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Welcome to Far Horizon

Greetings! This is a D&D West Marches using 5th edition D&D. And this document you're reading is a primer on learning about what we're going to do together and help you get started in this world.  

What is a West Marches?

  A West Marches is a shared world that allows for all types of great adventures in a shared community of players and adventurers. It's a bit like a "D&D MMO," and a bit like a "Living World," but also quite a bit different from both of these forms of play by nature of its design.   So how does a West Marches work compared to a traditional narrative campaign? Essentially, you are one among many adventurers in a small town at the furthest reaches of the world. You might have traveled to this place for any number of reasons, but there is one thing that's true: this is the place for adventure. This is a place for staking your claim at the very end of a dangerous world. Anything in the towns and cities is boring; there is nothing for an adventurer there. It will be your job to explore the wilds and find whatever it is that you find interesting.   This West Marches is designed in such a way where it's friendly to beginners. It's a game after all, so we obviously want to have fun. But it's also helpful for those who are very accustomed to the higher end of play in a D&D game; it will offer a lot of challenges, and will not try to hold your hand when things start to get tough.   That also means that a West Marches is not a lot of things. It's not a traditional narrative campaign, with a long-running adventure, with the same cast of characters, where you work toward a big story goal. It's also not a campaign where you may always have a strict goal to pursue, but instead may have many goals, or might even have to find your own adventures. Instead, it's a way of playing D&D that relishes in exploration, working with your friends to defeat sometimes overwhelming odds, and using your wits and smarts to succeed.   With that introduction, let's set the scene...   Far along the southeastern edge of the world exists a land known as Horizon, a realm far and away from all civilization. It lies across the largest ocean on the planet, upon the most hostile and harsh environments known to man. And there, on the coastline, looking due south, is none other than Grand Crevasse, an impossibly large, dormant mountain range on the fringes of the world, said to be the homes of untold gods from eons long since passed. There, beyond the Grand Crevasse lies Hereafter, a city of alien design propped atop a giant cylinder, hanging unnaturally in the sky above the clouds, crafted by The Eternals themselves. It is said that any who entered Grand Crevasse and made their way into the city of Hereafter would be given untold rewards, wishes, and beauty, as dictated by the gods themselves.   And so they come.     Why do adventurers come to this terrible place? Perhaps because they are unwanted; waylaid adventurers who succeeded nowhere else, and seek success where success is rare, so that their victories are all the more notable. Perhaps they are forgotten; soldiers with no more wars left to fight, but blood still needing to be shed, or people with no homes to call their own. Perhaps they were seeking freedom; homesteaders with a spark and a dream, clerics seeking to tame the unbesmirched lands, or former slaves who have nothing else but their own skin to call their own... Nobles off to seek fame and glory... Mages, eager to pillage for untold magicks in the depths of forever... Foolish souls who seek nothing but greed and riches... It does not matter. There is only one truth about Horizon: only those who survive may tell their stories. And few survive. The summer fades and hides its frozen meat, and returns nothing but bones by Spring's thaw. The ruins remain unpilfered, the gates remain uncrossed, and the hopes of many only lie upon the horizon. That distant dream, Grand Crevasse, a fantasy that none can imagine, leading up into the bewildering tower of Hereafter, from which none have returned.

Why is your character here?

  In this world, you are an adventurer who has left your home behind. Why you came to Horizon doesn't really matter, because any reason is good enough. However, when you're making a character, just know that they know that they've come to a dangerous, unforgiving place, and that the odds of them going home are low.   Think about why they came to this place? What would inspire them to leave? Perhaps they were ejected from their family. Perhaps there was no way to make a good living back home. Perhaps you heard a rumor of treasure in a fabled dungeon in Horizon. Perhaps you decided that you would seek out glory in the place where real heroes are made. Perhaps you came here cursed, and hope to find a cure somewhere in the wilds. Whatever the reason, you're basically going to be a zero to hero who is going to do their best to stake their claim, whatever it might be, and hopefully not die in the process.  

Where is your character from?

  The world of Rakuen is very big. Right now, the world is dominated by Elves, which have extended massive empires throughout all of the lands across the planet. You can look across the map for individual locations if you'd like - you can find it at this link Rakuen 7e - to help you brainstorm your character. But the one thing I need to know whenever you make a character is which major empire or land do you hail from:   Bohemia (Orange): Bohemia is home to an ancient land dominated by highly strict government. They are deeply distrustful of all their neighbors, and have resisted Elven domination for thousands of years. The nation is defensive, strong-willed, and proud. The land is similar to Northern Europe, especially Germany.   Eshtar (Purple): One of the oldest Elvish Empires, Eshtar is dominated by The Ascendancy, an Elvish nation that seeks to bring all those under the protection of the Eshtari way of being. The society is generally open, and sees what they're doing as an important way to make the world a better place, even if others would disagree. It's diverse, and features lands from endless deserts, to dense jungles, deep woods, rolling hills, and frigid canyons.   Kirei (Pink): The lands of Kirei are dominated by The Axial, an Elven Empire who seeks to bring about a magical Elvish Empire, in the traditional Elvish fashion. The lands here are generally peaceful, except the the dangerous invasions launched by some of their neighbors, trying to claim land throughout their unique and varied spaces. Kirei is basically a mash-up of East Asian locations, everything from Japan, to Korea, to China, to Thailand, and more, depending on which part of the lands you come from.   Hi'laka (tiny grey islands): A land of beautiful tropical islands just along the equator. This land is currently under occupation by The Ascendancy, although this is disputed. They are able to dodge a lot of the more restrictive occupations from their larger neighbor by acting as the eastern-most trade port to the vast Rhea Ocean. It is the last port of call for many sailors, but is also home to ancient Elvish cultures. It's a mixture of Hawaiian and Polynesian islands.   Tasa-Arvo (Yellow): This Elven nation has attempted to institute democracy upon the island-people who live here. This has proven quite difficult as diplomatic disputes are constant. They also are still recovering from a massive war with their neighbors in Urduun. Perhaps even more concerning are a series of small islands to the west, which are cursed with all manner of horrible beings that sometimes filter over the sea and wreak havoc upon their lands. The lands themselves are tropical and largely temperate, with lots of mountains and valleys.   Urduun (Red): A massive Elven Empire, they are known for one thing: dominion and conquer. Living with a strict society, many people have a deep loyalty to the nation, while others who have faced their wrath or suffered at their hands have very strong, often negative opinions toward the nation. The land itself is largely desolate, with deserts throughout, including some magically created deserts that ruin great swathes of the land; the coasts are fertile and temperate, with the majority of the nation's populace on the west coast; it's similar to the climate of Australia.   Eelam (brown islands): A collection of extremely fertile and productive tropical islands, this nation is famous for its freedom and independence. Although their lands get tugged back and forth between endless wars, they maintain their freedom by making advanced merchant agreements. The land is populated by small city-states and pirate communities. The land is extremely tropical, balmy, and jungled.   Cascadia (northwest green): Cascadia is a unified nation made of of a variety of smaller human kingdoms. Although the various kingdoms rarely get along, they have one agreement: they don't want to be absorbed into an Elven empire. So when they're not bickering among each other, they're usually unifying against an Elvish invasion. The lands are greatly dierse, with tropical nations to the south, temperate in the center, and frigid to the north; it's very similar to the climate of the USA. _________  

How do you play?

  For this campaign, we will be using my Discord. You can find it here! (https://discord.gg/sS5wxsqakT) If the link doesn't work, DM Chris or Summer, and we'll get you a working link. There are a variety of text and voice channels specifically for this campaign. Some channels are RP related, while others are just normal talking channels where you can talk about anything. If you don't see them right away, be patient; they will be marked as either "Far Horizon" or "West Marches," so you'll know when you've been given proper access. Use them to your heart's content! You're also welcome to harass people in the non-D&D chats too.   For this campaign, we will be used Roll20 to play the game. If you don't have an account with Roll20, you'll need to make one. When you do have an account, please join the game via this link. (https://app.roll20.net/join/3498115/rO5gfQ) Please list your name in Roll20 as the name you like to go by, so we know who is who. Once you've logged into the game at least once, I can prepare a character sheet for you to officially insert all your character's information.   For creating your character, it is recommended you use this Character Sheet. (https://media.wizards.com/2016/dnd/downloads/5E_CharacterSheet_Fillable.pdf) Fill out all the sections as needed and upload it to either myself (Chris) or in the #character-submissions section in the Discord. If you ever get confused during any part of the process, just ping Chris and he can try to help you. Also ask around! Some of us might be new to playing, but others of us are rugged veterans.   If you have done all the steps and I for some reason haven't given you a sheet, just yell at Chris, it'll get done.   Additionally, if you need help learning Roll20, or are not sure how to make something work, ping or message Chris. I'll help as much as I can!   Bonus points, if you want to make a World Anvil page for your character, here is a link. This is not required. http://www.worldanvil.com/epic/kIRXMiJJ7v8YGNGunf6DpQkMO5n0JX/join/U5MC-93we-nfGBqT    

How to make your character? What is allowed?

  For this campaign, we will be using a point-buy of 27 to make our characters. If you're not sure what point-buy is, it's basically a way to decide the skill points for your character by giving them a certain number to add up to. You can find the rules for point-buy here (https://www.dndbeyond.com/sources/basic-rules/step-by-step-characters#3DetermineAbilityScores), and also find a handy dandy calculator for point-buy here (https://chicken-dinner.com/5e/5e-point-buy.html). Your score can go as low 5 and as high as 15 before racial modifiers and other things that would increase your stats. If this is confusing, legitimately contact Chris or Summer and we'll help.   Selecting your race and class are some of the best parts of making your character! As a note, for this campaign, we will NOT be using the "Custom Lineage" feature from Tasha's Cauldron of Everything. Additionally, no UA content is allowed, even if it was officially released. That being said...   The following books are ones you can use to build your character:
  • Player's Handbook
  • Volo's Guide to Monsters
  • Xanathar's Guide to Everything
  • Mordenkainen's Tomb of Foes
  • Tasha's Cauldron of Everything
  • Elemental Evil Player's Companion
  • Sword Coast Adventure's Guide
  • Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica
  • Mythic Odysseys of Theros
  The following races are specifically NOT ALLOWED:
  • Kenku
  • Simic Hybrid
  • Vadalken
  These are exceptions to the rules:
  • Warforged is allowed.
  If you need any clarification, feel free to ask!  

Selecting a Class

  For this campaign, all official classes are accepted. No UA classes are allowed.   For Ranger specifically, it is advised you either use the the UA: Revised Ranger version of the class (https://media.wizards.com/2016/dnd/downloads/UA_RevisedRanger.pdf), or the Tasha's Cauldron of Everything version of the class. If you really want to use the Player's Handbook version of Ranger, I won't stop you. But people will probably meme at you if they find out. If you're confused, just DM us.   For Warlocks specifically, gods will be your patrons. There is no distinction. If you are making a warlock, please research the various gods and choose one as your patron.   For Clerics/Paladins specifically, you will need to choose one god who you service. Please choose from the gods and note that somewhere obvious on your character sheet.  

Selecting a Background

  For the sake of backgrounds, the details don't matter too much here. There are many backgrounds from many different books. Feel free to choose any of the backgrounds as long as they are not UA.  

Religion in Rakuen

  In this world, individuals are generally polytheistic. They worship many gods simultaneously, and there is no sort of barrier to how many gods you can worship, how often you can worship them, or even worshipping rival gods. There are generally good reasons to worship every god, be it out of love, fear, or ulterior motive. As such, a monotheist - someone who worships only one god - is very rare, and people might think this to be quite strange. Similarly, characters that are agnostic or atheist are also seen as quite weird; however, if they choose not to worship out of rejection of the gods, this is allowed.   Whatever gods you worship, please list them on the Allies and Organizations part of your character sheet.  

How does a West Marches actually work?

How to schedule a game?

  To actually play the game, you will need to form the party. There are a lot of players, so you can play with anyone you want! Ask others in or out of character to see if you'd like to journey and explore with them. Party members can be a variety of levels, so make sure you learn everyone's levels. If one player is level 6, and everyone else is level 1, and you go to fight a dragon... a lot of people might have a bad time.   To embark on a session, your group needs to have a MINIMUM of three (3) characters, and a MAXIMUM of six (6) characters. A party of two will not do; and party of seven... I can't think of a good rhyme, but it's not allowed!   To actually have a session, we'll need to make a date for the session. Once you have a confirmed group of people who want to go on a quest, FIND OUT CHRIS' AVAILABILITY. If you don't have a DM available to play, nobody gets to play! After that, we'll try to find a time that works for everyone. It'll be a complete disaster, as scheduling always is, but we can make it work.   Session length is generally between 3-5 hours. There might be exceptions! If a particular session runs out of time, or more time is needed to complete a particular series of sessions in a larger mission, we will simply arrange for meeting up again at a different time to complete the mission. In these instances, you may be restricted from RP activities, at the request of the DM.   There are a lot of adventurers in the area, so it's encouraged for you to seek out new party members from time to time. You're not required to split a party, but it's encouraged that every three sessions or so, you try to adventure with different people.   If you need help finding a group for any reason, contact Chris. He can help try to orchestrate a party, especially if you're struggling to find one due to scheduling issues, or if you're finding it difficult to fit into a different group.   Also, try to be nice! This is a game, but we're all just people trying to have a good time. Try to include others and make sure people don't get left out. If there is a sign of any rudeness or exclusion of other players, it could be grounds for you being removed from the game.  

What to Expect From The Game?

  The West Marches is a bit different from other sorts of campaigns. There's no "big bad guy," and there's no overarching plot. Instead, as adventurers in an undiscovered and confusing world, you will be traveling far and wide to find the strange stuff that might exist in the world.   When you make a character, ask yourself: why did they come to this forsaken land? Life isn't easy here. You left your friends and family behind, the chance of dying is very high, the weather sucks... Why are they here? Did they arrive to be heroic, and do cool stuff? Did they hear about fabulous riches, and want to get rich quick? Did they want to start a new life, far away from the griping and politics of the rest of the world? Did they want to build a giant fortress or mage's tower? Did they want to explore everything there is to see? All of these are fantastic reasons to journey to Horizon.   When you start playing, everything will be VERY confusing and VERY mysterious. You won't know where you're going and what you're doing. That's part of the fun. Imagine loading into a new world of Minecraft. You have no idea where you are, or where anything is. The only way to figure out is by choosing a direction and walking. For this, you are on the north coast; any direction that isn't north is an adventure waiting to happen!   RATED R - The Red Card and Veils   This world is harsh, gritty, and not pretty. It's a world filled with obsessive kings, autocratic empires, violent monsters, and dismissive or even hostile gods. This world features a lot of ugly topics that we don't like to discuss in our modern day. When I make this fiction, I do it in reaction to the real world. The real world is kinda sucky, so this world is kinda sucky. I feature these things because it allows us to conceptualize real life suckiness, and then act upon that suck not as wimpy little dudes who just need food and a job, but as EPIC HEROES who actually can make change when they see bad shit.   That being said, this game is considered RATED-R, STREAM MA, for mature audiences only. There is an extreme high chance of encountering adult situations, including offensive or triggering situations.   A variety of situations or triggering topics encountered in the past, which could occur in a session, include:
  • Slavery.
  • Violence, blood, gore, and death.
  • Assault or physical abuse of NPCs.
  • Body horror.
  • Sex.
  • Drugs.
  • Miscarriage.
  • Self-Harm.
  • Torture.
  • Anti-LGBT stuff.
  • Racism.
  • Sexism.
  • Etc.
Things that might happen to a player-character in game:
  • Violence
  • Sexism or objectification
  • Body horror
  • General phobic stuff, racist stuff, sexist stuff ("Women don't do that thing," or, "Silence, Orc, you are disgusting.")
  • Etc.
Things that will NEVER appear in a game:
  • Real-life racism.
  • Sexual interaction or sexual assault upon a player-character without consent.
  Sometimes, due to the mature nature of the game, something might happen that you really disagree with or just want to not really have happen. Because we're all different, and I don't know what your personal limits are, we will use two safety measures in our play: The Red Card and Veils.   The Red Card is pretty straightforward, like a red card from soccer. If something is happening and YOU DO NOT LIKE IT YOU NEED IT TO STOP RIGHT NOW, red card. Shout it, yell it, show it. Doesn't matter. We stop everything we're doing and take a break, and make sure everyone is okay. Then we move past the moment with zero judgement.   Veils are more nuanced. The idea is, sometimes we come upon a moment that we don't mind seeing, but we don't really need it explained in great detail. A good example is sex. Most people are okay with a player hooking up with an NPC, but most people don't want detailed info on all the sights, smells, sounds, and actions of the sexual moment. This isn't ERP! So, we draw a veil and fade to black. "Jessica says let's hook up, and so, the camera fades to black." Simple and easy. If you encounter a situation where you feel a veil needs to be drawn, please say so. Ask for a veil or ask to fade to black, and we can make it happen.   These will be our primary safety tools. It's a way for me to have the fictional world that I want and enjoy, while also making sure you're safe and cared for as players. If you ever feel like a scene is going too far, or you've encountered something that upsets you, PLEASE TALK TO ME ASAP. Even if it interrupts the game. You as a player are way more important to me than a dumb game about knights, magic, and dragons. The big thing to remember is that I'm on your side; it's not me versus you, but us versus the fiction.  

FAQ

  I want to learn more about your world and its lore!   That's what this World Anvil is for. It's basically a giant wiki for all things Rakuen. Some info is just not there (I'm the only person doing all this). If there's ever something you want to know, but you can't find info on it here, legit just ask. Chris will NOT shut up when given the chance to talk about the lore of my world.   I'm super new to D&D and kinda scared.   That's okay! This game might seem like "hardcore mode," especially with the way I DM the game. But I will 100% support you as you learn. It's super easy, and you'll be having so much fun you won't even know what to do with yourself. Just be patient and ask questions. There are no dumb questions.   I need to talk to Chris about something...   Message me! (heychrisfox#8079) My DMs are open 100% of the time. If it says I'm online, I will probably respond to you pretty fast. If I'm offline, I'm probably asleep or away. If you sent me a message, just be patient. And if I can't answer a question for some reason (I'm in the middle of a video game, I'm drunk out of my mind, I'm at work), I'll just say so, and get back to you at my earliest convenience.   I messaged Chris, and he said he'd respond, but he didn't... He hates me, doesn't he?   I need this to be understood: I have the tiniest brain on the planet. And attention deficit disorder. I will sometimes read a message, respond in my head, and then completely forget to actually respond. I don't hate you, I promise. If you really need a response, just ping me again and remind me. It won't bother me or make me mad. Sometimes I really do need the extra ping, so be impatient with me. I will probably say "oh shit" as soon as I see it and address it ASAP.   Do we allow PVP, or player-vs-player, activities? Stealing between players? Killing other players?   Yes, sort of. We do this activity with consent. If you want to PVP another player, you must state so openly and publicly, and ask the opponent if they consent. If they want to PVP with you, and they consent, HAVE FUN! However a DM or someone else should oversee the interaction. If you want to PVP with someone else, or they want to PVP with you, but one party does not consent, it is not allowed.   Theft between players is generally discouraged, but sometimes allowed. Basically, I as the DM will not allow you to sneak something away just for fun. If you attempt to steal from a player, I will either ask the victim if they consent to an RP moment, or otherwise will simply describe that they notice the theft occurring. Stealing from other players is always vastly weighted against the thief.   Can I romance other player-characters?   Yes, sort of. This requires consent of both parties, similar to PVP. Please also understand that people are stupid, and we get emotional over really dumb shit. If you consent to romance between another player-character, please understand that you're alone in those interactions. If you ever feel a line is crossed, let them know; if you would like to reject consent for romance with a player-character, you should. If you feel like shit is getting weird and need help, speak to Chris ASAP.   Can I romance other NPCs?   Yes. 100% of the time. It does mean you'll probably be flirting with me, Chris, as a DM. So as long as you're fine with that during RP, I'm down to clown! Also, just because you want to date an NPC doesn't mean they'll respond to your advances. Don't be upset if they're not into you.   An NPC did something I don't like, or I wanted them to do something different. What gives?   An important thing to remember is that NPCs are not just video game characters sitting there waiting to be interacted with with the right dialogue choices. All NPCs are living, breathing people, in a world. They have goals, ambitions, fears, and dreams. If an NPC acts illogically, that's because they might be illogical. If an NPC lies to you, that may mean they're not a very good person. If an NPC does not respond the way you thought they would, they may have a reason for acting the way they did. Don't take personal offense to this; just remember that they are a human being, and deserve to be treated as such.   It also needs to be said: NPCs don't have all the info. Some might even be actively dishonest with you, or hide information. Assume every NPC is an unreliable narrator. They have their own agenda. You can use that to your advantage, but never expect a straight answer from anyone.   I can't do a fancy voice for my character. I messed up the way I said that thing in game.   That's okay! Speak however you want. If that's your normal speaking voice, cool. If you flubbed your words, don't worry. I have this unwritten rule in my campaigns where I say, "You use your best words." That essentially means: we are people in 2021 doing our best to pretend we're fantasy characters. However, when we are roleplaying and you speak as your character, I am imagining that the words you are saying are the most epic, coolest things you have ever said. The way you think you sound in your brain is EXACTLY how you sound to me. So if you say, "Bro, I vibe with the homies," I hear you say, "I retire to the living space with my dearest companions." Don't stress the details. I got your back.   Chris misgendered me or used the wrong pronoun. It really hurt my feelings.   I AM SORRY. I am so fuckin' bad at pronouns, dude. Please don't take it personally. I have the tiniest brain, and I don't mean it. Please correct me for the rest of history. I will bow to your whims, because I am nothing but an idiot with a mouse and keyboard.   You didn't do that thing like the PHB said. You DM'd that wrong. I have a game/rule concern.   I'm okay with rule-lawyering most of the time. I may even frequently ask the table how a rule works, or if they remember a particular part of the books I forgot. I don't know everything! If you disagree with a ruling, I will usually do one of two things: I will stop the game, and research the rule; or, I will rule the way that I want, and we can discuss the rule after session. If it is found I made a mistake later, I will usually try to give you something nice as a form of apology. I am sometimes stubborn though, so if I'm a hard-ass on a ruling, be warned. I'm usually amenable.   I have an idea for a character, a backstory, or a cool RP moment, but I need help!   TALK TO CHRIS! I love helping, and brainstorming, and making your dream come true. If you need that help, please please please DM me or talk to me; I will work actively with you as much as I can.   Chris said something wasn't allowed or he didn't like it. It hurt my feelings!   I'm sorry! As the DM, I get to make the final decision, either because it's my game or it's my world. Sometimes I'll say an action can't be done, or a bit of narrative or lore you wrote for your character is not allowed. Why? Usually because it doesn't work in my world. If you want to make Goku in my world, I would say no, because that's not possible with my lore. Don't take it personally! I'm just making sure my game makes sense.   Okay but... housing... I want a house...   SOON. Play the game a little bit, and that's a goal you can work toward. There will be a system to have your own homes.

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