I am very excited about the fact that many of you keep sending me emails about what you want to do about your characters. The enthusiasm that you are displaying speaks volumes about how excited you are too! It is my hope that we will be able to create characters with intricate backgrounds and intertwine them to tell a story similar to the 101 Tales of legend.
Let me say that I love the Arabian Nights setting and would highly recommend that you watch something of the flavor to get into the mindset of the genre, in particular I recommend that you do some reading or watching of The 7th Voyage of Sinbad, Prince of Persia, Aladdin and Lawrence of Arabia. In an Arabian Night setting your characters would interact much differently than you would expect to interact in a typical European Fantasy Environment. I will obviously give leeway when needed as we are not Middle Eastern ourselves but it is my hope that we at least try to ham it up a little with our characters. I expect this game will be very highly slanted toward the roleplaying aspects of Pathfinder. To help facilitate the roleplaying we will be using Fate (good and bad) and the Evil Eye as well as Reputation/Station. Reputations are on a sliding scale of 1 - 10 with a 5 being normal and a 1 being infamous and station from 1 (street rat) to 10 (Sultan). Simply put, characters of lower station generally do not address those of higher station and characters of low reputation even of high station are shunned. As we are just starting this game and your characters will be level one your reputations will be 5 and your station will be based on your background.
In this type of a setting, similar to a Kara Tur setting, the characters are most interested in family honor. What each individual does whether they be beggar or Sultan their actions reflect upon their family. An honest thief trying to earn a days wages in the bazaar for instance does not bring his family shame just because he is a thief but if that same person were to steal something say food from the table of a starving family or to have a tryst with the Sultan's daughter then this would create a huge stain in the family's honor and they would be honor-bound to avenge the wrong created. Another popular theme for this type of setting is fame and fortune. I am talking about treasure seeking and you can expect we will be doing a lot of this!
I am planning on this being a low-fantasy campaign and likewise we will be using the slow XP progression chart. This game will be much more about story than it will be about gaining levels, magic items or powers. I find that the lower and mid levels tend to give much more leeway for character adventures in this type of setting. Later, when you guys are higher level, we can talk about exploring the lost lands of Nod or looking for the Sultan of the Genies.
This game will span Zakahara. Zakahara is a large continent situated just south east of Kara Tur which is East of Faerun in Forgotten Realms. To the East of Zakahara lies the realms of Mazteca. This game will cross many environments including desert, mountains, sea and urban. Not all desert will be sandy dunes and the vast majority of the Zakaharan continent is made up of steppes, rocky plains, scrubland and silt. We will be having a meeting to discuss our characters next Tuesday. The goal of this meeting is to ensure that all of the base four are covered (healer, fighter, magic user, rogue) so we have a well-rounded party. Here is a brief outline of what we will be doing as far as characters. This list is important so please check it out carefully as I am trying to give you as much detail as I can before Tuesday when we discuss characters.
- Races: Any Arabian themed race from the races book and the core/ultimate books will be permitted but we will discuss this in more detail on Tuesday.
- Classes: Any that meet the theme. If you make a sorcerer we might call him a Sha'ir for instance and say he gets his magic from the elements or the genies. Likewise a rogue might be a cutpurse and a fighter might be a Mamaluk. We will use the Pathfinder name but give it some theme by calling it the other name and you are always free to use the alternate class features.
- Scores: We will be using the moderate point build system for generating ability scores.
- Restrictions: No moderate or heavy armors as they are not used in this setting. Likewise no great or bastard swords, gear, or weapons of Middle Ages. There are no knights in shining armor in the desert and if there are they are self-heating portable meals on wheels. I might make exceptions for lamellar but not in the desert.
- Books: You may use any of the following books to create your character: Core, Advanced, Ultimate (Magic/Combat/Equipment/Races)
, (Campaign specific Pathfinder book that Chris is going to bring which features Arabian Nights stuff for Galandra - Pathfinder's world).
- I will be using the setting, theme, monsters and other stuff from AD&D, 3.5 and other sourcebooks from Al Qadim and Sandstorm books for flavor.
- Background: Create a detailed character background. The game starts in the port city of Gana. You can either be a city dweller or a member of a desert tribe. All characters will be natives to Zakahara. I want to weave your backgrounds together so give me lots to work with and because this is a land of mysteries you should keep at least some secrets from each other!
- Names: Use an Arabic name generator or Baby Name book for your character name. Family names are important! Many of the titles in the middle of an Arabic name like Ibn or Sul mean "son of" or "daughter of" and they are used frequently. Things like Al-Bakar Sudari are fine as are names like Artemis Ibn Su Lan.
- Traits: Everyone will start with two free traits which may be taken from any of the above listed Pathfinder books.
- Hero (Fate) Points: We will be using the system but we will be calling them Fate Points. Instead of the normal rule I will be using a fate system combined with your percentage roll when you use a Hero point. The roll may be favorable and it may not be favorable. It all depends on your fate. Each character will get 1 hero point per level per game and they will reset each game. You can use your Fate points (one or as many as you have) to call upon the fates in your favor and to curse others if they do you wrong (Evil Eye). The more fate points spent the better than chance it will be in your favor.
- Alternate Rules: For a cinematic feel we will be using called shots and the massive damage rules for the game.
- Hit Points: Roll once for each level after first and keep the result unless a 1 is rolled, then reroll until it is not a 1.
- Turn Pacing: We are all adults and I expect you to know what you will do when it is your turn. To keep the cinematic feeling to the game I will basically give everyone about a minute to tell me what they want to do each round on their turn when it comes up. I want to keep the combats fast and bloody and hopefully short. I may give a little extra time for spellcasters to read their spells but not more than a few minutes max.
- Leadership: I am completely eliminating this feat from this game as I do not wish to deal with followers, henchmen or cohorts.
- Notes and Journals: Keeping detailed notes of the game is going to be essential. There are several puzzles that will take more than one session to figure out and it is good to have a journal of what has happened. If you want to elect someone to keep notes that is fine but I would recommend each person also keep their own notes for important contacts, information, clues, etc.
- Roleplaying Awards: So long as everyone roleplays they will receive a roleplaying award equal to a normal challenge for their level each session.
- Treasure: Treasure will be as the low fantasy charts but I will be using Ultimate Equipment and changing out things to fit the theme of the game.
So get working on your ideas but remember we will be talking together as a group on Tuesday to finalize them! I look forward to what promises to be a very fun game!
AKA Sultan bin Adams ;)