Friday, February 15, 2013

Campaign Design - Introducing "The Three Worlds"

So, I'm taking a severe left hand turn here. I have gotten myself roped in to trying to create and run two 3e D&D campaigns at the same time. One will be for a mixed group of adults and young players, the other will be an all adult campaign. The saving grace is that both campaigns will involve gaming neophytes, so I can essentially run the same campaign setting with two groups of players, simply placing them parallel to one another.

The first campaign will involve two older players, both veterans of role-playing, but who have not played in quite a while, and four kids ranging in age from eight to fifteen, none of whom have ever played a role-playing game before. The second campaign currently has two players more or less committed, one enthusiastic neophyte, and one experienced player. I'll have to scare up a few more players to make it work, but I think that won't be a problem.

So I'm setting aside all of the truly weird stuff and customized house rules for a bit. This campaign is going to be mostly by the book. No customized races. No funky house rules. Just, for the most part, the core 3e D&D mechanics from the three main rule books, leavened, as time goes on, by material from other sources. And because none of the people I will be running these games for have played any of the classic D&D modules of TSR's heyday in the early 1980s, I can dig those out and convert them to 3e D&D to introduce them to a whole new generation of gamers.

So I need a setting. Using old TSR adventures would suggest that I could use the Greyhawk setting, but even though I like the adventures that were loosely set there, I don't like the setting itself. And I have always used a home brewed setting for campaigns that I run, and I don't see any reason not to keep doing that. But that means I need a basic setting that I can throw together over the course of a couple of weeks. So, welcome to what I am calling "Three Worlds" as a working title. The campaign needs to have room for all the core races. It also has to have a place for all the core classes. And it needs to have space for adventures, conspiracies, and conflicts.

The basic framework is a collection of small kingdoms allied together in a loose confederation. The confederation is relatively recent, and not particularly effective. These nations are menaced by a modest number of evil lands and organizations, providing the opposition that will provide grist for the adventuring mill. Because the area is small, with less than imposing kingdoms and a transnational governing body that is ineffective, adventurers who can solve local problems will be in demand. Because I like Celtic mythology, I'm going to use a sort of pseudo-Celtic feel for the setting, and mix it with some Norse mythology and sensibility with a little bit of Finnish myth thrown in. I'm not going to even try to pretend that I am going to remain faithful to any of these mythologies - the root source of a lot of the material may be readily apparent, but I'm not going to make any real effort to try to be accurate. The gods of the setting are Celtic and Norse inspired, but they aren't Celtic or Norse gods. And the same holds true of everything else about the setting.

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