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atmosphere of the campaign

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 4 months ago

Rated MA:15+ for Violence, Horror and Adult Themes...

A Rising Darkness: the mayor and Jack have formed an alliance, and are attempting to take control of the city. This is a war fought in the shadows, that the players might not even be aware of at the time. The first phase was to raise a dracolich and use it to destroy the cathedral, killing the Abbot and ousting the Templars from power. Next, they must take on the thieves' guild and the wererats. Fiinally, they intend to raise an army to expand their dominion. Eventually, the characters will be powerful enough to confront the mayor, learn about Jack (the secret power behind the throne) and end the reign of terror. However, in the meantime the party is likely to face many defeats and setbacks if they attempt to interfere.

The plight of the common man: at low level, not much separates the party from the average peasant. These are dangerous times, when human civilization hangs on by a thread. The populace is largely subject to the whims and conflicts of the powerful, and preyed upon by monsters and villains. I want the players to be aware of their characters' limitations, choose their fights carefully, and try to keep a low profile lest they get trodden on. It is important for them to try and gain allies, so that they don't stand alone in a hostile world.

The major risk I see with the above concept is that it will become very frustrating for the players if they feel that their characters are entirely ineffectual. It will be important to mix in subplots where the party deals with the less epic concerns of the hoi palloi - only 10% of encounters are supposed to be "overpowering". However, the idea is to have a noticeable contrast between the way the characters are treated as they rise in levels. I'd like them to have a sense of achievement when they attain greater power and become a force to be reckoned with.

My goal in the early game is to introduce some of the factions of the city - I want to give the impression of a living community, with many conflicting goals. The characters will make many enemies (but hopefully also some allies). It will not be unusual for people to react negatively or with suspicion, since the frontier is full of those who prey on the weak.

I'd like the players to decide what their characters want for themselves, and then go after it. I need to make sure I have given them enough information to do that. I want to run a freeform adventure, and be open to the possibilities of collaborative storytelling and world creation.

Some things that I assumed from my experience with past adventures

  • as soon as things heat up, the players panic and leave town
    • I guess that things have hardly begun to simmer at this point
    • it reminds me of "boiling frog syndrome": if I turn the heat up gently enough, will they even notice until its too late?
  • overland travel is insanely deadly at low levels
    • one Wyvern or Griffon swooping from overhead can take out an entire merchant caravan in a matter of minutes
  • players get bored and frustrated if it takes more than a few sessions to gain a new level
    • tougher encounters mean more XP, but also a much higher chance of character death (or even, heaven forbid, Total Party Kill)
  • what separates a party of player characters from a gang of brigands or petty thieves?
    • oftentimes, absolutely nothing
    • the frontier is full of those who prey on the weak
    • as the characters become known and increase their reputation, reactions become less suspicious
  • investigation
  • suspense
  • excitement

Comments (7)

Azeari said

at 12:58 pm on Jan 31, 2010

Azeari said

at 2:05 pm on Mar 16, 2010

The pussification of 2nd edition D&D:

From: tsrjim@aol.com (TSRJIM)
Newsgroups: rec.games.frp.dnd
Subject: TSR Authorized Sites
Date: 14 Jul 1995 12:12:53 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

1. Evil shall never be portrayed in an attractive light.
2. No explicit details and methods of crime, weapon construction, drug use, magic, science, or technologies that could be reasonably duplicated and misused in real life situations.
3. Agents of law enforcement (constables, policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions) should not be depicted in such a way as to create disrespect for current established authorities/social values.
4. Crimes shall not be presented in such ways as to promote distrust of law enforcement agents/agencies or to inspire others with the desire to imitate criminals.
5. As foes of the protagonists, evil monsters should be able to be clearly defeated in some fashion.
6. Profanity, obscenity, smut, and vulgarity will not be used.
7. The detailing of sordid vices or excessive gore shall be avoided.
8. All lurid scenes of excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, filth, sadism, or masochism, presented in text or graphically, are unacceptable
9. Sexual themes of all types should be avoided.
10. Nudity is only acceptable, graphically, when done in a manner that complies with good taste and social standards.

Azeari said

at 2:06 pm on Mar 16, 2010

11. Disparaging graphic or textual references to physical afflictions, handicaps and deformities are unacceptable.
12. All races and nationalities shall be fairly portrayed.
13. Slavery is not to be depicted in a favorable light.
14. Actual current religions are not to be depicted, ridiculed, or attacked in any way that promotes disrespect.
15. Actual rituals (spells, incantations, sacrifices, etc.), weapon designs, illegal devices, and other activities of criminal or distasteful nature shall not be presented or provided as reference.
16. Narcotic and alcohol abuse shall not be presented, except as dangerous habits.
17. The distinction between players and player characters shall be strictly observed.
18. It is TSR policy to not support any live action role-playing game system.
19. While TSR may depict certain historical situations, institutions, or attitudes in a game product, it should not be construed that TSR condones these practices.
20. It has come to our attention that some freelance writers are committing plagiarism (literary theft), which is a punishable crime.


Azeari said

at 2:25 pm on Mar 16, 2010

"I aim to misbehave ..." Capt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity

11-14 are fine with me, more or less. They are basically about treating sensitive real-world issues with respect. Number 12 specifically refers to real-world human nationalities and ethnic backgrounds. Evil orcs and drow are OK by them, as are 'racially inferior' goblins and kobolds. I guess it hinges on your definition of "fairly portrayed" ... I think I've done okay in that regard.

17 is just about separating fantasy from reality, which isn't a problem for any of my current gaming group. I got a chuckle out of 18: I think LARP is pretty lame, but to each their own. 20 is quite ironic, considering what Gygax & co. did with Lovecraft, Moorcock & Tolkien. Of course, if I didn't steal copiously from pop culture then I'd never get a game together ...

Azeari said

at 9:16 am on Apr 30, 2010


From time to time there were attacks on role-playing games, so our role-playing club started in 1994 to collect scientific studies about RPGs that can be provided for research for your master thesis or problems with the boulevard press or authorities (if it isn’t too inconvenient to send the stuff by snail mail). If you know of a study we haven't got yet, please mail me. Likewise we are interested in more newspaper articles, tv or radio reports for our archive. We try to make more resources available online to ease research -- but it depends on permissions for re-print by the copyright owners. Also the e-mail addresses of many authors have been provided to create a forum for the exchange of ideas with this site.

Azeari said

at 1:24 pm on Jul 27, 2010

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