View Full Version : Homebrewed Campaign

2006-12-18, 04:19 AM
After the Fall

This is a setting not unlike post-apocolyptic settings, although with a distinctly fantasy flavor. There are significant changes to the rules set, as such it is not reccomended for newer GM's to run, as things can easily get confusing.

The Background

Once, there was the Golden Age of the Empire of Sha'lar. The Empire was comprised primarily of Humans, although they were at least on friendly terms with the Halflings, Dwarves, Elves, and Gnomes. The Halflings had already been subjugated for so long that they had simply been absorbed into the human culture, their own culture long since wiped out or assimilated into mainstream empirial culture. The Dwarves lived in the Sparkling Mountains, said to contain so many gem deposits that when the sun rose, the mountain range literally sparkled as the first rays of dawn danced among them. It was too defensible for the Empire to realistically conquer, and not really worth the effort since they were not particularly hostile. There was exactly one attempt to assimilate the Elven lands, which was soundly trounced, and the resulting treaty has been in place for so long that there is no one alive today who was alive when it was written (not even the elves).

The Empire was infamous for it's application of Magic. They used Magic in applications in nearly every aspect of their life. Permanent Portals were used to transport goods to and from large cities. Relatively low-powered mages were hired out for any number of tasks. And they could do things that no one today could, or perhaps even should. Entire species of creatures were created by the powerful mages of the Golden Age, artifacts of unsurpassing power are also attributed to them.

But, as with any so-called Golden Age, it came to an all too abrupt halt.

Details are unclear, however it is certain that something happened, and most of the Royal Family was killed in a single night (it was thought at the time that they had all perished). With no central source of authority, the mages decided to make power grabs, taking land for themselves and creating fiefs ruled by mages. The land decended into Chaos.

Those were the days of the Mage Wars. Mages were all-powerful, and those lacking arcane skill were helpless to do anything. Mages warred among each other, trying to steal land or resources, keeping themselves from being robbed in such a manner. And of course, very few mages actually knew any real military tactics or strategy, so they usually ended up laying waste to more than they took or lost.

Soon, more powerful mages began to subjugate lesser mages, and a heirchary of sorts began to emerge. Two primary sides were set. One by a being now known only as 'The Necromancer', and the other who was known as 'The Great Mage'. What their original names were has been lost by now. They waged war with each other, the forces of good rallying to the Great Mage's banner, and the forces of evil rallying to the Necromancer.

In the last days of the Mage Wars, great magics were wrought, the likes of which none today can comprehend, but the results of which everyone must live with on a daily basis. In short, they ended up killing each other off simultaniously, and the vast majority of the set magical defenses... exploded.

The Present
Today, arcane users of any flavor are seen with suspicion at the least, and outright hatred as the most often course. Every living soul has lost loved ones to Magic, and it's effects, which still warp the world. Those few mages who survived the Mage Wars are much reduced in power, and teach apprentices in utter seclusion.

By contrast, the very dieties themselves were said to have directly intervened to save life as we know it, to save existance itself. Populations were decimated, or outright exterminated. And the churches mobilized their followers to save all life. The power of the Dieties have been much reduced due to the vastly reduced population base, however they are known to intervene more directly than they used to. Clergy who can prove that they are indeed cleregy are greatly respected, reguardless of the diety they follow. Even a cleric of an evil diety can expect at least free meals at taverns, and politely worded (groveling, if necessary) pleas for aid.

The dieties have made a temporary truce. Until the future of all sentient life is assured, they will put aside their differences to work together. Thus even a cleric of an evil diety would be likely to help a village who seeks aid, although he may insist that the whole village convert to his belief in exchange. Good clerics range out far from their temples to give succor to the needy population. Paladins are sent out to defend the population against the horrors that still exist which were created and warped by the Mage Wars. Those very few druids who are left seek to find ways to undo the blighted areas where magic has warped the land itself.

In these days, any who can command a couple score men can call himself 'lord' of a village or three. By and large, the cleregy don't mind so long as they people are not ground too hard. Perhaps a tyrant is what they need to survive, after all. Sure, a tyrant may require all resources to be given to him, to dole out to whom he decides, but at least a smart tyrant will defend his people. In some places, food is so scarce that some must starve so that the rest will live to see spring planting.

Reccently, someone who claims to be the direct heir of the former Emperor has announced his presence, and has been vetted by the cleregy. For now, he is simply trying to gain a census, and will only intervene if someone is outright slaughtering his people to turn into undead minions or some such. He pledges aid to any who would kneel to him, and vouchsaves any territory they have claimed for themselves, and grants them a title comissurate to the land they hold.

However, that is politics on a large scale, and not likely to impact much on the goings of simple folk. Banditry is on the rise as death rates have stabilized. More than one suing for nobility status were former 'bandit lords' who protected their people rather than leech off of them, and many have attained it. With this carrot, bandit groups are beginning to form to try and take over a town or two to 'legitimize' themselves, largely to avoid a noose.

There are still many areas where magic has warped the local flora and fauna. These are exceedingly dangerous areas to be avoided and reported so that those who are capable of dealing with them can be informed and that area put in the queue.

The churches are doing what they can to aid people. They send out any of the cleregy who are willing to go aid those unable to come to the churches. They send paladins out when they have word that there is something which requires more of a military solution but none are otherwise available.

Game Mechanics

There are many significant changes to the way things work, particularly in how magic works. Magic item creation is drastically changed, and all the classes which use magic are also changed significantly.

In brief:


Bard: Bards do not exist anymore. Most troubadores are either Experts, or possibly Rogues, and do not possess any arcane abilities.

Cleric: The dieties have weakened due to the smaller base of worshipers, however they have also decided to intervene more directly than usual. Every diety has several Spheres of Influence. These work much like Domains, except that the spells listed are the only ones that the cleregy can cast. To compensate, clerics now spontaniously cast any spell in the spheres of their diety. Turning/Rebuking is mechanically identical, although there may be additional challenges which would use turn/rebuke attempts (much as they were presented in Defenders of the Faith). All clerics may spend a full round action to petition their diety for a sign of favor. Those clerics who are in their diety's favor (At the sole decision of the GM) will automatically recieve it. The sign of favor will never have any actual effect other than to show to any onlooker that the person is in fact a cleric of a diety. A cleric of Pelor might be seen to be standing in a patch of sunlight on an otherwise overcast day, for example. The effect is clearly divine in nature, and nearly impossible to reproduce (although an illusionist with the right skill set and feat selection might be able to manage something which would fool commoners). Those who falsly claim to be cleregy tend to get the genuine cleregy extremely upset with them, which usually means paladins or war priests are dispatched to hunt down and kill/capture the imposter.

Paladin: The base class 'Paladin' no longer exists. Use the Prestige Paladin (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/classes/prestigiousCharacterClasses.htm#prestigePaladin) instead. A Paladin must first be a fighter who was devout enough to be allowed to begin Paladin training. He must show faith, courage, and at least basic knowledge of combat tactics and strategy. Typically most are Fighter/Clerics, although any full BAB class can be combined with a level of Cleric to meet the prerequsites. Alignment requirements are changed as follows: Must have the same alignment as the diety he wishes to become a paladin of.

Rangers: Loose all spellcasting ability. Gain a bonus fighter feat at level 4, 8, 11, and 13.

Sorcerers: All sorcerers must choose a bloodline at creation. This bloodline will alter which spells he may learn, and which are prohibited to him, although it does grant certain abilities as he progresses. As he progresses in levels, his form changes to more closely resemble the iconic figure of his bloodline. Thus a draconic bloodline sorcerer will end up looking much like a half-dragon. All sorcerers are universally seen with fear and hatred. They can never get any result better than 'poor' through diplomacy. Most children who develop magical abilities (such as things flying around the room when they have a nightmare) are killed to prevent the abuse of such power. As such, Sorcerers are exceedingly rare. GM approval is required to play a Sorcerer.

Wizards: There is no such thing as a 'generic wizard' anymore. All wizards must specialize, and must loose one additional school of magic. However, in place of their bonus feats, they gain abilities dependant on their school of choice. Like Sorcerers, Wizards are seen with hatred and fear. No reaction better than 'poor' may ever be attained through the use of Diplomacy. Should a wizard appear and single handedly save the kingdom by obliterating an entire undead army which would have wiped out life as we know it, the population as a whole will simply see him as an unnatural disaster area, and bribe him to go elsewhere. Rather than respect, he will earn fear.

Note: The following spells simply do not exist: Lesser Wish, Wish, and Miracle. They may never be researched, nor may any item or monster ability reproduce these effects.

Magic Item Creation
The crafting of a magic item is a long, tedious, and sometimes dangerous prospect.

The first step is researching the proper formula. To research a magic item formula, you will need access to a Magic Library and a Magic Labratory. Both of these are not common, as there are not many mages in this world of reduced magic. Doing so is not unlike a Craft check, in that it will require several checks to finish an item. First, the GM sets a DC for the difficulty of the Spellcraft check (I was thinking along the lines of DC 15+spell level for scrolls and potions, DC 20 + spell level for wands, and much higher for other magic items). If the check succeds, multiply your check result by the DC. If the result X the DC => the price of the magic item, then you have completed the research. If it doesn't, then it represents the progress made this week. Record the number, and every time you succeed, add the result to the total. If you fail a check by 4 or less, you simply make no progress. If you fail by 5 or more, you must make a will save DC equal to the DC of the research. Even if you succeed, you loose all aquired research up to this point. If you fail... hehe... any number of bad things can happen. The character could come up with a flawed recipie (guarenteed to have a potential calamity, see below), or could simply be unable to continue researching the formula for that item. Formula research costs 1,000 gold per week in materials, lab fees, bribes to other wizards to part with certain information, and so forth.

Once the wizard has a formula (or at least thinks he does...), he may begin the process of crafting the item. First, you must pay 2/3 of the production costs up front, plus the GM may require specific items not covered by this gold cost which might require and adventure to obtain (ex. to create a wand of fireball, you would need the fertile but unhatched egg of a red dragon, which would certainly not be available at your local general store). These items must be aquired and present before creation can begin. The GM may also require the creation at a certain spot, in which case you must bring everything you need to make it (and to still live, like food and water and stuff) with you to the place.

Each item creation feat has a corrosponding Craft feat that must be used in conjunction. Thus to create a scroll, you must purchase the feat Scribe Scroll, then you would make a series of Spellcraft checks to do the research, then you would need to make a series of Craft (scroll scribing) checks to actually make it. If you fail any of the Craft checks by more than 5 (or roll a natural 1, or are using a flawed recipie), then you have a chance of calamity. These can include such unplesant effects as blowing yourself up (take Xd6 where X is equal to number of weeks you've been working, reflex save for half DC = the DC of the roll you just screwed up. If it is a calamity caused by a false recipie, the number of dice is equal to half the caster's level, or by using the previous formula, whichever is greater), or perhaps Brainburn (loose all memorized spells, take 1d4 damage per spell lost, will save DC of the craft DC for half, plus he must make a will save with the same DC next time he attempts to memorise a spell. Failure means he takes 1d4 per spell he was trying to memorise and he is unable to memorise spells. This will continue until he successfully memorises a spell). At the very least, reguardless of what other concequences, a calamity will waste all the materials, including rare quested items.

Furthermore, the wizard must create the item he is to enchant for any ring/rod/staff/weapon/armor/wonderous magic item. Scrolls, Potions, and wands do not fall in this catagory. This must be done AFTER he has the recipie, because the recipie will dictate the specific materials and methods for crafting the item. Furthermore, the GM may specify certain materials to use that would not normally be available on the general market for sale, and require the wizard to obtain them before he can craft the item, which must be done before he can make the craft check For example, the wizard has finished his recipie to create a Cloak of Displacement. It must be made of a tanned Displacer Beast hide. So he has to go out displacer beast hunting, then find some way to tan it before he may continue his item creation.

This way, a DM can have recipies as treasure items from NPC's skilled as wizards, which would be invaluable to the right person, and could either be sold to the right wizard for lots of cash, or used by a PC. Likewise, a PC might be able to purchase a recipie, but it would likely be very expensive. Be ware con-men who have bogus recipies for sale...