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Codex of War is a 4E D&D supplement that will cover how to run a war between a colony and a hostile native tribe, released as a free PDF for download.
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Codex of War: A New World 4E D&D Campaign setting PDF from Role Playing Public Radio project video thumbnail
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Codex of War from Role Playing Public Radio The drums of war beat in the wilderness of the New World!

A New World - Learn more about the New World Campaign Setting


The colony has survived its first winter in the New World, a testament to the courage and fortitude of its inhabitants, but now a greater threat looms over the fledgling settlement. While nearby native tribes have decided to live peacefully with the colony, a powerful coalition of tribes farther inland is ready to make war. Led by an enigmatic tyrant, these tribes seek the colony as a cancer growing in their homeland. The brave adventurers who protect the colony must stop the coalition before all is lost.

War takes on many forms. Simple and sporadic raids on neighboring tribes, civilized duels and battles that follow complex rules of etiquette and protocol, or all out war between determined foes who fight to the bloody end. No matter what type of war, the colonists have only two options: defeat the tyrant or face utter obliteration. The tyrant will not settle for anything less than total victory.

Codex of War is the third New World supplement and will cover how to run a war between the colonists and a hostile native tribe. Instead of describing only a single type of war, Codex of War will present many options for running such an event in your campaign so you can custom tailor it for your game. If this ransom is met, it will be released as a FREE pdf on RPPR within 30 days of the ransom's completion. If you want to learn more about the ransom process, read my blog post about the first New World ransom here

The Tyrant

A powerful leader who is absolutely dedicated to destroying the colony. But who is this strange figure? The Codex presents several possibilities and advice for customizing an existing NPC for this role

The Conquistador: A foreigner who took over a native tribe through brute force or cunning and was viewed as a divine being because of his exotic ways, weapons and magic. The conquistador hates the colonists for what they represent: civilization and the end to his rule for when the natives realize he is but a man they will surely overthrow him. Cortez, the mad fallen paladin from the RPPR New World campaign is just such a conquistador.

The Nativist: A native leader who fears that the colonists bring doom upon her people. She is a fanatical xenophobe and sees the settlers as a plague upon the land. By gathering like minded natives into a large war party, she will stop at nothing to burn the colony down to the ground and slaughter every last colonist.

The Deceiver: A powerful supernatural creature, such as a dragon or demon, who has conned its way into becoming the leader of a powerful tribe. It wants the colony gone for purely pragmatic reasons. The colony will only grow larger and will eventually threaten the creature’s dark designs. Of course, as a mercurial shapeshifter, it will disguise its intentions and plans with cunning and misinformation.

The Bellicose: An arrogant chieftain simply wants to conquer the colony, seeing the settlers as weak, foolish and rich. He will raise an army of hot-headed warriors and ruthless monstrous allies attracted by the promise of loot and slaves. A direct opponent but far more tricky than one would expect. The Bellicose has survived as a chieftain for decades, fighting against many other tribes and monsters and he has always come out on top in the end.

The Just: The most complex leader, the Just is a rational and wise native who believes that the colony has committed a grave crime against the natural order of the world. Perhaps a settler murdered a family of natives or stole a sacred artifact. No matter what the offense was, it is now too late. The entire colony must pay for the sins of the settler. She is noble and good, but believes war is the only just action and is prepared to go to any lengths to win.

The Nature of War

What does war look like in a fantasy world populated with monsters and magic wielding beings? While it’s easy to conjure up images of epic armies numbering in the thousands clashing on vast plains, war has many more shapes. The Codex presents a multitude of war types.

Raiding and Guerrilla Warfare: The tribes of the New World do not believe in assembling in an army and fighting it out in decisive battles. Instead, they prefer to raid the camps of their enemies and snipe from the wilderness, picking off warriors one by one. The colonists have to adapt to these ambushes or starve inside the walls of the colony.

Civilized Duels: It is possible that the tyrant has a code of honor that permits only certain forms of battle or a being of great power such as a god or elder dragon imposes a set of rules upon the combatants in order to keep the war from spreading throughout the New World. In either case, the war will follow a set of formalized rules known to both sides. These rules can be as simple as not harming innocent civilians or as complex as the Geneva Convention.

Total War: Nothing is off limits and nothing is sacred. Burn the home of your enemy and do whatever it takes to survive.

Waging War in the New World

How do you run a war in a fantasy campaign? Codex of War gives you several adventure structures usable as a framework for your existing game.

Frontline Chronicles: The characters become soldiers on the frontline, caught up in the war. A classic military campaign as the player characters start out as lowly grunts in the heroic tier and have to fight to survive. They can choose to embrace their role as soldiers and try to work their way up into leading the colony’s army or they can become a fantasy special forces team, working behind enemy lines and performing missions no one else can. The most combat heavy and direct campaign structure.

Protectors of the Colony: Best suited for paragon or epic tiers, the players are already important figures when war breaks out. The colony looks to them for leadership and protection. An open ended campaign, the players can choose how to best win the war. Do they recruit neutral native tribes or raise a militia from the colonists? Should they fight on the frontlines themselves, risking their lives to protect the militia? This is a dynamic campaign model, where the players try to more earn victory points than their enemy. Every action earns a set number of victory points and the first to attain a certain amount wins.

Bring me the head of the tyrant: Instead of waging war, the characters undergo a quest to slay the tyrant. No ordinary mortal, the tyrant is all but invincible to conventional attacks. Either the tyrant is too clever to be led into an ambush or has a unique magical defense. Thus before they can kill the mysterious leader, they must learn who or what the tyrant is and only then will the heroes stand a chance. This is a traditional quest into the deep wilderness, part dungeon crawl and part mystery.

Usurper of the throne: Instead of fighting the tyrant’s forces directly, the characters can try to usurp his position by stoking the fires of a rebellion. Sneak into the enemy camp, find sympathetic ears, raise a rebel army and overthrow the tyrant. A campaign of intrigue, espionage and defying the odds.

The Game of Gods: One or more divine beings have weighed in on the war. Viewing the mortals as chess pieces, immortal beings of great power manipulate the war to achieve their own goals. Will the heroes fulfill the will of the gods or will they rebel against them? The RPPR New World Campaign used this route, as Ant Spirit used the war to answer a question: what is better, coercion or collaboration? For your campaign, you can use your any or all members of a pantheon to set the stakes of the war.

Order of Battle

Who will make up the armies of both sides? The colonists are limited in number but possessed more advanced weapons than the natives. This section covers potential allies, how to win them over and other complicating factors.

Fog of War

The chaos of war creates unique events that few could imagine before they happen. Bitter enemies pausing in their duel to help an innocent child. Battles in the midst of a flooding river. A soldier who has died but hasn’t realized it yet. The Codex lists many potential encounters to be used for your campaign.


The finest treasure is often intangible. Glory, honor, prestige, even love. This section covers many such rewards and how they can mechanically replace magic items, such as a divine boon from the high priest for protecting the faithful against heathen monsters or advanced training from a grateful native warrior for sheltering his family from raiders.

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