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Aether Uncovered

It is the dawn of a new age.

We have toiled for countless years in the dark, dusty pits of this realm that the Lords cast us into. Working, mining, searching for ways to improve our wretched lives. There have been fights, wars, and countless deaths in the Blackness. That enticing, terrifying Blackness...
But our efforts, our pain and agony have paid off. The Lords did not know what they had sent us too, oh no, they thought they had sent us to be banished forever to the Dark Lands, to the incarnation of hell. For a time, that is what it was. But now?
We have gained something.

At first we did not know what we had found. It was strange, something we'd never seen before. We thought it was what had killed off our companions, and were wary. But we know better now. It is a gift from the gods, or perhaps even the instrument with which to become gods ourselves. It is indescribable the feeling- the raw power!
It has become the focus of our lives and destinies. It shapes us in more ways than one. Our habits, our society, even our flesh. Oh yes, we've changed. We've become something different, something new.
Something greater.

It is all thanks to that wondrous material, the drug, the breath and blood all of us here... the fifth element, the power behind life, magic, raw power, whatever we wish to call it.
It is Aether, we say.
Aether is ours now, and it has changed everything.

-Lord Proxus of House Adamant

Alright. This is a campaign world I've been working on, and it implements a fair amount of change to the DnD system.
But, I think people will enjoy the newness of it. It's also similar enough to where it will not be hard to adjust.
(For the description below, it should be noted that there is no such thing as magic in the campaign).

The premise of the campaign is that the adventurers are in a society of outcasts, underground. "The Darklands" as they are known. They are a the distant descendants of those who were cast into the darkness. It's unknown why they were banished in the first place, but what is known is that the "Lords," the ones who dwell on the surface, cast them into the darkness for some crime, some punishment which the outcasts generally did not believe was something wrong.
They've been toiling underground now for sometime, trying to make a living in the dangerous dark. Slowly they made it their home. Slowly- oh so slowly.
Then they made a discovery, after a generation. Some strange substance- thicker than air, more gaseous than water. It had... strange qualities, but was mostly feared.
Some began to study it, by the third generation. Began to use it. It could harness the elements and world around the outcasts. Change things, make their lives better. It could light fires, harness the wind, shift the earth, summon the waters. It had amazing potential.
After a few more generations, it had dominated society- it was their only way to survive in the treacherous dark. They could heal themselves with it, and harness abilities to defend themselves against the other creatures in the dark.
There are squabbles over Aether and its use. It's very desirable... even more than gold and coin. Aether drives everything.
Over the generations, the Aether changed those that used it and lived near it, giving them affinities to it and changing their metabolisms.


Aether is a strange substance that acts like a cross between air and water. It can float, and yet can be felt and captured more easily, in a fashion similar to liquids.
Aether is generally gathered in areas that seem heavily based around an element (classic elements, water, earth, air, fire). It gains and grants abilities over that element, and possibly in other areas.
Different Aether, while based on the same element, can grant radically different abilities depending on the area it was harvested from- they generally have the same focus, but the more unique abilities change. Generally all Aether can grant simple projections of their energy type, but some Aether will grant other powers.
Aether was originally used just by harnessing it where it was produced and using its effects there, but soon people began to harvest it, capturing it in bottles and vials. They thus could manipulate it anywhere they were in. However, using it was quite difficult in smaller quantities, and away from their element. After a bit more research, it was discovered that making devices out of Aether influenced materials could allow simple and easy use of Aether.
It was also discovered that the presence of Aether could speed the healing process of living beings, if implemented in the correct way.
The most common Aether using device is the Aether Glove- a glove woven from the fibers of specially Aether influenced plants, and with rock from strong Aether sites worked into it. Specially made capsules can be placed into slots on the glove, allowing the wearer to manipulate elements using the stored Aether.

Despite what is known of Aether, it is still extremely rare. The houses in power may have fewer than twenty vials of harvested Aether, and most common folk are unlikely to ever do more than see or touch Aether.


There are three sections of the world so far: The Bright Lands, the Dark Lands, and the Blackness.
The Bright Lands are unknown, but are known to be above ground, far away. They are fabled to filled with food and light. They are ruled over by the mysterious Lords, who are said to be powerful and unmerciful.

The Dark Lands are the underground that the outcast society is in. It is a large, long section of tunnels claimed by certain cities and organizations. It also includes several locations that are known to produce Aether. The Dark Lands contain somewhere around 50,000 people.

The Blackness is the mostly unexplored territory beyond the Dark Lands. The outcasts constantly yearn to explore and civilize areas that they donít control, and find the Aether that is no doubt produced somewhere in there, but the unexplored territories are extremely dangerous, containing monsters and unstable tunnels. The edges of the Blackness are somewhat known, and maps can be found of them, but beyond that, one had best record their passage, or theyíll become lost.
It earned its name from two sources- itís unknown and, indeed, black quality, and from the religion that is most popular in the Dark Lands.


House Adamant
This house is the largest, oldest house, gathering influence merely because of its far reaching grasp and reputation. It has the largest supply of Aether, mostly Earth Aether (since that is the most common).
-You may not join a different House if you are in House Adamant.

House Nereid
House Nereid isnít a very wealthy house. It isnít the oldest house, and it doesnít control a lot of Aether. And yet, they manage to a large amount of influence. As such, they get good prices on Aether and equipment. They do, however, have a small cache of water based Aether.
-You may not join a different house if you are in House Nereid.

House Vesper
House Vesper was a small, unimportant house until it struck gold, finding a source of Air based Aether. As Air based Aether is extremely rare, they soon gained a large amount of money and influence. They have the largest store of Air Aether, and are working on collecting other sources, though they have found mediocre amounts at best.
-You may not join another House if you are in House Vesper.
-If you have the Air Touched racial trait, you must be in House Vesper.

Minerís Guild
The guild was the first organization in existence. It has been the main method of getting money, opening up new territory, and gathering supplies. Though it is focused around mining out new areas, it has expanded rapidly due to influence. The Minerís guild provides guards and mercenaries whose original purpose were to guide and guard miners. They contract to explore areas, and even build in new areas.
Their Aether access is fairly good, as they claim a small tax on any they find while mining or exploring for someone. However, they mostly implement their Aether rather than store or use it.
-Joining the Miner's guild grants you gain a minor discount on equipment.

Pyroclast Clan
This clan is a new group that started, when some people defied the House system (which is based on marriage and bloodline) and started their own group. Theyíre not especially popular, but they are daring, and have been taking jobs as explorers and stockpiling their own Aether. While unpopular, they certainly are renowned for their audacityÖ
Recently they struck a huge deposit of fire Aether.
-You are unable to join a House.


There is one major religion in the Dark Lands. It is known as Andu.
Andu is an animistic religion.
Body and soul are a joint thing, the religion says, but they can be separated. A body can continue to exist, function, and act normally without a soul, but the soul is what determines the force of personality, their luck, and their afterlife. Someone who keeps their soul safe and pure will transcend the body and pass on to the Radiance, an afterlife where all souls and minds meet and perfect themselves. Someone who befouls and loses their soul will be devoured by the Blackness, ever wandering in a search to become complete.

A good percentage of those in the Dark Lands are atheistic, however.

New and Changed Mechanics

Class Point System

This is the biggest change.
The class system has been removed. There are no classes. Instead, we have a point based system allowing you to buy anything a class will have normally offered.
I've remade a few class abilities into feats, and you can buy feats with points. If there is a class ability you want that isn't offered, I'll see how I can stick it in with some homebrewing.

You gain 20 CP (Class Points) per level, except as noted below:
At 1st level you gain 18 CP.

You may spend CP as follows:

1 CP = 1 HP (Max 12 HP per level)
A character has an automatic starting 4 HP at 1st level.

Saving Throws:
2 CP = +1 to any saving throw (One Saving Throw (of each type) increase per level)
A character gains one free +1 to any saving throw at first level

Base Attack Bonus
6 CP = +1 to BAB (One BAB increase per level)

4 CP = 1 Feat (Two feats per level)
(You automatically gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, light, medium, and heavy armor, and shields)

1 CP = 2 skill points (Max of 10 skill points per level)
A character gains 16 free skill points at first level
Choose ten skills to be class skills (Spend 1 CP to make any one skill a class skill)

Discounts and Organizations

At certain points (or from your backstory) you may be part of a certain organization. They may give you discounts on certain items depending on your standing.
A minor discount translates to a 5% discount in price, a moderate discount 10%, and major is 15%.
You may only join one house (or the Pyroclast clan), but you can join multiple guilds (assuming you have the time to dedicate to them).
Discounts do not stack. You take the largest discount available to you.
You may start off (via backstory) in no more than one organization.

New Feats

Prerequisite: Base Reflex Save +3
You gain evasion (as rogue ability)

Fast Movement
Add +10ft to your base land spend.

Improved Uncanny Dodge
Prerequisites: Uncanny Dodge, 4th level
(As Barbarian Ability)

Sneak Attack
+1d6 sneak attack (as rogue ability)
Special: You may take this feat multiple times, but you may only take this feat once per two levels. Its effects stack.

You gain the Trapfinding ability (as rogue ability)

Trap Sense
Prerequisite: Trapfinding, level 3
You gain the Trapsense ability (as rogue ability)

Uncanny Dodge
(As Barbarian Ability)

Point Buy and Ability Scores

I am using the point buy system only for ability scores. The point buy table is shown below:

Ability Score Ė Points Spent

I also added a few things to the ability scores Charisma and Wisdom.

Itís always been the dump stat, but no more! Charisma now influences your luckÖ a number of times per day equal to your charisma modifier, you can add a d6 to a d20 roll (before you know the outcome of the roll).

This is normally an important score, but now that spells are gone it kind of goes down the drain with Charisma. However, trust me when I say there is a good use for this later on.
For now thoughÖ
A number of times per day equal to your wisdom modifier you can grant yourself a +2 insight bonus to any save as a swift action.


There is only one race- humans. You may, however, customize your racial attributes by adding on certain templates as detailed below.

-Elemental Templates-
Apply these to creatures that have been exposed to large amounts of the appropriate Aether. You may only apply one elemental template to a character.

Air Touched
Air Touched do not gain the extra feat and skills that humans normally gain. Instead, they gain the following:
+1 racial bonus to reflex saves
Breathless (Ex): Members of air races do not breathe, so they have immunity to drowning, suffocation, and attacks that require inhalation (such as some types of poison).
+2 Dexterity, -2 Strength

Earth Touched
Earth Touched do not gain the extra feat and skills that humans normally gain. Instead, they gain the following:
+1 racial bonus to fortitude saves
Stability: An Earth Touched gains a +4 bonus on ability checks made to resist being bull rushed or tripped when standing on the ground (but not when climbing, flying, riding, or otherwise not standing firmly on the ground).
+2 Constitution, -2 Dexterity

Fire Touched
Fire Touched do not gain the extra feat and skills that humans normally gain. Instead, they gain the following:
+1 racial bonus to will saves.
Resistance to Fire 5.
+2 Dexterity, -2 Constitution

Water Touched
Water Touched do not gain the extra feat and skills that humans normally gain. Instead, they gain the following:
+1 racial bonus to fortitude saves
Natural Swimmers: Water Touched have a swim speed equal to their base land speed. A Water Touched can move through water at its swim speed without making Swim checks. It has a +8 racial bonus on any Swim check to perform some special action or avoid a hazard. A Water Touched can always choose to take 10 on a Swim check, even if distracted or endangered. It can use the run action while swimming, provided it swims in a straight line.

-Lifestyle Templates-
You may choose one lifestyle template.

You werenít especially bright, never were. But you knew how to exercise, and thatís all that mattered.
+2 Strength, -2 Intelligence.

Heavy Weight
Youíre big. Really big. Itís kind of gross.
+2 Constitution, -2 Charisma.

You could always catch something- but thatís probably because you were always getting yourself into situations where you had to.
+2 Dexterity, -2 Wisdom.

Youíre quite wise, but perhaps lacking in other physical prowess.
+2 Wisdom, -2 Strength.

Youíve spent your time learning, and it has come at the expense of your health.
+2 Intelligence, -2 Constitution.

You know exactly what to say, but are too focused on moving your mouth as opposed to anything else.
+2 Charisma, -2 Dexterity.

Skill System

The following changes are implemented to the skill system.

Iím using Rich Burlewís Diplomacy Variant. It can be found here.

Knowledge Skills
Amber E. Scottís Knowledge Is Power variant will be used. It can be found here.
Knowledge Arcana and the Planes have been removed.
There is a new knowledge skill- Knowledge (Aether)

Spellcraft has been removed.
Use Magic Device has been removed.

There is a new skill that has been implemented: Use Aether.

Use Aether (Int)
This skill helps activate and identify Aether, and use Aether related devices.
DC 15 Identify Aether in use (you must be able to see it). No action required. No retry.
DC 20 Identify Aether. No action required. No retry.
DC 20 Activate Raw Aether. Standard Action.
DC 25 Activate Captured Aether. Standard Action.

Action: Varies, as noted above.

Special: If you an elemental race, you get a +2 bonus on Use Aether checks with the appropriate elemental Aether.

-If you have 5 or more ranks in Knowledge (Aether) then you get a +2 bonus on Use Aether checks.


So, now that all of that is out of the way, here are the campaign specifics:

I'm looking for 3-4 players, but I will take more or less depending on who wants to join.
It is not first come first serve. I will pick and choose who I want depending on the characters made, back story (if you want help with backstory, PM or IM me), and anything else I might want to judge on.
I do want nice backgrounds for characters though- I want to see that you've put work into them. Again, if you need campaign specific details, I can provide them, but I'd just like a skeleton of a background to work with, at least.

We are using 30 point buy for starting characters (at third level). You have a grand total of 900 starting gold (but there are no magic items, so it's no big deal.)
We're using all the variants I listed above. I may implement a system involving the UA variant of Flaws and Traits if people are interested.
You may have no magical or supernatural abilities gained by feats or other sources (though you may talk to me if there is something you think would fit anyways).
I have all the books. All of them. Just list where you got something (a skill, a feat, or a class ability you want as a feat) and it'll all be good.

Oh, right, one more thing that I didn't bother mentioning up in the variant rules. There are no alignments. There are no spells that deal with alignments, and the alignment system itself is silly.
Your character is free to have a personality and morals, it just won't be alignment.

All die rolls with be made by me. Just post what actions you want to take and I'll roll it all out and give descriptions of what is happening.
As such, I want all combat posts to have the following format:
Descriptive Text
(Action Type B + Another Action A)

Ex. 1:
Bob the Epic Commoner walks forwards and slashes at his foe with his scythe.
(Move Action + Standard Attack Action)

Ex. 2:
Bob the Epic Commoner cartwheels over onto the ground, then tries to use his legs in a scissor like motion from the ground to knock over his opponent before flicking him the bird as a taunt.
(Move Action to Tumble + Free Action to Drop Prone + Standard Action for Grapple Attempt + Free Action to Give Bird)

If I think you've done a cool or realistic explanation of something, you may get a bonus to doing it.

The game style will mostly be left up to you, the players. As it is, I'll launch you into a small quest in the beginning, and if you don't like it, well then you'll just get to toss it out the window and go find something more interesting. I'm thinking this game will have an emphasis on combat, but plenty of opportunity to do other things (with the houses and guilds, there will certainly be diplomatic/social opportunities.) I'd like a fair amount of roleplay from those involved- I don't determine what your characters do, after all.
I'd like to implement a little system for roleplay, however. If you're getting a bit bored of roleplaying, or need to shift gears or whatever your reason- if you're ready for me to switch back into DM mode and hand you something to do (rather than sit back and make comments as needed while the PCs interact) then just put a note in the bottom of your post, and I'll find a way to get things back on the road again.

And uh... I think that's it. Start making characters, people, and we'll see how this goes.


*Runs off to make character.*

I haven't read through the whole thing yet, and will more than likely need help creating my character.

*slowly starts reading through among other things*

I second Gnrl, interesting. I'll start making a character as soon as I can.

Anyone need specific help?
Homebrew feats?

I'm thinking that I'll implement a system so you can take a flaw and gain four CP.
Also, I may split certain traits in half and allow you to spend/gain CP from taking either side.

Are we talking the standard 'Max two flaw' setup?

Just wanting to nail everything down before I get started.

Max two flaws. You can take one every fifth level (or at 1st).

So you can take one flaw and level one and then another at five?

Or can you take both at level one?

Because flaws usually represent some inherent, well, flaw in one's PC. Gaining new ones would be... odd.

You'd have to have a reasonable explanation for how you gained it, but yes, you can take flaws after level one.
You CAN take them both at level one though.

Note: You get Craft and Profession as free skills.

Character entry submitted.



That should cover all the stats and the like. I'll make the background and so forth shortly.

I would be interested, but same as Kyrian would need help with a character. I'm thinking Fire Touched Nimble.

I would be happy to help with the PC building. I'm pretty good at putting martial types together. Just tell me what you want them to be able to do and I can probably point you in the direction of the right feats.

If anyone needs help or has questions or anything... I've got my AIM, MSN, and (I think) Yahoo listed.
Or you can PM me.

Thanks guys. I can't start right now as I have other things to do such as homework and jazz band later. But maybe later in the week or Sunday.

Here's my character so far, Brevice, I'm still tweaking him a bit and his backstory isn't done yet, so expect a bit of change in him.

A few notes, just because of people talking to me-

Aether is not mined. You may mine to FIND Aether, but you're not prying it out of a wall and smelting it. Furthermore, once you find a source, it produces "regularly." Regularly being maybe once every few years or so. Maybe. Aether comes up in clumps- each clump, conveniently and interestingly, is enough to be usable as fuel for Aether powers. These clumps are then scooped up by the houses as they come out/are found.
Aether is normally found in natural caverns.

Despite the name, the miner's guild doesn't do too much mining. They're more of a group of water diviners. They run around looking for Aether, beat things/rocks up in their way, make the area where the aether is more habitable, then skedattle and let the House that hired them come in and take over the Aether supply.

Element touched templates are hereditary. You cannot gain a template in your life time- it has to have been passed down by the parents due to constant exposure to Aether, unless something really weird is going on.

Now I have to modify my background.

*shakes fist*


*modifies background*

A spot still open? If yes, I think I would want to join then...

As stated in the second post, it is not first come first serve. I will pick and choose who I want to join.
So feel free to make up a character. After I've gotten enough, I'll decide who gets in.


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