The Lost Academy of Khazarum
The Lost Academy of Khazarum - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e
Estimated Members Requested: 4
Somehow, it seems to be raining.
That may well be the understatement of the year. What started as a decent but humid afternoon was rapidly overtaken by a terrible storm, by all appearances the storm of the century. One moment, it's all country road and green trees and blue skies with little white whisps of cloud. The next...
Surveying the situation through brief flashes of lightning, it soon becomes readily apparent that making camp in this would be foolhardy for all but the most seasoned veterans of wilderness life. It is readily apparent shortly thereafter that even the most seasoned veterans of wilderness life would seek real shelter in this storm. None but the most naturalized and wild druids would be out in this, and they'd likely be soaked to the bone and miserable.
Fortunate it is, then, that the subtle glow of latern-light is visible up ahead, even through the driving wind and sheets of rain. It appears to be an inn.
The creaking wooden sign swinging wildly in the winds and slapping against the side of the building declares it to be the Friendly Farmer Inn.
Just in time, too. How it's possible remains a mystery, but the storm seems to be worsening. With it coming on so quickly and so powerfully, it seems it could be only the work of magic.
The door opens with a creak, and the sound of the rain fades from a cacophonous timpani-inspired drumming to a faint and soothing sussurrus of pattering on the windows and roof.
A large man with a large belly and wide gap-toothed grin and face full of whiskers is behind the counter just past the entrance.
"Hoho! More lucky travelers, is it? Ye'll be wanting a room first and a spot by the fire second, I wager. Or is it the other way around? Ohohohoh!" The rotund inkeeper laughs gregariously, his belly jiggling merrily. No matter, we'll lodge ye, don't ye be worrying. May be a wee bit crowded, though, so't may. Aint too full at the moment, but when tha storms turn nasty like this'un, we tend ta fill up fast.
By the way, I'm Jonas Whitby, and I'm the Friendly Farmer. That is, I suppose I used to be. I'm really the Friendly Innkeeper these days, so I am."
His mouth stretches into a grin that tests the limits of his face. This is clearly a joke he's told before, and one he's not yet tired of.
"Magic storm? BAHAHAHAHA! That's a right good one, that is. Nooo, no magic at work here, 'cept maybe tha magic that exists in all things. This part o' the world, this part o' the year, storms like this'un aint too uncommon. Catches traveller's fair unawares, though, if it do ya. Don't see the signs. Can't feel the change a-comin'.
Don't ye fret, though. It'll be a full and merry house, I wot, once everyone has a chance to dry out by the fire. May e'en be some fine tales. Heard some right fine tales on nights like this. Something about bein' on the right side of the door in a storm like this seems to fuel the greatest tales..."
Introduction and a note on tone and styleWelcome everyone, and thank you for coming. The Lost Academy of Khazarum is a campaign I've been putting together for a while, and I believe the time has come to put it into action. I've been playing DnD for about five years now, and have DMed my fair share in that time. I've played a fair bit of PbP, and while it's no replacement for the real thing, it has its own strengths and appeals. Being a lover of language and literature, the opportunities for expressing character and story that PbP offers are absolutely fantastic.
The Lost Academy is heavily narrative based, as befits the medium of PbP. This means that there is a definite plot to the campaign, but does not mean that the players will have no freedom. The beginning will set the character's primary goals, and as the story progresses, the ways of pursuing those goals will expand, and players will have plenty of opportunity to shape the campaign to suit their characters, be it through side quests and exploration, or creative solutions to the problems they face. I will do my best to avoid railroading anyone. Character applications should fit the tone of the adventure, that is, they should be someone who would naturally take part in this adventure.
The game should have a slightly cinematic feel, and I will do my best give rich descriptions, and in some instances, provide visual aids. The game will take place in a series of chapters, beginning with a prologue that will consist of (gasp) almost no dice rolls. Instead, it will lay the foundation of the characters, the plot, and the party dynamic. The action will pick up soon thereafter, don't you worry!
The game will feature significant travel and exploration. The ultimate goal is an ancient place of power and higher learning; a place of legend, or perhaps only fairy-tale. A place as filled with gold as it is with ancient secrets. A place of books and magic and forbidden science. Does such a place even exist?
I'm looking for a party of 4 MAAAAAYBE 5... maybe. I'll probably take maybe 2 alternates.
EDIT: No advance knowledge is necessary, all will be made clear in the Prologue. In fact, very little is known about the Academy at all. The only somewhat commonly-known reference to the Academy is in that of a lesser-known fairy tale, Little Sharee and the Ghosts of Khazarum. It's commonly regarded as mere fantasy, a child's tale. It is about equivalent to a folk tale such as that of Rose Red, The Seven Swans/Three Ravens, Weyland Smith, The Three Little Men in the Wood, or the like. Second-tier stories, known to those with an interest in tales, but not nearly so common as say, Goldilocks, Cinderella, or Snow White. Characters should start with little or no knowledge of the Academy.
A character who fits the campaign might be one who is motivated by archaeology or ruins exploration, vast treasure hoards or ancient lost knowledge, massive otherworldly libraries or the secret truths of old folk tales. These don't need to feature at all as motivations, but characters motivated by such things would fit well in this adventure. There will be things that try and hook different motivations and characters, but exploration, riddles, puzzles, dungeon-crawling, and the like will feature largely, and should thus be fields in which characters have strengths. There will be urban interactions as well, but significantly less social interaction gameplay. Characters that are basically face-only characters will probably get less out of the campaign than dungeon delvers, wilderness types, fighters, arcanists, scholars, or treasure hunters.
These are simply meant to be guidelines to consider when designing a character, not necessities or requirements. Most characters would fit into this campaign well, and as it's not fully worked out to the detail, it can be made to fit most any character concept you might want to play.
If I see something that's way off the mark, I'll let that applicant know, and they can make changes if they like. Other than that, you should go with your instincts. Play what you'd enjoy playing, as that's the point of the game, after all.
Character Creation Guidelines Starting level: Characters will start at 3rd level, no bonus XP. Expect to see 4th level fairly quickly. I tend to hand out experience fairly generously, but, well, we'll see, won't we?
Stat Generation: Roll 5d6v2 7 times, and take the best 6. Make your rolls . You characters are heroes, or at least, skilled and hardy professionals, and yours stats reflect that. Re-rolls unlikely; granted on a case-by-case basis. HERE
Acceptable Source Material: I have or have access to pretty much every 3.5 book there is. Incuding, but not limited to: Core/SRD (including UA and XPH), DMGII, PHBII, Races of Destiny, Dragon, Eberron, Stone, and the Wild, Dragon Magic, Dragon Compendium, Stormwrack, Frostburn, Sandstorm, Complete BLANK (including champion, mage, psionic, and scoundrel), Magic of Incarnum, Lords of Madness, Heroes of Horror, Heroes of Battle, and Libris Mortis. I also have/access to ToB, ToM, though I've never really used either, and am not totally sold on them. Same goes for BoVD/BoED. Additionally, pretty much anything on Crystal Keep is ok, homebrew is a maybe, but must be pre-approved. I reserve ultimate veto rights on any thing or combination of things from any book(s).
Starting Gold: 2,700 + starting gold per character class.
Hit Points: Max at first level, thereafter rolled, re-roll any ones (ones that come up on the re-roll stay ones, however)
Houserules and Additional info: I don't really have many things to put here, at least none that come to mind. One thing, however, is the addition of "Fluff Points". These are 6 bonus skill points your character will have at creation. They are to be used for flavor skills. Craft, especially more obscure ones like Craft(painting) or Craft(cooking) are good options, as are Perform(Weapon Drill) or Perform(Comedy) and the like. Profession(whatever), or even fun but less-used skills like Appraise, Forgery, or Decipher Script all fit the bill. I leave it up to you. However, I want to see it noted what you've spent them on and why. Putting the points in Bluff because your character "used to lie a lot" is stretching it miiiighty thin, and not really in the spirit of having the points in the first place.
Alternately, fluff points can be spent on additional starting languages. 3 points = 1 language.
Weapon enchantments and +x equivalent abilities: The RAW state that weapons must be +1 before they can have abilities. I don't enforce this. However, the rules about +x weapons and sundering still apply, so if some barbarian sunders your Flaming, Frost, Keen, Thundering, Shocking Burst Greatsword with his +1 longsword, well, that's your own fault, isn't it? (note: this situation probably won't come up much, but it bears mentioning)
For characters, I'd like the following:
A [fieldset] with the following elements inside it
Name: Full name, formatted as a link to your sheet, and nicknames, if any.
Race: Race goes here. Duh!
Class(es): Do as the bolded text directs you.
Alignment: Non-evil, please. Sorry, evil-doers, this campaign is not your style.
What does your character look like? What does your character wear or carry? Illustration (photo, hand drawing, sprite, computer drawing, whatever) is optional, but a good illustration can set your character apart from the crowd. A good illustration is one that conveys your character's general appearance well, and is not drawn with an embarrassing lack of effort. This doesn't mean it has to be traditionally "well-drawn", a well-decorated stick figure can be much better than a poorly executed attempt at a realistic drawing. Again, it's optional.
Backgrounds are important, they shape your sheet into a believable character. Backgrounds should be well written and include all that needs to be said. Sometimes this is a few short paragraphs. Sometimes this turns into a page-long story. Longer isn't always better, and too much can sometimes be truly damning. Interesting characters with believable backgrounds will be given preference over "unique" characters with incomprehensible or absurd backgrounds. Mostly, just have fun with it! Grammar and spelling are not optional, but I won't discount you for less-than-perfect writing skills.
The campaign will start at an inn on the East Coastal Road, a coastal highway that spans the eastern edge of Corridan. Whether or not this is incorporated into your background is entirely your choice. Characters who make it into the game will be unfortunate enough to be traveling along the road (for whatever reason) when a whopper of a rainstorm breaks.
What is your character like? Chatty and dim-witted? Brooding and dark? Grim and close-mouthed? Manipulative and cruel? Whatever it is, put it here.
Completely 100% optional. Include if you like.
A bit about the world
The world this game takes place in is a homebrew world that is as-yet unnamed. Its major features and powers are fairly well-defined, but it was built with a macro -> micro approach, so there is still some of opportunity for player world-building. I've placed the map and descriptions in a spoiler tag because the following bits of fluff are really quite long.
Once, long, long ago, the world was as one— one land, one people, one soul. In that time of peace and prosperity, the nameless, ancient gods smiled upon that nameless, ancient civilization, and happiness and love reigned. For a time.
It is not known what angered the gods. Some say it was a seed of fear and hate that the gods sought to extinguish. Others say men began to be overcome by jealousy and desire for that which is owned by another. Whatever the cause, the gods, in their anger, sundered the land, driving through the center of it a great wedge, splitting the world in two. The Ocean, which surrounded the world, flooded into the vast rift formed, separating the two halves until the people learned to once again live with each other in peace and happiness.
Or so they say.
The world today is dominated by two continents. To the west is gentle Corridan, land of rolling hills, ample farmland, and great forests. To the east is proud Gol-mar, a land of vast desert, harsh scrubland, and lush jungles.
In Gol-mar, the rains ply themselves against the great impenetrable ridge of the Karoum mountains, forming the vast rainforest jungle known to the natives as Mentri Gadjil, roughly translatable as “the never-dry place of shade.” It is a place filled with wild beasts and savage hunter-peoples.
Few safe passages exist through the Karoum range, and the largest and easiest is through the heart of the Technical City, a fairly new construction in Gol-mar. It is a place of great learning and advancement, seemingly spung up overnight. Amazingly advanced bits of magic and machinery have been flooding ever since it opened its vast clockwork gates.
On the far side of the mighty Karoum lies the great expanse of desert known colloquially as the Sea of Sands. Many are the stories of the Sea of Sands, very few of them pleasant. Many would-be heroes have met their death in its arid clutches. Of the many nomadic desert tribes, one of the best known is the Faanbatna, a tribe of highly spiritual mystics, obsessed with taming the powers of the soul.
The one haven of true civilization in the desert is the Jeweled City of Mabarukh, built around a massive natural oasis known as Zamaz, the largest known oasis in all the world. It is said the gods themselves blessed Mabarukh, for not only has it abundant water, but is above dense concentrations of both salt and precious stones.
In the far southwest of the continent lies the great cape, known to the Corridanians as Cape Hook and to the Gol-mar as The Crooked Finger of Key-Ghobad. It is a rocky steppe-land, inhabited by wild barbarians, both humans and wild, almost feral, elves. Driven insane, or so they say, by the loss of their ancient homeland.
The northwestern part of the continent is scrublands and savanna, home to many tribes of nomadic wanderers. Towards the north is Al-Haqqa, the mighty empire forged from the once-great twin nations of Al-Qazar and Al-Qadim. The empire occupies the largest river valleys of the continent, and their fertile lands form the heart of Gol-mar’s agriculture.
To the east of Al-Haqqa lies a large island, and if the landmass has ever had a name, it is not one that history has recorded. Known only as the site of the Sahbraf Swamplands, this largely inhospitable island is the ancient homeland of the lizardfolk and their cousins, the dragonkin. Swarming with all manner of dangerous reptilian beasts and gigantic, oversized insects, few travelers risk the Swamplands without a
Corridan is, by comparison, a fairly lush and easy land. Covered mostly in forest, its soil is rich and forthgiving, and its weather is temperate and fair. To the far south of the continent, the forests become thicker, deeper, and older. Just off the southernmost peninsula is the island of the elves, sacred land to that fair people and, according to them, source of all trees on the continent. Regardless of the truth of that statement, it is undeniable that the forests of the island are ancient, and certainly the oldest trees still standing today.
To the west is the great plain of Guldoon, a vast prairie and grassland, home to the wee folk, the halflings, and beloved by farmers. It is dotted with independent-minded city-states that constantly vie for power and land in, embroiled in a constant turbulent game of power plays and machiavellian politics. Constantly, old city-states are lost to time and new ones rise in their place.
North from Guldoon, running laterally across the continent are the Aikasse Range, craggy peaks and ancient homeland of a craggy people, the Dwarves. Most of the dwarves live in deep mountain-holds, mining and forging near the heart of the mountains, but a rare few are drawn to the sea, developing their ship-craft along the cliffs and fjords of the northeast coast.
The mountains surround a small nation, Holtland, built upon the rich river-valley of the mighty Holdt River. Nearly unreachable by land, Holtland is one of the Allied Nations, the continent’s economic superpower. The other allied nation, Wyalla, lies across the vast gulf known to the people as the Connecting Bay. The twin capitals of the Allied Nations are two sister cities, and friendly rivals, Bay Harcott of Holtland and Bay Abilon of Wyalla.
At the very north end of the continent is an enormous frozen waste, called Romsdal by its inhabitants. It is inhabited by nomadic tribes of barbarians, icy fey, and little else.
Between the two primary continents lies the island nation of Divehya, composed of three main islands (from largest to smallest), Ardasi, Rona, and Selosa. Semi-tropical islands filled with lush vegetation, these volcanic lands are peopled by fiercely independent natives, unrivaled fisher-folk who understand the ways of the water as well as the creatures who make it their home.
Off the coast of Rona and Selosa, between Divehya and Gol-Mar lies Korma, the sweet atoll. Whatever once lived on Korma can never be known, for as long as recorded history can show, it has been a sort of pleasure palace, a sweet island retreat for the wealthy and powerful.
There have been many expeditions outward from the continents, searching the waters in all directions. Few ever return, though whether that is a result of catastrophic danger or sweet paradise, none can say. The few that have returned to the mainlands reported nothing but more water; water as far as the eye can see and beyond…
Gol-Mar is primarily South Asian/African themed:
The barbarians of the rocky steppes are semi-nomadic horsemen, reknowned for their bowmanship. Most of them are the Horselord barbarian variant. They are based on the Mongol Horde, and are mostly humans and elves. All steppes-elves are Wild Elves.
The Jungle is your standard rainforest: hot, humid, filled with thousands of varieties of plants. The air is filled with the constant whine of insects and the chriping of birds.
The Al-Haqqar Empire is similar to Egypt (Unified Egypt, after the Upper/Lower merge). They are the agricultural hub of Gol-Mar.
The desert lands have more of a Persian/Arabian feel. Mosques and minarets, domes and raised walkways. Turbans, curly beards, vests and loose pants, flying carpets and open-air markets.
The Faanbatna are the source of Incarnum. I've always had a bit of a soft spot for Incarnum, so they're definitely included in my world. :3
The Technical City is just an anomaly, a dash of steampunk in an otherwise fairly standard fantasy setting. It is also the source of the warforged, if any decide to show up.
Corridan is more Euro-American themed:
The glacial northland has something of a Scandinavian/Old Norse feel, which they share with the dwarves. Coastal dwarves are a mix of normal dwarves, seacliff dwarves (from stormwrack), and dwarves with the aquatic or water subtype.
The Allied Nations are rather like Spain and Portugal, only friendlier. They're the economic powerhouse of the continent, and the largest metropolitan center. They built the beginnings of the highway that became the great East Coastal Road.
The Great Plains of Guldoon are basically just the American Prairie on a grand scale, mixed with some good old-fashioned old-world city-states. (wow, hyphenate much?) This gives halflings a choice of either being city-folk or real down-home country settlers.
The island of the elves is standard DnD elf-fare. Their forest home is ancient indeed, though, with trees that tower higher than most buildings.
The central islands are intended to have a Pacific Island feel to them, sort of a hybrid between Hawaii and the Philippines, with a touch of Indonesia. There aren't any ordinary Humans native to Divehya, just Sea Kin (from RoD) and aquatic races. This doesn't mean humans don't live there now, but they are seen as foreigners and slightly resented by the natives.
Korma, the pleasure isle, is a giant island-sized resort.
The Deities of the realm or standard DnD deities, plus a few forgotten realms ones I particularly like, such as Oghma, Deneir and Gond. If your character worships a certain deity that's not one of the basic ones, let me know and I'll almost certaintly incorporate that religion into the world.
Feel free to invent cities, villages, guilds, organizations, and NPCs to flesh out the world as you need for your character.
Post rate and update schedulePost rate should average about 1/day. I'm not too strict about this, because I, personally, am not perfect about this, but I'd like to keep the momentum going. I have a lot of the material pre-prepared, so there should, in general, not be too many big lags in gameplay. However, I am currently a student at art school, and my availability fluctuates wildly from day to day and week to week. This game may be characterized by patterns of alternate high-rate updating and low-rate updating. I apologize in advance. Give this, however, I must add the following. While there may be occasional periods of down-time, I have long-term dedication to this, and am always willing to pick up a game that has "died".
So that's the long and short of it. I will try to keep everything moving, but cannot promise a campaign without hitches. However, I will always attempt to re-ignite the fire when it has died down to coals.
Application is CLOSED.
Game Description: The Lost Academy of Khazarum
The Lost Academy of Khazarum is a highly narrative, exploration and world-discovery based campaign. Scorching deserts and lush jungles, fridgid wastelands and tropical islands, tall mountains and deep caves, mysterious sunken reefs and gentle rolling farmland. All of these and more await the intrepid adventurers brave enough to step beyond the borders of their homeland.
Last edited by sruskin; Oct 18 '09 at