Notes for a new D&D campaign:
Despite the setup information mentioned below, once the game begins, I expect the game will be straightforward. I hope to include lots of personalization elements. Expect that most problems can be solved with a willing heart at some risk to your character’s skin.
Rather than using a pre-made campaign world, we’ll create the world together via a Dawn of Worlds session prior to character discussion and generation. We’ll all have played through how the world came to the present—which should give us a better common understanding of the world and the PCs place in it when the game begins.
Zero Level: All characters have 5 HP and 5 skill points that can be spent on any skill prior to picking their first level class. The skill points can reflect an apprenticeship, skills gained scheming in court, living on the street, etc.
Classes: All 29 Core Classes are available at character generation. The classes picked and background given to the characters will develop the home region. For example, if the PCs are a Spirit Shaman, a Barbarian, a Samurai, and a Scout, we’ll start the game in a location where these classes are common—unless someone deliberately chooses to have their PC be a stranger to the start area.
Hero Point: Each player gets 1 hero point per session. By spending the hero point, the player can change the result of a die roll to any number the die could roll. This can be done before or after a roll. (Thus, once per session, you can make any one save, one hit, one confirmation, or coax max damage from any one roll.)
Skills: There is no longer a cross class penalty. Pick any skill and spend 1:1 to acquire it. However, there are encouragements for staying true to the clichés of your class. Borrowing from Iron Heroes, each class has access to Skill Groups. 1 skill point spent in a skill group gives 1 point in each of the skills within that group. For example, a fighter who puts a point into the Athletics skill group gets a point in Climb, Jump, and Swim. Similarly, a Monk who puts a point in the Notice group gets a point in Search, Sense Motive, Spot, and Listen. Note: Points in a specific skill cannot exceed the maximum of level + 3. If multiple skill groups push a skill above this threshold, the extra skill points are lost.
Spell Lists: Casters may pick any spells listed on their class list in whichever book their class is presented. Additional spells may be added to the list as described under customization below.
Sources: PHB, PHBII, Spell Compendium, Completes, Races of X on request. Anything else?
Stat Smoothing: We’ll generate characters per the standard 4d6, drop the low die, no rerolls. After everyone has rolled, they’ll add up their stats. Find the difference between your stat total and the leader’s. Divide that difference by two and that’s how many points you have to freely add among your stats. [Example: Ben rolls 18, 16, 14, 12, 12, 10, total 82 points. Jim rolls 15, 13, 12, 11, 11, 8, total 70. The difference is 12, giving Jim 6 additional points he can add to his stats however he wishes (subject to a cap of 18).]
I had a complex subsystem in mind here, but really, it boils down to two issues.
a) If there’s something that interests you (prestige classes, unusual base classes, etc), please let me know as soon as possible—a level or two in advance if possible. That way, we can make sure the world has whatever it is you’re looking for and that there’s time for it to fit, rather than shoe horning it in at the last moment.
(Working it into the Dawn of Worlds pre-game is an excellent idea, if you already know what you’d like to see.)
b) Classes with open spell lists (like Cleric and Druid) get the full PHB spell list for their class and can add any 3 spells to their personal spell list each level. Wizards, sorcerers, favored souls, etc. with their strictly limited spell lists can pick from any source. (That’ll be 3 spells or less per level, typically anyway.) Wizards should expect to find mostly PHB spells in rival spell books... though a rare spell suddenly makes good loot.
We’ll use the “turning undead inflicts damage” method from Complete Divine.
If there are any others you’d like to use, just bring them up.
I’m borrowing the rule from Saga: If you drop below zero hit points you fall unconscious. Once you’re unconscious, anyone can coup de grace you as a full round action (as standard). So death is still quite possible, but won’t happen by accident.
If healed up to above zero HP, the character is conscious but exhausted. (An exhausted character moves at half speed and takes a -6 penalty to Strength and Dexterity. After 1 hour of complete rest, an exhausted character becomes fatigued.)
Background, Character Ties, etc:
The players, working together, should come up with a concept that explains why your group sticks together, how you met, etc.
I’ll ask a few background questions about your character—hopefully enough to give everyone enough of an idea about your character to enjoy. Extra background, up to a page, is allowed but not necessary. I’ll try to pull interesting bits from your background and work them into sessions.
Sample questions: Who is your character’s best friend? First kiss? What did you do to pick up those zero level skills? Did you have a mentor who taught you your first level skills? How are you most like the stereotype of your home culture? Least? Describe your character—what’s the first feature a stranger would notice? How many siblings do you have?