Sympathy for the Drow - De-Vilifying the Dark Elves
The "Evil" races in DnD have always rubbed me kinda the wrong way. Partly once I learned that a lot of them come from racist stereotypes (Orcs, Drow, and Goblins in particular) and also just because it doesn't make sense to me. Even Nazi Germany had variation and dissenters and it only lasted for 12 years. Why would a clearly evil society never change over hundreds of years? In my opinion, a story is only as good as it's villains. So, I've set out to try and make the traditionally evil races slightly more believable and even sympathetic in places. Now, I've not been a DM very long, only like three years. But the first campaign I ever ran was through Curse of Strahd which paints the Vistani (an itinerant society heavily based on the real world Romani) as a conniving group of thieves, murders, and vampire-worshipers. Thankfully, I found through reddit and other sites how to steer away from the racists depictions of the Vistani and making them seem like, at worst, opportunists. So, I hope to be able to do that with some other of the classic DnD antagonist races. I've read some other phenomenal post on here about evil races that totally inspired me as well. There's a great twopart post about Decolonizing D&D which I adore. The post about alignment is easily my favorite. There's a couple great ones on Orcs and Yuan-Ti too so if some of my ideas are lifted from them, I hope y'all consider it flattery instead of theft. So, here are some primer notes before I get into it. For creating the Dark Elves, I tried to keep as much as I could from the books. Obviously some stuff has to get thrown out the window though. I also tried to standardize calling them Dark Elves instead of Drow partly because I feel like Drow has a much nastier sound to it and calling them Dark Elves follows the naming convention with the High and Wood Elves. I tried to model them after real-life matriarchal societies like the Mosuo people of China and their pantheon after real deities like the Greeks, Romans, and Norse. I also quickly realized that building a society is inseparable from geography. Where a people are from effects their language, values, mythology, history, and family structure. I've tried to outline details I think are necessary to making this society realistic while leaving it open ended enough to be place-able in different worlds with relative ease. All that aside, lets get into the meat of it.
The Dark Elves: Elven Outcasts
The Elves are a varied and magical people that come from many planes and many environments within them. But none are met with more distrust and fear than the Dark Elves. Easily set apart from their cousins by their charcoal or pitch-black skin, pink-red eyes, hair of grays and whites, and shorter stature, these people have earned a reputation as killers, thieves, demon worshipers, and liars. But history is a cruel mistress, something the Dark Elves know better than most.
The Divine Divide
As the legends go, when the world was still young, Corellon Larethian lived on the Plane of Arvandor with his fellow Primal Elves. They were wild and mutable, emotional and free in all things. They changed shapes at will, gave and took freely to and from the world, and never stayed in any location too long. They wandered to and fro, scattering their peoples across almost every plane. However, this unbridled freedom was not without a price. Arguments, feuds, and small scale wars were incredibly common between them. Some elves would find themselves stranded on far off planes after most of their companions impulsively decided to leave. Their self serving impulses drove them to often completely disregard the needs or wants of others if they went against their own desires. And their reckless revelry was wreaking havoc on the natural world with Elven parties decimating whole planes of edible plants, wild game, and drinkable water. One such Primal Elf began to see the destruction of their ways and talked to other elves about their actions. Slowly, this Elf by the name of Lolth amassed a small following of devotees that saw the negative ramifications of their inconsiderate freedom. Lolth and her followers agreed to take on fixed forms to show recognition of the dangers that impulsivity could bring. Lolth led this small group of devotees to Corellon to ask for his support. Now, Corellon did not lead these Primal Elves: he was just as wild as the best of them and did not take kindly to others telling him what to do. But he was the First Elf ever born and was universally respected amongst the Primal Elves and if Lolth could convince him, others would surely follow. Corellon listened to her proposition and agreed that they should change to prevent more destruction and conflict, but refused to order his kinsfolk into any action. He was an Elf, same as all of them, and he wouldn’t dare order around his family. He balked when Lolth asked him to take a concrete form as a show of solidarity and brushed her off as a killjoy. Lolth was unsatisfied with this outcome and her following set out to convince each Elf to change their ways to preserve the beauty of the worlds. However, without the support of Corellon, many elves refused her offer. Her anger grew with each failure and her opinion of Corellon turned sour, something she made no attempt to hide from her Elven siblings. Now, Corellon is a proud god and once he caught wind that Lolth was bad mouthing him in an attempt to win over others, he became enraged. He railed against Lolth calling her a snake-tongued thief and Lolth called him incompetent and cruel. Their tempers flared and all the elves chose sides between Corellon’s freedom and Lolth’s stability. During this great debate, the Primal Elves turned to violence. The Dark Elves maintain that Corellon’s side threw the first blow, while the High Elves claim that it came from Lolth’s side. No matter the source, this violent outburst soured relations between Lolth and Corellon forever after. He cast her and her followers out of Arvandor and barred her from ever returning. He also cast all but his most trusted kin from Arvandor, forcing them all to live lives on other worlds out of fear of another perceived insurrection. Thus, the Seldarine remain in Arvandor to judge the souls of Corellon’s faithful when they die and Lolth takes refuge in Arcadia with her pantheon where she minds the souls of the Drow. Corellon’s faithful call her pantheon the Dark Seldarine, while her faithful call it the Myrkalfar.
Myrkalfar: The Spider Mother’s House
Lolth the Spider Queen is the unquestioned head of the Myrkalfar, with all other deities seen as her divine family. Lolth is considered at times to be fickle or even cruel, but her ire is never gained without good reason. A very involved deity, her followers constantly search for signs of her favor or scorn in everyday life. When a Dark Elf contemplates a risky or controversial decision, they consult priestesses or perform their own rites which often gives them direct and succinct answers. She serves as an example to matriarchs of Drow families as demanding yet understanding, punishing yet guiding. She asks for a lot of her priestesses, demanding they be an unflinching example of everything a strong leader should be. The Myrkalfar is often presented as a divine household, with Lolth as the matron. Keptolo is the consort of Lolth and considered to be the ideal of what a male should be. Beautiful and kind, strong and hard working, he helps Lolth in everything she does. Sometimes he serves as a messenger, other times as an agent of redemption, sometimes as a divine healer. When a Dark Elf is tasked with a divine charge, he is usually the one to deliver the message and guide them through their charge. He serves also as a fertility deity and is often worshiped by women or men seeking a child. Outsiders see him as a weak and subservient husband to Lolth, but his faithfulness to his matron is considered a virtue and his status as a “husband” is relatively alien to the Dark Elves as they have no binding marriage in their society. If Keptolo is the agent of Lolth’s mercy, Kiaransalee is the agent of her vengeance. She is the eldest daughter of Lolth and Keptolo and one that Dark Elves pray to when they feel wronged. Only the most binding and serious contracts are signed under her name. To break an oath made under her name is sure to bring destruction. She is also the governor of the dead, judging the souls of those passed in the afterlife. She opposes the mindless undead created by mortals, but spirits and revenants that return to finish unresolved business amongst the living are considered under her protection. Should a Dark Elf encounter a returned spirit that is seeking vengeance, it’s their duty to leave them on their way and pray that the spirit isn’t there for them. This reverence of certain undead is something many outsiders consider downright evil. Selvetarm is the Dark Elven warrior goddess and youngest daughter of Lolth. Often depicted with eight arms, she represents the pinnacle of hand to hand martial prowess, but often is without restraint. She serves as both an inspiration for warriors, and a warning. Vhaeraun is the eldest son of Lolth and governs ambition and stealth. Both of these traits are not necessarily vilified, but worship of him is highly scrutinized. Haughty and rash, tales of him often include deceiving his fellow gods for good and ill and more often than not are cautionary ones. He’s depicted as wearing a mask, either as some punishment for endangering Lolth and her family or to hide his identity for various schemes, possibly both. Malyk is Lolth’s youngest son and a youthful deity of change and growth. He’s often seen as a bouncing young boy that Lolth and her family have to reign in from wild misadventures. His freedom and curiosity is often seen as a double edged sword, both gaining him great riches but also putting him in tremendous peril. He has strong ties to sorcerers and when a child is born with innate magical talent, he is often the one thanked for it. He serves as an outlet for a Dark Elves youthful chaotic nature, but also warns them of the ramifications of their actions. Ghaunadur is a strange figure in the pantheon. Their place in the family is a bit of a mystery, sometimes called the sibling of Lolth, or her child, or even as Lolth’s parent. What makes them truly unique is that they are a formless deity, something that Lolth once warred with Corellon over. The legends go that when Ghaunadur joined Lolth, they refused to give up their changeable nature. When questioned, Ghaunadur pointed to the slimes, oozes, and formless creatures of the world and said that they wished to protect them from the Elves and the Elves from them. Lolth agreed, cementing their position as the deity of the changing forms of nature. Their favored creature is the ooze, but they govern all natural creatures. Dark Elves often pray to Ghaunadur to protect them from the creatures that lurk in the depths of the forest. Zinzerena is Lolth’s sister and is the goddess of poisons, illusions, and magic. Viewed as an elderly and patient figure, she often serves as council to Lolth in desperate times. She’s said to be the mother of all poisons and venoms and her teachings are all about finding the wisest solution to a problem. Zinzerena teaches that even though the spider is small, it’s bite can still fell a panther. Despite her perceived age, she’s considered the younger sister of Lolth and is thought to be incredibly quick and nimble: a reminder that not everything is as it seems. Eilistraee is Lolth’s niece and daughter of Zinzerena. Considered the black sheep of the pantheon, she serves as a goddess of redemption and moonlight. Dark Elves that turn their back on their family or scorn traditions will sometimes find themselves turned to Driders, half-spider half-Dark Elf creatures shunned by all. Eilistraee is said to watch over these creatures and if they are repentant, offer them challenges that they could complete to redeem themselves. Lolth often views her with contempt or mistrust, but never hates her and maintains her place in the pantheon. Dark Elven faithful rarely worship her as the others. She’s also one of the only deities of the Myrkalfar to claim no animosity toward the Seldarine and their faithful. Spiders are the sacred animal of Lolth and are often used as an example of social order and the importance of family bonds. Each strand of silk serves the web as whole. More literally, the giant spiders of the Underdark are multifaceted and incredibly useful creatures. Serving as beasts of burden, war steeds, meat producers, household guardians, and silk producers, they are present in almost every facet of society. Their silks are used in everything from wound dressings to armor to architecture. To kill or steal another family's spider is considered akin to stealing a member of the family. Smaller and more poisonous spiders are often kept in temples and their webs are used as divining tools for priestesses.
The recorded history of the Dark Elves is full of contradictions from High Elf and Dark Elf sources. What historians can agree on is when the Elves of the Prime Material arrived, the followers of Lolth secluded from their Wood and High cousins and retreated into the Azelarien, also known as the Green Sea in Common. A massive forest, nearly 1 million square miles of dense and vibrant trees, that grows denser and darker the farther in one ventures. For countless eons, the High, Wood, and Dark Elves lived in relative harmony in their own corner of the world. High Elves lived near the forests in towns and villages, the Wood Elves lived in the lightly forested outlands of the Green Sea, and the Dark Elves lived deep in the central forests which was so dense that very little light reached the forest floor. As time passed and their villages turned to cities, the High Elves began expanding into the forest, chopping some down to build homes and heat their furnaces. This began pushing into the territory of the Wood Elves and eventually the Dark Elves as well. These two peoples formed a shaky alliance to push back the expansive tide of the far larger High Elven armies. This alliance proved successful however and the High Elven forces began losing ground. What happened next is a matter of some debate. High Elven historians attest that the Dark Elven armies used Wood Elven soldiers as unwitting bait to lure the High Elven armies into a trap, thus causing a schism between them. Dark Elven historians state that the Wood Elven armies turned on them after the Wood Elves met in secret with High Elven leaders and bargained for their independence. Some Wood Elven historians claim that after a brutal defeat on the field, they were met by High Elven dignitaries that offered them clemency if they turned on their allies. They initially refused, but after the dignitaries threatened to make the same offer to the Dark Elves, they had no choice but to accept. No matter the cause, the histories agree that the Wood Elves turned on their erstwhile allies and helped push the Dark Elves into a rapid loss of ground. Facing the might of the two armies with their own relatively small one, the Dark Elves were beaten into a hasty retreat into their own territory. Losing every open encounter, the Dark Elf matrons developed a new strategy of combat. The armies switched from training as many as quickly as they could, to training only a select few in multiple different forms of combat and magic. As the High and Wood Elves advanced into their territory, they quickly found their supply lines cut out from under them, their soldiers ambushed while sleeping, their scouts captured, and their leaders assassinated. And even if they would make it to a Dark Elf settlement, they would find it abandoned and booby-trapped, warned by their fast and silent scouts. If the Dark Elves couldn’t face their enemies head-on, they would weaken them with quick and decisive strikes. Eventually, the war ground to a stalemate. The High Elves couldn’t push into the Dark Elf territory far enough to capture any cities of note without taking severe casualties and the Dark Elves were only managing to hold the invading armies back and couldn’t muster a force strong enough to push back to the enemy capital. Thus, the war cooled into a tense peace. The leaders came together to draw borders, but neither side fully forgave nor forgot one another’s actions. High and Wood Elves viewed the change in tactics by the Dark Elves as an unethical violation of the standards of war. The Dark Elves felt a particular animosity toward the Wood Elves, considering them backstabbers in their darkest hour.
Dark Elf Families: Matrons of Order
The Dark Elf society, to an outsider, looks like an oppressive and cruel society of slave traders and backstabbers. But the truth is more subtle. The Dark Elves value tradition and filial piety above almost all else. To a Dark Elven citizen, their family name is their most valuable possession and they are taught from a very young age that to look after their parents and their younger siblings is the highest virtue. Ancestors that have achieved great things often have shrines in a household alongside the gods themselves. A Dark Elf going against the will of their family is considered one of the highest taboos and often causes them to be outcast from Dark Elven society as a whole. Dark Elf society is matrilineal meaning that the eldest woman in each family is revered as the household leader and receives great respect from her family and society. This also means that the males of the society don’t inherit wealth as frequently as the females. Dark Elven families are quite large, often with multiple generations along with aunts, uncles, and cousins living in the same household. New children almost always reside with their mother. Males of the society are expected to care not for their own biological children, but for the children born to their sisters, aunts, or nieces. This results in a striking amount of sexual freedom for both men and women, but is often viewed from the outside as promiscuity. The Dark Elves do not marry in the traditional sense, instead favoring long term partners with one another that can end at any time with no concerns to material wealth or ownership. However, to become a member of a Dark Elf family is not entirely a matter of heritage. When a family that cannot support another child has one, they are often adopted by more well to do families and raised as one of their own. These adopted children are considered just as legitimate as if they were born into the family. Also, should a family lose all their heirs or become destitute, they often ask to become assimilated into other families for their own safety. The latter is considered a morose ceremony as the members of the smaller family forsake their surnames. To take in such a family is both an extreme honor and grim burden, as it means ending another family's line. The borders of Dark Elven civilization only goes so far as there are trees so many newer up and coming families have expanded underground, a difficult and slow endeavor. This has put multiple houses at odds with one another for territory. However, Dark Elves do not tolerate open hostility between families as they have a very strong sense of collective identity. Dark Elves do not war against fellow Dark Elves, same as a spider does not fight its own web. This leads to many tensions and conflicts needing to be resolved in other ways. Most families will attempt a diplomatic solution, but when that isn’t an option, sabotage and coercion is the favored outlet. Murder is considered a bridge too far by most houses, but subterfuge in almost every other facet is, while not accepted, tolerated. Legends of Lolth’s rebellion and the tension of their enclosed territory have imbued the Dark Elves with a strong sense of symbiosis with nature and conservancy. Sustainable living is the cornerstone of Dark Elf society. In the wild, no creature is killed or plant destroyed unless it’s a matter of self defense or necessary to survival.
Dark Elven Sex and Gender
As with many Elven peoples, sexuality is seen as a fluid and non-binary matter. Same sex relationships are usually seen as just as acceptable as male-female relationships. Since Dark Elves have no marriage structure, same sex life partners are common and widely accepted. Inheritance is passed along by the family as a whole, not linearly, meaning some houses may have matrons with no direct biological descendants while still serving at the elder matron. Power dynamics in relationships are still a factor, with the elder female in a gay relationship considered slightly above their partner socially and is seen as the inheritor in cases of property or genealogy. Male same sex relationships are accepted with little controversy. Since children are passed down their mothers line, the males have no social obligation to sire an heir as with other societies. Transgender and transexual Dark Elves are met with slightly more controversy. Lolth’s rejection of the Primal Elves mutable forms is sometimes cited against transgender and transexual Dark Elves. Ghaunadur, however, is considered the patron god of these people and teaches that just as they are part of nature, they can change their forms. Many of these people join the religious order of Ghaunadur, serving in various roles both in religious ceremonies and as forest guides. Some even consider them to be blessed by Ghaunadur and are highly sought after in forays into the forests for protection. Children born to transgender Dark Elves are still expected to be a part of their eldest mother’s family or eldest father if no woman is part of the union.
Slavery Amongst the Dark Elves
While the Dark Elves do take slaves, their slavery doesn’t look the same as many other societies. When a family becomes indebted to another and they cannot pay off the debt, a member of their family, usually male, will be sent to work for the owed family. They give him room and board and are expected to care for him as if he were one of their own. He’ll work for them for an agreed upon amount of time before returning to his native family. Injury or misuse of this person is often grounds for them to leave and the debt to be nullified. Children born to servant fathers needn’t worry about inheriting their father’s status since they’re considered to be their mother’s child. On the rare occasion that a female servant has a child while in servitude, the child is returned to the mother’s family to be raised by her family while she works off the remaining debt. Some trade of servants does occur between houses, with indentured servants being traded for goods or services or even other servants of special skills, but the family of the servant reserves the right to veto such a trade for any reason. During their frequent clashes with external armies, the Dark Elves do sometimes take prisoners of war, though very rarely are they used for slave labor. They never bring them back to major settlements, often keeping them on the outskirts of their territory to prevent them from learning critical knowledge of their territory. Most prisoners are held as bargaining chips to be traded for passage, supplies, or captured Dark Elves. Captured military leaders are sometimes brought to Dark Elven cities to be tried for their crimes against their people.
Dark Elven Government: Independent Houses
Unlike many other cultures, the Dark Elves lack a centralized government. Societal etiquette govern the standard for how certain crimes and disagreements should be handled, but each family unit acts as its own governing body. Disagreements within families are thus resolved internally. Inter-family disputes are resolved in multiple different ways. Most often, the two matrons of the family will meet and agree on terms to fairly compensate both sides. In cases when these talks deteriorate, the High Priestess of Lolth is often called to serve as the mediator and serves as the ruling body between disputes. Her rulings are final and indisputable, as she is considered the mouthpiece of Lolth’s will. In times of crisis, historically the many houses of the Dark Elves have convened to discuss threats to all of Dark Elven society. This is uncommon as it’s difficult logistically to gather all the matrons in the same place at the same time, so often houses are represented by either the second eldest woman of the family or the eldest daughter of the matron. The High Priestess of Lolth often resides over these meetings as an arbiter in the event of split decisions or in delivering guidance from Lolth herself. There's my take on the Dark Elves. Any comments, suggestions, questions, outrages, and critiques are welcomed. This is my first comprehensive look at a whole race so if I've missed things, I'll try and patch them up. I'd like to do similar things for Orcs, Goblinoids, Kobolds, and others so those might be seen soon. Thanks!
Lost in the Ashlands. Reputation and Dialogue Checks.
https://preview.redd.it/iki6qp9t41a51.png?width=999&format=png&auto=webp&s=23015f5fa8cdf91792e66fb7b012f92bc6a550c3 Time for a quick update. First, I'm going to talk about getting a working reputation system, and then I'll show off a couple of new features for the war system overhaul. Finding a Working Reputation System Karma in games is often reductive, amounting to a binary "good or evil" system that's represented by a number. Dumb. Easier to implement and understand, yeah, but still dumb. I want more. Faction relations in games like Mount and Blade aren't brilliant either - they're great as an aggregate value, but suffer from one critical problem: memory. You might be a faction's sworn enemy, do some good, bribe some bribables, and suddenly you're in their good books. Kenshi certainly handles this better than most - kidnap a faction leader and you can bet there will be hell to pay. But it's not quite enough. Bandits should stop trying to steal your lunch money if you've taken down the Emperor. I want a system where your actions generate a reputation naturally, by choice and action. It was a tough nut to crack, but I'm just about there with the structure. Here's a quick rundown of how reputation will work. Six Abstract Values That's right. Six individual reputations. Each represents an abstract group in the game world, and a given value in one reputation might have an effect elsewhere. Here are the current drafts for reputation values. Note that reputation is not discrete, meaning there will probably be cases where multiple might apply. Moreover, don't expect reputation to apply in every instance of dialogue or interaction. As time goes on and you make your mark on the world, more characters will have heard of you or your actions. https://preview.redd.it/af9cjrtw41a51.png?width=408&format=png&auto=webp&s=0ba868fcf0a43df8244be8ded53c0586659faa48 The Downtrodden. Farmers, peasants, slaves and nomads. Everybody who's got the short end of the stick in the world of Kenshi. In game terms, this means Empire Peasants, Holy Nation Outlaws, Drifters, Slaves, Deadcat farmers, Settled Nomads, and so on. You get the idea. Bandits, Brigands, and Broken Men. Just what you'd expect. Rebel Farmers, Starving Bandits, Dust Bandits - yet also factions such as Manhunters in some cases. Scholars and Scribes. Those who value exploration and the pursuit of knowledge. Tech Hunters and Machinists, yes, but also adventuring types and certain diplomats. The Empire Elite. Everything related to the United Cities. Nobles, Slave Traders, and the Guild fall under this category, as well as UC Generals. The Inquisitorium. The One True Religion. Priests, inquisitors, HN Generals. This is probably the most narrow of the six reputations. Followers of Kral. Everything Shek - not necessarily confined to the Shek Kingdom. Kral's Chosen, Berserkers, and others will be influenced by your reputation in this category. What Will Reputation Do Differently to Faction Relations? For starters, reputation allows for more nuanced interactions through dialogue with a graded system of 'ranks'. Changes to reputation happen naturally through gameplay. Help out a bunch of wandering samurai enough times and you might increase your reputation with the Empire. Murder a bunch of farmers? You can bet that NPCs will know you as Outland Terror before too long. These interactions won't be limited to reactive stuff, either. Instead, where there are dialogue window events (particularly with dynamic quests), you'll be able to use your reputation to persuade or intimidate. 'Persuasion' meaning a high reputation with a relevant category, 'Intimidation' referring to a low reputation. In some, rarer cases, other reputations might supplant this. For example, if you're at Indifferent (+0) with the Downtrodden, but Empire Dignitary (+75) with the Empire Elite, you can bet that some lowly farmer peasant will be easier to push around. High (appropriate) rep means better success in a dialogue check. Reputation can also serve as memory. Currently, I'm setting it up to remember if you've ever had high (+75 to +100) reputation, low (-75 to -100) reputation, and the lowest (-100) reputation. You'll have a hard time getting your reputation (and related faction relations) up if you've ruined it, yet gaining increments to faction relations will, on occasion, be easier if you have high rep. Dialogue will need to have a lot of expansions, too. This is elementary 'grind' work - it's easy enough to do, it'll just take time. High reputation in the Empire should enable you to have conversations with nobles and dignitaries. And so on. What else? Well, even though I won't unlock any of it until the first dynamic quest update, reputation will influence quest options and pathways. Special events, too - you can bet that NPCs will begin to react to you differently as you walk your path through the game world. The occasional plot twist here and there*.* Perhaps you'll overhear a conversation of your exploits. Maybe annoying farmers will pester you for aid when your reputation is high enough when all you want to do is get a damn drink. DUN DUN DUN. *Plot Twist*. Perhaps I should have made better choices. What Ranks Are There? I don't want to spoil too much. But here's the reputation list for the Downtrodden: ??? [-100] Outland Terror [-75] Violent Outlaw [-50] Thug [-25] Indifferent [+0] Backwater Samurai [+25] Benevolent Wanderer [+50] Nomad Crusader [+75] ??? [+100] Sneak Peek at the Coming Update. Wars are spread out between 'military' (fortresses), 'civilian' (towns) and 'setpiece' locations. Assaults against towns are much rarer, bigger, badder campaigns that happen in multiple stages. Factions reinforce cities and forts, blah blah, I've gone over this before elsewhere. What I'm currently polishing up is getting the unique characters into the game world outside of battles. Generals inspecting a town with their personal guard, patrolling, being able to find them at fortresses they control, and so on. More possibility for interaction (and mischief!). That, and the setpiece battles, which are essentially empty battlefields where two armies can throw down. Great fun for the whole family. I'm ironing out some details there, though, so setpieces are currently a big 'maybe' - if it turns out pretty and fun, they'll go in the next update. If not, I'll probably rework them into assaults against military targets. On that note, around half of the fortresses you've seen are now gone. The Holy Nation uses Okran's Shield/Fist and its military bases as their 'military' targets, while the Shek have Last Stand and the Great Fortress (plus one extra fort). The United Cities, having no such settlements in vanilla, still have three forts. All of these locations are spruced up with NPCs you can interact with, and their residents will change based on what randomly-selected NPC lineup you've got going for you in your playthrough. You can cripple faction armies by taking down their forts - eliminating generals before they can do shit, or removing certain special abilities from the major facitons. I'm not going to bore you with too many details, plus I'm lazy, so here are some random screenshots. Oooohh, faction deserters. Did I mention each faction has special units, campaigns, and events? They're tied to the NPC lineup. Usually, each faction has two special units or abilities (out of four). Each of the three warring factions has its own selection of abilities. Let's have a chat, shall we? Because of a particular General, the UC now have access to mercenaries for their wars. Here, a barracks is converted into a mercenary bar at a fortress. Eliminating a certain General, or one of his underlings, will harm or outright remove this special ability, affording the UC fewer expendable units to throw into battle.
Alternate CoS Asian Deiselpunk Setting PART 2: Reign of the Storm Shogun
Continued from previous Post: https://www.reddit.com/CurseofStrahd/comments/gwaj5b/alternate_cos_asian_dieselpunk_setting_part_1/ (Player) New and Variant Backgrounds: Some slightly altered backgrounds to give more ways to integrate your character into the world. Some of these backgrounds are simple reskins of existing backgrounds with new flavor text to help give potential character ideas. Variant Soldier: Samurai Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Intimidation Tool Proficiencies: One type musical instrument or Calligraphy Set, vehicles (land) Equipment: A banner bearing the crest of your clan or Daimyo, An ornate helmet and mask known as a Kabuto, a Calligraphy Set, A scroll stamped with the Imperial Seal denoting you as serving a Daimyo, a fine Kimono, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp Feature: Way of Bushido – Anyone may follow the path of Bushido but you have devoted your life to following a strict personal code of honor. Bushido demands service, and so you have sworn yourself to a master or " Daimyo ". A Daimyo may be a local noble, the Jade Emperor, or even a childhood friend. It does not matter who a Daimyo is to a Samurai, only that they serve them with Honor. As long as the Samurai remains Honorable and obeys the will of his Daimyo he may requisition basic equipment and horses for temporary use as well as dwell for free in most inns. The owners of the equipment and innkeepers do this with the understanding that the Samurai will have his Daimyo cover the costs with interest to them later, though there are limits to this trust no Gunsmith will provide a Gun to a Samurai even just to borrow for free. Variant Folk Hero: Ronin Some Samurai do not follow a Daimyo, but instead swear themselves unto the weak and the innocent making them collectively his Daimyo. These roaming Samurai are called Ronin and they venture to the remote reaches of Daichi to bring justice. The Ronin follows a strict personal code of Bushido that always includes " Protect the weak and innocent " among its edicts. As long as the Ronin follows this code his background Skill, Tool, and Language proficiencies as well as Background Feature are identical to the core Background Folk Hero with the exception of his equipment. Equipment: A set of artisan’s tools (one of your choice), a humble unadorned Helmet and Mask called a Kabuto, a warm traveling Kimono, Scrolls detailing your lineage and status as a Samurai stamped with the Imperial Seal, and a belt pouch containing 10 gp Variant Criminal – Shinobi: Sometimes referred to as Ninjas by common folk, Shinobi are a cloister of loosely connected and often competing clans of professional assassins and infiltrators. Shinobi are masters of stealth and subterfuge and while the image of the black clad warrior made popular in Kabuki plays is certainly a major aspect of the Shinobi it is not all that they are. Though there are always exceptions most Shinobi Clans work for coin or for an ancestral Daimyo in much the same way a Samurai does, though it is rare that individual Shinobi serve a singular master. The most infamous clan are the Rain Maidens who have long served the Storm Shogun. Shinobi are identical to the Criminal background in all ways except the following alterations to the background feature: Feature: Clan Contact You have a reliable and trustworthy contact who acts as a liaison to your Shinobi Clan. You know how to get messages to and from your contact even over great distances; specifically, you know the local dead drop locations, secret handshakes to contact messenger Shinobi, and trained messenger raven rookeries who can deliver the messages for you. As long as you are in good standing your Clan is willing to aid you acquire basic supplies and occasional vital information to aid you in your personal endeavours. Variant Acolyte -Shrine Maiden: While men are permitted to watch over Kami Shrines it is traditional that a lone Maiden watch over the smaller way-shrines along major roads, these women lead very solitary and lonesome lives and it is not uncommon for them to occasionally be filled with a period of wonderlust where they seek out adventure before returning to their duties. Sometimes these Maidens have families that will live nearby but the Maiden is expected to live and sleep within her Shrine for most of the year. While this is tradition, there is no actual law requiring the Shrine Maidens to remain at their posts or to live solely within the Shrines and it is not particularly frowned upon for them to have lives outside their work. Variant Entertainer – Geisha: An exclusively female profession of extremely skilled entertainers who spend their lives training in matters of conversation, party planning, tea serving, singing, acting, and often many other skills that serve well in keeping rich and powerful guests happy. Geisha is a highly honorable and respected profession that takes years of practice to attain the lowest rankings, while there are males who have obtained the same degree of skill and who’s abilities are identical to a Geisha’s they are simply called Entertainers. Geisha are sponsored by great noble houses, there are strict requirements and examinations to attain rank and title the cost of which can often indenture common Geisha to service to one of the great noble houses. Variant Outlander – Vajra: A nomadic people of traders and merchants, they travel openly and without fear of the dark evils of the Storm Shogun under the protection of an ancient pact. They are reviled by many, refused entrance to most towns and villages but even so they are a peaceful people on whom the economy of Daichi depends. They revere their ancestors and believe in reincarnation, they do not worship the great Rakasha but do revere it and thus all Rakasha and tigers are sacred to them. They travel on the back of great elephants which carry their homes, their culture is rich and vibrant with a fondness for oral storytelling. Identical in all ways to Outlander core background except exchange language choice for Language: Vajra and add Tool Proficiency: Musical Instrument. You may begin play with a Sitar, a guitar like instrument. New Background – Invader: You are a descendent of the coalition of nations that came to conquer Daichi one thousand years ago. While many still serve the Shogun Ishin you have chosen instead to join the other defectors in living peacefully among the people you once conquered. While despised even more than Vajra you serve an even more vital function in keeping the engines and machinery within the cities and villages of Daichi running. While the Invaders are from many nations their culture has eroded and homogenized over time. Their legends speak of a " Homeland " but none can remember the name. All invaders have a special innate affinity for their blood magic fueled hemo-diesel technology and all can instinctively repair and maintain it. Skill Proficiencies: Insight, Arcana Tool Proficiencies: Tinker’s and Smiths Tools Languages: Invader’s Trade Tongue Feature: Born Engineer – You instinctively know how to perform repairs on all manner of machinery magic and mundane. You may cast as a Mending as an Artificer of your level. Further, whenever you are in an annex or industrial sector of a city you may call on the aid of your fellow Invaders for access to crafting machinery, temporary use of simple vehicles, and a place to lay your head in the factory barracks. (Player) New Subclasses: Editorial Note: Due to some of the listed subclasses being from 3rd party content that I have purchased I cannot directly copy class abilities into this listing. The actual subclass will be presented as Handouts in-game. PM me if you require further information regarding each subclass. Barbarian: Path of the Juggernaut: You have built, scavenged, stolen, or otherwise acquired a titanic Diesel Suit. While most barbarians disdain armor you have made it into a focus for your Rage. Ability Preview: Unstoppable – By expending a unique resource called " Momentum " you can burst through non-magical walls, furniture, and other barriers. Path of the Iron Rider: You have formed a unique bond with a Tsukumogami Dieselcycle which you can call as a Familiar. You channel your rage into heavy firearms as you ride against the storm. Ability Preview: Iron Horse – You can call a spirit possessed Dieselcycle to yourself using the Find Vehicle spell. Ability Preview: Bullet Rage – Instead of channeling your Rage into melee strikes you may instead empower Firearms, eventually reloading and firing with blinding speed. Bard College of the Geisha – You are a professional of beauty and grace, your words, songs, and dances inspire in ways no other Bard can compare to. This has cost you the potency of magic and martial knowledge of other Colleges but strengthening and supporting your allies is more than worth it. Ability Preview: Fascination – When an ally uses a skill empowered by Bardic Inspiration they also have Advantage on that roll. College of the Vajra Weather a true born Vajra or one who has adopted their ways and culture, you have earned many of the unique powers of the foreign nomads. Farsight, Curses, and other oddities to aid allies or confound enemies are yours to command. Ability Preview: Flash of Despair – You grant your enemies a moment of your own foresight, showing them their own imminent failure. You may use your Bardic Inspiration to grant penalties to your foes in the same ways you grant boons to your allies. Cleric Thaumic Engineering Domain: You have abandoned the old religions, accepting the new gods of Science and Reason. You are a man of logic not faith, but you do not ignorantly deny the existence of gods. Rather you recognize that they are a natural force in the world in much the same way as wind or fire are natural forces, and being a scientist at heart you have made it your speciality to put a microscope onto the powers of the divine. Ability Preview: Armor of Divinity – You have discovered the underlying magical force that grants moments of supernatural protection to the Faithful and applied this theory to a physical suit of armor. You can summon a suit of diesel armor at will that is empowered by your knowledge of the divine. Ability Preview: Theological Scholar – Where most Clerics dispense Wisdom you dispense Knowledge. Your spellcasting modifier is Intelligence, other class abilities that would scale off of Wisdom instead scale off of Intelligence. Ability Preview: Spark of Creation – You slowly begin to apply your theories regarding the creation of life and the universe, fabricating advanced Automata with a spark of divine life. Druid Circle of the Machine: While most Druids protect the deep forests and natural wonders of the world, you have chosen to see to the needs of the Cities and their people. Viewing the wonders of technology as a creation just as worth of protection as any waterfall or mountain you have found a way to channel the raw powers of technology through your body to overcome the limitations of other Druids. Ability Preview: Iron to Steel: You realize that Steel is just another form of iron, manufactured weapons are made from base natural components. You are proficient with Firearms and are not hindered by wearing metal armor or weapons. Ability Preview: Machine Shape – The ultimate expression of your beliefs, you channel the raw force of technology and creation through your flesh to become one with the Machine. When you Wildshape you may change the Type of your beast shape to Construct. Ability Preview: Automata Companion – As many druids surround themselves with the beasts of the forest you surround yourself with mechanized allies. You gain an Automata companion in the shape of a Beast. Monk Way of the Jade Bailiff You have sworn an oath to venture out into the distant reaches of Daichi bringing law and justice with you. You are trained well in the art of subdual and investigation, you never kill when arrest is a possibility. Ability Preview: Pacify Suspect – You use your advanced hand-to-hand combat training to grapple or disarm targets while overwhelming them with a flurry of blows. Way of the Singularity To obtain enlightenment is to comprehend infinity and eternity both, but flesh is finite and limited. In your journey to the nirvana of perfect understanding you have chosen to forsake flesh for augmetic steel. You have already installed numerous cybernetic implants within your body and will continue to do so, every pound of flesh lost bringing you closer to perfect understanding of the cosmos. Ability Preview: The Flesh is Weak – Among various other augmentations you replace a full limb with a cybernetic augment. You may channel your Ki through this augment to bend the universe to your will, casting specialized Automation Spells. Rogue Drunken Master You realize that life is about more than just fighting, obtaining wealth, or rising through social ranks. It is a vital necessity for all living beings to relax and enjoy themselves, to this end you have made it your lifestyle to spread your mastercrafted brews far and wide. Ability Preview: Good for what ails you – Your Sake is more than just simple rice wine, you have brewed it with ancient techniques gifted to the mortal races by the Kami at the dawn of time. These are not just booze but potent elixirs that replicate the effects of many Potions. Alternate Drunken Master – hanoyu MasteMistress – While mechanically identical to the Drunken Master you have chosen to master the complex and delicate art of the tea ceremony rather than the bar room brawl. You use mystical tea leaves gathered from secret sanctuaries in the deep woods often tended by forest sprites rather than hard liquor.’’ Ranger Automata Hunter Many in this world embrace technology, but not you. You hold special animosity and hatred for the industrialization that is poisoning Daichi, for the Automata that slaughter innocents, and for the slowly receding natural world. You have spent a lifetime learning the special weaknesses of machines, turning their own strength against them. Ability Preview: Breaker Weapon – You have constructed an Anti-Tank Rifle, Thermal Torch, Piston Hammer, or Buster Sword. These weapons are customized to your exact specifications to destroy machines and bypass their armor. They are also still effective against organic targets, though their size tends to get in the way. (Player) Misc. Player options, New Warlock Patron, Feats, Equipment, Familiars. Editorial Note: Much like with Subclasses as some of this content is 3rd party I only provide flavor descpritions rather than actual rules which are instead provided through the compendium legally. New Warlock Patron: Logic and Reason – Pacts with eldritch entities from beyond time are but a crutch to you. Through overwhelming knowledge of science and the deeper mechanisms that drive the cosmos you have become your own Patron. Ability Preview: Space-Time Recollection – By using advanced knowledge of light particles and chronology magic you can view past events within an area up to 24 hours past. While you cannot willfully speed up or slow down the viewing of these events you can specify a general time frame such as " Morning, Early Afternoon, 9:45 PM " Eldritch Invocations of Logic and Reason: Binary Linguist – You can communicate with any Construct flawlessly, it always understands you even through pure body language. You in turn can understand the same. Equipment: Prosthetic Limb 50 GP – Loss of Limb is a common reality to the people of Daichi, necessitating such crude augmentations. While gorgeous paragons of artisanal mastercraft, or cunning advanced combat prosthetics do exist this is neither. This limb represents a modest workman’s limb. It does not come with excessive adornments and his simple unpainted steel. This device runs on 1 sp worth of Diesel fuel per day and perfectly matches the function of an organic limb. While the limb can replicate strength of up to a score of 20, being set any higher than the user’s natural strength would result in the limb tearing itself free or otherwise damaging the user. DieselCycle, Price: Varies – The Dieselcycle is the most popular form of personal transport across Daichi, extremely rugged and reliable these two wheeled motorized vehicles can cross all manner of difficult terrain at breakneck speed. Many varieties of Dieselcycle exist, mirroring various breeds of horse and mule. Dieselcycles use the stat block of the specified Mount though with an intelligence, wisdom, and charisma score of 0, Type – Construct, double the listed HP and Speed, and with Bite or Hoof attacks becoming Ram attacks. Dieselcycles cannot move or operate without a Rider but unlike Horses do not feel fear and have no minds to warp with magic. A dieselcycle is destroyed when it reaches 0 HP and requires 1 GP worth of Hemo-Diesel to operate per day. Familiars For sake of simplicity these entries will be kept brief, giving a short description of each new Familiar instead of a lengthy stat block. Lesser Pheonix The smallest species of Pheonix, an extremely minor Kami. One should not summon such a creature if they are not prepared to give it proper reverance. Helper Automata A small robot built to aid it’s maker. These Automata can be built into any shape from very small humanoids to mimicking animals, or more crude and utilitarian bundles of spidery limbs and tool armatures. Some are even shaped as extra mechanized arms to hold things for their masters. Giant Silkworm Come in both " naked " and " fuzzy " varieties, these creatures provide the economic backbone for many mountain communities that make their living by weaving dazzling Kimono. They are calm tempered, vegetarian, and have no bite. Popular with small children. Giant Flower Mantis Temperamental hunters this creature is as likely to bite and slice at it’s handler as it is an enemy. One rarely refers to these beasts as a " Familiar " for they more tolerate than serve their summoners. Giant Hawkmoth The later stage of the SIlkworm’s life cycle, now possessing two great scythe limbs they become aggressive carnivores, though they retain the bonds they held in their larval stage with human owners and often are kept as beloved pets for many years. Fu Dragon The least of the Dragons is still a mighty Kami. These Dragons will serve entire family lineages for generations as long as they are properly revered and respected. Ancestor Spirit When a young Wu Jen or Warlock needs further guidance than can be given through mere rote memorization of ancestral tomes, sometimes an Ancestor will voluntarily leave Heaven to give spiritual guidance directly. Feats For sake of simplicity Feats are cut down to just brief descriptions rather than the entire Feats entry. Racial Feats are not repeated here, they are listed in or near their racial entries in the Race section. Bonded Weapon Wielder You attune your soul to a particular Weapon. You may call this weapon to your hand as a Bonus Action as long as it is on the same Plane as you. This Weapon no longer needs to be Attuned if magical. Hengeyokai Ancestry You either carry some Hengeyokai blood in your veins, or if you are already a Hengeyokai discover enough of your hidden ancestries to unlock a new Animal Form. You may shapechange into an animal ( though not a Hybrid ) or a new additional animal form if already a Hengeyokai. Tattooed Special Prerequisite: You have earned the respect of a master Monk or Maiko who has chosen to gift you one of these magical Tattoos. The tattoo is filled with magic and grants you a particular benefit dependent on the tattoo you earn. Firearm Mastery Countless hours with a gun in your hand have paid off by allowing you to engage in melee combat with a gun among other benefits. Novice Inventor Through constant experimentation you have dipped into the Automation magic of the Invaders. Gaining one of their spells and a Cantrip. Augmented You have taken into your body extensive cybernetic improvement. You become more faster, stronger, or tougher and your mechanical parts make you more resilient. If you could before, you can no longer hide your cybernetic nature, your limbs and organs are obviously artificial. (DUNGEON MASTERS) Okay with the general setting and player info out of the way we can talk a bit about the actual campaign. While I won't post all my notes here I will give enough of a general overview such that DM's can use it as a jumping off point if they so wish. The True Backstory of Daichi and the Storm Shogun: Isak was raised in a family of wealth and status with a glorious military history in a nation resembling 1920's America. He was brought up with the understanding that war was a glorious and honorable endeavor where the strong defended their ideals on the field of battle. Advances in technology and politics robbed him of this delusion however, wars of defense became wars of colonial conquest. Officers who once led from the front now telephoned their orders as men died by the thousands to machine gun fire. Isak grew to resent and hate his own people for failing to live up to the fantastical narrative he had been raised on. When Isak conquered Diachi he soon found solace in it's path of Bushido, the Samurai of Daichi embodied the world Isak wished to live in and so he sought to emulate them, eventually renaming himself the Storm Shogun Ishin. Ishin soon received orders that Daichi was to be colonized and her people marched onto reservations. Ishin's leutenant and childhood friend Mara ( Rahadin ) was of a people similarly subjugated and made certain Ishin knew fully what these reservations would do to the people of Daichi. Ishin promptly sought a means to betray his commanders and save Daichi. Delving deep into an ancient temple formed of Amber from the World Tree he uncovered the prison for the Four Great Perils. Hearing the whispers of Taowu who easily convinced Ishin that if he released them they would in gratitude draw Daichi away from the Material Realm such that it would be safe for eternity, however this act required a sacrifice in the form of the " ultimate betrayal of the one you love most. " Ishin despaired as he knew it could only mean killing his beloved sister. Ishin's Sister never entered the army but dissapointed her family by taking up the trade of a humble engineer, she was hesitant to accept Ishin's offer years ago to come to Daichi but relented to see her beloved brother again. During her stay at the former Imperial City she met a street thief named Yoko and the two quickly fell in love. Ishin returned to the city from his journey to the Amber Temple to discover the two being married beneath a sakura tree. Ishin quickly slew the Samurai Honor Guard ( The Player Characters ) and then murdered his own sister in cold blood. As life left her he looked to Yoko and knew that the betrayal was not sufficient, he had to first take from his sister the thing *she* loved the most before his betrayal would be truly ultimate. However with his sister dead Yoko flew into a rage and fought the Shogun with every dirty trick she knew, forcing the shogun to kill her. Taowu was furious at the Shogun's incompetent failure, yet with his betrayal half-complete the Great Perils were still able to manifest partiallin in Daichi and swiftly swept it away from the Material Plane while creating the eternal Typhoon in the process. Now empowered by the Great Perils, the immortal Storm Shogun has been trapped in a thousand year long cycle of murdering his sister, her lover ( Ireena ), and their four guardian Samurai ( The Player Characters ). On the thousandth anniversery of his failure the Great Peril's hold on Daichi will wane and it will crash back to the Material Plane, destroying the world in the process. To save the world either the Storm Shogun must prevail......or the Samurai must find a way to undo the damage he has caused. Meanwhile in the sleepy Kimkaro Village four humble Samurai are called to the home of the Daimyo who lies on his deathbed, he wishes to see his adoptive daughter Yoko one last time before he passes and has asked you to fetch her........ (Dungeon Masters) General Plot overview: This is how the game is intended to flow and be resolved. It is of course very much up to individual Dungeon Masters to modify this to fit their players and narrative. Obviously no plan or plot survives first contact with Players so adjust as needed. I've woven in plotlines from some other Modules I have to pad out areas I felt needed it. Level 1: The party goes to find Yoko at her home outside the village walls and discovers that an Automata ( Animated Armor ) she has been scavenging parts from has sprung to life, possessed by a ghost screaming about it's Hunger. The ghost is Shinzo the Eater, a spirit astrally projecting from his emaciated corpse in the Death House. After defeating the machine the party visits the Daimyo who offers his blessing for the party to leave the village.....after they help resolve the current issue with the polluted river. The River the village relies on for fish has been dying off with the river goddess refusing to answer prayers. The party spends a week searching without avail but while fishing Yoko finds a talking Koi Fish claiming to be the River Goddess! She needs to pass through the Dragon Gate at the top of a nearby mountain to resume her true form. (Dungeon Master) The " River Goddess Koi " is actually Jin-Hao the daughter of the true river goddess Jin-Zhi, he has been cursed into a koi fish as punishment for her arrogance and hubris in attempting to solve the poisoned river problem herself while her mother was away attending to matters in Heaven. Jin-Hao tried to use advanced magic far beyond the Wyrmling and accidently caused a massive lightning storm ( Nobody died thankfully ). It should be very obvious to the players that the Koi is lying and she will confess the truth under fairly little scrutiny as long as the party is kind. A journey upriver ensues where the party must brave several skill challenges to overcome obstacles, there is always an extremely easy path that merely takes a long time to navigate. Jin-Zhi has engineered this to teach her daughter ( and the players ) patience. Weather the players succeed or fail the skill challenges Jin-Hao comes to realize that taking time and being patient solves more problems more easily than rushing ahead. Try to reflect in roleplay her slowly becoming less of a whiny impatient child and more level headed and patient as the player's progress. Eventually they will come to the Dragon's Gate and pass through where a final challenge awaits, Jin-Zhi in the form of a Tiger. This test is not for her daughter but rather for the Players, to see if they will be worthy of the gift she has for them. After Jin-Zhi takes 40 HP damage ( adjust as needed for party size. ) or the party is reduced to 0 HP ( They cannot die while in the Dragon's Gate and Jin-Zhi will resurrect them if they somehow do. ) she will adopt her true form and do the same to her daughter who will become a Lung Dragon once more. If the party has taken the lessons learned during the journey to heart, encouraged Jin-Hao to do the same, showed honor, teamwork, and courage in the final combat ( weather they won or not ) , and generally been polite she will reward them with a Clam of Patience. Clam of Patience: Wonderous Item, Uncommon - This pearlescent creature produces a single use Pearl of Power once a Week. This pearl is known as a " Fruit of Time " and will crumble to dust when used or when the Clam produces another. Jin-Zhi will offer to allow Jin-Hao a second try at fixing the river but the young dragon has learned her lesson and says she is not ready. Pleased with this Jin-Zhi explains to the party that the River's poisoning is from a dam downstream that is flooding the river with pollutants. She allows the party to ride on her back as far downstream as she is able to go before she reaches the edge of her allotted domain. At this point the party should be Level 2. If the party has grown attatched to Jin-Hao consider allowing them to retain her as an ally for the coming dungeon ( Silver Dragon Wyrmling ), if not grant them Inspiration. Level 2: The party reaches the Dam which has an ancient house built on it in the style of the Invaders. This home belonged to Commander Durst, a cruel and wicked military officer who was " encouraged " to build his home far from any civilization as a form of exile by the Storm Shogun. This house is effectively identical to the Death House, however Rose and Thorn are replaced by Shinzo the Eater, Durst's son who was trapped in the deep watershed of the estate and starved, feeding on the corpses of his family after the Shogun slaughtered them upon his rise to power. ( The Shogun was ignorant of Shinzo's presence as he was hiding at the time. ) Shinzo soon became a horrifying emaciated Oni that is trapped within the building. Use the stats for the Shambling Mound though roleplay the Engulf Ability as Shinzo stuffing people whole into his horrid mouth lined with rows and rows of razor sharp teeth. Consider removing the Animated Armor ( The party already fought an Automata ) and making the Specter non-hostile. Replace the Grick and Mimic with more Asian themed monsters of equal CR.( I use creatures from the " Monsters of the Orient " complete Beastiary. ) Upon completing Death House the Dam begins to crumble and disintigrate, cue the party ( hopefully ) dramatically escaping just as the dam breaks and the poisoned waters are freed. Jin-Zhi in grattitude uses her magic to stop the dam from otherwise causing catastrophic flooding and the River is soon restored to health. The party levels to 3. Level 3: The funeral of the Daimyo was delayed due to the pressing issue of the River. Now as the party returns they may proceed with burying Yoko's adoptive father, the arrangements go off without a hitch. However a mysterious individual is present, a woman in the uniform of the Storm Shogun's tank battalions. This woman is Lieutenant-Commander Mara Strahd's right hand woman ( Rahadin ). This character embodies the role of femme fetale but is more honorable than Rahadin and if she witnesses the Feast of St. Andral's event she can be convinced to betray the Storm Shogun. She explains that she is an agent of the Storm Shogun and has come to declare the new Daimyo of the village. Considering the party single handedly are responsible for the River being cleansed she asks them for their recommendations and honors their requests, she holds relatively little regard for Shang as Daimyo and will only declare him if asked to. ( She dislikes anyone who acts through Proxy so make this clear unless Shang accompanied the party during any stage of the adventure ). She commands the party to go to The Imereial City to inform " the traitors " of the new Daimyo's appointnemt and issues them travel passes if they do not have them already. At this point the game proceeds as normal for Curse of Strahd with reflavorings where needed. Old Bonegrinder is now a Tea Plantation run by three White Haired Witches, Dream Pies are replaced by Dream Tea. The Abbot is now the Maiden who operates a vast shrine at the village of Kreza, where she creates horrid amalgamations of Flesh and Metal. ( Cyborgs replace the Mongrelfolk ) The Imperial City is Vallaki, I allow the option to have a " golden ending " to the questline in which the Jade Emperor is ousted but his wife the Empress enters a political binding agreement ( or marriage if you want ) with Evangaline Pentageist and the Jade City remains free while improving the lives of all citizens. Evangaline keeps the Shogun placated with hidden loyalty without turning the city over to him wholesale. The biggest departure is the removal of the Martikovs. I repalced them with The Troupe, a band of 36 highly skilled Kabuki Play actors and actresses who each own a distinct Mask. The party has hints of these masks throughout the adventure and slowly learn that there is a massive information network of these players. Inspired by the White Lotus from Avatar the Last Airbender, they preserve the story of the true origins of the Storm Shogun and help the party realize that they have been reincarnated dozens of times only to fail, this helps them learn from past mistakes. The second greatest departure is that the Shogun's Sister ( Sergei ) is also reincarnating. She and Yoko have over time retained memories of each other despite their constant reincarnations, though the memories are vague and dreamlike. This is how Yoko has slowly become a skilled engineer while the Shogun's Sister has slowly become a street thief in the Imperial City. The two should meet often throughout the adventure, first as adversaries but slowly growing to be lovers. NOTE: Doing a love story, particularly one that does not involve players, is hard to make engaging. Imply rather than show, have Yoko show up later than usual at night and say how much fun she had while out with a " Friend " etc. etc. I had Yoko be a Kitsune for this adventure and had the Shogun's Sister reincarnate as a Tanuki just for the fun of it but feel free to make them be of any race. You can make the Shogun's Sister Male if you wish, I personally just felt like adding some diversity to the campaign. Wooooo! That was a long journey but we mostly got through it. I know there's alot that's glazed over but that's just part of my DMing style. I don't really write down every possible thing because honestly my players are gonna blow 90% of those plans up before they even make contact with them. If your curious to know more about anything just let me know and hopefully I didnt' bore you too much!
10000000 - A Dungeon Crawling Puzzle RPG Matching Game. Run the dungeon, match tiles and run for as long as you can Achikaps - A simple economic strategy AFK Arena - Sit back and relax in a beautiful world full of epic tales, exciting adventures and an abundance of rewards. Rediscover the fun of mobile gaming again! Alluris - It's basically Choose Your Own Adventure with good graphics and a ton of content/unlockables. Paid offline with a demo. Almost a Hero - Is this idle RPG clicker game Almost A Hero actually any good? (LAUGH) Do chickens fly south in the winter? Of course it is. We have stacks of flawed and slightly brave characters for you to evolve and train. Epic battles where you can get killed as many times as you wish. Beguiling magic to be leaned. Dark secrets to uncover. Lurking evil to be defeated. Look, we’re not going to lie to you, only losers and oddballs fit into our family. A blindfolded archer, a shape shifter who never gets it right, an explosives expert who’s blown himself up more times than he can remember. They’re all here. So if you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be a hero - this is the game for you! Almost A Hero! There’s never a dull moment with these nutters! They put the ‘ooh’ in kooky! Antiyoy - excellent strategic & conquest game, completely free, updates with user content, just great ! Arena Allstars - A turn-based strategy game where you compete with up to seven opponents in an epic real-time battle. If you are looking for a quick matchup, choose Team Co-Op Mode and take down your opponents in less than 10 minutes. Draft your team, execute top-level strategies and strive to be the last person standing! Compete in the monthly tournaments to earn rewards and ascend the ranks in Arena Allstars. Bleentoro - A simple logic game. It has no advertisements or microtransactions. Features: Easy to learn, Campaign and sandbox modes, Simple UI, Smooth animations Buriedbornes - Great turn based old-school RPG where you proceed through a dungeon generally with 100 or more floors. You choose your path between left and right and can face monsters, or get new equipment/skills and experience different events with curses or boons. Many character classes to choose from if you spend a decent amount of time playing and unlocking them. A large part of the game is deciding which equipment or skills to take when looting to replace what you currently have, with some pretty crazy abilities on both. Cado - Rotate the world to fall to the goal in an infinite amount of random generated levels. Find and collect fun and crazy gamemodes and try them out in the extras menu. But don´t touch these red obstacles or you will die a slow and painful death and burn in hell for eternity (and respawn after that). Maybe. Card Crawl - A solitaire-style dungeon crawler game played with a modified deck of standard cards. Clear the dungeon of 54 cards by using item-cards, slaying monsters and managing your limited inventory. On each run, you can use five ability-cards (mini deck building) to gain unique skills. By collecting gold, you can unlock 35 more ability-cards to access new tactics and even higher scores. Card Thief - Move through a deck of cards as a stealthy thief. Sneak in the shadows, extinguish torches, pickpocket guards and steal valuable treasures without getting caught. In your thief hideout you can use your stolen goods to unlock powerful equipment cards. Each heist you can use 3 equipment cards to become a skillful master thief. Cards Keeper - Challenge yourself in a brand new adventure to become the ultimate Keeper of Cards! Write your own legend playing by different characters with unique skills. Fight against dangerous monsters and mystical bosses, upgrade Heroes equipment, power up abilities, find rare artifacts and complete quests. Be sure, there're more indescribable mysteries waiting to be found... Chessplode - Chessplode is modern chess for everyone, it makes chess fun even if you're bad ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, one simply move... can change all game. Clash Royale - Enter the Arena! From the creators of Clash of Clans comes a real-time multiplayer game starring the Royales, your favorite Clash characters and much, much more. Collect and upgrade dozens of cards featuring the Clash of Clans troops, spells and defenses you know and love, as well as the Royales: Princes, Knights, Baby Dragons and more. Knock the enemy King and Princesses from their towers to defeat your opponents and win Trophies, Crowns and glory in the Arena. Form a Clan to share cards and build your very own battle community. CLICK-POCALYPSE II - CLICKPOCALYPSE II is an incremental/idle RPG. Create a party to bravely explore terrible dungeons and mercilessly exterminate every monster in the world. Find items, go up levels, learn spells, upgrade abilities, and earn achievements. Clicker Heroes - The massive hit game from Steam and PC browsers comes to mobile with new features! Clicker Heroes is the idle RPG that started the subgenre! Embark on your quest and begin a simple, yet incredibly fun adventure. Tap to attack monsters, hire and level up heroes to unlock their unique abilities. Slay monsters for gold, find treasure, and explore new worlds. Cookie Clicker - The original idle game where you bake cookies to rule the universe! This is the official Cookie Clicker app by Orteil & Opti. Accept no substitutes! Cryptogram - Decipher the hidden text to reveal the motivational quote! Can you figure out the pattern in each puzzle? You'll be rewarded with a thoughtful message by one of hundreds of different poets, preachers and prophets! Deep Town: Mining Factory - DIG DEEP and uncover the hidden story behind Deep Town and along the way dig deeper and build higher to produce more resources! 🔨🔧⛏ Destiny Child RPG - about collecting girls and create the best decks to fight in ragna raids, worldboss, pve or pvp. Digfender - Beneath your castle an enemy lies waiting. Grab your shovel and prepare your defenses! DOKU - Minimal Material Sudoku - A Sudoku Puzzle app for clean and casual gameplay. Master the classic puzzle game in the comfort of Android's native Material Design language. Doodle Jump - Journey up a sheet of graph paper, perpetually jumping from one platform to the next, picking up jet packs, avoiding black holes, and blasting baddies with nose balls along the way. Laugh with delight as you blow past other players' actual score markers scribbled in the margins. And be warned: this game is insanely addictive! Downwell - Its retro art style is really nice to look at, and the gameplay keeps you coming back. Definitely worth the 3 bucks. It's also available on the Switch for the same price too. Dragalia Lost - The only gacha I'll even consider playing at this point. Even with their generosity I still debate playing because of the addictive nature of gachas. I play very casually now. But this is the best gacha, bar none. And it's portrait when 99% of the rest are landscape. Dragon Ball Legends - Get ready for the all-new Dragon Ball smartphone game that fans around the world have been waiting for! Battle it out in high quality 3D stages with character voicing! Enjoy 1 on 1 action against rival players from across the globe! Dragon QuestV1 - V2 - V3 - V4 - V5 - V6 - V8 - The game that started the legend of DRAGON QUEST is here at last for mobile devices! Discover the RPG that won the hearts of two generations! Enter a fantasy world of sword, magic, and monsters in one standalone package! Enframe - portrait puzzle game (shameless self plug as I am the developer) Farm Punks - Grow hilarious fruit and shoot them down a mountain with your giant cannon! How far can you roll? Take control of each fruit as it rolls down the mountain and try and earn as much cash as you can before it turns to mulch! Feud - Feud is a turn-based strategy game made by some guys you haven't heard of yet. Originally a board game designed by Dave Cordell, it's been polished and tweaked and generally mucked about with to bring it to the glowing screen you're reading this description on. Unless you printed it out? Think of the trees. Please. Fire Emblem Heroes - Nintendo's hit strategy-RPG Fire Emblem series, which has been going strong for more than 25 years, continues its journey on smart devices. Fight battles customized for touch screens and on-the-go play. Summon characters from across the Fire Emblem universe. Develop your Heroes' skills, and take them to new heights. This is your adventure—a Fire Emblem that's like nothing you've seen before! Galaxy Warrior: Alien Attack - Guide your spaceship through the vastness of space destroying menacing aliens and powerful bosses. It would seem that there is nothing to discover in the Solar System. But in the most remote corners of the Universe mankind has come up against cruel resistance. You are the only one who can save the galaxy from an alien race of invaders! Golf Blitz - Great PVP golf game made by the same guys who made Super Stickman Golf 3. Though I wish they'd release a 4th installment, this is a good alternative. Hidden Folks - Search for hidden folks in hand-drawn, interactive, miniature landscapes. Unfurl tent flaps, cut through bushes, slam doors, and poke some crocodiles! Rooooaaaarrrr!!!!! A strip of targets shows you what to look for. Tap a target for a hint, and find enough to unlock the next area. Holedown - Dig deep underground by shooting balls and breaking blocks, traversing your way to the planet cores. With limited shots per round and some blocks fixed firmly to the wall, thoughtfully strategize and aim for maximum impact. Knock down as many blocks as possible while collecting crystals for upgrades and getting deeper beneath the surface. Hoplite - A turn-based strategy game focusing on tactical movement around small maps. Enjoyable if you like roguelikes that require tactical movement and almost puzzle-like combat. Upgrade your abilities or stats as you progress through each floor. Hyper Heroes - TAP, SWIPE & SLING your heroes to send them smashing towards hordes of monsters, unleashing explosive power on impact and looting epic treasures! Just Change Color - it's arcade title, every level takes less than minute to complete (but may depend on skill and level of character you play with). It was designed to kill few minutes on bus, toilet, in bed and similar situations Kittens Game - Kittens Game is a village simulation text game. You manage a village of kittens as they acquire resources and unlock new technologies. Over 30 different buildings, 50+ resources, hundreds of technologies and upgrades. No ads or micro-transactions! Lichess - Chess. Nice turn based game where you can select the speed of games and also have the option for correspondence play/asynchronous play. I also just enjoy trying to solve the puzzles built into the app as they really get you thinking. There's also plenty of stuff in game to help learn in the Study section and being able to analyze your games/openings. Magic The Gathering Puzzle Quest - Magic: The Gathering and the original Match 3 RPG are re-imagined in Magic: The Gathering – Puzzle Quest, an epic deck building, strategy and deep leveling role playing game! Mario Kart - Mario and friends go global in this new Mario Kart as they race around courses inspired by real-world cities in addition to classic Mario Kart courses! These destinations will be featured in tours that rotate every two weeks! In addition to courses based on iconic locales, some of your favorite Mario Kart characters will get variations that incorporate the local flavor of cities featured in the game! Meteorfall: Journeys - Extremely polished card-based roguelike. Classes are each fairly unique, and each run feels great. Mighty Heroes - It's nice to have a card game that can be played in portrait mode. I just grabbed this off the play store myself so I'm not sure how balanced or nuanced the play is yet but I've enjoyed the 2-3 hours I've put into it so far. If you play you'll get serious Hearthstone vibes, but the combat is a bit different as your monsters only attack straight ahead, and don't generally take damage when they attack. Miracle Merchant - In Miracle Merchant you become the apprentice of a master alchemist who creates potions for thirsty customers. By mixing and combining different ingredient cards you create powerful potions based on the needs of your customers. Night of the Full Moon - A stand-alone card game. There is no mandatory beginners guide, no internet connection, no brush map, no ten strokes. The plot will be played in the card battle. Each NPC and BOSS are given a mission and a temperament. Different choices will bring different endings. NYTimes Crossword - Solve and enjoy the same puzzles printed in the daily newspaper in this app built by The New York Times. OK Golf - NEW COURSE! - Llyncapel Ruins, Wales. It's not real golf, but it's OK! OK Golf is the essence of golf, refined to a tee. Play a quick round anywhere, anytime on stylish dioramas inspired by classic golfing destinations. Easy to play, hard to put down, perfect for all ages and handicaps! Onitama - Immerse yourself in an ancient Japanese setting and discover Onitama, an exciting, fast-paced strategy game! Onitama is somewhat reminiscent of chess and rather addictive with its dynamic game mechanic in which warriors face off so their master may win the game. Concentration and luck are the only weapons you'll have at your disposal! You'll need to fully master mind and body to defeat your opponents. Ordia - A one-finger platformer where you play as a new life form taking its first leaps into a strange and hazardous world. Piczle Lines DX - The follow-up to the highly praised prequel Piczle Lines DX offers hours of addictive, mind-bending logic-puzzle fun! Create pictures (PICture puzZLE) by connecting the right dots. With an ever-expanding puzzle mode, as well as a gripping story mode Piczle Lines DX will keep you entertained for hours and hours! Ping Pong King - "I'm Ping Pong King" is a very fun and exciting table tennis game. The goal of this game is to beat 16 rivals and win the crown; these funny stickmen can be world’s best champion, your boss or super grandma. It’s an easy finger-tapping game, simply tap right or left of the screen to control your stickman. Be careful not to miss any ball, or you'll fail this contest! Pizza Boy GBA Pro - **This is Game Boy Advance emulator.... NOT a Game Boy Classic/Color emulator!** The finest emulator of Nintendo Game Boy Advance is here! Pocket City - Build your own city as mayor. Create residential, commercial, and industrial zones. Build parks and recreation spots. Respond to crime and disasters. Watch your city come alive! This is the FREE version of Pocket City. The full version contains more features, including a sandbox mode where everything is unlocked! Get the full version for the best experience! The Battle of Polytopia - An Epic Civilization War - The Battle of Polytopia has begun. Lead your civilization into war in this low poly turn-based strategy game. Adventure into this world of blocks: explore, gather resources, farm, mine ore... Build an empire of epic proportions, train your warriors and send them to fight with armies of other civilizations. A new take on the classic strategy 4X game with beautiful low poly art. Puzzle & Dragons - A gacha based puzzle game, where you build your team of monsters and try to overcome enemies with different abilities in dungeons. There's quite a lot of depth to the game but it can get super grindy if you are trying to keep up with the collaborations and events in game. Think bejeweled but where you can make multiple matches of 3 or more gems in one turn. Each of your monsters has one or more special abilities that can be used, and you have one "leader" with passive abilities and a friend's monster you can bring along that also provides a leader ability. I still come back to this but when I was first into it I couldn't put it down for the longest time until I burned out. It's nice that there is a coop mode as well. Really Bad Chess - Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not? Reigns - Sit on the throne as a benevolent (or malevolent) medieval monarch of the modern age and swipe your royal fingers either left or right to impose your will upon the kingdom. Survive the seemingly never-ending gauntlet of requests from your advisors, peasants, allies, and enemies while maintaining balance between the influential factions of your kingdom. But beware; each decision you make might have implications and unfortunate consequences down the road that could put your reign and family’s dynasty at risk! Rising Empires 2 - 4X fantasy strategy - Rising Empires 2 is an epic 4X turn-based strategy game in a fantasy setting, where six races strive to build the strongest civilization and lay claim to all the land on the Surface and in the Netherworld. Rogue adventure - Rogue Adventure is an incredible fusion of turn-based deckbuilder card game, rpg and roguelike, with an old style game pixel graphic. Discover different worlds, each with unique enemies and dangers, defeat all the bosses to become a hero. Find hundreds of different cards and powerful skills to create your perfect deck. Unlock new classes to try different strategies and have unlimited fun. Each run is unique, choose your path, find enemies, elites, bosses, merchants and treasures, and build your perfect strategy. Shattered Pixel Dungeon - Best roguelike on the phone IMO and one of my favorites. Been playing since '15. ShooMachi - Is It Wrong to Try to Strike a Bonanza by a Shoot 'em up game? Retro JRPG style Bullet hell Shoot'em up game ShooMachi Shop Titans: Epic Idle Crafter, Build & Trade RPG - YOU are the new craftsman in town. Help the heroes in epic battles against fearsome monsters that lurk in the dungeons. Personalize and design your store, build epic armor, swords and gear for the heroes to defend your village. Team up with blacksmiths, tailors, priestesses, carpenters and herbalists to make your business prosper. Trade, sell or auction your products to the highest bidders from other shops. Sell your goods to warriors and even add a surcharge! Siege: Titan Wars - Similar to Clash Royale but much faster based and rather unique as well. I dropped most of my other games besides this one and COD. Skyforce Reloaded - The spirit of the retro arcade shoot‘em ups, captured with modern visuals and design. New entry in the series will keep you entertained with all the things you’ve came to love in scrolling shooters. Meaty explosions, incinerating lasers, collosal bosses and diverse aircrafts to pilot. Star Traders RPG - Play this free RPG before you upgrade to Elite and enjoy hours of turn-based strategy for free! The Trese Brothers never run ads in our games -- enjoy an ad free, permission free experience! Command your officers and crew from the bridge of your star ship to travel, trade, and battle across the immense Star Traders Quadrant. Employ a wide variety of strategies as an Assassin, Bounty Hunter, Trader, Pirate or Smuggler. Can you manage your resources, crew and officers well enough to turn a profit in the complex economy that’s sprawling across the on-going interstellar conflict? Sudoku - The Clean One - Basic Sudoku game. Don't play it all that much anymore, but it was the best of the bunch when I did. Super Fowlst - Great little roguelike that can get quite intense. I usually play more chill games but this one scratches that Action-game itch when I get it. Tap Healer - Healing Touch - A great game that gives you the feeling of playing a healer in an MMO. You'll have npc allies that will tick damage on the enemy as you use your different abilities/talents to keep them alive. If you enjoy playing as a healer in RPGs this game is worth checking out, there's not really a story but as you progress you can actually see what it's like to play a healer in small dungeons or eventually large raids. Tap Titans - The world has been overrun by terrible monsters and titans - It needs a hero to bring peace to the land, and that hero is you! As our leader, you must grab your blade and vanquish the terror. With the help of other warriors you can summon along the way, collect artifacts to make yourself stronger and destroy the dark forces to bring peace to the land. Tap Titans 2 - The battle continues! Grab your sword and gather your heroes to battle mighty Titans in more than 70,000 levels. Enter tournaments, collect pets and become the ultimate sword master. An immersive Idle clicker RPG experience for all. The Titans are back, so join the adventure and tap tap tap to victory! The Greedy Cave - In a land far, far away there once was a vast continent called Milton. It was a land where the power of rule came by the sword and the arcane, where Men who devoted themselves to the blade or to magecraft, could become the finest warriors, wisest wizards or the greatest adventurers. In this land, there are several kingdoms divided by borders but united through history. Countless stories of alliances, upheaval, and moments of peace bedeck this tapestry, but that is a tale for another day. The Quarry - Great resource management game. Where you mine and transport resources to build and mine more. Just like factorio! The Sequence 1 - A unique puzzle game. Build a sequence using special modules to transfer binary cell. Find solutions to solve 72 levels with simple and complex structure. Are you ready for a challenge? The Sequence 2 - This is the next chapter of successful puzzle game [the Sequence]. It features new modules and introduces new game mechanics. Create moving sequences to bring "Binary Unit" to the destination point. Many levels could be solved in different ways, which allows to improve one's results and get into a higher position in leaderboard. Think out of the box to get to the next level! Create unique mind-blowing sequences! Tower Fortress - A mysterious tower has risen! It emits plumes of noxious green smoke from its summit making people sick. Strange creatures infest the tower but if nobody tries to ascend it we will all be doomed! Are you that hero?..... Triple Town - An original puzzle game in which you try to grow the greatest possible city. The larger the city you build, the more points you score. You build your city by matching three or more game-pieces: combine three grasses to make a bush, three bushes to make a tree... until you've filled the board with houses, cathedrals and castles. Along the way, you'll have to outwit giant bears who will try to block your progress. Troll Patrol (Early Access) - A puzzle game which combines the tile-matching and RPG genres by offering a unique experience: Play as the last defender of the threatened troll den where vicious village people and heroes from far away castles and kingdoms knock down your door. Stand firm, take whatever weapon is close and fight them off to get your family and friends to safety. Protect what is rightfully yours, your home, your heritage. They come for blood, for revenge, to still their blood thirst. But you won't allow it. Trueskate - The ultimate skateboarding sim. Twinfold - Twinfold delves into the duplicity of duplication. A roguelike about merging golden idols and squashing angry faces. Manipulate a labyrinthine tableau with the swipe of a finger. Merge and munch on golden idols level up and gain game-changing abilities. Ulala Idle Adventure - Whether you’re sleeping, eating, or taking the subway - come play Ulala: Idle Adventure! Ulala is an idle MMORPG, which brings to life the excitement and adventures of the Stone Age in a fun and social way! Void Tyrant - Build a deck as you battle across the galaxy, gathering powerful cards along the way. With strategy and a bit of luck, you might be able to reclaim the Eyes of Chronos. A single-player adventure, play with 500+ cards and three unique classes to engineer a custom deck to your own design. Rooted in the simple hit-or-stand mechanics of blackjack, Void Tyrant is an easy to understand roguelike with engrossing depth. Battle quirky aliens, disarm traps, upgrade your spaceport, and face off with the sinister Wruut. Ware Wolf Online - Defend your village from the forces of evil or become a werewolf and hunt your friends! Join the mystery game, fight for your team and find the liars among your ranks. Werewolf Online is a multiplayer game for up to 16 players. Each game has different teams such as villagers or werewolves all fighting to be the last team standing. Use special abilities to uncover the roles of other players and convince your fellow players to work with you. You Must Build a Boat - Travel the world in your boat, from the top of the Mage Tower to the bottom of Hell
Greetings, this is dumnem, also known as Theorchero, but you can call me Theo. I'm an experienced Tarkov player and I'm writing this guide to try and assist new Tarkov players learn the game, because it has one hell of a learning curve. We'll be going over a lot of different aspects of this guide, and it is going to be huge. Feel free to digest this in parts. Additionally, this is a work in progress. I will write as much as I can in one Reddit post, but subsequent parts will be in additional comments. Google Docs Version (Note: Link is placeholder atm) Disclaimer: I haven't played Tarkov regularly in a couple months. It's possible there has been extensive changes that I have not kept up with. If there is anything I have gotten wrong or may have omitted, please let me know. This is Primarily directed towards Tarkov Novices. It hopefully includes everything you need to know to be able to go into a Raid equipped for success and to successfully extract with gear. Want to play with friends? Want to have fun and learn Tarkov? Check out my discord here.
Escape from Tarkov is a tactical, realistic, FPS with MMO elements developed by Battlestate Games. It is currently in closed Beta. The game features several maps in which your primary character, your PMC, goes into Raids in order to find and salvage loot and useful equipment to survive and thrive in Tarkov. Death is very punishing in Tarkov. If you die you lose everything you had on you when you die (with the exception of what's inside your Container and your melee weapon) including any equipment you brought with you or what you found inside the Raid. Enemies can be players (PMCs) or 'Scavs' (Scavengers) that are either controlled by AI or by players. Unlike many shooters, AI enemies in Tarkov are deadly - they can and will kill you on sight. It features beautiful and immersive environments, intricate and in-depth weapon modification system, a complex health system, attention to detail with loot placement, and options for combat. Do you want to play slow and stealthy, to avoid fights, or set up a deadly ambush on an unwary foe? Or do you prefer to raw combat, where only your quick wit, placements of shots, and tenaciousness determines who gets out alive? It's your Tarkov. You make the rules.
Tarkov Resources - Useful links
I take no credit or responsibility for any of the content in these links. To the best of my knowledge, these are updated consistently and are accurate, but user beware.
Absolutely fantastic resource. You can visit them here. It is a massive collection of everything that we players have been able to find. They contain trades, user-created maps, lists of ammo, parts, weapons, loot, etc. If it's in the game, it's on the Wiki, somewhere. I highly recommend opening the wiki page for the Map that you plan on raiding in. Factory Customs Woods Shoreline Interchange The Lab ('Labs')
Map Keys and You
Huge collection of all the keys in the game. These are also on the wiki, but this page has them all on one page, and tries to inform the user if the key is worth keeping or using. Check it out here. This section is open to revision. Mention me in a thread (or in the comments below) about a resource and I'll see about adding it here.
Courtesy of Veritas (Send me his reddit username?), It's located here. (Open in new tab.) Contains: Detailed information about: Ammunition, Health, Firearms, Body Armor, Helmets, Rigs & Backpacks, Labs & Quest keys.
Tarkov features several maps - ranging from wide, beautiful vistas to ruined factory districts, to an abandoned laboratory where illegal experiments were being conducted. It is important to learn the maps you intend to play. In order to keep your gear, you must 'extract' at one of your designated exfiltration points. Not all exfils will be active every game, and some are conditional.
To see what extracts are available to you, double tap 'O' to show raid time and your exfils. If it has a ???? it might not be open.
You can load Raids in an OFFLINE status, which allows you to explore the map or practice against AI without losing gear. You do not keep any EXP or gear you find in the OFFLINE Raid, though. To access OFFLINE Raids, head into a Raid normally until you see this screen. Simply check 'Enable OFFLINE mode for this Raid' and you're good to go! You even have a choice on whether or not to add AI. You can also control how many AI enemies spawn, fewer than normal or a great deal more! You can even make Scavs fight each other. (Framerates beware.)
Gate 3 Extract A small, fast-paced map that was primarily created for PvP. Scavs spawn in all the time. Very close quarters, shotguns and SMGs tend to dominate here. PMCs can only access one Exit (Gate 3) without the Factory Exit Key. Good place to go if you need PMC kills as action is pretty much guaranteed. It is recommend NOT to bring in a lot of gear to Factory until you are experienced.
Extract map A fairly large map that was recently expanded. Essentially, players spawn either on 'warehouse' or 'boiler (stacks)' side. If you see a large red warehouse near you (Customs Warehouse), then you spawned on the warehouse side. If you don't, you likely spawned near Boiler side. The location for most quests in the game. Finding geared players here is very easy, so if you are low level attempting to complete early quests (like The Bronze Pocketwatch) it's recommend to AFK in the raid for 20 mins or so, as most players will have moved out of spawns and hit the 'hot' areas already, so it's less likely to be contested, so you may grab your quest item(s) and proceed immediately to Exfil. Contains a Scav Boss, which is a group of scavs with above-average to high-tier gear that has a chance to spawn in Dorms or Gas Station.
Woods Map with Exfil A very large map that is mostly just a large forest, with the occasional bunker, and the Lumber Mill in the center. The Lumber Mill is the primary point of interest, as it contains a couple quest locations and is the primary location to farm Scavs, as Scavs killed on woods is the only known location to find the Arsenal Key, which is the rarest and most valuable key in the game at the moment. Since the map is so large and open, sniper rifles with scopes usually reign king here. You will see a lot of players with Mosin rifles as they are a cheap way to train the Sniper skill (for a quest later on) and are capable of killing geared players and scavs alike. Overall, not usually very populated. An early quest from Prapor sends you here to kill a number of Scavs. A good map to learn the game, as although the loot is not fantastic, you can get experience with how the game runs and operates while fighting AI and possibly getting lucky with a key find off a scav.
Shoreline Map, with Loot, Exfil, etc A very large map, notorious for its FPS hit. Generally speaking, one of the better maps for loot. The primary point of interest is the Resort, but scavs spawn there, and is primarily occupied by hatchlings (players only with hatchet, ie melee weapon) and geared players. Resort has great loot, but requires keys to access most of it. A great map to learn though from new players as the outskirts still contains plenty of loot and combat opportunities with AI scavs. You can hit Villa, Scav Island, Weather station, Docks, etc and come out with a backpack full of valuable gear fairly easily. Location of many quests, including a large quest chain where players are required to kill many, many, scavs on Shoreline.
Detailed map Great, great loot area, but very complex map. Doesn't run very well on old computers. Features a mostly-binary exfil system like Shoreline, but.. kinda worse. Exfil camping is fairly common on this map. Huge map with multiple floors and many many different stores. Communication with teammates is a challenge on this map, but the map is also fantastically detailed. This map features a lot of loot that depends on the kind of store you're in. It's a great place to farm rare barter materials which are valuable to sell on the Flea market or to use for quests. An early quest (from Ragman) sends you here to kill a large amount of Scavs. I'd recommend getting Ragman to level 2 and accepting his quest before going to Interchange, as getting this quest done can take a while as it is and you want all scav kills to count towards progress.
Here's a map. This is a very complex map, so I highly recommend you read the Wiki article and look at all the maps to get an idea of what it's like.
INSURANCE DOES NOT WORK ON THIS MAP.
If you purchase insurance and lose your items on this map, doesn't matter from whom, you will not get them back.
LABS IS NOT LIKE OTHER MAPS. READ THIS SECTION CAREFULLY.
Labs is by far the most lucrative map to play at the moment. You can easily earn several million roubles per hour by killing Raiders (Juiced-up scavs that are ONLY on Labs), looting their equipment, then running to one of the many, many extracts. Extract camping is hard to pull off and pretty much not viable on Labs.
DISCLAIMER: Labs, like much of Tarkov, is under constant development, so issues may be fixed or created without warning. Always check patch notes!
Raiders are the avatars of Death in Tarkov, clad in USEC and BEAR hats, high-end armor, and plenty of firepower to boot. Do not fight Raiders directly. They WILL kill you. Raiders are absolutely broken this patch, and are getting fixed next patch to help fix their exploits of both poor AI and how they're a little.. insane. At the moment, the only way to kill raiders is to camp a hallway, room, or door, and attract the scavs to you, headshotting them the moment they enter before they have a chance to lock onto you. Raiders can see you through and shoot you through surfaces you cannot. This means you have to be very careful when engaging them. They are also often equipped with very high-end ammo, meaning that most faceshields (even Killa helmets) can be useless vs a Scav who spawned with 'big boy' ammo, 7N39. They can shoot your head if it's even slightly visible. They can prone instantly, as they have no ping. If they drop without slumping over, get to cover immediately. Typically, strategies to farm Labs (barring rushing certain rooms for static loot) involve rushing a camp-spot and baiting raiders to your location and taking them out quickly, efficiently, and with no mercy. There are many locations to camp, and since there's so many exfiltrations, it's ultimately up to personal preference. Raiders often spawn with armor (often Troopers and Gen4s) a rig (Sniper or Ana Alpha rig, usually) and a variety helmets and weapons. Always check the ammo the raiders spawn with. If they spawn with ANYTHING other than PS (and 12 gauge) LOOT IT! You can right click their magazine and hit 'unload ammo' to get the ammo without having to grab the mags, which saves space. BS, BT, BP, 7N39, etc can be worth several hundred roubles a round on the market. They're extremely valuable. Additionally, Raiders spawn IFAKS, Morphine, and grenades (F-1 & Flashbangs (Zarya)) with regularity. They can also spawn with random consumables and large clumps of cash in their pockets as well. They can spawn several backpacks, most of them being rather large, if relatively uncommon. Additionally, Raiders can have American names, breach doors, and mumble as if they are a USEC PMC because some of the Raiders are actually USECs. You will learn with experience what the Scavs will or will not say.
Experience Farming on Labs
Labs is perhaps the best place to farm experience on the current patch. Killing a Raider with a headshot awards 1100 Experience. This does not include any looting, inspection (searching bodies), examine, streak, or other experience. Killing a large sequence of Raiders gives additional bonus experience in the form of Streak rewards, usually 100 bonus exp per additional kill. Surviving the raid multiplies all of these sources of experience by 1.5x
Changes coming to Labs
Disclaimer: I am not a BSG developer or employee. This is what I have seen on this subreddit and heard elsewhere. Some might be purely rumor, but other points are confirmed by Nikita. Labs is currently undergoing an overhaul. At the moment, you require consumable Keycards to enter Labs, which may be purchased from Therapist or bartered Mechanic in exchange for 1 Bitcoin starting at Loyalty Level II. They can also be found in drawers and jackets. Scavs can drop permanent keycards that replace most keys used in the previous iteration of labs. The full extent of the changes coming is not known. Remember, you can load a map in OFFLINE mode to practice against bots or to learn the map without fear of losing gear.
Tarkov's Health System
Tarkov Wiki Article Tarkov has a very advanced health system, and while it might seem overwhelming at first, you'll get the hang of it rather quickly. It features a very wide variety of effects and injury, including hydration, energy, blood pressure, blood loss, fractures, contusion, intoxication, exhaustion, tremors and more. Not all of the Health System is implemented yet. Expect changes! Your character (PMC, or otherwise) has a combined Health of 435. Each of his limbs have separate health. Taking damage to a limb that reduces it to 0 'blacks' that limb. Blacked limbs are a problem. They greatly impair the activities your PMC performs, and taking damage in a blacked limb amplifies the damage by a multiplier and spreads that damage among your other non-black limbs equally. You cannot heal a blacked limb. Notes:Bloodloss applies damage to the affected limb and can be spread like other damage to a blacked limb. Treat immediately. Also causes significant dehydration! Losing a limb applies additional effects. Fractures also apply these effects but not the damage amplification (Except for damage if running on fractured leg.) Dehydration is what happens when your Hydration level reaches 0. You can view your Hydration level in your gear page, at the bottom left. Becoming dehydrated is extremely bad. You take constant damage. Taking dehydration damage can kill you if you have a black chest or head. Head/Chest: Bullet damage resulting in losing your head or chest is instant death. Note: Bloodloss resulting in your Head/Chest being black does not result in death, but any damage to them beyond that point will! A back chest will causes you to cough (much like your stomach!) Painkillers: Prevents coughing that comes from your chest. Doesn't help otherwise. Stomach: Massively increased rate of dehydration and energy loss. You must find liquids or exit the Raid soon. Additionally, your PMC will cough sputter loudly, attracting attention. Painkillers: Significantly reduces the frequency and volume of the coughs. Arms: Makes activities like searching, reloading, etc, take additional time, as well as adding a sway, reducing accuracy. Arms have a .7x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Reduces sway, removes debuff Pain. Legs: Blacked legs cause your PMC to stumble and be unable to run. Blacked legs have a 1x damage multiplier. Painkillers: Allows you to walk at full speed and to run. WARNING: Running while your legs are blacked or fractured WILL DAMAGE YOU.
Tarkov features many health items - 'Aid' items, which can be used to restore your characters health and to fix ailments or injuries he receives as the result of combat or mishaps. The two most important health conditions to consider are bloodloss and fractures, which have both been covered above. Some food items may have ancillary effects, such as losing hydration. Since in the current patch the only ailments to worry about are bleeding and fractures, it changes which health items are most necessary. We'll go over them below.
Medical Items on Wiki AI-2 medkit The newb's medical kit. You receive several of these when you start Tarkov - they'll already be in your stash. Available from Level I Therapist, they are cheap and effective way of healing early in the game. They will not stop bloodloss. Because of this, you also need to bring bandages or a higher-grade medical kit. Affectionately called 'little cheeses' by the Tarkov community. Using it takes 2 seconds, and because of how cheap it is, it's often brought in by higher level players to supplement their healing without draining their main kit (which is capable of healing bloodloss or sometimes fractures). Due to its short use time, it's often very useful during combat as you can take cover and quickly recover damage taken to a vital limb. Bandages The newb's bloodloss solution. Available from Therapist at Level I. A better version, the Army Bandage is available at Level II, after a quest. Mostly obsolete after unlocking the Car Medical kit. Activating takes 4 seconds, and removes bloodloss to one limb. Splint The newb's solution to fractures. Cheap, takes five seconds to use, and takes up 1 slot. Not generally recommended to take because fractures effects can be greatly mitigated with the use of Painkillers. Available from Therapist at Level I, no quest needed. Car Medical Kit The newb's first real medical solution. Available LL1 as a barter (2 Duct Tape) and available for Roubles after completing Therapist's second quest. Has a larger health pool than AI-2's (220, vs AI-2's 100), and removes bloodloss. Takes up a 1x2 slot, so requires to be placed in a tactical rig in order to be used effectively. Cheap and fairly efficient, takes a standard 4 seconds to use. Rendered effectively obsolete when the Salewa is unlocked. Salewa Good medkit for use in mid and end-game. Contains 400 total health and can remove bloodloss. Relatively expensive at 13k roubles per kit, though. Same size as the Car medical kit, so requires a tactical rig to use effectively. Because Tarkov does not currently have effects like Toxication in the game at the moment, this kit is favored by most players who go into a raid with at least a moderate level of gear. Unlocked at Therapist Level II after completing a level 10 Prapor quest, Postman Pat Part II. IFAK Fantastic medical kit, and is the one preferred by most players. Features 300 health and the ability to remove bloodloss and a host of other negative effects that are not yet implemented into the game. It does not, however, remove fractures. Taking up only a single slot, it is favored by players in all stages of gear, and it is recommend to carry one in your Secure Container in case of emergencies. Is available at Therapist Level II for a barter (Sugar + Sodium), and may be purchased for Roubles at Level III after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part I. It is a fairly expensive kit, but due to its durability, its small size, and ability to remove bloodloss, it is a very common medical item used by players of all levels. Grizzly The 'big daddy' medical kit, boasting an impressive total health resource of 1800. It is also a very large kit, taking up 4 slots (2x2) - in order to be able to use this quickly, it would require specialized tactical rigs that feature a 2x2 slot. It removes all negative effects (some costing HP resource), including fractures. Used by highly-geared players who intend on staying in raids for an extended period of time, or by players with additional Secure Container space available in case of emergencies. It is available for barter at Therapist Level II, and purchase at Therapist Level 4.
Using any of these items results in your character being 'On Painkillers' which allows you to sprint on fractured and blacked legs, as well as reducing effects of fractures and blacked limbs, and removing the debuff Pain. Essentially, the only difference between most of these items are the speed of use, price, availability, and duration of the effect. Analgin Painkillers The holy grail of pain medication. With the recent changes, "Painkillers" now have 4 total uses, not 1. The total duration is now greater than Morphine and less risk of waste. Takes a short time to use, and is available from Therapist Level 1 for both barter and Roubles. Morphine Quick application of painkillers. Favored by some highly geared players as it has greater usability in combat then it's typical counterpart, Painkillers. Has a longer duration, but only one use. Is required for a fairly early Therapist (and a late Peacekeeper) Quest, so it is recommend to hoard 10 of them, then sell the rest unless you intend on using them. They are worth a good amount to Therapist and take up little space so they are a valuable loot item. Available from Therapist for Roubles at Level 4, after completing Healthcare Privacy, Part 3. Augmentin Basically a cheaper Morphine. One use, 260s. Not recommended over Painkillers due to its cost. No current barter for this item, so usually it's just a fairly expensive, small loot item to sell to Therapist when found. Ibuprofen Powerful painkiller. Lasts 600 seconds and has 12 uses. However, it is not recommended to use it as a Painkiller. It is very valuable because it cannot be purchased from Dealers, it must be found, and it is a barter component to late-game containers, the Keytool and THICC Items Case. Vaseline Powerful medical item. Cannot be purchased from dealers. Has 10 uses. Removes Pain. Golden Star Balm Fairly useful medical item. It can remove Pain and Contusion (not a big deal of a debuff, goes away on its own shortly) and provides a small bonus to hydration and energy. However, because Hydration is usually easy to restore (Liquids are easy to find as 'common' or 'trash' tier loot), and Energy at the moment can't run to 0 within current Raid timers, it is Recommended to just to sell to Therapist as a Loot item.
Medical Injectors are not covered here. Essentially, they are powerful but niche items with strong side effects. Most recommended use is to store them in your Secure Container and sell them either on the Flea Market or to Therapist for roubles.
To be able to Hotkey a medicine item, they must be in a tactical rig or your pockets.
Tarkov's Quest, Progression, and Experience Systems
Tarkov features a very immersive progression system where your main character (PMC) is going into raids to acquire loot - goods that can be sold for a profit to other players, to Dealers (NPC Merchants), or used to fulfill quest requirements in order to complete them and receive your rewards. Additionally, your main character will increase their prowess in a number of skills, which increases everything from how much they can run, increases the ease of which recoil can be controlled, and even how far you can throw grenades. These are referred to 'soft skills.' Additionally, your PMC is assigned a Level. You can increase your Level by earning Experience - which is rewarded by performing numerous tasks throughout the Raid, completing quests, examining new items, killing other players and Scavs, etc. Successfully extracting from a raid will increase the experience you earn from the raid via a multiplier. Increasing your PMC's level will allow you to complete additional quests, which increases your Reputation with certain Dealers (and may reduce your Reputation with others) allowing you access to better equipment to purchase. Additionally, completing quests will often reward you with large sums of currency and sometimes equipment, and certain quests unlock items for purchase from that dealer. A Dealer's arsenal of available weapons, ammo, mods, medication, containers, and etc to purchase by you is determined by their Loyalty Level - or LL, for short. Certain Dealers specialize in different kinds of equipment, and they will pay different rates or straight up not buy particular items. In a future release, eventually Dealers will offer discounts to the player based off their Loyalty Level. Article on Dealers
Increasing Loyalty Level
Increasing your Trader's loyalty level is extremely important to your progression and overall success in Tarkov. Being able to purchase better Ammo and Equipment is essential to being able to fight other players and secure their loot for your own. Owning Prepare for Escape and Edge of Darkness (EoD) editions of Escape from Tarkov will increase your starting Reputations with Traders. It is unclear if this change will stay after the game's full release. Typically though, you need three things to increase your Trader's level.
This is accomplished via quests. Completing a quest will reward you with an increase in the quest givers' reputation, sometimes an increase in another trader's reputation, and sometimes will reduce the Reputation of another trader. Not all Traders need a certain level of Reputation to increase their loyalty Level to II. Peacekeeper and Ragman, for example, just need you to spend a certain amount of money with them.
Character Level and Experience Gain
The primary gate behind your trade level (and thus your overall economy and gear leverage) is your Character Level. You increase this by gaining Experience. The easiest way to gain experience is to Loot high value areas, fight players, and kill scavs while completing quests. Generally speaking, your level will advance as you play the game at a moderate pace. One way to farm experience though is to avoid looting all-together and just focus on killing a large number of scavs from a safe distance, after learning where they tend to spawn on any given map. This patch however, labs is fantastic for experience gain. (See above.) Another strategy (albeit one that takes longer) is to loot everything, then drop what you don't want. You gain experience for finding items and picking them up, so picking them up to drop them is technically the best way to gain the most exp per kill. You can receive additional bonuses to Experience earned. Successfully extracting will increase your experience by a multiplier, typically 1.5x the experience gained during the raid, escaping also rewards a 300 exp Escape bonus which is added to your total before the multiplier is applied. You can also receive experience bonuses for Exploration, so visiting different parts of the map will reward you with sums of experience, usually 100 to 300 or so. Killing multiple enemies in a row will reward you with Streaks, whose rewards increase as you get more kills. Getting a kill with a Headshot also significantly improves experience gain from kills. You also receive a (very small) bonus when you survive consecutive raids. Note: Completing a Raid too early (via extraction) will cause you to receive a Run-Through status, which reduces experience earned in that raid by 50%. Most Quests require you to be a certain level to unlock, and upon completion rewards you with a lot of exp and usually the ability to purchase specific equipment.
This is pretty self-explanatory. As mentioned above, Peacekeeper and Ragman can be increased easily just be selling and buying from them. If you need to artifically inflate the amount spent, a good idea is to purchase a large amount of cheap items from them and sell them back to the Trader. You still take a significant loss, usually around 50-60% per purchase, but since the money spent counts both items sold to the vendor and purchases, you get about 140-150% credit per item at about half the cost.
Not all dealers pay the same for certain items. It is important to note that a lot of this is my personal experience, and prices can fluctuate as the Developers may change them for any reason. Use your own common sense and check various dealers before selling particularly lucrative items.
Sells AKs, Magazines, many different Ammo types, Grenades, and weapon modifications. I don't tend to sell to him very often, as he doesn't pay the highest for any items that I have personally seen and because you tend to buy most Ammo and mags from him it's not a particular issue to level him up with money spent.
Sells medical supplies, food and drink, and storage cases, which are items that effectively increase the size of your stash because they have more space inside than they take up. Most storage items are restricted to certain item types. Pays most for items like Keys, Statues, Rolers, Bitcoin, etc. Many of these items should be sold on the market instead of to her, but often times it's not worth the hassle.
Pays least for items, sells items for more than other Dealers. Items other players have sold will appear here. Only sell items to Fence that other dealers will not take! Basically a placeholder for an expanded Market.
Sells various weapons, mods, ammo, Euros, and containers. Pays most for items like Armor, backpacks, headgear, facemasks, flashlights, sights, etc. It is important to note, that Skier will not buy Weapons or most Mods. That means for things like flashlights, you have to take the flashlights/sights off the mount or rail in order for him to buy them, but he pays the best.
Deals entirely in Western equipment, UN armor, helmets, etc. Will buy most items, but will pay USD for them. Deals entirely in USD. One good way to get his money spent requirement is just to buy USD, which is used for a later quest from Skier, which unlocks his quest chain. He has a lot of good deals, experiment for yourself. At the moment his MP5 for 10 'bars' knives (scav knives) is an exceptionally good deal and easy to accomplish for new players.
Sells mostly completed weapons with various modifications and unique names, and mods. Sells magazines and some ammo. Offers containers as you progress. His quests are easy to complete, but often are money dumps in exchange for large sums of EXP more than anything else. Pays the most for modifications (except for sights and suppressors) and stripped guns.
Sells backpacks, armor, tactical vests, and helmets mostly. Offers aesthetic clothing. Can obtain LL2 by just purchasing from him, does not require reputation. In fact, his first quest tasks you with that very objective. As far as I can see, he does not pay the most for any items in particular. But he is a very useful merchant once you have him at level 2. He will sell Scav Backpacks, which are an extremely efficient backpack to use as it's fairly large but very cheap.
Rule of Thumb for selling items at most value
Weapons: Strip the weapon! Take apart ALL pieces of it (including gas tubes, separating flashlights from ring mounts, etc), sell what you can to Skier. For the rest, sell to Mechanic. Keys, Food, Medical Items, Statues, Bitcoin, Rolers, etc: Therapist or the Market. For items like this, ALWAYS check the Market first! A lot of these kinds of items are in valuable trades or are required for quests; this means that other players are often willing to pay more for them, above trader prices.
Continued below in a comment, due to character limit.
Occupation: Senior Data Analyst Industry: Media Age: 32 Location: Brooklyn, NY Salary: $125,000 + discretionary annual bonus Paycheck Amount (Weekly): $1,445 Gender Identity: Non-Binary (AFAB - generally presenting as a woman) Monthly Expenses (my portion) Rent: $1,100 Transit: $80 (pre-tax) Utilities: $50-80 (varies by time of year) Internet: $0 (spouse pays) Phone: $0 (spouse pays) Gym: $27 Therapy: $700 (will go down once deductible is hit) Health/Dental/Vision Insurance + FSA: $690 (pre-tax: I cover both of us) Renters’ & Non-Owner Car Insurance: $0 (spouse pays) 401(k): $0 (awaiting eligibility - my company gives 2% match, so minimum will be 4%. It will most likely be a much higher percentage once my spouse starts work and I can stop paying benefits.) Netflix: $0 (spouse pays) Spotify: $0 (spouse pays) Hulu+: $44.99 Student Loans: $300 Savings Accounts (Emergency, Personal Care/Misc, Annual Renewals, Travel & Gifts): $1280 (my portion) Other Debt Payments (we have some 0% credit cards and built a payment schedule accordingly): $860 (my portion) Investments: ~$25 (I use Acorns, a spare change investing app, to invest a modest amount a little at a time. My brokerage activities are severely limited due to my spouse’s occupation, so this is one of the few ways I can invest without a fancier, more expensive account.) Quick Note on Income & Expenses: I am married, switched jobs about a month ago, and my spouse is transitioning to a new job (at a new company) in the next few weeks. We are moving to a more jointly-allocated model, as our incomes will be now more equal (excluding bonuses). This diary is based on our current situation, which is more individualized (I pay some bills, SO pays others) with a split of joint discretionary expenses. Maybe I’ll do another MD once we’re fully on the new system.
7:30 a.m. — This week starts with a chiropractor appointment for some chronic back issues. I wake up, quickly get myself together, and get ready to head out. 8:00 a.m. — After realizing the subway will take almost an hour to get there (shout out to train delays and long walks), I order a shared Lyft. $16.21 8:30 a.m. — Turns out my options were either be quite a bit early or be late. I pop in somewhere nearby for a cold brew to wake up and kill a few minutes. $5.10 9:30 a.m. — I finish at the chiropractor and pay. This is my first visit, so it’s a bit more than the normal cost. Out of network seems to be pretty common for specialists in NYC, so I’m used to the “pay and get reimbursed” model. $149 9:45 a.m. — I decide to work from home for the rest of the day and don’t have much on my plate, so I hop the subway back. $2.75 10:30 a.m. — I exit the subway and walk the 10 blocks or so back to my apartment. On the way, I stop at the grocery store for a gallon jug of water (post-treatment hydration motivation), some kombucha, and a Mexican Coca-Cola (treats). $6.24 1:30 p.m. — I’ve been using intermittent fasting to help my snacking habits, so I take a work break and end my fast with some grilled chicken salad I meal prepped previously. I enjoy the soda I bought earlier with lunch and get back to work. 5:15 p.m. — I finish my work a little early and decide to watch a couple of episodes of The Good Fight. I pay for the modest subscription to CBS All Access (which is on sale), which I set a reminder to cancel within the next month. It works out to be cheaper than renting an episode or a season from Amazon. $2.99 7:00 p.m. — My SO gets home and we discuss dinner. I decide I’m not especially hungry, so I make some quick scrambled egg whites with a Laughing Cow wedge and some frozen veggies. 8:00 p.m. — I freshen up and head out to my weekly therapy appointment, which requires a subway ride. $2.75 9:45 p.m. — I finish my appointment and start to make the journey home. The office bills my insurance and invoices me after processing, so I don’t have any payments this week. I usually walk a few blocks longer to the express stop because of nightly service changes (and also it clears my head). I reach the subway and hop on the train. $2.75 11:00 p.m. — After a few train delays and service switches, I finally get back to Brooklyn. I finish my podcast episode as I get ready to head to bed. Daily Total: $187.79
8 a.m. — I wake up and get ready for work. Breakfast is the meal I typically skip, so it’ll be coffee when I get into the office. 9 a.m. — I grab all of my stuff and head out the door. I hop on the subway and head into the office. I pay per ride because with how often I work remotely, the unlimited card is not worth it. $2.75 9:45 a.m. — My commute in is quick today, and I stop at the office kitchen to pour myself some iced coffee and put away my packed food. I brought another grilled chicken salad and some cottage cheese with frozen strawberries. 11:45 a.m. — I take a walk with a friend while he grabs salad at Sweetgreen. We catch up on office gossip as we move around the neighborhood. I eat my salad at my desk when we get back. 1 p.m. — It’s a light day of work, so I do some administrative tasks. I have a motorcycle permit with pipe dreams of owning a Vespa someday, so I decide that learning to ride on the street with an electric scooter is a good place to start. I end up signing up for a Revel account (local scooter-share) and book a free starter lesson. $20.69 3 p.m. — I eat my cottage cheese at my desk and grab a seltzer - the free snacks at work are a godsend. While I’m snacking I pay our gas bill. $20.93 5:45 p.m. — I take advantage of the light week and head out a bit early to meet an old colleague for catch-up drinks. I grab a Clif bar from the office pantry and hop on the subway. $2.75 8:15 p.m. — After a few beers, we realize we unwittingly ended up at trivia night and decide to stick around to play. This is going to be a longer night than I expected, but here we are. 11:00pm: We go to settle up, and my friend graciously covers the tab as a thank you for some advice I gave. I hazily wandered to McDonald’s for some chicken nuggets and fries and got a Lyft the rest of the way home, where I promptly pass out. $7.28 for food + $3.15 for the cab Daily Total: $57.55
4 a.m. — I wake up feeling the full weight of my choices. After realizing what time it is, I head to the kitchen, mix up some seltzer and a Nuun tablet, and use it to chase a Dramamine. I then try to fall back asleep with moderate success. 9 a.m. — I had already planned to work from home today, so I squint at my phone and check my emails in bed. What I planned to get done is still in a holding pattern with some folks who need to provide feedback, so I get yet another easy day. 1 p.m. — After fielding some questions and editing a few documents, I decide to eat some lunch. Luckily I have some food in the house (and am not particularly hungry), so I nosh on some fruit and yogurt. 6 p.m. — I decide I’m up for civilization and pay my friend for tonight’s sound bath. She has been hosting them on her rooftop as part of her expanding restorative yoga practice, and I find it’s a really nice way to relax. $25 6:50 p.m. — I head out the door for the sound bath. It’s about 30 minutes away on foot, and thankfully it’s cooled down enough to take a long walk. 9:00 p.m. — Feeling refreshed and decidedly more human, I walk back home. My body decides now is a great time to be hungry, so I stop at (a different) McDonald’s for some more chicken nuggets and a strawberry sundae. I try not to make this a regular occurrence, but here we are. $7.28 10:30 p.m. — While winding down before bed, I realize my investment withdrawal hit my account today. I use a spare change app, so it’s a minor amount. $6.57 Daily Total: $38.85
9 a.m. — Another day, another subway ride to the office. $2.75 2 p.m. — After surviving a morning of meetings and wavering for an hour about what I wanted for lunch, I decided on a Chipotle salad bowl from my favorite macro cheat sheet. I try to bring my lunch, butMy deskmate then offered me some LeVain cookie before he sent it off to the masses (score!). $9.74 6:30 p.m. — My office friends have a standing happy hour on Thursdays, and after some Slack negotiations we decide on a more low-key evening. I stay for two beers before heading home. $10.71 for drinks + $2.75 for the subway 8 p.m. — The heat is really killing my appetite this week, so I have another dinner of egg whites + laughing cow and seasoning. After cleaning up I have a Trader Joe’s frozen lemon bar for dessert. Between the weather, my period, and general life choices I’ve been feeling tired so I decide to hang in tonight, watching tv and doing laundry. My SO and I are on somewhat of conflicting schedules this week, so he’s out with friends while I have some time alone. 10:45 p.m. — I check my Mint before bed and notice that a Kickstarter I backed a while ago has been funded. In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have spent the money, but here we are. My spending habits, much like my eating habits, took a nosedive while I was burning out hard at my old job. I go to bed knowing I’m going in a better direction. $199 Daily Total: $224.95
9 a.m. — I planned to work from home today, so I stretch and fire up my computer. My SO is officially on funemployment while he transitions to his new job, so he takes a walk to grab some groceries and some coffee from Blue Bottle. I’ve been curious about the coffee tonics I’ve been hearing so much about, so I request one. $13.50 for my share or groceries + $5 for a coffee tonic 5:45 p.m. — I have a productive day, both at home and with work. My friend has been asking to come check out my neighborhood (she lives in NJ), so I meet her for a glass of wine. She treats, and we stop at the grocery store on the way back to get some cheeses, meats, and breads for our dinner at my place. $29 10:30 p.m. — After a few hours of singing show tunes and planning aspirational field trips (we’re obviously very cool), my friend heads back to NJ and I head to bed. It’s been a much more active week than usual! Daily Total: $47.50
9:30 a.m. — I slept like a rock, and wake up to find some breakfast tacos and iced coffee, courtesy of my SO. We tend to split the cost for these adventures, which is fine by me because I am fed and caffeinated. $5 11 a.m. — SO and I spend the morning reading and catching up after a busy week. We decide to get a few to-dos accomplished before he leaves for an in-town bachelor party. 3 p.m. — SO leaves and I have the house to myself. I keep doing laundry and relax with old episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It’s a super hot day, so being inside is perfectly okay. 9 p.m. — I find myself quite tired despite having a pretty sedentary day and head to bed early. Daily Total: $5
8:30 a.m. — I’m up fairly early and remember that we blocked today off as a beach day! 10:45 a.m. — We get a slow start to the day, heading down to the local hardware store to procure a beach umbrella. The sun has been aggressive lately and we don’t have the desire to bring our tent. We snag an umbrella, as well as some miscellaneous cleaning products. Naturally, we stop for a coffee on the way back to the apartment. We’re generally more diligent about making iced coffee at home, but for some reason we’ve been missing the mark this week. $5 for coffee + $27.08 for my share of the hardware store order 12:45 p.m. — After a few more errands at home, getting ready, and eating some quick lunch, we head to the beach! Luckily we live near a subway to Coney Island (and it’s running without issues!), so we hop on. $2.75 1:30 p.m. — We made it! Finally! I have been so pumped for a beach day since meeting some friends in Atlantic City last month. We get set up and crack open two of the seltzers we packed for the trip. Ahh, sun and sand. 4:30 p.m. — We run out of provisions and decide to move ourselves indoors. We head to the Coney Island Brewery, which I’ve long been planning to visit. I am a homebrewer and my SO is studying to be a beer competition judge, so visiting breweries is one of our hobbies. We have flights and buy some swag. $43.50 6:30 p.m. — We both decide we’re craving burgers, and without a grill the best option is to head somewhere in the neighborhood. We choose a place and get on the subway home, but not before stopping for cotton candy (which I’ve been craving since we saw the Philharmonic in the park). I save it to enjoy for dessert. $2.75 for the subway + $3.25 for cotton candy 7:15 p.m. — We get to our dinner spot and order some burgers. We splurge on a shared side order of tots - worth it. $30.92 8:15 p.m. — We get home, shower, and decide to unwind for a bit before calling it a night. 9:30 p.m. — I have an early morning chiropractor appointment on Monday, so I turn in early. SO stays up to plot his funemployment week. Daily Total: $115.25 The Breakdown: Food & Drink: $138.02 Entertainment (brewery, scooter membership, tv): $67.18 Home & Health (Chiro, cleaning supplies, sound bath, gas bill): $222.01 Clothes & Beauty: $0 Transport (Subway + Cabs): $44.11 Other (Investment + Kickstarter): $205.57 Weekly Total: $676.89
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