[3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

The civilized world has been reduced to a series of points of light in a great wilderness of danger and monsters.
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[3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:10 pm

I've been interested in Nentir Vale for some time now, but one of the things that is a barrier (to me) is that I want to play in a 3rd Edition game (and not just a 3rd Edition game but a Spelljammer-compatible one).

Obviously Zeromaru X's A Nentir Vale Gazetteer is going to contain a lot of the information that a 3rd Edition hypothetical 3rd Edition Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hardback would have contained. But 3rd Edition has different rules to 4th Edition and I'm not sure how the Points of Light theme would work in 3e. So I'm wondering what sort of stuff would need to be in a hypothetical 3rd Edition Nentir Vale hardback.

Basically, I'm going to assume that (for the purposes of this discussion) that 3rd Edition did not end when it did, but that all the effort that went into designing 4th Edition and Nentir Vale instead went into building an equally large amount of 3rd Edition Nentir Vale material (that incorporated Points of Light themes and other new ideas that went into 4e in the real world).

Looking at 3rd Edition Dungeons & Dragons, we got the following campaign settings:
  • Dragonlance Campaign Setting (3.5) - Some Dragonlance fans have complained that this was not as good as it could have been, but I'm mostly interested in the structure and how DLCS is differentiated from core D&D.
  • Eberron Campaign Setting (3.5) - A new setting for D&D (at that time) that introduced new ideas and reworked old ones.
  • Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3.0) - Probably the best campaign setting book I've ever read.
  • Ghostwalk - One shot sourcebook and campaign setting book from WotC.
  • Living Greyhawk Gazetteer (3.0) - Sadly cut down from what a Greyhawk Campaign Setting hardback would have been, but still a great book.
  • Ravenloft (3.0) - Published by Sword & Sorcery Studios under license from WotC.
  • Rokugan aka Legend of the Five Rings (3e) - Published by AEG under license from WotC. You need Oriental Adventures (3.0) to use book.
  • Mahasarpa - A great free WotC campaign setting, but only published as a Web Enhancement for Oriental Adventures so not much use for studying the structure of campaign settings.
  • Masque of the Red Death (3.5) - Published by Sword & Sorcery Studios under license from WotC.
  • Warcraft: The Roleplaying Game (3.0) - Published by Sword & Sorcery Studios under license from WotC and based in-part on an unpublished WotC Warcraft III book.

I don't have all of these 3e campaign settings, but figured that any of these "core setting" books, but I figure that any of them might have themes that are on a similar level to Nentir Vale (and the Points of Light rules) and that someone who knows one of them well might have some inspiration for how a hypothetical 3rd Edition Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hardback could have been organised.
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:42 pm

Possible Table of Contents (raided from Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting and tweaked a bit):
  • Introduction
    • The Land of Nentir Vale
    • The People
    • A Points of Light World
    • The Nentir Vale Campaign
  • Chapter 1: Characters
    • Creating a Nentir Vale Character
      • Character Races
      • Character Classes
      • Character Region
      • Region-Specific Skills
      • New Feats
      • Races of Nentir Vale
      • Classes
    • Character Religion
    • Feats
    • Character Description
      • Religion
      • Vital Statistics
    • Prestige Classes
      • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 2: Magic
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 3: Life in Nentir Vale
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 4: Geography
    • (not expanded yet, but pretty much covered by Zeromaru X's work)
  • Chapter 5: Deities
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 6: History
    • (not expanded yet, but pretty much covered by Zeromaru X's work)
  • Chapter 7: Organisations
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Adventure: (to be created)
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 8: Running Nentir Vale
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Adventure: (to be created)
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Chapter 9: Monsters
    • (not expanded yet)
  • Index

Some of these sections might be redundant (which is why I've not expanded them all) and some other sections might need to be added.

I guess I need to start going through 4th Edition rules, maybe starting with races, to ask:
  • "What is new to 4e?"
  • "What has been modified for 4e?" and
  • "What has been removed from 4e (and presumably Nentir Vale)?"
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Big Mac » Sun Oct 16, 2016 12:54 pm

Going with the 4th Edition core rulebooks, we get the following Races of Nentir Vale:
  • Dragonborn,
  • Dwarf
  • Eladrin,
  • Elf,
  • Half-elf,
  • Halfling,
  • Human and
  • Tiefling

I believe that Dragonborn and Eladrin are new and that Tieflings are an existing 3e race promoted to core race level.

That means a hypothetical NVCS hardback would need full rules for Dragonborn, Eladrin and Tieflings and sections to explain how to play the other races differently in Nentir Vale.

Does anyone know of retro-conversions for Dragonborn and Eladrin?
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Zeromaru X » Sun Oct 16, 2016 4:44 pm

Big Mac wrote:I guess I need to start going through 4th Edition rules, maybe starting with races, to ask:
"What is new to 4e?"
"What has been modified for 4e?" and
"What has been removed from 4e (and presumably Nentir Vale)?"


There aren't Prestige Classes, there are Paragon Paths. I guess both share the same function, and you can convert PPs into PrC. There are also Epic Destinies, that are new to 4e, but there is "3.5 conversion" of sorts in Dragon 363. We can use those as the only ones in this "hardback", or use those as models to convert EDs.

Big Mac wrote:Going with the 4th Edition core rulebooks, we get the following Races of Nentir Vale:
  • Dragonborn,
  • Dwarf
  • Eladrin,
  • Elf,
  • Half-elf,
  • Halfling,
  • Human and
  • Tiefling


My idea, at least in the Gazetter, is "convert" from the Essentials. Mechanically, Essentials and vanilla 4e is the same, but lorewise not. Vanilla 4e have little fluff, if have any. The first two PHBs don't reveal nothing about the world of Nerath, and gave us next to nothing about the roles of races and classes in that world. The Essentials books, on the other hand, are full of lore, revealing to us the place of the races in the world, or why they choose to follow x class.

The Essentials books divide races in two categories (those categories remained in 5e, in fact): common and uncommon races. Common races are introduced in Heroes of the Fallen Lands, and as you can imagine, are the majority in the Nentir Vale and the Nerathi League region. They were all first-class citizens in the Nerathi Empire. Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms give us the uncommon races. They maybe are more numerous in far away places, but in the Nentir Vale they are fewer in number. Most of the uncommon races were part of the "monstrous" races, but became more common when they were "annexed" to the Nerathi Empire as second class citizens. Other are just few in number. The "essentialized" books give us a few races that are more common in other planes, but less common in the World (or the prime material, in 3.x terms).

Common races:
  • Humans
  • Elves: Also known as wood elves. Neverwinter campaign setting also introduced the wild elves subrace to 4e. Can be raided to Nerath.
  • Dwarves: Neverwinter campaign setting also introduced the gold and shield subraces. Can be raided to Nerath.
  • Halflings
  • Eladrin: Also known as "high" elves, they are native from the Feywild, but thanks to being first-class citizens in the Nerathi empire, they became pretty common in the Prime Material of Nerath. Mind, those aren't the eladrin from the Outer Planes. In "Planescape terms", they would be "minor" eladrin, less powerful variants of the eladrin from the chaotic good planes, that in Nerath's world are known as "noble" eladrin.

Uncommon races:
  • Dragonborn: afraid that the dragonborn could create another powerful empire like Arkhosia, Emperor Magroth created a law that prohibited dragomborn from gathering in large numbers. Nerath has been destroyed 100 years before the starting year in the campaign, but dragonborn still live in small numbers in cities and towns of other races.
  • Tieflings: They were first class citizens in Nerath (at least, by the time Siege of Gardmore Abbey takes place), but the race simply have had few members since the Dragon-Devil Wars, when the tiefling race was driven to near extinction after the fall of Bael Turath (and not by the dragonborn, but by their own slaves). Tieflings of Nerath's world are called "asmodean tieflings" in Toril. Meaning they are not descendants of any devil or demons, but from those who did pacts with Asmodeus himself.
  • Drow: Some drow scape from the Underdark from time to time. Some even join with the civilized races.
  • Half-elves and half-orcs: They just don't have the numbers to be common in the World. Half-elves were first class citizens, while half-orcs weren't as privileged.

Rare in the Prime but more common in the Echo Planes:
  • Feywild
  • Gnomes
  • Hamadryads
  • Pixies
  • Satyrs

Shadowfell
  • Revenants
  • Shades
  • Vryloka (living vampires)

Elemental Chaos:
  • Genasi

There are some Dragon articles that includes monster races (such as gnolls and hobgoblins), or other humanoids races from other planes (like devas or shadar-kai).

Big Mac wrote:Does anyone know of retro-conversions for Dragonborn and Eladrin?


I do not know how much of pathfinder is compatible with 3.5 (I know 3.5 is the base for pathfinder, but also that pathfinder did their own rules and improved some stuff, and whatnot), but this Eberron conversion for pathfinder has stats for dragonborn and eladrin. I guess is easier to convert stuff from pathfinder to 3.5 than from 4e.
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Big Mac » Thu Oct 20, 2016 5:48 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I guess I need to start going through 4th Edition rules, maybe starting with races, to ask:
"What is new to 4e?"
"What has been modified for 4e?" and
"What has been removed from 4e (and presumably Nentir Vale)?"


There aren't Prestige Classes, there are Paragon Paths. I guess both share the same function, and you can convert PPs into PrC. There are also Epic Destinies, that are new to 4e, but there is "3.5 conversion" of sorts in Dragon 363. We can use those as the only ones in this "hardback", or use those as models to convert EDs.


Paragon Paths do sound like they perform the same function as Prestige Classes. (But I guess that Substitution Levels might be another way to go.) For me, the best PrCs are the ones that are associated with some sort of specialist organisation (while my least favourite ones are pretty much "The Guy Who Can Do The Special Trick"). So I would probably want to look at the core 4e Paragon Paths and ask myself how they help "sell" part of the Nentir Vale story...or part of the Points of Light theme.

As for Epic Destinies, I've been interested in those for a while too. They are something that 3e doesn't actually seem to do, but they are also fairly similar to Prestige Classes. I think I really like the idea.

Eberron has Action Points (and not every other campaign setting does) and I think that it could be cool to run a 3rd Edition Nentir Vale campaign, where there was a "Points of Light" vibe to the world and an "Epic Destiny" vibe to the characters. I think that could set Nentir Vale apart from other 3e settings. :)

Zeromaru X wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Going with the 4th Edition core rulebooks, we get the following Races of Nentir Vale:
  • Dragonborn,
  • Dwarf
  • Eladrin,
  • Elf,
  • Half-elf,
  • Halfling,
  • Human and
  • Tiefling


My idea, at least in the Gazetter, is "convert" from the Essentials. Mechanically, Essentials and vanilla 4e is the same, but lorewise not. Vanilla 4e have little fluff, if have any. The first two PHBs don't reveal nothing about the world of Nerath, and gave us next to nothing about the roles of races and classes in that world. The Essentials books, on the other hand, are full of lore, revealing to us the place of the races in the world, or why they choose to follow x class.

The Essentials books divide races in two categories (those categories remained in 5e, in fact): common and uncommon races. Common races are introduced in Heroes of the Fallen Lands, and as you can imagine, are the majority in the Nentir Vale and the Nerathi League region. They were all first-class citizens in the Nerathi Empire. Heroes of the Forgotten Kingdoms give us the uncommon races. They maybe are more numerous in far away places, but in the Nentir Vale they are fewer in number. Most of the uncommon races were part of the "monstrous" races, but became more common when they were "annexed" to the Nerathi Empire as second class citizens. Other are just few in number. The "essentialized" books give us a few races that are more common in other planes, but less common in the World (or the prime material, in 3.x terms).

Common races:
  • Humans
  • Elves: Also known as wood elves. Neverwinter campaign setting also introduced the wild elves subrace to 4e. Can be raided to Nerath.
  • Dwarves: Neverwinter campaign setting also introduced the gold and shield subraces. Can be raided to Nerath.
  • Halflings
  • Eladrin: Also known as "high" elves, they are native from the Feywild, but thanks to being first-class citizens in the Nerathi empire, they became pretty common in the Prime Material of Nerath. Mind, those aren't the eladrin from the Outer Planes. In "Planescape terms", they would be "minor" eladrin, less powerful variants of the eladrin from the chaotic good planes, that in Nerath's world are known as "noble" eladrin.

Uncommon races:
  • Dragonborn: afraid that the dragonborn could create another powerful empire like Arkhosia, Emperor Magroth created a law that prohibited dragomborn from gathering in large numbers. Nerath has been destroyed 100 years before the starting year in the campaign, but dragonborn still live in small numbers in cities and towns of other races.
  • Tieflings: They were first class citizens in Nerath (at least, by the time Siege of Gardmore Abbey takes place), but the race simply have had few members since the Dragon-Devil Wars, when the tiefling race was driven to near extinction after the fall of Bael Turath (and not by the dragonborn, but by their own slaves). Tieflings of Nerath's world are called "asmodean tieflings" in Toril. Meaning they are not descendants of any devil or demons, but from those who did pacts with Asmodeus himself.
  • Drow: Some drow scape from the Underdark from time to time. Some even join with the civilized races.
  • Half-elves and half-orcs: They just don't have the numbers to be common in the World. Half-elves were first class citizens, while half-orcs weren't as privileged.

Rare in the Prime but more common in the Echo Planes:
  • Feywild
  • Gnomes
  • Hamadryads
  • Pixies
  • Satyrs

Shadowfell
  • Revenants
  • Shades
  • Vryloka (living vampires)

Elemental Chaos:
  • Genasi

There are some Dragon articles that includes monster races (such as gnolls and hobgoblins), or other humanoids races from other planes (like devas or shadar-kai).


Thanks for this.

It looks like drow have been added to the original 4e core races (probably because drow are cool). Is there much evidence of drow in Nentir Vale canon sources?

How about the rare races? Do any of them turn up in novels or comics?

Zeromaru X wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Does anyone know of retro-conversions for Dragonborn and Eladrin?


I do not know how much of pathfinder is compatible with 3.5 (I know 3.5 is the base for pathfinder, but also that pathfinder did their own rules and improved some stuff, and whatnot), but this Eberron conversion for pathfinder has stats for dragonborn and eladrin. I guess is easier to convert stuff from pathfinder to 3.5 than from 4e.


Pathfinder is a bit bumped up from 3.5, but I think those could be very useful as a starting point. Thank you. :) :)
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Zeromaru X » Thu Oct 20, 2016 6:16 pm

Big Mac wrote:Thanks for this.

It looks like drow have been added to the original 4e core races (probably because drow are cool). Is there much evidence of drow in Nentir Vale canon sources?

How about the rare races? Do any of them turn up in novels or comics?


Beyond appearing in HoFK? They are prominent in some adventures, like the Paragon Tier Adventures of the Orcus saga.

As for rare races, Copernicus Jinx (a gnome wizard) has a prominent role in the comics, and a revenant has a prominent role in the Mark of Nerath novel.
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Tim Baker » Fri Oct 21, 2016 8:41 am

Big Mac wrote:Paragon Paths do sound like they perform the same function as Prestige Classes. (But I guess that Substitution Levels might be another way to go.) For me, the best PrCs are the ones that are associated with some sort of specialist organisation (while my least favourite ones are pretty much "The Guy Who Can Do The Special Trick"). So I would probably want to look at the core 4e Paragon Paths and ask myself how they help "sell" part of the Nentir Vale story...or part of the Points of Light theme.

As for Epic Destinies, I've been interested in those for a while too. They are something that 3e doesn't actually seem to do, but they are also fairly similar to Prestige Classes. I think I really like the idea.

One thing I like about Paragon Paths and Epic Destinies is that they're an additional layer added to a character, rather than forcing a player to decide if they'll add a level of a standard class or a prestige class, upon reaching the next level. All PCs receive a Paragon Path when reaching Paragon Tier, and all PCs receive an Epic Destiny at Epic Tier.

Big Mac wrote:Eberron has Action Points (and not every other campaign setting does) and I think that it could be cool to run a 3rd Edition Nentir Vale campaign, where there was a "Points of Light" vibe to the world and an "Epic Destiny" vibe to the characters. I think that could set Nentir Vale apart from other 3e settings. :)

I'm not sure if Action Points work the same for 3.5 Eberron as they do in 4e, but assuming they serve the same purpose, it sounds like you'd be off to a good start capturing the feeling of a Points of Light campaign.

Ritual magic is another standard in 4e, and I seem to recall them being introduced in a supplement in 3.5 (can't remember if they had a different name). These are spells that can be learned that don't count toward a magic user's normal spell allotment. Instead, they take a long time to cast (time varies, based on ritual, but is generally measured in minutes or hours, rather than rounds), and require material components. They provide a lot of utility and capture the kind of magic you often see in movies or read about in books, but has often been absent in D&D, especially at low levels.
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Re: [3e] Nentir Vale Campaign Setting hypothetical hardback

Postby Zeromaru X » Sat Oct 22, 2016 3:03 am

Another thing to take into account is that "divine power" characters (such as clerics, paladins and the like) do not draw their power from their gods. They draw their power from their faith, an ability gained thanks to the rites and divine investitures given to them in their initiation. So, if a paladin suddenly becomes evil, he or she do not lose their power because of that, as their gods cannot deny them their divine casting abilities. As much, their damage will change to radiant (holy light) to necrotic, and that is all.

Also, paladins aren't restricted to be only lawful stu-... good. Paladins can be whatever alignment their chosen patron god or virtue embodies best.
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