Welcome to the Uncharted Seas campaign.
This campaign is a Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition game, using heavily modified rules.
Disclaimer: Heavily Modified
While I am indeed running a 5th edition campaign, this does not mean all content necessarily need come from a 5th edition source book. If you have an idea from a Pathfinder supplement you’d like to use, or maybe an archetype or class feature, I’ll be more than happy to help you build a class tailored to what you’d like to play. Pathfinder options can be integrated in, and spells can be easily converted to 5th edition, so do not be discouraged by the fact I am running a 5th edition campaign. I will be using classes that are modified to suit the needs of this campaign, and building new class options for players that suit the game’s needs, so don’t be discouraged from joining in. If you have something from Pathfinder or 3.5 or 4th edition you’d like to bring to the table, talk to me about it and let’s find a way to hammer out something. Personally I can tell you some things coming into this campaign will come from Numenera and Pathfinder. This game is not “exclusively” 5th edition! I welcome fresh ideas and ventures in this game.
What you need for this campaign
Players are expected to furnish the following items:
Courtesy and Kindness. This should be a no-brainer, but it’s being posted here as what you should bring to the table with you. Do not touch another player’s dice without permission, do not touch another player’s snacks or beverages without permission. And above all else, do not take slices of pizza that you did not chip in cash for. We have zero tolerance for mooching at game sessions, so be sure you bring cash to pay for your food at the very least. Be on your best behavior at the table and above all else, be kind to each other. Your characters do not have to like each other, but out of character hostility will not be tolerated.
Snacks and beverages (non-alcoholic). There is to be no alcoholic drink at any game session. The DM is not responsible for feeding you or providing beverages, you are to provide your own. Guild events are Bring Your Own Baggage. It is recommended that players who wish to chip in toward pizza orders have actual cash on hand with them for doing so.
Food Sharing. If you’re one of those soft-hearted people that likes to provide snacks for others, understand that your generosity and the consequences of your generosity are yours to bear. Just make sure you set boundaries with people and that everyone knows what the boundaries are. I don’t mind if you choose to buy food or provide snacks for the group, but please make sure everyone knows what is for the group and what is off-limits, preferably before I raise the DM screen on the table. Generosity is not expected but anyone providing food for the DM will be granted a 5% or 10% XP bonus for that game session, or a point of inspiration to spend, depending on the DM’s mood. Again, this is not expected, but should you do so you will get a minor boon for the game session for doing so. Cans of Pepsi go a long way on a late night game session.
Janecka’s Law of Mimics: Jelly Filled Donuts. Of particular note, if you bring a box of donuts to a game session and there is a raspberry filled donut in the box for the DM, that donut can be traded to the DM to remove one Mimic from play. Note: this is equivalent to the player character having an anti-mimic pastry in game that fills the creature’s need to eat and causes it to walk away without bothering your character. This can only be done once per game session, however. And this works even if you’re already stuck to said mimic, but you must have the pastry at the table to trade for this to work.
Players Handbook, 5th edition or Free Basic Rules. The basic rules can be downloaded for free from Wizards.com. You can also order a Player’s Handbook from Amazon for about 40% less than MSRP so I suggest considering this option, as the DM will not provide books to players. If you wish to use options from one of the books you must provide your own copy of that book and the DM must have a copy on his shelf for personal reference. The free basic rules kit can be downloaded here.
One set of polyhedral dice, minimum. I used to provide dice for the group but due to the fact many of my dice have gone missing over the last decade of gaming I am no longer providing dice for everyone. If you need dice, my recommendation would be to buy some off Amazon.com as you can get multiple polyhedral sets for a cheaper price than buying locally through the comic stores. If someone asks that their dice not be disturbed by other players, please respect that. Also, in regards to your dice, the DM reserves the right to visually inspect dice to ensure they are “fair” dice and not weighted, shaved, or misnumbered to give your character any form of edge. By participating in the campaign, you agree to allow dice inspections from the DM.
Blank Character Sheets. While I am more than happy to print a few of these out, I’m not going to run off 1,000 sheets for people. There is a copying place near my house, and I’d be happy to print off some sheets for players through them but the players will have to cover the costs (the sheets are for your use after all). I do have a personally created character sheet I’d prefer players to use, available on pdf format. I will email it to interested parties who wish to procure a copy as I cannot seem to find a way to upload it here.
Pencil and Paper or Composition Book. Personally I can provide a few pencils but I’m not providing the paper for notes and tracking important campaign details your characters learn. It is a good habit for players to maintain personal notes for the characters so you don’t have to constantly badger the DM asking what your character knows. Taking notes on important details is left at the discretion of the player, but it is highly encouraged you do so to avoid having to roll an Intelligence check just to see if your character can remember what was learned in a previous game session. A single pack of graph paper is recommended for player drawn maps as well. Even if only one player is sketching a map, it is a good idea to have the means to do so. You do not have be great at sketching maps to be the cartographer in the group either! Anyone can do it. Just be sure you are prepared for the day it happens. See The Importance of Taking Notes for details on what is expected of you as far as taking notes.
Blank 3×5 Cards. These will be used to keep track of magic items that have been identified, as well as spells and abilities that have relevance to the game. Players should have 1 card for each spell they can cast and for each class/racial feature that needs one. You may also wish to have a small envelope to hold the cards in with your sheet between game sessions.
A sense of humor and lack of butthurt threshold. If you are one of those people who gets offended easily by just about everything, this game is not for you. If you lack a sense of humor, this game is not for you. I try to maintain a stress-free environment where people can relax, have a good time, and overall enjoy themselves within fair parameters. Show up on time, and don’t be an asshat to others and you’ll fit in just fine.
Out of Character Drama stays in your personal drama club. When you show up to game, leave all drama at the doorstep. We gather to game, have some laughs, and overall enjoy the game as a group. What happens in your life outside our games, stays there. Don’t drag it into the game or make it part of your roleplaying. Come in with intent to chill out and have a good time. Leave the drama at the door as you walk in. We’re all here to relax and have fun, to play characters in a different reality than what we live in, so let’s keep things in our alternative reality around the table.
Player characters can be created using the methods described on the page, Character Creation. If you are interested in the party composition, see the campaign’s characters section and look at the player character listings. Players are expected to upload their basic information for their character to this campaign’s webpage once a character has been created.
Player characters have access to new equipment. RavenX is currently compiling a 5e arms and equipment guide to fill in missing adventuring equipment (and weapons and armor) that will augment and replace what is written in the player’s handbook. This is available as a pdf currently. I will add these items to the New Equipment thread if time permits.
Players interested in knowing which house guidelines are being employed can take note of them here: House Guidelines.
We will be using a slower level progression than what is used in the Player’s Handbook. Personally I feel the levels are gained a little too quickly based on what is in the book. The Experience Level Progression page will show the experience table we are actually using. If you have questions, please talk with RavenX at your earliest convenience.
We are seeking new, local players!
We are looking for new players. Contact RavenX immediately if you’d like to join this game when it starts up.
That’s right folks, we’re actively looking for new players here in the RavenX Guild and if you think you have what to takes, don’t hesitate to contact us about joining this game. Because we focus primarily on tabletop gaming, it is expected that all players have the means to reach the campaign location (dependable ride, carpool arrangement with another player, or within reasonable walking distance). Our emphasis for this campaign is local players. If you live outside Suffolk, Chesapeake or Portsmouth, you are not considered local. Players from Norfolk or Virginia Beach may be considered, however. Contact RavenX personally if you are able to game and can make the drive to game sessions.
Table Top Focused
We are primarily going to focus on a campaign around the table top. What this means is that you are expected to be able to show up. Right now, we have nothing set in stone on a day or time but Friday night or Saturday is the likeliest estimate. Food and snacks will be bring your own baggage, RavenX provides the game but you should be able to get to the game location and have your own food and snackage.
What rules will be used for this campaign? There’s only one rule you need to worry about.
Rule 1: Roleplaying. When the DM screen is up on the table, all chatter should be in-character, and focused on gameplay. Players are encouraged to roleplay their characters, which means thinking like your character and acting like your character. When the DM issues a dice roll to be made, the player makes the dice roll. At absolutely no time will a dice roll asked for a player be made. Your character knows what information is given by the DM, and you are expected to work within the parameters established by that information. If you are not in the room when a dice roll is called for, you miss the opportunity to roll dice for that roll.
Rule 1, subsection 1: Cheating. Cheating is not tolerated at the table and will result in a player being kicked out of the group immediately. This is the DM’s only real peeve, so be mindful of it. As the DM, I expect to see all of your dice rolls, even if no one else at the table sees them, I expect to see them personally. Cheaters will be removed on the first offense committed. Period. No exceptions.
What Constitutes Cheating
Miscalled Dice Rolls. Anyone who miscalls the result of die roll intentionally, is cheating. Unless you have some granted power from class, race, magic item, or other ‘in-game’ source that allows you to treat a die roll of less than X as X, or a booster item that gives you that ability, do not intentionally miscall a die roll. If I’ve given you a booster item that you can use for this purpose you must make certain other people at the table know you are using it so they don’t make false accusations of cheating.
Using Cheating Dice. Dice that are not marked as fair are not tolerated at the table. The DM has the right to examine all dice rolled at the table. If you are using a die that is not fair, i.e. weighted, shaved, or misnumbered, the DM reserves the right to confiscate said die and ban it from use at the table. Make sure you let the DM check your dice before playing to avoid any problem with this kind of thing.
Looking behind the DM screen. My notes are for my eyes only. What happens behind the DM screen is not meant for your mortal eyes. If I catch you reading anything behind my screen you will be removed from the group.
Rules Lawyering. We’re here to enjoy a game not discuss the rules. Rule 1 on this page is the only real rule at the table, the rest are just guidelines after all. As a DM my preference is for a hard, fast ruling made to keep the game moving, not bog it down in rules discussions. One of the reasons I switched to 5th edition is that we have less rules to worry about and I keep the game’s flow in mind easier.
Rule 1, subsection 2: Offensive Language. The use of profane language, including but not limited to, dropping f-bombs, cursing like a sailor, etc., will not be tolerated at the table. Players are expected to speak with dignity and respect. We’re all here to have a good time and relax, and while the story will include moments of stress/tension, it is expected that your language will be kept in the realm of acceptability.
Rule 1, subsection 3: Honorable Action. I don’t expect your characters to act with honor in everything they do. Scoundrel characters are quite acceptable. However, I will not tolerate disrespect between players or the DM. Players should be mindful of each other’s feelings and act in accordance with honor toward one another. The DM’s word is final.
Rule 1, subsection 4: The Guidelines. Now I know this may come as a surprise to some people who think that the rules come from books, but I’m going to state up front that by participating in any campaign I run, you have agreed to leave the guidelines and their interpretation to the DM. There will be no mention of game mechanics or “rules” discussed at the table when the DM screen is up. My focus is on keeping the game flowing and moving, the books only contain guidelines. The DM can change or disregard the guidelines. Your focus should be on what your character does, not how the “mechanics of the game” work.
As long as you follow the rule and its subsections, you’ll be welcome at my gaming table.
It takes players to make a campaign work, we all know this. However, I also know that some players cannot make it to every single campaign session, and that’s fine. If you have to miss a game session, please notify the DM, if no one else. I understand that emergency situations happen, but please try to give at least a few hours notice if not the day before so that I know you will miss the game. It will be up to the player to make up any XP missed during games they were not physically present for. My assumption is that if you’re not at the table physically, your character isn’t either. Perhaps some mage like Elminster summoned your character to be Candlekeep’s maid for the night due to the bet you lost gambling in a tavern a few sessions back… Whatever the reason, no player, no character, we’re not NPCing a character for you. Don’t worry about being behind in XP levels, with the rate of growth in 5e being what it is, a character being a level or three behind the party isn’t going to upset the balance all that much.
Not seats, but campaign boons. Boosters are discussed in more detail in the thread linked to this page.
Scales of Risk and Reward… Deadly Encounters
First off, I want to put this on the table. As the DM, the monsters will not be given Nerf swords in my campaigns while you as a player character have a deadly sharp weapon. That’s just not going to happen. I’ve run every edition from 1st edition and basic through 2nd, 3rd, 3.5, and 4th prior to this. I’ve also run Pathfinder. So to me, the Gygax element of deadly creatures will be maintained. E. Gary Gygax believed that it was a player’s job to decide on whether the risk involved in facing a challenge was worth the reward to be gained. In essence, some creatures should outright be avoided according to his personal notes. While I’m perfectly fine having the new guidelines let the petrification process be slower and require multiple saving throw failures to kill a character, I am not ok with giving Balor demons a nerfed version of their classic Vorpal sword. By the time you are of the right level to face a Balor Demon you should, at the very least, have access to wish spells, limited wishes and healing magic that can return a severed head back to the shoulders it was removed from on a lucky attack roll by a Balor. I will be keeping the original weapon on the Balor, thank you. Yes this means your character might lose their head if you fight one of these monsters. Again this is a risk assessment you will have to make. I will also be modifying Banshees to be as deadly as I feel they should be. Certain monsters are meant to evoke a state of fear in you, as you know they can outright kill you. Nerfing those monsters is a mistake because it detracts from the important Gygaxian principle of risk assessment.
Should I expect my character to die every time I play?
Hell no. I’m not the kind of DM that’s going to throw deadly encounters into every single game session. 99% of the time when a deadly encounter occurs it will be a planned encounter that I put into the notes intentionally, not a random encounter. I tend to use these monsters sparingly, applying them to the game when they’re important to the story or to create a dramatic moment of tension and to give you risk assessment. They will not appear in every single dungeon. If you were to go to Ravenloft and end up in Sithicus, and make a decision to attack Lord Soth’s keep, well the consequences are yours on that. However, if you are familiar with the setting and Soth’s past, there will be something of an expectation regarding that attack plan. The deadly encounters that would normally occur in the game will be present so expect them. Aside from extreme examples like that one, expect encounters to be fair, though you will have to maintain a vigil on risk assessment. Every encounter will bring some assessment of the risk involved. If you can’t take on the monster in combat, you’ll need to think on how to avoid fighting it or a way to roleplay through it. Combat is not the only answer to an encounter! Keep this in mind.