Here are thirteen things everyone knows about the kingdom of Talingarde.
1. Talingarde is an island. It is about the size of England in the real world. It is an isolated place far from any other nations and outsiders are something of a rarity. In the south it enjoys a temperate clime, but the north of the island is quite cold and often blanketed with snow. Most people avoid this part of the island because it is populated by monsters.
2. Talingarde is a lawful good nation. Talingarde is a place of law and order. Violations of the law are punished severely but fairly. Talingarde is also a place that reveres the ideals of goodness. Clergy tend to the sick, often for no pay. Knights seek to protect the weak. Paladins are fabled individuals often featured in stories and songs. Talingarde might be, in all the world, the nation most committed ot the ideals of law and good.
3. Talingarde is a monarchy. It is ruled by good king Markadian V called the Brave. Markadian is a much beloved ruler from a well-established royal family known as the House of Darius.
4. The King has no son. He does however have a daughter, the beautiful princess Bellinda who is twenty years old and still unmarried. The king and the princess are the only full-blooded members of the royal family, though they have lots and lots of cousins and more distant family. The King’s wife Lucinda died in child birth and he has never remarried.
5. The Victor was the first Darian king. Markadian V is actually the great grandson of Markadian I called the Victor who established the House of Darius and defeated the former royal house, the House of Barca, at Battle of Tamberlyn. The Victor remains beloved in Talingarde even decades after his death and you still see statues of him everywhere.
6. The only god you are allowed to worship in Talingarde is Mitra. Once other gods were worshipped, but that all came to an end under the House of Darius. Worship of Asmodeus, arch-enemy of Mitra, is outlawed and punishable by death by burning. Worshipping other nonevil gods is technically allowed but highly discouraged and very rarely seen.
7. Mitra is the Lord of Light. Mitra is the god of light, healing, goodness and leadership. He is usually depicted as having three aspects – a king, a healer or a living flame. Mitra is benevolent god and the arch-enemy of the First Tyrant, Asmodeus.
8. The Church of Mitra is everywhere. No town in Talingarde lacks a church of Mitra. The priests are almost always important men in their community. The second most powerful man in the kingdom is the High Cardinal of the Church, Vitallian of Estyllis. There word is not law but it is heard and respected and ignored only infrequently. The House of Darius and the Church of Mitra are allies dedicated to keeping Talingarde the bastion of
goodness, law and Mitran devotion that it is today.
9. Asmodeus is the enemy of Mitra and Talingarde. Only one faith is banned and punishable by death within the kingdom of Talingarde – the faith of the devil-god Asmodeus, the lord of the Nine Hells. Before the House of Darius rose, Asmodeus was part of the pantheon of Talingarde. Asmodeus was not loved, but he was feared and respected alongside the other gods. Markadian IV called the Zealot outlawed the faith and unleashed the Inquisition against it. In the Asmodean Purges of the twenty years ago, every temple and high priest of Asmodeus was burned. The Temple of Asmodeus never recovered.
10. Talingarde is defended by the Knights of the Alerion. The Knights are a storied and legendary order of warriors who uphold the right, protect the weak and work to see justice done. They are a religious order and everyone has sworn oaths to Mitra. Uniquely, they are not all nobles. Even those of common blood may become a knight if they are deemed worthy. Not every Knight is a paladin, but their order has produced more paladins than any other.
11. Talingarde has six regions. The Island of Talingarde has six parts – The Cambrian Ports, The Heartland, the Borderlands, the Caer Bryr, the Savage North and the Lands of the Yutak. The Cambrian Ports are the three large cities of Talingarde that sit upon the Bay of Cambria. The Heartland is the farms and rural parts of Talingarde. The Borderlands are the northern reaches of the kingdom protected by the Watch Wall. The Caer Bryr is a great forest inhabited by the savage Iraen. The Savage North is a wasteland of ice ruled by monsters. And the Lands of the Yutak are scattered small northern islands inhabited by strange men very different from the men of Talingarde (or Talireans as they are sometimes known).
12. Talingarde is protected by the Watch Wall. Twelve fortresses mark the northern border of the kingdom of Talingarde. These fortresses control every point of access from the Savage North and defend the land from incursion by the bugbears and other monsters that live there. Markadian V called the Brave earned that name defending the Watch Wall.
13. Talingarde is at peace. But will it last?
Character Creation and Such:
My plan for character creation is as follows:
Race - I want to be a little liberal with this, as I think there might be some great roleplaying opportunities here. Keep in mind that as a wanted fugitive being extremely recognizable is NOT a good thing. So, let's discuss racial ideas. I don't want a completely mixed up party like the Guardians of the Galaxy, but a party of 2 humans, a gnome, a dwarf, a drow, and a [something else humanoid] could work.
Ability scores - Fire Mountain Games provides a method called "Focus and Foible." My math tells me that F&F provides an average 30.2 point build. So here's the plan. Each player must announce their intent to either use F&F or a straight 25 point buy. A day later, anyone that went with F&F will roll their stats in the forum. They can then either stick with their F&F stats, or drop back and use a 20 point buy. I won't hold anyone to their class choices until their stats are determined, so if you want to be an Anti-Paladin, but F&F screws you but still is awesome for a Fighter, you can go that direction. If your planned character is SAD, then I think F&F can really be a deal for you, but there is risk too.
Alignment - Read the section in the Player's Guide on this. Stick with LE if at all possible. The group needs to work together.
Deity - The campaign highly recommends you all worship Asmodeus, so let's try and stick to that shall we?
Classes - The Player's Guide discusses some needed changes to Anti-Paladin. Ask if you have specific questions. You've got to love a campaign that suggests "Outsider (Good)" as a favored enemy choice eh? For the most part, I’m thinking, no guns, and no Summoners. I may disallow some archetypes, but ASK. A Sable Company Marine? Sure! Let's reflavor it and you are a now disgraced member from the Talingarde elite riders, or some such thing.
Material in general - Let's mostly stick with Paizo stuff, but if it's 3P, cool, and not OP, then ask. We're not in Golarian, but Regional Traits and such are just mechanics, feel free to choose Wayang Spellhunter, even if you're not Wayang, or Eastern.
Traits - Pick Two- One of them must be a Campaign Trait from the Player's Guide. Remember, you weren't wrongfully convicted, YOU DID IT. Deny it all you want, but we KNOW!
Equipment - Don't bother. You've got nothing. All will be made clear.
Skills - This is mostly a land-based campaign. Cities, dungeons, and forests. Feel free to make a pirate etc, but those skills might not be incredibly useful in the long run. Everyone gets 2 extra skill points per level.
Feats - Pick what you want. There will be down time, so magic item crafting can be done, but really, isn't that what minions do? I'm considering giving everyone some sort of campaign appropriate boon at 7th which could be Leadership or something else, and I'd not be opposed to a minion like James Bond's "Q" who just cranks out cool stuff for you.
Background - I'd like a decently written background for each PC. What turned you evil? What are your motivations? Your weaknesses? Do you have an archnemesis? What is your long term goal? What was your crime?
Goals - I would like to know a bit of where you intend to take the character. This will help me in providing the right motivation, loot, and possibly the right enemy flavor. If no one is using a bladed scarf, then I might change that magic one to a short sword since that's what the Rogue needs. Make sense?
Lycanthropy and Undeath - Anyone interested? Talk with me. These can be core concepts of being evil, and the campaign does provide rules for liches and vampires. I'd prefer we not have a complete undead party, so let's be judicious with these options.
Multiclassing - Be warned, this campaign reaches level 20 midway through Book 6. That means you have a good deal of adventuring in which you can actually use those capstone abilities, so don't trade them away lightly.
Power levels - This campaign will end up being pretty high powered. If you think something another PC has done has made them far more powerful than you, let's discuss how we can pump you up a bit.
Ideas - Ever had a GM that didn't want to let you do something "cool" because it wasn't RAW? Well, normally I'd be in that camp on many things, but if it is "Evil Cool" let's discuss.
Fire Mountain Games Content:
The folks at FMG created four archetypes and a number of Feats for this AP. Don't ask me why they didn't appear until book 5, it would have seemed better to have them in the Player's Guide. Anyways:
Evil campaigns often devolve into the PCs whacking one another, slaughtering every peasant, etc. That's not the Evil we're playing here. We're playing Lawful Evil. Evil with a purpose. Torture, town burning, etc. These things can happen, but they'll happen off screen. Just say "ok we torch the town" or "we torture the barber." I might ask for a skill check, and we'll move on. We won't go beyond PG-13 in our descriptions of Evil acts.
While I will often throw up a map of the combat for reference (possibly with a coordinate system), I don't intend to provide a complete google-enabled map with movable pieces, etc. We're playing an RPG, not a tactical wargame. We'll roleplay our way through the combats, just like we did in the old days before grid maps and figures. I intend to try and have this not screw the players that require precise positioning on the board. Like Rogue Flanking, or Fireball templates. We'll work it out, and if it's a gray area, I'll likely rule for the PCs, as they are supposed to win anyways, right? At the beginning of each round, I might publish a modified map to show where I believe everyone stands. We'll make it work.
Keeping the Game Moving:
I will make every effort to keep things moving, as getting bogged down causes boredom, and that is the death of PBP games. With that said, it's my intent to roll Inititive for the party, so we don't spend 12 hours just figuring out who goes first in a fight. For the most part, I will try and keep my guys on the same initiative. Again, this is so that all of my actions happen fast, and then as you guys trickle online, you can get your actions in. I will try to adjudicate your actions in your initiative order, but if someone has something pretty thematic going, I may fudge your order a bit, to allow them to succeed (or fail) amazingly, and apply your actions against another opponent. In the games I've played with you all, you've seen that I will tend to place a post of internal monologue, or just idle banter between myself and the other PCs. I would encourage you guys to do this, and we can consider any such banter to have been retconned into your travel to and from a location, etc. If I see things getting bogged down, and no consensus headed somewhere, then I'll hope someone will just take charge and get the party moving. Personally, that seems like an Antipaladin's job, but that's just me.
Channel Energy - When a character channels, a wave of energy (positive or negative) goes out. It effects you based on whatever you are. You don't affect either undead or the living, both get affected depending on their affinity.
A weapon's total enhancement bonus will be used to calculate its effective ability to overcome DR. Eg. a +2 flaming sword counts as +3 and can overcome DR silver or cold iron.
Am considering the Augment Critical 3.0/3.5 Feat
Crafting - I believe in a law of conservation of magic (to some extent). If you find a +1 short sword, but you want a +1 longsword. I will allow a character with the appropriate Item Creation Feat to transfer the magic with a 10% loss that needs to be supplemented with gp. So +1 weapon to +1 weapon would need 200gp supplemented. Four +1 weapons and 600gp (or 5 +1 weapons) can all pump together to make a single +2 weapon. Some combos won't work. You can move flaming to flaming, but not flaming to frost. This is a better cost deal than losing 50% selling the item "on the market." This cannot be done for wands, scrolls, potions, or staves. Armor and Weapons are easy. For Wondrous Items, we need to make sure the flavor works correctly. STR belts can be combined for more STR. a STR and a DEX belt can come together for a STR/DEX belt, etc. Make sense? Ask if you have questions.
If it is stupid I may rule against it
If it is thematic and cool, I may rule for it
Path of the Vampire:
You have been bitten by a vampire and infected with the curse of undeath. As you sicken, your senses heighten and you become profoundly aware that every day, you are changing into something both more and less than mortal. You have only begun your transformation into the living dead.
Prerequisites: You must be bitten by a vampire.
Benefits: You gain darkvision 30 ft. and the alertness feat, however your Constitution score is lowered by two permanently.
You are dying. You can feel it in very core of your being. Your mortal blood is failing and the vampiric curse is overtaking you. Soon, you will die and rise again as a vampire.
Prerequisites: The Bitten, 3rd level
Benefits: Your natural armor improves +2, your darkvision improves to 60 ft., you gain a +2 racial bonus to Perception and you gain the toughness feat. However your Constitution score is again lowered by two permanently, you now cast no shadow and have no reflection in a mirror. Further, in full daylight you are sickened.
Vampirism has overtaken you and you have died. However after three days in the ground you have risen from your own death. You are now a fledgling vampire. However, you are still unsure of your powers and only begun to understand the full reprecussions of this dark gift. Still, you are fast as lightning and full of fury. You an barely restrain your thirst for living blood.
Prerequisites: The Bitten, The Dying, 5th level
Benefits: You gain the feats Dodge, Improved Initiative and Lightning Reflexes. Your Dex score is improved by +2. You are now an undead and have no Constitution score. You gain resistance to cold 10 and electricity 10 in addition to all the normal defensive abilities granted by being an undead. You also gain the special attack Blood Drain (as per the vampire template).
However, you must sleep in a coffin every night, you gain the vampiric weaknesses to daylight (this replaces being sickened by daylight) and running water, and if you ever go more than twenty four hours without feeding on living blood you become sickened until you feed. If you are sickened from lack of food and encounter a living creature with blood in their veins, you must make a DC 12 Will save or immediately try to drain their blood. If you succeed at such a save you do not have to check again for one hour.
If reduced to zero hit points, you fall dead, indistinguishable from a normal corpse. You will remain this way until either you are healed by negative energy or fed blood enough to heal you.
You have been a vampire long enough that you are beginning to be able to control your condition. You need to feed less frequently and you have begun to control your form turning into mist or climbing like a spider.
Prerequisites: The Bitten, The Dying, The Risen, 7th
Benefits: You gain the feat Combat Reflexes. You gain a +4 racial bonus to Bluff, Perception, Sense Motive and Stealth Checks (the Perception bonus replaces the bonus from the Dying feat). You gain the gaseous form and spider climb special qualities of a vampire (see the vampire template). If reduced to zero hit points You are still sickened if you do not feed but now you need only feed every three days. However, you now recoil from mirrors and strongly presented holy symbols.
You have mastered your condition of vampirism and are now a true vampire in every sense.
Prerequisites: The Bitten, the Dying, the Risen, The Initiated, 9th level
Benefits: You gain the full benefit and weaknesses of the vampire template.
Path of the Lich:
Step One: The Secret of Immortality
There is no such thing as a “typical lich”. Everyone who takes this journey does it on their own terms. The first step along this road is deciding that it is something the character wants and then finding the method.
In Way of the Wicked adventure path a method is provided to do this. In other campaigns, there may be divergent methods. Perhaps ancient moldering scrolls left behind by a malevolent witch-king related the method so that his minions may join him in wicked immortality.
Whatever the method, finding the secret of lichdom is always a plot moment. It nevers occurs accidentally but rather when a Game Master agrees that a lich would be appropriate to the campaign.
There are three ironclad requirements that must be met in addition to finding the secret. First, the seeker must be able to cast 5th level arcane or divine spells, they must not have necromancy as a prohibited school (if an arcane caster) or as an abomination of their faith (if a divine caster) and they must be evil. There is no such thing as a good or neutral lich. Why that is will become apparent soon.
Step Two: The Crafting of the Phylactery
Every lich needs a phylactery and this is by far the most time-consuming part of the ritual. The lich must possess the craft wondrous item feat or have an assistant with the feat willing to aid him. The phylactery takes 120 days and 120,000 gp in materials. There is a magical item that will decrease the time (see the onyx chalice) but nothing can decrease the cost.
Once the phylactery is crafted, it is a dangerous item for a wizard to possess. The phylactery counts as part of his own flesh for the purpose of scrying. Anyone who possesses the unfinished phylactery can cast spells against the maker with greater efficacy. The maker takes a -2 penalty to any such spell. Further if the phylactery is destroyed not only is all that work lost, but the maker takes 6d6 damage thanks to the close bond to the object.
Step Three: The Self-Excruciation Ritual
Finally the lich is ready to perform the ritual of selfexcruciation. This long and ardouos ritual takes 24 hours of elaborate chanting and invoking. It begins at midnight and ends at midnight the next day.
The great culmination of the ritual is the ritual suicide of the seeker. If everything has been done correctly, the seeker will rejuvenate and rise from his own death beside the phylactery. If there are any flaws in the phylactery then the ritual of self-excruciation is merely a particularly morbid and elaborate form of suicide.
Obviously this ritual is a moment of terrible vulnerability for the caster. They must have trusted agents and a base to carry out this ritual. The best time to destroy a lich is when it is first created. After that, they are almost indestructible.
Many versions of the lichdom ritual require that the caster not die alone. Some versions require the sacrifice of an immortal creature or a celestial. Some require the sacrifice of one whom the caster loved at some point in his life in order to cut his connection to mortality. Some require the sacrifice of one to three “escorts” who will, with their own deaths, distract the Harvester of Souls long enough for the lich’s soul to move into the phylactery. And some of the rituals are content merely for the caster cut out his own heart and place it within the phylactery itself.
These are only suggestions. The Game Master should tailor the specifics of the ritual to the particular player. Make it meaningful. Make it memorable. In his entire twenty level career, a PC does this only once. One thing binds all lichdom rituals together – they are grisly, they are bloody and they are thoroughly evil.
After 1d10 days the lich reforms and is reborn into undeath.
Once the ritual is finished, the lich must use of one its feats to gain the special feat “Lich”. If the caster has no free feats, then the next time they gain a feat slot, this one is used for this purpose.
You have undergone the rigorous and blasphemous ritual of lichdom and emerged as an undead creature of legend.
Prerequisites: You have completed the ritual of attaining lichdom, evil alignment, must be able to cast 5th level arcane or divine spells.