Icewind Dale: Whispers of Auril (Sundering Part 2)
29-point ability buy. Any official Race or Class (meaning anything published in a book by Wizards of the Coast or found in one of their free printables) is fine. If you want to do something weird like Kenku ([[Volo's Guide to Monsters]]), I absolutely will allow it but since Kenku are SO FUCKING WEIRD, it will involve considerable discussion. If you find something else you want to use, ask. I'm not opposed to using custom content. Just the opposite, in fact; I'm positively excited by the possibility. I just need to make sure it's properly balanced and appropriate to this adventure before giving it an okay.
First, take all the stuff and money granted by your background. not the backstory you/we wrote; the "Background" characteristic you wrote on your character sheet. Next, take either the standard starting package for your class OR use the following values to buy your starting gear.
Barbarian: 75 gp
Bard: 125 gp
Cleric: 125 gp
Druid: 75 gp
Fighter: 150 gp
Monk: 25 gp
Paladin: 150 gp
Ranger: 140 gp
Rogue: 100 gp
Sorcerer: 75 gp
Warlock: 125 gp
Wizard: 125 gp
Those numbers are based on an average dice roll on the table from page 143 of the Player's Handbook and modified by the cost of the average starting package for each class. It’s not enough money to buy the most expensive options available for your class but it’s more than enough to buy the cheapest.
Please don't assume you'll be able to supplement your starting equipment with things you can buy "in town." While there is "town" and you will be able to buy stuff there, the real-world corollary to the region in which this adventure takes place is Alaska. You can definitely go to the shop and buy "a sword." You may or may not be able to find a cutlass. You can go to the shop and buy "armor." You may or may not be able to find a suit of full plate and if you do, it may or may not be offered at what civilized places would call "fair price." If you're very lucky, it will be new.
Why are you here? Everyone needs a reason to be in Icewind Dale (Bryn Shander, specifically). For my part, I don't care very much what that reason is. If you're a born native, that's fine. If you're a merchant here on business, that's good too. Read up on the region. Read the blurbs I put in this Wiki; read the [[Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide]]; play the Icewind Dale video games. I certainly don't know everything about this place. I know what's in my campaign guide and the [[Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide]].
Please give me a 1-page (or less) backstory. Include some ideas about why your character is coming to Icewind Dale (assuming you don’t live there). Just some ideas; nothing carved in stone. Once you have a good idea who your character is, you and I will work together on how/why they are in the Dale.
Here is how alignments work. This is probably the one thing in the game that is absolutely not up for debate. Different people have different views on what specific alignments entail but in this game, there need to be hard and fast rules for that. So here are the four rules.
1. Like Batman said: It's not who I am inside but what I do that defines me. Think of both axes of the alignment grid in that context. For purposes of determining your alignment, your motivations are pretty much (but not entirely) irrelevant. I'll explain as we go.
2. Chaotic Evil doesn't mean "the Evilest Evil" and Lawful Good doesn't mean "the Goodest." Hitler was Lawful Evil. Law and Chaos are NOT RELATED to Good and Evil.
3. Being Good doesn't mean you can only ever do things that are considered Good. A Good character can get in a fight. Your alignment indicates how someone who knows you would expect you to behave. I'm Lawful Good (Andy, the literal Human). That doesn't mean I never hurt anybody. It doesn't mean I never intentionally hurt anybody. It doesn't mean I always live-up to my own standards. It means I USUALLY don't hurt people and I USUALLY do what I think is right. A Good character can kill somebody. A Good character CAN'T go on a murder crusade to get revenge on the people who killed his parents. And that brings me to:
4. Your character can do whatever you want your character to do. Your alignment doesn't define your actions; your actions define your alignment. If you have "Lawful Good" written down on your sheet and you walk into an encampment of Evil cultists and kill them all in their sleep, I'm not going to say "you can't do that because you're Good." I'm going to say "you can't keep calling yourself Good after doing that." You play your character the way you want to. I make sure the alignment written on your character sheet reflects who your character actually is. And I'll try to say things like "okay, your character is Neutral Good. That seems like something a Good character wouldn't do. Are you sure that's what you want to do?"
Good vs Evil
Good means your will go out of your way to avoid hurting another living creature. Evil means you will go out of your way to harm another living creature. It's that simple. I don't care why you do what you do; it's the doing that counts (in this context).
Lawful vs Chaotic
Lawful means you have a well-defined sense of honor. It doesn't matter whether anyone else agrees with your definition of honor; only that you adhere to it more than half the time. A Lawful alignment could literally mean you obey the actual law as much as you can. That is living by a code. Batman is a good example of Lawful.
Chaotic means you don't really care about this thing called honor. You do what you want because you want to, very rarely because it's the right thing to do. Jack Sparrow is a good example of Chaotic.
So there are nine alignments. Here's an example of each one.
Yoda. He lives by a code (the Jedi code) and he almost never ignites his lightsaber because he truly believes in the sanctity of all life, even a life that's trying to kill him.
Batman. He has a very strong sense of what should or should not be and he's not above hurting people to enforce his view. He'd rather not; he won't stomp puppies to save Gotham. But if he really believed it would serve the greater good, he'd probably let somebody assassinate the mayor. He wouldn't pull the trigger himself but for Batman, the ends always justify the means.
Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. He works within the literal law to corrupt the Galactic Republic and slowly gain personal power until he can declare himself Emperor. He's sadistic and scheming but he also lives by a code. Two, in fact. There's the Sith code (as real as the Jedi code) and literally the laws of the Republic. Palpatine is like Hitler. He never broke the law until he was the law. And at that point, he could do whatever he wanted because his word was law.
Gandalf. Being a supernatural being, Gandalf is above things like "living by a code" or "obeying the law." He fights Evil. In fact, he'd rather leave most of the actual fighting to others; he's just there to inspire you to fight Evil. He will fight if the need arises but he'd rather let Aragorn and Thorin do most of the dirty work.
Lando Calrissian. Lando doesn't really care about the Empire or the Rebellion. He doesn't really live by a personal code. He doesn't even really do what he thinks is right. He does what seems in the moment to be best for Lando. In Empire Strikes Back, Lando doesn't have a moment of clarity and realize he's done a bad thing; he has a moment of clarity and realizes he didn't do the thing that's best for Lando. He doesn't help the Rebellion overthrow the Empire because it's the right thing to do; he does it because the Empire makes it hard for him to make money. But he doesn't even consistently stick to that selfish motivation. He helps rescue Han from Jabba the Hutt because he feels responsible for getting him captured. Chaotic characters are consistently self-serving. Neutral characters are unpredictable.
Darth Vader. He doesn't live by a code (being above the law doesn't count as following it) and he doesn't just do what's best for himself. He pretty much just serves Evil with no regard for any definition of Honor or his own personal interests. He seems to enjoy hurting people. More importantly, he DOES hurt people, even his own people, even when there's a reasonable alternative.
NOT SPIDERMAN. Oh my God. The next person who uses Spiderman as an example of Neutral Evil is permanently barred from playing Dungeons and Dragons ever again. Spiderman lives by a VERY CLEAR, and OFTEN-SPOKEN code. "With great power comes great responsibility." That is an explicit code that he literally tries to live by. There is no more-perfect example of a Lawful alignment. Chaotic doesn't mean "doesn't obey the law;" it means consistently self-serving. But I digress. Chaotic Good:
Q. He's a fun-loving trickster god-like figure who doesn't really care about anybody else. He cares about having fun and he generally doesn't hurt people. When he DOES hurt someone, he fixes them using his miraculous powers. He sometimes talks about fair play or justice but his actions very clearly reveal that he really only cares about fun.
Bronn. Bronn does what's best for Bronn. He doesn't live by any real "rules" except "do what makes me happy." He hurts people but not because he can; because he's paid to. Given the choice, he's as likely to choke a puppy as rescue an infant. "Yeah, I could rescue that baby. I could also get trapped in the burning building and then we'd both die; then I threw my life away for nothing. I'll just kill the puppy." Equally likely: "killing that puppy would make me sad. I'll walk through a bit of burning building and rescue the child because that will make me feel nothing and at least it will make the child's mother feel good. I don't give a shit about her or her babe but I do care about my reputation. People don't buy drinks for puppy killers; they buy drinks for baby savers. And if I die, at least my death will be worth singing about." So whether he does Good or Evil, he does it because it's good for him, not because it's what he believes a man in his position should do.
Donald Trump. I tried to keep it fictitious and I tried specifically to keep Trump out of it but he just fits too perfectly. Donald Trump does what's best for Donald Trump and lives by no discernable rules other than "do what I want." Because of this, he also behaves erratically (which is not necessarily indicative of Chaotic alignment and that's why it's worth mentioning). Given the choice, he'll always screw somebody if he can. Count the number of times Donald Trump has done the right thing even when it didn't benefit him directly. Count the number of times Donald Trump has helped someone he could have screwed instead (and he did not perceive that helping said person would benefit himself). Both zero? Chaotic Evil.