Revenge of the Lich

"Revenge of the Lich" is a retired D20 3.5 system Dungeons and Dragons campaign run between 2005-2008 with the Houston RPG group.

The campaign followed the adventures of the player characters in the Grand Duchy of Valderin, located on the DM-created southern continent of Gantara on the world of Oerth, from the World of Greyhawk campaign setting. The campaign story concept was plot-based and character-driven, allowing for the player characters to interact with the setting as much as they saw fit. The first episode was played on June 4, 2005, and continued on a weekly basis, with the game sessions happening on Saturday evenings until it finished on February 23, 2008. The campaign concluded a 100 episode story arc, starting them at 1st level and ending at 20th level.

Since there was a large group of players who contributed to the campaign, participation on a weekly basis ranged from three to ten players per episode, with just about everyone showing for Episode 100. The list of players included Adam, Andrea, Brett, Chris, Cindy, David, James, Jason, Jerry, Joe, Leigh, Lisa, Mark, and Shannon. The position of Games Master was performed by Joel. The campaign met regularly on Saturdays. However, on some weekends, there was no game because of absence by the Games Master, LAN parties, board game nights, or low attendance. Game sessions were played at James and Leigh's home, Chris and Cindy's home, Jason and Andrea's home, and Joel and Lisa’s home.

Campaign Setting

Gantara was the least explored of the four continents of Oerth until 1000 years ago when the first monster races first set foot upon the land.

Humanoid and non-humanoid species found a safe haven while traveling by magical and non-magical means. Populations grew and newcomers were able to carve out their own living space without threat of the more civilized lands of Flanaess. Territories were settled as each race was able to expand its influence upon the unexplored continent.

That is, until man arrived.

Stories of land and wealth beyond belief had trickled back over the Ocean Sea to the north to Oerik, reaching the ears of the Sea Barons, and then spreading further throughout the realm. Wanting an opportunity to expand their power base, principalities sent explorers, adventurers, and mercenaries south to the new continent to return with fame and treasure for their masters. The kingdoms of man made several attempts to establish a base on the other side of the Ocean Sea. Many failed as the epic storms of Gantara, known as Bale Tempests, destroyed many excursions along the coast.

One group of merchants from Nyrond received a contract to “make habitation into the interior of Gantara”, and acted quickly by sending 432 settlers on 13 ships to build a new settlement on the new continent. The settlers were supposed to look for gold and attempt to establish trade with the indigenous races of the area. In 426 C.Y, the ships entered Opxe Bay and then sailed down the river flowing into the bay. The colonists named the river the Candelfeld to honor of the King of Nyrond. The new settlement was named Hightower, as “a bastion of civilization”. The site had the advantages of an accessible water supply, which was surrounded by good farmland.

Without the strong leadership of the settlers, Hightower would not have survived. After facing hardships for the first few years, the citizens of Hightower began to prosper and grow. Organized government was set up naming the country, the Empire of Gantara, and allowing a head of state, the Overlord, to rule. The surrounding territories were conquered and lands were partitioned off into duchies, which were subdivided into baronies. Soon after, ties between the Empire and Nyrond diminished as the practicality mercantilism was not feasible.

Centuries have passed since the day man first set foot upon the continent. The Empire of Gantara has grown considerably and several additional duchies had been established. The most recent state is the Grand Duchy of Valderin, southeast of the most established areas. It is considered a backwater region as it is still plagued by various monster races and is the farthest duchy from Hightower. Valderin is partitioned into eight baronies to help maintain control of the duchy: Thuciend, Dailsun, Conderight, Shiramet, Merinarn, Fanderword, Galunid, and Aloraghen.

The seat of the duchy is Fulmont in the northwest, and the islands of Newstark and Melekure are currently being populated as part of the duke’s colonization plans. Aspenbrook in the northwest is the largest city of the duchy, although Celesthem in the south in the Bay of Valderin is growing rapidly because of its natural harbors. Saltmarsh is the most enchanted city, as many a practitioner of magic has made the area their home. Yorkwater and Eshelvadon are small cities located near the coast, while Steelgate, Enstol, and Dubton lie in the mountainous western regions.

Player Characters

The main function of this campaign was a plot-base storyline that was character-driven by the actions of the party. In order to add a new concept to the campaign, players had the option of running one or two characters simultaneously. This concept would allow for a primary PC and a secondary PC, with the hope of allowing players to play whatever main character class they desired while contributing with support characters that every well-rounded party needs. Only a handful of players chose to go this route, while many started with two PCs, but later chose to downsize back to one primary character with which they could focus the energies upon.

At the outset of the campaign, each player started with one character. Stats were issued and not rolled: 18, 17, 16, 14, 14, and 12. All hit points were considered maximum up to and including level 3. Any race was allowed; as long as there were no racial adjust penalties to contend with. Characters were allowed to be any non-evil alignment throughout the entirety of the campaign. Character classes, feats, and skills were allowed from any D20 3.5 core book or supplement book. Special caution was asked by players who are considering options from D20 3.0 materials. Any player who started a character after the campaign had begun would start at two levels below the highest level character; lowest level being Level One. Any player who was able to make it on a regular basis, would be level adjusted by experience points as to be no less than two levels below the highest level character.

Important NPCs

As the campaign was self-contained with the area of the Grand Duchy of Valderin, the players had ample opportunity to meet and establish a variety of NPC contacts, allies, and enemies. Each NPC had a different significance to the campaign, but all are important to the outcome of Episode 100. By allowing the players to play multiple characters during each game session, there was a greater chance for the players to make a greater number of contacts. This allowed for storyline progression to take place both in the lighter and darker aspect of the campaign. Minor NPCs tended to add enrichment to the main plot points, while major NPCs offered a perspective which either complemented the players or added an adversarial aspect to the campaign.

At the outset of the campaign, the PCs were hired by Thomas Newhouse of Hightower to travel south to Valderin to explore the ancient burial sites of the first explorers to the continent. The initial purpose of the group, later to be called the Order of the Red Star, was to provide protection for Newhouse as well as assist him in archaeological discoveries. Many of the NPCs met during the campaign had long-term effects upon the characters’ lives. None of the player characters had family members in any sort of active NPC role.

Episode Guide

Each weekend, the players assembled to play what has been designated as an episode. The characters initially assembled to assist with the explorations of Thomas Newhouse in this sparsely explored area of Gantara. Later, the group decided to assemble themselves together as a mercenary company known as the Order of the Red Star. Each week, a recap of the most recent episode’s happenings was posted to allow those who have been missing for many or few episodes to get a feel for what they have missed. Any postings on this website were the same information given out each week via email, although much of the personal commentary was left out.

Places of Note

The main plot of the campaign revolved around the encounters taking place in the Grand Duchy of Valderin. Although other cities, duchies, and countries were mentioned, there were beyond the scope of the campaign, and considered non-essential to moving the plot along. A map was created to give the players a visual aspect of where their characters were traveling to and from. Individual towns and cities were not mapped out, but general information will be given to flesh out the campaign. Most towns were based upon a star-shaped wheel spoke, as the first settlers decided this would be the best arrangement. Altercations happened in cities and towns, as well as out in the wilds of Valderin. The characters had easy access to the major points on the map when using the Royal Road, which did not hamper the party with movement penalties. All of the party members were new to the area and would seek out those NPCs in each locale that best suited their character’s goals.

Rules and Redundancy

The main goal of the campaign is to have fun. Unfortunately, there are times when rules can come into conflict when players are attempting to achieve their goals. House Rules allow for situations like these to be mitigated when there is insufficient information to deal with specific encounters.

Weapons Locker

Core rule books contain a plethora of melee and ranged weapons for the players to choose from. However, there are times when the characters encounter weapons and items of power that go beyond the scope of what is readily available for purchase. Herein lies an inventory of non-standard items encountered throughout the campaign, from the mundane to the spectacular.

Revenge of the Lich by James Bates, Important NPCs by Tuan Duong Chu, Places of Note by Ben Galley.

Artwork for Tuan Duong Chu falls under the Paizo Inc. Community Use Policy.

Artwork for James Bates & Ben Galley on this page falls under Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.