This game uses the Pathfinder RPG core rules, as published by Paizo. These are an incremental evolution of the Dungeons & Dragons Edition 3.5 Core Rules, as set out in the Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual of that edition. No further source books or rulebooks are required or permitted. While this game’s creator feels no great compulsion to explain decisions like this in detail, suffice to say the following: A restricted core game fits better with the setting at hand. It also places more emphasis on player and dungeon-master creativity. New items, spells, and other such things are certainly welcome, but the players must figure out how to discover or invent them within the game, rather than simply citing a “splat” book and declaring, “Therefore, it must exist.”
House RulesHouse Rules are laid out at the SharpLight website in detail. With the move to Pathfinder, most of these tweaks have been either incorporated or been rendered unnecessary by Paizo’s magnificent work. The one in particular retained is:
- Action Points: as the Eberron rule of the same name, though obviously minus the Eberron-specific uses. A certain number of times per character level, a character may add 1d6 to the results of a single d20 roll.
Some of these can not be revealed yet. For now, the primary burden upon the player is to create a character within the bounds of the rules above, using only player races and classes at the outset, using the Ability Scores provided and meeting the requirements for a heroic destiny.
Regarding Ability Scores, the Game Master supplies those. They are randomly generated and they are not all equal in value, which is why players are encouraged to keep their attributes secret. The Game Master retains the best set for himself anyway. (This actually occurred by random chance, but if anyone ever saw the Game Master’s set, they would never believe it.)
Regarding “heroic destiny,” this is really the most important feature of any proposed character in the campaign. Because the campaign obfuscates its own overarching plot to a large degree (see below), its day-to-day cohesion depends largely on the individual story arcs of the player-characters. In other words, this campaign is designed to be a platform for the narratives of the various individuals in the party. It serves them, but it can only do so to the extent that they can be served. The players must therefore bring to the table some sense of where the character starts, where it ends up (at Level 20 or before), and how it gets there. See the article on heroic destiny for more information.
Additional Campaign Rules, for the DM
Within the limitations on what can be revealed at this time: the primary restriction upon the campaign from the perspective of the dungeon-master, in addition to those rules described above, is that each Sunday session must be entirely episodic. This is not to say that a plot-line can not span multiple sessions, but an active encounter, dungeon-exploration, or other activity of the party will never be suspended and spanned across two consecutive sessions. At the end of the game-night, the player-characters will be removed from the adventure scenario, and they are not likely to return to that scenario in the following session. The campaign lends itself to isolated encounters and provides a very apt platform for dungeon-master experimentation. Players will use the adventures either as pure diversions or as opportunities to advance their own story-lines, as appropriate.
Naturally, one will inquire as to how this will be enforced. Rest assured: it will be enforced. The structure of the campaign will enforce it.