Chain Mauler

Fenyx Dagannauth's page

230 posts. Alias of Kagehiro.




The first telltale signs of morning creep into the sky from the east, from beyond a horizon obfuscated by an impenetrable tangle of jungle wilderness that stands wild and untamed even in the shadow of the mighty Port Demalis. Cast in a pall of blues, greys, and deep shadows at the approaching dawn, the massive port-city looks a far cry lonelier on the whole than the bustle of activity along the docks—workers, sailors, and "sailors" going about their business—would indicate. Within the broad and resolute walls of Port Demalis, the reach of the Makhoran Empire is evident: squat, sprawling stone buildings with an excess of courtyards crowded together along a grid of streets that ascend a low bluff. Atop this bluff towers Severo Fortress, a marvel of architecture built to withstand a naval siege from even the Bedool.

Beyond the thick, interior walls of Port Demalis stands a far more haphazard bundle of distinct communities—mostly Bedool—that press against the city's walls from all directions. Narrow, winding streets often turn into a tangle of boardwalks and stilt-borne huts that reach out into the bay itself. At the end of one such boardwalk rests a permanently beached vessel of decidedly human origins—an old galley regarded as primitive by modern maritime standards. Massive, wooden beams act as buttresses to secure the decommissioned ship in place, and wooden "expansions" crowd what once served as the deck. This awkward and gangly boat house now serves as home and headquarters to the relatively small, but respectable merchant guild known as Azure Wake Enterprises.

Stripped and repurposed into a massive tavern, the lower deck of Azure Wake's base of operations is the de facto meeting place for both expectant expeditions and leisurely time-passing in between assignments. It is here that you have all gathered at the behest of Signus Havilar (Signus meaning, roughly, a non-Makhoran landholder in the Empire), one of the partners who actually own Azure Wake Enterprises and the owner of the headquarters you currently sit in. The tavern is entirely bereft of other guild members at present apart from yourselves. Some massive naval undertaking has been the buzz around camp of late, and the absence of company in what would be an otherwise bustling tavern hall certainly indicates that most available hands have since embarked on said undertaking.

Instead, you are left with the tavern to yourselves, silent save for your own voices and the steady lap of water against the exterior hull...

Feel free to enjoy some banter or generally kill time hereabouts until you're given some more pertinent details about what your PCs will actually be doing.


Welcome aboard, folks. First order of business is going to settle on some final versions for all of the player characters. We had a bit of overlap in the character classes, which is totally fine, but if someone is a stickler for class balance you can feel free to make any alterations you deem fit. I think the final score was 2 Fighters, 2 Rangers, a Mystic, and a Warlock. Again, I'm totally fine with that lineup if you guys are, so don't feel compelled to alter anything on my account.

Hit Points: I didn't outline this in the recruitment thread with the intention of settling it here. Each of you can choose to either roll for hit points at each level or take the average (max hit points at 1st level, however). This is a permanent decision: whichever method you choose, you'll be locked into that for the remainder of the game. For those who elect to roll, you can always reroll any 1s on a hit point result.

Player Bonds: If any one is interested in doing so, feel free to link character histories together. You will all know one another going into this adventure, if only barely, but I encourage anyone interested in having further-reaching ties to other PCs to go for it.

After that, I'll go down the roster on a more individual basis to hammer out things what need hammering out.


I'll be accepting character submissions for a 5th Edition D&D Play-by-Post that will take place in an original world setting (more specific information below). Race options in this setting are almost entirely different than the standard 5e options. Beyond that, it's still (mostly) a mid-to-high fantasy setting with a few bizarre or unusual elements sprinkled in for seasoning. I'll go ahead and outline some of the more technical expectations of the game, like character creation guidelines and whatnot, before I get too deep into outlining the setting information.

Posting Frequency & Expectations:
This is going to be a relatively short, slow-burn PbP. I'll only be asking for 2-4 posts in any given week from participants, though this posting clip might be nudged forward a bit during combat scenes, since 5E as a system offers a relatively brisk combat pace. While these posting requirements are likely a fair deal lower than the average game, I would like to stress that I also expect posts to be more descriptive and introspective (from a character's perspective) in general. One of the strength's of PbPs compared to live play at the table, virtual or otherwise, is the window it offers into a character's thoughts and motivations—take advantage of this.

My intention for the game's narrative is to set it up in self-contained increments/arcs that will make it easier to resolve, pause, or continue. This game will not be an epic sprawl of Adventure Path proportions—chiefly, because I don't have that kind of commitment in me, but also because there are interesting enough stories to be told without world threatening events. In part, by running this game I will also be able to help flesh out my setting for myself and future instances/tables. If we reach the end of any given arc and find that myself and everyone else is eager to continue, we can continue on in another chapter. If not, we'll just wrap up the story and do a brief epilogue scene at the end of the arc in question.

Character Generation:

Characters will be starting at 3rd level. I expect this adventure to take everyone to 5th level at the very least. I am okay with any WotC-published content (though I will ultimately reserve the right of refusal) including Unearthed Arcana articles.

Ability Score Generation: We'll be rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest. If you get a hopelessly awful array I might come up with some sort of incentive or boon to help keep your character relevant, but that'll be reserved until after a final roster is chosen and likely farmed from backstory info.

Background: I'm not going to be overly demanding this time around on character backgrounds. Since it's a somewhat undefined and unknown homebrew setting, specifics are going to necessarily be hard to come by (and even harder to expect from players). Give me a few general paragraphs explaining broad strokes about your character and a personality profile, and that will be plenty.

Launching Point: This game will begin in a large port city, but only briefly. Expect your players to soon leave port aboard a seafaring vessel of some sort, likely to include at least a few high sea, daring-do adventures. That does not mean your characters need to have sea legs, of course.

Now, with that out of the way, here comes a massive info dump on the setting itself.

Aurus:

Aurus is the name of the setting and the planet on which the game will take place. Aurus is one of two twins in a tidally locked, binary planet system. Between the two sister-planets, an immense comet perpetually awash in crimson energy is caught in the gravitational pull of either planet. From it's fixed point between the south pole of Aurus I and the north pole of Aurus II, it slowly spins, occasionally showering either planet with a stream of red sparks.

The unique nature of the twin planetary system has resulted in a gradient of moisture levels ranging from the south to the north pole. As such, most of the bottom half of Aurus I is covered in an ocean—the only ocean on the surface. From the coasts of the continental mass northward, the planet is covered in what are essentially bands of increasingly dry biomes. This progression generally follows from coasts/jungles -> swamps -> forests -> plains/prairies -> wastes/deserts.

On the southern pole of Aurus I, the planet where the game takes place, there is an island-nation dominated by a single, huge mountain peak that stretches towards the comet—the Aurusfont—like a great, ice-capped spire. The "red elves" that make their home on this isle—Aurorans—have developed an inborn gift for drinking of the comet's power. As a result, their entire civilization and culture is centered around the comet and the power it provides them.

Setting History:

Prehistory: This is not information known to any who actually live on Aurus (save for one entity that will remain unnamed here), but the beginnings of some of the planets denizens actually began in the stars. Galactic fleets belonging to the Xeidoran and Togani races waged war across the galaxy against a corruptive malignance. The nature of this enemy was such that true victory could never be achieved, but the most gifted minds among the Xeidoran and Togani peoples devised a means to seal away their enemy. However, it was a gambit that would cost them nearly everything. Even as they succeeded in sealing away this primeval force on Aurus II, their fleets were destroyed and scattered to the cosmic winds. The Togani and Xeidoran that walk the surface of Aurus I today—little more than primitives compared to their spacefaring days—are all that remain of their once great civilizations.

Ancient History: Much of the continent of Aurus rests firmly within the iron grasp of the Makhoran Empire—a varied race of cat-like centaurs that have dominated and held territories across the known world for over a millennium. Most of Aurus' recorded history is underpinned by a conquest of blood and shackles of the Makhoran Empire's making. Bitter rivals of the Togani, the first Makhoran Tribes banded together against these invaders and brought the Togani to the brink of extinction. Even today, only two great Togani cities remain within the shadow of the Makhor.

Modern Era: The march of time has finally seen a decline in the age of Makhoran aggression. While their vast empire still dominates the world, cracks have begun to form in the foundation. Bureaucracy and debauchery rot Makhoran civilization from the inside, while just a decade past the last living Makhoran Empress abdicated her throne in favor of empowering the senate—an occasion marked by the renouncement of slavery as a practice. Humans were granted, for the first time ever, their own ancestral lands within the Makhoran Empire. For most intents and purposes, slavery does still exist, though in a far less brutal fashion—"servants" now have a path towards citizenship within the Empire, and must be compensated for their labor.

RACES (Racial entries are not entirely complete as it stands with regards to descriptive writeups, but the mechanics/crunch are all there. Xeidoran Reclaimers will likely get a lot more options for their devices, but the current armor/weapon charts will suffice for immediacy's sake. If someone has any questions about a race, feel free to direct some questions and I can answer as needed)

Faith:
There is no default pantheon of deities on Aurus. Instead, religion is arrayed along racial/cultural lines. Speaking more frankly, deities are a mostly blank slate at the moment in terms of specific names/portfolios/domains/dogmas. Fortunately, the nature of this game is not such that it's a topic we'll explore in great detail, but for any one interested in playing a faith-based class, it provides the opportunity to create a deity/entity/power/thing tailored to the character.

The Imperial Pantheon: Makhoran gods are certainly a sacrosanct part of their culture. Outside faiths are not tolerated, though they're more than happy to have non-Makhorans worship their pantheon.

The Aurusfont: Auroran Elves live in the "shadow" of the comet, bathed in its power, and wield tangible benefits for their devotion. Their society tends to revere it as divine in a sense, though they have not assigned any specific likeness or sentience to it. It is a source of power and beauty that keeps and protects them, providing far more than any deity or spirit.

Bedoolan Volskwoo: The term "Volskwoo" refers to entities within the culture's history that lived normal lives in the past, but achieved such great feats in life that they gained divinity. In short, Bedool worship heroic (and sometimes not-so-heroic) ancestors. These Volskwoo are usually revered in accordance to the sort of lives they lived while mortal.

Xeidoran Magitech: Wreckage of their old technology are the closest thing to divinity Xeidorans can ever hope to look upon. Their entire society is built upon these holy relics.

Spirits of the Wild: There is a time beyond memory in which the comet, the Aurusfont, did not exist, and the elves did not depend on it to sustain them. A minority of the elves chose to continue this life, and long ago departed from the Auruspire to live as their ancestors did in the wilds of the continent. These elves draw power from guardian spirits, the seldom glimpsed feywild, or nature itself. Lowans and Meerks are of similar dispositions, with the former being fey entities and the latter building tribes around great guardian spirits that watch over the wilds.

Chronomancy and Astrology—the Togani: The City of the Sun and the City of the Night were established to track the movements of heavenly bodies (particularly, the sun) that the Togani worship. It has empowered them to stand, if only barely, against the overwhelming press of Makhoran aggression for over a thousand years. Within their seats of power, the Keepers of the Sun and Stars (rulers of their respective cities) command a mastery over Time Magic that renders them virtually untouchable.

Technology:

Firepower: Aurorans discovered gunpowder, and have traded heavily with the Bedool in the years that followed, usually for gems and precious stones integral to elaborate arcane rituals. Cannons are commonplace among the Bedool, and becoming increasingly prevalent among the other races as well, though they are largely limited to coastal forts and seafaring vessels. Firearms exist in the form of matchlock pistols and rifles.

Maritime Advancements: There is no naval force that can reckon with the Bedool on the open seas, but sailing ships are common, usually featuring multiple decks and two or more masts. Bedool ships range from the common variety to massive behemoths that are downright infeasible.

Xeidoran Relics: Only encountered among the Xeidorans typically, but capable of producing effects that everyone (including the Xeidorans) regard as magic/spellcraft. Such things are sometimes traded on black markets, but trading in these devices is a perilous enterprise. The Xeidorans are fanatical about recovering such relics, and display a frightening capacity for said recoveries (often by any means necessary).

Magic on Aurus:

Spellcasters are commonplace enough, but truly powerful casters are not. Magic items are exceptionally rare. The art of enchanting something requires the use of living souls (willing or not) to realize, so the practice is predictably outlawed in general, or at the very least a societal taboo of the worst order (along the lines of creating undead). As it turns out, even the most miniscule oversight or misstep in the creation of magical gear can imprint the soul in question into the object, which is a horrifying prospect for most. Even for those few that sought to gain some measure of immortality by such a transformation, the passage of time warps the sentience residing within, and not for the better. Trading in magic goods is not forbidden, typically, but creating them is (again, typically). Also, consumable items are not bound by the same restrictions. Potions, scrolls, charms, etc. do not require living souls to create.

Acknowledging that 5E's system is at least somewhat built upon the notion of magic gear existing, I'll be introducing Item Quality Tiers to stand in for armor/weapon bonuses (+1, +2, +3). They'll be represented as fine, masterwork, and legendary respectively.

Creatures of Aurus:

A lot of common creatures from the D&D mythos will not "appear" in Aurus, though some might. That's not to say I won't borrow a monster's statblock and reskin it for my own purposes, of course. Conventional humanoids (orcs, goblins, etc.) will not be found on Aurus. Rivalries between existing races will be played up more rather than using monstrous tribes of creatures.

I'll be brief on this one: expect horribly corrupted to be a constant theme.

Creatures of titanic proportions will be difficult to wound or injure. That is to say, your sword is going to be about as threatening to an ancient dragon as a feather duster. If you want to bring down the big boys, you'll need a lot of siege weapons or a lot of magical firepower.

______________________________

Hopefully that's everything, or at the very least enough to get the ball rolling. Previous experience with 5E is not required, though is a plus. It's a pretty easy game to pick up in my experience: familiar enough to grasp the rules quickly, but different enough to offer a unique (or at least focused) style of play.


Jorry good.


Feel free to go ahead dot this up.


Go ahead and shift our character creation discussions over to here. Once we've got characters set up, backstories settled, and backgrounds figured out, I'll start guiding us through some proper worldbuilding for the region we're playing in.

Stat Arrays:

  • Jelani 18, 15, 14, 12, 12, 6
  • Gyrfalcon 17, 15, 13, 12, 11, 8
  • Thron 16, 15, 13, 12, 11, 9
  • Jubal 16, 16, 13, 12, 11, 10

    As a gentle reminder, you guys can swap a single stat with another player (if both agree to it) but only once.


  • Full disclosure: I'm too lazy/unmotivated to wade through feats and traits and guides and gerbils to come up with a decent build. Looking for a relatively simple Skald build to act as a buffing God for a story-lite, dungeon-crawly game heavy on Old God/Lovecraftian shenaniganry.

    Starting at 2nd level with a 15 point-buy. No racial restrictions that I know of, though I'd prefer something that can fit the light-hearted concept that is (hopefully) self-evident in the character's name.


    Just putting this here for dotting purposes.


    Gonna go ahead and use this to consolidate information and the like whilst I figure out who is even available to play in this madness.


    New Discussion thread, wee! Hopefully the Gameplay doesn't go awol this time.


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              29 Kuthona, 4714
                 TRUNAU COMMONS

     

     

     

    A light snow whips about wildly as an unforgiving wind lashes the rise upon which Trunau rests. Cloud cover obscures the warmth of the sun, an impenetrable sheet of white and grey stretching out as far as the eye can see in every direction. There is little activity in the lower streets, and even less around the Barterstones and roads leading further into Belkzen or Lastwall. A thin dusting of snow and frost covers the town. In the thick of winter and isolated in the Holds of Belkzen, it would seem a desolate sight were it not for the crowd of revelers and celebrants gathering in the Commons. Normally a staid people, the inhabitants of Trunau seldom find cause for jubilation, but today is one such occasion.

    Today is the twelfth birthday of Chief Defender Halgra’s youngest daughter, Ruby. Furthermore, the Councilors seem to have agreed that another has more than earned the right to name themselves a native of Trunau: Qytheerah Reflects-the-Stars. The townsfolk have been busy preparing all day for the hopeknife ceremony, as well as the festivities that will follow in its wake. An impressive throng of spectators move about the town Commons, the air thick with the buzz of their many conversations and excited cries. It is not until their weathered town leader, Halgra of the Blackened Blades, takes the stage that the murmur of the crowd wanes and subsides. After a moment of silence and a proud glance at Ruby, Halgra turns again to the those gathered upon the stone floor of the Commons and begins to speak.

    Many thanks to all of you for joining us this night, so cold as it is. Maybe we can find occasion to warm our community’s bones with such an event. It has long been my privilege to serve Trunau in my capacity as Councilor and Chief Defender. Never am I prouder than on such occasions as these, where we welcome more proud defenders of our home into the fold with a well deserved hopeknife ceremony. I am always gladdened, even overjoyed, to bestow a hopeknife to one of our own. Doubly so when one of those happens to be my daughter.” Halgra produces two simple wooden cases, laying each on the small table before her. She removes the lid to each, producing a pair of small daggers affixed to a silver chain. One of the hopeknives is of exquisite craftsmanship, while the other appears to be a far cry from high quality. Halgra smiles warmly as she turns to regard Ruby and Qytheerah atop the stage beside her. “Ruby and Qytheerah Reflects-the-Stars, by the traditions of our town established since the fall of the Hordeline, we name you citizens of Trunau and defenders of our way of life. This hopeknife represents your responsibilties as a citizen and defender of Trunau. You must be willing to use it on yourself, your fellow Trunauans, and your family—even me, should it come to that. It will be a far quicker death than that which the orcish hordes offer, and it is your duty now as a citizen of Trunau to provide such a release as needed. We must all remember. . .” Halgra pauses briefly, and several in the crowd murmur in unison as she continues, “a hopeknife is given not as a weapon, but a hope that it shall never be drawn.

    Do you both swear to guard Trunau from all comers, to the bitter end, and to use your hopeknife only for its intended purpose?” Halgra’s face carries a severe weight as she stares at her daughter and Qytheerah, the question hanging ominously in the air. Ruby—dusky skinned, black haired, and painfully shy—nods her head in response to her mother’s question. As Qytheerah offers her own assent, Halgra nods and clutches each of the recipients in turn by their wrists, yanking them forward and exposing them for all to see. “If the orcs come, this is where you cut—here, here, and here.” Halgra indicates which arteries should be severed in case of capture as the pair look on. As she finishes, Halgra sheathes their hopeknives places both necklaces around the necks of their new owners. Giving each a reassuring clap on the shoulders, Halgra turns once more to the crowd below.

    Tonight, Ruby and Qytheerah have been seen and named full members of our community—our family! Let us welcome each, and celebrate their acceptance into our way of life! TRUNAU FOREVER!” The crowd echoes Halgra’s last words in unison, as the ceremony concludes. Several militia men and women begin hustling about the Commons, fetching coils of rope and buckets as they make their way to the center of the amphitheater floor.

    And with that, we are off! I’m going to allow people a moment to respond before we get into the next little scene. You can all place yourselves in the crowd wherever you’d like. Skrioth, we’ll say you have just arrived in town today, and decided to check out the ceremony at least for curiosity’s sake (tons of people all gathering in one spot seems worth investigating, I’d wager).

    Trunau Natives, or Knowledge (Local) DC 10:

    There are typically games and contests held after the ceremony has ended, the most popular being a tug-of-war involving those who have just been granted their hopeknife.

    Qytheerah:

    Though your dagger is a far cry from the quality of Ruby's own hopeknife, the reason becomes apparent to you as soon as you unsheathe it. This is the first knife you made in The Clamor, a long time ago. It would seem that Sara Morninghawk kept the failure hidden all this time, and even took the time to hone the blade into a serviceable weapon. Etched along the dagger's blade is are two words: "Qyth's Resolve"

    Other than that, it's just a standard dagger


    Link Here

    I think I may have bumbled into murdering the gameplay thread. I ended up deleting a first-post there when opening the recruitment/trying to remember how to get a PbP thread connected.

    So far, nothing I have posted is viewable. It's just a blank Gameplay page.


    Congratulations to those that made the cut. Go ahead and report in here to let me know you're present and ready. Going to be very informal for the moment, but once we get things squared away here we will begin the game in earnest.

    Having said that, I would like everyone to acquaint themselves with each other and everyone else's character sheets. Make any final changes you wish before the game begins, and feel free to discuss options and ideas with one another. Also be thinking about how much your characters would know about one another as well as any sort of connections or bonds they could have formed. You are all living in Trunau, some longer than others, so most of you are bound to have at least some idea about the other PCs. Whether it's a positive or negative impression is entirely up to you.

    Gameplay post won't be ready right away, but you guys can go ahead and make an OOC dot post if you'd like.

    Finally, I'll go through and do one final character crunch sweep. I looked over them during the recruitment reviews, but I didn't really give them a fine comb treatment. I had intended to scale the stats of PCs who had rolled poorly up to a 10 point-buy, but I think everyone here either elected to take the 15-point or rolled above that threshold. Just to let you know I'm not that merciless, hah!


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    A mighty giant known as The Storm Tyrant rallies giants of all shapes and sizes (but mostly just big) to his banner in a bid to make those below his cloudy perch bend the knee. It all begins in the town of Trunau, a town on the edge of Belkzen lands that has managed to stand against the orcish hordes so far. It is not merely orcs the small settlement must contend with, however. Who will stand AGAINST THE GIANTS? *cough* ahem. . . will Trunau find itself ground to dust beneath the heel of a would-be conquering horde, or will an intrepid band of adventurers rise to the occasion and prove themselves deserving of the title: Giantslayers!

    Now that we've got the theatrics out of the way: this is a recruitment for the up-and-coming Giantslayer Adventure Path. A fierce nod in the direction of Against the Giants, that beloved old giant-trouncing, city-liberating skip through the lands of Geoff, one can expect to find a fair good deal of classic sword-and-sorcerying and dungeon-crawling. However, we should remember it's Paizo we're dealing with here. I'm sure it's safe to assume there will be a curveball or twenty tossed into the mix.

    As of this moment, I haven't seen the books. They aren't released yet. "Then how? Why!?" one might ask. Oh ho ho, but this is merely a recruitment, my would-be little heroes and heroines. What we do have is the Players Guide, which you can find at THIS BIG CAPS-LOCKED LINK I AM TYPING RIGHT HERE, WOW! Ten campaign traits. Madness! Utter madness! So, for those interested, go ahead and give that a download and a poke. It will give you more pointers about the AP itself than I'm capable of doing at the moment.

    What I can do for the moment is go into a little more detail about the type of game this will be:

    • This game won't be happening at a breakneck pace. I've learned my lesson with past games, so we'll be taking things a little easier this go around. I encourage people to post whenever and as often as they are able, but in general we'll be aiming for a bottom floor of a few posts a week. Prolonged absences or breaks should be anounced ahead of time. If people go dark for an extended period of time with no heads up, they'll be canned and replaced.
    • I'm going to be shooting for a grittier game for this outing. This will be reflected in a lower point-buy entry and (hopefully) in descriptive text and goings-on in the game itself. Trunau is a town oft-beleaguered by encroaching orcish tribes, where people carry weapons called hopeknives and a knowledge of where to cut themselves so they can die rather than be taken captive—lends itself pretty well to a bleak atmosphere, I'd say. Descriptions are going to trend towards gory. If that sort of thing isn't your cup of tea, I'd recommend giving this one a pass.
    • Being a slower game, I will be looking for players who are able to greatly expand on posts and give them some meat/heft. Perfunctory descriptions and dialogue are likely to get passed over. The greatest strength of the PbP format is a greater insight into what the players are feeling and thinking. Take advantage!
    • Leveling will occur at moments I feel necessary, rather than by tracking experience totals. More simply put, I'll keep your group's XP tracked behind the GM Screen and tell you when to level your characters up. Rest assured, you will keep pace with where the adventure assumes/intends you to be.

    Before we get directly into character creation goodies: I will show a certain amount of preference to certain persons I have gamed with heavily in the past. Fair or not, their caliber is already proven, and I wish to be as transparent about that upfront as possible.

    I will also be making limited use of Roll20. It will mostly just be a place to host maps. Beyond that it will simply be a place to lounge and chat with one another.

    Good! Great! Grand! Now let's get into character creation guidelines.

    Level: Characters will be starting at 1st Level.
    Attributes: Characters have the choice between a 15-Point Buy or Rolling. There's a catch: I will be rolling for characters who choose to do so (4d6 and drop one once, then 3d6 five times). Be cautioned, the Dice Gods giveth and the Dice Gods taketh (but mostly taketh).
    Hit Point Generation: Max at 1st level. When characters level, you will be given the choice to take Average+1 or Roll. You will be locked into your choice from start to finish.
    Classes: Pretty much anything officially released by Paizo is fine. I will not be accepting any 3PP builds of any sort.
    Races: Again, pretty much anything officially released by Paizo is fine. Selecting something outlandish is going to require more legwork to impress me; justify why they are tolerated and explain why they are unlike the rest of their kind.
    Alignment: Any, but you should keep in mind this AP revolves around thwarting the machinations of a giant bent on world domination. Also, please remember an evil alignment doesn't mean your character should read and play like a 70s cartoon villain.
    Starting Wealth: Average starting wealth or let the DM roll for you.
    Traits: Everyone will begin with one campaign trait and one other trait of their choice. Each player may take a single Drawback to gain a third trait. Traits should inform your backstory and feed into your character's overall narrative.

    Submissions: Create a profile with relevant info contained within. I'm looking for profiles that are easy to read. If your profile looks like someone vomited a random block of numbers, words, and letters into a pile, I'm not going to bother reading it. Here is a decent example of what I'm looking for. Your profile does not have to be identical to this layout, but it should be similar.

    All submitted characters will require the following: Character Description, Personality, and Background. Put some effort into this. As mentioned before, I'm not looking for perfunctory descriptions. A couple of bland sentences is not going to inspire me to consider an application.

    In regards to Background, everyone should be considering why their character would be in Trunau to begin with.

    One final step, and we're all finished. In order for me to consider a submission completed, I am requiring that everyone respond, in-character, to a few spoilered scenarios below. I'm not going to take a look at crunch or backstory or anything in between until this final step has been completed. I'm doing this so I can get a good idea of what sort of posts to expect from prospective players, as well as provide a little more insight to the characters themselves. And that's how you should all treat these little scenarios; respond to them as if you were responding to a post in the game itself. You can post them in your profile or in the Recruitment thread. Whatever floats your boat.

    Scenario 1:
    You awaken to a blood-curdling scream that ends as abruptly as it began. You turn to the sound, as much out of reflex as curiosity, but find yourself in strange surroundings. Enclosed in a crude prison, a cage shaped out of the bones of some huge creature, the bars obstruct much of your vision. Further within the cavern, looming above a fiery cauldron and clutching the crushed, spasming remains of what might have once been an adventurer, is a malformed brute twice as tall as any man. Tattered bits of fur and cloth conceal much of its pudgy bulk, but beneath its garb you glean a blubbery, grey hide with a hideous array of pustules.

    The giant deposits the broken, bleeding corpse it grips into the cauldron, where it lands with a splash in some unidentifiable concoction. Judging from the stench it kicks up, you would likely rather not know. One bulging eye seizes you as it begins stirring its feast, drool running unmitigated down the rolls of its chin and neck.

    "Oi there, another one awake! Another awake. Maybe this one tells Old Brulk'tha a pretty tale. Maybe this one doesn't fill her belly tonight! Hurhurhur!" Her voice is wheezy but booming, and her jowls jiggle with each word.

    Scenario 2:
    The strange fellow smiles broadly as he takes a seat across the table from you. The bustle of the tavern thrums all around as excited conversations crescendo and wain, only to be replaced by another. His flaxen hair, pale skin, and burly frame mark him as unmistakeably Ulfen. Judging by his garb—and lack of any noteworthy weaponry—he is likely a merchant of some stripe. Without being prompted, he slides one of the two horns of mead he carries across the table to you, raising his own in a toast.

    After a modest mouthful of his own drink, he speaks, "Rumors flit about this place like a bee to the flowers. But all seem to agree that your. . . skills are worth every copper and more. Tell me then, friend: what brings you here and how can Ingmund convince you to allow him the honor of employing one such as yourself?"

    Scenario 3:
    Behind you, the tomb's double-doors slam shut. Try as you might, you are unable to pry them open by any means. A disembodied voice laughs unnervingly as soft blue flames begin to dance to life along myriad braziers lining either side of the room.

    "Arlanghar the Brave and Bold; the Wise and Learned; the Sly and Cunning. All truth and lies. Dead and alive, a tomb and a mansion." Another peal of laughter emerges before the voice trails off into silence.

    At the center of the square room stands a three-armed gargoyle, each hand grasping a different weapon: a sword, a staff, and a bow. The far wall is dominated by a mural depicting what appears to be three versions of the same hero, each wielding weapons that correspond to those held by the statue.

    Recruitment is going to remain open until Feb 25th. After that, when the books have been released, I'll work as fast as possible to get the game formally started. I'm looking to be taking Six Characters in total.

    As a final piece of advice from yours truly, I'm looking for exceptional applications here. A few of the slots are more than likely already spoken for, so competition will be tight. I'm not interested in the usual barrage of I built this character for another game, but he/she got rejected, so I'm going to alter their point-buy and submit them for the 7th time. If you're particularly wed to a character like that, at least go back to the drawing board and figure out a way to make them more interesting. I don't mean to be a grumpus about this, but I see it happen in so many recruitment threads, and they seldom get accepted.


    Discussion hub for a 2E/PF/Others conversion-hybrid-amalgam... thing. Tentatively referred to as Dungeonfinder because of reasons.


     
     
     
      
     

    "Cast your gaze wide. Cast your gaze far. He who watches only the road does not see what waits in ambush beside. He who focuses solely on his own thread will never see the grand tapestry as it is woven around him. But tread carefully! Sometimes it is better not to know what lurks out of sight. Always remember: The Norns hate competition. And rare is the thread that can weave its own tapestry."

    _________________________________________________

    Two years of brutal conflict as rival claimants fought for the throne, followed by six months of civil war as the king sought to claim his inheritance, have left Nordmark a scarred land. Cyning Geirmund has sat on Nordmark's throne for two years, yet the people still suffer. Vast swathes of agriculture land lie fallow, the farmers driven from their homes and yet to return. Iron mines, which once supplied much of Nordmark's wealth, remain empty. The blackened timbers of razed villages and steads jut from the overgrown landscape like the nails of a colossal giant. Yet amid all this destruction the shoots of a new spring are blossoming. Construction work has started on new settlements, merchant caravans are returning to the roads, and order has returned to a land wracked by chaos.

    The eyes of the inhabitants betray mixed emotions of hope and resentment. Hope because the fighting has stopped, at least on the battlefield, and things are slowly beginning to improve. Goods are returning to the markets, the roads are becoming safer, at least in the central and northern regions, and the power of the jarls has been weakened.

    Yet this same king who now brings stability is directly responsible for much of the hardship. He made no attempt to return in peace, unleashing his armies as soon as he had crossed the border. In the eyes of many, his enemies' scorched earth policies were a direct result of the king's heavy-handed approach. No one forgets that while the general population begged for food, the nobility dined in style and demanded the taxes be paid on time and in full.
     
     
     
                   H E L L F R O S T:  SPLINTERS   of   NORDMARK

     
     
     
    Perhaps the tales were wrong. Perhaps hands were afforded enough scields(*) that their mouths might flow forth with honey. Two years of supposed peace, and it seems the whole of Nordmark still lies under a pall of desolation. Merchants, skalds, and wayfarers boasted and bragged of the opportunities to be had. They boasted of rampant trade and fortunes to be made, yet all around stand only empty husks and examples of what was lost to war. They promised seas of orchards and verdant fields, yet forgot to mention there remain none to farm them. They promised freedom from the self-important nobles of the other Marklands, yet Geirmund's eyes and hand are evident everywhere with the thunder of his army's march. Empty promises, one and all. And yet, like a seedling ascending slowly skyward, a thin swell of hope remains beneath a bloody, burnt, and broken veneer. Nordmark's pulse yet knocks for one who listens hard enough.

    Perhaps the tales were wrong. Or perhaps they were appraisals of a time yet to be realized—a plea for someone to stoke the fire of renewal and change.

    _________________________________________________

    I'm opening up the Gameplay Thread because it makes tracking post updates and the like vastly easier. The above is mostly just to set a little bit of tone for where your adventures will be taking place (at least, initially). While the game hasn't officially started yet, everyone can score this thread with a post from their character's profile: doing so lets me know that your character is finalized and you are ready to begin officially.

    * scields are the closest thing to a uniform unit of currency Rassilon has. They are coins (Gold, silver, copper).


    This is a Closed Recruitment thread for a group of friends.

      
     

    We'll handle character builds here in the Recruitment section to avoid cluttering up the Discussion too much. More will follow on character creation guidelines, but we'll just square away semantics in Discussion before I get too worried about all of that mess. Feel free to brainstorm or talk about potential characters in the meantime.


    Here's the alluded to gathering point and discussion thread. As the title implies, I have a germ of an idea for where we're starting and going, but things are mostly tentative for the moment. For now, I'll just answer any questions you guys have and do my best to explain the lay of the land and the Play-by-Post arena.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    F A N G   AND   S H A C K L E
                   DISCUSSION

    As alluded to (and by alluded, plainly declared) in the initial recruitment writeup, Fang and Shackle is going to be a Molthune launched adventure that leaves the story almost entirely up to the Players. While I am providing a decent framework to establish a point of origin, where you all go from here will be entirely up to you. Judging from the submissions as listed, there seems to be a prevalent pro-Molthune atmosphere, which will work wonderfully. While this aims to be extremely sandboxy, I will offer a couple of boundaries to make the experience go more smoothly for everyone:

    • Cohesiveness: Don't actively seek out opportunities to split the group up or lone wolf it where the current story doesn't encourage it. There will be opportunities for this that crop up, but overall I'd prefer not to have multiple scenarios playing out at all times for the sake of game progression and your GM's sanity.
    • Kingdom Building: It will not be an initial prospect, but I won't rule it out as a future possibility. I will go ahead and caution that my style tends more towards what serves the story than what serves the mechanics. Kingdom building, if it ever happens, will be presented more organically in the Gameplay Thread as opposed to making rolls, spending BP, and a month later your castle manifests.
    • Out of Bounds: Technically, there is no out of bounds. I only ask that your characters not give in to dementia and wander off into Nidal or Druma for no apparent reason.
    • Interparty Conflict: It looks like most of you are all onboard the Molthuni War Machine, but there will be sidestory developments to work in secret against your own party members. I neither encourage nor discourage this (do as your character wishes!), but remind you that getting caught doing so will be hard to squirm out of (especially with a Commissar along for the ride).

    __________________________________________________

         THE DISCUSSION THREAD

    Most of you know the drill by now, I'll wager. This thread is for OOC and off-topic discussions. Good rule of thumb is that anything not pertaining to whatever is currently going on in the Gameplay thread should go in here.

    __________________________________________________

         THE GAMEPLAY THREAD

    Everything happening in-character or relating to the immediate situation in the Gameplay Thread belong there. OOC questions and the like are fine in here so long as they pertain to what's actively happening.

    __________________________________________________

         CAMPAIGN TAB

    It looks admittedly bare at the moment, and that will change as we progress. I intend to keep an accurate roster of NPCs of note, locations, and noteworthy events/accomplishments. Any battle maps in use will have a link provided both in the Gameplay Thread involving the encounter and in the Campaign Tab. My skill at mapcraft is going to be a far cry short of those in the Ruins campaigns I'm afraid, but my hand-drawn monstrosities should at least serve as decent enough expression of terrains and positions if nothing else. I'm hoping the mind theaters of the group as a whole can do the rest of the work.

    __________________________________________________

         LEADERSHIP

    I'm allowing it. As everyone does on this matter, I have my own stipulations: I will handle the creation of any cohorts that are picked up over the course of the game. I would greatly prefer if introduced NPCs that qualify are considered. I always hope that Leadership will serve the story instead of some meta-game agenda: pocket-healers, mega-crafters, etc. If you intend on picking it up, feel free to talk with me about it and we can hammer out something that everyone will agree with.

    __________________________________________________

         FORMATTING

    I am going to be borrowing Rob's format from the Ruins of Pathfinder campaign, as they provide everything in a concise, easy-to-read manner.

    Formatting wrote:

    In-Character Content

    _______________
    ooc commentary
    Specified Roll: 1d20 ⇒ 20
    Move Action: Move to E23
    Swift Action: Move to E23
    Standard Action: Move to E23
    End Location: Move to E23

    In-Character posting should generally adhere to the following, though creativity is encouraged beyond such:

    Character Speech: should be "Bolded inside quotations like so."
    Character Thought: should be "Italicized inside quotations like so." or 'Italicized inside apostrophes like so.'

    Any one wishing to use Google Translate to account for different languages, I encourage you to do so. Try to adhere to real world similarities where possible; Skald should be Icelandic while Tian-Min should be Japanese (for example). Please spoiler the translation in the event that you do so.

    __________________________________________________

         MISCELLANEOUS

    Rather than prompting players to make skill checks or saving throws, I will make any necessary preempted rolls on your character's behalf as warranted by the situation. If your character would like to try something you feel warrants a skill check, feel free to include those in your post ahead of time. A character who elects to scout the crumbling remains of a tower for treasure would of course roll a Perception Check, while an archaeologist examining the same tower for structural damage would be making a Knowledge (Engineering) Check. Rolling for your characters is a means of expediting an already long process.

    I will be containing rolls in spoilers. If an orc clips you with a single blow, you have my sympathies. As outlined in the Recruitment thread, however, there are going to be multiple resources in play to mitigate character death. In general, I don't like characters dying to freakishly bad luck—punished by the dice gods for otherwise great roleplay and decisions. Conversely, I'm not terribly sympathetic to someone who does something outrageously foolish: I'm gonna try to grapple the gelatinous cube...

    Experience Points: Don't worry about tracking them. I'll level your characters up as both I and the story's flow dictates. Going by the books ultimately results in sluggish paces—the play by post arena simply isn't fast enough to see characters develop at a reasonable pace. As such, I'll rely on strong roleplay and plot points to set the pace of leveling rather than slogging through multiple waves of gobbos and orcs.

    Dying: I don't want players to die, but it happens sometimes. In the event that your character bites it, I'll give everyone one pass—you'll be able to design a replacement character to join back into the game. If that character dies also, I'll be politely asking you to exit stage left and calling on one of the denied applicants to shuffle their character in. Bears repeating: 2 Hero Points allow you to cheat death.

    Character Bonds: Part of the reason I'm allowing this game to be open ended is to see how the characters interact with one another; to see what sort of adventures they conjure for themselves with both common and opposed goals. As such, if I feel like certain relationships within the group are very pronounced—be it fond comradery or a mild enmity—over the course of the game, I will begin introducing in-game perks to reflect these relationships. This will require no specific undertaking on behalf of the players; just play your characters out and we'll see where it goes from there.

    __________________________________________________
    Item Crafting: I'm going to put this to a vote here before things get underway. We have two options:
    1.) As per the Core Rules. Very clearly outlined and easily referenced.
    2.) My own homebrewed variant. Very decidedly vague in terms of what you can create. I'll give a brief overview of that below.

    Alternate Crafting Rules:

    What’s Different?
    The intention of this change is not to make crafting more difficult, but a richer and more rewarding experience. It divorces magical item creation from the mostly-concrete ruleset contained in the Core Rules, replacing it with a system in which the player and DM cooperate to create truly unique items. Crafters are given more direct input and time “in the spotlight” to realize their creation. It is no longer as unimaginative as throwing an adequate sum of gold pieces into the cauldron and stirring until the item is ready.

    Overall crafting times will be diminished, especially where “common” items are concerned. Crafters will be given the option of spending less time forging the item and more time collecting the necessary ingredients to craft it. How these ingredients are obtained will be mostly up to the player (pending DM approval, of course). Once a Player successfully crafts an item, they will be able to add that item to their list of known formulae. From this point on, they will be capable of creating that same item in it’s basic form using the same ingredients. The Player might also elect to continue experimenting with their results, using new reagents to attempt and achieve greater results. In short, Players will have two options: crafting an item from their list of Known Formulae, or Experimentation, which will be explained in further detail later.

    It is important to note that what is required to create an item will be unrestricted within the realm of reason. In order to craft a Flaming Sword, for example, it would not be necessary to find one explicit ingredient. Rather, crafters the world wide will be able to find different avenues to the same (or similar) results. Perhaps the scale of a red dragon will suffice in one instance, while the blood of an abyssal creature works for another. Ultimately, the quality or rarity of the ingredients in question will yield different results. In game terms, the more difficult the acquisition of said ingredient is, the more rewarding the experimental phase.

    Crafting Feats:
    All of the Crafting Feats have been consolidated into two. This allows players to craft magical gear without causing significant damage to their feat economy. Furthermore, acquiring the feat adds several basic items to the Player’s list of Known Formulae. It should be noted that players can experiment with these basic items to create more unique items out of the same concept.

    Craft Magic Items
    Craft Magical Items covers the crafting of Armor, Weapons, Rings, and Wondrous Items. The included formulae are as follows:

  • Enhancement Bonus to Armor (example: +1 chainmail)
  • Enhancement Bonus to Weapons (example: +3 halberd)
  • Ring of Protection
  • Amulet of Mighty Fists
  • Amulet of Natural Armor
  • Bag of Holding
  • Belt of Giant Strength
  • Belt of Incredible Dexterity
  • Belt of Mighty Constitution
  • Bracers of Armor
  • Cloak of Resistance
  • Headband of Alluring Charisma
  • Headband of Inspired Wisdom
  • Headband of Vast Intellect

    Craft Magic Implements
    Craft Magic Implements covers the crafting of Potions, Rods, Staves, and Wands. Players may add the formulae for any metamagic rods for which they have the appropriate metamagic feat.

    Crafting Times: (Subject to change)

    • Common: 4 hours per point of bonus.
      Common items are those items a crafter learns upon taking the relevant feat (see above). (Example: a +3 longsword would require 12 hours of crafting time be spent.)
    • Uncommon: 8 hours per point of bonus.
      Most new discoveries will be classified as Uncommon. This refers mostly to the “Basic Items” added to the list of Known Formulae. (Example: a +3 flaming longsword would require 32 hours of crafting time be spent.)
    • Rare: 24 hours per point of bonus.
      Rare items are those items that receive unique qualities. This refers mostly to items crafted through the Experimentation method.
    • Legendary: 1 month per point of bonus.
      Works of wonder rarely seen, Legendary items come into existence seldom. In order to attain Legendary quality on a crafted item, one needs to get a result of 100 or higher on their Experimentation check.

    Ingredients and Reagents:

    • Common: -1 to Experimentation Check.
      Common ingredients can be purchased regularly in most cities and large villages. They are relatively easy to acquire by other means, such as adventuring, foraging, scavenging, etc. (Example: powdered gemstone, snake venom, moth dust)
    • Uncommon: +0 to +1 to Experimentation Check.
      Uncommon ingredients can seldom be purchased in most villages or small cities. Larger settlements (such as large cities) sometimes have a very limited selection, while centers of trade (metropolis) sometimes offer a decent variety of reagents - for the right price, of course. (Examples: a manticore fang; basilisk blood; a giant’s eye)
    • Rare: +2 to +5 to Experimentation Check.
      Rare ingredients are exceedingly difficult to come by. If they are to be found in any settlements, their owners are seldom willing to part with them. (Example: scales of an adult dragon; phoenix tears; vampire dust)
    • Legendary: +10 to Experimentation Check.
      Almost unheard of, these ingredients are often the remnants of artifacts, divine powers, or legendary creatures. (Example: Gorum’s blood; a blade fragment of an alara’hai - the 7 Swords of Sin; a perfect scale from a great wyrm)

    Known Formulae:
    Any time a crafter successfully creates an item, they may add the basic form of that item to their Known Formulae list. Additional or unique effects are typically not reliably reproducible. For example: if someone crafts a +2 Freezing Flail that becomes a +4 Freezing Burst Flail when fighting fire elementals, they would add Freezing Weapon to their list of Known Formulae, but not the enhanced +4 Freezing Burst vs. Fire type creatures.

    Experimentation:
    Any time a Player attempts to craft an item they do not personally know or have a detailed formula for, they must consult the Experimentation Chart. A Player may at any time attempt to experiment further with known formulae using new ingredients or different methods, although this will typically not result in learning a new formula. At the beginning of the Experimentation attempt, the Player must roll their relevant Skill (a d20 skill check using Craft or Spellcraft) to determine any bonuses or penalties to the Experimentation Check (d100). After determining the modifier, if any, the Player rolls a d100 and consults the Experimentation Chart, adding any relevant modifiers.

    The purpose of the Experimentation Chart is not to assign specific qualities or abilities to an item; rather, it is more of a guideline to be followed by the DM in order to come up with a truly unique feature to that specific item.

    One last note on experimenting: you will notice that Spellcraft is no longer the only means of creating magical items, although it is still the most surefire way. While Spellcraft can be used as a catch-all for crafting almost anything, individual Craft Skills can also be used. The methods used to create these items are worlds apart, however, and as such someone who has a vast repertoire of magical item formulae created through Spellcraft would be unable to teach said formulae to a blacksmith that relied on Craft: Armor or Craft: Weapons.

    Economy and Magic:
    This is more of an afterthought than an actual change to the system. In a world where new formulae are unique to any given individual, recipes become closely guarded secrets (likely passed down through a family for generations in many cases) and cornerstones of mercantile ventures. Formulae exchange/selling would more than likely be commonplace, and many dungeons would no doubt contain ancient formulae worth the risk involved retrieving them.


  • "They have gone to ground, sire."

    A response did not seem forthcoming. Imperial Governor Markwin Teldas casually removed his electrum-framed monocle and began polishing it intensely. A man with a dour face and an immaculately groomed mustache, there existed few who would have thought the man's visage fitting for the height of his station. Creases and lines from worries beyond counting compounded the age the man already wore. His crimson uniform fit him more snugly than it had in the past, though mostly hidden by the regal purple mantle draped about his shoulders. Despite his decidedly underwhelming bearing, the man's shrewd tactics had seen Molthune thrive as never before. The war effort went well, the nation's coffers managed to bloat in spite of a seemingly perpetual conflict, and the cities and populations owing his sovereignty their allegiance continued to swell. Markwin Teldas was a political titan, regardless of the guise he wore. Which made it all the more worrisome that he remained silent in the face of the Spymaster's report.

    "Sire?"

    A long sigh, exhaled in a hiss between still clenched teeth, precedes the chastisement that follows. "Foremost of a network requiring considerable, painstaking detail. Remind me, Thazren; what should one do with a tool that no longer serves its purpose?" Despite his eyes never having left the monocle yet remaining in the Imperial Governor's hands, Thazren can feel Markwin's eyes on him—the full weight of a volcano's ire hidden in the depths of those orbs despite their placid facade. Even before the Spymaster has a chance to speak, he is cut off once more by further reprimand.

    "Nirmathi rebels roam my lands with impunity; Pathfinders canvas the depths of the Backar uncontested; and I am now told that agents of the Umbral Court have infiltrated our nation en masse." Finally, the Imperial Governor's eyes raise to meet that of his Spymaster. A putrid creature of disgusting heritage. That General Hakar thought the wretch could be useful had obviously been a gross miscalculation. The beginnings of a sneer paint Markwin's face. "Your services, overestimated as they were, shall be required no longer, Thazren. Your blunders and flagging competence shall not be suffered by the sovereignty of Molthune any longer." Turning to the wall of Imperial Guard flanking him, the Imperial Governor concludes: "Remove this pest from my sight."

    Gauntleted hands force the wererat out of the room in a flurry of squeaks and protests. The Imperial Governor reclines into the thick cushions of his chair. No more time remained for half-measures and missteps. In the years to come, his legacy would be decided. It would not be a memory of failure.

    __________________________________________________

         F A N G   A N D   S H A C K L E
              PROLOGUE — BUILDING SEASON

    The failures of yesteryear hang heavy like a burial shroud over Braganza. A crown jewel of western Molthune without no eyes enough to see; without hands enough to uplift; without mouths enough to praise. Districts sprang up each year, ever in excess of the bodies available to inhabit. Walls demolished and expanded, standing bastions of impregnable stone playing home to a host numbering too few to properly man them. Painstaking extravagance and detail afforded to structures inevitably falling to ruin and disrepair, only to be rebuilt and fall to the same languishing cycle for as long as the city has existed. This year would be different. A storm of change and providence brewed on Braganza's horizon. Prince-Archbanker Cole Ravnagask had labored long under the scrutiny of Abadar. The time for reaping the rewards long overdue would finally be realized.

    Nestled in the gentle rolling hills of Molthune's plains with the oppressive, frost-capped wall that is The Mindspin Mountains dominating the western horizon, Braganza is a shining beacon viewed from afar. The city sprawls outwards and upwards more each year and the fading luster of bronzed, silvered, and gold streets and structures seems not so apparent from such a great distance. A throng of farmers, laborers, merchants, slaves, and everything in between pour into Braganza like the tide of the sea, much as they have in years past. As the leaves begin to wither and wane, the prospects of those bound for Braganza begin to flourish and wax. Judging from the turnout, this year looks to be the biggest yet. A prospect that has not been lost on the Prince-Archbanker.

    Festooned in banners, floral decadence, and tapestries, the streets themselves seem jubilant as visiting parties begin making arrangements and greasing the required palms to afford themselves prime real-estate in what will inevitably become this year's makeshift bazaar. The charm of the city soon fades however, as it does each Building Season, when those masses vying for a spot to stake their claim become subjected to the days-long process of verification and permit granting. As a result, those not first through the gates are forced to settle their caravan outside of the city proper in a quickly developing tent-and-wagon city. Thievery is kept to a minimum due to the vigilance of both city guards and Abadaran Justiciars, whose ranks seem to be further emboldened and swollen this year by cadres of knights bearing iconography on their arms and armor not seen before: a gauntlet grasping a dark iron cross in a ring of runic script.

    And that, dear would-be heroes, is where we shall kick off the Pregame phase of the adventure. I'm going to be moving things along shortly, likely in two days, to get everyone established in the city among the builders and hawkers. For the time being, those of you without official ties to Braganza are being confined to the tent city outside of the city walls until such a time that the city's authorities can officially recognize your right to enter. Those of you with ties to Braganza, while free to travel into and out of the city, do bear in mind that the incredible variety of peoples and goods outside in the makeshift tent-city are a very lucrative prospect that is not easily ignored. Those of you with Campaign Traits will likely have official obligations to maintain a presence therein—take liberty with this as you see fit; or I can give you a friendly nudge in regards to what you should be doing. Members of the Order will mostly be charged with keeping the peace (or acting as overseer to the Squires that have been given this opportunity to demonstrate competence in keeping the peace).

    Keep in mind this is mostly a freeform role play arena meant to showcase your writing and playing abilities. I'll try to keep a spare eye on the thread in case questions crop up, but expect NPC involvement to be sparse for the time being. Specific questions, PM me or drop them in the Discussion thread.

    //Braganza, Molthune//
         //Cloudy Day, Chilly; 52° F//
              //Rova 1, 4711 AR//


    F A N G   AND   S H A C K L E
         A MOLTHUNE ADVENTURE

    War is a blessing and a curse, friends: opportunity for the keen; distraction for the righteous; purpose for the unscrupulous. The only question I have for you is ’Where shall we stand?’
    —Imperial Governor Markwin Teldas

    __________________________________________________
    Hail and well met! I have been kicking around the basic concept of this campaign for a fair deal of time, only now deciding to give the laurel resting a break and go forward with the plan in earnest. As the title alludes to (as per it being plainly mentioned therein) this will be an adventure set in Molthune: a nation found along the southwestern shore of Lake Encarthan in Pathfinder’s core setting, Golarion. Speaking of which, there is not a lot in the way of published material or canon for Molthune, so this adventure is mostly going to be myself filling in blanks and making it up as I go (or sometimes in advance). More information on Molthune can be found [HERE].

    Who am I? No one important. This will be my first foray into the Play-by-Post format as a DM. As such, I have precious little in the way of providing examples of what to expect from me in this capacity. Examples of my general writing style as a player can be found [HERE]. I will hope it suffices to say that I’ve ran games in 2nd Edition AD&D on up the chain through Pathfinder for a rather hefty portion of my years. As I am rather fond of lists, I’ll simply scrawl and scribble (with my keyboard) what I’m trying to manufacture as well as what I am hoping to elicit from potential applicants:

  • Atmosphere: Something between gritty and high fantasy. Oddness welcome. As I often profess elsewhere, Planescape has my heart.
  • Plot & Story: As mentioned, this will be taking place in Molthune. Expect the ongoing conflict between Nirmathas and Molthune to figure prominently into things at first. I’m mostly interested in exploring character morality and party interplay based on outside forces.
  • Style of Game: Sandbox in philosophy, though not entirely so in practice. By this, I mean I’m going to have several (hidden) plot-points, movers and shakers, and the like going on, but what you do is ultimately up to you. There is no rail. There is not a checklist of accomplishments that need be met for your group to advance further. From the DM seat, it’s going to be a very responsive experience. Maybe you’ll back Molthune or maybe you’ll find Nirmathas is more deserving of assistance. Heck, maybe you’ll just flip the bird to both and wander off to Druma. I make no assumptions, and would only ask that no one take this as a challenge to break my game. ;>
  • A Word on Alignment: I am not abolishing Alignment, I tend to view it as little more than a bird’s-eye glance at the character as a whole. So, while I will be asking players to settle squarely on one during creation, I will not be out of sorts if someone colors outside of the lines from time to time. Your Alignment choice is just a way of letting me know what kind of character you’d like to play—little else.
  • And a Word on Paladins: Any interested in playing the classic concept of the Paladin need not fear, that option shall still be available. Any who wish to play a “Paladin” as a direct representative or divine champion of a specific deity can do so, but will have their Alignment changed accordingly to be more in line with their faith. You will likely be called something other than a Paladin as well. That will suffice for now. Feel free to ask if you are curious and I will provide details accordingly.
  • Character Submissions: I don’t mind players building mechanically sound characters. In a number/rules heavy game like Pathfinder, it just comes with the territory. However, I am one of those fellas that espouses Quality over Quantity; Fluff over Crunch; Role-playing over Roll-playing. As such, characters that strike me as painstakingly min/maxed will likely get passed over during the application process. I’ve found a good rule of thumb is to come up with a personality concept before deciding on the mechanics, though I will not presume to sit in judgment of whatever creation methods works for others. Just get me something that’s fun to play and fun to watch being played. If the most your character brings to the table is high damage yields, I’m not interested.
  • Posting Frequency: One post every 48 hours or so is plenty for me. Assuming an agreed-upon penchant for longer posts in general, I’m perfectly fine with actions dragging on a little longer than in other threads. So long as momentum is maintained, I will be content. If action begins to stall, I’ll simply wave my authoritative wand and get things a’scootin’ further. Just give a heads up for any prolonged absences, and I’ll try to let the pace of the game dictate itself (different strokes for different folks and all that). If the honor system doesn’t work out well, I’ll draw a harder line in the near future.
  • Writing Style: I would prefer well thought out and longer posts as often as possible. Terse posts are not necessarily a bad thing, though I would like to see thought processes and as many descriptive words as possible when players post. I do not have a ton of interest in posting styles that fall squarely in the realm of ‘perfunctory’.

    __________________________________________________
         C H A R A C T E R    C R E A T I O N
    Pay attention closely, as this is where things get a little more interesting. I’m going to be presenting you options—a sort of checklist for the completionists among you. Now, you don’t necessarily have to go for broke on these, although I hope most of you will. I’ll outline a basic character creation package, and if that is ample opportunity enough for you, feel free to go no further. As for the rest? Provide me with that extra mile, answering my questions in full and earnest, and greater treasures for thee await. Let’s get down to it, shall we? (Oh, I’m a sucker for random rolls, by the way—while I won’t foist that upon anyone, I certainly will encourage it for the gamblers in the room. Results on rolls are final, however; no takesies-backsies. If you roll impossibly high, I’ll cope. If you roll a farmer, I apologize for your poor fortune.)

    Starting Level: 1st level, though do not expect to remain there long.
    Alignment: (*)I am going to be allowing any alignment here, though I ask that everyone scroll to the bottom of this post to read my caution therein.
    HP: Max for 1st level; after that, you can either roll upon leveling up or take the average. This is a decision you will be locked into upon character creation (and will be applied to each level thereafter, so consider well your choice)
    Classes: Any Paizo products. No third-party or custom stuff please.
    Firearms: While Molthune is far from Alkenstar, there are things happening that will provide some options. In general, guns are considered Emerging. There will be character creation options to change that to Commonplace.
    Drawbacks: I will be allowing Drawbacks.

    Submitting a Character:
    Create a profile/alias and include relevant information and mechanics inside. I’m going to be asking that character submissions follow the bestiary stat block format for ease of use. Here’s an example of what I’m looking for: [Thorgrim Sigurdson]. Now, you don’t have to follow that exactly; feel free to exercise some creative license and don’t feel obligated to break everything down into bulleted lists. So long as it’s not a nightmare to read and the information is all there, I’ll be content.

    A brief note on starting location: The game will begin in the Molthune city of Braganza, during what has come to be known as The Building Season in the expansive but sparsely populated city.

    Be sure to include the following in your profile, preferably at the bottom and in spoilers:

  • Description
  • Personality
  • Background

    And now, onto the extras—

    The Basic Package:

  • 20-Point Buy OR Roll 4d6 six times down-the-line (no placing), dropping the lowest result.
  • Average starting wealth OR roll for starting wealth.
  • Core races only.
  • One Trait.

    To drastically change your guise (Pick any Paizo race): Explain your heritage, forebears, and why someone of your kind is tolerated. Convince me. Molthune has a higher tolerance for the less savory races than others, but you’ll need to anchor your character to the region accordingly to buy into those graces.

    To qualify for superior training (25-Point Buy OR Roll 4d6 seven times, dropping the lowest and placing where you will): Delve further into your character’s origins and backstory; explain where you received your training or what has influenced your character in such a way to stand above and apart from the typical adventurer.

    To earn higher grade gear and belongings (Maximum starting wealth): Expand upon your character’s Personality section—I’m looking for descriptors with explanations (Example: Hard-Working; Emileah was born to a family of laborers, and knows what it means to put in a hard day’s work).

    To earn yourself a second Trait: Weave it well into your backstory, and make special note of why you qualify for it.

    To earn yourself a Campaign Trait: Same as above, though you will have ties to a specific organization within Molthune and expected to comport yourself accordingly.

    For a reward above and beyond what is provided above (???): Write a story about your character. Or compose a ballad about your character. This story or song can be about their past, their present, or their future. It can be exaggerated or factual. This is your chance to jump off the rails and strut your stuff—rewards will be proportional to the quality (not quantity) and vary greatly.

    __________________________________________________

         C A M P A I G N    T R A I T S

    Most Noble Order of the Exalted March:
    A facsimile of the righteous and noble traditions of Lastwall to the north, many have guessed that the true purpose behind the establishment of this Knightly Order is an attempt to paint an attractive face on the Molthuni war effort—a source of inspiration to Molthune’s citizenry and an honorable guise for the scrutiny of nations beyond. Though boasting few in number currently, the ranks are continuing to swell, and include followers of Abadar, Erastil, and Iomedae in addition to several noble-born scions and decorated war heroes.

    You have been recruited into this burgeoning Order under the tutelage of Ser Eodric Teldas, an Abadaran Justiciar (“Paladin”) and younger cousin of the Imperial Governor. Eodric is a stern but fair man, and has thus far acquitted himself admirably as head of the Order.

    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Diplomacy, Knowledge (nobility), and Knowledge (religion); one of these is a class skill for you. Furthermore, your service to the Order earns you an annual stipend (You receive an additional 250gp in starting funds).

    Precarious Pathfinder:
    None in the Grand Lodge could have foreseen Molthune taking the establishment of their Lodge in Nirmathas so personally. Pathfinders have been declared enemies of the state in the country, which makes operating in Molthuni borders a far more cloak-and-dagger prospect than it would have been otherwise. A pity, for Molthune plays host to a largely untapped well of ruin and dungeon.

    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Bluff, Disguise, and Stealth; one of these is a class skill for you. Furthermore, various Pathfinder contacts, safe houses, and sympathizers remain abroad throughout the region, and can be depended upon to grant asylum and aid to fellow members of The Society who find themselves in dire straits.

    Aspis Opportunist:
    Where one door closes, another opens. Molthune’s decision to outlaw the Pathfinders is a development of immeasurable providence for the Consortium. The organization has moved quickly to secure a mutually beneficial arrangement with the nation, and has taken steps towards exclusive rights to many of the untapped resources buried in the hidden corners of Molthune. You are a Bronze Agent tasked with rooting out clandestine Pathfinders as well as uncovering and plumbing the depths (aka looting) of any ruins, documented or otherwise.

    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Disable Device, Knowledge (dungeoneering), and Perception; one of these is a class skill for you. Furthermore, you have been given honorary citizenship in Molthune (which allows you to travel freely) as well as an assurance that your badge will carry considerable weight when dealing with authorities.

    Rud’s Wastewares:
    Hailing from Alkenstar and in the firm grips of a lucrative contract with Molthune’s military forces, Rud “Nail-spitter” has begun supplying the Molthuni war effort with superior firearms and competent training. Imperial Governor Teldas hopes the introduction of superior firepower will afford them the edge against the Nirmathi guerrillas they have lacked in the past. You have either spent time as an employee under Rud or have received training as a Molthuni regular.

    Benefit: You receive a +1 trait bonus to Craft (alchemy), Knowledge (engineering), and Profession (soldier or engineer); one of these is a class skill for you. Furthermore, Firearms fall under the Commonplace Guns rule for you.

    Nirmathi Sympathizer:
    Your ties to Nirmathas far outstrip any loyalty you feel towards Molthune. Maybe you’re a spy for the northern nation, or maybe you simply disagree with Molthune’s aggression towards their neighbor. Your predisposition against Molthune’s war effort is a dangerous stance to take in the nation, for providing aid to the enemy is tantamount to treason.

    Benefit: You receive a +2 trait bonus to Bluff and Diplomacy; one of these is a class skill for you. Furthermore, as a member or staunch ally to the Nirmathi Underground, you are privy to multiple caches and safe-houses that can be utilized in times of need.

    Custom Campaign Traits: The above are by no means the only options available. If someone has a particular hook or avenue they would like to explore, I’m more than willing to work with the Player in designing a new trait (likely following the same template as those above).

    __________________________________________________

         R E C R U I T M E N T    I N F O

    I’m going to be breaking down recruitment into three phases, though some of them shall overlap; Initial Recruitment, Pregame Roleplay, and then Recuitment Close.

    Initial Recruitment:
    Recruitment starts: September 3rd, 12:00PM
    Recruitment ends: September 18th, 12:00AM

    Pregame Roleplay:
    I will be opening the Gameplay thread to roleplay before the game actually starts, as a way of gauging roleplay capabilities and character design as well as giving everyone and myself time to finalize and smooth out character details. This will occur ONE WEEK after the Initial Recruitment phase, and last up until the September 17th deadline. I delay this as a way of giving multiple people a chance to participate in the gameplay thread at the same time, and also as an encouragement for people to finish their characters before diving into the pregame scene.
    Pregame Roleplay Begins: September 10th, 12:00PM
    Pregame Roleplay Ends: September 18th, 12:00AM

    Recruitment Close:
    After recruitment has been officially closed on September 17th, I will spend the next couple of days reviewing submissions and finishing up any questions or concerns regarding them. Expect a decision to be made no later than Friday, September 20th.

    How Many Players?: I’m going to set a tentative limit of 6 characters, though that may rise or fall depending on the number of submissions I receive.
    Characters in Reserve: If people wish to have their entries considered for later addition pending drop-outs or ejections, I will be completely open to that idea. I will likely contact any replacements by PM and see if they remain interested at the appropriate time.
    __________________________________________________

         H O U S E R U L E S

    Hero Points: I will be running Hero Points, with the following uses available:

    • CreationYou will begin with 2 Hero Points.
    • Earning Hero Points: Leveling up; Achieving plot-based milestones; Impressing the hell out of me via ingenuity or exceptional roleplay
    • Spending Hero Points: Spend 1 to reroll any d20 (you must take the second result, even if it is worse); Spend 2 to escape death (details there will be based on the situation as it relates to the story); Special: Spend a Hero Point to do something outside of the scope of the rules (I leave this up to the player; requests for auto-successes, bonuses to rolls, and the like will be denied—creativity rules the day).

    Deity Calls: Sometimes the powers take special interest in the mortal world. As a result, any time a player is slain, they will be allowed a d100 roll to reflect the possibility of their respective deity’s divine intervention. You must roll under your total character level in order for this to work. (As you can see, I’m providing several options to mitigate the circumstances of character death)

    Intimidate: You may substitute Strength for Charisma on Intimidate, but this is non-reversible decision made at character creation.

    Crafting Skills and Character Creation: You may pay the reduced crafting cost for items if you can achieve the required result by Taking 10 on the Skill.

    Crafting Feats: This is a big maybe. I think maybe sticking to the crafting rules as outlined would be less of a headache for everyone due to consistent and reliable mechanics. I’ll likely put this one to a vote when the final group is decided upon; I will present the options then and go into more detail. Suffice to say for now, I’m not very enamored with the wealth-by-level assumptions of the game, and developed a very free form crafting alternative.
    __________________________________________________

         O T H E R / M I S C E L L A N E O U S

    Alignment: As I mentioned far upstream, I will not be overly rigid with Alignments nor will I be restricting character alignments. However, I expect people to own up to what they play. Actions of a decidedly evil bent likely elicit responses comparable to the depravity of the deed being committed. If you cut down a peasant in the street because it’s fun you are going to be facing down the town guard in a very bad way soon after. In short, play what you want but own the consequences.

    Party Conflict: I am all for interparty conflict so long as it serves the story and does not infringe upon another person’s enjoyment. In a case where PCs are clashing, make sure in the Discussion thread that all parties involved are okay with the overall direction of the disputes. We’re here to have fun. It’s what my character would do is less important to me than This is a fun game.

    Combat: I will make no claims of offering super-awesome-amazing battle grids and maps, but I will try to keep things organized and easy to see. Initiatives will mostly be RAW, although I will be clustering up actions in groups where able to speed along gameplay.

    Rules and your DM: I’ll make mistakes. Probably frequently. I sometimes forget that some of my tabletop houserules are houserules and continue in blissful ignorance. Please don’t take it too personally if I make a bad ruling; simply provide a link to how things should work and I’ll make a ruling based on that. I may not be perfect, but I will try to be consistent.

    Hopefully that covers everything as far as recruitment goes. Any questions or concerns, feel free to ask and I’ll respond asap.


  • After flipping through the Linnorm Kings book, the Valley of the Birthing Death jumped out at me for some reason. Following a long period of apathetic fixation, I decided to invent some story to back it up for our table's version of Golarion.

    Before I post the link to what I've got thus far, I will say I'm mainly interested in coming up with balanced alternatives to a couple of things more than lore/flavor recommendations. That's not to say I don't welcome interesting ideas and tweaks--I'm just more interested, at this particular juncture, in making sure that nothing about it is too overwhelming or underwhelming.

    Link: Ulfen Steelborn

    What I'm specifically looking for: How to balance and justify Gloryseeker weapons as a Character Trait?

    The basic idea behind the Gloryseekers is tied directly to the people wielding them; the wielder's deeds and heroics will restore the object to its full glory. This becomes less of an issue if I end up running this sort of adventure for a group of PCs all bearing said weapons, as it then becomes a simple matter of adjusting incoming treasure. The problem with balancing is mostly derived from the possibility of my actually playing a lone PC with this background. I figure most of the people around here are more competent at the number-crunches and relative balance than I am. The only thing I've come up with is an evolving weapon, but I feel like that's coming dangerously close to archetype territory (which I don't want). I don't want a way to cheat the "character wealth" system by any means.

    The modified longevity of Ulfen Steelborn would probably be moot by adventure end. The story's resolution would likely put a stop to the age-drinking. Helmnheir's Curse has a much nastier side effect that was not accounted for.

    I'm also open to recommendations for alternative "racial stats" beyond simply replicating a typical Human.


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    I'm arriving at a point in a current campaign where I intend to thrust the players into a massive scale conflict between two enormous hosts. After browsing around some, I keep coming back to L5R's mass combat tables as my preferred method. The trouble therein, of course, is the fact that L5R is an entirely samurai-based setting with rewards and conditions reflecting said inspiration. I'm not trying to copy-and-paste it wholesale over to Pathfinder, as that would be futile and make no sense. What I'm hoping to do is get some input and different perspectives on how to make it fun, engaging, and worthwhile. I have yet to explore this much beyond the brainstorming process, so I'll likely be returning fairly frequently to update the thread with "progress so far." Until I have started the actual conversion process, I will give a brief explanation of how the original L5R tables worked, and then impose upon any with a spare moment or two to offer some ideas (mostly pertaining to opportunities in said combat, although alternate ideas for a mechanic in general are welcome by all means).

    How it works: There are four levels of engagement: Reserves, Disengaged, Engaged, Heavily Engaged. The dangers and opportunities involved will vary according to the level of engagement. Those in the Reserves rarely receive damage (unless their army is being decimated) but aren't afforded many opportunities to impact the fight at large. Heavily Engaged places the player in the thick of enemy forces, receiving far graver injuries while being afforded several opportunities for heroics that can turn the battle in their favor.

    There are two factors at work here: the performance of the heroes, and the performance of the opposing generals. What rolls will handle this in the Pathfinder version are still up in the air. The two generals make opposed "battle" rolls, with modifiers based upon strength & size of the involved forces as well as "Heroic Opportunities" that players successfully pursue. The result will determine if they are Winning, Losing, or at a Stalemate.

    After having determined if the army is Winning, Losing, or in Stalemate, the players will make the appropriate "battle" rolls and consult the table to see how they fare. Each entry will basically break down as follows: Damage received, (*)Glory received (this is a mechanic that will need switched, as Glory does not exist in PF - derp!), and Heroic Opportunities options.

    (*): Thoughts on replacing glory have thus far strayed into the territory of XP gains, Hero Point acquisition (more on this in a bit), and boons. I'm hesitant to grant flat XP, as it would then be one-sided in favor of the front-line martial characters. I like the idea of Battle-only Hero Points, and if instituted would come up with a quick-list of Battle-only Hero Point uses like mitigating damage, adding to the general's "battle" roll, improving the character's "battle" roll, spontaneously changing level of engagement, and so on. Boons are another limited option, that could reflect lives saves or friends made by virtue of the awe-inspiring slaughter the Player dished out during the fighting.

    Heroic Opportunities are situations that arise throughout the course of the fight that present the players with a unique scenario that might allow their forces to capitalize on the player-initiated momentum. Examples include, fighting your way into the enemy's archers, gaining an open shot at a commanding officer, stumbling into an enemy spellcaster, confronting a "champion" NPC from the opposing forces, and so on.

    What will help me at this point: I need to come up with a substitute for the Battle rolls that will be as fair as possible to all classes. Using BAB seems like the easiest route, though I want some considerations given to the Rogue/Priest and Caster progression charts as well. Spells should be a huge tide turner in warfare, and while I expect a mage's capacity to participate in prolonged fighting to be astoundingly low, I would expect rounds in which they unleashed their arcane repertoire to come with enormous bonuses. Rogues, on the other hand, while savvy enough to participate in the hand-to-hand aspect of massive warfare, should obviously be able to capitalize on the chaos of fighting to employ some of their more dastardly attacks.

    I'll work on coming up with a list of Heroic Opportunities in the mean time. At first, they will be designed specifically for the encounter I'm working this conversion for, although if any one deems it worth the effort I would be more than willing to open it up to Mass Battles in general.


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    First and foremost: I enjoy Forgotten Realms as a setting. I dislike how novel-driven the setting's canon is, but the great thing about house rules is you can overrule/override/overrun all of the things you don't like, right? That, and I like pretend that the timeline between 3rd and 4th editions never happened. At any rate, my purpose here isn't to lavish praises on Mr. Greenwood's progeny. I have been teetering on a decision for a little while now, and I'm looking for some feedback and advice from those who have gone before.

    How is Golarion? I ask this primarily to longtime fans of Forgotten Realms. I have no qualms with non-Realmers offering insight; I just don't want this thread to devolve into a heated Realms vs. Golarion flame war. My enjoyment of Faerun hasn't diminished any over the years, but I like to branch out and try new things. I absolutely love everything from Paizo that I've purchased, so I've started giving serious consideration to undergoing a setting switch.

    As I mentioned previously, I am going to probably put more stock in the opinions of people who have actually played or continue to play The Realms. I do this mainly because I feel like their experience with the transition to a new setting would probably more closely resemble mine, should I decide to make that leap - a decision I'm hoping can be reached with more peace of mind pending comments from those in the know. Thanks in advance!