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Hrafntyr
2008-11-17, 11:01 PM
Well, while setting my bathroom clock, I slipped, fell, and came up with an Idea (after I regained consciousness, of course). But anyway: This could fit in just about any good vs evil world, but with more shades of graey. I plan on using it (once refined) as a follow-up to a campaign; age the characters a bit, put on some grit and make them worn out.

Setting:
So things were looking pretty good, right? Well, a couple of decades after the Crushing, a group of outlawed, good-aligned heroes is going to try and set things straight.
The kingdom (I'll probably use 'world' instead of kingdom), is perpetually cloudy and storms are a common occurrence. Sickness is common, food is scarce, and the people will do anything to raise their personal status.

The Story So Far:
The Crushing... how can a culture (Zulus) or story with a time-period known as "The Crushing" not be cool? But anyway... The Crushing can be summed up as the time a group of powerful evil-doers (I'll probably end up using some of my player's evil-aligned characters) blind-sided the Heroes and sent them running. They, the evil guys, run the area with an iron fist. Their absolute evilness has warped the environment and even prevents the Gods themselves from helping their followers in anything other than a basic way (more on that later). That group of good-aligned adventurers-turned-outlaw has been on the run for years. Make sure the players know this; they have been hunted for years and should know it. This is their last chance at trying to set things right.

Some differences from most campaigns:
Next post.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-17, 11:31 PM
Alright: A few things to make it interesting:

Druids are ruthless. They will do anything to restore the Balance. The world has tipped towards evil.
Neutral Thieves are seen by others as being aligned toward Good. The current tyrannical regime may be evil, but they will not tolerate freelancers.
All legal magic-users have been required to register with local authorities so that their earnings may be taxed according to the level of their powers. Magic has not been banned, but all Magic-Users are regarded as having an extremely bad reputation. Open displays of Magic can cost a person his/her life.
Bards: Not many people are happy, or interested in listening to someone tell stories of better days or sing songs of happiness. Difficulties on all perform checks are increased due to the disinterest of the people. Bardsong is at a -1 penalty, even their party-members aren't interested in hearing about the 'good ole days'.
Rangers: They're... well... Rangers are moody and distant, as always.

All of the following are related to good-aligned characters:

Clerics are at -1 to spell level. Their gods are having trouble establishing a connection due to their weakened state. Healing spells are less effective and any light spell, such as Sunlight, will produce only the tiniest glimmer.

Paladins: Paladins are no longer the 'nice guys' of the party. After the majority of them were slaughtered, the survivors have become somewhat... cold. Paladins were forced to become hardened to survive. Their jaded view of the world has turned them into the 'the ends justify the means' type warrior. They are now more Lawful Neutral than Lawful Good. A paladin is more likely to resort to 'unsavory' methods of attaining what they want than any of his/her other party-members. To a Paladin in these times everyone and everything is the enemy. It is better to fight them now then to wait and allow them to grow stronger. Paladins will never offer quarter, nor will they receive any. Because Paladins have been hunted to the brink of extinction they may use 'detect evil' at will (their vision is somewhat skewed now, and neutral can show up as evil), they retain 'lay on hands' but all other healing prayers are eliminated. Paladins lose diplomacy and gain intimidate.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-17, 11:51 PM
The Sickness:
Ever since the crops began to fail and the sun was covered by clouds, the Sickness has infected almost the entire population. Neither magic nor natural remedies can cure it.
Incubation Period: 3 days, contagious for as long as the individual remains infected.
Duration: Permanent.
Cures: None.
Early Signs: light cough, slight headache, dry-mouth, runny-nose. Shows after the third day. These symptoms will increase in severity over the course of 3 weeks.
Permanent Symptoms: Hard cough (the kind that leaves your lungs burning), headaches of varying intensity (gets worse with loud noises and light), running lesions of varying sizes, but generally between the size of a quarter and your fist.

Charisma is at a -2 penalty. I know most people will think it should be higher, but everybody is infected.
Constitution is at -3. Str is at -1. Infected individuals have constant fatigue, all rules for fatigue apply.
Spellcasters: Spells/prayers are harder to memorize because coughing fits can and will wake them up. I need some help with this part.
Sneak/Hide checks have increased levels of difficulty because of these coughing fits.

Players must occasionally make a Fortitude save against having a coughing fit. When experiencing loud noises or seeing bright flashes of light, players must make will-saves (or concentration checks, as applicable) or be Stunned.

It does not kill the victim, but it will make them wish it had.

Nothing can cure, prevent, or alleviate the Sickness. It is air and water-borne, and can be passed by contact. It is not magical in nature, but may be something that was warped along with the environment.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-17, 11:52 PM
As I am still working on this, there will be more to come. I'm still getting this hammered out.

Comments, suggestions, constructive criticisms?

Hrafntyr
2008-11-18, 09:22 AM
A quick note on the Sickness: It infects everybody, no matter race or class. It also infected all livestock and whatever monsters your adventuring party may chance across. Also: it infects monks. Monks were the hardest hit by the Sickness, most of them had never been sick before and this was new to them. Those who lived through the initial months after contact have learned to work through it. Monks have the same symptoms, but Con is at -2 penalty instead of -3.

Sereg
2008-11-18, 09:41 AM
It's not normally a good idea to give once off abillity modifiers that are odd, so I would suggest that you change the ability modifiers to even.

Also, are you South African or did you just hear about the mfecane somewhere?

Lappy9000
2008-11-18, 09:47 AM
Yeah, you should probably change those ability penalties to positive numbers. Normally I'd be against a world plague that drops ability scores (unless a template is used), but if it effects everyone, it may not be a problem. You should take a look at the Weeping from the Tears of Blood setting in the subforum here.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-18, 10:11 AM
Alright, How about:

Drop the attribute penalties, leave the fatigue, the headaches and the coughing fits. And, since beauty (and personal magnetism) is based on societal norms (and everyone has it), charisma is not affected by the Sickness.

And no, I'm not South African. I'm a history and education major. So yeah, I've heard of mfecane. I go with 'the crushing' because it is better than the 'Time of Troubles' which is so often seen.

Lappy9000
2008-11-18, 10:24 AM
Alright, How about:

Drop the attribute penalties, leave the fatigue, the headaches and the coughing fits. And, since beauty (and personal magnetism) is based on societal norms (and everyone has it), charisma is not affected by the Sickness.

And no, I'm not South African. I'm a history and education major. So yeah, I've heard of mfecane. I go with 'the crushing' because it is better than the 'Time of Troubles' which is so often seen.

That's probably better. Would the effects of the Sickness affect casters so much that they'd have to make Concentration checks to maintain their spells?

Check out this link to the Plaguetouched from ToB (Tears of Blood; not Tome of Battle :smalltongue:) [here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1016572&postcount=10)]

Hrafntyr
2008-11-18, 12:35 PM
@Lappy9000: I've been debating whether or not casters will need a concentration check against coughing all of the time. I'd leave that up to the GM, but I myself would go with: Yes. The coughing will become more pronounced the more the player exerts him/herself. So, if a Magic-user is casting a spell in relative peace, I wouldn't require him/her to make the check (unless it could further the story by making things a little more interesting). But if it is in the middle of a pitched battle or the spellcaster just finished running away from something, I might ask them to make the check.

Note: In most of the games I run, a flubbed spell can do something different or it might do nothing at all.

I'm also thinking of creating a feat like "Work Through It" which would allow characters to 'work through' the pain or coughing fits. I'd appreciate some suggestions on that.

I do like the Plaguetouched idea, I might use that at some later date.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-19, 04:06 PM
Ick... I just read the 4.0 player's handbook. They nerfed paladin, fighter, and rogue/thief. Then they put wizards on steroids. And they took out bards. And druids.... That one really hurt.

Oh... and monks, but monks never really fit in too well.

I'm pretty disappointed, so the next post will take a little longer. I am working on the "Work through it" feat. I'm going to figure something out for it. Suggestions?

Hrafntyr
2008-11-19, 04:33 PM
Also, I thought I put this in but I guess I forgot:
The draft:
Large armies are controlled by the Enemy. They are also affected by the Sickness. All except for the highest commanders are infected. Soldiers are being drafted from the general population for a term of three years. Almost all adults have had military experience. Adventurers should take this into account.

The Harvesting:
As if things couldn't get any worse... The current rulers have implemented a system known as the Harvesting. One of every Seven people are 'randomly' selected by 'Choosers' who are always guarded by large units of soldiers. Rumors abound as to what happens to these people, but the most common theory involves those chosen being sacrificed and used to fuel power that warped the land.

All Alone:
There are no friendly faces in the towns. The past few years have been the worst for the population as a whole. The people have become used to the Sickness and, while it is still a major problem, they don't really care about much nowadays. Recently the rulers have been enforcing a draft on the population. That, along with the Harvesting, has caused the population to look for any way out of their situation.
If an individual turns in someone who is conspiring against the rulers they and their immediate family is immune to the Harvesting for the next few years, and
they will be paid the equivalent of one year of a basic soldier's salary for each conspirator they turn in.
Almost every member of the population will turn in the adventurers if their mission is discovered. Paladins were hit especially hard by this and now most refuse to trust anyone.

Supplies are hard to come by, but not impossible to get. Some of people can be bribed to supply our intrepid adventurers. You might even implement some sort of underground movement which could supply the party (and probably become infiltrated by the oppressors). Simple items should be easily affordable, but magic reagents are controlled substances and will require substantial bribes to acquire. Weapons and armor are commonly bought and no questions are asked by blacksmiths.

SurlySeraph
2008-11-19, 05:02 PM
Ooh, I always like well-done GRIMDARK settings, and this definitely applies. I'd like more specifics, but I like everything I hear so far.


Ick... I just read the 4.0 player's handbook. They nerfed paladin, fighter, and rogue/thief. Then they put wizards on steroids. And they took out bards. And druids.... That one really hurt.

Oh... and monks, but monks never really fit in too well.

I'm pretty disappointed, so the next post will take a little longer. I am working on the "Work through it" feat. I'm going to figure something out for it. Suggestions?

Here's a suggestion: Just make it for 3.5. There's a campaign setting I've been working on for a while, and I have absolutely no plans to convert it to 4E, because it works better in 3.5 and I don't want my work to be for nothing.

Hrafntyr
2008-11-30, 08:51 PM
Hey everybody, I was planning on updating this last week, but some things came up and I was without a computer for a week. So:

New feat... I'm not happy with it. I'd like it to be something more than an improved Iron Will...
Name: Work Through It:
Text: Through years of experience you can ignore pain and discomfort.
Prerequisites: Iron Will or Concentrate 6 or more ranks.
Benefits: You get a +2 to all Will saves and +4 to all Fortitude saves.
Special: Can only be gained once.

Paladin:
Code of Conduct: Desperate times call for desperate measures; in regards to the current problems the Code of Conduct is no longer in effect. Paladins do not have to atone for any deeds done specifically to remove the current rulers from power.
Divine Health: The Sickness affects even Paladins.
Associates: The rules for Associating with evil creatures are no longer in effect for the same reason Code of Conduct is removed.
Spells: Certain abilities are no long available, but the Gods are doing what they can; Paladins lose all spells except for the following:
Bless, Bless Weapon, Detect Undead, Holy Sword
Paladins are able to use the following at will:
Undetectable Alignment, Discern Lies.
Paladins gain the following (previously unavailable) spell(s):
Nondetection (Lv2)

Clerics, Druids, and Rangers:
Clerics are at -1 spell level. Minimum of Spell Level 2.
All healing spells are half as effective as they were before the Crushing. All healing spells heal half the amount. Even with maximize spell.
Druids and Rangers must make all animal empathy checks twice; animals are in pain from the Sickness and are harder to reach. This does not include animal companions. Speak with Plants and Speak with Animals last half as long and the animals/plants are distracted.

Light spells such as Sunbeam, Sunburst, Dancing Lights, last half as long and (if applicable) deal half damage. Itís a dark world after all.

More to come, I just have to find what I wrote it on.

Hrafntyr
2008-12-01, 01:36 PM
One more thing, this is meant for more experienced adventurers for a better storyline. I'll post a (slightly generic) storyline in full once I finish these papers, maps, and presentations. Then the specifics will come in. I'm debating on a variant of the 'bad apple' scenario.

Mando Knight
2008-12-01, 01:50 PM
Ick... I just read the 4.0 player's handbook. They nerfed paladin, fighter, and rogue/thief. Then they put wizards on steroids.

Whoa. What 4E PHB are you reading? The Paladin, Fighter, and Rogue are actually playable compared to their 3.5 versions, and the Wizard has actually been limited in power selection...

Also: your setting... it seems, I dunno... (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Order_66) fami (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Great_Jedi_Purge)liar... (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Galactic_Empire)

golentan
2008-12-01, 02:11 PM
Note: Not all evil works together. If someone was to play a LE cleric, eager to overthrow the regime to carve out their own section of power, would the caster level reduction be negated, or even reversed because of the ties to evil? Something to consider.

Hrafntyr
2008-12-01, 02:18 PM
@golentan: I've actually considered that. I've been debating on which option to use, but for now I'd say evil clerics are at +1 caster level. But healing spells are still at half power.

@ Mando Knight: Not a big Star Wars fan so I hadn't heard of it. I can honestly say that did not influence my thoughts. But the difference I'm seeing is my bad guys came out of nowhere and blindsided the good guys. And it was a small group of bad guys who hit hard and fast. I was thinking more along the lines of fast attacks that took out the major power-holding politicians (kings and such). The evil guys had their act together so people started flocking to them. And they've already 'destroyed the rebel base'.

UncleWolf
2008-12-03, 11:45 PM
I like this one, keep up the good work.