Premise


In a dark corner of the realm the Kings Peace has not been known in years. The people have not seen one of the realms soldiers in the last 7 years as the last squad dispatched to restore order here vanished suddenly and without a trace. Since then men, women and children from the nearby villages have all been vanishing in increasing numbers. Worried villages have sent brave men out to search for those who have been lost, only to never see their men return. In a last, desperate act, the mayors of the regions villages have pooled together a sum of their people's funds in an attempt to lure hardened mercenaries in an attempt to hunt down what terrorises their people. Last week, one of their men returned battered and clutching a map drawn in his own blood in his fist. An offer of the entire sum of 7 years worth of back taxes for 9 villages which they refused to pay to a king who abandoned them is offered for the brave men and women who free these people from the evil that haunts their land.

This map points to a hole cut into the rocky face of a cliff along the Eastern coast. Some seventeen miles East and North of here a simple crevice that has been cut and widened leads to a stairway made of granite that leads into darkness. It is from here the battered man made his way back. The man expired from exhaustion and infected wounds before describing the place and pushing the map at his mayor. With a lead and a call sent out via messengers on horse back to spread word of their offer for salvation the people await someone to come rescue them.

Game Concept


I thought perhaps a single dungeon level crawl with a simplistic goal and scope would allow folks to try my system. This will be using a premade map by Heroic Maps that I pulled from a campaign I was going to run a year ago which will be repurposed as a stand alone option. This is meant to be a "night of danger" that is an endurance run for a party to accomplish without an extended campaign. As such I shall make some pre-built characters on offer for a grab and go party for interested members in the event they wish to skip the character creation process for a short term game. I would expect my veteran players who are familiar with optimizing for synergy to perhaps tackle this without resting, or perhaps within 72 hours with bad rolls leading to blown resources for no gain. This will likely mean a situation where this party does not level inside of the game, and if they do rest, spending XP will be a manner to broaden your capabilities to fit current need to tackle solving problems you lack the ability to do so. A trial run of sorts for players.

I shall complete the mechanical aspect of each character based on role with a Core 4 setup. This will provide everything a player needs, all they need to do is assign the cosmetics: Description, personality, name, and image for me to make a token. This is an underground map, so hallways and not open spaces. This means a small party which is built to thrive in a simple 2 martial capable in front guarding two squishy characters in the back party formation. Their capabilities will be based around long term functionality on a long, hard day instead of short term specialization and optimization. This means focus on being functional 16 hours into the day, not short term burst capabilities. I'd like to offer a look into what a mid level character can do, without getting too crazy so we will do a level 7 start here. Allowing martial characters to grab Iterative Training 2, and spellcasters to have 4th level effects and the Priest to be able to Breath of Life for a panic button for a difficult and challenging experience *with* a raise open within the party setup. I will leave a brief blurb for each offered pc instead of a stat block here for ease of reading my advert OP this time around.

As such, we shall go with archetypes as follows:
Core 4: Line holder Fighter, Evoker, Archer/Thief, Warrior Priest

In the event I end up with a group of players who crave more, this could be repurposed to continue on with a new quest with the same characters, or I could allow rebuilds or new people to join. We will have to see, depending on if I get a response. If I get more than 4 who want to play, they can build their own or request I add another build as they see fit and I will take up to 6 players.

System: My classless hack, of course.
Post Rate: 3/week


Characters offered


Line holder Fighter

This concept is simple: Clog the front and soak hits to protect the mage while being able to trade damage round to round. HP, Defense, Steelback Path to boost durability and Defense on armor and a shielded setup are the core of this build. This means we will have XP leftover to opt for absurd HP, boosting attributes or Chakras within our build. 21d12 HD is 63 XP, 14 BAB to be the group striker with hitting the BAB cap is 56 XP, we grab 7/7/7 saves for 60 XP and spend 5 XP on proficiencies. With 184 spent here, this leaves us with 57 XP left for skills, feats, Special and Chakras after Steelback Path (31 XP). Access to G. Weapon Specialization is a 9 XP tree, Armor Training 5 is 18 XP, picking up 10 feats is 8 XP, 30 skill ranks is 6 XP. Armor Mastery 3 is 15 XP, leaving 1 lone XP for Bravery to wrap up our build in just a few lines. A simple straight forward concept of "I hit things while standing in front of the mage all day long" sword and board fighter. Using Human and Gravedigger background, we soak a -2 to Int, Wis and -4 to Charisma but gain a +2 to two, +2 to Str and +4 to Con with free Great Fortitude, the Endurance trait, and Iron Stomach making him immune to Sickness and Nausea. Soaking the hit to mental stats truly will make this a Big Dumb Fighter, but he will shine if we stack the Human flexible bonus for a +4 Str and +6 Con as a durable, high endurance warrior that can wear Heavy Armor and a Tower Shield in order to gain a +9 to Defense solely from Steelback synergizing with Armor Mastery 3 and the heaviest of armor and shields bonuses. Hurting this character with mundane weapons before his armor breaks will be a struggle to achieve for those without supernatural strength or powerful magic weapons.

Evoker

This concept is simple: Stand behind the BDF and throw low powered elemental burst damage options with Reserve feats like Fiery Burst for all day close ranged damage. Spend SP carefully to toss out powerful spells as needed and to protect the back line. We can invest 10 XP for "Seed Devotee" on top of the 9 for Expert Range, Duration and Target here, allowing us to boost DC and CL by 1 with a singular seed for a specialist. A triple investment of 5 XP for a total of 15 XP lets us grab Force Armor+Specialization and Enduring Force from Argent Savant at our level making it intelligent to invest in the Force Seed with this. Force Seed 4 is 16 XP, CL 7 is 14 XP. Combining this with Force Needle Reserve feat boosts our CL with Force spells to 9, allowing us ArP 8 when we throw 9d10 force bolts for 5 SP. Investing 9 XP to pick up Fire Seed 3 and 9 XP to pickup Cold Seed 3, we grab Fiery Burst and Icy Blast feats to boost our CL by 1 with Fire and Cold as well has having a similar all day Fire, Cold and Force reserve attack. Armor 3 is 8 XP, Ward 3 is 9 XP. We invest the rest into HD, BAB, Saves, Skills, Feats. Pairing Human with Hunter Background for proficiency with a dagger and the Light Xbow and a useful +2 to Dex and Wisdom which boosts dual saves, perception and Dodge as a part of background. This ends up an unarmored damage dealer within close range who sprays damage at whatever threatens the party. Cold forces a Fort save to avoid being Slowed when struck, a nice hybrid seed to debuff creatures attacked with freezing energy.

Warrior Priest

This is a bit more complex: The warrior priest concept is the moral compass of this group. A hybrid warrior who can heal terrible wounds. A character trained to fight in armor and cast in armor, this character blends an expensive concept of the group healer with a budget martial add on for a no frills setup. Carrying a trusty Warhammer that can be swing in one fist or gripped in both for an added damage spike as needed around casting spells. Our plan is to be able to cast Breath of Life on call, which requires Life Seed 4. This allows us to purge most ills one might find in a dungeon as well. We'll need to invest into the Heal seed and Bolster seed for healing and stat buffs. We shall pickup: Healing Kicker, Defensive Casting, Field Healer and Mobility out of the Combat Medic PrC for 18 more XP granting use some useful abilities as a front line combat medic. Pulling in Aura of Courage for 3, Lawful Good Alignment Aura for 1, Divine Grace for 10, Lay on Hands (3d6) for 6 XP we incorporate a saving throw boost linked to Charisma and an aura that boosts saves vs Fear with the ability to swiftly heal himself in the midst of combat without needing to burn SP. Armored Mage in Heavy Armor costs 9 XP and 5 XP set aside for Proficiencies means all other XP goes towards Core and casting necessities. Our background must be free with this hybrid concept, so we run with another Human, who is a Mason. This hurts our Divine Grace with the -2 to Cha but grants the priest boons in terms of stonework related skills while boosting Strength and Endurance which might be useful in a stone tunnel dungeon. This character isn't the super defensive or hard hitting striker the guy standing next to him is. However, he is capable of defending himself and taking hits and helping to keep the party safe.

Thief Archer

Our last concept is dual purpose as the ranged striker in the back, as well as the careful scout with deft fingers who can disarm traps. We've put together so far a full human party, and in this section of the world, given the background that makes sense just by the density of humans in the region in question compared to the minorities around. We will stick with that for a 4 human adventuring party for a 1 shot, single level dungeon. The tricky part of this, is balancing a third, hidden role that parties often forget about, and I want to bring to light here. Having a rear guard is good, so we will make our thief archer melee capable. One of the prerequisites of having a Martial Path is Improved Unarmed Strike and keeping your BAB the same as your Level, so we will need at least 7 BAB and to take Improved Unarmed Strike, which we get if we scorn weapons, but we plan on using a bow, so do *not* get for free with my feat tax. With a ranged build that is a trap finder, we really want to push the things that enhance this core, which is Dex, Con, Wisdom and that boosts all three saves in case of poison, mind control, fireball type traps. Everything else is a luxury and this means we intend on a Finesse based build. We have an option of a thrower build instead of a bow, which if we invest into Strength, can be really fun with my Tarantula Path that allows for thrown AOO's and dealing Wisdom Modifier as a damage boost, stepping away from targets that get in your face and boosts both Dex and Wisdom. That boosts your ability to Perceive traps *and* disarm them, big win for this concept.

In this type of scenario long distance isn't a big thing in most dungeons. So the shorter range is not as big of a deal as it normally is over the course of a career. Tarantula Path requires no shield and no heavier than Light armor, so we shall plan for a shieldless works in light armor setup. Utilizing the Fisherman background due to being near the ocean, we pick up a bonus to Str, Dex and Wis, all good for a thrower with Tarantula Path, but take a hit to Int and Cha. Getting proficiency with the humble Spear, as well as Net and Harpoon make for a possible themed throwing support build. Our thief is now a pirate that throws harpoons and nets to entangle the enemy from the back line. If we pull in some leather armor with an investment of 8 XP to pick up Rogue's Edge (Disable Device, Stealth) we can rapidly disarm simple traps and locks as well as reduce our penalty while sniping. 12 XP nets us 3 Rogue Talents (Fast Stealth, Quick Disable, Trap Spotter) and Trapfinding +3 is 4 XP. This build likely will not see much use of Sneak Attack, so we can skip that for game start to save XP. Investing in a ton of feats and skills will be this characters bread and butter to pick up specialist things like Stealthy and Skill Focus (Perception, Disable Device, Stealth) in addition to combat feats.

Wrapping up:

This game is meant to be a short term newbie friendly dungeon that is plug and play for people to choose a concept for me to flesh out a sheet for if we get players enough to play. If we get more than enough I can accept up to 6 players for this, and if there are folks who want to build their own you absolutely can do so, request character creation information and I will happily provide it. In the event folks want to have this game run, just post your interest and if there is a concept you'd prefer, hit me with it to produce for you. If you have questions, feel free to ask. I expect them in order for folks to navigate my hack, and you will need to ask questions to make a spellcaster.

As always, thanks for reading!