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Thank you for the credit! I also want to mention that I have really enjoyed watching this thread (and thus your world) develop. I might not like (or comment upon) every individual section. But it is clear from your posts the level of attention and love you are giving the setting. Finances allowing I'll probably be purchasing a copy when it becomes available!

 

Meanwhile, back on topic:

Realistic weapons and armor are their own special kind of researchers hell.

 

I'm certainly no expert, but my research (mostly conducted online) indicates that mechanically speaking there are really only four 'types' of armor:

Cloth Armor: One of the broadest categories, "Cloth Armor" includes all your pliant forms of protection: including comic book super-suits, soft leather armors, quilted/padded cloth armor, early bullet proof armors made from silk, etc.)

Chain Armor: This category is the narrowest, it typically only refers to pliant forms of protection composed of interlocking metal rings worn over some kind of pliant material (to prevent chafing and pinching). However, in a fantasy or sci-fi setting materials other than metal might become practical. For example, elves/druids might use magic to make wooden chainmail possible, dwarves might use magic to make stone chainmail possible. 

Scale Armor: Another fairly narrow category, it typically refers to semi-pliant forms of protection composed of fairly small metal plates ("scales") affixed to a pliant backing. I also include Brigandine (aka lamellar armor), Coinmail and Ringmail (coins/rings sewn unto a leather backing, the closest realistic equivalent to Studded Leather of D&D fame) in this category. The differences between "Scale Armor" and "Plate Armor" (see below) are mostly just in regard to the size of the rigid bits, and how they are affixed to the backing (if at all)

Plate Armor: Likely the broadest category (in terms of number of real-world styles and materials represented), Plate Armor includes all of your rigid forms of protection, including some typically classified as "light armor". The lightest "Plate Armor" likely being Cuir Bouilli (aka boiled leather armor), and the heaviest being Gothic Plate Armor (which was composed of interlocking plates to allow almost full mobility, and basically had to be made custom for the wearer) (aka the "Full Plate" of D&D fame). However this category also includes Splint and Banded (aka Laminar armor) such as was used by many cultures (including the Romans and Japanese).

 

Most importantly though... almost none of the real-world armor's were composed of just one category. They were almost all piece-mail and covered different parts of the body (Hit Locations) with different categories of armor (providing differing levels of Resistant Protection depending on category and material). All of which makes it really awkward to try to represent both realistically and mechanically in Hero. For example, almost every form of Plate Armor is worn over what could be classified as Cloth Armor (typically a quilted or padded armor of some kind), and with the exception of Gothic Plate the Cloth Armor covers parts of the body (Hit Locations) that the Plate Armor cannot (joints usually).

 

An example of how I handle some of these issues can be found in my Bell Cranel example. Under Normal Equipment, he is listed as wearing a suit of (soft leather) Cloth Armor covering almost every location, over which he wears a suit of very light (metal) Plate Armor that only covers a few locations (IIRC it is little more than a half-breastplate, pauldrans, faulds, greaves, and bracers).

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One of the things I'm learning from the latest research is that a lot of armor was only sectional, ever.  Splinted, for example, was just for legs and arms.  Other armor was only for a vest, basically area 10-13.  Others were mixed in like the Gambeson with Gussetted chain built in to cover gaps in plate, etc.  So there's a limit to how authentic I really mean to get but its interesting to see how armor was used and built. Armor for lower legs, head, and shoulders then a shield you hid behind was common in some areas, particularly until the shield wall fell out of favor.  That's something you'd never see a PC do.

 

I'm going to try to emphasize differences in armor with subtle things like small shifts in weight, encumbrance, etc.  And from my research, the weight tables in the old FH book that has been copied down every new edition are all wrong.

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Indeed, there are very few historical suits of armor that cover every Hit Location (Gothic Plate being the only one I can think of off the top of my head). Almost all historic armor would use one of the variants of Armor Coverage. For odd corner cases you can use my Hit Location Probability Charts to calculate the actual chances of being hit in an unarmored location, and use that to calculate the appropriate Activate Roll/Armor Coverage Level; that is literally one of the purposes I wrote them for.

 

I'm going to try to emphasize differences in armor with subtle things like small shifts in weight, encumbrance, etc.  And from my research, the weight tables in the old FH book that has been copied down every new edition are all wrong.

An issue that isn't made any easier by the fact that the Mass limitation is just god-awfully awkward to use. The Expanded Focus System or my simplified variant is much better in that regard since you can simply define the appropriate Mass for the Foci (which in my system determines the Foci's BODY, and in some cases increases the modifier's Limitation value).

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One of the Trade Skills (basically professional skills in a fantasy setting, but with greater campaign significance, so they cost base 3 points rather than 2) is Engineering.  This isn't EverQuest gadgeteering or crazy goblin engineering in World of Warcraft.  Its real world engineering, basically greco-roman level technology.  You can make a calculator if you really want, but you can't build a rocket or goggles that give you magical bonuses.  Nobody is creating any really outrageous stuff but you can use it to disable traps, build bridges, calculate weight capacity, etc.  

 

Engineers build siege engines and reinforce mines, they don't make clockwork followers or bombs.  The Jolrhos setting is strictly magic and low tech by design, but there's still a lot you can do with the skill.  Most of it is MacGyver stuff on the fly like turning a catapult into a battering ram or making a trap out of some springs and a few boards.  Engineers can create a compass or repair a damaged portcullis, they can design that castle you want or help sap under the mines -- or detect sappers and stop them.

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The bulk of the Jolrhos Field Guide consists of ways to help GMs and players interact with the rest of the world easier and more engagingly like the down time between adventures, what you do while camping, how to repair your armor; stuff to do that isn't just questing, killing monsters, looting, etc.   Its an attempt to fill in the world with more things to do and interact with besides straight adventure stuff like fighting and traps etc.  Foods, odd animals, ores you can dig up, plants that are useful, etc.  In the process this gives the GM more treasures to give away than the usual list, and it gives players more things to look for and do if they choose to.  Yeah, that basilisk had some coins and jewelry that past victims left behind, but you can skin the thing for its scaly hide, and take the eyeballs back to an alchemist -- or use them yourself.

 

When this is done I hope to present a unique but familiar world to players and GMs both, a book that players will find useful as well as game masters, and something different than any other game supplement made.

 

I just wish I could work longer and write faster.

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I've decided to dump the "cost" field from tradeskills entirely and have a small section discussing cost of living.  All the cost showed was incidental expenses and costs for living while a job was underway, since the cost of parts and labor is separate.  Indeed, since scarcity, location, and laws may affect the expenses so much it didn't make sense to have anything listed.

 

One of the more interesting sections of the book to me is where I go over the physical aspects of Jolrhos because it is not like other worlds.

 

For one thing, there's no moon.  For another, there are no seasons.  Weather is dependent more on magic and elemental forces than regular patterns.  When not being influenced by magic, the climate is similar to spring or fall, but it can vary wildly and without logical pattern.  

 

In some places, such as the main adventure area of Morien, extremely old and powerful elven elemental magic tempers the weather, controlling its wilder extremes and creating regular patterns of growing seasons with sun and rain.  The year has three growing seasons and harvests in such a nation.  

 

Other areas are so wild and magical the weather can be blizzard one day and scorching heat the next, and sometimes weather that exists only in a magical world can take place, with manastorms tearing across the land, or blight causing terrible damage.

 

This has the advantage of giving the GM the power to have pretty much whatever they wish to have happen, yet have some sense of regularity and pattern as well.  But it also makes certain aspects of life different.  Werewolves aren't compelled by the moon; there isn't any.  So its situations of stress, fear, and pain that force the change.  Its the little stuff that can make an interesting difference, to me.

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Working on laminated armor; yes, you can make effective, light armor out of linen. Its light and tough enough to protect from light archery and will protect well from weapons. Its also pretty cheap and easy to make compared to forged armor. A historical group at a university worked on recreating Greek armor and here's what they discovered.

 

Basically its layers of linen with a laminating material -- they used 'rabbit glue' but there are reports of using wax as well.  The material is very resilient and even softens slightly over time to fit to yoru body better.  This is armor you could make at home with available supplies and be ready for war.

 

So that's part of the mix for players to choose from.  Its light enough that it won't encumber much (good for casters) and actually protects better against arrows than a lot of much more resilient armor.

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Here's a sneak peak at one of the weather tables.  I've got a section on weather for various climate areas and types in the world so GMs can just plug them in when needed and if wanted roll or choose weather events when they desire.  One potential weather type is enchanted, when magic overwhelms the climate and things start to go crazy.  In the world of Jolrhos, you have to be careful how much magic you use in a given area or things start to go kind of crazy for a while.

Weatherimage.png

In the section all those terms are explained.  For example:

 

FAE: The lands of faerie are a dimension very close to the mortal realms which overlaps in some places such as in the deepest and most peaceful forests.  These sylvan realms are not often near civilization, and some lands such as Wrenland are very close to Faeries and are heavily fae.

 

When a Fae event takes place, the area becomes more natural, with mists and plants growing in improbable places (like from the kitchen table).  Faeries and other fae creatures such as unicorns may be spotted.  Everyone is treated as if they have 1d6 of luck and unluck more.

 

 

Wind is basic wind levels from the Hero System books (reprinted with permission in my book) and temperature levels are the same system.

I've been putting weather tables in module rewrites and adventures as I publish them, but this consolidates it all into one area, so it would only be necessary to write up something unusual or specific to the area.

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Working on laminated armor; yes, you can make effective, light armor out of linen. Its light and tough enough to protect from light archery and will protect well from weapons. Its also pretty cheap and easy to make compared to forged armor. A historical group at a university worked on recreating Greek armor and here's what they discovered.

 

Basically its layers of linen with a laminating material -- they used 'rabbit glue' but there are reports of using wax as well.  The material is very resilient and even softens slightly over time to fit to yoru body better.  This is armor you could make at home with available supplies and be ready for war.

 

So that's part of the mix for players to choose from.  Its light enough that it won't encumber much (good for casters) and actually protects better against arrows than a lot of much more resilient armor.

This is awesome! Thanks for the link!

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See, part of what I'm creating here is to extend on the idea of stuff like laminated armor.  What happens when you make it out of something more powerful or magical?  Giant Spider silk?  Pegasus hair?  The stats get better; lighter, slightly tougher, but much more expensive.  Extend that out to all sorts of different trades.  What happens when you make a sword out of dragon bones?  What happens when you make a staff out of dryad trees?  How does it affect enchanting the item?

 

The theory is that with this book you can take all those elements and put them together: parts from the Bestiary, interesting stuff in the world, the weather, the different parts of the world, etc.  All that makes a gargantuan, detailed, deep, and immersive sandbox which then GMs can use to run a game that feels like its set somewhere real: familiar, but unique.  I don't want to create a campaign world detailed down to the last blade of grass in the king's back yard.  I want to create one where people can then fill in the blanks the way they want them to be, using a huge, detailed, complex setting.

 

Treasures, campaign rules for play and making characters, spells, monsters, etc

 

And then release adventures people can use in that setting, or their own worlds.

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One thing I've come to realize is that the resources chart and mentions in the Bestiary are not compatible with the Field Guide exactly, so I'll be doing a new edition of that some time to bring it up to speed (and fix some of the art.  I was very hurried with some of the illustrations and they aren't up to what I hoped for).

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Been a while since I did an update, because I've been working on a project.  I have a world map done, but I've never been completely happy with it for several reasons, not the least of which is that its on a flat sheet of paper representing a globe.  I never really knew what exactly the world looked like on a sphere.

 

So I built a globe and sprayed it with chalkboard paint and came up with this.  Its a very rough sketch of the shoreline, mostly to help me visualize and think through what the world looks like.

IMG_20171024_130826.jpg

The globe was made with a balloon covered with paper machet.  I sanded the sharp edges down, clear coated, and then two coats of blackboard paint.  Some chalk and voila.

NOW I can make a better world map, adding in national boundaries, geographical features, etc, and feel confident its a proper representation.  My plan is not to use the usual Tolkien-style fantasy map but to look at ancient maps of the world and use that for the style.

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