Session Zero & Campaign Information
This page is intended as an overview of information, expectation, homebrew, etc. for sessions that I run.
Have fun and be chill, in short
Commitment & Scheduling
Basically 1% of your time (assuming 1 × 4-hour session every 2 weeks)
Character & Story Background
Important information to help you create a great character for this campaign.
Sourcebooks, Races & Sub-Races, Classes & Sub-Classes, Complete Character Change, Optional Class Change, Ability Scores, Hitpoints, No Secret Characters
Shared Initiative and Order, Bloodied, Sprinting, Flanking
Session and Player Notes, Inspiration Tokens, Passives, Milestone XP, Intelligence Points, Encumbrance, Secret Death Saves, Taking 20 is Out, Skills between Players
The Agreement permalink¶
We're all coming together as friends to weave a fun and rich story that's more than you could ever get from a book, TV show, movie, or video game, because when we look back on the adventures that we had together, it's never about what our characters did, it's about what we did. So let's make sure we're maximising enjoyment from this hobby of ours.
That means speaking up when you're uncomfortable or upset in a clear and rational way, and not waiting until the things you don't like about our story begin to outweigh the things you do like.
But it also means finding ways to make our characters' stories incredible ones by lifting each other up, and working together as a team, not just during combat or during intense roleplay interactions, but out-of-game as well, and making sure we're all committed to bringing our best to the table, and leading with empathy when a friend is struggling.
Probably goes without saying, though, cause I have no doubt we'll have no problems anyway!
Let me know whenever something happens that you don't like, and likewise, let me know when something happens that you really like! I'll do everything I can to minimise or remove what's bad, and everything I can to maximise the good!
give ya boi a virtual fist-bump to sign this agreement
Commitment & Scheduling permalink¶
I think it goes without saying that we all want our group and our campaigns to be a success, and part of that means making a commitment to consistent games and giving as much effort as we can give. So it's important that when we begin a new campaign that we're all aware and open about how much time we're able to dedicate to scheduling and playing.
I'll do my best to keep everyone on pace by making a regular and predictable schedule. All that's required on your end is to pick dates that work for you, really and truly work. That may mean making sure we're all available once every two weeks for several consecutive months; however, none of us expects us all to have a concrete schedule that far ahead, so we'll aim for the best and play it by ear. It's 1000% fine if you can't make it sometimes, so long as it's not most of the time. We all want you at the table, so we'll work around to find what works!
And to help you remember when sessions have been scheduled, I'll also do my best to keep this calendar feed up-to-date with finalised session dates. Please drag it into your calendar/subscribe/whatever if it helps you.
Character & Story Background permalink¶
This campaign will take you on a sprawling adventure across a vast and rich world where you'll have the opportunity to really shine, no matter what kind of character you'd like to create. As such, you're highly encouraged to think about your character's traits, ideals, bonds, flaws, etc. and how you'd like your character to develop over the course of the story.
I can work with any ideas that you have to weave them into the story however you feel best suits the story you'd like tell.
Don’t worry, sOMethINg HAPpEnS early on in the campaign—ideally, shortly after Session 1 or 2—which will make the Gods and Magic available to your characters, so play what you wish! You can completely reroll your character after Session 1, and change class when you hit Level 2. (Classes & Races)
Think about how you want your character to have some tie to the town of Voltimari.
Here are a few characters you would know if you lived there, or could know as a frequent visitor of Voltimari:
Master spearfisher; always calm and focussed
Ship Master of Voltimari, Captain of
Proprietor of Gyleon’s Carvings, selling carved knick-knacks and wooden shields, rather lazy but good-natured
Owner and Barman of
Travelling archeologist who calls Voltimari her infrequent home, messy brown hair and soft green eyes
Midtown merchant selling peculiar and old trinkets, looking mostly like detritus of the sea, but is wise despite it, and compeletely bald
Trades Master of Voltimari, a bit sleazy and lacking in self-awareness, has one green and one blue eye
These Homebrew Rules are all intended to help the session run more smoothly, balance mechanics better, and to inject some fun and tension into our gameplay.
Character Creation permalink¶
Any official Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition sourcebooks are available to use:
- Player's Handbook
- Dungeon Master's Guide
- Xanathar's Guide to Everything
The following are at the DM’s discretion:
- Critical Role
- Unearthed Arcana
We’ll use a modern approach to origin traits, meaning you can customise your Origin Ability Score Increase and/or Origin Languages.
You can also multiclass if you wish!
Complete Character Change after 1st Session.
Because this will be a long-term campaign and I want you to enjoy your characters, the first session will be a bit of a test for your character, and if you're unhappy with things, you're free to completely re-roll any aspect of your character before the second session.
Optional Class Change at 2nd Level.
At 2nd Level, you will have the option to change your class, and, as such, you may wish to play as a Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, or Rogue until then. You could also choose to simply re-flavour your class for the 1st Level; although, this means your character will see reduced abilities if you choose to play one of the following classes: Artificer, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Paladin, Ranger, Sorcerer, Warlock, Wizard.
No Secret Characters.
Players are encouraged against creating characters that harbour too many secrets that they wouldn't share with the rest of the party. While that's not to say that you cannot reveal the many facets of your character as the story progresses (and you should!), what I would like is for the Players to at least know the race, class, and a shallow summary of all the Characters to encourage synergy and prevent unwanted clashing.
We’ll be using Point Buy for Ability Scores. This gives you 27 points to spend on your six ability scores, the value of each costing a certain amount of points… It’s made a lot simpler with D&D Beyond, so don’t worry about it. Using Point Buy offers you the greatest flexibility and allows you to really pump some abilities and dump others, or make a complete generalist, or whatever suits your character idea.
The reason for not using Standard Array is it results in really middle-of-the-road scores, and Rolling (e.g. 4d6, drop the lowest) can result in wild imbalance, not just between your scores but also between party members, and feeling underpowered next to your companions for the entire campaign is a drag.
If half or more of the party roll their highest possible result, everyone automatically gets their own highest possible result.
1st Level: Maximum Hitpoints
2nd – 20th Level: You can take the average roll for your class, rounded up (e.g. Fighter gets d10 per level, average would be 6) OR Roll for Hitpoints, re-rolling on 1s.
Shared Initiative and Order.
If two players end up with the same initiative in combat, they can choose to go at the same time, meaning they can coordinate and interweave their actions. When an NPC has the same initiative as a player, the NPC goes after, and enemy NPCs go before ally NPCs too.
To try to keep combat light and quick, the DM will tell you when an enemy becomes Bloodied—dropping below half their Hitpoints—rather than go into detail of their wounds as they take damage.
On your turn, you can sacrifice all of your Actions to Sprint at 5 × Speed in a straight line, but the movement you make provokes Opportunity Attacks at Advantage.
Flanking an enemy, you and an ally being on opposite sides of it and adjacent to the enemy, gives you a + 2 to your Attack roll. If the enemy’s Passive Perception is 19 or greater, they have Blindsight, or could realistically see in more places than one, flanking is not possible.
Session and Player Notes.
Players are in charge of creating and organising their own notes on the campaign. At the start of each session, the Players are in charge of going through a re-cap of the last session(s). Of course, I’ll always help you fill in the gaps because I don’t expect you to have a perfect memory, and I’m hoping that my campaign is memorable enough this won’t be difficult anyway.
At the beginning of each session, each Player is given a face-up coin/token which they can flip over to gain advantage on any d20 roll or as a re-roll but the re-rolled result must be taken. It stays flipped over for the rest of the session until the Player rolls a Natural 1 or an enemy lands a critical attack on the Player. The DM can also flip the coin/token back to face-up as a method of awarding inspiration, to give the Player disadvantage on a roll, etc.
Passive Insight, Investigation, and Perception.
Unless specifically directed to, you will need to declare whenever you'd like to make Insight (Wisdom), Investigation (Intelligence), or Perception (Wisdom) checks. Otherwise, I will use your Passive Insight, Passive Investigation, or Passive Perception to direct what you know, find, or see, which will always be the rounded-down average of your base roll (e.g. with Perception +4, you could roll from 5 to 24, and your Passive Perception would be 14).
This campaign breaks down the adventure into parts, some of which can be done in any order, but each rewarding the characters with a Level. This means you will not have to track experience points, but also asks you to put trust in me that I will put engaging and worthwhile side-tasks for you to embark on since you won't be in a situation like
if we just all go out and kill some random wild animal we'll level up.
If your Intelligence modifier is positive, you gain a number of Intelligence Points equal to your modifier, which you can spend to gain proficiency in something (skills, languages, tools, etc.) and you can spend 3 points to gain expertise. This gives a bit more power to Intelligence which is slightly under-represented in D&D 5e.
Why?!…I hear you cry, but it's straightforward and forgiving:
Carrying Capacity = 15 × Strength Score.
Push / Drag / Lift Capacity at a Speed of 5 ft. per round = 2 × Carry Capacity
This means if you have a Strength Score of 10, you can carry 150 lb. and push/drag/lift up to 300 lb. This gives a bit more power to Strength which is slightly under-represented in D&D 5e. I also have no intention of putting you in a position where your Carrying Capacity actually becomes an issue for you; it's far more likely that we'll only ever have to deal with your ability to push/drag/lift.
Currency is weightless for simplicity’s sake.
Secret Death Saves.
In order to create (what I hope is) some fun tension, the DM makes all death saving throws in secret.
Players without the ability to heal can make a DC 10 Medicine (Wisdom) check, but it counts as a death saving throw!
Taking 20 is Out.
Taking 20 tends to really dumb down interactions. Where it makes sense, you can always re-roll on a failed check.
Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution checks can typically be re-rolled; Wisdom and Charisma checks can be re-rolled at discretion; Intelligence checks can rarely be re-rolled due to the nature of either knowing or not knowing something!
Deception, Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion between Players.
Use of Deception, Insight, Intimidation, and Persuasion between Players is discouraged in favour of simply roleplaying the interaction. If you wish to, you can still make these rolls, but this puts you in charge of arbitrating the interaction, perhaps even regardless of the result of the roll (the DM can intervene if you would like). This should give you more control over your narratives without anyone feeling strong-armed roleplay-wise by the roll of a die.
3rd-Party Content permalink¶
YEET! · Open the full document.
Reflavours the Shove action into another full-blown YEET action:
- The target creature must be actively grappled to be throwable.
- You can throw a creature a distance equal to 5 ft. × Strength Modifier.
- Add/subtract increments of 5 ft. from the distance based on the Size difference between the thrower and throwee.
- Throwing a creature 10 ft. or more deals the thrower’s Strength Modifier as bludgeoning damage.
- A thrown creature must make a Dexterity saving throw equal to 8 + Strength Modifier of the thrower.
- If a thrown creature is stopped before travelling the full possible thrown distance, they take 1d6 bludgeoning damage per size category smaller it is than the thrower, and is not cumulative with falling damage, should any occur.
- If a thrown creature is stopped by another creature before travelling the full possible thrown distance, that creature also takes 1d6 damage and must make a Dexterity saving throw or fall prone.
- A willingly-thrown creature neither needs to contest the Grapple check nor make a saving thrown against falling prone.
Firearms and Ammunition.
Adds more flavour to Ranged weapons in the form of gunpowder-based firearms and ammunition, particularly for the Fighter subclass, Gunslinger:
Firearm Cost Ammo Damage Weight Range Properties Palm Pistol 50g 2g (20) 1d8 piercing 1 lb. 40/160 Light, Reload (1), Misfire (1) Pistol 150g 4g (20) 1d10 piercing 3 lb. 60/240 Reload (4), Misfire (1) Musket 300g 5g (20) 1d12 piercing 10 lb. 120/480 Two-handed, Reload (1), Misfire (2) Pepperbox 250g 4g (20) 1d10 piercing 5 lb. 80/320 Reload (6), Misfire (2) Blunderbuss 300g 5g (5) 2d8 piercing 10 lb. 15/60 Reload (1), Misfire (2) Rifle Crafted 10g (1) 2d12 piercing 25 lb. 20/800 Two-handed, Reload (1), Misfire (3) Handheld Explosive Crafted 10g (1) 2d8 fire 10 lb. 30/60 Explosive, Reload (1), Misfire (3)