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Hairdar the Accursed / Hairdar Yunan

Ali Al’Zahrid's page

75 posts. Alias of Celeador.




From the Desk of Stover Delft, Asst. Chief Inspector, Royal Homeland Constabulary, Flint branch

To the Office of Margaret Saxby, Lady Inspectress, RHC, Flint branch

Re: Ravissant Wolf Cell

Esteemed Lady Inspectress, I have been charged by your office par my duties as Cell Director of our Flint branch to evaluate the junior agents of our most recently formed operating cell, officially designated Ravissant Wolf, and to determine whether or not its seven members are fit for duty as official representatives of our King and Country, able to hold full legal authority as deputies of the Crown, assuming all responsibilities thereby.

Before I discuss the individuals who currently form Ravissant Wolf (dubbed: “The Wolves” by senior agents who have the pleasure opportunity to work with them) it behooves me to discuss the christening ceremony that precedes the formation of every and all new RHC cells.

I have in the past expressed my displeasure concerns in respect to the involvement of the ministers of the Old Faith in the complex affairs of law enforcement and state security. I need not repeat those opinions here. I am a loyal man of Risur, and as such, acknowledge that our national identity is inexorably linked to our land, its spirits, and its ancient magic. More importantly, it is the will of our King that such rites be retained in the halls of officialdom, and that the skyseers who perform them be respected.

Suffice to say in the case of Ravissant Wolf, the ambiguity of the astrological visions regarding their lot, infamously interpreted as a wolf with a lamb in its jaws, has complicated the training of this band of recruits. Not a few senior agents have candidly refused to work with the Wolves, and the presence of Ifris Lanvaldan and her unnatural abilities (more on her below) does nothing to quell their concerns. The ramifications of the symbol weighs heavy on certain of the Wolves as well; they are decent if flawed men and women who I cannot believe capable of causing deliberate harm to the citizens of Risur.

Were it not for the passionate words of respected senior Skyseer Wrethu, the christening ceremony might as well have led to the cell’s immediate dissolution and the termination of our latest enlistees. Her argument, in short, maintained that a deeper look at the portents showed the wolf carrying a lamb, yes, but to presume the beast’s intent to devour the lamb, or that our new recruits were fated to cause harm, betrayed a lack of conviction. Was not each trainee magically scrutinized? While they differed wildly in temperament and morals, each had passed a battery of tests designed to assess their patriotism. Wrethu saw the wolf, while a symbolically dubious character, bringing the helpless lamb to succor in the only manner it could.

A few cynics among her order believed that Wrethu was dissimulating on behalf of her longtime contact among the Flint police department, Inspector Reginald Filby, who was assigned to provide investigative expertise for the newly formed cell. While other Skyseekers vowed to hold Skyseer Wrethu responsible should the Wolves ever betray their oaths to King and Country, the majority were swayed. I must report that I myself, though I might wish to reduce the role of these archaic mystics in our government, could not but help but be moved by the elder Wrethu’s speech.

So because or in spite of the matter of their christening, I must assure the Lady Inspectress that what follows is a sober and secular assessment of the seven men and women who, for better or for worse, go by the cell designation of Ravissant Wolf. Additional details concerning them may be gleaned from their individual files, which I have included along with this report. (See attached)

Case File 971030: Anya Landreth
Case File 982133: Devinn LeMont
Case File 002413: Rhegalion Arbalistre
Case File 987134: Alastair Rayne
Case File 814498: Ifris Lanvaldan
Case File 765899: Inspector Reginald Filby
Case File 961334: Talyssa Dane

Final Analysis

There are a lot of negatives in play as it concerns Ravissant Wolf: Their dubious christening, Lanvaldan strange powers, Dane's lost memories, the mysteries and events surrounding Arbalistre, the unseemly connections to dissident movements by LeMont and Landreth's political connections. In fact the only two agents I can fully give a fully measure of faith and credence to are Police Inspector Filby and Mr. Rayne. Discounting once again the idea that our agents are at all beholden to the superstitions of an obsolete order of backwoods fortune-tellers, I believe I have adequately outlined the checks and balances to these admittedly egregious downsides.

We are then left with an operating cell with a vast amount of potential. The classic roles of the four- or five-man action team are each filled with distinction, with the most important—such as healing and front-line combat—covered by more than one Wolf.

It is often been said that the command personnel of our august body has a job akin to shepherding kittens, as our agents are so diverse, independent, and colorful. I don’t doubt that that having Ravissant Wolf under my onus will be an ongoing exercise in aggravation, but it is a challenge I would take willingly, and enthusiastically. Whatever might be said of them by the seers, the Wolves are loyal, extremely capable men, and I see them accomplishing great things for King and Country.

I thereby implore my Lady Inpectress to approve Ravissant Wolf and its members for full operating jurisdiction.

Sincerely,
Stover Delft
 
 
From the Office of Margaret Saxby, Lady Inspectress, RHC, Flint branch

To the the Desk of Stover Delft, Asst. Chief Inspector, Royal Homeland Constabulary, Flint branch

Re: Re: Ravissant Wolf Cell

Delft,

I still believe you are taking a severe risk by ignoring the clear and obvious portents relayed to us through our Skyseeker contingent, but I formally give my acceptance and full measure of approval for operational status of Ravissant Wolf.

By our King,
Lady Inspectress Margaret Saxby, RHC, Flint branch
 
 
 
 
 

                                        Z E I T G E I S T
                     T H E    G E A R S    O F   R E V O L U T I O N
  I S L A N D   A T   T H E   A X I S   O F   T H E   W O R L D
 
 
 
 
 
 
It is spring of the year 500 A.O.V. (After Our Victory). Seven years after the end of the Fourth Yerasol War, the shipyards in Flint have completed the first Risuri warship powered solely by steam engine, not sail. Your monarch, King Aodhan, has come to Flint to witness the official launch of this mighty vessel. Woodenhulled but with a heart and skin of iron, the Royal Naval Ship Coaltongue will act as a deterrent against future aggression from Risur’s enemy across the sea, the nation of Danor.

The Royal Homeland Constabulary unit Ravissant Wolf Cell has been called upon to provide security, and you have spent the past several weeks working to make sure this event goes off without a hitch—canvassing the docks, performing background checks on the guest list, coordinating with the local police to set up a perimeter around the royal docks, and following various directives of your superiors.

Now, as a warm breeze off the sea mingles the scents of elaborate floral decorations with the pervasive coal soot that always hovers over Flint, you’re at the first of two checkpoints, working with Flint police to let in a crowd of local citizens who just want to line the streets and cheer their king.


Welcome Steven and everyone else who will eventually be selected! Let's get started. As I stated in my introduction, this is my second time as a DM, and I have developed a standard in my games based on the style of other DM's I have played with in the past. Establishing a level of consistency during the campaign that I don't always see in other campaigns is paramount. That said, I need all of your help. This has to be a group effort. Past experience has shown me that I won't be able to do it on my own. So for each of you selected, I need you to be able play off each other. Introduce your own plot threads (or suggest them to me in the discussion thread, and I can introduce them). As a heads up, I don't plan to use map tools unless absolutely required. I think a pbp can work without them, and it makes the players use more imagination, *but* if I'm not clear on something, let me know. I appreciate feedback, and I want this to be enjoyable for all of us.

Some guidelines:

1. I roll Initiative for everyone to save some time. As long as you don't skip any enemies, you can take your turn anytime. (Example: Allies Bob, Henry, Fred, and Steve are at 20, 15, 10, and 5 respectively. Enemy goblins are at Initiative 13. At the beginning of the round, Bob and Henry can go. The goblins go next at 13. Following the goblins, all four of the characters can go in any order because no enemies would be skipped.)

2. Everyone rolls their own to-hit and compares it to the AC of the target. The same goes for saves. Both will be provided for all enemies, as will hit points. This puts a lot of responsibility on y'all to write good combat narratives and not rely on me to do so. The description is a common-sense sort of thing; 3 hit points will not cause the enemy's head to explode - but 30 might if it puts them in the negatives. This is also very trust-based. I expect that if someone gets something they don't like on the preview, they'll have the integrity to leave it there instead of modifying it based on the roll.

3. At the beginning of any in-combat post, I expect everyone to include the round/initiative count, current hit points, current AC, current saves, and remaining spells or resources. (By current, I mean following whatever action is in the post.) After that section, I like a section breaking it down into standard/move/swift/whatever actions with appropriate rolls. This way, I don't have to go hunting for that information and check if it is right. Here's an example.

===========EXAMPLE===========
Round 1, Initiative 20
hp 10/12; AC 14/12T/12FF; CMD 14
+4F/+2R/+2W
Bardic Performance: 5/6

SA: Inspire Courage
> Perform: String: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (16) + 10 = 26
MA: Move 15', avoid AOO
> Acrobatics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (1) + 7 = 8

The narrative would go here. In this particular case, the bard begins playing the stringed instrument to inspire the others. (This roll is technically extraneous, but I've always done them on my bard type characters.) He then makes his Acrobatics check to move while avoiding attacks of opportunity. With a 25, he succeeds and ends where he intends to go.
=============END EXAMPLE=============

4. Calendar notations: This Zeitgeist campaign is set within the continent of Lanjyr. Because of the complex nature of the campaigns and the sheer length between some story arcs a good timeline is essential. Because of this whoever makes the first post at the start of a new day must also post an associated date with the post. This should allow us to reference specific events easily.

A list of days and months within Zeitgest can be found below.

===========EXAMPLE===========
15 Rainmoot, Market Day 501 A.O.V

A new day begins and bob rises from his furs. blah blah blah..
=========END EXAMPLE==========

Anyone have any questions or feedback?

Days and Months of Zeitgeist:

Months of Zeitgeist
Frostmoot
Deepsnow
Winterwane
Rainmoot
Palesun
Highsun
Firemoot
Firewane
Lowsun
Redfall
Snowmoot
Fellnight

Days of the week
Moonday
Towerday
Wineday
Thunderday
Fireday
Swordsday
Saintsday

There are 360 days in a year, 12 months in a year, 30 days in a month, 7 days in a week, the seventh being a rest day and 2 special days per month, falling on the 15th and 30th.

The special days are called Market Day, traditionally used for just what it sounds like. Towns and villages will generally have a street fair or farmers market that falls on this day. Last Day however is traditionally used to celebrate surviving another month and considered an auspicious time to start a journey.

There are no listed holidays as of yet, so feel free to work with me on days that might be special within the nation or city. Also the campaign starts in year 500 A.O.V. Calendars mark years starting at the end of the Second Victory, 1 A.O.V. (After Our Victory).

A timeline of Zeitgeist:
–1200 B.O.V. (Before Our Victory): King Kelland defeats the fey titans and founds Risur, the first mortal nation on the continent of Lanjyr. In the following centuries, other nations rise up throughout Lanjyr.
–500 B.O.V.: Triegenes the fisherman founds the Clergy in what is modern-day Danor, overthrows the demonocracy in the east, then dies and ascends to godhood.
–50 B.O.V.: The First Victory, a holy war between humans and elves, ends with the elves losing much territory.
1 A.O.V. (After Our Victory): The Second Victory begins as an elven effort to reclaim lost lands, but ends in their decisive defeat when the elf goddess Srasama manifests physically, and is slain. Danor collapses into chaos as the nation becomes a dead magic zone. The seat of the Clergy moves to Crisillyir, which begins to colonize the devastated lands of Elfaivar. Dwarves seize control of their own nation in Drakr.
300 A.O.V.: King Boyle of Risur slays the last dragon tyrant of Ber. The nation of Danor, resurgent with industry and technology, begins to contest Risur for control of the lush Yerasol Archipelago.
460 A.O.V.: King Aodhan is crowned in Risur. He encourages his people to pursue industry so they can fight back against Danor. Meanwhile in Ber, Bruse Le Roye unites tribes of monstrous races into a new nation.
493 A.O.V.: The Fourth Yerasol War ends; Risur loses many islands.
500 A.O.V.: Present day.


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“Apparently, there’s a few serious adventurers in town right now. One’s a Yerasol Veteran and another is a Skyseer. They may be up for a little paid work.”

The Assistant Chief looked up. His face creased in distaste. The constable shrugged unhappily.

“I know they are some of the hardest people in Lanjyr,” she said slowly. It took some moments for her to turn her mind to the issue. “I don’t trust them, though. They court danger. And they’re quite unscrupulous graverobbers for the most part. Anything for gold and experience.”

Tapping his cane on the side of a nearby desk Assistant Chief Inspector Stover Delft frowned before spitting a wad of tobacco into a spittoon. “Adventures? They are a dying breed. The world has moved on. Civilization has marched forward. Hrm…” he trailed off, considering options. “Run a check on them. If they have potential they might make good candidates for the R.H.C. Let me know what you find.”

Nodding at the dismissal the female constable turned and exited the office.

Standing on the granite floor of the Royal Homeland Constabulary Office were six figures. They were immediately and absolutely recognizable as adventurers; rogues who had wandered the Malice Lands and the Elfaivar and Ber and probably the whole of Lanjyr. They were hardy and dangerous, some were foreigners, some Risuri, but each carried with them at least a shred of allegiance to the nation of Risur. Each of them had lived off their wits, stealing and killing, hiring themselves out to whomever and whatever came. They were inspired by dubious virtues. Some had performed useful services: research, cartography, and the like. Others were nothing but opportunistic tomb raiders. They were scum who died violent deaths, hanging on to a certain cachet among the impressionable through their undeniable bravery and their occasionally impressive exploits.

Assistant Chief Stover eyed them without enthusiasm.

“This,” said Assistant Chief Stover, pointing to them each in turn with his cane, “is a job offer. Each and every one of you has been investigated and passed a background check. Though,” He eyed one adventurer with lanky hair and scruff on his face. “Some of you just barely passed.” Hobbling forward on his cane, the limp in his left leg clearly evident, Inspector Delft gestured to a map of Flint, blanketing the east side of his office. “As a member of the R.H.C. you may be called upon to accomplish dangerous and complex tasks, such as rescue missions, surveillance to catch smugglers and traitors, and even gathering information on behalf of our nation. It is dangerous, but no more so than what you have experienced. One of you fought on behalf of our country. Another was a graduate from an esteemed war academy and the list goes on and on.” Gesturing back to the map Stover smiled, sucking at the tobacco in his teeth, before spitting into a nearby tin pot. “This is a chance to stop living for yourself and instead helping in a real and concrete way. What do you say?”

 
 
 

                          Z E I T G E I S T 
        T H E   G E A R S   O F   R E V O L U T I O N
 
 
 
 

Introduction
 ““The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangibles, ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on.”
–Chuck Palahniuk

Welcome friends to Zeitgeist: The Gears of Revolution. This is an AP designed by ENworld Publishing. In this adventure, your characters serve in the Royal Homeland Constabulary of the nation of Risur, protecting the country and its citizens from foreign threats lurking within its borders. During missions of espionage and assassination, your duty will be to root out hostile spies and pursue international conspiracies. As you learn more of your homeland’s own secrets, however, your loyalties may be tested, may even be turned, and you may find that it is you whose hand controls the gears of the turning age.

Before we get into the details of the campaign, I would like to lay out my expectations. In Zeitgeist you have the chance to play an unusual sort of character. You will play as a group of burgeoning agents in service of Risur -- someone who will rise from being a novice and inexperienced agent into becoming one of the worlds greatest influences and possible saviors of this age.

Here is what I envision from my players: I am looking for a lawful neutral, lawful good, lawful evil, neutral or neutral good characters with an appreciation for order: This is not the campaign for chaotic evil players looking to betray the other players, loners or freespirited vagabonds. Those campaigns exist elsewhere and if they are what you are looking for, perhaps you are in the wrong place. This is a campaign about being part of an organization that works in the shadows for the greater good. Think of the James Bonds, Jack Ryans and MacGyvers. This is what I expect. That said, while you are morally neutral, what I am not looking for is a bunch of murderous-lawless types looking to indulge dark fantasies. I am looking for characters with interesting backstories, who would mesh well together. Characters should be three-dimensional with personality, desires, and flaws. Disagreement between characters should be a natural occurrence based on strongly-held beliefs and philosophies, although they shouldn't derail the game. Knowledge of the Zeitgeist setting is assumed and should be worked into the character.

Mechanically, this will be point-buy with 20 points. I strongly disfavor stat dumps, especially Charisma, without appropriate story justification. I also disfavor gimmicky characters. One bonus Theme Feat must be selected at character creation from the Zeitgest Adventure Path Players Guide and does not count against your total number of feats. Considerably more effort should be on the personality, and a character sheet is merely encouraged. Anything legal in Pathfinder Society is allowed, I will also allow the psychic classes (but not races) from Dreamscarred Press. All races found in the Advanced Race Guide are allowed, but I have a bit of a bias towards humans and will likely pick only a few non-humans. Tieflings and Aasimar however hold a unique place in this campaign and I will not consider them as non-humans during my selection process, however the variant heritages are not allowed. I will also post an example of ”The Ten Minute Background”. You are not required to use it during submission, but I have found it is exceptionally useful in creating a character with depth and flavor and I would highly recommend it.

This will be my second campaign DM in a pbp and you can see an example of my current campaign here: Hearts of Darkness: Way of the Wicked. I have played D&D/Pathfinder for fourteen years. I am active on the boards with over 2,700 posts and I expect my players to be active as well. Players who make it into this campaign will be expected to post once every 48-hours, and I will uphold that same posting activity. Some days there will be more posts than others, but this campaign will be run at a leisurely pace. If you do not post once within 48 hours during combat, actions will be taken for you. I reserve the right to eject from the campaign anyone who has not posted in 72 hours without prior warning of absence.

I expect players to engross themselves in the roleplaying element and contribute interestingly to the story.

I also favor longer posts with detail and emphasis on the growth of the characters. (Example 1) (Example 2) I do not use map tools unless absolutely required. I also travel occasionally, but this rarely affects my posting. I will be taking applications until Sunday, 6/23/13. I have not decided how many players I will be taking, but the total will be between 4 and 6, depending on the exact needs of the party. As a warning, I also tend to select players over the course of the application period. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. If you don't have a posting history, I'm still happy to consider you but I may ask for a writing sample.

Introduction to Zeitgeist:

Humans and the Great Nations.
Humans rule three of the five great nations of the region. Their ascendance in the past two thousand years toppled a mighty high elf empire and has provoked belief in doomsday millennialism among many dwarves. The campaign begins in Risur (pg 15), and every PC should have a strong loyalty to the nation, even if the character does not hail from there.

High Elves, Aasimar, and the Great Malice.
Five hundred years ago the death of the high elf goddess Srasama caused nearly every high elf woman to perish. Those few who survived were often claimed as trophies by human conquerors, though a handful of free matriarchs head their own family lines in the ruins of the old empire. Those interested in high elves should read the section on Elfaivar (pg 23). Mortals present at the death of the high elf goddess have continually reincarnated in the following centuries as aasimar, as if a sliver of Srasama’s divine spark has granted them a semblance of immortality. Those interested in aasimar should read the section on Crisillyir (pg 20 of the Players Guide).

Tieflings, Technology, and Dead Magic.
When the high elf goddess died, an entire other nation became a dead magic zone, and some in that land were marked by a curse, turning them into tieflings. In the centuries since, however, the tieflings have come to rule that nation, and in the last few decades they have begun a revolution of industry and mighty science almost as powerful as the magic they lack. Those interested in tieflings should read the section on Danor (pg 21 of the Players Guide). If you are interested in utilizing some of the new revolution’s technology for your character, particularly firearms, see the section on Equipment (page 12 of the Players Guide).

Dwarves, Doomsday, and Nihilism.
The major dwarven nation is bleakly resigned to an imminent doomsday, when ancient horrors will claw free from glaciers and engulf the world in a frigid death. Adherence to duty is so ingrained in their culture, however, that the dwarves continue to toil in their forges even as they prepare for the world’s end. Those interested in dwarves should read the section on Drakr (pg 22 of the Players Guide).

Savages, Primitives, and Peace.
Freed from the yoke of toppled dragon tyrants, the youngest of the great nations formed from an alliance of several monstrous races which now live in an uneasy peace as their rulers seek to force the disparate peoples into the modern age. Those interested in playing as a orc, half-orc, goblin, hobgoblin, or other monstrous races should read the section on Ber (pg 19 of the Players Guide).

Piety and the Planes.
The heavens possess an undeniable hold on the world’s religions, its people, and its very structure. In Risur, skyseers believe that the movements of the night stars foretell the future and direct the fate of the world. More enlightened scholars study distant planes of elemental and temporal power to understand how the flow of their energies affects the fundamental nature of reality. The high elf people have begun to withdraw into the Dreaming, and the bishops of the high church of the Clergy invoke condemned spirits from the Bleak Gate to frighten sinners into worship.

The Astral Plane, Limbo, and Far Realm exist only as postulations, and there are countless other theories on the nature of reality. No one in this world has ever traveled to these planes, and the few beings that are summoned through the veil are only visitors, returning as soon as the spell that called them ends. Those interested in the setting’s metaphysics should read the section on The World (pg 24 of the Players Guide).

Heroic Themes.
The Zeitgeist campaign setting presents themes that reinforce the heroic archetypes of the world, such as dockers, gunsmiths, and technologists. Each player should choose one Theme Feat unique to the world of Zeitgeist, this replaces normal Pathfinder Traits.

Example of The Ten Minute Background:

This is an example of a past submission I did for a skull and shackles campaign and I think it's an excellent example of a "Ten Minute Background". While it’s not required to be as long, I appreciate a lot of plot hooks and room for growth as a character.

Five background and concept elements important to John Rawkins.

1) John Rawkins is a sailor who was recently discharged from the Andoran Navy due to a terrible injury. Six months ago his ship the Righteous Eagle was led into a trap by the notorious Shackles vessel Carrion's Maw. During the ensuring battle, Petty Officer Rawkins was part of a boarding party, that along with First Lieutenant Steele was lured aboard the Carrion's Maw. Once on board, the trap was revealed and the boarders were surrounded by a full company of mercenaries. Outmatched and cut off from the Righteous Eagle Petty Officer Rawkins was left behind while the Righteous Eagle was forced to retreat, or risk being sunk. During the battle, John took a spear to the side, falling overboard. As he floated in the water, his blood slowly seeped out into the sea, and he was viciously attacked by a jigsaw shark. By the time he was recovered and his mates got him onto the surgeon’s table, there was nothing that could be done. In a haze of ether John felt the dull pain of the surgeon’s saw and the heat of the soldering iron. When he awoke two days later, his left leg was gone from just below the knee, and in its place was a crudely fitted cap. In remembrance of his lost friend's and ruined leg, John wears a Jigsaw Shark's tooth on a throng around his neck. It is the very same tooth that that the surgeon dug out of his leg following the battle. Trait: Peg Leg
2) John was outgoing and friendly, but since losing his leg and being discharged he has turned to heavy drinking. He rarely shaves and his once short hair has begun to grow out into a tangled mess. He is a man that is teetering on the edge of self-ruin. Hence the charisma of 8, and his store of grog and Alchemist's kindness
3) Prior discharged, John had acquitted himself in several boarding and begun to earn a reputation is a solid and reliable leader.
4) Although he would never admit it, ever since the shark attack John is secretly afraid of the ocean. He’s a fine swimmer, but there’s something about not being able to see what is under the water that scares him. Trait: Paranoid
5) Like most Andoran’s John hates slavery. He remembers how, as a private he took part in the boarding action of the Katapesh Slave Galley Taskmasters Pride. He will never forget seeing the whipped and chained slaves, emaciated and lashed to the oars and it sickened him beyond words. If given the opportunity to hurt a slaver he would likely do so. Trait: Freedom Fighter and Trait: Lover of the Law

Two goals that are important to John.

1) I would like to see John build upon his Andoran leanings. The navy may have forsaken John but he hasn’t forsaken the ideals they represented. I think that it would be cool to see John eventually become a "Steel Falcon" PrC. Long term I think it would be great to develop this “Arc” as John earns the attention of the Eagle Knight’s and then somehow is given a secret commission to continue to do the work of Andoran within the Shackles.
2) ”I’ll find the shark that took my leg!. Ok, so it’s extremely Moby Dick-ish but I can see that being a goal that John would pursue. On a slightly less ridiculous note, during the battle in which John lost his leg, Carrion's Maw managed to escape. Should he ever cross paths with the ship or its infamous captain, Typhus Scalp-Taker, only hell or high water could keep him from that prize. Of course he may not have to search too hard...

Two secrets about John, one that he knows, and one that he not yet aware of.

1) John is married and has a three year old daughter. In the weeks following the release of the slaves aboard Taskmasters Pride John fell in love with one of the released concubines. Though it is extremely frowned upon within Andoran for a liberator to become romantically involved with the liberated slave, he couldn’t help but love her. It was for this reason that he is currently traveling to Eledar. Though he hates Cheliax and their puppet states for their continuing support of slavery, he was recently offered a job to help build ships for the Sargava navy.It kills him inside to work against the ideals that he believes in, but he sees few options and he has a family to provide for.
2) Prior to his discharge John had done more than just earn a reputation is a solid and reliable leader. In fact his Captain was a member of the Eagle Knights and had taken notice of him for a possible candidacy into the order. However with the loss of his leg and subsequent drinking and discharge Captain Havershaw rescinded his decision. Yet despite his better judgment Lord Havershaw still keeps track of John from time to time.

Four people that are tied to John, three are friends and one is an enemy.

1) Alima Rawkins: Former pleasure slave aboard the Taskmasters Pride and wife of John Rawkins. Alima is Osirion in descent with dusky skin and black hair. She currently lives in the Andoran fishing village of Souston where she raises her and John’s daughter, Farah.
2) Lord Cornelius Havershaw: Ageing captain of the Righteous Eagle. Cornelius is also an Eagle Knight from the order of the Steel Falcon and has taken note of John. Cornelius is quickly approaching retirement and knows that the Claw will be his last command. He is fond of playing the violin and drinking good brandy. It was under his tutelage that Petty Officer Rawkins first learned the principles of leadership.
3) First Lieutenant Iakob Steele: Boarding Officer for the Righteous Eagle. Iakob grew up in the same town as John, Souston, and joined the Andoran Navy several years ahead of him. John later met, and came to work for First Lieutenant Steele upon his assignment to the Righteous Eagle, it was during that time that a friendship came to develop between the two. First Lieutenant Steele was presumably lost at sea following the ruinous battle between the Righteous Eagle and Carron's Maw.
4) Captain Typhus Scalp-Taker: Captain of the Carron's Maw, slaver, pirate and reputed member of the Pirate Council. It was Scalp-Taker who was responsible John going overboard during the battle with the Righteous Eagle. During the battle the pirate lord hurled the spear that drove John over a gunwale and into the sea, but not before John was able to land a lucky strike that sliced off the pirates left ear. Since that day Typhus has never forgotten the slight done to him by the Andorian sailor and would be quick to meet vengeance upon him should their paths meet again.

Three memories, mannerisms or quirks John possess.

1)John keeps a moleskin journal within his Sea bag. During free time he writes letters home to his wife and daughter. He misses them terribly and will never forget the day that he set sail to Eledar, and the last kiss he gave Alima. He uses a lock of her hair as a bookmark for his journal.
2) As a remnant of his service in the Andoran Navy, John managed to keep his duty issue cutlass and he carries the cutlass with him at all times. When distracted he tends to keep one hand on the pommel of the blade and will mindlessly run his thumb over the end cap in a clockwise motion.
3) John has a hard time sleeping on land. From his years at sea, the sailor has grown more accustomed to the cradle of the sea, then the stone of the shore. Even on land John prefers to sleep in a hammock, much to the displeasure of Alima.

Character Creation:

Ability Scores: Ability Scores will be a 20 point buy. I strongly disfavor stat dumps, especially Charisma, without appropriate story justification.

Races: All races found in the Advanced Race Guide are allowed, but I have a bit of a bias towards humans and will likely pick only a few non-humans. Tieflings and Aasimar however hold a unique place in this campaign and I will not consider them as non-humans during my selection process, however the variant heritages are not allowed.

Classes: All classes from the PHB, APG, UC and UM are allowed, as well as all Archetypes and the Psionic Classes from Dreamscarred Press. However if you plan to play something extremely unusual such as a Ninja, Samurai or a Psionic character, an amazing backstory should be presented.

All classes are permitted except the Anti-Paladin. A few classes require some special consideration below.

  • The Paladin is well suited thematically for this campaign. However due to the dubious nature of divinity in Zeitgeist, rather than dedicating himself to a particular god, the paladin may instead choose to be follower of a particular philosophy or ideal.
  • Barbarians can be a good choice, but since chaotic alignments are not allowed (see below), neutral good or neutral are the only two possible alignment choices. Barbarians have the challenge of coming up with a good reason why a class as chaotic and rebellious as this one would cooperate with a group of lawful followers of nation.
  • Cavaliers are a fine choice for a PC. Orders that defend the common folk (The Order of the Shield) or pledge allegiance to the king of Risur (The Order of the Lion) are more common then self-serving orders (for example the Order of the Cockatrice).
  • Few gods have large followings in Risur, but pockets of foreigners or native converts provide a likely source for divine classes Oracles tend to be more common than clerics, since there aren't established churches to train the pious. More rarely a person with strong philosophical ideals can wield divine power through the gestalt will of those who share his beliefs. inquisitors are extremely rare and are more commonly dedicated to an ideal or philosophy rather than a particular god.
  • Druids are well respected among followers of the old faith, and the ties between Druid traditions and the Unseen Court could lead to a deep character storyline.
  • Gunslingers are an excellent choice for this campaign, This adventure path assumes by default that firearms are common however advanced firearms are just now being developed.
  • Monks are permitted, but consider applying a western Archetype to them such as a Martial Artist.
  • Ninja and Samurai are permitted but you must explain how your ninja or samurai ended up in the western nation of Risur.
  • Rangers will find that Humanoid (Human), Outsider (Evil), Undead and Fey are solid choices for their favored enemy. The Urban Ranger Archetype is also excellent for this AP. Generally Rangers are well received within the old faith
  • Sorcerers suffer an equal distribution of bloodline, with aberrant and fiendish bloodlines being far rarer than fey or elemental.
  • Witches tend to follow fey patrons, since the nature of the planes makes it difficult to contact infernal or far realm patrons
  • Psionic classes are relatively new and rare, though many cultures have their own variations of people who seem to be able to see through the veil of reality and forsake the limits of their flesh. In particular, high elf monks are infamous for their unusual fighting techniques, while dwarven philosophers sometimes exhibit all but unknown psionic abilities.

    Skills: No change, however a good balance of skills is recommended and there will be frequent encounters where a good use of skills can affect combat or negate it completely. Also as members of the R.H.C. you will be expected to be able to search crime scenes, gather information, interview witnesses and track suspects. A party with well balanced skills is essential.

    Feats: Each character gains one bonus Theme Feat selected at character creation from the Zeitgest Adventure Path Players Guide. This feat does not count against your total number of feats.

    Equipment: Each character starts with average wealth per level. Unlike adventurers however, one of the perks of being an agent of the R.H.C. is that your character will receive frequent stipends and allowances for material and equipment upgrades. The downside however is that your character will be required to hand over seized evidence obtained during the course of an investigation. PCs who are part of the R.H.C. do not get to keep anything they recover on their missions. They get a salary, and anything they “looted” they can keep if they pay for it from their salary.

    As constables of Risur, your characters have a slightly different relationship with treasure than typical Pathfinder adventurers. At lower ranks (levels 1–8) you receive a combination of salary and official stipend to fulfill your duties, and the Constabulary’s resources and connections let you easily purchase or requisition the tools you need for your missions. Likewise, you can easily trade in items you no longer need, which can be used by other constables or local police. When you recover rare magic, treasure, or other valuables, you are expected to hand it over to higher authorities, who will make proper use of it. If desired, you can use your salary or stipend to acquire these items for yourself, assuming you file the proper paperwork and your request is deemed warranted.

    You can turn in any functioning item to the R.H.C. for its full value. This allows you to keep yourself equipped with the best material available, or at least the best that government bureaucracy thinks you can be trusted with.

    Whenever the party acquires any sort of treasure in the course of a mission, you will be expected to hand it over to your superiors, which should keep you at the expected power for your level. If you recover something you want for yourself, you can spend money to requisition it, though that may take some time. There is always some leeway, and constables are allowed to hold onto loot for a reasonable period of time. If you defeat a foe with a magic sword, and his weapon would aid you in your immediate investigation, you can hold onto it for a few days, but you’re expected to turn it in. An alternative, of course, is to hold onto items and not report them to the RHC. This is illegal, and would likely be grounds for dismissal.

    Such pecuniary misdeeds are expected of common police, but the R.H.C. is held to higher standards. If you attempt to sell such an item, you cannot take advantage of the R.H.C.’s favorable rates, and must use the normal values (50% of base value). Be careful, though, because prison is not kind to former law officers who turn to crime.

    HP: Max to start. At each level you roll for hit points, however you may use Hero Points and the retrain option will be allowed from Ultimate Campaign

    Hero Points: All PCs start with 1 Hero point and gain 1 Hero Point each time they level up. The maximum number of Hero Points a PC can have at a time is 3. Hero Point feats and spells are allowed.

    You can use 1 Hero Point to do any of the following actions. You can only use 1 Hero Point per turn for these actions.
    1. Gain an extra standard action during your turn.
    2. Gain a +8 bonus to a d20 roll if spent before or a +4 bonus if spent after. This can also be used to effectively increase the DC of a spell by lowering a single target's saving throw in the same manner.
    3. Ready an action at any time. (Must be done before a post is made; no retcons.)
    4. Regain a spell or use of a limited special ability.
    5. Reroll a d20.
    6. Reroll for HP at a new level.
    You can use 2 Hero Points to do the following, regardless of if you have used a Hero Point this turn.
    7. Survive a fatal attack at -10, unconscious, and stable.(2 points)

    Finishing Details: As normal except that chaotic evil, neutral evil, chaotic neutral and chaotic good alignments are not allowed. Every character must be lawful neutral, lawful evil, lawful good, neutral or neutral good. Of those five alignments, lawful neutral is definitely the preferred choice.

    Further, every character must choose a Theme Feat. This feat should be central to your characters development and it is one of the reasons why you were screened by the Royal Homeland Constabulary as possible candidates.


  • In the kingdom of Talingarde, many crimes may send you to Branderscar Prison, but the sentence has but one meaning. You are wicked and irredeemable. Each of you received the same greeting when you arrived. You were held down by rough hands and branded upon the arm with a runic F. The mark signifies ‘forsaken’ and the painful scar is indelible proof that each of you has betrayed the great and eternal love of Mitra and his chosen mortal vassals.

    Condemned, you face at best a life of shackles and servitude in the nearby salt mines. Others might await the “gentle” ministrations of the inquisitors so that co-conspirators may be revealed and confessions extracted. Perhaps, some of you will be spared this ordeal. Perhaps instead you have come to Branderscar to face the final judgment. In three days, the executioner arrives and the axe falls or the pyre will be lit. Through fire or steel, your crimes will be answered.

    You have all been chained together in the same communal cell dressed in nothing but filthy, tattered rags. Manhandled and mistreated, any finery you once possessed is either ruined or long lost. No special treatment has been given any prisoner – male or female, commoner or noble – all of the forsaken are bound and imprisoned together. Your feet are secured by iron cuffs tethered by one long chain. Your arms are secured to the wall above by manacles. A guard is posted right outside the cell day and night. Little thought is given to long term accommodations. At Branderscar, justice comes swift and sure.

    Escape seems hopeless. You have all been well searched and every attempt to conceal anything on your person has failed. And if you could somehow slip your bonds and fly out of this prison, where would you go? Who from your former life would want anything to do with the forsaken? Despised, alone and shackled – all that you can do now is await your doom.

    For each of you, your old life is over. For each of you, hope is a fading memory. For each of you, justice will be fairly meted. And who can blame fair Talingarde after what each of you has done?

    A Matter of Inheritance: Mikhail Halancoun:

    Eighty years ago your brother, Markadian, now called “the Victor” claimed the throne of Talingarde. He threw down Jaraad, Highseat of House Barca and Steward of Talingarde, and claimed the mantle of kingship. You watched as Markadian’s hold slowly cemented over the people of Talingarde. You learned from whispers of the formation of the Brotherhood of Marthanya and you can still recall the nightmare flight from Matharyn all the while being hounded by them. The Brotherhood.. sycophants and lackeys all, yet still zealous and uncompromising. They were fools. The first fawning members of Markadian’s cult of personality, but they were dangerous fools.

    For forty four years you watched from the shadows as your birthright was stolen from you, watched as the Victor erected statue after statue with his visage. From the shadows you watched as the Brotherhood of Marthanya hunted down each and every threat to your brother’s rule. And then in the winter of 4678 AR you watched as your brother, now weakened from age, passed onto Pharasma’s graveyard.

    Acting with decisiveness you began your ascent towards your rightful place as king. In the dying light of the Adarium you whispered in Markadian II’s ear convincing the young and gullible king of the truth of your words. It was by your hand that Prince Hallen slowly began his slide into madness. And when Hallen slew Markadian II and then later threw himself off of the highest spire of the Adarium it was you that watched from the shadows and felt the dark joy in your heart.

    Quietly you waited for the writ of lineage, written in Markadian II’s own hand and seal to be found. Finally, after all of your years of patience you would be raised to your rightful place. Everything had been perfect and nothing could have stood in your way, nothing except for your great-nephew Marcus. The cult of Asmodeus has long despised the Darius line for the neglect and contempt of their religion. Convincing them that Marcus would take up his grandfather’s work had been an easy task. And so it was by your hand that Marcus was attacked by devils and cultist’s, inadvertently beginning the Great Asmodean Purge.

    In the spring of 4696 AR Markadian IV the Zealous died. Once again a new king took the throne and once again you planned and plotted. For years you searched out allies and conspirators. Men who like you had become disenfranchised with the House of Darius. And so, after eighty years of whispering poisoned lies in the ears of others, the same was done to you. Betrayed by Valerio Madouci, the last remaining scion of the Brotherhood of Marthanya, he told the Knights of Alerion about your treason. For your crimes you were tried and sentenced to death. And as you were dragged away, Valerio whispered in your ear. ”I know who you are..”

    And so you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison. Your riches and finery torn from you, dressed in prison rags and held down as the branding iron seared your flesh. As you were thrown into a cell, chained hand and foot to six the other prisoners, a dark thought over took you. Branderscar was once known by a different name. Castle Brand, seat of the Hellknight Order of the Brand. Feeling your arm scream in pain from the burn and lying with your back to the wall, it seems somehow fitting that in three days you will die in the same castle that you caused your brother to purge so many years ago.

    Whispers in the Dark: Ethaniel Tessarin:

    You can still recall the first time you saw your adopted father’s sword and remember the sound of the blade as it hissed its way out of the sheath. From the first moment you knew the blade was special. Perhaps it was the way that the light danced along the edge of its blackened blade, or the way that it moved in your father’s hands, seeming of its own regard. Regardless, you felt something stir inside of yourself each time you would spar with Marvius.

    Something powerful, something foreign, something.. dark.

    As the years went by and you grew from a boy into a man, your instincts about the blade began to sharpen, like a well-honed blade. And it was then that the whispers began. At first it was like a buzzing in the back of your mind, more urges then words. You felt an almost irresistible compulsion to practice with the blade. And so in the dead of night while Marvius was asleep you took up his father’s katana and began your nightly training.

    Alone, cold and dark you felt the blade come alive in your hands for the first time. What Marvius’s training had begun the blade seemed to reinforce. In your mind’s eye you could see different forms. Parry’s, ripostes, blocks and strikes, each the correct counter to another attack. It was from the blade that you learned The Falling Leaf and how to counter it with Watered Silk. As the days became weeks and the weeks became months you practiced each and every night in secret with your “fathers” blade.

    Then two months ago the unexpected happened, your adopted father, Marvius died. Described as a natural death, the cause was never fully explained. Marvius was not a young man, but he was still far from old. He was healthy, fit and well respected. Yet despite an investigation, despite a review by Mitran healers, nothing suspicious was found and Marvius was buried within the Old Barcan Cemetery in Ghastenhall with full military honors, along with his heirloom blade.

    As time ground on your grief turned to anger, and your anger turned to obsession. As you would lie in bed each night, you would think back to the countless nights spent wielding your father’s katana. You could feel the blade in your hands, hear the whispers in the back of your mind. Eventually the urges became unbearable. You returned to the tomb, opened it and claimed your father’s exotic blade.

    Emerging from the mausoleum you were greeted by a grim sight. Surrounding the crypt were red robed veteran soldiers of Mitra, led by the fanatic inquisitor Matthais Harkon. Illumined by flickering torchlight you were given a choice; surrender or die. Realizing that you had no options, you lowered your father’s katana, and as the black blade was ripped out of your fingers you heard a dark voice whisper. Patience.. Forced to your knees, inquisitor Harkon remorselessly smiled before declaring you forsaken.

    And so you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crime of grave robbery. Your father’s sword was taken from you as evidence, your clothes and all personal belongings burned, and now the only thing you possess is the ragged prison uniform you were issued. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding laughed. Reeling from the pain you were thrown into a cell and chained hand and foot to the other prisoners who were also awaiting execution.

    First Born Son: Barnabas Wright:

    Lies are an important part of business when it comes to slavery in a nation such as Talingarde. In a nation such as Cheliax or Sargava, slavery is a way of life. In Talingarde it’s a hanging offense. Still what could you do when as a young man your father told you the truth of your family’s income? Families are expensive, and a noble family especially so, and when your father passed away, who would could provide for your mother, two brothers and your sister? Who would provide for your brother’s education or your sisters dowries? No one would provide for them, no one but you.

    You bitterly watched as the profits from slave trading kept your family afloat. You watched as righteous Tobias earned his spurs as a Knight of Alerion, not knowing that his horse had been paid for from a shipment of Iraen barbarians. You watched as young Oberon, so pious, so proud became inducted as an acolyte of Mitra wearing his sapphire and silver holy symbol paid for from a shipment of northern Yutak. And you watched as your dear sister prepared to enter into high society wearing the dresses and jewels paid for from your terrible crimes.

    You have separated children from their mothers, and women from their husbands. You have watched slaved beat other slaves to death for a scrap of food. All the while, telling yourself that it was for your family. Yes my friend, lies are an important part of business when it comes to slavery.

    Two months ago you stood in front of a local magistrate within the Lords Quarter of Ghastenhall, pleading for a shipping exception. As you petitioned the magistrate, your brother Tobias, now a full Knight of Alerion marched into court with a score of other Knights Alerion, bearing a writ of seizure signed by Lord Hadrian, Duke of Ghastenhall. The evidence before you was damming. Financial records, witness statements and cross referenced accounts. There was nothing that could be done. By the time the sun had set on Ghastenhall you had been stripped of your titles and lands, and for his unwavering perseverance and dedication to Mitra they had been awarded to your brother.

    And so you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crime of slavery. Your clothes and all personal belongings were burned in front of you. Your family’s signet ring was taken, and now the only thing you possess is the ragged prison uniform you were issued. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding laughed. Reeling from the pain you were thrown into a cell and chained hand and foot to the other prisoners who were also awaiting execution. As you lay there, with your blistered and burned arm, you racked your brain, looking for answers.

    A Faithful Servant: Kergh the Dwarf:

    Freak.. abomination.. monster.. that is what they would whisper about you behind closed doors. From your earliest moments in life all you knew was fear and horror. You can never forget the ways that you mother Yondeene would look at you as a child. The sounds of her retching after she would have the clean the skin folds of your back and the ways that your sisters would cruelly tease you as a child.

    You remember as a boy having rocks thrown at you by the other children. They would pretend to be Inquisitors, witch hunters or Knights of Alerion, holy and righteous. You never got to pretend, you were always the monster. They feared you, reviled you and hated you. Everyone hated you. Everyone but Nessuri.

    If not for Nessuri, you don’t know what would have happened. It was her love that kept you alive. She was able to see past the ugly, deformed creature that you were, into the boy inside of you begging for affection. The walks alone in the woods with her were some of the happiest memories you ever had. She was your friend, your only friend. And so when she told you the stories of the cleaver ugly boy who saved the beautiful horned beast, of course you listened. You listened and you believed.

    Belief can be a powerful thing. The priests of Mitra knew that well. When you were shipped to the Vale of Valterna by your parents it was your belief that sustained you. When you were under the healers knives, it was belief that kept you alive. For six years you were kept in the Vale. They called it healing, you called it torture. Each night, as you lay in the hospital bed, feeling the pain from each new surgery you prayed. And in the haze of pain and suffering you begged the Horned Lord for respite. And in the darkness your prayers were answered.

    After your release and reunion with Nessuri, it was a happy time. You had found strength in the Horned Lord. The Vale had been a crucible to you, and you had emerged stronger because of it. Under Nessuri’s tutelage you came to understand the will of the Dark Prince. And despite the fact that your family had banished you to that hellish place you still loved them from afar. Then Sylphia betrayed you.

    You watched as your friend and teacher Nessuri was burned at the stake for blasphemy. Held by chains you listened to her scream as the flames engulfed her. Shaking, you listened to Juliana speak for you at your trial, her words moving, but eventually falling on deaf ears. After it was all over you listened as the sanctimonious priest of Mitra passed judgment on you.

    And so you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crime of blasphemy. Your clothes and all personal belongings were burned in front of you. Your holy tattoo was scoured from your body with “holy fire”, and now the only things you possess are the ragged prison uniform you were given and your faith in the Dark Prince. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding, beat you with a club until you were unconscious. After several hours you awoke in a cell and reeling from the pain you found yourself chained hand and foot to six other prisoners who were also awaiting execution.

    Forbidden Knowledge: Ariana Ddraig:

    For twenty years you have had to hide your heritage. As a child you watched as your father hid his ability and religion from the cowering peasantry when he should have been embracing the power inside of himself instead. In your lifetime you have seen scholars have their books burned for heresy and then be burned at the stake for possessing them. You have seen wizards stoned to death for the ability to cast forbidden cantrips and watched as the church of Mitra slowly closed their iron fist around the influence of the learned. You have seen all of this and more and it has made you hate your homeland for their blind fear of the unknown.

    As a girl you watched Naeri Corin embrace the faith of Mitra. At first you were able to listen to his blind platitudes, but over time his ignorance was more then you could handle and your frustration grew into anger and then into hatred. To make matters worse, you watched as his faith opened up doors as a wizard that was closed to non-believers. Frustrated and angry you turned to your father, and it was by his hand that he guided you to your faith in the Dark Lord.

    It was by his tutelage that you came to learn of the old religions. Like you he had grown frustrated as knowledge had become censored and he watched his friends were dragged away during the purges. Through him you came to know Asmodeus, Lord of Darkness, First of the Fallen and Keeper of All Knowledge. It was in the cold truth of knowledge that you found peace. The Dark Prince may be evil, but he did not pretend to be otherwise. Asmodeus did not ask for forgiveness or understanding, he asked for a price, and that was something far more honest than what the so called “Lord of Light” asked for.

    Making your decision, you began your personal quest for knowledge and power, willing to pay the price for such things. You saved for years and prepared yourself meticulously. You spent every coin you had in an attempt to summon an Erinyes and strike a dark bargain for power. You watched as the slowly gathering energy of the ritual built into a climax, and then, like the sap that struck you, it came crashing down in the blink of an eye.

    Captured and forced to your knees, you watched as the gathered energy fled from the room. Towering over you, the witch hunter clamped you in chains and dragged you before the church where your sentence was swiftly passed.

    And so it was that you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crime of consorting with dark powers. Your clothes and all personal belongings were burned in front of you. Your precious books cast into the flames, and now the only things you possess is the ragged prison uniform on your back. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding laughed. After it was over you were dragged into a cell where you found yourself chained hand and foot to six other prisoners who were also awaiting execution.

    Maestro’s Encore: Kaynen Catesby:

    They say that every grand performance warrants an encore, and that the best performances play upon the expectations of the audience. A grand pause between sets can create a far more dramatic effect then moving into the next section of an overture. You certainly hope so because you’re not ready for this to be your finale.

    Like any good performance, yours began slowly, building up its pace over time. You recall the early years of your life and your father, Lord Catesby grieving for your mother. You remember his anger at her death at the hand of an inept Mitran priest who was unable to help her in her time of need. You remember the anger, frustration and hostility towards the church that he was never able to let go of.

    Later you went onto study at the University of Ghaster. Despite not finishing your studies while there, you learned something far more important than history or engineering. You learned how much of a truism the phrase “blue beats black” really was. It was there, at the University of Ghaster that you first realized how distorted the interpretations of Mitras divine will really was. You saw the prideful ignorance of the clergy and its effect on your homeland and you knew something needed to change.

    Five years after you began your studies at the university, your father became ill. After you returned home you learned the truth about your fathers past. Your father had always been mistrustful of the Mitran clergy following your mother’s death, and so despite worsening conditions he refused all treatments. As he slowly wasted away you sat by his side and listened as he told you of a time before Talingarde had bent knee to the religious hypocrisy of Mitra.

    To compound the tragedy you watched as two years later your titles, heritage and land was taken from you by Lord Omer Wriothesley. You remember watching in shock as you were stripped of all of your holdings and they were passed to Lord Wriothesley. And then, with everything taken from you, you watched as your father died, cold and far from the home that was taken from him. It was then that you knew that Talingarde needed to change.

    For months you plotted with your two oldest friends to right the imbalances within Talingarde. You had witnessed firsthand the power of the religious monarchy and the difference between those with power, and those without. And so after months of planning, you struck the first spark that would ignite the nation.

    You remember planning the sealed chest within Lord Wriothesley’s carriage while he was on his way to the council meeting. You remember the feverish pause as you waited for the alchemical bomb to slowly tick away. And you remember watching the carriage as the bomb exploded, watching it become engulfed in fire, and watching the shambling figure of Lord Wriothesley stumble from the carriage, alive but maimed.

    Your plan had been nearly perfect, and over the next few days you excitedly planned between yourself and Paullin further acts of terror to bring the city of Ghastenhall to its knees, not knowing of the viper within your midst. Two weeks later as you were returning from watching an evening performance at Barrington-in-the-Round Theater you were surrounded by group of red robed veteran soldiers of Mitra, led by Sir Balin, a Knight of Alerion. As you stood in the darkened street facing down ten loaded crossbow, Sir Balin brandished forth a writ of apprehension. Seeing no other option but death, you surrendered and before the week was out you had been tried and sentenced for your crimes.

    And so it was that you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crimes of sedition and treason. Your fashionable green and red doublet and all personal belongings were burned, and now the only thing you possess is the ragged prison uniform on your back. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding spit in your face. Reeling from the pain you were thrown into a cell and chained hand and foot to six other prisoners who were also awaiting execution.

    A Fathers Love: Oswald Turrill:

    You can remember a time before the darkness, before death. You remember the day that you graduated with honors from the University of Fairchester, your father watching you as you took your diploma. You can recall the day you met Penelope, how beautiful she was, how kind and caring. You remember the birth of Tomas and then Rosaline, each of them a blessing. You remember the way your wife smiled and the way that Tomas would hug you. In the darkness of your dreams you can remember it all, and then you wake and you forget it once more.

    Like the foggy nights of Ghastenhall harbor, you live your life in a haze. Your wife is not gone, and Tomas and Rosaline are growing stronger by the day. You recall your family coming down with a sickness, but they recovered, stronger and healthier than before. Each night when you return home from work they are their waiting for you.

    You forget why you quit your job as a doctor. You must have had a good reason, but you can’t recall it anymore. What you do remember is taking a job as a grave digger at the Old Barcan Cemetery. It was hard work, but you got to be outside. You could set your own hours and there was something peaceful about the quiet manicured lawns. You even made a few friends who you would help out for the occasional gift for your wife and children. Life was good, until the whispers began.

    It all started after you read those books your friend loaned you. In fact you can distinctly recall him offering them to you, insisting you take them. Once you read them, you understood why he wanted you to have them. Inside they spoke of great and powerful rituals. Detailed upon the fine vellum parchment, it was described ways of returning spirits back from the veil of death. Intrigued you read on, and as you did so the whispers began.

    Promises, seductive and dark were made. The voice spoke of your wife Penelopy and your son Tomas and daughter Rosaline, healthy, strong and pure. ”All of this and more I can grant you.” The voice whispered. And so, caught in your madness and love for your family you did what the voice said. In the dead of night, you followed the directions of the dark voice, leading you onward towards the shrine of Mitra located on the cemetery grounds. On the witching hour you daubed the runes of power and made the sacrifices of blood. You called upon your dark patron and completed the ritual.

    The next day as you had sat down with your wife and children for dinner, the door to your small house was kicked in by several Knights of Alerion. There in front of your family you were arrested for desecration. You watched as your wife and children stood there mutely in shock. As you were dragged away you watched as your family was also carted off before the house that you had built for them was burned to the ground.

    And so you came to find yourself in Branderscar Prison for the crime of desecration. Your only remaining link to your family, your daughters doll was taken from you as evidence, your clothes and all personal belongings were burned, and now the only thing you possess is the ragged prison uniform on your back. Upon your arrival you were held down as a branding iron seared your forearm with a crimson F for “Forsaken”, and as you cried out, the fat sergeant of the guard who presided over the branding laughed. Reeling from the pain you were thrown into a cell and chained hand and foot to six other prisoners who were also awaiting execution.


    Welcome Mikhail and Ethaniel! Let's get started. As I stated in my introduction, this is my first time as a DM, so I'll be taking pages from other DM's I have played with in the past. I also want to establish a level of consistency during the campaign that I don't always see in other campaigns. That said, I need both of your help. This has to be a group effort. I won't be able to do it on my own. I need each of you to play off each other. Introduce your own plot threads (or suggest them to me in the discussion thread, and I can introduce them). As a heads up, I don't plan to use map tools unless absolutely required. I think a pbp can work without them, and it makes the players use more imagination, *but* if I'm not clear on something, let me know. I appreciate feedback, and I want this to be enjoyable for all of us.

    Some guide lines, and forgive me Mikhail for my plagiarizing.

    1. I roll Initiative for everyone to save some time. As long as you don't skip any enemies, you can take your turn anytime. (Example: Allies Bob, Henry, Fred, and Steve are at 20, 15, 10, and 5 respectively. Enemy goblins are at Initiative 13. At the beginning of the round, Bob and Henry can go. The goblins go next at 13. Following the goblins, all four of the characters can go in any order because no enemies would be skipped.)

    2. Everyone rolls their own to-hit and compares it to the AC of the target. The same goes for saves. Both will be provided for all enemies, as will hit points. This puts a lot of responsibility on y'all to write good combat narratives and not rely on me to do so. The description is a common-sense sort of thing; 3 hit points will not cause the enemy's head to explode - but 30 might if it puts them in the negatives. This is also very trust-based. I expect that if someone gets something they don't like on the preview, they'll have the integrity to leave it there instead of modifying it based on the roll.

    3. At the beginning of any in-combat post, I expect everyone to include the round/initiative count, current hit points, current AC, current saves, and remaining spells or resources. (By current, I mean following whatever action is in the post.) After that section, I like a section breaking it down into standard/move/swift/whatever actions with appropriate rolls. This way, I don't have to go hunting for that information and check if it is right. Here's an example.

    ===========EXAMPLE===========
    Round 1, Initiative 20
    hp 10/12; AC 14/12T/12FF; CMD 14
    +4F/+2R/+2W
    Bardic Performance: 5/6

    SA: Inspire Courage
    > Perform: String: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
    MA: Move 15', avoid AOO
    > Acrobatics: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

    The narrative would go here. In this particular case, the bard begins playing the stringed instrument to inspire the others. (This roll is technically extraneous, but I've always done them on my bard type characters.) He then makes his Acrobatics check to move while avoiding attacks of opportunity. With a 25, he succeeds and ends where he intends to go.
    =============END EXAMPLE=============

    4. Calendar notations: This Way of the Wicked AP will be set within Golarion. I plan to incorporate additional references into the AP, both in support of your characters, and as a reminder that Talingarde is not isolated from the rest of the world (Think early Japan following British arrival) (No matter how much King Markadian V might wish it otherwise.). Regardless, who ever makes the first post at the start of a new day, I would like you to place a header at the top of your post with the current day. This should allow us to reference specific events easily. Examples of a Golarion calendar can be found here: calendar examples and the list of holidays and festivals can be found here: holdays and festivals.. The campaign will start on the 25th Calistril. Your executions are scheduled to on the first day of spring, the 28th of Calistril, 2413, a symbolic if is somewhat foolish gesture by the secular courts.

    ===========EXAMPLE===========
    24 Abadius 2413

    A new day begins and bob rises from his furs. blah blah blah..
    =========END EXAMPLE==========

    Anyone have any questions or feedback?


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    In the kingdom of Talingarde, many crimes may send you to Branderscar Prison, but the sentence has but one meaning. You are wicked and irredeemable. Each of you received the same greeting when you arrived. You were held down by rough hands and branded upon the arm with a runic F. The mark signifies ‘forsaken’ and the painful scar is indelible proof that each of you has betrayed the great and eternal love of Mitra and his chosen mortal vassals.

    Condemned, you face at best a life of shackles and servitude in the nearby salt mines. Others might await the “gentle” ministrations of the inquisitors so that co-conspirators may be revealed and confessions extracted. Perhaps, some of you will be spared this ordeal. Perhaps instead you have come to Branderscar to face the final judgment. In three days, the executioner arrives and the axe falls or the pyre will be lit. Through fire or steel, your crimes will be answered.

    You have all been chained together in the same communal cell dressed in nothing but filthy, tattered rags. Manhandled and mistreated, any finery you once possessed is either ruined or long lost. No special treatment has been given any prisoner – male or female, commoner or noble – all of the forsaken are bound and imprisoned together. Your feet are secured by iron cuffs tethered by one long chain. Your arms are secured to the wall above by manacles. A guard is posted right outside the cell day and night. Little thought is given to long term accommodations. At Branderscar, justice comes swift and sure.

    Escape seems hopeless. You have all been well searched and every attempt to conceal anything on your person has failed. And if you could somehow slip your bonds and fly out of this prison, where would you go? Who from your former life would want anything to do with the forsaken? Despised, alone and shackled – all that you can do now is await your doom.

    For each of you, your old life is over. For each of you, hope is a fading memory. For each of you, justice will be fairly meted. And who can blame fair Talingarde after what each of you has done?

    Welcome friends to Way of the Wicked: A Knot of Thorns. This is an AP designed by Fire Mountain Games. In this adventure, you take on the rolls of condemned criminals who, in three days’ time, will be sentenced to your final fate. Your goal? Escape, and revenge upon Talingarde.

    Before we get into the details of the campaign, I would like to lay out my expectations. In Way of the Wicked you have the chance to play an unusual sort of character. You will play a burgeoning dark lord -- someone who will rise from imprisonment and destitution to become one of the greatest villains of this age. At first, you will be a minion in service to a sinister plot. But eventually, you will be a minion no longer. You, if you can survive, will become the master.

    Here is what I envision from my players: I am looking for a lawful neutral, lawful evil, neutral or neutral evil group of characters with an appreciation for order: This is not the campaign for chaotic evil players looking to betray the other players, loners or freespirited vagabonds. Those campaigns exist in abundance and if they are what you are looking for, perhaps you are in the wrong place. This is a campaign about joining an evil organization with a wicked agenda. Think of the Darth Vaders, Bobba Fetts and Magneto’s. This is what I expect. That said, while you are evil, what I am not looking for is a bunch of rape-and-murder types looking to indulge dark fantasies. I am looking for characters with interesting backstories, who would mesh well together. Characters should be three-dimensional with personality, desires, and flaws. Disagreement between characters should be a natural occurrence based on strongly-held beliefs, although they shouldn't derail the game. Knowledge of the Golarion setting is assumed and should be worked into the character.

    Mechanically, this will be point-buy with 25 points. I strongly disfavor stat dumps, especially Charisma, without appropriate story justification. I also disfavor gimmicky characters. Two traits are allowed, and one is required to be from the selection posted below. Considerably more effort should be on the personality, and a character sheet is merely encouraged. Anything legal in Pathfinder Society is allowed. All races are allowed, but I have a bit of a bias towards humans and will likely pick only a few non-humans. I will also post an example of ”The Ten Minute Background”. You are not required to use it during submission, but I have found it is exceptionally useful in creating a character with depth and flavor and I would highly recommend it.

    What the players can expect from me: This is my first time as a DM in a pbp, however I have played D&D/Pathfinder for fourteen years. I am active on the boards and I expect my players to be as well. I would like each player to post once a day. I favor longer posts with detail and emphasis on the growth of the characters. (Example 1)(Example 2) I do not use map tools unless absolutely required. I am also travel occasionally, but this has never affected my posting. I will be taking applications until Friday, 2/15/13. I haven't decided how many people I will take. It will be between 4 and 7, depending on the exact needs of the party. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. If you don't have a posting history, I'm still happy to consider you but may ask for a writing sample.

    Crimes of the Forsaken:

    Each character chooses one heinous crime that has earned them a place in Branderscar Prison. Each crime grants a different benefit, similar to a trait. You may have committed many crimes during your lifetime, but this is the crime that finally got you branded and condemned.

    This list of twenty crimes is not intended to be comprehensive. Besides simply choosing a crime, you should also consider how the crime was done. Was this a well planned criminal enterprise or a crime of passion? Did you do it alone or did you have accomplices? Was this the first time you did this crime or are you a repeat offender? Answering these questions will help flesh out your character’s background. This has been said before, but it bears repeating. Your character actually perpetrated this crime. You may have done it for what seemed like noble reasons. You may have gotten entangled in this criminal enterprise unwillingly. But there is no doubt that you are guilty. You have not been sentenced to the worse prison in Talingarde unjustly.

    You are here because you deserve to be.

    Arson: You have willfully started a fire that destroyed property. To be sent to Branderscar, you didn’t start just a minor little trash fire. Your act of arson threatened a major town, city, church or castle and likely cost someone their life. You’ll be punished for your crime by facing the fire yourself.
    Punishment: Death by burning
    Benefit: Whenever you score a critical hit with a fire attack, you receive a +2 fire damage bonus to your damage roll. This bonus is a trait bonus.

    Attempted Murder: You tried to kill someone and botched the job. To be sent to Branderscar Prison, you did not try to kill just anyone. You likely assaulted someone of great importance and prominence.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You gain a +2 trait bonus to Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is always a class skill for you.

    Blasphemy: Either you have defamed the great god Mitra or you have been found guilty of worshipping one of the forbidden deities (who preeminent among them is Asmodeus).
    Punishment: Death by burning
    Benefit: +2 trait bonus to Knowledge (religion) and Knowledge (religion) is always a class skill for you.

    Consorting with the Dark Powers (Witchcraft): You have been found guilty of summoning an evil outsider. Likely you were captured by the famed witch hunter Sir Balin of Karfeld. The last thing he said to you was, “May Mitra have mercy upon your wretched, damned soul.” If only you could get a chance at revenge!
    Punishment: Death by burning
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Knowledge (planes) and Knowledge (arcana) checks, and one of these skills (your choice) is always a class skill for you.

    Desecration: You have violated one of the churchs, cathedrals or holy shrines of the great god Mitra. To be sent to Branderscar this was no minor act of vandalism. Instead you have done something flagrant and spectacular to dishonor the Shining Lord.
    Punishment: Death by burning
    Benefit: You receive +1 trait bonus on all saving throws against divine spells.

    Desertion: You have deserted from the Talirean military and been recaptured. To get sent to Branderscar this was not some minor or routine dereliction of duty. Instead, you abandoned your post during a time of crisis -- perhaps battle or while defending the Watch Wall. Regardless of the exact circumstances, your laziness and cowardness must have caused loss of life.
    Punishment: Death by hanging
    Benefit: You receive one bonus skill point per level that must be spent on the Profession (Soldier) skill. Profession (Soldier) is always a class skill for you.

    Dueling unto Death: You have engaged in a duel to the death and mortally wounded an opponent. The opponent was honorable enough to say nothing before he expired. Alas that his family or companions was nowhere near so honorable. Dueling was once common in Talingarde before the House of Darius came to power. The House of Barca all but encouraged duels of honor. Now, dueling of any sort is punished severely. Dueling to the death is a sure way to be sent to Branderscar Prison.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus to Fortitude saves

    Extortion: You have defrauded money from someone by holding information of their wrongdoing over their heads. To end up in Branderscar, this was no minor act of merely threatening to expose someone. Instead you ave attempted extortion against someone of great prominence and for exorbitant stakes.
    Punishment: Life at hard labor in the salt mines
    Benefit: You receive a +2 trait bonus to Intimidate checks, and Intimidate is always a class skill for you.

    Forgery: You have forged documents issued either by the crown or by the Church of Mitra. Alas, that your forgery while competent was not entirely undetectable. To be sent to Branderscar, this was no minor finagling of paperwork. This forged document could have cost lives, undermined the reputation of the Church or endangered the security of the realm.
    Punishment: Life at hard labor in the salt mines
    Benefit: You gain a +3 trait bonus to Linguistics skill checks to commit forgery and Linguistics is always a class skill for you.

    Fraud: You tried to bilk someone out of their cash. To end up in Brandescar Prison, this was no petty con job or penny ante racket. Instead, you brazenly tried to defraud someone important of a huge sum of money. And it almost worked too!
    Punishment: Life at hard labor in the salt mines
    Benefit: You receive a +2 trait bonus to Bluff checks and Bluff is always a class kill for you.

    Grave Robbery: It is forbidden by sacred law to dishonor a corpse after it is been sealed in its tomb by a clergy of the Mitran faith. Some may not honor this ban: necromancers, golem crafters, self-styled scientists, and alchemists delving into the forbidden secrets of life and death. These ghouls can expect no mercy from the Talirean Magistrates. And by sending you to Branderscar Prison, you have received none.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to confirm critical hits

    Heresy: You have denied the supremacy of Mitra and been condemned for it. For this to be a crime, you were not content to keep your heresy to yourself. You tried to sway others. Likely you were captured by the famed witch hunter Sir Balin of Karfeld. The last thing he said to you was: “Mitra may forgive you yet for your lies. Talingarde will not.” If only you could get a chance at revenge!
    Punishment: Death by burning.
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus on all saving throws against divine spells.

    High Theft: You had a foolproof plan to steal some great treasure. Alas, the scheme had a fatal flaw and went horribly awry. To be sent to Branderscar prison, this was no ordinary robbery attempt. You tried to steal something of great value or religious significance.
    Punishment: Life at hard labor in the salt mines
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Reflex saves.

    High Treason: You have willfully worked to bring down the current Monarch of Talingarde -- the beloved King Markadian V called the Brave of House Darius. To be successfully tried for High Treason you have done more than merely dislike the king, you did something tangible to undermine his rule. Alas, that you failed at your plot and are now headed to Branderscar Prison. Treason is the only crime that is still punished by the gruesome ritual of being drawn and quartered. Your stay at Branderscar will be brief.
    Punishment: Death by drawing and quartering
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Will saves.

    Kidnapping: You have abducted someone perhaps to ransom them or do unspeakable things to them. Unfortunately, you were caught and your victim was rescued (if they weren’t rescued -- you would be guilty of murder instead). To be sent to Branderscar Prison, you must have abducted someone of great importance or in a particularly gruesome manner.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to both Disarm and Grapple attempts.

    Murder: You have killed without just cause and been condemned for it. To be sent to Branderscar Prison, this was no typical killing but a particularly savage and unforgiveable act. You may also have killed someone with powerful friends.
    Note: You are not allowed to have killed someone in the royal family of Talingarde. You may have tried (his would instead be High Treason -- see above) but ultimately they are too well protected.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You deal 1 additional point of damage when flanking a foe. This additional damage is a trait bonus.

    Piracy: You have been caught in the act of piracy on the high seas. This is a rare crime these days since Markadian I called the Victorious burned the last major pirate fleet to threaten these isles. Still the crime is punished harshly. Likely you are the sole survivor of your ship.
    Punishment: Death by hanging
    Benefit: You may select either Bluff or Intimidate. The selected skill receives a +2 trait bonus and is always a class skill for you.

    Sedition: You have attempted to covertly stir up rebellion against your rightful sovereign. This differs from high treason in that you attempted to convince others to make war against Talingarde instead of taking direct action yourself. A subtle difference to be sure. But it is the difference between receiving the swift justice of the axe instead of the slow suffering upon the rack.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Bluff checks and Bluff is always a class skill for you. Further if you ever take the Leadership feat, you gain a +1 trait bonus to your Leadership score.

    Slave-Taking: Slavery is illegal in Talingarde and a very rare crime. Still, once in a great while, slavers from the mainland will foolishly make an incursion into Talirean protected territories. When they are captured alive they are always made an example of.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to both Disarm and Grapple attempts.

    Slave Trading: Slavery is legal in other parts of the world and it can be tempting to the most decadent of Talingarde’s nobility to acquire a “souvenir” when traveling abroad or to purchase the object of their desire from a less reputable merchant. However you ended up trading slaves in Talingarde, you were caught red handed and now you will lose more than simply your freedom.
    Punishment: Death by beheading
    Benefit: You receive one bonus skill point per level that must be spent on the Appraise skill. The Appraise skill is always a class skill for you.

    Example of The Ten Minute Background:

    This is an example of a past submission I did for a skull and shackles campaign and I think it's an excellent example of a "Ten Minute Background". While it’s not required to be as long, I appreciate a lot of plot hooks and room for growth as a character. Just because you’re evil doesn’t mean your one dimensional.

    Five background and concept elements important to John Rawkins.

    1) John Rawkins is a sailor who was recently discharged from the Andoran Navy due to a terrible injury. Six months ago his ship the Righteous Eagle was led into a trap by the notorious Shackles vessel Carrion's Maw. During the ensuring battle, Petty Officer Rawkins was part of a boarding party, that along with First Lieutenant Steele was lured aboard the Carrion's Maw. Once on board, the trap was revealed and the boarders were surrounded by a full company of mercenaries. Outmatched and cut off from the Righteous Eagle Petty Officer Rawkins was left behind while the Righteous Eagle was forced to retreat, or risk being sunk. During the battle, John took a spear to the side, falling overboard. As he floated in the water, his blood slowly seeped out into the sea, and he was viciously attacked by a jigsaw shark. By the time he was recovered and his mates got him onto the surgeon’s table, there was nothing that could be done. In a haze of ether John felt the dull pain of the surgeon’s saw and the heat of the soldering iron. When he awoke two days later, his left leg was gone from just below the knee, and in its place was a crudely fitted cap. In remembrance of his lost friend's and ruined leg, John wears a Jigsaw Shark's tooth on a throng around his neck. It is the very same tooth that that the surgeon dug out of his leg following the battle. Trait: Peg Leg
    2) John was outgoing and friendly, but since losing his leg and being discharged he has turned to heavy drinking. He rarely shaves and his once short hair has begun to grow out into a tangled mess. He is a man that is teetering on the edge of self-ruin. Hence the charisma of 8, and his store of grog and Alchemist's kindness
    3) Prior discharged, John had acquitted himself in several boarding and begun to earn a reputation is a solid and reliable leader.
    4) Although he would never admit it, ever since the shark attack John is secretly afraid of the ocean. He’s a fine swimmer, but there’s something about not being able to see what is under the water that scares him. Trait: Paranoid
    5) Like most Andoran’s John hates slavery. He remembers how, as a private he took part in the boarding action of the Katapesh Slave Galley Taskmasters Pride. He will never forget seeing the whipped and chained slaves, emaciated and lashed to the oars and it sickened him beyond words. If given the opportunity to hurt a slaver he would likely do so. Trait: Freedom Fighter and Trait: Lover of the Law

    Two goals that are important to John.

    1) I would like to see John build upon his Andoran leanings. The navy may have forsaken John but he hasn’t forsaken the ideals they represented. I think that it would be cool to see John eventually become a "Steel Falcon" PrC. Long term I think it would be great to develop this “Arc” as John earns the attention of the Eagle Knight’s and then somehow is given a secret commission to continue to do the work of Andoran within the Shackles.
    2) ”I’ll find the shark that took my leg!. Ok, so it’s extremely Moby Dick-ish but I can see that being a goal that John would pursue. On a slightly less ridiculous note, during the battle in which John lost his leg, Carrion's Maw managed to escape. Should he ever cross paths with the ship or its infamous captain, Typhus Scalp-Taker, only hell or high water could keep him from that prize. Of course he may not have to search too hard….

    Two secrets about John, one that he knows, and one that he not yet aware of.

    1) John is married and has a three year old daughter. In the weeks following the release of the slaves aboard Taskmasters Pride John fell in love with one of the released concubines. Though it is extremely frowned upon within Andoran for a liberator to become romantically involved with the liberated slave, he couldn’t help but love her. It was for this reason that he is currently traveling to Eledar. Though he hates Cheliax and their puppet states for their continuing support of slavery, he was recently offered a job to help build ships for the Sargava navy.It kills him inside to work against the ideals that he believes in, but he sees few options and he has a family to provide for.
    2) Prior to his discharge John had done more than just earn a reputation is a solid and reliable leader. In fact his Captain was a member of the Eagle Knights and had taken notice of him for a possible candidacy into the order. However with the loss of his leg and subsequent drinking and discharge Captain Havershaw rescinded his decision. Yet despite his better judgment Lord Havershaw still keeps track of John from time to time.

    Four people that are tied to John, three are friends and one is an enemy.

    1) Alima Rawkins: Former pleasure slave aboard the Taskmasters Pride and wife of John Rawkins. Alima is Osirion in descent with dusky skin and black hair. She currently lives in the Andoran fishing village of Souston where she raises her and John’s daughter, Farah.
    2) Lord Cornelius Havershaw: Ageing captain of the Righteous Eagle. Cornelius is also an Eagle Knight from the order of the Steel Falcon and has taken note of John. Cornelius is quickly approaching retirement and knows that the Claw will be his last command. He is fond of playing the violin and drinking good brandy. It was under his tutelage that Petty Officer Rawkins first learned the principles of leadership.
    3) First Lieutenant Iakob Steele: Boarding Officer for the Righteous Eagle. Iakob grew up in the same town as John, Souston, and joined the Andoran Navy several years ahead of him. John later met, and came to work for First Lieutenant Steele upon his assignment to the Righteous Eagle, it was during that time that a friendship came to develop between the two. First Lieutenant Steele was presumably lost at sea following the ruinous battle between the Righteous Eagle and Carron's Maw.
    4) Captain Typhus Scalp-Taker: Captain of the Carron's Maw, slaver, pirate and reputed member of the Pirate Council. It was Scalp-Taker who was responsible John going overboard during the battle with the Righteous Eagle. During the battle the pirate lord hurled the spear that drove John over a gunwale and into the sea, but not before John was able to land a lucky strike that sliced off the pirates left ear. Since that day Typhus has never forgotten the slight done to him by the Andorian sailor and would be quick to meet vengeance upon him should their paths meet again.

    Three memories, mannerisms or quirks John possess.

    1)John keeps a moleskin journal within his Sea bag. During free time he writes letters home to his wife and daughter. He misses them terribly and will never forget the day that he set sail to Eledar, and the last kiss he gave Alima. He uses a lock of her hair as a bookmark for his journal.
    2) As a remnant of his service in the Andoran Navy, John managed to keep his duty issue cutlass and he carries the cutlass with him at all times. When distracted he tends to keep one hand on the pommel of the blade and will mindlessly run his thumb over the end cap in a clockwise motion.
    3) John has a hard time sleeping on land. From his years at sea, the sailor has grown more accustomed to the cradle of the sea, then the stone of the shore. Even on land John prefers to sleep in a hammock, much to the displeasure of Alima.

    Character Creation:

    Way of the Wicked is a campaign that is set on the island nation of Talingard. I plan to set this AP in Golarion, in what is the current location of Hermea. Golarion lore and setting specific events will play minor roles and players should feel free to include references to Golarion in your character. The god Mitra will be considered a minor god, much like Milani.

    Ability Scores: Ability Scores will be a 25 point buy.

    Races: All races are allowed, but I have a bit of a bias towards humans and will likely pick only a few non-humans.

    Classes: All classes from the PHB, APG, UC and UM are allowed, as well as all Archetypes. However if you plan to play something extremely unusual such as a Ninja or Samurai, an amazing backstory should be presented.

    All classes are permitted except the Paladin. Paladins do not walk the Way of the Wicked. A few classes require some special consideration below.

    The Anti-paladin from the Advanced Player’s Guide is well suited themetically for this campaign. Alas, the class requires a chaotic evil alignment which is not permitted. Thus “The anti-paladin may be of any evil alignment”. Further, the anti-paladin may have cohorts, followers and henchmen who are of any evil alignment instead of the usual “chaotic evil” requirement. Also, a lawful evil anti-paladin may not use their fiendish boon to add the ‘anarchic’ property to a weapon. Instead, they may add the ‘axiomatic’ property.
    Assassins are a great choice for this campaign. Subtle killing can potentially be useful again and again. Yes, this is a prestige class not a core class. But it’s a great prestige class to be working towards at level one.
    Barbarians can be a good choice, but since chaotic alignments are not allowed (see below), neutral evil or neutral are the only two possible alignment choices. Barbarians have the challenge of coming up with a good reason why a class as chaotic and rebellious as this one would cooperate with a group of lawful evil followers of Asmodeus. Perhaps a cleric of Asmodeus (another PC?) saved your life and now you owe that priest your service.
    Cavaliers are a fine choice for a PC but must be careful about their Order selection. Orders that defend the common folk (The Order of the Shield) or pledge allegiance to the king of Talingarde (The Order of the Lion) are probably not appropriate. Self-serving orders (for example the Order of the Cockatrice) are very appropriate
    indeed.
    Clerics and inquisitors are allowed but must worship a god who approves of the villainous path ahead of you. Worshipping the lawful evil god Asmodeus is strongly encouraged but not required.
    Druids are permitted though neutral good druids are not. Evil druids are a perfectly valid choice but you must decide why such a character would ever join an organization that honors a lawful evil god.
    Gunslingers are permitted but this adventure path assumes by default that firearms are emerging. If you want to play a gunslinger, be prepared for a rough path ahead of you.
    Monks may not be lawful good and are recommended to be lawful evil. A lawful neutral monk is technically allowed but would be a difficult choice. Why would such a law abiding character seek to destroy Talingarde?
    Ninja and Samurai are permitted but you must explain how your villainous ninja or samurai ended up in the western nation of Talingarde.
    Rangers will find that Humanoid (Human) and Outsider (Good) are solid choices for their favored enemy.
    Sorcerers of any bloodline are permitted. Infernal blooded sorcerers are a particularly good choice.

    Skills: Each character will receive two additional Skill Points at each level. Villains should more competent than the average man.

    Feats: No change.

    Equipment: The characters begin with nothing. They have no money, no weapons or armor, no gear, no animal companions of any sort and no material possessions besides tattered, dirty prison clothes. Equipment will be acquired in game.
    Alchemists begin without their formulae book, extracts, bombs or mutagens. They must have access to an alchemical lab or chemicals to have any of these abilities restored.
    Bards begin without their instruments.
    Cavaliers have lost their mount. Presumably their mount was slain or given to another during their capture. It can be presumed that their week of mourning is already in the past.
    Clerics begin having chosen all their spells for the day. They do not have their holy symbol or any material components however.
    Druids also begin having chosen all their spells for the day. They do not, however, have their animal companion with them. Presumably such a companion was slain during their capture or escaped and awaits them outside. Regardless, such beasts would never be allowed inside the prison. Only if they escape from Branderscar prison will they have a chance to reunite with their companion or conduct the ceremony to acquire another.
    Inquisitors and Oracles lack their holy symbol if they need one.
    Summoners begin the game with their Eidolon unsummoned. They begin the game shackled so they are unable to perform the necessary ritual until they are free.
    Witches, Wizards and Magi do not have their spell books, material components, familiars or bonded objects. They do however begin with a full selection of memorized spells from before their incarceration.

    HP: Max to start. At each level you roll for hit points, however see Villain Points

    Villain Points: All PCs start with 1 Villain point and gain 1 Villain Point each time they level up. The maximum number of Villain Points a PC can have at a time is 3. Hero Point feats and spells are allowed.
    You can use 1 Villain Point to do any of the following actions. You can only use 1 Villain Point per turn for these actions.
    1. Gain an extra standard action during your turn.
    2. Gain a +8 bonus to a d20 roll if spent before or a +4 bonus if spent after. This can also be used to effectively increase the DC of a spell by lowering a single target's saving throw in the same manner.
    3. Ready an action at any time. (Must be done before a post is made; no retcons.)
    4. Regain a spell or use of a limited special ability.
    5. Reroll a d20.
    6. Reroll for HP at a new level.
    You can use 2 Villain Points to do the following, regardless of if you have used a Villain Point this turn.
    7. Survive a fatal attack at -10, unconscious, and stable.(2 points)

    Finishing Details: As normal except that good and chaotic alignments are not allowed. Every character must be lawful neutral, lawful evil, neutral or neutral evil. Of those four alignments, lawful evil is definitely the preferred choice.
    Further, every character must choose a crime that landed in them in Branderscar. They were not wrongly imprisoned -- they are guilty of their charge.

    There is a further requirement and it is something of an intangible quality. At some point in this adventure path every character is going to have the chance to join an evil organization and swear allegiance to the master of that organization and its patron – the lawful evil god Asmodeus. The adventure path assumes you say yes to this chance. Therefore, you should make a character who can say yes.

    What is Talingarde?:

    Talingarde is the most virtuous, peaceful, noble nation in the Golarion today. This land is ruled by King Markadian V called the Brave of House Darius. He has only one heir – the beautiful princess Bellinda. This benevolent monarchy is heavily intertwined with the Church of Mitra, the Shining Lord. You are from Talingarde. This is your home. You have lived here your entire life. And if they gave you half a chance, you would have your revenge on all of them.

    Who is Mitra?:

    Mitra, the so-called Shining Lord, is the god of the sun, bravery, honor, justice, charity and other such pusillanimous rubbish. The Church of Mitra is the preeminent religion of Talingarde these days. The Knights of the Alerion, the elite warriors of Talingarde, are a Mitran order. The monks of St. Macarius, who travel the land healing the sick and the helping the needy, are also a Mitran order. The House of Darius, the royal family of Talingarde, are devout followers of Mitra.

    It wasn’t always this way. Before the Darians took over, Talingarde worshiped an entire pantheon of deities and held strong ties to the nation of Cheliax. Preeminent among those deities was Asmodeus, Prince of Hell, Lord of Ambition and Order. Now it is forbidden to worship Asmodeus. To do so is to be condemned. The Mitrans destroyed all the Asmodean temples and burned his books and priests. There are no followers of Asmodeus anymore in Talingarde – at least none you know of. Devout Mitrans will not say the name Asmodeus. He is simply “The Fallen” or “The Enemy”.

    The Exchange Marathon Voter 2013

    So I have this concept for a character I want to play in the future: I am imaging a Bard (Sound Striker) with a unhealthy obsession with forbidden lore. The concept is that during his time as a student, possibly at the Academe in Korvosa he discovered references that eventually lead him into researching "the old gods". During his research he found what could only be described as "un-words" a proto-language able twist reality (Sound Striker). I want him to be more of a support and damage dealer, less as a melee. I am not well versed in playing a bard so any suggestions are welcome. I would probably mix into his character some phobias. I am open to any complimentry archetypes, and or other suggestions.

    2 traits, level 6, 20 point buy. Any thoughts?


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