A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

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A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Mon Sep 14, 2009 10:07 pm

As you know, I am getting ready to pack my stuff and move abroad. Instead of broadening my horizons and acquiring new friends, I might start a PbP, but first I want to know if there are people willing to go for it.

First off, here are some things I expect from players who join the game:
  • Regular posting. Posting daily is not required, but I want to see the game moving. If you believe you cannot post every other day (exceptions allowed, sometimes it's just impossible to find the time), seriously reconsider.
  • More than basic knowledge of D&D 3.5. I can help with character building, but I have no intentions of teaching someone to throw the dice and anyone who believes the Fighter is better than the Wizard is automatically out.
  • Co-operation with me and the other players. In other words, don't be a dick.


The game would most probably start with a 32 point buy, level somewhere slightly above ten, pretty much all D&D 3.0 and 3.5 books are kosher and gentlemen's agreement is in place. The last one means whatever you use maybe used against you too. Think twice before crafting dozens of Celerity contingencies. Character concepts should be discussed with me before you start working on them.

Now I need suggestions, opinions and ideas.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Reverend Red on Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:42 am

I'm in. Interested in what the setting would be. Would probably play a neutral archivist.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:23 am

The setting hasn't been created yet. I was hoping to get some ideas from the prospective players. I could try to run a detective story of sorts.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Reverend Red on Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:09 pm

Well, grimy outlaws in a sin city is always a great prospect. Of course the power levels are already all screwy, so the fear of plague and hunger are not really relevant. But still, a mottled city of constant rain and beggars dying on street corners is awesome.

If we were to play some cruel, tainted world, I'd be willing to switch to playing a prostitute.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by trollblood2008 on Tue Sep 15, 2009 7:16 pm

I'm in. I would like to play some kind of warwizard or possibly a bladesinger!
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Jolkuna on Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:46 pm

I'll probably play some ToB class.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by MisterSinister on Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:45 am

Some fluff to help you think of new ideas, Tshern.

Knightly Orders

Knights of the Jungle

Spoiler:
Your sword shall strike with all the speed of the cheetah, the strength of the elephant, and the deadliness of the firefly frog.

The jungle is not a nice place. It's full of poisonous bugs, lizards, snakes and frogs, not to mention tropical disease out the wazoo, insane heat and humidity, and trees so thick you can't squeeze past them. If you don't die to one thing, you'll die to another. In order to survive such a hot-house (often, quite literally) of life, you have to be strong, cunning, and very, very resillient.

The jungle is fundamentally not a place for soft, squishy humanoids. However, the Knights of the Jungle believe that those that can exist in such an environment will grow only stronger. The jungle itself is a deadly place, but can be a deadly weapon, too. Its poisons, ground and climate are the weapons and armour of the Knight of Jungle as much as his sword, shield and warhorse (or dinosaur). Additionally, by surviving that place with nothing but what Nature gave them, the Knights of the Jungle prove their worth to Nature, symbolised as the jungle, to fight to protect it from those that would encroach upon it, as well as those who would destroy life. Undead are especially hated by the Knights of the Jungle, as they represent unlife, the very opposite of the jungle, which is life unbound.

A Knight of the Jungle sees nothing wrong with using poison on their blades, creating traps and so forth. While other knights may look down on this as dishonourable, the Knights of the Jungle know that to survive, you must take any and all steps you can. Nature does not forgive the weak or the stupid, and neither do the Knights of the Jungle, both within their ranks and without. At the same time, however, Knights of the Jungle are just as capable of meeting their foes in other environments, for after the jungle, they can survive anywhere.

Knights of the Crimson Rose

Spoiler:
Behold the rose; it is beautiful, no? The very symbol of beauty, romance, and passion. But, those who are not careful will find it a vengeful flower, with sharp thorns. So must you be - even in the cruelty of battle, find the beauty; even in the horror of death, find poetry; even in the depths of fear, find music.

Combat is a bad place. A really bad place. People have limbs hacked off, blood is shed in buckets (have you SEEN how much blood comes from a decapitation?!), those fighting get disfigured in ways no-one wants to think about too long - and this is before we chuck in magic, monsters of all sorts, and everything the fantasy world can throw at someone. It's unsurprising that most people find it a place they would rather be as far away from as possible.

However, to a Knight of the Crimson Rose, these things must be dealt with every day, as for any other knight. However, the way they deal with it is to find the beauty in everything - even something as horrific as fighting, mutilation and death. They are contradictory people, speaking of the horrors of warfare and killing in the same breath as describing the beauty of the perfect sword-stroke cleaving through their opponent's neck and the perfection of maiming your opponent's arm tendon so that they can never hold a shield again. Unsurprisingly, many people find them difficult to be around for very long.

At the same time, very few Knights of the Crimson Rose are sadistic or masochistic. They do not believe in enjoying pain, suffering and war, but believe that they are an inevitable part of their life. Thus, in order to survive mentally, they try to find the beauty in it, the need to perfect even the art of killing and death. Many Knights of the Crimson Rose take to poetry, painting or similar pursuits, speaking always of the beauty inherent even in the worst things, and the kernels of goodness in every depravity. On the battlefield, they seek nothing than perfection of each stroke and attack - ending everything in a way that leaves nothing to be desired, perfect, beautiful. A great battle to such a knight is not simply about winning - it is about the joy of cutting down six enemies with one perfectly-angled sword blow, the rapture of decapitating one enemy cleanly, landing no blood on their armour, and the joy of crushing all the hope of their enemies. Resultantly, many Knights of the Crimson Rose toy with their enemies' minds before destroying their bodies, and a fair few opponents openly rout upon seeing a company of the Knights of the Crimson Rose, for they know their reputation for loving their work.

Many claim these knights to be insane, but, as the Grand Master of the Crimson Rose says, to survive a place as insane as the battlefield, one must become just as mad as it is.

Hell Knight

Spoiler:
War is Hell. But it is OUR hell!

Fighting is something that puts immense strain on everything humanoids usually hold dear. Families are torn apart, society is warped, and lives, crops and everything else seen as beautiful is destroyed or rendered irrelevant in the face of war. However, during such a time, on the field of battle, the basest human desire to destroy and de-humanise is given free reign, and even encouraged by less scrupulous commanders. It is in this place that Hell truly lies, and the Hell Knights are not far behind.

Seeing all the fruits of peace as ultimately futile and pointless, Hell Knights seek to have war burn forever. However, they seek not simply base destruction, but total eradication of the idea that peace is anything other than a lie to be spat upon. They believe, and seek to instil, the idea that war is the only meaningful thing in existence, and that all other ideas are simply an attempt by the weak to protect them from the predations of the strong. To this end, they seek to bring down all things of art, beauty and peace, and replace them with the fires of war, the only truth in humanity according to them.

Hell Knights have unsurprisingly close links to devils and demons, who encourage them to destroy those who would seek to promote enlightement and move societies away from belligerence and ignorance. However, Hell Knights are nobody's lackeys, as more than one devilish or demonic general has discovered. They do not seek power or prestige as much as other knights, instead being willing to propagate their philosophy that war is the one and only truth, and all else is a lie that must be destroyed. Often carrying weapons of flame, and garbed in black armour, Hell Knights are feared even by those they would fight for, as to all others, they seek nothing but war, and would not hesitate to turn their weapons against their former allies should the war end.

The Knights Theurgic

Spoiler:
What difference is there between a blade and a spell? Between armour and a magic warding? A horse and a set of magical boots? Nothing but your own ignorance.

When you fight, you do so to win. Those who don't rapidly find themselves on the end of something extremely unpleasant. Unsurprisingly, avoiding 'anything goes' combat is something many people seek to do, as at that point, there is no limit to what people will try. This leads most knights to shun magic - but one order seeks actively to embrace it, claiming that combat is nothing but a cerebral exercise, which can be won through planning, good thinking and, of course, magical assistance.

Unlike many orders, who prioritise combat training hightly, the Knights Theurgic see it as an unnecessary dulling of the intellect. Ultimately, it is by fighting smarter, not harder, that the Knights Theurgic triumph, and their upper eschelons possess some of the greatest military minds in existence. They see magic use as a logical extension of this - after all, why waste a company of knights on something a single earthquake will solve? It is strategically unsound to waste resources performing needless actions simply because it would be considered 'cheating', after all.

However, surprisingly, the Knights Theurgic do not resort to magic to win all their battles. This would be overcommital, something cautioned against by every knight of this order. Only a fool believes that every problem can be solved in the same way, and the Knights Theurgic are not fools. Many of them seek to master additional skills in wide-ranging fields, many being philosophers, mages and similar 'cerebral' professions, while many others spend time thinking of new fighting techniques and new strategic methods, always seeking the goal of winning more efficiently and in a less predictable way.

Because of their nature, Knights Theurgic are not as skilled with the sword and lance as their colleagues in other orders. At the same time, however, nobody surprises a Knight Theurgic - they will have a backup plan, involving defeating you in six different ways, with none of them being escape-able, and if you're lucky enough to bust one, they'll know precisely how to make sure you lose anyway. It is almost impossible to outsmart a Knight Theurgic in a battle, who will fight in the exact way that you do not expect, use the weapon you least prepared for, and will understand the minute weaknesses of any fighting method in seconds. Unsurprisingly, Knights Theurgic are often extremely arrogant, seeing many people, even other knights, as idiots for not understanding something seemingly 'simple', which, in reality, is beyond most normal people's comprehension.

The Undying

Spoiler:
What is life? What is death? What difference does it make? There is duty, and all else does not matter.

Duty is part and parcel of every knight's life - it's the only way to ensure that people who make a life out of stabbing people in the face don't suddenly decide to start doing it in stupid ways, or in ways that would cripple their superiors. However, the Undying take this far, far further. A knight of this order never truly leaves it - not even in death. Their duty to the order takes them beyond the grave, and ensures that even it does not claim them easily, with their resolve and need to fulfil their orders driving them far beyond where their bodies should go.

Absolute obedience is the catchphrase of the Undying. Every knight in this order knows that he is not merely laying down his life, but his very existence in service. The training of the Undying is designed to strengthen their bodies, but also their resolve, submitting them to tests that would be considered barbaric by many, while binding them in iron-clad strictures of behaviour which place harsh penalties upon even slight detractions. At all times, they are told that their existence is meaningless, except in service to an ideal greater than themselves.

As a result, Undying Knights simply refuse to believe themselves to be dead until they have triumphed. There are tales everywhere of Undying Knights who held a bridge or a pass for days without rest, food or water; who have charged alone into whole banks of archers, before pulling out the arrows they were shot with and stabbing the defenders with them; who have survived dives into lava; who have rent their enemies apart with their teeth after they had lost their arms and legs; and many similar stories. Where legend ends and truth begins is uncertain, but it is a known fact that an Undying Knight will simply refuse to give up when even the most desperate and determined individuals would have. In many cases, death is no release from this, as the Undying keep many necromancers on retainer to return their most skilled warriors to life. It is actually believed that their current Grand Master is over six thousand years old.

The Perfecti

Spoiler:
Perfection is unattainable, you say? Well, does it matter? The task matters as much as the goal, and though we may never reach it, just getting close enough to see it, touch it - that would be enough for anyone.

When you're in a warzone, or even a small battle, you cannot afford to suck, as if you suck, you'll find you have a very short career indeed. As a result, professional warriors spend significant amounts of time ensuring they can be as good as they possibly can, to avoid having their life expectancy cut short (not that it helps much, but anyway). The Perfecti, however, take this one step further, claiming that nothing less than perfection in everything is acceptable. In order to succeed, they say, you must seek to make every motion, every thought, and every attack, absolutely and totally flawless.

The training that would-be Perfecti go through is meticulous beyond belief. Master Perfecti in charge of training are quite literally impossible to please, forcing countless drills because of the error of a single student, and constantly berating those under their training as being slobs, idiots and utterly incompetent time-wasters. A would-be Perfectus needs to master at least four different fighting styles, with meticulity that would shame masters, as well as be proficient in many other areas, such as languages, performance, history and as many pursuits as the Master Perfecti can dream up. For this reason, the majority of the Perfecti are actually Errant Perfecti. Those few who receive the right to be called a Perfectus are smarter than many sages, stronger than many master warriors and more skilled that most veterans. Those who reach Mastery and receive the right to teach others must be greater still, being almost unequalled in everything.

Unsurprisingly, very few survive the gruelling nature of such training, and as a result, the Perfecti are a tiny group. But even a green Errant Perfectus can turn a battle in the favour of his chosen side, while a Master can single-handedly destroy whole armies without breaking a sweat or being challenged. In combat, they perform absolutely everything with utter, inhuman perfection. Even their faces do not show any sign of fear or hesitation as they cut left, right and centre, dropping a foe with every blow, while weaving a web of steel that none can penetrate. It is the worst nightmare of almost any soldier to face a Perfectus, for they will destroy them without even breaking a sweat no matter how hard they try.

It is believed that the Perfecti become less and less mortal as they continue to train, eventually ascending to become divine beings. It is rumoured that any who become the Grand Master of their order totally shed their humanity, becoming akin to outsiders in every way, living forever. Thus, the only way to displace a Grand Master Perfectus would be by single combat - an impossible proposition for all but the most skilled and determined.

Knights of the Skull

Spoiler:
Be afraid. Be very afraid. No, more afraid than that.

Fighting is scary. Battles are scary. Heck, just about anything in a war is scary, and there's a good reason for that. It's called self-preservation. However, fear can be overhyped, causing you to lose a battle before it even starts. By letting your fear control you, you lose the ability and confidence to fight, or, in some cases, put up any resistance at all. This is the true art of the Knights of the Skull - to make their enemies lose the battle before it even begins.

A Knight of the Skull knows that, first and foremost, that bravery is not an absence of fear - that is called stupidity. Fear exists to be conquered, or to conquer, and to a Knight of the Skull, losing to your own fears represents defeat by your own weapon, which is seen as a failure of the highest order. To this end, Knights of the Skull seek to conquer their fears, moreso than other knights, and Knights-Errant of this order regularly have their minds violated by telepathy, and are exposed to sights that would unhinge lesser men beyond all hope. Unsurprisingly, many of them are driven insane by these experiences, but this is of no consequence to this order; those who cannot conquer their fears and retain their sanity are not fit to become knights. Those that survive this are taught how to use the fear of others against them to defeat them without even drawing a blade. By the time they are recommended for the Test, Knights-Errant of the Skull can unsettle whole companies of men and terrify many opponents out of their wits.

To facilitate their intimidation abilities, Knights of the Skull often wear the bones of their enemies, as well as elaborate whole-face helmets made from skulls, from which the order derives its name. Each knight seeks to create his own brand of terror, and thus, their appearance can vary widely. However, one thing is consistent - none of these knights even remotely resembles anything like a humanoid being by the time they reach the rank of Knight. They also seek to terrify those that they fight, sapping their resolve and causing them to lose a battle before it even begins. However, a Knight of the Skull does not need these tricks to win, as they are just as capable with weapons of all sorts as their colleagues.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many Knights of the Skull develop, or begin with, abilities relating to telepathy and mental manipulation. Those that possess such abilities often reach Mastery, and are said to be almost impossible to be around, even for those that they mean no harm, due to the palpable aura of fear and revulsion that pervades them. It is also said that the Grand Masters of this order are never seen by anyone they do not intend to kill, for it is said that their mere presence can terrify men to death.

Knights of the Chronal Sphere

Spoiler:
You have lost this battle ten times already. Do I really need to make it an eleventh?

In a stressful situation, anyone will make mistakes. Part of any combat training, but especially that of a knight, is how to avoid mistakes if possible, but also how to mitigate the mistakes that you've already made to stop them totally ruining the battle for you. However, the Knights of the Chronal Sphere believe that this is not enough, insisting that the best way to deal with mistakes is to make it so they never happened, by reversing, altering, or otherwise playing with time to ensure that they succeed and their enemies fail.

Members of the Order of the Chronal Sphere believe that time manipulation is the key to winning any battle. To this end, their training is highly theoretical, designed to teach them about time and how it can be manipulated. Almost all Knights of the Chronal Sphere possess some manner of supernatural abilities to facilitate their distortion of time, both on and off the field of battle, but unlike most users of the supernatural, they typically do not gain other abilities. However, the roteness and simplified nature of what they have to learn allows even those of relatively limited cerebral capacity. At the same time, however, Knights of the Chronal Sphere are expected to train in martial techniques as much as any other knight, with additional focus given to taking advantage of their temporal manipulative abilities.

Unsurprisingly, the Order of the Chronal Sphere are viewed as extremely unconventional by almost everyone, including other knights, who often view their unique methods of fighting as cheating. However, the Knights of the Chronal Sphere insist on making their tampering with the time stream to be invisible to those that they affect. To an outside observer, it simply appears that the knight knows what you will do before you do it, and reacts accordingly, even using information he could not possibly possess at the time. While certainly impressive, a trained viewer can see the slight shift in the world every time a knight such as this alters time in his favour. Additionally, Knights of the Chronal Sphere often appear to move faster than they should, sometimes by a very great and noticeable degree. While others may decry this style as being nothing more than magical wiles, every knight of this order knows that, were it that simple, everyone would do it too.

The Watchers of Klovis

Spoiler:
Knowledge may be power, but information is victory.

On the field of battle, or even in the smallest skirmish, information is highly important. So highly, in fact, that people regularly have to risk their lives to obtain even the tiniest bit of useful information, and fighting forces everywhere have to be extremely careful to avoid letting even the most minor detail slip, because the person who has more information will have more guidance to how they should prepare, and thus means that their plan can be far more ironclad than their opponents, with more ability to plan for the plan going wrong. The Watchers of Klovis believe this very strongly, seeing information and its control as being vital to the success of any fight, big or small, and thus try to have as much information about everything as possible.

While calling them scholars would be inaccurate, the Watchers of Klovis certainly exhibit many of their traits, seeing knowledge and information as more valuable than gold and lives, frequently using information as bargaining chips between each other. At the same time, however, they are extremely skilled spies and informants, having been trained in persuasion, intimidation and stealth, as well as various methods of information-gathering and its use. While their training resembles than of spies or assassins more than knights on many occasions, which frequently causes the order to be accused of being dishonourable and disrespectful of everything it is to be a knight, the Watchers know that it's ultimately the accusers that will look like weak knights when their Master will lose the Duel of Equals because his opponent knew that he favoured his left hand. Additionally, in wartime, many commanders, and indeed, even other knightly orders, often use them as a source of information and intelligence, as the order is at times more effective than the finest spies.

While they do train in the methods of the assassin and the quiet kill, the Watchers are still knights, and can fight on the field of battle, where their presence is just as well-received as any other order. In direct combat, you can trust a Watcher to know precisely where to strike any given opponent to inflict the most damage, the single weak point in even the greatest warrior's style, and every bit of information there is to be had about demons. To this end, a Watcher's combat style tends to be very fluid, focusing on adaptability and circumstances more than drills and practice, and, unlike most knights, Watchers see no purpose in sticking to any manner of rules when fighting, leading to many other knightly orders accusing them of cheating. This is also not entirely true - the Watchers are not without honour, they simply understand that on occasion, it must be discarded in light of conflicting information.

The Structure of the Knightly Orders

Spoiler:
Although they vary widely by philosophy, and frequently name these ranks differently, the knightly orders nearly always ascribe to a structure very similar to the one described here.

Grand Master

At the top of a knightly order sits the Grand Master, a venerable knight, veteran of many battles, and often widely respected for his achievements both on the field of battle and off it. It is common for this position to be held by only a single knight, although some orders believe a council of such individuals to be better. Regardless, the position of a Grand Master is nearly always for life, but at the same time, any knight that can defeat a Grand Master can become one. While an incredibly daunting task for many, it ensures that Grand Masters must keep their skills sharp, thus ensuring that the order receives strong and effective leadership.

Grand Masters rarely take to war, but when they do, they are a potent symbol of the order's power on the battlefield. If a Grand Master becomes involved, it is likely that the very survival of the order is at stake, and even the lowliest Man-At-Arms will fight all the harder if they know that their Grand Masters are among them.

Master

After a certain time in any order, a knight becomes eligible for Mastery, which is typically a test of great difficulty, even compared to the Test of Knighthood. Each order possesses different test, but they all share one thing in common: those who fail usually don't survive. As a result, the number of Masters is small, but they gain one of the greatest privileges of being in an order: the right to teach those would would join it.

Because of this, Masters tend to be highly individualistic, frequently broadly interpreting (or re-interpreting) the philosophy and methods of their orders in a way that would not be permitted to ordinary knights. However, the Test of Mastery is designed to indicate that the candidate is following the philosophy and methods of the order, and has not waivered from them. Thus, those that truly would muddy the teachings of the order are weeded out in the most final way possible, leaving only the best examples to pass on the teachings of the order to the next generation of knights, tempered with experience outside the fortresses of the order to lead the order to greater heights.

Usually, there is a small number of Masters, not exceeding twenty, unless the order in question is extremely large. It is the opinion of all order members (including Masters themselves) that a smaller number of better Masters is significantly better than a larger number of inferior Masters. Additionally, when two orders run afoul of each other, it is traditional to attempt to settle the problem by the Duel of Equals, which is nearly always dealt to by Masters. There is no greater honour for a Master than defeating the Master of another order in single combat.

Knight

Those Knights-Errant deemed sufficiently well-trained and well-versed in the wisdom of the order are typically recommended by the Master in charge of their training for the Test of Knighthood. These tests only take place a few times each year, during occasions deemed important to the order's history. The Test is highly specific to the order in question, but is usually not fatal, although those that fail will frequently be scarred, either physically or mentally, and it is considered greatly disrespectful to one's Master to fail a Test, leading to much derision of Knights-Errant who fail. However, those that pass this Test gain the right to be called Knights, and become proper members of the order.

The majority of the order proper is comprised of knights, with some exceptions. These are capable warriors, serving the order in whatever capacity the order sees fit. At the same time, knights are expected to continue to maintain the highest standards, not to fail to practice their weapons and other skills which the order deems important, as well as to uphold the tenets of their order. Those that fail at this can have their knighthood stripped from them - a fate which every knight dreads, as Masters are loath to recommend such 'backsliders' to the Test. Due to this, there is significant competition among individual knights, which is encouraged by their orders to ensure that all remain skilled and vigilant.

When an order marches to war, knights usually form the majority of its fighting troops, with assistance provided by the Men-At-Arms. A single knight is normally chosen to lead the expedition (or defence, as the case may be) from his peers, though in particularly large and significant conflicts, a Master or even a Grand Master may lead. The number of knights in the field and back at the order's fortresses is split roughly halfway, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.

Each knight receives certain privileges from his order, depending on the nature of the order that he joined. This often includes, but is not limited to, the right to live in their own rooms, rather than the order barracks, the right to servants, access to the order's best weapons and training manuals, and quite frequently a continent of Men-At-Arms under his command. However, there are multiple other benefits across orders, such as access to magical libraries, great items of power, or even a form of training unavailable to Knights-Errant, as well as many others.

Due to the lethality and difficulty of the test for Mastery, very few knights ever go above this rank. As a result, knights who have served more than a certain number of years (usually ten, but this varies) are called Veteran Knights, and are frequently deferred to. However, this rank is rarely, if ever, formalised, being more of an honorific, with any benefits gained from it being largely out of respect rather than structure.

Knight-Errant

Those who wish to join a knightly order proper (rather than becoming one of its Men-At-Arms) must begin at this rank. These would-be knights come from all manner of backgrounds; some are the younger and unruly sons of wealthy individuals, others see something in common with the order that they are joining, while others are too poor to have anything to lose. Orders typically hold Trials to determine who joins and who doesn't, but an individual who is wealthy or powerful enough can often use his power or influence to ensure that someone is accepted into this rank without a Trial. Those that go in through a Trial are frequently called 'honest men', while the names thrown at those who get in without a Trial are best not described here.

The life of a Knight-Errant is ultimately one of endless work. It is the opinion of many orders that it is better to be too strict than too lax with Knights-Errant, and many orders submit their Knights-Errant to things that even the most cruel wizard would not demand of his apprentices. Even if they join a (relatively) humane order, 'character building' by the Masters they are assigned to often involves tasks even servants would not find tolerable for long. Additionally, the conditions that Knights-Errant have to live under tend to be rather simple, to the point of discomfort not being uncommon: they tend to have to reside at large communal barracks, eat their meals communally, and possessing very little time that is not spent studying or training. While some orders do give days off, these tend to be rare, and nearby towns learn to dread those days, as Knights-Errant tend to have significant frustrations to vent.

How long one must remain a Knight-Errant is entirely down to their supervising Master, which means that, while some Knights-Errant remain such for a relatively short time, while others spend many years, and a few never ascend at all. This can often cause a lot of bad blood between Knights-Errant, and Masters must keep discipline extremely tight to avoid full-scale brawls breaking out.

Knights-Errant rarely go out to war, except in fairly rare cases, usually involving the order's survival being at stake.

Men-At-Arms

Not everyone has what it takes to be a knight. However, at the same time,the orders do not only require knights, as there are many things, both on and off the battlefield, that knights are unsuited to. This is the job of the Man-At-Arms - part foot soldier, part messenger, part militaman, part everything else. These are the workhorses of the order, typically unseen and unrecognised, but vital all the same.

Becoming a Man-At-Arms is usually fairly simple - orders always need more. The only conditions tend to be having to wear a livery, living in an order fortress and undergoing simple military training. The majority of Men-At-Arms actually never get to see combat at all, being used in rear-eschelon work such as supplies, communication and tending to the steeds of the knights. However, each one knows that there may come a time for them to lay down their lives for the order, even though they are not really a part of it as such.

In terms of training, Men-At-Arms are as good as the average town militia, with some being more skilled, and a rare few being equal to the knights they serve. Those who show particular talent in things martial are sometimes put through a Trial, but this is considered uncommon. However, where they excel tends to be equipment, as Men-At-Arms are frequently much better-equipped than a town militia. Additionally, their discipline, reinforced with simplified order principles, means that they will fight on for much longer than most militias would.

Generally speaking, Men-At-Arms are seen by most of the orders that they serve as being servants, who frequently treat them as such. While they have relatively little respect, belonging to an order, even this indirectly, has substantial benefits: the Men-At-Arms know that their families are safe within a fortress, and they are paid far better than they could doing many other jobs, with reasonably good living conditions. However, even this does not prove enough of an incentive for many, which is why there is a constant need for more Men-At-Arms in every order.

The Planar Structure

Spoiler:
The Dream

The Dream is a place of infinite possibility. Almost anything that the mind can imagine can become real in this place, but bizarrely, very little occurs naturally here. The majority of the Dream is simply an empty space, without any sense of direction, gravity or landmarks of any kind.

However, when a mortal creature sleeps, its mind is transported into the Dream, where, in order to protect itself, it creates a dreamsphere, which, from the outside, appears to be a large grey ball, roughly the size of a large house, though some can be bigger. However, inside the dreamsphere, anything the mind can imagine becomes reality - no matter how fantastic or improbable. The inside of the dreamsphere becomes the mind's playground, becoming whatever the mind wishes it to become. Getting inside a dreamsphere from the outside is extremely difficult, and it is very rare indeed for two minds to be so interconnected that they do not form separate dreamspheres (though it is not unheard of).

Resultantly, the Dream's interior is usually filled with millions of dreamspheres, which drift in various directions, never colliding, but never really moving very far either. When the dreamer stops dreaming and wakes up, the dreamsphere slowly crumbles apart, normally destroying its contents. However, occasionally, the creatures or objects created within a dreamsphere are so plausible (or so powerful) that they can endure autonomously, without a mind or a dreamsphere to support them. These creatures or objects thus drift (or in some cases, move) through the Dream, seeking out (or occasionally, carrying out) their dream-intended purposes, sometimes to disastrous effects. However, due to the difficulties in breaching dreamspheres, very few dreamers are ever affected by these beings.

It is also said that, at the centre of the Dream (if such a term has any meaning in a place with no gravity and few meaningful landmarks) lies a place called the Dreamheart, which is the place from which all dreamspheres grow. Precisely how to get to the Dreamheart, as well as what it looks like, are very much under debate. It is claimed that anyone who visits the Dreamheart will have their heart's desire granted by the beings that guard it, in return for forgetting ever having been there. Due to the nature of this theory, it is very difficult to prove. Additionally, some believe that a god dreams in the Dreamheart, and that, in fact, the Dream is his dreamsphere. Whether that is true or not is even more difficult to ascertain, for no records or histories of any kind indicate any gods who dream, or have dreamed. This mystery, combined with the obvious benefits of having the desire of your heart granted, keep academic and non-academic heads full of the Dream no matter where one goes.

Spoiler:
The Shadowlands

Some describe the Shadowlands as a mirror of the Material Plane. While this analogy is not entirely without merit, it is not entirely accurate either. The Shadowlands represent an alternate possibility, a darker, more static, less forgiving reality that could have existed where the Material Plane does now, but does not, instead standing to one side as a reflection on promises unfulfilled.

A unique property of the Shadowlands is that it is possessed of layers, which are not planes in and of themselves, but are rather separate components of the same plane, which cannot be easily moved between. Most forms of planar travel (aside from the most powerful spells) take someone only to Superficial Shadow, unless the individual concerned has travelled to that layer before. Yet another unique property is that light bends at a steeper angle in the Shadowlands, which causes distance perception for those used to other planes to become somewhat distorted. When combined with the bizzare form taken by the plane, it produces a peculiar effect which shortens distances relative to the Material Plane, by a correspondingly greater amount based on how deep one is the the Shadowlands. Spells such as shadow walk take advantage of this property to shorten travel, and indeed, even an ordinary individual who travelled to Superficial Shadow, walked a few steps, then travelled back, will find himself considerably further from his original location than he would have thought. Yet another peculiarity is that time does not run as fast in the Shadowlands as it should, which has often been exploited as a way to extend one's lifespan by spellcasters with the means.

The first layer of the Shadowlands, and the one most commonly experienced by most individuals who travel there, is called Superficial Shadow. It resembles the Material Plane considerably, except that everything in it is darker, more gloomy and less optimistic than it would normally be. Flowers do not bring joy like they should; colours are washed out, and even the sun is but a smudge in the sky, as if perpetually overcast. Nights of Superficial Shadow are much darker, colder and more forbidding than any night on the Material Plane could ever be. Although a multitude of creatures inhabit Superficial Shadow, there is only one city - the infamous Verity, the city of the mirror-selves and their ruthless Custodians. Distances in this place are about twenty times shorter than on the Material Plane, and time flows slightly more slowly, though this is only noticeable over long periods of time.

Those who make it beyond this layer, usually by lifting their shadow off the ground and wrapping themselves in it, find themselves in Deep Shadow. Unlike Superficial Shadow, which mostly resembles a very cold, dark and gloomy Material Plane, Deep Shadow can be best compared to the surface of a planet on the Material Plane which never produced life. The ground is covered in a thick layer of silver dust, there is almost no light, as the sun is not much larger than the moon would be on the Material Plane, and the only plants are occasional dessicated tree trunks. There are few landmarks, aside from the odd ruin here and there, and the creatures that inhabit this place are dangerous and extremely hostile. Distances here are about thirty times shorter than on the Material Plane, and time runs about half as fast as normal on this layer. Additionally, spells that produce light or heat are much less intense than normal here.

Beyond Deep Shadow is Deeper Shadow, which is also reached by wrapping oneself in one's shadow, made considerably harder in Deep Shadow due to the lack of available light. Deeper Shadow is described best as being immersed in black ink. There is no ground, no gravity, no light of any sort, and the only creatures that exist here are ones no being ever wants to encounter. If one could find a point to relate to, distances here would be forty times shorter than on the Material Plane, and time does not flow here at all. Only the most powerful spells that produce heat or light work in this place, and even when they do work, what they reveal is simply more endless darkness in every direction, with the occasional creature here and there, drawing them to the caster hungrily.

Leaving Deeper Shadow to go deeper is difficult, because it requires total surrender to the shadows and the cold that is that place. However, those who manage this are shunted to the final layer of the Shadowlands, called Deepest Shadow. It resembles Superficial Shadow, but instead, all light is shadow, and all shadow is light. While disorienting for most, this is something that one can get used to after a while. While distances here are fifty times shorter than on the Material Plane, the most unusual (and terrifying) trait is that time runs backwards here, at roughly the same speed that it would normally run in the Material Plane. Of course, creatures native to this place, however few they are, do not experience this bizzare reverse-aging.

Planar Races

Races of Hell

Spoiler:
Demon

A demon represents emotion without boundary, cause or proportion. They seethe with every known feeling, switching between them with little to no provocation, and can become miserably dejected and world-hating, and then maniacally happy, or angry, or any other emotion that a mortal can and cannot conceive. In this, they are directly opposed to devils, who hate everything emotion stands for, and would seek to erase it permanently.

Demons always lead by example, with the strongest constantly needing to show the weakest that they are fit to lead. As a result, their society is highly personal, extremely fluid and boundaries are maintained by personal prestige or force.

Devil

Devils are creatures of pure, dispassionate logic, seeing emotional as an uncontrollable weakness to be purged from all creatures for all time. As a result, they are beings who constantly calculate the personal utility of every action, having no sense of compassion, no understanding of common sentiment, no love, not even anger or fear. At the same time, they see nothing wrong with manipulating beings that feel such things to achieve their (entirely logic-driven) ends. They see in demons the ultimate expression of everything that they do not stand for, and see the need to erase them, along with all emotion, as a logical goal to be achieved as expediently as possible.

Due to this preoccupation with logic, devil society is very hierarchical, with orders and laws obeyed only when they are deemed to be driven by rationality, deduction and reasoning, but without any emotion whatsoever. Their society is extremely impersonal, with many devils preferring to be loners with minimal contact with society as such, freeing them to pursue their own goals.

Grey Ones

To a grey one, both logic and emotion are ultimately flawed, for both are factors external to one's self. They believe in using both, and neither, but ultimately only for the purpose of serving their own existence. A grey one is supremely selfish, and makes no secret of it, doing absolutely nothing unless it serves some interest of theirs, whether logical, emotional or something else entirely. In the war between the devils and the demons, grey ones fight for both sides, sometimes at the same time, trying to find the side that is most likely to be in ascent at the time in order to get the most benefit of their mercenary role. Usually, grey ones are instantly distinguishable by their incredible arrogance, as they earnestly believe that they are the smartest, strongest and wisest creatures in existence, and make no secret of it, either.

Grey ones have no society to speak of, simply because the idea of working with others only occurs to a grey one when it suits them somehow, and such groupings are always temporary. While it is possible for stronger grey ones to simply order around weaker grey ones, this is always resented, and such groupings tend to end with the death or imprisonment of the stronger grey one by those he would seek to command.

Races of Heaven

Spoiler:
Archons

An archon believes that if all sacrifice some autonomy of action, whether to laws, a philosophy, a deity or any other principle, then everyone will lead a better existence. Ultimately, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and the archons believe that in order to create this whole, all must give up some of their own freedom of choice and action. As a result, they promulgate laws, encourage philosophy and religious worship, but only as long as this creates better mortal beings as a result. Their intrusions into other planes are usually only in severe cases, as they prefer to work behind the scenes, ensuring that no-one compromises whatever supreme order the archons desire.

True to their word, archon society is highly benevolent, but also highly demanding, expecting each of its members to serve all others, and their superiors, before doing anything motivated by their own interests. Many would consider this oppressive, but in return, archons can expect the ready support of other archons, even when they have never met, due to the sense of duty they hold to their society and to each other. Their great cities, housing millions of archons and other beings, are models of social harmony, but only due to the great mass of complex laws that surround them.

Angels

For angels, every being is inherently compassionate, caring and willing to help others to survive life. Beginning with animals and ending with mortals, all of which are inherently social, angels believe that no being can truly live apart from any other. They believe that, however, oppression and apathy, as well as all things which cause beings to seek distance from one another, come from the repressive nature of any social order. They believe that, only when all beings are free to choose to act in a caring manner will they do so. As long as they are forced to be good, claim angels, beings will always act in an evil manner, and seek to exploit the restrictions that exist. But once those restrictions depart, freedom, and eventually, compassion, will rein. However, angels are not stupid, and realise that sometimes, certain beings are too far damaged by the restrictions and conditions placed on them to act compassionately when free. However, instead of destruction, they believe in re-education, sometimes by means of magical compulsion, to ensure that such beings act for the benefit of all.

Angels lead the exact existence they advocate. Their society is a gathering of equal friends, and while none will order another to do anything, they can expect considerable support if they choose to undertake something that is seen as noble, good or beautiful. Angels are incredibly empathetic and caring, trying their best to show others that bad beings don't truly exist, but are made by bad restrictions and expectations placed on their behaviour. Resultantly, ordering someone around is a grave crime for an angel, as they see imposition of any standard, even their own, as something to be done very cautiously, if at all, preferring to allow others to find their own way to freedom, which they believe will lead them naturally to compassion and actions for others before self.

Gnostics

Many claim that gnostics are indecisive, but to a gnostic, belief in everything is the only way to go. They believe that dedication to a single philosophy or deity to be limiting one's world-view, and causing one to accept things that are perhaps best pondered from another point of view. They champion questioning everything, even if others do not, in the hope that such scrutiny, based on a wide enough view of the world, will create better institutions,laws and customs than those that existed before. However, ultimately, their view is that a balanced amount of all beliefs, all laws, all customs and everything in general is what will create perfection, allowing each being to achieve their potential in the easiest and least time-consuming way possible.

Gnostic society can be best described as a gathering of scholars. Every gnostic is incredibly learned, having personally experienced everything from the most complex magical theory to the sensation of being addicted to lethal drugs, and they believe that these experiences show them how to approach better theories and devise new ways of organising themselves, their thoughts and feelings, and by extension, others. Everything is open to debate in gnostic society – nothing is taken for granted for granted, and all gnostics are encouraged to be as open-minded as possible in their approach to all things.

Races of the Shadowlands

Spoiler:
Custodians

The custodians have a thankless task that they must undertake – the protection and stability of the city of Verity, the unimaginably huge metropolis spanning several planets which houses the mirror-selves of every being in the Universe which has ever beheld a mirror. In their view, this is best done by regulation, law and the strict enforcement of both – strict to the point that many would consider it extremely tyrannical. To a custodian, however, these are necessary steps to ensure that devil and demon mirror-selves are not constantly at each other's throats, that mirror-selves don't indulge too far in the more unpleasant depths of their personalities, and that Verity does not erupt into full-scale civil war. Thus, a custodian will work with any being and undertake any action to preserve Verity's stability, and do not see a need to bring morality, ethics or any other measuring standard but Verity's continued existence to their actions, which can make them appear dispassionate or even outrightly callous.

The custodians' society is the city of Verity, in all its multitudinous variety and gigantic size, and thanks to their tireless efforts, despite the vast variety of mirror-selves that inhabit it and their unpleasant tendencies, it is a place of peace, order and stability, if with a constant hanging presence of being watched. Whether it is this that creates the mirror-selves' unpleasant personalities, or their nature, as the custodians claim in their defence, none know, but the truth of the matter is that without the custodians, Verity would have ceased to exist a long time ago. As a result, custodians are pedantic in their application of even the tiniest stricture, and quick to mete punishment for even the smallest infraction of any kind within Verity's walls, whether the one committing it is a mirror-self or not. Outside of Verity, they apply the same standard to the laws of the region that they currently reside in, with which they always try to have an encyclopedic familiarity.

The Obscure

[need one more]

Races of The Dream

Spoiler:
Dreamborn

Within a dreamsphere, each night, every being capable of dreaming creates whatever their mind can conjure, frequently unlikely or even impossible in the Universe as a whole. If they endured, some of these creations would be truly dangerous indeed, but thankfully, without the mind of the dreaming individual to give them cohesion, they quickly fall apart again, causing the dreamsphere to shatter quickly after the sleeper awakens. However, some of these creatures, imparted with intelligence, imagination and even sentience by their creators, advertently or not, continue to exist in the space between the dreamspheres after the collapse of their own. These creatures are the dreamborn – beings now without purpose in a place without end.

Dreamborn are unique individuals, with very few unifying traits. They usually take on impossible or improbable shapes, and can possess abilities that a creature of their appearance most definitely would not, or should not, possess. However, mentally, they are often like newborn children – if with massive amounts of power. Without a dreaming mind to give them direction, they revert to their own devices, with a mind of infinite openness, but also emptiness, like a child just born. However, unlike children just born, there is much that such beings don't know, and they can often wield power that is very disproportionate to their mental development.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Thu Sep 17, 2009 11:49 am

Excellent, I could use those as a platform. I'll have to read them later though, I am devilishly busy for the next few days.

I already have a vague idea, but I'll create more content before I post about it.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by trollblood2008 on Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:40 pm

Tshern wrote:As you know, I am getting ready to pack my stuff and move abroad. Instead of broadening my horizons and acquiring new friends, I might start a PbP, but first I want to know if there are people willing to go for it.

First off, here are some things I expect from players who join the game:
  • Regular posting. Posting daily is not required, but I want to see the game moving. If you believe you cannot post every other day (exceptions allowed, sometimes it's just impossible to find the time), seriously reconsider.
  • More than basic knowledge of D&D 3.5. I can help with character building, but I have no intentions of teaching someone to throw the dice and anyone who believes the Fighter is better than the Wizard is automatically out.
  • Co-operation with me and the other players. In other words, don't be a dick.


The game would most probably start with a 32 point buy, level somewhere slightly above ten, pretty much all D&D 3.0 and 3.5 books are kosher and gentlemen's agreement is in place. The last one means whatever you use maybe used against you too. Think twice before crafting dozens of Celerity contingencies. Character concepts should be discussed with me before you start working on them.

Now I need suggestions, opinions and ideas.

The best class ever is the Fighter....everyone knows that! I think you are wrong, wizards suck! JK, anyhow, what class would lead into a bladesinger fastest? I was thinking War Wizard, but not real sure.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by MisterSinister on Fri Sep 18, 2009 1:35 pm

Why on earth would you wanna be a bladesinger? It's a horrid class.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Mon Sep 21, 2009 4:04 pm

And what is the War Wizard? Do you mean Warmage?

I'm now relocated my stuff to Scotland, but apparently the Freshers' Week is very, very busy. So far I've just been drinking. Heck, I only know one of my five room mates by name...

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Tue Sep 22, 2009 1:57 pm

I've had some thoughts on the mechanical details of the campaign.

-Level 12.
-32 point buy.
-Standard wealth for casters, non casters start with 120% wealth. Give me your build skeleton and I decide whether or not it qualifies as a caster.
-I will craft a custom item for everyone, that will account for 10000 gp of your wealth. If you do not want the item, you can spend the money, but I guarantee the item will be worth its cost.
-Every character gets Able learner feat for free.
-Feat retraining allowed, but you may not retrain bonus feats.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Jolkuna on Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:11 pm

Does artificer count as a caster?
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Tue Sep 22, 2009 3:57 pm

Of course.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by trollblood2008 on Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:32 pm

Here is my skeleton:

http://www.myth-weavers.com/sheetview.php?sheetid=155402

btw which book is Able Learner in?
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Jolkuna on Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:56 pm

Able Learner is in Races of Destiny. Also, if you don't really have to play an avariel I'd try getting rid of the LA. For example you could ask Tshern to give you a continuous item of Alter Self (price is 18 000 I presume, I'm sure he'll give it to you), which you could use to turn into an avariel and instead have an elf as the base race, granting you 3 more class levels.

Actually, I could also recomment you another prestige class with the same sort of flavor, the swiftblade:
http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/prc/20070327

This class is similar to bladesinger somewhat, though it is quite a bit more powerful.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Wed Sep 23, 2009 12:30 am

I wouldn't be too sure. Alter self is a spell not to be given freely lightly.

Also, having an odd level of Fighter is not something you should do. The last level gives you nothing.

Let's put it this way: What is it you want your character to do? I can help with the mechanical details.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by trollblood2008 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:38 am

Tshern wrote:I wouldn't be too sure. Alter self is a spell not to be given freely lightly.

Also, having an odd level of Fighter is not something you should do. The last level gives you nothing.

Let's put it this way: What is it you want your character to do? I can help with the mechanical details.

First time I have ever built a bladesinger, so I wasn't sure which way to go, i can drop the second level of wizard and go with one more level of fighter, but all it would do it give another bonus feat. My goal is to have the bladesinger PrC....with the avariel as my race.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Reverend Red on Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:15 am

Look, Tshern isn't going to make the fights easy. And if your character is effectually level 3, he's not going to survive. Why avariel? Why bladesinger?

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Wed Sep 23, 2009 11:42 am

Okay, what is it in Bladesinger you look after? I could just allow you to use the older version from some Faerun book. It is a better PrC, after all.

Also, we can work around that Avariel issue too. We can just grant you a permanent Polymorph Any Object effect or something like that. However, level adjustment as such can be a bit crippling.


Last edited by Tshern on Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:28 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Jolkuna on Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:26 pm

Hey, could you increase the non-caster wealth to 150%. I think that would be nice.

Or actually just double it. That way playing a non-caster turns out to be a real good option.
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by trollblood2008 on Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:24 pm

Tshern wrote:Okay, what is it in Bladesinger you look after? I could just allow you to use the older version from some Faerun book. It is a better PrC, after all.

Also, we can work around that Avariel issue too. We can just grant you a permanent Polymorph Any Object effect or something like that. However, level adjustment as such can be a bit crippling.

I think I am gonna just redo my plan and go with something that I have more exp with, maybe a hexblade or something like that
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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Reverend Red on Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:39 pm

How would you handle an archivist's spell list? On character creation, can it be assumed that he has learned divine versions of arcane spells normally? Should there be special costs?

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:13 am

Jolkuna: The rules stay as they are for now. I have my ways of keeping casters in balance if something bad happens. Usually in groups of high optimization non-casters can do their thing without interference from the real gods of the game.

trollblood: Outline your ideas. I am sure I can make a wonderful character for you. Or at least help you with one.

Rev: You got to pay the price for the scrolls and crafting the scrolls to your spellbook. I suggest you find a way around the XP cost. Hexer bullshit is not allowed as of now.

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Re: A potential D&D 3.5 PbP at works

Post by Tshern on Thu Sep 24, 2009 1:27 pm

Also, please send me something about your characters and if you wish to get the item I mentioned, give some opinions on that.

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