15 October, 2010

Does a Shifter Weigh the Same as a Duck?

This place has been pretty quiet for a few days while I've been ruminating about Eberron. I've decided on Labyrinth Lord for the ruleset, and I'll be starting out with it totally stock, no house-rules going into it. I've also made some (fairly easy) decisions about some of the player races. They will all be available for players to choose from, just like in the standard setting material, but instead of using the Advanced LL rules (yet) I'll be casting them in the mold of other old-school demi-human classes.

As elves are to fighter/magic-user, so shall shifters be to fighter/thief. I'll be up front with people, however, that playing a shifter isn't going to go over well at all anywhere within the confines of Old Galifar. The reaction would range from 'pelted with produce' to 'public execution,' with a usual average somewhere around 'torch-wielding-mob.' They would be more characteristically realised within my version as the NPC cat-woman sorcerer of Conan's borderlands.

Warforged, if appearing as a player character, would fall into more of the dwarf class mold. They are fighters, with level limits mirroring dwarven advancement. Their immunities are more extensive, obviously, but these and their counterpart limitations are an inherent part of the setting. In my version, they were not produced in nearly as many numbers as in the official version of the setting. They just aren't that much better than human troops to justify the expense. If they didn't have free will, that'd be a different story. As it is, many see them as a novelty of the rich and a failed experiment of the military.

My main remaining decision is how to start out. Eberron provides an incredible variety of starting points for a party of adventurers, but I'd rather not start in a big city, like Sharn. Starting them as post-mourning amnesiacs injects a lot of iconic setting flavour into the campaign right from the start, but on the other hand might seem clichéd.

When trying to evoke a certain setting, I always like to include the setting's published adventures in one way or another. They often form the meat of a setting's character. However, the one first-level module I've found takes place in Sharn, which I'd like to avoid for a while.

Thus, I'm still nailing down the first adventure, but otherwise ready to go. Perhaps some of you out there have an idea of a good way to start!


Cole said...

I think that even by the book as written, intelligent, PC-style Warforged are a late development compared to semi-sentient drones. Changing up the numbers so that there were hordes of automata and only a small minority of intelligent ones might be an interesting option.

None of the Eberron modules that I've seen are great. WOTC didn't ever do so such a great job on modules in my opinion, with only a few exceptions. I agree that Sharn isn't a great starting place. near Stormreach in Xen'Drik or on the border with Darguun or Droaam seem like promising options for quick entry into adventuring.

How have you liked the game novels? I am wary of game fiction, so never tried one.

migellito said...

I've read the first two novels by Keith Baker, the inventor of Eberron. I liked them a lot better than the handful of Dragonlance books I read back in the 90s, and better than the introductory Drizzt book. I was only able to get a few pages into that before "consigning it to oblivion!"

The edition I had of the first Eberron book, City of Towers, had a ton of typos though.

Sean Robson said...

I've noticed that many people on discussion forums dislike Eberron, but I think it's a great setting. In fact, it's the only published setting that I've ever used. I always prefer to make my own settings rather than play in someone else's sandbox, but Eberron has a lot of flair, and the campaign books are really enjoyable reads unlike, say, Forgotten Realms. I particularly enjoyed reading Five Nations and found it full of great adventure ideas.

If you aren't interested in Sharn, Xen'Drik would be a great place to set a campaign and there is lots of potential to shape it however you like.

I've read most of the WotC Eberron adventures and they are utterly execrable. I'm sure you can do a much better job yourself.

migellito said...

I always wanted to really like Forgotten Realms, since it's technically the oldest setting (although unpublished,) even predating Baker's early work with Tekumel if I remember correctly.

I always had the same conclusion though. I've been reading a bit of Ed's summary info about it lately, and it sounds like the ideas are great, so perhaps it was just the presentation which turned me off.

Once we really get going with Eberron, I'll try to post a few transcripts here, and of course you're all still welcome to join in as well :)