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To Save a Dark Princess

Old Oct 14 '17, 8:51pm
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To Save a Dark Princess

To Save a Dark Princess - Forum
Dungeons & Dragons 5e

To Save a Dark Princess

"In a world of wonder and magic, even the darkness holds a certain shine."

The sweet scent of dew emanates from the cold breeze. A dark echo of childish laughter falsely suggests safety and innocence, where only death awaits. There is haunting, chilling beauty across glades full of black roses, moors with the soft glow of specters, and exquisite courts of shadow and sin. This is the Thorns, a place where the wondrous magic of the world of Fairlyle meets with the dark corruption of the world's enemy, the insidious Blight. It is beauty. It is peril. It is here our adventurers call home.

Character applications can be posted here:
Setting information including house rules can be found here:

This is a game I'm calling a "dark fairy tale". The dark aspect is that your character will be the traditional villains in the homebrew setting I've created. Drow, Duergar, potentially a monstrous race, or simply a person of one of the other races who've fallen from grace. However, the fairy tale part is that though the characters may have their moral shortcomings, the task set before them is one that even noble heroes could get behind, they are to save a princess. This is not a tale where villains pillage innocent villages and strike down righteous Paladins. It is a journey through a dark and twisted land of glamour and sorrow in order to rescue a close friend from a terrible fate.

How do we make an "evil" campaign work?

I've tried a few evil campaigns as a player, and have built up a better idea of what I personally like and don't like about evil campaigns. They can work, but I feel they take extra considerations...
  • Teamwork: The chosen PCs will be a part of a close knit group who secretly call themselves the Edge of Twilight. In a land of deceit and treachery, it's important to find loyalty where one can. Your characters are, whatever else they may be, friends who will fight for one another. I know betrayal is a staple of evil characters, but I'd prefer that betrayals against fellow PCs aren't done flippantly.
  • Purpose: Conquering for the sake of power, killing for sake of bloodthirst, these drives are hard to keep interesting over a long period of time. Instead, this game is focused on saving someone your character cares about, who they genuinely want to save, as well as other motivations and goals we'll work in that are more character-specific.
  • Relatability: I will look for characters who we can relate to. There needs to be something there to make them worthy protagonists. A compelling motivation, a likable quality, a certain flair, something that can help us root for them despite their flaws.
  • Depth: A good story, interesting details, dynamic characters, my aim will be to avoid things being straightforward and boring. By trying to include decision making with real consequences, NPCs to help the characters grow, and freedom for the characters to complete the task as they wish, hopefully we can add enough depth to make the story more meaningful than just evil for the sake of it.
  • Action: Another staple of evil characters are to sit back and cackle while someone else takes the risk. This game will ask for PCs who will take the risks themselves, who in this dark land will put their own lives on the line. After all, this story will be about your characters, not about some random underlings or patsies.

Character Creation

"Even weeds were but a seed once."

Starting Level: 3
Hit Points: Max first level, average for subsequent levels.
Ability Scores: One stat automatically gets 16. For remaining five stats, roll 4d6 take 3. Re-reroll if the stats don't give you at least an average of 12 (60 total).
Starting Equipment: Standard equipment, plus one special item the DM and player agree upon.
Allowed materials: All official D&D 5e books. Most Unearthed Arcana. Homebrew on a case by case basis.
Alignment: Any neutral or evil. Alignment will be treated as a guideline.
Extra Feat: Character begins with a feat even though character normally can't have one until Level 4.
Banned Races: Gnomes, Protector and Scourge Aasimars, Warforged. Non-Drow Elves and non-Duergar Dwarves will require a good explanation.
Banned Arhcetypes: Light, Grave, and Protection Clerics. Sun Soul Monks. Devotion, Ancient, and Redemption Paladins. Celestial Warlocks. Gunsmith Artificers.

Character Portrait: A visual to help better know what your character looks like and to potentially use for combats with maps.
Appearance/Description: What does your character look like? How do they dress? What mannerisms do they have? What does their voice sound like? I'll be looking for characters I have a clear picture of.
Personality: What drives your character? What motivates them? What do they fear? What are their insecurities? I will be looking for characters who have emotional depth and who I have a good grasp on how to provide meaningful plot hooks for. *This is the section I will be looking at the closest, as it will be my best guide into how to make a game that works well for them*
Background: What is their origin, how did they become an adventurer, what major turning points were in their life? What potential paths are set before them for the future? I'll be looking for characters who fit the setting, and whose background I can help incorporate into the game to flesh it out. I am not looking for characters with long, long back stories with details that won't be terribly relevant.
Wish: Even villains and antiheroes have a wish. What it their most personal wish, what they want more than anything else?
Character Sheet

Recruitment Process
One Round of Feedback: In order to give players a chance to tweak their characters if there's a potential issue, and to help give me a better idea of the characters, I will be doing one round of feedback. This round will include changes (things that don't fit the setting, a number crunch issue, or simply needing more information on their personality or other aspects), considerations (things that don't need to be changed, more on things that could become an issue without some extra thought), clarifications (things I'm not 100% sure I understand and want to make sure I have right), and questions (a number of questions to help dig deeper and explore who your character is). The changes, considerations, and clarifications should be pretty simple. However, I'll be looking for more in depth answers to the questions.
Application Deadline: October 28th Characters will be selected the day after.
No Pre-Game IC: I haven't figured out a good way to fit it in my application process, and I find that there are more ways to flounder than shine in a pre-game IC so I'll pass.

Posting: At least 4-5 times per week, most weeks. I understand life gets busy, people have vacations, exams, work changes, etc, but if off-weeks become too common, I will move your character out of the story until/unless you can be more active again.
Railroad v. Sandbox: You have your overarching goal. There will be multiple paths and options to get there, plus multiple ways to go about saving the Princess.
Death?: Possible, but I'm not going to put instant-death traps or take other cheap shots. If an enemy is too powerful, I will narrate it in such a way to make it clear that it's not an enemy that can be beaten in a fair fight.

Game Description:

He stole her. The Necromancer Y'branth was a stranger from the far off Grey, land of the dead. Well spoken, but unsettling, the practitioner of undeath had visited the Court of Exquisite Twilight under the guise of trying to better understand the Thorns and its ways. In truth, he had come for a far more nefarious purpose. He was looking for a sacrifice.

He stole the Princess Mallesh to be given to his master, one of the terrifying Arch Liches who will be soon visiting the Thorns. Y'branth thinks he'll win the terrible monster's favor, he thinks he can come to the Thorns and have his way. He knew the lord of the court, the High Prince Visheel, was a coward in the face of the dead. What he did not know though was about Mallesh's true family, the friends she had who had promised one another that whatever threat there was, whatever cruelty they inflicted and was inflicted in turn, that they would be loyal to each other, and see their dreams realized.

It's time to live up to that promise.

Is mummy available from that resource? My first thought is mummy barbarian. Not optimal maybe, but I like it.

If mummy isn't available, then are Deathtouched sorcerer and Shadow Rogue available?

Mechanically the Mummy looks fine if you think you can make it interesting. Deathtouched Sorcerer seems a bit wonky and I'm therefore not too keen on. To be honest Shadow Rogue seems like it has less to offer than other Rogue archetypes, but I wouldn't stop someone from taking on a weaker option if they wanted.

Originally Posted by Peacemonger View Post
One player has already asked for a Shadar-Kai from that book, which I approved. However, I'll need to know what specifically you're interested in to be able to confirm whether I'll accept it.
I was interested in shadar-kai, shadow ranger, oath of the grave, or death touched sorcerer. Still bouncing a few of the ideas around in my head for specifics so you can pick your favorite classes of those that you would like to see and it could give me a direction to go in perhaps. Might choose another race besides Sahdar-kai though. Thanks in advance and I'm looking forward to making this character. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Shadar-kai and Shadow Ranger are fine. Death-touched sorcerer seems a bit messy mechanically. Oath of the Grave doesn't quite work thematically.

I only was introduced to the book today, so can't say I have any favorites or not, other than of the four options you mentioned, two seem to be all right, while two don't for this particular game.

Mummy barbarian (or possibly fighter) was what interested me first. I'm going to sleep on it.

Drow sorcerer was my second choice based on this pic: . That said, how about vampire sorcerer?

Shadow rogue was sort of a distant third, but I figured I'd ask.

Originally Posted by Peacemonger View Post
Shadar-kai and Shadow Ranger are fine. Death-touched sorcerer seems a bit messy mechanically. Oath of the Grave doesn't quite work thematically.

I only was introduced to the book today, so can't say I have any favorites or not, other than of the four options you mentioned, two seem to be all right, while two don't for this particular game.

I had ideas to make the oath of the grave fit better, but that sounds good. Already coming up with ideas for a shadow ranger as I type this. Super hyped to work on a story for this character. Thanks for the quick reply!

@Dr Jackal: Vampiric Bloodline Sorcerer seems all right. I can't comment on what race and class options are necessarily better or worse, as it really depends on what you feel you can make the most interesting character with.

Oh i forgot to ask if the revised ranger was ok as well. Let me know and thanks again in advance!

Edit: Also the stealthy feat from unearthed arcana

Revised Ranger is fine. The makers of D&D wrote a whole page stating why in hindsight the Revised Ranger is better after all.

Tried to get this with an edit so I apologize for sending it again but for visibility, I wanted to ask again. Sorry for not thinking of this ahead of time. Your response time is incredible.

Also the stealthy feat from unearthed arcana


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