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Vorthyn: A D&D Campaign based on AR

 
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Olyn
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 3:08 pm    Post subject: Vorthyn: A D&D Campaign based on AR

A few weeks ago, someone was asking about running a d&d campaign based on AR. I've decided to share more information about a campaign I currently run for 6 players using the 5th edition d&d rules. If this doesn't interest you, feel free to disregard my posts. I'm not fishing for suggestions or feedback, but both are welcome if you have something to contribute. Feel free to engage in this thread however you like.

You'll notice some familiar names and places throughout the campaign, but this was definitely not an attempt to put a d&d campaign in the middle of AR as you know it. Nearly all of the campaign ideas are of my own design, with the occasional adventure hook borrowed from my favorite experiences playing d&d over the last 25 years or so, and, of course, my experiences here.

The players all began in a small section of the world whose name has been forgotten. A few tiny villages lie scattered several days' travel apart, and all several days from the larger town of Treldmor. Travel between these villages is extremely rare due to the danger of monster attacks. Even bandits are non-existent with very few targets and the high risk of falling victim to roaming monsters. The forests have nearly all been cut down, and annual harvests have yielded less and less. The world is a bleak place. The people, who either believe the gods never existed or have long since abandoned them, have nowhere to turn. Many are in denial of the dire straits of their situation.

This campaign has been running over a year now, but we only play about once a month. I'm going to post stuff periodically rather than dump a year's worth of adventuring all at once. To start, here's how the campaign differs from standard 5e rules. Reference to phb indicates the information can be found on that page in the 5th edition Player's Handbook. References to vcg indicates the information is found in the Vorthyn Campaign Guide, a booklet I created for my players. The ranger class was overhauled to remove all of their magic, which was replaced with other ranger-like abilities. I really hate that a 5e ranger is designed to walk up to an animal and cast 'charm animal'. Fuck that. It's a ranger, he oughtta be able to empathize with animals, not charm them magic. Clerics and Paladins are playable, but require some collaboration with the DM since religions have been lost/forgotten/abandoned by the world's population. Anything not listed is unavailable.

Playable races
    | Race| Source |
    |:----:|:-------------|
    | Dwarf | phb 18 |
    | Elf | phb 21 |
    |Halfling| phb 26|
    |Human| phb 29|
    |Gnome|phb 35|
    |Half-Elf|phb 38|
    |Half-Orc|phb 40|
    |Orc|vcg 2|
    |Slith|vcg 3|
* Subraces from the *Players Handbook*, *Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide*, and *Vorthyn Campaign Guide* are available.


Playable classes
    | Class| Source |
    |:----:|:------------|
    | Barbarian | phb 46 |
    | Bard | phb 51 |
    | Cleric | phb 56 |
    | Druid | phb 64|
    | Fighter |phb 70|
    | Monk |phb 76|
    | Paladin |phb 82|
    | Ranger |vcg 4|
    | Rogue |phb 94|
    | Sorcerer |phb 99|
    | Warlock |phb 105|
    | Wizard |phb 112|
* Level 3 class archetypes/specializations are available from the *Players Handbook*, *Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide*, and *Vorthyn Campaign Guide*. Selections that rely on the existence of a **specific** organization may be unavilable. Check with the DM.
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Olyn
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 28, 2018 8:41 pm    Post subject:

We have 6 main characters. Here's some background on Tyrgault, a dwarf cleric:

Code:
Tyrgault the dwarf is an orphan who never knew his parents. He was adopted by the Constable of the small village of Willowdale at a young age and has considered himself "the deputy of Willowdale," even before his beard began to grow. As Tyrgault became a young man, Constable Kadlum had no problem allowing the eager (and somewhat naive) Tyrgault to do most of his work for him. Since few villagers had coins to trade, they often exchanged goods and services without a thought to cost. As such, Tyrgault received no stipend for his work aside from room and board at the Boar's Head Tavern. Tyrgault took his role as deputy contable quite seriously during the day, but often drank himself into a stupor in the evenings, sleeping off just as many drunken nights on the tavern floor as he did in his room.

After one such night of drinking and brawling, Tyrgault had a vision while he lay under a broken table. In this vision he spoke with a gruff-looking dwarf named Odoacer, who claimed to be an ancient god of the land. Odoacer claimed to see potential in Tyrgault's dedication to both the Law and the bottle, and told Tyrgault that he would be instrumental in restoring the forgotten gods to prominence. The next morning, Tyrgault awoke feeling refreshed, even with splinters of the collapsed table atop him digging bloody gouges into his chest. To his surprise, Tyrgault was able to close his wounds with a thought.

Tyrgault was eager to share the story of Odoacer with anyone who would listen, which turned out to be noone. Tyrgault was ridiculed for talking of gods, as everyone knew there were no gods, and if there were, they had long since died or abandoned these realms. When travelers, extremely rare in Willowdale, arrived with rumours of giant snakes kidnapping children in a nearby village, Tyrgault decided it was time to leave Willowdale and search for more clues about Odoacer elsewhere.

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Olyn
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 30, 2018 3:44 pm    Post subject:

Character 2/6, Wilzeeus the slith fighter:

Code:
Wilzeeus, like most slith, was born in the blood swamp. He managed to survive the dangerous environment for several years, and became curious about the occasional spice merchant who ventured to the edge of the swamp to gather blood poppies to sell back in Irynhold. Wilzeeus decided to gather poppies for himself and follow one such merchant back to Irynhold. He soon learned that the civilized people of the land did not mind slith, provided that he traded fairly with them. Obsessed with these curious people, their shiny gold currency, and their strange language, he quickly learned the common tongue and set out for Treldmor in the east, where he heard that the blood poppies were even more valuable. It was here that he met Vinnie.

Vinnie was the proprietor of a small pawn shop in a seedy part of town. Wilzeeus soon discovered that Vinnie kept a secret board containing contracted individuals. It was said that Vinnie represented an underground guild known as "The Syndicate," and that killing any of the men on Vinnie's board yielded substantial rewards: rewards far greater than what he could earn selling his blood poppies. Under the guise of a merchant, Wilzeeus set out to claim the newest and most valuable bounty on Vinnie's board, an elf known as Val'orian.  Tavern rumours allege Val'orian was seen fleeing Treldmor in the direction of Willowdale.

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Kalist19
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 2:41 am    Post subject:

Pretty sweet Olyn! Bet you are a pretty fun DM.

If there was ever an idea of organizing a pathfinder campaign on the paizo forum I'd definitely be down (never played D&D though).
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Nadrin



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 4:47 am    Post subject:

He is certainly a fun DM. I miss playing D&D with you Olyn. Man, that was a long time ago...
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You were so scary and such a good killer. I never would have guessed you were female.

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Olyn
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:25 pm    Post subject:

Character 3/6. Val'orian the elf rogue:

Code:
Val'orian the elf is a master of disguises. While growing up on the streets of Treldmor, he found that he was able to blend in with the higher societies and presented himself accordingly. He became fond of the lavish lifestyle and preferred it over alleys and abandoned houses. To earn coin for himself, Val'orian did odd jobs for an underground organization known only as "The Syndicate."

Val'orian was quite good at the tasks The Syndicate set him to, and he enjoyed the challenge as well as the gold involved in the work. Shortly after the completion of a particularly complicated heist, Val'orian was approached by a man claiming to have high standing in The Syndicate. Val'orian was being considered for a significant promotion within the organization and should seek out a man named Vinnie for a specific task to prove his mettle.

He found Vinnie in a rundown pawn shop. Vinnie informed him that he was to find and kill an elf named Dorian for stealing an irreplaceable suit of magical armor from one of Treldmor's most influential nobles. Val'orian searched for Dorian and learned two things from credible sources: Dorian was no longer in Treldmor and, more importantly, Dorian never stole the armor in the first place. As a man of conscience, Val'orian returned to Vinnie to tell him that Dorian was innocent of the offense. To his dismay, he found that Vinnie's understanding was a ruse. Assassins began to hunt him for refusing to complete his appointed task. Assuming a new identity, Val'orian set out westward from Treldmor towards the village of Willowdale, eager to leave danger behind him and to find and warn Dorian of The Syndicate's malicious intent.

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Olyn
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 09, 2018 6:49 pm    Post subject:

Character 4/6. Wizzleteaks the gnome wizard:

Code:
Wizzleteaks the Magnificent was the most curious gnome in a small band of curious gnomes who lived deep underground. This particular band of curious deep gnomes spent their time traversing the maze of tunnels deep underground with a near-permanent sense of wonder. Wizzleteaks loved the strange and was obsessed with making things even stranger. It was this passion that led him to study the art of illusion.

Wizzleteaks was a prankster who loved collecting shiny things and using shiny things to trick his friends. After one especially cruel trick, where he fooled his companions into eating cakes made of polished ankheg dung. His companions, tired of his annoying tricks, beat Wizzleteaks into unconsciousness and left him behind.

Wizzleteaks awoke to the terrible sight of a drow standing over him. Too injured to run, and having none of his illusions prepared to use, he braced himself for pain. To his surprise, the drow carried an infant in her arms, rocking it gently. With new and wonderfully strange companions, Wizzleteaks continued his journey and found the most curious thing he'd ever seen…the sun.

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kento



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2018 12:21 am    Post subject:

This is awesome.
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Olyn
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:49 pm    Post subject:

Character 5/6. Irri the drow ranger:

Code:
Irri was born the first daughter of a prominent drow family. She was a quick study with the whip, the bow, and the blade, as well as the Game of Houses that served as the primary source of drama and power shifts between families. Not only was she successful, but she often quietly found ways to best her family's rivals without bloodshed. Her mother, the Matron of the House, was proud of Irri and was certain her family would continue to thrive and gain in power if tragedy befell her. That is until the day her sixth child was born.

The child was a boy and a disappointment. As is the custom, a family discards any male offspring after the first two, as they are not needed. Irri was chosen over her two younger sisters to perform the sacrifice and bring good fortune to the House. It was to be the first sacrifice of the generation; one to make their rivals jealous. Irri was charged with keeping vigil over the boy until the morning, when she would slice open his neck and let the lifeblood flow from him.

Irri was appalled at the thought, especially after spending several hours with the boy. She made her decision. She took only a few possessions and fled with the child in the night. Eager to outrun the assured pursuit, she did not sleep until the 3rd night on the run. The very next day, she came across an unconscious deep gnome, apparently beaten and left for dead. Irri cautiously gave the deep gnome, known as Wizzleteaks, her only potion of healing and helped him to his feet. Together, they set out for the surface.

The sun was blindingly bright. Having never seen it, Irri was filled with terror and wonder at that first sight of it. She and her companions kept concealed in the small rock crevice until it lowered in the sky and night fell. The stars, visible and shining through the forested treetops, were of equal wonder as the mighty sun and wrought with danger. That first night on the surface, Irri and Wizzleteaks were attacked. A single twig snapped to Irri's left, but she had no time to react before being struck on the head by unknown assailants. When she and Wizzleteaks woke, the infant was gone. Irri tracked the attackers to the edge of the forest, but the trail appeared to vanish, even to her excellent eyes. Her only clue was a scrap of cloth with a strange rune-like marking on it. She would find her brother and have her revenge.

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Olyn
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:32 pm    Post subject:

Character 6/6. Ra'kek the half-orc barbarian:

Code:
Ra'kek the half-orc was a soldier once. He was quite adept at killing, but less capable of following orders. After an evening of drinking and carousing, Ra'kek's commander ordered him to clean out the camp's latrine. Ra'kek thought a better use of his time would be to throw his commander down amongst the shit. He fled to the city of Treldmor where he fell in with one mercenary company after another, each just as short-lived as the last, and each with a similar falling out. Finally, he decided he'd find his own work. He learned of a rundown pawn shop where a man named Vinnie gave gold for bringing back the right head. It seemed like reasonable work. After two easy jobs, he set off looking for the highest reward Vinnie had to offer: an elf named Dorian. His hunt took him out of Treldmor and to a village called Willowdale.

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Davairus
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:01 pm    Post subject:

half-orc? Does he have a snaggle tooth?
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Nycticora
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2018 10:30 pm    Post subject:

if you think that's bad you should see the other half
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Olyn
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:58 pm    Post subject:

The adventure starts in the village of Willowdale. The world is deteriorating into ruin. Crops are dying, water is becoming short, and the forests are all but destroyed. Travel is so dangerous that it has become rare, causing trade to grind to a halt. Little is known about the world beyond the extremely local. Memories of the gods are practically non-existent. The populace believes the gods have abandoned them or never existed. Even the ragtag group of adventurers convening in Willowdale (seemingly by chance) knows little of the world beyond their doorstep.



(The above image is just part of the world map I created with Campaign Cartographer. I reveal new areas to the party as they find them, fog of war style).
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Vertas



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:49 am    Post subject:

God I haven’t played DnD in forever. That’s an awesome campaign so far Olyn
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Hondorian



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:53 pm    Post subject:

This is what I’m talking about. D&D campaigns! Thank you for expanding on my question. DMing has been so much fun. I’m definitely stealing more from AR in my next session. And would see a Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds session with AR players happen. Who wants to DM?
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Hondorian



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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 3:55 pm    Post subject:

Also more maps! I love me some cartography
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Olyn
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2018 2:07 pm    Post subject:

S01E01a: Snakes on a Plain

The unlikely party of unlikely heroes met at the unlikely location of the Boar's Head Tavern in Willowdale, seemingly by chance. As Wilzeeus entered the tavern, he "accidentally" kicked the dwarf passed out drunk on the floor and thus met Tyrgault. Meanwhile, Val'orian watched and listened silently from a shadowy corner of the room. At the mention of an elf named Dorian, he moved to join the conversation, which now included a hulking half-orc named Ra'kek, a small gnome named Wizzleteaks, and a strange old man named Kingsley.

Travelers were incredibly rare in Willowdale, and having five strangers (Tyrgault had lived there his entire life) arrive within three days' time was unheard of; the villagers were eager for the newcomers to be on their way. The small band of misfit adventurers had heard several rumours stemming from the village of Lundy, and decided to make the five-day trek to investigate. During the journey, the party discovered that the various rumours about Lundy that they heard seemed to have little in common. One rumour said that children were disappearing, while another claimed that Blood Swamp serpents have left their marshy home and attacked the village. Those seeking the elf Dorian heard he may be in Lundy, but kept their information to themselves.

On the third night of the journey, the party saw a curious blue light in the sky to the south. They decided to forgo sleep and investigate the mysterious light. The light was farther away than the party had guessed, and disappeared as dawn arrived. After sleeping through the day, they set out once more at dusk. The light was no longer visible, but a few hours' travel brought them to an old lighthouse on a large body of water. The place seemed long-abandoned, but three sets of recent footprints could be seen in the thick dust. At the top of the lighthouse, the party found a strange circle of large, flat hexagonal stones. There were ten of these stones, but looked as though two more stones were needed to complete the circle. The ground even had an imprint of the two missing stones. The party was unable to move or damage any of the ten stones, and decided that the blue light must have come from this lighthouse. Curiously, the footprints leading into the lighthouse and up the stairs seemed to end in this room; no footprints back down the stairs or out of the lighthouse could be seen. The party decided to leave the lighthouse and resume their journey to Lundy.

Upon reaching Lundy, the party knew something was indeed wrong with the village. The people were kind - too kind, and spoke as if their words were somehow not their own. The villagers complied with every request of the party and answered every question, but would not allow them to enter the old temple at the edge of town. The villagers became afraid and changed the subject at mention of the temple. The party decided to stay the night at the local inn and investigate the temple in the morning.

The party set Kingsley on first watch for the night and went to sleep, save Val'orian, who quietly snuck into other rooms in the inn to look for clues. Kingsley, feel light-headed after accepting a cup of tea from the innkeeper, soon slumped over unconscious leaving the party vulnerable. A group of hooded figures overwhelmed the party while they slept and took them as prisoners into the inn's basement. Val'orian quietly followed the men and watched as his new friends were tied up in the basement. Most of the men left, leaving two behind as guards to await the prisoners' transfer in the morning. One of the men activated a secret door in the room, left, and returned two minutes later with a set of dice. Val'orian waited several hours until he found his chance to attack. He killed one of the men and was able to free his companions when the other ran up the stairs and called for help. Val'orian opened the secret door and led the party inside.

Convinced there would be another way out through these tunnels, Val'orian and Wizzleteaks attacked with fire when more men poured into the basement from above. "Let's burn the place down around the bastards!" said Val'orian as they began directing their spells at the wooden structure instead of their foes. As the building burned, their enemies fled or died until the party realized the wooden stairs were destroyed and the flames were too strong to escape the way they came down. A short trip into the tunnels revealed only two small store rooms and no other means of escape. Left with no choice, they tried to wait out the fire in an underground store room. Breathing the smoke took its toll, and only the hardy dwarf remained conscious. Tyrgault was able to use his mysterious healing abilities on his friends, and they crawled out of the destroyed building to see that the blaze spread to other buildings as well. With the villagers distracted with the blaze, the party tried to escape the village and regroup but were soon intercepted by an elf in a green cloak. The elf introduced himself as Dorian and insisted they come with him to the mayor's house or they will die.
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