This is Raam.
Life is extremely rough, hot and short for most. Though tempers flare as hot as the midday sun, the riots only seem to stoke further flames of rebellion before being quashed by the mansabdars. If not for the nawab warlords, surely the city would be run over; but a semblance or order remains. The scales may be tipping in one direction, but it only takes a sudden surge of weight to throw off that balance in one way or the other. Which way will it go? Our adventurers may have their thumbs on the scales.
You responded to a simple parchment nailed onto the central trade board of the Market Square. It read, simply:
"House M'ke has a half-dozen opportunities available for able-bodied entrepreneurs, ruffians, scoundrels, historians, spelunkers and gifted. Seek the Offices of House M'ke in the C Quarter to meet your contact. The danger you face will be more than adequately compensated." -RM
"Glad you lot could make it," rumbles the Mul sitting at the head of the table. He was introduced to you as Al'ichma, personal bodyguard of Rogil M'ke. "I'll be forthcoming with you: you are not the first group of sorry sots to accept this offer, and I do not expect you to be the last. However, if you do prove to be up to the task, there is wealth waiting for you. Perhaps even salvation, but I get ahead of myself. Before I give details of the task, I will give details of myself and receive details of each of you."
He stands, raises his fist to his chest and makes a shallow bow. A tattered leather patch covers his left eye, and the number of tattoos around his face, shoulders and forearms is matched only by the scars. "As the slave relayed to you, my name is Al'ichma, although the masses wouldn't really know me by that name. I was known as Gaj in my youthful days, in part for my eye, but mostly in part for my friendly countenance. I rose some hell before finally ending up on the wrong side of a templar's wrath, and was to be put down at the amusement of my fellow citizens. The rest of the story, I'm sure you know, is history. Except for the people that say I'm dead. I'm not, as you can clearly see. Now, I foresee some of the more dangerous tasks befitting House M'ke, such as protecting the higher-ups from rabble, finding reasonable talent to see some 'odd jobs' done (he motions around the table at this, suggesting this is exactly what is going on now), and sometimes even leaving the city to make sure our caravans don't encounter any...mishaps." With this, he slowly sits back in his wooden chair (wood! An entire chair of wood!). "Now, introduce yourselves, and let no foolishness of castes dull your opinions."
The stories behind the legendary gladiator, Gaj, range from him slaying a tembo by himself, thus earning his freedom, to some even less believable feats, like being able to make copies of himself in battle. The only one of the stories you're absolutely sure is true is that he is completely unrivaled in The Way.
White-robed slaves scurry about the table with trays of foods entirely unknown to you. They place bowls and plates onto the table, calling out what they are called as they are placed. You are able to make out some of the words, notably "apples," as a delicacy that grows in regions so lush not even the likes of Gulg should have access to it. But, here you are, in the lap of luxury, with perhaps the finest meal of your life lying on the table in front of you, with perhaps the greatest opportunity in your life mere steps behind it.
Welcome, adventurers, to the oozing blister on the diseased tract of land known as Athas. Within, you will encounter a world of lies, tragedy, moral ambiguity...and Halflings. This adventure is going to take place in and around the city-state of Raam (obviously), in the heroic and paragon tiers (perhaps into epic) beginning at level 1. Your character is recommended to be a native of Raam, although immigrants, nomads and the like that have not been here long are also perfectly fine.
Some general rules, subject to change, addition/subtraction based on questions I receive:
Races allowed: human, elf (you may be a drow in mechanics, but for all intents and purposes you will be considered an elf), eladrin, dragonborn (dray), dwarf, mul, genasi (no corrupted forms, no watersoul), tiefling, half-orc (half-tarek), half-elf, halfling, thri-kreen, goliath (half-giant), minotaur, kalashtar, shifter (either type) and last but not least, revenant (provided your past life choice is of any of the above).
Classes allowed: any non-divine. I am going to stick pretty rigidly with the whole arcane magic is taboo thing, so defile at your own risk.
Weapon breakage: reckless. In short, if you roll a 1, you can accept the miss, or you can reroll. Regardless of the result on your reroll, your weapon breaks, unless the weapon is metal, in which case it only breaks on a natural 1-5.
Magic items are scarce, but you will be getting a somewhat reasonable amount. It's not going to be like FR or Eberron, but I'm not going to withhold things when there is some awesome roleplay potential in magic items.
Themes allowed: any. Athasian themes are preferred, but not every outlaw is a wasteland nomad.
Standard level 1 rules apply: 22 point buy, 100 gold to start, inherent bonuses, and everyone can add three survival days to their supplies for free. You may only take an athasian psionic 'talent' if you are a psionic or martial class. Mixing power sources is wishy-washy in my eyes, and I'd prefer to keep the waters clear.
Each player will have a color they use when speaking in character. I don't care what color you use in your application, but do note that when the game is actually underfoot, these should be decided with amongst the players. Bolding is preferred. Slate grey will be used for out of character. Host your characters on Orokos, please, if you can, though myth-weavers is an acceptable substitute. Rolls should be made on Orokos or invisible castle.
Some general info about the setting:
Traveling will use your supplies. Nature, endurance etc. will be important for staying alive. The wilderness is harsh.
There will be talking. Big stupid Hurfdurf the half-giant fighter with no noncombat skills can and probably will be a not-insignificant weight on your party in times of information gathering, survival and other noncombat situations. That is not to say do not be Hurfdurf the fighter, just that the party can only really sustain one of him.
Know your character. Know how he would respond to harsh choices, as there will be some damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't situations, and I would really appreciate some realistic role-playing here. If you have to do some heinous deeds for the greater good, I want to know how this is affecting your character both short- and long-term.
Things I want in the application:
A basic introduction, in character, to the others at the table.
A token or picture for a token to be used in maptools (I'll be taking screencaps periodically. I can make a token for you, so don't feel that you have to spend hours scrounging for a perfect token). Basic race portraits are fine.
The usual as far as background, what you do in Raam, personality, appearance, etc. Two specific things I want to know are your character's greatest strength and defining characteristic, and the opposite side of the coin, being his greatest fear/weakness, which should also be a defining characteristic.
One set of tandem applicants. This is something I am not set in stone in, but I would really like two of the characters to not be strangers, to provide a sort of sticking point for the rest of the party. Siblings, parents, husband and wife, a pair of slaves that escaped the salt mines together, what have you. Note that your decision to brief with other players on how to build a joint story is not going to be held against you. If this does not seem like a reasonable thing to want or expect, I can drop it very easily, it is just a thing I have not had the privilege to DM for and would like to see it.
So, that's it. This will be a 6 player game, and one thing to note is that the sixth slot may already be occupied by a friend of mine who can't get into a real life game and time constraints prevent him from playing in a live maptools game with me. As soon as I have a character draft for him, I will make it public here. Any questions, concerns or suggestions are welcome.
I will accept submissions up until August 14th, whenever I wake up. I will announce my selections at some point on that day, and will make a post declaring recruitment closed at such time.
PS: Please try to use decent grammar. It is a shortcoming of mine that I just get eye-twitching, low boiling anger at people who don't take the time to capitalize things, use 'to' instead of 'too' when they want the synonym for 'also', and things along that nature.
PPS: Post any other PBPs you are either playing in or DMing. I will try to give priority to people not in any PBPs, but standout characters will receive extra clout.