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Basically there seems to be a good amount of interest from all of you forum goers in trying out D&D. Seeing as my usual group has diminished enough that it's no longer worth playing, I figured I'd cast my net a little bit wider and try some forum campaigns. And seeing as you folks are almost universally gamers of some kind, hey, why not?
So here's the deal. I'll be DMing (Dungeon Mastering, that is I make the story the world and the adventure) a campaign here on the forums if I can get enough interest to form a decently-sized party. Note that the party likewise cannot grow too big. If you already know how to play 3.5 D&D, great! If not, yes, I'm very willing to teach you how! It can be intimidating to learn, I won't lie, but if you're willing then I'm willing to help.
So, just for starters, let's hear a sound-off of who would like to join the D&D group were one to start.
My thinking is that we'll be using Roll20, this really awesome campaign setting thing that should make the combat at least run smoothly. If it doesn't seem feasible to get everyone on at the same time very often, we'll just do the roleplaying and whatnot in the forums.
Alright folks, it's time to start thinking of classes. If you already know precisely what you want to be, well, just say so here. If you're not well acquainted with the rules, however, just tell me how you want your character to fight and act during combat and I can find you something to fit it like I did for Bailey.
Just a quick update. I've been searching for an efficient way to do this and share the books with the lot of you, and it looks like Google Drive is the best way to do that. Acquaint yourself with it, and I'll begin sharing the basics with the lot of you.
Here's the first bit of the setting, just to show you I'm not being COMPLETELY idle.
The world, simply known as Holm to the humans that inhabit it, is a place of strained silence and temporary calm. The so-called civilized races have just ended a large-scale war of blood and vicious slaughter against those they name the 'lower races'. The conflict lasted generations and was a fruitless affair that arose from a bid for territory that escalated beyond control. What ensued was little more than a feud of hatred, with the goals of each side degrading as the struggle persisted. By the end of the war, each side wanted nothing so much as to simply wipe the other from the face of the world.
As time drudged on, it became clear that there was no end to this great war. While the ingenuity and power of the civilized races was grand to behold, the lower races had the advantage of hordes that stretched to the horizon and strange magics. So it was that the two forces fell from each other from simple exhaustion of resources. There was no grand victory, no amiable treaty of noble peace. The war became unsustainable, and fell away from vast conflicts into hateful skirmishes. At present, the warring parties have withdrawn into their own territories to lick their wounds and attempt to reassemble the shambles of their lives. War, however, looms dark on the horizon. Grudges and resentments run deep, and it is only a matter of time until it boils over again into horrific atrocity.
Holm is a Pangaea-like world with a single vast continent. On its surface live all manner of creatures, both fantastic and mundane. The various territories and resources it contains are constantly contested. Magic is a common force in the world, and indeed one of the most bitterly feuded-over prizes. The races are split very broadly into two factions- the civilized races and the lower races. As a general rule, the civilized races tend to possess a higher level of technology and sophistication than the lower races. Most wars are fought over resources, but the two sides hardly need an excuse to kill one another, and even within alliances there is a great deal of strain.
Technologically, Holm has an anachronistic mix of Middle Ages technology and more sophisticated machinery. This is achieved, simply, through magic. Magic is an incredibly malleable source of power that can be easily harnessed by both people who know how to wield it and objects with proper magical formulae. As it is so very easily changed, it can fill in the gaps for a great deal of technology and even produce locomotion and energies that modern technology cannot. This results in highly advanced vehicles and weaponry, especially when it comes to war. However, this same magical saturation is what keeps weaponry like swords and shields relevant.
Humans need little explanation. They have a level of technological sophistication that is matched by few other races, and their industrious ingenuity and comparatively high birthrate has given them an edge over the other civilized races. Always in a fever, they tend to be the most hasty and progressive. This could be in part due to the fact that, of all the civilized races, they are the shortest-lived. Humans rely heavily on technology and are often at the forefront of developing machinery that harnesses the magic of the world around them. Their cities tend to be the most populace and sprawling, growing constantly with the expansionist mindset of humanity, and as a result they often clash with even their allies.
Disciplined beyond any of the other civilized races, the high elves are a long-lived people who see centuries in a single lifetime. As a culture, elves value perfection and utter devotion to all that one endeavors to do. As a result, they have an immensely advanced society that has few weak points. They worship forces of nature and universal principles rather than gods, and as a result places of natural majesty are sacred places to them. They appreciate all aspects of the natural world and so settle in all climes and treasure them. From snowy tundra to steaming jungles to damp wetlands, elves have mastered them all. Their structures tend to be built without disrupting the natural order of the landscape, and indeed oftentimes adding to the aesthetic appeal of the surroundings rather than cutting into it.
Elves do not make use of magical technology due to the taxing effect this has on the surrounding land. Instead, they mimic advanced machines easily through the use of long-lasting enchantments. Resources such as stone and wood are extracted sparingly from the earth, and often through the use of magical rituals that leave tree and mountain intact and healthy. The most populace elven settlements are often built into still-living mountains and forests, shaping the rock and plants into dwellings even as they care for them in a symbiotic fashion.
Though the elves are easily the least populated of the civilized races, their intense discipline makes their military one of the most formidable in all of Holm, rivaling that of the humans. The absence of war machines is no detriment to them, for in their place the elves have Avatars, spirits of ancient elven heroes bound into elemental bodies. These mighty, timeless warriors are as much soldiers as sacred relics, and though they are comparatively scarce when weighed against the forces of other races, the fact that a single one of them is often worth a dozen soldiers helps to even the odds.
Elves are easily differentiated from humans by their long pointed ears, tall slender bodies and eyes in impossible colors that are slitted like a cat's. High elves that hail from families who have lived long in one climate develop skin tones and hair colors that blend in well with their surroundings, sometimes even developing dappled patterns on their flesh. The canines of an elf are sharper than those of a human's, and they tend to have high, prominent cheekbones and slanted, intense eyes.
From the time they emerge from the womb, the life of a dwarf is a life of hardship. They hail from the blasted deserts of a hard place known only as the Waste. Once a mountainous landscape where the dwarves dug deep into the rich earth and prospered in cavernous cities, the dwarven homelands were invaded by the orcs in a long-forgotten war that eclipsed even the current conflict. It is said in legend that the orcs, losing the war, made one final bid for victory and sacrificed ten thousand soldiers in order to summon one of their profane Ancestor Gods. This horror of blood, steel and flame washed the dwarven cities in fire and slew dozens with a single sweep of its blade. When it was finished in its rampage, struck down by a mighty dwarven hero, the mountains had been ground to dust, the deep caves of the dwarves drowned in molten rock, and the water sucked from the very earth. It had been reduced to a place where even orcs could no longer survive, and so their armies withdrew.
A dwarf, however, is a stubborn creature. Dwarf legends state that not a single refugee fled their ancestral lands for greener pastures. Instead, facing a home blasted beyond recognition, populated with dangerous creatures and torn by constant magical storms, the dwarves set to work. The new, scorching sand that covered the land could not be dug into like the sturdy stone that had nurtured the dwarves for so long, but the dwarves persisted and built above-ground dwellings of metal and stone. They adapted to the harsh heat of the merciless sun, weathered the storms of raw magical power that tried to rip apart all they had built, and learned to live off of the meager pickings the sands had to offer them.
Long before this cataclysm hit them, the dwarves were a center of brilliant minds and impossible feats of engineering. Though those dwarven ruins remain somewhere underground, little of the former magnificence of the dwarven empire remains. Instead, the harshness of their environment has hardened the dwarves into something altogether different. Paragons of strength, hardiness, and martial skill, there is no warrior more feared than a dwarven berserker. Constant struggles with the environment the powerful monsters that can survive the Waste has made the dwarves ferocious and unrivaled in martial prowess.
A dwarf tends to stand a foot or so shorter than the average human, but their thick muscle and powerful builds tends to ensure that these stout folk weigh about the same. Dwarven males are very prone to growing bodily hair, and a thick beard is a point of pride for any warrior. The greatest insult a dwarf can suffer is damage to his beard. Their hair can come in any color a human's can, but they tend towards yellow and red hair, and rarely a young dwarf is born with hair as white as a cloud. Dwarves possess dark, thick skin, and as they reach maturity hard, bony calluses begin to form on the shoulders, back, chest, forearms, knuckles and shins. These form a layer of natural armor that allows a dwarf to shrug off even the mighty sandstorms of their current home. Culturally, dwarves worship a deity of earth and stone. Once a patron of craftsmen and learning, the new position of the dwarves has turned their stone god into a savage one that values strength, survival and kin above all else.
The Lower Races
Savage and bloodthirsty, there is little one needs to know of an orc beyond kill it or run away. These monstrous creatures desire nothing more than to slaughter the civilized and rape the land in the name of their profane ancestors. Valuing strength in the extreme, an orc takes what it pleases from anyone it has to power to overcome. This leads them to a lifestyle of pillaging and bloodshed- one that the orcs seem to relish. Though they are too brutal and stupid to master the art of merging magic and technology, the orcs find power in their numbers and in the wicked strength of their ancestors. Orc shamans are able to summon the spirits of their damned dead to bolster their forces, and if they are able to pool enough resources they can even call upon particularly powerful demons they proudly declare 'Ancestor Gods'.
Culturally, there is little an orc holds sacred. They are well known for slaughtering all that they come across and turning entire villages into mass sacrificial pits for their terrible spirits. They devour humans and horses as easily as pigs and sheep, and filth cakes their foul nests and hobbled together buildings. They are barbaric and nomadic, seldom staying in one place for long, lest it become too spoiled even for them.
Your average orc is taller than most men, powerfully muscled. They possess a mane of hair much like a wolf's, with thick necks that are slightly longer than those of a human's. The mane often extends down their back and chest, with more thick hair on the forearms and shoulders. Squashed noses and protruding lower canines that grow with age to the point of being called tusks give them a bestial appearance- as do their wolfish eyes that come in startling colors and show no white. Their teeth are sharp and thick, and often more than just the tusks show once an orc has reached maturity. Skin colors tend to be inhuman, ranging from browns and greens to greys and even vague blues.
Though they are small in stature, these vicious little creatures have a base cunning that means they are not to be taken lightly. Though like the other lower races, they have not the intelligence to create proper magical technology, crude mimicry of human ingenuity and the binding of elemental spirits allows the goblins to create faux machines by animating metal with representations of air, earth and fire, among others. While these contraptions lack the sophistication and power of a human or ancient dwarven construct, they allow the goblins to overcome their small frames to a certain degree and stand on the battlefield with the other races. They are an opportunistic and scavenging lot; most of the creations they call their own are actually bastardized human machines cobbled together with only the vaguest grandeur of what it once was.
Despite their mimicry of human technology, goblins are a cowardly lot. They almost never fight unless victory is assured or their back is to the wall. Instead, they strike from the shadows in overwhelming odds, or with their primitive 'machines' at the front line. They are unpleasantly prone to thievery, and their cluttered nests are more often than not packed full of objects they've stolen.
A goblin stands three to four feet tall, with a head that is somewhat large for their tiny bodies. They have wide skulls with equally wide grinning mouths that seem to split their face in two. A goblin that is not overtly distressed tends to always smile- a disconcerting habit with their large mouths. Tiny, sharp teeth line the mouth in two rows. Goblins are omnivorous, but prefer crawling insects and putrid fungus as staples of their diet, thankfully numbering them among the few lower races that prefer to avoid human flesh. Their large, batlike ears are constantly swiveling nervously, and their round black eyes are always darting this way and that. They have no nose to speak of, rather possessing two lizard-like holes where one should be. They grow hair on their head, but it tends to be bristly and short like the hair of a boar. They have three-fingered hands with long, spindly digits. The most distinguishing characteristic of a goblin is a long, prehensile tail that ends in a third hand. This hand is just as capable as the rest, and is often used to multitask in ways a human might find baffling.