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Olarune 19th, 994 YK (Free-form Eberron)

 
Olarune 19th, 994 YK (Free-form Eberron)

FlavorWhat if Siberys were to wake and look down upon the corpse of his sister? Where would his gaze wander? What would he perceive?

Would he spare a second glance for Xen'drik, where the civilization that lasted for tens of thousands of years has been gone for tens of thousands more? Could even his eyes pierce the veils of secrecy that have sprung up around Sarlona? Would his gaze linger on Argonnessen, where those who believe himself his offspring have retreated to contemplate the world from afar?

And could he comprehend the swarming riot of life that has sprung up in an eyeblink on Khorvaire? Would he wonder at the marks that mortals bear and think the doing of his siblings? Would he notice the war that has torn the continent apart for only a few months short of a century? Could he know that in east, south, and west whatever dominion the humans claimed has all but vanished?

Or would his eyes be caught by the gleam of light off marble, the alluring glow of happiness and prosperity even in the midst of war? Could even the Dragon Above tear his gaze away from Metrol?

Whether or not he can, soon he will be forced to turn his gaze away. For tomorrow, the city will burn--and as the smoke streams away so too will its inhabitants, forced to make for themselves new lives.
ExplanationEberron is an outstanding campaign setting; it's a pity that people use it only to run campaigns in.

Let me unpack that statement. The most interesting parts of Eberron, in my opinion, are its history and its politics. Both of these things, however, tend to get jettisoned or at least de-emphasized in the typical campaign. This is made hard to avoid by the very nature of D&D; when you're filling out a character sheet which focuses mainly on fighting, it's reasonable to expect that you're going to do mainly fighting.

I want to invert this expectation, and let people attempt intrigue and inquiry rather than expeditions to Xen'drik. There's a place in Eberron for swashbuckling and treasure-hunting; indeed, campaigns based on these can easily thrive. There's also a place for film noir and murder mysteries, and gritty campaigns also work well in Eberron.

What I'm saying, then, is that I don't really want to run a campaign, which is inevitably forced to subjugate digressions to the needs of the overplot, however epic. I want to explore those digressions and details.

I want interesting characters; I also want interesting players. I want characters who have goals; I want players who have the motivation to create new goals once the first set have been met. I want characters who aren't centered around combat (perhaps characters who have never fought; I want players who are interested in things beyond killing and looting. I want characters who inhabit the world around them; I want players who want to explore and create every last detail of that world. And I want it in Eberron.
PremiseThe campaign will start on the evening of Zor, Olarune 19th, 994 YK. All of the PCs will be in Metrol, though they won't necessarily know each other. When the Day of Mourning begins, all of the PCs will be temporarily thrown together to work to escape--and that will be my first and last act of railroading for the whole game. I don't much care if the PCs stick together after that--it's probable that at least a couple will, but I fully expect everyone to pursue their own agenda.
MechanicsAs I said above, I want to de-emphasize pointless combat in favor of roleplaying. Because of this, you have four choices:

1)Diceless. We roleplay everything out, and together we decide what succeeds and what fails based entirely on what best suits the narrative.

2)GURPS 4th Edition. If you want some way of quantifying your character's abilities, GURPS is a great way to do this that doesn't focus primarily on combat. I have some familiarity with GURPS, though I'm not entirely comfortable with it yet--but I'd like to learn. So if you go this route, I'd recommend that you know the system well enough to correct me when I screw up.

3)D&D 3.5. This is, after all, what Eberron was designed for, and I wouldn't be much of a DM if I couldn't handle it. If you're comfortable with this, go ahead and use it, but be aware that battle will be secondary.

4)Something else. If your application is compelling enough, I'm willing to try to learn whatever rules-light system you want, within reason.

A special note about D&D 4: a central premise of 4th Edition is that PCs are fundamentally special, and aren't equal to NPCs. Thus for instance whereas 3.5 statted out monsters and NPCs the same way it did PCs, 4th edition abandons this. That's all well and good for most campaigns, and I have nothing against 4th edition--but a central premise of this game is that your character is special because they work at it through their words and actions, not because they started out that way. So 4th edition is out for this game.
Character CreationNo matter which mechanical system you choose, what I care most about is your character concept. This can be best summed up by re-reading my statements in the "Explanation" section of this advertisement. I want your character to feel like part of Eberron, and I want them to have personality. If that's met, everything else is secondary.

GURPS: Go with whatever power limit you want, but keep in mind that the PCs I want are inhabitants of their world, not godlike beings who function outside of it. So I'd hope you'll voluntarily restrict yourself--part of the fun for me is building up your character from zero to hero (or villain, or criminal mastermind, or whatever), so if you must have a power level go with 100 points. If you're looking for mechanics for things like races and dragonmarks, hunt around in this thread and see if you can find anything that's helpful. Otherwise, we'll make it up as we go along.

D&D: Again, go with whatever level you want (no gestalt, though). Game balance will be provided by the fact that we're roleplaying, not rollplaying. Thus I don't care if one of you is 1st level and one is 10th. In the spirit of what I said above, though, characters just starting out will be looked upon most favorably by me. So I'd recommend 1st or 2nd level, and anything past 4th level will have to be really intriguing. Similarly, you're free to assign attributes as you see fit--but please nothing much above 18 before racial adjustments, and those who intentionally limit themselves will be looked upon favorably. Add a number of cross-class skills equal to your wisdom modifier to your class skill list. Oh, and one last thing--double your number of skill points. Skills are good.
Acceptable Source MaterialAll of the Eberron books, obviously, both for flavor and crunch. I have everything else D&D 3.5, and I own or can borrow all of the GURPS 4th books. For any other wacky system, please provide me a link to the rules somewhere on the internet.
ResourcesI welcome people new to Eberron, as long as they're willing to put some effor into learning the setting. The articles here are a decent starting points, as is the Wikipedia article. In addition, the Grand History of Eberron, a freely available fan-made document, contains everything you'll ever need to know about Eberron, though it's best as a reference rather than an introduction.
PacingAs we'll be in solo threads most of the time, as fast as you want to go. I'd like to achieve one post per day at least, but that's not entirely necessary.
Application ProcessI'm not going to provide a recommended format for the application. Give me whatever it takes. Thinking about what I might want is a sign that you have some minimum level of commitment to this game.

But there are two things that I want from you in addition to whatever else you want to provide. First, I want a reason why your character is in Metrol the day before the Mourning. Second, for my own selfish purposes I want a possible explanation for the Mourning. This can be what your character believes (or will believe in a few days), or it can be something you yourself have dreamed up. Who knows, maybe one of your explanations is actually true!

Applications will be due on Friday, 1/30, at 8 PM EST. You don't have to have everything perfectly worked out by then, but I'll only take into account what's been posted or PMed when I decide who to accept.

Speaking of accepting people, I'd love to accept everyone who proves that they're interested by submitting a good application. But the demands of RL mean that I can't spend all of my waking hours running this game (just most of them ). So I'll probably accept 4-6 players at first, certainly no more than 8.


I realize this advertisement is incoherent, but most of what you need should be in there. For guidance, consult the Explanation section first, see the planning thread here, and realize that the answer to most mechanical questions will be "whatever works best for your character concept."

Enjoy!

Applications

lasseram: <censored>, D&D 3.5
Jomonkey527: Armstead, D&D 3.5
Chryson: Gypsy, D&D 3.5
Crossroad: Baelonn d'Cannith, diceless
pink peril: Sabriel D'Cannith, diceless
Galedeep: Estrick Tiberiun Gennet, GURPS
ShadowBright: Teela, D&D 3.5
koipond: <censored>, ?
Sarcastro: <censored>, ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jalapeno_dude View Post
@BearsWithLasers: Oh, that character. I thought you were the creator of Malzen. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the character, but you're right that he skews heavily to the pulp side of things, which isn't the story I want to tell in this game. So feel free to submit another concept if you want, but Malzen isn't going to work. Sorry.
Damn. Yeah, been looking for a chance to play him.
Maybe I can convert him into a hard-drinking, hard-snarking bastard who wanted to find fame and glory and a good publisher, but has instead become just another momentary curiosity, drinking his troubles away in the Sharn slums?

Eh. I'll think about him.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jomonkey527 View Post
Updated app. again.
Okay. Your app is definitely improving, and your character shows promise. There are a few things, though, that I'd still like to see. First of all, I'd like to know how he got into Metrol in more detail. Did he manage to get a position in the Thranish embassy some time ago, so he was already in the city when the heavy fighting started? Is he in disguise as a non-Thranite (which, at this point in time, would mean that he would be hiding as well the fact that he's a Flamite)? Or something else?

Second, you've told me about various aspects of Armstead's personality and appearance, but it hasn't all fallen into place yet. Take a look at pink peril's app. See how the first paragraph builds a picture in your mind of the character as a living, breathing individual? Right now Armstead is still two-dimensional for me--certainly he's a detailed picture, but he hasn't yet become a full person. Maybe you could post something from Armstead's point of view--an inner monologue, or a dialogue, or an action scene?

Estrick Tiberiun Gennet, former Cyran battlemage, former Red Gauntlet battle mage/tactical advisor, current freelance information broker and spy.

Psuedodragon Familiar, two "pet" homonculi; one furtive filcher and one expeditious messenger. Relatively wealthy, but tends to put money into his gadgetry, and then stash the rest, about a third in banks and the other two thirds in holes hidden around the city, either in rundown properties or alleyways.

Run using GURPS; I figure he's not quite the typical inquisitive, more a multi-faceted information broker. He acts as an inquisitive most of the time, even has something of a reputation as one...but he's more interested in finding things out that aren't known than he is in finding lost trinkets or missing children. He buys and sells things that could influence the war, things that matter; schematics for a new warmachine? He'll be interested, might even know someone who could get their hands on it. Whether a nobleman is having an affair, and how much you could get in the way of a bribe from him to keep it secret? He's the guy to talk to.

He operates as much by misdirection as anything.

Here's a rough outline of his life, up to this point.


EDIT: Forgive the picture, it's just a doodle on notebook paper I did and took a picture with my cell phone. I might get around to doing a better one a bit later.





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Teela - in progress but please give feedback!






Armstead version 4.0. I love the creative criticism you give. By fleshing out the character and having him do something I could find myself getting a better feel for him as a person and his struggles with the killing of his first person, his struggles with the first lock, and just overall being an inexperienced rogue/assassin. Not all would be heroes usually start out that way. Anyway, hopefully this is more of what you want.

I've done my edits; hidden in five OOC tags across the narrative are answers to the questions you asked.

Still no theory about the Mourning. Working on it.

Very much a late-comer to the thread, but I thought I'd post interest, at least. With the deadline so close, I'm not sure if I'll have time to come up with a character and get an app written up, but I'll do my best.




 

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