Monthly Archives: December 2021

Letters from a ttRPG Dev to a Freelancer, 6. When The Publisher Ruins Your Turnover

This entry in the Letters from a Dev series is adapted from a direct message I sent to a freelancer who I had offered to help get some 3pp material published for, and who then had some other opportunities pop up that (quite rightly) they pursued first. But we kept in touch, and I was happy to give guidance and advice when they wanted it.

Recently, they had some material in something published professionally… and the product was not great. I won’t go into details, other than to say the final text is pretty clearly worse than the original turnover the freelancer sent in. Now, that happens sometimes. It’s much, much rarer than things being significantly improved, in my experience. It’s even rarer than a freelancer thinking something has been ruined, when in fact the publisher has made improvements the freelancer simply isn’t fond of. But a publisher ruining a good draft does occasionally happen. And, when it does, it can be a shock, and a real emotional gut-punch.

Especially if the product was something you were excited about, seeing it’s final form be less clear, more typo-ridden, and riddled with worse rule implementation can be spectacularly disheartening. Given how tough ttRPG creation work is, how poorly it generally pays, and how little respect the work earns from the general public, often the joy in seeing the final product–with all its polish and improvement–is the biggest reward for the labor you put into it. When that is not just worse than you expected, but worse than you handed over, it can feel like you wasted your time and have been treated with disrespect.

In this case, the freelancer asked if I was willing to offer any suggestions on how to handle both the professional issue, and the emotional toll it takes. My adapted response is below.

“First, know that this is rare. Also, that’s always hard when it does happen. As a socially awkward depressive, I have had some projects changes and/or cancellations send me into deep negative states. It’s rough.

So, what to do about it.

Assuming the whole book isn’t a shitshow, it’s totally worth celebrating it as a project you contributed to. Credits are important, and even if they take away your joy, they shouldn’t also get to take away your stepping stone. You worked hard for this, and if you decide to move forward with freelance work, it’s worth having a professional credit from a recognizable company name on your resume. As long as the issue isn’t a moral or legal failing, even if you aren’t a fan of the final form, the very fact you did the work and it got published can help you get more opportunities in the future. The best way to clean a bad project taste out of your mouth is with a better project.

Even if you claim the project credit, since you earned it, feel free not to talk about what specifically you wrote for it. Usually, people don’t ask. If the DO ask, just say “Since the developer made changes, I don’t want to claim anything specific without the developer weighing in first.” If someone notes the project has a lot of errors, it’s fair to say you are not the developer or the editor, but don’t go farther than that. As a freelancer looking for more gigs, there’s no upside to making a stink about the quality of other people’s work if it’s not an ethical or legal issue.

It can be worthwhile to reach out to your developer and (politely) ask about specific changes that seem to be errors or violate the guidelines you were given. Don’t say it’s wrong and they messed it up – just say something like “I note that I wrote the Thingamabob gives a +2 bonus, in keeping with the design document I had, and the final version gives a +5. Is there a design consideration I should be aware of, so I can create material closer to what you need?” This kind of request-for-feedback is fairly common, and even if it the change to what your wrote just a big fuckup on their part, bringing it to their notice at least means they can start more quickly to work on errata, if any.

Those are practical concerns. Emotionally? That’s harder.

Bitch to friends you trust to keep it quiet. Play a game as different from what you worked on as you can. Pet a cat. Do an internet search for “TSR DaWizard,” and when you read the stories remember a BIG company got that one wrong on a huge scale. Drink some hot cocoa (or whatever fills that role for you). Let some time pass.

Know that this is a moment in your career, not an omen about the entirety of it.

Also… the pandemic has been hard on every creative I know. This both makes projects more likely to get botched, AND makes the impact of having your work be mangled so much more impactful. We have no idea the circumstances under which the developers/editors got their work done on this project. It may be an outlier that just suffered from massive internal problems with the company. It sucks for you, but it isn’t personal. And it isn’t going to happen every time.

Give yourself permission to be angry right now, and to need some time to shake it off. Usually, after a few weeks, it won’t be quite so raw a wound.

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Bravery Alternatives for the PF1 Fighter

In Pathfinder 1st ed, fighters get the feature “bravery.” It’s not a bad thing, but it’s also not super-exciting. As I looked at doing a PF1 version of Starfinder’s Soldier class, I was considering how I wanted to handle bravery, and looked into what abilities archetypes give to replace it.

And there are… a lot.

I realized I was considering turning the Soldier’s “gear boost” into a more flexible “combat boost” (which might or might not be gear-based), and that all the things fighters can repalce bravery with might make a great starting point for that.

Then I realized a lot of people playing fighters might like to just be bale to pick things to take as alternate class features in place of bravery.

So, I made those. I’ll look at converting Starfinder soldier gear boosts into PF1 combat boosts later.

Alternate Class Features for Bravery (“Combat Boosts”)

Agility (Ex): You gains a +1 bonus on saving throws made against effects that cause you to become paralyzed, slowed, or entangled. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Ardent (Su): You are difficult to sway from your beliefs. You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against charm effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd. Once per day, if you are forced to take an action that is diametrically opposed to your alignment, beliefs, or values while under the influence of a charm or compulsion effect (as determined by the player), you can immediately attempt a Will save against the effect’s DC to resist acting out that order. Success does not remove the existing charm or compulsion effect, but does allow you to resist betraying that belief.

Armored Vigor (Ex): As a swift action, you can gain 2 temporary hit points that last for 1 minute. You can use this ability a number of times per day equal to 3 + your Constitution modifier (minimum 1 per day), but only while wearing armor. At 6th level and every 4 levels thereafter, the number of temporary hit points the you gain increases by 2.

Bravery (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against fear. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Buckler Bash (Ex): You can perform a shield bash with a buckler (use the same damage and critical modifier as for a light shield).

Burst Barrier (Ex): You can use a tower shield to screen yourself from burst spells and effects, gaining a +1 bonus on Reflex saves against them while employing a tower shield. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Deceptive Strike (Ex): When you are wielding a 1-handed melee weapons, and have a hand free (not holding a weapon, shield, or anything else), you gain a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on disarm checks and on Bluff checks to feint or create a diversion to hide. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Deflective Shield (Ex): You specialize in using your shield to deflect attacks. You gains a +1 bonus to your touch AC, and this bonus increases for every four levels beyond 2nd; however, this bonus cannot exceed the sum of the armor and enhancement bonus to AC provided by the shield you are currently carrying.

Dirty Maneuvers (Ex): You become skilled at deceiving and discomfiting your opponents. You gain a +1 bonus on disarm, dirty trick, and steal combat maneuver checks, and to your CMD against the same maneuvers. These bonuses increase by 1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Duplicitous (Ex): You add Bluff, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, and Stealth to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Efficient Packer (Ex): You adds a bonus equal to 1/2 your soldier level on Sleight of Hand checks to conceal objects on your body. You also add a bonus equal to 1/2 your class level to your Strength score for the purpose of determining his carrying capacity.

Expertise (Ex): You qualify for feats and other abilities as though you had the Combat Expertise feat. If you are 10th level or higher, you gain Combat Expertise as a bonus feat, even if you would not normally qualify for this feat. If you already have Combat Expertise, you instead gain any one combat feat that includes Combat Expertise as a prerequisite (and for which you otherwise qualify).

Fame (for Performance Combat)(Ex): When you begin a performance combat, you always starts with at least 1 victory point. If you already have victory points, you gain 1 extra victory point. At 10th level, you start out with at least 2 victory points (and if you already have victory points, you gains 2 extra victory points).

Fearful Might (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Intimidate checks to demoralize a foe. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Fearsome (Ex): You can make an Intimidate check to demoralize an opponent as a move action. At 10th level, she can do so as a swift action. At 18th level, she can demoralize a foe as a free action once per round. You can never do so more than once per round.

Guard (Ex): You add Appraise, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (nobility), and Perception, to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Guarded Senses (Su): You gain a +1 bonus on saves against sonic effects, figments, glamers, patterns, gaze attacks, and scent-based attacks. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Harsh Training (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws against effects that cause the exhausted, fatigued, or staggered conditions or temporary penalties to ability scores. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Hawkeye (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Perception checks, and the range increment for any bow you use increases by 5 feet. These bonuses increase by +1 and 5 additional feet for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

(Art by Work on Color)

Pole Fighting (Ex): As an immediate action, you can shorten the grip on your spear or polearm with reach and use it against adjacent targets. This action results in a –4 penalty on attack rolls with that weapon until you spend another immediate action to return to the normal grip. The penalty is reduced by –1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Reconnaissance Training (Ex): You are trained to operate in heavily trapped or naturally hazardous areas. You gain a +1 bonus on Reflex saving throws to avoid traps, natural hazards, and environmental effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Ruin Raider (Ex): You add Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (dungeoneering), Knowledge (religion), and Use Magic Device, to your list of class skills. You gains 2 bonus skill ranks at each level, which must be allocated among these skills.

Shattering Strike (Ex): When using a 2-handed melee weapon, you gain a +1 bonus to CMB and CMD on sunder attempts and on damage rolls made against objects. These bonuses increase by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Spark of Life (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on saving throws made against death effects, energy drains, and necromancy, and to constitution checks to become stable when dying. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Stand Firm (Ex): When you are wielding a shield, you gain a +1 bonus to CMD against bull rush, drag, overrun, and trip attempts. This bonus also applies on saves against trample attacks. The bonus increases by +1 for every four levels beyond 2nd.

Steadfast Mount (Ex): After you have spent 1 hour practicing with a mount, the mount gains a +1 dodge bonus to AC and a +1 morale bonus on saves while you are mounted on it or adjacent to it. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd.

Tactical Awareness (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on initiative checks. This bonus increases by +1 for every four levels after 2nd level.

Tactician (Ex): You gain the cavalier’s tactician class feature, treating your soldier level as your cavalier level for the purposes of this ability.

Tenacious Tracker (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Diplomacy checks to gather information and on Survival checks made to identify or follow tracks. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels the vengeful hunter possesses beyond 2nd.

Tidal Celerity (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Reflex saves and saving throws against effects that would immobilize or paralyze you. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Unassailable Allegience (Ex): You gain a +1 bonus on Will saves against compulsion spells, spell-like abilities, and effects. This bonus increases by 1 for every 4 levels beyond 2nd.

Weapon Guard (Ex): You add the bonuses to attack you gain from Weapon Focus (and Greater Weapon Focus and Mythic Weapon Focus), to your CMD against disarm and sunder attempts while wielding the appropriate weapon. This bonus also applies on saves against any effect that targets that weapon (for example, grease, heat metal, shatter, warp wood).

A Request

Hiya folks! So, as a full-time freelance game designers, developer, publisher, and consultant, every minute I spend on blog posts is a minute I can’t take to publish more of my own content, or do contract work for other publishers. In short, the level of material I create here is only possible through the support of my Patrons, who donate a little money each month through my Patreon! 

So if you enjoyed this, or any of the other vast archive of material I have created over the past decade on this blog, please consider joining my Patreon, and/or sharing the link to others you know who might be interested.

Thanks!

Tavern Name Generator

It’s a trope that every ttRPG adventure starts in a tavern. But they can’t possibly all start in the SAME tavern, right? So, if you run a lot of adventures, you’re gonna need a LOT of tavern names. This system is designed to generate thousands of unique tavern names. It won’t create every possible tavern name of course (why, “The Mayor’s Coinpurse” isn’t even on the list!), but it’ll give you all the names you’ll need for a lifetime of fantasy ttRPG games.

Name Format: Roll 1d20

The results tell you what sub-tables to roll on, and in what order. You can always add “The” to the front of a name, and may or may not wish to add an Establishment (from the eponymous table) at the end.

If you get a ridiculous result, like “The Ale Alehouse,” you can reroll, add an element (somehow “The Drunken Ale Alehouse” feels more like a real placename), or lean into it and come up with a backstory as to why the place has such a weird name.

01. [Descriptor][Creature]

02. [Color][Creature]

03. [Creature] and [Creature]

04. [Number][Creature]

05. [Number][Descriptor][Creature]

06. [Descriptor][Icon]

07. [Color][Icon]

08. [Icon] and [Icon]

09. [Number][Color][Icon]

10. [Descriptor][Tool and Weapon]

11. [Color] [Tool and Weapon]

12. [Tool and Weapon] and [Tool and Weapon]

13. [Number] [Tool and Weapon]

14. [Creature] and [Icon] (or [Creature]’s [Icon])

15. [Icon] and [Creature]

16. [Creature] and {Tool and Weapon]

17. [Tool and Weapon] and [Creature]

18. [Icon] and [Tool and Weapon]

19. [Tool and Weapon] and [Icon]

20. [Descriptor][Creature]’s [Tool and Weapon]

Descriptor (Roll 1d100)

01-03. Bleeding

04-06. Bloody

07-09. Bold

10-12. Brazen

13-15. Broken

16-19. Dancing

20-22. Dead

23-25. Docile

26-28. Dodgy

29-31. Dreaming

32-34. Drunken

35-37. Fireside

38-40. Grievous

41-43. Grubby

44-46. Grumpy

47-49. Noble

50-52. Number (roll on table XX)

53-55. Prancing

56-58. Royal

59-61. Salty

62-64. Shifty

65-67. Slain

68-70. Sleeping

71-73. Somber

74-76. Stingy

77-79. Stout

80-82. Swaggering

83-85. Venal

86-88. Vulgar

01-03. Wandering

01-03. Wealthy

01-03. Yawning

Color (Roll 1d20)

1. Alabaster

2. Amber

3. Ashen

4. Azur

5. Bronze

6. Copper

7. Crimson

8. Ebony

9. Gilded

10. Indigo

11. Ivory

12. Obsidian

13. Onyx

14. Plum

15. Saffron

16. Sepia

17. Silver

18. Umber

19. Unseen

20. Vermillion

Creatures (Roll 1d100)

You can always do a variant of any creature. If the “Wolf and Hart” doesn’t grab you, but the “Dire Wolf and Stag” does, go for it!

01-02. Archer

03-05. Bard

06-07. Beard

09-10. Cockatrice

11-12. Corpse

13-15. Courser

16-17. Badger

18-20. Basilisk

21-22. Beast

23-25. Boar

26-27. Chimera

20-30. Eagle

31-32. Elephant

33-34. Fey

35-37. Giant

38-39. Hart

40-42. Horse

43-45. Hound

45-47. Hydra

48-50. Jester

51-52. Knave

53-55. Kraken

56-57. Lion

58-60. Mermaid

61-62. Minstrel

63-65. Monster

66-67. Necromancer

68-70. Oliphant

71-72. Ogre

73-74. Ox

75-77. Paladin

79-79. Peacock

80-81. Priest

82-84. Rat

85-88. Rooster

89-90. Seer

91-92. Spectre

93-94. Swan

96-97. Unicorn

98-100. Wolf

Icons (Roll 1d100)

01-03. Ale

04-06. Alicorn

07-09. Amulet

10-12. Anchor

13-15. Arms

16-18. Barrel

19-21. Bone

22-24. Cauldron

25-27. Cheese

28-30. Chalice

31-33. Coach

34-36. Flagon

37-39. Flute

40-22. Grave

43-45. Head

46-48. Heart

49-51. Hoof/Hooves

52-54. Jewel

55-57. Key

58-60. Lock

61-63. Maille

64-66. Marksman

67-69. Mead

70-72. Mug

73-75. Oak

76-78. Robe

79-81. Ship

82-84. Swashbuckler

85-87. Teeth/tooth

88-90. Tusk

91-93. Wagon

94. Web

95-97. Well

98-100. Wineskin

Tools and Weapons (Roll 1d100)

01-04. Adze

05-08. Anvil

09-12. Arrow

13-16. Auger

17-20. Axe

21-24. Bolt

25-28. Brace

29-32. Buckler

33-36. Gimlet

37-40. Glaive

41-44. Hammer

45-48. Hatchet

49-52. Helm

53-56. Lance

57-60. Mattock

61-64. Pike

65-68. Plough

69-72. Rake

73-76. Saw

77-80. Sheer

81-84. Sickle

85-88. Spade

89-92. Spear

93-96. Spindle

97-100. Sword

Number (Roll 1d10)

If you roll on this chart as a descriptor for a noun, pluralize the noun. For example, if you get “Dozen” and then ‘Hound”, your tavern name is “The Dozen Hounds.”

1. Two

2. Three

3. Five

4. Six

5. Seven

6. Dozen

7. Score of

8. 40

9. 51

10. Thousand

Establishment (Roll 1d12)

These are all optional, but you can add this to the end of any name. It’s worth noting that if a place is well-known, its name may be shortened. A place may officially be the Crimson Cockatrice Cantina, but most folks just call it the Crimson Cockatrice.

If a tavern’s name feels too simple, you can always give it two establishment types. Perhaps it’s “The Crimson Cockatrice Lodge & Pub.”

1. Alehouse

2. Cantina

3. Lodge

4. Market

5. Mughouse

6. Pub

7. Rathskeller

8. Roomhouse

9. Taphouse

10. Tavern

11. Teahouse

11. Woodhouse

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The Ampersand ttRPG Name Generator

Yes, it started as a joke. But I do ADORE making these, so you all get to be exposed to this overwrought exercise in my humor.

I’m not even sure why this is funny to me. Maybe the thought I would go to this much effort (hint: it wasn’t much effort) for something no one is likely to ever actually use? Also, just because you roll it up randomly here doesn’t mean someone else hasn’t already used it, so employ due diligence before you actually publish anything with a name you got here. Any similarity between randomly generated Ampersand ttRPG names and real-world copyright material or trademarks is, obviously, either unintentional, or a result of parody.

Using the Generator is simple. Roll once on Table 1, add an Ampersand (“&”), then roll ocne on table 2. If you don’t like it (“Burrows & Dynasties” sounds terrible) You should also see if a randomly-generated Ampersand ttRPG name sounds between when you reverse the two elements. I personally think “Wyverns & Warrens” sounds much better than “Warrens & Wyverns,” but your mileage may vary.

(In fact, I like Wyverns and Warrens so much I am unofficially putting my finger on it, and hoping no one else uses it before I get a chance to, or I give up on the idea.).

Table 1: Roll 1d100

01. Abattoirs

02. Abthains

03. Armor

04-05. Armsmen

06. Bacchanals

07-08. Balefire

09. Bandoliers

10-11. Barbicans

12. Basements

13. Burrows

14. Catacombs

15. Caers

16. Camarilla

17. Castles

18. Cavaliers

19-20. Caverns

21. Citadels

22-23. Crypts

24. Demagogues

25. Demesne

26. Draughts

27. Dungeons

28. Dynasties

29. Eagles

30. Ecclesiarchs

31. Eclipse

32-33. Elementals

34. Factions

35-36. Fanes

37. Fiends

38. Gates

39. Geas

40-41. Glyphs

42. Grottos

43. Guards

44-45. Harrowers

46. Heraldry

47. Inquisitors

48. Justiciars

49. Karsk

50-51. Kith

52. Knights

53-54. Labyrinths

55. Lairs

56-57. Legends

58-59. Mages

60-61. Mazes

62. Mines

63. Minions

64-65. Narthex

66-67. Naskins

68. Naves

69-70. Omens

70-71. Ossuaries

72. Parapets

73-74. Periapts

75. Quills

76-77. Realms

78-79. Runes

80-81. Sigils

82. Staves

83-84. Sword

85-86. Taverns

87-88. Temples

89-90. Towers

91-92. Tunnels

93-94. Undercrofts

95-96. Wands

97-98. Warrens

99-100. Warriors

Table 2: Roll 75

01-02. Acolytes

03-04 Abominations

05. Abraxas

06. Amulets

07-08. Arcana

09. Arachnids

10. Barghests

11. Basilisks

12-13. Behemoths

14. Bestiaries

15. Blackgaurds

16-17. Brigandine

18. Caryatids

19. Centaurs

20-21. Chimeras

22-23. Chronicles

24. Cyclops

25. Davenports

26-27. Demons

28-29. Dinosaurs

30. Dragons

31. Drakes

32. Eidolons

33. Eschaton

34. Eyries

35-36. Escapades

37. Fabulists

38-39. Familiars

40-41. Folios

42. Gargoyles

43. Ghouls

44. Giants

45-46. Goblins

47. Goety

48. Griffons

49-50. Grimoires

51-52. Harbingers

53. Haruspex

54. Heroes

55-56. Incantations

57. Incunabulum

58. Jailors

59. Jarls

60. Killers

61. Kinks

62-63. Knaves

64. Krakens

65-66. Legerdemain

67. Lexicon

68. Manuals

69. Minotaurs

70. Monsters

71. Mudlarks

72. Mystics

73. Nacre

74. Naptha

75. Nephilim

76-78. the Occult

79. Otyughs

80. Priests

81-82. Quests

83. Reliquaries

84. Rogues

85. Sages

86. Serpents

87. Shields

88. Slayers

89. Sorcery

90-92. Talismans

93. Thanes

94-95. Trolls

96-97. Uroboros

98. Warlocks

99-100. Wyverns

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Chimera Generator

Yeah, it’s silly, but sometimes you want to throw players for a loop.

Roll 1d6 three times, and that puts together your chimera’s appearance. Depending on the game you are playing, you may or may not want to change any statistics from a base chimera.

Central Head and Front Body

1. Bear

2. Hippopotamus

3. Lion

4. Tiger

5. Wolf

6. Wolverine

Right Head and Rear Body

1. Boar

2. Bull

3. Goat

4. Gorgon

5. Stag

6. Unicorn

Left Head and Wings and Maybe Tail

1. Cockatrice

2. Dragon

3. Eagle

4. Phoenix

5. Wasp

6. Wyvern

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Adventure Set-Ups: The Free City of Delve

It can be useful to set-up a homebrew campaign to support the kinds of adventures you want to run. Want high-seas adventures? Set up a world with lots of good reasons to be on the high seas. So, obviously, want a reason for new, inexperienced adventurers to go dungeon-delving a lot? Build a campaign that supports that idea.

Here’s an example: The Free City of Delve

The Free City of Delve sits on the Isle of Acmonides, among the ruins of the Acmonidesi Empire of giants. Once a world-spanning superpower, Acmonides was the most advanced civilization, with titans and cloud and storm giants ruling over a hundred subjected kingdoms and enforcing their will on dozes of smaller species. Three centuries ago, some massive civil war set the giants against one-another, and the sub-giants (cyclops, ettins, athach, ogres, trolls, and so on) were so devastated they lost nearly all their culture.

Nearly a century after Acmonides fell, seafarers found the island that was its capitol, the location of which had been a well-guarded imperial secret. Camps were set up to loot the islands, then a town evolved as ways to loot the rest of the empire were discovered, and finally the Free City of Delve established.

The center of Delve is the Catacomb Market, built around an ancient step well 60 feet across and 2,000 ft. deep. Hundreds of channels run from various levels of the well. Each channel was once part of an Empire-wide aqueduct system, with teleportation gates bringing water in, and taking it out. For security, only appointed Tibiax, water-workers, could travel the gates. Each gate was controlled by a set of Keystones, attuned to specific Tibiax.

Tibiax were rarely giants, the job instead going to smaller subjugated peoples. The role was often hereditary, so Keystones still work for the descendants of ancient Tibiax, if first used in in the step well on Acmonides Isle.. As the Empire spanned the world, Keystones can be found anywhere worldwide. Merchants in the Catacomb Market import and buy Keystones, and prospective delvers walk the market to see if any stones will work for them. If a stone works for you, it grants potentially exclusive access to some distant part of the Empire, through the magic waterways.

Since the system was specifically designed to allow scions of Tibiax families learn the ropes of maintaining the mystic aqueducts safely, young and inexperienced individuals who first access a keystone are generally sent to a location no one has been sent to in decades or more (since those are the areas with the most failed sections of waterworks) that aren’t extremely hazardous (since the keystones are designed to find problems their attuned Tibiax can handle). The system isn’t perfect, but it means youngsters who discover there’s a Keystone that will work for them can generally gather a group of allies and explore some new part of the collapsed Empire that, though often dangerous, is rarely beyond their ability to cope with. And, they can freely teleport between that location and the step well at the center of Delve.

A a Keystone-bearing group fixes the problem in the region they teleport too through the step well, the keystone then begins to grant them access to new areas — often nes with bigger risks, and sometimes bigger rewards.

The primary trade of Delve is to equip adventurers to loot sections of the long-fallen Acmonidesi Empire, through expeditions sent through the Catacomb market’s magic waterway teleport gates. Loot is brought back to Delve, and used to fund more expeditions. While many nations would love to conquer and control Delve, so far none have wanted to risk angering all the other interested parties by trying to do so through force.

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