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    Canonfire :: View topic - Your Greyhawk Campaign Theme
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    Your Greyhawk Campaign Theme
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 18, 2007
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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:13 am  
    Your Greyhawk Campaign Theme

    This is for my own curiosity/education. What is the general theme/"atmosphere" of some of the site members' Greyhawk campaigns? I'm wanting to see how other DM's orient their world.

    For instance, in my barely developed campaign, it's Furyondy during the early part of the Wars. The players wanted to have a military campaign, so they started as drafted conscripts of a rear guard militia unit. The atmosphere is of strife, resistance against evil, as well as paranoia and fear because of the invasion. In my campaign's case, we've been playing Furyondy as a kind of mixture of medieval France and England, with peasants feeling a lot more like English Yeoman than down trodden peasant masses. Treasure doesn't play as big a role, as XP and victory conditions are based on achieving military objectives and by role play. The initial adventure had the party scouting and fighting a delaying action against an Orc unit that had broken off after a major force was defeated and headed for the PC's village. During the scouting mission against the Orcs, several NPC's were killed during a running battle-retreat back to friendly lines. The PC's made the decision after relaying their scouting report, to go back and retrieve the bodies of their friends. I gave them XP for accomplishing that despite it not being an ordered objective.

    So what are some of your world's like? Set in the city of Greyhawk, the party's main objectives are to get rich by becoming the new heads of the Thieve's guild; you gave the city an atmosphere like the five corners neighborhood from Gangs of New York? Played in Perrenland, campaign mainly oriented towards eliminating last Iggilwiv's influence lingering in the land, you've given the area a Scottish highland clan feel?
    I bet there are some interesting takes on the same starting point of Greyhawk. Cheers.
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
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    From: brazil

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:38 am  

    My theme started as a "normal" theme: caravan bodyguards, help the poor, transport things.

    then, they had they firts contact with forbidden knowledge, founding a secret tomb under the statue of a priest-king (kingpriest?).

    this forbidden and forgotten knowledge is present in most of my adventures.
    The presence of Drow was a very secretive one (they showed up in one adventure, capturing the wizard pc and selling him to a illithid at the underdark.

    he managed to scape with a rogue npc of mine, and they stole a ancient tome in a strange language. drow still kind of a secret, like a nightmare people want to forget.


    so, i think you got the point: altough we have som heart lighted adventures (like the Wurst Festival adventure), i think my "theme" is "Discover the Secrets of Greyhawk!"
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 3:56 am  

    My campaign has been going for 20 years. We've played a fair few classic mods but as they've leveled up (they got to 7-9th level in 2e 10-14th level in 3e and are 11-12th level in 4e (we lowered them to paragon tier since the new rules don't really resemble the old in a comparavle way)) the current plot has started to revolve around competing prophecies (why are they always so negative?) involving the Age of Worms, the Theorpart, the Champion of Elemental Evil, three powerful swords, and the fall of the Kingdom of Keoland. I'm hoping to run some LG mods in Keoland & Geoff, Against the Giants, the remaining Age of Worms, and maybe Vecna Lives.
    Novice

    Joined: Dec 30, 2008
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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:59 am  

    My current campaign is set in Perrenland in 4E. I set it back in 576 and was leading it up through the beginning of the Wars (if it gets this far). The players have been stopping an invasion by goblins, then orcs and such spending their Heroic tier tracking down and finding the arms supplier and instigator of a series of wars against Perrenland.

    I am thinking of the end of their heroic tier being played out in the Lost Caverns and possibly leading in to the Forgotten Temple. However I am still working on whether to actually make it Iggwilv or just an imposter who is doing all this.

    Prior to that the campaign was ran from 2E through 3.5E where the party played from 1st-18th beginning in T1-4 then moving around the world from there. It ended with the players following the mage on her quest to found another great Suel Empire in the West.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: May 12, 2005
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    From: Woonsocket, RI, USA

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:21 am  

    I don't know that my campaign has an overarching "theme". For the past few years, the group has been adventuring in and around Sunndi (c. 571 CY), so there have been some clashes with the forces of South Province (and subsequent paranoia that the Herzog is behind everything Evil Grin ). The general "feel" of the campaign is gritty and low-magic, with a strong eye toward verisimilitude.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:16 am  

    Believe it or not, I've got 4 campaigns (3 that I DM and 1 that my oldest son does) going at one time and we rotate every few weeks between them. All set in 576 and all in different parts of Greyhawk.

    1. Main characters: Tacticus the human paladin of Heironeous and Fenwolf the human ranger/beast master. Both are Knights of the Watch and were sent as ambassadors/emmissaries to Verbobonc. After making a name for themselves in the city, they are about to investigate strange occurances in a small village to the southeast called Hommlet. We all know what comes next...

    2. Main characters: Balthar Orebeard the unpredictable dwarven axeweilder and Kiamond Tigerfist the serene, but lethal human monk of the Tigerfist Monastery. They started out in the Lendore Isles and just completed the Saltmarsh Trilogy. They may be headed south into the Hold of the Sea Princes next.

    3 Monster Campaign - Main characters: Mondru VI the orc warrior and weilder of the elf-slaying spear Alkarg from Dragon #78 adventure Citadel by the Sea and Gretch the goblin witchdoctor (sorceror). They started out in the Pomarj but are currently building an army in the southern portion of the Suss Forest in the captured tree hideout in Dragon Magazine #73 adventure Forest of Doom. They intend to rule the Pomarj one day.

    4. Main characters: Thokk Bloodaxe the raging halforc Snow Barbarian and fast talking Sully the human fighter/rogue. A series of daring adventures and misadventures throughout the frontier villages and sites in Greyhawk's frozen northeast. My oldest son's first campaign as a DM and quite entertaining.

    I need to quit my job so I have more time to play. Happy

    Dukan
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 06, 2003
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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:37 pm  

    I've got two campaigns and one short adventure that I am running. Two of them I am running with the HackMaster rules set and the short adventure is set with the 1E rules.

    The first campaign is the ToEE. They are spending a lot of time pursuing the agents of the Temple and stopping them from carrying out their insidious plans. It is heroic, where the players are there to make a difference and stop the Temple. I set Rannos up as the master of the thief's guild. That was interesting. Anyway, I try to set up the world as deep and where the actions of the players have an effect on everyone around them. I don't know if there is a real theme I am working with, other than 'making a difference'.

    There was a second storyline that the PCs found out about that involved an elven bladesinger (Sasuke) that went rogue, who the party's elf (Renu) was pursuing. This evil elf had this strange and powerful woman thief with strange magical powers who seemed to be his slave. This woman, Elandra, would attack the party at times, and at others help them. Needless to say, the party was very intrigued by her. When Renu found out from this rogue elf that the elves were not created by the Sendarine, who were merely usurpers of the original creators of the elven race, Renu decided to join him. Especially when Renu learned that Elandra is an incarnation of one of the original creator deities of the elves.

    The second campaign is a city-based, non-heroic game based in Verbobonc and running concurrently with the ToEE. Originally, the players played a thief, or some derivation of the rogue class. So, no paladins, rangers, straight wizards, cavaliers, etc. And any alignment is allowed. Making a difference is not the goal here. In this game they got on the bad side of the cult of mammon and are now trying to get the treasure in a dungeon they found in the lower ward of the city, avoid the assassins sent by the cult and get the magic item that will level the playing field for them. Part of the allure of this game is that Elandra is a major NPC and is completely human and normal. Of course, the players from the first campaign are scratching their heads on how she came to be dominated and controlled by Sasuke. There is an element of secret knowledge when the party finds out about a book called The Book of Dust, which was written 200 hundred years ago by a wizard who was traveling in the Sea of Dust and found a severed Head that started talking and divulging ancient secrets. The party got mention of this book from a long dead wizard's shade, who the party helped put to rest. The shade told them that there is a magical orb that was detailed in the book that the wizard was about to retrieve on an adventure before he was killed during a summoning gone awry. The party finds out from Knuckles, the elven thief who adventured with this wizard, and who is now an important figure in the elven quarter of the city (he doesn't go by Knuckles anymore), that he and his friends were successful in retrieving this item, its in Liebernen and held by the family of the other wizard in his old adventuring party. And that is where we left off at.

    I don't know of any particular theme for this game. Except for maybe, 'be careful which house you burgle'! (Because that is how all this started)

    The short adventure is also set in the Viscounty of Verbobonc in the fens east of Penwick. Here the party was hired on as muscle by a river merchant for his boat. They were traveling up the Imryd's Run on their way through the canals to Penwick. On the Run they were attacked by lizardmen and the boat sank. The PCs killed the lizardmen and the surviving NPCs made it to shore and traveled to the village of Colchester. There they learned that a previously peaceful lizardman village, who they traded with, has become hostile recently. The Forest Rangers have been patrolling the area trying to protect the locals. The party is asked to help them and find out why the lizardmen have become hostile. The next day, the local merchant arrives from Penwick and agrees to lead them to the lizardman village, because he conducted trade with them before they turned hostile (he also happens to be a Temple Agent). That day they set off with the local druid and the merchant guide. What the PCs haven't discovered yet, aside from the merchant being an agent of the Temple, is that agents from the Water Temple are inciting the lizard men. The party assassin did snipe a wizard on the back of a giant lizard with several lizard men guards, he liked that. Also, after the merchant is discovered for what he is (after the party gets back from the lizard men village and the merchant is predictably killed by the party after he turns on them), the merchants will reveal themselves for what they are and attempt to take over the village, after the Forest Rangers have left to defend another settlement from an impending lizard men attack (intelligence gathered from the lizard men village).

    This adventure is a straight-forward adventure with enough elements for a hook to Hommlett, if the party wants to make a difference and go into the module. If not, I've got other ideas! The theme would be, 'protect the village, kill the monster, and take its gold!' Old skool.

    The Grey Mouser

    'I drank what?' - Socrates
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:55 pm  

    What I will generally do is come up with a central theme, find a location for it, and then add in modules I want to include and find places for them to be included.

    My last campaign (which ended last Sunday) was set in Salinmoor in 576. Cronin Secunforth has just become Viscount and wants to put together a band of civic minded PC's to do just work in the name of the Viscount, but not openly supported by the Viscount, to raise national pride. The purpose of this is to repair the poor view of the monarchy in Salinmoor which has fallen towards Republicanism regarding the merchant houses.

    They ran through The Sinister Secret at Saltmarsh, Danger At Dunwater, Wreck of the Shining Star (Dungeon Magazine), Return to Blacktooth Ridge (Castles & Crusades), Baltron's Beacon, Funeral March (Dungeon Magazine), The Witching Season (Dungeon Magazine), Egg of the Phoenix, and The Final Enemy.

    This all took around seven months.

    I ran it in Castles & Crusades, the party was an average of 5th level from 1st by the end.

    The ultimate outcome was that the Viscount had made deals with an unknown benefactor from the Sea Princes (The Scarlet Brotherhood) and the party had no sooner put down the Sahuagin threat than they faced having their work usurped by the SB.

    The party was split into three groups, 1 Fought the sahuagin baron in U3, 1 fought Ennis McKann the captain of the Shark's Fin in their own ship the Zephyranthes, and 3 fought Rasto Nirja the evil SB monk trying to win over the Vicounty by manipulating the Viscount.

    It was all good fun.

    I like to weave politics with high adventure. We even took Winter Sessions and built a keep using the Stronghold Builders Guide from 3.0 and a couple of the characters made plans to start an oyster and salt farm.

    They ended up starting a bank in Salinmoor and a tavern and lots of fun stuff.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 2:11 pm  

    Mine will be set in the Fal's gap specifically Thornward after the Wars. I just don't see how this city could not be rife with intrigue. I have just started getting my players together so not sure who will be playing what yet but I am inclined to make sure that everyone has some sneaking and hiding ability because there is going to be a lot of spying and political backstabbing and wheeling and dealing going on.
    I have started fleshing out the city and am keeping it as a Neutral city still under a five way power split between Ket, Bissel, Gran March, Furyondy and the cities own council led by the Minister of finance a mysterious Grey Elf. I have divided the city up between competing gangs of thieves ala Gangs of New York Style and have started figuring out who the Power groups will be.
    So far I have The Finance Minister Kaine who is also the head of the Largest Thieves gang and also controls a world wide spy network as well as having his fingers in just about every pie that's available. He will be the parties main patron. He is an unwilling servant of Mephistopheles (never play with a Deck of Many Things) and is building a power base to one day free himself from the shackles of servitude. Nothing happens in the city or just about anywhere else that he doesn't know about.
    The Knights of the Watch are looking to get Bissel under their and Gran March's control and are therefore doing what they can to subtly block Bissel gaining back Thornward until they are a true Vassal state.
    Ket of course wants it back and Furyondy is allied against them.
    there are competing temples who want worshipers, competing gangs that want more control and influence and there is the Lost Prince of the Suel somewhere to be found.
    I look at that part of the World being a lot like Medieval eastern Europe so there will also be competing Vampire Families and whatever else I decide to throw at the players. And above it all will be Kaine as the Puppet master pulling as many strings as he can and under it will be a darkness trying to get out.
    Whew.
    So probably next time I get a chance to talk about it I will be driven mad. But it should be fun until then.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:24 pm  

    You all sound as though you're having GREAT games. I can only ask that you keep it coming. I hope we'll hear more from each of you as your games progress and especially about how they end. Happy

    Excellent stuff guys. Have fun! Wink
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:49 pm  

    My campaigns vary considerably in tone and focus, depending on the players and the materials that inspire me at the time. I've run the old classic modules as little more than a series of one-shots, I've tried to put them together into cohesive "adventure paths", and at times I've run my own stuff. I once ran the Age of Worms adventure path for four different groups with four different "tones" simultaneously, and the campaign I ran after that included a series of classic mods and Living Greyhawk mods all strung together with some of my own stuff - it was the "grittiest" campaign so far. Of course, I've used every edition except for 4e in these campaigns.

    My current campaign is for my kids, ages 7, 8, and 10. For this campaign I'm using a heavily modified and simplified form of the d20 rules that bears some slight resemblance to Castles and Crusades. Needless to say, with players at their age it's a fairly light-hearted campaign and focuses primarily on dungeon-delving. It, like most (but not all) of my campaigns, is set in Verbobonc.
    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:34 pm  

    My campaign started in CY 560 with seven or so characters at first level and no particular theme. We did a mix of homebrew adventures and classic modules. By the time four characters reached name level, they had defined their own themes. The dwarven cleric founded a Holy City and retired as an NPC. The half-elf druid tried to reclaim a large part of of the Vesve from Iuz but was eventually killed.

    The two remaining PC's are a human fighter and a ranger (formerly human but reincarnated as an elf). The ranger's overarching goal is the defeat of Iuz while that of the fighter is simply to become the best one-on-one fighter in the world (she just reached 14th level and is indeed formidable).

    The ranger has been made a Knight of the Hart (High Forest) and her part of the campaign focuses on open clashes with Iuz in the Vesve and political maneuvering in an attempt to get Furyondy to see the danger Iuz poses.

    The fighter has been made a Szeka of Perrenland and her part of the campaign focuses on her rule of her lands, her personal ambition and training school, and her attempts to learn more about her ancestry as she was an orphan but various gods are part of her backstory.

    In 573 both characters were present when Prince Thrommel was kidnapped, so a major part of the campaign has now become their attempt to find and restore the Prince as well as determine who is responsible (I've posted transcripts from this story arc on CF!).

    The PC's have also recently been recruited as agents of Tenser and this will increasingly shape the story line.

    Finally, as part of the two above themes, the fighter will soon be attempting to infiltrate the Scarlet Brotherhood.
    _________________
    My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Mp7Ikko8SI
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 06, 2009 4:27 am  

    My campaign started the usual way, a bunch of young adventurers making aname for tehmselves in the City of Greyhawk.

    They fooled around till about 3rd level, and then the Oligarchy decided to ship them off as "heroes" with Noble titles (or the sort you can easily buy), to the small town of Coruscaith in the Gnarley.

    The town was being harrassed by the Blackthorne Orcs, and appeals of the locals for help had been falling on deaf ears for years. A strong presence of Celene rangers, assisting the Gnarley Rangers, was percieved by the Oligarchy as espionage.

    They managed to stop the orcs, made some reasonable arrangements with the worried elves, and took a long overland trip to Frost Barbarian lands for the wedding of a local girl to the barbarian. On the trip, the cleric of Istus had a long talk with an old Druid sage, who warned him that the recovery of an artifact, a fabled Elven Bow of the Moon, would be crucial in the future.

    And the cleric`s player promptly forgot about it.

    After a few months of sessions where there was no combat, only roleplaying, politicking and the actual making of Coruscaith into a better place, a home where they knew all the locals, cemented relationships and even got down to helping the dwarf win a wife, disaster struck. Turrosh`s empire decided it needed to expand, and it surged north in a blitzkrieg campaign (581 cy).

    Celene decided to bolster the Gnarley Forest with troops while the Domain got it`s act together, and a special request was sent to the team`s elven archer (on his path to Arcane Archer status) to visit Yolande herself.

    Her unearthly charisma won him over inmediately and he convinced the rest of the party to quest for the Moonbow. After may travails, they managed to obtain it, and went to deliver it to the queen.

    Just before the ceremony, Oleg, the happy go lucky cleric of Olidammara asked to see the moonbow, before it was turned in... and he stole it, as a grand joke!

    Currently there is talk of war between Greyhawk and the elves. Turrosh advances steadily, and the party is split.

    Fun times!
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:03 am  
    Your Greyhawk Campaign Theme

    I really like seeing the different directions everyone explores, the feedback has been interesting, and has given me some adventure ideas to try to explore. My campaign is pretty low magic, but I've always had a problem integrating magic in a "fantastic" way. It's usually more of "heavy artillery"/force multiplier/first aid team direction.

    I like the idea about the original elven gods were usurped by the Seldarine, and now there is a quest to discover the original ones. I can see ways to modify that to fit my world. Thanks for everyone's input!!!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Dec 06, 2003
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    From: Torrance, Calif.

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    Sun Dec 06, 2009 3:59 pm  

    I agree, Gman, there are some really cool campaigns going. many of them have a lot of texture and depth, I can tell the players are really enjoying themselves. I like the idea of the cleric of Olidammara playing his joke... on man, I bet the elves don't think that joke is too funny. I like hearing about players who really take charge and do unexpected things.

    Gman, if you'd like to hear more of how I developed that idea, let me know, i'd be happy to share some more of it.

    ciao!
    The Grey Mouser
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    Sun Dec 06, 2009 10:11 pm  

    GreyMouser, I think I am incredibly lucky to have the players i have. It's gotten to the point where i just plan seasonal events and let them run off freely, suprising me to no end and giving all of us an experience much better than anything i could ever hope to create on my own.

    As an addendum: Today's game saw the Cleric of Istus realize he'd forgotten the suggested Moonbow quest. And he realized just as they came upon a town on the Wild Coast recently razed by the orcs. He then confided to me in private, that he is going to be insane...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    From: Nyrond

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    Mon Dec 07, 2009 7:50 am  

    Greyhawk was my original introduction to D&D back in the 80s. That campaign ran for over ten years starting out in first edition and when second edition came out we kind of hybridized the two rule sets.

    We were a terrifyingly chaotic group of players and wandered from the hold of the Sea Princes to the Land of the Black Ice out to the Sea of Dust and over to Rel Astra as whim took us (with a few planar jaunts as well.

    Our DM was a very talented story teller with a knack for keeping track of dropped storylines for years after we players had overlooked them. We often would start a quest or adventure and halfway through decide we wanted to do something else and go wandering off, he'd keep track of where we'd left off and the consequences that would have.

    A few of the highlights:

    The party wizard gets accidently cloned. The clone is an evil twin, escapes and starts living his own life. After awhile our party wizard starts to notice that he has a REALLY bad reputation in some of the places we show up and we trace it back to the fact that the clone has been there doing nefarious things under his name. Towards the end of the campaign tracking down this guy became a major plotline and he was out there doing everything he could to get rid of us. Since he had all the memories of the wizard at the point he was created he was very effective at this and gathered his own band of adventures, composed largely of our own past adversaries that had survived there encounters with us, to aid him both in just the fun of killing things for gain and profit and in handling us.

    Early on in our adventuring career we defeated a group of strange half-ogre fighters. Six or seven years later (in real life time, several decades in character time) we discovered they had been agents for a lich bringing him some reagents and magic items he's sent them out to procure. Our defeating the group rather irritated the lich, not enough for him to come after us in person but occasionally he'd send out other agents and assassins after us. All that time we had thought these encounters were just random.

    Once we found a huge gemstone, large enough that we decided we'd have to sell it and divvy up the gold rather than allowing any single character to have it as a share of the loot. The gem was so large that only a major city would have a merchant that could purchase it from us so we set off to see the splendors of Greyhawk City... four years later (of player time) we finally got there after being sidetracked to the Hall of the Fire Giant King, the Demonweb, Avernus (the first plane of hell) and a bunch of other diversions.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Mon Dec 07, 2009 3:37 pm  

    Varthalon, that sounds like one heck of a game! Excellent! Happy

    I may have to pirate a couple of those ideas! Wink

    It all sounds great, just awesome! Keep it coming guys and gals! Cool
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    From: Modena, Italy

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    Wed Dec 09, 2009 1:05 am  

    I liked the way the Pathfinder RPG Setting described the various countries of thair world. They have a short 1 sentence description that summarizes the mood of every single land. For example "land of gothic horrro" "demonic wasteland" "land of political struggles and endless family wars" etc. Such a brief description could be very useful to help the DM set the right mood. Of course in Greyhawk it should not be too restrictive, but i found some help using this trick. Nyrond "huge kingdom, once bastion of good struggling to be rebuilt after the wars" etc. etc.

    I now play/run 3 different adventures, all set in 595/596 CY, updating our old characters to Pathfinder RPG. A fun thing was to add 13 years to each one of our old characters, so many of them (humans) are now 40-50 years old and had their stats modified for old age (I am quite sure there are VERY few players who actually use stat modifiers for age).

    First campaign is low level, low fantasy, with a strong low medieval-feel (using Magical Medieval Society western europe) set in the ex-Great Kingdom between Alhissa and Sunndi.

    Second one is high level, epic "pulp" Fantasy with world-shattering events that incolve the Circle of Eight, the god Hades, Tharizdun, the tarrasque, Tzojc(o/a)nth, Iuz, Nerull, Yggwilv, Graz'zt, the Jezulein (mud sorcerers), an elven King (Thiondar from Dungeon Magazine), Blackrazor etc etc. Somewhat inspired by old sci-fi and paradox typical of the fantasy that originally inspired Gugax more than "realistic" Fantasy a la Martin (or even Tolkien). Set in the Perrenlands for now, but soon to move to Ket, Keoland, the Vesve forest and eventually Greyhawk City.

    Third one, sadly on hold, is a horror-demonic themed campaign that features a revenant character that escaped the Ravenloft mists. Soon to move to the Bone March and eventually in the old province ruled by Azalin.

    Besides,

    does anyone want to write 1 line sentences describing the lands of Greyhawk?
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:14 am  

    Concepts and ideas, concepts and ideas. Everyone has something to contribute to Canonfire! Cool

    Its nice to see the level of participation we're currently getting on the threads. This is just great! Happy

    Keep it coming guys, keep it coming! Wink
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    Master Greytalker

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    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

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    Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:01 pm  

    The best description ever of how "real" DMs structure their games:

    "My campaigns are multilayered tapestries upon which I texture themes and subject matter which, quite frankly, would simply be too strong for your hobbyist gamer."

    Thanks, Kirt. Cool

    Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    Wed Dec 09, 2009 3:13 pm  

    Yeah, gotta love that link! Watched it a couple of times myself. Wink

    Kirt, you're a NUT! Evil Grin

    Of course, I say that with brotherly love for a fellow Greyhawker. Laughing
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    Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:52 am  

    Great topic! I have found that themes need to change as the game progresses in order to keep things fresh. Over the last 7 or 8 years of real time (8 years of Oerth time) my game has evolved from light hearted teenage adventure through dungeon-delving and fortune seeking and into war, blood and desperation.

    I started my game in early 2002 with a theme of young adventure. Almost a Hardy Boys thing even. Each of the party was a local boy from Hommlet, although two of them had parents from abroad. The lads were: Rendar (son of the local woodcutter), Ashram (son of the leatherworker), Terevas (son of the brewer and a wood elf of the Gnarley), Norresh (son of the teamster) and Derryian (son of a gentleman horsebreeder/ self-exiled Shield Lander noble on the Gnarely trail).

    I started them all at 0-level, and gave them all an opportunity to shape their own talents and choose their classes. Typical xp for a game session was 10-20! There was a serious side to the game, with each boy learning a trade, usually at the feet of their parents (and yes, each of them has ranks in that trade!). Adventure revolved around getting into plenty of trouble trying to steal kisses from the local girls, get a peak inside Burne and Rufus' tower, brawling at the waterhole, playing war in the hills, and taking camping trips into the forest.


    It was on one such trip, to gather rare herbs for Terevas' mother's special brew, that they winessed a column of goblins and orcs moving through the forest. Most of them browned their undies while they hid for their lives! Great scene. The boys followed the bad guys to an overgrown ruin in the forest and fled back to town. The village council met for the tale, where it was revealed that the ruin could only be the fallen Temple of Elemental Evil. Thus, they were the first witnesses to the gathering of the enemy once again!


    A visiting elf known as Draith and his sidekick Zonkle were asked their advice. The elf advised that he take the boys to Oakvein, where the loremasters could offer the best advice. Zonkle, a gnomish master papermaker with Illusionist training in late middle-age, was left in charge of the boys along with the woodcutter and the woodelf. By the time 1st level was reached the lads had taken a grand adventure all the way through the Gnarley Forest and witnessed vast numbers of adventuring bands gather to throw down the resurgent Temple, including Robilar, Otto and Quij. I didn't actually run them through T1-4, instead letting them witness the events as villagers of Hommlet.This was the 1st 9 months or so of game play and arguably the best!

    Having witnessed the exciting life of adventurers and in typical youthful fashion ignoring how few returned, all of the boys (except Ashram, who had his heart set on marrying a local girl and settling down) decided that next time, they would be the heroes waltzing into town with sacks full of swag! Rendar was apprenticed to the Gnarley Rangers, Derryian (whose parents were slain by raiders from the Temple) joined the Church Militant in Verbobonc as a Communicant of St. Cuthbert, Norresh found himself disowned by his father for speaking up for the elves and became a carvan guard, Terevas completed his brewers apprenticeship but was an utter failure at his magic lessons from Burne (being a sorcerer) and Zonkle enrolled at the University of Magical Arts in Greyhawk City, where he dazzled them with his potential!

    We had 3 years of downtime and got back into it in 579 CY and a very different game. I'll leave that for another post though. Got a bit carried away there... Embarassed

    Damien.
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    Joined: Mar 04, 2003
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    Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:54 am  

    Damien wrote:
    I have found that themes need to change as the game progresses in order to keep things fresh.


    I'd definately agree with that. When I first started playing it was all about the hack and slash and we were never having more fun than when we were dungeon delving. Gradually the campaign evolved into some espionage and problem solving and as we got fairly high level (11-14th level for 1st edition) we started getting involved in political events... The progression followed not only our own characters development from low level... er... thugs and mercenaries... into mid-level heroes to high level champion but also the players development from high school to college to jobs and marriage.

    Oddly we never really noticed the evolution until one experience were we had a player who had quite gaming right after high school start again after about a 4-5 year period. He was all ready to jump right back in with the hack and slash and was really frustrated when we weren't going for it. We were about go rescue a paladin/prince friend of ours from a lich our DM had placed in the heart of the 2nd edition module "Labryinth of Madness."

    The returned player was "great, we know were the entrance is, lets go bash heads" and the rest of us were "wait! lets go talk with this sage we know to find out what he can tell us... meanwhile the cleric and wizard can spend a couple of weeks casting divinations about the place and preparing some potions and magic items against what we learn will be there, the party rogues can search for rumors about the place while at the same time laying false rumors about what our plans are about it, and our warriors can work at gathering all the specialized gear we will want to bring with us. And then we'll go thump some heads!"

    It made us realize just how much we had changed the style of our play in those 5-6 years.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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    From: Neck Deep in the Viscounty of Verbobonc

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    Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:06 pm  

    Heh. You remind me of how my own play style has changed over the years. I can still remember the beginning of the change...

    Originally a hack-and-slasher like you describe, things shifted when two of my players - a husband-and-wife team - had their first child. I thought it would be interesting to commemorate the event in-game by providing the party with a baby to care for, expecting my players to hand it off to the first eligible wet-nurse they came across.

    Imagine my surprise when the normally brash adventurers suddenly changed their tactics. The half-orc barbarian (who had been reincarnated into a lizardman) decided to become the baby's de facto protector, trading in his hard-charging attitude for a case of overprotection. The new father, who played a half-drow something-or-other-roguelike, suddenly decided to make sure the baby wasn't subjected to anything dangerous, and so began scouting and searching for traps far more than usual. The party's mage suddenly took to researching spells like "Crandel's Cradle" (which created a magical cradle tended by an unseen servant) to perform baby-sitting services while the party was "at work". Surprisingly, the only character that didn't change much was the new mother, whose half-elven cleric/druid refused to even carry the baby. Go figure.
    GreySage

    Joined: Oct 06, 2008
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    From: South-Central Pennsylvania

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    Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:26 pm  

    bubbagump wrote:
    the only character that didn't change much was the new mother, whose half-elven cleric/druid refused to even carry the baby. Go figure.


    Women, what can you say? Evil Grin
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    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jun 25, 2007
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    Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:39 pm  

    I'm not touching that one at all. Ever. Wink
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 18, 2009 6:33 pm  

    My second campaign arc heavily involved "Cairn-raiding". The adventurers were all level 1-4, based out of Greyhawk City and seeking their fortunes. I used a lot of the old one-shot adventure cards from the City of Greyhawk boxed set and generally ran a free form game with lots of encounters with undead, gnolls, goblins and bandits. The idea was that the party had left Hommlet to make their way in the big world, first seeing Verbobonc City then moving on to the Free City.

    This was a great section of the campaign as it took the characters from immature wannabe's to seasoned and blooded adventurers. The party wound up becoming regulars of the Green Dragon, where they would share their tales of derring-do with other bands and show off their loot. They also did a fair bit of work (unwittingly) for the Thieves Guild. By far the most interesting theme was the notion of the characters discovering mortality (I make ressurrection magics very expensive in my game). One scene in particular involved a gnome (who still uses his illusions to incapacitate rather than kill at 13th level) running out of spells and having to pick up a rock and smash out the brains of a menacing goblin that was temporarily helpless and about to regain his faculties.

    Around the end of this section a few of my players were moving away so I was forced to break up the team in the game as well. A number of the characters left for the Shield Lands where they offered their services to one of the northern lord's. The rest continued on their merry way "cairn-raiding" as the curtain fell (so to speak) and another couple of years downtime progressed.

    Damien.
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    Joined: Jan 05, 2002
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    Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:12 am  

    bubbagump wrote:
    Surprisingly, the only character that didn't change much was the new mother, whose half-elven cleric/druid refused to even carry the baby.


    "Why should I care how many people I have to kill? I can just make more in my tummy."

    -Kazumi Kato
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