The Orphans, Book 6 of The Realms
The Golden Rule
The GM reserves the right to make a ruling about an event that is outside the current rules., something “not covered”. If a rule is not understood, a decision will be made and it will be used for that gaming session until the actual rule is researched and accepted by everyone.
Physical Home/Game Location Rules
I do have a few rules for my actual home:
If you smoke, in my home, you had better be on fire.
I have some pretty serious books on history and politics on my shelves in the living room where I set up the gaming table. Please ignore them if they offend you.
Bringing up politics, religion or history is a no-no (outside of the context of the game). My Wife, the political pit bull is not to be fed. <laugh>
I have an 9 year old in the house. On game nights, him and mom go upstairs, but he might wander by or occasionally ask Dad a question and will come down to say good night. Recently he has taken to actually sitting in an empty chair and watching the game. He has been told that if he wishes to ask a question it can be whispered to the person he is seated next to. At some point, when he is older, he will no doubt be a player.
The campaign is set in “Forgotten Realms” on the continent Faerûn of a world known as Abeir-Toril. Forgotten Realms is a very large area of this world produced by Wizards of the Coast. It was originally authored by a Ed Greenwood, but since its 1987 introduction, has grown exponentially. There are literally hundreds of novels and source books available for the land. Fans sites go into the thousands. All this information can be daunting, but remember this; your players come from a medieval world. They would be lucky to know the next kingdom over, so do not let it scare you. Not knowing the unknown is a very large part of what makes D&D so much fun. We will be starting play in an area commonly referred to as “The North”, also called “The Northwest”. And “the Silver Marches”. My intention is to move you all very shortly to a DM created land, known to human’s as “Tillville”. You may stay there, you may travel back and forth or you might came back running in tears. (muwawawa)
My intention, currently, is to open the game with the group involved with an orphanage. Some will be children of the orphanage, some could be “friends” of the orphanage.
Soon our young heroes may find themselves in an ancient land that is recovering from a thousand year long genocidal war between man and Elf, with a very advanced Goblinoid population stirring things up a bit.
I am certain we will see my usual style of recurring villains, occasional helping hands, some red shirt NPCs from time to time and maybe even a dragon war.
As par for course, there are many rumors to hunt down, criminals to bounty after, kingdoms to overthrow, full scale mini campaigns to be fought and even the possibility of learning of a great mythical elvin magic.
I would also like to remind everyone that there is still a Dwarven mine in my campaign there that would make Moria itself look small. I wonder where it is . . . hmmmm..
Level and Player Death
The intention is to start FIVE to SEVEN PCs at effective character level three or four. Your level will be decided based primarily upon your background story, so loosen up those typing fingers. Advancement will occur at a rate modified for my campaign. In the event of a loss of a PC, new PCs will start at one level beneath the party average, at the mid point of XP for that level. IF a new player enters the game, they may start a new PC at the average party level but at the beginning XP level of that level. Replacement PC’s not coming from death of a PC (as in player wants a change) may be negotiated.
D&D core 3.5 rule books will be the basis of the game. Various rule supplement books will also be used, some not published by Wizards of the Coast.
NOTE: If a player wishes to include rules that are not “core rules”, they will need to be approved before attempting to introduce them into play.
Type of game
As many, or all of you may realize at this point, I run my game as a mix of good old fashioned Dungeon bashing and in depth role playing. We have nights of in depth role playing and nights of game mechanics. Other nights will be a total Bash and grab and yet still some nights will mix it all.
Warning it is a STATUS QUO world. Not every encounter is tailored for you to be able to defeat it. Some encounters you will HAVE to find other ways out of, combat could quite frankly result in TPK’s (total party kills) in some encounters. Some may be even be too easy, but all will have meaning, or will they? Red herring anyone?
I like to run a mix of city adventure, outdoor adventure, extra planar adventuring and of course my personal favorite, the dungeon delve. I adore a good dungeon romp.
Be prepare for overly dramatic characters bad accents and a lot of Monty Python jokes.
I take my role in this game very sincerely. It is my hope that everyone enjoys the game. It is my responsibility to make sure that I know what each player is looking for. I will run a game as fair as possible, but I will still hold “DM options” for possible fudging here and there as any good game master will.
We will maintain a yahoo group for off table game communications.
I will also provide as much back ground as possible for players as it is requested.
Rules corrections are encouraged, but please use common sense in the middle of a fight. If we screw up a rule during combat, OH WELL. We will research it and get it right next time.
Most of all, I want us to have a great time.
Be a good gamer. This means respecting others, showing up reasonably on time, not cheating, not meta gaming and having a darn good time.
I would ask that each of you let me know how things are going. I am very open to all forms of constructive criticism and advice. If problems develop, or you have an idea for the game or for your characters, please let me know.
A player should actively participate in group off-table discussions concerning the game. This does not mean having to going on and on and on, but please respond to at least direct questions and polls. If you WANT to go on and on and on? Well, that’s cool to, believe me. I do.
I will often do rolls for the players, rolling their spot checks, hear noise, even occasional saving throws behind my screen. I use a DM’s helper sheet so that I can roll these often without you even knowing what it is I am rolling for. Sometimes I will roll dice and it might be for nothing other than to give the players a creepy feeling. Maybe to help explore the creepy feeling your character would get on a cold wet night of watch duty on the edge of the Evermores, perhaps that oh so creepy feeling they might get going down the hall of a forgotten hall of a long dead Dwarven kingdom, forgotten by all but perhaps those kobolds about to ambush you.
I have a tendency to play monsters very realistic. I play them to the top of their ability and give them very real reactions. Facing some of my kobolds will not be like you might be used to. They will be ruthless, cunning warriors of an almost unending energy. Their traps will be brutal, their tactics shrewd. They may even have modified weapons, gear and will use the terrain to their greatest advantage. And wait until you face a platoon of Hobgoblins, a company of Tanaruks, a Drow elf raiding party or a Dragon. Oh….And take head hardy adventurers seeking glory, yes, I allow monsters to have character class levels if applicable.
I will not be telling you, “oh you found a +2 long sword”, Or “the Kobold “Charges” you. (unless you already KNOW they are kobolds). I WILL be saying things like, “ as you searched the room, you did find a sword in a scabbard, it feels especially well balanced, light, and is glowing a soft blue light from its scabbard”, or “you hear an animalistic hissing nose as the small reddish brown scaled creature runs at you, gaining speed, as it closes with you, preparing for a hearty swing”
Be prepared to try to figure out what the magical bonus is on weapons you find, or what a magic item is. I will NOT exactly be passing out info like candy. I do give decent treasure, but I am, normally, no Monty Hall. IF I just Monty Hall’ed you? I had a reason and it was probably a sadistic one.
Guilds are alive and well in my game. You will find guilds for sanitation, bakers, builders, adventurers, specific PC classes, you name it. There can be same real advantages to joining guilds and perhaps even some great adventuring or role playing opportunities. If your group has wisdom, you will become a sponsored adventuring band and get a proper license from whoever claims local authority in the lands you travel. Be well aware of peace knotting rules or you character my spend a lot of time looking at the world through metal bars.
For adventurers, guilds can provide all sorts of aid to party members, everything from temporary work or shelter to legal help. Yes, laws and LAW ENFORCEMENT do exist in my world.
It exists. It will notice that your characters exist. They will notice if you’re “good” and probably try to enlist your help. They will also notice evil acts but in a much different way. They are balanced and fair to the community’s size and average level. They also know how and where to ask for help.
Magic is a bit more rare in my campaign than the magic rich world of Forgotten Realms. I limit certain things. Finding a bag of holding will be very very rare. Heward’s haversack will be about 3 times its listed price. Some items will be more common such as a ring of protection. Some items may not be what they appear to be at all.
I do warn you though, Tillville, will have some very DIFFERENT magics in it and some may be VERY common.
I ask that my Clerics actually recite a prayer when you cast, if you have issues with this for religious reasons, we can talk. If your prayer is good, I will roll a dice and it could be beneficial to your divine magic. Read: BONUS DAMAGE or results.
I ask spell casters, to actually make a spell book sorts for your character. It is a quick reference guide for your spells, it could be pre done written pages, 3 X 5 cards, or even something much more elaborate, it is up to you. One player I had, got one of those leather bound journals with a dragon motif, yes he got an XP bonus for the work. No, fighters may not bring real weapons to the game, (without prior approval). If however, you bring a weapon matching your characters weaponry? I would give the same XP bonus as for a really cool spell book. Same would go for a holy symbol. Please, however, do NOT show up fully dressed as Nanshae the Mystic Wanderer. This is NOT a LARP game.
I will need at the start of each “in game day” a listing of spells you will be preparing. You will also have to identify what time of day your character studies, prays or meditates. 3 X 5 cards work perfect for this, but please keep track of what you cast in combat on your own, I can lose track of that at times.
Here is a prime example of why I modify the D&D magic system, a “TAD”:
I will be using standard forgotten realms races, as well as the races of Faerûn publication. If you want to run something different, please get together with me and I will see what we can do. So do not be displeased if I deny a certain combination or out of FR rules race. Please, try to racially balance your party, however, parties of one race only also have their place. Yes, I have done the ALL Orc party, where you ARE the bad guys, but that’s more something for a few game sessions diversion some time.
I will warn you now, there are NO known native Dwarves to Tillville. Only legends of them once existing. Think about that for a moment, please.
Again, Core rules and FR classes will be the staple. If you want something else, talk to me. I will allow multi classing. I do have a few classes I love to see in a game. One is a paladin. The moral judgments, discussions and arguments are just priceless, dwarf paladins of course being the most fun to screw with, err..I mean have in a party.
Well, kids, just like real life, not everyone in a group is always entirely good, now are they? Be warned.
Special Note on Flash powder:
I severely limit this. It is gunpowder and can destroy a games balance in a few rounds. I show some of that modification in my forgotten realms modification document. I have had players want to use it, but it is just too far game unbalancing. If you ever hear of it or see it in my game take careful note. It is NOT there by accident.
Clerics of Kelemvor
All clerics of Kelemvor received an additional ability to cast the “Lay to rest” spell a number of times equal to their Cleric level.
Amongst the many Legends that are rampant in the north is a small legend surrounding a magical device. This tale is told in other locales of The Realms, but is much more frequent to be heard in the frosty lands of the north along the Spine of the World in the ever elongated shadow of the next Orc horde about to ravish what the hardy northerners consider to be civilization. If one loiters around a Dwarven drinking institution long enough ( and manages to still be standing ) they may well take notice of stories of the Dahkna. The stories will often be retold even in some human trading caravans and the occasional frontier outpost inn.
The legends are told of a small golden colored gem cute evenly with many sides of about the size of a large grape. The devices are reputed to be evenly cut with small magical symbols all over the gem. They are supposed to be of a golden hue and while clear enough to see into, it obstructs light enough to not be seen completely through due to a small ever glowing flame inside the gems. Some people claim that the gold and flames has been induced into the gem itself as part of the magical process that creates the Dahkna. Other people tell of a small part of the Plane of fire being held in a stasis inside the smaller gems. In the darker corners of inns, on the latest of watches far out to sea, and on the coldest nights next to a hearth, some will tell you that the small fire is indeed the trapped soul of a creature of the abyss or even the none planes themselves.
The Dahkna has been accounted to have power ranging from causing a small tent to materialize out of nothing, causing considerable poison damage if ingested, exploding in a fireball like manner, causing a small temporary raging river of molten lava, and even the amazing claim of disintegrating any who tap it. The stories following this small enigma about are as many as the populace telling the tales. With some diligent research (roll dice here) an avid researcher may find out more information about the Dahkna. The immediate things known are: They are more slightly ubiquitous in the north; They are obviously of a superior quantity and good quantity of magical power; they are NOT commonly known or listed in any readily available magic how to manual, (even “Magical Items for Dummies” or the ever popular “Complete Idiots Guide to Magical Creation”). A truly sophisticated researcher may even find that they are conspicuously absent on the shelves of your local Mage-Mart superstores. The Gnomish trading caravans of the North are usually the most common spreaders of these tall tales and most of the specific tellings of the Dahkna can be traced back to a Gnome or Five.
If pressed, most magical item shops will claim the Dahkna is nothing but a myth created by boastful adventurers trying to better their lies of bravery to impress local damsels in undress and then immediately show you their recently discounted line of wands.
The Blue Hero chip:
The infamous Blue hero chip. If your character does something particularly heroic AND lives, the group may ask the DM to award a hero chip. These are very rare and I much more often say no than yes. A Hero chip may be exchanged for a chance to re-roll a bad roll, or add a score of 5 to any roll, once. Once the chip is gone, it’s gone. You don’t get to keep it. One time use only. Got it?