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D&D 3E
World crafting 
31st-Jul-2007 05:11 pm
chalice UU
So I'm putting together a campaign setting as such:

The party is shunted to an alternate Prime Material Plane existence. This alternate reality has the same physical layout, more or less. Many of the cities are located in the same places, as are some of the major transport routes, but some cities don't exist and some new ones do, etc. This plane is a little closer to the Negative Energy Plane than the "real" plane is. As such, there are some differences in how things work for everyone except the party. (Since the party is from another plane, they acquire the Outsider type and, as such, are not affected by the change to the world.)

Positive spells are at a slight disadvantage, negative spells are at a slight advantage. For instance, cure spells are d6's instead of d8's, while inflict spells are d10's. Raise dead and such spells are more difficult to accomplish.

Undead are more prevalent and all have an additional +1 to turn resistance. "Vampire" is now a class with levels, so the lowliest vampire (level 1) is less powerful than the normal vampires; this is because on "our" realm, a vampire has to be stronger in order to even be created and in this realm, they can start weaker and grow more powerful.

Many of the typical monsters (orcs, gnolls, goblinoids, kobolds) either don't exist or are otherwise touched with negative energy (haven't worked out the template just yet). Many are replaced by other creatures that have an affinity to negative energy.

Any thoughts or comment? Something you'd expect to see in the game? Comments on how to keep the game balanced (as if 3.5 is balanced....)? Have you tried something like this before?
Comments 
31st-Jul-2007 10:18 pm (UTC)
The party shouldn't be outsiders, this makes them a lot tougher actually. Just give them the extraplanar subtype
31st-Jul-2007 10:29 pm (UTC)
Thanks. You're right. I spoke without looking up the difference. Extraplanar is what I meant, like Githyanki on our plane.
31st-Jul-2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
are you unitarian? i like your icon.
(Deleted comment)
31st-Jul-2007 11:07 pm (UTC)
he could be a methodist too. i think they use a similar symbol. what's your uu community? is it open or by invite?
(Deleted comment)
1st-Aug-2007 12:51 am (UTC)
Yup, I'm in both of those communities as well. I just don't post much.

My jihad name is Brother Molotov Cocktail of the Love of Smiley Faces.
1st-Aug-2007 03:03 am (UTC)
You wouldn't also happen to be molotov from the yot forum, would you?
1st-Aug-2007 03:36 am (UTC)
Yot? I guess not if I don't know what that is.
1st-Aug-2007 12:49 am (UTC)
Yes, yes I am.
31st-Jul-2007 11:12 pm (UTC)
exactly, Outsider weasels them past all the --- Person spells
31st-Jul-2007 10:42 pm (UTC)
the fact that enemy negative spells would be more powerful doesn't seem like it would stack evenly against the spell immunities that gaining the outsider template would grant. maybe that's just me. it's a neat idea. would the players be considered blessed or the equivalent of aasimars? its a neat idea.
1st-Aug-2007 12:47 am (UTC)
Sounds pretty awesome, actually. Do you have the Planar Handbook/Manual of the Planes? Minor negative aligned trait sounds appropriate, although from the sound of it, you've got it pretty settled.

Any idea on the look and feel for the world? Usually negative aligned places have that dark and broody ominous feel to them; shadows are longer, light seems dimmer, weather sucks, bright colors don't exist, that kind of thing. Landscapes would be pretty much universally forbidding, particularly wastelands of any sort. But think about the psychological impact on people in it. I would think that the reaction would be sort of a one way or the other type of thing. Most people would be tired, jaded, listless, or just generally drained and stressed out, but people who cling to hope and light would be all the more bright and hopeful. I dunno. I'm thinking out of my ass, so feel free to disregard.

Just a thought, but could undead rest to gain back hp like players do? That would be weird as all hell. Also, with the way magic would evolve in such a world, what about liches? Lichdom becomes less a convenient way around death and more a way of tapping into the magical energies of the world. Undead cities? A necromancer religion? What about spontaneous undeath? That would be cool. Sometimes bodies just get up and walk away.

It would be a really cool opportunity to show the PCs the way things might have gone by confronting them with this world's version of them. The best villains are those who the PCs could have become themselves, but for choice and circumstance. Maybe the paladin's alternate in this world is a death knight, or the wizard is a necromancer with horrible undead grafts. Creepy.

How would people in this world view undeath? Would standard medical procedure involve grafting or use of undead flesh? How is magic effected? Do you have the 3e conversion of the Ravenloft setting (not the Castle Ravenloft one WotC just put out, but the one S&S did)? Ravenloft is such an evil place, golems and familiars and things all have a taint of evil on them, becoming dark mirrors of their creators' (or masters') desires and goals. Think Frankenstein, or Pet Cemetery. Creeeepy.

Sorry for the babbling, but you asked for suggestions. I tend to babble a lot. Good luck, though. This sounds really cool.
1st-Aug-2007 01:23 am (UTC)
The Planar Handbook is on my list of things to pick up before I start the campaign.

I got the idea first because the folks I play with mostly play in Forgotten Realms/Faerun. But they know the world much better than I do, so I wanted to turn the world upside down a bit by making the world be familiar but different.

Your view is a little farther than I wanted to go. A little grey, but not too dark. The players would stand out and shine in your description of the world. I don't want that. I want them to fit in and feel comfortable, even thought they know they don't fit in, that they have a mission....

What they don't know is what the big bad is, although they'll quickly figure that it'll have something to do with the undead. I'm toying with the notion that this realm's connection to the gods is also a bit skewed, but I haven't pieced it all together yet... but I have a vampire monster class, like I said, so one option is to have a Dread Necromancer/Vampire/Master Vampire gaining some real life back in an attempt to become a god of undying. Perhaps something similar with a lich, although that's a bit played out.

Hrm... undead resting to heal up.... perhaps. It's a good idea, and I'll probably use it, although I don't think it's very needed... most intelligent undead already are smart enough to try to flee a losing battle and heal up through magic or feeding or regeneration. But it's a good tool to add to the mix.

There will certainly be some necromantic religion going on. Can't avoid it, so perhaps the big bad is trying to join the pantheon of undead gods, or is trying to usurp their power.

Another piece to the puzzle is that the players are shunted to this other realm by someone who gives them the task to stop whatever it is that's going on. So it's got to be something that would come to attention of someone like Elminster. He's my prime pick right now to do the shunting. So perhaps the big bad becoming a god would somehow threaten the actual Prime Material Plane, or some such.

Oooh... I hadn't thought of the evil twin scenario. I'll have to pencil it in.... it's a good option as a recurring enemy as well....

Undeath would still be generally looked upon as evil by the majority of the populace, but there'd be more success with undead experiments... they'd just go awry in a stronger mode than in "our" realm.

Babbling's good.... it gives me an opportunity to babble back. :)
1st-Aug-2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Dude, this just hit me, but tell me what you think. Evil twins? Eliminster? Evil twin Eliminster? The real one is already pretty epic, and an evil one could potentially tear the fabric of reality apart.

Glad you don't mind. I feel like an ass talking as much as I do sometimes.
1st-Aug-2007 03:37 am (UTC)
Ouch! Um.... yeah, that would be quite a battle. to watch. From afar. Like a different dimension. ;)
1st-Aug-2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Sounds like a fun campaign idea. Sounds a little like Ravenloft.

In the changes you describe, assuming they affect everyone the same way, that should automatically keep it balanced, although evil Clerics would be just a little tougher than Good clerics because of the Cure nerfing versus the Inflict buffing. You may want to increase CR on some undead, especially if you do more than just give them +1 Turn Resistance.

Also, I wonder if it would be appropriate for evil Clerics to have an easier time Rebuking and Commanding undead because of the added Negative Energy or if the Turn Resistance would still apply as normal. If so, that would also make evil Clerics a little tougher than Good Clerics.

Those are my thoughts. Sounds cool. I hope you keep us informed on how it goes.
1st-Aug-2007 01:31 am (UTC)
You're close. Evil clerics will definitely have an advantage over good clerics, although these nerfs would not apply to the cleric that comes over from "our" realm. but if they seek out healing from a local cleric, they won't get healed as much, or the potion they buy won't be as effective.

Yeah, i'm expecting most undead will end up being 1 or 2 CR higher than the listed values when I'm done tweaking things.
1st-Aug-2007 05:48 pm (UTC)
My last campaign (seems to have died, hope to pick it up again though) that I ran, the players discovered that their native plane actually WAS an alternate Material Plane, created by dragonkind so long ago that none remember the fact.

One of the major plot points of the game was that the new Plane (theirs) was becoming "too stable" and attempting to shunt out the Prime, something that would have held disaster for everybody. They, employed by an Outsider of some sort (he didn't speak much of himself and they couldn't figure out what he was), worked towards preventing this and actually managed to travel to the Prime on at least one occasion (which they found to be primitive).

My end plan, I will admit, would have been slightly game breaking with the changes I'd intended to make on everyone, Plane-wide; I wasn't much bothered by it, however, since the changes would have been made every way around.
2nd-Aug-2007 06:34 pm (UTC)
It seems to be that you can Implement a lot of what goes on in the shadow plane into this. Namely the lack of sun light. A good deal of undead (i.e. vampires) have a huge negative with sunlight. which might restrict plans you have in the campaign and at times give players a huge advantage over there undead adversaries.
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