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Lacis Lycorma Handout #001

This is an HTML version of the first player handout for the Lacis Lycorma Campaign. It contains no campaign spoilers, but it does introduce a few interesting pieces of information to help flesh out the world around the players at the start of the campaign.

A good amount of the material in this booklet is © Paizo, reprinted here for the benefit of my players. It’s easier to read something when You hold it in Your hands, so please, if You work for Paizo, don’t sue me. All of this information is already freely available in multiple places online.

All original material in this booklet is © 2018 Christopher Rodriguez, but licensed to the pulic at large under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0 Unported. Feel free to reusing, remix, or reference this material anywhere You want, just credit me and let others do the same with Your creation.

Meta Info

This adventure (and, as this is the first part, this campaign) was designed for a party of 5 Level 1 Mostly-Non-Evil PCs. It uses Golarion as a base, specifically the Inner Sea Region, and is meant to go on for a long time.

Setting

This section details the background information of the areas expected to show up in the first session.

The Nation of Andoran

The adventure begins in the port city of Augustana, in the Arthfell region, on the North side of the Aspo Bay. It is the second largest city in Andoran, the “Birthplace of Freedom”.

Politics

Here, the Common Rule holds sway beneath the leadership of Supreme Elect Codwin I, who is in his third term leading the People’s Council.

During his long rule, he’s done many things to reinforce Andoren views against slavery, reverence of the Common Rule, and desire to remain a united nation instead of many smaller states. However, due to his many years in office, some people are beginning to grumble that his rule is beginning to take on the appearance and stink of monarchy, and thus are starting to float the idea of term limits.

Common Rule was established nearly fifty years ago, following Andoran’s secession from it’s western neighbor, the empire of Cheliax. It’s based on the concept that all are inherently equal in importance, and that no individual has the right to force their own beliefs upon another. This libertarian ideal guides much of Andoren politics, even to this day.

The People’s Council is the elected body meant to govern Andoran. Its 350 members are elected from the trade guilds and municipalities of Andoran every five years, after which they elect one of their own to becom the Supreme Elect. They meet in the capital city, Almas, every six months (with special sessions as needed) to appoint magistrates, draft laws, and fill newly-vacant regional positions in Andoran.

Geography

Andoran is located on the northern coast of the Inner Sea. The nation is separated from its western neighbor, the empire of Cheliax, by the Aspodell Mountains.

The Five Kings Range perform a similar function in the north, serving as a barrier between Andoran and the nations of Druma, Isger, Kyonin, and the Five Kings Mountains.

To the east lie the nations of Galt and Taldor; much of Andoran’s eastern border lies within the Verduran Forest, and follows the flow of the Sellen River.

To the south is the Aspo Bay, which surrounds the City at the Center of the world, Absalom. On the other side of the Bay are the ancient desert nations of Osirion and Thuvia.

The nation can be divided into five general regions: the capital city of Almas and its surrounding countryside, the coastal Arthfell region, the agriculture-rich Carpenden Plains, Darkmoon Vale, dominated by the Lumber Consortium, and the fey-contested Verduran Forest.

Andoran’s interior is dominated by plains and hills, and the remnants of Arthfell Forest. Darkmoon Vale in the northwest is dominated by Droskar’s Crag, a massive volcano that serves as the southernmost point of the Five Kings Range.

People

The human population of Andoran is primarily of Chelaxian and Taldan extraction, with halflings the most common non-human race. Andoran also has the largest concentration of kobolds in the Inner Sea region, and one of the biggest number of aasimars.

Above all else, the citizens of Andoran are passionate about their country and their freedom. A history of being ruled by foreign powers, first under Taldor, and then Cheliax, resulted in a heavy burden; over time, as the region’s resources and the people’s independence were slowly worn away, this burden grew too great to be tolerated any longer.

This history, however, has made the most common non-Common tongues in the region Taldane and (much less common, but still) Infernal.

The proud people of Andoran claimed their nation’s sovereignty, and are determined to prove to disbelievers that the concepts of freedom and equality that they hold will remain strong in the face of any hardship.

The people that inhabit the nation of Andoran are also highly opinionated, often holding differing perspectives on how best to preserve their nation and spread its influence. That said, almost all Andorens share certain beliefs in common:

  1. Arguments and discussions should be based on merit, rather than half-truths or falsehoods.
  2. All people have a right to have their voice heard, and one should be judged by their actions above all else.
  3. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so long as it is not actually that of a foreign power.

By embracing and preserving these beliefs and others like them, the people of Andoran hope to ensure Common Rule, and the freedom it brings, for many generations to come.

Rule Clarifications

This section defines the game rules we’re using in the game.

Character Creation Rules

Point Buy

We’re using a 20-point point buy for creating characters. The costs are based on the following table:

Score Cost
07 −04
08 −02
09 −01
10 ±00
11 +01
12 +02
13 +03
14 +05
15 +07
16 +10
17 +13
18 +17

You need to set each of Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma to one of those scores, and the total cost should be equal to 20. This should be done before Your race modifiers are applied: If You are using the sheet I recommended, the score You choose should go in the “Base” column of Your attributes.

This is also called a “High Fantasy” point buy, if You are using a calculator online. If so, just ignore the race selector or set it to human and don’t add anything to any of Your chosen scores. You’ll do that manually, after the point buy is over.

Hero Points

There’s an optional rule system we’re going to use called “Hero Points”. These little credits help encourage drama and roleplay at the table. Things You can do with them include, but are not limited to:

  • Act out of turn in combat.
  • Reroll any 1d20 roll, taking the second result (even if it’s worse).
  • Gain a luck bonus to a 1d20 roll.
  • Gain Inspiration on what to do next (GM hint).
  • Move or Act twice in one turn.
  • Cheat Death, if You have two of them.

Every character starts play with 1 Hero Point. You also gain hero points automatically when You level up, or (if You had none when You died) when You are raised from the dead. The final way to get them is through my granting them to You. There are no rules saying when I can do so; It’s up to my discretion, but a few of the things I will grant hero points for are:

  • Writing out a backstory for Your character, or completing a character detail sheet.
  • Completing major arcs in the story.
  • Succeessfully doing something very difficult in game.
  • Roleplaying with Your fellow players well.
  • Appeasing Your chosen God/Liege/Doctrine/etc.
  • Acting like a hero.

    I’ll also give You one if You go a whole session, start to finish, with none at all. Remember, I can and will award these as I please, and they are something I use to encourage dramatic storytelling and roleplay. I’m pretty liberal with them, compared to other GMs I’ve played with, so don’t horde them too much.

Errata

A lot of people don’t really like to keep track of things like food and spell components. I’m fine with not forcing You to spend 1 cp each on 20 different spell components; instead, I’ll let You choose how much You’ve spent on “Spell Components” in general, and every time You would have needed one we’ll subtract the cost from that pool. It makes it simple to track while not removing a check on unlimited arcane power in the system.

As for food, provided You return to a city once every 24 hours or so and buy Your kit at the beginning of the game, I’ll assume You’ve eaten. That makes it so You are carrying rations weight-wise and not going weeks without eating, but also prevents You from having to remember to buy food for 3 meals a day.

That said, I \emph{do} have my players track carrying capacities. And that’s including any treasure You might find, and money (50 coins = 1 lb, regardless of denomination (CRB, p140). I’d recommend getting a sack, too, though I don’t really bother with inventory management other than weight.

Sleep, also, exists in my game:

Characters who do not get a full night’s sleep may suffer the effects of fatigue. If a PC does not get at least 6 hours of sleep, she must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or be fatigued and take a –1 penalty on all other checks and saving throws against sleep effects. A second night without sleep requires another DC 15 Fortitude save. A failed save results in the character becoming exhausted and the penalties increasing to –2. A third failed save on the next night increases the penalties to –3.

Sleeping in armor (unless You specifically have a character trait that overrides this) just makes You fatigued each night You do so. Though, if You are already fatigued and pull an all nighter, You will be exhausted.

Character Creation Outline

Character Creation basically goes like this:

Character Creation Cheat Sheet

  1. Buy Attributes.
  2. Pick a Class and a Race.
  3. Choose Skills.
  4. Choose Feats.
  5. Choose Gear.
  6. Fill In Blanks on Sheet
  7. Detail Character

Detailed Character Creation

What follows is a more detailed description of the process, but feel free to use the above instead. This is mostly to clarify some of the more confusing parts.

Character Concept

The first thing You need to do, though, is have a character concept. It’s important to have an idea of the kind of character You might like to play, because it helps to guide Your decisions going forward with the character creation. It can be as simple as ‘A warrior’, or as complex as ‘A disgraced noble who wants to clear his name by doing good deeds’. It shouldn’t be more than one or two sentences though, because that’ll come during character creation.

This is doubly important because, in the end, this is a Role-Playing Game. I value roleplaying pretty highly in the games I run; If You don’t have a role You want to play (other than a race/class/spec combo like in an MMO), You won’t have as much fun as You could at my table.

Attributes

Next, is Your attributes. I usually have my players do a 20 point point-buy, which You can do without a problem using a calculator online. And there are many good articles on maximizing Your character’s bonuses using a 20 point buy.

A good strategy, if You are torn by indecision in this point, is to list the Attributes in order of importance to Your character. A really tough character would value CON over DEX, for example. Once You have them all in order, simply assign Your attributes in this order: 15, 14, 14, 14, 12, 7.

This is an optimized generalist array of scores for the 20 point-buy. This works with any array You find online, though (feel free to use others).

Class/Race Combo

Once You have Your Attributes selected, You pick a race and a class. Unlike some older games, there are no restrictions as to which race can pick which class. You can pick any combination.

Generally, I suggest people pick a class first if they are stuck, because otherwise You end up with a lot of Elven Wizards, Halfling Rogues, Dwarven Clerics, Human Fighters, Gnomish Illusionists/Bards, Half-Elven Rangers/Druids, and Half-Orc Barbarians. There’s nothing wrong with any of those, but there’s no reason a Dwarf has to be a Cleric. Picking the class first helps people avoid those sterotypes influencing their decisions.

As for where to choose Your class from, they get more complex as You go down this line: Unchained Class → Core Class → Base Class → Hybrid Class → Prestige Class. If You want to keep things simple, start with a Core class and go from there.

And, just so I mention them, there are a lot of Archetypes for most classes. These allow You to tweak a class to more closely fit Your character concept, and can be great! But, they can also slow You down a whole lot in terms of character creation, and can also lead to regrets down the line. Approach with cautious excitement.

Skills

Once You have those picked, It’s time for Skills. This can be a little tricky for newcomers, just because it looks overly complex.

To keep things simple: Spend one skill point on each of Your class skills until You run out. Spend the rest as You wish. Read on for details.

At level 1, You get a certain number of skill points plus Your Int Bonus, for example 4 + 2. That would mean You have 6 ranks to spend. You also have a few skills which Your class is generally good at. These are Your class skills, and they get a +3 bonus if You have spent at least one rank in them.

You can only spend as many ranks on a skill as You have levels, so the most You can spend on a skill right now is 1. A simple way to quickly spend them is to buy as many of Your class skills as You can. If You don’t just wanna do that, universally good skills to spend on are Perception, Sense Motive, and Stealth.

Feats

Next is Feats, which are simple enough. You get one at first level, an extra one if You took a Fighter-based class, and an extra one if You are human.

Feats are little traits that make Your character better at something. Picking Feats is a hotly debated topic, so I can’t give any broad recommendations, but when all else fails “Toughness” is never a bad choice.

There are many guides by various people online for each class. YMMV.

Equipment

Second to last is Your Equipment. There are “Kits” for most classes, or that will work well with similar classes. I suggest buying those, a weapon, some armor, and then looking at what You have left to spend.

Remember to divy up any remaining money! We store money as coins (see the Rules section for details).

By this point, a lot of people are kind of bored and basically done with making characters. If that’s You, don’t worry. You are basically done, and just buying the above is fine to start out with.

Fill In Details

Finally, looking at Your sheet, fill in any and all blanks. No bonus? Write a Zero. Not able to be used? Type an —. This helps when You are looking at Your sheet and Wondering what Your Swim Skill is, only to find that You didn’t fill it out because You spent no ranks on it, and now Your character is drowning and everything sucks.

This is also when any details You skipped at the beginning get filled in: What they look like, Where they’re from, Who they worship, etc.

And there You go, all done! Easy as 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10… I know. But, it gets easier the more You do it. And You are all done now! Congrats!