A Lost Marches Teaser

I’m using the holiday break to make some headway into future sessions. Such as this little tidbit from a hoard:

You can clearly see, atop the pile of silver and gold coins, the following prominent items.

  • A pair of thick leather, high cuffed gauntlets, studded with well-worn bronze rivets.
  • Boots made of supple leather from a Stag. Each has been dyed differently in woodland tones.
  • A pile of armour pieces crafted from a dark grey metal. Beneath the scars of prior battles, you can see that each plate is embossed with a motif that causes some dread in you.
  • Two luminous crystal vials. The contents of each slowly pulse, casting the soft light of stars on a clear night, one red and one yellow.

Dark Sun Rules Update v.2

Updates on Dec 21st are noted by being bold and underlined.
While this is mainly for the players of my upcoming Dark Sun game, a few of you may find a couple of tidbits in here.
As you know, the Dark Sun player’s book is subject to some revision (largely being based on the Unearthed Arcana rules). A final version of many of the subclasses was released yesterday in “Xanathar’s Guide to Everything”!
In addition, Matthew Mercer’s “Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting” came out a month or so ago, and I’ve pulled some content from it.
So consider this an update citizens of Athas!

Races and Classes

No Changes from version 2.5 of the Dark Sun Players Guide

New Feats

  •  Dwarven Fortitude (XGtE pg 74)
    • Prerequisite: Dwarf, Mul or Half-giant
    • You have the blood of heroes flowing through your veins. You gain the following benefits:
      • Increase your Constitution score by l, to a maximum of 20.
      • Whenever you take the Dodge action in combat, you can spend one Hit Die to heal yourself. Roll the die, add your Constitution modifier, and regain a number of hit points equal to the total (minimum of 1).
  • Prodigy (XGtE pg 75)
    • Prerequisite: Half-elf or Human
    • You have a knack for learning new things. You gain the following benefits:
      • You gain one skill proficiency of your choice, one tool proficiency of your choice, and fluency in one language of your choice.
      • Choose one skill in which you have proficiency. You gain expertise with that skill, which means your proficiency bonus is doubled for any ability check you make with it. The skill you choose must be one that isn’t already benefiting from a feature, such as Expertise, that doubles your proficiency bonus.
  • Dual-focused (TDCS pg 108)
    • Prerequisite: The ability to cast at least one spell Countless hours have been spent training your mind to maintain focus on concurrent incantations, taxing as the process may be.
      • If you attempt to cast a spell that requires concentration while already concentrating on an existing spell, you can maintain concentration on both spells simultaneously. You must spend a standard action each subsequent round on maintaining this concentration, or lose concentration for both spells.
      • At the end of each turn where you have two spells you are concentrating on, you must make a Constitution saving throw (DC equals 10 + the number of complete rounds you’ve been concentrating on two spells). On a failure, you lose concentration for both spells. You can drop concentration on one of your spells during your turn as a free action to avoid this saving throw.
        • Any time you would be forced to make a Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration due to taking damage, the DC equals 10 + both spells’ levels combined, or half the damage you take,  whichever number is higher. On a failure, you lose concentration on both spells.
  • Spelldriver (TDCS pg 109)
    • Prerequisite: Character level 8th or higher
      • Through intense focus, training, and dedication, you’ve harnessed the techniques of rapid spellcasting. You are no longer limited to only one non-cantrip spell per turn. However, should you cast two or more spells in a single turn, only one of them can be of 3rd level or higher.
  • Thrown Arms Master (TDCS pg 109)
    • You’ve honed your ability to lob weaponry into the fray, including weapons not meant for ranged combat. You gain the following benefits:
      • Increase your Strength or Dexterity score by 1, to a maximum of 20.
      • Simple and martial melee weapons without the thrown property can be treated as if they have the thrown property. One-handed weapons have a range of 20/60, while two-handed weapons have a range of 15/30.
      • Weapons that naturally have the thrown property increase their range by +20/+40.
      • When you miss with a thrown weapon attack using a light weapon, the weapon immediately boomerangs back into your grasp.

Rules Clarifications

These clarifications will apply to the Dark Sun game only.

  • Characters begin at 2nd level with Maximum Hit Dice.
  • Each player builds a Character Tree composed of three characters.
    • Every time the active character goes up a level of experience, the player may also advance one of his inactive characters one level. The inactive character chosen must be of a lower level than the active character. Adjust the experience point total on that inactive characters sheet to the minimum number for the new level attained.
  • Attack rolls need to equal or exceed the AC in order to hit. Ties do not go to the defender.
  • If math/calculation results in a fraction, always round down.
  • A character can’t spend any Hit Dice after finishing a short or long rest until someone expends one use of a healer’s kit to bandage and treat the character’s wounds.
  • When you finish a long rest during which you slept in medium or heavy armour, you regain only one-quarter of your spent Hit Dice (minimum of one die). If you have any levels of exhaustion, the rest doesn’t reduce your
    exhaustion level.
  • Temporary hit points aren’t cumulative. If you have temporary hit points and receive more of them, you don’t add them together, unless a game feature says you can. Instead, you decide which temporary hit points to keep.
  • Drinking a Potion is now a bonus action.
  • Administering a Potion to a downed character is an action.
  • The spell Revivify is removed from Dark Sun.
  • Dropping to zero hit points applies one level of cumulative exhaustion to your character. 
  • Flanking grants a +2 to the attack roll instead of Advantage.
  • The spell Vigor is added to Dark Sun.
  • Vigor
    • 1st-level Necromancy
    • Classes: Cleric, Druid
    • Casting time: 1 action
    • Concentration: Yes
    • Range: Touch
    • Duration: Up to 1 minute
    • Target: one person
    • A creature of your choice that you can see within range regains hit points equal to 1 + your spellcasting ability modifier each round. This spell has no effect on Undead or constructs.
    • At Higher Levels: When you cast this spell using a spell slot of 2nd level or higher, the Healing increases by 1 for each slot level above 1st.

It’s over?

“It’s over?”

“That’s it, we killed him?”

“This is bullshit”

“Where’s the accomplishment?”

These were some of the comments from the last hour of our final session of the Curse of Strahd, last night.

With overwhelming firepower, every artefact that they could find, and a judicious use of rest/recovery, the PCs took down Strahd quickly and efficiently. This isn’t to say that the fight was textbook, but it was close to it. The Ranger was in top game, taking down summoned creatures in a single round (before they could build up). The Wizard had prepared Sunbeam, and otherwise focused on counterspelling Strahd, nullifying much of his power. The Priestess chose to use the less impressive, but ultimately more deadly of the options to her (Holding the Dread Lord in place), so that the heavy hitting Fighter could stack on more Magic weapon damage than Strahd could regenerate.

Had any one of the four players chosen to work less as a team, and more for personal glory, the whole thing might have fallen in upon itself.

From my end, it was difficult to stay in check. Here is the titular Villian of the adventure, being laid low in a record time. In the lead up to this fight, the Characters had done everything ‘right’, which made it so much easier for them. So much easier, that they were worthy of the kill.

Therein lies one of the beauties in Strahd, he was always willing to be overthrown/replaced (and ultimately released through death), IF his killer was both Intelligent and Vicious enough. In point of fact, through defeat, Strahd was winning in his own way, and casting a taint upon the ‘victors’. Moments after his destruction, a once closely knit party began to break up and ceased to trust one another.

Strahd was defeated, but a new Dread Lord assumed control of Barovia, the Wizard Gardain.

Our epilogue covered a little bit of what happened next. The main points being, Gardain parted the mists of Barovia and allowed Ristol and Nongrock to return home, while Drana stayed in an effort to keep a watchful eye upon the new Dread Lord, and to help restore faith to Barovia. What the future holds, none are sure.

Did good win, or did evil triumph?

 

The Lost Marches Calendar

I’ve been busy of late so posts have been few and far between. Last night I updated the calendar for The Lost Marches game. All in-game time from my Sunday group is here:

High Water

  • 21. Sundering Day, First day in Limen
  • 22. Bahamuday, Camp in ruined village
  • 23. Moraday, Return to Limen
  • 24. Corelday, PCs Train for 5 Days (Level 2)
  • 25. Day of the Queen, PCs Train for 5 Days (Level 2)
  • 26. Kingsday, PCs Train for 5 Days (Level 2)
  • 27. Magus’s Day, PCs Train for 5 Days (Level 2)
  • 28. Melorasday, PCs Train for 5 Days (Level 2)
  • 29. Pelors Day, Return to ruined village
  • 30. Market Day, Snakes and Skeletons under ruined village

Flame Sun

  • 1. Sundering Day, Ooze and Running Fight under ruined village
  • 2. Bahamuday, Return to Limen
  • 3. Moraday, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 4. Corelday, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 5. Day of the Queen, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 6. Kingsday, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 7. Magus’s Day, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 8. Melorasday, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 9. Pelors Day, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 10. Market Day, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 11. Sundering Day, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 12. Bahamuday, PCs Train for 10 Days (Level 3)
  • 13. Moraday, Journey to the barrows
  • 14. Corelday, First barrow done, visit Limen
  • 15. Day of the Queen, Return to second barrows
  • 16. Kingsday, Sven and return to Limen
  • 17. Magus’s Day, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 18. Melorasday, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 19. Pelors Day, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 20. Market Day, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 21. Sundering Day, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 22. Bahamuday, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 23. Moraday, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 24. Corelday, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 25. Day of the Queen, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 26. Kingsday, all PCs but Adroil train for 10 Days (Level 4)
  • 27. Magus’s Day, Grocery run to Eryn Larke (Black Robed Wizardess)
  • 28. Melorasday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 29. Pelors Day, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 30. Market Day, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime

High Summer

  • 1. Sundering Day, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 2. Bahamuday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 3. Moraday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 4. Corelday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 5. Day of the Queen, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 6. Kingsday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 7. Magus’s Day, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 8. Melorasday, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 9. Pelors Day, Adroil trains for 10 Days (Level 4) others take downtime
  • 10. Market Day, Return to barrows
  • 11. Sundering Day, Dwarven Tomb then Limen
  • 12. Bahamuday, Joxer and the Pommel, others research in Limen
  • 13. Moraday, Downtime day
  • 14. Corelday, Speak with Jarl Baradur and Constable
  • 15. Day of the Queen, Into the Gnollwofe
  • 16. Kingsday, Out of the Gnollwode
  • 17. Magus’s Day, Back into the Gnollwode then flee! Stop at Eryn Larkes
  • 18. Melorasday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 19. Pelors Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 20. Market Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 21. Sundering Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 22. Bahamuday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 23. Moraday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 24. Corelday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 25. Day of the Queen, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 26. Kingsday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 27. Magus’s Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 28. Melorasday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 29. Pelors Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 30. Market Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)

Harvest

  • 1. Sundering Day, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 2. Bahamuday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 3. Moraday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 4. Corelday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 5. Day of the Queen, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 6. Kingsday, PCs train for 20 days (level 5)
  • 7. Magus’s Day, Follow up research with Sage in Limen
  • 8. Melorasday, Investigate the Farm

The Lost Marches!

Last night fantasy feudalism reared its ugly head in The Lost Marches. Not long after leaving the Kingdom of Insulia and entering The Lost Marches, four of five player characters swore fealty to the local Baroness. Mainly this choice was based on the in-game mechanic of privileges that she granted her Yeoman (the title that was granted to each person in her fealty), but they did so of their own free will. In effect, they each took the King’s Shilling.

Fast forward a handful of sessions to two sessions ago: where the players found an ancient document bearing wax seals and signatures while looting tombs. It was decided that a Sage should be consulted, as while the document(s) were clearly a deed and titles of nobility, to whom and what was rather ambiguous.

Last night, the PCs returned to the Sage for information (and with some new questions about ‘The Hammer of Clan Anvil Flame’, which they found) about the deeds. With less than 500 gold each, to their names, the cost of a Sage elicited some minor complaints.

Having had over a tenday to research, the Sage proudly explained that the deed was to the “Keirian Stronghold in Feywode” and “Letters Patent for the Marquess of Mercer, and the subsidiary titles of Baron of Riverfords, and the Baronet of Dragonsclaw) issued by the Emperor Justal”.

Most of these names were of only passing familiarity to the characters, but seeing as they had paid the Sage for some answers (a whole 10 Gold I may add), some explanation was given.

  • Over a millennia ago, The Great Compact was ruled by the Emperor, and one such Emperor was Justal.
  • The Marquess of Mercer is a fairly ‘high’ title of nobility.
    • It is also one of the titles used by the King of Insulia to this day.
  • Subsidiary titles, are titles that are beneath a parent title, and are sometimes used as a courtesy title for the Noble’s family.
  • In anticipation of the Players return, the Sage has already drawn up a map showing the lands of the Marquess of Mercer, and will happily sell it to them for 500 gold. The PCs declined this offer.
  • The Dwarvern Kingdom is ruled by a Thegn and extends under the Mountains. Barak Dur is just a fort.

Some things that could be implied or inferred by the players:

  • The titles were bestowed by the Emperor, implying that it is subservient to him (the Emperor).
  • The King of Insulia’s title of King was also bestowed by the Emperor in the mists of time.

As this is in a ‘West Marches’ style of game, meaning that it’s very open and focused on what the players wish to do, the Sage offered the 5 characters a massive sum of 9000 gold (initially 5000) for the deeds and titles. In essence, the PCs could be bought out of this whole storyline if they wished.

Declining that offer, the PCs elected to research the titles, lands, and ramifications more.

By splitting up the players dug up the following information by tavern crawling, speaking with the temple and library research:

  • The Church of Pelor’s highest-ranking member in the town is the Radiant Servant Bartlett. A gentleman of about 30 winters, and who is married to the sister of the Baroness (making him the Brother-In-Law to the Baroness of Limen).
    • Bartlett knows of the Dwarven Clan, Anvil Flame. It’s one of the higher ranked Dwarven Clans. Speak to Jarl Baradur, a Dwarf on Moraday (the 13th of High Summer).
    • Limen (the town they are in) was once known as Dragonsclaw.
    • The Baroness is of the bloodline of the Marquess of Mercer.
  • Research in the Library turned up loose references to the size and scope of the March.
    • It likely includes part of the Fjallwode, which used to be known as the Feywode.
    • Exact measurements or borders are hard to find, but the March would be larger than the two settled Valleys.
    • Some of the documents in the library are very old and set aside in a reserved section. A large portion of these documents are written in Draconic, and this seems to be where the old nobility titles are kept.
  • The Monk loves ale!
    • Little is said in the Taverns about Dwarves, who are rarely seen around town and mostly on Market Day.
    • This year has been especially “hard” on Adventurers. In years past, about fifty percent of any adventuring party would return to Limen. This year the odds are closer to one in eight.

Some other General information that the PC’s put together/know:

  • Currently, the year is 1436.
  • The first and second valley of The Lost Marches were settled less than 20 years ago.
  • The first valley was settled ‘first’, the second valley more recently.
  • The Town of Limen was settled just over 15 years ago.
  • The players estimate that Castle Limen must have taken 10 years to build.
  • Characters who swore fealty to the Baroness of Limen as Yeoman, swore to her in name ‘Lady Morgaine’ and title ‘The Baroness and Founder of Limen, First of her Name’. They are also in Feudal service to the Baroness, and as your Liege, she may call upon you at any time for any service.
    • Characters who swore service to the Baroness saw that she has a two handed sword that glows, and wore shining armor.
  • The Order of the Radiant Sun (the Order of Pelorian Knights) has declared to the King of Insulia that they shall move their headquarters to The Lost Marches in the year 1440
  • While not a title granted by the King of Insulia, the Baroness of Limen acts as the Feudal overlord of Limen. The Baroness is unchallenged in her claim, and the church of Pelor recognizes her rights over all citizens of Limen.

Why is this all noteworthy? Mainly because the PC’s chose to pursue this story. They could (and still can) cash out for a substantial sum of coin. Instead, they are placing a higher value upon the title and the story.

Up Next

 

 

 

 

 

As of October 4th, my next projected Tuesday game will be set within the burnt world of Athas. While the setup and preparation have already begun, I anticipate that I’ll be trying to lock down my players before the end of November. The game itself will not start until my current game (The Curse of Strahd) meets its organic conclusion. I estimate that, to be sometime in the month of December, but I won’t be rushing it.

The game itself will not start until my current game (The Curse of Strahd) meets its organic conclusion. I estimate that, to be sometime in the month of December, but I won’t be rushing it.

Much like The Lost Marches, my Dark Sun campaign will contain a lot of ‘homebrew’ content.

  • So, if you are:
    • Free on Tuesday nights between 20:00 and 23:15 Eastern
    • Familiar with 5E Dungeons and Dragons rules or willing to learn
    • Have access to a PC, Webcam and Headset
    • Eager for a game set in a post-apocalyptic world
    • Want more details or to express your interest?
      • CONTACT ME ASAP!