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5E 5e Halcyon Academy (Recruiting/OOC)


I must be crazy, wanting to DM a new game with all the games I'm in. But they all go slowly once started, so I have time. And while I have time...

IC: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?522337-5e-Halcyon-Academy&p=7019122#post7019122
RG: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?521077-5e-Halcyon-Academy-Attendance-Sheet&p=7014929#post7014929

I have the startings of an idea for a game I would like to play, but it's a little different. Here's the pitch:

Welcome to the Academy!

Only the best of the best are chosen for entry, but here there be heroes! Those who graduate are counted among the bravest, strongest, most powerful beings on the planet! Almost every ruler, general, and Archmage studied here. Graduates are sought after by every nation in every corner of the world. A few have even started their own nations!

Of course, you have to survive, and with a 25% survival rate, that is much easier contemplated than completed.

Do you have what it takes to be one of the few who make it to graduation? Will you be a studious practitioner of ancient magic? Or will you prefer to look towards the gods, and attempt to become one of their chosen? Or do you prefer the secretive arts of the assassin, or does the field of battle call you? come to the Academy, where graduation means survival!

(Don't let the name fool you. All allignments are welcome. Bring on the Slytherins!)

The game will primarily take place in the Academy, the most prestigious school of everything in the world. Anyone who has ever made anything of themselves studied there, and you have been invited to attend. You will need to come up with why. Usually, you need to distinguish yourself in some way, or show that you have potential that others do not. However, it is possible to simply pay your way in. Or have a patron pay for you. And then there is a lottery, where a random person is selected at complete random to attend. They rarely ever make it far, but it gives people something to strive for, an the current ruler of the Human Nation was a poor carpenter who won the lottery and distinguished himself as a Paladin.

You will all start off in the same year, brand new students, and here's the catch: You will start with no class. That's right, no class. You will be level 0. Only those who have studied at the Academy are proficient enough with anything to be considered to have a level in a class. By the time you graduate, you will have many class levels, but you start with nothing.

And you do not get to just choose your class as you go. There are a number of schools, and each student is allowed to study at whatever school they want. However, you do have to qualify in an entrance exam for each school you would like to be in. A high attribute in that school's important attribute will make it easier to get in, but it is still possible to get in without it, and it's possible to flunk the exam even with high attribute scores. So, want to play a wizard? Put a high score in Intelligence, and the exam will be easier. But even a stupid half orc can get in, if they're lucky.

Speaking of Attribute Scores, it's going to be an 18 point buy, with max score being a 13 (before Racial bonuses). You will get an additional 9 points to put wherever you want when you obtain your first class.That's enough to get every attribute to 11 before racial bonuses, if you want to be "Average Man". This way, that stupid half orc who somehow managed to get into the school of the Arcane can put more points in Intelligence, to show how much he learned during that time, and make a decent wizard.

Every time you level up, you will have to choose which school, or schools, you spent time in, chosen from the schools you are allowed to study in. A few classes have no school, and have special ways of unlocking. Like Warlocks. They're different. Flunked out of wizard school? There just might be a patron or three around somewhere willing to let you in on a few secrets...for a price...

You can be expelled from a specific school, but typically not the Academy as a whole. You of course keep whatever you have learned so far (whatever class you have is still yours), but if expelled, you will not be allowed to take more levels in a class that requires that school.

So, when I say "it's time to level up", I'll fast forward a bit in the story, and ask you what you have been studying, and at what schools. From the way you answer, I will award you a specific class. At times, you might qualify for more than one, in which case, I'll give you a choice. Don't worry, most of them will be fairly obvious as to what combination makes what kind of character. Your actual character will also play a part in which classes are offered.

So, character creation stuff:

  • * 18 point buy (Max 13 before Racial bonuses). You get 9 more when I decide you have advanced enough to get a class level.
  • Proficiency bonus is +1 until you gain your class.
  • * 1d6 Health for classless character. Changes to Class health when class is picked. Average health from 1st level on.
  • * Background equipment only. Plus a set of clothes if it doesn't come with one. Most don't have much when they first come to the Academy, and those that do aren't allowed to bring much.
  • * A trinket from the Trinket Table. You can roll or choose, your choice.
  • * Any WotC sources are good. UA on request. Let's not do much homebrew this time, I do too much homebrew.
    • * Pick a background. This is what you are doing when you get your invitation.
    • * Tell me how you got your invitation. Did you apply, was it a surprise, do you not know why you were invited? Make it good!
* Races: In this world, the races are very much divided. They each have their own nation, their own language and their own culture. There are smatterings of other races throughout each nation, but for the most part, those are traders. The Academy is one of the only places they are required to mix. The human nation is the most welcoming, and the most used to other races being around. Genasi are rare, as are most of Volo's Races, but they do exist. If you'll run into one, it's likely at the academy.

Any other questions?
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Haven't decided on a setting yet. Likely a simple homebrew, given what I've set up so far, unless anyone has any better ideas.

Also, up until now, I have always been a very lenient DM. The only time anyone has ever died in my games is last week when I was DMing a group of teenagers, and they kept me up until 5 am. At 3:30, they finished the adventure I had planned, loved it, and wanted to keep going, so I just had them all get captured by a game master and put them in an arena, and had them fight an Alhoon. They were level 6. They survived. So I had them fight two...don't remember what they're called, but they're undead and they transport your dying body into their ribcage, and if you die there, you are regurgitated as an undead. They didn't survive.

That said, this is going to be a...deadly game. From the get go. I'm going to spend some time developing the school itself, and when you show up, stupid characters will die. Or worse. And I may force you to keep playing the 'or worse'.

But at the same time, those who risk much will be rewarded much. You can play it safe, and still likely die, or you can risk it all and be rewarded. At higher levels, those who took risks early will be more likely to survive, so...it's up to you.

Here's some background for the setting.

The vast majority of real magic is from those who studied in the Academy. So that's a very small population. Most people haven't seen much magic, except minor racial things.

Except at the Academy. Magic abounds. Experiments run amuck, especially in the magical schools. Magical Items are made left and right, and there are many secrets about the Academy that nobody has discovered for centuries. Think Hogwarts on steroids.

I will be sprinkling the place with magical items that will be way over your level. Why? Because I love magical items and I hate that they never get used. And considering so many of the trials and conflicts that will be coming up will be over your heads (likely), I don't mind handing out a few helps. Even Harry Potter had a Cloak of Invisibility. At Age 10.

Oh, and NPC's will have magic items, as well. But you don't start with any. You have to ear/buy/beg/borrow/steal/accidentally-fall-on them.

Death may or may not be the end. This is a school, after all, and the Deans of every college are basically level 17-19 characters, while the Headmaster will be over level 20. Or something. I haven't decided. But this means they have healers galore, with all kinds of remedies for death. Of course, most of them require that your soul is free to come back to your body. If your soul is eaten, trapped, devoured, or otherwise destroyed, well, you have to roll a new character.

Assuming you have to roll a new character, I'm not sure what I want to do there. I may just let you make another PC from that say year's students. Then again, I may make you make an NPC from the next year's students, one level below the level you died at.

And I might force you to roll a new blank PC and start over. We'll see how generous I'm feeling at the time.

i do want you to have fun, but in all honesty, the best games I've played were ones where death was a very real posibility. [MENTION=552]Creamsteak[/MENTION]'s Escape from Castle Iluvithar was absolutely amazing, and we all started at level 1 and just had to survive. (We didn't). That game ended when you died. At least with this one, I'll let you keep playing.

As far as character restrictions, I feel that the characters would be young, for their race. Equivalent to a human at the age of 21, at the oldest, with the youngest being 16, with the average being somewhere in the middle, like 18. Of course, each race will be different. An elf at the age of 100 would be fine, though no older. Reason being is that this is a school, so they wouldn't recruit older people. But, if you have a reason for an older person, go ahead. Just remember, they'll be the odd ball.


Nope! I don't even like Alignments. It gives away too much of your character. Be whatever your character will be. Paladins have to follow their oaths, Clerics follow their god (which I have to figure out), and so on and so forth, but other than what is required by where you get your power, you are free to be what you want to be, be it Slytherin or Gryffindor.


So here is Asherah P'Rurr, a Tabaxi Academy student.

And here is some information on the Tabaxi.

There are four basic sub-groups among the Tabaxi: the Leonids, with tawny fur and thick manes in the males; the Tigrids, with orange and white fur and black stripes; the Pantrids, which are spotted, though sometimes may be a solid black; and the Felids, which have the most variation in coloration. Leonids and Tigrids tend to be on the larger end of the species’ size distribution while Pantrids are in the mid-range and Felids on the small end.


Elected monarchy (Tabaxi Suzerainty): A Leonid rajah rules with the advice of the Pride Council containing representatives of the various clans in Tabaxi society. The Raj has the final say in what laws pass, however, with the Council serving as the mouthpiece for bringing the concerns of the Tabaxi to the king. The Pride Council members are appointed by their clan matriarchs and are most often male, as females see politics as being beneath them. At the death of the rajah, the Leonid princes elect the next rajah from among their number.


Primarily an agriculturally centered economy based around herds of herbivores that are the primary food source for the Tabaxi. There are mining and forestry operations, as well. Primary exports are fine, silken wool textiles.


The primary deity of the Tabaxi is the goddess Bast. She is the mother of the race and the ruler of the pantheon. The Raj is considered the consort of Bast and the one by whom she rules the Tabaxi.

Other significant deities: Tigrr the warrior god; Pantera, goddess of arts and crafts; Felina, goddess of the fields and herds.

Besides the pantheon, the Basti also worship their ancestors.


Caitian society is loosely caste structured. The Leonids are the noblemen, the ruling elite. They own the large herds and swathes of grazing land. The Tigrids are the warrior class. They provide the strongest and most skilled fighters and, with the Leonids, provide the officer corps. The Pantrids are the artisans and craftsmen. They also tend to serve as middle management and bureaucracy in civil society. In the military, they are often advance scouts and couriers because of their speed. Felids are the herders and laborers. They tend the animals, cut the trees and mine the ores.

A separate clerical caste parallels the societal one. The Raj serves as the High Priest, as well, but mostly in a ceremonial function. Once a year in the spring, he enters the Temple of Bast to conjugally unite with the High Priestess to ensure that the coming year will be fruitful. While the clerical state is open to all castes, rank is determined by caste structure, and the same rules apply as in society. However, only a purebred can be a cleric.

The caste structure is enforced through mostly societal taboo, and intermarriage, while not unknown, is uncommon. Any mixed-caste children are automatically classified as Felids, discouraging such unions, though the parents remain in their respective castes. Basti can move up in caste by edict of the Raj. This is usually done for those who have given distinguished service to society and appealed through their Pride Council representative to the Raj for such a promotion. Downcasting is also possible, a severe punishment. Only exile or execution are worse. Upcasting and downcasting is usually done only one level within a lifetime and is not hereditary unless the upcaste also marries into their new caste, which is often rarely done.

Tabaxi society has a well-established patron-client feudal system and status and social standing is very important. Caste and status are often incorporated into the designs and decorations of clothing and jewelry, so one can tell at a glance where one stands socially in relation to the Tabaxi with whom one is interacting, and therefore show proper deference or demand proper respect.

Family structure is rather complex, making it interesting to navigate. Tabaxi families are matrilineal, tracing descent through the mother. The Matriarch is the oldest competent woman in the clan, usually a grandmother or great-grandmother past child-bearing age. All of her litters form the Clan. A Pride is formed by a younger woman and all of her litters. Each child is given a personal name followed by the Clan, Pride, Litter number, and Caste, hence: Asherah (personal) Jessalyn (Clan/Grandmother) P’Rurr (Pride/Mother) Fivus (fifth litter) Felid (Caste). Most of the time a Tabaxi goes by personal-clan-family or just personal-family, especially outside of Tabaxi society.

Children are raised by the bevy of females in the family in large family compounds. At five they are sent off to school to be taught by the clerics, mostly to make room for the new litter that will be coming. They are raised in large dormitories with other students their age, segregated by sex. They are graduated into an apprenticeship at around fifteen.

Fifteen is also when the females go into their first heat. In preparation, the clan Matriarch arranges a marriage for the female. These marriages are often made well in advance, sometimes even before a female is born, and are primarily political and eugenic in nature, and she has no real say in it. When the female’s first heat comes upon her, she is locked up with her husband to assure that no other male has access to her.

Subsequent litters are not so tightly controlled. After providing children from her first husband, or around the age of twenty, a female is permitted to choose her own second husband. Most females are content with two husbands, but many have more, especially if they are wealthier. Litters can often be fathered by more than one husband, or even by another male in the household.

Male position in the family and society is determined by the female to whom he belongs and the husband number he holds. So even if the second husband is the more loved husband, he is still subordinate to the first husband, and the third to the second, etc. A higher ranking female can demand the use of a lower female’s husband during her heat time and it must be granted, but during non-heat, the exchange must be negotiated or arbitrated by the Matriarch.


Tabaxi are very intellectually curious. Clerics serve as the primary intellectual class. They run the schools and printing presses, write literature and poetry, and compose music, though none of this is exclusive to them. They also provide the majority of the medical services for the Tabaxi, though, again, not exclusively.

Priests also practice theoretical science, but the practical sciences are considered the province of the Pantrid caste. Often, clerics will collaborate with Pantrid scientists, or a Pantrid cleric will practice both.


A traditional art form among the Tabaxi is the sacred totem. The artist takes a block of wood, the height varying with the importance and venue of its setting, and, after taking a special herb that fires his nerves and opens his senses, assaults the wood with his claws, scratching it in a frenzy. When the drug wears off, the artist paints the scratches with various colors, leaving the untouched wood in its natural state. These totems are given prominent places in the courtyard of a home or in the market square of a town. These totems are often then used for divination by clerics.

Tabaxi are also known for the expensive hand-woven textiles made from the soft, silky long hair of a large breed of native rodent that they herd.
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Wow, all of that was amazing, and I love every piece of it. I have to ask, did you come up with all that, or are you borrowing from something? Either way, bravo!

I looked over your sheet, and everything looks good except one, which I forgot to mention. Your proficiency bonus should only be a 1. It increases to 2 when you get your class. I'm sorry if that causes problems in making a new sheet. Otherwise, I love the rich backstory! And I love that you're using a Tabaxi. I've been itching to use one, myself.


I randomly rolled just about everything, Tabaxi included :) Changing the proficiency bonus won't be too difficult. It's form fillable.

The Tabaxi information I originally did as a custom race for a short-lived Star Wars free-form writing RP (they originally also had wings). Then I cribbbed it when I started playing a Caitian on a Star Trek simm because there is almost zero canon information on Caitians, and what there is is stipid (vegetarian? Really?!) So now I just adapt and use it for all my feline characters lol

Making it complete was a trick I learned from a history professor in college about writing history essays. PERSIA. Political, Economic, Religious, Social, Intellectual, Artistic.

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I tend to crib a lot from history, so for Tabaxi I took a loose Indian caste system (not as wretched and oppressive), Indian dress (sari/choli, loose clothes, because fur), and Indian title (rajah) and layered over it a European feudal system with a Germanic Holy Roman Empire elected emperor. Through in a dash of ancient Babylonian spring fertility ritual (king as high priest, spring conjugal visit to a priestess) and a typical African savanna environment, through in some knowledge about house cat breeding habits, shake, stir, and there you have one big mess. :)

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Charwoman Gene

I've been following without posting because I have too many ideas. Hopefully I'll die so I can use the ones I'm leaving on the table.


I can make that happen!

Give me all your ideas. I might make NPC's out of some that you can take over later if/when you die. If they survive that long.

Charwoman Gene

Luc, a peasant, pride of *hometown*, used to being a big fish in a small pond, comes to the Academy to learn the ways of the warrior. He may need to learn humility.

Darra, a wanderer, lived her life in the wilderness. Quick of body and mind, but withdrawn. She must learn to navigate human society instead of the wild lands. Don't use this one, she's the one I'm fleshing out.

Alexis Starcatcher, sage’s apprentice and scribe, gifted in academic learning. The Academy’s more applied learning will be a shock.

Zaheira, former street-thief turned con-artist. Agile in movement and dialogue. Her challenge is how to make a place for herself when she can’t simply run and hide.
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Lol, wow!

Then again, you're a normal person. Normal people would die easy. Now you know what it feels like to be a random NPC!