View Full Version : Kelpies, Phookas, and the Unseelie Court

2007-09-03, 04:12 PM
I've never DMed a game in my life. In fact, I've only been playing for about a year now. But today I got an idea for an awesome game.

I want to run a campaign, probably very loosely 3.5, set in the realm of Faerie. I don't want this to be a cute game, and I don't want it to be a safe game. I want this to be the sort of game where PCs don't start out with any PC class levels. I want there to be a mid-boss who eats babies, and I want the big bad evil guy to be nothing more than a distant presence until the very end of the campaign. I want it to be the sort of campaign where you have to justify any levels you take within the game and where the random encounter table is taken straight from Yeats' fairy tales. Pixies can be viscous, mirrors can be deadly, and it's VERY important to be kind to beggars.

For those of you who aren't quite sure what I'm talking about, I mean something like Tithe: A Modern Tale of Faerie, Into the Woods, The Black Cauldron,and The Tenth Kingdom all rolled up into one, with some Shakespeare and Yeats for flavor.

Now, the problem is that I'm almost clueless how to go about doing this. Obviously, it would be a very combat-light campaign, simply because the PCs wouldn't be able to fight these things very well at all. And I think I'll introduce first-level background feats like "Gifted: You have been given an item that is far more powerful magically than you realize" and "Watched: A deceased loved one guards you from above" and perhaps even "Interesting: A powerful Faerie has taken an interest in you (this feat may not be beneficial)." These feats would be based largely on backstory and character creation. Races other than humans would not be available to be PCs until later in the game. If a player insisted on being a fighty character, he would probably have to take Gifted, and then depend on his handy dancing sword.

So I got onto the GiantITP forums for the first time, knowing that if anyone would have advice for a first time DM it would be you guys. Should I even base this off of 3.5, or should I just play it diceless? If I do play it diceless how can I be sure to walk the line between Character/Flavor and Railroading? Is there an expansion somewhere for some system that is created for a game like this? Is it even likely that I can find players for such a game?

2007-09-03, 04:29 PM
Some years ago, White Wolf published a whole game on this premise, Changelng: The Dreaming. Even though I'm quite ambivalent to most of the white wolf games, this one was a true beauty. If you can get a copy, and are willing to spend money on it, do it. You only need the corebook and it is one of my favorite rpg products ever (on a completely unrelated sidenote, you could play satyrs or troll "knights in shining armors" who held a turney on motorcycles. Every game where you can joust on a motorcycle is great).

2007-09-03, 05:08 PM
Well, Ars Magica, is also a system that does allow developed character backgrounds and can heavily involve fey. (And I happen to like their system a lot)

Or go completely the other way, take a much lighter RPG system that won't get in the way of storytelling like RISUS (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm) which is free, fun and fast. It also allows for real role-players to dive into a story unfettered by "to climb this wall it's 20 -5 for rope +5 because it's wet -2 for your climbing gear and...".

Now if we go for it in DnD style, first you'll have to develop a lot of fey, since the MMs are quite light on them. To discourage (or make fights more deadly), it might be interesting to use the vitality points (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/vitalityAndWoundPoints.htm#vitalityPoints) rules.

Be careful to encourage in character solutions and role-playing during interactions with NPCs with things such as "Hither cometh the twilight of thy wyrd, for the unseelie an evil eye hath unleashed upon thee" instead of "I roll 15 in intimidation"

Be clear to the players about any feats and expected abilities for the campaign and encourage them to get a coherent background.

And last of all, good luck!

2007-09-04, 03:05 PM
I've played diceless with white wolf games before. They're tricky to pull off. What you might do is at your side have the trusty old "Die of Dire Misfortune." I make all my players roll this before dnd games, then laugh ominously at the poor sap that rolls the lowest.

Basically with some random die (d10s are actually pretty good for this), every time your players try to do something roll it. If you get a one, dire misfortune slaps them in the face. (This is when you have their fae magics backfire horribly or some malignant spirit decides to possess their horse)

Otherwise, just try to keep copies of their character sheets at hand, and take their skill and stats in mind when you decide whether or not they pull something off (I'm sure you were going to do that anyway, but I like to be thorough). Go with your gut.