The Compass Rose
Adventuring in Ardia
Abilities are chosen by the point buy system in the Core Rulebook. You may use up to 20 points.
Human (Central Ashtarean)
Central Ashtareans are descended from the mixing of the original Coorish and northern tribes that migrated to the south. They are numerous in the lands of Ealdur and Lettan. Central Ashtareans are versatile although somewhat unremarkable. They tend to view the world as theirs to take although they will take it in a “civilized” manner.
A Central Ashtarean PC gets along reasonably well with other races but will consciously or subconsciously view herself as superior to them. They prefer elves (whom they consider equals, more or less) to the other non-human races and are somewhat suspicious of the non-continental humans. They find the Northern Ashtarean humans crass and unrefined. Central Ashtareans in Lettan are somewhat tolerant of their northern cousins and view their brethren in Ealdur with some resentment.
- They tend to have pale tan skin, with blonde to dark brown hair colour and green or brown eyes.
- Central Ashtarean humans may choose the Resourceful trait from the expanded list of racial traits.
Human (Northern Ashtarean)
Northern Ashtareans descend from northern tribes that mingled somewhat with the original Coorish. They are most numerous in Lettan. A few live in the cities, but most live in small villages in the countryside. They are quite adept at survivng in the harsh climate of northern Lettan.
Northern Ashtareans are a hearty people with a zest for life but tend to single-mindedness. They are pragmatic, having little use for the arts or literature. A Northern Ashtarean PC tolerates other races and ethnicities, but is mistrustful of the Central Ashtareans.
- Their skin is pale tan to near white, with blonde to light brown hair and blue, green or brown eyes.
- A Northern Ashtarean may choose the Hardy trait from the expanded list of racial traits.
Coorish humans trace their ancestry to migrants from the southernmost reaches of the continent. Although ethnically related, these humans represent a collection of several cultures from southeastern Ashtar that make up the members of the Coorish Trading League. In general, they accept other races and ethnicities, especially those that are willing to do business.
- They have light to dark olive skin with dark brown to black hair and brown eyes.
- A Coorish PC may choose the Skilled trait from the list of expanded racial traits.
The first to arrive in the West Hanum Archipelago, Labreyan humans are a proud but fragile people. A once populous group, their numbers have been decimated over the years due to disease and the often oppressive policies of their colonial governors. They have a deep tradition in artwork (their shell and pearl jewelry is highly prized in Ashtar), tool and weapon making, fishing, and hunting. Their impressive glyphwork has made known their presence on the island over thousands of years. Their leaders have historically been subservient to the Ealdurans but lately there have been stirrings within the Labreya, a bent but not yet broken people, to go their own way.
Labreyans distrust colonial humans but generally accept their presence. There are a growing number that bear resentment toward the Ealdurans (Central Ashtareans). They mistrust the Ulgar and the Gul but feel more kinship with them than with the colonists. They are generally neutral toward the non-human races.
- They have light brown skin with black hair and brown eyes.
- A Labreyan PC may choose the Charismatic trait from the expanded list of racial traits.
Migrants from the west, the Gul humans have been present in the archipelago for nearly as long as the Labreyans. They built relatively large settlements of stone on several of the southern-most islands but were later forced to leave some of them when island resources were depleted. They are a somewhat reckless people that have been known to live to excess. They are known as exceptionally loyal allies by some, but can be fierce enemies if betrayed.
A Gul human would likely feel that the Labreyans are weak but would hold much fear of the Ulgar. They have respect for the Central Ashtareans of Lettan but distrust those from Ealdur. As for non-human races, the Gul know little of them and, therefore, view them with some suspicion, depending on which colonists they are associated with.
- They have brown skin with black hair and brown eyes.
- A Gul PC may choose the Intimidating trait from the expanded list of racial traits.
The Ulgar are the most mysterious and, in general, most feared of the indigenous races. They prefer to have little or no dealings with the colonists and only occasionally interact with the Gul. Rumors of secret agreements between the Ulgar and the Lettanni are common amongst the Ealdurans, but have never been substantiated. The Ulgar are stern but honest negotiators and have a history of honouring treaties although this is little reassurance to some Ealdurans.
As a PC, an Ulgar human trusts and fears no one. The Ulgar tend to be more distrustful of the Central Ashtareans and all those dealing with the colonial powers. They are not sure what to make of the non-human races.
- They have reddish/brown skin, with black hair and brown eyes.
- An Ulgar human PC may choose the Relentless trait from the expanded list of racial traits.
Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, Half-elves, Half-orcs
These races are as described in the Core Rulebook. They are a small minority, comprising less than 1% of the population of Ashtar. Gnomes do not exist on Ardia.
- They may choose from the standard list of racial traits.
The PC classes are as described in the Core Rulebook and Supplemental books. All classes are allowed except the Gunslinger, Ninja, and Samurai. Prestige classes may be allowed at the descretion of the GM.
Some additional rules apply:
- Rangers: Rangers that choose humans as a favoured enemy, must choose a sub-group of humans, e.g. Central Ashtarean, Northern Ashtarean, Coorish, Eastern, West Hanum Indiginous, Kayemban. When the Ranger gains another favoured enemy, she may choose a different sub-group of humans.
- Sorcerers: Sorcerers may choose Eschew Ama as a bonus feat at first level, instead of Eschew Materials.
- Witches: Witches gain Eschew Ama as a bonus feat at first level.
Characters will begin the game at character level 2.
All Characters start the game with the maximum number of hit points for a second level character of the appropriate class(es). At subsequent levels, players will have to roll for hit points. A roll of 1 or 2 on the die will allow for a re-roll.
Skills are as described in the Core Rulebook and Supplemental books with the following exceptions.
Craft: the Core Rulebook rules for the use of this skill will be replaced by the following rule variant
Craft times may be adjusted for some items at the discretion of the GM.
Like the standard rules treat attack rolls and saving throws, a rolled 20 on any skill check is always a success and a rolled 1 is always a failure. “Trained only” skills still require you to have at least one rank in the skill, to actually get a roll at all.
The Common Tongue does not exist on Ardia. Instead of Common as a starting language, characters may choose to know one of the human languages instead. Ealduran is the most commonly spoken first language of Ashtar; Brindish is the most commonly spoken second language.
Astharean Human Languages: Ealduran^, Lettanni, Coorish languages* (Brindish, Sassimi, Menian, Burjan, Zinovan, Leonian, Esciarvan, Caldian)
Non-Ashtarean Human Languages: Labreyan, Gul, Ulgaran, Hilean (Kayemba), Ahratran (Eastern lands)
All languages from the Core Rulebook, except Common.
^Labreyan humans gain this language for free
*These are each considered separate languages when choosing a language.
Feats are as described in the Core Rulebook and Supplemental books with the following additions.
Eschew Ama [General]
In the absence of ama, you are able to access the source of magic more easily than most.
Prerequisite: Caster level 1st.
Benefits: You suffer only a 10% arcane spell failure chance when casting an arcane spell in the absence of ama.
Normal: You suffer a 20% arcane spell failure chance when casting an arcane spell without the use of ama.
Special: Witches gain this feat for free at first level.
Improved Eschew Ama [General]
You are able to access the source of magic effectively without the use of ama.
Prerequisite: Eschew Ama, Caster level 5th.
Benefits: You suffer no arcane spell failure chance when casting an arcane spell in the absence of ama.
Normal: You suffer a 20% arcane spell failure chance when casting an arcane spell without the use of ama.
Characters begin the game with the racial trait of their corresponding ethnicity OR one of the religion traits from the list below. In addition, they may choose up to two more character traits. These may be chosen from the list given in the Advanced Player’s Guide (except Campaign Traits and Religion Traits), p. 326, and the expanded racial trait list and the religion trait list given below (if applicable).
Expanded Racial Traits
Hardy (Human, Northern Ashtarean Race Trait)
You are accustomed to living in an unforgiving climate. You gain a +1 to Survival checks and it is considered a class skill. You also gain a +1 to Fortitude saves against any cold or wind based damage.
Resourceful (Human, Central Ashtarean Race Trait)
You are able to use what is at hand to perform a given task. You only take a -2 penalty for using an improvised weapon and reduce by 1 the penalty (minimum 0) taken for using an item that is non-standard for a particular use.
Skilled (Human, Coorish Race Trait)
You are highly proficient in your given profession. Gain a +2 bonus to any one Craft or Profession skill (your choice).
Charismatic (Human, Labreyan Race Trait)
You get along well with other people. Gain a +1 bonus to Diplomacy and Bluff checks and one of these (your choice) is considered a class skill.
Intimidating (Human, Gul Race Trait)
You have a way of instilling doubt and fear in others. Gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks. It is considered a class skill.
Relentless (Human, Ulgar Race Trait)
You are able to overcome obstacles and achieve your goals like few others can. Gain the benefits of the Endurance feat, except the bonus is +2, not +4.
Servant of Justice (Galus)
You were born to keep the peace and maintain order throughout the land. You gain a +1 trait bonus to weapon damage to chaotic creatures.
Kind Spirit (Fira)
Others find your pressence pleasant and reassuring. You and all allies within a 30 ft radius gain a +2 bonus to Will saves against fear effects.
Sower of Discord (Valeria)
You have a knack for starting arguments amongst others. Gain a +2 trait bonus to Bluff checks when trying to start a fight.
Bringer of the Dead (Zaur)
Undead fall easily under your sway. Gain a +2 trait bonus to Command Undead checks.
Characters start the game with 2 Hero Points. See the Advanced Player’s Guide, p. 322 for details on the use of Hero Points.
All alignments are allowed. If choosing an evil alignment, the player must satisfy the GM that the character would be able to operate within a party.
Firearms – The firearm was first used in Ashtar about 100 years ago. They now include the long barreled arquebus (varieties are treated as either a musket or blunderbuss for game purposes) and the short barreled pistol (pistol or pistol, coat in game). They are rare and expensive on the continent. Only members of the military and the very priveleged have access to them. Though powerful, they are sometimes difficult to use in humid weather (increasing their misfire range by 1). See the Ultimate Combat Guide, p. 135 for rules.
Sharktooth axe – used by the Ulgar humans. It consists of a wooden handle that is barbed at one end with 4-8 large shark teeth. An extremely hard tree resin helps to keep them secure. It is considered an exotic weapon (martial weapon for Ulgar humans) and has the same stats as the handaxe , except that it inflicts the bleed condition (1 hp) with a successful hit (see wounding special weapon ability, Core Rulebook, p. 473). Multiple hits do not cause the bleed condition to multiply. If the bleed condition has been removed by healing, for example, it can be restored with another successful hit.
Dirk – equivalent to the dagger.
Machete – equivalent to the dagger, except it is slashing only.
Compass – composed of a small iron rod housed in brass or wood, with a glass cover. An ordinary compass that points to the magnetic north pole grants its user a +2 circumstance bonus on Survival checks made to avoid becoming lost. It also can be used to grant the same bonus on Knowledge (dungeoneering) checks made to navigate underground. It costs 1000 gp.
Cross-staff – used to determine your latitude, and grants a +2 circumstance bonus on Survival checks made to navigate while above ground and with the sun out. The cross-staff cannot be used during overcast skies. It costs 500 gp.
All weapons and equipment listed in the Pirates of the Inner Sea supplement, except the Sextant, exist.
All equipment listed in the Core Rulebook is allowed. Equipment from other Sourcebooks may be allowed, at the GM’s discretion.
The Ealduran Gold Swan is accepted across most of Ashtar, as is the Coorish Star. These are equivalent to a gold piece in the Pathfinder game. Other coinage is denominated decimally as per the Core Rulebook.
Each character starts the game with 2nd level starting gold (see CRB).
Armour contributes to damage reduction instead of raising AC. See The Ultimate Combat Guide, p. 191 for details. Firearms bypass this DR when determining damage. The exception to this is plate armour types (Breastplate, Half-plate, Full Plate), which provide half of their normal DR (round down). This DR bypass/reduction effect only occurs in the first range increment.
The spell Mage Armour confers DR 4/adamantine, instead of providing an armour bonus to AC. This damage reduction is considered DR/armour and does not stack with the DR/armour conferred by wearing actual armour. If this spell is cast on a creature that is already wearing armour, the highest DR is used.
Any spell that uses a touch or ranged touch attack bypasses DR/armour. Alchemist bombs or other energy attacks that require a standard attack bypass DR/armour from non-magical armour. The DR/armour of magical armour is halved against such attacks. The DR/armour from adamantine armour functions as normal against energy attacks that require a standard attack.
Tables 5-1 and 5-2 on page 192 of Ultimate Combat list which size categories are able to bypass damage reduction from various types of armour. For example, a Huge creature can bypass the DR granted by magical armour. Absolute size categories are replaced by relative size categories. Large counts as 1 size category difference, Huge counts as 2 size categories difference, Gargantuan counts as 3, and Colossal as 4. The category difference is in relation to the creature with the DR. For example, a Medium creature with magical armour requires a creature with at least two size categories larger to bypass its DR, in this case a Huge or larger creature. If the defending creature with magical armour is Large, it would require a Gargantuan or larger creature to bypass its DR.
Called shots are allowed, using the rules in The Ultimate Combat Guide, p. 193.
Keep in mind that not all armour types cover all areas of the body (see CRB, APG, etc. for armour descriptions). So, a called shot, to a part of the body that the target’s armour doesn’t cover, ignores that armour’s DR.
Adding a helm to armour that usually doesn’t include one, adds 2 lbs of weight and -1 to the Armour Check Penalty.
We will be using the rules in the Skull and Shackles supplement.