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Thread: Freeport Game OOC
December 7th, 2009, 08:13 PM #1
Freeport Game OOC
Well, the PM's are getting clunky. Let's lay out an OOC thread to nail down chargen.
I'll recreate the chargen guides as best as I can remember, since I'm too lazy to to find all the PMs and cut and paste them. Rewriting it is easier.
1) D&D 3.5, 2nd level. Pretty much any supplements are OK. You want a changeling soulknife? I'm good. A shadar-kai wu-jen? Whatever, dude.
2) Standard starting gold. I'm not as into the loot aspect of the game as probably most GMs you've played under, so buy stuff that you like. You may be using it for a long time.
3) Abilities are "elite array" 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8. Then add three ability ups, whereever you like 'em, and apply racial modifiers. Voila!
4) I don't care what you play. Don't worry about "party balance" unless that's something that you just want to for fun. It's my job to bring the game for the characters I've got, not the other way around.
5) I don't believe in alignment. Feel free to not even pick one. If you do pick one, I don't care what it is.
6) Freeport is a grubby, corrupt, sword & sorcery type of place. You don't need to be a hero. In fact, if you are, you may have a hard time. Shady characters in a Thieves World type of setting is what I'm going for here, not King Arthur. Although, I won't go so far as to say you can't play a paladin, I'll certainly encourage you otherwise...
7) Once all the character concepts are in (at least name, race and class, from all players) I'll organize a quick little exercise stolen from Spirit of the Century that will give you a bit of background interweaving. So... here's the list that I'll be updating as concepts come in:
- Player Character Race Class
- Alenda Carlotta Murcielago Human Rogue
- barsoomcore Ricardo Murcielago Human Swashbuckler
- BeerRun Lemmy MilKinster Human Barbarian/Bard
- Hypersmurf Grey Changeling Rogue/Sorcerer
- Ovinomancer Lash Hobgoblin Fighter/Rogue
8) While set in Freeport, your characters (and you as players) don't need to know a lot about Freeport. In fact, it's maybe best if you don't. Like I said, think Sanctuary from Thieves World (at least the first few volumes) or Haven from Hawk & Fisher or even Lankhmar, add in some pirates and some Lovecraftish horror elements, and you're 90% there already.
9) Although there's nothing there yet, I set up a wiki, http://freeportfan.wikispaces.com that you should go send me a wikispaces note on, so you can edit it. If nothing else, you can store your characters there.
Any other questions, drop 'em here.
Last edited by iHobo; December 11th, 2009 at 01:24 PM.
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December 7th, 2009, 09:02 PM #2
Linguistics in D&D is designed to be convenient. A side effect of this is that it makes absolutely no sense. Every race has a racial language, that is the same no matter how far apart populations live. Everyone in the entire universe speaks Common. Outsider languages are really just another variation on the racial languages.
On the other hand; few players care very much about linguistics, so trying to recreate a realistic linguistic landscape is probably only going to annoy and frustrate most players. The purpose of this module is to create a middle ground; a place where linguistics can be a little bit interesting, yet one where it's not an arbitrary challenge and frustration.
As in regular D&D, most languages cost only a single skill point to learn. However, there are a few languages in this format that are highly complex and difficult and alien, and may cost more. In addition, some languages have a few other minor quirks that are worth reading.
Vestic: the main language of the main area in which your campaign starts (i.e., Freeport, and the Ivory Ports.) The equivalent of "local Common." Everyone will speak this in your first area (unless they're fresh off the boat foreigners) and many people will also speak it in surrounding kingdoms or regions.
Old Vestic: an ancient form of the Vestic language, so different from today's language that it counts as a different language. Similar to Latin in the Middle Ages, it'll be handy in reading older texts, and is also be a liturgical language that priests and nobles use. It is nowhere spoken as a vernacular, though, so you will be unlikely to have many conversations using Old Vestic with folks on the street.
Komewan: a language from a large and powerful kingdom to the West. This language would obviously be important if traveling to the West, but it's also an important trade language right where you are now, and foreign traders may use it as a lingua franca of business and exchange.
Rharian: a language from a large and powerful kingdom to the East. In the past, this kingdom has expanded militarily into the region where you start the campaign, and made that area a province or protectorate. That was the past; currently their influence over the area is on the wane. However, due to this heritage, this is still an important language for administration and government. Maybe people originally from the East still live in the area and speak this as their native language as well.
Khurushat: language spoken in a big, expansionist, and dangerous, or "evil" nation run by a scary emperor. If Khurushat is a highly organized hobgoblin empire.
Dagesh: the native language of a politically non-existant native minority substrate. Kind of like the Celts in Anglo-saxon England, if you will. Politically they are not powerful or important, but many of the day to day people that you meet, especially in remote, pastoral settings (farmers and the like) belong to this minority and speak this language as their native language.
Cavusto: Also known as Kvuustu (in Cavusto that's how you say it) this harsh language is that of marauding bands of barbarians and raiders. Think of the Huns or the Mongols chomping on the borders of settled, civilized nations, and that's what this group is meant to invoke. Many of the native speakers of this language are orcs.
Mazin: Mazin is the language of Mazin, a powerful seafaring city-state on the south coast, and in various island chains. The Mazin are notorious slavers, and they come more often selling human(oid) flesh than anything else to Freeport. Freeport and Mazin have clashed in the past, inconclusively, although Freeporters are quick to point out that Mazin (currently) leaves them alone, and only a few ships of Mazin berth come through town anymore. Rumors are that major changes to the political landscape of Mazin have happened recently, although what exactly that means is still TBD.
Celestial: this language is spoken by outsiders; the servants of the gods. It is said to be the original language, pure and perfect. Of course, humans are too flawed to really speak it properly, and only by spending twice the normal skill points can it be learned.
Infernal: this language is also one spoken by outsiders, and is in fact a corrupted and debased form of Celestial. That link notwithstanding, it has changed sufficiently that you cannot understand one by knowing the other, and must invest skill points in learning it. Like Celestial, this language costs twice the normal skill points (so… 2) to learn. Many, many tracts on magic are written in this language, so it is particularly important for those interested in pursuing forbidden paths to power.
Dagonic: this ancient language is known only from fragmentary, mouldering standing stones with bizarre carvings on them. Nobody speaks this language, or has any idea what it sounds like, but a limited vocubulary and grammer exist based on the carvings. This is an extremely difficult and alien language, and therefore costs three skill points to learn, and then it is only a written language. However, the most powerful and forbidden magic is transcribed in this language… often imperfectly.
Starting languages are a bit more loose; in general, you can learn any of the mortal languages as you pick them, based on the number of languages you start with. Celestial, Infernal and Dagonic, however, can not be learned as starting languages and always must have skill points spent on them.
Last edited by iHobo; December 7th, 2009 at 09:09 PM.
December 7th, 2009, 09:04 PM #3
Religion, in case anyone wants a character to be religious at all.
Gods and Dieties
Some scholars of theology believe that all the world actually only worships a single pantheon of gods; it's just the names and representations of them that differ, as well as regional importance of one god over another. Others resist that notion, calling each nation's pantheon of gods a unique set, specific to that culture, although cults may migrate from culture to culture from time to time. Be that as it may, these are the gods that have temples in Freeport, as well as a handful of others that are also worshipped. Although, honestly, people in general are better described as "superstitious" rather than "religious." Offerings and invocations are tossed off out of habit, and people have a healthy respect for the ability of a displeased god to give you a really bad day, but they don't often otherwise pay particular respects to them. Pick whatever domains or favored weapon you think are appropriate if playing a cleric or other class that needs domains. The names given (underlined and italicized in the body of the description) are the regional names common to your area; they differ slightly by dialect in other locations, or may have entirely different names in some regions.
The way the pantheon works is that no god has "primacy" over another one according to myth. The various gods work in their respective sphere of influence, and their importance varies from region to region. Because I like campaigns set in very lawless, free-wheeling, decadent places, the Black Prince is an important god locally to most campaigns I run, although he's seen differently (and plays a much more minor role) in many other regions.
The Black Prince - The Black Prince was originally a god of bandits, brigands, pirates and outlaws in general. Despite the fact that most countries long ago applied a veneer of legitimacy and civilization, worship of this god is still very common. He's seen as a representation of the more romantic notion of pirates and outlaws, but nobody forgets that piracy and highway brigandry is an inherently nasty business. He's also adopted a new aspect; most civilized lands now see him as a god representing the nobility, law, civilization itself. I'm sure it says something about society that a divine robber is what they find most representative, but worshippers give this little thought, and his pirate background is often forgotten or even actively surpressed. By superstition, he's rarely named aloud although his name is well known (Grazazat) and is instead usually called the Black Prince, or the Six-fingered Man. His image is common in small statues or icons across the land; he's tall, handsome has six fingers on each hand and has a "crown" of six small horns pushing up through his hair. His icons are always made of obsidian or basalt, or some other black stone, and other images are always painted pure black.
The War God - The god of war is named Bel (hence the expression casus belli). He is seen as a large, powerful figure with a sword in one hand, a whip in the other, and wreathed in flames. His local temple has been the source of some scandal in the past, and a dark god named Abaddon supposedly had his priests infiltrate the temple and poison some of the high ranking priests. These were then discovered and killed; the clergy is therefore relatively young or new to the area; few of the older priests still reside here.
Goddess of Knowledge - A relatively respectable god with a lavish temple is Astaroth, the Great Librarian. It's said that in the Last Days, her library will burn, heralding the end of civilization, but in the meantime, Astaroth is quite proud of her library and encourages her clergy to seek for whatever knowledge they can find. Dark whisperings say that the more forbidden the knowledge, the more highly it's prized, and occasionally scandalous rumors come from this temple, but by and large it is seen as one of the more respectable in Freeport, and is justly considered a point of pride to its residents. Astaroth herself is depicted as an angelic human with large feathery wings, a serpent in one hand and a book in the other, often seated on a coiled dragon for a throne.
God of Death - Urkas is not much worshipped or revered locally, but since his temple has charge of preparing dead bodies for funerary rites, it remains important nonetheless. Ironically, the priests of Urkas are notorious for trying to escape death---urban myths of the priest of Urkas who turns to dark necromancy are common bogeymen that mothers use to frighten their children. Urkas himself is never pictured out of superstitious fear; nobody knows what he's supposed to look like---or if they do, they're not saying.
God of the Sea - One of the most respected and revered gods near any body of water is Dagon, the Lord of the Sea. Since literally everyone in coastal areas depends on the sea to some degree or another---either for food, livelihood, or at least in the hopes that it won't rise up in a tropical storm and wipe them off the map---Dagon's ceremonies are the most attended of any in Freeport, and icons of him appear in almost every single building. He's usually shown as a merman with a flowing beard, but he's also occasionally pictured otherwise; one popular variant is a shark-like creature with grasping tentacles and mouth and eyes similar to that of horrible deep sea hunters.
Goddess of Magic - Abraxas is the Goddess of Magic, and few are the arcane spellcasters who don't at least give her some nominal votive offerings from time to time. Her priests are famous for selling charms that protect the faithful from minor harm and bad luck. Most people agree that they do indeed work, although some decry the practice as charlatanism.
Goddes of Travelers and Roads - Ahrimanes is the ultimate traveler. Most people about to embark on a long journey will stop by the temple district and touch the hem of the robe of her statue. Most cities have a brass statue of her in an important plaza, but temples are few. Clerics and other faithful clean and polish the brass statues daily. They do, in fact, frequently start to lose some of their detail and definition because of the constant polishing.
God of Strength - Bathemoth is a bull-headed god famous for his feats of strength. His temples are small shrines that are simply a roof supported by four pillars with a granite altar in the center.
God of Nature - Yinigu is often seen as a dark god; a representation of nature "red in tooth and claw." Hunters and outdoorsmen worship him, but these are hard and cynical men, usually. He is also heavily worshipped in Kurushat, where he's seen as a god of hyenas and a patron in particular to the goblinoids. In human societies, this is often rejected as a false cult, and Yinigu's chosen messengers are seen as wolves. Which, honestly, doesn't make them any more welcome.
God of Penitance - Not a popular god, but one that you occasionally hear about from those who have had to spend time in prison. Azazel encourages extremely dilligent penitance and flagellations, so his followers are at least easy to spot.
God of the Sun - Moloch is the god of fire and the sun. His worship is more prevalent in tropical, open areas (unsurprisingly) where he is seen as a harsh and demanding master. In more temperate climes, he's more likely to be viewed benevolently, as a bringer of clement weather and bountiful harvests. Southerners shake their heads knowingly, and watch their own crops go sere with Moloch's displeasure.
God of Thieves - While never openly worshipped, Frezur Blue is very commonly given a quick prayer by the land's many less than upstanding citizens. Many invoke his name only to make fun of it, and ask what part of him is blue (usually with a randy joke about his sex life) which causes the priests of Astaroth no end of frustration. They simply roll their eyes, comment that "Blue" in this case is merely a mispelling of his proper name anyway, and although Frezur Blue may seem to be an easy-going god who doesn't mind a few jokes made at his expense, only the truly foolish think that it is wise to upset the god who can take away everything that they own, and even steal their very souls.
Many other gods exist, but these are the ones that are most important and that everyone will know.
Last edited by iHobo; December 7th, 2009 at 09:15 PM.
December 7th, 2009, 09:14 PM #4
I'm trying to recall - did you use the Defense Bonus variant rule in the last Freeport game I was in?
December 7th, 2009, 09:17 PM #5
Oh! Yes! That too. Good catch.
Action points as well. Use a d10 instead of a d6, though. I find d6s don't offer enough benefit to have them get used very often; they instead get hoarded as auto-stablization tokens, which is a bit more boring than they were meant to be, I imagine.
December 7th, 2009, 09:28 PM #6
Multiclassing - do you use favoured class/XP penalty rules? Do you enforce multiclassing restrictions for paladins and monks?
December 7th, 2009, 09:29 PM #7
No, neither one.
The first was literally the very first 3e houserule adopted by my group.
December 7th, 2009, 11:49 PM #8
So I'm tossing around ideas for a bruiser, a scoundrel, and a suŏxì criminal. And haven't committed to any of them yet.
Anyone wanna nudge me one way or another?
December 8th, 2009, 02:51 AM #9
Suoxi? (You'll have to forgive my lack of diacritics.)
Wikipedia says that's a valley in China that means "fog laden village." Am I missing something else? A criminal from a foggy village in the mountains doesn't sound like a concept to me, but I'm presumably not up to date on something here.
Incidentally, this thread is the number one Google hit for the phrase "suoxi criminal."
December 8th, 2009, 03:06 AM #10
I didn't mean petty.
What did you mean?
That's Chinese for 'petty'!
No, that's a narrow-- there are nuances of meaning!
December 8th, 2009, 02:17 PM #11
So... no relation to fog-laden villages? Because I think a criminal of fog-laden villages sounds kinda fun.
December 8th, 2009, 03:07 PM #12
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I'm thinking a cat burglar-type thief, so maybe a high-dex rogue with a focus in lock-picking, trap-springing, jumping, balancing, etc.
I already have a bit of a back story percolating in my head.
"Amber is about to Detect Magic on your butt" - Hypersmurf
"Alenda is far more evil than me. She's 87% evil, and I'm only 63.5% evil." -- Goblin Girl
"Your evil is so... charming..." -- barsoomcore
December 8th, 2009, 03:36 PM #13
Another petty thief. I see the campaign is shaping up nicely.
December 8th, 2009, 03:54 PM #14
Here's how the background thing will work, as soon as I have character concepts all up and ready to go.
Everyone will need to write a quick summary of some past advnenture; presumably where you "graduated" from first to second level. This only needs to be a paragraph or two long. Think of it as either like the summary blurb on the back of a paperback book, or a quick scene from the book, as on the inside cover facing page. I don't want you to put more work into this than a paragraph or two. Leave it somewhat open-ended. No reason to tie down your background with tons of detail yet.
When everyone's done that, I'll randomly assign you two other characters. You'll write just a sentence or two that puts you in their background story.
I've done this once before, and I think it works great for making sure that 1) you all know most of the rest of the group, creating a credible reason for you to work together now, 2) you've got a lot of ill-defined yet rich stuff in the background you can mine to define your character as the game progresses, and 3) it gives me some stuff from which to launch plot hooks as needed.
December 8th, 2009, 04:59 PM #15
One other tidbit I thought of; geographically (although not necessarilly culturally) I'm putting Freeport right smack in the middle of an analog of Indonesia. I have no intention of detailing an entire world, but imagine the southern coast of China, southeast Asia and the Malay peninsula, big islands like Sumatra, Borneo, and New Guinnea, the Sunda islands, the Phillippines, etc. and the north coast of Australia. That's the area in play here. Actual nations, cultural and ethnic groups, however, don't necessarily fit, just the shape of the landmasses themselves.
This gives you room to come up with potentially all kinds of cultural background to work with; I'll let you do whatever you want, and there'll be room for whatever you do in the setting.
It's not a 1 to 1 correspondence, though, just a vague geographical similarity. That said, I think some strategic places like the Straits of Malacca should be worked in, just because they're interesting in real life, they'll be interesting for the same reason in a fantasy setting. In fact, Freeport's big rival, Mazin? I'll put them in the same strategic position as Malacca in real life.
Anyway, I'll throw up a sketchy map later (after I sketch it) in case anyone's interested. May not end up being all that relevent in-game, but I like to have at least a skeleton framework to work with when I need to dig around for stuff in the background rather than make literally everything up on the fly.