Slipping Into Darkness
Slipping Into Darkness - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e - Forgotten Realms 3.5e
Estimated Members Requested: 1
IntroductionPort Gatri, a veritable city of adventure on the frontier of the new world, the continent of Theradar. Founded fifty years ago as a joint venture between the human kingdom of Caenna and the elven magi of Uthennes Glade, and the crown jewel in the late Queen Cecia’s reign.
As the first outpost in a prosperous new continent, Port Gatri grew with unparalleled speed, to the point where it now rivals even the capitol itself. The region contains farmland more fertile than most could imagine, mines rich beyond belief, rare herbs in abundance, and danger. Lots and lots of danger. The entire continent is covered with a supposedly cursed forest, one that is being reclaimed one mile at a time. Unknown dangers riddle the land, along with the boundless known dangers of orcs and goblins.
In order to face these mysteries, the Explorers’ Guild was founded. Its purpose was self-evident. Explore the cursed forests of Theradar and report back so they can be countered. In time, the guild attracted people of many talents, from scouts to thieves, to investigators and assassins, and the tasks they took on grew in diversity as well. Today, the Explorers make up one of the most powerful guilds in the entire city, though internal divisions within the guild keep them from exerting that power.
However, being an Explorer is as dangerous a job as you can ask for. Only the most desperate, the most foolhardy, and the most glory-hungry apply. Or perhaps the most courageous, the most cunning, and the most talented. Though some call that particular lot delusional. This is the story of a team four such
”Young” is not a requirement. A slight preference, yes, but no biggie. young Explorers, and the adventures they faced together.
Alright, here we go. I'm accepting four people for a sneaky-type 3.5 game. Maybe more. Maybe a lot more. Probably not.
For a base setting, you may use Forgotten Realms, though don’t be a setting lawyer on that. Theradar is not on any map, nor is Caenna or Uthennes Glade. Nor will they ever be on any map of any sort, ever. In fact, the continent itself will not have a map. It will have a running list of locations with a vague description of where they are and an idea of how many days’ travel it would take to get there on foot. The finer points of geography will be replaced by generalities and a convenient tendency for the party to move at the speed of plot. In fact, don’t expect to see a single map. Ever.
Though if the scene is confusing, I may either provide a combat map to start or provide one upon request. Even in combat.
The finer points of tactical combat are going to be replaced with a more narrative style.
Now, then. That said, Theradar is surrounded by vicious shoals and stormy seas that make Port Gatri the only known safe port on the entire continent. It’s a largely temperate continent, covered almost entirely by forests bar what’s been cleared, and rain is very common, though even in winter snow is rare. The precise scope of the continent is a mystery, but the entire region has unusual magical properties making it a veritable gold mine. Blessings on the land make the crops richer and animals fatter. Innate magic has made abundant gems and metals from the mines invaluable in arcane research and rare herbs and reagents are plentiful here. The port is incredibly prosperous, though that doesn’t mean the wealth is well-distributed.
Most notably in the region, natural magic in the forest tends to disrupt scrying and teleportation, and everything above the forest canopy is a dead magic zone, which makes the Explorers’ job quite secure. The reason for this phenomenon is unknown.
The city itself, as well as the inhabitants, and for that matter the entire continent, will largely be defined as we go. I’m a highly improvisational DM, and that’s just how I run. However, here are some people, places, and organizations of interest.
Yes, this is the big one.
The Explorers’ Guild was founded in the city’s earliest days for the purpose of exploring the continent. To mixed success. For the most part, the region has defied exploration, with most expeditions ending in failure or in Explorers failing to return, presumably killed. In time, the guild attracted a rather interesting collection of members, which brought it to the attention of many new breeds of employers. The guild’s operations have since expanded far beyond simple exploration, and they have become one of the most powerful guilds in the city.
However, the Explorers’ Guild lacks a true guildmaster- the members have always been too individualistic to accept a single leader- and internal tensions have long kept the guild in a state of intimidating impotence on the political stage.
Guild members are referred to in general as Explorers, though technically the title only applies to the
That’s you guys, by the way. lowest (and largest by far) rank of membership
, the grunts who actually go out and do the exploring, or scout the orc camp, or find the missing kitty cat. Most guild members remain Explorers until they retire or die. Above the Explorers are the managers who receive and dole out assignments, and usually manage some sort of shop, inn, or tavern besides. There are other stations within the organization, such as recruiters, but the precise details of the guild’s inner workings are a mystery to lower-ranking members.
The closest thing the guild has to a leader is an odd old woman who goes by the title of Watcher Agatha. She’s been around since the guild was founded and has a knack for getting things done, despite her eccentricities. Some say her achievements have mostly been luck, and to look at her track record, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch; most of her “accomplishments” are actually the work of folks she delegated jobs to. Still, folks come to her with a great many of the larger assignments and she passes them down to the guild managers.
Oddly, no one knows her last name. And she refused to give up her lack of a maiden name when she married her (now deceased) husband. In fact, he took her lack of a surname.
The guild’s most prolific recruiter is also the grandson of Watcher Agatha. Haggis is a handsome young man with a penchant for large, hooded cloaks that tend to conceal the fact that he’s a handsome young man, and he goes to great lengths to preserve his “mysterious stranger” image, making him less than sociable. He’s one of the city’s foremost sneaks, capable of suddenly appearing behind even the most seasoned of Explorers. It’s a trademark of his. Haggis is the man responsible for finding some of the rising stars among the latest generation of explorers and considers himself a keen judge of talent. Hence his position. Also, he’s been known to issue assignments directly from Agatha herself to specific teams on rare occasions. These missions are always a big deal, one way or another.
Unfortunately, not only has Haggis inherited his grandmother’s lack of a surname, he’s also extremely touchy about his first name. And understandably so.
The Gatri Knights are
military force in the continent. Though they are indeed knights of Caenna, under direct authority of the crown, but in reality, it is extremely difficult to communicate with the mainland and the knights are largely autonomous and governed by High Prefect Vienna Rho. The brotherhood of knights is rather strict on the “brotherhood” part, and rather strict in general. They tend to focus more on military campaigns against the region’s orcs and goblins, but when they crack down on law enforcement, they crack down
The Gatri Knights are strongly devoted to Helm.
Though not technically a member of the Gatri Knights, Lady Vienna commands the knights’ obedience by right of being the highest-ranking priestess of Helm on the continent, wielding greater authority than even the Knight-General. In addition, she was the late queen’s appointed administrator for the continent, and thus technically in charge of the city and the continent as a whole. However, while she is exceptional as a military-minded tactician, her political expertise leaves much to be desired, and the constant campaigns against the orcs and the goblins frequently turn her attention away from Port Gatri, which has allowed many others to fill the power vacuum while she is distracted.
The high prefect is cold, calculating, imperious, and generally not well-liked, save for the fact that she isn’t around much.
General Griffith is, quite possibly, the single most powerful warrior on the entire continent. A living machine, an invincible god of battle, an unstoppable engine of destruction, and one of the most terrifying human beings alive. He is technically the leader of the brotherhood of knights, despite the high prefect’s status. Unfortunately, he is not a particularly clever man, and his tactics consist largely of brute force, though his own strength alone is often enough to carry an entire campaign as he leads the charge. He allegedly has a force of elites under his command, loyal to him alone, whom he has trained personally to rival his own power.
Rumor has it he is quite bitter over the high prefect’s de facto command over his knights, though he dare not move against her publically.
There’s really not much
to say about the city guard. They’re the day-to-day law enforcement under normal circumstances, and they would likely be capable of holding Port Gatri against the orcs and goblins, even without the knights’ support. The previous chief of the city guard recently passed away and has yet to have his replacement named.
Tjor is something of the town mascot, and a man of mystery. Calling him big would be like calling a mountain heavy. The man is a giant, quite literally, standing at nearly twenty feet tall, with a thick mane of well-groomed black hair. Tjor is the self-proclaimed king of the beach, and unsurprisingly none dispute his claims. This cheerful man is often the first thing people see when getting off the boat to town, as he works at the docks, his immense size and strength allowing him to unload as much cargo in an hour as would take a dozen humans all day. King Tjor doesn’t belong to any known subspecies of giant, and when asked about it, he identifies himself as a “beach giant.” All authorities on the matter have declared this answer to be rubbish.
King Tjor has lived on the continent since even before the first settlers, and even greeted them when they arrived. He’s rather tight-lipped on how he came to live in the area.
The most noteworthy thing about Brightmoor Glen is that it’s completely unnoteworthy. It’s one among dozens of small farming villages that have cropped up to take advantage of the region’s exceptional farmland. The competition for secure farmland is intense, so Brightmoor Glen has circumvented the rat race by placing itself in
almost secure territory, making defense against roaming warbands a top priority, and an all-consuming one that makes life a struggle for the town’s citizens, but one day, the townspeople are convinced the Gatri Knights will secure the area and their foresight will pay off.
Incidentally, small towns like this tend to be rather distant from any real law enforcement, and the towns themselves aren’t particularly powerful, making towns like Brightmoor Glen ideal locations for more… “exotic” studies.
They’re green. They’re angry. They kill people. What more is there to tell?
Alright, alright. They live in the forests, and seem to control large portions of it on the whole, but most of them would rather die than cooperate with the humans, and the few who do make peace don’t know much worth mentioning about the continent at all- they just patrol their little corners of the forest and have a superstitious paranoia about the rest of the continent. Some of the more peaceful goblins (relatively speaking) have moved into human cities where they’re constantly suspected of being spies. Some of the more peaceful orcs have taken to switching sides and slaughtering other orcs rather than humans (and such).
Welcome to the most important part of this entire shtick. For you, at least. The group template is all about what
of character is expected, and the types of challenges you can expect to face. This is what I want out of a team. Most points in here are pliable, but this is the sort of things I see y’all doing and the sort of characters I see going through it. These are
hard, fast rules (for the most part). They’re just things to keep in mind when making a character. They’re things to keep in mind, but most aren’t shackles.
So, who are you? You are a low-ranking member of the Explorers’ Guild, a hodgepodge organization comprised of an eccentric array of members with various… “interesting” talents. While the guild was indeed originally intended for exploration, and that is still a large part of what they do, their purpose has since expanded to include a broad array of subtle and delicate work, including scouting, investigation, infiltration, and allegedly even theft, tomb raiding, and assassination, among other things. You’ve also been with the guild for a decent length of time- long enough to do a couple missions. There
character who is new to the guild, or at least new to the team. You can request to be the one who’s new to the team, and I’ll probably respect that request, but ultimately, that part will be my call.
What does that mean for you? Well, first and foremost, You. Are. Sneaky. That’s one of the big things here. It’s easy enough to achieve, luckily, as I’m houseruling that everyone gets Stealth on their skill list for free, and most folks get full ranks in it for free as well (details on that come another day). However, it does make certain character types, like the standard tin can Fighter, inappropriate.
The kinds of jobs you’re going to be expected to do are the sorts that require subtlety and tact, rather than brute force and serial stabbings. As such, any class that doesn’t get any kind of non-combat ability isn’t particularly appropriate. The Fighter, for example, gets only combat ability and combat feats alongside a skill list consisting of approximately squat. That’s not a good fit. The Monk, on the other hand, gets some light skills and doesn’t rely on armor, making her a better fit for the campaign. Keep in mind that your abilities
combat are likely to be far more useful than your abilities inside combat.
Also, I wish for this to be a lower-power campaign. This does not mean low-magic or less loot or anything like that. It means that I prefer characters from some of the less powerful (but not worthless) classes. If you are familiar with the
, then think tier 4. Tiers 3 and 5 are okay. I prefer not going to tiers 2 or 6, largely because 6 is incompetent and 2 consists of classes that aren’t entirely appropriate. All of the tier 1 classes are outright banned. The lower the tier, the more houseruled love I’m liable to pour on.
Also, some of you are possibly familiar with my stance on character class, but for those of you who do not, class is what you
, not what you
. Being a priest(ess) does not mean that you have to take the
Which is good, since Cleric is banned outright. Cleric class
, or even a divine caster. Nowhere in the Rogue class description do the words, “Not a priest,” appear. A Rogue can be full clergy. Likewise, hailing from a barbarian tribe does not require that you have a level of Barbarian and just because you make your living as a scout doesn’t mean you have to take levels of Scout. I’ve spent too many words on the topic here already, but if you are interested in my full take on the topic, you can go
. Or not.
Now, like I said, you are sneaky. Your tasks will reflect that. If you’re smart enough and lucky enough, you may be able to get by without any combat at all. Ever. Whether it be by sneaking past the goblins, brainwashing the orc that just snuck up behind you, tossing a bottle of alchemist’s fire to collapse the path behind you, or just working up some tears in your baby blues and crying like a baby until the guard drops his guard and you can gut him before he even gets a chance to roll initiative. It’s not technically a fight if he never gets the chance to fight back, after all. Just because you didn’t murder every living thing in sight doesn’t mean you won’t get loot and XP. The experience will be the same and most of your loot is liable to come in the form of guild payment. An Explorer’s job description doesn’t read “warrior.” Your job is to venture boldly into the unknown and come out alive. Possibly to tell the tin cans back home what
have to kill. Adventure is not necessarily slaughter.
In the roleplay versus rollplay paradigm, expect the two to go hand-in-hand, without a great deal of combat. The mechanics give you a lot of tools and toys you need to get the job done in a cunning and creative manner. Feel free to get as creative as you wish. I’ll figure out some rules for whatever the Hell crazy idea you just came up with. In most general terms, I suppose you could call this a sandbox game with a quest hook dispenser in the form of the guild, and falling heavily towards the roleplay side.
With regards to alignment, any alignment is acceptable. However, that doesn’t mean you have free reign to be an idiot or a psychopath. Or a psychopathic idiot. Lawful does not mean you instantly execute people for jaywalking. Evil does not mean you eat babies and sacrifice puppies to Cthulhu. Lawful generally means you have a rigid, orderly worldview, and “evil” for the purposes of this game had better be more to the effect of a greedy, self-centered bastard than human sacrifice on Cyric’s altar. Above all, you have to be willing to
Though not necessarily like them. Me likey drama. The game wouldn’t be much fun without any. work with the team
and not become the most wanted being in the entire city. If you’re a mad pyromaniac alchemist who adores blowing things up and pay little head to the consequences, fine, but don’t go overboard and you’re a team player (in some context) no matter how much you end up balking and bickering with the other party members, that’s fine. And everyone, do keep in mind that pliable morals are pretty much a requirement. The Explorers’ Guild doubles as, among other things, a lesser thieves’ guild. It’s a well-known secret. Your character works with thieves, maybe even worse. These thieves-and-worse may even be in the party. You may not be a thief yourself. You may never steal a thing in the entire campaign. But you have to be willing to work with thieves and others of dubious morals.
Also, y’all are not necessarily heroes. You may be heroic. You may become heroes over the course of the campaign. Or not. However, being an Explorer is ultimately a job. Do the job, get paid, go home, and repeat next time you get an assignment. It’s a dangerous job, and many may take it with heroic intentions, but many others simply do it to pay the rent. And Port Gatri is indeed your character’s home. You have a home life, connections, friends. All that good stuff. And you
have roots in town beyond the guild. Perhaps family. Perhaps a teacher or former classmates or former co-workers. Your character is
a complete loner. If orcs torched the family farm and killed everyone you ever knew last week and you just got into town last Tuesday, then gee, you must have made one extremely dear friend in town remarkably fast. That or there was another survivor who came to town. Something. What’s more, the party members all know each other reasonably well in some context outside of guild work. Probably. This will be figured out after acceptance.
For the sorts of enemies you can expect to encounter and the precise types of skills that’ll be useful? All of them. There will be zombies and constructs and such, but not so many that the enchantress or the Rogue will always be stuck in the corner crying
Particularly since I’m houseruling in half precision damage against folks who’re normally immune. .
There will be both urban and wilderness adventure in a proportion mostly of your choosing, so both skill sets will come in handy.
Let’s see. Lower-end, more skillful classes, play cunning, be sneaky, don’t be a douche, adventure isn’t necessarily murder, the party members know each other, guild membership is a job, y’all have roots, class is what you do… I think that covers it.
Oh! One last minor thing. I’m liable to keep y’all at or near poverty. Well, not poverty, but you aren’t going to be rich any time soon. That doesn’t mean you won’t be getting spiffy magical items of your own selection to use. It means a lot of your “gold” won’t actually be gold. It’ll be guild credit. The authority to allocate funds strictly for professional purposes. Meaning you can buy that +1 sword using guild-allocated funds, but it won’t pay for rent or dinner or that gorgeous dress in the window. Don’t worry, I won’t ask why Mister Badass Q. Assassin wants to buy that gorgeous dress in the window. That’ll likely come out of a much smaller
gold supply that will be considerably more scarce. You’ll have level-appropriate gear, but you’ll probably never be genuinely rich. And that holds true from the start. Any starting gold you don’t spend will be guild credit. Y’all’re pretty much just paying the bills with the Explorers’ Guild gig. You’ll start out either broke or close to it.
Note that in this group template I did not mention a thing about party balance or required roles, other than the fact that everyone will be capable of sneaking. I’m not concerned with party balance in the sense of having a meat shield, a skill whore, a heal bitch, and a howitzer, though I will try to keep the characters in the same playing field with regards to individual raw power. I see nothing wrong with a team consisting of Bard, Rogue, Factotum, Scout for the purposes of this campaign, even if Ranger, Rogue, Healer, Beguiler may be more balanced. The nature of the challenges is such that traditional party balance is not as important.
For those of you who
like being told to do or are just really confused on classes as a whole, here’s a reference list for ya. Take it with a grain of salt, though.
These are classes that fit the campaign to a tee by default. Or that I really like and intend to houserule into fitting to the point where a good player can handle the rest and make me really happy with the result.
Beguiler (Players Handbook II)
I have a totally irrational love for the Healer class. It may have something to do with the unicorn. *Huggles the unicorn.* Anyways, it’ll get some love in houserules if anyone takes it. More skill points, medium BAB, and some extra perks. Details available if anyone actually wants to take the class. Healer
Remember, psionics does not exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Lurk
This class’ll get some love in houserules. Full BAB and some more skills, though it may ultimately still be better as a dual-class with something else. No biggy, that. Marshal
The Ninja class is allowed and even encouraged. Ninjas, however, are not. If your character ever actually identifies as a literal “ninja,” I will hunt you down and destroy you. It’s just a mystical thief/assassin type class. Also, replace that annoyingly restrictive Sudden Strike with Sneak Attack progression. Ninja
Psionics don’t exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Psychic Warrior
Psionics don’t exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Psychic Rogue
The Mind’s Eye
Scout (Complete Adventurer)
Spell Thief (Complete Adventurer)
Weird call, I know. However, ‘splodeymancy has a lot more uses than just blowing up enemies that can be a lot of fun. After all, who needs a lock picker when you can just blow out the entire wall? :P Raw destructive power is a useful noncombat tool unto itself. Warmages will get some houseruley love, by the way. Summoning (which’ll get some love of its own), a bit of conjuration battlefield control and utility like Grease, and more. I’ll actually come up with details if anyone takes the class. If not, no skin off my nose. Warmage
(Complete Arcane or Miniatures Handbook)
Psionics do not exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Wilder
These classes could well work, but they’re… well… dubious. Some are too combat-focused, others are generally above the power level I have in mind, but they can work out without too much trouble. With some of these classes, the problem is that they’re already towards the higher end of the power spectrum, yet to be appropriate in a more skill-centric campaign, it would require some boosts to a class that’s already more than powerful enough. You may notice a lot of full casters on this list.
Remember, psionics does not exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Ardent
Druid [Shapeshifting variant from PHB2 only]
Favored Soul (Complete Divine)
Remember, psionics do not exist. Psionics is magic. Psions are mages. In this particular case, Psion is the default replacement for Wizard, though there are numerous others possible and a Psion may be something other than a wizard. Psion
Shugenja (Complete Divine)
Spirit Shaman (Complete Divine)
I moved this one from "encouraged." There's a strong possibility that when the game begins, the Soulknife class won't exist. Their primary feature is "has a weapon," and everyone has weapons. The Soulknife flavor is liable to be ported to any number of other classes. And remember, psionics don’t exist. Psionics is magic. Psionic characters are magic users. Soulknife
Moved from encouraged for lack of actual abilities. Swashbuckler
Yes, Swordsages fit quite well and their abilities do suit the ideals quite well, but there’s also the fact that a number of the weaker classes are being pushed in this campaign and, despite having a range of handy abilities, Swordsage is also a highly effective combat class. The problem with Swordsage is liable to be one of fundamental fairness, in that if there’s a Swordsage running around, not only will she be a highly effective combat character, there’s also a good chance she’ll more effective than the less combat-capable classes at their own game. A Swordsage next to a Swashbuckler is pretty tough to make fair, after all. So, I won’t say that you can’t use Swordsage or Tome of Battle in general, but I will suggest that you look elsewhere if you can. Swordsage
(Tome of Battle)
Check Swordsage’s OOC blurb. However, Warblade, despite being more combat-focused class, is actually a bit more fair in that while Warblades are a combat-heavy class, their abilities don’t have the magic, out-of-combat applications that a lot of Swordsage abilities do, making them most effective at simply smashing things or other, more limited abilities, which while remaining quite useful are less omnipresent than nigh at-will noncombat teleportation and the like. Warblade
(Tome of Battle)
Warlock (Complete Arcane)
Wu Jen (Complete Arcane)
These classes would be even harder to make appropriate, either because they’re totally focused on things that don’t matter (like heavy armor and pure combat), they outright suck, or I just outright hate them. Pretty much any class with “Dragon” in the name makes my blood boil. Some of these might work in a dual-class. A Rogue/Fighter, for example, could work out reasonably enough though probably not especially well (and I’d still be more apt to make a hybrid class instead), but a pure Fighter would be a lot harder to make work. Though perhaps, just perhaps, you could surprise me and come up with a most excellent and fantastically appropriate character in one of these classes.
Crusader (Tome of Battle)
Divine Mind (Complete Psionic)
Dragonfire Adept (Dragon Magic)
Dragon Shaman (Players Handbook II)
Dread Necromancer (Heroes of Horror)
Duskblade (Players Handbook II)
Just to keep things straight, a pure Fighter is perhaps the single most inappropriate build possible in the context of this game. It's a class without abilities. This game is about using myriad abilities in clever ways. Fighter
Hexblade (Complete Warrior)
Knight (Players Handbook II)
Samurai (Complete Warrior or Oriental Adventures)
These classes are just simply out. Some may recognize them as the Big Five. Which is why they’re out. Yes, I know there are six. That’s because Erudite doesn’t exist.
Archivist (Heroes of Horror)
This one was actually a very tough decision as Artificer is actually quite appropriate, but Artificer is indeed among the Big Five, it’s an accounting nightmare, and my houserules both make their craft pool obsolete by removing XP costs and allow other character types to craft like crazy via the Craft skill, allowing for a decent set of replacement classes. Artificer
(Eberron Campaign Setting)
Druid [without the Shapeshifting variant]
Also, anything from Tome of Magic or Magic of Incarnum. Though there may be a bit of wiggle room on that second one. Or not. Don’t get your hopes up.
I’m only aware of a small handful of official base classes that I haven’t mentioned, and only one of them is likely to come up. If it’s not listed, that doesn’t mean it’s evaded my notice or that it isn’t allowed, only that I didn’t list it. Feel free to ask about any other class.
And finally, I reserve the right to lie to you.
This section is in many ways less important than the group template, which will govern character development in ways far more important than these rules. But, of course, these rules are still important. And by the way, you do not have to have your character sheet ready, or even started, by the deadline. So, all the hard, fast mechanics.
K.I.S.S. That’s, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” I am aware that you can pour half a dozen feats into charging at level 3 to really kick butt. I’m not interested in all that arithmetic. Maybe your Rogue/Sorcerer really will be a really awesome Arcane Trickster some day, but at level 3, you’re going to suck, and the campaign may not even reach level 9 or 10 so you can go into Arcane Trickster in the first place. I’d rather you have a level 3 Beguiler today.
Don’t aim for prestige classes or odd multiclasses that may bear fruit in a level or five at the expense of being effective early on. Don’t give me extensive feat/ability combos with a chain of modifiers. And don’t give me a Barbarian2/Sorcerer1 and tell me that it’s imperative to the story that her build be utterly useless and self-defeating. I don’t want that, and I'm sure you can represent your character perfectly well with a character that actually functions. I want a simple, clean, effective character builds that can do a job reliably and fairly well from level 1 to level 20. If you’re having trouble finding a fit, let me help you. I’ve got three instant messengers in my profile and you’re welcome to contact me over ‘em.
Your Monk1/Fighter1/Ranger1 with more multiclassing to come may represent your character quite well, remain fully functional, and not be an
God knows that combination isn’t. utter twink fest
, but it’s a violation of K.I.S.S. It’s needlessly complex and
if you need three separate classes to represent your character at level 3
, then we need to talk. We’ll have to work out a way to get things to one or two.
3. Advancement may be slow, and reaching level 10 will probably be a huge level of accomplishment.
2700 gold, but if you absolutely have your heart set on something slightly out of reach, we can talk. Keep a balance sheet for everything you buy and what book it comes from (or the calculations if it’s custom) to make my life easier when checking.
Max at all levels.
25-point buy. However, we are not using the standard point buy rules. Rather, we’re using the Pathfinder point buy, which is both here and in the houserules.
The format is [Score], [Points]. These scores are before racial modifiers.
So, if you’re running a normal elf with +2 Dex and -2 Con, you can take 18 base Dex for 17 points, 14 Int for 5 points, and 13 Cha for 3 points, leaving the rest at 10 and having a base stat array of 10 Str, 18 Dex, 10 Con, 14 Int, 10 Wis, 13 Cha before racial modifiers.
After modifiers, it would be 10 Str, 20 Dex, 8 Con, 14 Int, 10 Wis, 13 Cha. Traits and Flaws:
per character is allowed from the Unearthed Arcana list available on the SRD. If you have some custom trait or flaw that you would like, ask. I may or may not approve. If you don’t want any traits or flaws, then you don’t have to take any.
If your character is capable of crafting some magic item or another, or can create it on a Craft check with a roll of 12 or better, then you can say you made it yourself with the appropriate discounts. However, magical crafting doesn’t cost any XP and instead costs 75% of the market price instead of 50%.
Knock yourself out. I allow most WotC sources. However, I’m going to explicitly bar Tome of Magic and Magic of Incarnum, partly for K.I.S.S. violations, as well as my unfamiliarity with MoI and Binders (and my dislike of Shadowcasters and Truenamers). Anything else is fair game.
Though I will discourage that one a bit, as this is not a battle-focused campaign and they may end up eclipsing some of the other classes. I discourage them for the same reason most of the full casters are on the “dubious” list. Tome of Battle
, psionics, have at it but be sure to refer to the group template. Homebrew is unlikely. Especially homebrew races and classes, bar specific circumstances. And in general, if it’s weird, ask. If you want a kobold with Illithid Heritage out the ears and some aberrant feats to boot to get six or seven natural attacks per round, that one’s liable to get shot down. And Dragon Magazine is likely to get shot down simply because I can’t get my hands on it.
And if you don’t
a ton of sources, that’s fine, too. Saves me a lot of trouble in checking your build, and one of the benefits of enforcing K.I.S.S. is that folks without vast rules exposure are a lot less likely to stare milky eyed and ask, “Wait, what the Hell are you?” Simpler builds are simpler to explain, non? Though I may be able to put you in touch with some of the free stuff online. Wizards has put out a pretty solid amount of material in samples.
Also, when you do make your sheet, mark what book (and preferably page number) everything that isn’t on the SRD comes from. Like, if you’re a Warmage, your Class header should read, “Warmage (
Or "Miniatures Handbook." Complete Arcane
The Big Five are out. That’s Archivist, Artificer, Cleric, Druid, Erudite, and Wizard. Yes, I know that’s six, but the Erudite doesn’t exist, so it isn’t in the tally. In the case of Druids, there is an exception. I will allow Druids who take the Shapeshift variant from page 39 of PHB2. Note that these bars do not mean that the aforementioned classes are unacceptable character types. Only that the classes themselves are barred. Other classes are quite capable of taking their place. “Not a priest” is nowhere in the Bard’s class description, after all.
I prefer that folks default to human, but you can draw races from whatever source you please. I’ll even allow some races from other settings entirely. Changeling is preapproved. If you can give a good reason for why someone made a Warforged, go for it. Kender totally won’t annoy the entire party to death. Anything else weird or seemingly a bit out of place? Ask.
However, there will, most likely, be no level adjustments. Nor will there be any racial hit die. If you wish to play something exotic that normally has a level adjustment and hit die, we can discuss a version of the race brought down to something more appropriate, without racial hit die or level adjustment. Note that being a monster race is liable to be a big deal. If you’re an orc or a goblin, you’re very much mistrusted and likely suspected of being a thief and a spy, even if you may have earned trust in a few eyes. If you’re a nymph or a dragonborn, there’s a very good chance that any given person in the entire city could recognize you on sight.
Also, mechanically, there are no subraces. All elves are elves mechanically. You may refer to yourself as a wood elf, but mechanically, wood elves do not exist as an independent elven subspecies. In the house rules, I allow for more flexibility in racial ability score modifiers that should suffice in replacing the various subspecies. This also means no Whisper Gnomes or Gray Elves, or any of a number of subraces that have +2 to two stats, -2 to two stats.
Lesser Aasimar and Lesser Tieflings do not exist. Want a zero-LA version of one of the planetouched? We’ll work something out.
Level Adjustment Buyoff:
No. Those who have level adjustments will be stuck dealing with it. Permanently. I very much advise against that route, by the way.
Custom Magic Items:
They’re allowed by
with approval. No use-activated bow of True Strike. No infinite use bauble of Cure Light Wounds. Use your better judgment on these matters, or I'll have to exercise mine.
Alternate Class Features:
Usually. Ask me. Shapeshifting Druid is already approved, and required if you want to play a Druid. I’ll also preapprove Wild Shape Ranger and while we’re at it, Divine Bard. Want something else? Ask.
Ask. If you just need help, ask. If you need a lot of help, my PM box is always open and I have three instant messengers listed in my profile that I’ll try to keep active when I’m online. This thread is every bit as much my application to get you as a player as your own application is to have me as a DM. You show me the respect I deserve as DM and I’ll show you the respect you deserve as a player. Or, prospective player. There’s a good chance I’ll be shooting a dozen of y’all down. Respectfully.
There’s a concept called emerging complexity. I’ll be honest. I have very little rock solid information on the setting or the missions down. I’m a highly improvisational DM. I make stuff up as I go. “Emerging complexity” is the system in which things develop and evolve as they go along, budding from simpler situations and concepts. Many of your quests will almost certainly weave themselves together into part of a larger metaplot, but the exact nature of this metaplot and the players involved are unknown to me. The characters and the sorts of intrigue that would be most interesting for the characters to face will have a strong bearing on what I ultimately
pull out of my ass weave together. Because I’m employing emerging complexity in the game world and scenario, I’m fine with you employing emerging complexity on your own character, offering up a framework and feeling out your character a bit as you go along rather than giving me a blow-by-blow of every second of your character’s life from cradle to grave. Place emphasis on things I can use as a DM. Personal values, friends, family, promises, internal conflicts, oaths, and a general idea of what your character gives a damn about are most important. Also, the fact that Port Gatri is a huge city and largely undefined means you’re free to make a lot of stuff up, both in town and around it. In fact, if you're accepted, I don't have any problems with you completely scrapping and replacing your character before the game begins to better fit the team.
If you haven't guessed, I'm more interested in you than your character. If I have a good player with style to spare and a mediocre character, that's a lot easier to polish than a player I don't particularly like.
Race: Obvious. I prefer that folks default to human just so we don't have a team of freaks running around, but don't let it discourage you.
Class: Keep in mind the group template and barred classes.
Appearance: A picture’s worth a thousand words, but a picture without any words attached also doesn’t speak well of you. If you want a picture but don't have anything sufficiently spiffy, I've got a couple thousand RPC pics on my hard drive that I'd be happy to share, or you could just go with words and forgo the pretty pictures.
Personality: What makes your character tick?
Background: It’s not about size. It’s about style and efficacy. Short, sweet, full of actual content and outright awesome beats out long and dull, though long and dull beats out short and hideously awful. And short and hideously awful beats out long and hideously awful, though I wouldn’t take either. I leave length to your own judgment. What’s important is that by the end of it, I have a good idea who the character is and why they do what they do. Between this and the personality, there are three things besides the obvious that you absolutely must have. 1) You need at least one “family” member in town and outside of the guild. Parents, a sibling, a lover, a spouse and children, or even just a dear friend. No being the loner. Other party members don’t count. 2) You need at least one enemy/rival. This can be as mundane as some dwarf who thinks he can outsmith you any day of the week or someone who actively seeks to make you die. This cannot overlap with the family member, though you can have this relationship with the family member In addition to the rival. 3) I need one thing that your character is passionate about, whether it’s love of animals or an unhealthy obsession with jewels. Try to avoid the obvious hero stuff.
Also, I’d like the background to end around the time the character first joins the guild. The time between the end of the background and the present will be used to tie things together a bit to start.
Theme Song: Totally optional, but fun.
I have a pretty long list of houserules, some important, some not. Down through the stat shuffles is stuff that’ll likely matter in character creation. The rest? Less likely to matter until the game gets going. And I will make up houserules as we go.
Abuse it? You lose it. There’s a big, bold, neon, flaming line between using your talents and being clever as opposed to being outright abusive. Don’t cross it. Abuse a loophole? I’ll sew it up. Possibly in a manner that’ll work against you. Also, any trick you are legally allowed to pull off against the enemy, they can pull off against you.
A level in a high BAB class gives you +1 BAB. A level in a medium BAB class gives you +.75 BAB. A level in a low BAB class gives you +.5 BAB. Add ‘em all up and round down. Thus, a Rogue1/Monk1/Cleric1/Druid1 would have a BAB of +3 (.75x4) instead of +0 (0+0+0+0). For saves, every level in a class that offers a high save is +1/2, for low, it’s +1/3, and if you have a class with a high save, you get a +2 on that save once and only once. Round down after adding ‘em all up. Meaning a Fighter1/Barbarian1/Cleric1/Paladin1 would have a base Fortitude save of +4 (2+.5x4) instead of +8 (2+2+2+2). If you aren’t milticlassing, you don’t have to worry about this one. If you are multiclassing and need help figuring out what all this means, ask.
I’m consolidating and changing some skills, combining a number of them. For example, having a Hide and a Move Silently skill separately is pretty silly, so that’s just going to be Stealth. Here's the full list:
Climb, Jump, and Swim: Athletics (Strength)
Balance, Escape Artist, and Tumble: Acrobatics (Dexterity)
Decipher Script, Forgery, and Speak Language: Linguistics (Intelligence)
Disable Device, Open Locks, and Sleight of Hand: Thievery (Dexterity)
Listen, Search, and Spot: Perception (Wisdom)
Hide and Move Silently: Stealth (Dexterity)
Use Magic Device and Use Psionic Device: Use Magic Device (Charisma)
Knowledge (Arcana) and Knowledge (Psionic): Knowledge (Arcana) (Intelligence)
Spellcraft and Psicraft: Spellcraft (Intelligence)
Martial Lore: Knowledge (Martial)
Use Rope does not exist. Expanded Skills:
Some skills will also gain additional functionality. Appraise can identify magic items (though at a high DC), Knowledge (Architecture) can help you blow up buildings if you have enough boom, and Perception applies to all five senses, and you don’t need to be a magic user to take Craft (Alchemy). Other skills may have other uses. Feel free to get creative.
The biggest change will be Craft. The right Craft skills can make magic items. You can make standard magic potions with Craft (Alchemy). You can make magic weapons with Craft (Weapons). You don’t need standard spellcasting or crafting feats to make these items, though you’re still allowed to make ‘em the old fashioned way if you want. This doesn’t mean you’re actually making any sort of magic. The raw materials simply already have all the magic required, and you’re buying, say, magic metal to forge the magic sword.
Also, Heal can function as a Craft skill for making healing potions/supplies and Profession can serve just as well as Craft in making stuff, so long as it makes sense. Like Profession (Tailor) to make a Nymph Cloak.
Crafting will also be arbitrarily faster. On the order of a day or three, rather than eons.
The default DC for making a magic item is 15+Spell Level*2+Caster Level. So, a basic, CL1 potion of Cure Light Wounds has a DC of 18 to make. Not a particularly easy task.
Flexible Skill Lists:
Every class has Stealth added to its skill list for free. Other than that, I’m willing to be extremely flexible with class skills. The only skill likely to get a resounding, “Hell no,” is Use Magic Device, which is practically a class feature, but it won’t be hard to convince me on most others. What’s more, if the skill’s on the list for any class you take, it’s on the list for every class you take. Retroactively if need be.
Some feats are free for anyone who wants ‘em, whether you qualify or not. Weapon Finesse, Improved Unarmed Strike, Track,
Races of Destiny, and even nonhumans can pick this one up. Able Learner
Complete Mage. This one’s a maybe. A lot of the full casters on the “dubious” list may not get this one. Rapid Metamagic
Energy Substitution (Acid, Cold, Electric, Fire)
Book of Exalted Deeds. It applies to ranged damage, too. Subduing Strike
Eberron Campaign Setting. Investigate
I'll also allow a feint as part of a move action. Improved Feint
, Rapid Reload,
Superior Unarmed Strike
. Take ‘em if you want ‘em, free of charge. Don’t take ‘em if you don’t think they’re appropriate. There may be more later.
A lot of the nonhuman races have minimum ages that are hard to truly grasp. The youngest allowed elven adventurer is 114 years old. That’s insane. Every race reaches adulthood and acceptable adventuring age by the time they’re twenty. If you want the 200-year-old elf, fine, but you can start an elf off at 20. Or a dwarf/gnome/whatever.
Racial Stat Shuffle:
I’m not fond of all the myriad subraces, so I’ll let some stat shuffling go on in the normal races and shove all the subraces out an airlock. Different arrangements are negotiable, but here are some preapproved shifts:
Dwarves: You can replace the Con bonus with a Wis bonus, and you can replace the Cha penalty with a Dex penalty.
Elves: You can replace the Dex bonus with an Int bonus, and you can replace the Con penalty with a Str penalty.
Gnomes: You can replace the Con bonus with an Int or Cha bonus.
Halflings: You can replace the Dex bonus with a Cha bonus, and you can replace the Str penalty with a Wis penalty.
Half-Orcs: You can replace the Str bonus with a Con bonus and you only have an Int penalty or a Cha penalty, not both. Other Stat Shuffles:
I’m not against juggling stats around, sometimes at the cost of a feat, sometimes not. A feat to have a Favored Soul run her spells completely off of Charisma or completely off of Wisdom is fine, for example. Or for a Healer to base her Healing Hands off of Wisdom, again for a feat. A Monk using Intelligence instead of Wisdom wouldn’t take a feat at all. Ask, and we can work something out.
There are none. Period. They’ll be replaced with gold costs. When crafting a permanent magic item like a sword, whether through feats and spells or skill, the cost is 75% of market price. If it’s an expendable item like a scroll or potion, it’s 50% of market price. If it’s a spell, we’ll talk, but it’ll probably be 5 gold per point of XP or a quest.
To encourage the use of expendables, if you buy/make and use specific expendables enough, it will get to the point where I’ll assume you’ve just allocated unseen resources outside of normal pay to always be able to restock on said expendable. So, if you use a lot of alchemist’s fire, you pretty much have a free one on hand every day. They don’t accrue and you can’t sell ‘em. It’s like an upgrade from expendable to 1/day.
A natural one isn’t automatically a failure, but it is like rolling a -10. So, you probably won’t miss the broad side of a barn on a one, but you can fail some other stuff rather cataclysmically. This applies to anything, including skills. If you roll a one on a Stealth check with a +10 modifier, the result is a zero.
If you want to try to do something a bit weird with a spell that’s outside the actual spell description, it’s a possibility. Maybe you want to try Charm Person on a dog. Maybe you want to try toning down a fire spell into a hair dryer. Maybe you want to try to stretch out Fireball across a wider area. Just try it and give me a Spellcraft roll. Note that DCs aren’t cast in stone and can spontaneously get much higher for absolutely no reason and the roll may or may not actually mean anything other than something to look at before making a decision based mostly on whim. Also, fixed-list casters may be able to request some extra spells, particularly of the utility variety.
Warmage Edge and Healers Hands are more powerful with higher level spells. Multiply their bonus by the level of the spell being cast. So a Warmage with 16 Int casting Fireball would add 9 damage instead of 3. This bonus carries over to any magic items they may make, so a Healer’s healing potions would be more effective. Cantrips count as first level spells in this case.
The Cure series is getting an upgrade. All of them now have a range of Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels). Also, the amount they heal is being boosted as follows:
Cure Minor Wounds: Nothing. Stabilize only.
Cure Light Wounds: 1d8 + 1d8 for every 2 caster levels beyond the first (max 5d8)
Cure Moderate Wounds: 1d10 / two caster levels (max 6d10)
Cure Serious Wounds: 1d8 / caster level (max 10d8)
Cure Critical Wounds: 1d10 / caster level (max 15d10) Cantrips:
Some cantrips will be infinite use, like
The modified, stabilize-only version. Cure Minor Wounds
and Ray of Frost. Others… won’t. Like Detect Magic. Which falls in what pile will be decided another day.
A lot of appropriate classes rely on precision damage. Sneak attacks, skirmish, et al. And, since I don’t like saying, “up yours,” every time one of those folks wants to just kill the 1HD zombie, I’ll let half precision damage apply against constructs and zombies and such if- and only if- you identify the creature as a construct or zombie or whatever beforehand. Zombies still rely on joints and muscles, after all, and there are places where a construct doesn’t want to get hit.
You may take the Extra Invocation feat at any level. It applies to every level of invocation (least, lesser, greater, and dark) as soon as you gain access to them.
Ignore it, mostly.
And finally, all applications go in
the thread in this link
Stuff I've said yes to:
Lawful Bards: Approved. In fact, most alignment restrictions are waived by default.
Necropolitan: I'm allowing the Necropolitan template, without the level loss. However, do keep in mind that being a friggin' zombie is a
deal and won't do your social life any favors.
Extra Invocations: You may take the Extra Invocation feat at any level. It applies to every level of invocation (least, lesser, greater, and dark) as soon as you gain access to them.
Inquisitive's Kit and Master Inquisitive: Both approved. Pages 121 and 82 of the Eberron Campaign Setting respectively.
Charisma-based Beguilers: Switching the Beguiler's casting stat to Charisma won't even cost a feat.
Music of Creation: The Bard alternatives on page 34 of Eberron Campaign Setting are fair game.
Geeky Warmages: A Warmage using Intelligence as her casting stat is approved, at the cost of a feat. Alternately, you can trade in the BAB boost, HD boost, and martial weapons for the same effect.
Stuff I've said no to:
Martial Monk: I don't have access to Dragon, so I can't look at the thing, the skill tweak in Martial Monk is already covered by lenient skill rules, and I'm loathe to allow trading skills for combat feats.
Shoal Halfling: I'm not fond of merhumanoids in general.
Half-Elf Stat Shuffles: The half-elf race has no stat mods to shuffle in the first place.
Stuff I've ruled on:
Linguistics: You gain a new language with every rank. That can result in a
of known languages.
Encumbrance: The encumbrance rules will, largely, be ignored, so long as you don't go too crazy.
Factotums and Encounters: We'll be doing this one largely by touch. In general? A scene change counts as a new encounter and recharges inspiration.
Home, Sweet Home: Homes cost money. The guild provides you with an inn room free of charge. Buying a cheap apartment of your own costs 250g. Buying a decent cottage costs
I don't expect anyone to actually do that. 2500g
. To rent, it's 2.5g/month for a cheap apartment, 25 g/month for a cottage, and 90g/month for a manor. Alternately, the home can belong to someone else (like a family member) at no cost to you and you can just live there.
Craft (Trapmaking): You can make magic traps under the same rules as all other crafted magical items. No feat required. The obvious components, like greatswords, alchemist's fire, and the magical bauble of Solid Fog or whatever, all need to be purchased beforehand, but tripwires and gears and whathave you can all just be burnt from gold directly to make up the difference in the cost of the materials and the cost of the trap.
Preliminary Warmage Houserules: Add either the Summon Monster or the Summon Nature's Ally series to the class spell list, along with Dancing Lights, Message, Alarm, Expeditious Retreat, Mage Armor and Grease. Other spells (mostly evocation and conjuration) are negotiable. Also, seeing how these are
mages, they get medium BAB, martial weapon proficiency, and a step up in their HD.
I'm going to make my decisions on Memorial Day. Get your application in by then, or at least get word to me.
I'm afraid of Princess Tutu.
Last edited by Viletta Vadim; May 20 '09 at