The Raining City, Strasa

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It should probably go without saying, but the Naurung are Half-Orcs. I decided to write up an alternate history for them because, well, I'm tired of the standard Half-Orc stories. Also, the Player's Handbook offers alternate origins for the race as well; it says Half-Orcs could have sprouted from the union of Orc and Man, but it also says that Kord created them for battle at the dawn of time, mixing the best parts of both races. So I made my own origin story.  Not all Half-Orcs in the game world need by Naurung, obviously. The Naurung are closer to Half-Giants than Half-Orcs, anyway.
Lots of new info! Sounds like a fun adventure and great transition point for a new dm. I like the Naurung but im glad you mentioned they were half orcs because i would have said they were goliaths since they are essentially half giants. Low birth rate plus harsh conditions equals a doomed people though, if that wasnt your intention i would consider giving them some unusual advantage (besides the dragon protectors, they cant stop disease, exhaustion, etc) that allows their continued survival. I look forward to reading of Prince Mogr's exploits.
They are conceptually a bit closer to Goliaths than they are to Half-Orcs, I'll admit.  That wasn't my intention, but that's certainly the way it ended up.  I just wanted a fresh Half-Orc concept, because I was tired of all the same old stuff.  You know?  I included the stuff about difficulty breeding because of the old D&D rules, where Half-Orcs were sterile.  And I do sort of see them as a doomed people, honestly.  They aren't exactly thriving out there, beyond the Reach, but Hollowhome is a safe haven, none-the-less; a place where they can live and breed in relative safety.  The Naurung have an extraordinarily strong sense of community, so the clans are really tightly-knit, and like I said, every birth is celebrated.  Sooner or later, though, something will need to change for them as a people, because it's simply not sustainable forever.

Each year, they dwindle further and further.

Well you certainly said what you meant then. I don’t blame you for wanting to throw a new spin on half orcs, they can get a bit stale, im glad you clarified though. Any new updates? How did your first game as a player go?

Our first game is tonight, actually.  Akkarin needed some time to find his DM groove, and we've had some scheduling setbacks, but tonight we'll finally get to play.  I'm super excited, and I'll update the thread tomorrow morning, if I get the chance.
Sorry for taking a while to get the update posted; I've been pretty busy with school this week.  So, yeah.  Akkarin's first game went well, I think.  For those who may have forgotten (I know it's been a while), the political climate of Strasa has vastly changed following the failed lizardman invasion: roughly half of the Strassan Council was killed, leaving a sort of power vacuum.  Certain members of Strasa's wealthy merchant class were chosen to fill the open slots, and not everyone in the city is happy about it.  Many people believe that the lizardman war chief, Zessith, was working with an organization inside the Raining City (the Thieves' Guild, if the rumours are true), and some say that the whole invasion was a plot to remove the current Council.  These new merchant-class Councilors, it is whispered, were using Zessith as a kind of proxy-agent, and everything has worked out according to their grand designs.

The city watch has been largely changed and re-formed, as well: the new Council essentially disbanded the old guard, keeping only a handful of the original membership, and created a new guard from the ranks of the merchant-lords' own personal armies.  These men and women are marked by the purple cloaks they wear.  There are far fewer purple cloaks than there were city guards, and the cloaks tend to focus primarily on protecting the Council.  A kind of lawlessness has begun to spread through the streets of the Raining City as a result.

The 'Watch has been changing, as well.

Mögr, a nauring warrior from the frozen lands of Mjörgard, north of the Reach, has come to Strasa.  The Naurung believe that the Raining City is a holy place -- the earthly seat of Talos, lord of Storms and Destruction -- and Mögr has come to see it rebuilt, so that he might earn the Destroyer's favor.  He fell in with the 'Watch soon after he arrived in the city.

Victoria worked with the remnants of the city guard, until it was dissolved.  She worked as a battle-captain, using her knowledge of warfare and tactics to both train raw recruits, and sharpen the skills of the veterans.  Formerly a Cleric of Kord, Victoria has officially swapped classes, and is now a Tactical Warlord.

Akkarin has largely lost himself in research, convinced that the Abiding One is still at work against the city.

Phedré has spent the last few months investigating the rumors against the Council, using her contacts within the Theives' Guild to uncover the truth.

And Virgil, as a former member of the city guard, was extremely upset when it was dissolved.  He hates the new Purple Cloaks, and used a portion of his resources to gather up some of his friends from the old guard and form a mercenary company called the Storm Wolves.  Their first official mission was to track down Vhauglohrl's lair, slay her consort, and smash her eggs -- so that's what they did.

When the game started, Virgil and his Storm Wolves were just returning to Strasa, victorious.

Phedré discovered a mysterious note, warning her of danger from an unknown source, and urging her to get out of the city.  She tried to investigate a little further about it at the Thieves' Guild, but wasn't able to track down any leads.  The next morning, a messenger from the Council arrived at the Roost, and urged the 'Watch to help track down some murderers who've fled into the cisterns beneath the city.  The 'Watch sensed a trap right away; why wouldn't the Council just send their Purple Cloaks?

Virgil was itching to throw the request back in the Council's face, but Mögr convinced him not to.  "Let's say it IS a trap," he said, "We'll be prepared when they spring it, and once they've failed, we'll have enough evidence to take them down."  Virgil liked that idea, so we headed down into the sewers.

The 'Watch did come upon a group hiding out down there, but they claimed to be "Resistance Fighters", and when we mentioned why we'd been sent down there, they called us "Council Dogs", and asked, "Where are your purple cloaks?"  Then the fighting began.

There were maybe 6 or 7 enemies.  And they were pretty far away when we rolled for initiative.  Mostly humans, but a few dwarves were there as well.  As forces from both sides began to converge in the middle, Mögr sprang over the water, dove over some low cover, and made a mad charge toward the dwarves, who were armed with crossbows ("Women's weapons!" he told them as he brought his fullblade down).  Mögr's first attack was a critical hit, and it basically split the dwarf in two.  He then charged the second bowman (via Swift Charge), and bloodied him badly.

During all this, the rest of the enemy forces were still fortifying themselves, and the 'Watch was closing in from the other side.  They clashed in the next round.  The battle was over quickly enough, and before the 'Watch could even figure out the truth about the encounter, a squad of Purple Cloaks rushed down the stairs.  They said that the 'Watch was under arrest, for "War crimes, and the murder of Strasan citizens".  We were ordered to come quietly, but of course we did not. 

I'm not going to lie.  It was a hard fight.  Right now, we have very few ways of dealing with minions, so that's something we're going to have to change next level when we're allowed to re-train.  I will probably swap out my 5th level rage for Rage of the Crimson Hurricane, for example, and maybe replace Recouperating Strike with Great Cleave.  Fortunately, Mögr was able to bring serious single-target DPS to the primary targets, while Phedré used her Blinding Barrage, and Virgil used Rain of Blows to mop up the minions.

The game session ended as soon as the fight was over, because it was getting late.

So, yeah.  The 'Watch are now outlaws, set up by the Council.  What will we do?  Where will we go?  We're still trying to figure that out ourselves.

No worries on the late post, im in school myself right now and totally understand.

As far as the game-interesting stuff. What were the remaining half of the council’s response to the upstart merchant councilors? Did the old councilors oppose the new when they dissolved the guard? If so how did the new councilors gain the majority they needed? Does the watch hold no political power or have no friends amongst the old councilors? If so, can’t you bring these matters to them? Your game sounded like fun, critting on your first hit is a great way to start a barbarian. How will the Storm Wolves react I wonder. Can they be bought? Lots of questions with likely no answers.

Lots of questions, yeah, and very few answers at this point.  Akkarin was actually kind of vague regarding the whole "City Guard to Purple Cloaks" transition; he said that the guard was basically stripped down, and replaced with people loyal to the Council.  For a major plot point, it was actually kind of glossed over.  That's okay by me, I mean, I guess I understand where he's going with it: the guard's been replaced by the sellsword companies loyal to the merchant lords, basically.  It gives the city a completely different feel.  Kind of oppressive, to be honest.  And there's this very obvious "us versus them" mentality now.

The 'Watch does have contacts in the Raining City, and we do have a certain amount of political power.  The 'Watch are heroes, after all; we took down Vhauglohrl, and broke the back of Zessith's invasion only a few months ago.  That victory is still fresh in the minds of the people, and they aren't likely to forget it anytime soon.

This new Council, though ... isn't well liked.  Rumours are flying around that the merchant lords and the Thieves' Guild were implicit in the attack on the city.  Some people are claiming that they out-right facilitated it, by feeding Zessith the kind of tactical information that only high-ranking members of the city would have access to.  About half of the original Council was wiped out in the attack, but who's to say that the ones who remain weren't in on the plot all along?  You know what I'm saying?  Maybe the ones who died were the only innocent ones, and now the Council is entirely made up of terrible people.

I don't know if you're familiar with Warcraft, but there's a situation in World of Warcraft that seems similiar to this: during the events of the original series, the city of Stormwind was completely ruined by the Horde; burned to the ground, essentially.  In the years following the Wars, the master craftsmen and builders of the area got together and worked hard to restore the city to its former glory.  When it was all over, though, the nobility of Stormwind refused to pay for the services of these craftsmen -- at least, not in full.  For years, they lobbied the city for the money that was owed them, but the truth was that Stormwind's coffers were empty.  The war had devasted everyone, including the rich.  At any rate, the craftsmen and builders eventually formed a kind of thieves' guild of their own, called "The Defias Brotherhood", dedicated to striking back at the nobility of Stormwind, and stealing from them all the money that they're rightfully owed.

Sort of reminds me of that scenario, I was thinking.  It's become something that's just completely corrupt.  It was always there before, beneath the surface, but now it's boiled over.  It's on top now, and everyone can see it.

I think the people of Strasa will side with the 'Watch on this issue, I really do.  But now is not the time to strike back against the Council.  I personally think we need to temporarily flee the city, gain information about what exactly happened, who was behind it, etc, rally our strength and our allies, and push back when we're properly prepared.  If we strike back against the Council immediately, I think it'll end up looking like a coup -- the 'Watch may be well-respected, but Mogr's a heathen barbarian, and the Storm Wolves are a mercenary company created from the remnants of the old guard.  I just think it paints a bad picture.

I think a better opportunity will come along quickly, frankly.  The city doesn't trust this new Council at all.  I think they'll side with the 'Watch.  When we leave town, and the Council's talking about how we're wanted for war crimes and murder, I think people are going to know it's false.  The longer they suffer the Council's lies and oppression, the more they'll cry out for the 'Watch to save them.  And when the time is right, we'll show up again, stronger than ever, and put an end to this whole farce.

Gotta make sure this stays off the second page.

And the campaign definitely seems to be taking an interesting turn. I kind of like the scenario where you've been spending your time protecting Strasa, and now Strasa is turning into one of your enemies. Definitely an interesting twist! It also almost seems like the campaign will continue to be in Strasa for a while, as I'm guessing the Night Watch wants to take the city back.

Keep up the recaps! Look forward to them every week! 
Thanks for the updates milkducks.  Still fascinating even with the changes.  I wonder, though, if the new DM will be as story driven as you were, or if he's more action minded.  Both have their place of course, but his gloss over some of the changes make me wonder.  And I wonder how your groupo will react.
It's hard to say what his style's going to be like at this point.  A lot of the changes throughout the city are ones that I sat down and talked with him about; stuff that I thought was happening behind the scenes that was ready to come to out in the open.  I agree that the story needs a little fleshing out.  I get the impression that Akkarin maybe wants to take the group in another direction, and I can understand that.  I'm totally fine with it, honestly.  I think maybe he doesn't want to mess with the Strasa stuff I've written, and would maybe feel a little more comfortable once we get away from it, and start working on the story he's got in mind.

But it's too early to tell, at this point.

We haven't played for a while, and we actually won't be playing for another two weeks.  School is back in session, and we've all just been really tied up.  I've been using the downtime to produce content for my YouTube channel, which, at this point, is dedicated to Call of Duty.  If you'd like to check it out, here's a link: -- In the video, I go 118 kills and 6 deaths, and I talk a little bit about how people can avoid being stuck in the situation we've put the other team in, lol.

Anyways, check it out if you'd like.  And remember to rate, comment, subscribe, and favourite! >.>       
I'm incorporating Strasa into my ongoing campaign - and I thought I would share this intro I wrote up to try and capture the flavour of the City. It is incomplete - unfortunately I left a section of the write-up at home, but this is the majority of it.


Strasa, The Raining City

Though rumours and hearsay are a common knowledge, none of the small party have ever laid eyes on the mythical city of Strasa. Nestled high in the mountains between two towering peaks in a deep, sheltered valley, it is said that the Raining City has been subject to a great and extended downpour that has lasted for generations. And, though the distance between Goodstead and the City is not all that great - the countryside has grown more and more dangerous with every passing year. Kobolds, Gnolls, Goblins and Orcs rove the hills in packs; extending their warrens and building strongholds out of the many small, crumbling holds and keeps littered about the hillsides. They are remnants of the Time Before the Rains, when this country was populated by many a minor Baron and Noble seeking to carve out some small part of the land for themselves.
This danger, coupled with the endless patterns of showers, torrential downpours and monsoons make the passes south of Strasa all the more treacherous. Mudslides and flooding rivers are common, giving rise to the frequent need to find new routes through the mountains; to build new roads and establish more trade routes from the southern baronies. As such, Strasa survives primarily on three major sources of income: Trade from the north, beyond the mountains where the lands grow dry and flat; Arcane Research from the many colleges established throughout the City; and finally tourism.

Few know quite when or how - but Strasa sits upon a waygate; a nexus into the elemental plane of water from whence pours and endless torrent. Growing initially as a focal point for travellers, pilgrims, mages at study and finally adventurers. This combination, or so it is told, led to an influx of wealth and an economy that would not be easily doused by the unusual weather. When one layer of the old city was washed away or flooded, the intrepid settlers would build upon the ruins - growing ever skyward. The towers would creep to new heights, and the people would build their homes anew - or so it was said.

Now, as it grows late in the summer and our heroes find themselves navigating the steep and water-logged passes leading into the mountains, they cannot help but wonder at this strange, ancient City. It has been over a century since the rains last paused - but it is said that Strasa is much older still than that. Only those amphibious or adventurous souls powerful enough to brave the dark depths are able to plumb the ancient ruins and foundations of the Raining City - and who knows what they will find. Crushed by the pressure of cold, frigid waters, what ancient tomes or relics still survive to tell the story of the City's mysterious past.

Mysterious, indeed, is Strasa - and it is that which brings these brave Adventurer's to its gates.

For a day, the party trek hard across the valleys between the towering black peaks of the mountains. Here the land is boggy and perpetually waterlogged under foot. Some slopes, usually to be expected devoid of any scrub or plant life are found surprisingly green and verdant. Many rivers and streams flow through these valleys, pooling into great lakes that force these heroes off track for hours at a time. Others still flow ever down wards, back the way they had come - heading into the hills and lowlands. Some twenty of thirty miles to the south, beyond Goodstead lies an enormous, sprawling marshy woodland - home, apparently, to untold numbers of Lizardfolk and other beasts.

But such is not their destination - at least for now. They travel onwards and upwards against the current, sometimes forced to fjord rivers and streams ranging from mere inches deep to fifty yards across and as deep as a tall man at the centre. These prove dangerous crossing against the fast flowing waters, but nothing untoward befalls the party. They simply grow weary, wetter and colder - even though it is supposedly still summer.

They camp the night under a rocky outcrop beside a tall stand of pines that shelters them from a cold wind. The wood here is always damp - and lighting a fire even in the shelter proves to be all but impossible. Each twig and branch must be labouriously dried before it will burn - and it is all they can do to build a blaze barely big enough to dry their clothes and return some warmth to aching hands and toes. The night is grim and cold, spent with cynical thoughts of turning homewards - but when the first light of morning finally lights the overcast and grey sky the Adventurers are finally greeted with their first glimpse of the Raining City - tall grey spires of stone that tower, innumerable against the dark sky but visible despite the grim weather. So high do some of them reach that they scrape the very clouds and their tips are hidden from sight. It is a sight that leaves jaws open in wonder and words dying on the tongue.

Galvanised by the sight, the heroes throw on damp clothes, don dripping armour and mount their sodden horses once again and press on through the trees towards the final ridge that stands between them and the City - eager to find shelter and a warm meal at long last. As they near the crest of the muddy hill, more and more towers materialise from the mist - filling the horizon between two gigantic peaks with clawing grey fingers of granite and marble of a variety of width, shape and height so great that it boggles the minds of these heroes; men who have never seen buildings of such magnitude or multitude.

Now they reach the ridge and can see below them Strasa in all its glory. Rising from a most enormous lake that laps at the steep, stony slope some hundred feet or so below them, the Raining City is - at water level - a most complicated and bewildering tangle of canals, bridges, boats, floating walkways and squat stone buildings perched atop one another as rights might climb over their fellows to stay away from the rising tide. At least from a distance, the City appears to have been built quite literally upon the remnants of its own former incarnations - constructed over generations to form a strange, multi-layered sprawl of communities wrapped around the spindly granite towers that loom overhead.
Eager to explore and, of course, to find shelter - the heroes negociate down the final, steep slope until they run along the edge of the great lake. Here the waters twirl and dance with endless eddies - as if this body of water literally wells up from the very ground as well as falling from the heavens in curtains. From there, the party need not venture far before they find themselves upon a muddy, rutted and well travelled track. A makeshift dock has been erected here, stretching out across the water allow for several ferries to be drawn back and forth on chains and ropes across the expanse of water to the City. Though in places the outskirts of Strasa extends as far as the solid ground of the valley slopes, here seems as good a place as any to cross.

The ferryman and his crew are dressed in long coats of hide and leather, with wide brimmed hats that droop under the weight of a constant soaking but seem to serve well enough to keep the rain from eyes and faces. Amongst the men that crew the wide, flat bottomed barge are one or two stranger types: Tall, blue skinned creatures with gangly limbs and a fine webbing between their long fingers and toes. They are watersouls, a type of elemental folk known as Genasi.
Playing again tonight, finally. Wink
So did you play? What happened?
We did play, yeah.  I've been reluctant to post about it, though, because not very much happened.  Akarrin, by his own admission, didn't spend a lot of time writing up this last session (even though we had almost a month of down time in-between games).  And that's not a big deal, but our last game was pretty underwhelming.  I'll see if I can bullet-point it for you:

We've been framed for the killing of these Strasan citizens, and apparently for war crimes.  We killed the Purple Cloaks who tried to apprehend us, but weren't able to get any additional information about what's going on.  After we defeated their ambush, we decided we probably had a few minutes to go over our options before we left the cistern.

Virgil urged us to act quickly against the Council.  They're expecting us to be brought in and tried as traitors; if we show up with naked steel in hand, we can take them totally by surprise.  My character, Mogr, sees the whole situation as a challenge from Talos (Kord), but he's not as eager to charge in and start lopping heads off (despite the fact that he's a Barbarian, lol).  As the Prince of Hollowhome, Mogr understands that you need more than a crown and scepter to rule; you need to win the hearts and minds of the people.  That's the problem with this Counci; nobody likes them -- they dissolved most of the original guard and replaced them with sellsword companies loyal to their coin; rumors abound of ties to the Thieves' Guild, and some say that these new Councillors had a hand in orchestrating Zessith's bloody attack on Strasa in the first place; an open resistance has begun to take root throughout the Raining City, in fact ...

Mogr believes that it isn't time to act just yet.  He believes the group should temporarily flee.  The 'Watch are heroes to the people of Strasa: they were well regarded, in fact, even before they saved the city from Vhauglohrl and Zessith.  These people will know the truth about us.  They will remember who we are and all we've done for the Raining City.  They will know that the charges against us are false -- that it's just an attempt by a corrupted Council to sweep us away, and keep us from interfering with their affairs.

So here's what Mogr believes are our options: Attack the Council and take them by surprise.  The problem here is that you risk the whole thing looking like a coup; We could also stay in the city for a while, join the Resistance, and work to slowly take them down.  The problem here is that we're putting our friends and family at risk by association.  The Council will undoubtedly strike back against the people we love if we stay, if even just in an attempt to keep us from having any place to hide;  Finally, we can just leave for a while.  We have the element of surprise at this point -- we could use it to strike, sure.  But we could also use it to slip out of the city undetected.  Again ... the people will know the charges against us are false, so the Council can say whatever they want.  Nobody's going to believe it anyway, right?   While we're away, the Resistance will continue to grow.  Discontent with the Council will continue to rise.  And eventually, the people of Strasa will call for these guys to be taken out of power -- they'll cry out for someone to help them, and whisper to one another that they wished the Raven Watch would return ... and then we would.  We could sweep back into town, save the day, and it would be at a more appropriate time.

That was Mogr's idea, anyway.  And that, ladies and gentlemen, was probably the most fun we had all night.  That, like, 5-10 minute conversation amongst the group about what we should do, where we should go, etc.

Akarrin indicated that if we left, the people would likely side with the Council on the issue, however.  I can't see the reasoning behind that, but he's the DM.  Still, though, we decided it would be best to take off and learn more before we decide to take action.  We need more information, frankly.  On the way out of the cistern, we were approached by Captain Sternheart (who you may  myself, but added as an NPC when Phedre decided to play a rogue).  Sternheart was wearing a Purple Cloak, and Greenbottle's a known-associate of the Thieves' Guild, so we weren't sure what to expect.  Sternheart explained that he's working as a Resistance fighter from within the Purple Cloaks, trying to learn more information.  And Greenbottle revealed himself to be a Resistance fighter as well.  They knew tha we had been set up, and offered to help us slip out of the city -- they said the Resistance has its eyes on a new location for its headquarters, a few miles outside the city, but it's currently occupied by hobgoblins.  We told them we could take care of it, and that we'd meet them at that location in several hours.

The moment we left the cistern, and headed out into the streets, we were apparently spotted.  Not even by guards, by the way: we were POINTED OUT to the guards by a citizen, who recognized the cloaks we wore (Virgil skinned the Dire Wolf we fought in like Game 3, and had cloaks fashioned out of the pelt for all of us).  It kind of bothers me, as the former DM, because I have always written and explained that the people of Strasa really love the 'Watch ... and I'm not totally sure how they know that the Council's looking for us ... but he's the DM, and if that's what happened, I'm not going to argue.  So we began a Skill Challenge, and Akarrin needs more work on Skill Challenges, that's clear, but he's new to 4th Edition and I had the same issues at first. 

The challenge was to get out of the city while being chased by the guards.  This should more or less have just been played out as a series of skill checks, because basically one of the only relevant skills is Athletics.  Phedre tried to use Stealth to sneak into the crowd during the commotion, but Akarrin didn't want us to split up (we thought splitting up would be the best option, because individually, we had a greater chance of escaping, but again, that's fine), so the crowd of citizens actually blocked her path.  I delayed my action, choosing to go after all the other characters in my group: I knew that Virgil had a high Athletics check, but Phedre was being hassled, and I didn't know yet how well Victoria would roll, so I wanted them to go first.  It turns out, yeah, only Vigril rolled well.  So, with the Purple Cloaks closing in, I had Mogr stand in the way and use Intimidate to draw their attention.  I figured I had the best Athletics and Endurance of anyone on the field, and if I absolutely had to, I could fight these guys a round or two, then break away and keep running.

Mogr drew the guards in for a round while everyone else made off, and I ended up toppling over some carts and food stands in front of the Cloaks before turning tail and running as well.  I quickly caught up to the others, and we were making progress against the guards, when we saw a butcher up the street walk out of his store; he saw us running, recognized us, and signalled for us to head down into his basement.  We decided to go for it, and as soon as we went down the stairs ... he closed the door and locked it.  And suddenly, we were in a fight against a group of Purple Cloaks that were lying in wait for us.

What?  How did this guy know we were being chased?  Did the Purple Cloaks like SCRY the situation or something, lol?  And have their guys not only cut us off, but hide down inside a butcher's basement where we may or may not even try to take refuge?  Anyway, we fought these guys off pretty handily.  I had mentioned to Akarrin that he'd probably want to use more minions than I do, because when he was playing, the group had access to a wide variety of AoEs that could obliterate a whole field of minions (that's why I didn't use them a whole lot), but with the Wizard replaced by my Barbarian, we're much more single-target-focused.  He ends up using A LOT of minions, though, and we have the potential to completely wreck them when we're prepared for it.  Which we were.

Anyway, that's basically everything that happened.  We're losing a lot of our momentum, as a group, and that's what bothers me, to be honest.  This is what always happens to me, lol.  The reason I always have to be the DM is because nobody else wants to do it.  I like DMing, though.  I honestly do.  It's just that ... I'm 27 now, and I haven't been able to be a player since i was like 16.  I want to play more than just about anything, but it always falls on my shoulders to run the group.          

Anyway, that's basically everything that happened.  We're losing a lot of our momentum, as a group, and that's what bothers me, to be honest.  This is what always happens to me, lol.  The reason I always have to be the DM is because nobody else wants to do it.  I like DMing, though.  I honestly do.  It's just that ... I'm 27 now, and I haven't been able to be a player since i was like 16.  I want to play more than just about anything, but it always falls on my shoulders to run the group.          

I can agree that the DM role is a great one, but it's nice to play, too. The rotating DM style works for my group, but that is mainly because in addition to myself (I've been running and playing a LONG time) there are two other DMs in the game who are experienced with D&D and other systems.

I think one thing that I detect in your post is a disappointment with how your setting is being handled, and that is a reason that even in our group, we rarely share a setting. Only you can run Strassa like you envision it, and your preconcieved ideas of how the populace 'would' act will be something that you struggle with when it flies in the face of how the other person is running 'your' game... doesn't make you bad or wrong, just human. Strassa is your baby, after all!

You also have the added issues that follow a 'rookie' DM. The whole 4e flying by the seat of your pants deal is great, but remember your first adventure? You wrote stat blocks and backstories for 4 hit point kobold hunting parties about warring tribes, and the kobold hall of kings where the kobolds of legend are buried, said to rise again in the time of the great Wyrming... only to have the PCs slaughter them in about 3 rounds, skipping entire segments of your 'story'.

Remember the panic the first time your group went "off the rails" even a little?
"OMG, they don't WANT to fight the slavering ogres that are said to have wiped out a whole platoon of the King's Army?!? That's my big crescendo for the night! If they skip it... WHAT WILL I DO? I got it! Absolutely original idea.. if they won't go to the OGRES, the ogres will go to THEM!"
(Okay, maybe I'm the only one who ever did that... and maybe sometimes still does, when I'm not careful..)

I think you have to just divorce yourself from your setting, and consider this 'new' Strassa a completely foreign place from the one you created. It'll help your disbelief in the changes, and after all... maybe the Watch only THINKS the populace is really into them.... they could be deluded.

edit: as for getting more play time and less DM time... I hear you, brother. If you figure it out, pass it on! Maybe you could look into the Encounters in your area, or maybe even Living Forgotten Realms to get your every once in a while playing fix?
So many PCs, so little time...
Gotta BTTT! Any further adventures in the land of Strassa to relate? Those of us who have followed it for all this time are still interested!
So many PCs, so little time...
As a matter of fact, yes.  We're playing tomorrow night.  It's going to be good, I think.  Virgil's player has a new girlfriend who's in to the same kinds of things he is, so she's coming along to meet everyone, and watch the game.  She's considering making a character (she has some experience playing Pathfinder, but not 4e), so that's going to be interesting, too.  I'll let you guys know what happens.

Also, and I guess this is a bit of shameless self-promotion here, lol, but since I've not been DM'ing this D&D group, I've actually been spending a lot of time developing my YouTube channel.  I'm still busy going to school full-time, and watching our son during the day (we're due to have another baby in December, too), but I've been working pretty hard to put out content twice a week for a little over a month now.  I'm a competitive gamer, and my channel focuses on Call of Duty, primarily.  My goal is to help people understand and develop their playstyles, increase meta-knowledge with information on maps and weapons, etc.  For being such a small, new channel, it's actually growing very quickly.  If anyone's interested in that, please swing by and check it out.  Every comment, rating, subscription, etc helps me grow.

Here's a link, lol:
The game was fun tonight!  Unfortunately, Virgil's player was sick, so not only did we not get to meet his new girlfriend, but I had to end up playing both Virgil and Mogr.  I have a very strong understanding of Fighters in general, and I'm far-and-away the player with the most 4e experience, so I didn't mind taking on that extra baggage.  I made some risky choices early on in an encounter with him that paid off short-term, but ended up hurting a lot over the course of the fight, lol.  I maintain that it was a good move, but the battle played out in a way I couldn't have expected, and it ended up biting me in the end.  But whatever; we survived, lol.

More info tomorrow. 

Thanks to everyone that posted in this. I'm going to be running Strasa for my game also, although not with  4e, I’m going to use a grittier, low magic, system. I feel like part of the fun of the setting is the oppressive nature of the wet and cold, the Strassan's struggle for survival in this uncomfortable place. 4e characters are too powerful to experience that element of the setting, drop a quick fastidiousness charm and you'll stay dry for week.

I’ve been compiling the information in the thread into an ‘official’ version for my game, adding my own stuff as I go. Here is a low magic explanation as to why people might stay in a place like this and a bit about how their behavior has changed to accommodate the rains, some of which comes from previous posts.

Strasa sits in a pass, which is the only navigable area in a wide mountain range. The surrounding countryside is all swamp and bog, making regular wagons and draft teams useless.  Goods are carried as far as the outskirts and then given over to Strasan teams who use man power and pulleys to haul the cargo up a long series of wooden ‘ribs’ to the lake, where it can be ferried across. Without them to maintain the path and ferries this area is effectively impassable.

The city also houses a large military force in service of a major kingdom in the flat lands below. These cities, ‘The Flats’ in the local vernacular, vie to offer the most lucrative military contract. Control of Strasa and the people and trade that travel through it is a major political and practical advantage.

Mannerisms and Dress
Among the city’s wealthy residents, sheepskin is the most popular material, it’s light and highly waterproof. They craft it into long, leather overcoats to keep their bodies dry, tall leather boots to keep their feet from soaking in the many puddles in the city, and wide hats with floppy brims to deflect the rain from their heads and their eyes. But sheepskin must be imported and it ruins easily. All the poor and middle class people wear loose wool pants, and nothing else, while outside. Each building and home has a small atrium with towels and fireplaces for guests to hang their stuff. Visitors dry off and then are given new clothes to wear while indoors.

It’s necessary to make frequent stops indoors to warm yourself during the day, so many homes leave their outer doors unlocked so that passersbys can use the fire. There are also lounges where you pay a chit for a warm drink and seat by a roaring fire pit.

Looking for Strasa updates!
So many PCs, so little time...
You and me both, bug.  We're actually supposed to play tonight, but we'll see how that goes.  The game's seriously lost its momentum, which is a shame.  This is why I'm always the GM, lol.  Don't get me wrong, I think Akkarin's getting a lot better, but the pace of the game has slowed down tremendously.  People are losing interest, you know?  Even I'm starting to lose interest.

We're also all extremely busy.  My wife and I, especially.  We're only a few final steps away from buying our first house, my school semester is just about to end, and we're only 2 or 3 weeks away from having our second child, lol.  It's all coming together really quickly, and it's hard for us to get time to do anything.

At any rate, if we play tonight (and again, we're supposed to), I will let you know what happened in a post tomorrow morning.

Thanks for continuing to show interest, guys.  I know it's been really spotty lately. 
So, one of the biggest issues right now is that we're all strongly focused on melee.  We've got Mogr (the Rageblood Barbarian), Virgil (the One-Handed Weapon Talent Fighter), Phedre (the Artful Dodger Rogue), and Victoria (the Tactical Presence Warlord).  On bigger maps, with a lot of room to move around, we're super effective: Mogr is just so fast, and so mobile, that he can easily blitz past enemy defenders to strike at the artillery in the back.  He's incredibly focused on charging, and hits like an absolute truck while he's on the move, so it's a great strategy.  Enemies near the front lines clearly want to turn back to help their artillery, but it's often too late; once Virgil sinks his teeth in, there's no shaking him off.

On smaller maps though?  With smaller engagement areas?  We struggle.  Last night was probably the closest we've ever come to a total party wipe.  We had been out in the woods, working with the Resistance to track down a hobgoblin camp several miles outside of Strasa.  The plan was to clear the hobgoblins out, then set up a Resistance Headquarters in the area where we can train new recruits and launch attacks against the Council.  In the game we played last time, one of the hobgoblins had sounded a horn on top of a building before we could stop him (I mean, he did it in the first round of combat -- we never had a chance to stop him), so enemy reinforcements were en route when the last session ended.  This game started pretty much right where the last one left off.

It's been a while since we played, and Virgil wasn't there last time (I played his charater, in addition to Mogr).  So even though we had a few rounds to prepare before the hobgoblin reinforcements closed in, none of us realized, I guess, that we were all sitting right around bloodied.  Like I said, it's been a while since we played.

So, like I said before, we really need some space when we play.  Mogr needs some room to set up charges, Phedre needs room to set up flanks, etc.  Virgil and Victoria tend to push right up the middle, but they're the exceptions.  In this scenario, we really didn't have much elbow room.  I mean, we had a pretty big map to play with, but all the fighting took place in a small corner of it, and we didn't have much of an opportunity to move.  Nearly all of the enemies had area attacks.  We took massive amounts of damage very quickly.  There were guys with flails that dealt 15+ damage to everyone in the party, pushed us back, and knocked us prone.  They also had a "no roll required" attack that dealt 5 damage to everyone.  There were hobgoblin war casters who could deal area damage.  And there was some kind of leader, who kept dazing us, and allowing all of his allies to shift 3 squares as a free action.

AND all of these guys have that hobgoblin Phalanx ability, so they get a bonus to AC when they're adjacent to their allies.  And since they can't really HELP but be adjacent to their allies, since the encounter area's so small, we had a hard time landing hits.  

When we don't have a lot of room to move around, this kind of an attack force just obliterates us.  There's not a whole lot we can do.  We just kept getting pushed, proned, and dazed.  My wife wasn't there last night (she's 9-months pregnant, and very close to being ready to deliver our second child), so I played Victoria in addition to Mogr.  I did everything I could to keep us upright, but every member of the party dropped at least once during the fight.          

We won, but it was incredibly messy.  That was the harshest fight I've probably ever been in.  Not because the enemies were over powered or anything, or because we weren't prepared, necessarily, but because the encounter area was too small.  All the enemies started on basically the same section of the map, and since we're all essentially melee, we all met up in the middle and then got locked down.  

One of the things I started doing, before I stepped down as the DM, was to have the group start in the center of a large-ish map, and have enemies pour in from all sides, rather than the opposite side of the map.  That way, your group has to develop an effective plan on the fly.  They don't just have everyone move up and meet in the middle, you know what I mean?  It makes the fight more dynamic and interesting.

When we're in a small area like that, and all the enemies are basically standing side-by-side, it's especially rough for Phedre, who can't move past anyone to set up a flank.  I keep track of everyone's damage output during gameplay (because that's just the kind of person I am, lol), and typically, Phedre's right up there next to Mogr, but last night, she did about 1/3 of his damage.  I think Mogr dealt like 165ish damage over the course of a few rounds, and she dealt maybe 53?  Even Virgil and Victoria dealt 80+.  But that's because she uses a low [W] weapon, and the fact that Rogues rely on their sneak attacks to deliver their Striker damage.  She got a sneak attack in on the first round of combat, and I think that was it.

But anyways, we won.  Akkarin rolled for loot, and I picked up that Horned Helmet (which allows you to deal an extra 1d6 damage on a charge) I've been after since I rolled up my character, lol.  Mogr's very much focused on charging.  He's using a Vanguard weapon already (which deals extra damage on a charge), and I fall back on Howling Strike to deal the majority of my damage.  At this point, I think that, with all of my modifiers and equipment, my At-Will Howling Strike damage on a charge is like ... 1d12 + 2d6 + 1d8 + 7.  Something like that? It's pretty high, lol.

But yeah, I rely on charges.  When I can move around a lot, they work out really well for me.  Most of my encounter and daily powers don't even hit as hard as my At-Will Howling Strikes, so I choose those powers based on utility.  I pick powers that will allow me to be more versatile and effective.  It's working out pretty well for me.  I don't think there's been an encounter yet where Mogr hasn't been on top for damage.  But again, it's hard for Phedre to compete when she can't reliably get Combat Advantage.  I know she's capable of out-pacing Mogr given the right set of circumstances. 
Oh! I forgot to mention that Virgil has a new girlfriend, and that she came to watch us play last night.  She's really cool.  I think she fits in very well.  She's said that she'd like to make a character and start playing with us, so we're all pretty excited about that.  She's got some 3.5 and Pathfinder experience, I think, but last night was the first time she's seen 4th in action.  I think that anything she makes would be good, as long as it's ranged, lol.  I know Virgil likes Rangers, and I'm partial to Sorcerers, for whatever that's worth.  I've been reading through the classes this morning, and I've been thinking that Invoker might be nice, too.  Anyway, whatever she decides will be awesome.  I just think we need more range and area damage, and sorcerer fits that bill nicely.
Sounds like fun... one thing that you may need to look at is that the "new" DM tends to see a fight like that and go "Aha! I finally challenged them!" and then carbon copy that encounter one bazillion times. You guys are INCREDIBLY melee based though.. without writing the potential new party member's character for her, point out that she is likely to be able to really shine in situations like the one she watched, since it is a glaring lack in your group make up.

But if she decides to be a Charisma based paladin.. well, then you have your work cut out for you! Hobgoblins in particular can be a big mess, in my experience, because of that Phalanx ability that even the minions have. (The other low level monster with out of control TPK ability is the Etter-cap)

Good to be gaming, harsh that you guys basically got caught with your pants down (starting a couple of points off of bloodied is ALWAYS bad!)

Something to check for your Rogue player is that she can get CA with a couple of her powers, and I think you can also use a Standard Action (not good all the time, but can be good with an Action Point) to Bluff an opponent, granting CA until the end of your next turn (check the write up... it's been a while since a player Bluffed me in combat!)
So many PCs, so little time...
Phedre has a number of tricks up her sleeve to help her maintain Combat Advantage even when she can't flank.  The issue I've been seeing, though, and this is probably my biggest complaint with Akkarin as the DM so far, is that he never takes the bait.  She's got a feat called Opportunity Knocks, for example, that says whenever she hits with an Opportunity Attack or is missed by an opportunity attack, she gains Combat Advantage against that enemy.  She's an Artful Dodger, so this feat is right up her alley.  When I was the DM, I loved when she used it.  She understands the importance of maintaining CA to keep her damage output high, and she's taken a feat that allows her to take a gamble: she can intentionally provoke an attack of opportunity, and she's betting (hoping) that she won't get hit.  If she's right, she'll gain CA.  If she's wrong, not only does she not get CA, but she also takes a hit.

I think that's a good trade-off.  When she uses it on me, I think that's great.  But when she uses it on Akkarin, he almost never takes the bait.  And don't get me wrong, I can see how a perceptive or tactically-minded monster would pick up on her trick and play a little more reserved, but sometimes she'll only try to use it once in an encounter, and her enemy will just refrain from making an attack.  That's the worst possible outcome for her.  It punishes her for taking a feat she's not going to get to use, wastes her move action while she dashes into a position that won't grant her anything, and she ends up hitting for ... not very much at all.

I've taken a Fighter multiclass feat on Mogr, too, which allows him to attack an enemy who shifts or attacks an ally of mine once per encounter.  It's pretty bad ass.  You know how many times I've been able to use it?  Once.  Once in about four encounters.  It was last night, and I'm pretty sure the only reason he allowed me to do it is because we were getting absolutely torn up out there.  Any other time, he'll focus fire on me, and refuse to move away.  I mean, that really irritates me, to be honest.  I know it really irritates Phedre when he does it to her, too.  You can see it on her face, and gameplay immedlately stops being quite as interesting. 

That's my biggest issue right now.      
Here's another quick example, lol: My ability to strike at an enemy who shifts away or makes an attack that doesn't include me as a target functions just like the Fighter ability, but doesn't require a Mark.  It's pretty neat, and since I have almost no other Immediate Actions at my disposal right now, it's a really beneficial way for my to increase my DPR.  But again, I just never get to use it.  One time, Virgil had an enemy Marked, and I was adjacent as well.  So that enemy is in a serious bind: if he attacks Virgil, I get to attack him; if he attacks me, Virgil gets to attack him; if he tries to shift away, we both get to make immediate attacks; if he tries to move away, we both get Opportunity Attacks.  It's nasty.  So what does the guy do?  He basically just burns his turn and does nothing.

So frustrating.

I try to bounce off of Virgil as much as possible.  That's something I have a lot of fun with, I just wish it ... worked, you know?  We like to tag team enemies whenever possible.  If he's got a target Marked, I'll intentionally provoke an Attack of Opportunity by moving straight away from the guy.  The idea is that this monster will attack me, get hammered by Virgil, and then I'm open for a Charge.  Basically, I'm opening myself up to some possible damage in exchange for essentially turning my move action into extra damage.  I think that's a fair trade off.

But again, he never goes for it, lol.  He'll just not attack me when I move away.  I guess that's okay, because it still opens me up for a charge, but it's frustrating to continously get shut down on stuff like that.     
Sounds like a newbie dm mistake, he's focused on beating you using the outside knowledge he has instead of trying to provide you with a fun memorable encounter. Hopefully he is a quick learner. Sorry to hear you guys are losing momentum though, it happens to us every year right around this time because of the holidays and peoples vacations. Hopefully you can reinvogorate the game.
Virgil's decided he'd like to change his character.  There's nothing wrong with Virgil, but he's the kind of player who likes to switch things up all the time.  Frankly, the fact that he's stuck with Virgil for this long is amazing.  Story-wise, we'll just have Virgil fade into the background of the Resistance a bit, and a new character from their ranks will join our squad.  We spoke at length about his thoughts on a new character; at first he was pretty excited about Swordmage, but I know it's not something he'd enjoy.  That's a class that requires a lot of in-depth knowledge and finesse, and like I said before, he's the kind of guy who likes to change things around all the time.  It just doesn't suit him.  I think we're pretty sold on Dwarven Earthstrength Warden at this point.  He intends to go full two-hander (Mordenkrad, I think), and he's pretty excited.

We'll see how that goes.  

His new girlfriend, who I may have mentioned wants to play with us, has decided to make a Razorclaw Shifter Archery Ranger.  Virgil's player says he might work on her a bit, and see if she'll want to switch to an Elf, but Razorclaw Shifter's solid, in my opinion.  It'll certainly help us in the range department, which is something we sorely need.

Anyway, pretty exciting.  More news when I have some. 

His new girlfriend, who I may have mentioned wants to play with us, has decided to make a Razorclaw Shifter Archery Ranger.  Virgil's player says he might work on her a bit, and see if she'll want to switch to an Elf, but Razorclaw Shifter's solid, in my opinion.  It'll certainly help us in the range department, which is something we sorely need.

Anyway, pretty exciting.  More news when I have some. 

Tell him to lay off! The Elf might be more 'optimized' in terms of Racial powers and stuff, but if she gets down by playing a were-snow-leopard, remind him that the only thing that really matters is the Dex, and she has it!

The Ranger has plenty of feat support, so the minor stuff she may lose by not being an Elf will be easily covered in the class.

As to the other stuff... I can understand the frustration, truthfully. I have DM'd every edition of D&D from AD&D on, and I still have to remind myself that the monsters don't always know the tricks the PCs use. I try to play my bad guys with a brain, unless they don't have one. If a Hobgoblin watches someone do the 'draw the attack' trick (we had an Invoker who excelled at this that pinballed off the Paladin in a group I ran) once, he would be very cautious about attacking. My zombies, however, never move to avoid AOs or pay attention to marks... they just move in a straight line to the nearest target (or the one that hit them last) and swing away.

Something you might look at... remember the retraining rule in 4e. Maybe look for some feats that punish the stuff he DOES do, and then when he adjusts to the new normal, swap back.

So many PCs, so little time...
Hey, guys!  Just a little update, since we haven't been playing much lately.  It's really just been a matter of scheduling: last week my wife and I had another baby, and I had my finals for this semester; this week, we're closing on our home, and moving in.  So yeah, super busy.  Virgil's player also moved to another town to start a new job, so he's been away, as well.  We're still planning on playing again soon, but it may have to be after the first of the year.  I don't see any other way we can really swing it.

Like I said before, Virgil's swapping out his character, and he'll be playing a Dwarven Warden when we pick up next.  I know he's planning on using a craghammer and a shield, and basically making a mini-game out of seeing how many times the game's going to legitimately allow him to add his Constitution modifier to damage (Crippling Crush, Crushing Earthstrength, various Warden powers, etc).  Seems pretty nasty, but we'll see how that goes.  He asked me to sit down with his girlfriend and help her develop her character last weekend.  I think she's going to work out really well.  We like her a lot, actually.  She DID end up going with Elf instead of Razorclaw shifter.  She said wasn't attached to Shifter at all, but thought the rest of us might think Elf Ranger was cliche.  I explained that we didn't.  I mean, we're all basically playing cliche roles, lol.  I'm a Half-Orc Barbarian, after all.

Well, I'm a Nauring, but whatever.  We don't get to roleplay as much when Akarrin's DM'ing, so sometimes even I feel like he's just a Half-Orc.  Actually, that leads me to something else I wanted to talk about: now that my semester is over, and everything's starting to calm down around here (as much as it can, anyway, with a new baby in the house), I've been writing stuff up again.  I'm really anxious to get back behind the DM screen.  Akarrin wants to finish up the story he's telling, and that's cool, but I'm going to work on stuff in the meantime.  I'm actually planning on writing up an entirely new campaign setting, with all new races and deities and stuff.  Really excited about it.

The first race I'm writing up is the Naurung, actually.  Mogr's race.  In the game we're playing now, the Naurung are essentially just Half-Orc re-skins.  I've built them from the ground up, though.  I have a thread up on the Homebrew section of the site, but maybe I'll just go ahead and post it here, for you guys to critique?  You've always been really helpful in the past whenever I've been designing stuff, and the Naurung ARE tied to the Strasan campaign through Mogr. 

Here's a link to the Homebrew thread:

I'll just re-post the information from the opening post here, though.         
RP and racial background stuff behind the spoiler.
In the North, beyond the furthest reaches of human civilization, lies Mjörgard; howling and frozen.  It is a desolate and inhospitable land, called "home" by only one people -- the Naurung.  They had once been Men, the stories say, who laid with the giants in the Time-Beyond-Remembering.  They are a hale and hearty people, half-again as large as men, and well-suited to the natural conditions of the North.  Scholars speculate that the mingling of Giant and Mannish blood complicates their biology to a certain degree, as one in every ten Naurings are born sterile.  The North claims the weakest and youngest amongst them each season, but the Naurung continue to endure, together.  Few civilizations can boast of communities with bonds as strong as the Naurung's.
The are a fierce and independent people, however; naturally suspicious of the Southron races. 
Mjörgard is a hard and frigid land, incapable of sustaining crop growth, so the Naurung are raiders by necessity.  In the lands of the Reach, their clan banners are well-known and well-feared.  Naurings rarely take more than their communities require, however, and almost never cut down those with enough sense to stand aside when they come.  In truth, most of the villages gave up resisting the attacks generations ago, and now simply pay tribute to the Naurung on every moon-turn.
The Naurung pay tributes of their own, however.  In the highest Mjörgardian peaks, amongst the tall stone spires of Rassal, the abandoned City of Bells, lives an old white wyrm called Boreandr, who commands both respect and admiration ... and demands sacrifices of wealth and blood.  The Naurung are not an especially intelligent people (though many are cunning); most cannot read or write, so the vast majority of their traditions and history are passed down through the generations by song and story.  Boreandr, like most great wyrms, measures his vast lifetime in centuries, and has warped the stories of the Naurung over the course of many long generations -- many now believe that he is an avatar of Talos, the god of storms, destruction and savagery, and so happily pay tribute in return for his favor.  In return, Boreandr (and his consort, the wicked she-dragon, Shiver) watches over the Naurung, and bring their terrifying wrath upon any who would dare strike back at them.  Their interest in the Naurung could easily be compared to the affection a master shows for his favorite pet. The Naurung are a nomadic people, with only one permanent settlement: Hollowhome.  In the Time-Beyond-Remembering, scholars say that Hollowhome was a dwarven fortress-city, but the dwarves have long since fled; driven aback by the giants of old, most like, through the deep roads their ancestors carved from stone and fire.  Now it is home to the Naurung.  The cavernous entrances to the city sprout up all around the base of Rassal, the fabled City of Bells that rises from the tallest and oldest peaks, and now serves as Boreandr's roost and throne.  The Naurung are forbidden to ascend the mountain, or step foot in Rassal, but when the wind howls (and it often howls in Mjörgard), they can hear the massive, ancient bells ringing down in Hollowhome. 

Additional information on favored classes:
References to Auril, Talos, etc are because the race was originally just a re-skin of Half-Orcs that I did for a game I was DM'ing.  In that world, I was using a lot of the old Forgotten Realms deities, so that's why they're references in the write-up.  I'll likely change that stuff around when I'm totally finished.  Anyway, I'm working on my own Homebrew world now, and this is my first attempt at writing up the Naurung as their own, independent and original race.  This is actually the first time I've ever tried to Homebrew a race, so I'd appreciate any input you could give me.
Oh, and for what it's worth?  I'd say the Naurung heavily favor Primal classes, and Martial as well.  I can see some Divine classes, like the Rune-Priest, specifically, but their culture really isn't one that supports Paladins, Clerics, and the like.  Their racial bonuses don't lead them toward the Arcane, either, which is good, because I can't imagine a Naurung Wizard, or Bard.  Rune-Priests aside, I'd say their spiritual leaders are Shamans and Druids.  Fighters, Wardens, Barbarians, Rangers, Rogues, Warlords, etc, are all right up their alley.

An ancient and powerful mingling of Man and Giant, Firstborn of the Northern wind.

Average Height: 7'2" - 7'8" Average Weight: 280-340 lb
Ability Scores: +2 Constitution; +2 Strength or Wisdom Size: Medium Speed: 6 Vision: Low-Light
Languages: Common, Giant Skill Bonuses: +2 Endurance, +2 Nature
Blood of Auril: You have resistance to cold damage equal to 5 + one-half your level. Nauring Resilience: When you're bloodied, you gain a +1 racial bonus to all defenses. Naturally Suspicious: Add Insight to your list of class skills.  Also, when you make an Insight check to sense motives of attitudes, roll twice and use either result. Blessing of Rassal: Your normal load is determined by multiplying your Strength score by 15, rather than 10.  In addition, your heavy load is determined by multiplying your Strength score by 30, rather than 20, and your maximum drag load is determined by multiplying your Strength score by 75, rather than 50.
Naurung Battle Shout: You have the Naurung battle shoutpower.  

Naurung Battle ShoutNauring Racial Power
You let loose a mighty shout that shakens those nearby.
Encounter ♦ Thunder
Minor Action - Close burst 1
Target: Each creature in burst
Attack: Strength +2 vs. Fortitude, Constitution +2 vs. Fortitude, or Wisdom +2 vs. Fortitude
Hit: Constitution modifier damage, and you push the target 1 square.
Special: When you create your character, choose Strength, Constitution, or Wisdom as the ability score you use when making attack rolls with this power.
In addition, increase to +4 bonus and 5 + Constitution modifier damage at 11th level, and +6 bonus and 10 + Constitution modifier damage at 21st level.

So many PCs, so little time...
wow i'm impressed, i'm really loving this city.
OP, I'd love to run this game for my summer campaign, would anyone like for me to keep a log of what all my players do?
This has been an enjoyable read!  
Any new developments in the Raining City? Or has it dried up?!
So many PCs, so little time...
I can't play D&D til this summer, so for the moment, it's dried up for me. Content will be coming from me in May, I can assure that!
Hey, namph! I've had a great time reading about Milkducks campaign, and I would more than enjoy reading about your adventures in the Raining City. I'm looking forward to your game this summer!
I'm actually looking forward to D&D Next. I think that every edition had some really awesome qualities, and every edition has truly awful design flaws. I don't expect Next to be any different, but if WotC is actively trying to incorporate the good bits into one unified whole, then I do expect it to be worth playing.
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