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Handbooks / The Completed Archery Handbook
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:34:16 PM »

The purpose of this handbook is to be a one-stop source for all your Archery needs in the spirit of Carnivore's Ultimate Archer Handbook. I'll try to cover everything in as comprehensive a fashion as possible, but since I'm not just copying the handbook the process will probably take a while. The thread will be mostly practical optimization so all the advice presented will be aimed with campaigns and playability in mind; records are one thing, but practically being able to shoot 40000' away isn't going to come up very often in campaigns. I will cover the tricks to pump one's range, but I won't be making builds with the sole intention of shooting damn far.

I am editing and completing this handbook as of November 2017.

Table of Contents


Source Legend


Overview of Archery Styles
Traditional Archery
Crossbow Archery
Mounted Archery

Specific Classes
Martial Archers [Fighters, Rangers et co.]
Skirmish Archers [Scouts, Swift Hunters et co.]
Precision Archers [Rogues, Ninjas, et co.]
Sublime Way Archers [Tome of Battle]
Incarnum Archers [Magic of Incarnum]
Factotum Archers [Manyshot Builds]
Divine Archers [Cleric, Archivist et co.]
Arcane Archers [Gish, Arcane Archer et co.]
Inspiring Archers [Bards]
Psionic Archers [Ardents, Psychic Warriors et co.]
Shapechanging Archers [Druids et co.]


Red options are rated as bad, and should by and large be avoided.

Black options are average and probably have specific niches or are good options in the absence of others, but are nothing special.

Blue options are good options and if they happen to sync with what your character is doing, you should probably pick them up.

Purple options are godlike; these are the cream of the crop and if you can, you should be picking them up.

Source Legend

Not all of the sources are used in the present guide; the listed abbreviation is what I'll be using should I happen to add material.


AE = Arms and Equipment Guide (3.0)
BoED = Book of Exalted Deeds
BoVD = Book of Vile Darkness (3.0)
CA = Complete Arcana
CAdv = Complete Adventurer
CC = Complete Champion
CD = Complete Divine
CM = Complete MageCP = Complete Psionic
CS = Complete Scoundrel
CW = Complete Warrior
CoR = Champions of Ruin
CoV = Champions of Valor
City = Cityscape
DC = Dragon Compendium
DM = Dragon Magic
DMG = Dungeon Master's Guide
DMGII = Dungeon Master's Guide 2
DotU = Drow of the Underdark
DR### = Dragon Magazine Issue ###
Drac = Draconomicon
DS = Dungeonscape
ECS = Eberron Campaign Settings
FN = Five Nations
Frost = Frostburn
FRCS = Forgotten Realms Campaign Settings (3.0)
LoM = Lords of Madness
MinH = Miniatures Handbook
MIC = Magic Item Compendium
MM = Monster Manual
MMII = Monster Manual II (3.0)
MMIII = Monster Manual III
MMIV = Monster Manual IV
MMV = Monster Manual V
MoF = Magic of Faerûn (3.0)
MoI = Magic of Incarnum
MotW = Masters of the Wild (3.0)
PF SRD = Pathfinder System Reference Document [All game rules for Pathfinder]
PGtF = Player's Guide to Faerûn
PGtE = Player's Guide to Eberron
PHB = Player's Handbook
PHBII = Player's Handbook 2
PlHB = Planar Handbook
PoF = Powers of Faerûn
RoD = Races of Destiny
RotD = Races of the Dragon
RoE = Races of Eberron
RoF = Races of Faerûn (3.0)
RoS = Races of Stone
RotW = Races of the Wild
Sand = Sandstorm
SoS = Secrets of Sarlona
SoX = Secrets of Xen'drik
SC = Spell Compendium
S&F = Sword and Fist (3.0)
SM = Silver Marshes (3.0)
SS = Savage Species (3.0)
SRD = System Reference Document [All game rules from 3.5 PHB, DMG, MM, XPH and some parts of UA]
ToB = Tome of Battle
ToM = Tome of Magic
UA = Unearthed Arcana
Und = Underdark (3.0)
XPH = Expanded Psionics Handbook

Handbook Submission / The Archery Handbook [Completed]
« on: January 15, 2018, 06:16:57 AM »
Now hosted on Dictum Mortuum's blog!

I'd copy it over here... but I'm exhausted and can't be arsed to at the moment. Tomorrow.

Creations & Ephemera / Updated my guides
« on: November 25, 2017, 04:57:05 PM »
Updated my guides and character builds, uploaded them to Dictum Mortuum's blog for safekeeping. We're working on some formatting issues with what the blog displays, but it should be fixed soon.

Off Topic Fun / Dual Wielding Shields - Skallagrim
« on: November 17, 2017, 10:22:56 PM »

Off Topic Fun / The Best Weapon Against Giant Monsters – Skallagrim
« on: June 30, 2017, 08:47:07 PM »
What do you use against a dragon? Let's find out!

D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / The Great Shadow Debate
« on: June 10, 2017, 10:08:47 PM »
For years, it has been debated whether a spellcaster can willingly forgo a saving throw for his own Shadow spell.

We all know that some saves do not need to be made.

Quote from: Voluntarily Giving up a Saving Throw

A creature can voluntarily forego a saving throw and willingly accept a spell's result. Even a character with a special resistance to magic can suppress this quality.

The chief issue is this bit of rules text:

Quote from: Saving Throws and Illusions (Disbelief)

Creatures encountering an illusion usually do not receive saving throws to recognize it as illusory until they study it carefully or interact with it in some fashion.

A successful saving throw against an illusion reveals it to be false, but a figment or phantasm remains as a translucent outline.

A failed saving throw indicates that a character fails to notice something is amiss. A character faced with proof that an illusion isn't real needs no saving throw. If any viewer successfully disbelieves an illusion and communicates this fact to others, each such viewer gains a saving throw with a +4 bonus.

Gentlemen, I am proud to announce that I have resolved the issue once and for all. This shall definitively settle the issue of whether or not a spellcaster can believe in a spell he knows to be false!

Legends of the Heroes / The Astounding Adventures of Mangus Mangusson!
« on: January 02, 2017, 12:57:07 AM »
I'd like to start this new year off with something new: a campaign journal of my current 5E game, set in the Primeval Thule campaign setting. My character, Mangus Mangusson, is a dwarf exile from the Bearslayer's tribe, and I decided that he was exiled for being a little too interested in forbidden knowledge of magic and city life. (The Bearslayers are the only dwarf tribe in Thule, as they were swindled out of their clan castle by other dwarves and renounced civilization ever since.)

The following is the actual in-game journal my character has been keeping, starting from the first adventure.

Entry #142

I took a job with a few other mercenaries in Quodeth, City of Merchants (Thieves): Go to the jungle, find the lost janni civilization of Kal-Ne-Moz, because they had a mummy that cried gold. Well, we sank deep into the mire, but we did manage to slaughter our way through beast-men and skeletons to some of ancient cave temple of the janni. The place was crawling with cultists, but they were no match for a foot of iron through the gut. We managed to get a series of hidden scrolls with the forgotten knowledge of their civilization, and the mummy.

It was rather disappointing. A few grams of gold a month, perhaps, wept out through tears. You would get better yield from panning in a river. I could sense that it was powered by a foul source, that of a tormented soul bound to the preserved body.

We were hired to find the mummy, but the contract said nothing about getting it back.

Entry #151

Well, my acquaintances took part in a raid on a sorcerer's tower for an astrologer's guild, because they want a stone of some sort. One of them got killed for his troubles. Never liked him anyways. Blasphemous human. The survivors roped me into helping again, and I figured I might as well. They apparently were up to all manner of mischief while I was away; Kicked slavers out of the manor of some scholar, got a slave boat (I think they freed some slaves at one point), angered a gang, and who knows what else? Helped them clear out the sorcerer's tower to use as a base of operations, which they'd share with the gang as compensation for causing them casualties earlier.

Clearing up the tower meant going through it searching for dangerous experiments or creatures. We found some creatures made of slime, eyes, and mouths in a summoning chamber. Fortunately, it turns out that anything can be killed if you hit it hard enough. The servants are more than happy at the new direction the place is taken, as it does not involve dangerous experiments or sacrifices.

Entry # 155

It looks like Raegar the Skald (a solid fellow), Miridon Topps (halfling druid), Kotan Impalum (I make fun of his name as well), and I will be working together from now on. They appreciate my knowledge of war, survival, and lore. What's more, they are excellent cover for my personal mission, the study of city-state civilization.

So far, they do indeed suck as much as the stories fortold. But there is something more here; I think that, despite my exile, I am in a better position to help my tribe than I ever was as a member.

Entry #159

We are going on a boat to the sunken city of Anibburaal to poke forgotten things with a stick and hope treasure comes out. Fantastic.
Also, I had a thought upon reflecting on city life: because everything is owned by nobles, who are greedy and contemptible, people who live there must become property of someone else if they wish to live there, or else take up with the wilderness as our ancestors did. While we made the honorable choice, may our tribe become the same if we allow the few to own all the land, reducing the many to the status of supplicants, beggars, or outcasts?

Entry #160

Well, we're here. No one died along the way, so that's good. The crew remained behind, and we are going to climb up into a tower to make our way down.

The tower is a maze with lots of controls for adjusting the water level in the tower itself. Apparently, the lower levels can be flooded to secure them against intruders. Thin spindly humanoids lurked in the cracks of the walls and tried to choke us, but we drove them off with a few fierce blows. Statues of Cthulhu abounded. I got swallowed by an eel, as did Raegar. It was a tense moment, but then I realized that the situation was to my advantage, for though I was constricted and bathed in acid, my foe had nowhere else to run. Thus, I stabbed it through the roof of the mouth and burst out like a bear caught in rotten netting. Raegar got out too, but in a much less dramatic fashion.

I made it a point to eat eel while we rested after that fight.

Entry #161

We found a hole to the lower stories and I lowered a rope into them. Lots of statues of tentacled monsters, and statues they made of mortal races. It's not bad as far as stonework goes, though they were unable to carve well. I suspect the tentacles made chiseling difficult. They may have worn away at the rock with digestive juices or something. Either way, not very flattering. They also erred greatly in their depiction of the size and shape of the genitalia for various races when carving these statues.

The chamber of statues led into a Atlantean tomb to an ancient general. We opened the sarcophagus and saw that it was the entrance to a frigid room below, filled with pillars caved with the likeness of Cthulhu. We went in and found a foul, rotting, ancient betentacled horror in a suit of armor made of sea metal. We defeated it after a hard fight, and split the armor among ourselves. I took the helm for myself, as I had no need of armor. It frames my beard nicely.

Entry #173

Sevros III, the scholar with the manor from earlier, says that Kang will overwhelm the Lands of the Long Shadow. I was particularly interested in this, for it played upon my greatest fear: That in the end, the wilderness will claim our tribe. He says that there is an artifact, the Eternal Flame, which might ward off the cold. It is dangerous, but still a better idea than the one which involves digging up all of Thule's coal and using it to boil water in a large moving tea kettle.

He pointed us in the direction of Rime, but didn't give us much to go on beyond that. It came off as a fool's errand to me, but it gave me a chance to go closer to home, so I took it.

Entry #174

A Sahuagin and her pet Chuul tried to kill us. I don't know what they were thinking, we're a pretty big boat. Miridon, two crewmen, and myself were above deck at the time, so we killed them. The Chuul got one of the crew, though.
This trip better be worth it.

Entry #175

So, Miridon and I set out of Rime towards Kang, to do a bit of scouting for the rest of the group. The glacier was kind enough to welcome us with a small army of zombies. Taking full advantage of my spry limbs, martial training, and tactical genius, I initiated a tactical withdrawal across a frozen river. I threw myself on my shield, in imitation of an ancient elvish battle tactic.

Thus, we forced the zombies to contend with the ice as they shuffled towards us, enabling us to cut them down with ease. A frostveil blew towards us, but our sudden movement meant it had to contend with the wind. All was going according to plan when a zombie with glowing runes came out from some bushes and spoke to me in an infernal tongue. Miridon tells me that it was the spirit of Kang itself mocking us for being hapless fools that would only add to Kang's collection of poor unfortunate souls, but Kang for all its malevolent intelligence failed to realize that I was not hapless!

I swiftly assessed the situation and decided that my best option was to continue hitting my enemies with my sword, but but with more effort. Thus, I tore through the remaining zombies and started smacking the avatar of Kang while Miridon blasted it with ice. Miridon is a nice kid, but I don't know what he was thinking when he started using ice magic in a glacier. (He wizened up immediately after this battle and began using fire, so there is hope for him yet.)

The frostveil tried to save the avatar of Kang by enveloping me and spraying me with hallucinogens, but it failed to realize that I eat fungus for breakfast! I saw through the psychedelic haze of its spores and smashed through the avatar, then tore it to shreds. As I stood there in the snow, with my own hot blood running down my skin and the bodies of my enemies around me in various states of dismemberment, I saw in amazement that pale blue energy would shoot out of these animated corpses and streak off into the sky, headed deep into the heart of Kang.

Naturally, I performed m the traditional Bearslayer's farewell ritual for fleeing enemies, with both middle fingers extended and generous pelvic thrusting. (However, I judged the climate inappropriate for the ceremonial mooning.)

We sought shelter in a cave, only to be greeted by another avatar after a short rest. I readied my sword, but the avatar motioned for me to stay my hand, and spoke to Miridon. He later relayed to me that it asked what our intentions were, and raged at our plan to halt the growth of the glaciers. However, Miridon managed to convince it to give us the location of the Eternal Flame, as a host's hospitality to his guests.

For the record, I was immediately suspicious of this. That being said, we had little to go on, so we decided to chance it.

Entry #176

I am so sick of eating Miridon's goodberries as we trek to Gyar Gun Vodd. It isn't anywhere close to Rime: What was Sevros thinking in sending us there?

Entry #177

We found buried entrance to Gyar Gun Vodd, lost city of giants. Abandoned before Kang swallowed it up. There was an iron gate barring entrance, but fortunately I always paid attention to leg day and was able to open it quickly to reveal an ancient servant's quarters for human sized creatures. I was careful to rig a quick-release mechanism for the gate in case we were forced to make a tactical withdrawal, and slowly explored the inside.

Surprisingly, we found an altar to an Herum, the ape god of beastmen, with lit braziers. There was one boar beastman there when we arrived: he holed himself up in a room to the left, but charged out to meet us. We returned the greeting in kind and turned him into pork chops. After his death, his corpse changed shape to that of an elderly man, which is not what normally happens to beastmen, at least not from my previous encounters with them.

As best we could tell, the servants worshiped Herum, who changed them into beasts. Then they drove out their masters, but were in no condition to make use of their new forms, and lived as animals ever since. There must be others out there, deeper in these ruins.

I erected a number of barricades and tripwires so that we could safely rest after that, as the beastman inflicted a sizeable number of injuries on me. The sound of thumping was heard from above, which made me fear of more beastmen or worse things, but nothing came of it.

We then carefully explored the three chambers beyond the servant's quarters. The chamber on the right held a room of furniture on fire. I quickly shut this door and to the leftmost chamber. This contained a fierce gorilla chained to a statue of Herum. I did not know what to make of this, so I shut the door and moved onto the middle chamber, which contained a small hallway with two rooms: one of intense cold, and another with a fiery skull floating about, This was the source of the fire I saw earlier.

I decided to employ my tactical genius again, and had Miridon stand in front of the cold room while I went to taunt the fiery skull into chasing me. Using the most vigorous of pelvic thrusts, I provoked it into shooting me with jets of flame and flew towards me. I promptly withdrew around a corner so that Miridon could taunt it in turn as it passed by the cold room.

The skull took the bait and charged him, whereupon he changed into a winter hare and the skull overshot into the cold room. It shrieked in rage at the deception, and conjured up a ball of fire to engulf Miridon. I quickly shut the door in its non-existent face, and we ran out to let the cold magic sap the skull's energy. This worked marvelously, up until the point where the skull blasted the door off its hinges and straight across the hallway, racing out in its wake.

At this point, I became fed up with it and stepped up to the skull with my greatsword in hand. I gave it two mighty blows which connected with something inside of the skull, and the flames disappeared, leaving behind a glowing red ruby. This, we surmised, was the Eternal Flame.

This battle had left me much worse for the wear, so we rested again. More noises were heard from above, so I immediately fortified our position by barricading the gate with everything that was not nailed down and on fire. As I write this, we are tending to our wounds, feeding the gorilla, and awaiting the inevitable battle with whatever is above us.

If I survive this, I shall make a point of telling Sevros exactly what I think of his research. (I suppose I would also like to know what a gorilla is doing here so far from its natural habitat and appropriate food sources, but that's a rather trivial concern at this point.)

Entry #178

It appears that my suspicions about Kang's intentions were justified. There is an army of the walking dead beyond the iron gate, lead by another avatar of Kang. Kang is surprised that we made it this far, and now wants us to give the Eternal Flame to him, in exchange for sparing us when eternal winter comes over all of Thule. Miridon shot him in the face with a bolt of fire, augmented by the Eternal Flame. This did not improve our bargaining position, but I felt that it was a pithy and accurate summary of our stance.

We now wait for our friends to come to our aid. In the meantime, MIridon is exchanging pot shots with the avatar, the barricade holds, and I am writing for lack of anything to do since I forgot to bring a ranged weapon with me.

The gorilla is watching this battle tensely. I do not trust it; it may be more than just a gorilla. Perhaps it is paranoia, but that would not surprise me, especially not in this sort of place. I am resolved to keep an eye on it.

Homebrew and House Rules (D&D) / d20 setting: Fallout's Manchuria
« on: September 03, 2016, 04:43:06 AM »

Manchuria is a promising setting for a Fallout game looking to explore post apocalyptic China. Manchuria is in the northeast of present day China, borders North Korea and Russia, and is close to Mongolia and Beijing. The area offers interesting possibilities.

Here are factions that I see existing around the late 23rd century.

  • The Chinese Communist Party
    High ranking party members survived the Great War in bunkers, but the majority of their population perished. They theoretically control the majority of the Chinese mainland, but their grasp on regions outside of the core provinces of Sichuan, Chongqing, Hubei, and Hunan is tenuous at best. In practice, the majority of China is in control of warlords, or left in a disordered mess.
  • Great Plains Horde
    China claimed the province of Inner Mongolia for itself after the Communist revolution, while the Soviet Union backed an independent country of Mongolia to serve as a buffer state. Since the war, these two regions have become unified into a single entity, lead by a Khan once more.
  • The Great and Glorious Eternal People's Democratic Republic of North Korea
    The isolationist state of North Korea survived the war mostly intact, due to no one caring about them enough to target the area. They are lead by their Glorious Comrade Kim Ban Yoon and have crossed the Demilitarized Zone in a quest to finally unify the Korean Peninsula under one ruler. They possess the same antiquated technology as before the Great War, but that performs quite well in post-apocalyptic times.
  • Siberian Federation
    The Soviet Siberian Federal district and Far Eastern Federal District have merged into their own independent state,  but geography and climate keep it from expanding. Their navy is significant in the post-apocalyptic world due to control over the port city of Vladivostok.
  • American Occupation Forces
    The remains of the Yangtze campaign control territory along the east coast and up the Yangtze River, known as the American Occupied Territories. Nicknamed "Iron Devils" due to their use of power armor.

Locations of note include, but are not limited to:

  • Harbin
    Harbin is an old Manchrian city which features a mixture of Chinese and Russian architecture. Examples are St. Sophia's Church, which used to be the largest Eastern Orthodox Church in China, Zhong Yang Jie (Central Street), which is an unique Russian style street with buildings of various styles including renaissance, baroque, eclectic, and modern style, the Siberian Tiger Park, river docks, and Harbin University, which has two branch campuses for Science and Engineering.
  • Changchun
    Major industrial base in northeast China, located southeast of Harbin. Known as China's Automobile City, though it produces many other things as well.
  • Puppet Emperor's Palace
    This was built for Puyi, the last Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, by the Japanese when they convinced him to head the puppet state of Manchukuo, and turned into a museum after the war. It features a distinct blend of Chinese and Western architecture, and was modeled after the Forbidden City. In fact, many scenes in the biopic The Last Emperor were shot here instead of at the Forbidden City. It is located in the northeast of Changchun, and would make a perfect residence for an aspiring khan.
  • Eight Ministries of Manchukuo
    These are eight institutions of the Japanese puppet state of Manchukuo, namely, Department of Security, Department of Legislation, Department of Economy, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Department of Culture and Education, Department of Diplomacy and Department of Health. Located near Xinmin Street in the center of Changchun.
  • Shengyang
    Shenyang is the capital city of Liaoning Province, located southwest of Changchun (and by extension, far southwest of Harbin). It is an important industrial center in China and the transportation and commercial hub of China’s northeast. Shenyang shortly served as the capital of Qing Dynasty before it moved to Beijing; as a result, it contains the Mukden Palace, a Manchu Imperial Palace which was also built to resemble the Forbidden City.
  • Dornod Province
    Mongolian province in the northeast part of the country. Used to be a site of uranium mining during the Cold War.
  • Khamariin Khiid Monastery
    Located southwest of the Dornod province, it was established on a site of powerful spiritual energies. The monastery was razed in 1937 by Mongolian Communists and the monks forcibly disbanded. Good site for the development of martial arts with a supernatural aspect.

The Supernatural

Although Fallout is mostly a setting of SCIENCE!, supernatural influences are present. Ghosts, psychics, and eldritch abominations lurk just beneath the surface of the normal world. In many parts of the world, the existence of the supernatural is taken for granted, even if more educated societies view it as primitive superstition.

The martial arts are rooted in an metaphysical worldview, and practitioners with the proper mindset can develop extraordinary powers through rigorous practice and meditation.

Creations & Ephemera / I'm on Twitter
« on: February 24, 2016, 01:41:37 AM »

Legends of the Heroes / Creating a Wuxia Setting for D&D games
« on: October 04, 2015, 07:25:33 PM »

    What is Wuxia?

    Chinese martial arts fiction, commonly called wuxia, is a deep and varied field. It rangers from literature to comics, television series, movies, videogames, and opera. It concerns the adventures of wandering martial heroes, analogous to the ronin of feudal Japan, knight-errant of medieval Europe, and wandering gunslingers of the Wild West.

    Heroes may come from all backgrounds, but are typically from the lower classes. (Peasants, low level government functionaries, impoverished nobles, etc.) They hold to a code of chivalry, which requires them to act honorably, right wrongs, fight oppression, and enact retribution. Typical villains are scheming landlords, criminal gangs, and the government. (As a rule, the higher up in the government someone is, the more evil they are, with the exception of the emperor, who, in the Confucian tradition, is regarded as a paternal figure to the country, eternally mislead by wicked ministers.)

    As a result of their values and actions, they often find themselves living on the margins of society: the term jianghu literally translates to "rivers and lakes". It is not uncommon for martial heroes to be Robin Hood-esque outlaws, living in forests to escape the law.

    The rough ways and uncultured attitude of most martial heroes typically put them at odds with the mainstream Confucian establishment of ancient China, which emphasized that a man better himself through study, propriety, reverence of tradition, and obedience to authority. It should, however, be noted that proper fields of study for a Confucian gentleman included archery and chariot driving, which had martial roots, many chose to study martial arts and swordplay. Confucius himself was evidently quite the martial artist, reportedly able to lift open a city gate by himself.

    Martial heroes were often drawn to the Daosist and Buddhists, certain sects of which were famous for their martial arts, such as the Wudang Mountain Daoist sect and the Buddhists of the Shaolin Temple. While often received shelter, aid, and instruction in the martial arts, the Daoist and Buddhists emphasis on peace and nonviolence could easily conflict with the goals of a martial hero, which could at times be very bloody.

    The Martial Code

    Although lacking a formal code, eight common attributes of the martial hero are benevolence, justice, individualism, loyalty, courage, truthfulness, disregard for wealth and desire for glory. It is interesting to note that these mirror the Confucian values of benevolence, kindness, loyalty, courage, and righteousness, except for the emphasis on individuality.) In addition, the code emphasises the need to repay debts after having gained favors from others, and seeking vengeance upon villains, though the latter is controversial as many martial arts were developed by Buddhist and Daoists, and emphasize the need for compassion, forgiveness, and mercy.

    In terms of personal relations, a martial artist owes complete loyalty to his master, and is considered a brother to his fellow disciples and true friends. It is a dark day when these bonds of loyalty are broken from betrayal, and the fallout can be devastating to martial artist and bystanders alike.


    Feudal Chinese society as a whole was against women leaving the home.  Confucians were not fond of women abandoning their wifely and motherly duties, and Daoists believed that each sex had its own role to fulfil in a harmonious world, with females being soft, gentle, and nurturing. Buddhism was closer to being egalitarian and women were welcome to leave their former lives behind and become nuns. The school of Wing Chun kung fu, to which Ip Man and Bruce Lee belonged,  was said to have been founded by a woman called Yim Wing Chun, who learned martial arts for self defence from the Shaolin Buddhist nun Ng Mui. Women can be found in


    While martial arts fiction commonly features superhuman feats, the setting generally relegates magic to the realm of mystics, often the Daoists, who have traditionally been associated with alchemy, divination, and supernatural arts. (Confucians were too rooted in the practicalities of the mundane world, and Buddhists tend to seek enlightenment through meditation and introspection as opposed to magic.) This is not to say that magical characters should not be played, but they should be presented through the lense of martial arts fiction; as a priest, mystic, alchemist, shaman, etc.

    Sun Wu Kong, the Monkey King, for example, was a prodigious warrior and sneaky thief, but also knew a great deal of magic. He was capable of creating clones of himself, could fly, knew 72 transformations, and could cast spells to command wind and water, trace protective circles against demons, and paralyze humans, demons, and even gods. He was presumably a multiclass spellcaster, fighter, and rogue. And probably cheated on his character sheet.

    Cultural Information

    There is some terminology that may help convey the setting better, though this is by far an incomplete list.
    • A tael was a Chinese unit of weight and currency. Gold and silver could come in taels, often as boat shaped ingots.
    • The Chinese did invent paper currency in the 7th century, so it is entirely possible that all fiscal transactions will involve banknotes.
    • Wushu literally translates to martial arts. Kung fu is a catch-all term for any skill acquired through training or practice. Quanfa means "principal;s of the fist" and is another term for martial arts and boxing. (The same characters are also used in the name of the Japanese martial art Kempo.)
    Jianghu translates to "rivers and lakes", and refers to the community of wanderers, martial artists, bandits, etc that existed on the outskirts of polite society. Wulin, meaning "martial forest", and specifically denoted martial heroes who lived much like Robin Hood did.[/li]

    Chinese culture was, and still is, rather different from Western cultures.
    • An individual's loyalty was to their family first and foremost. They were to respect their elders at all times, and be a dutiful child to their parents. (As you can imagine, rebelling in order to become a wandering badass held great appeal for many teenagers,)
    • Men and women did not mix much in polite society for fear of impropriety. (Less of a concern in the jianghu.)
    • Daoism and Buddhism were initially different religions with some philosophical similarities, who started sharing more ideas and deitiesas time went on. It became quite common to see Daoists praying at Buddhist temples, and vice versa.
    • Confucianism was traditionally agnostic and only worshipped ancestors. Even then, it is possible that Confucius recommended it as a sign of respect, and not out of belief in the afterlife. They traditionally had a rivalry with the Daoists over how to run the country, but that did not stop them from sharing temples for services as time went on.
    • Confucianism dominated mainstream society. Everyone wanted to study hard and take the imperial exams so they could be placed in a prestigious government job. In some dynasties, the highest scoring participant got to marry into the Imperial family, while the two runners up were rewarded positions in the imperial court.
    • Chinese folk religion takes aspects from Daosim, Buddhism, Confucianism, and local beliefs. It tends to vary widely from place to place, involving local rituals, superstitions, deities, etc.
    • Getting things done in China is often dependent on one's connections. Calling in favors and spreading bribes is a commonly accepted practice in wuxia fiction. For instance, a hero may get better treatment in prison by bribing the warden, learn secrets by reminding an information of a debt, or call on a distant, but powerful, relative to get out of a crime.

    Creations & Ephemera / Solo Sails on the High Seas
    « on: September 27, 2015, 01:27:20 AM »
    The time has come for me to reveal the beta of one of my many projects, a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas for parties who wish to brave the darkest of waters. Behold, Sins of the Father!

    I've also made a thread for it in 3.5 discussion.

    The time has come for me to reveal the beta of one of my many projects, a swashbuckling adventure on the high seas for parties who wish to brave the darkest of waters. Behold, Sins of the Father!

    This is intended to be a difficult adventure using optimized enemies, which can be downplayed for more casual parties.

    Please let me know what needs to be improved on. I think this needs a lot more polishing.

    Off Topic Fun / Pirate songs
    « on: August 28, 2015, 02:39:37 PM »
    I need links to the best songs about pirates.

    General D&D Discussion / MW Create a Villain Contest
    « on: July 14, 2015, 12:20:12 PM »
    Create a villain!

    Come on, let's do it. Let's go all out. Recursive Arcane Fusions, infinite strength loops, nanomachines, you name it.

    D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder / Arcane Spellsurge toggling
    « on: July 13, 2015, 01:35:22 AM »
    This is a trick I hinted at in my guide to sorcerers, but did not make explicitly clear until today. I'm going to make it a separate thread so it gets some attention.

    So let's say you cast Arcane Spellsurge, and bombarded your enemies with a mighty Maximized Fireball! Well, your full round action spell is now a standard action, which is great! But you have a swift action left, and nothing to do with it! If you don't need to save it for later, you can cast another Fireball on your enemies. Too bad you can't cast another Maximized Fireball, since you're out of standard actions and have no way to reduce the casting time of your metamagicked spells...

    Unless you took the Metamagic Specialist ACF from the PHB2, you can apply metamagic to your spells without incurring additional casting time 3+Int mod times per day, which you can use to "toggle" your casting time with Arcane Spellsurge.

    Arcane Preparation also works for this, since preparing a spell with it does not increase casting time.

    Sadly, Rapid Metamagic does not mesh well with Arcane Spellsurge.

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