Before I reveal some of the juicy details of what this entails, I need to acknowledge that the concept for the campaign is not my own: it is completely horked from the repertoire of a long-lost gaming buddy of mine named Scott Peoples. He originally ran a Hotel Kaladarian-based campaign back in the mid-1990s, albeit in a slightly different game system.* However, the general template I plan to use, as well as a few of the specific encounters in the series, are stolen directly from Scott. Consider this whole endeavor a loving homage to a very inventive referee and RPG'er. Thanks, Scott!
The Hotel's Head Chef Escoffier orders unusual creatures to be hunted so that he may create his highly exotic (and expensive) dishes. The Hotel makes a policy of hiring inexperienced teams to conduct simple missions into the wilds, thereby learning who are the best suited for this peculiar kind of work. Over time, the Hotel management weeds out the chaff and retains only the best, most skilled monster-hunters in the realm. The Hotel Kaladarian is the most exclusive lodging in the entire Lands of Ara, and has the platinum in its coffers to pay its contract employees handsomely.
Each mission (or "Episode") of the campaign -- hopefully to last a single three- to four-hour session -- is named for the recipe and/or key ingredient Escoffier plans to prepare and/or use in his latest dish.
1. The campaign will use the Swords and Wizardry Whitebox Rules as writ with Descending AC and no "Alternate Rules" from the Whitebox rulebook(s). [EDIT: We are specifically using the Third Print Edition -- 25 November 2010.]
2. Available Classes: Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Dwarf, and Rodian (Race-as-Class only, see below).
3. Elves and Halflings do not exist as PCs in Ara unless ported over from other campaign settings. [See PC importation guidelines in The FLAILSNAILS Conventions and in my ConstantCon section below.]
Rodians are seafaring folk who demonstrate a distinct tendency toward sea piracy and con-artistry. Any rodian character may originate from the rodian home island of Suhl, located at the extreme southeastern end of the Bay of Noffel. Rodian characters may also come from any region available to Arandish humans, although rodians from Telengard and northern Achelon are quite rare. The majority of mainland-born rodians (i.e., those born anywhere other than Suhl) come from the Free City of Kaladar, or one of the Suhlian-governed coastal cities on Ara’s far western seaboard (e.g., New Port).
Rodians have many of the same basic abilities and follow the same Level progression as halflings (as Fighters, max. level 4).
Weapon and Armor Restrictions: Like human Fighters, the Rodian has no
weapon or armor restrictions.
Fighting Giants: Giants, ogres, and similar giant-type creatures such as trolls
are not good at fighting small creatures such as rodians and dwarves, and
only inflict half the normal damage against them.
Deadly Accuracy with Missiles: Rodians receive a +2 “to-hit” when firing
missile weapons in combat.
Near Invisibility: When not engaged in combat, Rodians can be quite
stealthy, making themselves hard to spot and moving in almost total silence, especially in urban locales.
Saving Throw: Rodians are somewhat immune to disease, and receive +4 on
saving throws vs. disease, including mummy rot and lycanthropy.
5. Shields Shall Be Splintered!
Shields provide the usual +1 bonus to AC. However, they may also be used to "soak" damage from a single attack, thereby reducing damage to zero. Soaking damage destroys the shield.
Shields may also be used against any attack that allows a save for half damage, such as a fireball or dragon's breath. In that case, the shield is destroyed, as above, and the save is considered automatically successful, thereby guaranteeing half damage.
For magical shields, each +1 enchantment bonus gives a 10% chance of surviving a damage soak.
6. Critical Hits and Fumbles
Any time a player rolls a natural ‘20’ on a to hit roll, it is a critical hit. Damage (before modifiers) is doubled.
Likewise, if a player rolls a natural ‘1’ on a to hit roll, it is considered a critical failure or fumble. Typically, this means the combatant hurts himself, drops his weapon, breaks his weapon, or just plain falls down – DM's discretion.
- Die rolling on honor system.
- It is assumed that the PC party must return to the Hotel Kaladarian at the end of each one-session episode, to collect their cash reward and reap their glory.
- The Lands of Ara "Tales from the Hotel Kaladarian" Campaign shall accept imported/converted PCs so long as they abide by the guidelines in The FLAILSNAILS Conventions.
- No PC shall exceed the assumed experience level of a given adventure session by more than three (3) experience levels; overlevel PCs are subject to the handicapping policies described in Article 4 of The FLAILSNAILS Conventions, to be rolled at the outset of the session. The assumed PC level shall be provided with each session announcement.
- Watch for my first session announcement within the next couple of weeks, surely by the teens of October.
- See also this page for resources and information about ConstantCon and Tales from the Hotel Kaladarian.
[EDIT: ConstantCon now has its own homepage!]
* Crimson Blades of Ara, the homebrewed system designed by David Miller and me.