Character Creation Guidelines (Immigrant Song)

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Talanall
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Character Creation Guidelines (Immigrant Song)
  • ECL 4th level.
  • 32 point buy.
  • Starting wealth and gear equivalent 5,400 gp.
  • Racial choices are limited to goblinoids from the SRD v.3.5 available at http://www.d20srd.org/index.htm. This includes the blue (psionic), as well as goblinoids in the Variant Rules section, originally from Unearthed Arcana. Speak to me prior to committing to these options, because some of them may require changes to the level adjustment for that race.
  • Core classes, feats, and skills are permitted. Feats, spells and equipment from the Tolrea setting are permitted. Speak to me privately if you are interested in obtaining access to psionic content; it's allowed with some review on my part. A setting-specific shaman base class also is permitted on a playtest basis. Speak to me for details.
  • Non-core, non-setting material not enumerated above may be allowed by special request, pending my review and a searching interrogation of your motives for asking for it.

At present, character concepts involving members in good standing of the paladin class will not be accepted, as the current party of adventurers includes an evil member.

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Things.

Things.
I rolled 2d8, the result is 8, 7 = 15.
Darker

And stuff

I rolled 3d8, the result is 5, 4, 2 = 11.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

Please don't suck

How weak am I?
I rolled 3d6, the result is 3, 1, 5 = 9.
Cronono
Cronono's picture

Dammit

Darker

Yeah, I feel you. I'm 2.5 hp below average. You are only 1.5 hp below average.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Is it possible to purchase a worg or other odd mount and if so, how much?

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Is it possible to purchase a worg or other odd mount and if so, how much?

Darker

I've had really in-depth discussions with Tal on this very subject, so I think I can summarize and/or quote all the information you might need.

To get a worg to ride:

Talanall wrote:
The elite of your tribe use worgs as battle mounts if they lack an animal companion. Strictly speaking, worgs are allies and equals, not animals. If you want one, the Leadership feat is your best option, since they're recruitable as cohorts if your leadership score is 7 or better. Leadership's level requirement is 6th, though, so it's not a starting option. You also could make it happen if you wanted to invest ranks in Diplomacy and work toward turning an NPC worg into your friend, but that's a lengthy process that would require you to invest ranks in Diplomacy and Speak Language (Worg), and then spend time making nice with a worg (and possibly fending off competitors).

To get a wolf to ride:
Animal companion class feature is the easiest way to get a sturdy and lasting mount. At later levels you can upgrade to a dire wolf.

Talanall wrote:
If you don't want to rely on an animal companion or a cohort mount, then you can buy a mount. Wolves aren't a listed option, but their stats are virtually identical to those of a riding dog. So we'll price them the same, and you can assume your wolf mount is trained for combat riding, giving it all the same tricks as a warhorse or standard riding dog. A riding dog costs 150 gp.
Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

That's very helpful, thank you.

deadDMwalking
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So a riding dog named Worg.

Cronono
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I might have to name my character Worg, son of Mogh.

Board Rider
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Apparently, a few of us had the same mindset. I asked Tal about mounts as well.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

I'll be playing Gorx, an Air Goblin shaman. Gorx sees injustice and hates it. Gorx actively seeks to undermine and subvert civilizations that he perceives as evil, which mostly includes everyone who isn't a goblinoid. Gorx consults very closely the the spirits before undertaking most activities.

Gorx has been accused of cowardice in the past. Gorx does not like direct confrontation and prefers to simply endure until his antagonists fall apart. As a part of a minor warband some years ago, Gorx and his colleagues were surrounded and contained by an antagonistic goblinoid tribe. Inclement weather prevented a direct assault for several days. During those days, Gorx exhorted the spirits of earth to erode and block the drainage of the antagonistic camp. By the time the rains had passed, the opposing goblinoids were lousy with disease and unable to resist his outnumbered warband. This earned him no accolades from those outside his warband. Even so, his actions were remembered by his fellow survivors.

Similarly, Gorx was once invited to a gaming competition. The game was turn based, like Chess, and involved a betting strategy. Gorx, a miserable player, frustrated the other players when it was his turn. He made exactly zero moves in ten hours. As his opponents passed out from drinking or boredom, Gorx disqualified them all. Eventually, Gorx won the competition and successfully alienated several high profile members of the goblinoid tribe.

Gorx is dangerous because he has no pride. He does not recoil from filth and he does not feel shame. Where Gorx falters is in his lack of recognizing that those around him do have a sense of self-worth that prevents them from debasing themselves in the name of victory. This has led to multiple instances of insulting behavior when none was intended. Gorx's family shields him from the worst of it, but his oblivious behavior grates on them none-the-less.

I'd love to tie with the rest of you.

deadDMwalking
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If Tal wants me to join the game as a Worg (not a goblinoid) I'm down. But I also might eat you. I definitely wouldn't feel about it if I did.

Fixxxer
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My PC, Zathrus Dra'al, is pretty much finished. But I came home to find that the internet is out in big patches of the island, including where I live. So it might be s day or two before I can get it over to Talanall for proofreading.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

There isn't a real rush. As I remarked elsewhere, the TPK in Cataclysm was totally unplanned, and that means I'm generating campaign assets at a feverish pace to get set for the new games. Encounter tables, key NPCs, plot outlines, etc. all have to be spun up before we can begin play.

Darker's commentary about goblin mounts is entirely accurate. I should note that goblins generally prefer wolf/worg mounts if they're riding into battle, but they have no cultural preference regarding draft animals. Ponies, mules, donkeys and even full-size horses see regular use in this role. War ponies and riding dogs also are accepted mounts for goblin cavalry. They're just not favorites because they're a touch slower.

The main challenge that will face anyone who plans to rely on a wolf mount is that as Medium quadrupeds with Str 13, their carrying capacity is relatively low--75 lbs. and under for a light load. That has to encompass rider, saddle, and whatever other gear your character has on him. If you stray above 76 lbs., their speed drops to 35 ft. from the base of 50 ft. Additionally, wolves cannot be expected to graze for sustenance when you're not traveling. So you have to pack food for them, or else you must be able and willing to use Survival to forage and hunt for food.

In the latter case, your rate of travel is cut in half. It's inconvenient if you're traveling a long way on a schedule.

If your character is a ranger or druid with a wolf companion, then carrying capacity is a problem that eventually will solve itself, at least to some degree. Gaining levels will raise your companion's Strength score, which improves load bearing capacity.

I think the prevailing solution so far has been to get a standard pony (30 gp), which has the same carrying capacity and moves at 40 ft., and to use it as a pack animal. People are using them to carry food for their wolves, extra water, and nonessential gear.

Those of you who are playing goblins probably will want to have a look at the Campaign Background and Setting thread in the Immigrant Song forum. It fleshes out some details about the psychology and general social structure that applies to goblins.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

If we're planning on using wolves as mounts, is there an added cost to having them be trained in a trick or two?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

The pricing Darker quoted reflects a wolf that is trained for combat riding. They know the tricks attack, come, defend, down, guard, and heel.

Animals can learn up to three tricks per point of Intelligence. Wolves have Int 2, so six tricks is the maximum they can learn. Animal companions learn additional feats as a bonus feature.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

Alright, then. Character sheet has been sent.

Talanall
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Do you folks want to use open character sheets or closed? I have no preference.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

I have no preference.

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Either way. I prefer open.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

As a spectator, I like open.

Darker

Seems like we got a lot of "If you show me yours I'll show you mine" going on.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I'm fine with open.

Talanall
Talanall's picture

Closed prevents metagaming, which is a good thing insofar as it forces the players to treat each other's PCs as unknown quantities, which is appropriate when the PCs don't know each other and have no particular reason to trust each other. This is nice for verisimilitude, and it's also an opportunity for character development as your PCs get to know one another and determine whether they like/trust each other.

It also facilitates internecine plotting within the adventuring party. This party contains NPCs of a variety of opposing alignments, lawful and chaotic, evil and non-evil. So I feel pretty sure that there will be disagreements about all sorts of stuff. The "I don't know if I can take this guy/these guys down" factor is important to decisions about who gets his way. Again, it's an aid to verisimilitude.

It distinctly isn't an aid to having a cohesive party, either in the tactical sense or in the political sense. The tactical aspect was a problem for you guys in Cataclysm. Closed character sheets probably weren't the root cause of that. The characters ended up being guys who worked together in a really dangerous job, but who didn't really socialize or have any sense of camaraderie or interest in one another. I think the closed sheets contributed to this.

Ancestral Burdens hasn't had nearly the same problems (at least in terms of battlefield tactics), and I attribute part of that to our use of open sheets. It promotes a certain degree of tacit metagaming.

As I said, I don't really have a preference. If you're interested in the political drama, and the whole "one eye on the wilderness, one eye on the guy riding next to you" thing, then it's probably best if you use closed. The Horde is made up of at least three major racial factions, and those have their own political/religious factions, so there'll be opportunities for this kind of roleplay, potentially in contexts that could set PCs in conflict with one another. If your capabilities remain veiled from each other by a closed sheet, then this is likely to be a very different experience than if they're open.

If you're not into that, or if you expect that you're going to dabble in it but try to avoid bringing "conflict" to fruition as an actual confrontation, that's also fine, and we might as well use open sheets.

Open sheets are a touch easier for me as a DM, because I can look up character data on one page instead of looking at it across many private messages. But it's not a big enough deal for me to have a preference. The closed sheets have a bunch of subtle advantages in terms of information control.

Those of you who play in The Argent Cyma will be using closed sheets, because the nature of the game is going to be such that open sheets will ruin it.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Board Rider
Board Rider's picture

Well, since at least 3 PCs are probably going to be related, I think open sheets are the way to go.

Dafyd
Dafyd's picture

Zero preference.

deadDMwalking
deadDMwalking's picture

As a player (and specifically for Argent Cyma) a major advantage of an open sheet is that you can edit it to keep track of current hit points, expended spells, limited use items, etc. I've found that you can't easily edit a PM, and resending every time you adjust a 3cp expense is a little ridiculous. Even with 'closed' sheets, I prefer to post it as a spoiler that can be adjusted as needed.

MinusInnocence
MinusInnocence's picture

No preference on open or closed. I made the decision when we first started 2EE for it to be between the DM and each respective player only to facilitate many of the advantages Tal listed here. It's really no one's business what's on your sheet. In terms of the setting in question, whether or not someone in the party has psionic abilities is a politically sensitive and potentially life-threatening secret, so it made even more sense.

But I have no preference here. I hope to have a first draft to the DM for this campaign by the end of the weekend. I'll be starting as a bugbear that will either pursue a career in Cleric or Druid (I think I'm leaning toward the latter).

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin slitting throats." - H.L. Mencken

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

My second draft is finished, save for figuring out a situation with his mount.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

My second draft is submitted. Does anyone care to share any details about their characters so we can figure out how we get along?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

I would suggest a scenario in which your characters are cousins on the maternal side, since this would neatly explain why three guys all have an air elemental bloodline. Per the (unfortunately, somewhat lengthy) material I've posted in the campaign background thread. First cousins are close kin, by goblin standards—they're nearly siblings, as they often grow up and reside in the same matrilineal household. Male goblins usually don't want to live in their mothers'/grandmothers' household anymore as they reach adulthood, so your guys may be or have been "roommates" of a sort, especially if they're all roughly the same age. It's a common arrangement between male cousins who want to leave the nest but who aren't quite ready to live as fully independent adults.

Such arrangements usually fall apart as the cousins find themselves in competition for the same potential mates. This "competition" is usually notional at best, because they're striplings who don't have much in the way of wealth or accomplishments, but that doesn't stop them from quarreling over their interest in pursuing the same woman. Sometimes bitterly.

Usually there's no lasting ill-feeling between the members of such a bachelor household; the young men scrape up the resources and reputation to live as independent adult men, the bachelor household breaks up, and they end up being friends and allies. But if there's bad blood between two of your characters, then probably it started over a woman. This kind of grudge can range from a lifetime of tense (or outright unfriendly) competition with your cousin, to an earnest desire to cut his throat. Most of the time it's on the less serious end of the scale.

Goblins don't have a concept of "fatherhood" as other races understand it. Goblin women mate with whom they please. It's likely that your characters know who sired them, but it's not an emotionally important relationship for either side. Most goblins who give a damn about their fathers do so by coincidence—for example, you might end up as his apprentice when it's time for you to learn a trade, grow to respect him that way, and ultimately end up having him as a mentor. But he's not likely to have been your primary male role model as you grew up. That role is usually filled by an uncle or great-uncle.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Cronono
Cronono's picture

I have a few hundred gold left over after I've finished my sheet. I'd be happy to work with someone to buy them a mount if I can pack my mount's food on their mount. It might be a starting place to tie characters if we have some sort of communal property.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Following up on this.

1) Does anyone have any details they can share about their PC? Any ideas about how our PCs can know each other?

2) Does anybody want to pool some gold for beasts of burden? We're going to have a small stable of animals from what I understand and having a mule or two to carry around things instead of each having our own backpack seems like a positive thing.

3) Anybody have an idea for how they could tie with Grox?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

1) I can say that about half the players for this campaign are still ironing out details pertaining to what their characters want from life, who they are, etc. I think that people may also be waiting for me to furnish various details about the setting.

2) I think that most people who're going to use mounts already have bought pack animals. The ones who aren't using them are bugbears and are looking like they're not going to need a beast of burden. I would not be surprised if they're also planning that if they need or want to carry more than what their mounts can accommodate, they will just steal more animals.

What we have so far:
1) Gorx, an air goblin shaman
2) Grimvaalk, an air goblin worg-rider
3) Fanax, an air goblin worg-rider
4) Running Bear, a bugbear
5) Another bugbear
6) Zathrus Dra'al, a blue

https://www.dndarchive.com/forums/immigrant-song/horde offers some newer, more specific data concerning the leadership of the Great Horde. Notably, it indicates that the goblin component of the horde is under the nominal leadership of a warlord named Ganbataar, a warrior/wizard who is a veteran of the last goblin horde to take on the Aureshans. There are four goblin tribes in all.

I suggest that the air goblins' players ought to consider having them belong to the same tribe. Of the options, the Ikirait and the Khinghi'ut are the most logical. The former has had the most hostile contact with the Empire, which meshes particularly well with Gorx's deep hatred for the pink-skins. The Khinghi'ut tribe's territory lies furthest to the north relative to the others, and I think this helps to establish an underlying rationale for there to be three air-bloodline goblins all in one place.

If the air goblin players would find it helpful, I can take a more active hand in setting up an extended origin story for them. I have not done so to date because I don't wish to interfere without the full consent of all parties, lest I make you feel as if I am trying to dictate what kind of characters you should play.

The two bugbear PCs necessarily belong to the same tribe of bugbears, which numbers somewhat more than 500 members across about 15 extended family units. There's a better than decent chance that they know of each other by reputation, if not directly.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Talanall wrote:

If the air goblin players would find it helpful, I can take a more active hand in setting up an extended origin story for them. I have not done so to date because I don't wish to interfere without the full consent of all parties, lest I make you feel as if I am trying to dictate what kind of characters you should play.

I for one would welcome the help establishing a joint origin, as it would work more efficiently. It isn't as if we couldn't tweak it to fit our own vision (should we have had one).

Cronono
Cronono's picture

I definitely think help creating a joint origin makes sense. Do folks have an idea about their character's personality or methodology?

Do our characters all know each other going into this?

Talanall
Talanall's picture

If people come up with background for one or both of the bugbears to be acquainted with to one or more goblins, that is really just fine with me.

The way I'm going to be handling introductions as a DM is that your characters' respective leadership figures will be volunteering you as members of a special team that'll be taking on various odd jobs that aren't really suited for your run-of-the-mill goblinoid with no levels in a PC class. It certainly would be a boon to me if your guys already know one another at some level (and it's a good first step to ensuring that they'll be in a position to use tactics that mesh well), but it's in no way a requirement so long as they're more or less willing to work cooperatively toward tasks issued by the NPCs who're currently in charge of the horde.

I'll have more shortly for the air goblins. For the moment, I think it would be helpful if Darker and/or Board Rider shared a sort of potted summary of Fanax's and Grimvaalk's outlook on life.

Wæs se grimma gæst Grendel haten,
mære mearcstapa, se þe moras heold

Darker

Grimvaalk is serious, ambitious, and takes his duty seriously and is fiercely loyal to his family and own kind. At the same time, for others, he's likely a bit of an introvert and stoic and might fit with the ranger cliche of "sometimes animals are easier to get along with than people." He does his best to get along with other goblinkin, but isn't one to be bullied or pushed around outside of the established command structure or hierarchy of his society. He'll stand up for what he values and thinks is right.

Grimvaalk isn't a fun guy. He's spent much of his short life training and working to be very good at what he does. He's neglected to make many friends outside of his family for that reason, but he is reliable, loyal, and works hard to achieve his goals and mission.

Can you work with that?

Cronono
Cronono's picture

How would Grimvaalk react to Gorx's effective but dishonorable tactics?

Darker

Depends on what you mean by dishonorable. Ambushes, shooting opponents in the back, hitting and running, using traps and snares, even the application of poison or foul substances to arrows... these are all effective tactics that of which Grimvaalk approves. He fights like a goblin and knows that they need to use their strengths like cunning, stealth, and size to their advantage against the pinkskins. If you are speaking of pushing your fellow goblinkin into spears, sacrificing goblins as distractions, or using goblins as cannon fodder, then he severely disapproves.

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

I've finished Zathrus's history, pending input or suggested changes from Talanall. I can reasonably say that his personality is pretty set for me, though. He's cocky and arrogant and looks down on others for not being as bright as he is. Looking at the lineup we have, it's obvious he's the odd man out. I'm not planning on making him impossible to get along with, but he's an arrogant bully, so I could imagine that even if the other PCs know him prior to game start, he might not be exactly highly thought of for his personality.

Cronono
Cronono's picture

Given that he's an arrogant bully, what is it about him that:

a) makes him want to run around with the group; and,
b) makes the group want him to be a part of it?

Fixxxer
Fixxxer's picture

At the moment, I don't assume he wants to run around with the group at all. I assume he will be incentivized to do so, or at least told to do so by someone whose good graces are incentive enough. He's not reluctant to work with people, far from it. It's just that he's motivated by his own wants, and whether he's alone or part of a team, he has to believe that it serves his wants somehow to do so. Honestly, he'll probably be very interested int he air goblins as a study, at least for a while.

As for the team wanting him, I assume he isn't going to be extremely well-liked by many. He assumes that as well. Alanna in the Ancestral Burdens game isn't always well-liked because she can be a childish boor. But she's useful enough to have been allowed to remain with the group until the rest of the members learned how to tolerate her attitude and work with her. I assume it will be a similar situation with Zathrus. He's smart and has his uses. When I go to work, there are a couple of people there that I actively dislike, but they're good at doing their job, which helps me do my job, so while I wish they were somehow better people, I'm thankful to have them around.