This is a post-apocalyptic fantasy game. Doomsday happened, and evil took over. Characters can be evil, and will certainly need to be able to interact with evil, but the longer campaign will likely need heroes that side with good. There are now a multitude of old ruins to explore, many of which are called home by humanoids and monsters who no longer hide their existence. Evil literally lurks behind every corner, but also walks down the street. One can’t stake the vampyre walking down the street at midnight, it might be the Mayor. (And the assassin of the evil mayor isn’t necessarily good, he’s just working for a different master.)
Most of the starting action will take place in the region around Sundar/Gnarlmark, not accidentally built upon or near the ruins of the ancient city of Greyhawk itself. The Mages rule here, and the city is a hotbed of intrigue, but it’s also an easy location to find jobs. While the cabal and it’s bureaucracy is quite definitely evil, it enforces a level of civilization across the region which are found in few other places on the map. As long as one follows the rules, and stays out of the darker shadows, one should survive… not comfortably, but survival never is anymore.
Character creation will be the standard 4d6, drop the lowest die. Allowable initial player races shall be: Human, Sylvan Elf, Half-Elf, Hairfoot Halfling, Dwarf, Half-Orc, and Half-Ogre. Other dwarven and elven races certainly still exist… somewhere, but nowhere that would allow them to start in this campaign. Players are responsible for their background, and based upon that background will either be awarded an ‘Unusual Background’ status, or a small limited use item, such as a few potions, a couple extra initial spells in his/her spellbook, expensive weapon or armor, etc at the whim of the DM.
This table displays the classes available to the various player races within the game.
‘Y’ means that race/class combination is frequently encountered. ‘U’ denotes a combination that is unusual, but not unknown. Entries marked as ‘*’ will require a discussion with the DM, as they represent very unusual circumstances. ‘-’ entries are simply incompatible combinations. The first thing to notice is that there are many combinations possible which are non-standard. The second is that all races have the same level limits, but this does not mean that the more unusual combinations won’t have some extra role-playing challenges. Lets start by looking at the various player races.
Humans are still scattered across the surface of the world. There is some variety amongst human stock, rumors of kingdoms of dark skinned humans to the south, and the oriental and swarthy skinned folks beyond Ket to the west. The humans of the realm are the Suel, pale skin folks with violet, blue or gray eyes and blond to red hair; the Oeridian with tan to olive skin, grey or brown eyes, and sandy blond, brown, or black hair; and the Baklunish with golden-hued skin, green or gray-green eyes and blue-black to dark brown hair.
The only known elves in the world are the Sylvan or Wood elves, who have retreated into isolation in the thicker of the forests. The elves are the protectors of the forest and take that duty seriously. In the last several generations, they have noted that their lifespans have been growing shorter as they take their roles in the wider world with more seriousness.
The Hairfoot Halflings retreated with the sylvan elves into the forests and often their settlements are intermingled or very close together. The majority of the martially oriented individuals become forest scouts.
Dwarves have rarely seen outside their mountain and hill fortresses in generations. The mountains have been the scene of the hot war for centuries now, and the dwarves have been the sole combatants on the side of good. The sieges are almost inconceivable to surface dwellers, and last decades or centuries. A dwarf adventurer is likely to be searching for some edge for his community which would push back the darkness for a few more centuries. Rumors of elves permeate dwarven communities, but only stories of Drow make it into the dark, hence dwarves are very unlikely to trust an elf or even half-elf they encounter.
Half-elves, half-orcs, and half-ogres have become slightly more integrated into their respective societies, but only because there are so many of them. There are no communities of these half-breeds, and are most likely to adopt the culture of whichever parent with which they most closely associate. (Rules for half-ogre characters will be covered in a separate document.)
The adventurer careers or classes are altered only slightly for this campaign.
Fighters abound in the world. They make up the bulk of the armies, and guards forces. In fact, nearly everyone has received some martial training just to stay alive. Non-specialty, single classed fighter are the only group which can take advantage of weapon specialization, but any of the subclasses can still select a style specialization. Infantry warriors fill out the ranks of the military orders and mercenary units across the region, but every farm boy, bakers assistant, and shop clerk receives at least some basic training to fill the ranks of the local militia in their community’s time of need.
The rangers left in the world retreated into the forests with the sylvan elves. They are the elite scouts, and skirmishers who harass all enemies who approach the edges of the forests, only to melt away before a force can be arrayed against them.
Cavaliers are specialist horsemen fighters; see Complete Fighters Handbook p22-24 for more information. However, in addition to cavaliers who uphold the cause of good, there are those whom upholding the laws of the land or the laws of the order are of utmost importance. Therefore, cavaliers are restricted to any good or any lawful alignment. Cavaliers are all members of an order or guard unit, or vassel to a noble. Common units are:
Black Wyrms – A mysterious order with small fortresses all over cabal territory. Black Wyrm cavaliers are distinctive in their use of long black plumes on the helmets of their black full plate armor, and their mounts are usually black stallions with similar black barding. The order principal rides a spell using black dragon. At eighth level, the cavalier is eligible to carry the banner of the order, which can instill fear (as per 4th level Wizard spell) in those before him/her when unfurled on the battle field, once per day. Membership is predominately Lawful-Evil, but the occasional Lawful-Neutral member is not unknown. The badge of the order is Or, a Dragon Rampant Sable, Bordure Embattled Sable.
Order of Alaren – The elite cavalry of the city of Sundar, the stronghold of the Order of Alaren is in the north-western part of the city. Supported by the college, the members of the order are recognizable by their bright purple livery, and lances displaying banners of the order, emblazoned as Purpure, a Griffon Rampant Or holding in it’s dexter paw a flaming sword and in its sinister a balance. The order principal rides a huge griffon, and other exotic mounts are not unknown. At third level, members are taught the basics of ‘detect lie’, and their ability improves with experience. Members of the order tend to be Lawful-Neutral, but all types of lawful cavaliers are known to fill it’s membership.
The Shining Stars – The Brilliant Billets are the remnants of the militant orders dedicated to St. Cuthbert and Pholtus. They are the hidden rebel force that seeks to restore Oerth to the path of good and righteousness, and while they’ve put aside most of their rivalry, some good natured teasing remains. The order badge is Per chevron indented Sable and Argent, seme of mullet Or and a bronzewood cudgel Proper, and includes a variety of members of any good alignment and lawful-neutral. The cavalier members are very much in a minority, but serve as the elite cavalry troops when needed. Most of the time, the cavalier members are incognito and frequently serve with other cavalry units.
Paladins have become very rare in the world. There are a few independent paladins, but the majority of those known are members of The Shining Stars. A very small number of paladins are also cavaliers. Because paladins are considered a rebel force in these lands, out of necessity they have learned to tolerate evil in some cases in the short term for the greater good. They are still forbidden from evil acts of their own, but are capable of looking the other way while those with questionable ethics do what has to be done to fulfill tasks necessary to their goals.
The Scarlet Brotherhood barely survived the consolidation of the Great Empire, although they were mostly driven from their lands. The Brotherhood was once nearly the only source of monk training. A few of their number were driven underground in that province, but the majority of the Brotherhood was scattered to the winds. The largest group survives under the same name in the islands to the west of their original peninsula. Although subsequent products of the diaspora reconnected, a few splinter monasteries were established in secret. In the foothills of the former Principality of Ulek, the Brothers of Oelmea are a lawful-evil order founded from the scattering of Brotherhood, and seek to stabilize the region, but ironically ensures the continued anarchy. Oanree is one of the few truly separate monasteries, hidden in the Tusman Hills beyond Ket. Devotees of Oanree are lawful-good, and an increasing number of members have begun wandering the land similar to knights-errant.
The religious orders of the world have flourished over the last millennium, as people seek divine solutions to the problems of the world. In addition, clerics are the the pieces used by the deities to move their pawns. Because many dieties are active in the world, the various churches have far more control than they once did, and the world is not necessarily better for it. This does mean that many of the clerics who once were permitted to sit in their parish and serve their communities are being sent out into the world in direct service to their dieties. (See the table of the nineteen dieties active in the realm today.)
Clerics do not have access to all possible spiritual spells. In the spheres in which their diety has a minor sphere of control, clerics can obtain spells up to level three. Spells in a diety’s major sphere are granted to varying degrees dependent on current strength of the diety in the world at that time. Dieties who have lost direct access to the world can only grant up to level four spells, representing power granted indirectly through other agents. Demi-gods can grant spells up to level five. Lesser gods grant spells to level six, and only greater gods can grant spells to level seven. Very, very rarely one of the lesser dieties is able grant the effect beyond their normal ability, but this is by a mechanism of direct intervention, and hence has to be in direct support of a mission of that god.
The majority of the druids left in the world tend to be in the same forests as the remaining wood elves, and because of the proximity over centuries, are predominately elves and half-elves, but the occasional human (usually with at least a little elven heritage) or halfling is not completely unknown. A non-elven Grand Druid has not been been named in ages.
Although thieves abound, they certain do not thrive. They continue to survive in the cracks around the edges of society. One might occasionally find a thieves guild in larger towns, their number is overwhelmed by the stealthy scouts attached to other military units. Because of the legal system in Sundar, casual thieves rarely remain within that territory for long.
Similarly, bards continue to be distributed across the realm. Their occasional stories and songs are appreciated by many, but successful bards (those who survive) learn when they should remain silent. A few become permanently attached to the larger mercenary and military orders, to ensure their tales of valor are passed down. Considered worse than hedge mages by Imperial College, bards receive absolutely no respect from that quarter. While half-orc bards have some additional challenges, some have been successful in general society. Half-ogre bards tend not to have the best rhythm, and frequently their grasp of common vocabulary puts them at a disadvantage. Bards start with no spell book.
Estimated to outnumber thieves and bards combined, bandits can be found on nearly anywhere in the western world, and all the paths into the east. (Use the Bandit kit from the Complete Thief Handbook p27-28). Some bandits have built organizations capable to holding land against all comers, especially in the Bandit Kingdoms and Principality of Ulek.
There are two separate and distinct branches of Magic-User in the realm. The first type apprentice to other establish mages, and learn the craft holistically from them. They may occasionally learn a little from friends of their master, or a little from their own research, but they tend to learn general skills of magic, and specialist magic-users are not produced by this tradition. These types of magic users go by various names such as witch, wizard, or mage. Magi from the Imperial College refer to these magic-users are bumpkins or hedge-mages.
The second group are the graduates of the Imperial College of Magic in Sundar. They believe themselves to be a cut above, and that the world owes them a livelihood. For almost four hundred years, every graduate has specialized in specific types of magic, there hasn’t been a generalist magic user to come out of the college in SC74. These magi have access to training and research only dreamed of in previous eras. Secrets believed lost since the fall of the Suloise Empire are believed to now be in the college libraries. The college will officially admit any student who can pay the fees, but both the ability of the student and prejudices of the faculty determines who will graduate. Given the nature of contract law in Sundar, it is not at all unusual to find a member of the faculty willing to extend a loan to promising potential students. Students then tend to discover the nature of the bargain they have struck years later while in the mandatory law classes and realize they are already in debt for several hundred thousand gold pieces. Successful faculty often have entire households composed primarily of talented magi/slaves at their beck and call.
All magic-users start with one travelling spell book, initially worth five thousand gold while empty, and capable of holding fifty spell levels of spells. The book of a starting magic user contains four first level spells: read magic and three other spells chosen by the character’s teacher(s). In addition, graduates of the Imperial College begin with one extra first level spell from their area of study. The inks and preparations necessary to scribe a new spell into a spellbook cost d4 * 100 gp/level. The Imperial College offers a service providing standard spells inscribed into space in an existing spellbook for 1,000 gp/level. Standard spells in this case are those found in the Player’s Handbook.
Nonhumans still have the option to multi-class, but the choices are slightly limited. First, because of the demands necessary in most of the specializations, most of the specialist classes are unavailable. Cavalier, Paladin, Ranger, Monk, and specialist Magic Users don’t have time to dedicate to learning a second full profession. Bards are already so multifaceted that a multi-class bard would be redundant. A few additional notes on specific combinations.
Elf, Half-elf, and Halfling multiclassed characters are almost assuredly specialists in their homeland defense force, with the exception of Magic-User/Bandit. Multiclassed dwarves are heroes of their race, and their future depends on the success of whatever missions they’ve been sent from the fortresses to complete.