Meru Ladu - The Green Lands
Meru Ladu is a low magic setting.. blah…
Meru Ladu is a low-magical setting. While spell-weavers and spirit-binders exist, they are far less powerful than in most standard D&D settings, and aside from the occasional legacy item or artifact, magic items do not seem to exist at all.
However, the smiths of the Jade Empire have mastered the creation of new metals and techniques which enable them to create weapons and armor that, while mundane, are far more than any mere ‘masterwork’ item of other settings.
The armors listed reflect both the Armor as Damage Reduction variant rules.
Players should be encouraged to pick traits for their characters, to help better define the character as a whole.
As with Defense Bonus, the currently allowed classes fall under the table as such…
Of the current classes allowed for use in a Warriors and Wuxia game, they fall under the following categories each.
Note: In a W&W game, the Defense Bonus counts as a Dodge bonus to defense, meaning that it does not apply in any situation where the character’s Dexterity bonus does not apply to their AC, and meaning that armor puts a limit both on your Dexterity bonus as well as your Class Defense bonus (see the armor chart above).
Honor, as a whole, is a replacement for the alignment grid for Warriors and Wuxia. The people of the empire don’t care as much if someone is good or evil, but for how honorable a person are they and how honorable a family they came from. Much like the alignment system though, there are different steps to Honor that their player chooses upon character creation (and may change depending on the character’s actions during play). These steps can be found here.
Also, while the people of the empire may not care about good or evil, certain class abilities very well might. For this purpose, after deciding how honorable their character is a player must decide if their character is Good, Neutral, or Evil. Note, that while Warriors and Wuxia doesn’t have a standard cosmology where there’s literal planes and creatures of pure good and pure evil, it still takes an objective view of such matters, not a subjective one.
As a martial artist becomes more powerful, it is only common that they also become more well-known as well. This setting uses the Event-Based Reputation rules from the SRD, with a minor addition. At 5th, 10, 15th, and 20th level, every character gains a +2 bonus to their reputation score that will apply no matter how well known they are in any given area. 5th level martial artists will find themselves relatively well known in the immediate area or where the majority of their famous deeds were performed. 10th level martial artists are known across several provinces, or even an entire point of the compass. 15th level martial artists are known and respected/feared all over the empire for their prowess in battle, their deeds well known and recorded. Very few martial artists make it to 20th level, but these individuals have transcended mere fame to become legends. They’re stories will always be remembered for better or worst. The most powerful of martial artists will find themselves recognized, even in areas they’ve never traveled to before in their lives. As the rules in the SRD point out though, notoriety is not always good. If a character is recognized by an NPC (or PC), then they gain a +5 bonus on their Martial Lore check to reveal information about the character, what style they practice, famous deeds, and so on. While knowing that a character has personally felled a small army of a noble’s guards in the past may deter some assailants, it’s just as likely to incite others who want to use the character’s defeat to fling themselves higher in status.
Many martial artists, as they become more famous, adopt a name that reflects their ‘true soul’ and the philosophy behind their style of combat. The famous Bright Steel and Long Shadow are examples of such martial artists, especially since all but their closest companions have forgotten their true names. Keep in mind that these ‘true soul names’ don’t count as a nom de plumes for the purposes of keeping track of a separate Reputation score unless the character makes some effort and uses the Disguise skill to distinguish their normal self from their true soul name, in which case it’s treated as a nom de plume normally.
Note that this rule also allows for the Low Profile and Renown feats to be used as well, with no change to either feats effects.
Meur Ladu uses action points, as per the SRD rules, but with two other features as well.
The Death Flag
Lacking in healing magic and the forms of resurrection common in most settings, it would normally be easy for a hero to die in Meru Ladu – but such is against the style of the setting itself.
Normally, a heroic character who would normally die from an attack or effect is Disable (and badly wounded), but can be recovered if given medical treatment in the future – he is out of the fight, but will recover. However, the cost of such near death is the loss of 1/2 your maximum Action Points for the level. If this cost would reduce you to negative Action Points, you loose points from future levels to cover the ‘dept’.
As an Immediate action, a character can choose to raise his Death Flag. Doing so grants him 6 action points (even if this gives him more than his normal limit for his level) and lets him roll 1 extra dice when adding to a d20 roll with action points and spend up to 2 action points in a round (but the points can not be spent twice on the same usage).
A character with a Death Flag up is subject to the normal rules of death apply for the duration of the encounter. At the end of the encounter, the character looses 7 action points, even if this puts him at a negative amount – such is the price of tempting fate.
Raising the Stakes
Much like Exalted, players should be rewarded if they take the effort to role-play their character’s actions, to help promote the highly cinematic fighting this setting ascribes to.
At any time, a player can elect to “Raise” before making any D20 check. The terms of this raise are up to the player, with no limit to what he can propose, but the DM has the right to accept (“Roll”) or decline (“No Bet”).
If the bet is accepted, the player expends an action point to make the attempt.
- Player: “I attack the goblin. Raise a decapitation that frightens his buddies against me falling prone.” “Roll”
- “I attack the bulette. Raise you +4d6 damge against it kicking me for 2d6 damage.” “No Bet.”
- “I leap over the banister, raise you knocking out the kidnapper and the princess falling in love with me against landing on the princess and knocking us both prone.” “Roll”
- “I search the room. Raise you we find the phlactery against the lich walking in on us.” “Tempting… but no bet.”