Semi-official because there is no official setting for Delving Deeper. The rules are meant to be adapted into many settings.
Early in the development process I commissioned a terrain map and wrote an accompanying mini-campaign setting to be included in the rules. As with Wobbly Goblin's first release (Something Rotten in Riverton), the needs of the project changed and the mini-campaign was cut.
I'm working it up to a full supplement-sized body of work. I'll be posting my work here. Since it will all be free anyway, I've no problem with "spoiling" the campaign. It is my hope it can be used to help newbie referees work up an individualized game on their own.
You may freely use this material in your own work, private or commercial. I would appreciate, but do not expect or require, a credit to "Cameron DuBeers" or "Cameron S. DuBeers" somewhere in the work if you feel it was beneficial to your creative process.
First, let us consider ability scores. I've always liked the way scores in OD&D were not as crucial as in other games. As a result, a bonus of +1 is a valuable asset. I've tried to keep that flavor while giving a good score in any ability score a little something extra. Several of these house-rulings will be familiar to historians of the game. It should also be noted these are in addition to the printed rules.
For purposes of this discussion, a score of 15 or greater is a high score.
STR: fighters with a high score add +1 to all damage rolled.
INT: magic-users with a a high score can memorize and cast an additional first level spell each game day.
WIS: any PC with a high score adds +1 to saving throws. Clerics with high scores gain a bonus first level spell each day, even at first level.
CON: reworked system shock rolls to distribute resurrection rolls more evenly. This table is based upon the Greyhawk tables, but a wee bit more forgiving.
DEX: scouts (discussed in a later post) with a high score add +1 to all normal missile fire damage rolls, and a +1 bonus to AC versus any opponent of whom they are aware.
The worst possible score when rolling the dice is a failure. The best possible score is a success (barring other fantastic circumstances, such as creatures that can only be struck with a magical weapon). Critical hits and misses are not otherwise used IMC.
There may be exceptions to this house-ruling, but it applies in most cases.
Without launching into my full text description, let me just encapsulate them by saying they are classic thieves but without the ability to pick pockets. Their focus is on reconnoiter and infiltration, they are more likely to engage an enemy in missile fire than close to melee.
Because the class isn't built around the idea of theft and chicanery, they are able to choose "Law" as an alignment. Scouts can use any one-handed melee weapon; plus spears, shortbows, light crossbows, slings, and javelins/darts. I further the allow the use of bucklers (+1 AC versus one melee opponent). They are still limited to leather armor.
Scouts are also given an environmental awareness ability: when alone (or with other stealthy companions) scouts can use all their senses to get an idea of their surroundings. This is not exactly the ability to see in the dark, it is more like a blind man's ability to know his is in a large or small room, with a high or low ceiling, and whether there are occupants present (and their location). Thus, a scout operating in advance of the main party could provide intelligence regarding what lies ahead. (this came about since no OD&D PC has infravision ...and I didn't add that because I don't like it).
This ability also allows scouts also halve the penalty for blind-fighting (-4 "to hit" and -2 damage IMC).
Elves: PC elves are now forked into two types, high elves (endari) and wood elves (nordari).
High elves are the btb elves with some minor edits.
Wood elves are basically the OD&D supplement PC class druids.
Hobbits: are now scouts instead of fighters, enjoying unlimited advancement within that class.
I'm still on the fence about two other additions, the illusionist sub-class of magic-users, and gnomes. Inclusion of the illusionist class will depend upon what illusion powers are in the OGL/SRD. Traditionally, I've just run gnomes as dwarves and substituting a love of gems for the dwarves love of gold; if I can differentiate them enough from dwarves I may add a treatment of them into the supplement.
Demi-Humans in general: level limits remain as per the written rules. Wood elves are limited to level 12 (they aren't strictly druids, btw, merely inspired by that class). "Official" physical descriptions are included, though still very general. Dwarves are around 4.5 feet tall, elves 5 ft, hobbits and gnomes 3.5 feet.
I'm still on the fence about two other additions, the illusionist sub-class of magic-users, and gnomes. Inclusion of the illusionist class will depend upon what illusion powers are in the OGL/SRD.
For what it's worth, I don't see much value in the illusionist sub-class. The effect of an illusionist is achievable by supposing a college of magic users who have concentrated their spell research into illusion. As a result, the "standard spell book" for the various levels will be different, more illusion- and charm-oriented, than the standard list, and perhaps even written in a special secret language developed by the college. Still, in principle, such an illusionist could research the standard MU spells and a standard MU could research illusionist spells (or steal their spellbooks to plunder their secrets!). I'd say the same thing about necromancers, pyromancers, etc.
Just my two cents. It's your world, so do as you enjoy!
A Very Brief History of Khordesh The elves were on Khordesh before the other man-types, then the dwarves. Their mutual civilization lasted thousands of years before a disaster all but wiped out the elves. The elves began to differentiate into high elves and wood elves, with the latter group adapting well to the new reality. After another thousand or so years the dwarves and gnomes made war upon one another. During or shortly after this conflict, which saw the gnomes defeated, humans and goblin-kin came to Khordesh. These two newcomer species, both highly prolific, brought the entire continent to war. At the end of the fighting the goblin-kin were scattered, the dwarves broken, and the humans in charge. The humans continue to rise in power as the all the demi-human races, except hobbits, wane.
A Brief History of Khordesh Long, long ago in a time scarcely remembered the race of elves awakened, founded a civilization, and grew into an empire. During the centuries of elvish rule, the first dwarves emerged from the solid granite of the Frostfang Mountains. Mentored by the elves, dwarves developed the ability to reason; in turn they formed their own civilization and the two races became staunch allies.
Then came Starfall. The gods smote the Shattered Realms with the very stars of heaven, wiping out a large portion of the elf population and crushing their civilization in a single day. Deep within their mountain strongholds the dwarves survived nearly unscathed. With the decline of the Elven Nation the dwarves rose to ascendancy and elves ceased to exist as either a unified people or major political force. The remaining elves eventually coalesced into two distinct groupings, those trying to recreate the lost glory of the elven empire and those adapting to the new reality of life on Khordesh. The former group was concentrated around the cities of Talaanil and Aranir and was by far the smaller of the two, the latter inhabited the Mistweave Forest.
Dwarves and gnomes became increasingly hostile to one another over the centuries of dwarvish rule. At this time the elves began diverging into two ethnicities: endari (high elves) and nordari (wood elves), even their common language began diverging into two distinct dialects. Both groups of elves remained disorganized and few in number due to their low birth rate.
The racial tension between the dwarves and gnomes eventually erupted into open war. The endari cited a policy of strict neutrality and refused to aid the dwarves, though the nordari served their allies as scouts and skirmishers. At great cost to the dwarves, the gnomes are defeated. To this day, referring to a dwarf as a “hill dwarf,” a slang term for gnome, is an egregious insult of this highest order.
The endari became increasingly xenophobic, while the nordari began to prosper as a people. Even their respective dialects began to resemble different, though related, languages. Ignored by the elves, dwarves, and gnomes; the goblins to the south of the Realm began to multiply. Rumor reached Khordesh of other sentient mortals living to the east across the Sharnessa Desert. These beings called themselves humans, they are short-lived but prolific and aggressively expansionist.
Weakened by its war against the gnomes and internal squabbles with the high elves, the dwarves ignored these new threats. Humans crossed the desert in increasing numbers, forcing an uneasy alliance with the gnomes in the Marjasall Gap, which was and is the only easy route between lands of Khordesh and the mysterious realms to the east.
Then, the unthinkable happened . . . War! A war more terrible than even the dwarf-gnome conflict, one which engulfed the entire continent in general warfare. The high elves were militantly neutral, attacking any armed force moving into their territory. The nordari allied with the dwarves against the human and goblin invaders making armed advances into the Dwarven Empire. The remnants of the gnomes were too disorganized to join the fighting, though they served the humans as guides and advisors.
After a long war of attrition the dwarves found themselves on the verge of defeat in their two-front war. They sought out and formed an alliance with the humans in order to defeat the goblins, reasoning the former group only wanted their lands while the latter were looking to exterminate the dwarves. This new alliance defeated the goblins and drove their forces southward.
As the humans set about restoring peace and surveying their new territory, hobbits were discovered in the Hawkmoor Forest. These simple folk insisted they had always been there and had simply avoided getting involved in the "big people" conflicts. The elves claimed no knowledge of the hobbits and the various histories contained no reference to them.
At the present day humans are found everywhere within the Realms, the seat of their power and the shining jewel in the crown of human civilization is the Free City of Coleston. Goblins are mainly found in regions no other races will claim such as the Firehawk Crags, the Starfall Badlands, the Dragonspire Mountains, and the Murkweave Forest. Gnomes control only the Marjasall Gap. Dwarves have strongholds located throughout the Frostfang Mountains, mainly between the Mirrormere and Lake Proctor. Endari, the high elves, inhabit the region around their capital of Talaanil and their freeport of Aranir; outsiders are not made to feel welcome. The nordari, or wood elves, inhabit the Mistweave Forest and are accomplished goblin fighters. Hobbits are still living in their quiet shires in the Hawkmoor Woods, mainly around the area the Conley Hills and Hawkmoor Woods come together.
Faith between the races is shattered, giving rise to the name given to the Kingdom of Man by the commoners: the Shattered Realms. The elves regard the other races as corrupt and uncivilized. The dwarves regard the gnomes as a degenerate offshoot of their own race and view the humans as both saviors of the dwarven people and usurpers of their rightful kingdom. Humans regard the demi-humans as a bunch of has-beens who squandered their chance at world domination. The gnomes consider only their hatred of the dwarves and care little about the rest of demi-humankind, while the hobbits sit at their heavily laden dinner tables wondering what all the fuss is about.
I'm basing racial names for the man-types on the basis on a supposed old elvish word "deyaari"meaning "the people."
This has become dari for modern elves, endari for the high elves and nordari for the wood elves. Dwarves use a bastardized version, calling themselves the "dwarrow." The gnomes are the "garndwarrow" which means "hill dwarves."
The whole history reflects, more or less, my views on racial biases.
High elves are aloof and rather xenophobic, wood elves are savvy ranger-types. Dwarves are grim, sad, and at once grateful and resentful to humans. Humans are cocky, loud, brash, and prone to point out to the other races who won the last war. Gnomes are basically the scum of the non-goblinoid man-types.
Player-Characters are obviously the exception in the interactions between the races. Overall, however ...
High Elves will always take adventurers' money, but will never be particularly welcoming to them. Any local trouble will be unfairly blamed upon them and PCs will always be regarded with a great deal of suspicion.
Wood Elves have accepted the time of the elves has come and gone and seem to be adapting well to this new reality. PCs of any race will be well-treated, or at least not ill-treated.
Dwarves are clannish and slow to warm up to strangers, but once they've accepted out-landers they will be staunch allies to them. They have a very strong code of honour in my campaign. As a people, however, they are unlikely to ever regard a gnome with anything but contempt.
Gnomes are happy within their own circles, but quiet around outsiders. PCs spreading gold and a bit of goodwill will quickly find acceptance among these folk.
Hobbits like everyone, and pretty much everyone likes hobbits.
Humans are very diverse and outsiders will find varying degrees of welcome or suspicion with each new encounter.
THE DEITIES Humans and demi-humans on Khordesh know, beyond a doubt, the deities exist, and thus do not lightly name these august beings or swear oaths to them. Declaring an oath before all nine is considered a binding contract throughout the civilized lands. The declaration “by The Nine!” is a commonly spoken mild blasphemy.
There are no demi-gods in this milieu though a variety of higher and lower planar powers exist. These are below the deities in power but far above mere mortals and are analogous to angels and demons from our own mythologies.
Belrond , Time, chief god of the pantheon (M) Rylden , Life and Death (M) Kaleda, Beauty (F) Jasek, God of Wisdom and Logic (M) Lehil, Air (F) Cineefa, Love and Hearth (F) Vosono, Mercy (M) Hinnech, War and Governance (M) Duralo, Work and Commerce (M)
Following is the Old Ones pantheon, the progenitors of the present Khordeshian Pantheon. These are responsible for formation of the world and its attendant reality. Why they are no longer in power is unknown and, though they retain some degree of divine power, they are largely inactive on this plane of reality. Ehati is the only deity maintaining a presence, though a very discreet one. She is the chief deity worshipped by Chaotic beings.
Orn, Upper air and light (M) Nalk, Inevitability, compulsion, and necessity (F) Garis, Darkness and shadow (M) Iskela, Personification of the Earth, mother of the Titans (F) Nalas, Daylight (F) Nist, The nothingness (chaos) from which all else sprang (Both/Neither) Engos, Time (M) Ymora, Islands (F) Tain, Night (F) Akelo, Heavens Stars, Planets, Space (Father Sky); father of the Titans (M) Stren or the Strenii, Mountains; this deity has multiple aspects (M) Onek, Procreation in the Orphic tradition (M) Gom, Sea, father of the fish and other sea creatures (M) Umor, Underworld, especially its most frightening aspects (M) Ehati, Destruction, Insanity, Creativity, Genius, Curiosity (F)
My morale tables, based on those from Chainmail. I use these basic troop types to determine morale for monsters troops, too.
2d6 are used for the rolls, with the score show in the "Remain" column the minimum required for the troops to stay in the fight. The middle column indicates the trigger point for the second morale check.
Modern and Advanced Technology: Present in limited quantity, but thought of as artifacts of the gods. Attempting to use these “god machines” carries a great risk along with the potential for great reward. In order to understand high-tech gadgets a PC must make two intelligence checks (INT or lower on d20); one to understand the nature of the device and another to safely operate it. Care must be exercised by the referee not to simply blurt out the name of the item! Rather than say “it's a ray-gun!” after a successful double INT check the DM might say “you've figured out the artifact is a hand-held weapon of some sort.”
Referees should impose penalties for complicated devices. Unmodified rolls are made for easily portable devices that can be held in one hand such as pistols, coded key cards, and simple scanners. A -2 penalty is imposed on larger but still man-portable devices such as plasma rifles, high-powered scanners, or long-range communication devices; basically anything requiring two hands to employ or that can be carried in a backpack. A -4 or even greater penalty is imposed for large devices such as desktop computing systems or electronics devices, starship control panels, or vehicles.
A failed die roll of 5 or less indicates some sort of catastrophic failure, though the nature of the device may preclude this result. Rolls between 6 and the PC's intelligence are basically “no result” but the difference between the die roll and the player-character's intelligence score is multiplied by ten. This represents the percentage chance the device is rendered inoperable by the PC's tampering.
Resolving Projectile & Energy Weapon Fire The standard combat matrices are used to resolve firearm combat. Armor class must be adjusted since D&D armor types are largely ineffective versus projectile and energy weapons. For projectile weapons adjust armor class by -2 (leather = AC 9 or none, chain = AC 7, and plate = AC 5) with shield being of no effect. Energy weapons always ignore armor class, hits being resolved versus AC 9 opponents. Whether projectile or energy weapon, any magical bonus to shield or armor improve protection; for example plate +1 would count as AC 4 versus projectile fire. Gunpowder weapons inflict 2d6 damage, laser weapons 3d6, and plasma weapons 4d6. Range is determined by size and heft of the weapon as follows: