Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Some Base Campaign Concepts

There are several things to point out about the Seven Spires campaign:

- Races described in the D&D Player's Handbook do not exist as gamers know them. Orcs do not exist. Gnomes and Haflings do not exist.

Elves and Dwarves do exist, but they are not the tolkienian "elder races". They are outcasts born from humans, and actually are both variations of the race known as Changelings (as per Eberron Campaign Setting). In fact nobody knows for sure what they are: are they the result of magical experimentations gone wrong? Are they the emanation of some greater power? The doom of sentient species? Nothing is sure but people assume a lot, particularly regarding their "inherent wickedness" and the fact most are "thieves and spellswords for hire with no honor or dignity whatsoever". This is of course a racist cliche, but many inhabitants of the Spires, and not only the ignorant ones, hold them for true.

The races of Arcana Evolved are used as written.

- This is a D&D world. D&D is everywhere. There, goblins and hobgoblins walk down the street among humans. The occasional Ogre Mage buys apples at the corner of a street. A Minotaur may start a fight in a tavern. But there is no "evil" race as D&D defines it, which makes the Spires "even more D&D-like" because everything can be seen in plain view or nearly. Doesn't mean people don't have opinions and preferences. Goblinoids, Chorrim and Rhodins are usually despised and/or feared. Litorians are looked upon as uncivilized barbarians. Faen can be viewed as annoying or pure emanations of Devilry, depending on the place where you plan to spend the night.

There seems to be exceptions to this - the Undead/the Dark and Abominations, which are viewed as evil by nearly everyone around the Spires. Making an alliance with the Dark is viewed as pure Devilry and an act of defiance toward Creation itself. Exile is usually the best you can hope if your association with the Dark is noticed.

Likewise, all elements that make D&D what it is are known to exist and rather common. Adventurers are known known to exist and a frequent site all over the Spires. Lost tombs, underground forts, the Underdark and complexes one could qualify as "dungeons" are common locations. Minor magic items are sold on markets and created by gifted craftsmen, wizards and priests. Major magic items can possibly be found by delving adventurers. Artefacts and Reliques are known to exist. Minor spells are used regularly. People know wizards are able to Scry, for instance. Protections versus Invisibility are fairly common for merchants and nobles. And so on, and so forth.

- Professions and races do not mean you know what the character is made of in terms of game mechanics. Priests of Lothian can be Clerics, Fighters, Magisters. A learned scholar may be a Greenbond, Darkbond, Sorcerer, Bard or Akashic. There is no given regarding profession of the game world versus rules used to represent them. A particular character may be working in a field completely different from his/her innate specialty and experience, but most people do. What makes a character eligible or recognized in a profession is his/her skill at what s/he does, not his/her hit dice.

- Most people in the world are 1st to 5th level, but all levels do exist. Most adventurers will range between 1st and 10th level, 10th level being an expert recognized for his accomplishments in the Known World. It doesn't mean that 15th+ level characters don't exist. They do, but they really are the stuff legends are made of.

What this means is that at 6th level, characters may be recognized in taverns, are known for their actions and so on. They are not beginners in adventuring, nor are they absolute legends of the Spires. They are somewhere in between, like most heroes of Sword and Sorcery novels are. Think about the Grey Mouser and you get the idea.


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