This campaign uses the “Epic6” (or “E6”) variant of the D&D 3.5 rules. This works just like regular D&D 3.5, but instead of mortals advancing from 1st to 20th level, they only advance to 6th level, and characters this high level are considered as “epic” as a 20th level character would be in vanilla 3.5. Most mortals never advance beyond 3rd level in their entire life, major players in the world typically reach 4th, and fifth and sixth level characters are likely to be remembered for decades or centuries. For the truly exceptional individuals, character advancement does not stop entirely at 6th level, but rather than gaining additional levels, all advancement after 6th level happens in the form of gaining additional feats (one per 5000 additional XP).
Character Background and Inspiration
PCs in this game are not “murder-hobos” (as I’ve sometimes seen the classic “wandering mercenary adventurers” called :-) ). They have a steady job in a city and connections to the people around them. It’s up to you whether your PC is a long-time inhabitant of Viridumar with established family and social connections (Viridumar is over 4000 years old), a first- or second-generation immigrant, a refugee from the recent hill giant troubles up north, or etc.
For many players (myself included!) it’s often difficult to flesh out a character before beginning the game, and much easier to start with a basic concept and develop it through play. If that works for you, go for it! I’m just asking you to have a rough idea of who your character is at the beginning because it makes it easier for me to plan interesting adventures for him or her. :-)
Some questions to ask your character
- Why are you working for the Watch? Is it a calling, or just a job? Is it a step up from your previous circumstances or family background, or a step down?
- Do you have a family in the city, or elsewhere? Parents, grandparents, siblings, cousins, spouse, children? What do they think of your involvement with the Watch?
- Starting PCs are Corporal or Sergeant in rank. Did you work your way up from Constable or were there extenuating circumstances (past experience, family money or connections, etc.) that let you start out at this rank? If the latter, do you owe someone a favor?
- If you’ve been with the Watch a while now, do you have allies or enemies as a result? (A shopkeeper whose goods you recovered from a thief, a family whose brother or daughter you arrested, etc.)
Some “cop show” character cliches for inspiration
- The idealistic or even naive newbie. (Itrid and Da’ni both border on this in their own different ways)
- The “seen-it-all” veteran who’s “getting too old for this” but will never willingly retire. (Elial?)
- The lab geek or other specialist (alchemist? diviner?) whose lack of traditional policing skills is made up for in other ways.
- The one who wants justice to be done (whether according to the letter of the law or some personal code) above all else. May bend (or even break) the rules in pursuit of this goal.
- The cheerfully corrupt one who has contacts on the wrong side of the law, takes bribes occasionally, and so forth, but can nonetheless be relied on when really needed.
- The burnout who’s let the stresses of the job push him to destructive (whether self- or other-) behavior.
- The one who doesn’t fit in (elf, dwarf, aristocrat, etc.). May have something to prove, or may just have to deal with lack of respect from the other watchmen and confusion from the populace.
- The politically savvy up-and-comer (might be always looking out for number one, might just have friends in high places). (Also touched on by both Itrid and Da’ni…)
- Buddy cops – the one who’s a total stickler for the rules and the one who isn’t.
- The transfer from another force (former military, former imperial guard, maybe even from a different city-state altogether?)
- …and many others, no doubt!
Another source of inspiration – the general template for many a buddy cop show – “One’s a <adjective> <noun> with a <noun>. The other’s a <adjective> <noun> who <verbs>. Together, they fight crime!”
- As a baseline assumption when building your character, any material from the Player’s Handbook 3.5 or the “Core Rules” section of the D&D 3.5 SRD is permitted.
- Rules from other books or from the other sections of the SRD are likely to be permitted, but please check with the DM first!
- Also see House Rules
- 32 point buy: all stats start at 8, increasing to 9-14 each costs one point, to 15 and 16 each costs 2 points, to 17 and 18 each costs 3 points. For example, buying a stat to 18 costs a total of (1+1+1+1+1+1+2+2+3+3 =) 16 points.
- All core Player’s Handbook races are permitted. Others on a case-by-case basis. Note that Viridumar is a heavily human city, and furthermore many humans of Viridumar take pride in their (however tenuous) links to the ancient True Viridian bloodline, so non-humans may be looked at with suspicion, and part-humans (half-elves, half-orcs) with disdain. Of course, any member of the Watch, even humans, will be well-acquainted with such reactions from the citizenry in any case…
Classes and Levels
- All PCs begin at Level 2.
- PCs should be built as gestalt characters – in brief, the character chooses two classes at each level, takes all class features of each, and takes the skill points, saves, and HP of whichever class is the better of the two.
- For PCs in this campaign, one “half” of each level must be composed of a PC class(es) and the other half of an NPC class. (NPC classes are simpler and slightly less powerful than PC classes, so this will result in a less complex character than a PC/PC gestalt character would be.) So for example, a starting PC could be a Fighter2 || Expert2 or a Rogue2 || Adept2, or even a Fighter1/Rogue1 || Adept1/Expert1, but not a Fighter 2 || Rogue 2.
- In general, it is better to choose complementary rather than overlapping classes for a gestalt character – e.g., a Fighter||Expert, Rogue||Adept, or Wizard||Warrior is a much more effective and well-rounded character than a Fighter||Warrior or Rogue||Expert would be.
- In addition to the core classes in the PH, the following UA/SRD variant classes are permitted: Thug (Fighter), Urban Ranger, Battle Sorcerer.
- House Rules NOTE: clerics and druids are spontaneous casters in this campaign, meaning they learn and cast spells more like a sorcerer than like a wizard. Paladins, rangers, and adepts still prepare their spells normally.
- All PCs are full-time members of the City Watch, which is a respectable but not highly respected or wealthy profession, and all PCs must live in Viridumar. Some classes (in particular Druid, Ranger, Barbarian, Aristocrat) are not an obvious fit into one or both of these categories – while these classes are still permitted, if you are making such a character, please have in mind a reasonable explanation for why this character is living in the city and working for the Watch and (if planning to gain additional levels in this class) how this character will be able to advance in this class while doing so.
- All members of the Watch must be proficient with the club, crossbow, short sword, and halberd. This requirement is most easily met by taking at least one level in the Fighter, Thug, Paladin, Ranger, Urban Ranger, Barbarian, Aristocrat, or Warrior classes in order to gain proficiency in all martial weapons. If you wish to spend feats on Martial Weapon Proficiency in order to meet this requirement instead, go for it.
- For gods and cleric domains, see Religion.
- Although they are members of the City Watch, PCs are not required to be Lawful, but should be capable of operating within the power structure of the Watch and the city government.
- Knowledge (Local) and Gather Information are very useful skills for any member of the Watch to have (note that Knowledge (Local) includes the laws of the city), but are not mandatory. If you take either or both of these skills, please choose a sub-specialty (such as a specific quarter of the city, or a particular class of citizenry) – you will receive a +2 circumstance bonus to skill checks involving your specialty.
Traits and Flaws
- Characters in this game may use the optional Traits and Flaws rules. A character may take up to two Traits and up to two Flaws.
- All Player’s Handbook feats are permitted.
- The “General” feats from the Psionic Feats and Divine Feats sections in the SRD are also permitted.
- Some forms of E6 propose “capstone feats”, special feats that can only be taken by a character who advances to level 6 in a particular class, as a way to reward non-multiclassed characters. I will probably do something like this if the campaign reaches that point, so keep this in mind when planning your advancement.
- Feats from any other sources (splatbooks, online sources, etc.) need to be reviewed by the DM for approval but will generally be permitted.
Money and Equipment
- As members of the City Watch (see for more information), PCs receive some equipment “for free”:
- A Watch uniform which they are required to wear while on duty.
- A suit of armor
- Watch members below the rank of Sergeant are issued chain shirts
- Sergeants and Captains are issued breastplates
- Commanders are issued half plate.
- Watch members may also purchase and wear other armor or decline to wear armor at all (to accommodate monks, wizards, etc.) but any nonstandard armor must be purchased and maintained with personal funds, and wearing armor above one’s rank is likely to draw attention.
- Watch members on patrol duty or similar “out and about” tasks are issued their truncheon (club), plus a short sword, buckler, light crossbow, and quiver of 10 bolts.
- Watch members on gate duty, escort duty, or similar stationary and/or ceremonial posts are issued halberds instead of short swords and bucklers.
- Watch members on night patrol duty are additionally issued bulls-eye lanterns and oil.
- As with armor, Watch members are permitted to carry personal weapons, but should bear in mind that they are to appear as officers of the Law and not as thugs or mercenaries dripping with weapons…
- In addition to Watch-issued gear, PCs start with up to 700 GP worth of equipment and possessions. (Yes, this is a bit less than the “wealth by level” guidelines for 2nd level adventurer PCs – but you’re not an adventurer looting ancient tombs for riches, you’re a guy working a thankless and underpaid job in the city…)
- PCs will periodically receive a salary from the Watch. For sake of simplicity, this will be awarded as an “after baseline living expenses” amount rather than requiring each PC to track their expenses for room and board in the City.