I had an entire campaign written up for a group that never ran so I'll toss it up on the site. I know I've been going on a lot about Pathfinder lately but I've taken a shine to it. It's D&D 3.5 fixed (more or less), kinda like what Hackmaster did to AD&D. I've gotta say- it's pretty fun. I like it a bit more than 3.5 and certifiably bad ass when compared to 4th edition's MMO-ness. (Sure it's quicker... but I'm a fan of rules upon rules upon rules :D I'm a wargammer damn it! Don't screw with the good parts!) What follows is a kinda smattering of the interesting bits from the campaign setting:
Racial Lore: Vættir (Vet-te-ear)
Elves and Dwarves are of the same race (collectively called “Vættir”). Their origins are unclear; however they seem to have been influenced a great deal by magic at some point in their evolution. All Elves are female (in fact in Vættir “Elf” means “Female” generally) and all Dwarves are male. This is something of an extreme example of sexual dimorphism. They generally live in separate communities and more often than not- dislike each other a great deal. (Courtship is extremely difficult…) Vættir never are subject to death though aging- though their bodies do eventually weaken and they become more accident prone. In regards to mixed breeding with other races, the daughter of an elf is always a full blooded elf. A half-elf is always male (and normally laughed very hard at by Dwarves). The son of a Dwarf is always a Dwarf. The daughter of a dwarf is a half dwarf (Counted as “Halfling” but has the familiarity with the weapon family “Dwarf” instead of Halfling). It should be noted that half-breeds are sterile.
Homebrewed Special Rules:
“Only wicked shall perish.”
Those who revere the Divine Father (or whatever deity you are interested in) are subject to his protection. In his eyes, those who are wicked (even temporarily) are undeserving of his graces. Those who uphold his tenets and act in the name of justice should never fear the blade of the wicked. To represent this characters that follow the Divine Father stabilize on charisma roll of 15+ if they are of the good alignment. If they are neutral they use the normal rules for going below zero. Players who worship the Divine Father who fall to the evil alignment instantly die when they reach zero hit points. Following another deity shifts you to evil alignment to evil (as you have betrayed your deity). The Divine Father objects to his people using any other deity’s power. Willfully seeking the blessing of another deity shifts your alignment towards Evil. To the Divine Father, Magic is a sick blight on the planet- tainting pure ideals with it’s influence. Using a magic automatically shifts your alignment towards Evil.
“All things are temporary.”
In this setting alignment is a shifting aspect of one’s personality. An evil act could easily drop a character from a good alignment to a neutral or possibly evil alignment depending on its severity. However, more redemption is just easily obtained.
“Magic is learned, not earned.”
Spell casting classes must be multi-classed into. You must find a teacher as a prerequisite. (This also goes for the magical rogue talents and all magic feats.)
“Burn the Witch!”
The exception to the above rule is Sorcerer. Sorcerers are generally looked upon with disdain, their raw magical talents are (especially in some parts of the world) looked upon as an inherent impurity. If you wish to play a Sorcerer you must do so at first level.
-The Divine Father (LG)
Domains: Glory, Good, Law, Healing, War, Nobility
Mysteries (Oracles): Battle, Heavens
Favored Weapon: Longsword
Design notes on the above:
Feel free to change the fluff, the constantly changing alignment is fun as well as the “only the wicked shall perish”. Note that Paladins are almost REQUIRED to be psycho good if you implement to this. Falling is not only possible but is very easy, roleplaying is a lot of fun for this. You might want to power them up a bit if you do use this with in-game intensives (like gear). In my campaign setting it was a requirement to be from a very prominent kingdom where a good part of the story takes place in.
I also think magic is all to often just “tossed” into games without much thought. I am a proponent of making magic “something fantastic”. This allows players to feel a sense of accomplishment when they are using it and don't just take it for granted. Alternatively it makes them go “OHHHHH GOD!” when they see an enemy tossing around powerful spells.
It's a real treat for the players emotionally and roleplaying-wise when there is a very polarizing issue in the game. In the campaign I wrote with these elements magic was flat out despised in certain areas where others where dandy with it. Casting magics in any kingdom under the influence of the Divine Father could land you in jail or just out and out killed on the spot. Keep in mind that gameplay should be PART of the roleplaying experience- not a cut scene battle :D