Chrono Stars: Gatecrash Gamble is a campaign that takes players to the closed-off nation of Zerelunce, where underground crime and double-crossing lurk beneath the surface of the brightly lit Zerelian cities. The government is set on presenting Zerelunce as a paradise of pleasure, wealth, and freedom from worry; all citizens have to do is abide by the rules, and the government will take care of the rest. But gatecrashers know how this system can be exploited for personal gain... and that there are things that the government is intent on keeping secret from the public.
Zerelunce is a paradise, a bastion of civilization in an apocalypse-laden world! The cities shine on into the night where the rest of the galaxy has gone dark. Safe and sound, locked away from the terrible outside world, Zerelunce has only prospered in the years since the Godbomb wreaked havoc all throughout Ealdremen. Citizens enjoy stability, government-aided healthcare, the best education, and do not want for anything at all in Zerelunce. None of them would ever think to try to leave, content to instead wile away their days in government-assisted hedonism and base contentment. What could possibly be out there for them?
Maybe there is something beyond the island walls, a whole world out there that has remained unseen by Zerelian eyes for countless generations. But that's not the concern of the Zerelians -- and not the gatecrashers, the invisible arm of Zerelunce's underground that lurks in the shadows.
After all, all possible profit lays within...so long as they don't get caught.
Gatecrash Gamble is a series of oneshot Dungeons & Dragons 4e campaigns meant to be completed within a few sessions, preferably a single session. Players create a character using Dungeons & Dragons 4e rules and take on a mission within the gatecrasher framework; they could be tasked with virtually any sort of work that directly or indirectly undermines Zerelunce's stability. From smuggling to assassination, a gatecrasher should always be ready to do whatever needs to be done for the mission to succeed; not only does their reputation rely on that willingness, but the weakest-willed are always the first ones to get snatched up by the government and "encouraged" to give up information on their fellow gatecrashers.
Because of the short nature of these campaigns, players should create characters who are ultimately flexible or willing to move forward in the face of difficult decisions and moral quandaries, but also willing to work with other characters that they might not like. Inter-party arguing is natural, especially for characters as volatile as gatecrashers; however, it should not stall the game, as Gatecrash Gamble campaigns are supposed to be short and concise. Characters are on a mission and should behave accordingly. They need to have a goal that they are working towards and that aligns with the campaign goal in some way, even if that goal is simply to get out in one piece and get paid.
Gamemasters should be upfront about the types of tasks that gatecrashers may undertake in their campaign so that players can make characters that will not stall the game, either mechanically (such as nobody specializing in a skill needed to continue) or narratively (such as nobody being willing to commit the crime needed for the story). Non-player characters should be used to round out player parties that are below the assumed number of four characters; tweaking encounters for a party of fewer than four players should be done cautiously. Non-player characters added to balance out the party composition should be carefully used to not overshadow the actual player characters, who will have more limited time to "shine".
Gatecrash Gamble House Rules
To facilitate gameplay and overall player convenience, the following rules are in play.
- Ealdremen Party Initiative, carried over from the Ealdremen House Rules, is at play for all combat encounters. Powers, feats, or other character features that impact Initiative are changed on a case-by-case basis to be balanced within the 4e framework.
- All characters receive the following bonus feats: Improved Defenses and one Expertise feat of their choosing (e.g. Tome Expertise, Light Blade Expertise).
- Because these are meant to be short, simple campaigns that are not interconnected beyond sharing a setting and perhaps some background characters, all characters should use the Inherent Bonuses Progression (found under "Optional Details" in the Details tab of the Character Builder) to mathematically keep pace with the numbers that 4e assumes on a per-level basis.
- Characters may have a Background Benefit and a Dark Sun theme of their choosing, so long as it is clarified with the gamemaster first.
- Until 4e ports of Ealdremen's races are added to the wiki, use 4e's default races to find a decent enough parallel for whatever Ealdremen race you want to play, such as a shifter for a shape-shifter, a goliath for a rakko, or a half-elf for a supernaturally inclined human. It doesn't need to be perfect, but it should be justifiable (e.g. don't say you want the mechanics of a goliath but play a sabarian). Some races, such as the quadrupedal ones, may not have easy parallels and should be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the gamemaster.