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  #1  
Old 04-16-2020, 09:11 PM
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A Crack in the Dome

Game NameA Crack in the Dome

Game SystemDnD 5e

ThemeAdventure and exploration with a character driven story

FlavourAn underwater adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world

Plot Summary

100 years ago a cataclysm swept across the world, destroying everything in a matter of hours. Storms ravaged the land, killing the living and bringing devastation to the towns and cities. The survivors took to the seas, spending many months travelling the world in search of a new home. But the storms continued to rage on making the land completely uninhabitable, and the seas became too dangerous to continue to sail. So the survivors took an unprecedented decision and turned their sights under the water. With the help of the local aquatic races they built an underwater city and surrounded it with a giant glass dome. The aquatic races provided their land-dwelling cousins with a way of making the city habitable; a giant crystal with magical powers that could convert the environment within the dome into a pressurised, breathable atmosphere. They named the city Nautilona.

99 years have passed since the cataclysm survivors began living in Nautilona. During this time an alliance was formed with the aquatic races, some of who began living in the city alongside their land-dwelling cousins. With traditional resources in short supply the city quickly found itself in desperate need for new sources of food and building supplies. Teams of 'Salvagers' were sent out to scour the nearby areas for shipwrecks and debris that had been scattered into the sea by the raging storms. You are part of one of those teams and this is where your story begins.



Game Details
Number of players: I will be aiming for a group of about 4-5 players.
Post Rate: I will be aiming to make a DM post about 2/3 times a week, dependent on player posts.
Sources: Classes, Races and Backgrounds can be from any official source book. All characters will be granted a swim speed as this is a key skill that all Salvagers learn. If you choose an aquatic race they must have the amphibious trait (be able to breathe on land or underwater) in order to live in the city. All non-amphibious races will be granted equipment as a Salvager that will allow them to leave the safety of the city.
Starting Level: You will be starting at level 2.
Duration: I have a concept for a one-shot to begin with that should hopefully include some opportunities to level up a level or two. If the game doesn't work then the story can be wound up nicely. But if everything works and people are having fun then there's no reason this can't be expanded into a full ongoing campaign.
Starting Gear: As per your class and background options.
Ability Scores: Standard point scores (15,14,13,12,10,8).
Alignment: Good and Neutral alignments only please.
Backstory: You have already been selected as part of this salvage team. Perhaps your backstory could detail how you ended up being part of the team. Nautilona has existed for 99 years; For some characters this may mean that you are one of the original survivors of the cataclysm that wiped out the surface world. Your backstory could include how you survived and ended up living in the city.
Date for applications: 19th September



About Me
I've been DM'ing for a few groups over the last couple of years but this is my first time running a campaign on a Play by Post forum, so go easy on me! As a DM I'm all about the story; I love to involve my players' characters directly in the unfolding events, so I look for interesting backstories or character concepts that I can weave into the plots of my adventures.



Application Template
Character Name:
Age:
Race:
Class:
Alignment:
Personality:
Backstory:



Current Players

Character Name Race Class Age
Zavilamalikai Water Genasi Storm Sorceror 20
Earenden High Elf Artificer 219
Rish Aries Air Genasi Monk 19



New Applications

Player Character Name Race Class Age Status
rhaiber Muireann Selkie Life Cleric/Bard 14 Complete
Nomadic druid Mr. Kronin "Hairy knuckles" Copperbeard Dwarf Knowledge Domain Cleric 59 Complete
Zealot Aurian the Dour Hobgoblin Wizard (Abjurer) 28 WiP
kwil Ardin Blackstone Dwarf Fighter 45 Complete
penbeast0 Dagoo "Stubb" Tashtego Variant Human Barbarian (Totem) 19 Complete
Delirium Olorea T'sarran Dark Elf (Drow) Paladin 101 Complete
DemonSlayer Anchor Warforged Fighter 130 Complete
Draidden Arun Davon Sea Elf Rogue (Scout) 125 Complete
Gadron Orion Triton Warlock (Hexblade) 120 Complete
Schroedingerdude Scurvy Warforged Artificer 6 months Complete
Clawsome Sharkbait Sea Elf Ranger 175 Complete
Raada Allas Kidagakath Triton Druid (Moon) 19 Complete
Ferdy Boss Krōk Grung Rogue (Mastermind) 35 Complete


Last edited by gavins38; 09-18-2020 at 09:18 PM. Reason: Applications Updated
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Old 04-16-2020, 09:15 PM
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Reserved post for updates and questions of things that I've no doubt forgotten!

What level of technology is present in the world?

I was thinking more along the lines of a typical 5e setting where magic would substitute for technology.

Mechanics question - how would ranged attacks work in this environment?

Underwater combat in the PHB (pg 198) is pretty brief but states that melee attacks have disadvantage unless the character has swimming speed - excluding attacks with dagger, javelin, shortsword, spear or trident. As part of your characters' job as a Scavenger I will be granting every PC a swim speed of 30ft, as I believe this would be a key skill that all Scavengers would have. By the PHB rules this should mean all melee attacks are normal.

The PHB also says that ranged weapon attacks have disadvantage unless the weapon is a crossbow, net, or thrown weapon (javelin, spear, trident, dart). All ranged weapons auto fail outside of their normal range. The setting doesn't allow for firearms but they wouldn't work underwater anyway.

Unearthed Arcana?

I'm happy to listen to reasonable requests.

How does magic work underwater?

There's a real lack of rules in the PHB or DMG about how spells work underwater. In fact the only rule is that everyone fully submerged in water has resistance to fire damage. I'm not sure of any of the other books have additional rules on an underwater environment but I'm working from just the PHB and DMG for now.

So it's my understanding that on the whole spells and magic work in much the same way underwater as they do on land, save for a few exceptions:

Fog Cloud: Fog Cloud just doesn't work by its nature. You can't create moisture in an environment full of water. Other types of cloud spell should work though as they are based on poison/fire damage.

Fire Spells: Fire spells will work but the damage will be generated by the heat of the spell causing burning hot steam in an area around the spell effect. The secondary effects of fire spells (objects catching fire, etc) won't happen. Everyone underwater still has resistance to the damage though.

Lightning Spells: Conversely everyone submerged in water will be vulnerable to lightning damage, which nicely counter-balances the resistance to fire spell damage. As the lightning is magically conjured, rather than naturally occurring, the spell should behave as normal.

Call Lightning: By the RAW this spell shouldn't work as you're going to be way more than 100ft under the surface of the water. In a dry area, such as within the dome, I would argue that this spell could work as the atmosphere would allow the creation of a storm cloud. Out in the open sea I would allow a little flavour to make the spell work. I've just done a quick read up on storms and a lightning strike is in part due to a positive electrical charge in the ground which is attracted to the negative charge in the storm cloud. So arguably you could flavour the spell to say that you draw the charge from the ground instead of the sky.

We may have to address other spells as we encounter them.

Last edited by gavins38; 04-21-2020 at 05:54 PM. Reason: sharing answers to questions
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Old 04-16-2020, 09:23 PM
DurinVII DurinVII is offline
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Sounds like a really fun concept! What level of technology are we looking at here? Just wondering if the post-apocalyptic setting would be more like post-apocalyptic futuristic, where technology would be at least as advanced as in the modern world, or if this is post-apocalyptic from the more pan-medieval perspective of a typical 5e setting. Either way, I really like this idea and will more than likely apply!
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:21 PM
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I am very interested. I'm sure the important details of game mechanics and so forth will be answered in other questions, but I would like to join in your queue.

Character NameThis One


RaceLizardfolk


ClassBarbarian


AlignmentUnaligned (True Neutral)


PersonalityThis One sleeps mostly submerged in a pool of water, feeling too dry if his scales aren't dripping wet. Most nights the pool is the puddle at the main entrance to the city.


BackstoryThis One was hatched 15 years ago from an egg in a museum under the dome. Nobody expected a petrified lizardfolk egg to crack open, and yet there was the broodling in the city's midst. Many people assumed him to be mindless and feral, as was often assumed about lizardfolk of the surface world in the time before... Living on scraps of meat that he begged from dwellers in the city, and off what he could catch with his own claws on his swimming outings, people came to recognise him.

A Foggy Memory
"Honey, it's back." a wife called to her husband one day.

"Oh, not this one again... Off with you now! Get!" the husband grunted, grabbing a broom and shooing away the young lizard.


He practised at human speech, though without a proper teacher, he struggled. When the food began to become scarce, he was noticed bringing in a hand-woven grass net full of fish by one of the Salvagers. The Salvager showed This One's fish to the other Salvagers at the entrance to the dome. While others saw only a savage creature, the Salvagers saw opportunity. They took time to teach him some basic language, never sure if he truly understood what they meant. This One gave himself his name from that one memory, and though he only speaks broken common and his own semi-feral draconic growlings, he understands others well enough to report for duty when called upon by his Salvager friends.

Last edited by The Great Gnome; 04-20-2020 at 10:43 AM. Reason: Spell checking on a second read-by... corrected some grammar, too. :)
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:04 AM
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Ooh, this seems like a very interesting premise! I'd love to join you in playing through this, so here's my character application:
Character Name Felis Argyle

Age18

RaceWildhunt Shifter

ClassRogue

AlignmentTrue Neutral

PersonalityLike many who possess feline blood, Felis despises water. Unfortunately for him, he happens to live in a city built underwater, so he's learned to hide his near-constant state of water-induced panic with banter and a sardonic smile.

BackstoryFelis's mother was a normal, loving human woman, and his father a half-lycanthrope. Shortly after his birth, Felis's father went slightly mad from thalassaphobia and drowned himself so as not to have to face the weight of the sea above the dome for another day.

Thus, Felis grew up only knowing one parent, who worked as a maid in a city official's home. She was gone much of the time, so Felis learned to fend for himself much of the time, swiping food and working odd jobs to satisfy his growing boy's hunger. When he came of age, Felis decided to try to find a high-paying job that would allow him to someday support his mother's retirement.

And so, after days of asking around the city, Felis found himself at the office of the Salvagers. Promising good pay for only part-time work gathering supplies, scavenging seemed like the ideal job. Perhaps due to a momentary lapse in judgement, Felis applied, not considering the fact that getting this job would entail leaving the dome, the only thing standing between him and the cold, dark sea.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:17 AM
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Intrigued by the setting, for sure!

Mechanics question - how would ranged attacks work in this environment? i.e. Bows, firearms (if allowed), thrown daggers etc?

I will submit a character concept shortly. Is UA allowed?
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Last edited by Delafontaine; 04-17-2020 at 10:23 AM.
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:30 AM
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Posting Interest! Likely going to apply as an aquatic race. Because, at least in this setting, why not?
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Old 04-17-2020, 10:51 AM
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I love this kind of setting xD Posting interest!
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DurinVII View Post
Sounds like a really fun concept! What level of technology are we looking at here? Just wondering if the post-apocalyptic setting would be more like post-apocalyptic futuristic, where technology would be at least as advanced as in the modern world, or if this is post-apocalyptic from the more pan-medieval perspective of a typical 5e setting. Either way, I really like this idea and will more than likely apply!
I was thinking more along the lines of a typical 5e setting where magic would substitute for technology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delafontaine View Post
Intrigued by the setting, for sure!

Mechanics question - how would ranged attacks work in this environment? i.e. Bows, firearms (if allowed), thrown daggers etc?

I will submit a character concept shortly. Is UA allowed?
Underwater combat mechanics - Underwater combat in the PHB (pg 198) is pretty brief but states that melee attacks have disadvantage unless the character has swimming speed - excluding attacks with dagger, javelin, shortsword, spear or trident. As part of your characters' job as a Scavenger I will be granting every PC a swim speed of 30ft, as I believe this would be a key skill that all Scavengers would have. By the PHB rules this should mean all melee attacks are normal.

The PHB also says that ranged weapon attacks have disadvantage unless the weapon is a crossbow, net, or thrown weapon (javelin, spear, trident, dart). All ranged weapons auto fail outside of their normal range. The setting doesn't allow for firearms but they wouldn't work underwater anyway.

Unearthed Arcana - I'm happy to listen to reasonable requests.
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Old 04-20-2020, 07:19 AM
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I find myself with a few mechanics questions which is not answered by the source books directly.

1.) Clouds and cloudlike effects from spells. Would cloud spells not work underwater, create a lingering slime pocket with strange effects, appear as a field of toxic but harmless bubbles and quickly rise to the surface, or something else?

2.) Lightning damage. Whether by spells of by weapon delivery, underwater, I would imagine lightning would have a different effect underwater just like fire does, like all lightning damage being AoE from point of impact or point of cast or everything just being vulnerable to it underwater like they are if they are wearing metal armor?

3.) Light at the bottom of the sea. How far will magical light or light from a gnomish contraption for an underwater hooded lantern or something like that travel? If we are indeed at the bottom of the sea, I imagine that the darkness is fairly absolute.
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Old 04-20-2020, 10:17 AM
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Alright, finally got a character concept worked out!

Application
right-aligned image
Name: Earenden
Race: High Elf
Class: Artificer
Age: 219
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Backstory: Long before the cataclysm that destroyed the surface world, Earenden was a tinkerer and inventor. He was considered an oddball, but a solidly decent fellow in his city. With his wild red hair, his work goggles, and his flamboyant clothing, he was always popular among children, who never tired of seeing his trinkets and contraptions- and he never tired of seeing the excited smiles on their faces when he showed them his latest creation.

One day, however, the storms came. Horrific lightning and tsunamis crashed over the city, destroying most of it. Earenden, however, was prepared. He had constructed a device for just such a situation- a capsule in which he could survive fire, flood, and destruction. Locking himself into his capsule, he waited out the storm... or so he thought. After a few hours, he deemed it safe to leave, and unbarred and swung open the heavy iron door- only to find himself floating on the ocean! As he opened the door, the double-layered walls released the pressurized air inside that had caused the capsule to stay buoyant, and it sank like a stone. Earenden was left struggling on the surface of the sea for hours.

Fortunately for him, he was spotted by a naval ship that had been on patrol when the storms hit, and they picked him up off the water. He spent several months on the ship, as it joined together with other survivors of the deluge. Eventually, however, the storms grew too strong to remain even on the surface of the sea, and the people turned to the water. The idea was created, in concert with the friendly aquatic races, to build the city of Nautilona, a domed city on the bottom of the sea. After years of construction (in which Earenden played a minor part, helping with some of the airlocks and similar portions), they moved into their new city.

Earenden, lamenting the loss of all of his inventions, began his new laboratory... but this time, he decided to begin further exploring the magical side of inventing. He'd always had a bit of magical skill, but had only really used it for minor repairs around his workshop. Now he began experimenting with actually imbuing his creations with magic of their own, infusing them with power. He soon found, to his surprise, that he was beginning to manifest arcane abilities of his own that he'd never seen before! He began studying both his own magic and his inventions, and soon began producing more wondrous, magical items than he ever had before. He still regrets the loss of his former life's work, but he is optimistic that he can create an entirely new level of devices and inventions.

When he heard of the assembly of Salvager teams, Earenden knew he needed to sign up. His creations could be invaluable to the Salvagers, and his skills could even come in handy out on expeditions! Leaving behind a prototype for his latest invention, a steel automaton, Earenden donned his armor, grabbed his crossbow and supplies, and set out to join the Salvagers!
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Old 04-20-2020, 01:20 PM
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I actually have a question as well:

You mentioned that this was intended as a oneshot, so does that mean that there will not be opportunities to level up?
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:47 PM
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@The Great Gnome

Some very good questions indeed. I've read a lot of discussions on this and there's no official answer. However the best answer is that most spells behave as normal underwater save for:

1) Clouds and cloudlike effects from spells: The only cloud spell I can see that wouldn't work underwater is fog cloud as fog is just moisture in the air. The other cloud spells seem to inflict poison or fire damage which I fell would probably still function, if not exactly the same, but for the sake of spellcasting would have the same effect and damage.

2) Lightning damage: So the PHB says that everyone has fire resistance underwater and if we follow logic this would suggest that everyone would be vulnerable to lightning (electricity) damage underwater. Discussions I've read on the effects of lightning damage suggest that magical lightning has enough integrity to act normally underwater.

An interesting argument also suggests that fire damage would actually become steam/heat damage so therefore fire spells could effectively still work underwater - but fire resistance would apply.

3) Light at the bottom of the sea: As most magic appears to function underwater in a similar manner to on the surface I would say that magical light spells would provide the same amount of light as per the spell description. The same would apply to gnomish inventions. However, items that rely on fire obviously won't work - torches, campfires, etc.

In this world the people have discovered and grown a bio-luminescent coral as a light source within the dome. I would imagine that the Scavengers have developed a method of using this same coral in the creation of their outfits/armour to negate the effects of the undersea darkness on their daylight eyes.

I am of course open to discussion on the possible physics of being underwater seeing as there are no hard and fast rules in place. I don't necessarily intend that being underwater should be a disadvantage to any character, more just an opportunity for some different roleplay.

@ReBarasu

The duration of the game is going to depend heavily on how things pan out. I have a story in mind as a starter. It can act as a one-shot but it could easily be expanded beyond that. If we find that the lack of rules on being underwater causes us not to enjoy the game then it can be wound up neatly. But if everyone is having fun then I'll just take the story further.

If the concept works then I'd love for you all to be able to level up and explore your characters abilities more. So I guess the answer is that I hope for there to be opportunities to level up in the initial story, with the possibility of taking it even further afterwards.

I'll try to amend the game description accordingly to emphasize this more.
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Old 04-20-2020, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for the answers!
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Old 04-20-2020, 04:05 PM
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Thank you for the answers. I think if we are having fun with the game, but the questions about underwater stuff need answers and the books don't give 'em, we could all homebrew some rules together and add them to the submissions for the site rule lexicon when submissions come around again!
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