Hello and welcome to my ridiculous little Dungeons and Dragons campaign diary!
A little about me: my name is Don, and I am a sometimes-writer. I have a blog elsewhere that nobody ever visits, and some work available on Amazon and elsewhere. My published work (so far) has been in the genre of "New Pulp", and I continue to write in that vein, most notably the adventures of Challenger Storm.
However, that's not what this blog is about...
Last year I finally fulfilled an almost life-long ambition: to play Dungeons and Dragons. You see, when I was a kid (the early 80's) my parents fell into the "D&D is evil" moral panic and forbid me to play it. This happened as I was just becoming interested in it, and through the years I never had the chance to play the game or any other tabletop RPG. I was fascinated with D&D and other games like it but never knew anyone who played it. Thus, I never played but collected some of the books and sets for RPG's throughout the years.
Then last year, some friends from work (lifelong D&D players) invited me to play a game with them. I jumped at the chance, and my first game was the infamous Tomb of Horrors. My first character was Kieran the Untested, a human rogue, and believe it or not our party lived. Now, we ended up getting teleported naked onto a hill overlooking the tomb, but we were alive and if you know anything about the Tomb of Horrors you'll know that "alive and naked" is preferable to all the other options your character can end the module with.*
I officially had the bug. It seems like 2016 will be the year that D&D broke into the mainstream, and after chasing the game for 35+ years, I had finally caught it along with everyone else.
After playing for nearly a year, I finally decided to try my hand at being a dungeon master. Being a writer, of course I wanted to put myself through the wringer of designing and playing in my own homebrew world. And so, I created the world of Hybrith (which was actually the melding of several ideas for still-unwritten fantasy novels I'd been tossing around my head for a few years).
About a week ago, I DM'd for the first time with a small handful of friends and acquaintances, all experienced players and/or DM's. It was an off-night between sessions of our regular bi-weekly game, but it seems like it went over well. If it continues to go well I'd like to continue running it. I don't know if I could keep up an every-week pace at this time, but a session every now and then as filler would be nice. I dunno, we'll see.
Following this post, I will be posting an entry discussing the first session and will be posting an entry for each session in turn. Below is the relevant parts from a campaign primer I gave to my players and their character creation details, and further world-details will probably be discussed in the future.
Anyway: if you read this, then I thank you. This blog will mostly be for me, but if anyone else enjoys it I'm cool with that.
*NOTE: Our monk was missing his arm after encountering the devil-faced Sphere of Annihilation, but still: he was alive and naked... much preferable to dead and clothed.
A Primer to the Campaign World
The game takes place on the world of Hybrith. This is a planet slightly smaller than Earth, but with all the same kinds of features (oceans and seas, forests, grasslands, deserts, etc.). Hybrith has two moons, one of which revolves around the planet more slowly, so each side of the planet can see it only for half of the year.
For the time being, adventures will be limited to the country of Tyvak, the seat of the Rothmund Empire. There is more to the world besides Tyvak and its colonies, however: the rocky and harsh island of Corvelay, the distant exotic continent of Ashpindar, the archipelago of Kochio, the green jungle hell of Tel Gana, and the mysterious Blaya Fastin all share the planet with Tyvak, and someday may be explored or experienced in other adventures.
A BRIEF (BUT IMPORTANT) HISTORY…
Hybrith has a long and tumultuous history, and the shadow of this history darkens the modern era (and hangs over the adventures taking place within it).
The planet as it is now has been shaped by many events, but none were as impactful as a pair of cataclysms. The first event was called the OtherSiege, an invasion of alien beings from another plane; the second was known as the MageWar, which was caused by the appearance of the first sorcerers (mutants created by the magical fallout from the war against the Others). These cataclysms occurred because of the careless actions of the oldest race on Hybrith: the stratavar (or “crystal elves”). In shame, the stratavar fled the world of civilized man and disappeared from the face of the planet. Though they’ve disappeared, the crumbling ruins of their fantastic cities still dot the landscape and some theories suggest their amazing magical constructs still slumber in hidden vaults across the world.
As some races disappeared, new ones were created. The events of the OtherSiege led to the drastic reshaping of the land itself and the appearance of the tieflings. The civil conflict of the MageWar caused the near-extinction and disappearance of the dragons, and this possibly connects to the mysterious sudden appearance of the dragonborn. There are mysteries that history has yet to answer…
THE WORLD NOW: “THE ERA OF DISCOVERY”
It is now the year 1237 of the 6th Era: this is the modern era of Hybrith. It has been over a thousand years since the end of the MageWar. From its home on the continent of Tyvak, the Rothmund Empire has stretched to other continents, and many territories and new colonies around the planet now belong to the Empire. It has been a mostly peaceful expansion. However, the island of Corvelay strongly resists the takeover of their country, and a war is being waged between the Rothmund Empire and the Republic of Corvelay.
Meanwhile, new technologies are slowly spreading across Tyvak: clockwork, steam, natural gas, and luminiferous aether are just a few of the projects the Engineers Guild of Ironhold is developing. This spread is slow and deliberate thanks to the watchful eye of the Green Circle druids, who ensure that the ambitions of the races don’t outweigh the delicate balance of nature.
There are social changes as well: the newer races of Hybrith - half-orcs, tieflings, and dragonborn - are currently facing a slow acceptance among the other races, but it’s especially slow in the more rural locations. In many ways, times are better now than ever before. But old wounds heal slowly and the shadow of the past haunts the future...
THE FIRST ADVENTURE
The first adventure starts with the characters in the western area of Tyvak, not too far from the capital city of Rock Harbor and in the country’s “green belt” of farmlands. Roughly to the north is the dwarven city of Demfarrow, nestled snugly in the the southwestern portion of the continent-spanning Greybone mountain range. Your initial destination is the small village of Hawksmith…
-LEVEL: Characters in this game started at Level 1
-ALIGNMENT: Characters are to be somewhat heroic (or at least non-evil), so alignments requested are from Chaotic Neutral on up
-RACES: Character creation was open to all races except for dark elves (I don’t think they exist in this campaign world…)
-CLASSES: Character creation was open to all classes in the Player’s Handbook, and was even open to most of the unique classes and paths presented in Unearthed Arcana and elsewhere (no Gunslingers or Artificers).
-BACKGROUNDS: All character backgrounds from the handbook were accepted. Players were allowed to use the traits, flaws, ideals, and bonds in the Player’s Handbook or make their own, whichever they preferred. The characters were requested to have a bit of their own biography. A lengthy character bio wasn’t necessary, BUT I do love that stuff. Even if the players came up with just a few sentences describing who the character is and what their life was like before adventuring, I’d be happy.
-ABILITY SCORES: Stat-block or roll 4d6, I didn’t care. (The rolled.)
-HP: When determining hit points, they could roll a HD or take the suggested number in parentheses per class. Whichever they wanted.
-STARTING GOLD AND EQUIPMENT: They used the rules in the PHB. The players could either buy equipment or take the class equipment packages. I’m not picky.
-DEITIES: For the world of Hybrith I’m using the simplified list of Greyhawk deities found on page 295 of the PHB. Note that these deities are actually “godlings” and a bigger “true god” called Primus Deus created them (Primus Deus doesn’t deal with mortal affairs at all). However, if a player was playing a dragonborn there is a separate set of deities that most of them worship as a race. The dragonborn acknowledge Bahamut as the god of good and Tiamat as the goddess of evil, and below them there is an entire pantheon of draconic saints: legendary dragons that ascended to immortality and became the heads of their respective domains. These draconic saints and their respective domains were available upon request, and will be if a new or existing player wants/needs to make a dragonborn in the future.