The Coming of the Zioth is based on the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 role-playing game. Please don't hesitate to email the DM if you have any questions, or if you disagree with the implementation of any rules in this document.
Many players are shy about telling me things. There's no reason to be. Whether you have suggestions, criticism, comments on game-play or whatever, I'm always listening. You're not going to insult me by saying something bad about my game. At worst, I'll disagree with you, and at best the game will change for the better. The goal here is for everyone to have fun.
If I ever intrude on your character in a way you don't want me to, tell me. I may not be able to undo the damage done, but I'll know to avoid it in the future. If you want your character to progress in a certain direction and events aren't working out the way you want them to, let me know. I can help.
Feel free to ask me about anything your character knows. If I can't answer, you might be able to make up a bit of the history of my world yourself in order to answer the question.
Turns: The game is pretty arbitrarily broken down into what are called “game turns.” The game progresses as a series of emails, and at some point, usually at a good cliffhanger or an obvious resting point, I'll compile the emails into a prose-style story, and assign experience point awards. When I compile the turn, I rewrite most of the emails to conform to a common style. However, I never modify dialogue, except to correct spelling, punctuation and obvious typos, and I do not modify a character's actions – only the language they're written in.
Speed: As a play-by-email game, there is the potential for things to move very slowly. This has happened many times in the past, so I've added this set of rules to prevent it from happening again:
Joining the game: Here's how to join!.
I believe that a little party conflict can create an enjoyable role-playing experience. I don't specifically encourage it, but I don't forbid it either. However, anything over the top should only be done with the agreement of all players involved. Use good judgment, and it can never hurt to ask if you’re not sure. Also, play nice – the PCs might not like each other, but the party should have some reason to stick together. If you feel that I should be providing that reason and I’m not doing my job properly, let me know and I’ll help. And finally, remember the difference between characters and players. Just because a character is crazy, confrontational, stubborn or whatever, doesn't mean the player is.
The bulk of experience awards are given for participation, role-playing and puzzle-solving, with bonus experience for the rare combat. On average, characters will go up in level every ten turns, so you can expect to gain about 100xp per level per turn. This will vary by up to 40% based on individual participation.
For those who want to get more involved, bonus XP awards are available. These won't be huge, but you should be rewarded for extra effort you put in.
Non-humans: Your character's race will almost certainly be human. Other races are quite different from those in the Player's Handbook. If you want to play one of the non-human races from the World Supplement or a race of your own, specific descriptions, history, rules and guidelines will be supplied to you or worked out with you.
The Middle Ages: In medieval times, average height, weight, and age were much lower than in the Player's Handbook. However, to make it easier for players to imagine their game world, there are no physical adjustments for medieval conditions. The same goes for hygiene, health, and other such details. Other aspects of that time period, however, should be expected to remain the same. See the World Supplement for more details.
Multiclassing: All characters, regardless of race, may choose their favored class. To make up for this, humans get a bonus class skill (see the Skills section).
Available classes are not limited to those in the PHB. You are welcome to submit a class of your own design, or to work out the details of a new class with the DM. Since this game focuses primarily on role-playing, you will not be at a severe disadvantage if you choose to play a non-combative class, such as an Expert. The monk and psionic classes don't fit into the Zioth world, though you may be allowed to use them in modified form after discussing it with the DM.
Prestige Classes: You must receive permission to use a prestige class. I'll generally allow them if they make sense for your character, and fit well into the campaign. Prestige classes may be granted as a result of in-game occurrences, although you may reject them as they come along. You're also welcome to suggest a style of advancement at any time. I want your character to be your own, so I'll try to accommodate the way you see your character developing.
Normal People: The Normal Person rules are used to create some NPCs, and can be used for PCs with permission. They're focused on creating non-combat-oriented characters that can still be masters of their fields.
This is a very low-magic world, so a few modifications have been made to the rules to accommodate that. They are:
Identifying items without a spell: Due to the limited amount of magic in this campaign, identifying items can be difficult. For this reason, anyone with the proper skills can identify items, given enough time and expertise. This also modifies the identify family of spells such that their effect isn't guaranteed. Learn More...
Automatic Failure: If a skill's description specifically mentions automatic failure on a natural 1, that rule stands. All other skills use the “Critical Miss” rules in the Combat section of this document.
Natural 20: The following skills use the “Critical Hit” rules in the combat section: Disable Device, Search, Balance, Hide, Move Silently, Spot, Survival, Gather Information, Use Magic Device.
Human Bonus Skill: Human characters may select one skill, based on their character history, which will always be a class skill for them, regardless of the skill list for their current class. This adds flexibility to the race, allowing for a wider variety of skill sets.
Concentration: The concentration DC to cast defensively is 10, plus 3 for each threatened area you are in. Subtract 6 if there are no somatic components.
Profession: With five ranks in a Profession skill, you can add one related skill to your class skills list, subject to DM approval. With ten ranks, you can add a second class skill.
Speak Language: Unlike in the traditional rules, Speak Language is an ordinary skill, based on Intelligence. It can be used to learn new languages, understand bits of unknown languages, communicate with people who don't speak your language, pronounce difficult words correctly, or correctly interpret idioms. Five ranks in this skill grants a +2 synergy bonus to Decipher Script.
Example skill checks include:
Learning New Languages: A character begins knowing his native language, plus a number of languages up to his intelligence modifier. Learning a new language requires a month of study, and a DC20 Speak Language check. Retries are permitted. Very skilled characters can reduce the study time by increasing the DC. By raising it to DC30, you can make your check once a week. By raising it to DC40, you can make your check every three days. At DC50, you can make your check once a day. You may not take 10 on this check, but you may take 20 (requiring 20 times the duration of study).
Literacy: You may choose at character creation whether your character is literate. Since literacy is far from normal in this campaign, you'll need to have a reasonable explanation in your character's history.
Initiative: Initiative is rolled every round. Except in very large combats, all combatants, including individual enemies, roll their own initiative.
Combat Speed: A combat round is not exactly six seconds long. If a lot seems to happen during combat, the battle is said to have taken a long time. Outside of combat, a round is always six seconds.
Critical Hits: A 20 is not an automatic hit. Instead, roll the d20 again and add the result to the initial roll. Repeat if another 20 is rolled. Threat range only applies to the initial die roll, so a natural 20 is always a threat. This applies to attack rolls and saving throws.
Critical Misses: A 1 is not an automatic miss. Instead, treat the roll as a zero and subtract d20. If you roll a 20, subtract another d20. This applies to attack rolls, saving throws and skill checks.
Constitution Drain: Constitution drain can never lower your hit points below the minimum you could have rolled, i.e. one point per level. You still die when your constitution score reaches zero.
I use the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide and Monster Manual. Material found in any other book may be used with permission. If I don't have access to the book, the material must be quoted to me in full, so I can review it and decide whether it's appropriate for the campaign. Home-brewed material will be considered as well.