (2) sand follows the caster, accumulating as his feet and marking his passage through sandy terrain; (3) tower-like warts protrude from the caster’s flesh; (4-6) minor corruption; (7-8) major corruption.
Misfire Roll 1d4: (1) uneven column of sand erupts beneath the caster, knocking him prone;; (2) the caster is encased in a sandy cocoon, immobilizing, blinding, and deafening him for 1d5 rounds or until freed with a DC 10 Strength check; (3) the caster and all creatures within a 15’ radius are thrown 10’  into the air as the sand bucks beneath them, suffering 1d6 damage upon landing; (4) 1d12 random pillars of sand standing 1d10’ feet tall burst from the ground in a 30’ radius around the caster, obstructing movement and requiring all creatures in the area to make a DC 5 Reflex save or suffer 1d3 damage from being struck by the columns.
1 Lost, failure, and worse! Roll 1d6 modified by Luck: (0 or less) corruption + patron taint + misfire; (1-2) corruption; (3) patron taint (or corruption if no patron); (4+) misfire
2-11 Lost. Failure.
12-13 Failure, but spell is not lost
14-15 The caster creates a 10’ tall tower wide enough to accommodate a single man-sized creature (roughly 3’ in diameter).
16-19 The caster creates a 20’ tall tower, 5’ in diameter.
20-21 The caster creates a 30’ tall tower, 10’ in diameter.
22-25 The caster creates a tower up to 10’ per CL with a diameter of 15’ or less.
26-29 The caster creates a tower of up to 10’+10’ per CL in height and with a diameter of 30’ or less. In addition, he can fashion low “battlements” of sand around the edge of the tower’s top that provide a +1 bonus to AC vs. missile fire and may reduce the chances of creatures atop the tower being knocked from the tower’s platform at the judge’s discretion.
30-31 The caster creates a tower of up to 20’+10’ per CL in height and with a diameter of 30’ or less. In addition, he can fashion “battlements” of sand around the edge of the tower’s top that provide a +2 bonus to AC vs. missile fire and may reduce the chances of creatures atop the tower being knocked from the tower’s platform at the judge’s discretion.
32-33 The caster creates a tower of up to 30’+10’ per CL in height and with a diameter of 40’ or less. In addition, he can fashion “battlements” of sand around the edge of the tower’s top that provide a +3 bonus to AC vs. missile fire and may reduce the chances of creatures atop the tower being knocked from the tower’s platform at the judge’s discretion.
34+ The caster creates an actual tower of sand rather than a mere column. This sandy structure is of up to 50’+10’ per caster level in height and with a diameter of 50’ or less. The tower is hollow and accessed by a door of sand that the caster can open or close at will. Attempts to breach the door require a DC 15 Strength check. Inside the tower, a spiral staircase leads to the tower’s top, terminating at “trap door” of sand with the same properties as the ground-level door. The tower’s top is lined by sandy battlements that grant a +4 bonus to AC vs. missile attacks and a +2 bonus to saving throws with areas of effect.

Content is the property of Chapter 13 Press. Any reproduction without the permission of Chapter 13 Press or James Carpio is forbidden.


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The Moa

Lastly this evening I wanted to post another one of Eric Quigley’s awesome monsters from the setting…

Horses are a bit rare on Urd (Leviathan). They are highly prized possessions of the Aesir, Atevans, and Haan who only sell them on occasion to trusted allies.  Without a mount desert travel can be difficult  so a variety of animals have been domesticated to take on this task.  The Moa are giant flightless birds who roam freely in the jungles of Najambi.  The birds find human flesh quite the delicacy and are very difficult to tame as a mount…


















Yea, makes me think of the video game Joust too…

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Sutra I – The Worlds of Creation, Eight of the Heavens and One of the Void

A sneak peak at the cosmology (thanks to Author Michael Smith)

Then the first gods came, walking the nothing like children in the dark, with but a single light between them. In the nothing, Theketh became something because of the presence of the first gods, in reaction to their being Theketh became as well.

The first gods did not know Theketh, they feared Theketh and struck out at him having no knowledge of what Theketh was. They enraged Theketh and Theketh made war with them in the empty places. The first gods sought to escape Theketh’s wrath so they pooled together their might and made a place they could escape from Theketh to. They called this place “creation” and sealed it behinds them as they left the nothing and Theketh behind. Within this new place they each made a refuge in which they could hide and escape from Theketh. This was how the eight worlds of the heavens came to be, born of the spit and the blood at the hands of the first gods and mixed with the base materials of creation and rolled into spheres that were set in motion around a fragment of the first light. The first gods curled up inside these worlds and hid, hoping Theketh would forget them and they could eventually come out.

These worlds took names from the first gods, each first god hiding so well that soon there was no difference between the world and the first god who hid within it.

The first of these worlds was Ateva, jewel of the first of the first, beautiful as he was beautiful; a world of blue and gold and silver lit by the brightest piece of the first light. Upon it he set the Atevans, the first men and made them mighty and glorious.

The second was Khut, delight and second of the first, daughter and sister of Ateva, golden and warm; a world of sands and winds and red gold dawns. Upon it she set the Djinn, beings of fire and air; wild, free and terrible to behold.

The third was Gzed, third born of the first, dark brother and whisperer of strange truths; a world of rock and deep fires and still places beneath the earth, wormed by tunnels Gzed carves as he sleepwalks through the heart of the world. Into it he set the Dwero, the misshapen cousins to the Atevans, workers in metal and stone and terrible secrets.

The fourth was Hod, who was green and fecund and fourth of the first; a world of lush and verdant green upon which she hung songs and whispers and a cacophony of voices. Upon it she set the Sidhe, the green singers whose voices make one voice and whose song is a chorus of growth.

The fifth was Fel, brother and twin of Hod and fifth of the first; lush and verdant greens and thick and humid swamps were his legacy, alive with things that crawled and swam and flew. Upon it he set the Draki to steward for him, the legendary serpent kings.

The sixth was Yzgyrd, sixth of the first and brother and son of mighty Ateva; cold, hard and white was the realm stoic Yzgyrd built in the cold and remote. Upon it he set the Yzgyri, carved from his nails and writ with words of independence and life, giants among the glaciers and wastes…


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Pirates aboard the Sea of Blades!!!!!

With my computer getting set up again this evening (I really hate moves), I will be diving back into finishing up some of the last chapters.  A request came to me a few days ago about sea-faring rules, and after much thought I will draft up a set of rules to give a whirl during the final play-tests next week.  It is true, how can you have a gritty S&S setting without rules for ship to ship combat, evasion, and boarding.  So expect some posts on how that is going.  This weekend I will also be getting a finalized list of art over to Eric and some of the Maps over to Scott for rendering.

I am still going a bit crazy trying to finalize my Map of Leviathan.  I just need to commit and figure out where to place my rivers and lakes.  I personally hate poorly thought out continents in RPGs, and this is what has been holding me up.  If anyone is good with cartography and geology hit me up… the help would be appreciated.

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Thought for Today… Skill/Ability Checks

I have been trying to fine tune my ability check methods for Tales From the Fallen Empires.  While I am not inserting a skill system for the setting, I am trying to better utilize the ability/score checks for player character/world interaction.

So a couple of methods I have liked so far…

  1. The AD&D method: Roll a D20 and roll under your stat. Add modifiers to the die roll to increase difficulty.
  2. The (I think it was from Dragon Magazine) method: Roll 3d6 and roll under your stat. Add additional d6s to increase difficulty.
  3. The 3.5 ish method: 10+ability mod+ level+d20 vs. a difficulty number

OK, well the last one not so much, but I felt I should have included it.

Anyway, just wanted to hear thoughts on the topic.

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The Barbarian

Sorry for the late posting of this… I was preparing for Connecticon over the weekend and my time became a bit thin.

Well without further hold up, here is the sneak peek at the Barbarian!


With Ithmyrrian blood flowing through their veins, the Barbarians of Leviathan stand strong with the resolve of their exiled Atevan ancestors.   At the end of the First Age when the great Empire of Ithmyrr retreated back behind its borders, many of the soldiers remained in the occupied lands, denouncing their people, heritage, and the Dragons.  In the dawn of the Second Age families of the exiled left the cities of Ithmyrr and rejoined their loved ones in the former occupied lands. These groups took to the great northern mountains, chose a nomadic life along the plains, while others ventured to the southern jungles aboard packed ships.  After a long trek they found safety and comfort in human settlements. Over the years they mingled and intermarried with the lesser men and adapted to these new human societies and cultures.  These exiles shared these secrets of the forge and the art of Atevan warfare.  There have been few to tangle with these brutal warriors and live.  To the Barbarians the glory of their Atevan heritage has become the makings of stories and song.   Many years have passed since the exiles integrated with the humans; the product of this union has borne strong men and women, warriors of great stature and strength.

Most Barbarians do little business outside of their lands.  While the needs of the individual clans differ, many prefer seclusion from those of the so called “Civilized” lands.  Barbarian merchants maintain trade with major cities and along shipping routes, but many avoid the large cities in fear of sorcerers and black magics.  Since the Sorcerer Kings fell, tribesmen have been spotted more frequently in cities, taverns and along roads than in ages past.  Rumors tell of exiled Barbarian chieftains or brash adventurers looking for riches amongst the ruins of the old world.


Hit Points: A Barbarian Gains a D14 per level for Hit Points

Weapons Training: A Barbarian is trained in the following weapons – Battle Axe, Club, Crossbow, Dagger, Flail, Hand Axe, Javelin, Long Bow, Long Sword, Mace, Scimitar, Short Bow, Short Sword, Spear, Two Handed Sword, War Hammer.  Barbarians prefer Leather and Hide armor, but do occasionally don chainmail shirts or leggings when faced with tougher odds.

Alignment: Barbarians tend to favor the alignments of their chosen totems.  While most follow the paths of chaos, some remain neutral to the world at large.

Special Abilities

Savage Ferocity: Barbarians embrace the thrill of battle and the feel of cold steel between their fingers.  In the heat of battle primal instinct throws them into a battle lust and makes the Barbarian a deadly foe. When a Barbarian character rolls a critical strike during combat, he rolls on the critical chart as per rules, but gains an additional boon.  Barbarians rolls a D8 (plus Personality bonus) then consult the Savage Ferocity chart below.  The player can always choose a lesser effect if desired (example: player rolled a 7 (Primal Rage), but wished to take Skin of Iron (3 on the chart) as the effect.)  Savage Ferocity does not replace extra attacks Barbarians gain at higher levels; it is an additional combat feat.  The Barbarian can only use Savage Ferocity once per round.

Taboos: Tribal superstition and the distrust of Sorcerers and Witches makes the Barbarian uneasy.  They see the pacts sorcerers and witches make with demons and devils as a great evil and a slight to nature. The Barbarian doesn’t outright distrust magic, magic items, or Sorcerers, but they will not go out of the way to interact with such people or things.  The Barbarian’s player will need to make a save vs. Will to maintain control when around these taboos.  The Barbarian adds his class level to this roll to show adaption over time.  Barbarians will not intentionally harm a spell caster whom he deems useful (for the moment).

Survival: Reared far from the great cities, keeping alive by way of the hunt, and enduring the harsh elements the Barbarians knack for survival is legendary.  Keen senses, animal like cunning and great strength has kept their people alive and proven great boon. Unlike those who lived soft and pampered lives amongst the city born, the Barbarian can take what he needs from his surroundings and forage on.  Barbarian characters have the unique ability and necessary skills to ensure not only himself, but his companions can find food and water even in the most desolate of areas.

Savage Ferocity D8 Roll

1) Caged Fury: The Barbarian instills fear and doubt in the mind of his foe.  The opponent takes a negative modifier equal to the Barbarian’s Personality stat to all combat related rolls against the Barbarian on his next turn.

2) Lion’s Pounce: The Barbarian’s powerful leg muscles and great strength hurtle him across the battlefield.  In addition the Barbarian’s standard move (30’) he may take an additional 30’ running jump at the end of his turn.  The Barbarian does however, suffer a – 2 to Armor Class against adjacent enemies.

3) Skin of Iron: Hard work and tough environments has made the Barbarian’s skin tough like leather.  Next round the Barbarian adds his Stamina modifier to his Armor Class.

4) Pain of Battle: The Barbarian’s primal instinct and mettle allows him to ignore pain while in the heat of battle.  When Pain of Battle is chosen the player may roll the Barbarian’s hit die (D14) and heal that amount in hit points.  This ability becomes 2 D14 at 5th Level and 3 D14 at 10th Level.  This ability may only be used once per combat.

5) Blind Hatred: The Barbarian’s foe becomes obsessed with killing him and drops his own guard to finish the job.  The Barbarian’s opponent gains a positive modifier equal to the Barbarian’s Personality stat on attacks, but loses this amount to his AC and saves until the Barbarian (or the opponent) is dead.

6) Feral Charge: Savage fury turns to berserker rage in the heat of battle.  The Barbarian can charge an adjacent foe within 15’ and perform a single melee attack with a modifier equal to his Personality modifier.  The Barbarian does suffer a -2 penalty to Armor Class against the former opponent.

7) Primal Rage: The War-Gods of old fill the Barbarian with feral energies and become one with them on the battlefield.  The Barbarian remains enraged for a number of rounds equal to his level and fights as if he was two levels higher (with regards to attack bonuses, critical tables and ranges.  After the rage has exhausted a Fort save must be made or the Barbarian can do nothing for 1d3 rounds.   This option can only be taken \ once per melee.

8+) Gods be Damned: The War-Gods (spirits, totems, etc.) have favored the Barbarian’s combat prowess and wish to see him conquer and crush his enemies.  The Barbarian gains the boons listed in Primal Rage, but he remains enraged until all foes lie dead before him.  In addition, the Barbarian may continue to fight and take related actions until he reaches negative his Stamina score.  Beyond this negative Hit Point level the Barbarian is considered dead and off celebrating in the long halls of his ancestors.  Once melee is over (and has not dropped below the negative Stamina) the Barbarian must make a Fort save or fall unconscious for 1D24 hours.  If the save is successful the Barbarian loses hit points equal to the number of combat rounds.



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The Savage Oooruk! The Man-Apes of Najambi

Wanted to show everyone the awesome character art of Michael Lavoie.  The Oooruk (or fondly known as the Man-Apes) are probably my favorite inhabitants of Leviathan.  Michael really captured what I was looking for in the look and feel of these awesome beasts.

“As the Man-Ape soldiers fled the fallen city of Uruk the need to find food and shelter was first priority. Now without home or purpose the group traveled south into the jungles of Najambi and settled along the straights of Yandu.  Here they erected great stone structures and forged a new way of life… forgetting the days of slavery and servitude to the Sorcerer Kings.”


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The Draki

Again sorry for the lack of posting this past week.  Integrated NIC on the motherboard of my desktop died and I do not favor working on my iPad or netbook.   I just sent off the Prologue to the other writers so we can start gearing up.  I will share some of that piece in the weeks to come.  The Barbarian write up is coming, my desktop should have internet access by Tuesday so I can get that up.

Tonight I wanted to quickly share  a bit about the Draki.  Someone had asked to know more about them, so I am humbly complying.  The Draki will be featured as a playable class in the core supplement and it has been fun developing and play testing them.  To best describe them in terms of modern media, they are a cross between the weird alien Sleestak from Land of the Lost and highly intelligent raptors.   When Leviathan’s body was torn asunder and his extremities formed the heavens and earth life began to form on each.  His great and watching eyes formed the two moons that circle the large mass of his corpse.  On one of these moons the Draki were born.  When the Dragons declared war on each other and recruited soldiers from each of the nine realms, they Draki were taken from their home world and forced into servitude.   Now thousands of years later they still seek a way back home.  While deadly and cunning, the Draki have taken on a more philosophical existence and search the lands for an answer to the ultimate question (whatever that might be).

Below is one of Michael Lavoie’s concept sketches of the Draki to better give you an idea of what they will eventually look like.

Again sorry for the delay, but once I can get my main PC back on line in a few days I can post the Barbarian.

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The Setekh

The Setekh: Sorcery combined with Atevan alchemy and genetic manipulation multiplied to create a dark product; the Setekh.  They serve as guardians and protectors of the Sorcerer King Setesh . The mad ruler of Kesh’s created his army (or whatever) in the image of his beloved jackal. The resulting Setekh sprang forth from his sorcery as a gruesome blend of the worst in humans and jackals.  Cunning and ruthless killers, The Setekh, follow the commands of whoever controls them.  Sealed away after Setesh’s banishment by this brothers, Nekheny and Asari, the Setekh await release with their creator in the Temple of Time.

Just wanted to show off some of Eric Quigley’s fantastic art and give a peak at one of the creatures that lurks in the setting.

Looks like we are going to reach our 1st stretch goal soon, so I am happy to say just might have GM screens!  I am currently in talks with an awesome author to work on getting our second stretch goal up and running.  Thanks again everybody for all your support on this project.

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