The campaign is set in a frontier region of the Over-Kingdom of the Nemetz Lands, a sprawling loose federation of vaguely Germanic and Slavic domains ruled by an Overking elected by the Lords Temporal and Spiritual. Our down-and-out heroes have just ridden into Ostrovo, a small, provincial town of around 3,000, located in the Hill Cantons, a wild and woolly borderlands region of independent-minded freeholders and petty aristocratic micro-states.
As the curtain lifts, the Over-Kingdom teeters on the brink of chaos. It is a land so very different from our own. Two long overseas wars against distant sultanates, the collapse of the large merchant banking houses, bumbling leaders, and other sundry calamities have fractured the already fragile and decentralized realm. The Overking’s authority is now mostly nominal in outlying regions. Magical happenings have become more common and some say long-banished elves, dwarves, and things that go bump in the night have returned to forgotten homes.
A monotheistic church, the Supernal Orthodox Temple of the Puissant Sun Lord, also ostensibly dominates the realm with its monopoly on the manufacture and distribution of gunpowder. But powerful new heretical movements such as the Morning Star and Evening Star societies seek to restore a spurned female deity, the Celestial Lady, to her “proper” place in the pantheon. And the weakening of the Overking’s power has also allowed old pagan religions kept alive by country folks to be worshiped publicly again in the Hill Cantons. Further ominous rumors abound about the reawakening of slumbering Elder Gods…
—Must be human. Roll 4d6 six times, throw out one die and apply each set of dice rolls to attributes as desired. Pick class. Multi-classing must be ok’ed by me.
—Characters start with 3,000 experience points. Characters receive maximum hit points for each starting level.
—Characters starting with an interesting back story will be awarded 1-3 style points (see below). Good elements of a back story include 1.a plausible, interesting background (childhood, young adult career, yadda yadda) ; 2.a good context for being in a party together with the other players; 3.strong motivators/goals for the character’s current adventuring career (i.e. hints at what the hell kinds of adventures you want to play).
—All characters start with up to 300 gold pieces worth of equipment. PCs with a plausible back story reason may be granted one or two items from the equipment list.
—Expert-crafted, non-magical weapons (+1 damage) and armor (+1 AC) can be bought at 8 times the list price, masterwork weapons (+1 to hit, +1 damage) are bought at 20 times list price.
—All characters can start with at least one Loyal Follower (1st level NPC/back-up PC, see below). Characters with Charisma over 15 can start with an additional lackey, hireling, or hired blade.
—All unspent gold over 20 gp is removed before the first adventure starts (you are down and out after all). So spend while you are still in your salad days and help stimulate our fantasy economy!
—Instead of simply earning experience for treasure, PCs gain 1 exp for each gp worth of treasure spent on training or research. The PC must find and recruit a mentor of the same class that is at least three levels higher than their current. Game time spent on training sessions will be determined by the GM.
—PCs can also receive 1 exp for each 2 gp of treasure spent in sword-and-sorcery-hero style debauched spending sprees (food, drink, romantic partners, fancy personal accoutrements, etc). Obviously, no mentor or training down time is necessary, but there is a 1 in 6 chance that a “complication” may follow (mammoth hangovers, duels, hostile constabulary, angry spouses, etc).
- PCs can spend style points to re-roll a die roll of their choice (to hit, saving throw, skill roll, whatever)
—PCs gain style points for doing “cool shit” during an adventure session. Cool shit being things such as solving difficult problems coming up in adventure; exceptionally entertaining role-playing; daring feats of danger and the like.
Monthly Wage Scales for the Guild of Condotierre, Linkboys, Roustabouts, and Stevedores
Hire “union” for your quality NPC labor needs.
Lackey (0 level, under 3 hp), 10 gp
Hireling (0 level, over 3 hp), 20 gp
Hired Blade (0 level fighter, over 4 hp), 30 gp
Henchpeople and Loyal Followers (1st level and above NPC), 50 gp/level
Overtime, combat pay, treasure shares, dental benefits, and other sundry bonuses increase NPC morale during and after adventures. Lack of said perks may decrease morale over time.