The Steamdragon Acquisitions Company
Special and House Rules
Pardon any insanity on this page, making as I try making my wizard in an attempt to hit any speedbumps I can before character creation. I am using Myth-Weavers for my character sheet then copying it over, but pen and paper then transferring the vitals to the Characters Tab works fine too. To use our character tab, ignore the sheet drop down, write your character’s name, biography, etc, maybe copy down some of your crunch as you see fit, but ignore that terrible form they use, at least for now. I am putting my character into it for now, but it is taking 3x as long as on paper and has the tiniest place for story, which is our primary focus. What I care about most of all is the fluff of your character, I trust you to keep track of your own crunch.
Names need to be relatively RP appropriate
Any PHB 1 (Core) Race is possible, but here are some little tidbits about each, at least for my sessions:
Humans: The dominant species, viewed by other races as locust, but also the peoples who are in charge of the most city states by far. As a human you will have almost no issue getting along in other city-states, but may find the deep forests of the elves, riverlands of the halflings, or high mountains of the dwarves a tad awkward. Traditionally Humans are oblivious to, or ambivalent toward the feelings of the other races, with the exception of Half-Orcs, which are viewed as “unclean” and not trustworthy beyond “manual labor”.
Elves: The long-lived race of mystical and natural beings has been dwindling over the generations. Less are born each decade, and more Cross the Veil, joining their immortal Fey brethren each century than in the previous millennia. Elves are generally viewed as scholars, and even under human rule, crimes against elves are severely punished, warranting a level of “protection” within city life. Traditions Elves distrust everyone, but have a better relationship with halflings, gnomes, and dwarves than the do with the more “Short lived” races of Humans and Orcs.
Dwarves: With the advent of Clans, close knit families of Dwarves became “Companies”, doing whatever it takes to get shrewd deals and exclusive contracts for permits, or just outright dominating certain sites making them impassible to other clans. This has forced many Dwarves out of their traditional homeland, the mountains, and into cities where they can apply the best pressure and recruit the best Gladium for missions. Dwarves are often viewed within a city as people of great importance, like the Merchant of Venice, although this is a tad of a racial stereotyping, as many dwarves are still completely fighters at heart, either serving their clan with complete loyalty, or offering their services as Gladium willing to lay down their life for a taste of adventure.
Gnomes: Gnomes are distant relatives of the fey and as a result the Elves, and their history tells of a time when they lived in the fey’s mysterious realm, a place where colors are brighter, the wildlands wilder, and emotions more primal, the same place Elves go to when they “Cross the Veil”. Unknown forces drove the ancient gnomes from that realm long ago, forcing them to seek refuge in this world; despite this, the gnomes have never completely abandoned their fey roots or adapted to mortal culture. As a result of this you often find them in cities offering bizzare wares, and rarely associating with anyone but fellow Gnomes or Elves. Gnomish Gladium are almost always eccentric extremes of whatever class they are, but also are usually the most expensive to hire, often rejecting traditional payment for the archaic currency of “favors”.
Half-Elves and Half-Orcs: Equally rejected by both of their heritages, these Half-Breeds live on the edge of society, either as gladium or a member of the Working Class. The Half Elf may be able to pass himself off a Human under the right conditions, but the Half-Orc is trapped in the stigma of “unclean” by the Human-Populated city-states. Oddly enough it is the Dwarves that respond best to the Half-Breeds, and it is not uncommon to see a family of Half-Orcs sworn to a Dwarven Company, or Half-Elf emissaries reporting to city councils petitioning the needs of these same companies.
Stats and Variables
Stats are determind by rolling 4d6 and dropping the lowest die 6 times. Assign scores as you chose. Don’t be afraid of “bad” scores, as each of us tend to put ROLEplaying well ahead of ROLLplaying, so low scores are just character flaws, not hopeless failures. After trying this system on my Wizard I decided to let us roll 2 sets, in other words roll your 4d6b3 6 times, twice and decide which set you want more. In case you are wondering it is because the dice roller in the corner of this page gave me “17,16,16,9,15,16” and I thought that hilariously broken, I can easily imagine the reverse on our first session, someone rolling “3,6,4,12,14,4” but I can’t imagine that happening twice.
I am leaving Age up to the players, I intentionally maxed the Starting Age on my Halfling to fit his backstory, but this game won’t be occurring over the course of multiple decades, so generally whatever age category you start in, we will assume you stay unless you are magically aged. Same with Height and Weight, just don’t cheat yourself into a different size category by pushing one extreme or the other, you have a Transmutation Wizard with you, it’s his job to make the DM’s head explode with Size Modifiers, not yours, yet.
Hitpoints is your Hit Die + Con Modifier, YES we are rolling each level, but this isn’t a power-game, so don’t worry too hard.
Languages are important, so choose wisely. If you have under a 10 INT score, you have to roll a DC to read Common unless you are a barbarian, in which case you are Illiterate
Languages used in this campaign, not sorted by frequency:
- Elven (lumps together Gnomish and Elven)
- Low Common
In theory we are sticking with the base classes you see in the PHB1, but over the course of the 12 years 3rd edition has been out there has been a metric ton of errata, fixes, and tweaks available if you were resourceful enough to read every page of every book out there. To make it easier I have little fixes to each class to accomplish the re-balancing 12 years did.
Bard: +1 spell slot of your highest tier each level
Cleric: A cleric can channel stored spell energy (a previously prepared spell) into healing/harming spells that she did not prepare ahead of time.
Druid: +1 spell slot of your highest tier each level
Fighter: Either follow Pathfinder’s write-up or use any source out there for your feats, d12 hit dice
Monk: d10 hit dice
Paladin: Start with a Mount, d12 hit dice
Ranger: Either 1/4 of an extra spell slot of your highest tier each level (aka 1 extra spell every 4 levels) or Combat Style Options Archery or Crossbow, aka free feats every 4 levels related to your style
Rogue: Poison Use OR 10 + INT Skill Points each level
Sorcerer: Bloodlines, see me, basically trivial additions every 4 levels plus an extra learned spell
Wizard: Arcane Bond (gives you the choice between a familiar or a bonded object) and Arcane School (Specialization/Opposition grants trivial bonuses like +1 to a physical stat every 4 levels, or the extra use of a certain spell)
Generally, I roll with the punches, if you come to me after we make the characters via 3.5 and the above tweak still leaves you feeling terribly inadequate, i will poke around at class feature exchanges to see what we can do.
Wealth and Possessions
First, give yourself basic armor, an appropriate weapon, and the cover-all “Adventurer’s Kit”, the swiss army knife of items from 4e. Throw in 1 item of sentimental value that can not be used as a weapon or provide any bonuses. After the first session write a 250+ word entry on the forums about your sentimental object and I will check my archaic scrolls of 3.5 goodness to assign some tiny +2 morale bonus to it based on your story. NOW look at the wealth die from your class entry, roll that. Anything else you want to buy, like lodging, food, drink (beyond the standard canteen), or bed warmers comes out of that wealth.
This is another HUGE deal in my games. I love getting y’all to roll dice, and throwing in skill challenges is a great way to do that. I don’t follow the whole “3 successes before 4 failures” or whatever system, nor do I go “success or die” unless it is a combat situation, and even then I am not a sadistic DM. If you plan to be our tracker, make sure to pour points into Knowledge Geography, Search, Spot, and Survival. If you are our resident encyclopedia, look into the Knowledge skills, basically look at the whole list of skills before deciding which ones you want to pour points into. Everyone gets Profession(Something) as in in-class skill, and I want at least a point put in it at level 1. Beyond that we are following 3.5’s rules on how many points you get, and how many points you can put into a category each level. Remember humans get extra skill points at each level.
Class Options/Feats/Final Crunch Details
Now you just look at the 3.5 book, look at level 1 and see what you gain. Make sure to check you BAB, any extras to defenses, and any bonus feats beyond the freebie at level 1, and human’s spare. This is also when you would copy down any spells you have, which you will have studied before the first session, and any spare weapons’ modifiers that you are carrying. Remember that extremely high INT/CHA/WIS might grant you an extra spell of two. As for feats, be practical but remember this game is equal parts social and combat, so doing nothing but Weapon Focus may put you in a corner when the shopkeep refuses to repair said weapon. When in doubt, Toughness and Improved Initiative are the ultimate stand-bys.
Now look at your sheet, what is blank?
- If I asked you right now to attack something, do you know what to add to the roll?
- If I told you to roll Reflex to get out of the way of a fireball, are you ready?
- If you had to roll a Move Silently Check, do you know what to add?
I am going to keep fiddling with my own sheet, if anything else comes up I will hit up this thread and post my thoughts.