One of the major challenges of doing a campaign in OKW Cezavy (at least as I have conceived it) is that Thyatis isn’t really available as a source of ancient ruins. In my normal background scheme of Ancient, Old and Present, the Thyatis Empire really only becomes relevant in the present, even though it no longer exists.
Thus, in order to make any kind of dungeon-delve interesting via a multi-layered backstory (especially a center-piece dungeon), I’ve had to wrack my brain for other possible ancient civilizations that could litter the high steppes of Cezavy with ruins. Again, I have to credit Matt Lynch and his Tome of Adventure Design, because rolling on the various random tables found there-in gave me a very interesting idea with several ramifications for the campaign.
Since it is already established that Tharks roam the southwestern regions of the OKW, I figure that it is plausible that other barsoomian races happened to find their way to the OKW as well. My first choice would be the Lotharians due to their decadence and mental powers. This decadence would have lead to their downfall and possible extinction.
It also introduces the possibility that the various ruins that dot the Cezavy landscape have incubators and other reproductive devices, since all the various humanoid races of barsoom reproduce by laying eggs. This also allows me to put a twist on the reproductive antics of the Quastogs. According to Lawrence Schick, the Quastogs suffer from a curse that results in a very high rate of still births. This necessitates raids far and wide of other races to kidnap children to bolster their ranks.
Given the amount of risk and effort such an endeavor would entail, I postulate that the Quastogs would leap at other reproductive options. One of these could very well be a birthing chamber used by the Lotharians before they passed into the mists of forgotten history. The problem with using such a device is that orcs are not egg layers like the Lotharians. Thus, their use of the device tends to end in various mutations; however, these are successful births and the mutation rate is far less than the stillbirth rate.
Mutations, however, are still seen as a stigma and most are culled in infancy. Some do survive, however. Either rescued by their mothers (who may have been kidnapped in their youth) or their mutation didn’t manifest until they were able to escape on their own, these “half-orcs” can occasionally be found on the fringes of Cezavy civilization.
In order to represent the various mutations exhibited by these half-orcs, I decided to take the Replicant class from Mutant Future and run it through the custom class creation system found in the ACKS Players Companion. Here is what I came up with:
Half-OrcPrime Requisite: STR
Hit Dice: 1d6
Damage Die: 1d8
Maximum Level: 14
Half-orcs are the mutated off-spring of the Quastog orc clans. Rejected by their own people, they live on the fringes of civilization.
Upon creation, the player rolls on the following table until three mutations (or the equivalent) are rolled. Duplicates may be re-rolled or stacked, depending upon player/Referee desire. The mutations are expressed as a mechanic. An example of how that mechanic might be expressed in game play is given; however, players are encouraged to create their own “special effect” for each mutation, thus making their character unique.
- Cast Scare 1/8hrs (Xenomorphism)
- All saving throws at +2 (Extra Organs)
- Cast Invisible 1/hr takes 1 turn to cast (Chameleon Epidermis)
- Equivalent of Infravision: 30’ (counts as 1 mutation); 60’ (counts as 2 mutations) (Echolocation/Nightvision/Thermal Vision/Ultraviolet Vision)
- Lay on Hands — heal 2hp per experience level once per day (Epidermal Photosynthesis)
- +1 damage w/TH weapons; may use w/shield (Gigantism)
- +1 surprise and initiative (Prehensile Tail)
- 1d2-1/1d2-1/1d4-1 (counts as 2 mutations); 1d3-1/1d3-1/1d6-1 (counts as 3 mutations) (Spiny Growth/Natural Weapon)
- Flesh Runes — When not wearing armor, the character receives +2 AC and reduces damage from non-magical attacks by 1 hp per die; this increases to +4 AC and 2hp per die at 7th level and +6 AC and 3 hp per die at 13th level; damage from creatures of 5HD or more are considered magical attacks (counts as 3 mutations) (Energy Retaining Cell Structure)
- Glamorous Aura — +2 to reaction rolls to impress and/or intimidate; if the result is 12+ the subject acts as if charmed (Fragrance Development)
- Climb Walls as a Thief (Increased Balance)
- Cast Strength 1/hr takes 1 turn to cast (Increased Physical Attribute)
- Cast Jump 1/hr (Increased Physical Attribute)
- Cast Resist Fire 1/8hrs (Increased Physical Attribute)
- Detect Traps — may detect traps, false walls, hidden construction, and notice if passages are sloped with a roll of 1-4 on a d6 (Increased Sense)
- +1 AC (Natural Armor)
- Cast Blindness 1/8hrs (Optic Emissions)
- Cast Deafness 1/8hrs (Shriek)
- Cast Magic Missile 1/hr (Toxic Weapon)
- Arcane Dabbling — 15% chance of being able to use Magic-User-only-type magic items (like wands); increases by 10% each level to a max of 90%. Failure may have unindented consequence if Referee so desires (Mystic Sense)
Half-orcs fight and save as fighters and may use any weapon and any armor.
Reaching 9th: At 9th level, a replicant may build a stronghold.