So, after realizing I had little to say that wasn’t already being said, ad infinitum, I took a break, wondering if I had anything to contribute. I think I do, and what I’ll try to keep the focus of the blog on is as an aid for GMs, provide encounters. home rules, descriptions, and immersive tools that I use at that table. And for players, I’ll keep posts limited to the best part of the game, fluff. Hey, it’s why I play at the table instead of the screen.
I’ve run a lot of campaigns, and they’re all starting to feel the same, How can I breath new life into my group?
Some campaigns are easy to establish the general tone, but the best games require more thought.
- An evil shadowy figure from some distant plane of existence wants to destroy you and every plane you were ever born on.
- A dragon of such age as to make it essentially immortal has decided everything is in it’s horde, and that include Your Kindomistan.
- A former recurring enemy for the King of The Land never stopped being a recurring enemy for the King of The Land, and is now powerful enough to challenge the King once again.
This is all fun for a game, and pretty typical of a run-of-the-mill sort of game. Each overarching story features bad guys that want to get the good guys, and the tenor of the campaign will often feature saving the commoners from powers they cannot possibly comprehend by a group of youngish upstarts with more bravado than brains. It’s all good fun, and there’s nothing wrong with it. But for a fun twist in the feel of the game, try the other alignment axis for an overarching theme. This will change the feel of the campaign from the planning stage right down to RP between characters and NPCs.
Perhaps some ultra-powerful beast bent on unravelling the very rules that balance the multiverse has already won some very important battles. When the characters start at level 1 they don’t realize that certain pantheons of gods are currently migrating from their natural homes because the outer planes are currently hostile to them. Soon crazy weather scares the crap out of all the straights and the King puts out a call for heroes. Around level 3 or so the characters are compelled to answer that call for heroes, but so is Ixtanthos, a lich so old and powerful he is described as ancient in ancient legends.
From there, the king makes an uneasy alliance with this figure of horror that tested old legends, and the forces of the Gleaming Kingdom march to battle beside the loathsome undead. While the characters are allying with the most evil creatures the land has known, the gods are drawing alliances of their own. Sun Gods of Justice are forced to command legions of devils against the swirling chaos, and these strange alliances are trickling down to the mortal realms. Good clerics of goods gods are accidentally channelling negative energy, Divine spells for primarchs of Lawful Neutral deities go entirely unanswered, dogs and cats living together.. Mass Hysteria! The characters find that old reliable standbys aren’t there, but abominable creatures typically found on the business end of an adventurers sword are now close and trusted allies.
Chaotic gods that are normally found worshipped in every city and town are now the enemy, while the King of the Devils and the Sun God discover their followers sharing hallowed ground. Powerful enemies are found to be an alliance of Demons and Fey, and the most powerful of enemies defy categorization or even understanding.
The final showdown pits the characters against whatever awful thing started this mess, empowered with gifts from devils and paragons of virtue. They, probably, emerge victorious, barely saving the multiverse from conflagration. They’ve attained maximum level for mortals. But now the grim reality sets in.. Devils living in the houses of the gods, undead patrolling the streets of mortal cities; tensions rise, one wise sage wonders if this was all part of Law’s evil plan all along.
I think it was Garrison Keillor who said that good writing requires the author to be scared of his work. I know it was Bukowski who said that the only person who should write is the person who can’t ignore the urge. If I were to add to these observations I would say that the author must also also suffer from unbearable hubris. For myself, I’m certainly not daunted by my topic, though I do feel that I must write it down. So, oddly, Bukowski may accept my reasons for crafting a blog before Keillor. As for hubris, I have plenty.
A little about the author, then. I’ve been playing tabletop games both on the table and off it for a few years more than twenty. From the time I learned about role playing I was enamored with fantasy worlds, fascinated by inhabitants of my imagination, and captivated by the dynamic of creating worlds and letting other people explore them: the challenge of creating characters to help or to harm, exploring the motivations of the common farmer, the corrupted ruler, the maniacal antagonist. And all the while keeping a clear goal immersed in the chaos of everyday life.
The sort of thing your boss should do, I suppose.
So, I have created this blog because my head is too small a place for the ideas it contains. I write here for myself, for my friends, and for anyone who cares about imaginary people.