Chapter 1: The Sunless Citadel Chapter 2: - to be announced -
Chapter 3: Red Hand of Doom
Overview and Game Mechanics
The campaign is (loosely) set in the Forgotten Realms, as described in the 3rd Edition Campaign Setting (before the 4E spellplague or any other shenanigans). The regions we'll be playing in are Lapaliiya/The Shaar, details of which can be found below. If you have any other questions about the setting, ask in the discussion thread.
Regular posting would be much appreciated, once per day if possible. If you know you'll be absent for a longer period of time, please leave a message.
Since they inevitably slow things down, battlemaps will only be used for really complex encounters. Until then, if combat occurs, you all state what your characters want to do and I will resolve the round or situation after that. Of course, this doesn't mean that there are no maps at all outside of combat.
Your characters will encounter dark and terrible creatures, spells, or effects, and the game uses sanity rules for that (see below).
Game starts at Level 2, in the city of Sheirtalar (see below).
15 Point Buy.
Races: Core races, aasimar, tieflings, and elemental-touched (ifrits, oreads, sylphs, undines) from ARG, relabeled as genasi in the Forgotten Realms.
Materials: CRB, APG, UC, UM, ARG, UCa.* Companions and familiars can be chosen from all bestiaries.
Hit Points: full Hit Dice at 1st level, average Hit Dice (rounded up) after that.
2 traits per character (from UCa).
Alignment: Anything that works within the group.
Favored Enemies: magical beasts, humanoid (goblinoid), monstrous humanoids, and dragons are all good choices.
Gold: Class Starting Wealth + 1000 gp.
A short background or origin story is mandatory (feel free to write more!).
*If you want to use something 3rd party, of maybe stuff from the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms supplements (e.g. Prestige Classes), I am sure we can work something out.
Sanity (House Rule):
Sanity Score: A PC's sanity score is equal to the sum of his or her character level + Intelligence score + Wisdom score + Charisma score.
Sanity Check: A sanitiy check is basically a Will save and uses the PC's Will save bonus, but a PC applies his or her highest overall mental ability modifier, which isn't necessarily Wisdom. Failure means some amount of insanity crept into the PC's mind, and he or she suffers a certain amount of madness points based on the level of the alien horror witnessed.
Madness Points: When a PC gains madness points, he or she shows increasing symptoms of insanity. Those symptoms range from minor penalties on abilities or checks to more severe quirks or personality disorders. The maximum amount of madness points a PC can suffer before going completely insane is equal to the PC's sanity score.
Regaining Sanity:Calm emotions or successful long-term care (Heal check) temporarily suppresses the effects of madness but cannot reduce the target’s madness score. Restoration can remove 1 madness point from a creature per casting and heal, greater restoration, miracle, and wish can remove all Madness points, but only if the target fails its save. A creature with a Madness score cannot voluntarily fail this save, nor can they use such effects to cure their own insanity.
Setting and Sites
The Lapal League is a confederation of city-states along the southeastern shore of the Shining Sea. Loosely ruled by the Overking of Sheirtalar, these small realms are sometimes known as the Cities of the Seabreeze, though that phrase technically also includes Narubel, Tashluta, Ormpur, and the ruins of Procalith. Lapaliiya stretches from the eastern end of the Delphin Mountains to the Sheir Peninsula, and from the shores of the Shining Sea to the northern edge of the Mhair Jungles, the Great Wall of Halruaa, the western edge of the Bandit Wastes, and the peaks of the Dun Hills.
The inhabitants of Lapaliiya are zealous warriors and industrious merchants who place tremendous value on personal honor and propriety. Duels and feuds over slights that folk of other lands might readily dismiss are common. Almost all positions of power are dominated by Tashalans, despite their minority status in the country as a whole.
Ophiophobia is common here. Serpentfolk are slain on sight if they reveal themselves as such, and overt dealings with them are punishable by death. Nevertheless, the serpentfolk wield considerable influence in Lapaliiya, and officials routinely overlook suspicious dealings involving persons with significant political strength.
Each city-state in the Lapal League has a civic deity, and its citizens discourage all other faiths. Conflict (whether overt political disagreements or covert skullduggery) occurs more frequently within the confederation than with its neighbors. Clerics and monks enjoy positions of respect and authority in Lapaliiya, while arcane spellcasters are viewed with some suspicion - an attitude that dates back to the Rage of Wizards (1142 DR). The dark god of Lapaliiyan myth is Amphisbaena the World Serpent, who has wrapped the world in his coils and is slowly crushing it into pulp as he devours himself.
In centuries past, Lapaliiya was a nation only in name, ruled by an essentially powerless Grand Council made up of the satraps of the five most powerful city-states. The union of the ruling houses of Sheirtalar and Lushpool in the Year of Glad Tidings (1147 DR), occurring as it did in the immediate aftermath of the Rage of Wizards, led to the installation of a ruler - the Overking of Lapaliiya. In addition to ruling the cities of Sheirtalar and (through the heir to the throne) Lushpool, the overking theoretically governs all of Lapaliiya with the consent of the Grand Council, which can vote yea or nay but not initiate its own decrees. In practice, however, the overking must still secure unanimous consent from the representatives of Sammaresh, Ithmong, Lushpool, Sheirtalar, and Uzurr, which usually means negotiating with the reigning Shoonsar of Ithmong and the satraps of Lushpool.
The Shaar (Region):
The Shaar is a vast, rolling grassland running from the Shining Sea to the distant lands of the east. Civilization has almost no hold on the area. Nomadic humans (the dozen or so tribes of the Shaaryan) and non-humans such as centaurs, gnolls and wemics populate the Shaar. The wemics hunt, the Shaaryan humans herd rothé and horses, and the gnolls raid. The land supports its native grasses splendidly but is ill suited for agriculture - it's not a desert, but the land bakes by day and freezes by night.
The Shaaryan humans seldom stray in large numbers from their ancestral plains, largely because their treasured horses do not do well outside the Shaar. Shaaryan horses are stronger and faster than horses from other regions of Faerûn, as long as they roam their native grasslands. The great horses grow sick and die if they do not eat the grasses that thrive only on the wide plains of the Shaar. The Shaaryan understand this, and few of them leave their native culture behind to travel Faerûn.
The dozen or so nomad tribes known collectively as the Shaaryan have never been unified, though they share a common culture and way of life. Outsiders find it difficult to tell members of one tribe from the others, but the nomads can tell each apart instantly from clues of dress, accent, color of mount, and make of weapons.
Several of the tribes allow female warriors to ride as equals among the men, and a few have female chiefs. Chiefs are generally elected by secret votes among the elders, but two tribes have would-be dynasties of powerful charismatic families that attempt to keep a lock on power.
Traditionally, raiding parties of twenty or fewer warriors do not constitute an act of war against another Shaaryan tribe. Larger raiding parties amount to declarations of war, a risky proposition since tribes that declare war are generally not allowed to participate in the intertribal councils until they have made reparations or otherwise ceased their aggressions.
The wemics sometimes join in the Shaaryan councils. More often their chiefs pursue their own savage goals without caring for the human nomads' traditions and protocols.
The Shining City by the Sea (population 52,135) sits at the head of Sheir Bay on the northern end of the much larger Talar Bay, which is located at the foot of the Sheir peninsula. The land slopes sharply down to meet the waters, allowing those arriving on ships to see almost all the city at once. The city’s apt nickname arises from the fact that most of the prominent buildings are domed and leafed in silver and gold.
Sheirtalar is the capital of Lapaliiya and the largest and most powerful of the confederated city-states. Its ruler is the Overking of Lapaliiya, Shaliim Wyrmslayer. The Domed Palace of the Overking, the most prominent of Sheirtalar’s landmarks, sits atop a granite outcropping in the upper third of the city. The Gilt House of Gleaming Coins, the temple dedicated to Waukeen, the city’s civic deity, is also incredibly opulent. Because most trade goods exiting the Shaar for western Faerûn pass through this port, it has become one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the South.