In 2009 I traveled around the world, going from place to place and running an Eberron session for everyone I stayed with. One of the things I loved about that was getting meet and play with a vast range of different people. Thanks to the pandemic, travel isn’t in the cards for the forseeable future. So at the end of last year I started working on something else: an online campaign for my Patreon supporters. This is an ongoing campaign that is based in the town of Threshold and that uses a roster of ten established player characters… but each session, da different set of players will play those characters. In between sessions, all of my patrons will have a chance to shape the town and the story through polls and other activities—so even people who don’t have a chance to play will be a part of the campaign.
In the winter of 2020 I worked with my patrons to build our roster of characters. I’ve set up a campaign site where patrons can review the characters and the ongoing progress of the campaign, as well as adding session logs and other notes. In January I ran the first session of Threshold, and patrons have access to the video of that session. Now I’m getting ready for the second session, and I’m doing the casting call. If you might like to play in that session, read on!
My original idea was that I would randomly select the players for each session from my pool of patrons. However, Patreon has strict rules that prevent any such randomized benefits. However, they do allow contests. So first I polled supporters to choose the time for the session—I’ll be running each session at a different time, to ensure that all patrons have an opportunity to participate, regardless of their time zone. This next session is going to be at 10 AM – 2 PM Pacific Time, February 21st. Today I opened up the contest. As I said, Threshold uses a roster of ten player characters:
- Bel, the Smith (Beasthide shifter, Beast barbarian, folk hero)
- Briar, the Greensinger (Changeling, Dreams druid, entertainer)
- Deven, the Tailor (Goblin, Mastermind rogue, spy)
- Ja’taarka, the Good Boy (Worg, Gloom Stalker ranger, soldier)
- Rolan Harn, the Marshal (Deneith human, Battle Master fighter, soldier)
- Sora, the Stonespeaker (Sivis gnome, Scribe wizard, sage)
- Tari, the Flame (Kalashtar, Divine Soul sorcerer, urchin)
- Three-Widow Jane, the Wandslinger (Khoravar, Genie warlock, criminal)
- Ink, the Scholar (Ruinbound dwarf, Alchemist artificer, sage)
- Vael, the Mystery (Valenar elf, Glory paladin, folk hero)
For this session, the challenge is to choose a character you want to play and to describe their connection to another character. If I chose your answer, that becomes part of the developing canon. So last session we established that the scholar Ink had gone on a disastrous date with Three-Widow Jane, that Rolan had danced with Sora at a grand ball in Sharn, and that one of Deven’s teenage daughters is a student at Ink’s schoolhouse. So regardless of what happens in the actual adventure, the characters and the story will continue to evolve.
Now, I’ve used that challenge for these first two sessions because it’s a good way to build a strong foundation for these shared characters. But I will use different challenges in the future. Perhaps one session I’ll have people draw a sketch of the character they want to play, or to present me with an Eberron-themed limerick. I want to make sure that everyone has a chance to play, regardless of their time zone or talents. With only five players each session, that may take a while… but even those who don’t play still get to help shape the story. And again, the video and audio of the session are shared with patrons, so everyone gets to follow along with the story.
If this sounds interesting to you, go to my Patreon and support at the Threshold level; the most recent Threshold post includes the specific details of the challenge and the link to the campaign website, where you can learn more about the established characters. The current challenge runs until noon on Wednesday the 17th, and I’ll be running the session on the 21st. I’m going to run at least one session a month; if there’s sufficient interest and support, I might be able to accelerate that.
While the campaign is only just beginning, I’ve really enjoyed the process of creating the town and the adventurers. As is suggested by the image at the top, this is a campaign that blends fantasy with elements of the Western genre, something I’ve previously explored in Q’barra. Threshold is set on the opposite side Khorvaire, on the border between Breland and the rising nation of Droaam. It’s a town where a worg can duel an agent of a dragonmarked house, where the ever-expanding lightning rail brings prosperity and unexpected dangers. Beyond the campaign, I’m currently developing this sub-setting in a sourcebook for the DM’s Guild, Frontiers of Eberron: Threshold; so this is a chance to get a sneak peek at what lies ahead!
Thanks for reading, and I hope to see you in Threshold!
Not in the current lineup, but there will surely be interaction with the Znir gnolls and a gnoll character could show up temporarily or long term.
I noticed that Ja’taarka is a worg. What are its stats? Are they a reskin of another race (perhaps shifter), or did you create them wholesale?
They’re something I’ve created wholesale as playtest of content for Frontiers of Eberron. An important point is that Ja’taarka is a WORG, not a Worg-like humanoid; so he is a quadruped without hands, though he has a tool that provides a limited mage hand so he can, for example, open doors and put on his armor.
Hello! is goodboys Dark Stalker a variant of gloomstalker or something new to fit Ja’taarka?
It’s just the standard Gloom Stalker, it’s a typo in the entry.
Are there plans for any kind of prebuilt adventure path in Frontiers of Eberron? I’m pretty addicted to such things and one written in tandem with the micro-setting book (maybe even based on this Threshold project you’re doing right now) seems really exciting.
Well, in a previous post we said this: “For years, Keith has run Eberron campaigns set in the jungles of Q’barra. Fans have expressed great interest in this fantasy western approach. In September, we began development on an adventure, codenamed Hunger, that drew on the same principles—but set on the actual western frontier border between Breland and Droaam. Hunger is intended as an excellent starter campaign for new players to the setting. As Project: Hunger grew, Keith decided to run an online campaign in this region, focusing on the town of Threshold. The game will be played with a shifting cast of players drawn from his Patreon supporters. While Project: Hunger is not the focus of this announcement, more information will be forthcoming in 2021.”
So Hunger, the adventure, evolved to become Frontiers of Eberron, but Hunger itself is still in development and will happen at some point — we’ll make an announcement later in the year.