Threshold: Session Zero Continues

Art by Carolina Cesario

Earlier this month I revealed my plan to run an online Eberron campaign for my Patreon supporters. The campaign will use a set of pregenerated characters, but the players for each session will be determined by a challenge posed to supporters.

Currently I’m involved in Session Zero: the same process I’d use to lay the groundwork of a campaign at the table, but drawn out and resolved by polling supporters. Through this process, we’ve established a number of important details. Threshold is a town on the edge of Breland, the last outpost of civilization before you reach Graywall. It is in the domain of Count ir’Blis, and a core group of settlers are Brelish veterans who served ir’Blis during the Last War. However, the town has become a haven for devotees of a Sovereign Host sect known as the Three Faces of Coin—a faith devoted to facilitating trade and profit, whether through legitimate commerce or shadier paths. Their efforts helped draw House Orien to the town, and Orien has brought in a local kobold clan to help with labor; this has also brought the Cazhaak faith—an alternate interpretation of the Dark Six—to Threshold. Recently, ir’Blis has allowed a large contingent of Cyran refugees to settle in the town, and they’ve been joined by a few goblin families from Sharn. So there’s a mix of people in Threshold, and lots of potential for conflict and intrigue.

The supporters decided that the adventurers were working for the town itself—that each character has a tie to Threshold and a stake in its prosperity. The next step in this session zero is to define the characters themselves. Through polls, we’re going to define a total of ten characters that will form the recurring cast of player characters; this will ensure that every player will have some options in deciding who to play. We’re starting with a poll that chooses the basic concepts for two characters; the next poll will add details and determine their classes and subclasses.

So, currently we are selecting two characters that I’m defining as The Muscle. Here’s the concepts people are choosing from:

  • The Sheriff is a warforged juggernaut who served under Count ir’Blis during the Last War, and they have ties to the Brelish veterans who make up part of the population. Along with the Steward, the Sheriff represents the interests of ir’Blis and is tasked to maintain order in Threshold. The next round of questions will determine if the Sheriff is a grim realist, or if they are driven by faith or idealism. 
  • The Marshal is a dragonmarked former Sentinel Marshal of House Deneith. They’re no longer part of the house, and rumors swirl as to whether they were excoriated for wrongdoing or severed ties of their own accord. Either way, they believe in justice and they’re determined to make a difference in Threshold.
  • The Smith is a Cyran shifter just trying to make an honest living. They’ve opened a general store with their partner, a Cannith tinker. They don’t like to talk about what they did during the war, but they can swing a hammer and you won’t like them when they’re angry. They’re respected within the community of Cyran refugees within the town, and pursue the interests of their people. 
  • The Hunter is a Tharashk half-orc and licensed bounty hunter. They’ve been working the frontier for a decade, and know their way around Droaam and the wilds. Their first interest is profit, and they have ties to the Three Faces of War… but thanks to their time in Droaam, they’ve also adopted some of the beliefs of the Cazhaak faith. 

All of these characters will be part of Threshold. The question is which ones will be player characters, and which ones will be NPCs with their own secrets and goals. Will the Sheriff be a player character responsible for maintaining order—or will the Sheriff be an NPC the adventurers will have to deal with if they cause trouble?

Part of what I love about the Session Zero process is seeing how the story evolves through collaboration. I have my own ideas for the story, but things will definitely change depending on which of the characters are selected and the decisions made in the next round of questions. If you’d like to be a part of this process—and to potentially join in the game—join the Threshold tier of my Patreon!

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