No Man's Land
“Heading south from Umar? You’ll hit a place called Bleakiron in just under five days if you don’t get lost. Decent place to fill up on supplies before you hit the badlands.” – Desmond Fuerte, stable worker
“No Man’s Land: Borders in Blood” is intended as an open-ended campaign arc to provide a world in which heroes can rise to power and attempt to wield what influence they wish to shape the world around them. Divine spell-casters hold a unique role in this world, as the only sources of divine power exist within the mortal world. Because of the history of the Planar-Nexus Event (PNE), travel between “planes” is not possible in the familiar ways. The campaign begins at the beginning of summer in the mining town of Bleakiron.
This page is for those looking to get started building a character. If you would first like to learn about the in a bit more detail, please see the page Nexus, which will introduce the state of the world and the major players.
Character Building Basis:
The following races are available for play, and will have an entry in the “Races” Section: Aasimar, Catfolk, Changeling, Dhamphir, Drow, Duergar, Dwarf, Elf, Fetchling, Gillman, Gnome, Goblin, Grippli, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Hobgoblin, Human, Ifrit, Kitsune, Kobold, Merfolk, Nagaji, Orc, Oread, Ratfolk, Samsaran, Strix, Suli, Svirfneblin, Sylph, Tengu, Tiefling, Undine, Vanara, Vishkanya, and Wayang.
All Paizo published classes except Gunslinger are available. Archetypes are allowed, but should be cleared with your GM before play begins. Firearm crafting feats, proficiencies, and any archetypes granting them are unavailable.
“No Man’s Land” is written for a 15-point standard fantasy buy. For starting wealth, players may choose to roll or take average, but must choose before rolling. Players will start with one set of clothing worth 10 gp or less and their rolled wealth, in addition to any items granted by their class or traits at first level (such as a bonded item).
Traits and Drawbacks:
Each character will begin play with a standard of two traits. A character may willingly take up to one drawback. If a drawback is taken, the character begins play with a total of three traits and one drawback instead of two traits.
The following traits are available as Campaign Traits for characters being built for No Man’s Land. Note that all these traits are mechanically equivalent to published campaign traits, but have had their flavor modified to better suit the setting.
Chance Savior: Life in the scarred lands between the Empires has taught you to be careful. In fact, you once were nearly killed until a passing adventurer saved your life. Left with a debt to this wandering warrior, you have since been more careful to act quickly to respond to danger. Benefit: Gain a +2 trait bonus to initiative.
Inspired by Greatness: Powerful creatures walk the land, and lucky mortals may glimpse the clash of such inspirational beings as Archangels, Pit Fiends, Demon Lords, and Archfey. Once, you were lucky enough to glimpse such a clash, and one particular display inspired you to pursue your studies of magic and the mystical. Benefit: Choose a spell you know. You now cast that spell at +1 caster level.
On the Payroll: The network of drug smugglers necessitates the employ of desperate, greedy, or ambitious. Merope is the drug of choice for any who can afford it, and those trusted to carry it are well rewarded for their reliable service. As a Merope smuggler in Bleakiron, you have worked your way up the ranks of a smuggler’s guild or gang, and your coin purse is significantly heavier than it would be otherwise to show for it. Benefit: You begin play with 150 gp more than your normal starting wealth.
Subject of Study: Grudges run deep in the wild places outside of imperial control, and wild beasts are often an incredible threat. Magical beasts, giants, drakes, demons, and angels ravage isolated homes and hamlets. Your family was attacked by some threat, and claimed the life of someone beloved to you. Channeling your wrath, you have studied effective ways to bring down these hated foes after moving to the relative safety of Bleakiron. Benefit: Choose a non-humanoid creature type (and subtype if you choose outsider). Gain a +1 trait bonus to damage rolls against enemies of this type.
Teacher’s Pet: Education is a valuable resource outside the empire, where the encroaching wilds and unforgiving environment often prevent the establishment and maintenance of academies. Lucky enough to find a mentor in Bleakiron, you took full advantage of your tutelage to broaden your mind. Benefit: Choose a knowledge skill. You gain a +2 trait bonus to the chosen knowledge skill, and it is always a class skill for you.
Diabolist Raised: Brought up within Avernus, your parents were dedicated to the fanatical worship of the nearest Duke or Baron. While never fully initiated into their rites before you fled the Iron Cities for the borderlands, you overheard and gathered enough to be marked by the knowledge and use it to your advantage. Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks made against nobility of a specific city or region, and a +1 bonus on all saving throws made against mind-affecting attacks from devils.
Firebrand: Never satisfied with the status quo, you eagerly speak out against encroachment on the free lands and hunt out influence from the manipulative outsiders. Some call you paranoid, others a rabble-rouser, and the guards rarely appreciate your tendency to act outside their authority, but your heart is in the right place, and you will not let Bleakiron fall. Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus to initiative checks, and if you act in a surprise round, you gain a +1 trait bonus to all attack rolls made during that surprise round.
Infernal Bastard (Tiefling): Unlike most of the Tieflings of Avernus, your blood runs thin. Whether your lineage is growing farther from the source of its wicked taint, or you were born of impure mixing of races, you were considered a runt and outcast by Avernan Tieflings. Benefit: You lack a Tiefling’s standard resistances to cold, electricity, and fire – Instead, you gain a +2 racial bonus on all saving throws made against these effects. Likewise, you do not have the ability to use darkness as a spell-like ability once per day – instead, you may choose any one 0-level spell that you can instead use at will as a spell-like ability.
Drug Addict: Either you or someone close to you has fallen into regular use of Merope, tempted by its promise to illicit dreams and sweet oblivion. This addiction quickly led to an accidental massive overdose. If you are the addict, you recovered, though still struggle with the desire to take the magically distilled drug despite your distaste for what they can do. If your friend or family member is the addict, they have fallen into a magically induced coma, and may not survive. After the overdose, you took it upon yourself to investigate the source of these drugs, and identified a local crime lord responsible for the tragedy in Bleakiron. Unfortunately, local guards seem uninterested in your finds or unwilling to investigate what may be a dead end. Benefit (Addicted Friend): Your research into the drug scene and local politics has given you a respectable education in street knowledge. You gain your choice of a +2 trait bonus on Knowledge (local) checks or Diplomacy checks to gather information. Benefit (Personal Addiction): You were the addict, and you blame the crimelord for your brush with death. Luckily, your body has learned to flush toxins quickly, and you gain a +1 trait bonus to Fortitude saves.
Framed: Someone you know and love was accused of murder, and a supposed eyewitness account from a local miner seemed enough to seal the case, though the accused had enough alibis that sentencing wasn’t immediate. You confronted the miner and discovered that he was intimidated into providing false witness and forced into planting the murder weapon by the one responsible for the murder – a local crimelord. Thugs got to the miner before he could recant his testimony. The removal of this key witness led to enough suspicion that your loved one now lives in the local prison, though you have the sympathy of a local guard who has promised to help you free the accused if you can prove the crimelord is responsible. Benefit: You found you have a skilled tongue for tricking the truth out of people when you learned the truth from the miner. Gain a +2 trait bonus on Bluff checks.
Love Lost: Someone you loved was knifed to death in a dark alley one night. You were called to the scene by the guard to identify the body, and as difficult as that was for you, you also noticed a ring was missing from the body. Whoever murdered your loved one stole that ring – you’re certain of it. You’ve done independent investigation and recently found the ring for sale at Delban’s Secondhand Goods, a pawn shop in Bleakiron. Although, to your great frustration, you cannot yet afford to buy it back, you did manage to bribe Delban into telling you from whom he purchased the ring. It seems likely that this criminal either killed your loved one, or knows who did. The only problem is finding him. Benefit (Orphaned): The murder victim was your last surviving parent. You had to grow up fast to support yourself and any siblings you have. Gain a +2 trait bonus to your choice of a single Craft, Perform, or Profession check. Benefit (Widowed): The murder victim was your lover. With their death, a part of you died as well, leaving you haunted, grim, and prone to dark musings. You gain a +2 trait bonus on Intimidate checks.
Missing Sibling: Years ago, one of your brothers or sisters was abducted while you were growing up in Bleakiron. It was long enough ago that everyone else has given up hope, but you believe your sibling still lives somewhere out there. Your constant search for them has developed into a great skill at rumor mongering and finding information. Benefit: Diplomacy and Sense Motive are always class skills for you.
Missing Son or Daughter: Your child has been abducted during a trip to the market or other daily routine. You have spent the last year dedicating your life to finding them, dredging up any rumors and stubbornly refusing to believe they are gone forever. This assurance drives you, and you keep a small image of them on you at all times. Benefit: Gain a +1 trait bonus to Will saves.
Unhappy Childhood: You spent a period of your life enslaved by a crimelord in an adjacent town. While slavery is illegal in Bleakiron, it is not so in all border cities. You grew up in the city of Umar, one of several child slaves to a local crimelord. You made one too many mistakes for his liking, and he beat you within an inch of your life, leaving you for dead in the town’s garbage heap. You survived, finding your way through the wilderness to Bleakiron. To this day, your scars and memories have honed your reaction speed and make you rather jumpy. Benefit: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Reflex saves.
Foster Child: Without your biological parents at hand, you were taken in by a foster family who welcomed you as a child of their own. The cultural shift took getting used to, but you quickly learned that your new parents had knowledge that you were fascinated by. Benefit: Choose any knowledge skill. You gain a +2 trait bonus on the chosen knowledge skill, and it is always a class skill for you. In addition, you gain a +1 trait bonus on all attack rolls against foes threatening your adopted family.
Brigand: Not all heroes have savory backgrounds, and yours is similarly stained by crime. You know how to ambush travelers, bully traders, avoid the law, and camp off the beaten path. As a part of the Crimson Claw Bandits, you were \recently expelled due to rivalry with a few other members, and left that life behind – at least for now. Finding yourself in Bleakiron posing as a sword for hire, you contemplate exacting vengeance against the bandits who kicked you out or hope to make an honest living. From now on, anyway. Benefit: You begin play with 100 gp in ill-gotten gains. You also gain a +1 trait bonus on Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, and Sense Motive checks when dealing with bandits, thieves, and other criminals.
Sword Scion: Growing up in Bleakiron, it is impossible not to hear about the legendary dwarven warrior Rigror Hroph, whose legendary skill with his swords protected the mine from invading bandits on three separate occasions. Considered the local hero, you have grown up idealizing the sword and what it stands for, and have studied with the guards and local mercenaries how to handle the blade. You may be young, but you are eager to test your mettle against the world. Benefit: You being play with your choice of a longsword or dueling sword at no cost, and gain a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls and combat maneuver checks made with the chosen weapon type.
Gnoll Killer: Packs of Gnolls have been known to occasionally descend from the hills to the east, besieging Bleakiron for days. The most recent of these attacks occurred four years ago, and you eagerly joined in the defense. These wicked, demon-worshiping beasts earned your ire and the chance to wipe them from the plains drives you to this day. Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus on attack rolls and weapon damage rolls against gnolls. If you are a ranger and your first favored enemy is humanoid (gnoll), increase this trait bonus to +2.
Missionary: Though independent of Elysium, you think Bleakiron would do well to revere the virtues of the angels. Despite the unpopularity of worship, you attempt to earn a small following while evading the unhappy crimelord who doesn’t appreciate religious authorities entering into his turf. Benefits: Choose one of the following skills: Bluff, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Knowledge (religion), Perform (oratory), or Sense Motive. You gain a +1 trait bonus to the chosen skill, and it is always a class skill for you.
Trap Finder: In the hills around Bleakiron ruins are not uncommon. Forgotten dungeons and ancient tombs have always held an appeal for you, and you’ve never been able to resist the urge to delve into these lost sites in search of knowledge, treasure, or both. You may not have received any formal training in the roguish arts, but you’ve nonetheless become skilled at spotting and disabling hidden traps. Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Disable Device checks, and that skill is always a class skill for you. In addition, you can use Disable Device to disarm magic traps as a rogue.
Inquisitive Archaeologist: Though you have only been to the ruins near Bleakiron, you have studied scrolls and books of the architectural styles of many nations. Eager to test your book knowledge in the field, you hope to soon delve into a dungeon to unlock the secrets of the past. Benefits: You gain a +2 trait bonus on Knowledge (engineering) checks, and that skill is always a class skill for you. In addition, you gain a +2 trait bonus on Perception checks to find concealed or secret doors in ancient structures.
Exchange Agent: As an employee of a local crimelord, you have recently been sent on an exchange to another city. You were a guard to a higher ranking member of the crime family, but still got to take in the port city of Umar and experience the blending of cultures that Bleakiron just doesn’t offer. A month ago, you returned from this exchange, a deal struck for your boss and your mind broadened. Benefits: You gain a bonus language. Additionally, choose one of the following skills: Handle Animal, Knowledge (geography), Linguistics, or Survival. You gain a +1 trait bonus on the chosen skill, and it is always a class skill for you.
Former Assassin: Previously, you were a hired killer. Serving a local crime lord to pay off a debt, you have a dark past. Whether you embrace or regret this, you have left the life behind. Your previous employer still considers you a resource, and criminals occasionally buy you drinks in the Burning Troll before asking your help to break the law once again. Your reputation precedes you in the underworld, and it seems likely you will never fully escape your past. Benefits: You gain a +2 trait bonus on Bluff checks. In addition, whenever you deliver a coup de grace, you deal an additional 1d6 points of damage.
Ruin Raider: Driven by your desire for the wealth said to be locked in the ruins around Bleakiron, you have explored nearby caves and abandoned forts in hopes of securing financial stability. You have claimed a small treasure for yourself as proof of your abilities, but were nearly killed by a gargoyle. Shaken by the experience, you have studied how to recognize these hidden dangers. Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Appraise checks. Additionally, you gain a +4 trait bonus on Perception checks made to distinguish statue-like creatures (such as caryatid columns and gargoyles) from actual sculptures.
Barroom Talespinner: You grew up listening to tales of adventure on the seas, across the plains, and in the deep caves. Inspired by such tales overheard at the Burning Troll, you have learned how to spin your own tales in the style of grizzled mercenaries, pirates, and adventurers. Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Diplomacy checks and one Perform check, and these are always class skills for you.
Dockside Brawler: You grew up on the dangerous side of town in Umar, learning that fists often make a better point than fancy words. You’ve always preferred action to talk, anyway. Not long ago, you were drinking in Umar’s infamous White Kraken Barroom, when a patron decided to pick a fight with you. You handled yourself well, but when the guards descended to quell the fight, you were forced to flee to avoid arrest. You were able to conceal the brass knuckles that won you the fight, and find yourself a recent traveler in Bleakiron’s Burning Troll Tavern. Benefits: You begin play with a set of brass knuckles at no cost. You gain a +1 trait bonus to damage rolls with brass knuckles and improvised weapons.
Natural Born Sailor: You were born aboard a ship at sea or down by the docks in a port city on an auspicious day. Old salts and sea dogs nod knowingly and say that Dagon has parted his tentacles for you. Whatever your feelings on this, you’ve always felt at home on the sea and strange on the land. You came to Umar serving on a trading ship. After several too many drinks, you blacked out, and came to in the care of a healer in the mining town of Bleakiron. Learning the day, you realize that you missed your ship and are now stranded inland until you can secure means of passage to get back to the sea. Benefits: You gain a +1 trait bonus on Perception and Profession (sailor) checks. In addition, once per week you can reroll a Profession (sailor) check and take the higher result. You must announce that you are using this ability before the GM reveals the results of your sailing check.
Peg Leg: Life on the frontier is unforgiving, even to children. At a young age, an encounter with a wolf, alligator, gnoll, goblin, or orc claimed one of your legs. Unable to regrow the limb with the limited magic at hand, you were fitted with a wooden prosthesis. Growing up with the crippling loss has left you able to function quite well as an adult, taking none of the normal penalties of a peg leg. Living in the city now, you lead a normal life, save your ongoing distaste for creatures like the one that claimed your leg. Benefits: You’ve learned to deal with the pain of your injury well, and take no speed penalties for using a peg leg and gaining a +1 trait bonus on Fortitude saves. Since your accident, you’ve hated the creature that crippled you, and you gain a +1 trait bonus on damage rolls against creatures of either the beast, reptile, gnoll, goblinoid, or orc subtype.
Racial heritage feats, such as Drow Nobility, are allowed, but should have a basis in your character’s backstory and be approved by the GM. Leadership at appropriate levels will be allowed, but the players will need to establish a base of operations before cohorts can be attracted. A follower may still be persuaded to join you before this.
Gunsmithing, Weapon Proficiency (Firearm), Extra Grit, and any feats relying on them as prerequisites are not allowed.