At the dawn of time, war between gods and titans left the landscape of Thylea forever changed. Thousands of years later, the first mortals arrived, carried by ship and dragon.
The Dragonlords were the champions who overthrew the Titans 500 years ago and forged the Oath of Peace. But the power of the Oath has waned, and now the Titans seek vengeance.
You are one of the heroes called by prophecy to end the conflict once and for all. Poets will sing of your deeds for centuries to come … If you survive.
Sailors on the Sunless Sea
With the Oath of Peace drawing to an end after 500 years of peace, monster activity has been increasing slowly over the last year – sightings of goatlings (diminutive beastmen) – once unheard of is now an almost a daily occurrence. The villagers are becoming more isolated as the roads between towns become more dangerous to travel – especially at night. The town has also been plagued with kidnappings of late. The vigiles (sheriff) has not been able to track down the culprits, though many believe but do not say out loud, the source is the ruined keep not far from town. The keep looming high on the hill has long been a source of fearsome tales and terrible legends. The town is steeped in superstitious lore surrounding the keep. The town council has requested aide from Estoria and is now waiting for a reply. Many people were hopeful a band of mercenaries (adventurers) may come through and solve the issue – but even they have become very rare of late.
You and your friends are tired of waiting and decide to see what’s happening in the keep – some of you go because you love your town, others because you lost friends and family to these kidnappings, others on a dare and some because of the promise of glory or (and!) treasure.
You stand before the ruined keep, which squats atop a low, craggy hill, its walls of toppled stone and massive granite blocks hinting at forgotten battles and the clash of mighty armies. Now the ruins seem host only to creeping vines and the foul miasma that drifts down from the keep.
The air is overrun with pestilence. Fat flies bite at you incessantly, and clouds of small black insects choke your every breath. The long-abandoned land is strangled with thorny vines that drape the sickly trees and hang from the ruined walls. There is an odour of rot and decay as if the hill itself were decomposing from within. A sight gives you pause: a ragged banner, depicting a crimson horned skull on a black field, stands high atop the ruined walls. Whatever lurks within has terrorized you and your village for far too long.
You turn to your companions and ready your meagre weapons.
The time for retribution has come.
Greco-Roman Science Fantasy Campaign
Combat: Deadly (Combat as War, unbalanced encounters)
Weirdness: High (greek gods + laser guns)
Level: 1 to 10, starting at level 0 (see Hardcore section below).
Preparation: Watch Clash of the Titans (watch both if you can, but the 1980s preferably, but the 2010 one is fine too – all PG) and Jason and the Argonauts (rated G) to get into the right frame of mind. For the PG movies get your parents permission before watching (non-adults of course). If you really want something suitable for my campaign watch Ulysse 31 – a 1981 anime – basically Ulysse’s in space.
- Kick-Off: 29/August/2020 and then two weeks thereafter.
- Character Abilities. Level 0, see below.
- Races. Humans only but each human has a bloodline that effectively makes each human unique – see link. Alternatively, you can pick a standard human from the PHB and take a supernatural gift instead. Ninth World options are also OK also – ai, android, robot (many warforged robots also look like pieces of art having human faces – example and example) and manikin.
- Classes. Anything from the player’s handbook is OK. However, I strongly recommend you take one of the setting archetypes which are appropriately mythic (see below in blue). Anyone who does take a setting specific class (ones in blue) will get custom feats as the campaign progresses. Mythic Earth options OK also (see below).
- Epic Destiny. You each have an epic path – rolled randomly. See the Player Guide (pg. 21 – 25) for details. This impacts what happens in the campaign. The guide includes new spells and custom character sheets. Instead of taking the standard reward for completing the epic destiny, you can instead take a level 11 to 20 class feature (DM’s discretion).
- Currency. Drachma = gp. Ticker Δρ.
- Luck (Boons & Banes). The Powers of Olympus watch over you and you are lucky. You gain luck dice whenever you fail a d20 roll. They act identically to boon and banes with the following additions:
- A maximum of 1 luck die per level.
- A maximum of 1 per failed d20 roll but never on a natural 1.
- They may be used in multiples (ie you can use as many as you like on a roll until you run out).
- They may also be used to soak damage.
- They may be used to add damage.
- They are an individual resource and not shared.
- A luck die may be used to offset an Instability Die – do not remove the instability die, you just ignore it for that roll and the luck die is consumed (see sorcerer below).
- For non-sorcerer spellcasters each time you use a luck die on a d20 spell casting roll you gain an equal number of bane dice. Magic resists being manipulated.
- Banes are red die and work in the same way except they deduct from your roll until you fail a check that includes a bane dice or, they are cleared at the long rest.
- Location. The continent of Thylea – another super-continent located on Earth but not the same continent that Jade Regent and previous campaigns took place – same world, different continent. Thylea is an analogue of Greece/Rome but is neither.
- Magic Items. Fill in your Wishlist here.
- Shields. Shields does not modify AC, instead, it reduces damage by 1d4 for any frontal attacks.
- Primer. To understand the setting at a minimum you should read the 1-page primer on pg. 57 “Thylea World Primer”. Though feel free to read the whole player primer if you like – link. Some key information:
- Iron/Steel was historically rare so items are made from a bronze-like metal – though it’s as hard as steel.
- Thylean society is relatively more advanced than other regions of Mythic Earth and all kinds of arcana are more common here. You have access to a type of arcana called sclopētum (firearms). You can buy anything on this list and this list so long as you have the ₯ – if no price is listed assume 1,000 ₯. At first level, you may also trade your martial weapon proficiency for sclopētum proficiency – either small sclopētum (guns), medium sclopētum, or big sclopētum. For simplicity’s sake, small guns do 1d6-1 damage, medium guns do 1d6 and big guns do 1d6+1 of the specified damage type.
- Biomechanical wildlife is common on the continent of Thylea. This is actually the main source of “bronze” used by the natives and probably one of the reasons why magical items (technology) is so common here – that and the constant warfare with the native monsters of the continent.
- Being a classical hero Fame is important to you and will influence events and actions (pg. 21).
- New background – Athlete.
CAMPAIGN SPECIFIC CLASS OPTIONS
FIGHTER – STRATIÓTIS
- The fighter replaces Action Surge and Multiattack with the death dealer trait:
- Death Dealer. Whenever you would get an Action Surge or Multiattack class feature you instead do an additional 1d6 damage which you may allocate to any foe within reach. If there is no foe in reach you may move up to 10 feet to deal damage.
- Fighters can also use the Sacrifice Shield action/reaction:
- Sacrifice Shield. When the player takes physical damage they may choose to have their shield (if they have stated that they had it out and were using it) take the full brunt of the blow. The shield will absorb the damage and be destroyed and become useless from the attack, leaving the character unscathed. This works with critical strikes as well.
- Hoplite Soldier.
- Take note, Thylean barbarians are more akin to Conan and the Atlantian Kull. See here.
- Herculean Path.
- Amazonian (female only).
CLERIC – LIGHTBINDER
- You have no access to spells until you are ordained/inducted at a church/temple.
- Your spell selection has changed, I’ll provide a list when you reach level 1 in the cleric character class.
- Prophecy Domain.
- Grovekeeper (Druid)
- Circle of Sacrifice.
- Oath of the Dragonlord.
- Oath of Glory.
MONK – KINETIC
- You must belong to a martial arts school to progress in this class.
- Monk’s in Thylea use technology to manipulate gravity as opposed to ki. Mechanically it’s the same effect. Inspiration is here if you want more info.
- Way of the Shield.
THIEF (ROGUE) – SLAYER
Bards (soundweaver) are considered a rogue subclass. Bards work as written except they pick spells from the wizard and cleric spell list (provided by the DM).
- The Odyssean (Slayer).
- College of Epic Poetry (Soundweaver).
- College of Eloquence (Soundweaver).
MAGIC-USER – MAGUS
- Magus of all types may use spellburn – funnel their life energy into the spell to enhance it. The magus spends a Strength, Constitution or Dexterity to fuel your spell. For each 1 point so spent you increase your chance of success by 1. Ability scores spent this way heal 1 point per day so long as the magus does not use spellburn again. Spending 20 ability points guarantee a spell critical. A veneficus (sorcerer) may use spellburn to cancel the effects of an instability die. The die is not removed, but its deleterious effects are ignored.
- Counterspell has been removed. Wizards can duel each other by using common sense spells to counter. For example, dispel magic can counter any other spell, resist energy – fire, counters fire damage spells, spells of the same name counter each other – fireball counters fireball. However, if a magus wishes to use this ability that is the only thing they can do in the turn. Every successful counter increases the spell check by +1, every fail decreases it by -1.
- You may permanently surrender a 9th or 10th level spell slot to gain an archetype feature of level 11+
- Sorcerer. Link.
- Demigod Origin.
- Warlock/Witch. Warlocks can gain patron taint whenever they roll a 1 on their spellcasting roll. This taint is initially negative but once overcome it provides a positive boon. All warlock spells can cause taint (as all the spells a warlock casts are provided by your patron). Warlocks may also sacrifice hps to increase the damage of their next spell. To gain a patron you must perform the patron bond ritual which determines if the patron accepts you and how much they are willing to help you via the invoke patron special ability. All warlocks gain the invoke patron class ability as soon as they have successfully bonded with a patron:
- Invoke Patron. You call on your patron to help you. Roll on the invoke patron table adding your Charisma bonus to see if your patron takes notice of you (DM will provide this). You may do this as many times a day as you like but not only does it increase the chance of gaining taint but you gain a cumulative -1 to the roll for each use after the first (or whatever limit is imposed originally by the bond patron ritual result was).
- Patron: The Fates.
- Your pact spells include: arcane eye, blade of Atropos, bond patron, call lightning, clairvoyance, curse of Moirae, detect evil and good, divination, geas, identify, invoke patron, levitate, planar binding, see invisibility, and warp & weft
- Wizard. You must be apprenticed to a higher-level magic-user to gain access to spells (or find them through adventuring or other means). As an additional bonus, you can inscribe scrolls that any class can use with no check to cast. The DC to create such a scroll increases by 5. Finally, because your spells come from study and practice they are less likely to have wild effects or cause corruption. When you roll a natural 1 use a -/+/blank die to determine how bad the effect is. On a critical, the spell follows the normal rules for critical hits.
- Academy Philosopher.
All blue archetypes can be found in the Player Guide everything else is linked. An appropriately themed character sheet can be found on pg. 61-63. The name after the dash is what the class is called in Thylea.
MYTHIC EARTH CLASS OPTIONS
These options are always available in my setting.
- Fighter — Interfector (aka gunslinger).
- Psionic classes – including a new class – the mystic – as well a fighter and rogue archetype.
- Ranger – Mechromancer.
- Sorcerer – Child of the Atom.
- Machine races are also OK – ai, android, robot (many warforged robots also look like pieces of art having human faces – example and example) and manikin.
MYTHIC EARTH OTHER SETTING SPECIFIC CHANGES
These options are always available in my campaign setting:
- Feat: Animal Ally and Arcana Thief
- Boons and Banes
- Latent Psionics (any character can have some talent).
- Resurrection magic causes a permanent loss of 1 Con on a failed DC 20 Constitution check.
LEVEL 0 – CHARACTER CREATION FUNNEL
- You start as level 0 characters (nobodies) with -10 XP and must earn enough XP (and survive) to get to level 1 where you can then select a bloodline and class.
- You create 4 characters of zero level at the first session using this template. You roll the attributes for each in order. I wouldn’t bother naming them.
- Level 0 characters have +0 proficiency and 1d4 hit points + CON and start with a random profession which determines other equipment you will have (will provide on the day).
- You get bonus drachma based on your Wisdom modifier (you could potentially be in debt).
- You also get 1 piety coin for each 18 you have.
- You each will also start with a rumour to help set the scene.
- At the end of the first session, any surviving characters become level 1, then roll randomly on the bloodline table to determine your mythic heritage – this is really why you survived. You may now pick your starting class but don’t gain any of the starting gear. You also decide the following and provide them to the DM on a piece of paper and/or email:
- 3 things you would fight for.
- 1 thing you are scared of.
- 1 thing you would die for.
To keep the game feeling heroic (and challenging the whole campaign) the following rules will be in play.
- Max level is 10. This is to avoid the silliness of high-level play and keep the math simple. Beyond that, you can only progress through equipment, knowledge, and acquiring magic via quests, discovery, and story paths. This keeps the math clean, imposes a natural conclusion to a campaign, and avoids the super-hero effect high-level play becomes.
- Leveling up will use classic XP progression – different classes progress at different speeds.
- ₯ (gp/money) gives xp – 1 xp per gp. Monsters give 1/10th of their normal xp. “Solving problem” xp (quest xp) is unchanged. In terms of treasure, any currency counts 1 to 1 – so a gem worth 10 gp is worth 10 xp, 1 gp is worth 1 xp, 10 sp is worth 1 xp etc. Magic items and other treasures (like tapestries, paintings etc) are only worth xp if sold off. You also need to take the treasure out of the dungeon for it to count as xp. “Out” is a relative term, to be determined on an ad-hoc basis.
- You may spend 100k XP once you hit level 10 to get a class feature or ability score improvement from your classes level 11 to 20 options.
- You roll for hit points every level, CON does not affect it. You can use Piety as normal to regain hit points, and any kind of non-magical medical aid allows you to roll 1 Hit Die without expending it.
- Skills are removed. You just apply a relevant ability score to the related check. For example, trying to figure out some science-wizardry device would be INT. At the DM’s discretion, certain classes will have a boon (+1d6) to the roll. Bards, as jack of all trades, have +1d4 to all such checks (Update: Skills removed).
- Whenever you take more than 10 hit points of damage in a single hit you become injured. While injured you lose DEX bonus to AC and no roll gains the benefit of your Ability Scores. You lose the injured condition whenever you take a long rest or are magically healed for more than 10 hit points (Update: Too fiddly, never used).
- Returning from the dead does not come easily in Clash of Titans; indeed raise dead and the “speed bump resurrection” have no place in the canon and have been removed. However, the provenance is clear: if Orpheus can venture into Hades in search of his love, so, too, can you. But the chthonic quest is anything but easy, as Eurydice readily demonstrates. In order for you to rescue a soul from death, you will need to be clever, cunning, and courageous in turn. In terms of how you die, the following rules will apply. When reduced to 0 hit points roll 1d4 – this is how many rounds you have before you die unless you receive healing or some other medical aide before that point. The counter ticks down at the end of the character’s turn (Updated, Mar/2021).
- Every character gets one action per round only. There are no bonus actions or reactions. There are no multiattack actions.
- There are no multiclassing and feats need to be approved by the DM.
- Encumbrance is a thing. You can carry a number of items equal to your STR with no issues. These slots represent your backpack/storage items on hand. Carrying over this amount means you are encumbered and all ability checks (and related skill and combat checks) have Disadvantage – your movement is reduced by 5′ for every point of encumbrance over your STR. For more generic items like treasure (or other edge cases) 400 ₯ (go) or 5 items is equivalent to 1 slot. Backpacks give you a bonus of 5 slots. To retrieve an item in combat you roll 1d6 you retrieve your item on a 6 and can use it the same turn. You get a +1 for free slot you have and +1 for each round spent rummaging.
- You can use supply (SUP) to abstract your inventory somewhat and reflects your PCs ability to plan ahead. Your SUP is equal to your INT score and you can purchase SUP at 1 ₯ per SUP while in town. SUP can’t create new things while adventuring. SUP can only replenish or replace the spent, consumed, or lost item already in your inventory. SUP only works for items you stated were brought prior to the start of the adventure. Once you have insufficient SUP to replenish your item of choice, you can no longer use that item. Reaching 0 SUP prevents you from replenishing any consumable gear. Here is an example table but it’s at the DM’s discretion.So, for example, you have 10 INT which means you have 10 SUP. You spend 10 ₯ (gp) at the start of the adventure to get 10 SUP. In your backpack, you have a lantern and a quiver of 20 crossbow bolts. During the adventure, your lantern runs out of oil so you spend 1 SUP and relight the lantern as if you had a vial of oil on hand. You now have 9 SUP left. After a couple of encounters, you also use all your crossbow bolts. You decide to spend another SUP to re-supply your quiver and gain another 20 bolts but now you have 8 SUP left.
- There is no attunement.
- HD work as normal except you recover 1 HD per long rest.
- All natural 1s are automatic failures, all natural 20s are automatic successes.
- A die will be rolled to determine how badly you misfire on the critical fail – a 6-sided with a plus/minus/blank face. Plus means, you failed, but not badly (you don’t lose the spell, and don’t drop your weapon, etc). A minus means something bad happened but it’s not critical – your acid arrow misfires and hits an ally doing damage, your arrow hits a bystander, etc. A blank means epic fail – your magic item breaks and stops working, your spell hits you and does a critical hit burning half your face off, or losing your fingers, etc. Will likely have a table for these.
- Critical hits do normal (rolled) damage +1d12. The hit points of enemies will also be scaled down so no need to maximize hits anymore. This goes for monsters as well.
- Spell slots are removed. Whenever a spellcasting class gains a level, you may choose to gain 3 spells of your current level or lower. These are always cast at their native level (no higher-level versions). No change to cantrips. For example, at level 1 you know 3 first level spells. There is no limit to how many spells you can cast each day and each spell is cast instantaneously. Hybrid classes (paladin, ranger, mystic knight, etc) pick 1 spell per level, and at level 10 pick a spell from any level as a bonus.
- Spellcasters now roll to cast a spell. Magic is unpredictable as it violates the natural laws of the universe, the universe sometimes pushes back. Spell description in the PHB is the “perfect” form of the spell, you may not be able to pull that off consistently. The DC is determined by the DM on the fly but, by default, the DC to cast a spell is 10 + the spell level. You may apply your spellcasting attribute (WIS, INT or CHA) to this roll. The benefit of this system is that spells can now critically fail or critically hit. If you critically fail bad things happen depending on how badly you failed. All spells have misfire tables (most are generic though).
- Saving throws against spells: In general, a saving throw against a spell effect uses a DC equal to the spell-check. For example, a colour spray cast with a spell check result of 17 requires a Will save of 17 or higher to resist. If a spell does not specify a specific DC for a save, the save is made against the spell check result.
- At minimum Arcane spellcasters lose that spell for the day if they fail to cast the spell, divine spellcasters double their failure range each time they fail to cast a spell.
- Arcane spellcasters have a fixed number of known spells (expandable via study, purchase, spell books, etc). Divine spellcasters may select from their class list of spells and change them each dawn.
- Spell checks by other classes: Foolish warriors have been known to read magical scrolls in dangerous attempts to wield magic. A warrior, thief, or other characters untrained in magic may attempt to cast a spell from magical instructions he encounters. A character from an untrained class rolls 1d10 for his spell check instead of 1d20. He does not add any modifier for an ability score or caster level. A rogue may roll use a 1d12.
- You add (or subtract) your primary spellcasting ability as damage to your spell attacks.
- Spell list – Level 1 to 5 spells lists are here – arcane and divine. Bard’s may pick from both lists.
- No technology/cell phones at the table. These are a distraction taking the player out of the moment.
- No looking up rules. The onus is on the player to know their character inside-out, if there is a dispute, the DM will make the call and it can be looked up later.
- Since we have a large group I don’t want a single-player running off by themselves. Work together.
Experimental Combat Rules – Player Facing Combat
Instead of the DM rolling to hit, players roll to dodge/deflect an attack. The DC of the attack is 10 + the monster’s attack roll. The player must beat this roll using their AC – 10 as the bonus. DM still rolls damage. For example, an orc with +3 to attack is attacking PC A who has an AC of 15. The PC must roll 13 or higher on a d20 with a +5 bonus to avoid being hit. If the PC rolls a natural 20 the monster stuffs up their attack so badly, the PC gets a free attack. If they roll a 1 the monster scores a critical hit.