View Full Version : Journal First Ascension - Let's Play Old-School [Basic]

2015-07-26, 12:06 AM
D&D Basic or Basic Fantasy RPG, think of it however you like, they look almost identical when you're not interacting with the actual mechanics, with exceptions for if you're not using the Treasure as XP variant rule in Basic Fantasy. (For those who really need to know, Basic Fantasy is the one we're using.) We'll usually meet twice a week, but our schedules can sometimes fill up unexpectedly so we may regularly only meet once in a given week and occasionally we may have to skip a week.

First I'll give you the slice of world the PCs have been made privy to, then I'll show you the players' own self-written introductions and link you to their character sheets. Feel free to post here; I'm going to post each journal entry on this thread, but I'm just going to add a link to each post to this opening post, so your posts won't make them any harder to find.

This is a shorter version, though it's also much longer than a summary. I'll write and post a more complete version in World-Building one of these days, and link it on this page once I'm done.

This campaign will be taking place in a world known as Elentia, specifically the continent of Rearoux, which is different from the standard Basic settings in that humans share their dominance around, especially with halflings. The continent is divided into three significant parts.

The southeastern section of the continent is mostly comprised of light forest and rocky, hard-soiled plains. The most common races here are humans, halflings, and orcs, and they tend to live in small villages or, in the case of the orcs, often raiding-focused tribal bands (though there are village orcs). Humans and halflings are generally friendly with one another, but usually live in villages predominately comprising their own races; as a general rule, the villages tend to have a ten-to-one ratio of one race to the other. Orcs, when they do live in villages, usually live solely among their own, though some of the more civil and patient orcs will accept the prejudice against them and try to get by in human or halfling villages. Often, they do this because they're the more rare civil and patient orc, and find these conditions preferable to the violent and sporadic tendencies of other orcs. The villages themselves are largely typical of what you would think when you hear the word "village," except that they have more military infrastructure as there is rarely an outside force providing any protection from orc raiders and wandering monsters. Regarding other intelligent races, elves and gnomes usually try to stick to the light forests, though they struggle greatly with surviving due to the sparsity of prey and edible fruits, dwarves tend to find the richest settlements they can and do manual labor for them (despite the stereotype, few in this part of the continent actually learn to craft), and ogres tend to build small cities and get by with crafting and trading with humans, halflings, and orcs. There are a few exceptions to the "small villages and smaller cities" rule, however, as spread around the continent there are a small few wealthy city-states, centered around the lavish towers of powerful Magic-Users and large, prosperous temples. Those that live in these city-states have a much higher standard of living, with small but standing defensive armies to deal with monsters and the occasional foolish raiding group, and magic plus high-end crafting work making life rather easy for everyone. However, these city-states are very reclusive, and seek to live lavishly and acquire personal power rather than expand or allow in new blood. The only effect the city-states tend to have on the surrounding area is in the form of coming and going priests, who occasionally seek to help alleviate peoples' misery and always seek to make sure that people remain faithful to the dragon gods. (More on that later.) Lastly, regarding monsters, there are a few, some local and some wanderers from the Arlathan Plains, but aside from Cavemen, Goblins and Bugbears, and some giant animals, most monsters are very rare in this area.

The center area of the continent is dominated by the Arlathan Plains. Nobody knows much about the areas more than a few miles into the Arlathan Plains, as the Plains are incredibly dangerous. Geographically, it's filled with luscious but often scarred plains, patches of desert, one large, swampy forest, and a mountain range on the northern side. There's more to it, but as mentioned, people can't get more than a few miles in... Because of the monsters. The Arlathan Plains are riddled with terrible foes for any group that wants to work their way in. The few survivors of expeditions into the Arlathan Plains (usually from the northwest, though the southeast sometimes throws together ragtag armies to take some valuable resource in the Plains) will regularly be reduced to individual survivors running back, reporting the rest of the army being wiped out, often from long-term attrition followed by a big finishing onslaught. Said survivors report that the armies have been beset by giants hurling stones, strange ooze creatures and hellish beings from nether realms, supernatural beasts and animated plants, and most notoriously, harrying packs of blink dogs and displacers. With so few having survived simple excursions into the wretched lands, any dedicated settlement by a given power has been entirely impossible up to this point, but there are individuals of vast power who, for one reason or another, have taken up residence within the Arlathan Plains; these individuals, however, can not be reached to describe the deeper parts of the Plains, for fairly obvious reasons, and don't seem eager to come forward with the information themselves.

Luckily, the Arlathan Plains don't take up the entire center of the continent, and can be walked or sailed around with a lot of time but not too much trouble, so the southeasterners are partially aware of the conditions in the northwestern part of the continent. There, most of the land is controlled by a large, halfling-dominated kingdom that has awarded loyal gnome and goblin Magic-Users with prosperity in order to make their kingdom a magical powerhouse, despite the inability of halflings themselves to learn magic. While the kingdom is populated mostly by halflings and Magic-Users, non-Magic-Users of other races are allowed to become citizens, though they have little social mobility unless they're truly exceptional at their work, and they're often distrusted as spies from other kingdoms. In particular, elves are often treated with intense distrust in the halfling kingdom, because the only kingdom that's meaningfully powerful compared to the halfling kingdom in the land is an elvish forest kingdom that has served to help bolster other kingdoms against the halfling expansion. The rest is divided among a substantial number of tiny kingdoms, often only a few cities large, which are forced into an uneasy peace by the constant presence of the halflings waiting to swoop down on them if they're weak. Whether this is all true isn't entirely certain, however; most of this information was obtained from traders, who came from the various kingdoms in search of a resource advantage for their kingdom in the gigantic standoff, and the accounts vary largely from trader to trader based off where they came from. This is simply the most commonly accepted version of the story in the southeast.

Though there are major cultural differences in the expression of religion from the southeast to the northwest, their religions are based around the same framework. They believe in the draconic pantheon, comprised of Io, Bahamut, Tiamat, Aasterinian, Astilabor, Chronepsis, Faluzure, Garyx, Hlal, Lendys, Sardior, and Tamara. (Yeah, I know, not terribly original, but hey.) They believe that the universe began with the pure undiluted energy of the Amos (water), Hythar (fire), Vera (water), and Theur (air) each separated into four perfectly symmetrical, equal sections. However, these soon collapsed into each other, creating the Orb of Khar in the center of their collision, and in a moment of perfect mixture between all the elements, it became intelligent, powerful, and fearful of its sudden birth into this realm of pure power in every direction. In its fear, it used its power to realign the elements, so nothing as strong as itself could be born from another perfect mixture. However, all of the elemental masses were tainted by each other, and from this imperfect mixture of the elements, Io, Bahamut, and Tiamat were born. Io, a calm one, simply contemplated his newfound existence; but Bahamut and Tiamat, bored with the idea of being the only beings in existence, tried to mix the elements again to create more life, making the other gods in the process. The Orb of Khar, fearful that one of these experimental lifeforms may come to match it if the creation continued, sealed the remaining pure elemental energy behind cosmic gates, then threw those gates out of alignment so that the elements could never be reached...

But this left the gods and the Orb of Khar in an unstable vortex of the remaining tainted elemental energy. In order to save themselves, and to continue their creation despite the Orb of Khar's efforts to stop them, the gods channeled the tainted elemental power (which the Orb of Khar had less control over, being a perfect fusion and thus more attuned to the perfect, pure elements) to trap Khar inside a new world. Khar, in order to rescue himself, prepared to fight the gods in the beginnings of their new world, where there was finally enough stability for these great entities to solidify their forms.

The Orb of Khar took the form of a great titan with perfect control of all elemental energy, while the gods, unable to match such a perfect form, nonetheless shaped into the most powerful elemental embodiments they could envision in an effort to fight it, becoming the first dragons. They battled, and though the Orb of Khar was stronger than all the gods combined, they managed to defeat him by manipulating the new world itself, distracting him at a crucial moment so they could turn his attacks back on himself. They then finished fully sealing the Orb of Khar in the new world, and expected that the pure elemental powers would never trouble them again. After this, they decided to become the rulers of this new world, and shaped the various tainted elements into the new lifeforms of the world.

However, they were proven wrong. A thousand years later, the gates which had been held out of alignment by the Orb of Khar slowly realigned themselves with his weakened influence, and allowed pure elemental power to pour out again, taking the form of the Orbs of Amos, Hythar, Vera, and Theur. These incredibly powerful items, in reaction to the tainted world they came into contact with, spewed out mighty elemental titans and gouts of elemental power, greater than even the gods' own power, which quickly laid waste to the life on the world. The gods, in a last-ditch effort, combined their powers all together to seal the orbs themselves while they tried to push the gates back out of alignment. They succeeded, if only barely, in both tasks, and with nothing left to do, the elemental titans the orbs had summoned began to slumber within the new world itself, giving the gods time to restrain them, though their binds weren't nearly as strong as the world sealing the Orb of Khar. Unfortunately, the gods realized they had to focus on keeping the gates out of alignment as much as possible, and that the mortals they created would need access to the powers of the tainted elements to defend themselves if they had to face any more elemental crises. So they recreated the world, this time giving all the races either the ability to use magic themselves, or very high resistance to magic.

Then the gods divided themselves into groups of three among the four gates to hold them out of alignment as well as possible, and left the world mostly in the hands of their new clerics, who figured the gods had handled the elemental issue. After all, the elemental titans were sealed, and though the Orbs existed, nobody knew where they were, and they'd been sealed with godly power, so no mortal could ever break those seals... Right?

The Clerics seemed to be right, but were given a few rude awakenings within the past hundred years. Ninety-seven years ago, there was a sudden massive increase in the intensity of winds everywhere... Breezy weather turned into hurricanes, typical wind spells turned into giant destructive gales, and for just a few minutes, some winds leaped to life and sliced at people as if they possessed their own will... Then, after just those few minutes, all the winds died down to normal intensity. The most powerful Clerics and Magic-Users, alarmed by this seemingly random occurrence, turned their attentions to the cosmos, using their most powerful spells and spending vast amounts of gold on magical research to figure out what happened, which came to no avail for the next thirty years... Until, as many were still attentively testing to see what had happened, they encountered a sudden cosmic outburst of earth energy... The same thing that had happened with the winds thirty years ago happened with the dirt, rocks, and metals of the earth, with earthquakes striking, basic metal weapons becoming highly destructive and unwieldy, and various earth spells producing exponentially more powerful effects than normal. And in minutes, this had again passed...

The Magic-Users and Clerics who noticed the disturbance quickly became convinced that the gates had temporarily realigned, and Cleric spells Communing with the gods confirmed this. Nobody, however, seemed to be able to figure out when the gates would align again... So when it happened suddenly, thirty-three years later, with the Amos Gate, everyone was just as caught off-guard as before. Now, thirty-four years after that event, some fearfully await the destructive realignment of the last gate, but most either assume the gods have figured out a solution to the problem, or don't worry about it since there's no way to predict it and nothing they could do about it anyway.

That's about all the important stuff. Again, it goes more in-depth, but that can be covered in the World-Building thread.

Now, on to the PCs and their player-written introductions...

Felix (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=283400)

engage deep voice

He's so poor and pathetic, even drunken beggars give him money.

His stubble is so unstylish, even a bugbear turned him down on account of looks.

His magic is so impotent that his best and only spells are equivalent to looking at the sky and praying at dinner.

He's so frail that instead of Turning Undead, he turns away from undead. And hides. (And has less HP than both the Magic-User and the Thief, apparently.)

The only way he survives the first session is by being so painfully, extraordinarily average that none of the bad guys notice him. And maybe not even then.

He is... The most useless Cleric/party member in the world. Stay healed, my friends.

Elicia (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=283401)

... So.

My thief rolled 18 Constitution.

... What the hell.

Howdy ho guys! I'm a newbie to the system, hope Elicia's actions aren't too terribly intolerable from your perspective on account of that. I pretty much just did what I imagine is the standard Thief thing, trying to do as much damage as possible on Sneak Attacks (also, sneak attacking with a two-handed sword sounds hilarious), but it's kind of nice knowing that I'll be able to tank a hit or two if totally necessary... Anyway, I hope I don't die right off, I want to build this character from the ground up through a career, but I've heard that grinding through characters is a pretty common old-school trope. Anyway, I guess we'll see what happens! Hope she's roleplayed entertainingly for you, anyway. ^_^

Xara (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=283403)

Born to slaves and taught the brutal orcish methods of fighting, Xara is a prideful but loyal fighter, out to learn the secrets of the world and become strong enough to avenge the deaths of her mercenary comrades. Rolled well on her stats, made her out as something of a prodigy. Seems like she's bound for a good career as a Fighter and some neat interactions with an interesting world. I don't tend to play the "smart Fighter" archetype, but it seemed neat to try and I rolled well enough for it, so let's go use to it to kick some ass.

Kalteth (http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheet.html#id=283391)

The special snowflake among special snowflakes, the Mary Sue to inspire all Mary Sues, the god-to-be who has emotional issues that only endear everyone to her and make her sympathetic to the audience, the mega-genius with only plot-convenient flaws and superpowers and- What, I got this far and the DM's still okay with this? Are you, uh, grinning? ... Why do I get the feeling everything I'm happy about is going to be used against me?

Oh well, for the moment I'll just enjoy being awesome, and- Oh what's that, roll 2d12 and pick one of them for my first spell? Well, most of the first-level spells are alright, this shouldn't be too bad... 5 and 7. Light or... Magic Mouth.

... Oh ye future god, summoner of pure awesome, shall ye start in a state of poverty, able to call upon the most earth-shattering of powers to, like, light up a room or something.

You and your fair mechanics, pooping on my arbitrary desire to be a special snowflake. The nerve of you.

So, yeah. Go ahead and talk about the players and their characters and your thoughts on the setting and whatever while you wait for the first session's journal entry, if such tickles your fancy. And if you ask spoiler-y questions, well, I'm actually pretty likely to answer them unless I think they'll ruin your viewing experience, because my players don't have accounts on this site anyway. So, yeah... Discuss away, tell me why everything about me is terrible or why my setting's religion is so generic, or alternatively complement me, or talk about which player you think will be your favorite, or what have you. I hope we all have a good time recounting the adventures of some heroes (or maybe not-heroes).