View Full Version : Microforged, and a campaign inspired by the movie "9"

2011-06-30, 01:17 PM
Campaign concept is somewhat similar to that of the movie "9". The party consists entirely of Microforged dwelling in Metrol on the initial days after the Mourning. The Lord of Blades (a basically unknown being at the time) managed, in some manner, to trigger the Mourning as his doomsday weapon against all living things, and its effect was only constrained to Cyre through the heroic efforts of an adventuring party (now deceased) working with Aarren d'Cannith.

The backlash not only slew Aarren, it turned him into a ghost, who is tied to the creation forge in Metrol and who's task is to set right what he did wrong in creating the Lord of Blades (most likely, by seeing him destroyed). This is complicated by the fact that Aarren's ghost cannot act directly against any Warforged...attempting to do so causes him to be overcome with sorrow.

So today, the Lord of Blades continues to return, regularly, to the creation forge with the 'creation key' and utilize it to craft new warforged created in his image to bolster his armies of conquest. He has set an immensely powerful Warforged Titan the task of watching over the creation forge, and it has instructions to destroy anything of tiny size or bigger intruding in the chamber, unless specifically ordered otherwise.

Aarren's ghost has cobbled together a small quantity of leftover materials and scraps, and has improvised his own creation key that he keeps well hidden. With it, he has been crafting new warforged of his own, small enough to be beneith the titan's notice (the Microforged) and releasing them into Metrol. Part of his motive is purely the continuing desire to create. Part of it is to bleed off the energies of the creation forge to slow the Lord of Blades' own use of it. Part of it is the hope that someday his Microforged will be able to do what he himself cannot...put a stop to this nightmare once and for all.

Short term goals: Survive, explore. With no economy and limited resources, craft skills (both conventional and magic item) will be of great value to the party. Raw materials are plentiful.

Medium term goals: Establish contact with explorers in this area, and possibly befrend/trade with them. Witness their cruel destruction at the Lord of Blades' hands. Witness the use of the Forge to create new warforged. Be visited by the ghost of Aarren d'Cannith who can explain who, what, and why they are. Perhaps even smuggling in vital parts to allow for the crafting of new Microforged.

Long term goals: Some combination of destroying the Titan, destroying the Lord of Blades, or stealing the creation key. If the creation key could be stolen, it would prevent the Lord of Blades from crafting new soldiers. If the Titan could somehow be destroyed (or distracted for long periods), Aarren's ghost would be able to use the forge to craft something other than just Microforged.

Foes would lean heavily on constructs and undead, some tormented elementals...things that can readily survive in the Mournland. Living spells might make appearances as well.

A lot of the early campaign would also consist of challenges, more than opponents. Using skills and abilities to gather resources.

Some of the crunchy bits:


+6 Dex, -8 Str, -2 Wis, -2 Cha
Size Diminuitive (+4 AC/Atk, +12 Hide, -12 Grapple)
Base speed 15'
Std. Warforged SQ: Composite Plating, Light Fortification, Living Construct.
Favored Class: Whatever is chosen at 1st level.
Height: 7"-10". Weight: 4-8 lb.

Things to know about Diminuitive PCs (some of this is official, some of it is houserule to deal with the drastic changes in size and the scale of the campaign):

Armor of this size only provides half the armor bonus it normally would (yes, this includes composite plating). Conversely, Max Dex is increased by +1 per category (+2 for medium armors, +3 for heavy).

Weapons that do:
Med Dim
d4 1
d6 d2
d8/2d4 d3
d10 d4
d12/2d6 d6

Gear (Weapons, armor, equipment) appropriate to them weighs 1/10th the normal amount and costs half (though in this case, cost only matters for crafting time/effort).

Carrying capacity is 1/4 normal. This, coupled with a -8 Strength penalty, means carry capacity is severely limited. A Diminuitive Str2 character (avg. 10 str) is encumbered at 1 3/4 lbs, and has a max heavy load of 5 lbs.

Hit Dice will be dropped by one die type.

Due to extremely high Hide bonuses, and the nature of life as a diminuitive creature, Move Silently is always considered a class skill.

The x2 modifier for armor check penalties for swim is waived.

While not relevant to the present campaign concept, Diminuitive characters also only consume 1/10th the food and water.

A Light weapon for a Small character = a two-handed weapon for a Diminuitive character (wielded at a -4 penalty).

Reach is 0...you can only attack things in your own square. Alternatively, fights against other undersized things will be rescaled to 1' squares, where it will work just like "normal" for small/medium characters.

Jump checks receive an inherent +12 bonus (to counteract the -13 from reduced strength and speed), but the resulting distance is then cut by 1/5th (basically going from 5' square scale to 1' square scale again). They shouldn't fail jump checks any more often than anyone else, but the distances they cover should be comparatively much smaller.

A -6 effective druid level penalty to animal companions will be imposed (a 1st level druid starts out at -5, and can't take a "normal" animal companion until 7th level).

Animal companions available at (druid level +3) include the Rat, Cat, Raven, Tiny Viper and Lizard.

The only animal companion available at (druid level +6) is the Bat.

Familiars will be similarly restricted, as soon as I can find a source with appropriately-restrictive familiar resources. Right now, about all I can think of that's fair game would be bugs (actual, not monstrous). The Improved Familiar feat can be used to take a "normal" familiar. The Greatly Improved Familiar feat (pre-requisite of Improved Familiar) would allow taking an improved familiar.

Paladin Mount. Seriously? Lizard or Cat.

Sneak Attack is not being messed with, but be warned that not a lot of living things call the mournland home.

Powerful Build is a permissible Warforged feat

Magic Scales rule (+/- 25% range, area, and damage per size category bigger or smaller than medium the caster NATIVELY is). IE, spells will have only 25% of their normal range and damage. This is considered necessary to prevent everyone from playing a caster due to dramatically decreased weapon damage.

Yes, I'm aware that for every issue I've addressed above, there's a thousand loopholes I've not considered or covered. A lot of this is based around core, and a lot of it is mentally geared towards my very non-optimizing, no-clue-about-tiers gaming group. Input is of course most welcome.

Nate the Snake
2011-06-30, 09:07 PM
It's an interesting idea, but if you're running a base-Diminutive campaign, you're probably better off scaling the world up rather than scaling the PCs down. D&D is just not designed to handle things at a scale that small, houserules or no houserules.

In a normal D&D world, enemies that are size-appropriate for a Diminutive party have low-to-fractional Challenge Ratings, while CR-appropriate enemies are much bigger than the Diminutive party. Plus, the Microforged fighter only has 10 Strength (from a base 18), and mechanically doesn't hit any harder than the Microforged wizard with 2 Strength (from a base 9). That breaks verisimilitude.

In a scaled-up world, Microforged would use Medium-size warforged stats, bugs would use monstrous insect stats, cats would effectively be dire lions, and so on. It would still require extensive houseruling/homebrewing, but it'll likely be better in the long run.

Even in a low-optimization group, you'd need to spend more effort adapting the game mechanics to a mini-size campaign than if you adapted the mini-size campaign to the game mechanics.

2011-06-30, 10:02 PM
I definitely agree with Nate the Snake's opinions above. Just do this:

Old Size |
New Size

Fine | Small
Diminuitive | Medium
Tiny | Large
Small | Huge
Medium | Gargantuan
Large | Colossal [/table]

It'll make your life a whole lot easier. Like he said, a cat is tiny size, so fighting a cat in this campaign would be like fighting a Large creature, so a lion works perfectly.

This campaign sounds like an awesome idea (especially right after the Day of Mourning), so it looks good to me.

2011-07-01, 10:40 AM
Well, I didn't want to do a "day after" thing, because I wanted to have the idea of Aarren's ghost creating (periodically) these Microforged in reaction to what's taken place. If it happens "all at once", it doesn't let the setting and the situation build up.

I definately see where you're coming from on up-sizing the world instead of down-sizing the PCs. I originally shot that idea down because I wanted the players to instantly "feel" small and weak in a big, scary world...and looking at character sheets with their normal, big and powerful D12 greataxe damage and such didn't give them that instant connection.

Still, good storytelling can hopefully overcome this, and it certainly sounds like it would be a lot easier than trying to write the "Diminuitive Player's Handbook".