An Introduction to My Campaign Setting

When I run games I usually use published adventures. As times go on I’m finding I’m modifying them more and more both stat wise (4e is really helping with this as encounter design is simpler)  and to involve the players. Example: I’ve rewritten large parts of H1: Keep on the Shadowfell as I run it online.

I wanted a world so characters could have constant backgrounds, but I didn’t want to deal with having to adapt adventures, have players know far more about the world then me, or have the setting book give away all the secrets creating a huge PC knowledge/Play knowledge gap. So I’ve been writing up a loose little world. Its not got much more then a couple nations and geography, but it lets me know where the swamps and jungles and such are. I don’t really have any sense of scale either. The biggest thing I’m lacking is….a name. I can’t think up a name for my setting. If anyone wants to help out with that I’d be very grateful. I labelled it Nova’s World for now after my original screen name (Novamaster, which was shortened to Nova when I felt that was pretentious.) but that feels weak.

Here is the introduction I wrote for the first post of my current game:

The empire of Nerath is falling. In the north the Empire is still strong, true, but it is embroiled with a war, with the loyal Imperial forces fighting the rebellion. Both sides have been locked in war for at least a hundred years, the stalemate doing little but draining each. At sea the island colonies lie abandoned, and to the north, past the rebel forces, the barbarian tribes once more reign supreme. The southlands lie mostly peaceful but they have not seen a tax collector or imperial patrol in generations, and even there trouble brews. The southern jungle advances more each year, long dormant evils stir in forgotten crypts and the distances between the towns grows. But all is not lost for bold hero’s such as yourselves, forged in the fires of the war to the north, or born in some other fashion, stride the land.

The empire of Nerath is falling, but civilization need not fall with it.

OOCThis is the ‘default’ background and players are encouraged to work elements of it into there histories:
Most of you are ex-soldier from the north, joined up for your four years for adventure, for the money, to take a burden off a family after a bad harvest. For the past for years the army has fed you, clothed you and housed you. Now its over. Your term expired and you choose not to reenlist for whatever reason. Aimless you have drifted southwards, longing for peace after four years of battle. However, things have not been going so well, and you find your payout money growing a little thin.

I added a bit more latter:

The known world is circular, with water filling the center and around it (Think of a crater or volcano rim, except much much more massive) The eastern 2 thirds are a series of islands and archipelegos, the wastern third a continent.

This continent is the shape of the crescent moon. The the north are the icy wasts, south of that the lands controlled by the rebellion. At the end of the rebellions terrortory lies no mans land. A long thin strip of land with swamps at the top and mouthains at the bottom, it is were Nerest and the Rebellions armies have clashed for close to 100 years. South of the lies the noble Empire of Nerest. As one travles south one finds oneself in lands that consider themselves members of the empire but have not seen a tax collector in a generation or more. (Read wheel of time? The first one? Rands hometown? Yeah, that) Finally there are the southern jungles. Filled with strange animals and beasts, and slowly expanding northwards the southern jungles are a place of mystery.

The simplest explanation for adventueres wandering the land, is as I’ve stated in the game thread, many youths go north, join the army for 4 years , fight against the undead and demons of the rebellion and then find they no longer feel at home in there home villages. However this is not the only path, as there are many ways to take up the sword or staff. From questing for lost artifacts, to wanting to see the world, many wind up on the roads.

I need to add some names for the jungles and mountain ranges and such I know, I just can’t seem to think up names I like (suggestions will be appreciated) As you probably guessed from reading that I’ve placed the locations outlined in the 4e DMG & H1 in the southlands. The map looked a lot like what I wanted the southlands too anyway so it worked.

Earlier this year I wrote out a whole bunch of stuff, including how each 4e race and class might fit into the world and a bunch of other things. Then I went and lost that notebook. So while I was at a chemistry confrence I rewrote out some things (I’m an undergrad, there were a number of time the talk went right over my head. Heck, the prof I was there with told me during a couple talks the speaker lost him) and connected them to the default 4e D&D setting so I could easily use those adventures. As a note they say copywrite me on it, that obviously does not include the Wizards IP, and I don’t mean to imply it does. I just didn’t realize that till after I scanned it and don’t want to have to use an image editor to fix it on each image. If WoTC complains I’ll fix it. Also if I compile it I’ll take all the stuff they own out and make it Creative Commons.

It uses the default gods of whatever I’m running, probably either the Greyhawk gods (Well, the 3e ones with St. Cuthbert LG as he should be) or the 4e gods. I figured instead of a whole bunch of different nations I’d have a dukedoms and baronies and such, probably because thats the impression I got reading old D&D adventures and whatnot.

Sorry the writing is so bad, I was writing on a bad surface while listening with one ear for when I could understand things again. Also I have a small writing disability, though this is the most illegible thing I’ve written in a number of years.

I also outlined things on IRL with someone I met on at  irc:// #enworld. (Or over HTML if you don’t have a IRC client handy) the spelling is terrible as well, I wasn’t paying any attention to it.

<gruegirl> could you give me the basics of the setting
<Canageek> Its pretty basic as it doesn’t effect the mod much
<Canageek> The known world is in a rouge hourglass/cresent moon type shape
<gruegirl> who’s in power around where we start?
<Canageek> The far south is mostly apandoned jungel, with runs and such in it from before people migrated north
<Canageek> in the mid south is farland that aside from goblis and cluts and such is mostly peaceful
<Canageek> now the  army is in the north so you don’t want to travel alone unless your reasonbly well armed and know how to use your weapons as most bandits will leave you alone then
<Canageek> caravans are the primary method of travel and communication
<gruegirl> which army?
<Canageek> The far north is an icy wastland filled with barbarian tribess –yes I know how cliche that is
<Canageek> There are two large nations: The Alliance and the Empire
<Canageek> The Alliance is a leage of Necromancers and Diabolits that rule the nroth between the Icy wasts and the Narrows  – The thin part of the hour glass
<Canageek> the Alliance nominally controls all of the souther half, but in reality they only activally control the top 1/3 or so
<Canageek> They are a mostly benelovent empre composed of variuse dutchies and fifedoms
<Canageek> the futher south you get the weaker the control gets though most of the people pay at least lip service to the monarch
<Canageek> thats about all I have as I’ve never had enough people intersted in a gamme long enough to find out the details
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> OH, and theres some mountain ranges and things but thats not really important right now
<Canageek> I’m ravamping the setting to have some elemetns from Ebberon in it as well as some 4e stuff
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> For now it doesn’t really matter as I’m running KotS and it all takes place in a small area
<Canageek> in the southland
<Canageek> I’m thinking the Alliance has elements of the Teifling Empre in it
<Canageek> and a number of Dragonborn famiies are promoint in the Empires ranks
<gruegirl> I’ll be a Teifling jungle girl, what roles are in the party right now?
<Canageek> Ok, you mind if i post part of the convo to give info on the world setting?
<gruegirl> no prob

So thats what I have so far. If I ever find my old notebook I’ll scan those pages, or I’ll type up more. I’ll probably write more posts on my world in future as I’ve got a lot of stuff in my head that just needs to be set down. I wanted to compile everything I had in one place as a way of starting off however. So, what does everyone think? Is it a lame mesh of cliche’s and horribly overdone tropes? Or does it look like a fun place to play?

Let Me Tell You About My Character: McCord (Serenity)

This is a character I’m going to be running in Ada’s Serenity game. I don’t have a first name yet and someone else is doing my stats. I’ll be updating the stats and story as I work on them. Feel free to comment on how I could improve him, background or stat-wise.

McCord started out as a small trader. His home planet, Redwood, wasn’t on the rim, but it sure wasn’t a core world. He ran a small shop selling tools and did it well. He gradually bought up some other shops in nearby towns, focusing on getting basic, good tools. He discovered he could sell basic goods such as shovels for a fortune to the outer worlds. He started buying them cheaply from his suppliers then selling them at a fair mark-up on the outer worlds. He met a lot of ship captains and a lot of grateful farmers and miners. He insisted on running his own ship a lot of the time, refusing to run any business he didn’t understand. He always made sure to do his fair share of the work, even learning gunplay to help defend his goods. Then came the war, and he stayed carefully neutral, refusing to carry goods for either side. He survived the war, carrying food and basic goods to devastated worlds, sometimes at a loss. However, in the aftermath an alliance bureaucrat ruled that his shovels had built alliance trenches and ignored all evidence that he’d sold them to reputable local stores. His business was stripped from him and given to a massive corporation that has proceeded to charge massive prices for everything as they are now the only supplier. He asked around and found that right after they finished stealing his company that bureaucrat retired and took a job on the corporation’s board of directors. He called in some favours, scrapped up his personal savings and bought an old firefly and a load of basic goods. He found some friends and put together a crew. Now starting over on the outer worlds, he’s pretty sure the alliance was Browncoats were right, and is just a little bitter about doing so.

Captain McCord
Veteran | Personality: Rough and Tumble Trader
Agility      : D8
Strength     : D8
Vitality     : D8
Alertness    : D10
Intelligence : D10
Willpower    : D10
Initiative : D8+D10
Life Points : 18

Nose for Trouble (Minor)
Friends in Low Places (Minor)
Trustworthy Gut (Minor)

Memorable (Minor) (No sure about this one)
Branded (Major) (Oh yeah, I’m in alliance records)
Loyal (Minor)
Credo (Major) (What does this do? I have some sort of code of ethics?)
(Can we add a bias/dislike of Alliance Bureaucrats? Heck, can be all Bureaucrats if needed) Prejudiced (Minor) – Alliance (Bureaucrats)? What would Major do?
Animal Handling        D2
Artistry               D0
Athletics              D6
Covert                 D4
Craft                  D0
Discipline             D4
Guns                   D6
+–Pistols D10
Heavy Weapons          D0
Influence              D6
Knowledge              D4
Linguist               D2
Mechanical Engineering D2
Medical Expertise      D2
Melee Weapon Combat    D4
Perception             D6
+–Intuition D8
Performance            D0
Pilot                  D2
Planetary Vehicle      D2 (Can we bump this up if my new bias gets me points?)
Ranged Weapons         D0
Scientific Expertise   D0
Survival               D4
Technical Engineering  D2
Unarmed Combat         D4

Edit: Here is my original post on McCord:

Mmmm, I’m thinking some sort of merchant, neutral in the war that was hit hard by trading with the enemy punishments and then driven under by a large corporation from the core systems. He packed up and bought/chipped in on/joined a ship and does what he can to survive. Learned a fair bit a gunplay to protect his goods out on the rim worlds, plenty of men that will try and take whats yours if you let ’em. Prehappes might know a few folkes from his time as a merchant, might know a few that need cargo moved. And a course, he knows how to drive a good bargin after all these years. (Is that possible to do? Skilled w/ small arms, some contacts and lots of barganing and lie detection, no so much on the social niceties or fancy knowledge?)

Edit: Added another line to his character description.

Edit2: I know own the Serenity rule book and have rewritten his stats based on it. I’ve also modified him a little as roleplay happened (For example I wanted him to be Ambidextrous so I took Two-Fisted) anyway, the updated post is here.

My Background as a Gamer

If I’m going to talk about gaming I think its important that you know about my background as a gamer.

As a gamer I mainly player D&D. I started with 2nd edition when I was in grade 5 or 6, and moved to 3rd edition when it came out. When I read the PHB it felt like D&D made sense now- no more arbitrary race/class restrictions or maximum levels, I played a small amount of D&D up until 2002 when my father and I joined the Living Greyhawk campaign. We got heavily involved in that and to this day the vast majority of my gaming experience is with Living Greyhawk, and with the end of that campaign I moved to Living Forgotten Realms.

Which, yes, means I’m a 4e supporter (It’s ok, you can put down the flamethrowers…please…). I don’t agree with everything it does, but I’m enjoying it more then 3e when I can find a good adventure. (Adventures should be more then 3 fights and a skill challenge people!)

In the past I’ve also enjoyed playing Call of Cthulhu (CoC), and a game in the Alternity system. I did find that CoC’s combat system was too jagged, and Alternity was overly complex in terms of character creation. Nevertheless I enjoyed both, and am running an ongoing CoC game if I could ever get the  players together.

I’ve played around on Play By Forum (PBF) in a number of systems on and find that I enjoy description heavy games when I can take ten minutes to write my response and such—I’m not a improve specialist able to pull perfect prose off the top of my head.

In the past I’ve bought a lot of gaming books, but found I didn’t use the 3.5 ones as I could never trust there balance, and didn’t use the d20 Modern ones because the core game was so unbalanced. I have a number of other books and such that I never got around to funning or resting so I’ve been cutting back on my purchases: So far in 4e all I have is: 3 core books, PHBII and Arcane power. Oh…and a DDi subscription. What I do like purchasing is adventures as I don’t have a talent for writing them, and I’m likeing the new Dungeon magazine for that: The old Dungeon mods I played never felt very good to me, though that could just be bad examples.

I’m currently running a game of 4e at dndorks with some more information at in another thread . I’m currently full on players but I’ll be sure to advertise openings here. However my digital paramour, Ada, is recruiting a serenity game and I’d like to point you all in her direction.

As I’ve mentioned it, I’d like to point you all at It was one of the first gaming webcomics, and while its kinda been wandering around for a bit its forums are an excellent place to run games. I joined it far to many years ago (the date it says in the forums is a lie) so don’t look at my early posts….I was just finishing grade 9 at the time. Annnyyyway there is an amazing silverlight mapping tool  I’m using now and they keep adding more PBP/PBF features so if your thinking of running a game online I encourage you to check it out.

Anyway, that’s my gaming past. I think I’ll write about my views on the different editions of D&D at another time. See you later my friends, and until then, Stay Geeky!