Anno Arcani [Homebrewed]

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Anno Arcani [Homebrewed]

#1 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:11 am

Table of Contents
✳ Setting
✳✳ MAP: Western Hemisphere
✳✳ History
✳ Players' Guide
✳✳ Races
✳✳ Hindrances and Edges
✳✳ House and Setting Rules

A Little Background (OOC)
Anno Arcani originally started about four or so years ago, with two random modern fantasy games. One run by me, one run by my Girlfriend and neither actually having anything to do with the other. Eventually, due to various reasons, both were dropped. Then, about two years ago, the idea was picked up briefly, and dropped again. Last year I decided that the ideas we had floating around were pretty cool, but we needed an actual backdrop to set the random modern fantasy games against. And so I started to write up a background for the setting, mixing elements from the previous forays into our modern fantasy games.

Originally the game was d20 Modern. The setting pretty much built itself, but I was also rebuilding the d20 Modern system to suit our various changes to D&D, Pathfinder and so on. I ended up spending more time retooling d20 Modern than I did working on adventures, so Anno Arcani got put on the back burner once again. We got Savage Worlds a few months back and then it occured to me that it would be easier to just make the small changes that weren't difficult and just play it in Savage Worlds, rather than continuing to retool d20 Modern (which I had also put on the back burner, because rebuilding d20 Modern was taking forever. I may get back to it, I may not). And so, a single afternoon and some very helpful feedback from this board (thanks, by the way), and I had the races converted and was ready to start running that very night. So, without further ado (or without any if you just skipped to the links, haha), here is what all the players have available to them as far as the setting. It is still a work in progress, I might add.
Last edited by Kythkyn on Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:34 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#2 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:13 am

The Western Hemisphere

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#3 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:15 am

Y2K Man!
The year 2000 came and, against all conspiracy odds, nothing happened. The world didn’t end. Computers didn’t become sentient and enslave mankind, nor did they become inert. The world’s economy, though not great, didn’t collapse. Not a single Alien landed in Washington or enslaved the world. Nothing happened. Sane people never really worried, but the conspiracy nuts were beyond disappointed. Men with tinfoil hats the world over found that January 1st, 2000 was pretty much just like December 31st, 1999. Some continued to rant on the street corners, but people began to ignore them just as they have been doing since the invention of the tinfoil-hatted loony.

December 31st, 2000 was about as eventful as any other New Years. Some one million people gathered in Time Square to watch the ball drop and celebrate in the New Year (and New Millennium for those people that understood how the Gregorian calendar works).

Ten…Nine…Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two…

This night, at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time, with a second to go before 2001, the world changed forever. And those people in Time Square were among the first to witness it. Just as the Ball was about to signal 2001, the Shadow Keep appeared in the middle of City, towering over all else in the sky line. The strange structure brought with it stranger beings. The celebration in Time Square came to an abrupt end as a creature of fairy-tales swooped in and roared, fire bursting from its mouth. The people watching the ball drop the world over witnessed a Dragon wreak havoc on down towne New York. This was not a hoax. This was happening. Seemingly simultaneously with the appearance of the Shadow Keep, other places in the world changed. Some only slightly. Some entire landmasses disappeared and were replaced. It was madness.

2001: A Race Odyssey
With the abrupt change to the entire world, the first few moths especially were chaotic. In North America alone there was a massive wave a new sentient creatures, and the governments of the U.S. and Canada were quick to get on top of the situation. Were they citizens? Did they need to pass a test to stay? Where did they even come from? This was an invasion of aliens unlike any seen in history. And, stranger still, parts of their world merged with the North American landmass. So, did that mean that these new peoples were natural citizens?

As the governments in North America managed stronger control over the situation, new bureaus opened in the governments. In the U.S. the Department of Arcane Management (DAM) opened. And the meaning of the word “race” changed once again. Humans now possessed ethnicities (though, they always have. Then again, race is a myth. But that is neither here nor there), and “Race” came to mean what type of creature someone is. Aside from Human, the U.S. began to recognize Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome and Orc, among so many others. The first issue was getting everything categorized. The second issue for DAM was what to do with all these new arrivals. Ellis Island opened back up, as did many other government run facilities for the massive project being undertaken. ESL classes became overrun with these new races, and the economy, at least in the areas of teaching English and American Culture, boomed. In Canada a similar process took place, though the Canadians had the Ministry of Extra-Human Affairs (MEHA).

With all these new races and cultures, not to mention languages, this was an era unlike any since the early 1900s for Anthropologists. And in many ways, a more challenging and fascinating era. These were not Humans, after all, these were completely different races. It became important to learn to communicate (without the aid of Magic), as well as understand each other.

This year also saw the spontaneous change of some humans into these other races. It would be years before scientist would figure out why. But these people were even more displaced than those who came from another Realm. Not Human any more, but lacking the cultural and linguistic background of their new Race, these people added another layer to the already chaotic issues of 2001. Unfortunately, this year also saw one of the largest increases in suicides.

On a slightly brighter note, though, an odd occurrence happened as well with Humans. A new ethnicity of Human came to be added to the previous races/ethnicities as it became apparent that not all the things from the other Realm were strange creatures of fantasy. Arcane Humans, as they uncreatively came to be known, were Humans from wherever these other creatures were from. The strangest thing, though, was that through whatever magics that brought the Realms into coexistence, these Humans spoke perfect, if slightly dated and jargon-heavy, English (or French, or German…). Once these Arcane Humans were found, much headway was made in learning to translate the other Race’s languages. However, stranger still, those Races that spoke the Human tongue before the merge did not spontaneously learn English. So all of the language learning at first came second hand from Arcane Humans that spoke the given tongue, be it Elven or Dwarven or what have you.

New Avalon and the Matriarchy
One of the major points of chaos during the early days of 2001 was that, after a bit of the dust settled from the sudden appearance of the Shadow Keep and its dragon, the government U.S. government suddenly realized that Seattle was missing. The Canadian government noticed a similar occurrence with Vancouver and pretty much all of British Columbia and half of Alberta. It wasn’t too long before it was realized that cities from Oregon and Idaho, Western Montana through Canada and up to Alaska were gone. Satellite images and scans showed that there was not a trace of anything. The landmass and shape did not change, but what was once the north-Western United States and Western Canada was now a vast, nearly impenetrable forest. What was in this forest? And where did all those people go? January 5th became the national British Columbia Day in Canada and the United States (it was easier to call it “B.C. Day” than “National remember Oregon, Washington State, Idaho and the western part of Montana-day”). This date replaced National Bird Day in the United States. Birdwatchers were dismayed. The rest of the United States didn’t know there was a National Bird Day.

Eventually, contact was made with the vast forest. It was not realized at first that this was a major shock to the peoples in the forest as well. The U.S. and Canada both lost a massive area of their land, but so did the Elven peoples who inhabited this massive forest. As it turned out, this was a part of the Grand Elven Forest. Overzealous American surveyors dubbed it “New Avalon”. The name stuck. Contact was very shaky at first, especially as U.S. government types attempted to find and restore order to cities such as Seattle and Juno. A brief skirmish here and there with the Elves ended quickly when the governments of the U.S., Canada and the Elves met and came to a less hostile agreement. Arrows were quivered and the surveyors allowed to enter so long as they respected Elven customs. There were still many clashes, but at least none that involved bloodshed.

First contact with what would come to be called the Matriarchy was not as pleasant. Throughout vast portions of the desert in the south western United States strange cave and rock formations appeared. In some of the larger cities in California entire areas of the sewer system and even places at low sea level were converted into caves and tunnels, and even vast semi-subterranean cities. The inhabitants of these tunnels and cities were much like the Elves of New Avalon in appearance, though their skin was jet black and their hair anywhere from a pale gold to a platinum colour. And most had fierce red eyes. The initial months of 2001 saw almost no contact with these “Dark Elves”, as something seemed to be keeping them in their cities and uninterested in the goings on around them. It would later be found out that these Dark Elves were in the midst of a massive House War. The U.S. government was content to let these Dark Elves war with themselves provided it did not spill over into populated areas of U.S. citizens. An envoy was even sent to the ruler of the House of these Dark Elves. She promised that her war would not intrude on the United States. She even allowed a few diplomats to stay and observe. In return, a Dark Elven diplomat was sent to Washington, D.C.

It was sometime in July that news reached the diplomat in D.C. that the war had ended. It was about a day later that the news was made official for the United States when the heads of the U.S. diplomats were delivered to the doorstep of the White House. This was the end of diplomatic relations with the Dark Elves. The head of the House that had made diplomatic ties with the U.S. was dead, her underlings either killed or captured. The several Houses of the Dark Elves were now united under one banner. The Matriarchy.

It was that same day that the heads were delivered that the Matriarchy began its aggressive campaign to unite not only all the Dark Elf cities, but also all the land around all the cities. From California to the westernmost boarders of Texas and south into Mexico, the Dark Elven armies mobilized. At first it was seen as maybe just an increase in street violence. The government kept the heads of the diplomats quiet, and hoped that this would end soon. As violence broke out more and more, police and the National Guard were dispatched to take care of the problemme. After all, what could some mediæval tech Dark Elves do against a gun? A lot, as it turned out.

The very first time that National Guardsmen and police opened fire on a large troupe of Dark Elves, they found that their bullets were effortlessly blocked by something called the “Shield Spell”. By late July, Washington, D.C. had an Arcane Human cabinet member, a Prince Edward Arneson from a Kingdom that had not merged. He acted as an informant, as well was the co-head of DAM. He was instrumental in helping the U.S. deal with these Dark Elves.

However, it seemed that the Dark Elves had a relatively simple spell that rendered them immune to bullets, even if only for a short period of time. But the rest of the magics that these Dark Elven soldiers wielded proved to be much more devastating than the Shield Spell. Armed with magical weapons that treated tank armour like paper, enchanted armour that made the soldiers impossible to harm, and so many other mystical devices of devastation, the Matriarchy stormed across the South West seemingly unstoppably. A police action was declared by President Bush, an action that caused his popularity to plummet. Across thousands of college campuses Nationwide protests broke out, students chanting that Bush is a Nazi and that we just don’t understand the culture of the Dark Elves. Many of these protests ended when, during a locally televised protest at UCLA, a small army of Dark Elves approached the protesters. Protesters welcomed the Dark Elves with open arms, as the skirmishes had not made it yet to L.A. The protesters were greeted with a flick of the wrist of the lead Dark Elf. A giant ball of fire engulfed the lot, killing almost all the students at the protest. The local broadcast was made National that night. A sudden wave of Patriotism washed over the U.S. and the unpopular police action suddenly became very popular. So popular, in fact, that many of the opponents of the action in Congress became outspoken advocates of the action.

It wasn’t too soon after the Dark Elves began their campaign that the U.S. government gained aid from the peoples of New Avalon. These Elves aided in mundane and magical efforts to stop the Dark Elves. Hundreds of Dwarves enlisted in the U.S. Military to aid in the effort, and though there was no president on how to deal with these dwarves entering the Military, the problemme was waved in lieu of the fact that the Military just gained help from an ancestral enemy of the Dark Elves. “Drow”, as the Dwarves called them.

The police action waged for several years until, in 2004, an armistice was signed and, after ceding a large portion of the south-west, the police action was over and the Dark Elves became quiet. Though many American citizens had lost their lives, and many more were now living within the borders of the Matriarchy. The armistice and end of the police action (called a War my most) practically insured Bush’s second term as President. It was months after he won the election that the U.S. portion of New Avalon was ceded to the Elves. Political campaigns in Canada allowed for the ceding of the New Avalon portion of Canada as well (much to the chagrin of Québec’s Sovereigntists). Although the New Avalon Elves were instrumental in the war effort, this was a wildly unpopular action with not only the majority of the citizens of the U.S., but especially the citizens of the U.S. living in areas that were given to New Avalon. A few brief skirmishes broke out, but all the U.S. citizens living within the new New Avalon borders were moved and given new houses by the U.S. It was still very unpopular, but for the most part, the people moved and complained.

Meet the New Boss
After the armistice, the Matriarchy cut off all outside communication and worked fervently to construct a magical barrier around their land. Initially, reports of atrocities flooded out, as it became common knowledge that the Drow, as the U.S. populace started calling them, did not seem to have much of an issue with slavery, and completely lacked the idea of “human rights”. From far beneath the ground about midway through the war, sorry, the police action, a new creature, heretofore unseen in the first few years of this new Era, immerged. A chill went down Prince Edward Arneson’s spine as he told the President about the “Flayers of the Mind”, horrible creatures from beyond even his home Realm that, for whatever reason, eagerly worked with the Dark Elves. These creatures possessed a magic of the mind. As pictures were caught of these creatures, many geeks the world over saw a parallel between these creatures and that of Cthulhu from the stories of H.P. Lovecraft. Surely, were Lovecraft alive in these strange days, he would have been delightfully horrified. Unfortunately, like the creature in Lovecraft’s stories, these creatures were alien and quite evil. And soon, no matter where in the Matriarchy, prominent Dark Elves were seen with one or more of these creatures as attachés.

Few Humans made it out of the matriarchy after the armistice was signed. As part of the armistice, many citizens were released from Matriarchy land, but not even half of the Humans that inhabited these areas before the appearance of these others. Those Humans that made it out alive spoke of the horror of living under Matriarchy rule. Humans were used as slaves, as target practice, and even in the experiments of the strange cephalopod-like creatures. However, little had been done to aid the remaining Humans in the Matriarchy. Mostly for fear of reigniting a war.

The Feathered Serpent Rises
When the Lizardmen appeared, they (like all other New Comers) brought with them their culture and mythology. The largest stronghold of Lizardmen after the Convergence was in Mexico. Mexico City to be exact. Their dress and language was strangely reminiscent of the pre-Columbian Aztec, Mayan and Olmec cultures, though an alien and Lizardman heavy amalgamation. As early as January 1st 2001 the Lizardmen spoke of the impending arrival of Feathered Serpent. Immediate parallels were seen between the Lizardmen’s Feathered Serpent and Quetzalcoatl and Kukulkan. Although at first many of the native Humans wondered at the parallels, it was soon discovered, with the aid of Arcane Humans, that the Lizardmen have always revered the Feathered Serpent. A strange coincidence, nothing more.

Not much thought was given the vocal outcries of the impending arrival of the Feathered Serpent. To the people of Mexico especially, though perhaps interesting, these Lizardmen were but one in a sea of new Millenarian Religions. In 2004 it became apparent that the Lizardmen were not speaking in metaphor, when in Teotihuacan the Feathered Serpent burst forth and declared his intention to reunite and rule over “His Glorious Land”. Thus began the continuing war in Mexico and Centroameric. Belice, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua came under the control of the Feathered Serpent. (Costa Rica and Panama disappeared in 2001, replaced by some of the islands off the coast of Icathia.) The Feathered Serpent’s campaign began before the armistice with the Matriarchy. Fearing a reignition of conflict with the Matriarchy, or even an opportuned attack, the United States has largely remained out of Mexico and its southern neighbour’s ongoing crisis.

The Island of Dr. Moreau called
Sometime in 2005, a very curious event took place. A sudden influx of new immigrants came into the U.S. and Canada. Well, perhaps not immigrants as new creatures. The first reported encounter with these new beings in a small towne outside Halifax, Alba Nuadh. However, the strange thing about the encounter was that, unlike the other new comers, these creatures spoke English, wore a modern military style armour (though it was unmarked) and not only knew of modern technology, but were armed to the teeth with modern weaponry. Oh, they also looked like humanoid animals. At first, it was assumed that these were just heretofore unseen new comers from the other Realm. But some things didn’t match up. Mostly their mastery of English and their use of modern weapons and armour. It wasn’t too soon after their appearance in Nova Scotia that similar encounters were seen throughout Canada and the north-eastern U.S.

Looking into these appearances, it seemed odd that none of the other Races had ever encountered these creatures. They were not from the same place that the Elves and Dwarves were from, at least, not to the knowledge of anyone from the other Realm. Dubbed “Moreaus” by the media, investigations were launched to look into these creatures. But, though initially seen armed and armoured in Nova Scotia, they did not seem hostile and in further encounters the Moreaus were usually not armed. It seemed a little odd, but then again, not four years ago Elves appeared in the world. So, the governments of the U.S. and Canada were willing to allow these new additions as well. Oddly, when asked what they call themselves, they had no answer. So Moreau stuck. The strangest part about the Moreaus, though, is the apparent lack of connection to the Other Realm, and their understanding of modern technology and weaponry. Although the Moreaus were completely forthcoming with any information, it was quickly discovered that the Moreaus didn’t have much information to share. None of them really knew where exactly they came from, answering in all sincerity “Nova Scotia” or “New York”. But they were willing and eager to integrate themselves into modern society, so the investigation into their past was dropped. One last oddity concerning the Moreaus is their apparent lack of magical aptitude.

Stay tuned for the continuation of the history

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#4 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:18 am

OOC Note: This section remains largely crunch at the moment.

Dwarves have the same statistics as SWD

Most elves who remain in New Avalon take the standard racial package. However, some elves have forsaken their culture in order to explore their strange new world. These elves are the same as standard elves save for the following:

This elf takes a -2 to charisma when dealing with his own race or any Newcomers who have not adapted to the new World. This replaces All-Thumbs.

The only adult Half-Elves are those who came over during the Convergence. However, there are many Half-Elves that have been born since the Convergence. Half-Elves remain statistically unchanged.

Half-Orcs and Orcs
PC Half-Orcs and Orc both use the Half-Orc racial statistics.

Common Traits:

Low-light Vision
All Moreaus have low-light vision.

Magically Void
Moreaus cannot take Arcane Backgrounds. When activating a magical item, the roll incurs a -2 penalty.

Although Moreaus have integrated into human culture seemingly without transition, their lack of forthcomingness with their origin, as well as their late appearance and frankly strange look makes them outsiders in the society they consider their own. Moreaus suffer from the minor hindrance of the same name.

Feline Moreaus possess the following traits:

Feline Moreaus start with a d6 in Agility

Feline Moreaus have retractable claws that do STR+1d6 and grant +2 to Climbing rolls on all but completely sheer surfaces.

Porpoise Moreaus possess the following traits:

Fatigue level for every 15 minutes of breath held, Upon reaching INCAP make Vigor every minute or drown, Fatigue recovers one level per 15 minutes back in air.

Natural Swimmer
Porpoise Moreaus start with a d6 in Swimming. In addition, Porpoise Moreaus gain a +4 vs. Drowning.

Ursine Moreaus possess the following traits:

Ursine Moreaus start with a d6 in Strength

Coarse Hairs
Unlike other furred Moreaus, all Ursine Moreaus are covered in their fur. Ursine Moreaus gain a +4 vs. Cold.

Canine Moreaus possess the following traits:

Man’s Best Friend
Canine Moreaus do not suffer from the Outsider racial trait.

Canine Moreaus gain a +2 bonus to Notice checks when scent is involved.

Canine Moreaus begin play with a d6 to Tracking.

Neorthine Moreaus possess the following traits:

Related to birds, Neorthine Moreaus begin play with wings. Neorthine Moreaus can fly at their basic Pace and even “run” while flying. It costs 2” of Pace to gain 1” of height.

Hollow Bones
Neorthine Moreaus have hollow bones. This is a double edged sword for these Moreaus. Although the Neorthine Moreaus suffer a -1 Toughness, they begin play with a d6 Agility.

Keen Eyes
In addition to their Low-light vision, Neorthine Moreaus gain a +2 bonus to sight based Notice rolls.

Related to Rodents, Murinoid Moreaus possess the following traits:

Murinoid Moreaus seem to be able to survive anywhere. They gain +2 to resist all negative environmental effects. In addition, they are immune to all natural diseases. Murinoid Moreaus also begin with a d6 in Survival.

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#5 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:21 am

Hindrances and Edges
The following Hindrances / Edges are restricted:
Delusional, Doubting Thomas‡, Elderly, Enemy, Young
Attractive‡, Very Attractive‡, Noble, Rich, Filthy Rich, Adept‡, Champion‡, Holy/Unholy Warrior‡, Mentalist‡, Danger Sense, Healer‡, Liquid Courage‡
‡ - These Edges and Hindrances are simply not present in the setting.

The following Hindrances / Edges from other sources are allowed:
Slow (Horror Companion)
Familiar (Fantasy Companion), Adaptable (F), Double Shot (F), Improved Double Shot (F), Natural Warrior (F), Improved Natural Warrior (F), Sunder* (F), Improved Sunder* (F), Necromancer‡ (H), Master Necromancer‡ (H), Talisman Crafter‡ (H)
‡ - These Edges require GM permission
* - Melee weapons only, does not apply against magical armour

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#6 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:33 am

House and Setting Rules
Setting Rules
Multiple Languages: Anno Arcani has not only our world's massive amount of languages (not couting dialects and idiolects), but an added assortment of completely non-human language families, languages, dialects and idiolects. And, especially in America, there has been such an influx of new languages. As such, it is likely that player characters will know more than one language. However, unlike the Rule as Written (RAW), the player receives a number of languages equal to half her Smarts die. This includes her native language!
Example: Zaedra the Elf Mage has a Smarts of a d10. This means that Zaedra knows five languages in total: Elven, Orcish, Dwarven, French and English.

No Power Points: After playtesting this for a few sessions, I have decided to stick with this option for Anno Arcani. It seems to be working out rather nicely.

House Rules
Everyone has them. I have, at least since my days behind the AD&D screen, done my best to always make sure that the house rules work for and not against the players. For now there really is only one:
Novice Advancement: After your character is fully made by RAW, you gain one "novice advancement". It works like any other advancement, and is bound by all the restrictions etc. NPC wildcards get this as well.

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#7 Postby fanchergw » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:02 pm

This is kinda cool, though I haven't read it all real carefully.

So am I (and everyone else living in the area) dead, or was I magically transformed into an elf? (I live in the Seattle area.)


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#8 Postby Kythkyn » Mon Oct 22, 2012 4:05 pm

fanchergw wrote:This is kinda cool, though I haven't read it all real carefully.

So am I (and everyone else living in the area) dead, or was I magically transformed into an elf? (I live in the Seattle area.)


Hehe, rest assured, I didn't kill anyone (there anyway. I mean, there was a war...). But no, the Elves in New Avalon are not transformed humans. What happened to "our" West Coast is one of the great mysteries in the setting. I know what happened, but that's from a meta-setting point, hehe. What happened to all those people, well, the setting may never know.

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#9 Postby Sitting Duck » Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:40 am

There may be an issue with the Matriarchy and forum rules regarding the posting of copyrighted material. Dark elves is a fairly generic term, but Drow is not. It would probably be simpler to come up with a different name.
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#10 Postby Kythkyn » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:12 am

Actually, Drow is a Scottish folklore term. So I am not really worried about it.

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