Celebrity Game Table
The Praemal Campaign
By Sean K. Reynolds

From September 1997 to June 1999, Dungeon Master’s Guide designer Monte Cook ran a campaign with coworkers and friends interested in exploring the concept of roleplaying in a "young" world, one that was created in living memory. In the beginning there were no steel weapons, no written language, and only a few generations’ worth of history.

The players included game designers Bruce R. Cordell and myself, editors Michele Carter and Chris Perkins, and our friends Teresa Reid and Keri Reynolds.

Praemal was launched as a 2nd edition AD&D campaign. As the new D&D edition evolved, the group worked through various drafts of the playtest rules as well.

Campaign Overview

The overgod Praemal (PREH-mull) created the world and nine children deities. As he began to populate the world with races, the children wondered what their father had planned for them. A conflict ensued over giving the mortals freedom to choose their own path, and Praemal created no more while the war in heaven raged. Meanwhile, the fourth generation of humans explored their world, having begun to establish permanent settlements and craft metals. They encountered the hard-working dwarves and the aloof elves, and learned to draw the power of magic from the world. In those days, many people were born with a mark on their body that indicated they were to have a great destiny. Some of these rune-children, as they were known, assumed positions of leadership in the communities, while others struck out to find other races and see the sights of their young world.

One such group discovered a plot by a being named Mrathrach, who had made a pact with a group of extraplanar evil beings called the Galchut. In exchange for power, Mrathrach would help the Galchut dominate and destroy the world. Though this group of heroes destroyed Mrathrach, they discovered there were actually five creatures vested with the power of the Galchut. One, a faceless sorcerer named Vladaam, tore a hole in the veil between the world of the living and the dead and brought an unnatural winter to the land -- and with it, hordes of the undead, which had never before been seen.

To close this rift, the heroes followed visions to a city on a flying mountain. There they won access to a solitary magical tree, which bore a single fruit that gave the power of a wish. The heroes used the wish to access the one thing that could close the rift -- a fragment of the hidden moon of magic, made entirely of vallis, the green stone that enhanced arcane power. The wish allowed them to bring a piece of the moon into collision with the tear in the veil and seal it in a tremendous explosion.

The characters presented below have been converted to the final version of the rules, although you’ll notice some odd quirks related to the progress of the campaign (Kaleb and Nosh don’t have the full allotment of cantrips, for example). Some of them also include special weapons and other items associated with them during the campaign.

  • Aerina (female human cleric) played by Teresa Reid
  • Aurum Ironshard (male dwarf barbarian), played by Christopher Perkins
  • Kaleb (male human rogue/invoker), played by Bruce R. Cordell
  • Jonah (male human fighter), played by Keri Reynolds
  • Nosh (male human wizard), played by Sean K. Reynolds
  • Sharien (female human ranger/paladin), played by Michele Carter


Aerina was played by Teresa Reid (wife of Star Wars RPG creative director Thomas M. Reid). Teresa came back to roleplaying after a hiatus of several years, brought on by the birth of her two children.

Aerina, female human and Clr11: CR 11; Medium-size humanoid (5-ft. 8-in.tall); HD 11d8+11; hp 67; Init +4 (Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+3 leather, large dragonscale shield); Atk +12/+7 melee (1d8+5/crit x2, +2 rhinoman sceptre (heavy mace)), +8/+3 ranged (1d4/crit x2, sling); SA spells; SQ minor ring of fire resistance, Good domain, Healing domain, spells; AL NG; SV Fort +8 (+7base+1con), Ref +5 (+3base+2feat), Will +12 (+7base+5wis); Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 12, Wis 18 (20), Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Alchemy +2, Climb +4+3str, Concentration +7+1con, Disguise +2+1cha, Heal +7+5wis, Intuit Direction +1+5wis, Knowledge (religion) +8, Profession (Herbalist) +6+5wis, Speak Language (lizard folk), Spellcraft +8; Blind-Fight, Combat Casting, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Weapon Focus (heavy mace).

Possessions: +2 leather armor, large wooden shield covered in dragonscales, gold minotaur’s necklace with continual flame cast upon it, +2 pearl of wisdom (included in the above totals), minor ring of fire resistance, 3 spell tablets (neutralize poison on each), holy symbol, signet ring, gem eyes from stone snake golem, pouch with 5 gems (40 gp each), 5 candles, 2 torches, flint & steel, masterwork healer’s kit, iron pot, 3 large belt pouches, large belt pouch with 10 sling bullets, 50 ft. hemp rope, winter blanket, white robes of Praemas.

Cleric Spells Per Day: 6/7+1/5+1/5+1/4+1/3+1/2+1

A resident of the human city of Dinar, Aerina is a young devout cleric of the young gods and doesn’t take well to questioning their motives or authority. More than willing to enter a fight to defend her friends or fight evil, Aerina has a gentler side that comes out when people are in trouble. During a trip to the hidden vallis moon, she developed a kinship with a like-minded deva, although they were never able to explore their relationship because of the catastrophic events at the end of the campaign.

Aurum Ironshard

Aurum was played by Christopher Perkins, Editor-in-Chief of Dungeon and Star Wars Gamer magazines. Chris originally played Lauric, a human raised by dwarves, who was killed by an evil duplicate of himself. Later he played Ves, a noble male lizard-folk, who left the group when reunited with his tribe.

Aurum Ironshard, male dwarf Bbn9: CR 9; Medium-Size Humanoid (4-ft. 2-in. tall); HD 9d12+36; hp 90; Init +3 (Dex, Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 19 (studded leather, +3 large metal shield, +2 bracers of deflection); Atk +14/+9 melee (1d8+4/crit x3, +2shocking burst warhammer), +8/+3 ranged (1d6+2/crit x2, throwing axe); SA dwarven traits; SQ barbarian rage, dwarven traits, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC, can’t be flanked)); AL CG; SV Fort +12 (+6base+4con+2feat), Ref +2 (+3base-1dex), Will +1 (+3base-2wis); Str 14, Dex 9, Con 18, Int 10, Wis 6, Cha 11.

Skills and Feats: Climb +12+2str, Diplomacy +6, Jump +8+2str, Swim +8+2str, Wilderness Lore +8-2wis; Great Fortitude, Improved Initiative, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus (warhammer).

Special Qualities: Barbarian rage--3 times per day, lasts 9 rounds.

Possessions: Studded leather armor, +3 large metal shield (with lammasu insignia), "Smite" (+2 shocking burst warhammer), +2 bracers of deflection, 2 throwing axes, hand axe, backpack, aleskin, bedroll, waterskin, 50 ft. hemp rope, grappling hook, soap, 3 days trail rations.

Aurum is a young dwarf from the dwarven territories who went in search of a lost friend named Lauric, after being pointed in the right direction by a dwarven seer. He’s happy to wade into battle on a moment’s notice, which often gets him into trouble because he’s not very skilled at dodging. In many ways he is a typical barbarian, and doesn’t fit in with other dwarves because of it.


Kaleb was played by Bruce R. Cordell, Origins Award-winning designer of Return to the Tomb of Horrors and other well-liked products such as Monstrous Arcana: The Illithiad and the first adventure for the new D&D, The Sunless Citadel. Bruce and Monte have gamed together since they were teenagers growing up in South Dakota; the sword Icerazor is an in-joke between them, as Bruce awarded a similar weapon called Frostrazor to Monte during that time.

Kaleb, male human Rog5/Inv5: CR 10; Medium-Size Humanoid (6-ft. tall); HD 6d6+6d4+20; hp 51; Init +7 (Dex, Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (Dex, leather armor, +2 ring of deflection); Atk +6 melee (1d6+2/crit 19-20/ x2 plus special, +2 short sword), +8 ranged (1d4/crit x2, stone throwing disk); SA sneak attack +3d6, spells; SQ minor cloak of displacement, evasion, spells, uncanny dodge (Dex bonus to AC); AL LN; SV Fort +4 (+2base, +2con), Ref +8 (+5base, +3dex), Will +5 (+5base); Str 10, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 11, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Bluff+6+2cha, Climb+8, Concentration +12+2con, Craft (stoneworking) +1+3int, Disable Device +5+3int, Hide +8+3dex, Intuit Direction +5, Jump +5, Listen +12, Move Silently +8+3dex, Open Lock +4+3dex, Search +5+3int, Spellcraft +6+3int, Spot +10, Swim +5, Tumble +7+3dex, Use Magic Device +7+2cha, Wilderness Lore +3; Dodge, Empower Spell, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Scribe Scroll, Track, Weapon Focus (short sword).

Possessions: "Icerazor," lesser cloak of displacement (gives 20% miss chance), +2 ring of deflection, potion of water breathing, leather armor, stone dagger, 4 iron daggers, 18 stone throwing disks (as darts), matching +2 short swords, 2 torches, 2 candles, flint & tinder, a stone from the Mountain of Making, backpack, 4 belt pouches, fishhook & small net, 50 ft. hemp rope, 5 pitons, Knights of the Golden Cross amulet, gold ring, fistful of gems, 4 clay pots of poison, dragon tooth, dragon claw, vallis stone, key amulet to The First Dream

Spells Per Day: 4/5/4/3/ -- / --

Spellbook: 0 -- comprehend languages, read magic; 1st -- change self, jump, magic disk (magic missile), shocking grasp; 2nd -- acid arrow (Melf’s acid arrow), alter self, blindness, knock, levitate, mirror image, web; 3rd -- cold bolt (unique spell, see below), darkvision, dispel magic, lightning bolt, tongues, wraithform; 4th -- dim tentacle (Evard’s black tentacles), dimension door, polymorph self, stoneskin; 5th -- interposing hand (Bigby’s interposing hand).

Kaleb left his desert homeland in search of those who slew his tribe while he was on a walkabout. He eventually began to study magic to enhance his abilities as a stalker and infiltrator (although he lost several wizard levels when the campaign converted from 2nd edition AD&D to the new edition of D&D). Of the group, Kaleb is the darkest character, and his ruthless actions against captured foes and his habit of carrying an evil magic weapon only reinforced this. Kaleb remained loyal to his friends, however, and became a member of the Knights of the Golden Cross, a military organization dedicated to protecting good and civilization.

Icerazor: This unholy +2 short sword has a blade of ice that constantly drips numbingly-cold water. When it scored a critical hit, the end of the blade snapped off and remained in the body of the target (the sword immediately reformed a new blade end). This lodged portion of the blade inflicted 1 negative level per round it remained in the target, and each negative level so inflicted healed the bearer of the sword 5 hit points of damage. Removing the shard is a move-equivalent action requiring a successful DC 15 Heal check.

Caster Level: 9th; Prerequisites: Craft Magic Arms and Armor, cone of cold, enervation, unholy blight, creator must be evil; Market Price: 50,310 gp; Cost to Create: 25,155 gp + 2000 XP.

Cold Bolt
Evocation [Cold]
Level: Sor/Wiz 3
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Effect: Ray
Duration: Instantaneous
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

A ray of intense cold projects from the blade of Icerazor. You must succeed at a ranged touch attack with the ray to deal damage to a target. The ray deals 1d8 points of cold damage per caster level.

Focus: The sword Icerazor.


Jonah was played by Keri Reynolds (sister to designer Sean K Reynolds) and was introduced to AD&D by Sean’s gaming group in San Diego, California. She moved to Washington, joined Monte’s group, and eventually became a playtester for the new D&D.

Jonah, male human Ftr8: CR 8; Medium-Size Humanoid (5-ft. 7-in. tall); HD 8d10+16; hp 60; Init +4 (Improved Initiative); Spd 20 ft.; AC 20 (splint mail, +2 large wooden shield); Atk +16/+11 melee (1d6+9/crit x3, +2 halfspear), +8/+3 ranged (1d6+5/crit x2, throwing axe); AL CG; SV Fort +8 (+6base+2con), Ref +4 (+2base+feat), Will +2 (+2base); Str 16 (20), Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 11, Cha 11.

Skills and Feats: Climb +8+5Str, Craft (blacksmith) +5, Intuit Direction +2, Search +4, Spot +2, Use Rope +5, Wilderness Lore +4; Cleave, Endurance, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (halfspear), Weapon Specialization (halfspear).

Possessions: splint mail, +2 halfspear, +2 large wooden shield, cloak of a thousand eyes (robe of eyes), 2 silver longswords, spider amulet, +1 quarterstaff, +4 skull hairtie of strength (+4 belt of strength, included in the above totals), knife, 2 throwing axes, 1 vial antitoxin, whetstone, waterskin, 3 candles, 1 week’s trail rations, backpack, 5 pieces of chalk, large sack, bedroll, blanket, flint & steel, bag of small gems and gold rings.

Jonah is an opinionated member of the Druuz, a colony of humans that learned smithcraft from the dwarves. He disagrees with his peoples’ decision to side with Mrathrach (the evil wizard abomination that serves the extraplanar Galchut) and set out on his own to make things right. Jonah is the hammer of the group, inflicting the greatest amount of melee damage and generally positioning herself to protect Nosh against foes.


Nosh was played by Sean K Reynolds, designer of The Scarlet Brotherhood for the Greyhawk setting and one of the co-designers on the upcoming Forgotten Realms campaign setting hardcover.

Nosh, male human Wiz12: CR 12; Medium-Size Humanoid (6-ft. 1-in. tall); HD 12d4+12; hp 44; Init +6 (Dex, Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft., fly 90 ft.; AC 16 (Dex, mage armor spell); Atk +6/+1 melee (1d4/crit 19-20/ x2, dagger), +9/+4 ranged (1d2+1 subdual plus 1d6 Strength drain, +1 whip of enervation); SA spells; SQ spells; AL NG; SV Fort +6 (+4base+2con), Ref +8 (+4base+2dex+2feat), Will +8 (+8base); Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 14 (16), Wis 10, Cha 14.

Skills and Feats: Climb +2, Concentration +5+2con, Craft (painting) +3+3int, Craft (pottery) +2+3int, Craft (stonecarving) +2+3int, Escape Artist +1+2dex, Heal +1, Intuit Direction +3, Knowledge (herbs) +3+3int, Ride (horse) +1+2dex, Ride (hippogriff) +1+2dex, Search +1, Spellcraft +6+3int, Swim +1, Use Rope +5+2dex, Wilderness Lore +1; Combat Casting, Craft Rod, Craft Wondrous Item, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (whip), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Run, Scribe Scroll, Toughness.

Possessions: +1 whip of enervation (drains 1d6 Strength from target upon a successful hit), cloak of the Ravenwitch (wings of flying), +2 flaming polearm (can fire a 6d6 fireball twice per day), rhinoman staff (wand of telekinesis, 2 charges), yuan-ti +2 bracelet of intellect (+2 headband of intellect) with continual flame cast upon it, lenses of the otherwood, 3 vallis stones, deva sceptre of vallis use, silver ring of spell storing (magic missile, magic resistance, polymorph self), medallion of cancellation (rod of cancellation), speaking stone (sending spell to its twin), gold amulet of proof against detection and location, rod of retriever eyes (unique item, see below), rod of wizardry (unique item, see below), cookware, backpack, 9 candles, 4 large sacks, chalk, 2 square yards of canvas, 50 ft. hemp rope, 4 empty wineskins, 2 7-ft. lengths of chain (Sharien carries one for him), silver key, 3 stone tiles (all blank), 2 pieces of the Ravenwitch's jewelry, displacer beast tentacle blades, 2 displacer beast teeth, piece of Mrathrach’s mirror, medusa's dagger, Vladaam's pouch with 7 gems and round bits of gold, box w/music people, interesting-looking knife, manspider's dagger.

Spells Per Day: (4/5/5/5/3/3/2) (level 1, 2, 3, or 4 may be doubled on any particular day)

Spellbook: 0 -- arcane mark, dancing lights, mending, read magic; 1st -- animate rope, bubbling buoyancy (makes 100 lbs./level float in liquid), cause fear, energy whip*, feather fall, identify potion (as identify, but only identifies potions, 1 action casting time, no material component), mage armor, mount, shield, sleep, spider climb, summon monster I; 2nd -- bull’s strength, fog cloud, invisibility, locate object, rope trick, shatter, summon monster II, triggered disembodied voice (magic mouth), 3rd -- artifact attunement (as identify, but determines all properties of an item, 1 minute casting time, no material component), chain person (hold person), fly, Karienne's fiery mace of retribution*, slow, suggestion, tiny dome (Leomund’s tiny hut); 4th -- Darternae's sword*, minor globe of invulnerability, secure shelter (Leomund’s secure shelter); 5th -- cloudkill, magic resistance, teleport; 6th -- eyebite.

Nosh is eager, friendly, and na´ve, having lived a protected life in his mother’s home until he was 18. He left home after studying magic with the intent of becoming an explorer and mapmaker and ended up getting entangled in several plots to destroy the world. He prefers creative uses of magic over direct damage spells, and has a longstanding relationship with Darternae, an NPC fighter from Dinar.

Rod of Retriever Eyes: Made from the tooth of a huge yuan-ti abomination and the four gem-eyes of a retriever, this rod holds only one gem at a time. Swapping one gem for another is a move-equivalent action. With a gem in place, the rod can fire a ray that functions as if it were originating from an actual retriever. The four gems are red (12d6 fire to one target and all within 5 ft. of that target, those nearby may make a DC 16 Reflex saves for half damage), yellow (12d6 electricity to one target), blue (12d6 cold damage to one target), and white (DC 16 Fortitude save or turn to stone). The rays have a range of 100 ft. and may each be used once per day.

Caster Level: 10th; Prerequisites: Craft Rod, 4 retriever eyes; Market Price: 55,080 gp.

Rod of Wizardry: This intelligent staff has a wooden handle, which holds a foot-long cylinder of green vallis stone. It has a neutral alignment, Intelligence 14, Wisdom 13, Charisma 10, Ego 8, and can communicate telepathically with its wielder. It acts as a ring of wizardry I, II, III, or IV (wielder’s choice, chosen each day). It disdains ineffective spellcasters and encourages its wielder to give it to a more worthy candidate if one is found.

Caster Level: 20th; Prerequisites: Craft Rod, limited wish; Market Price: 165,000 gp.

Darternae’s Sword
Level: Sor/Wiz 4
Components: V, S, F
Casting Time: 1 action
Range: Touch
Effect: One sword
Duration: 1 round/level (D)
Saving Throw: None
Spell Resistance: Yes

You bring into being a shimmering, swordlike plane of energy, surrounded by the manifestation of a warrior’s rune. The plane of force acts as a +3 brilliant energy keen longsword. You or another creature wield the sword as if you were proficient with it.

Karienne’s Fiery Mace of Retribution
Evocation [Fire]
Range: Medium (100 ft. + 10 ft./level)
Area: 5-ft.-radius spread

As fireball, except as noted above, the spell’s appearance, and its method of targeting. Instead of a glowing bead, the spell appears as a large flaming bull’s head that utters a deep lowing as it approaches its target.

The spell may be targeted normally, or it can be launched to find creatures you cannot see, using their heat to locate them. If launched in this way, the spell travels in a straight line from you in the direction you indicate, using its range as its entire speed for the round (it flies as a creature with Average maneuverability) and able to detect heat sources anywhere within its range. It does not turn back toward you. It detonates if it reaches a heat source, impacts a solid barrier, or travels the full extent of its speed.

Most constructs, oozes, plants, undead, vermin, incorporeal creatures, and creatures with the [Cold] designator cannot be detected by the spell. Creatures with the [Fire] designator can always be detected by the spell.

Nosh’s Energy Whip
Evocation [Force]
Range: Close (10 ft.)
Targets: Up to five creatures within 10 ft. of you
As magic missile, except as noted above, and the energy manifests as a whip that strikes for 1d6+1 points of damage.


Sharien was played by Michele Carter, editor for many Planescape products, the Dark•Matter setting for the Alternity game, and one of the editors on the upcoming Forgotten Realms campaign setting hardcover.

Sharien, female human Rgr5/Pal7: CR 12; Medium-Size Humanoid (5 ft. 6 in.-ft. tall); HD 12d10+36; hp 118; Init +8 (Dex, Improved Initiative); Spd 20 ft.; AC 21 (splint mail, dragonscale shield, chasuble); Atk +17/+12/+7 melee (1d8+5/crit 19-20/ x2, green stone sword), +16/+11/+6 ranged (1d6/crit x3, short bow); SA smite evil, turn undead (4/day, as 5th-level cleric), paladin spells, ranger spells, favored enemy (dire wolves +2, yuan-ti +1); SQ aura of protection, detect evil, lay on hands (7), divine health, remove disease, divine grace, aura of courage, spells, hippogriff mount; AL LG; SV Fort +12 (+8base+3con+1cha), Ref +9 (+4base+4dex+1cha), Will +9 (+4base+2wis+1cha+2feat); Str 14, Dex 18, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 12.

Skills and Feats: Animal Empathy +7rgr+1cha, Craft (bowyer) +3rgr+2pal, Handle Animal +2rgr+4pal+1cha, Heal +1rgr+5pal+2wis, Ride (hippogriff) +10pal+4dex, Ride (horse) +2rgr+4dex, Spot +8rgr+2wis, Swim +5rgr+2str, Wilderness Lore +7rgr+2wis; Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Mounted Archery, Mounted Combat, Ride-By Attack, Spirited Charge, Track (ranger).

Special Qualities: Ael, hippogriff special mount (HD 5d10+15; hp 42; Str 19; improved evasion, share spells, empathic link, share saving throws).

Possessions: green stone sword (+3 longsword, heal once per week), +3 chasuble of natural armor, amulet of freedom of movement, splint mail, dragonscale shield, iron spear, short bow, arrows, whistle (for Ael), necklace with egg symbol, 2 bone javelins.

Paladin Spells Per Day: 2
Ranger Spells Per Day: 2

Sharien began as a ranger named Shian, seeking out dire wolves and their allies. When she was slain while on a quest, an NPC cleric named Karienne used a magic item to rekindle her life at the expense of his, and thereafter she was a paladin. Changing her name to remember the one who saved her, Sharien considered herself living on borrowed time, and was ready to sacrifice herself to save others for the greater good--which she did at the end of the campaign, insisting that Nosh teleport away from an imminent explosion just so he and Darternae could spend their lives together. Because of Sharien’s sacrifice, a rift between the world of the living and the dead was closed, destroying the abnormal winter it caused and weakening the many undead that had crawled through it. This climactic event ended the Praemal campaign.

About the Author

Game products designed by Sean Reynolds include The Star Cairns, The Crypt of Lyzandred the Mad, The Scarlet Brotherhood, Against The Giants: The Liberation of Geoff, Beyond Science: A Guide to FX. A vegetarian that doesn't like vegetables, Sean says he shares two traits with his favorite band, the Barenaked Ladies: They are quirky and have the ability to make something horrible sound nice.

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