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Part Two: Player Characters in the Ffenargh

  1. wizarddog
    All players characters have some connection to the land of Ffrenargh; meaning they have a stake in its fate and are knowledgeable of its history.

    Creating a character in the Myrk
    Players follow the Players Handbook in generating characters by generating scores, choosing a race, class, alignment, background and purchase equipment. Then a player will choose a station in society and a cultural gift. These additional mechanics are to enhance roleplay.

    Step one: Choose a race

    Race Limitations: Humans are the dominate race of the Ffrengah although other races are available although much rarer. PLAYERS SHOULD CHOOSE A NON-HUMAN RACE ONLY FOR THE CHANCE TO DO ROLEPLAYING. Players not interested in dealing with the aspects of race in their roleplay probably should not play a non-human race. Players choose from the PHB races.

    Non-Human Races are Rare: The world is dominated by humans and in only the fringes of border town and villages do the old folk such as elves, dwarves, gnomes and halflings mingle with humans. Half-elves can easily mingle with humans in the great cities utilizing their old world gifts and longevity to charm their way through society. In contrast, dragonborn and tieflings must hide their heritage or find themselves ostracized by civilization through fear and ignorance.

    Monsters: Monsters are the stuff of legend with many tales of goblins, ogres, fey, giants, hags, trolls and dragons as the backdrop to unexplained events and encounters in the wild. A player should be prepared to role-play these realities.

    Justification: Helps to create the environment and tries to utilize all the materials in D&D.

    Humans: Humans are natives of Ffenargh and are entitle freemen. Based on their background, they may also hold a station of authority or lordship from current or past family association. Humans tend to take on an older look as the marsh seems to take away the vigor of youth

    Half-elves: Half-elves have the same influence as humans, especially if they hide their elvish heritage well. In the outer skirts of the kingdom, they find themselves using their elvish blood frequently to interact with true elves of the forest.

    Elves: small and few in number are the elves who come from the sylvan forests. Most of these elves have become very isolated save a few bands that readily trade with the human population. Elves are both revered and feared among the common folk and their own villages are nearly impossible to find without the proper guide. An elf Nobel is Nobel only to his elven tribe although may be honored when relations with Eylea and the elven bands is good.

    Gnomes: very rare indeed are the gnomes that delve deep in the forest save only to befriend the local villagers on the forest edge who make offerings and kinship with these wise folk. A gnome finds his home under the protection of another such as a dryad, sylph, werebear, elf or the garden of a human. At the DM’s discretion, some backgrounds will not be available to the Gnomes.

    Haflings: Sometimes called “riverfolk” as they have made their life traversing the rivers of the kingdom deliver passengers and goods. Haflings are well traveled by the river way and because of their good nature are accepted by most other races.

    Dwarves: Dwarves are practically unheard of as they make their home in the far mountains. Legends hold dwarves are rich in treasure and have little need to interact with the Lord Spiritual or their Kingdom. However, recent events with ravaging orcs in their own territory has forced them to seek out other trade paths and partners in the south. Typically, multiple players using dwarves as their PC’s will be of the same clan. At the DM’s discretion, some backgrounds will not be available to the Dwarves.

    Dragonborn: Ancient race that is all but extinct. Any Player that takes on this race is unique to the entire region and based on his background is either in bondage or raised by a Lord, usually for political purposes. He is known as the Dragon. Multiple Dragonborn are closely related.

    Teiflings: the most reviled and feared race is that which has demonic blood running through them. Teiflings are never trusted in the Realm and are in bondage to another who suffers the stigma of associating with them. At the DM’s discretion, some backgrounds will not be available to the Tiefling.

    Half-orcs: Another reviled race, the half orc is usually forced into servitude by others or hired for their abilities. Orcs are frightening creatures of folk lore but those in the wilderness know they are truly real. At the DM’s discretion, some backgrounds will not be available to the Half-orc.

    Step 2 Choose a class (start at level 1).

    Class: Choose a class as described in the PHB that best fits the character you are creating. Be aware of the limitations clerics and the dangers of spell casting can bring to those classes. The proficiencies of the class are the best determinate on what sort of character you create. For example, a fighter would be ideal for a knight or mercenary while a Bard or Wizard would be good for a scholar.

    Step 3: Assign attribute scores. Use the variant customizing ability score on p. 13 of PHB.

    Step 4: Choose Alignment

    Alignment: Choose an alignment. The majority of the population is Lawful neutral. All of the forces of darkness are evil. Playing an evil PC implies you embrace or wish to control those evil forces rather than defeat them.

    Step 5: Create background information

    Background Information:
    The most important elements of your PC are background elements that enhance role play. The following are choices you make when designing your PC.

    Set age: Depending on your training, your age must be determined as in PHB. People of the Fens (NPCs) tend to look and suffer the effects of being older they really are.

    Playing age extremes: Players may choose to play younger or older PCs under or over the “mature age range”. Unlike modern society, which tends to treat even very competent youths like children, medieval societies usually treated children like adults as soon as they proved they were able to handle adult tasks and responsibilities. This means NPCs might treat a group of young PC adventurers just like they would treat adult adventurers, though any physical shortcomings could be a source of jokes or disdain.

    The law does not differentiate age so crimes committed by a young citizen have the same punishment.

    Older PC’s receive a -1 to Strength, Constitution and dexterity but a +1 to Intelligence, wisdom and charisma.

    Younger PCs receive a +2 bonus to Dexterity but a –2 penalty to Strength, Constitution, and Wisdom. In addition, Younger PC’s have some limitations on weapon sizes as other small races (i.e. haflings).

    Social Class and background: Select a back ground from the PHB. Based on your background you select a social class.

    The social class is used mostly for role play. Mechanically, PC gain advantage in social interactions when dealing with their own social class. Player characters that interact with others within of their social class have advantage provided the topics are relevant of the interaction
    For example, a PC of freeman status speaking to a blacksmith in the village would have advantage.

    In addition, when players roleplay their PC through social class they can earn inspiration. For example, a PC in the Nobel class knows nothing in the raising chickens and fumbles about trying to get eggs from irate hen. He earns inspiration for playing in character.

    Some backgrounds will allow PC’s to be from Nobel blood or hold office that gives them authority over others. No matter the dynamic of the PC’s themselves, all NPCs hold true to this hierarchy. For example, they would never expect a noble to do heavy work or fighting while those of the indentured service would be considered second class citizens. When a PC continues breaks social barriers it draws suspicion and rumor on them and they may temporary lose their mechanical advantage in their social class.

    Those with Charlatan backgrounds may try to pose themselves as a member of one other Social Class.

    Justification: This leads to interesting role play and forces players to think of ways to interact with others in much more thoughtful and creative way. Players may choose or role for their social class (1d10)

    (1-2) Indentured: The individual owes his life and duty to another. They are never paid for the service that is expected of them. Typically backgrounds included reformed criminals, urchins, and convicted charlatans. They may take on the role of conscripted soldiers, serfs, indentured laborers, paroled convicts, servants, etc. Indenture can be a lifelong or limited based on certain conditions (i.e. pay off a debt, serve time, accomplished mission) after which they may be back to being Freemen.

    Those of Indentured status (or formal Indentured status) know the under belly the realm and the everyday task and taskmasters in the low society. This included criminal elements, black markets and “unclean” professions. Players should consider being bonded to another PC.

    (3-4) Freeman: Individuals of this caliber are free from any bondage although obey the local authorities and laws. They are free to make a living for themselves as long as they pay appropriate fines and taxes. Occasionally, a freeman may be in the employ or service of another and can sever the contract as convenient to both parties. They may also negotiate these contracts. On some occasions, the freeman may be conscripted to serve, losing their bargaining rights. Typically Entertainers, Folk heroes, hermits, outlanders, sailors and soldier are free men. They take on professions earning income for families and themselves such as, artisan, farmers, smiths, hunters, porters, sell swords, etc.

    Those of Freemen status are well rounded in education and trade skills. They are adept at getting information from various localities and making deals.

    (5-6) Officer: The individual holds a station of authority and answers to a superior who directs them. Officers have leeway on how best to fulfill their duties. This office usually has a decree that gives them authority, which can be taken away by superiors. Officers found abusing their authority can be disciplined while those showing their competency may be promoted.

    Officers are rewarded for their services based on their rank and years of service by the Local or Realm coffers. This is sometimes in the form of goods and land. Typically, officers do their duty to protect the interest of nobles, the realm, the ordinary freeman and keeping indentured servants in their place.

    Any background can be part of an officer although the station requires some competency. Officers can be tax collectors, surveyors, sheriffs, wardens, bailiffs, clerks, etc. who have some inner workings of government and society and authority over common folk.

    Officers are very keen in the way the Theocracy works; who is important, proper protocol, and appearing authoritative. At the same time, they lose trust from ordinary citizens because of their status.

    Typical officers for PCs:
    Wardens: Keepers of peaces and law in the lands between villages. Choose a region that you patrol regularly. They have an official badge and an animal such as a horse or pony to travel.

    Justiciar: Officer of the the Spiritual judicial system and serve as judges in villages when needed. The Nobel families can only be judge by the Lord Spirituals.

    Inquisitor: A church official in charge of matters of church teachings and heretical suppression. Their authority is usually absolute only in church orders and work with other agencies outside of their jurisdiction.

    Almoner: A person whose function or duty is the distribution of alms on behalf of an institution, a royal personage, a monastery, etc. They travel looking for needs of the people.

    Reeve: The bailiff’s right-hand man. Usually carried a white stick as a badge of office. He supervised work on the lord’s demesne, checking that everyone began on time, and ensuring that none of the produce was stolen. Baliffs are assigned by the Nobel house of each village, approved by the Lord High Bailiff Clavados in Eylea.

    Chaplain: An ecclesiastic attached to the chapel of a royal court, college, etc., or to a military unit. a person who says the prayer, invocation, etc., for an organization or at an assembly. Chaplin's are assigned to accommodate other groups, villages, or events by the Church.

    Cavalier: A member of the Eylea Cavaliers guards. Those outside of the Eylea are sent on missions as determined by Clavados. Cavaliers are trained in fighting on horseback.

    Moneyer: A person licensed by the crown to strike coins. He received the dies from the crown and was allowed to keep 1/240 of the money coined for himself. The Cheif Moneyer is in Eylea and send out his assistants for duties such as collecting coinage from other realms to melt down and re-smite with the official Pale Kingdom seals.

    Dapifer: One who brings meat to the table; hence, in some countries, the official title of the grand master or steward of the a nobleman's household. They are given permission to hunt in Nobel forests and lands.

    Pursuivant A heraldic officer of the lowest class, ranking below a herald. An official attendant on heralds and messenger. They bring messages across the realm.

    (7-8) Order: An individual of an order is part of an organization that is usually sanctioned by the Lord Spirituals to carry out their own duties. Those in an order are respected or feared by the community, depending on their goals. The members have their own policing of their members if they stray from the doctrine adopted by the order. Orders provide services and materials for their members as needed such as a monastery they can visit, a local chapter in a village, etc.

    Typically, guild artisans, acolytes, criminals recruited as spies, sages, soldiers in mercenary companies, and cavaliers serving Eylea are in orders. They can be church brethren and sisterhoods, religious orders, scholarly schools of thought, guild members, knight orders, mercenary companies, druid circles, etc. The church itself has three orders: Glimmering, Gleaming and Shining which have different domains of focus.

    A member of an order can be revere and despised depending on their association. However, these associations give them power and authority in some cases. Who would be foolish enough to go up against the Shinning Knights of Pllothus?

    In addition, members of orders tend to be loyal to each other rather than to former family or village.

    Typical orders include: Monastic Orders, Knights Orders, Secret orders of magicians, tec. Players are encourage to generate an idea for an order to be put into the game consisting of 3 to 12 members.


    (9-10) Nobility: The highest hierarchy is that which is born into ruling families. These families have long traditions and wealth in the realm giving them influence and prestige. In some cases, being a Nobel also comes with an office or being assigned to an officer to learn the aspects of the position. Nobles can take on any of the roles of an officer, be part of an order, or even the manager of a part of land in their family name. Nobility is usually something you born into that is associated with land. Individuals of humble backgrounds who are allotted significant lands may eventually become lords. Nobel’s can be Minor Lords, Knights, Pages, dukes, duchess, counts that provide the remains for the Lord spirituals to stay in power.

    Nobel’s have access to many resources by virtue of their credit worthiness. On the opposite side, nobles are less likely to be knowledgeable of the more mundane and insidious workings of society as Freemen and Indentured may have. A wise Nobel obtains such persons in their service to fulfill those needs. Players need not be Nobel themselves but rather serve the Nobel family loyally. This allo allows for non human races to be in that Social class.

    Cultural Awards: To enhance role play and to give players a sense of commitment and ownership in the Fens, the PCs have a cultural gift bestowed upon them. Most of these gifts can be used during an adventure in-between during a undertaking (see later). These gifts help to inspire players to generate good role-playing opportunities and acquire intangible rewards as they advance in level.

    A player starts the game with one cultural award. As they progress they may obtain another cultural gift by either expanding on the current one or gain two distinct gifts. A player gains every four levels (so at level 4, 8, 12, 16, 20).

    List of Cultural Award: Players may choose or role their Cultural Award

    Family Heirloom: Player has received a family heirloom passed down in the family or other source (such as an Order). Player and GM determine what the heirloom may be, although it need not be an actual magical object. For example, a warrior has an ancestral blade passed down from his father. The heirloom should be something other than a gift others hold although a second cultural gift can be used to combine the two. For example, the ancestral blade indicates the PC is the rightful heir to ancestral Keep.

    Players choosing this again may get a second heirloom or improve the heirloom they currently have.

    Holding: The player has inherited a holding of sorts. Players choose where the holding is located (village). Depending on its size, players must upkeep the holding during their undertaking to keep it running and paying taxes. For example, a Nobel has a small manor located near Far Delve.

    Choosing this reward again allows the player to expand the holding or create a second holding. Players are free to use any gold to expand the holding themselves rather than using another cultural Reward.

    Business: The player has a business that earns a profit. Depending on its size, players must upkeep the business and may earn a profit during their undertaking. Depending on the business determines where it is located. For example, a mine has to be in the north near the mountains. Otherwise, players choose where the business is located.

    If chosen again, the player may have second business or choose to expand the business if the geography allows.

    Strong Family Ties: Through a bond, the player has established a strong fellowship amongst family and friends in a village (other than Eylea). Players choose a village where those bonds are kept. The player may describe these bonds as having their own family, part of a gang, or other communal organization. In this village, players can gain access to many individuals, assets, and other resources. They also provide a refuge that helps in removing taint. For example, the PC has family ties in the village of Upper Walop through marriage of his brother. Depending on the PC social class determines what those ties are bonded to.

    When a player chooses this again, they may choose another village with strong family ties.

    Renown: The player is renown across Ffenargh for some past deed by him or her or her family or order (whether justified or not) or by popularity. He is recognized by most people no matter where he visits. The renown can be positive or negative depending on the people. The renowned person can choose one other social class to gain advantage when interacting with them. For example, a Bard playwright can relate easily with both the Nobel class and the Freeman rabble.

    Renown has its price, however. If the player ever evokes the ability, his presence is known through the community quickly making espionage and shadowing impossible. His face is easily recognizable and disguises not generated by magic are impossible to pull off.

    When a player chooses this again he chooses another social class to gain advantage.

    Blessed: The PC is blessed by divine or primal forces because of association with some other order, site, or practice. They may be under the order of a monastery, visiting a sacred pool, member of an order of druids, visiting a shrine, etc. Animals are attracted and are calm to the peaceful nature of the PC. Plants, tree and flowers seem to bloom more readily in his or her presence and people of similar fate seem drawn to them. Creatures such as good fey and outsiders take notice as well.

    In contrast creatures of evil are repulsed by the characters. Aggressive animals avoid them while creatures and people of evil nature are wary at their presence. Evil fey and outsiders hesitate to confront the blessed PC or plot to undermine them.

    Mechanically, the PC receives inspiration when playing on his blessed nature as determined by the party. The Blessed Cultural Reward can only be gained once. A blessed PC works best when playing a non-evil character.

    Final step: Equipment: utilize the background or buy equipment. Additional equipment will be assigned per beginning of adventures (i.e. like horses).
  2. wizarddog
    How social status and backgrounds interact
    There is no perfect balance of social class and with backgrounds so some combinations may not be feasible. You decide from a role playing perspective the kind of people your PC is comfortable hanging around with. For example, you could take the Nobel background but have the social class as a freeman. You justify that your PC has been more of an every man despite his noble tidings. Therefore, some background in these social classes will be explained.

    In the Ffenarch, Nobel's are families that own large strafes of land and show loyalty to the Lord Spirituals and the church. They may also have family members serve in various orders and offices. Some become part of the church or monastic order while others may become pages and squires for the cavaliers of Eylea. Each family is responsible for the protection of their property. Baliffs are assigned roles by the Lord Spirtual Chief Balif usually in the families that own the land.

    These are a limited number of Nobel Families in the Ffenarch serving the Spiritual kingdom of Eylea. Players that playa snobles are associated with one of thse families by marriage or service.

    Holm island: Nobel Family Waldgrave; the family has one Lord spiritual sitting at Eylea.

    Sphagbog: Nobel Family D'arcy. Geoffry D'arcy is the patriarch.

    Kaldefen: The Nobel Family of Siranush have little in the way of holdings but their patriarch has been the head Lord Spirtual for over 33 years. The High priests of Plothus have supported her and she has managed to maneuver herself politically for years.

    Corspemire: The corpsemire is one of the few mysterious areas of the Ffenarch, once said to be ancient enclave of syvian elves who lived in the forest. Ancient ruins are thought to still stand. The family is said to have fey ancestry as many of its members are half elves. The few elves and thier half brethren in the Ffenarch claim this area despite few actual settlements. Instead, the elves and their kin use it as hunting and ceremonial practices that still allowed by the church. The elves played a major role in defating the trolls that populated the swamp centuries ago. The Kilanas family is the last pure blood line of the elves.

    Vipen Slough: The Staufen family rules the Corspemire in name but much of the region is untamed or abandoned.

    Lorge Island: Rughlor Family; while the family lays claim, Lorge hall has been abandon for decades.

    Mainland: The Tyrwhitt family lay claim to the mainland areas but most of the prosperous regions are self governed. They prospers much from the land, guarnteeing a seat as a Lord Spiritual by wealth alone.

    Eylea: This city is under the ruler-ship of the Lord spirituals,
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