The rules below must be followed in order for a player character to be eligible to play in any Aethervane session. At their discretion, DMs may waive some or all of the rules of character creation and progression for PCs that are participating only in certain select adventures with that DM. Any PC that deviates from the rules below is not eligible to play in Aethervane without the presiding DM's permission on a per-session basis.
One of the great things about the Aethervane universe is that just about anything goes! With countless worlds to choose from, your character can be of practically any heritage, description, and background that you can think of. If you can't find a home world for your character in the lore that has already been incorporated into the Aethervane setting, please feel free to talk to a Gamekeeper about the possibility of adding a new one to our universe, just for you!
That being said, we still play by a set of rules for character creation, so that everyone starts from the same point and no one has an advantage over anyone else. It's also a good idea to take some time to think about how your character fits into the larger picture.
For those who played in the Brightshore campaign setting, rules can be found for importing your player character into the Aethervane universe here.
A player may have any number of player characters (PCs) active in the Aethervane campaign at a time. If you control multiple PCs, they are not allowed to interact directly with each other, and you cannot exchange resources (gold, magic items, etc.) between them.
Players who are new to 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons are encouraged to start their characters at 1st level. We offer sessions at least once a month designed to help players who are unfamiliar with D&D 5e learn the mechanics of the game and to introduce them into our unique campaign setting.
More experienced D&D players may start their new characters with up to 900 experience points; enough to start at level 3. This does not alter starting gear, gold, backgrounds, or any other elements of the character creation process.
This starting experience boost is optional. If you don't use it, however, you cannot save it for later or apply it to any of your other characters.
Use the standard array or "point buy" system for determining your character’s starting ability scores.
You may choose any alignment for your character. Please be mindful, however, that choosing an evil alignment is not an excuse to engage in disrespectful behavior toward the other players at the table.
For your first level and each level you gain after that, use the fixed hit point value for your class. Do not roll to determine your maximum hit points.
Use the options for starting gold and equipment for your class and background. Do not roll for wealth.
You may exchange your starting equipment for other items in the Player’s Handbook of equivalent gold value.
You may also change the name and appearance of items within reason and as long as you don't alter the underlying mechanics. For example, a longsword can be a katana, or a crossbow can be a very primitive sort of firearm. This option is meant to give players a little extra room to create a unique look and feel for each of their characters. The Gamekeepers reserve the right to “veto” any reskinned items that don't fit the setting or are overly outlandish. If you're in doubt about a reskinned item, ask a GK for their opinion.
Nearly all sourcebooks that have been officially published by Wizards of the Coast for the 5th edition of the Dungeons & Dragons standard game are available for players to use during character creation. Any content in the books listed below that is not specifically marked as an “optional rule” can be incorporated into your character. In cases in which two or more versions of the same rule are given (such as the different rules for playing orcs contained in Eberron: Rising from the Last War and Volo’s Guide to Monsters), you may choose which set of rules to follow.
If a rule in a sourcebook is listed as “optional” or mentions that you should consult your DM before using it, assume that it is not allowed in the Aethervane campaign. That being said, the following optional rules have been approved for use.
Tasha’s Guide to Everything introduces a number of optional rules that you can use to customize your character, all of which are approved for the Aethervane campaign. This includes customizing your origin (ability score increases, languages, proficiencies, personality traits), using a custom lineage instead of one of the standard races (although that option requires approval of the Gamekeepers), and using any of the new features that the book adds to the existing classes, such as the barbarian’s Primal Knowledge or the bard’s Magical Inspiration.
All backgrounds from the approved sourcebooks are available, including background variants, such as the spy (variant criminal) and knight (variant noble). Additionally, you may use the rules for customizing your character’s background as presented in the Player’s Handbook.
You may use any of the rules presented in the approved sourcebooks for race “variants” (such as the variant human traits and the dark elves in the Player’s Handbook or the tiefling variants in the Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide). This also includes the variant race options for dragonmarked characters from Eberron: Rising from the Last War.
Your character will begin their adventures in Bleak Haven, a sort of “port town” built on the bones of a dead god floating in the Astral Plane. For most of your adventures, you will be hopping onto spaceships called spelljammers and stepping through interplanar portals to reach one of the far-flung worlds of the Aetherverse.
Be sure to read up about the town and the Aethervane universe as a whole, as both are a little unusual, even for longtime players of D&D and other role-playing games. Once you have a feel for the setting, think about what type of character you might want to play, what brought them to Bleak Haven, and what they are hoping to achieve.
Bear in mind that your character will begin at the humble levels of 1-3, so starting as a decorated Aetherium spelljammer captain or the warlord of an interstellar empire is jumping the gun, to say the least.
Below are some ideas to get you started.
Spelljammers are a staple feature of the Aethervane campaign. If you would like your character to have some background as a sailor on a spelljammer, you may want to consider creating a custom background in order to give them a tool proficiency in Air Vehicles (see “Customizing a Background,” above). For example, you could change the standard “Sailor” background from the Player's Handbook to “Spelljamming Sailor,” replacing proficiency in Water Vehicles with Air Vehicles.
In this campaign, Air Vehicles is a tool proficiency that applies to airships, spelljammers, astral ships, and any other vessel that flies through air or space. When it comes to spelljammers, it is used for skill checks to operate a ship and to recall information about other ships. It is not a requirement for serving on the crew for a spelljammer. It is also not a requirement for operating a ship's helm; in fact, attuning to a helm automatically allows the attuned character to add their proficiency bonus to any skill checks related to piloting the helm (see Spelljammers for more information).
After your character's first adventure, you may rewrite any aspect of the character you created, including the character's name, race, class, background, starting equipment, feats, and spells, as long as you follow the standard rules of character creation. This is for players who, after their first session, decide that they aren't happy with the character they created and want to change it before it is set in stone.
Once your character begins their second adventure, however, the choices you made during character creation become permanent, as do any choices you make from then on as your character levels up. Changing skills and subclasses after the second adventure is generally not possible, but may be permitted under exceptional circumstances, with a suitable in-story reason, and approval of the Gamekeepers; also, the character may be required to spend game time and gold on training to complete the transition.
If a newly approved sourcebook introduces new rules for some aspect of one of your PCs (such as the character's class or race), you may change your character's statistics to match those from the new sourcebook, no matter how many adventures you played using the previous statistics. But once you make the change, you cannot change back.
Players are expected to keep a log of the adventures that each of their characters undertake. If a question arises as to how your character came across a certain award, your log will be checked and compared to the Dungeon Masters' records. If something doesn't add up, game awards may be removed.
After each adventure you participate in as a player, record the following:
Characters gain experience as they complete adventures in Aethervane. Only the character who participated in an adventure obtains the experience points awarded for that adventure.
Experience can also be earned by running adventures in the Aethervane campaign and can then be assigned to one of your active characters (see Dungeon Mastering for details).
Once you have obtained the requisite experience points, you must advance your character to the next level before your next adventure begins. You may not refuse experience points that have been awarded to your character, and you may not postpone levelling up.
No player character in the Aethervane campaign may progress beyond 16th level. You may continue to play a character that has reached 16th level, but they no longer earn experience from adventures they participate in.
When a character reaches a new level, you may use the multiclassing option as detailed in the Player’s Handbook. Prerequisites still apply.
Whenever your character would gain the Ability Score Improvement feature, you can instead choose a feat from any of the approved sourcebooks. You must still follow all of the printed rules and prerequisites for gaining the feat.
Each week that passes in the real world represents 23 days of game time (1 month in the Bleak Haven calendar). A single adventure rarely takes more than 23 game days to complete, which means that a PC probably has some extra time to spend in Bleak Haven in between adventures. That being said, it is not necessary to keep track of exactly how many days characters spend on their adventures or in between. Even if your character spends more than 23 game days adventuring in a given real week, you can assume the character finds a few moments of free time to spend in Bleak Haven before they set out on their next adventure.
For each adventure you participate in, your PC earns 1 downtime token that can be spent on an activity in Bleak Haven (or in another location, with the permission of the DM in charge of that area). Tokens can be spent along with gold to accomplish any of the following actions. Certain actions also require that the PC has the appropriate proficiency. You can save your tokens until you're ready to spend them.
Make sure to record how and when you used your downtime tokens in your character log. It is not necessary to report your downtime expenditures to the DMs.
|Downtime Action||Token Cost||Gold Cost||Required Proficiency|
|Brew a potion of healing||1 token||25 gp||alchemist's supplies or herbalism kit|
|Brew a potion of greater healing||1 token||100 gp||alchemist's supplies or herbalism kit|
|Craft mundane items||1 token per 50 gp of the total market value of all items crafted (rounded up)||25 gp per token spent||varies (carpenter's tools for wooden items, leatherworking for leather items, smith's tools for metal items, etc.)|
|Learn a new language or tool proficiency||10 tokens||250 gp||—|
|Scribe 5 cantrip scrolls and/or 1st level scrolls (in any combination)||1 token||15 gp per cantrip, 25 gp per 1st level spell||must be able to cast the spells being scribed, including expending required material components|
|Scribe a 2nd level spell scroll||1 token||250 gp||must be able to cast the spell being scribed, including expending required material components|
|Scribe a 3rd level spell scroll||1 token||500 gp||must be able to cast the spell being scribed, including expending required material components|
|Scribe a 4th level spell scroll||2 tokens||2,500 gp||must be able to cast the spell being scribed, including expending required material components|
|Scribe a 5th level spell scroll||4 tokens||5,000 gp||must be able to cast the spell being scribed, including expending required material components|
Additionally, a PC may do any of the following during downtime, without spending tokens:
Note any changes made to your character's money or equipment as a result of downtime in your character log.
DMs may offer additional options for downtime within the worlds they control. It is up to the DM to come up with a system for tracking and handling downtime spent there (with approval of the Gamekeepers), and any downtime requests within that world should be resolved by the DM.
Death is a very real possibility for adventurers in the Aetherverse, and it is difficult (though not impossible) to return from. The threat of death is often what makes adventures exciting, and it loses its sting if characters can simply hire a skilled cleric to bring their friends back from the dead.
The primary component of any spell that revives a dead character is replaced by a soulstone of equivalent gp value. For example, the raise dead spell, which normally requires a diamond worth at least 500 gp would instead require a 500-gp soulstone. Unlike diamonds, soulstones are rare items that are typically obtained only during the course of an adventure. Once used, the soulstone becomes a worthless lump of rock.
The souls of any dead characters that linger in Bleak Haven are soon claimed by the dead god, never to return. If a character that has died and is in Bleak Haven is not resurrected during the adventure, that character is declared permanently dead and cannot be resurrected.
You may “retire” a player character you control at any time, relinquishing control of the character to the Dungeon Masters of the Aethervane campaign. In other words, the character becomes a non-player character (NPC). Once a character has been retired, they may not become active PCs again, unless a special exception is made.