preliminary GM rulings
All of the following constraints on character creation are meant to break out of the standard D&D playing tropes and fallback strategies in hopes of making the game more interesting.
Use 3.5 to create your character. Though throughout game play I will be mixing in some 2nd edition rules.
The party may contain one(1) mage of any race. The mage may be a specialist. A mix of the AD&D 2nd and 3.5 rules on spell access, memorization, magic item use, and spell components will be adhered to. Meaning a level one wizard will begin play with a spell book containing 1d4+1 spells available for memorization each morning. As the wizard grows in level, s/he will have to acquire or create new spells within play. Either as items of treasure or through the process of spellcraft. Spells will not appear in the mage’s spell book at each new level as a product of nondescript “research”. There must be some minimal role playing of research with a description of the magical effect the mage is attempting to create and at least some rolling of spellcraft checks.
This will emphasize the role of the wizard as an academic and experimental scientist. This also makes for a more personal touch on magic. Having to go on a mini-quest to get snake venom for poison arrow can result in an individual magic effect that effects the color or general appearance of the spell effect that is unique to the mage and hearkens back to the player’s hard-earned spells. It also makes for more colorful language when townsfolk react to the mage’s growing reputation.
It will take some convincing for me to agree to a sorcerer since that is how mages wind up being played in D&D anyway and part of the setting I am designing here is that magic is rare and difficult to use.
The party may not contain a human priest(0). For reasons unknown to the people of this world, the various gods do not grant the prayers of humans.
Once in a great while a god of light and purity grants martial and holy prowess to the rare human that rises to sufficient levels of piety and valor. Paladins are the only source of holy magic for the Humans of Verland. I really want there to be a paladin. Having someone who has to be lawful good makes plot easier to write and it makes politics more fun because conflicts of law and good actually present a role playing problem.
The party may not contain more than more than one non-human for every five humans (1/5). Unless there are six humans there can be only one elf/dwarf/gnome/half-elf. Half-elves do not count as a fraction of a non-human. Remember, Elrond was a half-elf. This is to help create the impression that magic is rare. This does not apply to halflings. Hobbits have integrated into the human society of Verland and live in the larger cities and more comfortable villages.
Powerful fighters have a lot of political power in this world. The followers you attract at 9th level make a strong argument for you to be taken seriously and basically are all that is required to establish one as a warlord with your own political fiefdom. Though the 3.5 rules do not call for followers I will be using the follower chart for fighters from 2nd edition. This only makes sense. If you think of any legendary warrior, they always have a cadre of other warriors that follow him for greater glory. Think Beowulf or Achilles.
Rangers and bards are acceptable even though they get the capacity to use magic at higher levels. Bards will still be restricted in what spells they know in the same way as a wizard. Otherwise bard magic will follow 3.5 rules.
Druids may be acceptable if the player makes the case for one and the existence of the druid society.
Stats can be rolled up with any dice-rolling method.
The natural resources of Verland effect the availability of weapons. The good soil makes plants grow well and thus, trees produce good wood. Any item made of wood is of superior quality (+1 to saves and damage) to regular materials or items, and is 10% less expensive than listed in the PHB.
The volcanoes produce an abundant supply of obsidian. Obsidian makes excellent arrowheads. Combined with the high quality of wood, these two factors make for a tradition of archery that excels above that of the continent. Arrow/spear/javelin heads and knives can be made of obsidian. Obsidian is far sharper than metal and does not corrode but has less plasticity and can shatter. Obsidian weapons are 30-50% lighter, have a +1/+1, and cost 10% less, but are broken on an attack roll of 1 even if the roll is not a critical failure.
Because most metal must be imported, metal items are 10% more expensive.
We will also use my favorite Aztec weapons, the atl-atl and the macahuitl.
Thrown projectiles are increased in damage by one die-type and by 50% range when thrown with an atl-atl. ex. a spear normally does 1d6 damage and has a short range of 30 feet. When thrown with an atl-atl the same spear does 1d8 damage and has a short range of 45 feet.
The macahuitl is a square wooden club with blades of black volcanic glass inserted into the sides, that run the length of the weapon. It is an exotic weapon normally, but is a martial weapon for the people of Verland. It weighs 10 lbs; does 1d6 slashing damage; and costs as much as a short sword. The macahuitl is a brutal weapon designed to produce gratuitous amounts of blood. Any creature reduced to 0hp will bleed to death twice as fast and the DC to stabilize them increases by +5.
In addition to the regular proficiencies I will also be rolling up for each player, what used to be called secondary skills. Basically they are the things covered by professions and crafts in the 3.5 rules. I just think it makes sense for a person to have had a profession prior to becoming an adventurer. If this stuff interferes with game play or back story we can always chuck it out.
No double weapons.