Houses of The Dark Elves (COMPLETED)

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Houses of The Dark Elves (COMPLETED)

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 02, 2014 9:22 am

Hey all, as of this week and onwards I'm back onto Legend again and I'm going to be bringing information about the dark elf noble houses to the Sheoloth setting. It will contain some of the previous material, and of course, all new material and a couple of new bonus houses that have been developed to take into account the thematic changes to the city/setting itself.
Last edited by The Wolf on Tue May 13, 2014 2:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby auyl » Wed Apr 02, 2014 4:26 pm

Sounds really interesting. I can't wait to see the final product.

How will the houses be split up? By task, mercantile, marital abilities, and so on and so on?
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby The Wolf » Thu Apr 03, 2014 7:33 am

I presume you meant martial ;) that just reminds me of the old typo in RQ: Marital Arts (along with Lather armor).

I'm thinking of looking through the pre-written info from things like Tome of Drow law and expanding on that. So I'll probably see how they fall in Sheoloth core and possibly present them in order. Or I could divide them up by role.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby auyl » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:20 pm

Lol, yes I meant martial. Good to see there's going to be some good details about each house that is included for detail. Definitely looking forward to this.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby The Wolf » Fri Apr 04, 2014 7:27 am

I'd like to approach it in a similar way to Sommerlund, in terms of detail. Or my own things like Blackrock, where I am fond of popping interesting story hooks in there. So I might drop in 3-4 story hooks per house to spark a GM's imagination, and provide some easter eggs for Sheoloth.

I'm also going to stat up the key members of the house, then I'll probably do what Sheoloth did and provide a baseline for the minor NPCs.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby auyl » Fri Apr 04, 2014 12:48 pm

The Wolf wrote:I'd like to approach it in a similar way to Sommerlund, in terms of detail. Or my own things like Blackrock, where I am fond of popping interesting story hooks in there. So I might drop in 3-4 story hooks per house to spark a GM's imagination, and provide some easter eggs for Sheoloth.

I'm also going to stat up the key members of the house, then I'll probably do what Sheoloth did and provide a baseline for the minor NPCs.
Adventure hooks are always handy that way someone has an idea how to fit a house or series of houses into a campaign while remaining true to the written intentions of the house itself.

Something that might be handy too is to make a cult or order for the major houses to represent a players or NPC's role in the house itself. In many dark elf (drow) stories it talks about those who work for a house while not being born into it. Maybe giving the option as an order to progress in some way in the house, although still being somewhat limited, and giving the GM even greater leeway in using the houses in their campaigns. Keeping with this, some house specific heroic abilities for the cults/orders might be an idea too.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby The Wolf » Fri Apr 04, 2014 3:48 pm

Yep. I plan to present them using the same format as the Assassin's Guild in the Legend corebook, with some additions here and there.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby auyl » Fri Apr 04, 2014 5:21 pm

Nice :D
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby The Wolf » Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:09 am

The first pass, all instances of drow have been removed and altered from the core document that I'm working from. This is part conversion and part new material...

The next pass will be to change every darn instance of spider to refelect the new motief of the Dark Mother. I am really sick of dark elves being synonymous with spiders.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby auyl » Tue Apr 08, 2014 10:54 am

The Wolf wrote:The next pass will be to change every darn instance of spider to refelect the new motief of the Dark Mother. I am really sick of dark elves being synonymous with spiders.
I'm glad, I've never understood people's obsession with dark elves and spiders, just because D&D portrayed them that way doesn't mean every dark elf/drow society has to as well. That was one thing I was happy with in the new Sheoloth books that the whole spider obsession was taken out.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby warlock1971 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:29 pm

I like the idea of a spider less dark elf society for a change. I guess the historical (D&D) link fits with the long term, machinations of Lolth but it is nice to have a Legend supplement doing its own myth weaving:) excuse the pun.

I know the quality of Darren ' s work and am really excited to get the new book.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby warlock1971 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:32 pm

I like the idea of a spider less dark elf society for a change. I guess the historical (D&D) link fits with the long term, machinations of Lolth but it is nice to have a Legend supplement doing its own myth weaving:) excuse the pun.

I know the quality of Darren ' s work and am really excited to get the new book.
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 09, 2014 7:45 am

I may also see about making this Houses of the Dark Elves, so you don't actually have to use Sheoloth. It ties in through the shadows of the Dark Mother so that's the unifying factor for all this, not a spider in sight.

Well apart from those ovarisite things, but they're far more interesting than spiders.

auyl - I'm all for anything that divorces dark elves from their traditional motiefs.

warlock - thanks dude, it should be pretty neat when I'm done with it. It's taking a little longer than I anticipated because there's a lot of spider references and drow to exorsise before I can actually look at converting it to Legend.

A snip:

Culture
The culture of Drak’kamuth, House Arras’zur and House Narrishtah, and the cities they have founded since has been fundamentally influenced by worship of the Dark Mother. Religion pervades every facet of life in these cities, from the ubiquitous dragon motif in clothing, jewellery and buildings to the near-constant chanting that rises from the shadow-cloaked temples of the Dark Mother. Draconic imagery is literally everywhere in these lands, pervading every corner of them. The only use the dark elves find for the other inhabitants of the Underdeep is as food, especially the tasty breeds of spiders that have been cultivated as such in the various farms beneath the earth. Spiders sometimes get used as war machines as well, especially when combined with fleshcrafting and shadow magic.


This was my inspiration when I re-worked Sheoloth:

Image
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Re: Houses of Sheoloth

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Apr 09, 2014 8:45 am

Wow. I'm back on the Internet after two weeks without a computer due to a hard drive failure and the next Sheoloth book is already on the way :D
auyl wrote:
The Wolf wrote:The next pass will be to change every darn instance of spider to refelect the new motief of the Dark Mother. I am really sick of dark elves being synonymous with spiders.
I'm glad, I've never understood people's obsession with dark elves and spiders, just because D&D portrayed them that way doesn't mean every dark elf/drow society has to as well. That was one thing I was happy with in the new Sheoloth books that the whole spider obsession was taken out.
Personally, I would emphasize that Dark Elves can be as diverse as humans - some Dark Elves might think spiders are 'kewl', but assuming that ALL dark elves share an obsession with arachnids is unrealistic.

If you go back to early RPG depictions of the Dark Elves, you'll find that there were various religious factions in their society - for example, Gary Gygax also had Drow who worshiped the Elder Elemental God. This deity seemed to be a Lovecraftian entity whose avatar could manifest as a fiery red-orange eye surrounded by tentacles. The description of the Shrine of the Elder Elemental God in Module G3: Hall of the Fire Giant King should be required reading for anyone trying to do Dark Elves - it owes a lot to the climax of Abraham Merritt's pulp fantasy novel 'Dwellers in the Mirage', but it is one of the most evocative descriptions that Gygax wrote. I'm surprised that later depictions of dark elves haven't tried to tap into this for inspiration...

Maybe I'm being a bit silly, but I'd love to see a Spider Goddess whose followers amongst the Dark Elves are a persecuted minority, considered to be dangerous heretics by most Dark Elves..
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:08 am

I have plans, Prime_Evil, lots of plans. I'll make a note of that and perhaps incorporate it into a re-worked cult for Sheoloth!

Welcome back, I'm just looking at the first of 10 dark elf houses and building them based on the factions rules.


House Arras’zur
House Features:
• +20% House bonus on all Craft (alchemy) and Lore (Dark Mother) skill tests. Dark elves of House Arras’zur, both male and female, are exceptionally familiar with all elements of worship of the Dark Mother.
House Skills: The house offers training in any of the following skills: Craft (alchemy), Lore (Dark Mother), 1-H Sword, Crossbow, Manipulation, Stealth, Intrigue, Influence, Resilience, Persistence
Favoured Occupation: Priest
Predominant Religion: The Dark Mother
Heroic Abilities: Loremaster, Disease Immunity, Linguist
House Magic: Divine spells from the Dark Mother – Amplify, Behold, Fear, Heal Body, Heal Mind, Heal Wound

House Ranks
Serf
The only requirement to be a serf is to be a member of the house, former slave or not. To rise in rank, one must bide their time and wait to move up the ladder. Impressing nobles of the house is a good way to do this, as is keeping oneself alive.
Squire
Squires must have acted in defence of the house, have at least four house skills at 25% and take a blood oath to the grand noble of the house. To be promoted to noble, one needs to have made a really big impression on the grand noble (or sleep with them, this is not unheard of).
Noble
Nobles are usually blooded members of the house, it is rare for non-blooded members to be promoted to nobility, but it’s not impossible. Nobles must have five house skills at 35% to qualify. Promotion to a High Noble is extremely rare and almost never happens.
High Noble
When the grand noble doesn’t have time for the day to day tasks of the house, they call on their high nobles. They are often sons and daughters of the house, or those members who have truly made an impression on the grand noble. The high noble requires five house skills at 50%. Death is often the only way to promote oneself to grand noble, and the aspiring dark elf best be clever in how they arrange the grand noble’s demise.
Grand Noble
The grand noble is the defacto ruler of the house, usually one, or there can be a pair if it’s a mated couple. The grand noble must have five of the house skills at 65% and must be a direct blood descendent of the previous grand noble. They must also stand before the Dark Mother and be accepted by her, those who fail, die.
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby Prime_Evil » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:26 am

I like the fact that you are treating houses using the rules for Factions from the core rulebook. That works well. But take a look at the Dynasty book for Traveller and think about the possibilities for campaigns that span several generations in a Dark Elf house. I've got some ideas for adapting the kingdom-building rules for MRQII Empires to cover noble houses and similar organisations on a smaller scale ;)
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 09, 2014 9:48 am

Not a book I own, so I'm having to work on the houses based on the core Legend rules. That way it's compatible with everyone and anyone who wants a deeper system can convert it or modify it as they see fit :)

One thing I really wish Mongoose would do is embrace 13th Age for some of their products, I haven't ever come across a d20 system I've loved as much as this.

And Legend conversions would be a breeze back and forth either way.
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:22 am

Something a little different, a dark elf house with the blessing from the Dark Mother to study sorcery.

House Narrishtah
House Features:
• +20% House bonus on all Craft (alchemy) and Sorcery (Mother’s Blessing) skill tests. Dark elves of House Arras’zur, both male and female, are exceptionally familiar with all elements of worship of the Dark Mother and have a strong affinity to Sorcery magic.
House Skills: The house offers training in any of the following skills: Craft (alchemy), Grimoire (Mother’s Blessing), 1-H Sword, Manipulation, Meditation, Oratory, Seduction, Teaching
Favoured Occupation: Sorcerer
Predominant Religion: The Dark Mother
Heroic Abilities: Linguist, Tireless, Loremaster
House Magic: (Mother’s Blessing) – Animate (Stone), Banish, Castback, Dominate (dark elf), Fly, Haste, Palsy, Wrack

House Ranks
Serf
Serf’s of this house are treated a little better than most, they can rise to squires if they show a suitable interest in magic and the veneration of the Dark Mother.
Squire
Squires of this house need to prove themselves to the nobles, they need to have an understanding of the core skills of Sorcery as well. They must have Sorcery (Mother’s Blessing) at 30% and Manipulation at 35% as well as three more house skills at 25%. To be promoted to a noble they must be sponsored by another noble.
Noble
As the dark elf rises in the houses’ rank, they begin to understand more and more about the unique nature of the house itself. To become a high noble requires the approval of the grand noble and three chosen high noble representatives. The noble must also have Sorcery (Mother’s Blessing) at 40% and Manipulation at 45% as well as three more house skills at 30%
High Noble
The high nobles of the house should also be called high sorcerers. They have an incredible aptitude for sorcery magic. The grand noble oversees all the high nobles and makes sure they are all hand picked for their positions. They must also have Sorcery (Mother’s Blessing) at 55%, Manipulation at 60% and Meditation at 60%. They must have two more house skills at 40% each.
Grand Noble
The grand noble/sorcerer is the sole ruler of the house, there are no mated pairs that share rulership. The other partner is considered a high noble in terms of house ranking. The grand noble must have Sorcery (Mother’s Blessing) at 70%, Manipulation at 75%, Meditation at 75% and two more house skills at 60% each.
Last edited by The Wolf on Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby auyl » Wed Apr 09, 2014 12:45 pm

I like the way you're constructing the house as cult ranks, but I've said that before. I've noticed that the skill percentage requirements are a little lower than in the Legend Corerule books examples. Is this intentional?
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Re: Houses of The Dark Elves (Sheoloth game line)

Postby The Wolf » Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:06 pm

In some cases yes, and in other cases they tend to be higher to reflect the variance in house dynamics. Some houses have stricter rules for entry into a particular rank than the others, all numbers are also likely to change as I sweep over the 10 houses later on.

It really does depend on the house though, and I sometimes feel that certain factions have way too high skill requirements for entry. Now in a dark elf focussed campaign with various ranks and houses it made a little more sense to look at lower numbers to begin with and adjust upwards if needs be.

Edit: the numbers will change for the other houses.


House Devoren
House Features:
• +25% to Lore (Underdeep) and Survival skills. +10% to any 1-H sword, and bow/crossbow skill.
House Skills: The house offers training in any of the following skills: Athletics, Brawn, Commerce, Evaluate, Perception, Resilience, Stealth, Survival, Track
Favoured Occupation: Explorer
Predominant Religion: None, Devoran holds no religion above another, including that of the Dark Mother (a dangerous mindset indeed)
Heroic Abilities: Dead Eye, Tireless, Wall Leaping
House Magic: None

House Ranks
Apprentice
The lowly apprentice is used for a variety of tasks, to prove themselves they must venture into the Underdeep and scout out a dangerous area, returning alive. After that they get promoted to Pathfinder.
Pathfinder
Pathfinders are general scouts and guides, they are very good at moving quietly and taking the shortest routes through the Underdeep. They need Track and Survival at 60% as well as at least three more house skills at 55% - Pathfinders must undertake a great number of dangerous forays and guide their chosen caravans for several years before they become Explorers in the house.
Trader
Traders are those who are not so grand at exploring and pathfinding, but they know their way around numbers and mercantile dangers just as well. A Trader requires Commerce at 70% and Evaluate at %70 as well as three other house skills all at 65%.
Explorer
Those pathfinders who gain true notoriety and come to the attention of the house master, are often recruited to the explorer rank in the house. They must have Survival and Track at 80% as well as three other house skills at 70%.
House Master
The house master is an exalted position in the house, they hold the highest rank above all others and are served by a small cadre of trusted explorers and at least one trader that has distinguished themselves above all others. The house master needs Survival and Track at 95% as well as three other house skills at 85%.
Last edited by The Wolf on Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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