Conor's Age of Worms
Everyone likes to play heroic characters – those who are a cut above the common man. Thus, we’re going to go with a 30 point-buy option, with a minimum score of 10 (unless you have a compelling background reason for a lower stat).
Alternately, we can get together and roll up characters, at which point, your attributes are what you roll. Rolling convention would be 4d6 rolled in 3 sets of six, choose the best set you like.
No dwarves call Diamond Lake home, though a few live there. Most have some sort of business with the Greysmere Covenant, perhaps as a guard, negotiator, or even magical advisor. Some few might work as miners, but they generally find the human-made mines of Diamond Lake to be unacceptable work environments.
Right-thinking elves loathe Diamond Lake, as it represents everything elves find churlish and cruel about humans. Only Ellival Moonmeadow and his deputies—exclusively elven—seem to have the stomach for the place. A PC elf might serve as a guard or confidant of one of these deputies, or might be a deputy himself !
Gnomes might be lodgers at Tidwoad’s or agents of any of the mine managers. Those with a theatrical flair might find steady work with the Emporium .
Many halflings in Diamond Lake work in the hospitality field, as a clerk, cook, or menial of some sort. Others are (relatively) wealthy visitors from the halfling community of Elmshire to the north.
Half-elves might live among the “civilized” poor of Jalek’s Flophouse. They might find themselves in the employ of Ellival Moonmeadow, but soon become aware that the mine manager simply doesn’t like anyone other than elves, and half-elves don’t quite qualify.
Half-orcs’ increased Strength and low Intelligence makes them ideal miners or thugs, and Diamond Lake is filled to bursting with both. A more original approach might cast a half-orc as a roustabout or performer at the Emporium.
The garrison does not employ half-orcs as a rule, and most soldiers despise them thanks to ongoing depredations from orc tribes far to the southwest.
Humans can fill any role in Diamond Lake, from the humble miner to the child of a prominent citizen. Most are laborers.
Alchemists will likely be apprentices of Benazel the Alchemist. More bloodthirsty members of the profession could members of the garrison, used as bomb-throwing combat support.
In the secluded valleys of the Cairn Hills, primitive traditions hold strong and humans at times seem more like beasts than like men. In the vast swamp to the south, wiry, feral humans fiercely contest
small patches of dry land, narrowly holding out against lizardfolk and more horrible denizens of the murky marsh.
Bards looking for an interesting way to fit into Diamond Lake need look no further than the Emporium. Players looking for a slightly less debauched hook might make good performers at the Spinning Giant or another unnamed venue.
Cavaliers will almost certainly be members of the garrison. They serve as cavalry support, and are often being groomed for command positions in the Taldoran military.
For the easiest fit select Iomedae, St. Cutbert, Pharazma, or Irori as your deity, which will allow you to interact with a local faith. (Temples to Pharazma and Irori exist just outside the town proper the others exist within it). If those gods don’t appeal to you, consider the character an adjunct cleric “loaned” to an allied local temple or a lone prophet amid the common folk of Diamond Lake.
Druids might get into the campaign as representatives of Nogwier, the Green Faith druid who leads that community and who sends them into the hills chasing stories of unkillable undead and unnatural green worms.
Most fighters in Diamond Lake are part of the garrison contingent, but a few work as muscle for the mine managers. For an interesting spin, consider making a PC fighter a deputy serving under the corrupt Sheriff Cubbin.
Monks native to the Diamond Lake region uniformly come from the Twilight Monastery, an edifice located just outside the town. A PC monk might befriend another PC before the campaign begins, making him an ideal invite when the other PC learns of the Whispering Cairn.
An Oracle could easily be working at the Emporium as a fortune-teller. A less standard option would be for them to be associated with the Twilight Monastery.
The Chapel of Iomedae regularly houses one or two young paladins from the city of Oppara, who work within the garrison sanctuary as a lesson in humility on a path to bigger and better things within the greater church. A paladin beholden to St. Cuthbert or Irori would be a minor figurehead in the cult, uniformly respected by the flock. Non-worshipping paladins could be working temporarily with the garrison.
Few rangers dwell within Diamond Lake, but the druidic community at the Bronzewood Lodge includes several who might have reason to regularly visit Diamond Lake. Other rangers might come from the wild tribes of the Cairn Hills or the Mistmarsh.
Rogues are right at home nearly anywhere in Diamond Lake, but especially in vice dens like the Emporium or the Midnight Salute. Each of the mine managers sponsors at least one gang of toughs, making a rogue PC a great point of contact with the town’s seedy underworld.
The Emporium is always on the lookout for charismatic exhibitors with a magical trick up their sleeve—the flashier the better. Sorcerers might also be affiliated with a street gang that frequents the Feral Dog or might be in the employ of one of the mine managers.
Witches are no less outsiders in Diamond Lake than they are anywhere else in Golarion. A witch character would likely be an herbalist or midwife, or someone the citizens of Diamond Lake visit surreptitiously for love potions and charms against evil.
Consider apprenticing wizard characters to Allustan, one of the central NPCs in the Age of Worms Adventure Path. Such characters will feel closer to the action of the campaign, and will serve as excellent interlocutors between the party and their arcane patron.
Gunslinger, Ninja, Samurai, and Psionic classes: Not allowed, nor are gun-wielding archetypes.
At higher levels you may select prestige classes from the DMG except assassin and blackguard. Any prestige classes must be approved by the DM prior to level-up, and a few levels before, to allow him to integrate the prestige class into the setting.
The Church of St. Cuthbert has the largest congregation. If Diamond Lake has a standard religion, it would be this one. The second largest congregation can be found at the chapel of Iomedae, located within the Garrison. Many of the warriors and militia chose this chapel to worship instead. There are two temples outside of the town proper, one to Pharazma and one to Irori. Although other religions can certainly be found in Diamond Lake, there are no other official locations of worship.
choose any non-evil alignment.
All characters will be young adults who grew up in the mining city of Diamond Lake, which is a backwater town of Taldor. Characters will be fairly well acquainted with each other prior to the first adventure. They are on the cusp of deciding what to do with their young lives.
Come up with an interesting background for your character. PCs need not be directly involved in the mining industry, but whether they like it or not the economy of Diamond Lake is closely tied to it. Some PCs may go ahead and already claim an entry-level job in the hospitality, service, merchant, mining or military industries. Others may still be clinging to the hope of getting out of Diamond Lake and have held off on taking a steady job. The bottom line is: all of the PCs will begin play as residents of Diamond Lake who share one common goal – escaping to a better life once certain financial obligations have been met.
Players who provide a written background of their characters prior to their first session, will be given consideration for bonus abilities.
These abilities will be based on their given background, and will be in the form of bonus skill points, a single bonus feat, a bonus ability point, or possibly even a single special masterwork or magical item.
Don’t overlook the benefits of skills such as “craft”, “profession”, “knowledge”, etc. Players should strongly consider putting at least a few skill points into one or more of these often disregarded skills. They may prove as useful as the commonly selected “perception”, “survival”, “diplomacy”, and “intimidate” skills.
The AVERAGE for your chosen class.
Choose whatever you can buy with your starting money from the standard PHB tables. Since nobody will be starting with more than 150 gp, this provides a built-in restriction against most magic and masterwork items.
The following house rules will be used:
All players will receive a full share of the experience. Parties will get XP for monsters, traps and puzzles, based on challenge ratings. Additional story awards may be awarded for accomplishing tasks or exceptional role-playing. Characters that are absent during a session will miss out on any bonus XP or campaign-related benefits from that session.
When advancing a level, characters can gain their new level benefits after a good night’s rest.
Starting Hit Points
Take the maximum for your class plus your CON bonus for your first 2 levels.
Gaining Fixed Hit Points – When advancing in level, if your character rolls less than the minimum amount given below, you receive that amount instead.
d6 – 2
d8 – 3
d10 – 4
d12 – 5
New characters will be brought in at same level as the lowest level PC in the party.
each game session, every player can re-roll a SINGLE botched roll. You can choose a saving throw, an attack, damage dice, whatever you like, but remember you only get to do it once per session, so be sure not to waste it! Once again, everyone gets a single mulligan! Use it wisely.
Choose 2 traits, one of which can be one of the campaign traits listed below, as well as standard traits, race traits, and Taldoran regional traits.
Someone you loved was knifed to death in a dark alley one night. You were called to the scene by the watch to identify the body, and as rough as that was for you, you also noticed a ring was missing from the body. Whoever murdered your loved one stole that ring—you’re convinced of it. You’ve done some investigation on your own and recently found the ring for sale at a local merchant. Although, to your great frustration, you can’t afford yet to buy it back.
Widowed: The murder victim was a lover. With your lover’s death, a part of you died as well, leaving you haunted, grim, and prone to dark musings. You gain a +2 bonus on Intimidate checks.
Someone you know has become addicted to kalamanthis, a narcotic created from a local plant. The drug induces euphoria (the degree of which is dictated by the method of use.) Kalamanthis is particularly dangerous for the desperate, for its promise of artificial happiness is often viewed as the only alternative apart from suicide for escaping a dreary life. You’ve always thought of the drug as a problem of the lower class, but then someone you know overdosed on the stuff. This person’s addiction has proven costly to you, as you’ve put yourself in debt to cover their expenses.
Addicted Friend: The addict is a friend or lover who might or might not have survived the overdose. Your research into the drug scene and local politics has given you a respectable education in street knowledge. You gain a +2 bonus on Knowledge (local) checks or Diplomacy checks to Gather Information (choose one when selecting this trait).
Personal Addiction: You were the addict. Your brush with death convinced you to get straight, and you’ve been clean for a while now. Fortunately, your body recovers quickly from toxins, and you have a +1 bonus on Fortitude saving throws.
Your dreams are haunted by strange visions of tortured landscapes and worm-ridden corpses. In some of these dreams, you are the worm-ridden monster! You are always tired, though not to the point of fatigue.
Benefit: You are used to fatigue, and suffer no penalties when you become fatigued. When you become exhausted, you are instead treated as if you are fatigued.
Drawback: You suffer a –2 penalty on saving throws against effects that cause madness or insanity, and on saving throws against sleep effects. If you are normally immune to sleep effects, you lose that immunity.
Visionary of Iomedae
Having found your faith in Diamond Lake, you received visions of impending dark shadows and terrifying hunger.
Divine Caster: pick three spells on your spell list. You are particularly adept at casting these spells, so they function at +1 caster level when you cast them, and their save DCs (if any) gain a +1 bonus.
All Others: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Knowledge (religion) checks, and Knowledge (religion) is a class skill for you.
You were trained in religious matters by Justice Amon Kyre .
You have lived your entire life in Diamond Lake, a miner’s child from a family of miners. When you grew up, you may have even worked in one or more of the various mines. You could have also had gone off on your own and became a prospector solo or with a group of like-minded individuals.
Benefit: Add a +2 bonus to your profession (miner) skill and add a +1 bonus to your appraise skill. Also add a +2 to your knowledge (engineering) skill but only when it deals with mines or underground tunnels.
During your childhood, something happened to you and some forgotten part of your hopes and dreams died away. It’s hard to play on those themes with you.
Benefit: Any attempt to fascinate you, be it by spell or bardic music or other ability, has a -2 to the DC.