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Character Classes in Ill Winds Over Verbobonc

Some classes get a raw deal in the vanilla rules of 3.5 edition. However, I find the Pathfinder rules set a little excessive in the bonuses that it grants heroic classes. The following treatments of the Heroic Classes are designed to add a little more balance to the game without making them over-powered.

Favoured Soul

The Bandit Lords of the Gnarley and Welk Verge

A primer full of information known concerning the bandit threat arising in the eastern Viscounty of Verbobonc. The party has gleaned this knowledge from gathering rumour and fact throughout their travels, as well as capturing intelligence from vanquished enemies.

The History of the Greyhawk Wars
by David “Zeb” Cook
  • edited by J. Robert King
  • prepared for America Online by Roger E. Moore

The defining event in the recent history of the continent of Oerik was the series of conflicts known collectively as the Greyhawk Wars. This file presents, in its entirety, the actual campaign history of the fighting, taken from the Adventurer’s Book in the Greyhawk ADVENTURES WARS boxed board game. This material should be common knowledge to any characters in a Greyhawk campaign who have paid the slightest attention to current events or their history lessons.

The Battle of Emridy Meadows
by Mike “Mortellan” Bridges
  • Colour map by Anna B. Meyer
  • Battle sketches by Paul J. Stormberg

An excellent account of the event for which the Viscounty of Verbobonc became famous in 569 CY. This pivotal battle ended the dominance of the Temple of Elemental Evil over the entire eastern half of the viscounty, and much of the Gnarley fringe as well.

  • The Village of Corustaith: A settlement of some 170 woodsfolk, surrounded by a wooden palisade, in the very heart of the Gnarley Forest. It is one of the bases for the famed Rangers of the Gnarley, a good number of whom give their loyalty to the local Ranger Knight known as Parsimmon Tumercan. Quietly, it is known as a place where the good and wise can come to meet and share news of tidings in distant lands. Corustaith is a second home to the ranger Haemir Hellbrand.
  • The Thorpe of Eglath: peopled by some 91 simple, hard-working freemen of the viscounty, this open thorpe stands on the banks of the Velverdyva some 20 miles north-east of Verbobonc and 10 miles south of Oakham. They are loyal tenants of the neglectful Baronet Drenton Vaswell, a roguish noble whose family is tasked with keeping an eye on the confluence of the Velverdyva and the Imeryds Run, which in the past has been plagued by river pirates hailing from the fell settlement of Nulb and the Temple of Elemental Evil. It was in Eglath that our adventurers first become acquainted with each other.

  • Craft and Profession are class skills for all classes.
  • All humans may take a single Knowledge skill of their choosing as a class skill. Humans are an eclectic bunch who have adapted to nearly all environments, and their education tends to reflect their prevailing circumstances. In practice, the average joe will take Knowledge: Local, but really anything might be justified.
  • All dwarves may take Knowledge: Dungeoneering as a class skill for any class. Dwarves spend much of their time underground, and their formative education includes basic experience of underground lore such as stone and crystal varieties, edible and poisonous mushrooms, and other denizens of the UnderOerth.
  • All elves may take Knowledge: Nature as a class skill for any class. Elves spend much of their time in pastoral settings, and their formative education includes an understanding of trees, seasons, animals, edible herbs and roots, and common denizens of their local environs.
  • All halflings may take Knowledge: Local as a class skill for any class. Halflings are incorrigible gossips with a great love of nesting. They are often a treasure trove of local history with a profound understanding of which local people are good to know.
  • All half-elves may choose between Knowledge: Nature or Knowledge: Local as a class skill for any class. Those who grow up among the elves usually gain the same education, while those who grow up among humans tend to become knowledgeable local mediators owing to their natural charms.
  • All gnomes may choose between Knowledge: Nature or Knowledge: Dungeoneering as a class skill for any class. Depending on their clan, a Gnome may spend just as much time below-ground as any dwarf, or just as much time in the forest as any elf.
  • Half-orcs gain no knowledges as a bonus class skill. Whether raised among humans or orcs, they invariably find themselves pushed into violent or menial work where their size comes in handy. Half-orcs may take Intimidation as a class skill for any class.
  • NPC Classes: Provided they do not multi-class with heroic classes, those with levels as Commoners, Experts, Warriors, Aristocrats, and Adepts gain a bonus general feat for each age category. For instance, a middle-aged human aristocrat gains a bonus feat when they reach middle age, old age, and venerable age. This is to simply reflect life experience and expertise even if they don’t go adventuring. The list of feats from which they may select this feat includes: Alertness, Animal Affinity, Deceitful, Deft Hands, Diligent, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Lightning Reflexes, Militia Training (custom feat; see below), Negotiator, Persuasive, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus, Stealthy, Track, Trustworthy, and Unusually Skilled (custom feat; see below).
Custom Feats:
  • Unusually Skilled (General Feat): Your formative education included a skill that is outside the usual along your chosen career.
    Benefit: Your usual and special facility remains a class skill no matter what your class progression happens to be, and you gain a +1 competence bonus in its practice.
    Restriction: This feat may only be taken at 1st level.
  • Militia Training (General Feat): No matter your profession, you are among the local men and women of your settlement who have been trained from an early age to come to its defence in times of need.
    Benefit: In addition to your usual weapon and armour proficiencies, you are also proficienct with any two simple or martial weapons, light armour proficiency, and shield proficiency. If you already have light armour proficiency, you instead gain medium armour proficiency.
    Restriction: This feat may only be taken at 1st level.
  • Edited Feats:
  • Toughness (General Feat): You are tougher than normal.
    Benefit: You gain +3 Hit Points, and an additional +1 Hit Point for every level.
    Special: The character can gain this feat multiple times. The effects stack.
    Note: I have chosen to use the Pathfinder version of this feat, as it turns this feat from a booby prize into a worthwhile choice.
  • Bows: There is no such weapon as a composite longbow in the way that D&D describes it. Historically, there were self-bows (common to Western Europe) and composite bows (common to the Eurasian Steppe peoples). The chief advantages to the latter are a slightly greater range and the ability to use it from horseback, as its size profile is much reduced. The disadvantage is that the integrity of the glue that binds the horn, wood, and sinew together tends to suffer in wet and humid environments (which is sometimes cited as one of the reasons the Mongols didn’t make it past Hungary and Poland) and that it is designed for a lighter arrow. The true story is a little more complicated than this brief description, but for the purposes of this game, Composite Shortbow will be known as Composite Bow. It has a range increment of 120 feet and does 1d6 damage, with a critical multiplier of x3. Also, all bows can be custom-built to be mighty (added strength modifiers), representing the draw weight of the weapon.
  • Double-Axes: While it is true that D&D commits many crimes against medieval realism (such as most kinds of fantasy armour!) nothing grinds my gears quite so much as the orc double-axe! While the double-bladed sword actually has some potential (thanks, Shad!) and the odd example might be found as a curio, the orc double-axe is just a rubbish idea that belongs with the rest of the garbage. It might be seen hanging on a wall somewhere as a weapon-smith’s experiment, but you will not find it in the hands of an orc charging at you. Expect a great-axe instead… (heh!)
  • Full Plate armour: Although the Suel and Baklune empires understood the higher secrets of armour-smithing in distant antiquity, the current human nations of the Flanaess have yet to remaster metallurgy and armour-smithing to the point where full plate armour is common. Indeed, human masters are as rare as hen’s teeth. Certain dwarven enclaves have enriched themselves by cornering the market on the construction of such armour, and they guard their secrets jealously. Additionally, the elves mastered the art millennia ago, but only a handful of their masters remain who have an interest in creating such masterpieces. To reflect this scarcity, the cost of full plate is seven times more than that listed in the PHB, and will almost always be of masterwork quality (so incurring that cost as well).
Masterwork Weapons and Armour:

A master smith is worth their weight in gold, and prices in Ill Winds will reflect this. In addition to the prices below, the cost of such rare items can fluctuate further based upon supply, demand, and reputation of the craftsperson.
Hand Simple Weapons: All light simple weapons of masterwork quality are worth an additional 150 gold pieces. All other simple weapons of masterwork quality are worth an additional 250 gold pieces.
Hand Melee Weapons: Light weapons of masterwork quality are worth an additional 150 gold pieces to the base cost in the PHB. One-handed melee weapons are worth the standard 300 gold pieces. Two-handed melee weapons are worth 450 gold pieces. Double weapons incur twice the masterwork cost, and are to be adjudicated by the DM.
Missile Weapons: A ranged simple weapon of masterwork quality is worth an additional 200 gold pieces, while a martial weapon would be worth an extra 300 gold pieces. The cost for crafting a bow to take into account above-average strength bonuses for damage is unchanged ie. +100 gp/ability bonus.
Ammunition: masterwork arrows, bolts, and sling bullets are worth ten times a mundane counterpart. For instance, a quiver of 20 arrows is worth 10 gp (or 5 sp each) and a quarrel of 10 bolts is worth 10 gp (or 1 gp each). In the case of the humble slinger, a pouch of 10 masterwork bullets is worth a single piece of gold.
Armour: Rather than just assigning a blanket 150 gp extra for items of such exceptional craftsmanship, the cost of masterwork armour shall be multiplied by category. Light armour is multiplied by one, medium armour is multiplied by two, and heavy armour by three. For example, a masterwork chain shirt (as light armour) would be 250 gp, while a full suit of masterwork chain mail would 450 hp, and masterwork half-plate would be 1050 gp.
Shields: Again, rather than simply assigning a blanket 150 gp the cost of shields is changed to reflect the extraordinary difficulty of crafting a trusty shield. Prices are dramatically increased for metal shields to reflect the value of the added hardness, a quality I currently find lacking in the game. A masterwork light wood shield is 153 gp while a heavy wood shield is 207 hp; a light steel shield is 209 gp while a heavy steel shield is 220 gp. Masterwork bucklers are worth 185 gp, while a (very rare) masterwork tower shield is worth 280 gp.

Special Materials:

The cost of this resource as listed in the 3.5 PHB implies a level of commonality that I find to be more than a little out of step with its implied value from earlier editions. The following is intended to give some value, mystery, and danger once more to these coveted items.

Mithral: In Tolkien’s Legendarium, mithril was found in only one place in all of Middle Earth (Moria); it was priceless given that it could not be readily obtained due to the danger of the proximity of Durin’s Bane. Even prior to that, it was worth ten’s times that of gold! Frankly, I dig that! Mithral is supposed to be rare, and in earlier editions of the game it really was. Since we are playing Greyhawk, we are going to keep that flavour. Truesilver is very, very rare, for even most of the known veins of this precious metal in the Flanaess have long since been played out. In fact, examples of mithral armour and weapons are far more likely to be found in royal armories or ancient tombs than in circulation, and they are also frequently enchanted. Advertising ownership of these coveted items is a good way to find oneself the target of thieves and assassins. For the purposes of our game, if it can be found at all, on top of masterwork prices an item of mithral is worth thirty times that listed in the PHB. For instance, a simple chain shirt of mithral links is worth 3200 gold pieces, not 100, while a suit of half-plate is worth 19050, not 600. A simple mithril-headed handaxe would be worth a mere 330 gp while a long sword would be closer to 750 gp. Naturally, finding mithral weapons for sale is rather more common than mithral armour.

Adamantine: Said to be harvested from the molten hearts of volcanoes or even from rocks that fall from the stars, this metal is even more difficult to find than mithral. Adamantine is largely unknown on the surface world of the Flanaess. Indeed, the average commoner may not have even heard of it at all, even though they would recognise it as distinctly strange and wondrous to behold if they ever saw it. However, learned sages and wizards, experienced bards, seasoned adventurerers, master weapon and armour smiths, and certainly any dwarf worth his salt knows what it is and what it looks like. In fact, being in possession of an adamantine weapon or armour draws attention if one is not careful, and unscrupulous sorts might hunt the owner, or have them assassinated, in order to claim their prize. Items made of adamantine are always of masterwork quality, and are worth forty times the price listed for the base item in the PHB. For instance, a simple chain shirt of adamantine links is worth 4200 gold pieces, not 100, while a suit of half-plate is worth 25650, not 600. A simple adamantine-headed handaxe would be worth a mere 390 gp while a long sword would be closer to 900 gp. Naturally, finding admantine weapons for sale is also far more common than adamantine armour.

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