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Saturday, 27th October, 2007, 10:53 PM #1
Into the New World - Recruitment OPEN (Current players stay OUT!)
Alright, there's plenty of people interested in my "new world" campaign, so here's the recruitment post.
The PCs will start in the town of Cuirlen, a small but steadily growing community of farmers, crafters, and hunters. It is generally known that there are other human settlements out there in the world, as there are a few wandering merchants that go from settlement to settlement, but no one in Cuirlen knows where they might be. Beyond a radius of about 15-20 miles from town center, nothing at all is known of the world. Cuirlen itself is situated on prime land: the town is on the edge of a massive forest, near a river which floods annually leaving rich farmlands in its wake, with access to gently rolling hills perfect for grazing cattle, sheep, and horses, and there are even enough surface deposits of copper and tin nearby that the town is able to boast a bronzesmith. The vast majority of the buildings in the area are built entirely of wood, and those nearest the river rest on stilts to prevent the floodwaters from disturbing the occupants. Only the ancient temple - built before the town's founders settled here 50 years ago - is made of stone.
Cuirlen and the surrounding farmlands are home to about 900 people, all human. The town is ruled by a council of elders, consisting of:
Pantheras the spirit-talker, male age 59
Anakletos the bronzesmith, male age 25
Ambrosia the midwife, female age 48
Phaidros the wizard, male age 45
Mnason the herdsman, male age 49
Kallistrate the huntress, female age 35
and Eriboea the farmer, female age 55
Cuirlen has no militia or town guard, as they have never been attacked by anything that the hunters couldn't repel (hungry predators and the occasional lone monster). What little crime occurs is punished by pillory, manual labor, or exile, depending on the severity of the crime. Because there are no soldiers, armor and weaponry is limited to what is useful for hunting: mainly bows and arrows, spears, and leather armor. Hunters that specialize in especially big or exotic game (Dire Boars are considered a delicacy) might have a suit of bronze ring mail, which would have taken most of a year to make and pay for.
The town itself houses some 700 people, while outlying thorps and hamlets hold the remaining 200 in groups of 20-30 farmers, herders, and hunters. The local farmers and hunters bring in their products every Sunday to the open-air market in Cuirlen proper. Trade in the region consists entirely of barter; as there is neither a central government nor any established trade routes, there is no such thing as money. The market consists mainly of food, clothing, and raw materials; luxuries are restricted mainly to local spice-herbs, alcohol, salt, and exotic meats and furs unless one of the wandering traders is in town. Once every month, Anakletos opens a stall trading and repairing bronze equipment, which is usually busy all day long.
Typical crops are maize and wheat, with a side of potatoes, beans, squash, and cotton. Game is pretty widely varied; everything from deer and other smaller herbivores to bears, boars, crocodiles, monitor lizards, and the dire versions thereof. There are also a variety of fur animals around, especially beavers and foxes.
The people of Cuirlen are animists, meaning that they believe that everything has a spirit or soul. The hills, the river, the forest, even individual trees and rocks, and every animal has a essence and a conciousness beyond the obvious. To wrong these spirits is to bring hardship and strife to you and your family, depending on the nature of the spirit. If you offend the river spirit, your field may not be sufficiently flooded next spring; if you fail to give proper obeisance to the spirit of the boar you just killed, its meat may rot and fester before you are able to prepare it for market; if you ignore the forge-spirit, your bronze will be weak and brittle. Continually abusing the spirits will result in greater hardships, and because of the cooperative nature of life in the area, will likely result in exiling the offender to ease the spirits. People exiled for repeated spiritual crimes rarely seem to survive more than a few days in the wild; their corpses often wind up near the town.
Most people are unable to see or interact directly with these spirits. They are guided in rituals and ceremonies by a spirit-talker: a shaman who was born with the blessing of the spirits. Spirit-talkers are recognized at birth, as each has a unique birthmark showing which spirit favors him or her; Pantheras' birthmark is a cat's paw-print on his back between his shoulder blades, for example. Not all spirit-talkers are able to cast spells, and not all spellcasters are spirit-talkers, but the most magically powerful spirit-talkers are held in higher esteem. Any spirit-talker is a cut above the rest of the people, however, because only one who can communicate with the spirits can know how to appease them. No one would dream of insulting a spirit-talker or denying him hearth-right, because to do so is to invite exile and death after the spirit-talkers refuse to tell you the proper rituals to appease local spirits.
Few in Cuirlen are able to perform magic. No one can cast any spells higher than 4th level, and there are only three casters able to use any magics above 2nd level - Pantheras and Phaidros of the Council, and Sotera, a young spirit-talker with the favor of the river-spirit. It is commonly believed that Sotera will replace Pantheras on the Council of Elders within a few years' time, and that her magical abilities will continue to grow.
Of the spellcasters in the area, almost 90% are divine casters, and of those nearly 70% are spirit-talkers. The divine spellcasters who are not spirit-talkers are generally healers, midwives, seers, or trackers. Arcane spellcasters are extremely rare; only Phaidros and his four apprentices are known to be arcanists. Arcane magic is considered suspicious by the general populace, but Phaidros is a pleasant old man and has proven the usefulness of his spells more than once, so his seat on the Council is secure. That seat may be re-assigned when he passes away, however.
Cuirlen sits on top of a steep hill overlooking the Spiritwash River, which runs generally north to south and lies west of town, the Noonshadow forest, which stretches as far as anyone has ever traveled to the north and northeast of town, and a series of gently rolling grassy hills to the south and east. Far to the northwest, a series of mountains (which no one has ever visited) can be seen at the horizon.
The Spiritwash is nearly 1,000 feet across at Cuirlen, and has dozens of creeks, brooks, and tributaries throughout the area. One such tributary circles around the base of the hill on which Cuirlen is built. If one were to follow the river far enough into the Noonshadow forest, they would find that it bends to the northeast. No one has followed the river far enough from that point to find its source. The river winds back and forth as it flows southward, and rumors from some of the wandering merchants say that the river eventually empties out into a body of water so vast no man has ever seen its end.
The Noonshadow forest is vast and ancient, with trees so tall and broad that even at the height of summer only small amounts of light filter through the multiple canopies to reach the forest floor. All kinds of creatures are rumored to live in the forest; giant animals, carnivorous plants, snakes that talk, trees that walk, flying humans the size of a thimble, and any of a hundred other fanciful tales. To date, the most exotic thing anyone has brought back from the forest was a great bear, over twelve feet in height and covered in sharp, bony protrusions, with the head of an owl. The hunters that make their living in the forest are a superstitious lot, and none will go farther than a day's travel into the forest; they say that bad spirits stalk their footsteps.
By contrast, the plains across the Spiritwash and the hills to the south and east of town are bright and tame. There are occasional packs of wolves or great cats, but the people have explored two or three times farther in those directions than northwards into the forest.
If a generation's characters all die or retire from play, I will finish out the current plot hooks in prose and advance the timeline (generally between 20 and 50 years, but depending how many generations we get to, there may be over 100 years between some "generations"). At this time, I will take a day or two to update the history of the land and will re-post in this thread the updated timeline. Any players that want to leave the PbP will be able to and new players will be chosen to replace them on a one-for-one basis, with preference given first to players who have played characters in a previous generation, then to people who applied for first-generation characters, then second-generation applicants, and so on. I honestly do not know how many generations we'll be able to cover. This is a brand new experiment as far as I know.
At any time during a generation, any player can choose to retire their character. At retirement, they will provide the DM with a few paragraphs describing how they re-integrate into the community, which the DM will take into consideration when I use them as NPCs and historical figures. The player of a retired PC can make a new character starting at a lower level than the rest of the party, but they will have access to any new feats, races, or classes that the party has discovered during that generation's play. If the entire party decides to retire at once (or some die and the rest decide to retire), the DM will advance the timeline to a new generation and the players will make new 1st level characters with access to any new feats, races, or classes that have been discovered.
All first generation characters will be Humans. As in, PHB pg12-14 Human. At this point in time, no other races are known to exist in the world (although they do, in fact, exist, and the first generation PCs should uncover at least one of them). Characters must be non-Evil (and preferably not Lawful Stupid, Chaotic Stupid, or True Stupid, either). The first generation characters will start at first level, using one of the following three options (thank you Voadam for this idea):
36 point buy, NPC classes only for the entire progression
30 point buy, classes available as below
24 point buy, gestalt with one side taken up solely with a single NPC class
Available classes are as follows:
Paladin (greatly altered)
Because of my house rules (as detailed below), all characters are expected to have at least one Craft, Knowledge, or Profession skill at or near max ranks.
I am generally open to feats from any official WotC 3E source, from Paizo (including feats from Pathfinder), and from 3rd party 3E publishers. However, any non-SRD feat will require DM approval (and quite a few SRD feats will require approval as well, such as metamagics and item creation feats). If I reject a feat, I'll work with the player to find something that approximates the flavor they're looking for within acceptable storyline or power considerations.
I will be choosing characters for the first generation entirely on the basis of your backstory. If we end up with a lopsided group (no healers, for example), I'll adjust the situations to suit, or provide NPC assistance. The more rich and detailed your backstory, and the better it fits in with the stuff I've described above, the more likely you are to be selected. I will choose a group of between 4 and 6 characters to be in the first generation party.
I expect players to do their best to completely immerse themselves in the world and roleplay to the best of their ability. I welcome any questions about the world and setting, because A) they help me further develop the world, and B) they help you further develop your character, which helps me further develop the world All characters are expected to have a profession/role in the area, and are expected to have some goal or destiny they want to fufill.
Players will be expected to be able to post 5 days a week, bare minimum. If you cannot commit to this (admittedly fairly stringent) posting requirement, please do not submit a character. I'm happy to make allowances for people that go on vacation, get sick, have pregnant wives (or are pregnant wives, for that matter), etc ... but the expectation will be 5 posts a week. If you can do more, great! I assure you I can keep up
I reserve the right to temporarily NPC a character if the player is very slow to post (more than 2 days waiting for a post) and everyone else is good to go. If one player stops posting completely (more than a week without a post) without letting me know ahead of time, I reserve the right to forcibly retire that character and recruit a replacement.
I realize that these rules are pretty draconian, but it's easier to set the rules strict at first and loosen them up later than vice versa. My goal here is to keep the game running quickly and smoothly with little to no interruption.
Unearthed Arcana Rules in use:
Vitality and Wound Points
Armor as DR
Gestalt Characters (optional)
Skillful - All characters get 2 extra skill points per level. These points must be spent on Craft, Knowledge, or Profession skills only. These bonus parts are multiplied as usual at first level (so 8 skill points useable on Craft, Knowledge, and Profession skills at level 1, and 2 such skill points every subsequent level). In addition, all Craft, Knowledge, and Profession skills are considered class skills for these skill points.
Grounded - All characters get 1 extra bonus feat at first level. This feat must be used for Skill Focus, a +2/+2 skill feat, a Regional feat, or another similar low-power, high-flavor feat. Regional and "other" feats must meet DM approval.
No More Mr. Nice Guy - The Paladin class only vaguely resembles the PHB or Unearthed Arcana versions. General overview of the class - no spellcasting, alignment restricted to the alignment of the god (in this case, spirit) the Paladin follows rather than always LG, "Divine Gifts" similar to Star Wars Saga Edition talent trees. I'll provide more details if someone wants to play one.
Primitive - The most advanced metal in Cuirlen is bronze. As such, I'm adding a few more layers of Damage Reduction. DR heirarchy will be as follows: Adamantine > Steel > Bronze > Iron. In other words, an Adamantine weapon will pierce any DR based on the other materials, but a Bronze weapon will suffer reduced damage against armor that gives DR X/Steel. Bronze armor, in general, gives DR X/Iron. Leather armor depends on the creature used to make it, but is usually DR X/Piercing or Slashing.
Rewarding - You can expect to get a lot of "non-traditional" rewards for good roleplay and for successfully finishing plots. Examples include skill bonuses, bonus feats, and new classes and races available for play.
Time to Rest - You can expect there to be a lot of off-screen "downtime" that you can use to further develop your characters without having to roleplay out every sentence.
Low-Magic - For at least the first generation, magic items will be incredibly rare. Someone might want to take some item creation feats.
You Can Cast What? - Spells Known are subject to DM approval. I'm not going to be draconian about this, but spells such as, for example, Comprehend Languages and Tongues make no sense for a character to know at this time. If such a spell becomes logical in the future, a character will be able to "research" it using the Spell Research rules without paying the XP or Gold cost.
Rule Number One - I reserve the right to add more house rules as I think of / remember them.
Last edited by Zurai; Friday, 6th June, 2008 at 04:34 AM.
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Saturday, 27th October, 2007, 10:54 PM #2
Wow, whaddaya know, it all posted without me having to split it. OK, recruitment is open! You guys can post now. I'll use this post as a Q&A/FAQ post.
Q: Is recruitment still open?
A: Yes! Recruitment will close on Friday, November 2nd, 2007, at midnight EST.
Q: What level do first-generation characters start at?
A: First-gen characters will begin at level 1, with stats as described under "Character Generation".
Q: Do the 2 bonus skill points per level get multiplied on first level?
A: Yes. The intent is to give characters plenty of skill points to use on "background" type skills without having to sacrifice actual build effectiveness.
Q: What, if anything, does a spirit mark do for a character?
A: Spirit marks have no mechanical benefit. If you choose to make your character a spirit-talker, you'll need to decided on a spirit that has blessed your character. This can be quite literally anything; river, hill, horse, dragon, Blackfrond herb... all valid. What the spirit mark does for you is mark you as a spirit-talker, the closest thing Cuirlen has to a priesthood. You will have an innate sense of what pleases and displeases the spirits, especially spirits directly related to your patron. Basically, it's an "Insert plot hook here!" sign for me
Q: What are some valid professions in Cuirlen?
A: Here's a non-exhaustive list: Animal Husbandry, Herder, Hunter, Apothecary, Herbalist, Baker, Butcher, Carpenter, Stonemason, Architect, Bronzesmith, Tanner, Miller, Bowyer/Fletcher, Potter, Healer, Brewer, Laborer, Farmer, Weaver, Fisherman, Dyer, Cobbler, Cooper, Thatcher.
Q: How do we determine starting equipment?
A: Average starting gold for your class; go ahead and use PHB prices for equipment, but any "money" you don't use is lost. Feel free to purchase trade goods if you want (and if there's something you think would be a trade good here but isn't listed, just ask). Remember that this isn't a warlike society, so things that are used only in war aren't going to be possible - stuff like swords and any armor heavier than hide or ring mail.
Q: What kind of favored enemies are available?
A: Right now, the most logical would be animals or magical beasts. I realize the pool is a bit small at the moment; rest assured that plenty more will open up through plot hooks early on.
Q: Do I have to follow the Greek naming convention the NPCs use?
A: Absolutely not. You can if you want, but the naming convention is just for my own use; I prefer having NPCs with culturally-linked names.
Other Notable NPCs:
Eusathios, male, big-game hunter, age 25; Alexios's brother. Noted for being strong and fast, as well as working the longest hours of any of the hunters.
Artemisia, female, big-game hunter, age 21; Tall and beautiful, Artemisia is still single and is lusted after by many of the young men. She is especially superstitious.
Euaristos, male, big-game hunter, age 38; Old and wrinkled, Euaristos is still known for having the best hearing of anyone around, and his advice on hunting and tracking have saved many young hunters' lives.
Apollinarius, male, big-game hunter, age 25; Apollinarius has the eyes of an eagle - literally. He's a spirit-talker favored by the spirit of a great eagle.
Alexios, male, big-game hunter, age 27; Eusathios's brother. Speaks with a stutter. Is quite greedy, but reigns in his impulses for fear of drawing the ire of the spirits. He was the one that tracked down the dire owlbear.
Koritto, female, big-game hunter, age 35; Koritto has long greying hair that she rarely brushes or braids. She's whip-smart and was considered a favorite for the Hunter's seat on the Council of Elders before Kallistrate killed the dire owlbear.
Sotera, female, powerful spirit-talker (river), spirit shaman, age 20; Considered a shoe-in to replace Pantheras as Spirit-Talker Elder when he passes away. She is the only Spirit-talker to have ever been blessed by the Spiritwash River.
Xanthe, female, spirit-talker (horse), herdswoman, age 32; Xanthe is stocky and wears her hair back in a long double braid. She is famous for being especially adamant about making sure every single spirit gets its due.
Sophronia, female, spirit-talker (maize), farmer, age 36; Sophronia always answers a question with another question; some of the younger folks have made a game of it, and Sophronia cheerfully wins nearly every match. It's a mark of pride among the youngsters of the town to have "gotten an answer out of Sophy".
Lempetie, female, spirit-talker (hill), bard, age 67; Despite being a wrinkled, ugly old crone, Lempetie is beloved in the town. She is the oldest living resident and will spin yarns and tell tales all day long. Despite her age, she's not even remotely senile: she is the living history of Cuirlen. She is one of only a dozen or so people still alive from when the town was first settled.
Galatea, female, spirit-talker (deer), spirit shaman, age 24; Galatea is spirit-touched in more ways than one; the poor girl is deaf and pitifully short, but her hard work and the obvious blessing of the spirits has endeared her to the people of the outlying hamlet she lives in.
Agatha, female, spirit-talker (cloud), adept, age 32; Agatha has a reputation for being brutally honest. As far as anyone can remember, she has never once hid her feelings on any matter from anyone.
Aristarchus, male, spirit-talker (oxen), spirit shaman, age 30; Aristarchus lost a leg in a farm accident when he was younger, and took up the ways of a shaman. His shoulders are as broad as his spirit patron's.
Akakios, male, spirit-talker (fox), herdsman, age 40; Akakios is considered one of the most handsome men in Cuirlen - and the most arrogant. The arrogance is born of the knowledge that his sheep have the best wool and tastiest meat.
Lykourgos, male, spirit-talker (tree), healer, age 28; Lykourgos One-eye is one of the more accomplished local healers. He mainly uses herbal remedies, but has been known to use magic when no other solution is available.
Marriages: Yes, informally. There's no true religion in the modern sense of the word, so there's not so much need for a religious marriage ceremony. Think more medieval joining of households than modern walking down the aisle. Ritualwise, there'd be a ceremony to ensure the blessing of the spirits on the union, and another ritual to attract a house-spirit to watch over the new couple's home.
Prejudices: As mentioned, Arcanists are looked at askance. Their magic is completely different from the healing and spirit-related magic that the vast majority of spellcasters in the area practice, and only the arcanists themselves really understand any of it. They're considered useful to have around, but mainly in the sense that an ox is useful to have on the farm.
Clothing: Simple wool and/or cotton shirts and pants. Women wear skirts. No one would look down on a woman wearing pants if she so desired. People tend to wear their "festival best" to market days and important ceremonies like the blessing of the crops and the supplication of the river spirit prior to the annual flooding. Work clothes are as likely to be leather as wool - there's plenty of game in the area, so non-exotic leather is cheap. Festival clothing would be the same basic types of clothes, but dyed, possibly cut more "showy", and made of better materials (cotton instead of wool; furs or exotic leathers instead of deerhide, etc).
Domesticated Animals: Yes. Sheep, cattle, and horses are all present in small numbers. There are more cattle than horses and more horses than sheep. The cattle and horses mainly graze west of the Spiritwash, while the sheep are usually kept in the hills to the south and east of town.
Climate: Temperate and moderately wet. Cuirlen is some distance above the equator so it doesn't get too hot most of the time, but the nearby mountains and dense forest channel rain right through the general area frequently.
Domesticated Dogs: No, but there's nothing stopping a Ranger from taking a wolf as his or her animal companion, and who knows what might come of that...
Horses: Yes. The horses here are equivalent mechanically to light horses in the MM. They're used almost entirely for mounts; they're too light to be much use for a farmer.
Tools: All of the stuff you listed would be available (Axes, saws, plows, shovels, spades, sickles, scythes); I don't want to get too bogged down in the details of what farming implements are invented when. Axes, saws, plows, and scythes would likely be made of bronze; the others would be bone, wood, or stone as appropriate and available.
Eating Utensils: Mostly wooden forks and spoons, with knives made of bronze.
Appearances: Midling tall, fair skin, dark hair. Typical western European, basically. The community hasn't been settled long enough for traditional caste dimorphism to set in (ie, farmers and craftsmen don't look noticeably different).
Epic Legends: Nope! That's where the PCs come in
Pets: Not really, no.
Philosophy and Math: Not much philosophy in the classical sense. Here, people know that everything has a soul. Spirit-talkers in particular are pretty damn sure of how the natural world goes 'round. As for math, nothing beyond basical arithmetic. Advanced concepts aren't really needed for a simple agrarian community.
Writing: Sure, why not.
Sign Languages: I'd imagine that the hunters that work in teams to pull down the bigger game have some non-verbal communication methods, yes. Nothing culture-wide, though.
Noonshadow Forest: There are all kinds of rumors about things people have seen or heard in the forest. That dire owlbear is the only thing that's ever been brought back, though. People tend to dismiss the wild tales of giant lizards with wings that breathe fire - as much out of "if it doesn't exist, it can't destroy my home" as anything else.
Prudishness: Not Plymouth Rock Protestant prudish, but you'd be thought spirit-touched if you wandered around town naked or in night-clothes. They don't see anything morally wrong with T&A. It rains enough and life is tough enough that people generally keep clothed except in private. Now, at the fertility festival......
Spirit-Talker Clothing: Spirit-talkers don't really have any special garb; again, it's not so much a religion as it is a way of life.
Calendar: 12 months. Each month is 28 days (4*7-day weeks) long. Each season is divided over 3 months. The names of the months and the days of the week remain the same as in real life (January-December and Sunday-Saturday).
Tanning: The Native Americans used water that collected in the hollowed-out stumps of oak trees (coincidentally called "tannin") to tan their leather. It doesn't smell great, but it's better than urine and feces. In the interest of not having to deal with piss-pots, we'll say that's the method commonly used here
Wheels: Nope, no wheels as a method of conveyance. No roads to use them on, either. Pottery wheels and millstones exist, though.
Last edited by Zurai; Sunday, 28th October, 2007 at 06:49 PM. Reason: Added all pertinent questions and answers so far in the thread
Saturday, 27th October, 2007, 11:23 PM #3
Spellbinder (Lvl 16)
I'm probably blind or just missed it, but are we starting at first level?
Saturday, 27th October, 2007, 11:25 PM #4
Originally Posted by Zurai
Yeah, it's a lot to read through. I'll add that to the FAQ post.
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 12:54 AM #5
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Do these 2 skill points get multiplied at 1st level?Originally Posted by Zurai
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 12:57 AM #6
Good question - yes, they do.
The intent is for people to be able to put points into "background" type skills without having to sacrifice effectiveness. You can either max out 1 background skill and sprinkle some points across a few others, or max out two.
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 01:05 AM #7
Looks interesting. I think I'd like to play an archer Ranger, one of the top hunters of the tribe.
Last edited by Nephtys; Sunday, 28th October, 2007 at 01:18 AM.
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 01:05 AM #8
Myrmidon (Lvl 10)
Well... from what I have read, I think a plain fighter will be nicely feet here. He could be a town blacksmith, with ranks in profession and craft for this. Would it be ok?
Visit The Link Village of Voda Vosa in the RG for complete game links, and stuff!
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 01:07 AM #9
Another point that I forgot to make in the Character Creation section:
Just because a class you really really really want to play does not appear on the Available Classes list doesn't mean there's no chance of you playing it. If you have a character concept you really want to play which involves a class not on the list, and you can provide me with a good, solid flavor and backstory for it, chances are I'll OK it (at least as far as requesting a full-fledged character submission for it).
As a side note to that, don't feel beholden to the official WotC flavor for the various classes. I'm far more concerned with getting interesting and heroic tales out of this than I am in enforcing rules designed for an entirely different campaign framework than the one I'm using.
Last edited by Zurai; Sunday, 28th October, 2007 at 01:10 AM.
Sunday, 28th October, 2007, 01:09 AM #10
Bronzesmith, but yes, that'd be fine. You could be one of Anakletos' apprentices; he has several. That would also potentially give you insight into the working of the Council of Elders, as well.Originally Posted by Voda Vosa
Note that Anakletos is the youngest Elder by almost a decade. That's how important bronze is to the community.