Monday, March 13, 2017

Rayism in your World Build


If you are reading this, you might be a D&D player interested in Rayism. I am sure you have many questions about it. In this post, I am going to try to cover as much as I can to explain a few things about Rayism.

Where did it come from

Keeping it short, my son was forced to play D&D one day. He drew up a character to stop me nagging at him. The character was a  standard elven ranger. To get out of playing, he tried everything he could to kill his character as quickly as possible so he had an excuse to quit. The character's name was Ray.

Ray would not die. Not for lack of trying. Not for lack of the DM just letting him die either. The dice would not let that character die! Between extraordinary dice rolls and fantastic, unbelievable events that happened, Lady Luck did not want that character to die. (As  DM, I didn't outright kill off any character. That is boring. I decided that if Wesley was going to kill off Ray, by the Nine! it was going to be in a blinding, blaze of glory that would last the ages in myth.) This, of course, began to backfire as the DM and the player tried to kill Ray in the strangest and weirdest ways possible. 

The dice just wouldn't let him die!

Because these strange anomalies began to shape the world build, As the DM I was forced into an unlikely scenarios in which I had to explain WHY. Why did these things happen? The other players needed some rational explanation for irrational dice rolls. I said, "Uh...wild magic is chaotic and there is  no explanation."

Because that is what DM's do. When faced with a world glitch, "you blame the wizard." ( a real Lucy Lawless quote, "Xena; Warrior Princess") 

As a DM, I would love to say that the real reason for these extraordinary die rolls is that my dice are old. As many players discovered in 2014 (or so) that a huge amount of D&D dice were made wrong. Hundreds of thousands of biased dice were released to unsuspecting players and they have been playing with them for years! I am a very lucky person in that for years I have been playing with D20s that are horribly biased to the 20 side, five of them in fact.

However, that does not explain the dice in my collection that are so freaking old, (Late 80s early 90s) They are not biased. How is it that Ray got lucky with those? The fact is, there are lots of biased dice. Not all are biased to 20 side, some are biased to 1 or 13. And thus, in those cases, how is it that Ray did not die?

There is no explanation other than, "Wild Magic is chaotic and there is no explanation for it."

As time went on, the internet suddenly exploded with this idea of Rayism. It is an actual thing that popped up around 2007 (ish). Our Ray had been around before that, so I don't know where "Rayism" came from as far as internet is concerned. Internet Rayism is very similar to our Rayism. And at the root of it, exists the idea of Coin's Edge. You can find it in the D&D wiki on google somewhere. 

Rayism is different from the standard Chaotic Good trickster characters in that Rayism must be true neutral. That does not mean they are unmotivated. It means they are concerned with balance and try to maintain that balance for themselves and the world around them. Too much Lawful and there will be corruption. Too much chaos and there will be corruption. So, the focus of Rayism is the elimination of corruption. A benevolent Lawful Good king has the same amount of danger of corruption as a Chaotic Evil tyrant. Followers of Rayism will do whatever it takes to level the playing field for the benefit of others.

The Luck Domain

As a DM, I have to rationalize it myself. I am the the builder of Tarkazia. That world is my domain. I created it. How can I rationalize a character so completely off my own map, as the creation goddess? (Cause when you get right down to it, that what a DM is..the god of their own world.)

Fortunately, I am not the only world builder with this problem. Anyone who has read Disc World is familiar with "The LADY" The Lady is an undefined Divine being who plays chess with DEATH and the main patriarch god. She often will bias the dice or game piece to her favor. Sometimes she wins, and sometimes there is a draw, but she never "loses" a game. This, I believe, is Lady Luck, a Chance and Fortune Goddess of Disc World. Just as Rincewind is her "favorite game piece" in the Disc World; Ray, the elven ranger, is her favorite game piece in Tarkazia.

This makes Ray a trickster character. Imagine Loki or Kwaku-Anasi as an elven ranger. And more often than not, a trickster character is not powerful at all. Rincewind, Loki, and Anasi do not wield much power on the face. In fact, it isn't completely out of the formula if the trickster has no power at all. That isn't how things work for a trickster. The power comes from "Luck". The only thing needed is their presence and a simple action or word to cause catastrophic, world burning events to occur. Rincewind, Ray, Loki, and Anasi are all butterflies that cause the butterfly effect. These butterflies appear to "stumble" into trouble, then appear to dance out of the fire, laughing at the same time. (These characters aren't laughing at the carnage. They are laughing at what happened and the fact that they know they should be dead, yet they survived.) It is stress laughing.

These characters are unbelievably useful when it comes to pushing the game along. When the party of adventurers start to argue over gold or something else just as stupid, the DM can use the "game piece" to divert the parties attention in another direction or get them going again. When you have a player who has picked up on this, it is even more useful. It took Wes a while, but when he finally accepted Ray, it didn't take much prodding to get him to play into that character. And by 3rd level, he had an instinct for my exacerbation of the players bullshit. He would take it upon himself to enter the trapped door, smack the monster on the behind, or take the magic sword without anyone looking and walk away with it.

Any character like this is "just lucky" and that is it.

The Trickster Character Type

The trickster character type, whether you are talking divine or not, has similar attributes. Most trickster characters are Chaotic Good. These type of characters value freedom and choice. They will actively be against things like, slavery, tyranny, racism, prejudice, and any other behavior type that enforces the will of  the one on the many. 

Rayism tricksters are different because followers of Rayism understand that sometimes, those things are necessary. My best example of this is Rick and Morty, season 2, episode 3, Auto Erotic Assimilation In this case,  Summer and Morty are Chaotic Good and Rick is True Neutral/ Rayism.

And now that I am on the subject, Ray and Rick are peas-in-a-pod.

How to add the Coin's Edge

Personally, in my games, if I want to give my players a quest from "a divine being", the character will always have a dream. This dream will compel the character to motivation. If the player resists or refuses, the quest will happen anyway, it just won't be a pretty sight.

And that is how it works in reality and in the Heroic Monomyth. Harry Potter didn't want to be the Chosen one. Too bad, Harry! That is why the Jedi call it "the Force" because the character is "forced" into a purpose beyond their own will. The harder the character resists, the harder it is for the character to do anything else. The force will take away everything that has been given to the character up to that point, including health, sanity, wealth, power, home, family, friends, equipment, clothing, hair. Nothing is sacred and the force is merciless for an uncooperative character.

The character is usually sent off for a seemingly uneventful quest; save the village, retrieve the artifact, release the prisoners, whatever. During the quest, your "Ray" character will do something that might seem out of character, say something extraordinary, or do something that seems normal at first. 

As the DM, you must recognize that seemingly insignificant moment and jump on it. Make something happen and don't worry about "killing off the character." Start the domino effect. One thing leads to another, and then suddenly anvils rain from the sky. Trust me, "It just works"

Don't be boring! 

Every RPG game has "collect the thing" or "save the thing" or "gain the favor of blank" Honestly, if players want that shit, there are video games that cover that area. Tabletop should be and is different! This kind of thing separates the mundane, pre scripted boring of pre written modules and programs into a fantastic game that everyone plays for entertainment and socializing!

You want your players to come back for more. You want "some" bitching from your players about "fairness" and other bull shit. You need them to love to hate it and hate to love it. And at the end of the day, it is a game! It is supposed to be fun. If it is fun, they are going to go out to their other friends and talk about it. Because it was fun.

As the DM, you have also created a sense of belonging and purpose within your group. This creates a mini-culture within a circle of people. And that also, helps in bringing them back for more play. Very few people know the story about "Matt worming himself" it is a legend among our group and is still spoken about today. Create your own legends by not being boring.

Doesn't have to be Rayism

"Rayism" or "Coin's Edge" are just words for an idea that centers around "beneficial chaos." It flies in the face of the rational and works out to be better in the end.The why and how is inexpiable, unpredictable, irrational, and weird. Wild magic doesn't give a honey-badger about physics, rules, guidelines, or status quo. (Which is why D&D rules lawyers hate it with so much passion! My response to that type of person is very blunt and bitchy. It goes like this: "If you don't like it, leave and go play a video game.)

Side note:

If you are lucky enough to get a Rules lawyer who is willing to play, That is great! A DM is still just a person and can't remember every bloody thing about guidelines to the game. I do find some rule lawyering to be beneficial. 

Back to the show:

Now, he label "Rayism" doesn't have to be used in your game. You are free to make one up for your own world. It is also easy to add this in under a pre established religious order for any divine trickster. All you have to do is to adjust the alignment from CG to TN. Which is easier than you might think it is. Alignment is just a set of pre established ideas of cognitive behavior. That is it. By changing your ideas and thoughts about the world,  any character can change the world, including yours.

Your World is Your Domain

Your world is your domain that you are sharing with others. As a DM, it is not important to understand the rules of how and why of somethings existence. Sometimes, it is only important to know that something is there and "it just works" That is the difference between Intelligence and Wisdom. 

Magic is science that we have yet to understand.

One beings demon is another beings god.

Sometimes, "It just works."

If you have any more questions, you know how to reach me.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Revising the Followers of Rayism

In a previous blog called, More about Rayism I outlined the hierarchy for the Temple of Ray. I realized that the list was not complete. Not to mention, seriously unbalanced. I took some time to think it over carefully.

 Also, it occurred to me that, currently D&D, doesn't include any perks for characters who decided to include a religion for their characters. In other games like Skyrim, there are radiant quests for a Temple of a Deity. When the character finishes the radiant quest line, there is typically some reward for it. Agent of Dibella or Dawnbreaker sword are great examples. I often wondered why it was left up to, specifically, clerics, paladins, monks, or what have you, to "do things" for a religious order. Not to mention, there are no books (that I am aware of) that outline what kind of perks or bonuses a character may be able to attain by being a devote follower of some deity. Now, I admit that might be an oversight on MY part as a DM. However, as I have stated there aren't any current outlines for this that I am aware of. So, instead of rewriting the Deities and Demi-gods books, it is best to play test some additions to my own homebrew.

On that same note, I can see there is some serious confusion (When the DM starts to confuse herself, things need written down) on the difference between a "Follower of Rayism" and a "Monk of Rayism" (which is basically a cleric or priest within the order) Any character can be a Follower of Rayism, much like any other religious order. But being a Monk of Rayism and building a character to ascend the temple hierarchy of Rayism, is totally different.

To start, the "Level" system here is not your character level! It is the level of following. So, a tenth level barbarian can be a first level follower of Rayism. On the Character sheet, at the top (under player name, on the right of alignment), there is the "deity" line. On that line, A follower of Rayism will put "FRay (number of level)" so it will look like; <FRay 2>  The full member will have to quest for the pixie wine for the ceremony to be "full member."

Follower Chart 

Follower Lvl 1, +1 to focused action (Useable 1 per day and yes, it begins to stack)
Follower Lvl 2, +1 to focused action (1xday)
Follower Lvl 3, Feat- Unlikely Luck (1xday)
Follower Lvl 4, +1 to focused action (1xday)
Follower Lvl 5, Full member, Blessing of the Ray = Feat -Inconceivable!  (1xday)

So, a full member gets a bonus perks of +3 to focused action, Unlikely Luck Feat, and the Inconceivable! consequences feat 1xday. To clarify, one times per day a full member of Rayism can gain +4 to focus action with Inconceivable! (You will see the potential of such a perk in a moment)


Unlikely Luck- The player is allowed to +1 to the roll he already has with no consequences OR re-roll the dice completely but must accept the roll even if it is worst than the first.

Inconceivable!- (This is equivalent to Supernatural Aid) Basically, something weird happens. This turns the tide of the situation towards the favor of the character in such an improbable way, it looks unbelievable. (When Matt wormed himself and "lived")

Warning! Warning!

Unlikely Luck and Inconceivable! have consequences. Unlikely Luck has simple to minor consequences. For example, the character saves an NPC and then the NPC pickpockets the character of his gold, but then the gold monster doesn't eat the character because the character had his pockets picked. Simple to minor consequences affects are not world turning or mind blowing. It leaves the player thinking, "Well, that was Lucky." or "That sucked at first but it worked out pretty well"

Inconceivable! on the other hand, has larger effects but isn't completely world turning or campaign destroying. Inconceivable! can bend a planned campaign though. One thing is for sure, it adds life to the game.

Focused Actions

Why "focused action" and not "called shots"? Well, a focused action can be anything. There is lots of discretion to the Dm. That action may be a called shot or a concentration check.

Followers Level Up

How does a follower "level up"? The follower must run missions and quests for the Temple. Missions and quests are up to the DM. When the follower has gained favor (or experience points or however the DM decides to "measure" the follower) the follower will receive a vivid dream from Ray. It will be a picture of Ray, with his thumbs up and smiling at the follower. A unknown male voice will boom loudly, "It just works!" The follower will wake up and be compelled to go to the local temple for training.

Any follower of Rayism can have these abilities stated above. But that is where it ends. If a character chooses to become a MONK of Rayism, it is a totally different process.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Sankarjin (Furry Race)

The Sankarjin


(Beastfolk/Furry Race/Khajit)

The Sankarjin (roughly translated means "mixed people." The word is singular and plural) are a roaming, gypsy-like, merchant race. Sankarjin groups range between 5-25 family units before feeling compelled to split. Caravans are made up of vardos, carriages, and wagons. These traveling groups are like mobile villages.

The Sankarjin are a very diverse race. Unlike most "beastfolk" or "Furry" races, the sub-type races do not come from specific race breeds. For example, two wolves will  not automatically have wolf cubs. A wolf may lay down with a sheep and have a reptilian and/or rabbit offspring. Unlike other Tarkazian races (or other standard races in D&D) Sankarjins pride themselves in their diversity and celebrate it. They feel that they are better than other races because of the lack of racism or species-ism.  Unfortunately, Sankarjin are subject to frequent racism from other races on and off Tarkazia. (The labels "beastfolk" or "furry" are derogatory terms on Tarkazia.)

Sankarjin are a people who consistently show interest in the well fare of animals. All though they place themselves at a higher consciousness of animals, they also feel a deep kinship to the environmental fauna of their world. A Sankarjin will never mistreat or abuse animals. It is also common for Sankarjin to take in wounded creatures, heal them, and let them go. Heal Animal is a unique ability that only Sankarjin possess. It is very similar to Veterinarians. It is common for other races to approach a Sankarjin for help with  pets, familiars, and livestock.

Sankarjin life is the adventuring life. They live their entire lives traveling. Sankarjin usually do not leave their respective groups. When a Sankarjin leaves their group or family unit it is generally because they have found a mate, found another viable route and/or split the collective. It will be up to the Dm and the player to decide why a Sankarjin has left their group for a life of an adventurer because most Sankarjin believe they already are adventurers.

Life on the inside is very flexible. There are many different positions available to chose as a purpose. Sankarjin function very similar to Gypsy life/war followers. Trading, translators, warriors, artisans, blacksmiths, and many other various activities that are required for life on the road exist for the Sankarjin. As a child grows, it may show interest or a talent in a particular position. An elder will take on that child and teach the knowledge. "School" doesn't exist for Sankarjin children. Children learn and do just as adults do.


There are six main types of Sankarjin: Avian, Aquatics, Amphibians, Mammals, Reptiles, and Insectoids. Physical attributes and Modifiers will depend on one of the six types chosen. Wolves may get additional mods for search with a bonus mod  to smell. A Rabbit might get a bonus mod to listen or movement. As with any other character, these unique characters also get weaknesses. A slug cannot go near salt or salt water. A rabbit will be sensitive to loud noises or explosions. When creating a Sankarjin character, the player must work with their DM to work out any abilities, skills, or other details that are unique to the character.

Traits, abilities, and skills that are common throughout the race is the ability to detect magic. This ability expresses itself by having a color. The Sankarjin can see these colors and are attracted to them. Elder Sankarjins can smell the colors, especially purple. Sankarjin are not born with an innate ability to use magic, that must be taught or discovered like any other skill or class. They can identify if an object or person is magic but not anything else about it.

Sankarjin are a unique race in that because of their living conditions they are also a Class and  Profession. If a player has decided to have a Sankarjin character, who is specifically Sankarjin, its Race and Class is Sankarjin, with skill ranks in a specific Profession like: merchant, warrior, blacksmith, artisan, performer, couriers, healer, and other various necessary positions.

Appraise                                                 Listen
Bluff                                                       Profession
Diplomacy                                              Ride
Gather Information                                 Sense Motive
Handle Animal                                        Slight of Hand
Intimidate                                                Knowledge (if applicable)
Survival                                                   Spot
Heal Animal (other)


Each Sankarjin is born with the ability to speak the language of their respective species: Squeak-Squeakers (rabbit, squirrel, ect) Bark-bow-wow (canine, fox, ect), Tweet-chirp (Avian), Glug-burble (Aquatic)  or whatever the DM has decided to call it. As a Sankarjin infant, IF the parents happen to be of the same species as the child, the parents will understand what the infant is demanding as it grows into toddler. If the parents are not the same species type, the infant cries comes out  a lot like a human infant (whaa-whaa) and the parents have to decipher what the infant needs. (IN that way not much unlike any other parent of any other race)

Sankarjin have a group language. It is an extremely diverse language with a mix of borrowed words and Ebonics (A lot like American English but with more eastern words).  Their written language is Text Talk/Emoji speak. For example, R U :D?  This language cannot be learned unless a character spends time with Sankarjins. There is no other way to learn it. Sankarjin also speak the Common language. This language is necessary for Commerce since the Sankarjin are a traveling merchant race. Any other language, like Elven or Gnomish, is picked up through exposure by trade. Sankarjin who have a regular route between particular cities might need to pick up specific languages. For example, Sankarjin who trade frequently with Dwarfs will pick up Dwarfen. It is highly recommended that a player discuss the characters background in reference to any additional languages for the character.

Sankarjin as standard adventurers

A Sankarjin can decide to leave the collective. That usually happens when a Sankarjin is banished or, perhaps has decided his purpose is outside the caravan life. If the character has not been banished, the character may return any time he/she chooses. That character may also trade and socialize normally with other Sankarjin caravans with additional bonus of better rates. It is also common for Sankarjin to be dual classed. In addition, a Sankarjin may opt to continue to gain Skill ranks in Skills that he has being a Sankarjin without penalty of his chosen adventuring class. For example, if the character is a Sankarjin monk, the character can continue to use and increase his slight of hand skill without having the two points to one rank ratio. This is only applicable to skills learned while living in the Caravan.

This is when a Sankarjin must break away from his professional career to focus on his adventuring class. Some careers do not need a switch. Fighters, bards, and rangers have an easier time adjusting. Those who chose a life of rogue, assassins, (most) magic users, clerics,  or any other class that requires formal training in some manner have a more difficult time adjusting. Sankarjin are not acclimated for "classroom training". They have spent their childhood outdoors, watching and learning at the knee of an elder. In addition, the close knit communal ties is difficult for a Sankarjin to overcome. It is common for a Sankarjin to become homesick and abandon their formal training for caravan life.


Sankarjin take banishment extremely seriously. Complete banishment is used by the elders only when the crime has been extraordinarily detrimental to the safety or well fare to the caravan. Murder, theft, and other serious crimes by a Sankarjin upon other Sankarjin or Sankarkin is judged as inconceivably bad. Crimes against Non-Sankarjin isn't as bad, but still wrong. Crimes in this category may get a banishment period depending on the crime itself; ranging from one to 20 years. The idea of punishment by death or imprisonment is not an option for Sankarjin people.

Characters who have been banished from Sankarjin caravans have been banished from all caravans. Word of banishment travels swiftly because of the rarity of it. Because Sankarjin can see magic it is difficult to disguise your identity through magical means. Sankarjin are suspicious of outsiders as it is, but a magically disguised outsider would raise a red flag. There is a 99% chance that the Sakarjin will simply ignore an individual like this.


Sankarjin are suspicious of outsiders. They will not be outwardly racist or species-ist unless provoked or angered. They will often employ other races to fill needed positions within the caravan if necessary. But these individuals will be held at arms length until they prove themselves to be trusted. Only then, can those who are interested become SankarKin. These individuals can learn the Sankarjin language. Sankarkin will have an easier time socializing between caravans. It is common for roving adventures to have the title Sankarkin. It is also beneficial to adventures to have Sankarkin status for trade purposes. Sankarkin get better rates than Non-Sankarjin.

When faced with obstinate racism, Sankarjin respond with their own derogatory labels for other races. The most common being: Smoothskin, Pinkies, Greenies, Pluggers, Bee-suckers, For-neers, and Keeblers.  These labels are ancient and non one is exactly sure where or how they orginated.
But for the most part, Sankarjin will not start a fight. They prefer the "turn the other cheek" ideologically and try very hard to uphold that through example. As every person knows, that is easier said than done. Sometimes, it doesn't go as planned and fights break out. Sankarjin will side with other Sankarjin, even if that Sankarjin is in the wrong. As a group, they will fight until it is done. Later, if it turns out that the Sankarjin that started the fight was in the wrong, that Sankarjin will be punished by his peers for his transgression. This type of social pressure keeps fighting down to a minimum.


Sankarjin have their own religion with two chief divines. The main Divine is centered less around a diety and more like "hero worship." This divine spirit is Atamarue (translated means Many-Headed Hero). It is not a god, and not a hero who ascended to godhood. Atamarue is a spiritual Divine singularity that all heroes descend and ascend too. Each incarnation of the hero is a new aspect of the whole. Each Epic Hero has a Myth story associated with it. The stories are an example of behavior to follow. Clerics of this religion aren't clerics, but instead bards and skalds who learn and pass down the myths as the generations pass. The wise skalds may speak in riddles that non-Sankarjin or Sankarkin do not understand unless they know the stories. For example, "Heroine Letta faces the Green Dragon." This is to communicate the feelings and behavior of the heroine in peril to teach a lesson that words may not get across. The full story is not necessary. It also saves time.

The second Divine is the one who is traditionally worshiped in the sense of religion. She is a creation goddess called, Notnalli. Notnalli is the mother goddess of the Sankarjin race and holds the power to release and recall aspects of Atamarue.  She is depicted with many arms out stretched, sitting cross-legged, crowned with flowers, fruit, and wheat.