Originally posted by Brianna Heine on the other (now defunct) version of this site.
So I’ve been discussing Robert E. Howard’s Hyborian Age and how it might be successfully translated into a d20 Campaign Setting. I want to switch things up this time. I’m going to do that occasionally because there is only so many times a gal can type the name Conan before she gets sick of seeing it.
I’ve decided to start running my first RPG in eight years. Actually it’s probably closer to ten. I’m sure some of you understand. You get older, you work overtime, or the kids keep you busy, or you get married, or you move away. All your friends have the same issues so getting together for game night unfortunately falls to the wayside. Ask my closest friends and they’ll tell you that I’ve been promising to run something for so long now that they probably think it’s not actually going to happen.
Well I’ve already set a date and invited some friends to play. No it’s not a Hyborian Age game. The rules aren’t ready for that yet but when they are I’m going to need my best friends to playtest because only the people closest to you will put up with rolling a new character every other session.
The game I’m planning will be a (somewhat) standard fantasy game. I say somewhat because a “typical” setting might look something like Lord of the Rings. There would be Humans, Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings. Characters will be trained as Fighters, Rogues, and Wizards. All in a backdrop of primordial forests, lavish elven communities, and grand castles! And there’s nothing wrong with that. It was my steady RPG diet through my entire youth and I still have fond memories of it.
As I got older I tried my hand at creating unique worlds all my own. However through all of the different campaigns I ran there was a recurring theme; I understood the world better than my players. They would constantly ask me questions about the countries and cities they were in or to remind them the name of the mountain range they were exploring and the creatures that would inhabit them. There’s nothing wrong with that. I was happy to help. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was my world and they just lived in it.
Hither came Dawn of Worlds.
John introduced me to this option years ago (when I still wasn’t playing) and I swore that if I ever ran a game again I’d use this to create the setting. I want my players and I to have an equal stake in the world but I have a few ideas on how to make this setting different from others.
The first thing I’ve done is search through every Pathfinder resource I could get my hands on. I made a list of every race that can be used for character creation. Some of them had some racial abilities that I don’t think should be in the hands of players i.e. flight. When the players begin to populate the world only the races on said list that were “created” during play will be available for character creation. That’s not to say that the players can’t drop Dragons and Giants on to the map. What I mean is that if no god (player) “creates” the Gnomes then Gnome is not an available race for Characters to play. Gnomes might exist in the world but they did not become a major influence. Heck, Gnomes could wind up being a major threat in the world… or not. Let’s not do that. It’s weird. In this way we will create a racial list (hopefully) different from the Player’s Handbook.
I’d like to avoid the race builder rules as much as possible. I think it’s too cumbersome as there are far too many options available even if you limit the rules to “Standard” races. I might be willing to allow some customization i.e. if dwarves wind up being swamp-dwellers then stonecunning just doesn’t make sense. Another possibility I’d be willing to entertain is if someone wanted a race that doesn’t have an option. Fey and Construct come to mind though there might be more. In those rare cases (and with my approval only) will I allow the race builder rules. Also if there are not at least 6 races I will personally add races (all my choice) until we have 6.
The second thing I’m doing is limiting and adjusting the class options. I chose Cleric, Fighter, Thief, and Wizard as “core” classes. In my opinion it isn’t D&D without those old standards. I then compiled a list of the other Pathfinder classes available sans Gunslinger (I just don’t like it). Each player (myself included) will choose 1 other class to add to the list and those classes (plus the core classes) will be the only available classes in the world.
By doing those 2 things the world will have 6 or more playable races and 10 classes to choose from. Pretty much just like a standard game but I can imagine some weird possibilities like Wayang Samurai and Grippli Alchemists.
I’m really excited by the possibilities and I can’t wait to start. I’ll post the game sessions after they happen including the world creation.
I’ll be back to blogging about our favorite barbarian next time.