Monday, March 29, 2010

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...

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