Monday, 31 October 2011

Campaign Options

I'm trying to decide where to go and what to do. I have two ideas for campaigns.

The Celestial Door Campaign.
The first one is set in a 'ruined' city in a jungle with a megadungeon beneath it and is cast from the West Marches mould that I have heard and read so much about. This city has become the bridgehead of an expedition to explore and conquer the city and the surrounding countryside in the name of the "Great Kingdom". The PCs are all members of this expedition. It is the second expedition to the city through a "Celestial Door" that was discovered in the Great Kingdom after a meteor shower.

It took the first expedition several months before they figured out how to open the celestial door back to the great kingdom, during which time most of the members of the expedition perished but the area was 'pacified' at least in part. What that means is the city centre is 'safe' for everyone while things get progressively more dangerous the further from there someone goes. The door opens into the city every day at dawn, bringing in new adventurers and supplies while it opens out to the great kingdom once a week, at dusk, allowing some people and half the found wealth to leave. The NPC survivors of the first expedition are now the leaders of the second (all effectively name level).

The Pros are:
  • I've pretty much mapped everything in 4-5 days journey from the city in Hexographer, using Welsh Piper's Hex-based campaign design stuff. Placing quite a lot of different things around for the PCs to find and explore. Just not in great detail.
  • I've sketched out the main streets of the ruined city using Vornheim.
  • I've also sketched out some rough ideas for the megadungeon underneath it.
The Cons are:
    • The world of the Great Kingdom remains undefined which, while it allows almost any character background my players may choose, means that the game would pretty much take place in a vacuum and many of the standard fantasy tropes could be hard to use.
    • The megadungeon is fighting me. Seriously I can't seem to come up with any clear concepts and themes for the main levels let alone sub-levels. Mainly I have problems with just coming up with ideas. I have Central Casting: Dungeons but that's really only good at designing small dungeons and sub-levels of megadugeons, not whole vast dungeon complexes.
    The Great Campaign.
    The second idea is tangential to the first. Why not set my campaign in the Great Kingdom? We've previously used 0one's Great City maps as the campaign base for the Dungeon Grinders and the aborted reboot of the Beer Hunters campaigns using Pathfinder. I have the whole damn thing printed out and in a folder on a shelf across the room from me. I make the great city the capital of the great kingdom and everything will be great right? I mean I even have some idea of the geography around the great city from those three previous games set in the same world, right. (There was also a 'road movie' group including the kidtehs but it suffered the same problem as the Dungeon Grinders did; the other adult players in the group agreed to "Hot Seat" GMing in theory but in practice they just left me to burn out).
    The Pros of this are:
    • I already have a plethora of maps available, many keyed. It wouldn't be too much of a stress stretch to adapt them to whatever OSR system I end up using. This includes the first level of the Dungeon Under The Mountain along with a number of the keyed encounters, with the rest of the megadungeon available for sale online. Although I'd have to get them printed off.
    • I can also use more published modules.
    • It wouldn't take too much effort to Welsh Piper out a hex map for it either.
    The Cons of it are:
    • Whereas the first one suffers from a lack of background, with the players literally discovering the world as they go this one would require possibly too much. 
    • I'd have to do more hex-mapping since a more settled areas would have fewer adventure sites. Or rather the adventure sites would be further apart.
    So while the first choice would probably take more work as I'm designing a mega dungeon from the ground up (or down, as it were). Of course nothing stops me doing both. I could work on the Celestial Door setting while running the Great Campaign. Once I feel ready I can have the Door be 'discovered' and open up the expanded setting for play.  

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