The Wild Lands
Character Creation Info
This campaign is going to be a little different. It’s heavily focused on the exploration of a vast stretch of mostly unclaimed wilderness. However, soon you will have to balance exploring the region with managing and expanding a burgeoning kingdom. Even further on down the line, you’ll be fighting with armies on a massive scale and need to manage them effectively. Keep all of this in the back of your head as you create your character, because if you have a character that is suited to the campaign, and able to take advantage of what it offers, it’ll be a lot more fun for both of us.
Since part of the reason I feel my campaign last year didn’t go as I had hoped was because I let people create and play characters that weren’t suited to the setting, I’ve created a guide to character classes and races in the setting. For the classes, I’ve put together a short description for each class comprised of ideas for why they might be traveling to the Wild Lands, comments on how suitable they might be to the campaign and what they can expect from it, and finally a list of archetypes or class feature choices that I feel might be best suited for the setting (for most classes). For the races, I have given descriptions of how each one fits into the world as an attempt to help fashion a back-story for your character that makes sense given the context of the setting. Just keep in mind that ultimately, when crafting your character, make sure you meet three criteria:
- It has a reason to explore the Wild Lands and leave the eastern lands behind for good
- It is okay with large stretches of time spent in wilderness
- It is okay with taking a leadership role in a burgeoning kingdom
If you can meet those criteria, I think you’ll find that you’ll get the most enjoyment out of this campaign. Above all, make sure to create a character that you want to play.
In these words, I will attempt to evaluate my opinions on what classes and features might be appropriate to the campaign. Please keep in mind that the following analyses have little or nothing to do with the inherent ‘power’ of the class, but everything to do with how they may fit into the campaign at large. I make these analyses in an attempt to inform the character creation process, so that you have less of a chance of creating a character that is useless and/or uninteresting, without giving too much of the story away. Also keep in mind that while my opinion may be more informed, it does not mean it is any more correct, and the following are simply this: my opinions. You may find that you followed my suggestion and it isn’t turning out like I said it might, in which case I apologize in advance. You may also find that you ignore my advice and have a blast, in which case I am glad. In any case, the following is not meant to tell you how to make your character, simply to assist you in making a character that you can enjoy. And without further ado, here they are in alphabetical order.
Alchemists are the most common in the northern lands, where they generally occupy positions of power. However, they can be found amongst any of the countries, often practicing as healers or brewers. Any alchemist worth his salt is always on the lookout for new formulae and herbs, and it is often this desire that can drive them to adventure, even if they once governed a northern land. Alchemists will fit well in the campaign, as the vast, unexplored expanse of the Wild Lands contains many a rare plant, bizarre poison and obscure formula lost to recorded history centuries ago.
Recommendation: Alchemists will be a welcome addition to the campaign, as their varied skill set can make up for party deficiencies in certain areas. In addition, the Wild Lands are teeming with rare plants, and creatures that secrete unique poisons, both of value to alchemists. This class will probably be simple to play as long as you can keep track of your abilities and use them wisely.
Seeing as how the region is known as “The Wild Lands”, barbarians are a natural fit, being rough, rugged lovers of primitive combat. Not frequently accepted in the countries other than the north, it would make sense for a barbarian to seek out the primitive challenges of the Wild Lands as a means to escape civilization in the east, or prove themselves by surviving the worst the region has to offer. Their natural fortitude and hardiness will allow them to venture through many of the harsher climes with relative ease, and certainly their powerful rages will make even the greatest dangers the unknown region holds seem a little less frightening.
Recommendation: This class is a natural fit for the campaign, as their ability to survive both harsh environments and dangerous creatures will be of much use. Recommended Archetypes are Invulnerable Rager, Mounted Fury, and Titan Mauler
Though typically thought of as a sophisticated urbanite, the Bard can still find his place among the campaign. Perhaps he has been run out of town by jealous competitors, angry debtors, or even a jilted lover. Or maybe he seeks the rugged majesty of the Wild Lands as inspiration for his masterpiece.
Recommendation: Though many consider the bard to function best in an urban environment, he will likely prove equally potent in this campaign. For although the focus in on exploration of uncivilized lands, throughout the campaign, the party will be managing a burgeoning nation, which means that the Bard’s charisma will be put to good use. In addition, many of the savage creatures encountered are intelligent, which means that they can be negotiated with and manipulated, tasks at which bards excel. Recommended archetypes include the Savage Skald, Animal Speaker and Celebrity.
A natural leader and fierce fighter, the chevalier can easily find a purpose in the Wild Lands. Perhaps he is drawn by the talk of banditry in the region, seeking to bring the rogues to justice. Or maybe he is a disgraced member of a royal house, or second child with no chance of inheritance, seeking to make a name for himself in these Wild Lands.
Recommendation: The cavalier is a natural leader of men, a trade which he will be able to ply in abundance over the course of the campaign. His natural charisma makes him an able leader, and his martial prowess allows him to excel in any number of leadership roles. Later in the adventure, your nation will be able to field entire armies which will engage in large-scale warfare, a challenge more than befitting of a cavalier.
A healer and a holy man, clerics are a natural fit if they choose their deity appropriately. Whether they hope to deepen their connection with Erastil through nature, explore for the glory of Red Ring Rico, or conquer for the glory of Heathcliffe, a cleric can find many reasons to venture into the Wild Lands. A cleric will find himself with the capacity to become the spiritual leader for a large group of people. And even though the Wild Lands abound with life, the undead lurk in numerous dark corners, waiting for the holy light of judgement to be brought upon them, particularly at the heart of the Wild Lands.
Recommendation: Clerics have the potential to be abundantly useful in this adventure. Though undead appear very little at first, they appear with increasing regularity as the campaign progresses. In addition, everyone loves heals. As for deities, Erastil is a strong choice that will grant you a slight early game edge. Other good choices would be Red Ring Rico or Heathcliffe Flowen, as both give good reasons for why you might venture into the Wild Lands in the first place, and their domains may prove useful. In addition, a cleric may choose to come to the Wild Lands so they may dabble in the undead arts without the persecution and social stigma commonly attributed to such practitioners in the east. In this latter case, the Undead Lord archetype may prove useful.
Since the Wild Lands has not seen large scale civilization for many centuries, a druid is a natural fit. With all the nature that the Wild Lands harbour, their are numerous reasons why a druid might be drawn there. Even as civilization comes to the Wild Lands over the course of the adventure, a druids skills will be useful in making harmony with the native inhabitants, and striking a balance between man and nature. Their ability to commune with native creatures and navigate the vast expanses of the Wild Lands will make them a boon to any party.
Recommendation: Druids are a natural fit for the campaign. Their high wisdom grants them bonuses to many of the skills most critical to surviving and excelling in the Wild Lands, while their wild empathy skill will likely prove useful as well. Plains, mountains, swamps and deserts will all be traversed at some point, so picking the appropriate archetype for these terrains may be a wise idea (if possible you can even choose multiple). World-walker is another strong choice.
Useful in any circumstance, Fighters can have an abundance of reasons for coming to the Wild Lands. Whether they are soldiers-for-hire seeking the charter money offered by Algol, warriors looking to make a name for themselves in the frontier, or thugs looking to vanish in the ungoverned Wild Lands, the Wild Lands provide a natural lure. Powerful beasts lurk in the uncharted reaches of the realm, and legends still exist, sung by bards in taverns or mentioned in whispers, of powerful artifacts laying unclaimed, waiting to be snatched by the next worthy hero. Their mastery of weapons and armor will be a welcome addition by any party seeking to do combat with the dangerous native inhabitants.
Recommendation: Fighters will certainly be busy during this adventure, but should fare well even in the later sections thanks to the likely acquisition of powerful weaponry. Recommended Archetypes are Roughrider and Savage Warrior.
Gunslingers have a tough lot in life. Misunderstood and feared by their peers for the unusual weapons they carry, they can find ample reason to journey into the Wild Lands. Their grit and courage are always welcomed by prospective companions.
Recommendation: Gunslinger’s are an interesting bunch. I only recommend them to advanced players. For one, their class abilities can be confusing, and as a brand new class, they don’t have the kind of options that many of the older classes enjoy. In addition, the beginning of the campaign features very little loot catered to them, so much of their equipment will need to be purchased in town. Late-game however, a host of new weapons will be available that only they can take full advantage of, and if you can master their abilities they are likely to become a true powerhouse.
Zealots and warriors for their faiths, inquisitors have many reasons to enter the Wild Lands. Whether they seek to root out criminals hiding in the woods, or spread their faith through parley or force, if the seek something in the Wild Lands. Rumors speak of a ruined temple to Erastil in the forest, while madmen mumble heresies of long lost sacred artifacts resting at the heart of the Wild Lands, inquisitors will have their hands full rooting out enemies of the faith and sending them to their maker.
Recommendation: Inquisitors are a useful addition to nearly any party. Their teamwork abilities are likely to be welcomed among more tactically minded parties, and their monster lore ability will serve them well. Be careful though because like paladins, their zeal can sometimes get the better of them.
Mixers of magic and martial prowess, Magi are infinitely flexible. Their flexibility makes them useful for shoring up party weaknesses, and their colorful abilities are sure to delight. Their adaptable nature makes them suitable for any number of leadership roles, and their constant strive to improve their art provides all the reason necessary to venture into the dangerous Wild Lands.
Recommendation: Both swordplay and sorcery will be at the forefront of this adventure, and a Magi’s knowledge of both merely sweetens the allure. As such they make excellent additions to the party.
Always seeking physical perfection and mental harmony, monks have ample reason to venture into the Wild Lands. Monks come from monasteries the world over, and are rarely tied to a specific nation. Whether they seek to achieve Nirvana in the vast emptiness of nature, or sharpen themselves against the unforgiving wilds, monks will find a way to achieve their goals no matter the circumstances.
Recommendation: Monks are useful allies to have around in the wilds. Their relative lack of reliance on equipment means that they probably won’t hog all the loot, and their battlefield mobility will serve them well on the often open battlegrounds of the Wild Lands. If they focus their skills on more physical tasks such as acrobatics, climbing and swimming, they will find their ability to navigate the wilds significantly improved. Recommended archetypes are Ki mystic, Monk of the Four Minds, Monk of the Sacred Mountain and Quinggong Monk.
Mysterious seers and spellcasters, Oracles are often welcome additions to any scouting party, as their divination abilities can help to keep parties out of harm’s way and point them to hidden treasures that might otherwise go undiscovered. Often they are compelled to travel in order to better understand their mystery. Other times they seek a new life after being cast out of a previous one when a deity chose them as their vessel.
Recommendation: Oracle’s abilities will likely prove useful out in the Wilds, as her access to Cleric divination spells allows her to lead parties in the right directions or protect and heal them. Those with the deaf or wasting curses will probably find their curses easier to bear than others, though all are viable. Good mystery choices include Battle, Healer, Nature, Stone, Wind, or Wood. Recommended Archetypes are Seer and Stargazer.
Being the zealous lot they frequently are, paladins need little reason to travel in unexplored terrain, particularly when the region has a reputation for banditry and lawlessness. When governing a nation, having a paladin ruler oftentimes helps, as they frequently posses high charisma to persuade others of their righteousness, and their zeal can add needed stability to a fledgling empire. Be careful though, because just as their zeal can help in founding a stable nation, if taken to extremes it can cause revolt.
Recommendation: Paladins are useful additions to any party venturing in the wastes, because as in any lawless land, evil is likely to exist in abundance, and no one excels at defeating evil like a paladin. They will prove particularly useful in combating undead later in the adventure. Their healing abilities are also welcome on the road, and a little extra spell-casting can go a long way. Be careful though, as their zeal can sometimes lead to difficult situations and cause them to drag the party into fights they aren’t ready for. Recommended archetypes are Divine Defender, Undead Scourge, Warrior of the Holy Light or an Oathbound Paladin with an oath against Savagery or Undeath.
Straddling the border between civilization and nature, Rangers are uniquely suited to exploring the Wild Lands. Able to negotiate with both civilized and savage races, as well as survive in anything Erastil can conjure, Rangers have much reason to travel to the Wild Lands. As one of the few truly untamed wildernesses in existence, the WIld Lands holds a strong allure for all rangers seeking an extraordinary experience.
Recommendation: Ranger comes with my highest recommendation. Although I would suggest against a party full of them, having one in your group, even as just a hireling or cohort is likely to be beneficial. Their favored enemy bonus will likely come in handy more times than you can count, and since much of the campaign takes place in natural environments, they can make the most out of their favored environments bonus. At later levels the party will be even more grateful for their aid when they can grant their favored enemy bonuses to their party, and their ability to navigate, track and survive in the wilds is sure to be of use to any adventurers. Recommended favored enemies are Animals, Fey, Humanoid(giant), Humanoid(goblin), Humanoid(reptilian), Magical Beast, Monstrous Humanoid, Plant and Undead. Recommended Favored Environments are Cold, Desert, Forest, Mountain, Plains, Swamp and Underground. Recommended archetypes are Guide, Skirmisher and Trapper.
Rogues are always drawn to lawless regions for several reasons. Usually they involve being on the run from the law and looking for a place to lay low, rumors of valuable unclaimed treasures or a mix of both. Though usually more comfortable in an urban setting, Rogues can frequently challenge their skills in the dungeons that usually litter regions such as the Wild Lands, and their ability to make the most of a tactical advantage makes them valuable, if not always trustworthy, allies.
Recommendation: Though often more comfortable picking pockets and scaling walls in an urban environ, the wilderness has much to offer a savvy rogue. Whether utilizing their cunning in negotiations with primitive races or to make the most out of a battle, their skills are constantly in demand. Their ability to find and disarm traps as well as opening locked doors will prove invaluable when the inevitable dungeon crops up, and they’re also useful for appraising the value of treasure on the spot rather than having to head back to town. Recommended archetypes are Poisoner, Scout, and Sniper.
Sorcerors always find a reason to travel due to their unique abilities, whether it is due to their powers causing them to be outcasts, or whether they seek increasing new and challenging obstacles to overpower, often the thought of remaining sedentary is a vitriolic one for many sorcerors.
Recommendation: The spellcasting ability of sorcerors combined with their unique bloodline abilities is a potent one even in the wilds. Their charisma makes them natural leaders, and their spellcasting ability opens up numerous roles for them in a budding kingdom. Recommended bloodlines include Starsoul, Verdant, Destined, and Fey.
Hailing almost exclusively from the southern nation of Motavia, summoners are a rare breed on Coral. That said, they too have reason to venture into the Wild Lands, whether that is searching for inspiration on how to craft their eidolon, or improve their abilities through overcoming the challenges that await, summoners find the extra protection afforded by their eidolon welcome in many traveling groups.
Recommendation: The summoner is one of the more challenging classes to play. That said, those who craft a quadruped eidolon that may double as a mount may find the additional mobility useful. Forging an eidolon into a hideous demonic visage may also be a way to impress and cow the primitive races of the wilds, though this eidolon will likely be less welcome amongst the player’s own cities. Their summoning abilities will probably prove popular amongst teammates, as one can never have enough allies in a fight. Recommended archetypes are the Master Summoner and the Synthesist.
Special Note: One thing of interest to note is that if a summoner takes the Broodmaster archetype (only available to experienced players) at later levels he may summon enough eidolons to form a diminutive army of tiny eidolons; though likely not powerful enough to engage in protracted combat, the tactical possibilities are interesting to consider. If you wish to go this route we will need to have a discussion before I approve it.
Mistrusted and feared the world over, witches often have little reason to remain with civilization. Their bizarre and sometimes downright eerie abilities allow them to survive in the harsh environment of the Wild Lands, and though they often prefer to go it alone, even a witch can benefit from the protection offered by tolerant party mates, and sometimes even their mysterious patron will come to their aid.
Recommendation: Witches are certainly an interesting choice to make. Their hexes can be useful to a party travelling far from civilization, particularly if they make use of their cauldrons to brew potions more quickly or scry the path ahead. Recommended patrons include Elements, Endurance, Strength, Stars and Winter. Recommended archetypes are Beast-Bonded and Hedge Witch.
Scholars of arcane lore, wizards are constantly on the lookout for new spells and are always thirsty for knowledge. An unexplored region with rumors of ancient ruins abounding is all the reason a wizard needs to venture out of his library and into the harsh tracks of the Wild Lands.
Recommendation: The flexibility of wizards makes them an asset to any party. Their knowledge of history and obscure arcane lore is sure to be of use, particularly if the party lacks a bard. Their ability to detect and identify magic items makes them valuable for sorting out treasure, and the ability to manufacture magical items more cheaply lends them use to a more fiscally minded expedition, allowing them to invest more into the building of their kingdom. All schools of magic work well, though abjuration, divination and conjuration stand out.
Ninja and Samurai
For these two special classes, simply look to the entries for rogue and cavalier respectively.
Dwarves are well known throughout the world as master artisans, masons, craftsmen and warriors. They typically make their homes in the foothills of the mountains that divide the continent, though any city is bound to have a sizable dwarven population, and most large villages have a dwarf artisan plying his trade. Always on the lookout for precious metals and examples of fine stonework, dwarves also hold a racial hatred for giantfolk and goblinoids, and oftentimes a lone dwarven wanderer will blow into a town after his clan was wiped out by giants, goblins or orcs, with nothing but revenge on his mind.
Elves are the second most populous race behind humans. Lithe and smart, they make excellent wizards and archers, and are well-represented among the noble houses of all nations. Known for being long-lived, elves are the main reason that any history exists at all, though the wars are often so brutal that only a handful now are over 2 centuries old. They reach maturity more rapidly than humans, maturing after a mere 14 years, though remain physically capable well longer than their more common counterpart. Once they begin to age though, it happens comparatively rapidly, with middle age coming 250 years into their life, they become old at 275 and venerable at 300. The longest lived elf on record managed to live 60 years past that.
Gnomes are an odd race. Originally hailing from a bizarre plane more vibrant than this, they constantly seek out new and intriguing oddities. Now full citizens of the material plane, gnomes still have a drive to seek variety in their lives, and will literally waste away if they become bored for extended periods of time. Valued for their impeccable inventiveness and craftsmanship, they are well represented in both Dezoris and Motavia for their skill in inventing and their aptitude for illusions respectively.
As would be expected of a cross between the two most populous races, Half Elves are everywhere. Well represented in all nobilities, they are especially common in Palma, where their diplomatic and political skills allow them to thrive, and Algol, where their keen business sense is always in demand. Not being too shabby with magic or steel makes them desired companions the world over. They reach maturity slightly faster than their human brethren, but like elves, retain their prime years for much longer.
Much maligned and often persecuted, Half Orcs have had a rough time ever since the northern orc tribes first encountered the more civilized races many millenia ago. Originally the product of orc raids, (or the bizarre nobleman fetish) Half Orcs have managed to leverage their natural bulk to best effect in Dezoris, where their strength and willingness to fight have made them popular mercenaries.
Shrewd merchants and clever tricksters, humanity’s pint-sized counterparts fit right at home in Palma and Algol. In the former nation, their wittiness and nimbleness make them natural choices for leadership positions on pirate crews, while the former nation typically employs them as salesmen for merchant caravans. Such is their skill that a Halfling family has been granted a noble title in Algol, the first such non-human, elven or half-elven house of that nation.
The most common race on Coral, humans also make up the majority of the aristocracy and the bulk of civilization. Whether they are plowing the fields in Algol, hunting game in Dezoris, piloting ships in Palma or herding animals in Motavia, humans make the world go ’round. Short in life but long in desire, humans drive much of world events. Indeed, it is the newest generation of this race that is leading to national tensions creeping back up after the Great War.
How to roll stats
This year, I’m going to try something interesting. When you roll stats, you have a pool of 22d6 and 6d8 to allocate to each of your stats as you so choose. Each stat must have a minimum of three dice allocated. When you roll, take the three highest results and add them together to calculate your stat total.
When you create you character, you get two traits to choose from. You may choose from this list of Campaign Traits, or any traits in the Pathfinder Character Traits Web Enhancement.