The World Born Dead
When building new characters for this campaign, it is helpful to think up a background for your character. Preferably something that can be summed up in a single simple sentence.
Dungeons and Dragons is a game that at its core assumes a party of adventurers (agents, explorers, heroes, lying cheating scum, tomb robbers, etc.) that are traveling together for some reason. Why it can be tempting to play the reluctant hero character such characters will need to find a reason to go out on adventures, whether because their friends/relatives exert social pressure, or because soldiers torched his home and killed her auntie and uncle on orders from a “big bad evil guy.” From this overly simplistic example you can extract two things: one is that I’m making a reference to Star Wars, and two, that its always better to have a reason to go along with the rest of the group. Even if its not a good reason, even if you have your character bitch and complain about it, even if you secretly want to lead everyone on to their doom, you should try to help the party in the game in some fashion.
You may find the game much more fun if your character has deeper motivations than the Dungeon Master telling you to stick with the group and don’t split the party. Then again, you might be playing this game simply to pass the time with some friends, and the interesting story elements may be just so much filler to you. Fair enough.
To assist this process, I’d like to suggest the following possible hooks and encourage you to discuss them among the other players, and then take one for your character. I’d like to suggest you do an internet search for the term “character hooks.” For example, I did such a search and found this website which has some examples of what I’m talking about.
If you’ve never played Dungeons and Dragons before, I’d also like to suggest that when you build your characters include a relationship that connects your character to another character in some way. They could be family, friends, or rivals. Perhaps they look up to the other character or perhaps they secretly envy them.
Anyway, some sample hooks to get your character into the action:
A Routine Expedition
As a member or agent affiliated with monastic order of Kaorti, the monks of that follow Ioun, the goddess of knowledge, you have been selected to accompany the tiefling scholar monk Volarn and expedition into the Eastern Provinces to catalog the lore of the ruined lands of Bael Turath, and hopefully acquire the last remaining copy of the scrolls of Tireon, penned by the Elven mystic Tireon during the last days of the Cendriane which is said to lay somewhere in the ruined city of Agamentar, near the lake of acid. The expedition has the secondary goal of establishing the truth to the rumors of the dead crossing over from the shadow plane on the frontier of the Eastern provinces.
Benefit: As a member of the expedition, you have been entrusted with a clear Ioun stone which confers the power to sustain you without need of food or water. The stone must be returned to the order of Kaorti upon your return to Nerath, and you will suffer dire consequences from the scholar monks if the stone is lost or stolen. Special: As long as you possess the stone, you qualify for the self-sufficient lifestyle.
The Bright Crusade
The holy order of Hestavar accepts the faithful of both Erathis and Pelor into its ranks. Lately the order has begun assembling an army of soldiers of the faith to root out, hunt down, and slay heretical infernalists in the East, such as the fiend-binders, warlocks, and hellknights of House Zolfura. A shadow of its former glory, the tiefling scions of House Zolfura seek to reclaim the lost traditions of Bael Turath, while the order of Hestavar has proclaimed that those traditions are too dangerous for mortal ken, and believe that they are the reason that Bael Turathi fell into ruin. If you are playing a cleric or paladin or simply a non-evil character affiliated with order, you may have heard the call and been one of the hundred dispatched to the East to combat the undead rumored to be rising from their graves there and root out the foul necromancers responsible as part of a bright crusade.
Benefit: As a member of the bright crusade you have received a divine blessing from Pelor, even if your character does not worship Pelor. The blessing will last for five levels (i.e. until your character reaches 12th level or until you commit an evil act). The Sun Blessing of Pelor grants you the ability to emit bright light in a 25-foot radius and dim light for an additional 25-feet beyond that as a swift action. This is the equivalent of a 3rd level spell. Alternatively, you may have received the boon of Erathis, which will last for three levels (i.e. until your character reaches 10th level), and grants you the ability to bestow a +2 sacred bonus when taking the aid another action in addition to the regular +2 bonus, for a total of a +4 to the action. This is also considered the equivalent of the 3rd level spell. Either way, as long as you bear the blessing or boon, you receive a +2 circumstance bonus to checks made to interact with the faithful of Erathis or Pelor, respectively.
White Ravens of the Realm
Recently, the Society of Imperial Artificers completed the first creation forge which assembled the first warforged. This marked the completion of a project commissioned by King Eothyr Nerra III nearly a generation ago. Eothyr's heir Elidyr decided to turn the work in the direction of war to create magical soldiers that could think and act to defend the empire in times of dire need. King Elidyr has decreed that these warforged be sent into battle against the undead in the East as he doesn't want to risk losing a warforged to the demonic hordes of the Khulan waste until he is sure that these new magic soldiers can handle themselves in a fight. Toward that end, he has ordered a brace of these warforged to head East with an elite cadre of his White Ravens and a few imperial artificers to see how they fare in an actual fight. Perhaps you are one of the men of the White Ravens sent as advisors, leaders, and supporters of the warforged, or perhaps you are one of these new warforged sent to prove yourself in battle.
Benefit: You bear identification papers signed by King Elidyr, signifying that you are on a mission for the realm of Nerath and are to be given aid and assistance by those you meet. You have the authority to arrest and detain citizens of the Eastern provinces as long as they aren't actually servants or soldiers of the empire. You gain a +2 circumstance bonus to bluff and intimidate checks made while bearing the papers. Furthermore, you have been outfitted as a Nerathi legionnaire complete with a masterwork suit of scale mail covered with segmented plates and which includes a helmet (treat the armor as a breast plate), one masterwork longspear, one heavy wooden shield, two javelins, a masterwork gladius (treat as a short sword), a masterwork alchemically silvered dagger, a pair of sandals, a marching pack containing fourteen days of rations, a healers kit, a waterskin, two pitons, a blanket, a tent, and a shovel.
Special: Warforged characters instead gain either a +1 armbow, +1 armblade, or a 1st level wand of magic missiles with 50 charges and a wand bracer with space for two more wands.