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treehouse 1st of January, 2006 07:23

Inceptum OOC Thread
That was fast.

Alright, let's get started. I have one mechanics thing I'd like to get out of the way at the beginning - no arcanist PCs! I hope no one was set on playing one. Arcanists in my campaign are going to be mostly nutters fooling around with things best left untouched. The few that do manage to stave off madness are reclusive hermits unsuitable for PC characters. Anyone have a problem with that?


Pre-Game: Posts 1-164
Prologue: Posts 165-350
Episode I: Posts 351-1716
Episode II: Posts 1717-2539
The First Interlude: Posts 2540+

BigRedRod 1st of January, 2006 07:28

Sounds fair to me, plus it makes it easier to play with a setting where magic is regarded as witchcraft and there are subsequent burnings.

I had a few thoughts about setting. I'll have aanother look through the book and its notes on implied setting before I start rambling though.

Cheers treehouse, you're the man for taking up the DM stick

zachol 1st of January, 2006 09:44


I'm ok with no arcanists.

So... campaign style? There was something about having either a "Dark Ages" thing or a "Frontier Setting?"
On pages 9 and 10 are little things about the setting - "The Unknown Awaits" - which I think we should go with.

The idea that the PCs are amazingly powerful compared to everyone else is one of the reasons I liked the setting, and I would prefer we stick with that. Mostly suggestion for 'house.

Regardless, I would prefer that we start at level 1.
And keep everything to the IH book (instead of other resource things).

There are two general themes I think we could choose from.

One would involve there being little city-states everywhere we go, and would include bits of rp and other things.
I'd probably want to play a thief or executioner for this.

The second would be classic wilderness exploration and such. ("here be dragons")
If we go with this, I would not want to be a thief.

Of course, we could also have a mix (I would be a thief, but perhaps someone else would be a barbarian), but in some situations, a class would be ineffective, and the player mostly bored (a thief wouldn't be the greatest choice against a crazy arcanist's golem, while a barbarian wouldn't do much if we're assassinating the king).

I could be going in to too much detail on this, but I do have a question.

Regardless of what the others want to play, just ignoring the fact that there are other players, what would you want to play the most?
What classes seem "funnest"?

(me? thief, hunter, executioner)

Or am I ahead of myself?

BigRedRod 1st of January, 2006 10:07

The Armiger class makes me squeal with glee for some reason. So I'd quite like to go with that.

As I may have mentioned in the PMs, while I was reading through the book for the first time I was also ploughing through Firefly. As such I quite liked the idea of a Frontier setting. For some reason, man has just come to the area and while most of them are rushing outwards, some are busily establishing the traditional city states. But civilisation moves slowly and most of the little backwater villages are essentially all alone while possibly paying some kind of lip service (or tax) back to the "king".

I'm rambling but my idea was based around humanity largely dragging themselves out of a desert for reasons which are quite unclear. Rumours and stories about the old lands and times are confusing and contradictory.

For a period there was no civilisation as such, just clusters of tribes fighting against the dangers that lurk in the shadows. Eventually some kind of civilisation began to take hold, although it is slow moving and savage tribes still exist. The world in its current state is split between a core of a couple of large towns where it is relatively safe, roving barbarian tribes and those in between. Small villages which could be destroyed at any moment and hardly feel connected to what goes on in the noble courts that demand taxes of them.

Or maybe I'm taking the frontier thing a bit far... I never really did get things straight in my head.

treehouse 1st of January, 2006 11:01

You are both on the right track, except rather than you being on the fringes of civilization, civilization is on the fringe of existence. Most of the world is rugged, untamed wilderness overrun by monsters, barbarian tribes and brigands. There are a few small city-states that at best operate under a feudal heirarchy, although most are controlled by tyrannical despots. Many smaller villages dot the countryside, but they aren't under the nearby ruler's thumb until said ruler sends an army there to 'bring them into the fold', which usually involves slaughtering all of the resisters and able-bodied men, disarming them and then raping, looting and burning as they please, leaving only a remnant to rebuild. In the city-states you can't trust the authorities to uphold whatever code of law there is, and in the frontier, law is decided with the sword.

Is this more or less the mood everyone is looking for?

Edit: Thought of some more stuff. I'm thinking there will be plenty of time spent in both the wilderness and 'civilization', so you'll want to build a character that isn't useless in either. zachol, if you play a thief I'll definitely add street politics to the party's encounters in the cities (there will be elements of that anyway) but make sure your character isn't going to be bored in the wild, either. I tend to run combat-heavy adventures/campaigns, so expect to spend a lot of time in the initiative count.

As far as mechanics go, I agree that we should keep the sources used to the Iron Heroes book only. Honestly, the book is chock-full of content, and I doubt you'll need anything else. If you have something you'd like to add, private message me, but chances are I'll say no unless it fits really, really well. Everyone starts off at 1st level using the ability score generation rules listed in the Iron Heroes book, except 28 point buy instead of 24. Max hit points at first level, after that roll your own. Regular starting wealth as listed in the book, though if you roll lower than the true average, take that instead. I'll be repeating all of this in the Rules subforum, but if you want to start making a character now I think that's all you need. Just build something that you'll enjoy playing, I don't think party balance is as big of a deal in Iron Heroes.

treehouse 1st of January, 2006 11:26

Had another tantalizing thought. How would you all like to play outlaws? Not necessarily bad people, but people who have (for one reason or another) really ticked off the local authorities in one or more of the city states to the point where they are seriously considering sending bounty hunters after you. That could be fun. :nod:

zachol 1st of January, 2006 12:42


But not all of the city states, right?
Eventually would like to have something of a base.

Right now I'm waffling between executioner and hunter.
Thief seems fun, but I think it would be a bit much like another game (LeadPal's), which isn't that fun in practice.
Executioner would be nice, but I would have to find a way to flank without getting in much trouble.
Hunter is an archetype I like to play, only even more so.

It sort of depends on how practical it would be for him to stay out of the combat for a few rounds, hidden, before coming in.

Then again, I could really play any of about half of the classes... archer, executioner, harrier, hunter, thief.

JK, you?

Jackelope King 1st of January, 2006 13:27

Sorry to come a bit late to the party.

Being hunted outlaws sounds like it could be quite a bit of fun. I'd definitely be down with that, and in a frontier/dark ages setting, it'd be very interesting. No qualms with losing the archanist... I was more interested in the Executioner and the Weapon Master myself.

Will post more later.

BigRedRod 1st of January, 2006 20:40

Being outlawed could be a good start. Especially if we aren't exactly clear on why.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 05:03

I am working on the world map, as it were. My idea for making it an exploration based game is that you know quite a bit about the region that you are from (Valeria), and you know some things about the regions surrounding it, and then you know what's immediately beyond that in a vague sense (such as, 'well, past the Gremalk Mountains to the south, some have said there is a vast wasteland, but none who have gone out into that place have ever returned')

I'm working on a basic flowchart map which will represent what your characters actually know. More detailed maps will be provided as you explore. Here's a rough draft:

The Deep Forest is labeled as two different regions because the northern section is thin enough that some explorers have made it through to the unforgiving, frozen landscape called by its savage natives Aelfendar. Of course, most of these explorers were promptly eaten, but a few have returned. No one knows how far Aelfendar stretches or what is beyond it. Scragmire is a swamp that no one has gotten the measure of. The Coast of Jomren is named after the supposed leader of the first humans who crossed the Sea of Lost Souls. Little is known of Jomren, his homeland across the Sea, or why he first led the humans to Valeria. Today, Valeria is dotted with independent villages and a few as-of-yet unnamed cities governed by ruthless despots. There is one who calls herself Queen who lives in the grandest of the cities near the center of Valeria. Queen Maenar is the closest thing to a benevolent ruler in the human lands, yet she would be considered ruthless and cruel-hearted in a more civilized age.

Right now I'm just brainstorming. None of this is down in pen. Any ideas hit you yet?

BigRedRod 2nd of January, 2006 05:07

That is a very clever way to create a map which resembles how people see the world. Well done.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 05:53

zachol, I forgot to respond to an earlier comment you made about the Executioner. I think in this game quite a few classes will require rounds where they aren't attacking, as most of the token pools allow you to study an opponent, bite your shield or perform some other standard action to get more tokens. So don't worry about being unique in needing time between attacks. The flow of Iron Heroes combat is going to be different, I have a feeling.

BRR, thanks for the compliment about the flowchart map. It's nothing fancy, but I think it serves our purposes nicely.

zachol 2nd of January, 2006 06:05

I agree. Very clever indeed.

Still waffling between executioner, hunter, and thief.
I do want to play a thief, but I'm confused as to what he would do in combat.

Does anyone else feel as if they could use more than one character?
I have no idea how it would work out, but I still have something of a feeling of "dang... wish I had two campaigns."
Just a thought, I'm not too attached to it.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 06:32

I think one of the cooler 'incidental' mechanics of the token pool is that, with all of the standard action things characters do that involve no direct attacks, there is a lot of potential for combat movement (which is naturally cinematic). I am also considering adopting the house rule that Jackelope King created a while back - in a round where you take at least a 5' step, you get a +1 dodge bonus to AC. So even when two combatants are dueling each other, they are likely moving around the battlefield in a slow, methodical circle. We can discuss that and how it might affect game balance, but a +1 bonus isn't a huge upset, yet it's just enough of a bonus to be an incentive.

The stunt system I need to take a closer look at. Since they are freeform in nature, we might want to have a seperate OOC thread for discussing potential stunts and other spontaneous actions.

BigRedRod 2nd of January, 2006 07:24

I'm still dead set on being an Armiger. I have a few personality traits sorted out but nothing sufficently advanced to call a concept yet.


we might want to have a seperate OOC thread for discussing potential stunts and other spontaneous actions.
Quite possibly. Stunts were a bit of a weak point of the book, they should have either just come out and admitted that they are a case by case thing or given some proper mechanics.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 07:39

The Armiger looks like a lot of fun, and all parties benefit well from having a true tank in their numbers.

I kind of agree with you about the stunt system, but at the same time I am optimistic - I view the vagueness of it as a great opportunity for us to be more creative in combat.

Edit: Oh, and's quite possible that at some point I'll take a break from DMing Iron Heroes and let Jackelope King have a go at it (assuming you still want to, JK). I would think he'd want to do a different campaign, so that would be a good opportunity for you to try out a different character.

Also, when I mercilessly slaughter your first character in glorious battle, that'll be a good opportunity as well.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 08:14

(Sorry for all of the double posts, but I'm just saying things as they come to me.)

I would rather you all know and trust each other well enough to adventure together before we start. So, one of the requirements for your background is that the three of you are friends (or at least comfortable associates). I'd like to get right into the action when we start playing rather than spend a few weeks trying to connect the party. This means that if you have some secrets in your background, you'll want to decide beforehand how much you've told the others. As a matter of fact, any secrets that your buddies don't know shouldn't even be posted in your public background, rather they should be sent to me via email so I can put them in your file for future reference (yes, you will have files; I have a bit of OCD when it comes to organizational habits as a DM. My other play-by-post has a freaking FAQ).

Another thing - feel free to add your own input into the world. Make up your own hometown, important NPCs in your life, events that occured such as wars or tribal feuds, and whatever else floats your boat and makes your background more suitable for your taste. I try to leave my players room to add their own touch to any homebrew I run, and this will be no exception. As a matter of fact, it makes my job easier if you do some of the world creation for me. If something you've got down in your background directly contradicts something that I've got planned for the world, we'll work out a compromise. Unless you are actively trying to destroy the world, I doubt you'll do anything to screw up my 'plans'.

zachol 2nd of January, 2006 10:23

Hmm... since I seem to be gravitating towards thief, perhaps I could be the "outlaw catalyst," and the others have chosen to follow me?
(Assuming I play a thief,) My background involves a bit of kleptomania, and it would be very likely for the thief to have stolen something important enough (of a noble) to lead to the problems.

Otherwise, as an executioner or hunter, I doubt I would have done anything specific to the character.

There could have been something where we collectively fubar'd something, which would cement the friendship thing. Perhaps?

Edit: Jon, how set against magic are you? I've a slight idea, but if it's out of the question (totally), then ok.
Also, what about alchemy?

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 10:32

Keep in mind that your character defines your class, not the other way around, especially in Iron Heroes. In the book it says that classes merely reflect fighting styles for the most part. Outlaws could be of any class.

Queen Maenar, current ruler of the Domain of Tyrenos (the largest pocket of civilization in Valeria), would be a good choice for an enemy, as she is powerful enough to be a threat to you while you are anywhere in Valeria and the surrounding regions, yet not powerful enough to keep you from establishing another city-state as a base of operations. You could earn her dislike in a variety of ways.

Edit: Regarding magic, I'm pretty well set on keeping it out of PC hands for the most part. The Iron Heroes book is pretty clear that a combination of the PC classes in the book with magic items is overpowered; the author felt so strongly about this that he suggested that, when converting an IH PC class to a magic setting, all token costs should be doubled, the harrier should be severely gimped and three classes should be banned outright (berserker, thief and man-at-arms). What was your idea, though? And alchemy is perfectly fine.

zachol 2nd of January, 2006 11:54

Well, class is a pretty good definition of the character... I'm trying to find the definition I want.

Magic thing... nevermind. Though I do want a few little alchemy things.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 14:14

It seems like you want to play a thief, but are worried that he won't fit in the campaign. If you play a thief, I'll try to make it worth your while, but I have a proposition for everyone that seems fair given the circumstances.

Normally, when someone retires a character in my campaigns to bring in a new one, I have them come in at one level lower than the party average. But, given that this is the first Iron Heroes campaign that any of us will have seen in action, there's going to be some trial and error. So, what I'm thinking is, build a character that you think you'll enjoy to start off. Then, if after a few months of steady play you find that the character doesn't live up to your expectations or doesn't fit well in the campaign, you can switch him out for another one at the same experience level/wealth level. Everybody gets this one 'freebie'.

Sound good?

zachol 2nd of January, 2006 14:19

Sure. [img]images/smilies/smiley%20-%20happy.gif[/img]

Say... were we still thinking of trying to add another player?

The main reason I don't want to do a thief is that he wouldn't work well in any combat situation, and the other two characters would probably have to fight mostly without him... sort of not the best choice.

But w/e. Should be work-outable.

treehouse 2nd of January, 2006 14:27

Well, one thing you might try is multiclassing into man-at-arms for a few extra combat feats, more versatile feat mastery and slightly better base attack. Men-at-arms get 6 skill points per level and three skill groups of their choice, so you wouldn't be totally chumped in that regard (though it doesn't even approach the ungodly number of skill points and skill groups a thief gets - apparently they wanted to do the rogue class right this time around).

Meh, I dunno, I think a single-classed thief done right could be a lot of fun even in combat. Then again, the other classes you were interested in are also really cool. A hunter with the War Leader feats could be a vital party asset in any encounter, and the executioner is absolutely wicked. If Jackelope King runs a game, I'll probably try out the executioner.

You know, I'm looking at the man-at-arms, and I think Mike Mearls really hit the nail on the head there. At first I was thinking 'ah, he's just a fighter', but he's quite a bit more versatile. He has great mastery in ALL feats and he's the only one that gets to pick his own skill groups. That's surprising.

Edit: Oh, and as far as finding a fourth player goes, I'm looking, but it's got to be someone who's got the book and (most importantly) is a good, reliable player. I'm a picky DM.

Second Edit: Another thing that I think would help keep a thief competitive with everyone else is to use your aforementioned ungodly number of skills to do stunts. Have you read about those yet? You could do a lot of cool stuff with that (give enemies penalties to attacks, defense, skills and so on, prevent monsters from using special attacks for a short amount of time and so on). Besides all that, coming up with interesting stunts sounds like fun.

BigRedRod 3rd of January, 2006 00:14


Oh, and as far as finding a fourth player goes, I'm looking, but it's got to be someone who's got the book and (most importantly) is a good, reliable player. I'm a picky DM.
Glad to know I'm not the only DM with a growing blacklist of members :)

Jackelope King 3rd of January, 2006 02:24

Stunts are absolutely awesome. I love 'em, and I'm definitely looking forward to that aspect of combat.

The world seems good so far, but unfortunately at the moment, I'm still getting back from New Year's Party Weekend and getting a Mutants & Masterminds game off the ground here at home. I'll read all this over this afternoon and get some real substantive posts in on how we can get this game working.

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