Fieron’s Journal : The Five Gates

I have recently done more research into Western Magic. After talking with some spellcasters who call themselves “ninja” I discovered that the source of their magic is actually their personal soul filtered through a series of “Gates” in their body. (For the purposes of this journal, I shall refer to all of their abilities as spells and magic, since that is the closest analogy, despite literal translations being things like “Gifts” or “Awakenings.”)

The most important gate is also the last, the Fifth Gate. This is the gate that converts their soul energy into what they call Breath. This gate is usually autonomous and protects the user from draining too much of their life essence. From the Fifth Gate all the other gates gain their energy. There are three primary gates: Crown, Heart, and Base.

The Crown Gate is located on the user’s forehead and is often used in cerebral magic. In fact, self proclaimed “Psychics” use this gate exclusively.

The Heart Gate is located right above the heart and is the basis of health and life. “Soul Keepers” are a type of spellcaster who uses this exclusively, using breath from the heart to awaken the souls of dead beasts temporarily.

The Base Gate is located between the user’s legs and is the source of power and stability.

The fourth gate is typically unused by spellcasters, however. It is the Naval Gate located on the bellybutton where as a child you were granted Breath from your mother, or so it is believed.

Western magic definitely has it’s benefits over traditional magic. Their power source is self replenishing and safe from outside influences. I won’t be casting “ninjutsu” instead of my Fireball anytime soon, but it is interesting to look at other types of magic that don’t slowly drive you insane from use like arcane magic.


Apprentice Update: 0.7.2 PDFs on 4/28/15

Today we are releasing Apprentice PDF v0.7.2:
Player’s Handbook
Narrator’s Guide
Spell Tome

Quick rundown of today’s updates:

Read more »

Fieron’s Journal : Time Keeping

Many wonder why records before the Dragon War are shotty at best. It isn’t just because of the massive war that wiped out most of civilization. Dragons, being truly arcane beasts, did not have a set year. Every written record used relation to major events as their place. I mean, sure we all use the final battle of Shrakaud as our 0 year, but different people and dragons used different frames of reference, often with us not knowing when that frame happened.

Much less difficult is to place the day. While we have 11 months, they only used the four seasons, then the day since the last equinox or solstice. There was no sense of day of the week to them. As odd as it would sound, the day before the fall equinox would would be written as Summer 77.

They also lacked Halis, our last month of the year, which is 10 days, or 11 every 4th year. Because of this, their seasons would have variable amounts of days, making placing dates in relation to each other even more complex.

Just in case this is read by someone using a different calendar system, here is ours simply: We have 10 months of 30 days, plus Halis, which gives us our 310.25 days it takes between spring equinoxes. Aragen is the first month and typically starts on the first day of spring. Next up is Loquarn, then Gratan has the summer solstice. Ashren, Flara, then Odana with the fall equinox early in the month. Terrin is followed by Kestina who has the winter solstice late in the month. Wrapping up the year is Aero then Halis, which I discussed earlier.

Having our calendar split into 11 months with flat numbers seems much more sane to me than variable amount of days. At least we’ve never used a lunar calendar.

Fieron’s Journal : On Fae

I am not a shaman by any means, but recently I’ve been enjoying reading about the various types of fae found across Ryrin. Fae are nature spirits who take on a more personable appearance and personality to better deal with mortals. Most people have seen fae or are surrounded by them, but unless the person is very observant or knowledgeable about spirits, they are likely to be overlooked. Many have heard of Dryads and Nymphs, but I wanted to focus on a few of the more obscure fae I’ve researched.

This curious fae can be found sneaking into rooms at night to put people to sleep. This tiny rotund man is sand-colored skinned and wears a sackcloth robe. Some people think that there is only one sandman, but multiple shaman have stated that there are a great many of the creatures. I personally have never seen one while I dozed off to sleep, but I suppose I was rather drowsy and inattentive at the time.

Bogun are often seen as evil fae because they are associated with decay. They are not the keepers of death like a necromancer or the like, but instead help dead things decompose to feed the living things in the forest. They are halfling sized creatures who are hunched over with disgusting patches of moss along their back. They remain hidden primarily by turning their backs and remaining still, often being overlooked as a rotting log, or moss on a tree.

Pixies are small sprite keepers of insects. While not a glamorous job, they keep the natural order of things in line as much as the rest. Luckily for them, insects do not require much oversight, so they often fill their boredom playing tricks on each other or mortals. These tiny creatures stand only a foot tall, with large butterfly wings. They can shrink themselves down to insect size, avoiding notice of clumsy mortals.

While a dyrad is a keeper of trees, a didra is the keeper of the grasses. Different didra manifest as different weeds or wild flowers, wandering the land spreading their preferred plant. Didra look like small, thin creatures with flowers or grass for hair. They are experts in hiding in the grasses and underbrush.

Another type of fae that has a bad reputation, redcaps are said to have formed in places of great death and war. They are often seen on ancient battlefields, eating the negative emotions that linger behind. They are named recap because they appear much as a toadstool manifest, with a bright red and white speckled cap. It is said that the more tragic the battle, the brighter red the cap of the redcap.

Thinri appear as small hunched figures with long metal spines coming out of their back.They are small unassuming creatures that can travel incredibly fast along the ground if need be. They are keeper of the weather. They are usually solitary creatures, though it is said that when they gather, a great storm brews. Larger thinri are called Thinrika and are mostly found in the Sea of Storms.

There appears to be some scholarly debate if this creature counts as a fae or under the “magical creature” that phoenixes and the like are. Raiju are large tiger-like creatures who spark with lightning. They are able to move in huge bursts of speed that leaves a thunderclap in its wake.

While unicorn are commonly known, like the raiju there is debate on their classification. Unlike the raiju, they are known to watch over a specific grove much like a dryad would a single tree, but shaman scholars seem to disagree what their actual purpose is. Many believe the unicorn is a guardian, meant to keep intruders out, while others see the unicorn as a tender of the animals in the area. What is worth noting is that they are very few documented cases of unicorn sightings by mortals. Either they are very few in number, or far greater at hiding themselves than other fae.

Jack Frost
Jack Frost is not a single fae, but a great many. They are small sprites who enjoy playing and laughing. They are also what brings the first frost of the year. What they do the rest of the year is uncertain. There is a theory that they are related to the Spriggin, and go through metamorphosis during winter and summer, but this theory lacks any credible proof.

As I said, spriggin are the counterparts to Jack Frost for the springtime, bringing buds to plants.

Ask any doctor and they can tell you they have seen the frelen many times. Frelen typically hang around hospitals and medic wards feeding off of illness in much the same way that bogun feed off of negative emotions. Frelen themselves are small humanoid creatures with long noses and large hands. They are slow to move, and can be seen sitting in windows of sick children relaxing in the sun. Like most fae, they can travel into the spirit realm and disappear if needed.

The buldhr are mountain spirits that are slow to anger and just about everything. They embody the mountain’s stoic resolution to continue being forever. Their appearance is almost as a hunched troll with a large mossy bolder for a back. Then buldhr stop moving, they become nearly impossible to pick out from the rest of the rocky mountain side.

DevLog #35

So I’ve gotten Tower of Satoris, or Module 2 for Apprentice completely written. This weekend has been focused on playtesting. It looks like it will be a bit longer than Module 1, and a lot less combat focused. Cave of the Goblin King was pretty much fight after fight with only a bit of downtime, Tower of Satoris gives players many more changes to explore this abandoned wizard’s tower and interact with a host of NPCs.

One of the premade characters for Tower of Satoris is a ninja, which is a first since their recent redesign of the entirety of their ninjutsu and clan lists. The ninja, who is named Noga Bakko, is focused on wooden ninjutsu to grant allies shields, as well as an earth jutsu to quickly build walls around the battlefield.

While designing Noga, however, we came to a realization. We had feats as well as the skill Psionics that granted Breath points. The problem with this is that every single ninja we were making was taking these feats. We had breath scaling at 3 + 1 per level, but no scaling based on their caster stat(Wisdom). Wisdom could be safely ignored for many ninja who did not want to use ninjutsu with saving throws. We had to have multiclass feats from breath classes grant bonus breath, which meant that every ninja was a ninja/psion for the extra breath.

We moved Breath to be a base equal to your Wisdom modifier. It doesn’t matter how you got the abilities that use breath, be it feat, class, or item. Everyone has a base amount. Ninja still grants +1 Breath at every even level since they tend to tie up much of their breath in Auras.

Our original goal for Ninja was to allow a jack-of-all-trades but require a focused build in the same way we did for Bard and Fighter. As time passed, however, it became abundantly clear that ninja was a bit too unfocused. A ninja can still focus on Strength or Dexterity on weapon strikes, but they cannot completely dump Wisdom. Focusing on Auras means less reliance on saving throws and breath, which means Wisdom can stay a secondary stat.

Cave of the Goblin King Release

Cave of the Goblin King is a multiplayer game based on Apprentice, a d20 RPG system.
This module is meant as a beginners guide to Apprentice.
One player is the Narrator who controls all of the monsters and NPCs(non-player characters). The other players choose one of the prebuilt characters. These characters use simplified sheets to make it easier to pick up and play. Players familiar with the game can create their own from scratch.
So dive into the story investigating the raiding by nearby goblin tribes united under the so called “Goblin King.” There are five prebuilt characters to choose from, and enough story to get you from level 1 to level 2.

Cave of the Goblin King can be found on

The full rules for Apprentice can always be found free here.

DevLog #34 : Skills And You

Yesterday’s discussion on pronouns actually had me looking at the fact that I use 2nd person for feats and items, but 3rd person for classes. After a lot of discussion, I decided to make all of the rules consistent and go with 2nd person.

About 30 Find & Replaces and a lot of proofreading later, we have an Updated Classes Document.

This update not only includes the grammatical and layout changes, but also include a new Wizard class, a few “bug fix” style changes. And perhaps most importantly a change to the Skill system.

One of our goals with the redesign was to reduce the huge cap between high skilled classes and low skilled classes. We were having a class flat bonus plus your Intelligence modifier each level with a much smaller scale of skills(they max at 10 ranks). This way worked, except that Intelligence based classes like Wizard were getting enormous amount of skills. A 10 Intelligence versus a 24 Intelligence was the difference of 70 skill points at level 10.

The new system is on average 2 more skill points from your class, but you only gain your Intelligence modifier once. This will help increase skill points for low Int classes, especially at low levels, while still granting Intelligence based characters more skill points. Intelligence is still an incredibly important stat, since it is important to many of the important skill checks, and can improve your Reflex if you have low Dexterity.

DevLog #33 : Representations

As I was editing the classes document for Apprentice, I was noticing a lot of female pronouns. I choose random pronouns for each class as I wrote it. A friend commented on it so I decided to tally it up, and I was really surprised!

Male Pronouns: 9
Female Pronouns: 7
Neutral Pronouns: 3
Second Person: 2 (Oops. Trying to avoid 2nd person)

So even someone like me who is actively seeking representation can have hidden biases skew their vision. I will be editing the two 2nd person classes into female pronouns and attempt to keep representation numbers to keep myself accountable in the future.

Fieron’s Journal : The Forsaken Lands

Ryrin World Map

Entry Date: 2245. AD.

I have referenced the land south of Joren called “The Forsaken Lands”, “The Dead Lands,” or a many other names. To those like myself who grew up in Joren, they were a horrible land of death. It was almost 150 years ago that these horrible lands invaded Joren and Nenatai, who lost over 2 million souls to the Harvest.

Many theories swirled around these lands. Many believed that dragon experimentation of undeath was centered in this area due to extensive onyx mines that litter the landscape. Once the dragons fell, these experiments were let loose to ravage the countryside.

Only problem with this theory is simple. The Forsaken Lands have never really taken many lives in their attacks. Certainly never enough to provide corpses for the numbers of skeletons and zombies that attack every few months. Even during the Harvest, their most successful attack to date, many of the bodies were recovered and burned.

Recently, Trinity College sent out an expedition into the Forsaken Lands. I wish I had been there. They uncovered a vast series of underground machines that transmuted stone, earth, and moss into skeletons, zombies, and other creatures. From their information, it seems that the Forsaken Lands were not where the dragons were studying undeath, but life. What we call zombies and skeletons are imperfect machines that create rotting corpses rather than a complete person.

Accounts of the capital of Necrallow are where it becomes shaky. These researchers managed to do what no living creature had done for thousands of years and actually entered the city. Accounts say that the vampires, necromancers, liches, and even ghosts live there, being served by artificially created humans. The tale of ghosts is quite intriguing to me, since I did not think any ghosts were able to fully manifest outside of the Veil.

The reason the accounts of Necrallow are shaky from these seasoned researchers is because of what happened while they were in the city. Apparently a demon broke down the wards of the city, destroying all of the ghosts living inside and allowing inter-realm travel. Calling her army, she attempted to capture the forges that were creating the artificial humans.

Demons versus the most powerful undead in the world. I honestly don’t know which side I would have wanted to win. But the undead prevailed, but all but two of the researchers were killed in the attack.

Personally, be they animated corpses, or failed experiments at creating life, I will defend my homeland in the future the same way I have in the past. With judicious application of fireball.


Fieron’s Journal : Angels

So earlier I said that angels were air elementals created by the gods. Because they served the gods and appeared around the same time, most assume this connection. However, while I was looking up accounts of the Dragon Wars, I found a references to newly formed angelic beings dated BEFORE the gods were granted their godly powers.

I was curious, so I left the dusty tomes behind and sought out an orcish shaman I had just recently come into contact with. She told me that angels are indeed air elementals, but it was the mirror spirit Echo who created them.

Echo is said to be the leader of the Mirror Realm, the enigmatic realm that connects all times and all places. Echo was the spirit that lead Arragar and the other gods to find the godstone that granted them their power.

So it seems there is a connection between the gods and the angels, but perhaps it is more like siblings than servants?