Area Background

  • The game will start in a sheltered valley on the coast of a large continent, protected on one side by the sea and on the other by a nearly impassable mountain range.
  • This mountain range separates the small valley from the rest of the continent, all of which has for the past century been under the dominion of an evil demigod, his sorcerous minions, and the orc hordes they control.
  • In the occupied lands, humans, halflings, and gnomes live as vassals (at best) or slaves (at worst) to the dark lord and his lieutenants. Rumors suggest that small pockets of elves and dwarves still survive in the deepest forests and caverns.
  • In the sheltered valley, stern-faced elves hold dominion. They watch tirelessly over the last few holdfasts protecting the vall* ey from the forces of the shadow. These forces are idle for now, but the memory of the elves is long and they know the calm will not last.
  • Rising from a mountainside in the valley is a remarkable carven edifice, a grand entranceway to the dwarven deep roads, a system of underground highways that connect distant areas of the continent. Before the shadow fell, these roads were used primarily for trade between dwarven cities and the elven and human lands on the surface. Now, a handful of grim dwarves use them to smuggle supplies to their desperate clansmen that still remain in occupied lands, while other intrepid adventurers and men of questionable character use them as conduits to seek the lost treasures of the old lands.
  • On the coast of the sheltered valley, an ancient elven fishing village has been transformed over recent decades into a bustling seaport. Here swarms a motley collection of men, halflings, and others, each seeking to survive and profit off trade and smuggling with the denizens of the valley and the occupied lands beyond. Over the years, the elven name for the village has been forgotten by most – it is now simply called New Town. This is where the adventure will begin.
  • Each character should belong to one of the playable races below.
  • Player characters need NOT originate from the local area. Plenty of other lands exist, and if you have ideas for details about those lands please share them.

Playable Races

Humans

  • Unlikely to be native to the starting continent unless they were born in New Town.
  • Could be natives of the occupied lands that somehow managed to escape.
  • Most likely natives of foreign lands that came here by ship. I have at least one other continent in mind; one home to a series of ever-fighting petty kingdoms (a Game of Thrones-esque setting).

Elves

  • Could be native of the valley or a refugee from the occupied lands
  • I like the Tolkien idea of immortal (or near immortal) Elves, so unless you have an objection let’s go with that. Also, in this world they’ll be, on average, as tall or taller than Men.
  • Elves of the valley tend to be pretty suspicious of the human “newcomers”, even those families that have been here for multiple generations (still a short amount of time in the life of an elf).
  • Elven lore says that this continent is the race’s original homeland. However, elven mariners have travelled to and colonized other lands, so a “foreign” elf wouldn’t be uncommon.

Half Elf

  • Human-elf relationships are not common in the valley, but they aren’t unheard of. Otherwise, half-elven characters could be foreign.

Dwarf

  • Could be native of one of the dwarven cities of the occupied lands. Of these, only one – the one nearest the starting valley – is known for certain to be accessible to the valley via the deep roads.
  • Could also be from other lands.

Halfling

  • Same as humans (see above)

Gnomes

  • Could be native of occupied lands. Gnomes were known to live amongst humans and amongst dwarves.
  • Could also be from other lands.

Others

  • Half Orcs: A possibility, but in the starting area of the adventure if the character is recognized as bring part orc he/she is likely to be killed on sight.
  • Aasimar, Tieflings, Dragonkin, etc: My inclination is to not include these races included in later versions of D&D. If there’s one you’re really interested in, just let me know and we can all discuss it.

Playable Classes

  • There are no restrictions on class. However, the starting setting will be low-magic, so magic users might have a more difficult time progressing, especially those that rely on the study of written spells or the use of hard-to-find components.

Rolling Ability Scores

We’re going to use the “roll 4D6, drop the lowest number” method.

I kind of like the following idea for assigning scores:

  • You must assign the score you roll immediately, and before you roll the next score. You may assign that score to any ability you want provided you haven’t already assigned a score to it.
  • For example, if you roll a 15, assign that to Dex, and then roll an 18, you cannot assign that 18 to Dex (since it already has a score) but must instead assign it to a different ability.
  • If that turns out to be too obnoxious we can forgo it, but I think it’s worth it just for the potential for unexpected results. 

In Defense of the Greenvale