Friday, July 11, 2008

D&D Campaign - Prologue

Here's the background and regional information for my PvP Forums AD&D game. Note that the campaign takes place in the Forgotten Realms universe, but the specific region is my own creation.

Keris Delmyre - Female Half-Elf Fighter (Target)
Reav Invess - Male Human Thief (X5)
Rockface Ironhenge - Male Dwarf Cleric (Porthos)
Ander Deveron - Male Human Psionicist (King_Hawk)
Bosbar Mumberthrax - Male Human Transmuter (Doc)

Regional Information:
Pondis is a large island in the Sea of Fallen Stars, about fifty miles off the coast of Baldur's Gate. The island is roughly oblong-shaped, stretching sixty-five miles east-to-west, and forty miles north-to-south. The weather is cold, like all of the northlands, but temperate tidal forces keep the island from being a desolate, icy wasteland. The northern half of the island consists of the Firehair Mountains, named for the goddess of love and beauty. Indeed, the sun setting over the western peaks and sinking into the sea's horizon is a beautiful sight that many of Sune Firehair's followers make a pilgrimage to see each spring. The Wyvern River descends from Lake Griffonpoint high in the mountains, flowing south into the central plains and then turning abruptly east across the continent to the east. The river forms an elaborate delta as it exits the eastern side of the island, but the land there is far too soft and swampy for settlement. The southern half of the island is a cold, rocky plain, perforated by areas of grassland. There is very little rain in the summer months, so fresh water south of the Wyvern River is found only at the occasional pond or oasis.

Pondis was first discovered centuries ago by an expedition force from a long-dead empire that stretched over the lands where Cormyr now lies. Small settlements appeared over time, three of which eventually evolved into villages and towns. While the land now technically belongs to the Kingdom of Cormyr, the monarchy has seemingly forgotten the area (or does not find Pondis to be of enough strategic or economic value to warrant attention). Seventy-five years ago, the three brothers of the Petham family (Thurston, Tethis, and Lynd) each distinguished themselves as officers in the Cormyrian army, and were granted the island of Pondis as a landhold upon their retirement. Upon reaching the shores of Pondis, the brothers Petham found that the local residents were not particularly interested in being ruled by an outside entity. Rather than risking a coup by forcing their rule upon the people, the brothers abandoned their landhold and returned to Cormyr.

Political State:
Several years after the brothers' departure, prominant citizens from the three human settlements on Pondis gathered to examine the idea of forming a united government. Officially, the towns of Pondis would not renounce their ties to Cormyr, as long as Cormyr did not try to influence their society or way of life. Every five years, each town would elect two council members. One would remain at home as a regional governor, and the other would move to Galaria to serve his or her term on the Council of Pondis. The Council would have authority in dealing with external civilizations, as well as presiding over disputes between entities from differing settlements. The regional governor would have authority over affairs in his or her own town. The proposal was drafted, and ratified by a popular ballot in all three towns. The newly-formed government remains to this day.

Galaria is the largest town on Pondis, and serves as capital of the allied settlements. It is located on the Wyvern River, near the eastern edge of the island. While technically not a seaport city, Galaria has several docks on the river, where shallow-bottomed boats can proceed eastward down the river and into the Sea of Fallen Stars. While Galaria is nowhere near the size of the mainland cities like Luskan or Baldur's Gate, it is perhaps the only settlement on Pondis that can be rightly called a 'city'. Most of the trappings of a modern society can be found there -- temples to several deities, stores, inns, taverns, and even a small mage's guild. There is a standing local militia, but due Pondis' proximity (and political ties) to Baldur's Gate, foreign invasion has never been much of a concern.

Thurston is the newest and smallest human settlement on Pondis. It is a quiet fishing village on the south bank of the island. Despite being a port town, Thurston has very little trade with the outside world. The village relies on caravans from Galaria for most supplies -- most notably fresh water, which is a somewhat rare commodity during the summer months on the southern plain of Pondis. Aside from fishing-related enterprises, the only goods and services available in Thurston are a large inn/tavern, a general store, and temples to Selune and Eldath.

Errol is a small town in the western area of Pondis, sitting astride the Wyvern River. It is slightly larger than Thurston, with an industry is more geared toward mining than fishing. Ore is mined from the nearby Firehair Mountains, carted into the town by horse-powered caravans, and sent down the Wyvern River for sale to Galaria or export to the mainland. Errol contains a large number of skilled tradesmen, who make a profit by crafting the newly-mined ore into weapons, armor, or other useful items, which are then sold to the local Merchant's Guild and then distributed abroad. The town has three taverns, two inns, several armor and weapon shops, a horse stable and breeding farm, many livestock and agricultural farms, and a large temple to Chauntea. Errol was originally built to support the walled outpost several miles to the west (simply known as "The Outpost"), meant to be a first line of defense against pirate incursions into the Sea of Fallen Stars in less-civilized days. The wall remains, but the military structure has transformed into a sleepy mining village; a score of soldiers serves as the Errol Home Guard, but they are maintained by tradition more than a need for fighting men and women. Three ancient catapults still sit rusting atop the walls of The Outpost, a lonely reminder of the compound's previous life.

House Rules:
1. My magic system is quite different from AD&D 2nd Edition, and is actually closer to the Sorceror rules for 3rd Edition. A mage gets 'spell points' depending on the total number of spell levels he/she could normally memorize. For example, if you can normally memorize two first-level spells and one second-level spell, you have 4 spell points. The wizard can then cast ANY spell in his/her spellbook for a number of spell points equal to the spell's level. This makes beginning mages a bit more versatile, and helps to balance out some of the weaker spell tiers. Also, mages get bonus spell points depending on their Intelligence stat (I use the Wisdom Bonus Spells chart for Clerics to get the number of bonus spell points). Clerics also use this system, but they will be limited in the number of spells they have available (if you worship the goddess of healing, you will NOT be able to cast Cause Serious Wounds!).

2. I do not use the racial level limits from 2nd Edition. Instead, when a demi-human character hits the level limit, each successive level will cost double the normal experience required.

3. At zero hit points, a character will become incapacitated. That character will lose one hit point per round (from bleeding) until he/she is healed or bandaged by another character. If a character reaches -10 hit points... well... the other party members should probably start looking for a shovel.

4. Gnomes are good eatin'.


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