War of the Burning Sky is a 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons campaign based on the D&D 3.5 adventure path published by ENPublishing. It has been substantially changed and adapted by Robin Monogue (Zinovia on ENWorld) with assistance from the ENWorld community. For more information on War of the Burning Sky as it was originally published click here. My players should just read my notes here. I've changed stuff!
It's been over a year since I updated this, and a lot has happened. Our heroes are currently at Thunderspire Labyrinth seeking a stolen artifact on behalf of Seaquen. They have wiped out the local branch of the Bloodreavers slavers, including their leader, an insane beholder named Phidias the Mad Sculptor. Currently they are investigating a duergar outpost in search of people taken during the raid and information on the nefarious Paldemar who seems to be behind a lot of the issues in Thunderspire.
Annual Christmas layoffs by WotC
It seems WotC has followed through by laying off a big batch of people just in time for the holidays. It's ironic that the last news article I wrote was about the previous year's layoffs in December of 2008. Scott Rouse left WotC earlier this year as well.
Upcoming Books from Wizards:
Recently published were The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos, and Underdark. I'm not sure if I want those, but I will look into it. Books about the planes can be interesting, but they tend to be a bit specialized.
Marial Power 2 will be published on February 16th. There are some preview articles from that available now. That's more of a tempting purchase as it's great having new options for characters and 3 of the characters in our current group are martial.
Mid-March will see publication of Player's Handbook 3, which is subtitled "Rules for Psionic, Divine, and Primal Heroes". So the Assassin class, which is currently previewing on D&DI won't be appearing in that book, as it is known to use the new Shadow power source. I don't think I am all that interested in that class - it seems to use combo point mechanics kind of like rogues in WoW, but I haven't read the preview fully, I just heard about it on the Radio Free Hommlett podcast. As for PH3, it should include the Psion, another psionic class called the Battlemind, and who knows what else. Races will include minotaurs and githzerai. /yawn. The psion has a preview up and looks to be fairly interesting. It's a controller class and uses a different mechanic for powers than the other classes.
Some people like to read a lot of background in advance, and others honestly just want to get on with the game and pick up the info they need during play. I'm fine either way, so only read as much as you'd like. I've broken down the background into a few parts. I'd like for everyone to read the little intro here on this page, but if you want all the gory details, you can take a look at the Player's Guide PDF. Believe it or not this is *much* shorter than the original Player's Guide published with War of the Burning Sky!
Once news reached the Free City-state of Gate Pass by teleporting courier. Now that channel has gone silent, and news travels by the old routes of rumor via travelers from the outside world. You might be one of those travelers, or a concerned native of the city, but you have heard the rumors as they spread through Gate Pass.
People are saying that Emperor Darikus Coaltongue, tiefling ruler of the mighty Ragesian Empire which lies to the west of Gate Pass, has been slain in a distant nation. Coaltongue ruled Ragesia for decades, and some claimed he was immortal as year after year passed with Coaltongue showing no real signs of aging. Regardless of how he maintained his youth and vigor, it seems that he is now dead. No one doubts the tales of armies mustering in Ragesia, with orders to secure the borders of the empire at this time of weakness and uncertainty. There is fear that the maneuvering armies are the sign of a power struggle among the remaining Ragesian leaders.
Rumors from Shahalesti, the nation east of Gate Pass, say its half-elven king Tirradion seeks to claim the vulnerable Ragesia for his people. Tirradion helped Coaltongue‘s rise to power, and so feels he is entitled to the throne he helped win. The Ragesian succession is unclear, as no heir was ever named by Coaltongue. Now Tirradion‘s armies are marching towards Ragesia to consolidate his claim.
Gate Pass sits alone in its mountain pass, one of the few safe routes between these two powerful nations — the Empire of Ragesia and the Shining Lands of Shahalesti. For weeks people have been saying war would come to Gate Pass, and it seems that the rumors are true. Even now the drums of war can be heard approaching.
I'll try and keep this updated as we make changes to the rules we're using. War of the Burning Sky will be a 4th edition D&D game, using the three core rulebooks and Player's Handbook 2, as well as supplemental material from The Forgotten Realms Player's Guide, Adventurer's Vault, Martial Power, Divine Power, Arcane Power, Primal Power and various issues of Dungeon, and Dragon magazine. All supplemental material is subject to DM approval and revision. Official Errata will generally be incorporated.
Characters will be created using 24 points and the point buy costs detailed on page 17 of the Player‘s Handbook. (Note: This is 2 points more than standard. Enjoy.) You may not buy a stat higher than an 18 (20 with racial modifier) to start. No races from the Monster Manual will be allowed. Genasi will be available as a player character race, and the Swordmage will be available as a class.
War of the Burning Sky is a heroic campaign, so the characters cannot be evil in motive or alignment.
Mostly the usual — be nice, have fun. If a rule dispute arises, I will make a ruling for that session. If a player isn‘t satisfied with the ruling, we can talk about it after the session, and perhaps I‘ll change my mind, or look into it further on ENWorld and the WotC forums. My snap ruling may well not be the right decision, but I want to avoid bogging down the game with rules disagreements in the middle of the action.
We will do our best to schedule games such that we all can be there for each session. If you have to cancel at the last minute, please call to let us know. I'd like everyone to leave a copy of their character sheet with me, and to designate someone to play their character for them if it happens that they are late or can‘t make a session at the last minute. This is a contingency only — rescheduling is much better if it can be managed.
If a player wishes to change characters, I will try my best to work it in as soon as possible, but there are certain points in the course of the game where adding a new PC would be difficult. Your new character will have fewer experience points than the rest of the group, but will generally be the same level. I would prefer to see people playing a single character for the entire course of the campaign, but I understand that the game is new to all of us, and you may not be happy with your initial choice of race and class.
• Racial Saving Throw Bonuses - Races such as Dwarves, Halflings, and Eladrin who receive a +5 racial bonuses to saving throws versus certain types of effects will instead receive a +2 racial bonus to their defenses vs. attacks with that keyword, as well as a +2 bonus to saving throws versus that type of effect. What this means is that it is harder to be affected by that type of attack in the first place, although it's not quite as easy to throw it off if you are affected.
• Bonus Languages - Characters know a number of additional languages equal to 1/2 their Intelligence modifier, rounded up. I know that breaks the convention of dropping fractions, but it gives me the numbers that I want. There is no penalty to known languages for characters with an Int penalty.
• Languages - Add Ragesian to the list of languages used in the world. You may choose this instead of another language that you had previously selected if you want to retroactively change your character.
• Channel Divinity feats - All divine characters will automatically receive the Channel Divinity feat approrpriate to the deity that they worship as a free feat. Note that this does not apply to characters that multiclass into the divine power source.
• Arcane Initiate and Wizard Cantrips - When taking the Arcane Initiate multiclass feat, you may choose to learn the use of the 4 wizard cantrips in place of the wizard at-will spell once per encounter.
• Magic items can be identified with the use of the Arcana skill and examining the item over the course of a short rest. You can't just fondle it for 5 minutes to know what it does - you have to make a skill roll too.
• Create Magic Item ritual:
• Transfer Enchantment - This ritual from Adventurer‘s Vault can be used to move magic from one item to another, as directed on page 199 with the requirement that the item to be enchanted is of masterwork quality.
• Resurrection - When most people die, the Raven Queen is reluctant to let them return to the world of the living. Yet there are those whose fates are closely intertwined with major events, whether for good or ill. If the gods feel that a person has an unfulfilled destiny, he or she may be resurrected by using the Raise Dead ritual as per the Player‘s Handbook.
• Bastard Swords are too heavy to be dual wielded.
• Reach weapons will allow you to flank from reach. You still only threaten a square that you are adjacent to.
• Double ended axes, flails, and swords as listed in the Adventurer's Vault are not allowed, and I reserve the right to ban any other weapon that couldn't be used without injuring yourself. While it is a fantasy game, 20 years in the SCA is bound to have some influence on what I consider to be a usable weapon. Feel free to talk to me about it if there's something you particularly want your character to have.
• Spiked Chains - they are an abomination unto the eyes of the gods, and shall not exist in my campaign. So there. ;)
• Sunrods - The radius of light emitted by a sunrod is the same as that of a lantern — 10 squares. Otherwise they are as listed in the Player‘s Handbook.
• Critical Miss (optional rule from the DMG) - If you roll a natural 1 on a combat roll or physical skill check, you grant combat advantage that round due to being out of position.
• Game Grid and Vertical Size of Powers - We will be playing on a hexagonal grid, with 1 hex equal to 1 square for movement purposes. This may slightly alter flanking and line of sight rules from those illustrated in the Player‘s Handbook and will change the shape of various area effect powers. Burst effects are spherical and blast effects are cone shaped. In each case, at the center the spell reaches a height equal to one half of its widest point.
• Dragons are not color-coded for convenient identification. While they still have distinctive features that can be recognized by the knowledgeable, their coloration is based more on where they live than what elemental type they are. For instance a fire dragon living near a volcano might be black, ash grey, red, orange, or some combination of those colors.
• Minions - Replace the current minion rules with the following: Minion Weakness - Any hit that causes damage to a minion will kill it. Any automatic damage effect, or power that causes damage on a miss will bloody a minion. A bloodied minion that takes any damage from any source, will be killed. Undead minions have their own special rules, so don't be surprised if they act differently than other minions.
• Economy - The silver coin is the basis of the economy, with gold being more valuable than listed in the PH. Divide gold piece values in the books by 10 in order to convert. 1 gold coin = 20 silver coins. 1 silver coin = 20 copper coins. Gold coins are smaller than copper or silver, with 100 coins weighing 1 pound. Silver and copper coins are 50 coins to the pound, as per the PH.
These are previews of upcoming books that may be of interest. No D&DI subscription is needed to see them. These are all from Martial Power
You will need to sign up for D&D Insider to access these, but the older articles that I'll be linking should be available free of charge as WotC was not yet charging when these articles were published. Content that you received while you were a subscriber should always be accessible, even if your account lapses.
In the full year it's been since I have made updates to this site, much has occurred, although thanks to busy schedules, we still aren't all that far along in the big scheme of things. So to sum up: The group decided they would sneak out of Gate Pass during the seige, and did so, only to encounter a group of mercenaries who were still determined to bring them in for the "Up to 10 gold pieces!" reward promised by the Inquisitors. Needless to say, they failed to capture the heroes, but not before some odd things happened with a tiefling mercenary sergeant who said something about how justice would not be served by capturing the group, and let them go. They headed down the mountain pass, encountered a mage and his daughter, and wound up fighting an Inquisitor and his gang who had been sent to kill the mage. Bringing Hadden and Crystin with them, they traveled to the Inotdari Fire Forest, which needless to say, was on fire. Strange burning creatures, fae with wings, and some undead later, they freed an entity called "Tenacity" and managed to avoid falling prey to a devil that was hunting them, or to the wiles of the creature "Deception". The burning forest was finally extinguished, it's curse ending the unnatural life of the creatures there, and all was reborn. One drawback to putting out the fire is that this opens up a means for the Ragesians to get through to Dassen should they find out about it, as is inevitable.
Our heroes opted to travel downriver from the town of Fossby, heading to the port of Seaquen and the Lyceum Academy of Magic, which promised refuge to all those targeted by the Ragesian "Scourge" against users of magic. They managed to lose Hadden along the way due to his "accidental" death while imprisoned for mind controlling a local barmaid. Eventually, after some various adventures, they wound up in the city of Fiskport, and arranged to accompany a caravan bringing goods to Seaquen. There were some vicious hags that attacked during a night in the swamp, which the group narrowly defeated. Investigating further, they found the dwelling of the hags, where a sorceress named Katrina was being held prisoner. They freed her, to discover that she was sister to the rogue Rantle (from Gate Pass). After hooking up with Spiradon's old mentor Lee Sidoneth, eventually they wound up at the Lyceum, defeating the succubus who was attempting to get the book from them. Deciding to whip the Seaquen resistance into shape as much as possible, they went about organizing daily practices for both the militia and mage auxillaries, defeated the eladrin warleader in a strategy game. Some of the group investigated a strange mystery involving fires starting in odd spots in the refugee camp and in the town, and looked into the disappearance of several young women.
Most recently, after attending a diplomatic meeting between representatives of several local countries and the leaders of the Lyceum and Seaquen, our heroes were chosen to investigate the loss of an artifact of Erathis that was being conveyed to Seaquen to aid the refugees there. They did this at the behest of the paladin Laurabec Adelaen, and Master Simeon, headmaster of the Lyceum. Having acquired some unusual mounts called eelhounds created by the Biomancer Paradim Dogwood. They traveled to Thunderspire Labyrinth, near where the ambush of the caravan took place. Thus far they have investigated the Bloodreavers, and wiped them out (at least those in Thunderspire), along with their insane beholder leader. The duergar are next on their list, as they seem to have several connections with the missing people and possibly with the mage Paldemar.
Midwinter's Eve was turning out to be a very long night indeed. After the events leading up to the capture of the elvish wizard Landarron and the air genasi Zander, our heroes proved they'd been honing their Intimidate skills as well as their blades. They managed to persuade their captives to reveal what they knew about the Shahalesti spies in Gate Pass, and where the case brought out of Ragesia by Luria might be located. It was the talk of defacing his energy lines that really got to the genasi and persuaded him that talking might be the best way out.
While bluffing their way past the Gate Pass guards to move between districts, the group headed to the Elven quarter to look for a shop that manufactured secret doors, a popular item among elves. Before they were too far into the elven district, they witnessed what appeared to be a wyvern rider crashing onto the roof of a nearby house. Seeing him drop down from the roof a minute later, they watched him as he divested himself of his Ragesian tabard and steel breastplate. They interrupted him when he was kicking in the door to the house and defeated him handily. The nervous homeowner came downstairs with a stout quarterstaff in hand, prepared to defend his family, but the work was already done, and the Ragesian wyvern-rider was hauled off by the Gate Pass city guards.
Merwyn knew the elven district as well as any non-elf, and even she was not aware of the secret door shop in question. Undaunted by their lack of knowledge, the group stopped by an eladrin wine shop to fortify themselves with some port, and to allow Petariel to enquire with the owner regarding the secret door shop. Directions were soon received, and the group headed deeper into the elvish district, admiring the architecture and the trompe l'oeil artwork adorning the homes and shops.
The party found what appeared to be a secret door hidden among some carved vines and flowers on the side of the house, along with several figures of hounds hidden among the vines. They were in the process of examining the door when an imp appeared nearby, claiming he could help them get in. He just wanted the case that he knew the adventurers were seeking, but told them he had no interest in the contents of it. His master had told him to get the case, so in accordance with the letter of the agreement, that is what he intended to fetch back. Rejecting the imp's offer to trick an elven child into opening the trapped door, Merrick tried his hand at it, and was soon greeting the two elvish hunting dogs that poked their noses out. The dogs were calmed and the group snuck into the building to look around. The elves and eladrin upstairs were quite surprised when one of them came down and encountered the group looking around their shop. In a dazzling display of double-talk, the group persuaded the poor confused elves that they were part of the elvish spy network and had been sent by Zander and Landarron to bring the case to Shealis now that they had obtained the "secret password" needed to open it. The gullible elves debated what to do, until the imp showed up claiming he'd made a deal with the party. With some quick explaining, the group convinced the elves that the imp was going to pull a fast one on the Ragesian Inquisitor who had summoned him and that they should all go along with the plan. One brief ritual later, and the case was opened, leaving a cloth-wrapped book and an empty space where the case and the imp had been. The group left before the elves quite recovered their wits, although in the midst of their bluff, Petariel told the elves his name. Given the act he was putting on, they probably think he won't remember anything, but the question is, will they remember him?
After returning to the Tresillian household for some sleep, they were greeted the next morning by Ragesian propaganda apparently dropped by the wyvern riders, as well as the news that the eladrin mage Gildor had been killed after destroying the Ragesian siege weapons during the night. The Ragesians dragged his remains to the west gate and claimed he had betrayed the city by attacking the Ragesians and violating the agreement reached by the City Council. The group spoke with Councilman Erdan Aversson, the noted collector of rare magic items and objets d'art. He identified the magic cloth wrapping the book to be a simple protective shroud to keep the book safe from dampness and dirt. The book itself was encoded, but contained some rather ominous looking diagrams pertaining to ritual magic. Erdan felt the best thing to do was to take the book to the Lyceum, the mage school in the town of Seaquen, far to the south. He gave them some interesting goodies to help them on their journey, and arranged for them to meet Captain Herrimen later to sneak out of town. There was some debate as to how the group should get to Seaquen, with the net result being that they will decide once they get out of the city.
Before they left town, the group opted to stop by the "Castle", otherwise known as Gildor's school of magical arts. On the way, they dodged some mercenaries dressed as town guards, and encountered Rantle, the swashbuckling half-elven rogue. Rantle gave them a message to pass on to his sister, who he believed had made her way to Lyceum. Arriving at the mage school, the party found the school gates were surrounded by a disgruntled (not quite angry) mob. They were muttering a lot about the perfidity of mages, but none of them seemed inclined to take action yet. After speaking with Gundred, one of Gildor's two assistants and a teacher at the school, our heroes learned something more of Gildor, and passed on the news that Shealis was a spy for Shahalesti. Gundred agreed to copy some scrolls for them based on Gildor's ritual designed to protect people from the heat of the Inotdari fire forest. They were buying some books such as Ritual Casting for Dummies when they overheard a bit of the confrontation between Shealis and Gundred. There was some kind of explosion or thunderclap involved, as well as a lot of yelling, but the group wisely did not investigate further. Gundred found them later and explained that Shealis was doing her best to leave the city, and she showed them a letter to her and Shealis left by Gildor the previous night, explaining why he was about to throw his life away by attacking the Ragesian army. His hope was to delay the conquering of Gate Pass by the Ragesians by destroying their siege weapons, allowing the city to hold out for a bit longer than it otherwise would.
It was the last night of the year - Midwinter's Eve. The Tresillian family was sitting down to dinner and discussing the rumors about Ragesia. Merwyn, Merrick, their parents, and their eladrin tutor and swordmaster Petariel were accompanied by Spiradon, who had just finished delivering a shipment to the Tresillian traders from the port at Calanis. Spiradon received a mysterious communication while sitting at the dinner table, but didn't share the exact information with anyone present. He did warn everyone that he had word that the Inquisitors would be moving in on the city, and possibly rounding up those with magical ability. While her parents were trying to convince her that she needed to be sent out of the country to Shahalesti for protection from the Inquisitors, a messenger came with a note for Merwyn. It proved to be an invitation to go along to a party to celebrate the New Year with Reiann, the daughter of the Doge of Gate Pass, at the Poison Apple Pub.
Gryff received word from his employer Erdan Aversson that he was to attend a meeting with Reiann and some others at the pub as well, and that he should look for an ally to come with him on an important mission to obtain information from a contact of his. Erdan didn't know the spy directly, and his usual agent Perrin Black had been slain the preceeding week. Needless to say, everyone wound up at the pub and was having some drinks, talking about the latest foolishness of the City Council. The Council had agreed to allow some of the Ragesian Inquisitors to conduct a census of all those with divine or arcane magic, and furthermore had sealed the gates of the city for safety, or so read the notices that were being distributed. Before our heroes had quite decided what to do, people burst into the pub and told them to surrender their weapons. Naturally they didn't do that, with the hot-headed (but not fire) genasi attacking immediately. The group determined that they were being attacked by Black Horse mercenaries who were in it for a bounty of "up to 10 gold a head" for suspected mages. They were also trying to get Reiann, but she was too well-defended. Several members of the mercenary company fled the scene, carrying off their wounded. In the midst of that, the city fell under attack, with firebombs raining down from the sky and burning houses.
The party made their way back to the Summer Bluff district, stopping for nothing along the way. They successfully brought Reiann back to the Doge's residence, and saw the council in full session, still in their party-clothes from the celebration of the New Year. The Doge Reskarra was directing the defense of the city, and didn't understand how the attack could have happened when they had made an agreement with the Ragesians to allow the census. Word was received that the wizard Gildor could not be found to provide advice to the Council. Erdan spoke again with Gryff while they were there, emphasizing the importance of the information they were to retrieve from the Ragesian spy. Gryff, unsure of his ability to persuade the spy to hand off her information to him (with his 8 charisma), asked the group if they would accompany him to the Depository.
Once there, they were admitted by the guards, but didn't find anyone inside until they went up to the second floor. There they were approached by a cloaked figure who seemed to think that one of them was Perrin, and demanded the secret word needed to open one of the locked deposit boxes. Several clues caused the group to suspect that this wasn't the person they were supposed to meet. When they confronted the cloaked figure, he was shocked to hear that he and his allies were the ones who had slain Perrin in the first place. He decided that his best option was to get away, and immediately fled up the curving staircase to the next floor with the group hot on his heels. Before he could make it to the top floor and jump off the outer balcony (he was an air genasi), he was taken out by the group and his own ally - the wizard had dropped an area spell on top of all of them. The party captured the wizard and revived the genasi, and found the depository guards and Luria, the Ragesian spy. Everyone had a nice chat about what was going on, and found that the plans they were looking for had already been carried off earlier by allies of the elves.
Since Ted didn't have to work last session after all, we spent a good bit of time wrapping up the "We're not in Kansas anymore" campaign. Who'd have figured that we'd wind up being put in charge of the city full of crazy mages who pretty much blew up the town? The Inquisition of Sir Ian was entertaining. Naturally I liked it when Shalessi rolled a 20 on her bluff check against the Inquisitor's natural 1. Shalessi managed to pick up some tips on how to lie with a straight face from Ruunya during all this time. Of course Ian was a bit worried when he wasn't able to make his auras work during the middle of the inquisition, but now he's running his school for glowing paladins, and all is well. We started working on our characters for the upcoming game, and it should prove to be a good party. We have a genasi swordmage (Spiradon) played by Terry, a human fighter (Gryff) played by Brendan, twin halflings who are a warlock (Merwyn) played by Pamela and a rogue (Merrick) played by Mike, and finally an eladrin tactical warlord /multiclass wizard played by Ted, name still TBD.