Thursday, November 18, 2010

Campaign Ideas

Tuesdays and Wednesdays have turned into some of my loooongest “work days” for a variety of reasons…mainly that there are other commitments that I have AFTER work that keeps me busy all the way up till bedtime.

I say this simply to preface the following: I’m a bit un-prepared for tonight.

Tonight my Baranof group will be meeting for the first time since completing White Plume Mountain, and I know folks are going to be looking forward to starting SOMEthing. The idea is a decent campaign (or rather, “creating characters with the possibility of some long term serial play”). But I’ve got no idea what kind of campaign I want to run.

Fortunately, there was an “all staff” meeting for two hours at the office to discuss “combating stress” in the workplace. Since I’m a pretty stress-free guy, I was able to do a little notebook brainstorming for some possible campaign options. The only reason I’m posting ‘em now is to give my players (probably reading the blog) something to think about before we meet this evening.

None of this is set in stone. These are not listed in any particular order of preference.

Option #1: After the Goblin Wars. Already discussed in recent posts.

Option #2: Adventuring in the world of Krull. See the much earlier posts.

Option #3: Mythic Norse adventures. Harkening back to VERY early posts inspired by Elizabeth Boyer and Viking lore. Classes available to PCs include:

Fighter, Magic-User, Thief – as per B/X
Dwarves – as per B/X but able to craft magic items as a magic-user
Fighting Wizards – as per B/X elf class, withOUT the infravision/languages
No Clerics or Halflings
Skalds – as per the B/X Companion “Bard” optional class

Special Rules
“Binding Wounds:” characters can bandage themselves, healing D6 hit points, once per day. This can only be used immediately following a fight during a restful period of at least one turn.
“Broken blades:” non-magic weapons break on a roll of a “1.” Better carry a back-up axe!
“No plate mail:” sorry.
"Human or Elf:" aka "Scipling or Alfar;" they're the same thing.

Option #4: Bronze Age Heroes. Again, going back to my earlier musings on the “Bronze Age” nature of the D&D universe (monsters of ancient Greek and Roman myth, etc.). Characters will be the equivalent of a small party of Roman Legionnaire adventurers, exploring the ancient kingdoms of North Africa…desert, jungle, mountains, and pyramids. Classes available to PC include:

Cleric, Fighter, Magic-User, Thief – as per B/X
Dwarf – “throwback man” (Neanderthal-like, no weapon restrictions, but no infravision…a member of a northern culture enslaved by these mythic Romans and adopted into the army).
Halfling – “miniature savage” (like a mythic pygmy or Pictish warrior; same story as the “neanderthal” but class is EXACTLY the same as Halfling).

Special Rules
“Roman deities:” clerics worship the ancient Roman pantheon (pre-Christ) and may need to make occasional sacrifice. Mithras is a good sponsor for the excursion.
“Lorica Segmentata:” there IS plate mail. However, the slave classes (“Dwarf” and “Halfling”) are not allowed to wear it; only human fighters and clerics.
“Far from Rome:” most plunder found will be sent back to the Empire (via ox cart or whatnot) rather than hauled around; XP is gained for all treasure found, despite these donations of tribute.

Option #5: Warhammer Europe. As per WHFRP using the B/X rules. Chaos is encroaching from the north. The orks take the place of the Huns. Much of the continent has been developed by kingdoms that war with each other. Skaven lurk in the sewers. The usual…plus black powder weapons. Classes available to PCs include:

All standard B/X classes. Might modify them somewhat using my random B/X class mods.

Special Rules
“15TH Century Technology:” All gunpowder rules apply.
“Mordheim as a Mega-Dungeon:” You better believe it.
“WHFRP Critical Hits?:” Might be added to my own Random Death table.

Option #6: Run something other than B/X.

Here are some other games I’d be interested in running that I think would work with this particular group. In no particular order:

- Trail of Cthulhu: GUMSHOE is sooo much cooler than Chaosium for this kind of thing

- Boot Hill: because Boot Hill is the BEST; might also be interested in running my steampunk version, Clockwork (still un-published…could sure use some play-testing!

- Hollow Earth Expedition: I might need to modify the system A LOT, or at least boost starting characters somewhat, but hunting dinosaur with an elephant gun in the lost ruins of Atlantis is just so damn awesome…ugh, chalk up another much needed B/X adaptation to the growing list!

- Pendragon: A Chaosium game where I don’t mind the system (for whatever reason). I only own the 3rd edition, but I’d love to play this game with a group of 6-8 and see how their different characters develop over time.

The following games I would be interested in running “someday” in the far, faaaar future…though my players MIGHT be able to talk me into it now:

- Some Supers game (Superworld, Heroes Unlimited, TSR’s Marvel, or Godlike/Wild Talents). MAYBE…but only just maybe (I don’t feel like making a comic book campaign world that has any semblance of “sense” right now).

- Some Rifts-based game (specific interests: Mexico, Atlantis, Russia, or Wormwood…MAYBE, maybe Pac NW or Canada; everything else, setting-wise tends to be a lot of dog-shit). I would be more likely to adapt a Rifts setting (if the players were interested) to a B/X-based campaign. Yeah, it’s not as hard as it sounds (Palladium already heavily rips off Gygax and Arneson). Of course, anything I did in THAT arena would go un-posted on the blog…can’t have Siembieda suing me,right?

- Star Wars/Space Opera: Still working on my own game (that’s what I’ve been doing with my free time this week!) and it’s not ready to play. But I MIGHT be tempted to playtest it. MAYBE.

All right…that should give everyone plenty to think about. We’ll see what they want to get up to tonight (see y’all at 8pm!).

; )


  1. You should totally play 4e!


    Whatever you play, just be sure to post about it!

  2. In the Mythic Norse setting, does that mean Fighters, Thieves, Magic Users, and Fighting Wizards can be either Scipling or Alfar (but without any actual rule differences between races)?

  3. @ Dave: Figured you were!
    ; )

    @ Josh: Mmm...there may be some differences, but for the most part they're the same. I'm not sure there would be any mechanical differences (ghoulish paralysis immunity, perhaps...but ghouls aren't a big part of Norse mythology, so it's kind of moot).

  4. I like option 3 the most out of these, but that is just me.

  5. Wow, I don't envy you, my friend! You have quite a variety of options here...some might say too much variety for your own good! ;-) Perhaps gamer ADD? Heh, I kid. I know what it's like to be all fired up for gaming and bursting with ideas and possibilities, wanting to play it all at once! But if it were me at this moment in time, I woud definitely go for option 3!!! Norse all the way!

  6. I really like the idea of adventuring in the Bronze Age. I've thought about adapting Barbarians of Lemuria to the Mycenaean era. B/X would be cool but magic-using would have to be changed to fit my vision. But yeah, there nothing like the idea of tragic, bronze-clad heroes clashing in epic battles or destroying fierce, unique monsters for pure glory to get me ready for gaming.

  7. I really dig option #3 (if you are sticking to B/X). Of course, I'd love to see your thoughts on running non-B/X games.