DnD5e GLOAMHOLD: West Marches Style - RPG Crossing
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:19 PM
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GLOAMHOLD: West Marches Style

GLOAMHOLD: West Marches Style
Game SystemDnD 5e
ThemeDungeon/Hex Crawl, Combat heavy, sandbox, open to players coming and going.
FlavourDungeon Crawl crunchy with new mechanics, Lovecraftian Horror aspects.
Plot SummaryDuke Armas Neonen looked down from his tower at the sprawling city of Languard below. The sound of the ocean breaking against the rocky shores provided the backdrop for his meditations. To the south there were rumors that a Civil War was imminent between nobles beholden to him. To the West there were rumors of the plague. Throughout the duchy there were always rumors of bandits and smugglers who would try to bypass the rules of his realm. But it was none of these on which the noble brooded as he stood on his balcony looking across the bay. It was a burden, five centuries old, which had been both a boon and a curse to the Neonens. When he was younger he thought maybe he would be the one to conquer this curse, but now he was much wiser. His rule and his efforts seemed as inexorable as the tides crashing on the shores outside. But like those tides, his efforts had proven futile in ridding the world of that place which racked his nightmares. He wished somehow he could be rid of it, he’d spent countless years and gold already to no avail. Still, there was plenty of gold left to the Neonen name. And there were always those foolish enough to take it. Will you be next? Dare you face the dangers of…

Glowering amid dark rumours and terrible stories of desperate adventure, death, betrayal and glimmering treasures squat the unutterably ancient halls of Gloamhold. This crumbling, benighted, haunted dungeon complex of unknown, but undeniably vast, extent is buried deep within the grim and brooding spray-drenched headland of the Mottled Spire. It is a place of legends, madness and death. Within this towering, wave-lashed shard of limestone lies the labyrinthine passageways and chambers of Gloamhold’s outer reaches and, beyond them, the benighted precincts and canals of the legend-shrouded Twilight City.
-(from Creighton Broadhurst's description on the website.)

Game DetailsThis will be a Depending on how you define "West Marches." It isn't really about colonization, unless you count colonizing a haunted underground dungeon. If you have other questions about what this style of game means, please ask but generally the idea is it is more sandboxy, it's somewhat easier to come and go from the game and the focus is on exploration as opposed to socialization. Any trips back to civilization will be handwaved with downtime, etc.West Marches style campaign set in and around the Mega-Dungeon Gloamhold. The Lovecraftian horror aspect will be a way to mitigate player attrition. If you stop posting, the madness of Gloamhold has overtaken you and your character acts unpredictably.

In media res: We will jump immediately into the action. When I say immediately, I mean the first post could contain some combat. There will be an ongoing RP thread for any who would like to dig into that side of things a bit more.

Quick Combat: This game will be an opportunity to playtest a quick combat method that I’ve developed. This method allows us to resolve Easy encounters with a single die roll each, followed by a shared narration of the ensuing battle. Depending on the choices you make, we will probably only use this method around ~50% of encounters. So you will still be using traditional combat methods for the encounters that could be more dangerous. In fact, I'm hoping that using this method will help to highlight the more dangerous combats. But if this is not something of interest to you, then this is probably not your game.

Character CreationIn general:
PHB plus one other source is fine (indicate this source when you know which one you are selecting).
Feats and Variant Human are fine.
No multiclass initially (though if I ever change this I will allow retrofitting).
Please ask if you have other questions.

Include the following in your application:
Use standard array to generate your ability scores.
Determine the hit points your character would have at third level.
(you may do more than this if you like, but you should check out the quick combat method prior to rolling for magic items.)

After successfully completing a quick combat simulation:
Make all other decisions such as background, spells, subclass, etc.
Purchase equipment and roll for magic items.

Character Wealth: Use the starting equipment as listed for your class and background. You have also gained a net 100 gold in your adventures so far. You may use this wealth to buy anything listed in PHB, chapter 5, or accumulate it for later use. If you want to sell off anything from your starting equipment, you may do so at half price. You may upgrade a particular item to something of the same category at full price (for example trading leather armor for studded leather armor would only require the difference between those). If you aren't sure what to buy, I'd recommend a healing potion and a bunch of rations. A mount would be useful as well.

Downtime Days: Downtime will be a potentially useful part of this game. You start with 5 downtime days.

Magic Items: You have accumulated some amount of magic items in your previous quests and will roll to determine the details. (Don’t roll until selected for the game.)
Roll twice on Magic Item Tables A, B and C: You may select any two of the six results from these rolls.
If your roll results in a spell scroll, you may select any spell for the given level.
You may trade items with each other if you like.
If you don’t have the DMG, I can look them up for you once you make the rolls (make d100 rolls indicating which table the roll is for with each roll).

ApplicationI am most interested in how potential players interact with each other. I am also interested in players who are interested in the game mechanic I am introducing. Player selection will be largely based around these ideas. When you are ready to apply, post your character idea in this thread.

Player Background, Description, etc: Write something here in whatever format you prefer. Brevity is nice, but so is clarity. To me this is the ideal. We are creating a story together and should be open to how we can shape it together. Unfortunately, there isn't an easy way to determine ahead of time whether this is something each applicant is willing to do. I think the best evidence I will have with this is the combat simulations detailed below.Being open to having your character concept change a bit based on the other characters in the game would be golden. Historically, I haven’t found a clear trend between how well backgrounds are written and how good of a fit a player is for a particular game. So there will be some amount of this that matters, but don’t feel like you have to overdo it here.

Mechanics: Indicate race and class. In addition, there are a few stats I would like you to calculate, as detailed in the character creation: abilities, and hp at 3rd level. Include these here. As long as you are able to do this correctly, there is no penalty or bonus to your consideration for this part.

X-Card(Optional): If there are things that you would be uncomfortable showing up in the setting of the game, please feel free to include those in your application. I would rather sort that out before the game than have someone drop because of an issue later that was never addressed ahead of time. Feel free to use secret text or PM if you are more comfortable with that, especially if you see something in another application that might cross a line for you. If you can't think of anything, don't feel like you have to add anything here. One of the challenges here is that it is an open game and you may be mixing and matching who you play with as the game proceeds. So it isn't really set up for a session zero type environment. I'm open to any suggestions on how to make this work more smoothly for everyone.

Player Interaction: Once you have completed the previous requirements, I would like you to interact with some of the other applicants by simulating a battle together using the new quick combat mechanics. Details of the quick combat mechanics can be found here. There is an OOC thread in the simulation folder for the game. Use it to decide on groups of 4 to 5 players to complete a combat with together, then select The combat encounters are the titles of the other threads in this folder.one of the combat encounters you would like to engage with as a group. Once you have made your group, roll in the dice thread for your class and use the table to determine the cost of the combat for your character. Then describe what this looked like for your character in a post. Feel free to discuss anything related to the combat in the OOC thread before you post. For example, good rolls often allow you to give benefits to other characters. If you have this kind of roll, make sure you clearly indicate which player you are giving the benefit to. You may take part in these combats as many times as you like, but please defer to applicants who have not had a chance to do so yet if you have already participated a few times. If you are selecting the same combat encounter that someone else has already participated in, the first post should have a title of “NEW COMBAT” to indicate as such. If there is a particular combat encounter you would like to see that isn’t listed, let me know and I will make a new thread for it. Remember these should all be Easy Encounters for a group of 4 to 5 third level characters.
Also, please ask if anything about these mechanics seems unclear to you. It would be presumptuous of me to think I can create something like this and state it so clearly that everyone would understand it. You won't be penalized if it's not obvious how it works at first and need some clarification.

Getting Started: after you've completed a combat simulation, if this feels like a game that interests you, feel free to get started. Post your interest here. If there are enough others already waiting, you might be able to join a quest immediately. More than likely, though, you will need to spend some time going on scouting expeditions first (usually groups of 2-3, though larger might be fine on occasion as well). Hopefully you won't have to wait for too long...

Ettiquette, etc.Posting Rates: I expect this will vary based on the situation at hand. For situations which require only a short response (traditional combat settings, or deciding whether to go left or right when the tunnel forks, etc) this could be in the one post a day range. For situations which require longer posts (social interactions, narrative posts using the new combat method, etc) the posting rate might slow to around twice a week. I will check in with people if it seems they are slowing things down and try to find a solution. The best thing is to let everyone know if you don't think you will be able to post during a given period of time.

Maps and Exploration: Exploration is a big part of what will happen, but the game will be a bit light on maps. Combats might be more theatre of the mind-style.

Safety Tools: I believe safety tools are very helpful in roleplaying games, so I want to leave an opening for anyone to bring up any issues that are a concern. Personally, I have found that the anonymity and distance provided via PbP is a sort of safety tool in itself. But if anyone has anything they would like to X-card for this game, please feel free to let me know either in the comments or via PM. For myself, I would like to avoid any violence to children.

Other things: if there are questions about anything else, please leave them in the comments and I will address them in an FAQ (probably in a post to directly follow this one.) If you are more comfortable with PMs, that is fine too, though I prefer to keep my inbox from getting too full.


About MeI've been a casual off and on player of various roleplaying games since about 1984. I've been on RPGXing since about 2012, and have been more "serious" about roleplaying since then. I've seen what kinds of things can lead to games failing, particularly in the PbP format, and I have some ideas of how to avoid that in this game.
I started out here with 3.5/Pathfinder but am now a huge fan of 5e (though I am still in one PF game because the quality of play is more important than the mechanics, and it has some of the best PbP players I've ever been in a game with). Recently I've also been writing some gaming supplements. Some of those details are linked in my signature. I also have a few projects for ENWorld that are coming out later this year.
When I'm not gaming, I'm a STEM professor, husband, and father of two young sons.

Last edited by goatmeal; 01-14-2020 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 01-20-2020, 08:22 PM
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goatmeal goatmeal is offline
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You can ask questions either in this thread, or the game's OOC thread. I've made a new thread for the players already in the game based on applicant responses, so don't feel like you have to keep up with anything in that OOC prior to your own post.

There are a few players already in the game, so if you want to jump into an established group it's probably a good time to apply. The game will continue to remain open, but you might have to wait a bit on others who are interested once this party fills up.
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