Tonight we talked about what we would be doing every other week between Dennis’s Gamma World campaign and settled on a 4th ed D&D campaign that places the PCs are fated from birth to be the rulers at the center of a political saga.
Each PC begins as a likely heir to the throne in one of the four main kingdoms (this number can increase if there are more regular players or if you guys want a companion NPC like Therodin to reach the standard five player party). The kingdoms have historical and cultural similarities but act as politically allied independent nations that share a common coastline. Once great, each kingdom now exists as a point of light separated from its fellow nations by swaths of lawless, monster-infested territory littered with small city-states separate from the kingdoms. Beyond the land mass that the PCs are from there is at least one other continent on the other side of the sea. (And I guess to answer your distance question from earlier Dennis, I would say Baldur’s Gate to Amn would be one of the smaller distances between kingdoms, other could be the distance between Neverwinter and Calimshan or between Thay and Candlekeep.)
The campaign will start out a 0th level with the party leveling at the end of each session in most cases, with some levels drawn out longer to focus on a single PC’s story. I have included the pdf detailing the rules for creating 0th level characters (this basically choosing a race and power source). In addition to your main character I also would like you each to create a character tree to not only act as back ups due to character death, but to also extend your kingdom’s reach when large-scale, simultaneous events happen in the future. There should be at least three backups, more if there are more regular PCs. You don’t need to drawn up everything about each extra character at first, or even every level and you will know beforehand if you need to bring someone other than your main character beforehand.
Racial and class restrictions will stem from how you define your kingdom and how its rulers are determined, you will be locked into a small set of races or a power source for your entire character tree. In these kingdoms, the rulers don’t just sit at home, issuing decrees and eating sweetmeat. Instead, the rulers use their mighty powers of behalf of their people. So it is acceptable to separate the powers to lessen the risk of losing one while adventuring. Max, for example thought up a primal nation ruled jointly by a warchief and a spirtual shaman. Another example would be Dennis’s techno-magical realm focused on keeping a Far Realm breach in check. More examples include a seafaring merchant nation; a mining nation ruled by warrior-kings; a land ruled by priest or paladins and home to numerious universities, cathedrals, and architects; an eerie magocracy; a kingdom sworn to protect its ancient forest; and a plains kingdom that grown most of the food of all the nations.
What I want before the proper start of the campaign would be your main character, at least three characters for your tree, the broad picture of your kingdom-what makes it different from the other players and how it’s set up, who is the current ruler(s) of your nation and a little about how you were chosen to be one of his/her/their heir. This does require some teamwork to make a cohesive world and party (especially if you guys only have four members in said party) so there will probably be a couple planing meetings to make sure no one is actively stepping on each others’ toes and to set some geographical boundaries.
Tom and Vu-Ha, you are included and welcome to come up with your own character who is a representative of one of the smaller city-states for when you might be able to attend.