Objectives and House Rules
Objectives of this Campaign
This campaign aims to string together various classic AD&D and D&D modules into a single narrative, all updated with 4e rules, but hopefully retaining some of the classic D&D flavour. It is hoped that this will provide players with some of the experience that came with playing those classic adventures and allow their 4e characters to encounter pivotal D&D icons like Strahd, Ashardalon, Tharizdun and his followers; explore such famous locales as the Caves of Chaos, Hommlett, the Tomb of Horrors and the Barrier Peaks; and battle the machinations of the Drow, foil the plots of the Slave Lords and come to the rescue of Bloodstone Pass. All of this will be contextualised within the overarching metaplot of the struggle against the Shadow.
The plan is to create a gigantic ‘sandbox’ which has all these areas and their respective encounters ready for the characters to interact with. The concept of level-appropriate encounters is being thrown out the window and threats faced by the characters will be determined by which areas the characters decide to explore. If 1st-level characters feel that they are up to the task of venturing into a spooky castle where a vampire is said to dwell, that’s the risk they undertake. Hopefully, they start to get the idea after the first few character fatalities.
- Character races are to be restricted to the following:
- Dragonborn (either PHB or Essentials)
- Drow (Essentials)
- Dwarf (either PHB or Essentials)
- Eladrin (either PHB or Essentials)
- Elf (either PHB or Essentials)
- Gnome (PHB2)
- Halfling (either PHB or Essentials)
- Half-Elf (either PHB or Essentials)
- Half-Orc (either PHB2 or Essentials)
- Human (either PHB or Essentials)
- Tiefling (either PHB or Essentials)
- Any other races requested to be DM-approved on a case-by-case assessment
- Character classes are to be restricted to the following:
- Assassin (Essentials)
- Avenger (PHB2, Divine)
- Barbarian (PHB2, Primal)
- Bard (PHB2, Arcane)
- Cleric (PHB, Divine, Essentials)
- Druid (PHB2, Primal, Essentials)
- Fighter (PHB, Martial 1, Martial 2, Essentials)
- Invoker (PHB2, Divine)
- Paladin (PHB, Divine, Essentials)
- Ranger (PHB, Martial 1, Martial 2, Essentials)
- Rogue (PHB, Martial 1, Martial 2, Essentials)
- Runepriest (PHB3, Divine)
- Seeker (PHB3, Divine)
- Shaman (PHB2, Primal)
- Sorcerer (PHB2, Arcane)
- Swordmage (FRPG, Arcane)
- Warden (PHB2, Primal)
- Warlock (PHB, Arcane, Essentials)
- Warlord (PHB, Martial 1, Martial 2)
- Wizard (PHB, Arcane, Essentials)
- Where appropriate, options from the relevant Power sourcebooks are applicable – Martial Power, Martial Power 2, Arcane Power, Primal Power and Divine Power. Subsequent sourcebooks such as Shadow Power will be reviewed and DM-approved for play on a case-by-case basis.
- Non-Human characters may take the feat ‘Exceptional’ at the point of character creation (i.e. Level 1). This entitles the character to disregard the usual stat bonuses applicable for their race and instead assign a +2 bonus to any one stat and a +1 bonus to another stat. The purpose of this feat is to enable players greater flexibility in choosing the class/race combination of their choice without too much of a setback in terms of stats and to minimise shoehorning certain races into certain class combinations to get better efficiency.
- Psionic characters will not be allowed in this campaign as it does not suit the flavour. This does not mean that Psionic creatures will not be encountered, however…
- All items from the Adventurer’s Vault and Adventurer’s Vault 2 are allowed. However, as Magic Items are outlawed in Deryn under the edict of the Shadow, using them is a risky proposition. To counteract the potential asymmetry against Encounter Levels, the optional rules of ability enhancements from the DMG2 will be employed.
- Rules from the D&D Essentials ruleset, incorporating any errata shall apply. Additionally, where any rules appear in an Essentials version (e.g. the rules for Magic Missile or the Melee Training feat), they shall be acknowledged as an update and supersede the previous 4e version.
- Experience points will be tracked by the DM and players will be informed where appropriate when their characters have increased in level.
- Shadow Marks. Every use of Magic (whether Arcane, Divine, Primal or from any power source that is not physical), use of Magic Items (i.e. triggering any ability of a Magic Item in where the benefits are enjoyed by the character) and all Daily Powers (regardless of power source) results in the character receiving one or more Shadow Marks, depending on the level of the Magic, Magic Item or Power used. Multiple Shadow Marks increase the likelihood of the character attracting the attention of the Shadow and its minions. These Marks are tracked by player and DM alike, but each player MUST keep their total Marks secret from other players. Among other things, Shadow Marks will modify rolls like Perception checks made by Magehounds and attack bonuses from certain creatures, as well as reduce the character’s Defences against certain types of attacks made by the minions of the Shadow. The objective here is to ensure a lower profile in order to escape detection by the agents of the Shadow. Characters can LOSE Shadow Marks by refraining from taking any actions that would result in the accumulation of a Mark for at least 3 days. In the event of any dispute, the DM’s decision on the final quantity of Shadow Marks is final and conclusive. In roleplaying terms, this represents the corrupting influence of the Shadow on the powerful and the fact that Magic in Deryn has been tainted to some degree by the presence of the Shadow.
- Character Backgrounds and Themes. The optional rules from the PHB2 for character backgrounds and the concept of Themes from the Dark Sun Campaign Setting have been refined and contextualised for the Deryn campaign. Each player is permitted to choose ONE background option from the Deryn Background list and apply the benefit to their character. Each character is also permitted ONE theme from the Deryn Theme list. These should represent somewhat the origins of the character and how their backgrounds have had a discernible impact on their development as adventurers. Note also that the Complications that accompany each Background and the Theme will apply if they are chosen. Players are free to develop new backgrounds and themes beyond what is stated in the lists subject to DM approval. The idea here is not to try and get some kind of mechanical benefit for the character, but to also create built-in hooks with roleplaying opportunities.