The campaign is set in Eberron, at the standard start date of 998 YK. The PCs are the adventuring companions of a man named Vahn Steyr, sometimes called Vahn Fireblade, whose brother is an aristocrat in House Cannith South by the name of Sebastian Steyr d'Cannith. Sebastian recently contacted Vahn, looking to hire him and his company for an escort mission into dangerous and unknown territory. Both brothers served in the Cyrean army against Karrnath in the last days before the Mourning, and though 'Bastian was cryptic it seems to have something to do with that.
I already have three players, with another two or three possibles. The maximum group size I'd like is ten (players, not characters - so another five-seven people). I figure with a large group like that, it has more 'give' in the case of the inevitable dropouts, or someone simply not making it for a few days - or even running separate, competing/cooperating parties (the adventure itself will lend itself towards being rather controversial among the characters, as what Sebastian intends to do may well restart the Last War). PvP is a possibility, but remember it's only a game - so while I'm not asking to have your character pull any punches, try not to insult the other players while you're at it. Play will be most active on the weekends (especially Sunday - we usually have motor pool maintenance Saturday morning), but I'd like it for everyone to post at least once a day. Even if your character is killed (and with the dearth of high-level clerics in the setting, that could be a permanent problem), you're more than welcome to make another character or take over one of the NPCs who was close to the action if you so choose.
Due to the nature of the story ideas I have and the fact that it's PbP, this works better as being more RP-heavy than combat-heavy. I recommend you come up with a personality and background for your character - it doesn't have to be much, just something - and send it to me. Undead and aberrations are going to be a lot of the enemies, about 50% of the 'storyline' encounters between the two of them. There'll be at least one dragon fight, too, but that's not until higher levels. Same with evil outsiders. My intent is for it to be a bit like Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim in that while there is a 'central' storyline, it's far from the only thing going on in the world - except better, 'cause the world will actually react and change according to what your characters do. Think of it as a Sandbox with a Storyline, if that makes any sense.
Character generation is 4d6 drop low, a 'very elite' array (18, 15, 14, 13, 11, 10), or 36-point buy. Your choice. No evil alignments are allowed as PCs, and you would not believe how much I do not appreciate "Chaotic Stupid". I'm not even a little afraid to boot someone who's trolling. We're all here to have fun, after all, not have D&D Fight Club or go around slaughtering villagers because you're bored. You can start off with one or two characters in the party, your call - it's PbP, so it might be easier for you to run two than it would in a tabletop game. We're beginning play at third level (4,000 XP, to be exact). You can have up to LA +2 (LA +1 is better - you can buy it off sooner), and you can use Savage Species's monster classes. The group isn't exactly high-optimization, so please don't try to break the game. I have nothing at all against wizards and other T1 classes who're team players, but when the wizard starts to solo everything it gets pretty dull for everyone else (not that wizards are exactly the be-all, end-all at low levels, eh?).
I'd appreciate if you gave me some ideas on what you want your character to do, as well as a list of magic items you'd like to find in your travels. I dislike the 'Magic Mart', so simply buying the more impressive items is going to be difficult and take effort; thus, I think it fair to put in treasure that you actually want.
Pretty much all WotC sources of races, feats, classes, etc., are allowed, but clear them with me first if they're not Core, General 3.5E, or Eberron-specific (so Races of the Wild is in, but Sword & Fist needs cleared). I don't allow Initiator classes (IE: Crusader, Warblade, or Swordsage), mostly because I simply dislike them. If you want to take the Initiator and ToB feats, that's alright. I'm pretty homebrew-friendly, but you definitely have to clear it with me before you use it. If it's from DanDwiki or one of the other, similar wikis, it's a safe bet that "No" is going to be my final answer.
I haven't banned Leadership out of hand, but you're not going to make your cohort and I, the DM, have final say on their actions (so you run him, but in case that we disagree on what your cohort would do, he does what I say). The cohort also isn't going to magically appear - so I'd recommend at least being decent towards the NPCs you meet. If you do plan on taking Leadership, let me know what sort of cohort you'd like so I can introduce it as an NPC before we hit sixth level.
Lastly, keep a character sheet that I (if not the other players) can view to minimize any accidental shenanigans-calling.
House Cannith has a new type of magic weapon in the elite markets of the Five Nations, drawing from stolen drow designs and Xen'drik thaumaturgy. Cannith designed these magelocks in the last months of the Last War, selling them to Cyre; the only surviving examples were in Sebastian d'Cannith's company, left behind to fight a rearguard action while the rest of the army retreated. They are techno-magical devices powered by a Khyber shard bound with an elemental mote, still quite rare but rapidly gaining in popularity with the wealthy - particularly adventurers. The gnomes of Zilargo have their own, essentially identical, versions that they unveiled in 997, three years after the first Cannith designs emerged in Cyre. Rumors persist that other magelocks utilizing other elements - such as ice or electricity - are either in development or exist already, but thus far only those utilizing fire are common on the surface. Magelocks are available for purchase in House Cannith South and in Zilargo. Thrane has banned them, and Karrnath is considering it. They are very rare weapons, each a unique work of art.
Ordinary D&D drow exist in Khyber, along with most of the rest of the Underdark stuff. They just don't have much interaction with the surface, much preferring to keep to themselves. True to Eberron form, their alignments run the gamut but still tend towards evil. It's more the selfish and amoral evil than the "BWAHAHAHAHAHAA" evil most drow societies exemplify. Lolth is a renegade ('almost sane') Daelkyr who spends as much time fighting the other Daelkyr as she does anything else.
All Khyber drow who have dragonmarks have aberrant dragonmarks, and almost all of those are Marks of Xoriat (Dragonmarked p 143).
Valenar are wood elves, while Aereni are grey elves. Khorvaire elves are high elves. They can all take true dragonmarks, an exception to the rule about subraces, but the Mark of Shadow is rare among the Aerani and even more so among the Valenar.
(I'm also thinking on how to incorporate Ghostwalk into Eberron, perhaps with the Mournlands as a manifest zone and the elven spirit trees in Aerenal. Ideas?)
The House Rules
I use the Vitality Point/Wound Point, Armor-as-Damage Reduction, and Spell Point variants from Unearthed Arcana. There's a slight modification to the VP/WP system - weapons keep their criticals. Bonus damage is applied to VP, regular directly to WP. I use something based off of their class defense bonuses, though they look more like the Star Wars d20 Revised defense bonuses. In general, an Expert-type (but also light fighters such as Swashbucklers) gets 1/2 level +2 (the same as the good saving throw progression), a Warrior-type (such as fighter) gets 1/3 level +2, a heavy Warrior-type (such as knight and paladin, but also including cleric) gets 1/4 level +2, and a primary spellcaster gets 1/5 level +2. Defense bonus does not stack with armor bonus. It applies to both flat-footed and touch ACs, unlike armor bonus.
I've seen some real stinkers for VP rolls, and that's bad juju. Thus, I'm going to implement a house-rule my father introduced me to: You get one (1) re-roll per level, and you must keep the results of the re-roll even if it is worse. For example, if you roll a 4 with a d10, you could opt to re-roll - but if you roll a 1, then you're stuck with it. When I made characters, I generally found it best to re-roll any time I got something less than half the total possible.
We're also using racial paragon classes, racial variants, and LA Buyoff. Class variants from UA are fine, just don't make a Bard/Prestige Bard or anything silly like that. A racial variant can't take a true dragonmark (unless they have a parent who has it - such as a jungle elf getting the Mark of Storm from a d'Lyrandar parent), but they can get an aberrant dragonmark if their original race has 'em.
Characters may be built with flaws. Flaws are subject to approval, and a character may have up to two. Likewise, a character can have up to two traits.
Action points refill to their normal maximum with eight hours of rest. A character can use his action points to gain another daily use from a magic item or ability, provided it's uses per day.
A character whose race lacks a level adjustment gains a Background. All backgrounds add the Regional Feats (see below), Aberrant Dragonmark, and Least Dragonmark to their bonus feat options (and if the background didn't have a bonus feat, those are the only three options).
Anyone not of the House's race who has the House's dragonmark is treated as aberrant in-game. Out of game they must choose to treat it as either a true dragonmark (provided they have a parent of the appropriate race, such as a half-elf with the Mark of Shadow) or an aberrant dragonmark that simply happens to have abilities identical to a true mark. Once decided, this cannot be changed.
Characters are built with Weapon Group Proficiencies from UA, but with a slight change - the character doesn't have to get a proficiency (armor, shield, weapons) but instead may select fewer proficiencies in favor of more feats. Warriors (except fighters) without spellcasting gain seven bonus feats at first level. Warriors with spellcasting (such as paladins) gain five. Experts (rogues and bards, for example) gain four. Primary spellcasters (wizard, cleric, dread necromancer) gain two. Everyone gets Weapon Group Proficiency (Basic). These bonus feats are only at character creation, at first level (but see the exception about the Fighter, below).
Additionally, they get more bonus feats. Warrior-types get one bonus feat every even-numbered level. Warrior-types with spellcasting and experts get one bonus feat at 2nd and every four levels after that. Primary spellcasters get 'em every five levels. I haven't put together bonus feat lists for everything, but keep them class-related - I reserve the right to tell you that you can't take a bonus feat if it's not related to the class (a Rogue taking a Devotion feat, for example, or a Paladin taking a Wild Shape feat).
There are no experience penalties for multiclassing. A character only receives the Starting Feats for his 1st level unless noted otherwise. The fighter is a notable exception; a character who multiclasses into fighter receives four bonus feats to reflect part of his training. These feats must be spent on proficiencies, on the Weapon Focus tree, on the Power Attack tree, the Combat Expertise tree, the Mounted Combat tree, the Two-Weapon Fighting tree, or the Dodge tree.
I'm looking at some of the Pathfinder stuff on actually getting bonuses for favored classes, and I like that. Thus, you get +1 VP, +1 skill point, or +1 spell point with each level of your favored class (chosen each time you take a level). If you find another bonus you like better, lemme know and we'll see what we can do.
A character adds the Defense bonuses for each of his classes, but subtracts 2 from the sum for each class past the first (Def bonuses are calculated as a fraction +2, this removes the +2 bump everyone gets at 1st level) except in cases of racial classes (which don't add Def bonuses) and paragons (which don't have the initial +2 bump). Prestige classes also don't have the -2 deduction because they won't have the +2 bump.
Similarly, a character who multiclasses into a class which grants a good saving throw where he already had a good saving throw doesn't get the +2 bump. Their saves are 2 points less than indicated on the table - the saving throws continue to progress at the rate they would have had the character not multiclassed. Thus, a 3rd-level wizard/2nd-level sorcerer (both have good Will saves but poor Fort and Ref saves) would have base saving throws as follows: +1 Fort, +1 Ref, +4 Will, just as a 5th-level wizard or 5th-level sorcerer would. Had the 3rd-level wizard instead taken two levels of berserker (good Fort and Will, poor Ref), she would have instead have base saves as follows: +4 Fort, +0 Ref, +4 Will, gaining the +2 bump to Fort as it becomes a good save.
A spellcaster who multiclasses doesn't suffer a complete lack of advancement. Any class which grants spellcasting grants an advancement to caster level as listed, and a character's caster level counts for all spellcasting abilities it may have regardless of whether they're divine or arcane - but note that the class itself might have a different caster level for its own spells. A character with four levels in wizard and five levels in ranger casts spells as a sixth-level caster, but only has access to the spells of a fourth-level wizard and a fifth-level ranger. Non-caster classes such as barbarian, rogue, or fighter still enable a character to advance in caster level by one caster level at fourth level and every four levels after that (so +1 CL at 4th level, +2 at 8th level, +3 at 12th level, and so on).
Monster types also grant caster level advancement, though not necessarily spellcasting. Fey and outsiders grant full advancement (so a 4-HD fey has a caster level of 4). Aberrations, dragons, elementals, and undead grant one-half advancement (so a 3-HD dragon has a caster level of 1). Animals, constructs, giants, humanoids, magical beasts, monstrous humanoids, oozes, plants, and vermin all grant one-quarter advancement, the same as non-caster classes (so a 8-HD monstrous humanoid has a caster level of 2). There are a lot of exceptions to this rule as monsters are concerned - each monster is taken on a case-by-case basis.
Creatures with innate spellcasting ability (such as a lammasu) or at least three supernatural or spell-like abilities (such as an ogre mage) advance as one category better than normal (so an ogre mage would advance in the same category as dragons with one-half advancement). True dragons, who have spellcasting, use their listed caster level or the caster level they would have through this system - whichever is better.
Nonsapient creatures (that is, mindless creatures and creatures with Intelligence scores 2 or below) do not advance in caster level, but if they were to somehow gain sapience then they would have a caster level as a creature of their type.
This has no effect on a monster's spell-like or supernatural abilities.
A character whose race has a monster class may begin at 1st level with a base class of his choosing, but after that must pursue his monster class to its completion. For the Savage Species-style progressions, I'd very much like to rework it with you so that we can come up with something that doesn't use a level adjustment (especially the high LA types). I'm aware of the possibility of that going horribly wrong, but if it does we can just tinker with it so as to bring it up to where it should be or down so it's not out-shining everybody.
I don't want to outright ban sneak attacks with a two-handed weapon, but... please don't do it with a greatsword. Fullblades are a definite no.
I use the following changes to the classes: Barbarian fix, Fighter fix, Monk fix, Ranger remix, and Paladin fix. I'm not using the races from that site, as I balanced them against each other and for a different setting, not against the 3.5E standard. Tieflings (including the LA +0 lesser tieflings) are able to take the Tiefling Feats, but they can have only one type of larval fiend - so a character with Alu-Fiend can't take Cambion (Balor) too, for example. They are treated as having the Evil subtype if they take Alu-Fiend, Asuran (any), Cambion (any), or Nephilim (any) (so naturally, ignore the Evil subtype requirement for those feats and those feats only, but not for any of the others on that sheet).