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D&D 5E [OOC] Uller's Out of the Abyss


IC: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?469472-IC-Uller-s-Out-of-the-Abyss
New Rogues' Gallery: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?470797-RG-Uller-s-Out-of-the-Abyss-Character-Tracking

About the Campaign

This will be my attempt at a PbP play through of OotA. Put as much or as little RP into your posts as you like. My style at the table is more of a narration style...I say what happens and what the NPCs say, I don't speak in character much and leave much of the detail to the players' own imaginations. But (as you can see) I'm a bit verbose when typing so I suspect I'll get more into storyteller mode.

This is my first attempt at PbP. I will endeavor to post regularly but sometimes life will prevent me from posting. Please be patient. If you have suggestions or constructive criticisms, feel free to PM me or bring them up in the OOC thread.

Starting players:

We will begin with 8 players which is all the ones that have expressed interest (yes...I'm a softy). I expect people will drop over time. As they do, we won't replace them. They'll just drop...So here are the players I have seen expressed interest. Sorry...no more until we drop below 4. Then maybe we'll add some (or not...who knows). With such a large group we may have to institute a combat alternative init system to allow the game to move at a reasonable pace. So see below.

Here are the initial players. I'll PM you later to make sure you see the game...


With so many players, I will not be tracking much about the PCs other than current conditions, hp and HD.


We will use the 5e rules, RAW/RAI as best I can do. When in doubt I tend towards what seems most fun to the group. I am the sort of DM that looks for ways to make sure the PCs are getting ample chances to use the abilities. House rules will be introduced over time.

If a rule is ambiguous (I'm lookng at you, stealth!) we'll establish how we play it then, see how it goes and adjust as we see what works and what doesn't in this format. Rest assured, I am not a "DM-may-I" sort. It is always my goal to find ways for PCs to do the kewl things they were built to do.

The only major departure from the rules at the start will be the way initiative works to a) facilitate moving the game along and b) I really don't like 5e's surprise mechanic. 5e combat's are so short (and I'll be making them shorter by making small changes to the monsters) that the potential to go twice before your opponent goes at all is just too powerful (and you will be surprised sometimes...I don't want to see a PC die before he or she gets a chance to react!). More on that below. Other house rules may be introduced later as we find things that just don't work in this format...


We'll be keeping this set in Forgotten Realms. I am by no means a FR expert (or fan for that matter). So don't expect me to know much beyond what's in the adventure. My son and I have a couple of FR and Neverwinter source books but I doubt I'll be cracking them much except maybe for an occasional narrative interlude.

All PHB Races and Classes are in play. I don't see any need to restrict things. Multiclassing is in play but no more than two or three classes, please.

Part of the fun of the early portion of the campaign is the wonder and horror that is the underdark. So it it were me, I'd play a character that is as totally alien to the underdark as possible. But that's me. Do what's fun for you.

Character Builds and Variants:
Variant Humans and Feats are in play. If you are interested in any other variants, just ask. Probably yes. Use a 27 point-buy. 1st level PCs. I expect there to be a lot of PC turn over. Feel free to create a 2nd or 3rd PC to have waiting in the background in case...how shall I put this...something unfortunate happens to the first. I am far from a killer DM. In fact, I think the only PC death I've seen in 5e (including the playtest) so far was one that I played (one of the pregens in LMoP). However, I don't pull punches. I try to play the monsters and NPCs realistically. I make all rolls publicly unless there is some need to conceal it and I don't fudge.

You may use the optional background information in appendix A if you have access to the adventure (or you can download it...I just tried and couldn't for some reason. I'll check again and edit this post if I can find a working link).

Fair Warning on the Campaign Start and Character Backstories:

I assume you heard by now, but just in case: your PC will begin the game as a prisoner of the drow, either to be used as a slave or to be killed. How you came to be captured and why you are still alive is up to you. A backstory of 250 words (and no more than 500 or so) will earn you inspiration to begin the game.

When you post your character to the Rogue's Gallery, roll a d6 with your post.

XP, Milestones and Character Death:

These WotC adventure paths seem to work much better with milestone so I think that is what we'll use. If a PC dies we'll have ways of introducing new ones in short order (especially in the first half of the campaign). New PCs will begin with standard wealth/equipment and 2 levels below the highest level PC in the party and will level up faster than the others until level parity is achieved. We'll cross the TPK bridge if we come to it. Hopefully we won't.

Battle Grid vs Theater of the Mind:

I plan on running this theater of the mind most of the time. But we'll see as we progress.

Posting Etiquette:

As I said, I'm new to PbP but I used to play a lot of PbeM wargames and the number one reason the games fail is people stop taking their turns. I will endeavor to post daily, 48 to 72 hours at most. If your character is not going to do anything, please respond and say so so we don't keep waiting. If you don't post a reply within 72 hours, we'll assume you do nothing or I'll decide what you do if we're in a situation where your companions are relying on you. If we go 2 weeks without hearing from you you will be dropped.

Stuff happens. If you need to take a break for life, just say so. We'll either take a break too or just have your character fade in the background.

If you are a PbP veteran and have any advice for the group or for keeping things moving, please feel free to share.

Combat, Initiative and Surprise:

At the beginning of combat everyone rolls initiative (when I call for it). For the monsters I will average their rolls so they will all go at the same time. This way each round can be broken down into:

1: PCs that go before the monsters
2: The monsters
3: PCs that haven't gone yet.

It doesn't matter what order members within each group act. At the beginning of each group's turn any reactions that were triggered by the last group can be used and then any start of turn effects take place, then that group gets to act. Feel free to use the OOC thread to coordinate what you do on your turns.

Surprise: In general only one side ever has any surprised characters. It will work slightly differently depending on if it is monsters or PCs. Like I said, I don't like the surprise mechanic. So I am changing it just a bit as outlined here.

A surprised character has the "surprised" condition at the start of the first round of combat.
- Attacks against the character have advantage
- The character makes dex saves with disadvantage
- The character cannot take reactions
- At the beginning of the character's group's turn it takes any start of turn effects, then it is moved into the last group in the round and it is no longer 'surprised'. So if it's a PC in the first group it will now just be moved to the last group. If it's a monster, it will be moved to after the last group of PCs (and usually either all the monsters will be surprised or none but sometimes maybe we'll have two groups of monsters).

So...a sample combat round with some monsters surprised:

The PCs spot an Ogre and 3 orcs and attempt an ambush and succeed. PCs 1,2 and 3 all beat the monsters' init. PCs 4 and 5 don't.

-PCs 1, 2 and 3 all get to act. They get to attack with advantage, the orcs and ogres make dex saves with disadvantage.
-On the monster's turn, any start of turn effects take effect, then the monsters are moved to the end of the round and can now take reactions.
-PCs 4 and 5 now get to act.
-Now the monsters can take any reactions triggered by PCs 4 and 5, any new start of turn effects take place on the monsters and now the monsters can act.

From that point on, all the PCs go then all the monsters (in this case. If some monsters were not surprised, it may get split up a bit). Most of all we all have to be patient. Things might change as people use reactions to negate damage and such)

Also, there may be times where I decide one side is more ready for combat than the other but not enough to warrant full blown surprise. In those cases, I'll give one side or the other advantage (or just specific characters).

That should be more than enough to get us started. Let me know in the next 2 or 3 days if you are in or not by replying to this thread. If you are, PM me your first cut of your PC. Hopefully we can get started with initial posts soon.
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First Post
Yay! Thank you for running this, and for letting all of us play! I'm definitely in. PC coming soon. :D
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Awesome! I'll get started on my character real soon. I just have to get a little more sleep first. Hoorah for the new game!


the magical equivalent to the number zero
I'm in. Expect a character soon.

Can we drop the whole equipment-buying phase, or should we do that so you know what stuff we had?


So exciting! I almost bought OotA this weekend, but thought against it in case this got off the ground and I was on board. Thinking ahead, this guy!


First Post
I'll see about getting a character up today or tomorrow. I have a Tiefling Warlock who is dying to be used, but she's got some tweaks from another game that never got off the ground. I'll see about reworking her for this game.

Question: You are ok with evil-aligned characters, yes?


Question: You are ok with evil-aligned characters, yes?

Short answer: yes as long as you understand I have little interest in running a game where the PCs aren't, by and large heroic, if flawed and even less interest in a game where the PCs are actively working against each other. Some intra party conflict can be interesting. But when goals diverge to the point of "roll initiative" things become unfun quickly.

So if your character is "evil" (little 'e') but largely tries to do the right thing and get along with her companions but sometimes temptation gets the better of her that's fine (even interesting). But if your PC is EEEvillll and is going to be going about purposely doing horrible things in some cartoon caricature of evil then please don't. Cartoony Evil is best left to villains and monsters.

Maybe later I'll post my view of alignment. Largely I consider it irrelevant for free willed creatures such as PCs. For monsters and the like it's a team desgnation...they couldn't change it if they wanted to and they score points for their team by getting free willed creatures to behave according to the monster's alignment...a red dragon scores points when he makes the local villagers sacrifice their youth to him in exchange for their village not getting burned down....


First Post
I have a lot of the same views on party composition and alignment that you do. In my own games, I don't care what alignment people are so long as they aren't playing Chaotic Stupid or Neutral Screw You. I am highly against PvP in any way, but I have no issue with some intra-party conflict. People are people, and not everyone is going to get along all the time. Stuff happens, and people are going to argue; I shall never let it become a matter of drawing a blade against a party member unless my own life is already in jeopardy.

As far as the character specifically is concerned, she's Lawful Evil. Her background has her worshiping Loviatar, and she's actively seeking an ancient relic of her deity/faith that has been long-since lost and only recently rumored to have surfaced again. She denounces all other faiths as being inferior to her own, even going so far as to tell other people that their gods are merely false idols and that the mistress of pain is the only true source of higher divinity. In fact, her trek to find this relic is why she's a prisoner to begin with (but I'll detail that in her background when I get it up).

Anyhow, she may be a PITA, and she may be a bit of a masochistic fiend, but she isn't completely over-the-top sick and evil. I consider her to be more Lawful Seductive than anything else (high CHA, proficient in Deception, etc.). As long as you are ok with the alignment and concept, I'll finish tweaking her back to normal and get her posted up.


By the same token I wouldn't expect a Paladin of Bahamut to be so lawful stupid as to put his friends at risk simply because he finds another PC's morals to be subpar.

So yeah.. I think we're on the same page.


First Post
Name:       Damaia
Class:      Warlock 1
Race:       Tiefling
Background: Acolyte
Size:       Medium (5' 3"; 166 lbs.)
Gender:     Female
Alignment:  Lawful Evil
Deity:      Loviatar

Str: 8 (-1)                HP: 8 (1d8)
Dex: 13 (+1)               AC: 11
Con: 10 (0)
Int: 15 (+2)               Speed:   30
Wis: 12 (+1) save: +3      Init:    +1
Cha: 17 (+3) save: +5      Passive Perception:    11

Skills:                    Abilities:
Acrobatics        +1       Ability Score Increase (Racial; +2 CHA, +1 INT)
Animal Handling   +1       Darkvision 60 ft.
*Arcana           +4       Resistance to Fire
Athletics         -1       
*Deception        +5       Pact Magic (Regain all expended spell slots after short or long rest)
History           +2       Otherworldly Patron (Great Old One)
*Insight          +3       Awakened Mind (can communicate telepathically with any creature you can see within 30 ft.)
Intimidation      +3
Investigation     +2
Medicine          +1
Nature            +2
Perception        +1
Performance       +3
Persuasion        +3
*Religion         +4
Slight of Hand    +1
Stealth           +1
Survival          +1

Armor: Light
Weapons: Simple
Tools: None
Languages: Common, Deep Speech, Infernal, Undercommon

Weapon                Attack  Damage     Type  Range
Attack Spell (CHA)    +5      By Spell

Spell Slots:  1
Cantrips:     Eldritch Blast, Mage Hand, Thaumaturgy
First Level:  Arms of Hadar, Hex



Personality Trait: I am intolerant of other faiths and condemn the worship of other gods.
                   I see omens in every event and action.  The gods try to speak to us, we just need to listen.
Ideal: Aspiration.  I seek to prove myself worthy of my god's favor by matching my actions against his or her teachings.
Bond: I would die to recover an ancient relic of my faith that was lost long ago.
Flaw: I judge others harshly, and myself even more severely.
[sblock=Background]...Or, How I Became A Drow Slave

Capture was intentional. Damaia is hunting down an ancient relic of Loviatar's to help her sect overcome the oppression of the other faiths that comes with worshiping the mistress of pain. Tomes and texts speak of it being rumored as hidden among the people of the Underdark, but going that route alone is a death wish. The best way to get into the Underdark and closer to the relic is by having them escort you in. And the only way that happens is if you are a slave. So she allowed herself to be captured just inside one of the entrances near Waterdeep, hoping that she would be brought further into the caverns and caves, and just maybe into Menzoberranzan itself.

Now, getting free of these spider-loving heathens is another story...[/sblock] [sblock=Portrait]


First Post
Uller, okay. Thanks. Was thinking of being a fellow Dawbringer of Lathander with Marcelus, if you don't mind. But I was going to be an un-optimized Dex build. What do you think? Should I change and give more diversity, or do you mind two paladins? Of course we are going to have wonderful "conversations" with Egon's tiefling... :p

Egon, ah, good choice...


Uller, okay. Thanks. Was thinking of being a fellow Dawbringer of Lathander with Marcelus, if you don't mind. But I was going to be an un-optimized Dex build. What do you think? Should I change and give more diversity, or do you mind two paladins? Of course we are going to have wonderful "conversations" with Egon's tiefling... :p

Egon, ah, good choice...

I don't care. With 8 players we are bound to have some overlap. Tieflings should generally be able to deal with some adversity and as long as it is kept to interesting conversations and not coming to blows, it's all good.

You two could be like two Buzz Lightyear toys coming to life and refusing to accept that the other isn't an impostor...(just kidding...but that would be kind of funny if you both saw yourself as uniquely chosen only to both end up in the same drow slave pen).


First Post
Ok, I will try to write up a background, and see if you and Marcelus like it. I am planning to be the "black sheep" of the order. :)


Someone asked me earlier today how to use the dice roller. A die roll looks like this:

{roll=test}1d20+3{/roll} but use [] instead of {}. So it looks like: