2nd Edition, Age of Discovery Game
Through the Darkness - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons (AD&D) and clones
Estimated Members Requested: 2
It's a 2e game set in more of a 1700's period (technologically speaking). There are all sorts of rules associated with it, and it's a homebrew setting.
What I'm looking for is a player (or players, depending) who is active, enthusiastic, and committed. The nature of this campaign makes it very difficult to replace people, but because it's so early in it, I'm kinda just "waving the DM wand" on it.
Most of the setting is described in the setting itself, but to spin up potential players for what's happened since: The boat has traversed it's (small) ocean, it's made landfall, and the first camp is being scouted out.
The setting and homebrew rules info can all be seen below:
has marched through time as rapidly as they can. A constant series of wars between the nation-states have driven on technological developments so as to better kill their fellow man. Advances include explosives in the form of black powder, muzzle loaded muskets and rifles, cast cannon, and sailing ships that can either deliver soldiers rapidly, or serve as floating batteries.
There are also those who study magic in the human world. It is an exhaustive, lengthy study to do even the simplest of tricks, and there must be an innate "spark" in the individual trying to conjure up spells. With the rapid advances in technology, few feel that it is worth while to study magic, and with the rarity of schools that teach it, it tends to be the refuge of the wealthy. Why cast a magic missile when one can simply fire a gun?
That is not to say that all are devoted to the advance of technology and the dominance of humanity as a whole. There are those who tend to the souls as well as the corporeal. Religion in humanity is limited to one God, simply called "The Father". He is seen as a benevolent God, but His word is often twisted by those who would use it to further their own ends. There are many orders of priests with different views, but all derive their clerical abilities from The Father. The art of healing is one that is taught in a formalized school for the priests, and these are held to a strict hierarchy. There are priests that are outside of the hierarchy, however, they are unable to heal the bodies of their flock, only their spirits. These tend to be the "country pastors" and the "naturally devout".
, long-lived as ever, have become set in their ways. The ways of five hundred years ago work just as well today as they did then, because these same people are still alive. While their cities tend to be low in population density and their farming is done with a loving tenderness for the earth, the elves have not yet seen reason to move beyond their bows and swords for hunting and the defense of their lands. Yet it is their magic which helps keep the coastline free from assault by the human ships. It is only the elves who remain in touch with nature anymore, and their contact is a strong one. The druids of the elves conjure up storms or send fire to the ships that would do harm to their lands, and for this a wary distance is kept from the elvish coastline.
As the humans have squabbled between themselves for dominance, the elves have provided a united front to outsiders, allowing them to remain aloof in the squabbles of others, and backwards in the eyes of humanity.
Religion in the Elvish lands tends to be a very private affair. There are gods of all sorts, from stone gods to tree gods, big gods of the sun, small gods of the house, but all are revered and important in their own way. This tends to lend itself to a lack of a true priesthood, and elvish clerics are for that reason non-existent.
are renowned for the quality of steel that comes from their cities, no doubt helped by the purity of the iron that comes from their mines. Their exports make them the wealthiest of the races, with that wealth, and the entirety of their race, locked away in mountain citadels.
It is this safety that has made the Dwarves so reluctant to leave and have cause to interact with the "others" of the world. Surely no army could assault them, no siege would be far-reaching enough to entirely cut off supplies, and no nation driven enough that could not simply be bought off by the huge dwarven fortunes.
Crossbows, axes, and spears are the weapons of the dwarves. These are easily trained in, and relatively simple to use. Every dwarf is trained as to how to use at least one of these weapons, as a sort of informal militia. Each family member stands guard two days in a row a month. The first is a sort of drill, where they practice with their weapons so as to not be unfamiliar with them should they have reason to use them, the second is when they actually stand guard in the fortifications and outskirts of the dwarven lands.
The dwarves lack a true religion, rather they revere their ancestors, and seek guidance from the actions of those that came before them.
Gnomes and Halflings
have banded together to try to keep themselves from being sold into slavery. Figuring on being entertaining and silly so as to not be taken too seriously, these races serve another purpose as well.
As the only group that truly travels freely and at will, as performers, circus acts, minstrels, or anything else, gnomes and halflings often serve alternative purposes as informal diplomats and spies.
The weapons of these smaller folk tend to be those which are easily concealed. Daggers, slings, quarterstaves are favored amongst the gnomes and halflings, after all, nobody wants to feel threatened by their own entertainment!
Religiously, the gnomes and halflings, having spent the last hundred and fifty years or so together, have a blended religion. It is a communal religion partaken by each individual troupe of performers, but it lacks formalized rituals or any sort of hierarchy. There are two dieties, Alwen, the diety of all things good, honest, and enjoyable, and Vokin, the diety of all things bad, deceitful, and wretched. Any troupe found to be worshiping the latter will find itself quickly under assault by anyone who considers themselves a halfway decent person!
Magic of the Arcane Variety: Needs to have an original "spark", only certain humans have it. No other races do. This spark needs to be refined and honed at special schools, which tend to be very expensive, and are thus reserved only for the wealthy elite.
Magic of the Natural Variety: Only the elves have a close enough connection to the land anymore to support this sort of magic. This limits druids to elves.
Magic of the Divine Variety: Only humans have the infrastructure and "strong religion" to train true "priests". Paladins may exist, but they will be taken on a case-by-case basis.
Other Magical Notes: Dwarves cannot perform magic. Gnomes and halflings are able to learn magic, but are limited to illusionists and illusion spells. These are derived from their applicability to various performance shows.
Dwarves tend to favor heavy armor still, as defensiveness is ingrained into their blood. Their weapons are the axes, crossbows, and spears typical to the dwarven lands.
Elves tend to favor lighter, more "natural" armor, and use bows and swords primarily.
Humans tend to go unarmored at this point. They have found it to merely add weight, and no true defense against the bullets and cannonballs that they typically encounter on the field of battle.
Gnomes and Halflings favor smaller weapons, daggers, throwing knives, slings, quarterstaves, things of this nature. Their armor varies from troupe to troupe, some prefer leather, some unarmored, some as heavy as chain. It typically depends on where they typically travel to and from.
It is not surprising that Ironridge, a nation of dwarves located in the Ironridge mountains, should be so defensible. A chain of mountains that has been fortified through the centuries by countless years of dwarven labor, these mostly-natural citadels are almost impregnable.
Food is grown on the sides of the mountains by lesser clans of dwarves, as is the ore that is mined. Fresh water is fed by a branch of the Northern Lifefont River which travels to Ironridge and continues underground through the mountains.
In the hierarchy of dwarves, the more complicated the clan's trade, the more respect they garnish. While to outsiders, the dwarves provide a united front, within, the dwarves govern themselves in a manner where each clan's head go into a meeting hall. The most prestigious and respected of clans will often use their influence to bully those deemed "lesser" into voting with their line of thought.
The Elvish nation of Tierwald, while idyllic to outsiders, is ran by a rigid caste system. At the top, few in number, are the Grey Elves, attempting to keep the borders closed to all outsiders. They try to keep druidic numbers to their own caste. Those druids from another caste are hunted and jailed for uncontrolled meddling in the "natural order". They see how dangerous the world has become over the last centuries and firmly believe that every elf has their place in Tierwald, and it would be unnatural to upset the natural order of things. They meet in secret to govern the lands, and their word is law.
Beneath them are the Common Elves (read: High/Gold Elves). These form the "strong middle class" of Tierwald. They are the artisans, the bladesmiths, the bowyers, the land owners. They seek comfort in their ways off the labor of the Sylvan Elves. By relegating the "grunt" labor of farming, smithing, or anything else, the Common Elves can focus their talents on the best organization of the Sylvan Elves, or the actual artistry of their trade.
The lowest caste are the Sylvan Elves. They are encouraged not to read or write. Their freedom is curtailed by a word from anyone from a caste higher. They live at the fringes of society, whether scrubbing pots, sowing seeds, or carrying coal. While there are far-flung settlements of truly wild Sylvan, they are becoming ever fewer as the Grey Elves and the Common Elves find them, trap them, and "civilize" them.
Lon, bordered on the north by a branch of the North Lifefont River, holds a unique position amongst the human nations. While geographically the northernmost, it is more importantly the only nation that borders both the Elvish and the Dwarven nations. With easy access to Spear Bay, Lon has found itself constantly shipping out those wild Sylvan unfortunate enough to be captured by raiding parties.
The lucrative slave trade has made Lon wealthy throughout the years. The cities are well maintained, the streets cobbled, and art flourishes. And yet, it is not the slave trade alone that has Lon in such a good fiscal position. Lon alone has earned the trust of the dwarves, so it is through Lon that all dwarven steel passes. The constant need for weaponry in the various border wars in the human nations creates a monopoly for Lon that sees even the poorest of Lon's citizens well off by most other nation's standards.
Ruled by a council of merchants guilds, Lon will do just about anything to further line it's coffers.
Blenmont finds itself as a kingdom with an amoral King. The serfs are forced to work the land in grueling conditions, while a tiny middle class seeks to eek out a living under the rule of a man who will sell his own citizens into mercenary armies to sell to various nations at war.
The nobility under Blenmont do what they can to cater to the King. He has them invited to the palace in perpetuity, and while they are allowed to go to their own holdings to tend to affairs, they are expected back in short order. While they are at the palace, the nobility's families are essentially held hostage to assure the cooperation of the nobility. Should one decide to dissent, that noble is given a commission in one of the mercenary armies, and sold part and parcel to the various nations. With their land vacated, it reverts to control of the King, who can dispense of it as he sees fit.
North Eastlook was once a part of the larger "Eastlook" nation, but split apart after a noble rose to prominence to claim the throne. While South Eastlook declines to recognize North Eastlook as anything less than a breakaway part of their nation, they have yet to come to a truly conclusive battle. When one nation has the other effectively "on the ropes", a new mercenary army will be bought from Blenmont to tip the scales once again. It is a war that has so far lasted two years, and seems to have no end in sight.
North Eastlook is currently ran by a military government, until such a time as the war should end and the North Eastlook's sovereignty is recognized, at which point their highest of Generals, Martin the First, shall be appointed ruler. South Eastlook is ruled as a kingdom that is trying to retain it's holdings, as a valuable farmland was lost with a branch of the North Lifefont River that is currently in North Eastlook. The subjects of South Eastlook are consistently conscripted to fight ever larger battles for ever longer periods of time. There are rumors of a coup in South Eastlook that lead to people being hanged as traitors daily.
Freemarch is a loose collection of warlords that have no end of weapons in sight. This is because their strategic location at the mouth of the Spear Bay allows them to rapidly send out Xebecs to raid Lon's and Blenmont's shipping. The constant influx of weapons from piracy allows them to maintain a loose sort of borders, and a semi-legitimate trade to it's bordering nations. In Freemarch, the rich-poor divide is large, but those not involved in trading or farming are typically crews of the various pirate ships, attempting to strike it rich in their illicit trade.
Of strategic importance to Freemarch is their border with the Lifefont. The Lifefont has been known as such for centuries, as it is the font of all life in the lands. It is a freshwater lake that is constantly fed fresh water, and the rivers throughout the land are entirely supplied by the Lifefont. It is the threatening of the Lifefont that keeps nations from pressing Freemarch too hard in their piratic ways.
The Free States of Jeuxnia are the only landlocked nation. They are a highly militarized society, where every man serves at least two years in the army. After completion of their training, every man must maintain at least a musket and thirty rounds of ammunition for it. It is this ready army that diverts invasion from the Free States of Jeuxnia, regardless of their strategic position at the mouth of the South Lifefont River.
Governed as a Republic, the male land owners in the Free States each have one vote for their regional representatives, who then go on to decide the course of the nation in the House of the Elected.
Drokvia is a nation where only magic users can be involved in the running of a country. It is seen that only they have had the time to gain the wisdom to rule effectively. The training that is done to make a magic user is both time consuming and expensive, and only the wealthiest have an opportunity to study it. These academies are not simply training centers though, they also do their own research. No art of magic is forbidden to research here, and it is unremarked how the poor, homeless, and orphans seem to simply disappear from the streets of Drokvia.
Those not involved in the ruling of Drokvia function like any other nation. There are those wealthy, and those poor, some that farm, some that sell goods, and some that craft. It is just that every bureaucrat runs their own town, and has their own lab where they continue to research and study in the way they learned to at the academies.
The Principality of Bal is led by the leader of the Church, the Prince on Earth. A strict Theocracy, this state has kept itself separate by those unwilling to invoke the higher vengeance of the Father. Various sects of the Church run monasteries and convents, and each has their own parish that they rule over. Some are more benevolent, some are more militant, but they each answer to Prince Adelbert the Righteous, Father Bless his Rule.
Those of a non-religious sort are hunted as heretics. They are brought into confession, and then their souls are typically purged by fire. Their souls, now clean, are expedited into heaven to prevent their remission, due to the benevolence of the Church. This makes believing in something other than the Church Temporal and the Church Spiritual a very daring sin.
Southland is in a fortunate position. While bordered by three states, they each tend to focus inward rather than outward. With two branches of the South Lifefont River going through Southland, there is much fertile land to be farmed.
The combination of relative security and internal stability have led Southland to be one of the more pleasant places to live. Ruled by King Theodore I, he attempts to project his nations power through Southland's navy. The ships made by Southland are the most advanced around. They sail the fastest, have the most longevity, and leak the least. Combined with cannon from Lon made by dwarven steel, the Southland Navy is a force to be reckoned with. To keep this navy in the finest fighting fit possible, Theodore I will often loan out his ships to warring nations so they have reason to fight. This further adds bargaining tokens to Theodore's diplomatic table.
However, the manning of such a fleet can be tricky. It is not a navy that can be entirely staffed by volunteers, as the ships can be at sea for years at a time, and conditions are typically less pleasant than that of home. This means that to fill the manning gap, there are often tactics employed at seaside towns to create fresh sailors for the ever needful ships. Subjects will often be simply abducted after having one too many drinks, to simply not see their families for years, if they can even be trusted with shore leave at that point.
Most 2nd Edition rulebooks are in play. I will likely have a copy of them. I am NOT looking to use the Book of Humanoids, the Book of Ninjas or the Book of Psionicists. I am fine to use kits, but try to keep them appropriate to the setting. If you are considering a kit, let me know so I can make sure it'll fit.
Starting equipment will be fairly generous. You are being fitted out by your various governments on a mission of discovery and exploration. I am willing to go along with most equipment decisions as far as personal gear goes, but run the exotic stuff by me. The various oriental campaign weaponry and armor will unfortunately not fit in this setting, however, if there is other exotic gear you are interested in, please do not hesitate to take your proficiencies in it. I understand that there are those who would rather take weapon proficiency in longsword rather than cutlass, because they fear they will never find a magical cutlass in a game. While I will not say how magical gear is going to be handled, I have something in mind that I think will allow for the greatest freedom of gear choice and still maintain fairness to all.
Starting money will still be rolled, however, since you are being provided for by your governments, that money will be going into a collective "war chest" for the expedition.
I do ask that as far as firearms are handled, you equip your character with any ONE of the firearms types. Pistols I will allow for two to be carried by a person using those as their type. I ask this simply because I am trying to balance firearms for use at low and high levels, and against other ranged weapons, so that they are fair, fun, and plausible. If everyone were to run around looking like Rambo, I would stand no chance of keeping things both fair and plausible.
Firearms come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. I once attempted to come up with an entire chapter as to how to handle different calibers, different ranges, different ways to load them, et cetera. Historically, every nation had it's own style of musket, rifle, standardization, non-standardization, bayonet lengths, bayonet positions, and more. I am NOT going to be attempting to foist that on anybody. For simplicity's sake, firearms come in four basic variants in this setting.
While typically there would be a flint in the teeth, this musket fires a .75 caliber ball with a 110 grain charge of powder behind it. The bore is smooth allowing for a fairly rapid reload, however, this detracts from the accuracy and overall effective range of the firelock.
The rifle, you'll notice, is shorter than the musket, and lacks a bayonet lug. However, it does have an obvious feature that the musket does not: A rear sight. A rifle is truly meant to be aimed, while a musket was historically "poised". Having between five and seven lands and grooves spiraling the bore, this makes rifles slower to load, but grants them a longer effective range, and often increases their penetrating power.
The shotgun, or, blunderbuss as many will know it, is a squat looking piece that is able to fire just about anything shoved down it's maw. Used for short range, these were historically used by wagoneers to guard their supplies, but were also seen in naval boarding actions and home defense.
The pistol was typically used by cavalry, naval boarding parties, and officers. Often just as expensive as a musket, but less practical to the common soldier, they were typically symbols of status and wealth. Their ranges are short, even compared to the musket, and their usefulness in the purposes of melee is often considered negligible. Still, they are easily carried and at least conceivable to conceal.
Firearm Cost Weight Size Type Speed Damage Additional Musket 100 12 M P 10 1d12 12 Rifle 150 10 M P 12 1d12 12 Shotgun 75 8 S P 8 1d4+1 Cone 5 Pistol 100 4 M P 6 1d8 8
Firearm Rate of Fire Short Range Medium Range Long Range Powder Charge Musket 1/3 25m 50m 100m 110 gr. Rifle 1/4 50m 100m 300m 90 gr. Shotgun 1/3 5m 10m 20m 80 gr. Pistol 1/2 10m 20m 40m 60 gr.
Firearm Melee Size Type Speed Damage S/M Damage L Musket w. Bayonet L P 5 1d6+1 2d6 Rifle as Club M B 6 1d6+1 1d4+1 Shotgun as Club M B 3 1d6 1d3 Pistol as Club S B 3 1d6 1d3
These are skills you can use your weapon proficiencies on. Keep in mind, using firearms as firearms and using them as melee weapons are two very, very different skills, thus, they require a weapon proficiency for each.
INT & DEX
Shooting alone isn't what you spent all those years training to do. It's the art of knowing where a shot will penetrate through armor, and the ability to place that shot in the correct location. With this weapon proficiency, the user can attempt to penetrate non-magical armor with their ranged weapon, effectively ignoring AC gained through non-magical armor. Armor that IS magical cannot be penetrated in such a manner. Rifles gain a -1 Bonus to rolls, Muskets, Longbows, and Heavy Crossbows are at normal, Light Crossbows, Short Bows, and Pistols suffer a +1 Penalty, and Shotguns (Blunderbusses) suffer a +2 penalty.
While attempting to make this shot hit in "the right spot" to penetrate through armor, a character loses their DEX bonus to AC, due to the manual and mental concentration required.
Point Blank Shot
Steady lads, steady! It takes an act of will to wait until the enemy is upon you before you fire, but firing so close allows you to blast through whatever is coming your way. Success on the check allows for anyone using a non-sling missile weapon to fire within a fifth of their "short" range to do +2 damage with a +1 to hit. Further, if used in conjunction with Plumb Shot the character has a -3 bonus on both checks required to ignore the armor. Ranges within 2m are considered to be "melee range".
To roll stats, just roll 4d6 and drop the lowest, do that six times, and assign as you will. If you have a class or kit in mind, and cannot meet minimum requirements, roll until you can meet those minimum requirements. Stop once you meet them!
As for gold, roll your gold according to your class, but choose your equipment without regards to gold. You are being kitted out by your governments. The gold you DO roll will go into a "warchest" that can be used by the party for whatever you may find it useful for. That gold is also being provided by your respective governments.
A world where the inexorable march of time tramps on, where elves and dwarves have consigned themselves to isolationist policies, where humans strive for technological superiority, where gnomes and halflings are derisively seen as mere
entertainment, whether they be performers or seen simply as a sub-human circus.
Cultural isolation breeds distrust, and distrust often enough morphs into something far, far more sinister.