I ran this a while back with a good amount of success and I think the time has come to dust it off and give it another go if there are any interested.
For centuries, the continent of Viemera was steeped in blood ever since the first demonic legions spilled out of large gateways in the southern frontiers of the continent. It was as though the entire population of the Abyss spilled over into the Material Plane, creating a relentless flood of monstrous horrors adorned for battle. There had been no warning. The opening months of the war were gruesome as all of Viemera had been caught off guard by the scale of the attack. The southern nations of Desh and Averil only managed to evacuate as many of their citizens they could before the dark army fell upon them. Without time to employ their defenses and military tactics, the blitzkrieg fell upon those who remained behind as a sacrifice to buy whatever time they could for the refugees. Try as they might, the demonic horde tore through the lines like arrows through cheesecloth and thousands of innocents were run down during their attempts to evacuate.
Thus marked the beginning of the Age of Darkness. Had it not been for the advance scouts that were sent north the moment the first reports of the unholy army was sighted, the rest of the nations would have fell just as easily. Ready for the attack, the three remaining countries stopped the enemy’s charge dead in its tracks at the cost of countless lives. The main dominating force had been shattered, but the war was far from over. For the next 150 years, the combined races of the Material Plane fought tooth and nail against the demons in encounters that ran the whole spectrum of scale. Although they never truly reunified their efforts since their initial charge was broken during the battle of Antioch. In the chaos of battle it was never determined what had caused the collapse in rank, but it is widely believed that the entity who commanded them had either been wounded or killed. Though no evidence had been found to support this theory. The demons continued to pour from the gateways and were gradually grinding down resistance by sheer numbers despite the lack of coordination. Unless something drastic was done, it would only be a matter of time until all of the Material races were wiped from the face of Viemera.
Generations of bloodshed had finally come to an end when General Gaius Talonius led the Unified Viemeran Army into a campaign that pushed the demonic horde back into the Abyss through the very rifts that they had poured through all those years ago. For the first time in since any mortal could remember, there was a time of peace. The toll upon the realm was great. Humanity fared the best of all the races due to the massive siege walls around major cities that kept the relentless tide of demons from overwhelming the populous through sheer numbers. The unprotected towns and villages around the noble ruled capitals had been wiped entirely off the map until not even ruins stood. Though, there are some settlements that had been far enough off the beaten path to have been overlooked by the horde all together and have thrived once the final gateway was sealed.
The other races had not been so fortunate. Halflings and gnomes were hardest hit in the first wave of recon and skirmish bands. Hunting packs of hellhounds tore through the smaller folk with savage efficiency until their kind was all but exterminated. There are still few who survived through the good fortune of being in a defensible position during the first wave, but their numbers are too few to ensure a broad enough gene pool for long-term survival of their kind. Dwarves and other mountain dwelling races were the next to suffer as the larger, more powerful demons entered the material realm. Mountains and mines were besieged as the unholy creatures relentlessly hammered upon their defenses. The demons paid a premium for every soldier that was slain, but they had the numbers to spare and it had only been a matter of time before the cornered mountain dwellers were either overrun or starved to death. There are rumors that some underground societies yet survived by collapsing the tunnels leading to the heart of their communities, but if that were the case they still remain trapped and cut off from the rest of the world. Probably unaware that the war had ended, or if they did, assumed the demons had come out the victor.
Elves managed to come out of the war, battered and bloodied, but their numbers are enough to perpetuate their kind given enough time. This is largely due to their affinity for surviving in the wilderness, managing to avoid the blunt of the demonic incursion through guerilla hit and run tactics while constantly keeping on the move. As a result, they have become used to a nomadic lifestyle and are almost exclusively migrant tribes. It is this reason that they are a rarity to be seen in civilized society, each major human capital are considered to have an abundance of their kind if they have a few score within their walls.
There had been no witnesses to the event that had created the gateway between worlds. To this day it is yet unknown how such a construct came to be, though there are hundreds of theories based on nothing more than conjecture that constantly ignite heated arguments.The Legacy of Gaius Talonius
The whole of the material realm rejoiced once General Gaius Talonius and the United Viemeran Army returned victorious. They had become the symbol of hope and the unified strength of whole nations who banded together to end the blight that threatened their very existence. For the first time in history, peoples of all lifestyles and heritage combined under a single banner. The ruling class honored Gaius’ successful campaign by elevating him among them, entitling him as a noble along with all the benefits that came with it. Thus, the House of Talonius was born.
It wasn’t long after the dust settled and society begun to get back on its feet that the other noble houses returned to their ways of political backstabbing as all the resources and territory that had been lost over the course of the war became up for grabs. What took decades to bring to reality crumbled in only a few short years after the war and the realm was once again divided. Gaius himself became nothing more than a symbol of status for the nobles who associated with him, a mere trophy to be displayed. As a career soldier, Gaius quickly grew wary of the political lifestyle as his attempts to reunify Viemera failed as horribly as his attempt to get the noble houses to put aside their petty quarrels to help the people within their borders who were undergoing immense hardships to resettle the war torn lands.
Eventually, Gaius set it upon himself to use his title to help the commoners. His house may have been elevated to that of noble status, but much of that was in title alone. It did come with a generous purse, but he later found that was as a means for him to provide himself the luxuries necessary to fill the appearance of the upper class. Since he didn’t have the wealth or influence to help the people through proxies, he set out to do so with his bare hands along with a few dozen individuals who had served with him in the war and had earned their undying loyalty. The next several years, Gaius Talonius and his followers lived the life of an adventurer, traveling from location to location providing help to the locals however possible. Gaius was as skilled at logistics as he was with tactics and his presence in hamlets who were struggling to manage their resources and food stocks made a difference between sparse meals and full-blown starvation during the harshest of winters. He was never content with leaving a location until he knew that their community had become self-sufficient.
Gaius never took a wife, which had been a concern to his loyal companions by the time he was in his early forties. They were well aware of the fact that Gaius was the last of his bloodline and, unless something was done, his legacy would fade away with him. In light of all the good he had done, they could not let this be. Even when his friends pressed the issue hard upon him, Gaius was set upon his decision not to wed claiming that there was still too much work to be done to allow himself to be tied down by a family. Eventually, they managed to reason with him and work out a compromise. Gaius still refused to marry and establish a legitimate line of succession, but he agreed to take on concubines to allow his bloodline to flourish. As a side effect of a portion of his attention going towards building a family, he had developed a soft spot for children who had been orphaned through rough times in the unsettled lands or because of the war. On top of siring children of his own, he also adopted a good number of orphans into his noble house. Every one of his children was given a signet ring of his house that could only be worn by the recipient, regardless if they were his through blood or adoption.
It became more difficult for the aging man to move to the next hamlet knowing that he’d be forced to leave his offspring who were much too young to join him in his travels. Knowing that the adopted orphans would have nobody once he left, he saw to it that a local whom he had grown to trust in his short time there took them into their homes until the time came where he would be able to provide a home for them. Ultimately, Gaius knew that the villagers would be much better at raising his young in a way where they will be able to find their own place in life rather than feel pressured to follow in the footsteps of their father. As time progressed, he would find himself yearning to see the type of people they become once they come to age.
As he had expected, the accumulating heartache that came with leaving his young behind in order to help another community in need became too great to continue his mission. By that time he was well in his fifties and Gaius knew that the oldest of his children born from his own seed would be coming to age in only a few short years, to say nothing of those whom were already a few years old when he adopted them. The burden of his lament finally became too great for his shoulders to bear, so he set about finding a place to set his roots with his comrades at his side. Once word of his intentions spread to the noble houses, they set about doing everything they could to indoctrinate him into their social circles to reclaim their long lost trophy and hero of the people. That environment would have been entirely unappealing in of itself, but Gaius couldn’t imagine the hardships his ‘illegitimate’ children would suffer should they become immersed in that world of political treachery and deceit.
Gaius already had a place in mind and much to his delight it remained in the unsettled portions of the frontier. Unclaimed and forgotten by all but a small number, most of whom had been traveling with him since the war. After a few days travelling through thick brush and wilderness from the upstart port town of Doroga, they finally reached their destination. A large clearing in the tree line where plant life had finally begun to sprout in soil that had seen a lot of heavy traffic sometime in its history. Though the thing that made the location so precious was the broad path that led from the clearing into the side of a large, steep earth formation that was too small to be considered a mountain, but to call it a hill would be greatly underrating its scale. Along with its precious contents. Halfway up the side of the earthworks was a yawning opening framed by massive timbers that could only have been made of whole trees. The tunnel of the Dwarven mine had apparently collapsed sometime during the war, but as far as his years of research had suggested, it was still very rich with mithral. That was where Gaius decided to carve out a territory under his own name, as was his right as a noble, and named his new home Renrir.
Over the next two years, the clearing had grown into a village of a little over a hundred people that only continued to expand. Thanks to Gaius' leadership, the community flourished and managed to make it through those first critical months without the life threatening hardships that were common among new frontier settlements. Many of the villagers who had relocated to Renrir were from the very villages Gaius had helped during his travels. He had seen to it that one of the first things accomplished was to make a roadway connecting Renrir to Doroga to help encourage the arrival of new settlers as well as making travel time between them significantly quicker and easier. At present, the roadway is just barely wide enough for two wagons to pass one another as long as one of them pulled to the side. The town doesn't have much in the way of wealth yet, but they have all the necessary artisans to provide the basics for the young village. Carpenters and stonecutters are highly valued at present in order to keep up with the constant demand of new homes; fortunately, they have most of the materials they need for the job were readily available. For the sake of productivity and accomplishing two purposes at once, Gaius saw to it that the demand for stone was obtained from the collapsed mine. Even if the amount used was hardly a drop in the bucket needed to get the mine functioning again.
Mere months before Gaius intended to send word to his scattered family as a means of inviting them to what he had hoped they would accept as their new home and legacy, Gaius Nero Talonius, hero of The Great War, passed away. His only regret upon going was that he never got the opportunity to see what sort of people his children had grown into. What remained of Gaius' purse upon receiving his status all those years ago was placed into the village's treasury and in the care of his second and longtime friend, Crassus Antillus.
Crassus didn't hesitate to follow the wishes of his late companion and immediately sent missives to the towns where his heirs resided, inviting them to accept the inheritance their father had left them. As he had promised Gaius when he had first convinced him to establish heirs to his house, Crassus would serve as advisor to House Talonius.
What to expect as a player:
-Instead of posting pictures of maps and trying to have everybody navigate in that manner during combat, I intend on hosting a virtual tabletop on www.roll20.net
where players can move around their tokens more easily and otherwise take much of the hassle out of photobucket and screen captures for me. This is only during combat settings and will be a simple matter of logging in then moving your character to where you want before posting your action and rolls in the IC here on Elliquiy.
-As with any campaign, there will be an abundance of quests and side-quests waiting to be taken up. I plan on making this game roughly equal parts puzzle, combat, and character interactions.
-As a sort of mini-game, the village of Renrir is self-sustaining but is not yet making much in the way of income. I'm leaving it up to you as players to establish city ordinances, seek methods of producing income, and otherwise establishing outside business relationships. Doing so will not only provide your characters with a regular allowance/income as the village profits and grows, but it could also lead to more unique rewards down the road. However, the opposite can also occur should you make powerful enemies along your journeys or if the regulations upon the town bring about detrimental effects. For all intents and purposes, it's your town to run as the group sees fit. Furthermore, the mine is still blocked off and it will be a good while until it is up and running again; this process could be expedited or hindered based upon your actions.
-More often than not, fellow nobles will view your characters with the same contempt they would with any bastard child of nobility. That is not to say they cannot be swayed into friendly terms, but don't be surprised when they address you with the mightier than thou attitude they reserve for all commoners.
-Your reputation among common people can ranges widely. Some instinctively view all nobles as being born with the physical disability of having their heads stuck up their own asses, and for the most part their instincts haven't let them down. Others, especially certain frontier towns, hold you in a higher regard than most. Though people in general will see you as somebody who has potential to live up to your father's legacy, but have yet to do so.
-Leveling will occur a slightly above a medium pace, pending upon what you manage to accomplish or the benchmarks you reach in the story. Character creation information:
-Overall party size of 4-5 proactive players. I will be including my own character into the party, but he’ll be a warpriest who can handle himself in combat and help with healing, but have little input for skills and decision making. Not first come, will probably select players Monday if there are enough applicants at that time.
-Anything in the Pathfinder SRD is fair game, except for 3rd party stuff, psionics, and firearms.
-Magic Item Compendium and Spell Compendium are also useable materials.
-If there is anything else from 3.5, specifically classes, feel free to shoot me a PM with what you had in mind.
-The story is geared for human and half-elf characters, though I've left room in the story's premise for other core races as long as you can provide me with an adequate backstory.
-Your characters will all be heirs to Gaius Talonius, though they need not be born of his seed. Thus, any petition for a non-human race must
be orphaned and adopted.
-Age for bloodline heirs range from 15-20, age for adopted children range from 15-30. (Or race equivalent)
-Level 4 starting.
-One 18, one 8, and four 1d8+9. Roll two stat lines and pick one.
-Max HP at 1st level, then half HD + half HD roll. (I.e. a d8 hit die would be 1d4+4)
-8k starting gold.
-Up to 2 traits, as long as they are incorporated into your character's bio.
At this point you can just submit race, gender, stat line, appearance, brief bio, and personality so if there are some people who don't get selected, they don't spend a lot of time on their character only to be put on hold until an opening presents itself.