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.
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.