Only use races & classes from a published WotC source – PHB, Essentials, etc. If you really have your heart set on something from a third party, you can bring it to me, but I’m not sure there’s anything suitable that can’t be dealt with already. Note that unusual backstories are certainly welcome – just let me know. For quick reference, here’s a list of where and how different Races in the Empire appear and their relative status and reputation.
For feats, powers, and the like, use generic/default D&D material (i.e., no Dark Sun, Gamma World, Eberron material); FR-specific material requires GM approval, but is almost certainly OK. This is not an FR campaign, however, so cultural & setting references will probably not be valid; be prepared to reflavor. Dragon Magazine and D&D Insider material requires GM approval, but is almost certainly OK if it is default D&D.
No evil or chaotic-evil player characters. You don’t have to be a goody-two-shoes, but outright evil heros are not in this campaign.
Backgrounds are encouraged (see Vision & Fate discussion below); generic D&D backgrounds are fine, as are Scales of War campaign backgrounds. Other campaign- or setting-specific backgrounds (for example, Forgotten Realms) might work with modification for the different setting.
Equipment: You can start with a suit of non-magical armor with which you are proficient, and with one weapon or implement with which you are proficient. You may purchase healing potions as starting equipment at normal cost. You still start with the usual 100gp to purchase any normal equipment. Note also that Guns are available.
Vision & Fate
The initial intent of the campaign is to work right through the ladder, to level 30. As things progress, the overall flow of events will become more dependent on the heroes’ goals and actions. In Paragon tier, you’ll be among the leading elites of the realm; in Epic tier, you can be changing the way the world works. I encourage the players to keep in the back of their minds some vision of where they want their characters to go and what they want to see happen in the long run, at higher levels. There will be goings-on determined by the GM, of course, but when the heroes are changing the shape of the world, the players will have a hand in deciding those things. This doesn’t have to be all worked out in advance (and shouldn’t be, given there’s a lot that will happen before then), cast an eye to the horizon occasionally. The campaign will be determined to a major extent by the players’ aims and desires as we ascend to the heights.