So, I am planning to dust off my RPG chops in 2016 and start up a D&D group after about a 3 year hiatus (lots of boardgames, Android: Netrunner, and community organizing around gaming).
5th Edition Rules hits all the sweet spots for me (Rules Light, Flexible, but with modern design elements that make it a more cohesive whole). I have played the hell out of every other edition, now it is the new version's turn.
THE DYING OERTH
Magic is slowly waning in the world and connections to other realms (Faerie/Feywild, the Shadow Fell, and even the dominions of the Gods) are growing weaker.
Once powerful magics that built empires are harder to conjure and even harder to control.
Practitioners hoard their power and strike deals with fell entities in a vain attempt to regain lost glory.
The Big Secret
The gods fearing the absolute destruction of the universe imprisoned the Mad God Tharizdun. This is known.
The untold story is that in order to maintain the Mad God's prison, a sacrifice is needed. A world is chosen, bound, and its magic is fed to the barriers that contain Tharizdun. Oerth is such a world. Not the first, but it currently is keeping the corrupt entropy embodied by Tharzidun hidden away from the universe.
* The gods do not walk Oerth not because they are prevented from doing so, Iuz and St. Cuthbert put that to the lie, they avoid striding in the world because it would diminish them.
* Only a few are directly called by the gods to act as their divine champions in the world (Paladins, Clerics, etc.). Most church priests have little or no magic ability but instead teach the doctrines and rituals of the gods. Most NPC spellcasting is done from ritual books. Clerics are the chosen of the gods (they may or may not want that honor).
* Arcane practitioners are not as common as they once were. Those that accumulate power are selective with who they share it. Some bargain with fell beings (Warlocks), some are natural conduits (Sorcerers), some learn elderitch lore or the power of song (Wizards and Bards).
* The Circle of Eight does not wish to destroy Iuz, his presence is a "new" source of power. They wish to keep him in check, not destroy him.
* Kingdoms make use of magic, but they cannot rely on it. Armies, militias, and mercs are their main defense against the other nations and monstrous threats from the wild.
* The Rift Canyon is the first visible scar of the slow destruction of magic on Oerth.
* Magic dead zones and wild magic are also tied to this drain.
I am not happy with the Greyhawk Wars. If there is going to be an earth shattering event like that, I want the PCs in the thick of it. Jumbling up the world makes sense if things are old hat for the DM and players. As it stands only me and my wife would know any of the history of Greyhawk.
So, I will start my players in 576 CY. That way I can pick and choose what info from post World of Greyhawk box set I want to incorporate into my version of Greyhawk.
Possible Regions and Story Lines:
Depends on what kind of play experience the players want.
City of Greyhawk/Castle Greyhawk:
If the players want to kick down the door, kill the monsters, and loot the room…
* Dungeon crawl/urban setting
* Big bad would be a combo of the dungeon itself and those trying to separate the party from the loot they have gained.
* The big secret would have little or no influence upon this type of campaign except potential motivation for NPCs and organizations the PCs encounter.
* I could use the Madness of Zagyg and his castle to explore that aspect of the campaign.
If the players want to face off against something wicked and be the heroes, then I will adapt Princes of the Apocalypse to create a more modern take on the Temple of Elemental Evil.
* More sandboxy and mysterious. Players will have to track down different parts of the cult before rooting out their main lair.
* Big bad would evolve from the cult leaders to the elemental princes, to the elder eye and possibly the big reveal of Tharzidun and his effect on the world.
* Plenty of resources to steal/blend from.
A 1001 Baklunish Knights
If the players want to do something a bit more excotic and want to explore a rarely used portion of the world…
* This would be a fantastical mash up of Prince of Persia, 1001 Nights, Al-qadim, Sinbad, etc.
* Larger scale sanbox than the City of Greyhawk theme.
* Like ToEE, this would feature elemental motifs but would be centered around deals with Djin. The Cup and Talisman of Al-Akbar would be a major quest line.
* This would require a lot or work on my part to make it happen.
I am going to flesh this out a bit more, but this is the basic idea. I don't know if the PCs will ever learn the truth but it will shape the motivations of various groups they interact with.
One thing I want to explore is the use of madness to see greater truths. Zyagy and cultist of Elemental Evil have used it. This is something I saw done very well in the TV adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell for the BBC.
Last edited by Saracenus on Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:03 pm; edited 3 times in total
Interesting take on the magic, and what influences its waning. It should make for a game where spellcasters are extremely rare, but exceptionally influential. There will be more of an emphasis on fighters, rogues, and perhaps monks. When PCs run into an evil spellcaster of whatever type, or something supernatural/having magical abilities, it will make for much more of an "Oh crap!" moment. There can be so much entertainment value in some of the simplest things.
How you are treating clerics, paladins, and others with divine power is somewhat how I treat them normally. There are plenty of lay clergy, but those that are actual vessels for divine power are somewhat rare, with paladins being more common than clerics. _________________ - Moderator/Admin (in some areas)/Member -
I like your ideas, I'm very tempted to use some of them for my current GH campaign set in Blackmoor. I'm curious: will your game have limits on what your players can play as characters? Example: as arcane casters are a rarity, will they be allowed access to wizards, bards, warlocks and sorcerers? Just wondering.
This also lends some cool ideas for using oerthblood as a source of magic energy being slowly drained. Or maybe some of the fading lands.
I don't think I would limit the number of arcane casters in a party, if everyone wants to be a wizard, so be it.
The party composition doesn't have to mirror the "reality" of the world, they are the heroes after all. I am going to try and break away from the trope of most published worlds where every NPC has PC levels.
I want my PCs to be forces for change (whether that change is for weal or woe in Greyhawk is their choice). I want their actions to mater and not be overshadowed by every damn NPC out there.
How this plays out depends on my players, the year I set my campaign, and where in Greyhawk I put my story.
As far as race or class restrictions, the only thing I have definitively held in reserve for the DM is the Drow (PG) and Eladrin (DMG) subraces. The former are hidden away and just legend to the surface elves and the latter are stuck in the Feywild and not really willing to give up the undrained magic that is at their disposal.
Glad you like the concept, yoink what you please and make it your own.
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