"The Age of Ice has ended, what is left of the once great empires of man have formed into small tribes, ready to rebuild and retake that which was lost. But the world is not empty. Hordes of barbarians await these new civilizations. Wild animals stalk hapless scouts and reckless emissaries. Giant spiders lie in patient wait in the jungles and the forests waiting for their prey to take that last, fatal, step.

There is great evil, but also selfless good. There are those who strive to remain neutral in the coming conflict as opposed ideologies break the world asunder once again..."

~Welcome! This thread is to recruit full-time DMs or round-robin player/DMs for a D&D 3.5 campaign in the world of Erebus, the home of Kael's dark fantasy mod for Civilization IV, the award-winning "Fall from Heaven." Erebus is a world with vast, unexplored expanses and diverse civilizations, ranging from the hellish cities of the necromantic Sheaim to the shining oases of the righteous Malakim, with all manner of pirate states, mercenary warlords, and vampiric aristocrats in between. Political intrigue unites unlikely allies and undermines civil authority, frenzied cultists plague the raging seas in homage to mad gods, and ancient rituals twist the very face of the world... But I don't want to give away surprises...

I am proposing a dark fantasy campaign in Erebus during the Age of Rebirth. The civilizations are already established and tension rises as the world creeps towards... well, for those of you who know, enough said-- for the rest, I won't spoil it. I am a fan of role-play focused, immersive, and realistic gaming, and I'm hoping to find others who are interested in a game along those lines. After 13 years of D&D, bland dungeon crawls just aren't enough. If you want to explore the ancient ruins, tepid jungles, and scorching sands of Erebus--if you long to breathe the mist of its trackless seas and choke on the ash of hell on earth--well, then this is the game for you.

I am recruiting across several sites to find enthusiastic DMs. So far, DMs have been hard to come by, hende I have volunteered to start round-robin DM'ing in the meantime. I currently have a collection of lore source materials, maps, world-building ideas, etc. to help get us started. I have been playing in a Ptolus campaign based in Erebus for the last two years and I have accumulated a variety of ideas and materials.

Source materials on Erebus:
I recommend reading the "Civilizations" links on the Wiki (1st link) to start. The Sheaim and Infernal "Civilization" links contain big spoilers. The 2nd link contains a lore compilation download with an overview of world history.

Fall from Heaven Wiki:

Downloadable lore compilation:

Further linked, easily accessible reading compiled by another D&D group in Erebus

Since I've offered to round-robin DM to get us started, I've drawn up a tentative "Big 16" to give guidelines so we can get rolling even though we need a devoted DM. Before the Big 16, an important note:

I only have 3 Unchangeable Rules. Everything else is wide open to discussion:
3 unchangeable rules:
1) This won't be a comedy campaign. Comedy within the context of the world is great, but this isn't the place for "MooMooButcher McGiggleshanks the L33T", CN Bard with Tourettes... there's wiggle-room with the Balseraphs of course, within reason.
2) No Munchkins (no overpowered, twinked out races etc, please). There's nothing wrong with having good stats, but I can't bear another sideshow party made up of half-dragons, minotaurs, and werebeasts.
3) This won't be linear Hack n' Slash. It's a role-play & flavor-filled game, but combat should still be important.

Now, my (revisable/up for discussion) "Big 16" suggestions. (Again, these are here so I can start running round-robin while we find a DM- So feedback is welcome!)
1. What game system & edition are you running?
D&D 3.5 (or earlier, but not 4e). This list assumes 3.5e for sake of consistency & ease of reference.

2. What is the setting for the game?
Erebus (of "Fall from Heaven" fame). Homebrewed dark fantasy world founded upon web-compiled Lore and Wiki compilations. Our rules are not based on the game rules and rigid conventions of the inspirational "Civilization IV" game module. A pen-and-paper world has more depth and dimensions.

3. How many Players are you looking for? Will you be taking alternates, and if so, how many?
4 to 6 PCs (and full-time DM). We will at least need willing round-robin DMs to get started (myself included).

4. What's the gaming medium?
Play by post on The Tangled Web. (Free site, registration is simple)

5. What is the characters' starting status (i.e. experience level)?
Level 1, 0 experience.

6. How much gold or other starting funds will the characters begin with?
Roll for starting gold based on class with adjustments and exceptions based on character background (but only to fit the character concept please, not because "It'd be cool to have now.")

7. Are there any particular character classes, professions, orders, etc. that you want... or do not want? What are your rules on 'prestige' and/or homebrewed classes?
Obviously, PHB = safe. I generally trust the balance of the official 3.5 material if it fits the game world. Now, I'm not a stickler! However, I think the DM should review prestige classes and alternative base classes (or homebrew ideas) on a case-by-case basis for 2 reasons.
1) To make sure that a character concept can fit with our world.
2) Different players' definitions of "reasonable" can be very different.
So please just run things by the DM first.

8. What races, subraces, species, etc. are allowed for your game? Will you allow homebrewed races or species?
We need to discuss this--base stuff is fine, though there aren't halflings or gnomes in Erebus. BUT! That's an easy fix if we want. For instance:

-I think the Luchuirp make sense as both gnomes and dwarves.
-Other races and societies exist outside of the listed civilizations.
-We could add new civilizations.

There's also possibly some room for non-exotic half-breeds, low Level-adjustment monster races, etc (Clan of Embers orcs, goblins, lizardmen (?), etc are convenient examples).

I do highly suggest providing Forgotten Realms-style regional bonuses/drawbacks for characters from various regions (i.e. Doviello humans may receive a bonus to Survival checks made in tundra, etc)

9. By what method should Players generate their attributes/ability scores and Hit Points?
Just throwing my preferences out there, remember that's open to debate:
Stats: I prefer rolling because greater variation = more realistic (3d6 or 4d6 for each stat, with 1 irrevocable mulligan).
HP: Max HP at first level, roll after.
All stats and HP should be rolled in live chat with the DM.

10. Does your game use alignment? What are your restrictions, if so?
My preference? I like open-ended gameplay so I'm open to all alignments. However, if you're so divergent from the group as to be divisive, you shouldn't expect the DM to force it into working. Personally, I have no problem with players killing each other (if it comes to that), it's all part of a realistic world to me. Having said that, if your party-axing Chaotic Evil character is breaking the game... well that'd be a problem. Just use common sense on this one.

11. Do you allow multi-classing, or have any particular rules in regards to it?
I personally don't have a problem with multi-classing and I tend to ignore the XP penalty, as long as it makes sense and you don't go crazy.

12. Will you be doing all of the die rolling during the course of the game? Will die rolls be altered, or left to the honor system? If players can make die rolls, which ones do they make, how should they make the rolls, and how should they report them?
My preference as a DM is to do secret rolls for passive skill checks (knowledge upon seeing something/listen/spot/sense motive) and NPC/monster die rolls, and I think players should do the rest in the window or private message the DM when they feel the need.

13. Are there any homebrewed or optional/variant rules that your Players should know about?
This campaign is pretty homebrewed by necessity, and I'm open to well-reasoned changes (especially those in favor of realism ). This area is especially open to discussion.

14. Is a character background required? If so, how big? Are you looking for anything in particular (i.e. the backgrounds all ending up with the characters in the same city)?
Character background: Yes, a background is required. And I'm an English teacher, so I hate to say this, but the background should be "As long as it needs to be."

Party background: My (usual) preference is that the characters don't know each other beforehand, and run separately for a short stint until they come together naturally. I think this allows players to settle on their character's identity individually instead of shaping it within the context of the group. In turn, that means a more realistic, "unforced" group dynamic because it will evolve naturally through the conglomeration of previously developed, firm personalities. My 2 cents.

15. Does your game involve a lot of hack & slash, puzzle solving, roleplaying, or a combination of the above?
Heavy role-play & flavor focused group, but combat is important, too. I *love* detail, but we're ultimately playing a game, not writing a book. Having said that, if I'm in the DM's seat, I like things to be open-ended and character-driven so don't expect me to throw fights at you for no reason either.

16. Are your Players restricted to particular rulebooks and supplements, or will you be allowing access to non-standard material? What sources can Players use for their characters?
Again, wide open. Generally, I'm OK with all 3.5 official material. Feel free to offer other sources or homebrew ideas, but please run everything by the DM for review. Again, this isn't to be strict, it's to maintain world and gameplay balance, and to save you the frustration of a drawing up a character that has to be scrapped later for some reason or another.

That's it! Feel free to browse the source materials at the top and post suggestions about the tentative Big 16 ideas. If you're posting interest in this campaign, please also respond with some information about yourself and previous characters, and--better yet--a character concept for this game if you have one.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!