Concept: Heroic 4E Essentials game set in a non-european culture – a balance of combat and skill challenges, with players self-directing goals.
What Players Need to Know:
1. Lost Alliance- core setting and class. Read First! Conceptually classes and culture is very different than vanilla D&D. (I’ll need to do a write up of the other classes and races later).
2. Human-centric. Dwarves and halflings are minorities in the Masara, Elves rarely heard from. No other core races available as PCs, initially.
3. Sometimes there may be places/random encounters with monsters beyond your ability. Good time to run!
4. Mearl’s Damage Hack: Don’t roll for damage- normal hits do average damage, crits do full damage.
5. PC death? Create a new character 1 level lower than party average.
6. Normal XP awards, Quest XP, personal Quest XP, and bonus XP for good tactics, stunting, or creative actions in Skill Challenges. This may cause the party to diverge in levels- which is fine by me.
7. Monsters will have reduced HP and probably different powers. Encounters will have more monsters to make up the difference.
Same Page Tool expectations:
Play to win? Yes.
Win conditions are making Masara a safer, better place and are rewarded with XP per the Quest xp rules.
This can be fighting back monsters and helping settlements expand, it can also be stabilizing the political groups within Masara or making alliances with other groups/peoples. By sword or by diplomacy, whatever works.
PCs are expected to work together, conflicts are mostly for show
The GM preps a map with NPCs and/or monsters. The players have their characters travel anywhere they can reach on the map, according to their own goals.
The players’ roles are to to set goals for their characters, and pursue them proactively.
Doing the smartest thing for your character’s survival sometimes isn’t as important as other choices (see win conditions above.)
The GM’s role to the rules is follow them, come what may. (including following house rules)
After many sessions of play, during one session, a player decides to have her character side with an enemy. This is something that shouldn’t even happen. This is someone being a jerk.
This one is actually a bit more tricky- given that I expect politics to play in this game. That said, if it’s at the point when people are drawing swords, sides are usually pretty clear – it’s not Dogs in the Vineyard or Burning Wheel, so I’m not going to be having ultra-deep moral issues, so this shouldn’t be coming up often, and where it does, it’s probably time for a Skill Challenge.
1. Create a map with local things of interest. Start at one settlement, spread further as the campaign evolves.
2. Create 6-8 NPCs with interests and goals. Don’t need to stat them, really, just use them as personages, allies, obstacles, etc. (Build with an eye towards setting and PCs)
3. Create a backlog of monsters using Monster Hack rules maybe 5-6 for an environment type/area, cover 3-ish areas or so for some variety. Steal power ideas liberally from videogames for interesting tactical aspects. Skip statting out attributes and stuff you can make up on the fly.
4. Follow the players’. Set up/Offer Quests according to player goals and NPC motivations. Set up Skill Challenges as you go, encounters as you go as well.