View Full Version : New Project - Keld: an Iron Age Celtic Setting

08-24-2010, 03:17 PM
While I am still busy on other publication projects, I have begun another project, destined to be pubished next year. Although I am happily working with Rite Publishing for my first project: Kaidan, I am thinking of trying to publish my next setting completely on my own.

Keld: an Iron Age Celtic setting is intended to be a pre-Roman world, heavily steeped in Celtic Lore with hundreds of clans, dozens of tribes, and a dozen or so kingdoms or high kingdoms. Other cultures will include a germanic barbarian nation to the east, and a 'civilized Mycenaean/Etruscan' nation to the south. You've already seen my Hybrenia map, which represents my analog Ireland for the setting which represents about 5% of the total mapped area for my needs.

Like my other projects these are settings intended for use with the Pathfinder RPG game system.

News on Kaidan. Rite Publishing has turned my publication into a patronage project, and its already paid for to include a 3 part mini adventure path and a setting handbook, though my hopes to create a couple one-shot adventures, and a larger full 6 part Adventure Path next year. Kaidan is a cross between feudal Japan and Asian horro and should be released before the end of the year.

Attached are my map of Hybrenia, and a possible cover design and interior piece. The illustrations were recent commisions, while I have the money to pay for them. I also have some character illustrations for new classes and variant classes need for the setting currently be created. The setting will feature hags, giants, ogres, linnorn dragons, a large variety of fey beings, but the majority of opposition is from feuding Celtic clans and the other human nations. This setting is a bit more gritty than typical 'vanilla' fantasy settings. There is a bit of inspiration from the AD&D setting Birthright, though no domain management rules.

The two illustrations are by a UK artist named Alex Tooth - I found him on the Freelance board at RPG.net. The cover design is a bit dark for my purposes, so it might become interior art instead, though his other piece featuring the 'nudish' fey woman in front of a fey portal is very nice! Jan Pospisil, the artist who created my Kaidan cover designs is creating sepia toned monochrome illustrations of a clan warrior, a druid, a bard and a runemaster (a type of spell caster), though these are yet to be completed - I will post them when they are available.






08-24-2010, 04:14 PM
Awesome stuff, GP. Good luck with it!

08-24-2010, 06:27 PM
I look forward to seeing this project come to fruition.

08-25-2010, 12:20 AM
Thanks guys! What you may not realize is that I'm ethnically an Irish/Scot and half Japanese, so my first two settings were both inspired by my heritage. Kaidan - based on my mother's side, and a long love of Japanese ghost stories, and now Keld, my Celtic influenced setting.

I wanted to create a world that represented the Age of Heroes, the time when all the old cycles and sagas were born, tales like Sigurd, Beowulf and Cuchulain, even Homer's Illiad and Odyssey. The time before history when the old tales were oral traditions only. The Celts are a huge culture and language group that were identifiable from early Bronze age, up to the current era.

My first premise for a 'D&D' game what elements could I toss in to change the flavor to be more ancient in feel than a more typical medieval or renaissance flavored campaign world. Although Celts are educated and can learn to read, as a culture the religion forbids the recording of sacred rituals (including spells), clan/tribal history, the arts and sciences - which means the Celts are essentially illiterate.

No written word, means no spellbooks. Since the Celts did develop the Ogham rune 'writing' system, I decided to allow for a rune-casting wizard class, so I created a Runemaster class loosely based on the Pathfinder Witch. The bards of the setting use runes as well for spellcasting. I've also created a prestige class called the Myrddon who is an artificer in ink, he creates rune and knotwork permanent spells that can be 'activated' by its wearer or last continuously like magic armor - many magic items of the setting are tattoos placed by myrddon.

My big shocker is that Druid is removed from the class list. The setting definitely needs a Celtic Druid, but I felt that the 3e/Pathfinder Druid was much more a shifter, and much less a classic Celtic druid. So I'm using the Oracle class as the basis of the setting's druid. 'Druid' itself is now a Trait, acquired by all the 'educated' members of clan society to include: bard, oracle, myrddon, runemaster, sorcerer and witch. The oracle is the setting's only divine caster.

From the Celtic class lists I've also removed these: cleric, fighter, monk and paladin. The first two classes are represented by the Mycenaean/Etruscan city-states culture in the south, considered 'foreigners' to the Celts that populate the setting (player characters are Celts, not Greeks.) The latter two classes don't belong at all.

The fighter is replaced by the Clan Warrior who I consider a 'precusor martial class' having aspects of ranger, fighter and rogue in its design and ancestral bloodline powers. There are ? Celtic bloodlines each with its own set of Skill Focus bonus feats, new skills, bloodline powers of both extraordinary and supernatural abilities, as well as preferred weapons. Some fight as cavalry, some as pirates, some footmen raiders, while some have affinities with wild beasts, fey beings or oceanic beasts.

Most PCs will be family, being from the same clan - siblings, cousins, in-laws, or adopted family. Available races are Keld (Celts), Ceran (Greeks), ? (Germans), Pict (dwarves), Sidhe (elves), and Half-Sidhe. Halflings and gnomes exist but are considered fey beings and are not an allowed PC race.

Many of the other realms of the Celtic expanse are like the 2e Birthright setting with Awnshegh, which are the paragons of their respective monster races as rulers of monstrous domains, including a winter werewolf, a winter hag (ruler of giants and ogres), a fey princess and several others.

I'm planning on creating a full 6 module Adventure Path and a Setting Handbook, so this is very early in development, writing for the adventures might begin later this year.


08-25-2010, 01:16 AM
That's pretty awesome stuff, you really got a full head of steam going on. I mean you are just a publishing mamby-jamby :) I was wondering when we would hear from you. You've been busy obviously. Keep up the good work.

08-25-2010, 02:36 AM
Yeah, its easy to tell when I get busy - I'm not participating in the monthly challenge!

I definitely have more maps to make, but I've been spending my creativity developing new classes, adapting Celtic technology and lore into playable mechanics, creating new feats, spells, magic items and monsters, so yeah, I've been busy.

More news on Kaidan: a Japanese Ghost Story setting. Rite Publishing will begin final writing and development starting October 1st. Author, Jonathon McNulty of Open Design Project and Kobold Quarterly will be rewriting my hack wordsmithy into refined adventuring writing, and then work from my outline to complete the other two adventures for the intro mini adventure path. I might have to create a few more maps (15 more?) and some more illustrations, as well as have Mark Hyzer begin the second half of monsters for my Obake bestiary - he's done 24 so far. So most of the art has been created otherwise.

There is enough money left over from the patronage project to do the setting handbook, and that's it. Hopefully profits from it can pay for further development.

I've got a unique take on Ninja that borrow ideas from 2e Ninja Handbook. All ninja are born in one of the Ninja Houses of Kaidan, no one is recruited in to maintain secrecy. One begins the game as a 1st level Shinobi Monk and must progress to at least 5th level before taking the Ninja prestige class. All ninja gain ki powers that emulate spell-like powers of short duration, with several advanced ki powers. Things like unarmed strikes and combat maneuvers at distance, walking across ice and on water to running up walls or standing on ceilings upsidedown, to special attacks, defenses, and self-buffing. There three ninja paths: kata master (weapons ninja), otori master (stealth ninja), and myo master (sorcerer ninja) - to allow a level of specialization to fit wider ideas on what is a ninja, and to create teams of ninja with varied skills in the same party. I would like to create a one-shot ninja adventure that could have one or more sequels if proved popular.

Plus I'd love to do a full 6 module Adventure Path set in Kaidan as well, but I'll just have to wait and see what kind of financial success it brings.


PS: if I get some time, I may participate in another challenge in a month or two.

08-25-2010, 02:41 AM
the problem you can have is one of dilution.

08-25-2010, 02:54 AM
The ninja is definitely not locked in stone, I've got several iterations because its a more difficult class idea to nail down. I'm not just looking for another rogue class, as rogue fits that just fine. I definitely want to incorporate the monk's Ki pool and see monk as a good starting point for a ninja prestige class, what ideas have you got. There is intended to be a ninja helping the PCs in the third adventure of The Gift, so I have to get something firmed up for that class.



08-30-2010, 10:02 PM
Interesting... the artist, Alex Tooth, who created the ogre fight and fey portal illustrations contacted me today. Apparently WotC has an art order for D&D art for the 2011 D&D Calendar (though technically my setting is for Pathfinder, it isn't published yet, and I suppose I could make the setting available to 4e gamers, but signing the GSL for this one product...?)

So Alex asked me permission to send this to WotC as a possible addition to the 2011 D&D calendar - it would be good exposure for both he and my publishing endeavors. Don't know how likely it is, but an interesting possibility. (Oh forgot to mention - its the piece above of the fey woman in front of the fey portal.)


08-31-2010, 02:53 PM
The GSL is pretty restrictive (I think but do not know for sure) and I believe signing it would preclude you from doing anything that falls under the OGL (as Pathfinder RPG Compatible materials do). I'd definitely check with my lawyer before making a decision on that one.

08-31-2010, 03:29 PM
The original license precluded you from doing any other edition, however the new license is open about it. The problem is that the license had been updated to reflect the changes rather than rescending the old license - so most 3pp's are leary that a license can change without notice. So I agree I am not very interested in doing a 4e specific product, however putting one product under the GSL is worthy of an experiment...


08-31-2010, 09:49 PM
Maybe if it blows up in your face, you can get the artist to provide you with a new image? I'm not sure I follow the legal mumbo jumbo here but what the heck.