The Rise of Tharos
The town of Arn’s Cove needs you! This friendly coastal town is your new hometown. The adventures on which you are about to embark will determine the fate of not just Arn’s Cove, but the surrounding nation of Impiltur as well.
Rules: 4E D&D. Gameplay is via skype and maptool (with the Veg framework). Any class and race is playable (including the monstrous races outlined in the monster manuals), though certain unusual classes/races must be justified by the backstory. Characters will start at level 1.
At the start of the campaign…
The campaign begins on Highharvestide, the annual holiday that separates the month of Eleint (‘The Fading’) from the month of Marpenoth (‘Leaffall’). During Highharvestide, the autumn harvest is marked by feasting and thanks. Many folk travel in the wake of this festival before the worst of winter’s bite makes the roads and waterways impassable.
Your characters are in attendance, for whatever reason, at the Highharvestide festival in Arn’s Cove. You must come up with a reason why your character has come to the festival. The fire five years ago destroyed the previous temple, and finally construction on the new cathedral is finally complete. All that remains is for the Highharvestide festival to renew the site’s blessings from the gods, and it will be as if the fire had never occurred. The new cathedral is an interesting site of worship – though dedicated to Chauntea, it contains shrines to Ilmater, Torm, Amaunator, and Selune.
This campaign is set in the Forgotten Realms, in the town of Arn’s Cove, located in the once great kingdom of Impiltur. The date is 1480 DR, the Year of Deep Water Drifting, Impiltur is a coastal kingdom, with the Sea of Fallen Stars on its eastern border. Formerly a strong, prosperous, and peaceful kingdom, Impiltur is a realm in decline. Travel between the cities is dangerous, and plaguechanged monsters haunt the countryside. Demons bound long ago were freed when Mystra’s Weave failed, and many yet roam the landscape. The countryside beyond the ragged coast remains much as it did, consisting of rolling hills climbing toward the Earthspur Mountains, where tough humans and dwarves mine gems, gold, silver, and iron. The nation still sees some overland trade, largely with Vesperin, whose own fortunes seem to rise as Impiltur’s fall.
The imposing peaks of the Earthspur Mountains mark Impiltur’s western border. Mining communities speckle its lower slopes, spread out and around the numerous tunnels worming into its heart. The mountains were never a safe place to begin with, and now the Great Glacier’s withdrawal has led to a marked increase of monsters and humanoids drifting south. Reports of roaming undead freed from the glacier suggest that the monstrous activity is in fact a vanguard of some other, darker threat.
With the retreat of the Sea of Fallen Stars, several Impilturan cities lost access to their ports for a time, and trade through the area declined precipitously. Sarshel managed to keep ahead of the retreating beaches better than some of the larger cities, gaining a fair bit of the commerce that finally returned to the region. Today, the city is called New Sarshel.
Impiltur’s royal line failed with the death of King Imbrar II during the Year of Blue Fire. The country is now ruled by a ragged “Grand Council” composed of lords from the remaining cities. People talk longingly of restoring a monarchy to the land — ”The king will come and put things right, you’ll see” — but for now everything keeps getting worse.
Impiltur is currently in the grip of a fanatical cult of demon-worshipers (the Fraternity of Tharos), who cause no end of trouble. The Grand Council’s efforts to locate the cult’s leaders and combat its depredations have proven woefully inadequate to date. The Grand Council seems impotent in the face of their nation’s inexorable decay, doing nothing to combat the spreading stain of demon worship that holds Impiltur in a grip of terror.
Impiltur remains a human nation. Most residents are of Chondathan or Damaran extraction, though years of intermingling have merged them into one people. Typically, Impilturan humans have tawny skin and brown or black hair. Blond hair is somewhat rare and exotic. Attractive and big-boned, Impilturans are taller and larger than humans of other lands. Impiltur is also home to small pockets of shield dwarves and halflings. The halflings roam up and down the few waterways and trade with the tiny settlements that huddle on the shores. The dwarves coexist with the western humans, finding the humans’ rigid outlook and honorable customs much to their liking. Though the nation as a whole exhibits a liberal and open attitude to the worship of nonevil deities, the faiths of Chauntea, Ilmater, and Torm are especially popular.
In the folk who dwell farther inland, Damaran features assert themselves. People fleeing from Narfell found work here as miners and farmers, so western Impilturan people are slightly shorter than the citydwellers and have somewhat darker complexions. The mining folk are a people of absolutes, seeing as an enemy anyone who does not fit neatly into their perspective.
See the Players Guide to the Forgotten Realms for more information and roleplaying tips for adventurers from Impiltur.
If you are from Impiltur, the following regional benefits are available (you may also take one of these as a level 1 feat):
- Pureheart – You gain a +2 on all saving throws against effects imposed by evil outsiders, and a +1 to attack rolls against demons.
- Big Game Hunter – You gain a + 1 bonus to attack rolls and a +2 bonus to weapon damage rolls against Large or larger creatures.
- City born – You grew up in New Sarshel or Lyrabar. You gain a +1 bonus to your reflex defense as the frantic bustle of the city has honed your reactions, and a +2 bonus to streetwise checks.
- Country born – A childhood of farmwork, apprenticeship, or similar toil has granted you reserves of endurance. Gain a +2 bonus to endurance checks. Once per day, you may take an additional second wind during a combat encounter.
- All characters start with an additional feat at level 1
- You may take flaws and merits as outlined in the 3rd party “Flaws and Merits” rulebook. Arcane characters can learn powers from the Ancient Wizard Magic 3rd party rulebook.
- Alignment – 10 alignments exist (LG, NG, CG, LN, TN, CN, LE, NE, CE, UA).
- Power modification – you may modify the name & flavor of any power. You may also make keyword changes (subject to my approval).
- If you take a feat to multiclass, you do not have to take further feats to substitute powers from the multiclass (though you are limited to 3 as per the rules on multiclassing). Essentially, this rule means that multiclassing only requires a single feat.
- I am open to homebrewing aspects of your class, though the specifics need to be worked out with me. In particular, I tend to homebrew divine classes along the lines of the 2E “Faiths and Avatars” series. The homebrew elements are generally minor and are mostly flavor.
- If you take a ‘bad’ class / race combo (i.e., the race does not confer a +2 stat bonus to the class’s attack stat), you gain a +1 to attack rolls.
- Small creatures gain a +2 bonus to stealth checks.
- No feat tax – all expertise feats are banned. Epic Fortitude, Epic Reflexes and Epic Will grant feat bonuses. PCs gain a +1 bonus to all attack rolls at 11th and 21st level. PCs automatically gain Paragon Defenses at 11th level and Robust Defenses at 21st level.
- Martial practices do not require a feat. Martial characters may start with a limited number of martial practices, to be worked out with me, based on the character concept.
- Dwarves have darkvision when underground.
- Eladrin and Elves are all elves – ‘eladrin’ are composed of sun and moon elves; ‘elves’ are composed of wood and wild elves. Sub-races exist for most of the other races – though not required, we can explore variations on the abilities of the race if you are interested in the sub-races.
- All characters gain one regional language for free. You gain additional languages equal to your intelligence bonus divided by 2 (rounded down).
- If a creature is flanked by two melee attackers, any other melee attackers also have combat advantage.
- At every milestone, characters gain one daily item power use, and a cumulative +1 to attack and damage rolls (which last until the next extended rest).
- Aiming action – ranged attackers may use a move action to aim, gaining a +1 bonus to their next attack roll.
- Attacking from higher ground confers combat advantage.
- If you roll a critical hit, you must narrate the hit in order to receive the bonus damage. If you roll a 1, you must save or fumble. Fumbles result in a minor penalty adjudicated ad hoc by me.
I reserve the right to create or modify house rules in the interest of running the game better. If the group forms a consensus for or against a particular house rule, I will generally defer to the group.
Please write up a backstory for your PC. It does not have to be a novel, but I would like to know where you are from, why you are in Arn’s Cove, when you were born (consult the Calendar of Harptos in the FRPG), and any significant NPCs in your past.