(Word. How I hate thee Microsoft Word...)
Travelling across the planes Sylvia (pl/female aasimar/B8/sensate/CG) experienced as much as she could. During these adventures she became more and more addicted to speed. This became so strong that she quit wandering over the planes and started thinking on a way to satisfy her need for speed. Together with likeminded she came up with the belief-carts.
A belief-cart is just a large piece of luggage outside the racetracks. But on the track the cart changes into a speed monster piloted by a brave racer. The tracks are specially made and cause the belief-cart to hover around 1 foot above the track. The cart itself looks like a small wooden skiff with a mast and a sail although the materials used may vary. On average a cart is 8 feet long and 3 feet wide. The cart has room for 1 racer lying in the back with his head just above the edge of the cart. To get a hovering belief-cart in motion the racer needs two things. First he needs a focus point sail. A sail specifically tuned to the racer normally decorated with the symbol of his believes. Secondly the racer need some training in the power of belief skill so he knows how to make use of his belief to propel his belief-cart.
The carts became popular across the planes in a very short time and at this time a huge number of races in many different divisions are being held. A caravan with skiffs tied on wagons a thousand miles from the coast is no strange sight anymore. The multiverse becomes more and more littered with racetracks. They can be found from the Abyss to Mount Celestia and from the plane of Air to the Astral. Recently a track in under Sigil was opened and the idea of the Lady of Pain being a racefan only increased its popularity.
Power of Belief (wis, trained only)
Power of belief is a class skill for everyone who holds a firm belief in something. Members of factions and sects, followers of a power and even a lone wolf with a firm belief in himself satisfy this requirement. A power of belief check can be used to replace any other skill check as long as the action is in line with the belief of the character. For example: Mathilda, a sensate adventurer, is travelling through a mountainous area on a typical prime world. She has to make normal climbing checks to see if she safely navigates this mountain range. Two years later Mathilda is on the plane of Ice and is now standing at the base of the highest, steepest, slipperiest cliff she has ever seen. Since gathering new experiences is the core of her belief as a sensate she may make a power of belief check instead of a climbing check. This skill is used also required when participating in a belief-cart race.
Belief-cart race; the rules
Note: everywhere speed, distance and time are given as relative numbers. Speeds are not in mph, distances are not in feet or yards and time is not in seconds or minutes. It is up to the DM to give everyone a colorful description of how fast the race is going.
- Every race is build up out of rounds. The total number of rounds in a race is equal to the number needed for all racers to finish or crash.
- At the start every racer has to make a Power of Belief skill check against DC 15 to see if they can focus their belief in the cart and start moving. A racer failing his Power of Belief check may try the following round but the competition may be well on their way.
- Every round each racer may make an acceleration roll to see how much speed their cart gains. This speed never exceeds the maximum speed of the cart. The cart determines the acceleration roll.
- When a racer decides to maintain his current speed no check is needed.
- A racer deciding to brake can brake any number of points with a maximum equal to the maximum brake of the cart. The racer has to declare braking at the start of the round and is not allowed to throw an acceleration roll. Braking reduces the current speed of the cart for that round.
- When every racer knows his speed for that round the racers move their carts simultaneously with one square at a time. The number of squares moved equals the speed of the cart. Racers braking use the reduced speed for their move.
- When racing in a straight line no further checks are required.
- When trying to move left or right (one square forward, one square left/right) the racer has to make a Power of Belief check against DC 15. A successful check moves the cart without losing speed. A failed check indicates 1d6 points or the maximum brake whichever is lower, loss of speed. It is very hard to stay focussed on speed and move to another lane.
- Moving to the left or the right can be done at any time during the move in the round, as long as the racer has at least 1 square left to move.
- A racer with speed 0 during a race may make an acceleration check to start moving again.
- When a racer moves his cart to the same square that another racer tries to reach, an opposed Power of Belief check is made. The winner of the check occupies the intended square and deals damage as listed in the cart statistics. The other racer is forced 1 square to the left or the right of the intended square depending on the side his opponent came from (a racer coming from the right forces the other racer a square to the left). In case of a tie the racer with the highest wisdom wins but no damage is dealt.
- A racer who is pushed from the track crashes.
- Each curve has a speed number assigned to it. This number states what the maximum speed is at the outside of the curve. Each square to the inside of the curve has a maximum speed one less than the curve speed with a minimum of 1. (A 5 square wide curve with a curve speed of 10 would have an inside curve speed of 6)
- If a cart has a higher speed than the local curve speed the cart will drift to the outside with as many squares as the difference between the current speed and the local curve speed. (Sylvia is racing on the 2nd square on the left with a speed of 9 when she reaches a left turn with a curve speed of 10. The local curve speed for her is 7 (it’s a 5 square wide track). Sylvia is going 2 points too fast so she will drift 2 squares to the right.)
- If a cart drifts the racer has to make a Power of Belief check for speed loss (DC15). (Unconsciously, the driver brakes out of fear for flying of the track) The racer must make as many checks as he drifts squares. For each failed check the cart will lose 1d6 points of speed or the maximum break whichever is lower. (In the former example Sylvia had to make 2 checks. Luckily she is a top-shelf racer and she leaves the curve two lanes to the right without losing speed.)
- If a racer drifts to an occupied square the basic rules for this apply (opposed Power of Belief checks)
- If a cart drifts outside the track it crashes
Special Cart Rules
- If a racer has earned belief points during his (adventuring) career these points are added to the maximum speed, the acceleration and the maximum brake of the cart and they are a bonus on Power of Belief checks. The racers belief points are not spend after the race.
- Every ten supporters of a racer, who firmly belief that the racer will win, add 1 point to the maximum speed (acceleration and braking are too sophisticated to influence from the sideline). Maximum bonus is 10.
- A crash causes 2d6 + current speed damage to the racer and the belief-cart. The racer may make a reflex check at DC 20 for half damage (the damage done on the belief-cart is not halved). It can be a very deadly sport when you go fast!
Carts & Tracks
Sylvia’s Sensate Belief-Cart Prototype 1
This is the very first belief-cart build by Sylvia. It is a wooden cart and has a bright blue sail holding the symbol of the Society of Sensation. Those new to the races often make their first runs in a cart comparable to this one. The prototype itself is now on permanent display in the Civic Festhall.
- Maximum brake: 4
- Damage: 1d6
- Hardness: -
- Hit points: 10
- Cost: 500 gp.
- Weight: 400 lb.
- Maximum speed: 10
- Acceleration: 1d4+1
Below are the statistics of an average belief-cart than can be found on the tracks today. Using one of these in a top division race will only result in a loss of face. But it is an excellent cart for beginners and those with a couple of season’s experience often still race with a cart like this. Most have approximately the same dimensions as Sylvia’s prototype but the materials and shapes can differ dramatically. This can influence all statistics.
- Maximum speed: 20
- Acceleration: 1d8+1
- Maximum brake: 8
- Damage: 1d10
- Hardness: 5
- Hit points: 15
- Cost: 750 gp.
- Weight: 400 lb.
"Deathwish" Krom’s Belief-Cart
This is the belief-cart of Krom (pl/male dwarf/F10/dustman/N) the current multiverse champion. He had his cart custom made from adamantine by the best dwarven smiths. Besides being one of the strongest belief-carts in the field it is also very fast. And since Krom is convinced that he will ascend to the true death when his time has come he races on top speed without any fear. This earned him his nickname "Deathwish".
- Maximum speed: 32
- Acceleration: 1d12+2
- Maximum brake: 4
- Damage: 2d6+2
- Hardness: 20
- Hit points: 40
- Cost: 20.000 gp.
- Weight: 1000 lb.
Outlands Test Track
This test track located near Tir Na Og is a simple straight track where the first testing of the belief-cart was performed. Now a small village has sprung up near the track. Here everyone with some jink to spend can find a trainer, rent a belief-cart and make the first runs on a belief-cart track. To honor history at the end of the season this track is the stage of a special race. Then the numbers 1 and 2 of the past season will compete against each other in a best of 3.
In game mechanics the track can be pictured the following way. It is 5 squares wide and 250 squares long. The finish line is drawn 50 squares before the end of the track to give racers time to brake.
Down the Mountain, Up the Mountain
On the slopes of Khalas, the first layer of Gehenna, yugoloths build this track to make sure that the belief-cart circus visits them. It is an oval with the long sides going down and up the mountain. Although the belief-cart organization does its best to guarantee a fair and safe race this is a very deadly track but what would you expect from racing on a volcano.
In game mechanics the track can be pictured the following way. It is 8 squares wide. The long sides are 75 squares long and the short sides are 25 squares long. The curves are all 10 squares long and have a curve speed of 15. Going down the mountain adds 2 points to both maximum speed and acceleration. Going up the mountain subtracts 2 points from both maximum speed and acceleration.
Skimming the Surf
Along the shores of Oceanus a track is lain out. The sides of the track are marked by a series of buoys. Although large in number it is still hard to see what belongs to the track and whatnot. Luckily for the racers the waters are filled with spectators who are also willing to help an unfortunate hero threatening to drown.
The exact appearance of the track is up to the DM. But you should make sure that it is hard to see the edge of the track. Place enough buoys to show the layout but leave enough room open for the racers to guess if they are still on the safe side.
Since a number of people helped me writing these rules I just have to thank them. Around 2000 the following planewalkers joined in the discussion: Brannon, Orri, Nathan, Scott and Torsten.
SAWHEET! Good to see the ol' Bartezu back in th' swing o' things! Tarmy!
Fun idea, though a little too complicated for my tastes. I'd simply have some Power of Belief rolls to "power" the cart, then driving rolls to guide it skillfully around the track. Cart-to-cart combat would be handled normally, perhaps with Iron Heroes environmental rules or something.
The Power of Belief skill seems grossly overpowered though, especially as regards the balancing of the current 3.5E rules. I would either make it only work during the belief cart races or place severe restrictions on it, otherwise you'll have a gaggle of players rationalizing their every move with sophistic arguments every 5 minutes.
Krypter, races will always be complicated. Even if you only use the Power of Believe skill it will give the DM a tough time of translating the numbers in a spectacular race. I just did my best to make it workable but I must confess that I never used it in my own games.
If the Power of Belief skill is overpowered depends greatly on your game and players. I encourage my players not to power-play but to role-play. This results in me having to remember them that in a certain situation the Power of Believe skill might be used with them disagreeing and rolling different checks... Which then results in me trying to keep them alive and spare them a dishonerable death...
Ashy, Orri, remember the discussion we had on belief carts eons ago? Well, I found the latest version of the most popular sport on the planes and posted it on the site. For some reason part of the text was moved from the middle to the end but I'm sure Clueless can put all the words in the place where they belong...