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 means to this is simply my making this campaign setting a low-powered campaign setting. Spells of 5th level and above are pretty rare. The same goes for NPCs of 10th level and above.
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), then add two extra points, not going past the maximum score possible in your race.
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 former 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 lethal challenges, preparation, teamwork, non-violence, and moral compromise are less likely to get you killed. Also, I confess to being lukewarm about the trope that every hero’s death has to be awesome and meaningful. In some stories, people die in vain, or because their hubris led them to pick the wrong fight, and that’s okay.