Friday, May 21, 2010


This one breaks out of the mold, because I'm going on Cub Scout camping trip, but its promising thunder and lightning. So while we're stuck in our cabins, I think I might give this a go. Never mind the formatting, Here's the beginning...

Emmerdale Campaign:

Fair: The Village of Emmerdale is holding its annual county fair. The people of the village have gathered in the last days of summer to celebrate another year before the harvast comes in. There is food and drink being sold. There are races of all types, foot races, horse races, and even potato sack races. There are demonstrations by wandering merchants showing off various wonders such as magic potions to cure warts, swords and armor crafted by far away dwarven smiths, fantastic spices from the the mystical orient, and even a tame griffin. However, the biggest crowds are gathered for the livestock show, where the people of Emmerdale bring thier animals to be judged. Animals that score high in the livestock show are able to be sold for a much higher price then those who do not compete or recieve low marks.

The Arrival: The Lord of the West Counties, Baron Jim arrives with much fanfair to open the fair. Unfortunitly he brings sad news, the scheduled jousting matches are going to be cancelled, for the Knights of the Realm are trying to fend off the depredations of the green dragon, Po. This dismays the Mayor Emmerdale, Mr. Tom. Apparently, the chicken portion of the livestock show is lacking in entrants because a tribe of Kobolds have been raiding the outlying farms and stealing the chickens. Baron Jim is rather flustered with this, because he needs the knights to take care of a threat to the entire kingdom, not just a minor annoyance to one of the counties. Seeing that it could lead to greater trouble, Baron Jim allows Mr. Tom to form a militia to take care of the problem.

The Militia: Every able body person that is not a land worker, business person, or visitor is gathered to go hunt down the kobolds. That's the group. They are then told which farms were victims of the theft. It is up to the PCs to decide which farm they will investigate.

Behind the scenes: The kobolds have been raiding the farms in order to feed their new master, an ogre who says that he will protect them from the goblin horde they have been fueding with.

The Search
Farm: It doesn't really matter which farm they go to, the clues are the same. However, only the first farm is on the north side of the village, which is closest to the kobold hole. Each clue should narrow the search down to a fewer places. Some are obviously not clues, but red herrings. Like the village well...
Result Clue Information
10 Slate Arrows The bolts from thier light crossbows is made from chipped slate rock
15 vine rope There is a bit of rope made out of a perculiar vine.
20 Red Mud There red mud in a few places.
25 Feather The feather is NOT from a chicken, but from a blue warbler.

Knowledge Check DC 15 result for each:
Arrows: There are five places around the village where low grade slate rock could be gathered in order to make arrows. The Baron's Quarry, The Dwarf Delve, Falling Water, Wet Canyon, and the caves.
Vine Rope: The vine that the rope is made of is called water snake vine, because it only grows in deep water where it wriths like a snake. There are five places it growsl; Falling Water, Wet Canyon, The Caves, Deep River, and the village well.
Red Mud: Red mud is only found near the mountain, in the Dwarf Delve, Falling Water, and the Caves.
Feather: The blue warbler only lives in two places around Emmerdale, Falling Water, and The Baron's Quarry.

However, all of this can be skipped if the group includes a ranger, who can just track the kobolds.

To Falling Water: The trip north to Falling water should be fairly uneventful, with one exception. Along the way, the PCs should run into a trap. Who ever is in the first position will need to make a Reflex DC 10 to avoid being slammed between two logs ala Return of the Jedi or take 1d8 damage.

Falling Water: The great big waterfall is not only one of the areas widest know landmarks, but has been the home to a tribe of Kobolds for a few months. A DC 10 search check will reveal the secret entrance to the Kobold Hole.

Entrance: The entrance to the Kobold Hole is a crack that has been in the side of the waterfall for all of recorded memory, but the Kobolds have expanded it. The Ogre expanded it even further, but put a boulder in front of it to prevent people from coming in. The boulder requires a DC 15 str check. Remember aid another if need be.

Kobold Hole

Hole: The kobold hole itself is extrodinairaly beautiful. The inside is actually a huge geode. The walls and floor are made of beautiful crystal of white and blue. While beautiful, it is worthless for anything besides looking at. Even if you break off part of it and take it to be sold, it will fetch almost no price because it is flawed. Appraise check DC 10 will reveal this. However, Kobolds are tricksy little guys, and have rigged things to best protect themselves. The rooms are made up of very large pieces of crystal that break up line of site, but could be climbed over (Climb DC 25). Unless otherwise noted, all the 'rooms' are dark. If the PCs light a torch or use some other method of illumination, the kobolds are automatically aware of them, since they can see the light over the crystals.

Room One: Entrance
The first room is rather larger, with several smaller crystals. There are four kobolds in this room, who will take notice when the PCs enter. The light from the entrance will light up this room. Three of the kobolds will take up defensive positions behind the smaller crystals, giving them half cover for the battle. The fourth will run from the room to go alert the others.

Room Two; It's A Trap!
There is a pit in the center of this room, taking up most of it. There is a plank over the pit leading to the other entrance. The plank has been oiled with slippery oil. To cross it requires a DC15 balance check, anyone who fails the check must make a Reflex DC 20 to avoid falling in the pit. Falling in the pit causes 1d6 damage from falling and 1d6 from crystal spikes. Disable Device DC 8, or the PCs can just turn the plank over. After the pit is a choice of right or left. Listening will reveal the sound of chickens from the right.

Room Three; Rooster Fights!
In this area, is a smaller pit, with about one kobold for each PC. There is a small ring of crystals that the kobolds are all gathered around, inside of the ring is a pair of roosters that are fighting. The Kobolds are pretending to be watching the fight, but are actually ready for the PCs. One of the roosters is actually dead, but is being made to move on a string. When the PCs get close enough, the leader kobold will yank the string and send the rooster flying at the PCs, thus gaining the kobolds a surprise attack. Other then that it is a standard fight. There are two exits to this room.
Treasure: Well, all the roosters that aren't dead are bound and inside of sa cks in this room. Returning the roosters will make the farmers grateful.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Josh's Campaign

Campaign Code: FAGBCCEF

Ah, Josh. Not my second kid. A dude at work. He's really new. However he's played a lot of Warcraft. So he's learned a lot of bad habits. Occasionally he breaks out with a great idea, but the rest of the time...well. He tends to put out stuff that angers the rest of us. Especially naming conventions. He's had a dwarf named Thundershaft, and one named Wargasm. He tends to pick out what we like to call 'target names'. Basically some name that makes you so angry that you as the DM end up targeting the character for some pain. Only good name he's come up with so far is 'Eman Tegrat'...I'll leave you to figure that one out. So what did Josh pick?

More Divine
High Level

Background: There is no safety. There have been inexplicable raids on fortresses that were previously thought as impenetrable. Whole caravans are disappearing in the night. Even mighty adventurers and knights are disappearing. Across the whole world, there is nothing safe...except for temples. Temples, churches, and other holy places are safe, and over crowded. The high priests have gathered the greatest of the wandering holy men. Clerics and paladins responded to the call. Behind the scenes, a group of cultists managed to get their hands on several spell jamming vessels, and are terrorizing the population who doesn't know to look to the skies. They have a sinister purpose, the cult is trying to find several pieces of an ancient key that will unlock their dread gods from captivity. The random theft is to both finance their search and to throw doubt on what is actually happening.

Adventure 1: The Assault of the High Keep
The High Keep is one of the most important strategic assets in the Kingdom. On its promontory point, it looks out over the boarders and is only accessible by a single road. It is also important, because of the highly defensible nature, it is also where the king's Treasury is kept. The PCs are expected to sanctify the High Keep as a temple to hopefully keep the raiders out. While they are successful during the day, it gets bad at night. Undead appear out of nowhere. Zombies, ghouls, wights, and other low level corporal undead are around, but the big problem is the much larger amount of incorporeal undead that are attacking. Some of the incorporeal undead actually hide themselves inside of the corporeal. The thing that should surprise the players is that the undead appear places they shouldn't be. Top of towers, on walkways. The thing is that the actions of the PCs had taken do not work. Whatever sanctification they took part in did not take. Once morning comes there are few bodies left, regardless of how many corporeal undead the PCs had destroyed. Not even their fellow defenders bodies are left. Almost no bodies. The few they find should be completely unremarkable, except for a ghoul with a Qual's Feather Token of Feather Fall on it. Behind the scenes: Earlier when after the PC's did their work, invisible cultists (it always seems to be cultists, doesn't it) dropped down to the tower using feather fall to remove the sanctifies or whatnot. They also helped remove the bodies, to both bolster their ranks with undead and remove evidence. Yes, invisible doesn't last that long, but the PCs should be busy, and the cultists will have enough time to take uniforms and other things to blend in. This whole attack was to throw suspicitions and as a distraction.

Adventure 2: Dirge on the Homefront.
Having turned back the tide, the PCs should be alerted that the place they had come from had been raided by undead as well. It weathered the storm, but now everyone is realizing that even temples were unsafe. A good deal of the temple's coffers were stolen, but the main thing was a the body of an ancient saint whose bones were interred in the crypt of the temple. However, the problem isn't that the body was stolen, but that it was returned and is slaughtering everyone.

Sleepy now. More tommorrow...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Better Things to Do

Well, no blog for tonight. The Elder Children wish to roll up characters and play a game. So I've got better things to do tonight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meg's Campaign

Campaign Code: BACCDFEF

Megan is great. She's a fun one. Another neophyte. She's all about the really fantasy elements of D&D. I love that about her. She's enamored with all the choices and potentials. She looks at all the books and sees them as a bunch of choices. Such a thing of wonder. She accidentally spent $20 on dice on the internet, but got the 36 16mm d6 set instead of the polyhedral set, which is what happens when you get too excited about your first set. What is really funny about it is that she was really opposed to the idea of playing at first. Then she had to sit through a few sessions and joined in. Perhaps I should explain. It's not like we forced her there. I work at a call center, and if there are no calls, we have nothing to do. So a few days a week, we play D&D between calls. Sometimes that means we get a lot accomplished, other days it means we don't do anything. So even a single combat can take hours. She was reluctant when she joined our group, but we've never forced anyone. Well, that's enough going on for now. Let's take a look at her choices, eh?


This is a little more difficult. Er, more then difficult, hard even.

Background: The fall has come. The world is dying. The winters were always harsh, but one year, spring never came. It was Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. The Gods sallied forth to do battle with the Frost Giants. The gods fell. They were crumpled under the ice axes of the Frost Giants. Though it was a Pyrrhic victory, the Frost Giants were weakened to the point of no return. The people were left to themselves. The clerics prayers went unanswered, and magic has begun to fail. There is little left as ice covers the world. People are surviving on the few foods that were left before the fall, and what they can kill to eat. Life is harsh, brutal, and short. People have learned to deal with less and less. The crutches that they had relied on for years were kicked out from underneath them. No gods, no magic, they had to rely on their own abilities. Two groups rose to prominence. The Warriors and the Psychics. They are the hope of the people.

Adventure 1: Something dark this way comes.
The PCs are gathered together as the great heroes that they are. The final city stands on the verge of collapse. The grain stores are gone, and the hunting is growing scarce. There have been stories told by the travelers that there are certain incidents that happened out there. The citizens are worried, because there were no lack of animals before. Something has driven them into hiding, and its not hunters. Things are not what they seem. After tracking and looking for a while, the PCs should run across a black dragon, which they should know as a warm weather creature. They detest cold, and were unheard of in the great north even before the everlasting winter. It is a clue, an obvious one. However, the PCs shouldn't be able to track it, since it flew into combat, leaving not a trace.

Adventure 2: Life's a journey not a destination.
The PCs being such advanced level should be able to use powers to find where the black dragon had laired. The trek to its cave lair should be ardous. Blizzards and white worms, and all sorts of hardship. Something that the PCs will remember for years. The trek to get to the black dragon's lair. The trek itself is the adventure.

Adventure 3: Into the Night Below.
Once the PCs get to the cave lair, there should be monsters and traps galore. The black dragon should have been about CR 18 or so, to take on such high level PCs. The lair should reflect that. The lair will be blazing hot and humid. Perfect for a black dragon. Leave the PCs unprepared for all the heat. Have them make checks because of heat exhaustion, which the characters would never have expected, though the PCs might have. The main source of contention is the young black dragons. A good number of them. The black dragon they had met earlier was a mother and was hunting to bring her young children food while they stayed behind to guard the lair. The real point of the adventure though is to fully explore the cave system. Because somewhere in there is a passage to the underdark that the black dragon had came up when it was smaller.

Adventure 4: Forsaken.
The PCs should realize that the underdark might mean the salvation of their kind. Somewhere that the wind doesn't blow with a chilling frost, and that food can be grown (even if it isn't what they are expecting). They should have a few normal encounters of the underdark type before running into the Hell Pit. A moderately sized drow enclave. The drow are horribly at loss. Their dark mistress is gone. The Spider Queen, Lolth is dead along with the rest of the drow. Internecine conflict and the loss of clerical powers have left the city bereft of defenses. An ancient red dragon has stepped in and taken over the power vacuum. The Drow are now worshipping a Red Dragon instead of a spider goddess is a strange turn of events. They all call themselves the Forsaken, and are now fanatical in their desire to serve the red dragon. The PCs should be able to foster additional competition between the remaining drow houses and much direct combat with some still remaining high level drow wizards. It should be genocide. Something that needs to be done, and it should leave a distaste in the PCs mouths.

Ending the Campaign: If the PCs manage to take the drow city, which should cover many sessions, they can begin migrating their people to the drow enclave.

Contiuning the Campaign: Well, there's the whole mass exodus to oversee and there are other settlements that the PCs need to save. This can be a campaign to last the ages. More searching the underdark, and more people to save. If the PCs are up to it, this campaign could go epic with the PCs eventually gaining deity ranks to become the new gods of the world. Then instead of the frost giants bringing Ragnarok, it could be Tiamat.

I think I did it. Not as eloquent as the previous one. But workable. At such high levels, there's not really too much that can be done. That's one of the reason's I'm not too keen on the high level stuff.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Missed Me?

Campaign Code: Arrgggghhh.

Ok, no lies. No more cute stuff. I missed Friday. Yup. Real life got in the way. Two weeks after the rest of the family got strep throat, I caught it. So I spent most of Thursday and Friday lying on the couch with a fever and chills. Not to mention the horrible sore throat. That's life, you think you dodged the bullet, and it turns out to be a boomerang that smacks you in the back of the head. I hate being sick, probably because it doesn't happen too often that sick makes me miss out on life. So I'm still not 100%, but I'm much better. Thanks to people who discovered antibiotics. Though another big part of it is I got the new Pokemon. Stupid addictive games. Hell with it. I'm ditching the creative work right now. Just going to rant for a hot minute.

I like adventures. I LOVE adventures. Now, there seems to be two distinct things with them. Homebrew or published. Maybe its me, but there seems to be a certain stigma for the published ones. However, the older I get the more I like them. They do all the hard work for me. Treasure, monster stats, etc. All in one easy to use package. Nothing wrong with them at all. Especially for the stuff I find distasteful. Like traps and puzzles. I'm rubbish at them, so I tend to leave them out. Especially traps, since I've YET to find a reason that anyone would put a potentially deadly trap anywhere that they would pass on the way from the bedroom to the outhouse at night.

Yeah. Especially the old ones. The old classics. Temple of Elemental Evil, Castle Ravenloft, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Keep on the Border Lands, White Plume Mountain. Notice how they are all 1st ed, and keep getting updated? The thing with published adventures though is that they are the cultural heritage of D&D players. We can't share the same adventures when it is the homebrew type. Most DMs pride themselves on making up adventures. But I think it every DM's responsibility to put their PCs through one or more of the classics. It binds us together. A stronger community. I wish that I had realized that earlier. Cause I left a lot of PCs without the terror that is Ravenloft, and I'm not talking settings.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jim's Campaign

Campaign Code: FAGABFDB

Jim is an old school gamer, who looks like Thor. Been playing about as long as I have, around 15 years or so. Maybe a bit more. He tends to get frustrated over being one of the few veterans in the group. Most of the group is neophytes. So every time they do something stupid, he gets slightly angry. And slightly means that he calls upon his Thor aspect and you can practically see the thunderclouds gathering. It's funny, actually. Cause he shares in their triumphs as much as they do. So the stupid stuff happens with neophytes. Granted, we have not had any MEGA stupid things. One of these days remind me to tell you about the Fire Elemental. That's a story worth repeating. And the sad part is that its really true. BUT, that's a story for another day. Now, to stop messing around and get to business.

Jim's Choices:
More Arcane
Upper (11-15)
Expanded PHB

Wow, this one is easy as heck. I could do this in my sleep.

Background: In the kingdom of Something Something, the old grand vizier has died. The king knows that without a powerful arcane user, the kingdom is threatened. A new Grand Vizier is needed. However, applicants must be tested. The King is not an idiot, but has no knowledge of the arcane. He has gathered all the arcane users of moderate power to the court to let them know. He offers them the position. However, they must preform several feats of ability to show their worth. He puts them into several groups, along with several of his loyal subjects (thus if someone wants to be a court cleric, warrior, or 'spy master' here's their in). So the PCs are one group, and the opponents are set in other groups. The loyal retainers will NEVER attack one another, but will be glad to deal with other threats. Because part of a Grand Vizier's job is the proper allocation of resources. There is a secondary objective to the King though. There are several threats to the Kingdom that need to be taken care of. If he is able to send these wizards to deal with them, and they do, good. If they die, well, they obviously weren't ready for the job.

Adventure 1: The King's first mission is fairly straight forward. They have to find a specific book in the library. However, the old Vizier was a bit paranoid. Did I say a bit? I mean A LOT. There are all sorts of magical traps and summoned monsters. The library itself though is like a MC Escher drawing. Odd walkways don't end up where they are supposed to. While the library itself is a danger, one of the main dangers should be one or more of the other groups of mages. While for right now, they aren't going to fight to the death, they are willing to delay and trick their opponents.

Adventure 2: This where things start to get a little more dangerous. There is a dangerous cult building up in one of the southern cities of the kingdom. That's the only information that the king gives them. How they get there and what they do about it is up to them. If the PCs bother to ask, they can borrow resources to accomplish their mission. But nothing too extravagant. The small city actually has TWO cults in it. One is a animalistic nature god, and the other is to a minor saint of the god of justice. That's where it gets interesting. The nature cult is the obvious choice, because the cultists are protesting and sabotaging the cities new logging industry, which threatens the natural wildlife. The cult to the minor saint, on the other hand, is actually a cover for cultists of the god of revenge and murder. Which is the one that is actually causing all the problems. There are several ways to play this out. First is that a few of the other groups will investigate one or the other cult. Some of the loyal subjects will talk among themselves, probably to another pc. Or, one of the groups will try to convince the cultists that the PCs are a threat. So the PCs should be besieged on all sides. However, if they are able to gain the confidence of the cult of the nature god, they will gain allies. The nature god cultists do not want to kill people, after all they ARE people. They just want the forest not to be logged indiscriminately. If the PCs are able to secure the forest for them, they will stop causing problems. However, the god of vengeance and murder need to be apprehended or killed, or the problems will still continue. This should be a hard role play based adventure. It could take a long time to do, or just a short time, depending on the investigative skills.

Adventure 3: After dealing with the cultists, which the king will look favorably on if the PCs manage to both deal with the murderers and the saboteurs. The next adventure is much harder. The king has found out through the information vine, that one of the other potential candidates (who didn't show up) is actually a lich. Having a lich in the kingdom's borders is a problem. The lich shouldn't be a major lich, barely able to reach the minimum requirements for lichdom. However, this is the adventure where the midden hits the windmill. With an obvious magical opponent, several of the evil groups will be willing to actually kill the PCs. Which should make the loyalists with them hesitant. However, the king never specified that they COULDN'T kill the other applicants. This should be a pretty hard adventure. However, it is possible to lessen it, because if there are more then one other group they can fight between them, and the PCs will fight a weakened group. The PCs will be facing both a lich and its cohorts, plus the other groups. Not all of them, but at least one that is equal to the PCs.

Adventure 4; Since there are only two groups left, the PCs and one other. The king has decided to up the ante. He has decided that to showcase the raw power of the arcane users, he has the High Priest of the country open a portal to the outer planes, where the PCs have to retrieve a legendary item. There are several that could fit the bill. The Golden Fleece, A Golden Apple of Eris, A drought from the Fountain of Youth, something from the artifacts section of the DMG, whatever. So in this adventure there is the threat of whatever outer plane you send them to (which should tie into the item), plus the last remaining group of human opponents.

Ending the Campaign: Should the PCs be successful, the one that had the most success (ie didn't need to be raised from the dead, or did the most damage, or showed the most wisdom), is named the Grand Vizier, and the others are made the lesser Viziers.

Continuing the Campaign: Hey, the PCs are in a position of power in the country. Which can lead to courtly adventures, and defense missions, all sorts of things. Very easy to transition into a longer running campaign that will last until higher levels. Here's an easy next one, an invading force of Ogres. Fireballs, anyone?

If you've read this leave a comment. I think I got my mojo back...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Po's Campaign

Campaign Code: AAEAAFDB

Po is overly concerned with The Fist. It's funny. As the other DM in our group, he's more in the know about the system and how adventures work. I typically skew a bit higher then recommended because there's more then the standard four in our group. However, he hears what is going to be happening, and begins preparing an escape route. I find it funny, because his campaigns are much rougher then mine. Stupid Shadowdale, stupid Elminster, stupid Zhents, and stupid crocodile in the river. Ah, well, his custom campaign is easy peasy.

Upper (11-15)
Expanded PHB

Background: The PCs have been adventuring for awhile, and are each the soul survivors of different groups. They are each separately approached by a robed figure (cliche, I know). Who offers to hire them for the adventure of a lifetime. What the PCs don't know is that the robed figure is actually a Githyanki. Fun stuff. The Githyanki is actively recruiting adventurer's because they have an idea that the Illithids (it always comes back to them, doesn't it?) are getting ready to try to recapture the Gith races as slaves. Knowing that wizards and clerics would be able to detect the Githyanki, they are actively recruiting warriors and rogues. People who are expendable are being gathered from throughout the prime material plane. If they die, no Githyanki were lost in the attempt, if they succeed, all the better.

Adventure 1: The PCs are taken to the Astral plane by the Githyanki. Stranded with no way home because of the lack of magical assistance, the PCs are basically black mailed into doing the Githyanki's bidding or face an eternity without food or other resources in the astral plane (or so they think). The Githyanki is going to act as their guide. The purpose is to get them into the planes where the Illithids were starting plots. The first place that the Githyanki takes them to is a portal that will expel them onto a twisted tower on Limbo. The Illithids are making a tentative probe into the Chaotic Neutral plane to probe the defenses of the Githzerai. The PCs mission is to assess and destroy the tower. The purpose is two fold, 1. To see how the PCs can handle things, because while renown, they are an unknown quality to the Githyanki. 2. To destroy the tower. During this adventure, there are so many things that can work it. Limbo is the most fun stuff. First off there are the obvious combat encounters, Illithids and their enslaved servants. The servants can run the gamgut, but I would suggest Slaad. Those are really fun. And the really fun stuff is the ever changing plane itself. You can completely change everything constantly. Man, if you don't reverse gravity at least once, you aren't doing your job right.

Adventure 2: While exploring the twisted tower, the PCs should learn that the Illithid's are setting up some sort of vast machine to retake the Gith Races. The first piece was taken from the Twisted Tower, and taken to a secret location. Apparently there are pieces on several of the outer planes. The second adventure should take place on Elysium. The illithid have set up a search party here to look for the next piece of their grand machine. They have it set up so that it is an in and out mission. Being that they are inherantly evil creatures, its hard going for them. So the PCs will find them harried. However, the Illithids carry a significant bit of information; where the rest of the machine is. However to get it, they have to actually fight good creatures to allow one of the illithids to live. Moral conundrum, rocking it. Po loves that sort of stuff.

Adventure 3-6: The rest of the pieces.
The Abyss: Demons and Illithid. What could be better for the groups holy rollers? Which is probably a paladin. Do a nice recreation of 'A Paladin in Hell' from the first edition books, if at all possible. The real adventure though is a massive castle made from corpses that is controlled by a Nelfeshnee. Lots of small demons and a pretty big one in the end.
Pandemonium: The howling caves should be crawling with the Illithid. After all this is the home of the Illithid God, Illusine. This can be done almost like a traditional underdark adventure. You gotta kill some grell, and some illithid and a brain tank.
The Outlands: Ha. The true neutral plane. This can be fun. The last piece that they get should be something utterly outlandish and huge. The adventure should be more about getting the thing out rather then the fights they have to go through to get it. Because the outlands are almost prime material, it should be easy to throw something together here.

Adventure 7: So all the pieces are gathered, and the Githyanki is attacked by the Illithid who had set the whole thing up to have the Githyanki gather the stuff. Secrets within secrets. What dying Githyanki should tell them is that the hideout is in the astral plane. The Illithid had created a subspecies that was short lived by psychically blank, which would render them invisible to the Githyankis psionics. The PCs should be able to find the place with minimal effort. Then the new Illithid subspecies are found in a vast crystal castle which acts as a focusing agent for the pieces of the machine. The Illithid subspecies seems weaker then their normal counterparts, since they lack the regular Illithid's psionic/mental abilities. However, they should be combat monsters. They still eat brains, but have muscles and high natural armor class.

Ending the Campaign; Machine is destroyed, the Gith kind are safe. Yay!

Continuing the Campaign: Duh. The Githyanki are still a threat, and the PCs are still stuck on the astral plane. Unaging, unresting, unchanging astral plane. Still a problem. Have fun.

Alright. I think I phoned this one in. I probably hit all the points here. Sleepy and stuff. Or I overreached with the concept. Maybe I'll do this over another day. I dunno. Not my best work. I think that I can do better. Blerg.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tim's Campaign

Campaign Code: FAGCDBD

Tim has been playing both longer and shorter then any of us. I believe 'old Methuselah' started playing first edition when I was still in preschool. However, he stopped playing before anyone had even thought of second edition. We brought him back into the fold. Granted we are back tracking to 3.0, but that's neither here nor there. He's kinda traditional in his views, but he's taken to the later editions like a fish to water. His preferences stand in stark contrast to Tom's. But that's what makes roleplaying great. It takes all kinds to move the world. So let's take a look at his top picks.

Humans as primary villains.
More Arcane
Serious RP
Low (2-4)
Any Humanoid

Well, this is pretty traditional. It fits in with almost any type of setting. Which is great. So without further ado, I think that I'll delve into it.

Background: Humans, elves, dwarves, and other demihuman races rule the world. However, in dark corners of the world, forces are gathering to help defend themselves from extinction. Orcs, goblins, giants, and others have gathered in the underdark as a final bastion of existence. The surface world is equated to death. However, in the United Underdark, the elders of various races have decided to try to sue for peace. The PCs, which can have up to 4 HD or character levels (or a combination), have been selected by the Council of Elders to take the peace treaties. They were selected because the PCs were not powerful enough to be considered a threat, but not so weak that they can't defend themselves. Especially valued are arcane casters, because they can cast spells that will help with the diplomacy.

Adventure 1: The trip upstairs. This is a fairly basic adventure in the traditional underdark. Lots of mapping and trying to find a way out. There should be a few stereotypical underdark beasts that the PCs have to contend with. Maybe some darkmantles, phantom fungi, other things along those lines. But those are just some warm ups so that the PCs can get used to their combat capabilities. The real challenge is a role play challenge. When they finally get to the surface, they have to find their way to a settlement. That's where the real challenge lies, the PCs need to get into the settlement without causing a panic and speak to the local leader without being attacked. If they manage to do this and turn the local leader from a potential enemy to a friend (or even someone who won't kill them), they should receive an Ad Hoc xp story award equal to about half of the way to their next level. Repeat as needed.

Adventure 2: Having made a tentative agreement with the local leader, the PCs need to find lodging in the city to help craft the initial treaty between the monsters and the locals. Unfortunately, the only place that will give them lodging is in the less reputable part of town. There are dangers there, mainly the humans that are not as liberal as their leader. While it would be easy for the PCs to harm or even kill the local troublemakers, it would not gain them favor with the local leader. The PCs have to deal with the unsavory members of society, including thieves, cutthroats, and other various criminals. This is another roleplay intensive session. However, it can be made easier, if the PCs have memorized spells to incapacitate the criminals and send them to justice. If the PCs manage to talk their way out of encounters, then they should get an Ad Hoc xp story award equal to about a quarter of the way to their next level. However, if they manage to capture the criminals and bring them to justice, they not only get the regular xp, they also earn the respect of the local lord for helping with the criminal element and proving their basic 'humanity'.

Adventure 3; Having gained more experience with dealing with humans. The PCs should leave the human lands having made the initial arrangements for one of the elders to come to finalize the initial peace talks. Return through the underdark provides an outlet for some combat, and when they get the elder, who is a Illithid, they return to the surface. The conflict in this adventure should be between the PCs and the elder. Who by nature wishes to eat the brains of all the humans. The elder will be on edge having so many delicious brains around. They have to convince him NOT to eat the humans and concentrate on the treaty work. This should be fairly difficult, especially since the humans will be suspicious of the elder who they assume (rightly) that he is desiring to eat their brains. So the PCs have to pull double duty to help the Elder, and to put the humans at ease. If they manage to keep the Elder in check until the initial peace talks are concluded, then they should gain an ad hoc xp reward equal to take them up to their next level.

Adventure 4: The initial peace talks being finalized, as the representatives of the United Underdark, the PCs and the Elder are invited to the capital of the human lands. They will be escorted by a contingent from the local leader. However, not all of the humans are keen to have peace restored. Someone in the escort group will try to kill the PCs via sniper fire of a crossbow. While the Elder could just read everyone's mind, he is hesitant to do so, since it would cause a rift that might cause the fragile peace talks to fall through. The PCs have to use guile and wit along with a hefty dose of roleplaying to figure out who is trying to kill them. The head of the escort will look the other way if the PCs figure out who had done the deed. The villain when confronted will fight to the death. So standard XP.

Adventure 5: The PCs and the Elder arrive in the capital to finalize the initial peace talks. Things go well with the Elder and the King, but the PCs who have to deal with the court who have trouble. The court itself is made up of schemers and opportunists who view the oncoming peace treaty as ways to advance themselves, or to hurt the king's strength. They should need to roleplay to try to change the court's mind. However, after a few days, a body is found in one of the slums of the capital. Normally not an issue, but this body is different. The corpse is missing its brain. Unfortunately, the Elder's whereabouts around the time of the death are unaccounted for. The Elder has been framed. It should actually take a few sessions to determined who in the court framed the Elder.

Ending the Campaign: With the true murderer caught and brought to justice, peace talks can continue unabated.

Continuing Campaign: Easy Peasy. While the initial peace talks are continuing, there is a still more cultures to meet with and cast peace talks. This will be a long arduous process.

Well, I think I got everything. Pretty much. This is a very different type of campaign where the PCs are more interactive then just active. It would take an experienced DM and group to get a really good experience with this campaign. It is not for the faint of heart. Lots of talking with very little action. If you read this make a comment so that I know that I'm not whistling in the dark here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tom's Campaign

Experimenting with the formating. First will be the title, then the campaign code which is made up of what categories from the questionaire that it completes. Then maybe a rant of the day about whatever I feel like. Then a basic list of the choices. Finally a breakdown of the background and the adventure arc.

Campaign Code: AGCACEAF

First, let it be known that Tom is a neophyte. A real noob. Great guy, but still real fresh around the ears. Only reason he plays with us is out of sheer boredom. It was either play D&D with us or sit doing another suduko puzzle. So he hasn't really established a lot of the preconceived notions that the most of us have. So I think his top choices for a campaign really reflect what a lot of other newcomers want. He's still so new that he hasn't really established his favorite character classes and is still in the mood to experiment with the vast smorgasbord that is D&D. I wish I was still that way. Someday he'll be jaded and sick of it all. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt at a con. And he looks like Gordon Gekko from Wall Street.

So let's take a look at the breakdown, shall we?

More Divine
Monster of the Week
Very Low (1st) Level
Unlimited Character Races

It would seem that it is a group of selections that doesn't go together very well. I mean dragons are big bad asses who eat starter characters for breakfast. But with a little work, they can all work together very well. Lets see what I can pull together.

Background: In the gorgeous city of Ryogoa, the seat of the Empire, sits a small temple. The temple is designed in the old style with pagodas and rice paper walls. The Temple is known as the 'Sanctuary for the Misbegotten', an orphanage for those intelligent creatures that some know as monsters. Orcs, goblins, and others are raised here in the goodly ways. The Temple of the Sanctuary for the Misbegotten was founded by a kindly old cleric Reverend Moon. Father Moon, as he was known, had once been a powerful adventurer, who was dismayed at the cycle of violence that adventuring left. Children of 'evil' monsters were left to fend for themselves, and would become evil just to survive. Reverend Moon was determined to break this cycle so that the children would grow up in a positive environment and eventually become missionaries to others to the worship of good and law instead of chaos and evil. It has been many years since Reverend Moon passed to the other side. His disciplines and children have endured much, but the worst is yet to come.

Shadowalker the dark, an evil shade black dragon has decided to become a god. He is evil and without remorse. He has inspired other reptilian races as his followers, calling themselves the Dragon Kin. They are dutiful and fanatic. Shadowalker himself, though is beyond mortal concerns. Instead of concentrating on raising their master up to the deity ladder, the Dragon Kin have decided to weaken the other gods.

Adventure 1: The PCs are orphans of various races that live in the 'Sanctuary for the Misbegotten' most if not all have cleric levels, if possible. The adventure starts with the temple being attacked by Kobolds who are Dragon Kin. The Kobold sorcerer who leads this group has decided the best way to raise his master is to destroy temples to other gods. So he leads an attack on the Sanctuary for the Misbegotten. The primary threats are just simple kobolds. However, some of them will have potions of fire breathing. The third level sorcerer can ride a giant moth. Which is just cool and invokes Mothra. The firebreathers primary target is NOT the PCs or the innocent children, but the temple itself.

Adventure 2: The Sanctuary of the Misbegotten having been destroyed in the previous adventure needs to be replaced. A local Shogun is willing to have his kharma enhanced by building a new one, but the PCs must do a favor for him. There is a roving band of Troglodytes that is causing havoc in his eastern fields. They are slaughtering his kobe beef cattle. Little does the Shogun know, the Troglodytes are Dragon Kin and are sacrificing his prize winning cattle to Shadowalker. The troglodytes have a crocodile, which should cause some trouble to the PCs if they do not think carefully!

Adventure 3: While the Shogun has begun building the new Sanctuary, the PCs have caught the attention of the local Dragon Kin High Priest. He has decided to take matters into his direct attention. He sends his loyal temple guard of Lizardmen and shocker lizards to cause havoc in the building site. The attacks are seemingly random and without reason. However, they are part of the Dragon Kin's high priests plan. The PCs will have to defeat the lizard men to allow work to continue.

Adventure 4: Really cooking now. The PCs should find out a clue to the High Priest's whereabouts from the lizard men. The high priest should be about 5th level or so. The PCs would find him in the undercroft of a larger legitimate temple aligned with the Sanctuary. As the PCs begin a raid on him, the High Priest will lead some of his temple guard through a portal to the demiplane of shadow. Here is where it can get really fun. They have to go through a shadow version of the good temple. Throw in fiendish versions of some of the things that they have already defeated. It should be a hard fight for the PCs that should be around 2-3 level. Then have a countdown for them to get out. Make it exciting and pulse pounding.

Ending the Campaign: Well, after the High Priest is defeated, that can be the end. The PCs have ended the trouble to the Sanctuary.

Continuing the Campaign: The PCs should realize that the High Priest is NOT powerful enough to establish a portal like that. There's still a whole cult dedicated to this dragon, and he might just take an active interest in them after they start cutting down his worshippers. So this campaign could work from 1st level all the way up to 18th or higher.

I think I hit all the points, there's monster of the week (Kobolds, Troglodytes, Lizardmen, and shadowthings), unlimited races (monsters), low level, divine concentration, and planar travel. You might ask where's the cool Asian stuff? Well, like I said, that type of thing is often a matter of taste. In this case, making mention of katanas instead of longswords, climbing claws, and change some of the weapons that the creatures carry will go a long way. For instance Kobolds normally carry Spears, but there's no reason that they can't carry nunchakus or Sianghams.

Monday, March 29, 2010


Here's the results. Couldn't get them to format in the blogspot. So here's a couple of screen shots.

Now here's the fun part. This isn't just a questionnaire to figure out what my PCs want, but also a matrix. A matrix of ideas for campaigns. A few linked adventures in an overall game. That's what I'm really going to do with this blog, I'm going to try and fill out the entire thing with ideas. It's going to take a long time. And I might not do it. It's probably several thousand possibilities. Though, someone with better math skills then I could probably answer how many. I'll probably repeat myself. Several times. There's always that. But ideas will flow. Soon I'll start working on it. Then if you want to use any of the kernels I'm dropping, feel free, just let me know what's happening with your version.

New Blog

This is a new blog. Yay! So I'm a long time Dungeon Master. Very long, like seventeen years or so. I am one of those lucky people who gets to play on a semi-regular basis, with a great group as well. However, it seems like for every great campaign I get to run, I have more ideas then I can use.

At this point, I feel that I should put something out. There's a common misconception out there. Campaign and Campaign Setting are two different things. A campaign is a series of linked adventures, while campaign setting is the world that the game takes place in. Campaign Settings are horribly detailed and intensive. A campaign on the other hand is even more...once you add in the details.

See, that's where I come in. I'm an idea man. I have lots of great ideas, and can come up with a series of adventures at the drop of the hat. So that's what I'm going to be doing with this blog. Just groups of adventure ideas that are strung together as a campaign. I'll give some basic ideas, the jist of the idea so to speak. Then you can fill in the details. I leave those open, because the ideas can often be used across different settings, or even different games. Me, I like to use D&D 3.0 for the most part, mainly because I've had the books, and they are really easy to come by on the cheap.

Er. That's enough of the rough idea for the blog, so I'm going to move on. First off, here's some background. While I have two ongoing campaigns, I'm always looking for the next step. Since the group I'm currently playing with is fairly new to me, I wanted to find out what they really wanted to get out of the group. I made a questionnaire of what they wanted. Its a good thing to go over with any new group, and you can find out what they are looking for.

So here's the questionnaire with explanation of each part. I had the group rank their top choices in a category with 1, 2, or 3. In reverse order so that I had to do less math. So three is the best, and one is the worst. That way I could just add each category up and get the highest.

1. Over All Setting:
The overall setting is basically the terrain type that the PCs are mostly going to be dealing with. It's not a hidebound, hard and fast thing. It sets the stage. While some people would say that the Over All Setting should be the world, I disagree. Any world if handled properly can do almost any of these settings. There may be some exceptions, but for the most part, the world is secondary.
A. Urban: Mainly city based. Possibly the whole campaign will take place in one city. It means very few monster like monsters, and more antagonists that are intelligent.
B. Arctic: The frozen north. Land of ice flows and icebergs. And polar bears. The main challenges in this type of campaign, survival and keeping warm will be paramount. Lots of dire animals, and snow beasts.
C. Desert: Ah, sun and fun. Lots of things can be done with desert enviroments, Genies and scorpions, but the main problems will have to do with water.
D. Sea Faring: Who doesn't love the beach? And pirates? Come on! This one is too easy to do.
E. Jungle: Jungles are fun. Dinosaurs, forgotten ruins, and women in animal print bikinis.
F. Traditional: Wow. Lets see. Mountains, forests, and dungeons. If I have to explain this one more, I'll smack you upside the head so hard.

2. Thematic View: This is a fun one. Thematic view is actually how the setting is interpreted. It is totally a taste issue. The thing is that a sword is a sword. There might be some weapons or equipment that are more common or less common, but it doesn't make a difference.
A. Europe: Again, this is the traditional D&D we're all familiar with. Big castles, and forests and not really a change.
B. African: African campaigns are more a light armored affair. Mystical things are more channeled by ritual. And the great thing is that it can range a whole bunch of different things. Egyptian to Shaka Zulu, its all there. Large areas of things that can be done.
C. Indian Subcontinent: This is such a rich and detailed culture that has been completely overlooked by most D&D. Many different gods that take an active role in people's lives.
D. Arabic: The Seven Voyages of Sinbad, the 1001 Arabian Nights, Aladdin, and others are all ripe for use in D&D, but are woefully underrepresented.
E. MezoAmerican: Incas, and Mayas. Big stone idols, human sacrifice, and other great things. Throw in some jungle and it gets interesting.
F. Native American: Another overlooked culture. There's a ton of mythology that has been overlooked. Lots of great monsters.
G. Asian: Monks, ninjas, and samurai. You HAVE watched some anime, haven't you? Easy Peasy.

3. Primary Villains These are going to be the people that you primarily fight. Or the big villain of the campaign. I like to know what people like to fight. Maybe I'm weird, but that's the way it is. These categories should be pretty self explanatory.
A. Goblinoids
B. Giants
C. Dragons
D. Undead
E. Aberrations
F. Strange Animals
G. Humans

4. Odd Places to go: I think that it is important in every campaign to go someplace odd. So I put them on the list.
A. Planes: Ah, the inner and outer planes are fun. Fire elementals and daemons from hell. What could be better?
B. Space: Maybe flying in a boat across the stars? That's pretty cool as well.
C. Underdark: That's traditional. Let's go down a cave and see what we can kill!

5. Type of Game: This one probably requires a bit of explanation. I want to find out what kind of focus the group wants. It makes a huge difference. It doesn't mean there aren't any characters outside of the focus, but there are more of one kind then another.
A. Warriors/rogues: This is a more combat oriented campaign, with less magic.
B. More Arcane: And here's the magic. Tons of it. The drive will be uncovering and discovering more magic. It will be a dominating group at higher levels, but fragile in the beginning.
C. More Divine: Ah, the gods move the world around. So this is often a more driven campaign. More likely to take orders.
D. Psionics: I've said it before, not here, but elsewhere, but if you want to have psionics, you have to design it that way from the ground up. Or it becomes a game breaker.

6. Tone: Tone is my favorite. This is what kind of vibe the group has. It changes the whole thing. It shows how much lark there is. Depending on the tone, off color jokes and things.
A. Swashbuckling: This tone encourages off the cuff attempts, dexterity, and other things of that nature. But it also goes hand and hand with romance and over the top villains, and a quick wit will serve you well.
B. Grinder: Ah, the meat grinder. PCs go in, and mush comes out. This is one where the opponents will typically be overwhelming, but the rewards are much the richer for it. The only jokes that happen are at the PCs expense. 'Whoops! You died!'
C. Horror: Vampires, werewolves, and undead, Oh my! There is little levity in a horror campaign. Death is everywhere.
D. Serious Role Play: Wow. Deep thoughts, philosophy, and long term romantic relationships. Not for the feint of heart.
E. Monster of the Week: Here you go guys. This is the thing you beat up this week. Have fun. This is definitely for the casual gamer, the guy who doesn't really mind if they save the world or not, just if he wins the fight.
F. Exploration: A little levity, a little serious, but the main thing is to see what else is out there. There are few long term NPCs, or anything else. Everyday is a new day.

7. Starting Levels Pretty self explanatory. What power level does everyone want?
A. Very Low (1st)
B. Low (2-4)
C. Mid (5-10)
D. Upper (11-15)
E. High (15-18)
F. Epic (19+)

8. Allowable PC Races
: This is where the group can choose their starting race from. This one doesn't cover anything general, unless you know what I'm talking about, you can leave it off your questionnaire.
A. PHB Only
B. Expanded PHB
C. Humanoid <5 HD
D. Any Humanoid
E. Savage Species
F. Unlimited

My next blog will be my players responses along with mine. Then I'll get into the nitty gritty...