Because this is a PbP, we have the opportunity to use neat scripts and that sort of thing for different languages. For this campaign, we will use those languages that can be found in Google Translate. When doing so, for audible speech, use the Latin-alphabet phonetic translation (typically found underneath the box in which the script translation appears) so that we can read what it sounds like. If, however, the conversation is telepathic, mental, or if the words are physically written down, use the language's own script, if it has something else (Arabic, the Cyrillic alphabet, etc.), which is usually found inside the translation box.
Taldan is the 'Common' trade tongue, pretty much everyone uses it, therefore we use English.
Azlanti ==> Latin
Varisian ==> Spanish
Chelaxian ==> Italian
Garundi ==> Hebrew
Keleshite ==> Arabic
Hallit ==> Russian
Mwangi (Polyglot, I guess?) ==> Sesotho
Mwangi-related ==> Igbo
Shoanti ==> German
Ulfen ==> Norwegian
Vudrani ==> Punjabi
Osiriani ==> Amharic
Skald ==> Icelandic
Tien (Tian-Shu, Lung Wa)==> Chinese Traditional
Dan (Tian-Dan, Xa Hoi) ==> Myanmar
Dtang (Tian-Dtang, Dtang Ma) ==> Vietnamese
Hon-La (Tian-La, Hongal) ==> Mongolian
Hwan (Tian-Hwan, Hwanggot) ==> Korean
Minatan (Tian-Sing, Minata) ==> Indonesian
Minkaian (Tian-Min, Minkai) ==> Japanese
Dealing Minimum Damage: You can attempt to do minimum damage with your weapon by taking a -3 (vs -4 to turn it into nonlethal damage) penalty to your attack. If you succeed in hitting but only just (i.e. 'right on' the number you need to hit), you do your full standard damage; if you hit by more than that, you do your weapon's minimum damage. While this is usually 1 hp, in the case of a multi-die weapon (2d4, 2d6, etc.), it may be more. You may not add anything extras (strength or dexterity, sneak attack, precision, etc.) in order to increase your minimum; you will do (generally) 1-2 hp and that's all. (This is best used as a show of skill, nicking someone enough to draw blood but not do any real damage.)
Wild Shape: Druids will be familiar with all creatures of the type(s) they can wild shape into that exist within their home domain (that being defined on a standard 12-mile-hex area map of a five-hex diameter circle, or as close to it as is reasonable considering terrain, e.g. one side of a mountain rainge, with a maximum of 19 hexes); this includes subtypes that are in the area. . . . For creatures outside of their home range, they must make a KS: Nature roll with a DC equivalent to 10 + (Creature's CR) + (1 per 50 miles beyond the druid's home range) to know enough about the animal or plant creature to wild shape into it. If the druid has been familiarized with a creature despite it being well outside his home domain or the creature's natural range (e.g. a tiger in a sideshow, the druid's extensive traveling), familiarization being able to take at least three hours studying and interacting with the creature(s), he may add that creature to his 'familiarity list' for which no roll is required.
PROCLAMATION BE IT SO KNOWN that the office of the Regent of the Dragonscale Throne, acting within its own authority and upon the advice of the Swordlords of Restov, and for the greater good of the People of the Nation of Brevoy, has granted unto Baron Kawaler Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy of Greensky, House Surtova, second cousin of His Majesty Noleski of Brevoy, the throne and charter of the lands south of Brevoy, that wilderness region commonly known as "The Stolen Lands".
HIS MAJESTY Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy thereby does call for a body of reputable and experienced explorers and adventurers of acceptable social standing, that they may be granted the honor of swearing fealty unto him, that they may become his vassals and liegemen, uphold his rights and honours, execute his laws and justice, and protect his people and country. They shall be required to uphold the River Freedoms in his name, yet establish upon the land that Freedom that shall replace the Sixth, that the people shall have not what they can hold, but what they have earned and created by their own labors. They shall thus be required to strive against banditry and other unlawful behavior should it be encountered, to clear the land of perils and monsters, to develop their assigned fiefdoms, and to protect the subjects of the new kingdom.
IN RETURN for their oath of temporal fealty unto His Majesty Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy, his line, and his nation, should they be of honourable estate, they shall receive patents of nobility from His hand as appropriate to their labours and station, and shall partake of the kingdom's largesse in proportion to the labour and effort with which they shall invest it.
SHOULD YOU PERCHANCE be of a company of venturers of reputation and honor, and should you be interested in settling a new land and bringing order and progress to such a wilderness, you are commanded to present yourselves and your credentials to His Majesty's chamberlain, Oskar Vorwilde, and His Majesty's Captain of the Guard, Kawaler Nikita Alexeyevich, to be found within the City Hall of the Free City of Restov, on or before Oathday 26th day of Abadius, 4710 AR, that they may be reviewed and submitted to His Majesty Kawaler Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy for acceptance and oathtaking during the gala the Crown of Brevoy does command to be given for His Majesty Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy by the Lord Mayor of the Free City of Restov, Vitez Ioseph Sellemius, to be attended by the Nobility and Swordlords of the Free City of Restov, upon Oathday 2nd day of Calistril, 4710 AR.
SO DECREED on this Moonday 2nd day of Abadius, 4710 AR, under the watchful eye of the Overlord of Restov, by King Noleski Surtova, by the authority granted him as Regent of the Dragonscale Throne.
Noleski Surtova, Brevoy Rex
Chalm Kowalskiy, Your Future King:
Baron Kawaler Chalm Kelsen Kowalskiy of Greensky, House Surtova, second cousin* to King Noleski Surtova, is a respected Knight of the Blue Rose who has for four years been the Lord Commmander of the forces on Brevoy's western border with Numeria. Having risen through the army's command structure due to demonstrated success at the negotiating table (or spear, in his case) as well as on the battlefield, the thirty-two-year-old is as liked by his troops as he is respected by the Numerians that test Brevoy's western border. Chalm is known for giving his thoughts only if asked; this reticence has justifiably earned him a reputation for political restraint as well as straightforward honesty; it is said that the Kellid warbands of eastern Numeria honor a verbal agreement with Chalm far more than they do a written treaty with anyone else.
Chalm's opinions, however, might well be considered politically dangerouns both in Brevoy in general as well as within House Surtova in specific; he has voiced, albeit never in public, his distaste with how swiftly his second cousin rose to power, giving rise to rumors that perhaps Noleski arranged for the complete disappearance of House Rogarvia. Chalm's growing influence among the military arm of the country, as well as his three months' stay and training in Restov during his late teens, suggests to the politically astute that Noleski's granting to Chalm of the right to create a new kingdom in the Stolen Lands is a combination of exile and placing his head on the chopping block. Chalm does not seem to be so politically unastute not to realize what his kinfolk may be doing to him, but it is said that he volunteered for the opportunity.
As mentioned, the royal-to-be has spent some time in Restov; though his training was more pro forma than anything, (as it did not dovetail well with his Order's horseback battlefield style) the then-teen Chalm had the opportunity to make some acquantances and opponents among the nobility and swordlords of the Free City. Returning there at his cousin's command, the higher-ups of the city (and of Rostland) show a certain amount of cautious optimism; Chalm, at least, is a reasonably predictable (and predictably reasonable) man.
In combat, Chalm has demonstrated the skill to create a core of order in the morass of chaos that is the battlefield, directing his soldiers to best effect. He himself has a strong sword-arm, and though his tactic may be a simple strike-strike-shield, he's managed to get away with it so far. His bastard sword, made of a blue-tinged steel, is known as the Blue Flame (perhaps in honor of his patron deities Sarenrae and Iomedae, which is notably different than most Brevoy nobles), and is said to be so dangerous he is careful to only use the flat of the blade. These strengths may be why he is known for pushing his foes in both battle and negotiation, pressing the opposition until he gets what he wants - and then allowing as to how they might have needs too, and finding a manner in which to see to them.
Baron Greensky has proven to be popular and respected by his troops, sharing their privations as well as their risks. While he understands the soldiers' need to relax when off-duty, he is known for imposing harsh penalties (up to and including death) to any who break laws or violate the trust of the citizenry. In addition, he has shown himself to be a rarity in that he recognizes the capabilities of the people under him no matter the station of their birth, and has in the past promoted commoners above fellow nobles.
This has led to some discontent among his fellow nobles (though none who serve directly with him); Chalm has handled the situation with typical Brevoy directness, by finding a commander for his personal guard. Kawaler Nikita Alexeyevich, having earned a battlefield knighthood, commands both Chalm's headquarters group as well as his household protectors. Alexeyevich works hand-in-glove with the Kowalskiy chamberlain, the halfling gentleman** Oskar Vorwilde. The lowest of salacious rumors suggest that Vorwilde's loyalty to Lord Greensky is more than merely of compatriots, as the halfling had been in a similar position within the Kowalskiy household while Chalm was growing up.
Chalm brings with him his family, Sarra Marta (15) and Tobias Jared (8). The two are the only surviving children from his marriage to one of the great beauties of the day, Żonka Anna Natalya Lefstek of House Garess, who died giving birth to Tobias. It is said that Chalm has never forgiven himself for being away from Żonka Anna's bedside at the time of her death, as he had just received a command and was away inspecting its fortifications, although he knew that Tobias's birth was imminent. It is also supposed that his desire to take up his cousin's offer stems directly from this lasting regret.
Chalm is more than aware that Sarra Marta is of marriageable age, and has supposedly fended off more than three score offers for her hand in the past several months; this bodes well either to his political astuteness or to the fondness of a father for a daughter who so strongly bears the stamp of her mother.
* - Noleski and Chalm share a pair of great-grandparents.
** - Vorwilde is the fourth son of the Baronet Lem Stanislaw Vorwilde; as such, though he is not a titled noble himself, he is a nobleman's son, and thus a gentleman, fit to be among society. (Or rather, Society.)
Noble Ranks in Brevoy, Particularly Rostland and the Free City of Restov:
In order of noble rank:
Vitez, Żonka - "Lord/Lady", sometimes a court grant, more frequently a courtesy title of a noble scion of the Six Houses or one of their cadet branches. If you are from one of these, you possess this title.
Kawaler - "Cavalier" or "Sir", a knight, specifically one of martial skill. If you are a paladin or a cavalier, you will possess this title.
Rytier, Dáma - "Sir/Madame", specifically that the individual is a Master of one of the Schools as recognized by the others, i.e. is a Swordlord of Restov. Although there are roughly sixty of these individual, only about a dozen are considered to be the real powers, i.e. 'The Swordlords of Restov'. When used as a singular title, 'The Rytier', 'The Swordlord', and 'The Aldori' all refer to the Master of the Aldori School itself, currently Rytier Kanimir Khavortorov.
Barunet/Baruneta - Baronet (or baronetess), generally a knight whose title can be inherited, and whose knighthood grant included land.
Baron - Like it says on the tin. ;)
Vikont, Wicehrabia - Viscount
Grof - Count or Earl.
Note that Rytier and Dáma are lower in the nobility than the others below them. While this is true, remember that anyone can earn that rank through skill and social acumen, and it is that top group of Swordlords which, for all intents and purposes, really run Restov. Socially, they're up there with the Viscount-ranked nobles. And, as always, status is a dance between noble rank of title, the age of the title, how much money you have, how you comport yourself, how politically adept you are, how many favors you owe (or are owed), etc.
In introduction, a person's formal title is used, but when it comes to conversation, 'Vitez' or ' Żonka' followed by the individual's name (or, in the case of a landed noble, possibly the name of their holding) is the typical usage.
Honor and Fame:
Reputation and Fame P/CF: Permanent / Current Fame. Unless titles are purchased, current will be the same as permanent. (Most tests to recognize/identify you work off your PF, not CF.)
Honor CH: Current Honor. Honor is a varying thing; there is no 'permanent' rank of honor to be held. Honor is both a recognition of your worth and a 'bank account' upon which to draw in order to ask favors; while doing so reduces your Honor, keeping to a code enables you to build it back up through steady, honorable living, enabling you to 'lean on' your honor when it becomes necessary once again.
'No Honor Code' means exactly that; the character does not follow such a code, and thus can be neither held to one nor gain the benefits of one. Having a number without a specific code stated means you follow only the general code. Having a specific code stated means you gain and lose honor from both the general table and your specific code's table; typically, people who also follow that code will pay more attention to you, and less attention (and, sometimes, negative attention) to people with alternate and/or conflicting codes.
You May Propose A Code Of Honor. These codes of honor are in addition to, not in replacement for, the general code of honor. A proposed Code should have a minimum of 15 different events, none of which duplicate items on the general code's table, split more-or-less evenly between ways to gain honor and acts/events from which you lose honor. Often an event and its opposite will be on the table; just as often they will not have the same gain/loss value. (For example, you may gain a lot of honor from being chosen for a leadership position; being removed may entail a loss of honor, but less than that which you had gained, so that you retain honor just for having held the position.) The GM will use line-item vetos to fine-tooth-comb proposals, so it behooves you to tack on a half dozen or so extra items just in case one or three get tossed. It should include a paragraph or two of prose (standard text), a description of what the code of honor is, its internal consistencies (and built-in inconsistencies), and examples from the real world or fiction.
Please state any corrections about Honor Codes that I may have missed.
About the Campaign:
This will be loosely based off the Kingmaker campaign path, with a number of significant changes. Most of them will be familiar to those who have applied to or played in Corsario's Kingmaker campaigns, but some of them are new.
First, this will be a significant undertaking - not four nobodies going out to set up a couple of farms in the Greenbelt and beyond, and hacking through a few 'issues', but a sizeable number of individuals seeking their fortunes, with oaths of fealty sworn to a recognized noble that the current king trusts moderately, but can do without if he fails like so many other things in the River Kingdoms. As a consequence, this game will have:
- A large number of players - up to 16 - with cohorts and followers, enabling them to roleplay both in concert and at odds with each other;
- Advanced (7th level) and complex characters, with magic items, extensive equipment, abilities, backgrounds, IC history with each other, and the like;
- Multiple smaller groups of 3-8 individuals, sometimes all of one type (leader/cohort), sometimes a mixed bunch, where leaders will not necessarily be paired with their own cohorts, thus enabling players to be involved in multiple experiences (and not have to RP off themselves); and
- plenty of spotlight time - a fair amount of politics, significant chances to be underhanded (or to NOT be underhanded), enforcement of law and order, slam-bang fights, at least one war, flamboyant duels, spectacular magical fireworks, and who knows, maybe even a romance or two.
As written above, this is Noleski Surtova stealing a march on the Restov Swordlords, so politics and a social situation will be involved right out of the gate. However, hot on its heels will be a fight, a kidnapping, a discovery, a running battle, a choice, a chase, another fight, another social situation (of sorts), another choice, and ...
... and that's just the prologue.
This campaign will start out at a higher level, and also go Mythic (with certain enhancements of my own devising). This is not a campaign to learn to play; while people new to the system are welcome, I certainly hope to have people who know the system inside and out upon whom I can lean if/when it comes to crunch.
Speaking of crunch, I am utterly unfamiliar with the Kingdom and Army rules; while use of them is well in the future, if anyone has good experience and can shepherd us through them, it will be of benefit. If we do not gain anyone with such knowledge, I am more than willing to play fast and loose, using and abusing knowledge skills, followers, random die rolls, and lots and lots of narrative to describe effort put into growing the kingdom.
If you are thinking you won't get to be the king or queen (even if, as Mel Brooks says, "It's good to be the king") in this game, you are correct; you probably won't, since the aforementioned Chalm (pronounced 'Calm') Surtova is the king, and you are going to be his firemen. I use the word 'probably', however, because the reason for Mythic tiers is because though this game is based off the Kingmaker campaign (and all its events will take place in this campaign), you will have a far more difficult task ahead of you than just spanking some bloody jumped-up nymph for getting too big for her britches. You will be epic; you will be legendary; you will be Mythic.
Or, y'know - you'll die.
All player characters from Corsario's Kingmaker - Agents of the Kingdom are not only invited, but have priority and immediate acceptance into the game. Yes, even Axhammer, Grogimus, with the caveat about it being a requirement of the game that he swear an oath of temporal (i.e. earthly) fealty.
New Character Builds:
Valid Sources and Options
In general, all Paizo if it can be explained into the region. (Like I said, background counts.) No 3rd party unless specifically added below. If a Paizo creation exists but is either a) not in the d20PFSRD site and/or b) not yet in Hero Lab, you will have to link me to information regarding it. I will not take your word for it. That way lies madness.
No Psychics - races, classes, or feats. Items found in psychic supplements (such as Horror Adventures) allowed on a case-by-case basis; ASK FIRST.
Unchained Classes as below (required).
. - Purple Duck Games' archetype replacements for monks.
Hybrid Classes allowed.
. - Vigilante allowed, but restricted to cohorts.
Fractional Base Bonuses.
Background Skills used.
Artistry and Lore skills available.
Skill Unlocks available.
Scaling items available.
Words of Power available.
No multiclassing variants.
If you want an option in particular, but are unsure if it's being used - the many, many different items in Unchained are good examples of needing to wonder 'is this being used?' - ask. Do NOT pull something out of your @ss on me in the middle of game play and say to me, 'but I thought we were using this 'cause it was an option in Particular Class Enhancement X!!' Unless you ask first, the answer is no.
Spheres of Power has been allowed on an exploratory basis for Aolis and his cohort. Other uses are not allowed at this time. Future conversion to SoP may be allowed, but not yet.
Primary Character (PC) Level: 7 Attributes: Point Buy, 25 points. Minimum Charisma 12. (This is a hard minimum, so don't try to finagle me.)
Races: Core primary. Featured races may apply, but I will select at most 1 Featured race out of every 5 characters. May take Paizo alternate racial traits but what it is a replacement for will be strictly observed.
Alignment: Any Good; Lawful Neutral, True Neutral.
Classes: Core and Base (no 3rd party). Barbarian, Monk, Rogue, and Summoner must be Unchained. No witches, no psychics. Standard multi-classing, no variants.
Archetypes: Maximum 1 per class. 3rd party archetypes only to replace those lost to Unchained.
. . UC Monk: Purple Duck Games archetypes approved.
. . Game Start: Maximum for level.
. . Advancement: Average (round up) + 1 (So 1d8 = 6.)
Traits: 2, 1 must be Racial or Kingmaker; +1 from 1 Drawback.
Feats: Normal for race, class, and level.
. . Feat Tax Refund: In effect.
. . Bonus story feat: initiating events assumed to have happened.*
. . Bonus leadership feat: Leadership. To get it out of the way now, no, you cannot have the Cohorts feat instead. You receive the 'renown' and 'fairness and generosity' bonuses to your score, unless you want to make a point of being neither famous nor fair nor generous.
. . Crafting Feats: Allowed, but all items at start are purchased at full cost (no discount).
Skills: Unchained, +1 background skill point per level.
. . Profession and craft skills may be useful for downtime.
. . See 'Crafting Feats' above regarding items at start.
Gold: 24,000 gp, no crafting.
. Magic Item Limits:
. . 1 magic up to 8,000 gp
. . 1 magic up to 4,000 gp
. . Any magic up to 2,000 gp
. . 2 wand maximum + 1 healing wand
. . 10 potion/scroll maximum, +10 healing potions/scrolls
. Yes, this is not usual. Spend money on gear, for yourself and for your followers.
. Unspent GP: Money not spent above 250 gp will at game start be reduced to either 250 gp or 1/20 the unspent value, whichever is greater.
Spells and Spellbooks: Not initially tracked. For those who msut find and transcribe spells (e.g. wizards, etc.), double the 'new level' spells (4/level for a wizard).
Your cohort is your secondary character; you should put almost as much effort into their character and background as you do your own. Your cohort should either amplify your PC's main strength (a fellow cavalier, for example), or else take care of one sector of situations (one, not all other) where your character is weak - magic, social situations, underworld issues, etc. As your cohort will often be seperate from your PC, hyperspecialization is ... not recommended, but will be accepted, because if they get killed, you get a Leadership penalty for your next cohort, don't you?
Cohort Creation Level: As per your PC's Leadership feat. Special rule: cohorts will gain in levels in lockstep with the PCs, remaining at least 2 levels behind them (again as per your PC's Leadership feat).
Attributes: Point buy, 20 points.
Races: As PC, including 1 Featured per 5 characters.
Alignment: As PC and Leadership.
Classes: As PC. Archetypes: As PC.
HP: As PC.
Traits: As PC.
Feats: As PC, including bonus story feat. Will gain 'nesting' Leadership feat at 7th level, but may spend a feat to acquire Cohorts now and then upgrade to Leadership at 7th level, as well as gain a free feat at that time.
. . Feat Tax Refund: In effect.
. . Crafting Feats: as PC.
Skills: Unchained, no additional background skill point.
. . Profession and craft skills may be useful for downtime.
Gold: 10,000 gp, no crafting.
. Magic Item Limits:
. . 1 magic up to 3,000 gp
. . 3 magic up to 1,000 gp
. . Any magic up to 500 gp
. . 1 wand maximum + 1 healing wand
. . 5 potion/scroll maximum, +5 healing potions/scrolls
. Unspent GP: as PC, but with a 100 gp limit before reduction to 1/20th.
Spells and Spellbooks: As PC.
*- Story Feat: You know - you've died and come back to life, or you've stolen 1,000+gp worth of stuff and you've kept souveniers, whatever. I am particularly flexible with Story Feats; if there's an effect you want, but the thematics of the Story Feat doesn't quite fit what you want (e.g. Dynasty Founder, but you want to build a trade company), don't worry, ask me and I'll work with you. Same thing with Traits.
Followers do not need to be fleshed out, but you are permitted to do so.
Attributes: NPC (Basic), or 3-point buy.
Races: As PC, including 1 Featured per 5 characters.
Alignment: As PC and Leadership. No Evil or Chaotic Neutral Minions, thank you very much.
Classes: As PC. If you have 6 or more followers of a level, only 1/3 of them (round down) may have PC classes; it is recommended that you wait to give PC classes to more than 2 followers of any particular level until you reach 9 of that level (at which point you may have 3 PC-class followers.)
Archetypes: As PC.
HP: As PC.
Traits: 2 traits, 1 of which must be Racial or Kingmaker. No drawbacks.
Feats: Normal for race, class, and level. No bonus feats.
. . Feat Tax Refund: NOT in effect; followers must purchase Power Attack, etc. as per standard Pathfinder.
. . Crafting Feats as PC.
Skills: Unchained, no additional background skill point.
. . Profession and craft skills may be useful for downtime.
Gold: Amount and usage limitations vary, depending on the level of the character. See the Wealth by Level Google Docs sheet for specifics.
Spells and Spellbooks: As PC.
If you do not flesh out the followers to such an extent, they will be presumed to have the equipment necessary for their assigned task (and please assign them a task, otherwise I'll be cruel and state that they're Commoner farmers) - masterwork if possible, standard if not. L3s will possess 1 CLW wand and 2 CLW potions; L2s will possess 2 CLW potions, and L1s will possess 1 CLW potion.
Future followers will come similarly well-equipped; your NPC followers (as you can tell) are a couple steps above the average when it comes to equipment. Followers will generally possess PC-level wealth-by-level, magic items for all individuals roughly being '1 item of max 1/3 WbL, 1 item of max 1/6 WbL, 3 items of max 1/24 WbL, any items of max 1/48 WbL.'
Builds: Build the build you want to play.
Background: Limit your background plot twists to 1, maybe 2. An overcomplicated background typically irritates me. Let it make sense, not be a fantasia; that's what the game is for.
Writing: Be coherent, use all the rules for spelling/punctuation/capitalization/etc. Ugly writing makes for an ugly character.
Leadership: Consider your character in light of the people they've drawn to them. Why do they follow you? What do you offer them that they can't find elsewhere?
Special Notes on Alignment
I use the 9-point system for Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. Actually, I technically use an 89-point scale for each of those two (L/C and G/E); there are 'transition points' where you really know you're about to slide, and you can get a decent idea of how far you're sliding one way or another due to certain acts and the like. However, while Good/Evil is relatively easy to explain, talk about, agree upon, Law/Chaos is not.
Law and Order are essentially synonymous; a Lawful person likes structure, whether internal or external, in their lives. Social structure tends to be important to them; self-discipline tends to be at least as important. They tend to follow laws - just laws if they're a Good person, any laws if they're an Evil person, and then twisting the letter and the intent of the law until it squeals to their advantage.
Chaos and Freedom are equally synonymous; a Chaotic person likes freedom in their lives. A Chaotic individual prefers the freedom to be able to make their decisions without social pressures to make them a certain way. They tend to believe that people can make their own life decisions without someone somewhere telling them that they can't make certain ones. They may choose to obey a law (or laws), but it's their belief in freedom that allows them to make that decision, each and every time.
All of them believe in consequences for your decisions; only madmen and qlippothics believe otherwise.
In most RPGs with alignment systems, and especially in Pathfinder, alignments are essentially objective conditions. What that means in game-play is that if I warn you you are currently or about to be engaged in an act or situation that may radically shift or violate your alignment restrictions, then take it as guaranteed as gravity, as certain as water being wet, that that's the condition that's happening.
Like with anything - see my 'I want to have fun too' section in 'about myself', below - you have two OOC posts at best to try to convince me that what you're doing does not violate your moral code (Good/Evil) or your code of ethics (Law/Chaos). Understand / realize / remember, however, that while you play your character, I play all the rest of the world around your characters. That's the king, and the servant girl, and the wind and grass and trees and monsters and, oh yeah, the Gods
If I post that your cleric character is getting the sense that Cayden Cailean disapproves of the imposition of her will upon someone, and you can't convince me in a post or two over in the Discussion thread that your actions are essentially freedom-loving, then that's the way it is - your actions, at that moment, are not approved-of by the Lucky Drunk as being too Lawful. Back off and keep your alignment, or press on and accept the consequences, whatever they may be. Conversely, if I say that something is NOT against an alignment action, while you are entirely free to play that your character dislikes whatever it is that's going on, know that just 'cause the character says something don't make it so.
Post at least once a week. I don't care if your characters have nothing to do in their part of the game, they're sitting back and watching the opera or the murderfest or whatever it is that's going on; post at least once a week, preferably twice a few days apart, and let me know you're both alive and paying attention. I know that sometimes Paizo.com doesn't let you know that something's active and bump it to the top of the list; check every two or three days anyhow, and when you do, post to indicate 'hey, still in the game!!' Even if it's a ten-word sentence, yawning, scratching your side, and rolling over in your sleep.
If it's not IC, put it in either the discussion thread or in spoilers. My ideal is for a thread to read like a novel, or a chapter out of one. Naked dice rolls, OOC conversation, all that jazz breaks that flow up. Put it in a spoiler tag, or if it isn't a question for clarification for the GM, take it to the discussion thread; that's what that thread is for. Do NOT use OOC tags to aside something, especially not in the middle of a post; that's breaking the fourth wall as well, and either belongs in a spoiler, or doesn't belong at all.
Post your die roll builds. If you have a half-dozen feats adding and taking dice away, let me know what's happening. "+4 BAB + 3 Dex + 1 Point-Blank - 1 Deadly Aim + 1 Weapon Focus = +8". Until you change things you can just use the +8, but if you decide not to take Deadly Aim, then 'rebuild' it for me. This helps to keep everyone honest - including me.
I won't always show my work. While I will keep a spoiler here with general Perception and Initiative rolls, and while it will be rare that I post something that you see, or more likely that you DON'T see, I will do so. Rarely. Believe that I will always have rolled your Perception scores (with circumstantial bonuses), potentially against a Stealth score; I just don't want you to see the fact that hey, I rolled a stealth roll!! This too helps to keep everyone honest. Well, all of you, anyhow, but it means it helps me fudge the game from time to time. Like I said, rarely.
How to Play Like A Star:
Personality: Give your characters this one, and not a two-dimensional cardboard ones. Take a moment while writing your post to come up with adverbs or adjectives that describe what she's doing. Lively; bubbly; disgruntled; thoughtful; irascible; tender-hearted. Whatever they are, come up with them, and then infuse them through your post.
Equippage: You have stuff. People fidget. Unless you're playing a strictly-disciplined monk (and there aren't many here who are), consider medieval standards of cleanliness. Dirt is everywhere; you live an active life. Brush off dirt, straighten your tunic, fiddle with the flap to your pouch, hook a thumb in your belt
Background: Overcomplex is overcomplicated is bad. Simple is beautiful. Most people are just people; most heroes are just the right people in the right place at the wrong damn time.
Location: This is Brevoy; don't come from the far side of the world without a Very Good Reason. If you ARE from the far side of the world, infuse your posts with that 'out of place' vibe - Brevoy is not Vudra, or Absalom, or where-ever you're from.
Description: What's that 12+ Charisma mean? Are you a stunning 20 Cha elf with legs that go all the way up? Or a 16 CHA half-orc who might have a certain rough attractiveness, but whose power of personality lights peoples' spirits on fire?
How to Waste Your Time and Mine:
Repeatedly ask to use your own race / class / 3rd-party product/itemspell/whatever and expect an immediate answer. Yes, the GM can introduce variants; yes, you can combine items and the like, making unique magic items. If you do this, however, show your work.
Take three years to make a combat post. If two or three days go by with you doing nothing, then congrats - you did nothing.
Ignore what's been going on, and not read what I've written in these posts and spoilers. Ignoring the NPCs or the universe around you may force me to repeat myself, which I hate. Far more likely, you will receive some penalty for your IC inattention, from a one-time skill roll penalty up to and including the infliction massive damage on you, which may well result in your character's death. I hate hate hate this sort of crap. If you can't manage to be involved in the game, the game will not continue to include you.
Be incoherent, writing posts that make no sense. If the 'making sense' isn't part of the bolded verbal explanation by your character, at the very least make it part of the italicised internal dialogue.
Go off on your own without an absolutely stellar reason.
Dictate the actions and reactions of the world and people around you. While I allow this to a limited extent, that extent ends just a couple steps before reasonableness does. Posting that a classless, mundane NPC takes a step or two backwards when you draw your sword, or runs for cover when (having drawn your sword) you tell them to hide? That's cool. Having them run from you terrified out of their wits when you show a couple inches of steel? That's not cool.
More as I think about it.
I am an assh0le.
Let me say that again, just so that you and I are on the same fvcking page:
I am an assh0le.
I will not coddle you. I will not automatically be careful not to insult your tender-wender feelings. I will kick your ass when you're being a schmuck, I will kick your head when you're being a pedant, and I will kick you out of the game if you deliberately wind me up. If you don't need any of those things done to you, you will find that I generally like people, that I'm a laugh riot, that I don't take myself too seriously, and that I can take an insult like a champ. But make sure you're wearing your big-boy/girl pants if you want to play here, dammit.
I run with an eye towards realism. That doesn't make my game a slavish image of reality, and that won't make this a simulation instead of a game, but someone who uses ass-backwards logic in the vein of 'well, the X here could be anything, it's a fantasy X with magic' is going to get Gibbs-slapped the first time they say it, and b!tch-slapped the second - because fantasy games like this one have their core roots in what we as humans know. Brevoy and the River Kingdoms are a blend of late- and post-Renaissance Spain and France, adding a touch of robber-baron and bandit king to it. Nobles in Brevoy have a vested interest in seeing the commoners kept in their place, even if the commoners aren't their commoners. You can spurn these things, but doing so will have consequences - and those consequences can mean you getting executed for giving offense to a royal person.
I do not play your character - only the rest of the world. This means that you control what your character does, I do not. What I do control and dictate is how the rest of the world reacts to your charater. If you diss the princess, the nobles around her take affront on her behalf. You might get repeatedly challenged to duels. You might be seized by the royal guard for lèse-majesté, taken out back, and be executed for the treason under which that class of actions is defined. I don't dictate what you do; I only dictate what the rest of the world does in reaction to what you do. Heal a person? Defend a town? Slay a marauding dragon? They love you, your reputation grows. Start throwing fireballs around the tavern - or the town? Well, they don't love you, but your reputation DOES grow; just not the sort of reputation you might want.
Learn the Six River Freedoms. Seriously, if you're playing in the River Kingdoms (and we are) this sh!t winds up impacting about 80% of your interactions. The above declaration - and, essentially, what 90% of the game is going to be about - is strong-arming a majority of the Kingdoms into changing #6 ("You Have What You Hold") into actual rule of goodness and law, as #6 essentially legalizes banditry. #4 might get a facelift, but learn, learn to love, and live by the other four as if your life depended on them - because they probably will.
I write the way I want myself, my character, or the world to be viewed. I write so that both you and I can enjoy reading what I wrote. It is a statement of fact that I still return to scenes I have written in years (and, at this point, decades) past to enjoy the story and the writing there. I also write very, very well for an amateur, and I've been trying to break into the pro scene (if I can get at least one of my ten different projects done), but it means that I write well. And I check my writing before posting it. And I tend to use word selection specifically for its implications and impact. (Subtlety is my friend, though it may not be yours.) The more you write, the more you learn to write; the better you write, the more people want to play with you. It is my hope that you write well for this campaign, and if you don't write well, that you will Learn To Write Well - and then do so.
I want you to have fun. Being a player means wanting your character to do Cool Sh!t(TM). That means Spotlight Time - you know, the moment in the game where you do Cool Sh!t(TM)? That's when the spotlight is on you and your character, and you do your Cool Sh!t(TM). That spotlight can move fast - there's a lot of characters that are going to be here - but if you want to try some wild-ass stunt, then by all means, try your wild-ass stunt. I am, in fact, here to facilitate your wild-ass stunts. I am also here to provide you with Object Lessons on why wild-ass stunts are wild-ass, because when you fail, you look like a wild ass. (And if it's a wild-ass stunt, then I think there should be a reasonable chance of you failing - but I'm pretty sure we'll figure out together what 'reason' in such a case means.) But I'm also here to cheer when your wild-ass stunt succeeds, and reward you appropriately for managing to pull it off, you crazy kid.
I will be flexible - within reason. If I have a set-piece I need to run you through, then you will encounter that set-piece no matter where you go - Mivon, Daggermark, or Absalom. However, if you try to hie yourself all the way to Absalom or some other place that is clearly well out of the campaign expectations (e.g. the River Kingdoms and environs), then I reserve the right to be a bit cross about it, and Gibbs-slap you for making me twist reality not only into a pretzel, but into a Moebius strip in order to make everything work because of your ludicrous craptastic journey to Absalom just because your oats are up and you want to have a go at the Starstone.
I want to have fun too. I am not going to get involved in huge arguments about politics, an off-the-wall interpretation of a rule that depends on how you define one word, or whatever. I am open-minded, and I know what I don't know - to wit, much of the system. However, I've been playing and running pen-and-paper RPGs for over thirty years, and so I can smell a bullsh!t attempt at sixty paces. You have one (1) chance - that means two (2) posts max, and maybe one (1) post - to convince me of a rule interpretation. If I say no, roll with it, and try again the next time, because the next time I may agree with you for a myriad of reasons. Like I said above about realism and playing the rest of the world, though, it means that for the most part, 'usual consequences' will be usual. What I said above about you having fun means that I WILL adapt the game to the wild stunts you crazy kids try to pull off - either through consequences due to your failures, or amazement due to your successes. But if I start approaching this game with trepidation, if the moment I see '3 new messages' I get a sour feeling in my gut, I will locate the cause of my upset and I will make it not be a cause of upset any more, either through telling the offender to get their act together, or removing them from the game for not having done so. Because I want to have fun too.
And because I am an assh0le. I reserve lots of rights - the right to Gibbs-slap you, to tell you you're being a schmuck or a pedant, to ask you what drugs you're smoking if you think you can use two lances at once during a charge, to take a phone book to you if you think your special snowflake deserves special treatment. I especially reserve the right to kick your butt out if you not only go out into left field, but stay out there and scream and whine and cry and tell me I'm being unfair for doing all of the things I've already warned you right above this very statement that I was going to do. I also reserve the right to run a howling good game, to write like a poet (and to write entirely new poetry appropriate to the game), to make pugnacious NPCs, to make you fear for your character's life, to run you ragged, and to try to make this the best game ever played on Paizo.com.
And I'm setting out to finish this game, not just start it. And hoo-boy, what a finish. Do you feel like going up against a god? You do? Great, because that's just the opening part of Act 6's main attraction.
Now, you got all that? You did? And you're still here? Smokin'. Let's make fvckin' magic.