The Crusade: Venture Into the Dark (Planning Thread for One-shot DnD adventure)

Discussion in 'The Tavern (RP Discussion)' started by Blue_Jay, Jan 6, 2017.

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  1. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Greetings, everyone. As I have discussed in a previous thread I am planning on running a short, one-shot, furry-themed Dungeons and Dragons adventure. The purpose of this thread is to open up a discussion among those who have expressed an interest in this and hopefully establish a time where everyone will be available to play, and to plan out a method by which to conduct the game.

    Players, the current plan is for me to take at least a week (starting now) to plan out the adventure and help you all create your characters or become acquainted with the tools we will be using. As I can make myself available on the weekends, the current plan is to run the game two weeks from now, although that can change. I may try to move the time up if I manage to get done with my plans and everyone's characters sooner than expected. I may move the time back if most of us have time conflicts. For the most part it depends on our individual schedules and how long it takes to build your characters (the latter shouldn't take too long, though). So everyone, it would help immensely if you would post the times you will be available, even tentatively. That will help everyone to coordinate.

    Also, keep in mind each others timezones. My timezone is Eastern Standard Time. If you are able to, please posts the times you will be available in the EST format, or specify which timezone that you belong to so that I can relate it to my time.

    For the time being we will be using my game page on roll20. My username there is Red Howl. I am also considering a few alternatives such as Discord or Slack. To be honest, while I appreciate the tools that roll20 offers, the tool that they use specifically for chatting is frankly daunting and constricting, and since I am mostly about text-based gaming I'd honestly would rather use a vanilla chat application. If anyone has any suggestions or opinions in that regard, please feel free to share. Also, please let me know if you are not familiar with roll20, if you do not have an account (signing up is free and easy), or if you are not comfortable with using roll20.

    Regarding character creation, I will post a synopsis of the adventure below as well as on the game page on roll20. It's rather long-winded but bare with me. Only a small portion of that synopsis is relevant to what you guys will be doing in-game, but I love storytelling and if possible I would like for you guys to become familiar with the background story and immerse your characters in it as much as possible. As a word of warning: The adventures that I run tend to lean towards heavy storytelling and character development, not combat or anything regarding heavy game mechanics.

    Also, I had assumed that most or all of you are experienced with chat-based or real-time roleplaying sessions. But in case you are not then I'll let you know that expect for my players to try to use paragraph format whenever they post. What this means is that I do not want anyone spamming lines of text. When your character does or says something that would comprise multiple sentences, try to organize it into one (cohesive) text, post it, and then give others time to respond before posting something else. This also typically means that you would have to distinguish speech by using quotations (" "), but if you are not comfortable with doing this then you may separate actions and speech into two separate posts so long as it is clear which is which. If you have questions regarding this or if this explanation is confusing then please let me know so that I can clarify.

    Again, thank you all for expressing an interest in this, and I hope that we can launch this game and have a good time!
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
    Sarachaga likes this.
  2. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    The Crusade: Venture Into the Dark

    Synopsis: (with minimal proofreading)
    The Kingdom of Falor (because the random name generator couldn’t give me something better-sounding than this) is entering into its sixth century of the Age of Darus, so named after the immortal God-King Darus. Under Darus’ benevolent (some would say tyrannical) rule the realm has prospered, having repelled numerous threats from foreign nations and quelled all manner of plagues that would ravage the land. But every hundred years the court must embroil the realm in a crucial (some would say heinous) ritual for the sake of preserving their God-King’s divine reign. It involves the sacrifice of thousands of souls, the kingdom's very own citizens.

    But rather than choose arbitrarily, the God-King deploys his most faithful servants, the Order of the Orthodox, to scour the dozens of provinces and choose on his behalf the one that shall be put to the purging fires. The Orthodox are said to be a pious lot, but many among them are also greedy. Having grown fat on high society and the favors liberally doled out by their liege, many of the Orthodox priests and officials are content to abuse their station and ply the common people into offering all manner of courtesies. Many of the downtrodden provinces have no choice but to indulge them, for they must secure the Orthodox’ favor if they hope to sway God-King into sparing their lives. All the while the Orthodox Army prepares to mobilize and secure the roads and borders between provinces. The time of the centurial mass slaughter draws near.

    But our story takes place in a small, poor province of Halgrove, located along the kingdom’s eastern frontier. It is here that we would find the base of the Order of the Crusades, or the Crusaders for short. The Crusaders are old adventurer’s guild that was re-founded a few years ago for the express purpose of working closely with the Orthodox and carry out quests on the crown’s behalf. However, its true purpose is to attempt to garner as much favor from the Orthodox as possible in preparation for the coming purge, so that Halgrove might be passed over once again.

    Also located in Halgrove is the small town of Bryford (again, sucky random name generator). Rumors have started to spread around the town that a small contingent of Orthodox soldiers is headed their way, and a panic has ensued. Many believe that it is the work of the mad God-King, having finally decided on which of its citizens to slaughter. But the grandmaster of the Crusades has on good authority that the soldiers actually intend to investigate the caverns on the outskirts of the town that leads to its aqueducts, most likely in response to reports of undead sightings. While it does not appear that the town is under immediate threat, neither from zealots nor from undead, the grandmaster nonetheless sees this as an opportunity to get on the Orthodox’ good side for once. So he dispatches a guild member to the town to muster up a small group of brave individuals to investigate those caverns and clear out the undead before the Orthodox arrives. But what dreadful secrets do these caverns hold…

    Lore: (I intend to make a list of common terms or expressions as they occur to me)
    • The Celestial War – Not much is known (or rather, remembered) regarding the war from 600 years ago. No one can even recall how long the war lasted. As far as many are concerned, it is the beginning of modern history, as much of the world’s history had been lost during the chaos. It is said that it was a war between the hosts of Light and Darkness. The conflict has spilled over into the mortal realm and had utterly devastated the world. All would have been lost if it was not for Darus, the God of Desire, who sacrificed his divinity in order to banish the hosts from the mortal realm. Ever since that time he has resided on the throne, immortal and indomitable. But the age takes its toll on him, and he must in turn exact a momentous toll in order to maintain the world’s balance.
    • The Crusades - Legends tell of a group of divine champions who carried out the will of their gods and vanquished evil from the world. They have established the Divine Order of the Crusades and raised an army to war with the forces of Darkness. No one knows what had become of these brave warriors, however, and nearly all record of them has been lost in the previous age. The only relic that remains seems to be an ancient and weathered castle located in Halgrove, which is now the site of an infamous adventure's guild.
    • The Druids - Spiritualists and healers, said to be more connected with the world than any creature that has crawled or walked upon land in ages past. The source of their power is a mystery, although legends tell of a potent elixir that grants a person spiritual powers, heightened senses, and eternal youth.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  3. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    (because apparently I cannot post more than ten thousand characters at a time...)

    The Races:
    (Later on I will post the racial traits for most of these. I'm still trying to strike a fine balance between them. Also, you may use human, dwarven, and elvish traits for the manling race)
    • Rabbits: One of the smaller, but definitely the most industrious race in the realm. They are natives to the realm’s bordering provinces along the south and southeast, having once belonged to the Sangleon Dominion before its annexation to Falor a couple of centuries ago. They teach their young craftsmanship at a young age, and have made complete mastery of a craft a sort of rite of passage. They speak Sanglish (Old Common) and Kings Tongue (New Common).
    • Hounds: These plainsmen have coexisted with the various races of the world since the dawn of the new age, although none are quite sure where they originate. They can be found all over the realm, from cities to frontiers. They do not seem to possess a culture that is unique to them, however. They speak the Kings Tongue (New Common) and one other language.
    • Cats: Also referred to as Tigermen by some (a misleading term), or the Shinning Race by the more nationalistic of their members. Over the centuries these proud people have flourished in their affluent niches in both history and society. Most of the natives of Kingsland are cats, and many of them take offense when addressed in any language other than the King’s Tongue. But many of them have also settled in the outer provinces, closer to the forests where they would hone their natural predatory talents. They vary widely in size and stature. They speak King’s Tongue (New Common) and one other language.
    • Ratfolk: They are widely regarded as a despicable race of cutpurses and liars. Much of this sentiment is due to prejudice, as the rats have originated from lands across the seas and are known for their rich history as the most notorious pirates. Some of this is based on truth as well. The Ratfolk do not have an established nation in Falor, so they congregate in the bowels of bustling cities, or swamps, or whatever places that most civilized folk would not dare tread. They tend to speak their own language that borrows heavily from the natives (Radish, as it has come to be called), and one other language.
    • Bears: These are a highly spiritual society of woodsmen and shaman, and oftentimes the least aggressive of all the races. They are nomadic, and often keep to themselves at their reclusive camps in the frozen north and the hidden grottoes on the frontiers, preferring to not get involved with the matters of the Kingdom if it can be helped. And they are often left alone; usually out of respect for their colossal size than out of reverence to their neutrality. These creatures are extremely long-lived, some having been around for the crowning ceremony of the God-King centuries ago. However, it is very often the case that when they are seen, they are either sleeping or sluggishly drunk. Most are smart enough to not wake a sleeping bear. They tend to speak Faery and Sanlish (Old Common).
    • Boarfolk: Also referred to as Hogs, Orcs, and Pigs. They are a race of barbarians and raiders, having plagued the outskirts of the kingdom for centuries. When they are not warring amongst themselves they make literal sport out of pillaging the more vulnerable towns. Not much is known about their heritage, even among the sagely of the boarfolk. Some speculate that they were the original inhabitants of the continent, reasoning that it is why the land seems to favor them so. Some would go as far as to suggest that they are descendant from the demonic race of the Cloven, given that they have cloven feet. The boarfolk tend to speak Savage and one other language.
    • Manling: A curious, enigmatic race of humanoids. They are sparsely furred but are clearly mammals, and they can speak and behave as civilized folk do; although their native tongue amounts to gibberish. Their appearances would vary; some are short and stocky, others are tall and lean. Few have pointed ears, or long fuzzy tails, or tusks, or even a combination of these things. But no historian can quite place their history or origins. Though they are exceedingly rare, they can be found in urban areas. They speak Manling and one other language.
    • The Umbral: A mystical race of cats who are quite similar to their feline counterparts in Kingsland, the difference being that they tend to be smaller, their ears more pointed, and their tails “fork” at their tips. They tend to be natural practitioners of sorcery, leading many of the superstitious to label them as heretics and witches. They originate from the forests to the south, although they belong to no nation. Curiously enough, while they can only read, and write in one language, they can comprehend any creature that speaks to them and then speak back at in the same tongue as though they are proficient.
    • Whitefang: A clan of vile and murderous bandits that have taken control of most of the northern wastelands. They are mostly white-furred wolves, but in keeping with the motif those who are not would clad themselves in white blankets or furs. While they are savages, they are highly social creatures and are fiercely loyal to one another. For some strange reason they also tend to be friendly towards bears (there are rumors of white-furred, red-eyed bears that number among their most fierce warriors, but there are none who are alive that can confirm such accounts).
    • The Heralds and the Cloven: Relics of a past age, not so much a race of people as they are a plague upon mortal-kind. Ever since the hosts of light and darkness have been banished from the mortal realm centuries ago, the few that have lingered behind had been cut off from the source of their divine/demonic powers. Now only partially immortal, they must consume the souls of the living or otherwise corrupt the souls and bodies of sentient mortals. For centuries they have worked tirelessly to punish or harass the people, and hope to someday free their respective hosts from their expulsion and tip the scales of history in their favor. Also, they tend to have a really deep-seated hatred towards God-King Darus. Heralds and Cloven speak Celestial and Abyssal respectively. They also speak one other language.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  4. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Languages: Sanglish, Kings Tongue, Radish, Faery, Savage, Manling, Draconic, Celestial, Abyssal.

    Factions: The world of Falor is divided into several factions. Your character does not have to belong to any of these factions, but being part of any of them carries both benefits and risks for that character.
    • The Crusaders - A raucous guild of adventurers who are known for their... interesting occupation, which often involves perilous encounters with the realm's most dangerous monsters and organizations. Some condemn them as mercenaries, others laud them as folk heroes. History will remember them as hapless interlopers. But a very few will see them in their true form: Champions of an Age.
    • The Orthodox – Typically those of noble lineage or otherwise those who belong to organizations that exalt the One True God. Having gained the crown's favor, they proudly adorn themselves with the royal crest (a form of jewelry or a coat of arms), which can be used to exert authority over commoners and officials alike. All knights of the realm are considered to be Orthodox, whether or not they truly serve the God-King.
    • The Outlaws – There are those who were born into poverty, but are not satisfied with a meager existence under the rule of the mighty. And there are those who were born into high society who are not content with being handed their prestige. These individuals who would willingly displace themselves from their natural strata in society, who would go against the natural order are the seeds of anarchy, and are thus labeled branded as Outlaws. While they are not all criminals, they are typically treated as such.
    • The Heretics – Those who pursue the mystic arts or otherwise champion the false deities are considered to be mortal enemies of the realm and are branded as heretics. These individuals typically carry out their occult practices in secret or whenever they can get away with it. There are some towns or organizations do not mind their presence, however, and even value them for their extraordinary abilities.

    The Gods: If you want to play a religious character, here are a few deities you may consider. At the end of each description I post the preferred domain. If you would like for your cleric to belong to a particular domain but not serve a specific deity, they do not have to. You may choose any combination of domains and deities you'd like. Hell, you may make up your own deity if you'd like to! The following are just a few ideas:
    • Valos, God of Valor – An imperious eagle-man with a plumage of blades and a steely gaze that could literally pierce the cosmos. It is said that his bravery and honor is unparalleled, that he has never turned down a challenger, and that he has never lost a fight. He leads the Host of Light, and urges his acolytes to seek naught but glory and honor whenever and wherever possible. He is the patron deity of warriors and athletes. His preferred domains are Light and War.
    • Wizen, God of Wizdom – A brooding and enigmatic goat-man with horns that never quite retain the same shape every time you glance at them. He yearns to learn everything there is to know about the cosmos. It is said that his hunger for knowledge is so great that it has made a void of his soul, as no matter what he does, no matter what atrocities committed, he is never quite finished until every single question, even the tiniest scrap of curiosity, is resolved to his satisfaction. Legends tell of how he would torment mortal souls for ages in order to realize the full spectrum of their emotions. He leads the Host of Darkness. He is the patron deity of mages and academics. His preferred domains are Death and Knowledge.
    • Darus, God of Desire – A striking, regal lynx-man who is always swathed in finery and jewels. He constantly surrounds himself with luxury, wealth, servants, and subjects. Some say that such extravagance is the source of his power, that he could charm an emperor into handing over his empire simply because his presence manifests the sheer weight of kingdoms worth of riches. But there are some whispers that his words are double-edged, that in a times long past he has engineered untold catastrophes simply by uttering a few select words to specific individuals. He is currently the King of Falor and one day he will be the king of the entire world. His followers vary broadly, from devout priests to cutpurses. His preferred domains are Tempest and Trickery.
    • The Spirit of Nature – Those who do not follow a particular denomination to fuel their worship or divine magic often tend to draw from the spirits of nature, which are sometimes uniformly referred as “The Spirit”. Some chose to personify it, using terms such as Gaia, or Mother. Practitioners typically vary widely, from priests to commoners. The domains of this denomination tend to be Life and Nature.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2017
  5. Sarachaga

    Sarachaga Well-Known Member

    I've read everything. I'm now a fervent follower of Darus!
    Also, I joined the game page!
     
  6. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Almost forgot! Here is a character sheet that you may use for your characters. If you'd like to create your characters on your own, you may use this form and save changes to it. You may also use the form available on the roll20 site: just ask me to give you a character sheet. Once finished, please link me to your sheet so that I can review it. We are starting at level 3 (for now, this may change). If you need any help creating characters or if you have any questions, please contact me and let me know.
     
  7. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    I've posted some guidelines regarding character creation if you want to get started on that. Please let me know if you have any questions. They can be found on the game page as well.

    Determine Ability Scores:
    These can be determined using several methods. Remember, choose these scores before applying racial bonuses.
    • Apply the standard array of 15, 14, 13, 12, 10, and 8 across the abilities. I would prefer for those who are new to DnD to use this method.
    • Use the standard point-buy system that is covered on page 13 of the PHB. Players have 27 points. If you do not own the PHB, please let me know and we will work it out together. Also refer to the basic rules (a free reference) for details.
    • Players may also roll for their ability scores. For each score, roll four six-diced die, drop the lowest die, and sum up the remaining three. After all ability scores have been determined, you may choose one of the scores (preferably the lowest) and attempt to re-roll it, but you must accept the new roll. Players can roll for their ability scores in the game room, or they may ask me to roll for them. If you decide to use this method then you cannot change your mind later on. Players who are new to DnD are highly encouraged to choose a different method to determine their ability scores.
    Choose a Race: Later on, I will make available all of the custom races that I am building. But for reference, here's a list of concepts:
    • Manlings can use the Human, varient Human, Dwarf, Half-Elf, or Elf racial features.
    • Boars are closely based on half-orcs.
    • Bears are somewhat based on gnomes.
    • Cats (both subraces) are somewhat based on elves.
    • Rabbits are nearly identical to halflings/hobbits.
    • Rats are somewhat based on goblins.
    • Not sure where I pulled canines from. But the whitefang subrace is a lot more aggressive, and the domestic subrace is very charismatic.
    • If you want to play a race based on celestials or demons, contact me.
    • Still trying to come up with a non-magical reptilian race.
    • Do badgers make for decent dwarves?
    Choose a Class: All classes in the PHB are available. If you do not own the PHB, contact me and we will work something out. No homebrew classes are allowed. You could talk me into incorporating something from Unearthed Arcana if you have the reference material. Also, everyone starts the game with 300 gp to spend on equipment (for now, this may change). This is in addition to the gear granted by your class and background. Everyone starts at level 3 (again, this may change). Also, if you plan to play a druid then contact me.

    Choose a Background: All backgrounds are valid backgrounds. I will also allow you to customize a background if you'd like, so long as you follow the guidance outlined in the PHB. Again, let me know if you do not own a PHB.

    Submit Character Form: If you need a roll20 character sheet then let me know and I'll give you one. I'll also provide a pdf here which you can save on your hard drive. Just be sure to link me to it once you are done. Let me know if you'd like for me to build you a character sheet for you, or if you need help.

    A few house rules:
    • We are using the variant encumbrance rules (PHB p176). If you are new to DnD or do not own a PHB, then disregard this.
    • Characters do not automatically fully regenerate after a long rest. They may apply hit dice to recover HP as normal, though.
     
  8. lyar

    lyar Its not the human race, its just the human race

    I believe I need a roll20 character sheet...I think. I'm not too sure how this character sheet thing works.
     
  9. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    I've created a character sheet for you. You can view and edit it by joining the chat room on roll20 and opening your journal. Let me know if you need any help. I do not mind taking the time to walk you through character creation. If you'd like to chat in real time, let me know when you'll be available.
     
  10. lyar

    lyar Its not the human race, its just the human race

    Understood. I'll tell you if anything goes wrong or if I need help
     
  11. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    So far we have Sarachaga playing a ratfolk rogue.
     
  12. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Characters so far:
    • Lyar - ratfolk monk
    • Sarachaga - ratfolk rogue
    Also, guys, let me know what times you plan on being available, both for next weekend and the weekend after that. Thanks!
     
  13. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Hey guys. Thought I should reiterate something I mentioned regarding the purpose of this thread.

    In order to get this thing going one of the first things we need to do is determine a time that we will be available to play. I appreciate that several of you have worked with me to get your characters created, but as of now no one has come forward with so much as a tentative date or time. I'd like to get this discussion going as soon as possible so that I can start making plans and get everyone on the same page as to when the game will actually occur. So again, I'd like to open that up for discussion. Please, let everyone know what times that you think you will be available to game in the coming weeks. I plan to run a maximum of two sessions, with each session taking up to five hours in real time. Let us know if there are specific days where you cannot play, or specific times during the day where you'd be unavailable. Especially let us know if there is one specific time (and only that one time) that you will be available. Also, specify your time zone, or convert your time to EST.

    Also keep in mind that this game does not need to happen soon. If our schedules do not align then we can plan to do this a couple weeks from now, or even a month from now. We have plenty of time. The goal here is to try to come up with a specific time that will accommodate the maximum amount of players. As for me, I'm going to try to open up my schedule for the next two weekends including Fridays. I can also run a game on weekday evenings if it is absolutely necessary. But I need to know well in advance so that I can clear my schedule.

    Thank you, guys. Look forward to gaming with you!

    --Red/Blue
     
  14. lyar

    lyar Its not the human race, its just the human race

    I look foward to gaming with you as well. I'm usually free on fridays and the weekend, every other day I have class until the begining of next month.
     
  15. Jarren

    Jarren You can't just quote yourself! -Me

    Just about every night, with the exception of Sundays, after 5pm eastern works for me. Some nights I may have to spend about 20 minutes doing a bit of work related stuff at around 10pm, but otherwise my evenings are open. Also, if nobody else plans on taking the role, I'd be interested in being the primary mage/caster for the party.
     
  16. Sarachaga

    Sarachaga Well-Known Member

    For the time, I can manage to join if you start at 7pm EST(maybe even a bit earlier). For the day, as I've mentioned before, I'm on holidays rn, so whichever works best for everyone.
     
  17. Blue_Jay

    Blue_Jay Member

    Thanks, guys. Sorry for having some of you repeat yourselves. Here's what I have so far:
    • Lyar is good for weekends, and Fridays up until February.
    • Jarren is available every night except for Sunday.
    • Sarachga is available after 7pm EST.
    So far it sounds like we are good for most of the weekends. So let us set a tentative date for Friday 8pm EST, 20 January (two weeks from now). I can probably move it up if I can get around to finishing the dungeon layout and racial traits. What do you think?
     
    Sarachaga likes this.
  18. Sarachaga

    Sarachaga Well-Known Member

    Sounds good for me!
     
  19. lyar

    lyar Its not the human race, its just the human race

    Sounds fine to me
     
  20. Jarren

    Jarren You can't just quote yourself! -Me

    Sounds good to me.
     

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