This campaign will be set in the colonial era, meaning that devices such as pistols, muskets, powder bombs and cannons are readily available (if not somewhat expensive) for players. As such, they will be treated as martial weapons, as opposed to exotic. The times of old are still heavily felt throughout the world, however, and as such encountering enchanted modern weaponry inside of dungeons is almost completely unheard of.
It is a time of commerce and trade, and as such, less great scholars are devoting their time to the arts of magic, meaning that the ways of wizardry are starting to become dated and obsolete. This certainly does not mean casual magic users do not exist; it just means that they are less common. The most popular types of magic tend to be the more practical divine spells, for healing and sustenance. In certain lands, many types of magic are becoming outlawed; for what use is trade and commerce when one can summon a pile of gold with nary a flick of the wrist? Such wizards who seek to exploit their magic for wealth in this manner are almost seen as worse criminals than rampaging necromancers by the aristocracy.
The land in question, by the way, is primarily an area of the world known as Logasior (I'll be posting a map later), a collection of kingdoms ruled primarily by various dragons on a subcontinent shaped like India, at about twice the size. The last remaining human controlled kingdom, Bastion, is located in the south-eastern quadrant of the land mass. It is slowly ceding territory to the powerful Sapphire Empire to the west and the Shining Frontier of Gurn'Gedat to the north.
The fertile and rich lands of Logasior are all major trade hubs, its long coastline littered with a multitude of port cities and fishing towns. This, naturally, lends itself to being exploited by the daring and underhanded (this is especially true for the kingdoms themselves, which hire privateers to harass other kingdom's ships).
The only lands not constantly visited by boats heavy with gold are the Feral Islands, a volcanic archipelago hundreds of miles long off the eastern coast of Logasior. These islands are rife with warring tribes of monstrous humanoids and more wild races, but the two largest sovereign powers are those of the Isle Minos, home of the mighty Minotaur kingdoms, and Ian'eska, the largest and northernmost island in the chain, on which the Elves rule.
There are also a series of scattered islands to the south of the main subcontinent, many of which are wild jungle paradises, unmapped and unexplored. The largest of these islands is a small nation known as Saskirn, but most people know this land by its geographic name; Gnarl Island. It is a swampy, fetid world of treachery and deceit; home to native tribes and pirate cabals alike.
The books I will allow for use in this campaign are as follows, no exceptions. I will allow players to draw material from other books when it becomes necessary, but for now, this is it. As a disclaimer, I reserve the right to use any book I need to make the game its best for you guys.
The Player's Handbook 1 and 2
The Dungeon Master's Guide
Monster Manuals 1, 2, and 3
The Expanded Psionics Handbook
STORMWRACK (Seriously, use this book. At least reference it; it will be almost more important than the core books)
Unearthed Arcana (Sort of. Ask me about what you're using from it first.)
-Ability scores are will be calculated by using the 6m4d6v1 formula (read: roll 4d6 and drop the lowest roll for each ability score). If your total score comes up less than if you had used the 32 point buy system, you can spend the difference in points as you see fit, so long as a given base score does not exceed 18. If your score exceeds or equals 32 points on the first roll, you must keep that roll. Since your characters will be ECL 5, that also means you can improve one of your ability scores by 1 point.
-Players will start at ECL 5. I will allow any races in the listed books that have a LA+1 or below (though I would recommend you pick something that works thematically well with the setting).
-Alignment can be any non-lawful. Players can certainly be of a good alignment if they wish, but given your expected occupation, it is not recommended.
-Given that players will be a bunch of deck-scrapin' scallawags, they will start with below average gold for a level 5 character. All players will have a starting budget of 2,000 gold to work with, to spend on any gear as they see fit. Keep in mind, however that you will primarily be living aboard a cramped sea vessel, so large bulky items may not be wise purchases.
-Starting HP is the maximum for the first two levels (or the first two HD, in the case of monstrous hit die). After that, HP rolls must be displayed through the normal formula for the remaining levels.
-Include a character sheet in your finalized application. Applications, in progress or finished, go here. All rolls go here
In addition to all the mechanical stuff, applications should include:
Race and Sex:
Desired Crew Position:
Background: (I realize people don't know as much about my world as I do, but then again, it's a big world and I don't mind if people add to it. Be thorough though. I will be judging your character's validity based on this section.)
Writing Sample: (Not absolutely necessary, but it will earn you big, big points with me. I like good writing. A lot.)
An interesting aspect of this game will be that of who fills what role in the crew. There are many positions necessary to run a ship smoothly, but being pirates and not unused to adversity, these are not absolutely necessary. Suggested skills, feats, etc. for a given post are listed under each entry. Some of these are what one might expect on a normal ship's crew; a few are exclusive to the world of high fantasy piracy. Keep in mind that, if a player isn't able to fill the position, an NPC can always be recruited to. It's also possible for a crew member to hold two positions at once, if they are capable.
Having a captain inherently means that one player will be expected to finalize decisions and give orders. This position requires a lot of responsibility, and means that any players who apply must be active and willing to manage the crew. Crucial character abilities include Profession (Sailor), Knowledge (Geography), and the Leadership feat. Good captains are also smart and cunning, so those high intelligence or wisdom are better at this type of thing. (Keep in mind that pirate captains walk on a razor's edge; keeping a crew of cuthroats and thieves in line requires a combination of fairness and severity.)
This is the captain's lieutenant, meaning they should be able to cover his or her responsibilities should they be unable to lead for any reason. As such, their crucial skills and abilities are similar to the captain's.
Essentially a backup to the First Mate, available for further and more efficient delegation. The also usually oversee direct command of the ship's away forces, leading the pirate marines ashore for adventure and plundering. As such, it is good if they can excel in combat.
Probably the most important member of any crew, the Navigator ensures that the ship is going in the right direction and will be where its supposed to be at the right time. Stalking a heavy trade ship, only to find you're three days off course is no way to be the scourge of the seas. Important skills are Profession (Sailor), and Knowledge (Geography) and Craft (Maps). Spellcasters, especially diviners, are well suited to the position of navigator. A high intelligence is useful for deciphering charts and maps. Navigators also tend to make good helmsmen.
The Engineer keeps the ship (and therefore the crew) alive. It is their job to maintain and fix the vessel, keeping it in ship shape. This includes working on the hull, rigging sections, the ships's armament, and so forth. Craft (Carpentry) or Craft (Architecture and Engineering) are heavily advised, as are Profession (Sailor) or Profession (Blacksmith). Also, it is sometimes especially useful if the engineer is an amphibious race, allowing them to repair and maintain the ship's hard to reach areas, such as the bilge or the rudder. Simple spells such as Mend or Fabricate can also go a long way.
The ravages of the sea of many, and her boons are few. The ship's doctor does what they can to alleviate the ailments and injuries of the crew, providing healing at any given time. They generally grow to be the most beloved members of the crew, aside from the captain. Obviously, divine spellcasters excel at this role, but even then, it is useful for such crew members to have high training in the Heal skill and Survival.
A position rather unique to high-fantasy piracy, The Fish is a member of the crew who is of an aquatic or amphibious race. These versatile crew members can fill a number of roles and tasks, such as rescuing crew members who go overboard, sneaking onto enemy vessels, delegating with other aquatic beings, and (especially) fishing. The Fish tend to be rogues or rangers, depending on what they specialize in. Having a swim speed, a high strength and endurance, and decent communication skills are all beneficial attributes for this role. While there certainly may be members of other aquatic races on board the ship, The Fish is the master, and will generally oversee any group of aquatic crew members sent away from the ship.
There are, of course, a multitude of other roles important to running a good vessel, but these can usually be filled by normal crew members. These include:
Guidelines and Errata:
-In this campaign, I will be using the "Psionics as Magic" principle, meaning that psionics users must use power penetration to get through spell resistance, and likewise, arcanists must use spell penetration to get through power resistance.
-Optimizers and Min-Maxers need not apply; As a long-time DM, I pride myself on my ability to give my characters an entertaining game, whether or not they have excellent builds and scores. I encourage applicants to try something new and fun, as opposed to safe and boring. (Seriously, who wants things to be easy, anyway?)
-In the case of wizards, I will keep track of your spell book's page limit, specific material components and foci, even if you don't. The same holds true for Sorcerers, at least in regards to material items.
-For ship to ship cannons, I will be using the following stats, altered from the rules for bombards in the Stormwrack:
Weapon Cost Dmg. Crit. Range Crew Type Mount
Light Cannon 1,500 gp 3d10 x3 200 ft. 2 Direct Light
Heavy Cannon 4,000 gp 6d10 x3 500 ft. 3 Direct Heavy
-This game will have a very open ended format to it; players will be expected to choose their targets, carry out their raids, and generally just be damn good pirates. There will, of course, often be tips or quests put to the crew, but it's ultimately up to them if they want to pursue these stories.
-I don't like slow starts; whenever the game begins, expect to be on deck and ready to go. Things will happen fast in the beginning, so you all can get a feel for how the game will run (and also escape the dreaded loop of blah blah tavern blah blah what's your name blah blah lets team up blah blah blah.)
It all starts with...
Three days its been since you found yourself thrown into this rotting brig aboard some Pelor-blasted boat manned by the damnable Bastion Navy. Minding your own business you were, when these squawking, strutting metal suits snatched you up from your home town on a pretense of "putting an end to the piratic tyranny advocated by enemies of Bastion". Feh. Like you would ever work for some big shot, kingly type. A sea-rat, tried and true is all you is...though what with this abduction, you'd just as soon like to start raiding these pasty lubber's holds...
All at once, a violent shudder rocks the ship, nearly tipping the smokey lantern lighting your cage. The sound of groaning, cracking wood echoes away, before another shockwave blasts through the hull. From what little you can hear, there's a bunch of shouting going on up on deck, and the pounding of feet up and down the ship.
What in the blazes...
Just then, in a flurry of loud bangs, a Bastion Navyman comes trundling down the steps, all done up in his pressed golden uniform. Behind him stomps a heavier set bloke, carrying some kind of massive chest. Your ears immediately perk up to the jangling of keys being drawn from a pocket.
"Right..." the Bastioner says, methodically undoing the doors on your cells, "...it would appear as though our ship has come under attack. You lot are to come top side and help us drive off this...thing...before it kills us all." he says in a stiff tone that makes you want to deck his arse all the more. With a final dull clank, he pulls the last door open.
"I've brought down all of your confiscated possessions. You will equip yourselves thusly, and fend off the beast. After such time, you will then surrender and return to your holding cells. Cooperate, and the judge may look kindly upon you when we return to Port South. Understood?" he says in his prim and proper way. He holds his hand to the side, beckoning you out of this ruddy little hole you're in. You pause a moment, raising an eyebrow at the others in your cell...