Across Shattered Planes (D&D 5e) [Worldbuilding, Chargen, and OOC talk]

Discussion in 'It's Galley's Turn' started by Helen of Boy, May 26, 2017.

  1. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Talked about this some in the D&D Thread, now shifting it over here to actually get ready to start the game.

    The basic premise is this: rather than the standard cosmology, you have hundreds and thousands of smaller planes, ranging from the size of a county to the size of a nation. These planes each differ in some way, but are connected to one another by various natural means, making travel between them easier than it is in regular D&D (at least, for those directly adjacent).

    On top of this, or perhaps because of it, the usual D&D setup of civilization isn't really what's going on. Rather, we've got more sects, clans, city-states, and so on (and their allies) keeping the peace, banding together with those most overtly like them in successive quasi-feudal chains of survival. It's a bit more of a Death World than regular D&D gets presented as (unless a powerful group is around to suppress the natural monsters that might develop) and maybe a bit more High Magic than standard as well. On top of all this, there's plenty of internal jostling for position even between groups that are technically allies, and those alliances might not last for much longer anyhow.

    What are these groups? Well, the four major realms are condensed around a central method of gathering power. As for the specific groups within, well, we'll get to them when we get to them. For the four realms, though, you've got:
    • The Physical: Beings that have an inherent physical advantage, and can use their own bodies as the root of their development and power.
      • Lizardfolk, Tabaxi, Aarakocra, Shifters, Minotaurs, Kor, Kenku, and Goliaths are all pretty good examples of the sorts of beings one typically finds in the Primal camp.
    • The Primal: Beings that have a great deal of inherited power through their bloodlines or their ability to manipulate the world around them innately.
      • Genasi, Merfolk, Tritons, Firbolg, Dragonborn, Kobolds, Forest Gnomes, Duergar, and Yuan-Ti all fit the Primal bill.
    • The Cultural: In the "to grow/develop" meaning of the word, beings that develop their power over generations and trend toward shorter lives.
      • Most Dwarves, Rock Gnomes, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Bugbears, Halflings, most free Humans, and Warforged make up the dominant groups of the Cultural faction.
    • The Sidereal: Drawing power from outside the normal planes, these beings are often backed by fae, demons, angels, devils, and even some things stuck between worlds altogether.
      • Changelings, Elves, Eladrin, half-Elves, Orcs, Vampires, half-Orcs, Aasimar, and Tieflings fit the mold, with many bigger things that don't qualify as PC races.
    Now, players don't need to all be from the same realm, because you'll be starting as either captives or slaves. You've been brought to a newly uncovered temple somewhere and are about to be sent in basically to serve as fodder for discovering and disarming the traps. You can go in to find what treasures lurk there, try to escape, whatever, but that's your current situation.

    It could be a new change, or you might've been a slave for a while. Happy to customize backgrounds and things. Heck, you could even have been de-leveled (though from within the 1-4 range) in the process if you want that as part of your history. Again, this is just for where you'll be starting play.

    Character Creation
    In terms of options, I'd like to be pretty open. All first-party races are permitted except the Revenant (so all other Unearthed Arcana races are okay, and are linked in that link), the Revised Ranger is go, I want to use both Racial and Skill Feats (though possibly expanding applications for the racial ones as they just cover the core) and most other UA stuff will be okay but I'll want to confirm it. This also means that all the variations for Tiefling from the SCAG are okay on top of the Abyssal/Inferal split from UA, and can be made to work.

    For stats, roll 4d6, re-rolling any 1s, and then drop the lowest to get the total for each. Nicely heroic that way. EDIT: If you don't like your results, you can also decide to swap it for the standard array, just to make sure no one ends up screwed by the dice entirely.

    I was going to use Honor and Sanity, but looking at things more I think Renown and Fear/Horror cover most of what I'd want to use them for without adding more stats.

    EDIT: You'll be getting gear, so don't worry too much about that. You might be pushed into accepting the starting gear as opposed to picking your own stuff, but there'll be chances to trade it out soon enough.

    I don't want to keep the fun of this from y'all, so I'll be handing out Plot Points when we start playing. These can be spent to add a detail or twist to the fiction, possibly with a complication added by another player if it seems all-upside. On top of that I want y'all to get to be involved in setting things up, too. I've come up with a couple dozen ideas for planes (not all of them have effects on those within, so it's not as hard as all that), and I want y'all to feel free to do the same.

    So, to start with, I want everyone to help work out which group is trying to send you down into the ruins. It doesn't have to be a group you're not from, different internal factions don't get along, after all. But starting big-picture, do you want your captors (and thus, your starting location) to be in Primal, Physical, Sidereal, or Cultural territory?

    (pinging @NevermorePoe @garden @The Frood Abides @esotericPrognosticator @Saro @swirlingflight @aetherGeologist @Loq and @emythos as y'all liked or interacted with the original posts, but others are more than welcome. Folks are welcome to come help worldbuild or ask setting questions even if they don't end up playing.)
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  2. The Frood Abides

    The Frood Abides Doesn't Know Where His Rug Is

    Tentatively interested. Might take advantage of the openness to weird races and play my creepy tabaxi shadowdancer.

    Scores: 13, 16, 10, 8, 13, 13.
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
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  3. NevermorePoe

    NevermorePoe Nevermore

    I'm interested! Might take me a bit to make up a character sheet though.
  4. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Tabaxi Monks are so much fun. Nice to have the split in damage type options, not to mention the climb speed and dashing to pair with the Monk boosts.
    No worries on time! There's definitely plenty of options, not to mention setting up where we are. I want to kinda disclaim some of the decision making on the plane, the sect, all of that. Might even be good to get done sooner, actually, because then if someone wants to be a low-level member of the group holding y'all they'd have a basis to start from.

    Either of you have any preferences as far as Realms go?
  5. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    I am interested, but I have to warn this would be my first experience. I'll have to do some more reading first.
  6. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    No worries! I've got all the books and a bit of experience, so I'd be more than happy to help with anything, and I'm sure others would, too. Feel free to ask any questions you've got (no matter how stupid you might feel they are) either here or in PMs.
  7. The Frood Abides

    The Frood Abides Doesn't Know Where His Rug Is

    Enslaved in a cruel and distant empire, Cindia was a dancer since childhood, but she learned her martial skills from the followers of a god of strife, beauty, and magic. When a dynastic upheaval left her masterless, she took to the life of a hired assassin with relative aplomb. She is not best pleased by her renewed enslavement, but takes comfort in the prospect of interesting things to kill.

    She is a shameless and selfish aesthete/warrior, somewhere between Dorian Gray and Achilles with a sprinkling of Hannibal Lecter. A typical cat, in other words. Life is a performance and the end is often the best part -- for other people. She doesn't murder indiscriminately because old people and children aren't enough of a challenge; their deaths could only be ugly. She loves a target-rich environment and is never happier than when surrounded by enemies.

    Tabaxi entertainer monk, level 1

    AC 16
    9 hp
    Speed 30 ft., climb 20 ft.
    Shortsword +6 melee (1d6+4 slashing)
    Dart +6 range 20/60 (1d4+4 piercing)
    Unarmed strike +6 melee (1d4+4 slashing)

    Str 10 (+0)
    Dex 18 (+4)
    Con 13 (+1)
    Int 8 (-1)
    Wis 14 (+2)
    Cha 13 (+1)

    Proficiencies (+2)
    Skills: Acrobatics +6, Athletics +2, Insight +4, Perception +4, Performance +3, Stealth +6
    Tools: Drum, flute, disguise kit
    Weapons: Simple weapons, shortswords
    Saves: Str +2, Dex +6
    Languages: Common, [Undercommon?]

    Darkvision 60 ft.
    Unarmored Defense: AC = 10 +Dex +Wis
    Martial Arts: Use Dex for unarmed strikes and monk weapons; can choose to use d4 (increasing with level) for damage die of same; can make unarmed strike as bonus action when attacking with same
    By Popular Demand: can find a place to perform and receive living expenses etc.
    Feline Agility: Can double move speed till end of turn; recharges after moving 0 feet on a subsequent turn
    Cat's Claws: Unarmed strike uses slashing; climb speed 20 ft.

    Flute, admirer's favor, costume, 15 gp, shortsword, explorer's pack, 10 darts

    Obvious Faceclaim
    Last edited: May 29, 2017
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  8. The Frood Abides

    The Frood Abides Doesn't Know Where His Rug Is

    @Helen of Boy How do you feel about evil alignments? Knife Cat won't have any trouble playing with others, but she ended up a bit... ethically orthogonal to the whole "good-evil" thing. I can alter that if it'll be a problem.
  9. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Had some thoughts about where things might start, figured I'd toss some planar notions out and see if y'all liked any of them. Using a similar pattern to World of Cultivation, which inspired me to run this, but it can honestly be changed around, too. Can always edit one of these, too, rather than using them as-is.

    Shattered Mountain Kingdom
    Realm: Physical
    Size: Tiny
    Groups: Primarily Kor; some Aarakockra and Tabaxi
    Ruins: A deep cave in the base of one of the larger mountain craters, certainly not naturally formed. Likely to have lots of precious stones, but whatever created it might still be within.
    Description: The land is covered with mountains, many of which have been split in some historic calamity.

    Dark Stone Kingdom
    Realm: Physical
    Size: Medium
    Groups: Primarily Goliath; secondarily Shifter and Minotaur; some Kenku, Tabaxi, and Lizardfolk
    Ruins: A deep dungeon buried in one of the large stones, the depth is unknown but each successive floor has had better wealth.
    Description: A predominantly jungle land, with the treeline and rivers broken up by large boulders as black as pitch that lie upon and within the earth.

    Fire Forest Kingdom
    Realm: Primal
    Size: Diminutive
    Groups: Draconian (Kobolds and Dragonborn together)
    Ruins: An island near the center of the plane, said to house ancient artifacts pertaining to dragons, but with defences laid down by dragons as well.
    Description: Imagine a giant forest, but some of the trees have fire instead of leaves, it just doesn't spread. Horribly warm, for many, and lit solely by tree-fire as it lacks a proper sun.

    Thousand River Kingdom
    Realm: Primal
    Size: Medium
    Groups: Primarily Merfolk; secondarily Tritons and Genasi; some Firbolg, Forest Gnomes, and Yuan-Ti
    Ruins: A great shrine that burst from one of the rivers, surrounded by four elemental prisons which lead inside.
    Description: A land covered with criss-crossing rivers. How do two rivers cross instead of merging? Well, some of those rivers flow through the sky at times, that's why.

    Copper Valley Kingdom
    Realm: Cultural
    Size: Small
    Groups: Prmarily Dwarves; secondarily Halflings; some Rock Gnomes and Humans
    Ruins: A great tower built into the side of the valley, thought to have been the home of an enchanter.
    Description: A realm wholly contained within a huge valley, divided by a massive river and with sides that seem to reach to the heavens.

    Sand Garden Kingdom
    Realm: Cultural
    Size: Tiny
    Groups: Primarily Goblinoid (Hobgoblins, Goblins, and Bugbears together); some Goblins and Warforged
    Ruins: A pyramid in the desert, overflowing with an unusual cold under the sun and strange heat at day.
    Description: A massive, sandy desert, but with far more plants that have adapted to grow in such conditions than is normally seen.

    Twin Moon Kingdom
    Realm: Sidereal
    Size: Small
    Groups: Primarily Vampires; secondarily Aasimar and Tieflings
    Ruins: A pair of temples, one dedicated to light and one to darkness, meeting at what is assumed to be a divine treasure room in the middle.
    Description: A massive archipelago, mostly temperate, with two massive moons in the night sky.

    Peaceful Rest Kingdom
    Realm: Sidereal
    Size: Small
    Groups: Primarily Elves (and Half-Elves); secondarily Changelings; some Orcs (and Half-Orcs)
    Ruins: A castle said to house something that fell from the heavens, sealed in a valley that has just reopened after two centuries.
    Description: A beautiful land of broad mountains, high plateaus, calm lakes, gentle breezes, and certainly no horrifying monsters at all.

    Not really an issue. I'm honestly considering not having alignment be a thing, with Renown standing in for it in most situations. If it is a thing, it's more of a personal reminder, or a slight spiritual inclination, rather than the big, heavy metaphysical thing that usual D&D makes of it.
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  10. The Frood Abides

    The Frood Abides Doesn't Know Where His Rug Is

    Loving Thousand Rivers, Sand Garden, and Twin Moon. This feels almost like some Magic the Gathering planes, to be honest.
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  11. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Huh. I suppose they're part of the inspiration, too, so I'm glad I gave in on the Zendikar races being added. I wasn't thinking of them at the time, but I'm sure it slipped in alongside other things. Most of those are on the larger side, of course, while most of these options are comparatively small.

    Worth noting that any planes that are made but not used for the initial setting (whether made by myself or others) will still exist in the cosmology somewhere, just not right where you start. So even if folks like one of those for a starting spot, can always look at another (or create another) to be their home.
  12. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    I'm tentatively making a Tiefling... something. Scores are 16, 11, 11, 13, 11, 8. (Race is subject to change, of course, I'm open to changing to better fit the scenario.)

    I'm into the Dark Stone, Twin Moon, and Peaceful Rest kingdoms!
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  13. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Sounds good! I wouldn't worry about needing to change to fit the scenario, I put the scenario together in an attempt to make more or less all combinations make sense.

    Are there any classes that seem more interesting to you than others? If not, what sorts of things are you most interested in doing? Between the different variants, Tieflings can play pretty much every class at least semi-effectively. So it really comes down to what interests you.

    @The Frood Abides, just saw the backstory for Cindia, looks good! Poor knife cat, getting re-enslaved.
  14. esotericPrognosticator

    esotericPrognosticator still really excited about kobolds tbqh


    uh, and I was thinkin' I'd go with my drow boy! his name's Rhyl and he's a paladin, if you're good with that, @Helen of Boy. which leads me to inquire about deities? he doesn't need one, per se, I suspect he'd get along just fine on sheer FUCK YOU, but if you're dipping into gods I'd be more than happy to partake. >:] oh, also, custom background. definitely custom background. I might be a while writing that up... sorry... it'll be really long... more sorry...

    ability scores: 12, 18, 16, 16, 12, 14. BOY HOWDY do I like this generation system, uh. wow.

    edit: as for starting plane... weeeeell, uh. he'll've tried to get as far away from his plane of birth/drow settlements as possible, so... I'll have to decide how successful he was at that, I guess. he won't have been recaptured by drow, they'd probably kill him instead of enslaving him. uh. I like the look of the Peaceful Rest Kingdom (>:]), if that fits the bill, and otherwise he'd rather places without much sun, thank you very much. he's good underground, but probably won't like it much... hmm.

    oh, and custom background blurb, to test for feasibility: ex-daughter of a powerful drow noble house, wants nothing to do with his family or culture, hauled ass outta there fairly recently and is still kinda "???" when it comes to, well. normal life? in general? combo Noble and idk what the fuck else, probably.
    Last edited: May 30, 2017
  15. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    Oooh. Yeah, I'm good with drow paladins, no reason I wouldn't be.

    I don't have a solid line on deities at the moment. The first idea I had was based on worshipping higher-up people and groups within the realm, those who hit level 20+ and basically became demigods. Not sure that strictly works, though, so I'm open to other divine connections, possibly making those gods important/ancient sources of power for different groups/realms that have more of a direct relationship with them.

    What sort of custom background are you thinking, I'd be happy to help out with it if you want.
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  16. esotericPrognosticator

    esotericPrognosticator still really excited about kobolds tbqh

    I have his whole sorry tale planned out, too, if you want to see that before you make your call, but right now I'm thinking modified Noble: same proficiencies (although tbh I'm still "???" about "gaming set of your choice" as an option) and same language of choice, but given that he's violently severed ties with his family, he wouldn't've kept a signet ring or a scroll of pedigree, and the Position of Privilege feat doesn't really make sense any more. so I was wondering if I could work with you to find appropriate substitutes?

    oh, and:
    NAME: originally Rhylvir Astediirn, Lady Helvirret; goes by Rhyl now, has forgotten to generate last name; will throttle you if you use deadname, probably
    RACE: drow
    AGE: early nineties
    APPEARANCE: 5'2" and 105 lb., tall for a drow but wiry; black skin, golden eyes; white hair in dreadlocks, usually pulled back
    SIZE: Medium
    SPEED: 30 ft.
    CLASS: Paladin
    LEVEL: 1st (0 XP)
    Strength: 18 (+4)
    Dexterity: 12 + 2 (race) = 14 (+2)
    Constitution: 12 (+1)
    Intelligence: 16 (+3)
    Wisdom: 14 (+2)
    Charisma: 16 + 1 (race) = 17 (+3)​
    AC: 16 (14 (scale mail) + 2 (max Dex mod)); 18 with shield (+2)
    1 melee attack per turn
    +6 to hit
    +4 damage
    damage 1d8 slashing when one-handed, 1d10 when two-handed​
    1 ranged attack per turn
    range 80/320
    +6 to hit
    +4 damage
    damage 1d6 piercing​
    darkvision: dim light as if bright, darkness as if dim, 120 ft.
    advantage on saving throws vs. charm, immunity to magical sleep
    4 hrs semiconscious trance instead of 8 hrs sleep
    disadvantage on attack rolls and visual Perception checks when you, target, or object perceived is in direct sunlight
    know dancing lights cantrip, cast with Charisma
    Common, Elvish, Dwarvish
    armor: all armor, shields
    weapons: rapiers, shortswords, hand crossbows (race); simple weapons, martial weapons (class)
    tools: dragonchess set (background)
    saving throws: Wisdom and Charisma
    skills: Perception (race); History, Persuasion (background); Insight, Medicine (class)
    Divine Sense: can use action to sense location and type of any celestial, fiend, or undead within 60 ft. and not behind total cover; can also detect consecrated/desecrated (as if with hallow) places or objects; lasts until end of next turn; can use 4 times between long rests
    Lay on Hands: have 5 HP reserve of healing power replenished by long rest; can use action to touch creature and restore HP ≤ points remaining in pool; can also expend 5 HP to cure one disease or neutralize one poison; has no effect on constructs or undead
    background feat?
    spell save DC: 13
    spell attack modifier: +5
    spells known
    dancing lights
    spell slots
    dancing lights: cast in 1 action; range 120 ft.; V, S, & M; lasts ≥ 1 min with concentration; create ≥ 4 hovering, torch-sized lights (torches, lanterns, or orbs); can combine all 4 into glowing, vague Medium humanoid; all shed dim light in 10-ft. radius; can use bonus action to move light(s) ≤ 60 ft. in range; lights must be within 20 ft. of each other; wink out if out of range
    starting wealth: 140 gp
    packed: backpack, 20 arrows, blanket, 2 map cases, bottle of ink, ink pen, 10 sheets parchment, 10 days' rations, sealing wax, mess kit, whetstone, soap, dragonchess set, 50 ft. hempen rope, waterskin; total cost 24 gp, 2 sp, 5 cp
    on body: scale mail, shield, longsword, shortbow, quiver, 20 arrows, traveler's clothes, holy symbol; total cost 105 gp
    money remaining: 10 gp, 7 sp, 5 cp
    in progress
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
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  17. Helen of Boy

    Helen of Boy Hugcrafter Pursuivant

    I mean, I'd love to see that regardless of any call-making, because character backstory and the ability to work it into setting stuff is a treat.

    Two big questions, no matter what, though:
    • How powerful a Drow house do you think he's from? The type that controls all of a small plane, one that controls multiple larger planes, one that controls part of a large plane and likely has ties to an even larger faction, somewhere in between? (basically, how much power and influence do they have throughout Sidereal lands, or are they so big as to have at least some small power even outside of same?)
    • What does the family think of Rhyl? Are they even vaguely looking for him, did they just let him ditch and won't care unless he shows up on their door, etc? (i.e. do you want the fam looking for him to be part of game)
    Yeah. Pretty sure that's predicated on Dragon Chess being a right pain to learn, and then the broader "card" and "dice" categories meaning being good enough to earn a living gambling (and presumably playing in cutthroat fashion) or something... but I'd be happy to swap in a musical instrument proficiency if you want, too.

    Though I can also make in-game gaming situations happen, if it's of interest for folks.
    Sure thing!

    A somewhat lazy easy choice would be to rework the Inheritance ability from the Inheritor background in the SCAG to be something you stole when leaving home or found shortly thereafter. Some small item of significant import (whether he knows it or not) that might have larger ramifications down the line.

    EDIT: Also, proficiency bonus is +2 from the get-go, but you've got +1 listed on the sheet.
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  18. Saro

    Saro Where is wizard hut

    I'm drawn to cleric or ranger, but with that str I'm feeling like I should play a class that takes more advantage of it.

    I'm still working out a background for her.
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  19. The Frood Abides

    The Frood Abides Doesn't Know Where His Rug Is

    War or Tempest cleric maybe? Those domains give you martial weapons + heavy armor proficiency and several other useful things for a melee combatant.
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  20. esotericPrognosticator

    esotericPrognosticator still really excited about kobolds tbqh

    oh, you will. eventually. >:] (my fellow Maze of the Blue Medusa players, plus Frood, can attest to how long my backstory writeups are. :P)

    uhhh, well, originally I was envisioning it as the most powerful house in an empire's capital city (or perhaps a powerful city-state). his family isn't on the throne, because there is no throne as such, but yeah. rich merchants trafficking in slaves, which I originally figured came from the surface (what they call the Upper World) but which I guess come from other planes in this setting, 'cause most of them are Cultural. his mother's the head of the house, because while his grandmother is alive, she's a powerful priestess of Lolth (/substitute setting-appropriate evil entity), as are many of his aunts (church and state are by no means separated; think late Republican Rome). but idk how that would translate into your planar terms?

    ahm, well. they are looking for him, but in the dead-or-alive sense, not the "yo, scion, you coming back?" sense. he kind of Shamed The Family in leaving like he did, especially because his older brother did basically the same thing before he was born (although he wasn't the heir). also he went out with a delayed-reaction bang, so to speak. and anyway he's thoroughly disinherited himself by transitioning, regardless of how they feel about him. so, uh. sure, have them look for him! just not a happy sort of looking for him. >:] (other people familiar with his family would react rather strongly if they find out who he was, too.)

    what even is dragonchess? chess? with dragon-themed chess pieces?? or??? uh, but instruments are bulky, I'll take the gaming proficiency (I've already pencilled it in) unless you're willing to give him another language instead. he hid in his library for quite a while there. :P

    ooh, I like the look of that one! much plot. very wow. :P I'll have to think about what he's inherited myself for a little, but at this point I'm almost tempted to throw it over to you... hmm. something from his brother, probably. I'll get back to you on that?

    thank you! have now fixed. everything except the backstory/personality stuff should be finished by now, have a look. I rolled pretty well for the starting wealth, so I went with that, and besides the standard stuff comes with a bunch of things he wouldn't need. you've no use for bedrolls or torches if you don't sleep and can see in the dark. :P
    although I was wondering about equipment, given our starting circumstances? he's hauling around a bunch of paper and shit, the fucking nerd, but idk if his captors would send him dungeon-delving with all that? or with money, for that matter.
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