The Last Empire
Campaign Specific Character Creation
1) No Feats at L1. Feats will unlock as the campaign progresses with specific feats opening at L4 and L8 depending on the character’s actions. Making the right friends, finding the right stuff, dedication to a weapon or tactic and good old fashioned role play can provide justification for feats at upper levels.
2) Limited races.
- Human. Humans are the most common PC race and are highly recommended. They are all from New Kels Valley; the last remaining settlement of the once great Empire. New Kels was founded 75 years ago and has been isolated from the Empire since its fall 50 years ago. Since then the humans of New Kels have prospered under the protection of the Dwarven Clans.
- Elf. All PC elves are changelings raised by humans. This is rare. An elven infant is exchanged for a human infant without the human parents being aware. A powerful enchantment is placed upon the human family that makes them dedicated to the well-being of their elven child. The changeling has all the physical traits, stats and life span of an elf but none of their cultural aspects such as languages or favored weapons. A Changeling may vary in their attitude toward their human friends often trying to fit in by hiding their race (Disguise Kit when used to pass as human is free to changelings) but as the decades pass and their differences become more apparent and they tend to isolate themselves or move to places where they are not known. Note: No human has seen an elf who is not a changeling and lived to tell the tale. Elves are the stuff of terrifying legend and changelings are assumed to have some connection to them. The Dwarves seem to know more about elves than humans do but have little trust in them.
- Half Elf. The children of a human and an elf changeling. Slightly more common than changelings and far less terrifying, half elves generally live their long lives out as humans without the stigma of their elven blood. They need no disguise skill to pass as human but Dwarves can sniff out their elven blood and do not trust them.
- Dwarf. NO DWARVEN PCS TO START. Dwarves are a hard race bound to their clans and locked in a perpetual war with the Uruk to the east. They are the wall that protects the humans of New Kels and allows the campaign to exist in the first place. If you see a dwarf he will be a dangerous veteran of countless battles. Do not touch. A dwarf might make a good replacement character after a few levels. Not now.
- Fighter. No problem. New Kels has a small army trained but inexperienced. Protection and Great weapon style will be open only to those with Soldier background. Non-soldier fighters would be local militia or trained by an itinerant master. Horses are rare in New Kels and there is no cavalry.
- Wizard. Kinda rare, but OK.
Most wizards are trained as apprentices by an aged master in some secluded tower. These masters are a dying breed having fled the Imperial courts taking only what they could carry. Their apprentices are taken on only if they show great potential and great dedication to their master’s craft. Sage or Hermit (Master is dead and the apprentice has continued to learn in the abandoned tower) are suitable backgrounds. Note: Necromancers and Enchanters make people feel icky. Evokers who are not part of the Imperial Society of Warmages don’t get along with ISoW.
- There is a remnant of the Imperial Society or Warmages attached to the Army of New Kels. They are all Evokers, have Soldier as a background and at least one level as Fighter. ISoC wizards tend to favor cold and lightning over fire.
- Cleric. OK. The only PC religion at the start is The Free Faith. It is generally benign and doesn’t demand too much of its adherents. Details are in the Free Faith section of the WIKI.
- Most Free Faith priests are Life domain. They are trained in small kirks in the ways of the Faith and look forward to having a kirk of their own. Priests are gregarious and enjoy life. They frequently take on a trade to support themselves without taking from their flock. Guild Artisan or Entertainer are common choices. Folk Hero is also an option with the priest having pulled their community through a hard winter or an outbreak of disease or a crisis of faith. There are no acolytes in New Kels who are not Protectors.
- There is a sect of Protectors attached to the Army of New Kels. Some are Life domain but most are War domain. The Protectors have a temple in Harsell where a dozen or so acolytes are trained to replace their ranks. All Protectors have an officer’s rank in the army which they typically defer to a soldier in times of battle.
- Ranger. OK. Rangers in New Kels are all hunters. Their favored enemy must be Beast. They tend to stick to a particular hunting ground spending the winter in a nearby town and the rest of the year in the highlands camping. Rangers most often have Outlander (limited to Hunter or Trapper and substitute intimate knowledge of their hunting grounds for Wanderer) but nearly any background may be taken (the less likely backgrounds would add a few years to the character’s starting age as they have obviously failed or retired from their pervious profession).
- True Rangers have a secret society of their own trading techniques and knowledge. This Brotherhood of the High Hills has few rules outside of the expectation of aid when called and generally not being an ass. In return the Ranger will learn the magic of their trade. A Ranger who is not in the Brotherhood will not lose the magic they have already learned but will not progress in spell casting until they return to good standing.
- Rogue. OK. Pretty much a standard rogue, swashbuckler, jack of all trades type. New Kels is a peaceful, prosperous land where people are generally kind to one another. A degree of petty theft is tolerated. Mischief, larceny, some burglary, a little protection racket here and there is ok. Assault will put you in jail and murder will get you hanged. Most rogues have the Criminal or Charlatan background but as with Rangers anything is possible.
- Thieves sometimes form loose bands to leverage a particular situation. There is rumored to be The Master of Thieves who knows the location and skills of every criminal in New Kels. He(?) manipulates them into the right team for a particular job that suits his(?) purpose. The Master’s Hand is seldom seen but when a job goes particularly well or poorly the Master’s Hand is given the credit. The Master of Thieves is nearly a deity to rogues.
- Bard. Rare but OK. Wandering troubadours with a story to tell, Bards in New Kels tend to be older. Start at about age 25. All Bards’ training originates from the apprentices of Dornatha the Learned, the court wizard of Duke Harsell of Kels. She trained jesters for the other courts who acted as agents and spies for the Duke. While bards are masters of deception and often have their own agenda they remain loyal to New Kels.
- Paladin. There are very few and all are Protectors. They seldom act without orders. You probably don’t want to play one.
- Witches and warlocks are hunted and killed. They are all working for otherworldly forces.
- Sorcerers are hunted and killed. They are tainted by magic outside the ken of man.
- Druids are hunted and killed. They serve the Fey.
- There are no monks.
- There are no barbarians.
4) Alignment.: We won’t be doing alignment per se. Characters with a connection to the wider world will prosper. Murder hobos will not.
5) Level: We won’t be doing EXP. I will tell you when to level up. It will typically happen as part of a training montage or during downtime.
6) Balance: Don’t expect it. Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. I won’t kill PCs willy-nilly but when a dangerous situation arises I’ll tell you. Running away or surrender may be an option. Characters may very well die. I will try to make their deaths meaningful to the story. New characters will step in when appropriate at similar level of the rest of the party.
7) PVP: Non-lethal PVP is an expected part of most fantasy stories. People get in fights and contests all the time. It’s a good way to figure out what the other characters can do. I generally won’t penalize it. Lethal PVP is an option as well but the story will change completely afterwards.
8) Provisions: I won’t expect an exhaustive list of supplies your character is carrying. Instead you will have a few established items that make your character who he is and a limited supply of abstract “provisions” that will be spent as longer journeys are undertaken.
9) Builds: We will be using a 27point stat buy as in the Players Handbook. Athlete skill is available to ANY CHARACTER regardless of class or background due to the hilly nature of the New Kels Valley where the campaign will begin.