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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 5:50 pm 
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Overall, Children of the Sky looks like a great product! I've skimmed it all and read some sections in detail, and I'm excited to read the rest. The book has great Kio and Western Lands material, and it has interesting flavor and some useful rules. It is a must-have for anyone playing a kio character or any PC from the League of Princes. It's also good for anyone who likes Arcanis story, history, and flavor. With mechanics, some spells are useful to non-Kio.

val Holryn (Eric Gorman) wrote:
On balance, highly favorable. [...] I give the book an A-.

I agree with Eric's rating of A-. On a cruder scale, I'd say two thumbs up.

val Holryn wrote:
Why do the val'Sungha (IMO strangely) use elder magic when everyone else (including other "standard" Kio) uses eldritch? Do the progenitor "True" Kio use elder?

Rumor has it that the True Kio do use Elder magic. I infer that kio/human hybrids can't use elder (only eldritch) sorcery, whereas kio/val get the elder kick. Genetics and celestial nature?

val Holryn wrote:
Where is House N'sai? There's been ONE Kio family that has repeatedly appeared in the modules set in Metra and the League, but there's not a peep of them anywhere.

The lack of House N'sai bothered me, too, but I respect Henry for being honest that he forgot them.

val Holryn wrote:
Where are the fallen Kio Wraith lords? After the BI at Seremas I feel like we should have something on them.

I had hoped for at least a paragraph on the Kion Wraith Lords, too, though at least Henry previously explained why he didn't include them.

Some of the things that bothered Eric Gorman (whom I'm citing a lot here) don't bother me. For example, I focused on this being a book about the Kio, not the League of Princes.

val Holryn wrote:
I don't like retcons in general.


Although I'm not a fan of retcons, I do respect PCI for making them solidly. Lots of whimsical retcons are annoying, but so is maintaining the past rules for the sake of continuity when there is good reason to change something. This book has some retcons. Some of them align well with the recent Arcanis 5e book (e.g., Kio generally don't worship the Pantheon of Man, and those few who do are pariahs), while others are new details. I like just making a clean, clear statement of retcon and moving on. (These will require mention in the Legends of Arcanis campaign guide since not all players own Children of the Sky.)

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Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 24, 2018 6:03 pm 
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While looking at both the story and the game mechanics of Children of the Sky, I noticed one inconsistency. This doesn't take away from the overall high quality of the book, though.

The rules on "Magic of the Kio" (pp.56+) lists Heritage psionic spells for the val'Sungha. In contrast, the story of "The val'Sunha" on p.21 says, "this explains why the val'Sungha is the only val family that does not have a unique and dedicated discipline of psionics, because not enough time has passed to properly develop one."

An in-game explanation can be simply that the flavor text is an in-world writing, and the in-world author is either mistaken or wrote that material before the val'Sungha developed their psionic heritage. The Arcanis tradition of in-world authors who have biases and make mistakes (intentionally from the perspective of the real-world author) dates back to the original Codex Arcanis.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 3:51 am 
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Dante wrote:
The rules on "Magic of the Kio" (pp.56+) lists Heritage psionic spells for the val'Sungha. In contrast, the story of "The val'Sunha" on p.21 says, "this explains why the val'Sungha is the only val family that does not have a unique and dedicated discipline of psionics, because not enough time has passed to properly develop one."


I noticed that inconsistence too. I had similar thoughts to you. That it was a possibly a textural error. Or that it was true at one point but is no longer true. (It seems clear to me as a rules matter that a val'Sungha psion would have access to the listed heritage spells.) Its also possible that they (the val'Sungha) don't advertise the fact that they have a heritage tradition to outsiders as well...

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. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:45 am 
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Hi Cody,

The Shadow Towns pay heavy tributes (twice!) and still make money hand over fist. For that to work I believe there has to be something very special going on. Not even Censure or Savonna get written up of producing such staggering wealth. To me that means there is something very special going on. Maybe like modern Hong Kong.

When I look at the real world there are only two variations of spectacular trading hubs. (1) The city produces something extraordinarily valuable (incense, spices, precious materials) or (2) they sit on important real estates on a major trade route.

I would expect to see one or the other in the Shadow Towns but I don't.

Nierite wrote:
To address your "how are the Shadow Towns rich" comment, I ask you to look at the history of places like Samarkand in our world. For the most part, the cities of Central Asia produced nothing of consequence, being in arid areas and on the Steppes.


This is a perfect example of a well located city on a huge trade route! But I note that Samarkand lived and "died" by the trade route. When the Silk road dried up, so did Samarkand. It's still a big city in modern day Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is Not a rich country. And Samarkand is no longer longer an internationally "happening" city.

If there was a huge trade route between Coryan and the Western Lands then this model could explain the wealth of the Shadow Towns. But the Shadow Towns don't seem to fit this model because there is no mention of/or obvious trade route...certainly I don't see the Kio exporting or importing lots of Coryani goods. (perhaps there might be something between Seremas and Coryan using the Shadow Towns as intermediaries)

The other option is a local resource that is highly sought that people will travel halfway around the world to get.

As written the Shadow Towns ALSO lack such a resource. Well crafted goods or boutique agricultural produces are certainly valuable. But don't make sense as a foundation of such extreme wealth. In addition to the potential prices being under cut by local substitutes elsewhere, the artisans or farmers could theoretically relocated to Plexus and sell their goods on greater margins. They would be closer to the major markets (and the Corvis River), be free of pirates, and skip out of paying tribute twice! Whatever the taxes in Plexus, that has to be a better financial deal.

Nierite wrote:
In the case of the Shadow Towns, they are five of the largest ports in the area, and servicing the Sea of Coryan trade. They are closer to Plexus than Metra and Liveh which makes them attractive for Plexan merchants, and because they are not officially controlled by the kio are less (outwardly) antagonisitic to Coryani merchants. ...snip... they are able to cut lucrative deals with both groups, and probably can undercut even cities like Liveh and Metra as attractive markets.


I agree that they are five good ports and have good geography. But I disagree strongly that it makes sense that they can somehow outcompete Liveh. Liveh isn't paying boatloads of tribute twice over. I don't believe that with the tribute that they can cut "lucrative deals" on essentially normal items that can be found or produced elsewhere.

I had always assumed that the Speculator Princes (and the Shadow Towns' governments) were run by Kio. Which perhaps is not true. The Kio book certain makes it appear that it's largely the Undir who run the Shadow Towns. If so then the Kio book may not be the place to address this. But its something that at some point I would like to see addressed.

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Eric Gorman

AKA Ambassador Tukufu, man of letters, tomb raider and Master Sword Sage
. . . and Sir Szymon val'Holryn, Order of the Phoenix
Formerly Sir Jaeger val'Holryn. Weilder of the Holy Avenger: Thonanos. Gave his soul to help free King Noen


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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Wed Apr 25, 2018 8:22 am 
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Also remember: we don't have numbers for this "heavy tribute", nor do we have numbers for how much standing armies and navies cost in Arcanis. Heavy could be 5% of their GDP, or 10, or 2, or 50. Overall, the Shadow Towns may be saving money with their tribute vs. Paying to maintain their sovereignty.

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Legends of Arcanis Campaign Staff
Initial Author Contact/Adventure Vetting

Haakon Marcus val'Virdan, Divine Holy Judge of Nier
Ruma val'Vasik, Martial Crusader and Master of the Spear
Jorma Osterman, Arcane Coryani Battlemage


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 Post subject: Re: Children of the Sky Sourcebook impressions
PostPosted: Thu Apr 26, 2018 1:06 pm 
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Even though both Eric Gorman and I bemoaned the lack of House N'sai (which has been mentioned as a prominent kion family in several adventures) in Children of the Sky, I also have to give credit where it is due. I was looking at my notes last night and saw that a couple of the other kion houses described in the book are mentioned in prior sources.

Also, if you're comparing with prior sources on the Western Lands and League of Princes, take to heart what the sidebar says about spelling of Kion names in Coryani (Latin) characters: some of the spellings are redone and simplified even though they obviously still refer to the same people.

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David Thomas Chappell
Sestius Ovidius val'Mehan Comma and Khamat - psion patrician diplomatic legate and his Myrantian tutor
Quintus Ovidius val'Mehan - patrician military tribune
Amadi val'Abebi - Monk of Althares
Talathos - choleric Kelekene dabbler


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