The Lady and the Lantern
Currently searching for 4 - 5 players.
This advertisement will remain open for two to three weeks depending on interest. Positions in the group will be gained through application rather than first-come-first-serve. If the minimum number of applicants is not reached in time, we’ll give it a SUDDEN DEATH extra week, after which I’ll give you a companion NPC to share and take on the missing role.
The DM and the Adventure
- Hi there! Some (read: most) of this might seem slightly familiar to some of you who were here in July of 2011. Usually I don’t like to use the same thing twice as it promotes stagnation, but I thought that I’d give this another shot with an altered story that contains a little more thought put into it.
But anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to give those of you interested in a 4e game on the forums something to sink your teeth into, as I never really see anything of the sort on the boards. Is it that no one wants to run it or that no one wants to play it? Let’s find out together and have some fun along the way.
You, the players, will begin the story in the City State of Farran (see below) after receiving a letter from Lady Cruagh, the resident Merchant Lord of Farran. She has taken an interest in you both as a group and individually, she has requested your presence for several tasks that require skill and prowess, though most importantly that those she deals with are unattached to the local guard. Full details are scant, explained on the letter as caution on her part lest the notice be intercepted. She has sent each of you enough funds to come to her home from wherever part of the continent you might be in, from the war torn lands of the Lyonesse Empire to the lush jungles of Hy-Brasil.
The game will begin in Lady Cruagh’s villa in Upper Farran, however should people wish to start off individually rather than a full group, a short introduction will take place before events in the game kick off.
For years now, Lady Sybil Cruagh has been tracking those like yourself, bound by a common bond that likely know nothing of each other, nor the destiny you each face. She first discovered your kind when she discovered a strange mark, an arcane sigil, on a child left in her care. It was too intricate for a birthmark and it lacked the unnatural qualities a tattoo would have, leading her to delve into research and even beg for help in understanding the truth behind it from the Merchant Lord of Knowledge after finding the first tales of it
These tales match up with distant memories from your childhood, a chance meeting with a spectral figure dressed in a single shroud of sheer, black fabric, carrying a beautifully detailed silver lantern on the end of a staff, though her eyes were covered with a strip of dark cloth leaving her unable to see its light. The only blemish on her milky skin was the dust on her feet, showing how far she had travelled to your chance meeting. Her light tore you from slumber, whether she was outside the window of the home you grew up in or in its silent hallways, perhaps when you were camping, or as she moved unseen through a crowd gathered around a burning building, her shining lantern unnoticed by all but you.
After noticing you, she left a kiss upon your flesh, your forehead or cheek, perhaps elsewhere? Regardless, when you awoke the next morning you found a mark where her lips touched you. To you, it shone as brightly as her lamp but to others it was simply black, strikingly so, but still black. You also found yourself able to perform feats that others could not, either you suddenly found yourself able to retain more knowledge than you did before and gained the ability to cast magic, or your physical prowess increased twenty-fold, or perhaps you gained the skill with the bow unseen by any in your community before or since or began to channel the energies of the divines that took priests a lifetime of devotion, did spirits and the natural world begin to heed your call or did shadows bind themselves to you and keep you safe?
Did you find what the lantern carrier left behind to be a blessing or a curse?
Either way, Lady Cruagh saw the potential in those like the child she raised since that day, though her abilities were much less than in tales of the distant past that the Archivist had been able to dig up, it mattered little. She was content with the knowledge that the girl she raised as a daughter was special, and might one day succeed her should she need to give up her title. Still, she kept a record of strange occurrences and children with these marks hidden away within her home in Farron. That is, until civil war broke out in the Empire of Lyonesse around six months ago. The Emperor lay dead and the succession uncertain as three powers vied for control.
A child working in the palace had reported an almost nude woman carrying a light leaving his room on the day he died. A free piece of information that the Archivist gave Cruagh, ignored by most as the ramblings of youth as they had not seen her as they gathered round his bed, but that had been heard and passed on to him.
You received a letter from Farran some time ago, offering you a reasonable salary in return for working with Farran’s own Merchant Lord of Steel on a personal project that may shed some light on the mark you were given all those years ago, along with information on others like yourself who she had also sent requests to, enough money to reach Farron (even to stay in inns should the trip be long enough to require it) and a signed statement for the city guard to allow you passage to the villa in Upper Farran where she resides.
Keep in mind that the following information was created using a “broad strokes” approach, feel free to come up with towns, cities, etc within the listed nations that you feel you might like your character to come from, or even make a nation of your own should you wish to. Anything should have a place in this world, as most of the below is concentrated on only part of the continent.
- Human, Deva, Genasi
- The largest nation on the continent, taking up most of the western landmass. Split into counties governed individually for easier management and control over the populace while the collective number are under the thumb of the Imperial Crown. Currently in an eight-month long war after the death of the previous Emperor for control of the crown. This includes the Emperor’s young son and his daughter working to keep the throne in control of the lineage. He remains in the Capital’s walls while she takes great pleasure in leading her father’s armies.
- The scholars of Biblio have surmised that if an heir is not established soon, the whole country may be torn apart and overrun by its neighbours to the north and east.
- Goliath, Dwarf, Genasi
- The northernmost land, a vast section was separated from the mainland by earthquakes during the Hadron disaster two hundred years prior, leading to the formation of the lands of Midgard on the continent, home to the Norse (comprised of dwarfs and goliaths) and Asgard further north ruled by the mostly female Valkyrie (goliaths and air genasi), attached by the great bridge Bifrost.
- While the Aesir are seen as violent and war-like by their neighbours, particularly Lyonesse, a majority of the populace are farmers doing what they can in their cold lands while defending themselves from attacks by frost and storm giants.
- Aesir is ruled over by the strongest of its inhabitants and the most likely to be able to defend the land, decided upon the current regent’s wishes when he or she feels they have become too old, frail or injured to carry on their duties. The ceremony known as the Holmgang tests a warriors strength, intelligence and cunning, the winner receiving the title of Allfather, no matter the gender. Allfather Odin currently rules Aesir.
- Revenant, Shardmind, Warforged
- Now known as the Land of the Black Sand. Two hundred years prior the land was said to be a paradise of science and magic, ruled over by a council of magi. However, when one attempted to seize power for himself and his peers responded it resulted in a vast war, culminating in the detonation of Hadron’s source of power, Heaven’s Heart. The devastation was vast, turning the country into a wasteland unfit for survival, forcing mountains to move and the earth to crack and shift.
- Hadron’s people survived however, in forms of undead flesh. Those whose bodies became rotten over the years eventually dug up humanoid puppets of ceramic, metal and crystal and fused their souls to the devices to become Warforged and Shardminds.
- Hadron is currently ruled over by a centuries-old lich, a necromancer who took her place upon the Hadron council long before the Heart exploded and wracked the land whose body is forever trapped in the form of a sixteen-year-old girl.
- Human, Dragonborn, Shifter/Gnoll, Genasi
- At the southmost of the continent lie two tropical islands covered in lush forest, the largest of which is known by locals as Hy-Brasil, though both are generally grouped together under this title similar to how Aesir is comprised of Asgard and Midgard.
- Not truely a nation unto itself, the Hy-Brasil Isles are made up of small tribes of humans, shifters and fire genasi (living under a matriarchal rule) along with a populace of the reptilian dragonborn. The human tribes tend to be Matriarchal in organisation, their women seen to be faster, more lithe and athletic than their males and more suited to hunting in the jungle environs. The lizards tend to be more advanced, more organised with better technology and arcane proficiency.
- Human, Half-Drow, Kenku, Changeling
- Farron as a whole is a vast City State lying upon the borders of Aesir, Lyonesse and Hadron Known in Lower Farron as planters, the people of Upper Farron are survivors of the Hadron disaster, and then only because of the proximity away from the blast. They were, however, eventually welcomed and the factions of Upper and Lower Farron still work to expand their City State. Offspring of the drow and humans are able and prefer to live in the upper city as their eyes aren’t as prone to darkness as their elven forebears.
- Upper Farron is home to the Carnival of Chaos, a cult which calls its bright, canvas tents a holy temple, their amusements sacred rights and their jesters holy converts. It’s sometimes easy for the populace to forget they they are, at heart, a cult devoted to anarchy.
- Drow, Gnome, Tiefling, Genasi
- The original site of the city of Farron lies beneath the soil, built long ago by a coalition of Elven tribes to avoid a plague that wracked the surface. Over generations these tribes became the Drow and Tieflings as they’re seen today, both adapting in their own ways to the dark environs. They were, of course, spurred along in their development when the wave from Hadron wracked their subterranean land.
- They were later joined by the secretive and cunning gnomes who lived underground through preference rather than necessity, and the Earth Genasi.
- Lower Farron is home to Midnight Steel, a militia which acts as peace keepers and law bringers in the society. Despite their name, they have little to no connection to the local Merchant Lord.
Both Upper and Lower Farron contain a range of attractions and marketplaces, boasting one of the greatest ranges of available products mundane and magical any other city might offer. In addition to the Upper and Lower sections, the city is further divided into districts. Each have markets, residential and warehouse areas, though it should be noted that the seedier red light district known as “Firelight” to the locals is located in Upper Farron rather than the Lower section.
Plans have also recently been drawn up to expand the city, digging deeper into Lower Farron and obtaining the magic or mechanisms of Biblio to grant Upper Farron a “sky sanctuary”.
The City of Farran as a whole lies on a border crossing Lyonesse, Hadron and Aesir.Biblio
- Deva, Tiefling, Human
- A collection of islands floating in the sky, Biblio is a site of learning and knowledge. Its civilisation is built around organisation, with each community built around one aspect according to where they lie on the caste system. For example, one community may be comprised entirely of agriculturists, while their neighbours may be engineers or military specialists.
- The ruling castes have for an age believed this helps them focus and become the best at what they do. Marriage or relations between castes and especially outsiders is strictly forbidden. Before the Caste system was introduced, Biblio was ruled over by a single, immortal king, still alive to this day and completely devoted to secluded study.
- ? ? ?
- Little is currently known of Jotun apart from its location on the north-eastern ridge of the continent, though it’s speculated that this is the land where the frost giants who plague Aesir originated. Explorers who venture into the frozen lands never return.
- You may use any gods from the 4e builder, as some are prone to give great advantages to certain classes (such as Deities with the Skill domain allowing Avengers to use Overwhelming Strike as a melee basic attack) or access to prestige classes.
- Lyonesse, however, is written as a monotheistic Empire, their core religion is the belief in one God, the creator. Which isn’t to say that those who emigrated to these lands left their old faiths behind, or that lands that were engulfed by the Empire gave up their beliefs overnight.
- Basically just do what you want and pull from whatever setting in this case, why do I even have this section here? (the answer is poor forward planning, but I like to read my own ramblings so I left it in)
- Arcane - The most widely known power, but not the most trusted. Many have heard tales of wizards prowling the land, or the idiocy of the Magi of Hadron in their final days. Though able to pacify the common folk with simple tricks it takes great feats for an arcanist to earn respect rather than fear or doubt.
- Divine - The holy man, the healer, the defender of the downtrodden, these are examples of how people view divine power. Only occasionally misunderstood as the arcane power source, people are much more accepting of the divine source due to its positive reputation. That said, there are probably as many evil users of divine power as there are who abuse the arcane. Divine users are especially common in Lyonesse.
- Martial - The most widespread of power sources, the tool of the everyman, the loyal soldier and nefarious brigand. Any who can hold a weapon can channel martial power. Due to its comparative mundanity, martial characters are easily accepted in any society.
- Primal - Primal talent is regarded in much the same way as divine, however most believe it to be inferior, only of use to barbarous tribes of Hy-Brasil or the meat-heads of Aesir. That said, any would welcome a practitioner of this power source to give a goodbye to a deceased relative or save an ailing crop.
- Psionic - “Mind over matter” is the mantra of those who manifest psionic power. Similar to its arcane cousin in nature, while that affects the physical world psionics affect the mind. People, especially commoners, are as distrustful of displays of this power as they are of the arcane.
- Shadow - The least known power source, it’ can sometimes be mistaken for arcane or martial prowess, however upon closer inspection those mistakes can easily be corrected. Favored in Hadron, but incredibly rare elsewhere. Believed to originate from Hadron’s Black Sand.
- Lady Sybil Cruagh - (human) The Merchant Lord of Steel based in Farran, Lady Cruagh openly supports the children of the former Lyonesse empire in their struggles, despite the City State’s assurance of neutrality to its neighbours. She owns a villa in Upper Farran from which she supervises her business, keeping an eye on her import and export negotiations while leaving physical work such as transportation to those below her. Primarily an arms dealer, it’s rumored she also operates a private military corporation. In addition she also holds a seat on the Farran City Council.
- Circusmaster Pennywise - (human?) The leader of the Carnival of Chaos (despite its dislike of leadership), generally considered to be the only one who can keep the carnival contained to its small location in Farran, that its influence spreads no farther than its temple walls.
- Sevran Banballow - (kenku) The militant commander of Midnight Steel, Banballow is a deeply religious old crow who prefers that darkness below ground rather than the open skies as his avian kin. Also known to be the owner of the Midnight Silk burlesque house, a building that is part of both upper and lower Farran.
- The Archivist - (thri-kreen) Former King of Biblio and Merchant King of the Skies, the supposed immortal is now content with the title of Merchant Lord of Knowledge. As the name may suggest, The Archivist is a keen hoarder of information, some of which is given away freely to the public eye through his vast library on Biblios, some sold for a price and more still kept to himself.
- The Librariat - (mixed) A group under The Archivist who maintain his library and the cencus, making sure castes are not mixed. It is also through the librariat that deals for the Archivists more precious information are brokered.
- Allfather Odin - (goliath) Current champion and king of Aesir, said to be the strongest man in the world. However, his age is beginning to catch up with him and he believes the next Holmgang shall be soon, lest his country end up as Lyonesse is now.
- Adrianna - (revanant/lich) High Lich Queen of Hadron, this seemingly small girl uses most of her power daily to hold her people together in body and spirit, transferring the damaged into bodies of the beautiful dolls left behind by the inhabitants long ago.
- Prince Rembrandt - (human) The younger of the former Lyonesse Emperor’s children, Rembrandt's youth and inexperience doesn’t lend itself well to the battlefield as his sister’s passion does, but the young man is said to have a brilliant mind for military strategy, diplomacy and economy. He and Saskia rally followers through the memory of their father’s rule.
- Princess Saskia - (human) The elder of the former Lyonesse Emperor’s children, due to Rembrandt's birth however, she is unable to ascend to the throne should her father have named his bloodline heir before his death. As such, she resigns herself to combat (something she at very least loves), pouring all of herself into the bloody campaign against rival aristocracy to claim her brother’s position between throne and crown. She is currently residing in the Capital, nursing a rather nasty wound obtained on the battlefield.
- Lord Albracht - (human) A noble with connections to the Imperial throne, a favored of the Emperor at court and claims he would wave wanted Albracht to rule in his passing. Rallies followers through funds vast enough to make a Merchant Lord blush.
- Archbishop Langley - (human) Head of the Empire’s monotheistic church who desires the throne to appease their god, rallying his followers through religious zeal.
This game shall be run using the 4th Edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons. Any who are unfamiliar with and wish to try out the system are, of course, welcome to join in as well should you be willing to learn a bit of the system.
While there won’t be quite so many sexual escapades planned out from my end due to such acts not being the primary focus of the campaign, players are free to initiate such escapades with each other or gain such relationships with NPCs as the story progresses, so long as things are left so that the thread isn’t overrun by it when others look to continue the story.
I’ll also try my best to keep combats short and sweet, I’m well aware of how damaging long and tedious combat can be on any adventure, and having experienced 4th edition in PBP before, it’s not terrible, especially considering that minions are a thing that exist.
IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT THE INHERENT BONUS RULES WILL BE IN EFFECT
- Starting Level: Level 4
Roles and Classes: Generally I want everyone to play what they want to play, but at the same time I’d rather not have a team of four Strikers since you’d be low on healing and aggro control (I feel dirty saying those last two words there). I’d like at least one person to play a Leader and one to play a Defender. Those interested, please feel free to argue amongst yourselves on who will take what.[/color]
- Stats and Starting Equipment: 22-point buy using the system found in the DMG and in WOTC’s online character builder. Standard level 4 spread of: one level 5 item, one level 4 item, one level 3 item + 840 gp.
- You also get an Expertise feat and a Dragonmark feat of your choice for free.
, this is not to restrict your items, so much as it is to express that you
are the badass, not your armor or equipment. Once you find armor, a weapon or implement you like, it’ll grow with you and leave you to obtain interesting items for slots other than armor, weapon, implement and neck.
- Permitted Material: You may take any race, class, feat, theme or item from any official material from WotC (Yes, Hybrids and Essentials classes are allowed). Except...
- Banned Material: Vampires, Seekers and the original Assassin (Executioners are fine). Not because they’re broken strong, but rather the opposite (the Vampire class, for example, gives you a total of one choice when you play it and you die in sunlight). If someone makes a case to REALLY WANT TO PLAY ONE OF THESE, then ffffine.
A restriction is in place for some races. In particular, these include Elves and Eladrin. That said, Drow are permitted, as are half-elves/half-drow. This is mostly due to the setting information in my head, as noted in the “Lower Farron” location information above.
You may not make any mechanical changes to powers or races, but you may reskin them in any way you see fit, for example using a Warforged or Shardmind as a base and stating that it’s, a ghost inhabiting armor, a Modron, a clockwork doll given sentience, etc. Likewise, the mechanics for the above restricted races may be used in other forms.
As DM, I maintain the right to veto any item or power picked up from Dragon Magazine articles, though mostly I’ll probably think they’re neat and want to see how they play out.
- When it comes to making a sheet, please use Plothook.net
- Please use the following template (Complete with a placeholder image where your character’s will go) just because I like everything to be neat and structured because I’m weird like that;
" class="bbc_link" target="_blank">Name with link to character sheet
Age / Race / Class (role)
CODE FOR THE ABOVE
| A description of your character (physical or personality, either is fine, and only go into as much detail as you feel is necessary) will go here. It looks better when there's actual content here, pretty sure.|
[floatright][IMG width=300] URL FOR YOUR CHARACTER PORTRAIT [/img][/floatright][center][u][b][size=12pt][url=http://plothook.net/RPG/profiler/view.php?id=?]Name with link to character sheet[/url][/size][/b][/u]
Age / Race / Class (role)[/center]
A description of your character will go here.
[spoiler="Four Aspects"][list type=decimal][li] ASPECT1[/li]
[li] ASPECT2 [/li]
[li] ASPECT3 [/li]
[li] ASPECT3 [/li][/list][/spoiler]
[spoiler="Home"]Information on your home[/spoiler]
Still with me? Excellent. At this point you must be wondering what those final three requirements, “Aspects” and “Home” are all about. Truth be told, they’re a little something I stole from another pbp application I took interest in on another board. Well. The first and third are. So now I’ll do my best to explain what they mean;FOUR ASPECTS
Aspects are simple phrases that you would use to up everything important about your character. In this game, I would like the following Aspects:
- A Defining Aspect - this ideally should answer several questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you do?
- Where do you come from?
- What makes you unique and distinctive?
- Ambition - What do you seek? What is your goal?
- Triumph - What was your greatest victory before the start of the campaign and how do you hope it will influence your future?
- Conviction - Where do you draw the line? What do you believe in?
This is simple enough, where are you from? If you can, please describe your home town or settlement, going into as much or little detail as you feel like.
Well, that's about it. If you have any further questions, suggestions, etc, please feel free to post them in the thread or shoot a PM in my direction.
Most importantly, thank you for taking the time to read through the post. I hope I didn't shove too much information in at once.