(These notes apply to the campaign planned to start Spring 2012)
We'll be using the Pathfinder system, which is conveniently available almost entirely online here. Anything that is official Paizo content is fair game. Anything by a third party (even if it's on the SRD) should be passed by the DM first just to be sure. (Mostly it's so I don't get caught by surprise)
We're going to use the "dice pool" method of generating ability scores. In brief, you get 24 d6's to distribute into six pools (minimum 3d6 per pool). You then roll these and take the top 3 in each pool to get your scores. I think this strikes a balance between choice and randomness, since you can stack the deck but nothing's guaranteed. It should also make for some interesting weaknesses, and weaknesses are great grist for the comedy mill.
Some helpful notes:
- If you don't want to think too hard, just put 4d6 in each pool and roll as above. This is identical to the traditional "4d6 minus 1" method we've probably all done before.
- I think the official rules have you assigning dice pools before rolling the dice; I'll let you do it afterward, though. (At least for the important ones. I recommend assigning one or two pools before rolling just for the fun of integrating potentially unexpected ability scores into your character.)
- If your net bonuses add to 0 or less, you can reroll. Talk to me if you still end up with stats you don't like, and we can work something out.
I'm currently planning to run a single "prelude" session at Level 1, wherein the party has their first adventure together. After that we'll fast-forward to level 4 or 5. If you want to take templates that push you above that, you'll have to take some negative levels and earn them off instead of leveling up. (I suppose you could even try some templated-out abomination like a half-dragon half-celestial half-fiendish lycanthrope lich, but that could require additional tweaking, especially since Paizo's rules on monster PCs mostly amount to "wing it as best as you can.")
We will also be using the optional hero points rules, which are basically souped-up action points. If you think it's too much paperwork to keep track of, just use the "antihero" option instead and take a bonus feat at 1st level.
- New Hero Point Use: Narrative Control
- You may spend 1 hero point to exert control over the narrative. This usually means finding things (items, places, people), but can extend to making connections and relations between you and an NPC, or even between NPCs. Tell the DM what you want to affect, and he assigns a percentage roll to see if it works. If the roll fails, you keep your hero point but can't try for that change again.
- 60% - Simple or easy to find (e.g., a tavern in a decent-sized town; the evil duke used to know a previous employer of yours)
- 30% - Difficult or uncommon. (e.g., a tavern in a small village; the evil duke has met you personally before)
- 10% - Rare or extremely unlikely (e.g., a tavern in the middle of the woods; the evil duke is actually your third cousin)
- 5% - Impossible (e.g., a tavern in the middle of the barren desert; the evil duke is actually your father/uncle/evil twin) (Yes, that means "impossible" things happen one time in twenty. This is a comedy campaign, after all.)
Alternate Class AbilitiesEdit
In addition to the options available through Paizo's class archetype options, I'll support custom class variants as long as they're not too overpowered and support the feel of the game (namely, humor and silliness). Most are easily worked in as feats you can take to alter some aspect of your class. Some potential examples include:
- Bard - The new Bardic Dissonance feat lets you use Bardic Performance to turn your normally buff-ally spells into harm-enemy ones (eg, inspire courage gives penalties, not bonuses), based on you performing really badly. You must use a perform skill in which you have fewer than 3 ranks. Enemies get a Will save (DC 10 + Cha + ½ level), but you can switch the target as a swift action (that is, keep targeting someone new each round until someone fails their save). At the DM’s discretion, a charisma penalty can actually add a bonus to this kind of role. Common versions of this are the Half-Orc Striptease and the Kobold Serenade.
- Paladin – The new Favored Smite feat allows you to use your Smite for more than just Evil. You have to pick a specific group when you take the feat, but can take it multiple times. Additional targets include a ranger’s favored enemy groups and specific classes or alignments, but since this is a humor campaign different descriptions apply, too. Blackguards often have Favored Smite (Innocent Bystanders), while normal Paladins have been known to take “Arrogant twits,” “Whiners,” and “Sissy Pansywusses” as theirs.
- Ranger – Similar to Paladins, rangers may use an expanded favored enemy list that also includes classes, occupations, and the like. Thus your favored enemies can be “Insurance Salesmen,” “Girl Scouts,” “Lackeys,” “Minions,” etc. (Note that lackeys and minions are not simple subordinates.)
Players are highly encouraged to use "palette swaps" for their characters. These are alterations where you change the in-game flavor of some mechanic without actually changing its rules. (The name comes from video games, where--especially in older ones--you'd often fight the same monster with different color schemes several times over the course of the game.)
The most common palette swap is changing the description of a spell's effect. Instead of magic missile shooting bots of green plasma, your version can shoot little skulls, or eggs, or tiny kamikaze fairies. All the mechanics are the same; they just look different.
Feat alterations are also common. Iron Will could boost your Will save not through great willpower, but because you're slightly insane (and thus think in different directions than spells are designed for) or dumb as a rock and just as hard to budge. In the recent Shadowscapes campaign, Riq had something like this for Leadership; the mechanics were identical, but the flavor of who was in charge of the followers and where they came from was different.