The Mountains of Morpheus
Alignment isn’t important to this campaign. I’m not giving NPCs alignments. You can definitely give your PC an alignment, though, or make up something unique (like Impulsive Good, or Ilana Wexler). Anyway, it’s not a big deal.
This is a pretty low-magic setting, but the main means to this is simply my making this campaign setting a low-powered campaign setting. Spells of 5th level and above will be pretty rare. The same goes for NPCs of 10th level and above. I estimate the “level cap” for PCs to be somewhere around 8th level.
Additionally, most low-level NPC spellcasters can only cast cantrips about once per 30 minutes, though PCs and other competent NPC spellcasters can do so as described by the rules. This means that repeated use of cantrips is not the norm in this campaign setting.
This is a “grittier” campaign where wounds don’t quickly vanish after 24 hours. I’m taking a page from the Dungeon Master’s Guide, and lowering the frequency at which PCs can benefit from long and short rests. This emphasizes carefulness, planning, and use of short rests.
PCs can benefit from a long rest once every three days. This assumes a certain level of comfort and security: Sleeping at inns or a residence, preparing a campfire when in the chilly wilderness, eating regularly, etc. At a worse level, it takes more time to benefit from a long rest.
A short rest represents two to three hours of rest, rather than one hour. PCs can move, but at a slower pace.
Ability Scores and Hit Dice
I’m not a fan of random ability score and hit point generation. Your ability scores use the standard array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8).
You get the same amount of hit points with each level. After 1st level, your character’s hit points are:
- d12 = 7
- d10 = 6
- d8 = 5
- d6 = 4
Not all monsters in the D&D Monster Manual are going to exist in this campaign, or in the exact way that they’re described. (For example, gnolls are just people who have been transformed into monsters by the Mountains of Morpheus.) You most likely won’t see certain these typical D&D monsters: goblinoids, kobolds, ogres, orcs. Other monsters might have different motivations and abilities than described in the Monster Manual. Of course, you’ll be able to make Skill checks to determine what your characters know about them.
My stance on character mortality is that fighting to the death is risky, and when the dice turn against you, well, that’s the nature of adventuring. The story is more exciting (for the players) when lives are at stake. Obviously, challenges are going to be scaled to the PCs’ level, but for some challenges, preparation, teamwork, non-violence, non-lethal methods, and tactical and moral compromise are ways to avoid your character’s death.