Fanguar's Untitled Campaign

Game Master Fanguar

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Ok folks, let's consider this a bit of a session zero. I'm looking to get some feedback from potential players to better put together a game that people can get excited and engaged in. I've put together some polls. Once I've got the base data I'll put together some campaign concepts that I would be interested in running that fit and we can have another poll. In the end, if what gets picked doesn't interest you, feel free to bow out. If we need more warm bodies, I'll recruit, but I think having an invested core group will help.

RPG Systems I am Willing to Run:

- Pathfinder 1e
- Pathfinder 2e
- 3.5e D&D
- 5e D&D
- Shadow of the Demon Lord
- 13th Age
- Dungeon Crawl Classics

Of these I've only run games for D&D and 1e pathfinder and would say I only have system mastery of 3.5/pathfinder

Straw Poll. Choose all that apply.

Potential Setting:

This is somewhat dependent on the system, as some have certain elements baked into them.

- Standard fantasy (Forgotten realms, Golarion, etc)
- Eberron(High fantasy, airships, etc)
- Dark Sun (fantasy Mad max)
- Planescape (This would be set on Sigil)
- Gritty low magic (old school D&D, OSR)

*Not necessarily these exact settings, but they serve as solid stand ins for types of game environments.

Straw Poll Choose all that apply.

Game elements and style:

Again this is a bit dependent on system.

I like games where life is cheap, (have a back up character)
I like games where I’m the hero of the story (you have plot armor)
I like exploration based games (hexcrawly)
I like lots of dungeon exploration.
I like urban adventures.
I like emergent storytelling that evolves as the game progresses.
I like being part of a well outlined narrative (think adventure paths or 5e modules)

Straw poll Choose all that apply.

We can discuss this all in here as well, but I'm a sucker for data, so please take the time to do the polls.

Looking forward to it!

Sounds very interesting, tossing dot on here to keep up with and discussion.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

I'm your huckleberry lol

Did some voting - they systems I favoured (PF1,2, D&D 3.5/5) were really down to familiarity of mechanics and accessibility of resources online.

I'd be down for whatever tho.

Would definitely be into an older edition. or PF1/2.. Would hope to move away from 5E.. Just seems too hard to be challenged once your passed level 2 and the written 5e adventures seem kind of catered to the PCs not running into "real" trouble.. But willing to give it another go.

13th age and Shadow of the demon lord are just 3.5/pathfinder clones. Apparently with better balance. I've never played or run them, they just seemed interesting.

I'm fine with just running with 3.5/pathfinder. The fact that all the resources are freely and legally available online is pretty convenient.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

13th Age has an SRD - so that's a bonus there.

Shadow of the DL seems to have a tonne of options as well - and looks a grim ol' setting.

No idea what the vibe is on PF2 - seems to be "munchkining" up PF for the Disney+ generation...

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

Edit to above - I'm talking about the cosmetics of the game rather than the system changes :)

I think i'd be more inclined for a gritty setting.

When it comes to PF2, I'm not familiar enough with the exact mechanics to say how it would be to play. They streamlined it a bunch and there are some intriguing tweaks, but I'm not sure who it's for exactly. I guess for people who wish that PF was more like 5e?

13th age and SotDL Just cap at 10th level, which I think is a better design than having 20 levels.

How do people feel about maybe using E6 rules? Link for those not familiar.

Took a quick read, seems good to me. Probably would take some time to get to level 6 anyway, if the crew wanted to change to regular progression at some point another conversation could be had?

I do like the idea of things staying dangerous. E6 seems to capture that spirit.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

Play in a very long-running Freebooters game that is E6 and its works great. Definitely keeps the dangerous flavour.

Capt'n Voodoo's Freebooter Campaign - Linked for interest & info

I'd be happy to be part of another E6 game for sure.

I’ve got some experience in a year long pathfinder 2e game and can say that it is simple but things can be dangerous especially with the new dying system. I don’t have any experience with older additions but I am very familiar with pathfinder.

I second the gritty idea, it would make things a nice change of pace. I have wanted to try E6 but have never had the chance to.

Male Meat Popsicle

I'm only really familiar with 3.5 and 5e, so from what I gather PF comes with the 3.5 territory. I'm happy to run whatever though. Gritty would be different, I've only real experience with the more heroic side of things.

c1n0g wrote:
I'm only really familiar with 3.5 and 5e, so from what I gather PF comes with the 3.5 territory. I'm happy to run whatever though. Gritty would be different, I've only real experience with the more heroic side of things.

Pathfinder and 3.5 are the same game, for the most part. It's basically the same rule set, for better or worse.

@All: It feels that most people would be up for a 3.5/Pathfinder(1e) E6 style game, so why don't we go with that. I would be open to using pretty much any of the 3.5/pathfinder materials out there. Won't be allowing multi-classing, unless there is some compelling narrative reason that crops up during game play.

People seem intrigued by a low fantasy, grittier style of game, which I would be down with. Pretty much standard lord of the rings stuff.

Now a couple of questions for you:

1. What type of characters do you want to play? Heroes? Scoundrels? Murder Hobos? Other? We kind of want everyone on the same page to start. If everyone wants to be paladins, then you probably wont be interested in a campaign about building a thieves' guild, for example.

2. Do we want to limit available player races? Only humans, base races, every crazy option, etc? (Personally, I prefer fewer races, but I'm willing to be flexible.)

3. In terms of a gritty setting, do you prefer the idea that things have always been that way, warhammer fantasy style, or that the current age is civilization recovering from the collapse of some golden age or wonder.

1. I think the scoundrel / downtrodden origin is appealing to me. if we become heroes.. whose to say.. kind of thinking of a playing a character that is out for their own.. heroism and fame may be a symptom of his/her own greed / ambition?

2.I think keeping it to the standard races is probably good.. open to other playable races though.. can't see myself wanting to play a goblin or any type of evil character.

3. I like the idea of either.. things have always been that way, or are kept that way by the "man" . Or post cataclysmic event style.. where the world is recovering fates are ready to be carved out and new heroes ready to become legend.

edit: grittiness.. i guess i envision (fantasy) settings.. to be generally pretty rough.. life spans were short, things were dangerous, and wealth was rare. People didnt explore, and if they did, they usually died. you didn't leave your house for no good reason and kept to yourself...

1) the idea of a scoundrel type of character seems very interesting.

2) I like the idea of core races with other races being the rare ones that they are.

3) hmm the idea of always has been always will be dark and gritty is cool, so is the idea of an age with glory long forgotten and only the mystery of what was once was, being the only good thing.

I have not used much 3.5 material having stuck with pathfinder. Any ideas what we would be the cuttoff?

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

1. Scoundrel always works for me - tis an old coat which fits all too well lol.
2. Would depend on the setting I guess - depending on that would allow to identify the "norms".
3. Either would work - the fallen civilization offers up the chance (and tropes) of high(er) fantasy into a low/gritty setting...

Mythicman19 wrote:

I have not used much 3.5 material having stuck with pathfinder. Any ideas what we would be the cuttoff?

I think I would be down with pretty much anything. With all the bloat in pathfinder these days, I don't think adding more too it will be that much of an issue and I think playing E6 style should prevent anything too game breaking. Between the two systems, there's a million different classes, so there should be something for everyone. Feel free to stick with just pathfinder material though, if you want.

Going to say no to gunslingers though, just because I don't plan on having guns in the game.

Thanks for the feedback. I start putting together some campaign ideas.

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Male Meat Popsicle

1. Scoundrel works, it's an easy pivot for the character idea I had.

2. Plan was for a human so lemme know if those dont fit? Heh.

3. I kinda like the recovering/dystopian scenario, as Black Dow said it opens the door for remnants that may be beyond the 'grit.'

I took grittiness (coupled with a brief read of that E6 page) for low magic, is that safe to say? Or is it more of a day to day life is rough but all the trappings of fantasy (magic, gods, monsters) are there if ya look hard enough?

I assumed gritty being tough with the idea, life is cheap. But low fantasy is a cool idea that I wouldn’t mind doing.

Male Meat Popsicle

E6 seems inherently low magic as the buck stops at 3rd level spells if I'm not mistaken?

E6 isn't inherently low magic, it's just a limitation on individual power levels.

You could have more power effects, but they would be the result of rituals. For example a single cleric can't raise the dead, but a group of 12 clerics performing a ritual could. Magic item and artifacts could also have high power effects.

Also magic doesn't have to be rare in an E6 game. Everyone could be sorcerers in an E6 campaign. When I say gritty, I mean that the world is dangerous and survival is not a given. The lives of regular people tend to be short and brutal.

Anywho, Magic level is something to think about. Do we want magic to be rare and wonderful? Common place? Somewhere in between? If we want lots of magic and gritty, it just means that it isn't available to the lower classes.

I would say rare and wonderful. Similar to a sword and sorcery kind of game.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

I'd go with "high or powerful" magic being rare and wonderful terrible.

Hedge wizards, minor conjurers, wise witches, glamour wielding minstrels and itinerant druids should be present but uncommon?

Always like the notion of Rangers, Pallys etc not having spells at all - imbued with powers/abilities yes, but leave the spellcasting to full spellcasters (who themselves may be a rare and terrible wonderful breed :)

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I'm kinda with Dow on this one.. the feel of magic being only used by spellcasters is cool. Having spells should be cool and wonderful. I mean if everyone is special then no one is special right?

I made a gameplay thread that you can dot.

I am all for a sword and sorcery style game. I would run a Cona RPG game in a heartbeat.

While I tend to agree that just tacking on spellcasting onto a class is a bit of lazy design, I'm not really sure about the best way of dealing with it. Easiest is just banning partial casters, but that cuts out a lot of available classes. Alternatively, I guess you just cut the spellcasting and give bonus feat or custom class feature. Ultimately, it kind of depends on kinds of classes people like to play.

Another thing i wanted to discuss, is how do people wan to do stat generation. Basically, how ok are people with low stats? Do we want to let the dice gods decide or go with a point buy (if we do point buy, it will be 15pt)

I kind of like having dice gods decide, example. your strength roll is your strength roll. Can perhaps help inform what you might play.. or make you be a sub-optimal insert whatever class.

I understand if people don't like this though. Pretty much open to whatever the general consensus is.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

Dice gods are fun but as we know can be bloody unforgiving.

Can also mean we end up with Yarp the Village Eijit adventuring with Roy Batty lol.

Am cool with the random rolls though :)

With regards the spell-less options there are some 3rd Party versions of those classes available - can't remember by which publishers but to me if someone fancies running a magic free Ranger or Bard we can all pitch in with some pointers/sources?

Male Meat Popsicle

Dice gods with tied rolls as per Polz sound particularly unforgiving, but I've never really tried em either, could make for some amusing if wonky characters I suppose. If its between fixed rolls and point buy I'd prefer point buy...

Male Meat Popsicle

Ya know what I'm down for dice gods, Polz convinced me, I'll just put that PC idea on the shelf if the Dice Gods are unkind.

Well with rolls there's a lot of leeway, especially with a digital dice roller, we could do 6d3, or 2d7+4. Alternatively, we can set limits of stat bonuses, i.e. no combined stat bonus less than +3 or more than +8, or whatever.

I like fixed dice rolls, definitely makes things a little out of your hands. And I like that idea giving sources for classes to fill in for ones with spell casting.

Ok I've come up with some ideas to kick off a campaign. I'm not particularly married to any of these, but let me know if any tickle your fancy.

Idea #1:

Dur-Katlimmu, greatest city in the world, glitters like a jewel on the shores of the Azul sea. Ruled by a counsel of Merchant Princes, the city is a major trading hub, connecting the far-flung kingdoms of the continent with the wider world. The wealth of nations flows through Dur-Katlimmu and the Princes take their cut, growing ever richer. For those lucky few that find employment among the great merchant houses, life is good, bringing wealth, respect and the other privilege associated with both, but for the remaining multitudes that call the city home, things are more difficult, as they scrape out a meagre existence in the shadow of gem-encrusted palaces.

Until recently, life was good for you. Employed by one of the great houses, and well paid for your services, you enjoyed a life of relative ease. The tattoos marking your affiliation brought you respect among your peers and fear to your enemies. But the politics of Dur-Katlimmu have always been fickle, with the smaller houses constantly looking for weaknesses that might allow them to pull down a great house and take their seat on the ruling counsel. When the fall came, it came quickly. It was a night of blood and fire, as assassins and arsonists did their deeds. Private armies clashed in the streets and the gutters ran red. Through luck or planning, you managed to survive that first night and have been keeping underground ever since. You were not alone in doing so, and so, a few fellow survivors now huddle in a room amidst the endless slum beyond the city's walls. Coin is short, the future bleak. What will tomorrow bring?

Idea #2:

No one really knows where the Blight came from. Rumors of it had been floating around for years, brought out of east by traders. The stories were always outrageous, making for the excellent tavern fare, but who could believe it. And besides, even if true, it was far away. The problem of other lands and peoples. But then the traders stopped coming.

The first reports came from the outlying provinces. It started slow. A low yielding crop. A reduction in animal birth rates. Things were tough, but they had been tough before and the rest of the Kingdom could provide aid. Things would get better. They didn’t. Winter came and went, but spring never came. The worst was the smell. It felt like there was always a wind blowing out of the east and with it came the smell of rot and decay. It was as if the land had died and it was spreading.

The people were loath to abandon their homes, no matter that nothing could grow any more, but once the dead started to show up, they fled in droves. The army did what they could, but it was a war of attrition and the dead seemed endless. Our neighbors to the west were helpful, lending men and food and welcoming refugees with open arms. But as time progressed and that trickle of refugees became a steady stream and then a flood, their hearts hardened.

The great bridge joining our lands across the endless waters of the Iceflow river, built in ages past with knowledge long lost, was a symbol of our kingdoms friendship. It had stood for thousands of years, but in the end, it was shattered, trapping those who had waited too long to flee at the mercy of the blight and dead that came with it. Some tried to come on boats, but they were turned back or destroyed. In the last moments, the most desperate tried to swim, none reached the far shore.

For your part, you managed to get out before the border was sealed. You survived, but now are crammed into an overflowing refugee camp on the shores of the Iceflow, trapped between a populace that no longer wants you and the river's frigid waters. Beyond its flow, the ruins of your homeland give off the reek of death, warning of encroaching doom. For the moment, the spread of the blight seems contained, but will it last? On your side of the river, the King in exile tries to protect his people that remain and plots to reclaim his birthright. He will not be able to do so alone.

Idea #3:

Good morning citizen! And what a fine morning it will be, once the sun rises. I bring you excellent news! Through your actions you’ve made your value to the Empire known and now your Empress calls upon you. Glory awaits! We leave immediately!

Your clothes? Worry not, the Empress provides, and your devotion to her will no doubt keep you warm on the coldest of nights. Your family? Fear not, they will be informed, and who knows, perhaps some of them will be joining you.

....While I appreciate your zeal to be off, citizen, you were running in the wrong direction. The docks are this way. Fortunately for you, there are many devoted members of the Imperial army here to see that you reach your destination safely. You should feel honored to have such an escort... Well that was uncalled for. Such language does not befit a citizen of the Empire. I will ask you to refrain from using it, and please note that your devoted Empress does not require you to have a tongue for the service required of you.

... Ah here we are. See all the loyal patriots that have come to join you? You will do the Empire proud. .. Now stop that, you will need to conserve your energy, I hear the trip is quite long. May Empress watch over you...

Shackled, shivering and starving, you find yourselves in the leaky hold of barely seaworthy transport ship. Somehow you managed to draw the ire of those in power, and now find yourselves, along with so many other undesirables, being shipped to some far off fringe of the Empire to help further its expansion, or to die in the attempt. Your old life is over, but new lands bring new opportunities and maybe, just maybe, you’ll be able to dig yourself out of the hole you now find yourself in.

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Male Meat Popsicle

I can get on board with all three. If I had to, I'd rank em in the order they've been presented. The scoundrel in me sees opportunity for nefarious advancement in #1 but really all three are begging for perfidious acts.

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

Ideas 1 & 3 have piqued my interest the most.

Like the notion in #3 that the reason for selection might be as relevant as the survival in the "new world". Slight against a fickle noble, political scapegoat or plain old mistaken identity - some great opportunities for roleplay and character concepts and a truly mismatched group of individuals with one unifying fate...

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Good pitches for each. I like all of them, though I do have to admit I do love a good undead campaign. The third is my runner up, a story starting with conscription let’s any type of character to be played which I very intriguing, like Dow said.

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I'd go for 2 or 3 as my favorites. I've never played in a undead setting so that would be fun... and fits really nicely into a character concept that I've been thinking about..

3 sounds really fun too.. I like the "were all in this for the same reason" start.. allows for maybe different races to be around each other without any reason.. the idea of having somewhere to come back to to exact revenge sounds appealing..

1 sounds great too, but when you're presented with 3 great ideas.... would he happy to play in a seedy underworld.

If I has to really pick.. 3 then 2 then 1.

I known it's not helpful to you. But any of the three I'd be happy with hah.

C1nOg - 1, 2, 3
BD - 3, 1
Mythic - 2, 3
Polz - 3, 2, 1

That's not really that helpful...

I mean I guess the with conscription start, it can still be an undead theme or urban adventure. I haven't really put much thought into where that boat is headed.

pull an adventure out of the hat and start us on the boat! everyone wins :)

I guess the main thing to come out of that discussion is that we would all be happy with any of them so maybe choose something that sounded fun to run as well?

I agree the main takeaways I guess is that we all seem to like the options and I think would all enjoy whatever you decide to choose to do.

Ok then, let's just do with the Imperial conscript start. Let's just get going and I'll figure it out as we go along.

Playing around with the dice odds, we are going to go with 2d7+4. Roll 6 times, distribute as desired.

Setting-wise, I think we'll go with on full casters being magic users (meaning have spells from level 1) any other class that gains them will be modified as necessary, or we will just use a spell-less variant.

In terms of the Empire itself, we'll keep it vague for the moment, but it is very large, incredibly bureaucratic and very powerful. Its might is still on the uptick, hence the push for expansion fodder. Consider it LN in temperament, hard on the Lawful. It's citizens are safe and prosperous, but have little in the way of personal freedom. It's definitely built on the ruins of some great past civilization, and a lot of its focus is on recovering powerful items from the past. For fun, let's make it a Dwarven Empire. All standard races allowed, plus ratfolk, because they're awesome. Full citizen rights are only for dwarves with formal clan affiliations. Half-orcs are tolerated within the empire, but are considered untouchables. Elves tend to be rare, due to their free-spirited lifestyle not meshing well with imperial living.

As part of character creation, everyone needs to determine how their PC learned their skill set and what they did to earn the ire of the Empire. Consider this a bit of collaborative world building.

Feel free to bounce ideas off of me or each other.

Yes we get to roll dice!!

Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (6, 2) + 4 = 12
Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 4) + 4 = 15
Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (6, 1) + 4 = 11
Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (2, 6) + 4 = 12
Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (6, 2) + 4 = 12
Stat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (6, 7) + 4 = 17

Well possibilities are endless now! Being able to be a rat folk just threw a huge cog in my character selection. Damn youuu

Male Meat Popsicle

Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 3) + 4 = 11
Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 2) + 4 = 10
Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (6, 1) + 4 = 11
Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 2) + 4 = 13
Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 3) + 4 = 11
Shtat: 2d7 + 4 ⇒ (3, 6) + 4 = 13

Rat people huh...

Male Meat Popsicle

Ooof... What was that about a combined stat bonus minimum?

Male Hairy Highlander Halfbreed Barbarian 9/King O' The North 5/Staffy Dad 7

2d7 + 4 ⇒ (1, 2) + 4 = 7
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (5, 7) + 4 = 16
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (2, 7) + 4 = 13
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (3, 7) + 4 = 14
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 3) + 4 = 14
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (1, 3) + 4 = 8

Works for me :) Highs and lows aplenty!

Like the Dwarven Imperium concept - could we have a scenario where slavery is tolerated also? Perhaps call that social class The Indentured or some such?

Have a mulling concept of a forge slave... Was hoping for him to be a Hobgoblin prisoner of war? However if Hobs are off the menu can make him a half orc (although I've played a bunch of them lol)... Duergar even?

2d7 + 4 ⇒ (1, 2) + 4 = 7
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (5, 7) + 4 = 16
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (5, 3) + 4 = 12
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 7) + 4 = 18
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 1) + 4 = 9
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 2) + 4 = 10

Hmm seems all over the place. Hmm this setting makes things interesting. Right off the bat I have a feeling for a caster, possibly wizard or another arcane caster, and feeling an elf to kind of stick out a little.

Male Meat Popsicle

Hate to ask outright but uhhh, Fanguar...

How dya feel about a re-roll on my stats?

Two +1 stats and nil for the rest before racial bonuses... It's no Yarp the Idjit but he actually might've been more fun to RP than Greg the Everyman... from two doors down.

I can make it work if it's a no. Greg the half-orc may be kinda funny...

c1n0g wrote:

Hate to ask outright but uhhh, Fanguar...

How dya feel about a re-roll on my stats?

Two +1 stats and nil for the rest before racial bonuses... It's no Yarp the Idjit but he actually might've been more fun to RP than Greg the Everyman... from two doors down.

I can make it work if it's a no. Greg the half-orc may be kinda funny...

Normally, I would de disinclined to to allow re-rolls, but given how blah you rolls are, I think I can allow an exception. So yes, you may re-roll, but let's stick to one time.

@BD/all: I like the concept of there being a class of indentured servants. Going with the whole dwarf society thing, going to say no to hobgoblin, goblinoids would be put to death. Half-orcs are untouchables, so they would be lower in status than the indentured. I'm thinking we could either have it that indentured service is a requirement for gaining citizenship, with the time of service being one dwarven lifetime (meaning that it would take multiple generations for a human to earn citizenship), or there could be a race (or even dwarven clan) that owes a debt of honor that the race must work off. Regarding duergar, I'm not completely opposed, but I am a touch leery of the spell-like abilities, but I know you wont abuse them, so if you really want it, I'll allow it.

Male Meat Popsicle

Woohoo! Caaaamaaan Dice Gods! Honestly I felt bad for asking being a noob to your games but those were spectacularly blah!

2d7 + 4 ⇒ (2, 7) + 4 = 13
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 4) + 4 = 15
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (3, 4) + 4 = 11
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (7, 5) + 4 = 16
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (5, 4) + 4 = 13
2d7 + 4 ⇒ (4, 4) + 4 = 12

This is... literally all good.. I'd take a DM fiat -2 somewhere for the re-roll or I can just quietly back my way through the door into character creation, grin wide in appreciation...

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