Project Outpost (working title?)
The following information will detail how Project Outpost will be organized and played.
Project Outpost (PO) will be an endless series of one-shot sessions in which players can role-play through Dungeons & Dragons style gameplay despite living long distances away from one another and without committing to a full story campaign. It will encompass a clean-slate world in which everyone involved will contribute to lore, NPCs, locations, and story development over time. Think of it as an endless blank canvas on which each person continuously takes turns drawing something.
PO will be accomplished through six goals:
1. Communicating via the Project Outpost Facebook group to organize sessions, ideally running a session at least once every month.
2. Using the Pathfinder RPG system to keep everyone on familiar ground and allow easy access to the SRD online.
3. Using Roll20.net to play sessions for the tools of live chat, mapping, pawns, and other features.
4. Using Obsidian Portal to document characters, lore, adventure logs, and items.
5. Following the house rules and GM guidelines for Project Outpost (detailed below).
6. And most importantly, having fun by chatting with friends, playing interesting characters, planning new stories, slaying monsters, looting shit, and being creative!
Project Outpost will center on an adventurer’s guild in which your character(s) participate or serve directly. This guild is generally aimed at helping the world become a better place (likely Good-aligned in some fashion). This guild receives private contracts for a variety of “quests” your character(s) embark on to solve outstanding conflicts. From the average small-town theft to the all-powerful red dragon slaughtering countless innocents, each of these quests will be a one-shot session that Game Masters organize. In the ideal one-shot, your characters will embark on a small quest, complete it, and return to the guild for rewards having completed the contract. The guild normally allows up to four people to participate on any given quest (maximum of 4 players per session). If you played in the previous session and there are others who really want to play the next one, you should sit out for at least one session to allow them a chance.
Any loot you receive during your travels can be used during the current session, but all loot obtained must be turned over to the guild after a quest/session ends (always keep your original starting items). This essentially “resets” everyone’s character for the GM of the next session to avoid the tediousness of tacking items and scaling power of characters. However, every time you turn loot over to the guild, you gain payment for your services. The more often you participate in sessions, the more gold your character will receive over time to eventually upgrade their equipment. We will start at level 3, but your character(s) will level up upon the completion of “seasons,” which are detailed in the next paragraph.
The storylines of Project Outpost will operate in “Seasons” similar to a TV series, but it will not necessarily have central characters as each session (or episode) will ideally involve a different combination of players. These seasons will be very loose overarching storylines (or “main quests” from the player’s perspective). No Game Master is obligated to use the story of the main quest during a season. GMs are more than welcome to pull ideas from the main quest storyline to make their own one-shot, but they can also choose to ignore it completely. Each season will likely have a “lead GM" that will host the first, middle, and last sessions of a season while other secondary GMs host their own sessions in-between (see example season below). These first, middle, and last sessions need not involve the original characters/players that originally participated. A season may go for 10 sessions, or possibly 20 depending on how storylines develop or how eager players are for the next character level. The lead GM will have the fun of possibly tying loose ends from unrelated sessions together in the final session of a season, though this is not required. Once a season has concluded, all characters will level up and a new GM will step in as the lead GM to start a new main quest storyline. This new storyline could very well develop from a side-quest from a previous season, or it might be something completely different to work from.
Session 1: GM 1 introduces a lich as the main villain who has undead terrorizing towns.
Session 2: GM 2 has his players resolve a conflict that the undead caused from GM 1’s previous session.
Session 3: GM 3 has the players explore a completely new area not at all involving GM 1’s storyline.
Session 4: GM 1 has the players delve further into the lich problem and possibly find out what the lich’s main goals are.
Session 5: GM 4 has his players solve a robbery in a nearby town
Session 6: GM 5 has players defend the guild from an attack by the undead due to the lich
Session 7: GM 2 has his players go stop cultists of Ekaterina in a dungeon
Session 8: GM 6 decides to have his players go stop a group of bandits
Session 9: GM 4 has his players clean out a town overrun by the undead
Session 10: GM 1 has his players confront the lich and resolve the storyline of the season.
The lead GM of a season is essentially responsible for the introduction, climax, and resolution of the main plot. The secondary GMs are free to do whatever they want while hopefully utilizing some of the lead GM’s themes, characters, and elements. Each session would ideally involve a different combination of players, depending on their availability.The following season’s main story could very well center around the bandits GM 6 had introduced earlier, or something completely new.
Season 1 will start players at level 3 to skip the trivial and lethal challenges of levels 1 and 2. Characters will level up upon the completion of each season.
Nothing third-party is allowed across the board, be it class, race, spell, feat, item. Only Paizo created content. To keep elements of the game balanced and have everyone on the same page, we should attempt to correct minor mistakes we’ve made in the past within the system’s rules. To name a few examples:
Taking 20 vs taking 10, vs rolling normally
Being aware of what types of bonuses don’t stack (bracers of armor do not stack with regular armor bonus, enhancement bonus from bull’s strength doesn’t stack with enhancement bonus from belt of giant strength, etc.)
All creatures are flat-footed at the start of combat until they get to act (hence why rogues need good initiative to get sneak attack first round)
Certain spell specifics (grease is not flammable unless its mythic, enlarge person should take 1 full round to cast, spell components)
How concentration checks work casting spells
Creatures with spell resistance must willfully lower their resistance to allow another creature (ally or foe) to cast spells on them without hindrance. A drawback for choosing drow as race.
Damage reduction only applies to physical attacks and does not reduce damage done by energy (fire, electricity, cold, etc.) Resistances are like DR for energy. DR/silver means silver weapons bypass the creature’s DR.
Knowing how cover and concealment work.
Crossbows and firearms normally require more time to reload unless you have Rapid Reload.
5-foot step and attacks of opportunity
Natural 1s are not automatic failures when pertaining to skill, ability checks, or saves. Just attack rolls. If you roll a natural 1 for disable device but have a +20 bonus and the DC is 5, its a 21 and you succeed. There’s a certain point when your character can no longer fail at menial tasks with skills.
There are other instances of rules not followed correctly, but we’ll help each other out when playing and creating characters to make sure everything is balanced and handled correctly.
If you are GMing, you should have a basic handle on the rules of combat to make sessions flow efficiently. It is the players’ responsibility to understand how their class abilities, spells, feats and items work, but it is your responsibility to understand how combat works and how monsters and NPCs work in and out of combat. If you need to review basic combat rules, all of it can be found on the Pathfinder SRD. That website also has an arsenal of monsters and NPC stat blocks you can easily use for a session.
If a situation arises in which the rules can’t provide a quick answer, the GM has the final say. When this happens, the GM should try to make a decision that sounds most fair to the player(s).
This is common sense, but make sure the encounters you design are not guaranteed Total Party Kills (TPKs). If your players are all level 3, don’t make them face a CR 15 adult dragon, as they will more than likely die (unless you have a deux ex machina up your sleeve). Never design your encounters with a CR higher than 3 above Average Party Level (APL). In other words, a group with an APL of 3 will find a wyvern (CR 6) very, very challenging, but they may actually have a chance as opposed to guaranteed death from the CR 15 dragon.
House Rules and Character Creation
Create at least 2 characters with basic backstories, giving them a reason they would have joined the guild.
Class: All core, base, alternate, hybrid, prestige, and unchained classes are available to play, except for the vigilante. One of your two characters must be of a core class, the other can be among any of the choices.
Race: All core races are available. More may be added later after being discussed in greater detail.
Character Level: Start at level 3. You level up after each season has concluded.
Alignment: No evil.
Base Ability Scores: 16/ 15/ 13/ 12/ 10/ 8. Allocate them wherever you choose. An example of a typical fighter would be Str 16 Dex 13 Con 15 Int 10 Wis 12 Cha 8
Base Feats: You have 2 feats at level 3. You gain a new feat at every odd level. You may have more from your class or race. Leadership is banned.
Traits: choose 2 traits for your character.
Hitpoints: Do max hp for your class level. For example, a level 1 fighter has a hit die of 10. If the fighter has a constitution score of 10, his mod is 0, leaving his max hitpoints at 10. If he has a con score of 16, his con mod is 3 therefore his max hitpoints would be 13. At level 2 this fighter’s max hitpoints would be 26, at level 3 it would be 39, and so on and so fourth.
Favored Class Bonus: You can always choose to gain 1 extra hitpoint per level, 1 extra skill point per level, or gain racial bonuses. You can not combine any of these 3 options.
Starting Gold: 3,000 gp for a level 3 character.
When you complete a session, your characters return their looted items to the guild in order to receive payment for their services. The rewards are not much, but over time they will add up if you continue to stay involved, allowing you character to eventually acquire better items than their current level would normally allow.
Gold earned per completed session:
Level 3: 1,200
Level 4: 1,700
Level 5: 2,300
Level 6: 3,000
Level 7: 3,900
Level 8: 5,000
Level 9: 6,400
Level 10: 8,200
The focus of PO is centered on having fun playing the game with friends more than it is about serious role playing and extravagant storytelling. If you GM a session, keep an open mind on how events, NPCs, and items in your session may be utilized by other GMs in future sessions. Things might take a different turn than you would have ever expected, but that’s all part of the creative fun! However, if you are a secondary GM during a season, do not drastically alter or resolve the lead GM’s story in any way and don’t kill off or alter any story-specific NPCs. Simply use what has been presented and take elements of their story to make your own new story. That way the lead GM’s planned epic ending isn’t ruined. If in doubt, simply consult with the lead GM before making any major changes in the main story of a season.
There is a separate GM account for Roll20.net. The username and password will eventually be shared with everyone once we get closer to starting. The current GM will always use that account to have control over maps, pawns, and other features for their session. GM’s planning upcoming sessions are also welcome to log in for planning ahead of time, but the trick will be the current and next-up GMs coordinating with each other for their planning time in the account and to avoid spoiling anything if the current GM will be a player in the next GM’s session.
To assist with keeping everyone up to date on story/session/season progression, each GM will document the events of their session in the Obsidian Portal adventure log and the Facebook group after the session has concluded. That way the next session’s GM can easily read past events and decide if they want to take inspiration from others, or go a different direction.
When your character dies in battle, unless you have a companion who can resurrect you through some means, your character remains dead for the remainder of the session. Assuming your companions succeed in their quest, your character’s body is returned to the guild where they are resurrected (one of the perks of being a guild member). However, you will take 1 negative level for the next session that you play that character. A negative level makes you take -1 on all attack rolls, saves, and skill checks, 5 less total hp, and you are counted as 1 level lower for spell variables (meaning you can still cast all of your spells, but if you would normally roll 5d6 for a fireball spell, you now roll 4d6). The session you play after enduring the negative level will return you to normal. Handling character death in this way prevents the need to make endless amounts of new characters over time.
In the rare event of a TPK… all of the characters remain permanently dead, and the players will have to make new ones. Hopefully this never happens to you.