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Thread: [PF] Athelos Rising

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    Default [PF] Athelos Rising

    Athelos Rising



    Background

    Welcome to Athelos. The island is a former penal colony far from the mainland. It was only settled in the past 300 years leaving much of the land undeveloped. The majority of the population is descended from the inmates exiled there from the Ur Sefal Dominion in days past. A devastating civil war two centuries ago saw an end to this though, and since then, four factions have arisen within the island.

    The Mardan Empire, the first and most powerful of the factions, is located in the north east. The main city of Malak Ur is also the most populous of all the other cities with its population far outnumbering any of the other major cities. The Mardan Empire is directly descended from the leaders of the inmate rebellion that tore the island apart. Prior to the war, Malak Ur was the seat of government for the island until it was taken over by the inmates who forced the original government to flee. Currently, they hold the most powerful military, and it is only the combined strength of the three other factions that holds them at bay, preventing them from fulfilling their long-time goal of uniting the island under their iron rule.

    Those of the previous authorities who survived fled to the south into the Kulthus Desert. There, they attempted to muster some sort of resistance in an attempt to retake the island. This never came to fruition though, as their parent nation, the Ur Sefal Dominion, the ones who first established the penal colony, was unable to send aid as they were embroiled in a war with the Aldanian Empire far to the north. Still, the Kulthusi managed to survive the rebellion, and claimed the southern desert as their new home after they were forced to flee Malak Ur. Over time, the Kulthus Dominion gained a reputation as being the hardiest and toughest of the four factions. They are however, the smallest in number.

    The Heltos Diarchy, the third faction, covers the central lands of Athelos, bounded on the south by the Desel forest, and the north-west by the Dead Man's Fingers. Though they are also descended from inmates, these were mostly the nonviolent criminals, those exiled for inability to pay taxes, petty theft, debt, and the sort. A century ago, when the Mardan Empire attempted to expand its territories, it was the Heltos who stopped them. They were aided by the Kulthusi and after a long and bitter conflict, the two were able to defeat the Mardan. After the war though, many of the survivors chose to leave their lands fearing another conflict with the Empire.

    These survivors fled to the west, past the Dead Man's Fingers forming the Altos League, a peaceful group focused on developing the scientific and magical arts. A trade route was established between the Altos and the Heltos, with the growing town of Sendral in the south providing a key trading post for the two factions. Another trade route by sea exists. It travels the Darone sea between the three factions but never entering waters controlled by the Mardan. To this day, the League has sworn an oath of nonviolence, determined to avoid the horrors of war. As per the treaty though, they provide material and magical aid to the other two factions to aid them in preventing the Mardan Empire from spreading further.

    There has been peace for nearly a hundred years. Yet something new stirs, and there are rumors that something big is coming, and it is to this land you have come.


    Right, so let's do this. This is going to be more of a straightforward adventure, albeit with some political machinations. Roleplay heavy as always, but this will be more combat-heavy than my usual games.


    Groups

    I will be doing recruitment for twelve players, specifically, three groups of four people each. There will be one group for all the factions except for the Altos League, and the details for each group are in the posts below. As only the background of the groups differs, the mechanical aspect is mostly the same for all the groups, and is detailed in this post under "Details". You may not run two characters in two different groups. You may however, apply with two different characters (or more) for two different groups. Only one of those will be selected though. At the start of the game, the different groups are all at the far corners of the island, so don't expect any contact with each other any time soon. Depending on how things progress, different groups might interact with one another.

    Recruitment will last until the end of the first week of July.


    Details

    System: Pathfinder
    Medium: Play-by-Post
    Post Frequency: At least once every few days
    Sources: Anything Paizo from d20PFSRD or from Archive of Nethys. 3rd Party on a case-by-case basis. One note though, this used to be a campaign that I ran in 3.5, so if there's anything from 3.5 that you'd like to use, talk to me and we'll work something out.
    Additional Software: None. No MapTools, Roll20, etc... I'll be posting combat maps and the sort as the need arises.


    Character Creation
    • Ability Scores:25 point-buy
    • Starting Level: 3
    • Starting Money and Equipment: Varies, see specific group.
    • Alignment: Varies, see specific group.
    • Races: Varies, see specific group.
    • Classes: Most any, though I reserve the right to veto any classes/archetypes that don't fit the setting. Obvious ones like Gunslinger are out. Unchained and psionic classes are fine.
    • Deities: If you need a deity, get in touch with me, as I have a homebrew set of deities. Pretty much all the games I run are in the same campaign setting. If you are running a cleric, druid, or whatever, you must have a deity. No ideal clerics in this game.
    • Traits and Drawbacks: Either 3 traits and 1 drawback, or only 2 traits. One of your traits must be from the list in the next post. This trait is a Campaign trait.
    • HP: Max HP at first level, either roll for subsequent or take the average roll
    • Age: For longer-lived characters, your character must be younger than 120 years. This means that none of your characters were alive when the first civil war happened (200 years ago). Longer-lived characters might have been around during the Mardan Empire's first bid for domination (100 years ago).
    • Picture: It would be great if you could provide me an image (or at least a description) as to what your character looks like. I will be using this for tokens in combat maps. On that note, do try to keep it bipedal. That's not a requirement, but it just makes it easier for me when making your tokens, heh.


    House Rules
    • Background Skills: This should provide you with more skill points to flesh out your character.
    • Wound Thresholds: Personally, I've always found it silly that if you were at 2/42 hp, you could still keep going just as well as if you were at full 42/42. This addresses that.
    • Hero Points: You start out with 1 hero point and you do not gain extra points for being 3rd level. You may not use the Antihero section to gain a bonus feat, but that's not to say that you cannot play an antihero character, just that that specific mechanic does not apply.
    • Backstory: Each group section has details about how you should write your backstory. Providing a detailed backstory grants you 1 bonus hero point.
    • Contacts: I'm going to need two contacts of yours and a brief (1-2 sentence) description for each one. You can do more if you want, but this is the bare minimum. Providing a detailed description of your contacts grants you 1 bonus hero point.

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    Campaign Traits





    Last edited by BMR; 06-19-2018 at 12:42 AM.

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    The Heltos Diarchy

    The city of Savat, one of the two capitals of the Heltos Diarchy and your current location. Whether it be for fame and glory, the need for gold, being sold into slavery, or perhaps just a wanton lust for violence, you have come to the famed Savat Arena and signed on as a gladiator. The terms of the contract were harsh, but reasonable. You've signed on for a year, to fight in the arena and obey the commands of the arena master. For the first two months you forbidden from entering the arena itself, but after those two months of training, you have finally been told that you are to fight your first battle.

    Right now, you stand before the entrance to the arena pit and outside you can hear the roar of the crowd lusting for blood. You take a final few minutes to ready your weapons, check your spells, and adjust your gear. Around you are a few others whom you have trained with for the past two months. A few of them will die this battle, perhaps, as the arena master informed you that this was a death battle. Thankfully though, you've been told that you won't be fighting each other, but rather some nasties that have been brought in for this fight.

    Closest to the entrance stands the current arena champion, Viseh Sorund. You've seen him during training, and he seems to be content to beat things to death with his bare fists, usually eschewing weaponry. Still, despite the brutality, you've found that he's a friendly, if oddly eccentric, individual. He sees you looking and returns a reassuring smile and salute.

    Then the gates open.

    The arena awaits.




    Details

    Starting Money and Equipment: 1,500 gp, you come from a modest background. You start play with either a weapon, suit of armor, shield, or tool. Whichever you choose is of masterwork quality.
    Alignment: Any
    Races: Most any will work. Monstrous races are tolerated in the Diarchy, but are seen as (at best) third-class citizens and more often than not as inferior individuals who are acceptable targets for derision and mockery. Elves and the sort, however, are viewed with suspicion and at times outright hostility. Dwarves are fairly common and there is a large dwarven population in the city though they aren't seen as quite as good as humans.
    Background: I'm going to need a bit of backstory as to why you're in the arena. You could just be looking for gold, or you might have been sold into slavery. Heck, you might be a criminal prisoner being forced to fight, it's up to you. Both martial and magic-y characters are fine, but be sure to give a good reason as to what you're doing in the arena. Keep in mind, in the arena, you've signed up for a year of service, and while signed up you are pretty much chattel. Valuable chattel, but chattel nontheless. If you want in your backstory that you've signed up for more than a year, then by all means go ahead.
    Bonus Feat: You may choose Weapon Focus, Spell Focus, or Skill Focus as a bonus feat. You also gain weapon proficiency in a single weapon of your choice. Lastly, you gain any one Teamwork feat as a bonus feat, though you still need to meet the prerequisites for it.



    Players

    1. Boethius as Aluk the LN Hobgoblin Gladiator
    2. LakethePondling as Y'arn Battah the CG Catfolk Skirmisher
    3. Tiger as Tycho Boughbreaker the TN Sulis Primalist
    4. Lia Xian as Iris the NG Human Dawnflower Dervish
    Last edited by BMR; 06-25-2018 at 06:30 AM.

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    The Mardan Empire

    The city of Malak Ur, the largest and most populous city on the island of Athelos, and your current base of operations. You've been working for the Mardan Inquisition for a few years now, and your duties have mostly been espionage and policing. Over the years, you've been civil with the other two branches of government, the military under the the Dictator and the officials under the Persecutor, but it is primarily to the inquisition under the Inquisitor that your loyalties lie. The inquisition is tasked with intelligence gathering, hunting down dissenters, assassinations, and the sort.

    Over the years, you've seen some ugly things. You've even had to dirty your hands with even uglier tasks, but all this is for the greater glory of the Mardan Empire. Of all the four factions on the island, you know for a fact that the Mardan Empire is the most efficient, the safest, and ultimately the most glorious of them all. The others cannot compare, and it is only because the cowards band together that the Empire is unable to further spread and unite the island. And because of that, you are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure Mardan ascendency.

    Right now though, you have been called to the offices of the Inquisitor himself, Jarkaros ul Berec. You're unsure what the head of the inquisition wants with you, as you've only barely spoken with him in all your time here. Chances are, it's a mission of some sort, as on occasion some of your colleagues have been tasked with duties directly from the top. If this is the case, it's a great honor for you and your comrades, and you can barely wait to receive your duties.

    Then the doors open.

    The High Inquisitor awaits.




    Details

    Starting Money and Equipment: 3,500 gp, you are well-equipped by the government that you work for. The party also starts out with a small ship outfitted with rations for a month, and two slaves to operate the ship. Each character also starts out with an amulet that can cast Sending once per day.
    Alignment: The tendency for the Empire is towards Lawful and Neutral, but most can work given a proper backstory. Chaotic might be hard to justify, but I'll leave that to your back-stories.
    Races: A large part of the Mardan Empire are humans (roughly 60-70%), and other races are not uncommon. Monstrous races are not discriminated against, and any attempt at bigotry and the sort is immediately (and often fatally) dealt with by the officials as they don't care what you are, so long as you can do the work.
    Background: I'm going to need a bit of backstory as to how you came to work for the Inquisition. Your duties mostly involve acting as the secret police for the Empire, and you often have to undertake rather shady missions, all in the name of the Empire's glory. Generally in the Empire, members of the Inquisition are seen with some suspicion. They are considered as unquestionably loyal to the Empire, but also considered as unquestionably bad people to get on the wrong side of if you don't want to wake up with a severed horse's head at the foot of your bed.
    Bonus Feats: You may choose any two as free feats from the following: Alertness, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Persuasive, or Stealthy.



    Players

    1. Elan as Encinal the LN Half-Elf Panoply Savant
    2. shadowthebard as Ariella "Ari" Windborn the LN Sylph Rogue
    3. DINE as Saidyah the Bloodhound the CE Tiefling Investigator
    4. Ajencis as Memgowa the LE Aasimar Wizard
    Last edited by BMR; 06-19-2018 at 05:13 AM.

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    The Kulthus Dominion

    The city of Hamvek, the wealthiest city on the island of Athelos, and seat of learning and magic on the island. It is also your current destination. The city is the capital of the Altos League, home to the various Great Houses that make up the League, and it has taken you weeks to travel here by boat. The wide Elset River allows your small ship to sail right up to the city, and the sight outside the windows is quite impressive to one who has lived for years among the rolling dunes of the Kulthus Desert.

    Typically, your missions involve chasing down criminals or stopping crimes. More often than not though, it's cleaning up after crimes that have been proven too difficult for local law enforcement to handle. As per the treaties between the factions, the Kulthusi have the authority to step in should the need arise when dealing with crimes and the sort. The last mission you were on... was a bit messy... and the images still tend to haunt you at night. Perhaps it's because of that that you've been tasked with a relatively simple mission this time.

    Currently, you are on a diplomatic mission to the Altos League, a mission that will hopefully not require you to draw your weapons. Still, as you learned during your time in training, it's always best to be ready. Hamvek is a much safer city than most places on the island, but in your experience it's usually a smart idea to be more prepared for trouble the safer the surroundings may seem to be.

    Then the hatch opens.

    The city of light awaits.




    Details

    Starting Money and Equipment: 2,500 gp, you are as well-equipped by the government as can be, but the Kulthusi are not the wealthiest of factions. Each character also starts out with a green cloak emblazoned with a swallow (the mark of the Dominion) that provides a +2 bonus to all Charisma-based checks in things related to law enforcement. Each also starts out with a masterwork scimitar.
    Alignment: The Kulthusi Dominion, particularly the military which you guys are a part of, tend towards Lawful. Questions of Good or Evil are irrelevant, so long as the job gets done properly. You are not restricted to this, but you must provide a good reason as to why you're not.
    Races: The Kulthusi are predominantly (like, 98%) human. A few non-humans might rise in the ranks, but never very far, as they are all viewed as either inferior races (as with monstrous races) or obsolete remnants of the past (as with elves, dwarves, etc...). If you play a non-human, you need a good backstory as to how you got where you are.
    Background: I'm going to need a bit of backstory as to how you entered the Kulthusi military. Note, if you're going to include an image of your character, keep in mind that native Kulthusi have dark-skin. Think the Moors of the Middle Ages, and you'll have a good image.
    Bonus Feats: Each character has Martial Weapon Proficiency (scimitar) and Weapon Focus (scimitar) regardless of class. Each character also receives Shield Proficiency, and the Arcane Spell Failure chance when using a shield is lower by 5% (to a minimum of 0%). This reduction in Spell Failure only applies to shields, not to armor.
    Special: One of your group, you'll have to decide amongst yourselves, is the leader of the mission. That person holds the rank of Kulthusi Paladin. That does not however, mean that you have to be of the paladin class, as the Kulthusi "Paladin" bit is just a title.



    Players

    1. theScrappy as Kerros the LN Half-Elf Guide
    2. veryhappymango as Mekhi the LG Human Oracle of Bones
    3. GhoulRising as Shamira Ur Nesban the LE Human Mesmerist
    4. Lunarbeetle as Nadahr Talha the LN Human Fighter
    Last edited by BMR; 06-25-2018 at 12:46 AM.

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    Registering my interest for the Kulthus group. Character submission will go here.

    Questions
    • Max HP first level?
    • Any recommendation for favored terrain?
    Last edited by theScrappy; 06-15-2018 at 07:25 PM.




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    Authentic Forum Dice-rollRanger HP - (2d10) [11]




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    Sounds interesting. Being newish to D&D and not played Pathfinder before would you recommend it for newish players plus the fact I've not built a character for 10 years..

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    Quote Originally Posted by theScrappy View Post
    Questions
    • Max HP first level?
    • Any recommendation for favored terrain?
    In your home area, the most common terrain would have been desert. The Altos League where you're going though, has forests, swamps, and grassy plains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mattsbig View Post
    Sounds interesting. Being newish to D&D and not played Pathfinder before would you recommend it for newish players plus the fact I've not built a character for 10 years..
    Certainly if you need any help building your character I'd be glad to help, as would most people here.

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    Encinal/Naarx,

    Encinal, a half-elf relic researcher, has uncovered a magic bastard sword years ago in which an ancient being Naarx is imprisoned. Ever since he touched the sword, the being has been fighting him for control over his body, slowly warping his flesh and urging him to fight and kill. Encinal was still in control, but has found out that Naarx easily takes over once Encinal is forced to fight and is pushed back when the need for violence is over. Over the next couple of weeks, Naarx has managed to slowly erode his willpower and force Encinal to go to Savat arena and relinquish his freedom so that Naarx could relish in bloodshed. Years that followed became a blur of countless battles to the death for Encinal, his mind a spectator in his own body while Naarx has cheered him on mockingly.

    One night, Encial felt something different from Naarx instead of the usual bloodlust, anger and malice. It was his sorrow mixed with remorse: "How far have I fallen! A god... reduced to a prisoner! The only peace I seek is death, yet I cannot die until all life ends!", he screamed in his mind, "This cursed form, this decaying flesh... I loathe it! An unholy copy of life, a mockery of its freedom, born in the cruel betrayal of the noble ideals I would have served! Every day I march to death, every day wishing it was my own. My darkness forged by this prison. With no goodness left... it was taken from me, stolen, to make me into the nemesis of life."

    The half-elf felt sorry for Naarx and tried to comfort him: "We are both slaves, now, I suppose. Although I do not see your prison." Naarx let out a mirthless smile: "Neither did I, at first, after I was betrayed. But once I did, I wished that I didn't. Such is life, fleshling. If you want, I will release you from your life.", Naarx offered kindly, gently, like it was a greatest gift someone could receive.
    - "No, thank you.", Encial replied, "But maybe I could do something for you to make you feel better?"
    - "May be... do you know how to end all life?"
    - "I'm sorry, I don't."

    Naarx didn't say anything after that. The next morning, the first thing Encial saw was his master and her guards all dead, apparently by his own hands. He concluded that Naarx must have killed them and ran north.

    After days of running, he reached the border and requested an asylum. Recognizing his education as an asset, they have employed him as a slave in a library, where Encinal made fast friends with his supervisor Dorian Reed, a human in his early forties. He used his time in the library to research Naarx to no avail, indicating that his companion's last appearance was more ancient than any written records. Not all was lost, however, since he managed to learn how to replicate the connection he had with the sword to other items he touched, along with principles of infusing them with his own psyche. He quickly started to suspect that Naarx was doing the same thing with him, infusing his psyche into Encinal as an item to be used.

    A couple of years later, Encinal became a free man and his ability to easily read psychic impressions from any item attracted attention from the Inquisition. Somehow, they knew about the sword, too, though they never revealed how much. With an offer of a good job and a vague promise that they might help him with his problem, he eagerly accepted, believing that a well organized society is a powerful society and he would be a part of its backbone.

    On his first job, he met his partner, Aluviel. She was an elf, sharp witted and graceful, charming and alluring. (To be continued)

    Pictures, Encinal:


    Naarx:





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