Introduction:

Many hundreds of years ago, the forces of good allied to destroy the main Temple of Orcus in the ancient city of Tsar. With their temple in ruins, the surviving high priests of this accursed demon-god fled the city with an army on their trail of heroic fighters, clerics, and paladins led by a powerful wizard. The exact fate of these evil priests is unknown, for not only did the remnants of the followers of Orcus disappear from all human reckoning, but so too did the army of light that followed after them. Some said that in the eternal scales the loss of so many good men was a fair price to pay to rid the world of so much evil. The evil cult, however, had not been destroyed. The surviving priests and their followers instead settled on a hill near a vast forest, a sylvan woodland near the coast.. They found a vast underground complex of caverns and mazes carving out a volcanic intrusion beneath the hill. There, the priests of Orcus found the perfect lair to continue their vile rituals. For many years they carried on in secret, hidden from the light and from the knowledge of men. Many years later, their underground delving completed, the evil priests erected a hideous mausoleum and a sunken graveyard atop the hill. It is believed that these graves are in fact the final resting place of the pursuing army of heroes that had been destroyed to the last man. Soon after the mausoleum was erected the peaceful creatures of the wood began to vanish. Though many rangers and druids investigated these happenings, the cause of the creatures’ disappearance was not immediately determined. Some years later, a powerful group of adventurers, led by a high priest of Heironeous, investigated the evil happenings and found the sunken graveyard leading to a labyrinthine underground complex. The Priest’s companions found great hordes of evil creatures in the caverns beneath the graveyard. Though some of his companions returned from their expedition telling tales of fantastic treasure and ferocious monsters, the Priest himself was never seen again—presumed lost in the catacombs beneath the cursed mausoleum. For the last one hundred years, ranks of adventurers swarmed to the newfound dungeon. Many fell prey to bandits and monsters in the surrounding wilderness. Of those adventurers who survived to reach the mausoleum and the sunken graveyard, rumors suggest that most were slain by guardians of green stone before they even entered the dungeon or that they perished on the very first level. Those rare few who return from deeper treks speak of horrible undead, and of creatures that cannot be slain. All who have explored offer this one universal piece of advice: “Don’t go down the Well.”

The Campaign:
This will be a Pathfinder Campaign starting at first level, open to any race, any class (no psionics), high magic, with the characters being heroes and not being knuckle dragging cave dwellers that die from starvation and/or ability damage. Not that there is nothing wrong with that.

My goal:
To make it more difficult and more fun than I usually run a game. I feel I have a soft touch as a DM and want to change that.

Character Creation:
Standard ability rolling with 4d6 per ability using only the best three dice. Rolled in front of the DM and your peers.
Hit points, first level max hit points per class, with the normal hit point die roll for higher levels. Rolled in front of the DM and your peers.
No Evil Characters are allowed. However, there might be spies with you.
All characters will be submitted to the DM and placed online or you will not play.

Game Play:
Your characters are constructs of the gods sent to finally destroy the evil that inhabits the ruins beneath the mausoleum. The gods can remove you from the game, change you, or even replace you. If someone is not available to play, there character is removed from the game (not in the middle a combat). During a downtime “sleeping” you can request to replace your character with a different character with the knowledge that the previous character will be gone forever. Any and all possessions given by the gods vanish, any items found in the dungeon, purchased, or made will remain.
Character death, when your character dies the body and any and all possessions given by the gods vanish, any items found in the dungeon, purchased, or made will remain. If these items are not retrieved during or after a combat the denizens of the dungeon will divide up the items to their benefit and later use.
There will be no penalty for dying, you can just change the name of your character if they die, and start play once the combat is over, with loss of any experience from the combat and the discretion of your fellow adventurers on treasure division (getting your stuff back).

There will be Death Traps, Deadly Encounters, with both giving high rewards to the surviving characters. Characters that survive these encounters get special one use benefits to be revealed per these special encounters. Running from an encounter is surviving the encounter but at the DM’s discretion the character may not receive the special benefit.

Item creation will only take one day unless you fail the check and will require all normal materials for the creation, (i.e. You require a forge to make a new sword or armor) and costs remain the same as in the Game Master Guide.

At sixth level, you can take the Leadership Feat, make a new character, make your current character a cohort, and start gathering followers.

With every level of the dungeon cleared, your characters reputation with the people and creatures that live around the mausoleum will grow for better or worse.

More rules to come as I think of them…

Rappan Athuk in Geb