What Campaign World Rocks your Socks?

Dr Zaius

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I use the published materials as inspiration, but most of my stuff is original. That's half the fun of being a DM.
 

Palantir

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I've never seen it before but it looks interesting.

If I can incorporate some of it I might do so.
 

Aries

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Looks like it's from Montecook.

Not a negative actually, he's done quite a lot of material.
 

Vled

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I'm a dedicated Dragonlance loyalist - nothing beats the Kender :smoke:

Non-D&D wise, Kult had a pretty cool campaign setting - pity about the game itself though.
 

Dr Zaius

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Aries said:
Looks like it's from Montecook.
If I read it correctly, he is co-author of many of the modern D&D rules, so I guess it's fair to say he knows what he is doing.

I'm not sure how this new campaign world differs from Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk.
 

Whizbang1963

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Don Maddox said:
Anyone ever hear of one called Ptolus?

http://www.ptolus.com/cgi-bin/page.cgi?ptolus

I saw it advertised in the Dragon...700 page book, CD-ROM, DM Handouts..looks to be really extensive...question is will be any good?

Is ptolus a licensee of WOTC/TSR/HASBRO? I see that they are publishing the Dragon and Dungeon Magazines...guessing HASBRO licensed those to them? anyone know?
 

Whizbang1963

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Whizbang1963 said:
I saw it advertised in the Dragon...700 page book, CD-ROM, DM Handouts..looks to be really extensive...question is will be any good?
Went and checked it out on their website...$119 preorder plus $10 shipping to the US...much like the "Official" D&D materials, there looks to be a variety of add on books either in the works or already available for Ptolus...

I just don't have enough money to go around....
 

Dr Zaius

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I admit I like sitting around and reading the materials for campaign worlds -- at least the high quality ones. These can be a great source for ideas and plot elements, etc. Forgotten Realms has a lot of very good information and ideas.

But there is part of me that thinks the players, or at least the characters, should not know a whole lot about the world they live in when they start their adventuring careers. How would they know what lies beyone those distant mountains, on the far side of that neighboring kingdom, or on the other side of that vast ocean? To my way of thinking, all of this should largely be a mystery. And unless they have some serious gold to spend, which is unlikely at low level, they will not have access to a map of the campaign world. Such a map would be a prize indeed! After all, it's not like they can go to Google Earth to get information about their campaign world.

I feel there should be a very good chance of player characters walking into hostile kingdoms or mysterious lands because they simply don't know what is out there. And in my campaign worlds, the inn keeper at the village pub doesn't have the answers to all these questions, and half of his information is just idle speculation and rumor. He doesn't have the slightest idea what is going on in the far off land of Purple Pie, nor does he know how to get there.
 

Maedhros

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Hertston said:
It just amazes me D&D/AD&D has survived so long.. that's what a 'name' does, I guess. Its been hopelessly outdated and outclassed as an RPG since Runequest first came out (and I dread to to think how long ago that was). In a world with such gems as 'Stormbringer', Call of Cthulhu, GURPS, and even MERP if that's still around, who on earth would want to play the clumsy monstrosity that is AD&D?

Rhetorical question, I know. :surprise:
Don't go there, man...you don't want to know :shock:
 

Maedhros

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Palantir said:
I take the core material and then twist it to fit into my own world & the running campaigns. There was a underwater modular about some "water god" that I re-worked to be an "astrological" scenario instead. I "raised" it, put in on a small island and away we went.

The Dragonlance stuff I used almost as designed (but it was a long time ago so its a bit fuzzy now). I had it set in the SE Asia area. I do remember that my players were running on a seperate adventure just a few days ahead of the "storyline" in which the book NPC's were doing. (which I altered to fit into my world arc). So my players were having to battle into the "modulars" to accomplish their mission and the NPC's were basically walking in free to finish theirs.

It was quite funny as I knew what was going on behind the scenes. :clown:


Incorporating "book" characters can be a slippery slope. The RPG world is much different than book worlds. Most books have short time-lines or fail to account for what the "high levels" do the "rest" of the time.

Does anyone really think that the in an RPG world the LotR Middle-Earth Elves who lived forever never traveled? Tolkien has them almost oblivious to anything more than a weeks travel away. Hobbits? What are they? Rohan? Never heard of it. There's no way in an RPG world that the most powerful humanoids who live for 1000's of years would not know exactly what's a few days travel way from them. (And I love LotR's!)

What high level "character" would be content to sit in a village with nothing? How did he get to be high level (besides thats just the way it is)? The "evil" characters are always "plotting" never doing until the book moment.

Sauron was ultra-high level but what was he doing? Sitting & plotting until again-the book moment.

Sure they give some history but that's just it. If the high levels were turned loose & adventuring / doing things all the time as RPG characters do all heck would be breaking out all the time.

So- I incorporate book characters only if I can explain/justify what they've been doing with the "rest" of their time.

Which brings me back to another post- why I "de-leveled" the FR Waterdeep Lords. Those guys are high level, but what are they doing now? Just sitting around & plotting/waiting. With all the adventures going on around/in the city if they came out & "adventured" as they did to get to those high levels the city & area would be cleared out & peaceful just like that.

But if they did go adventuring & cleared out the problems what would the PC's have to do? Which is why in most storys the "high levels" are always just sitting around waiting & plotting. But if I can justify & incorporate a "famous" character into a scenario I will.
Well...in Middle Earth during the Third Age, the Elves were pretty much burnt out on the whole "go deal with the humans and the trouble they cause" thing. The Elves had become decadent to some degree, preferring to keep to the confines of Mirkwood and Loth Lorien until it was their turn to head to the Grey Havens and hop one of Cirdan's ships back to Valinor.

Sauron was "plotting" because he had spent many millenia after the downfall of Numenor drifting about in non-corporeal form. During the events of "The Hobbit", Sauron had finally managed to manifest himself again in Dol Guldur and begin gathering his power to himself. By the time of "The Fellowship of the Ring," he had recovered much of his power (such as his hold on the Nazgul) and was quite active - directing the Nazgul to hunt the Ring, stirring up the Easterlings, gathering hosts of Orcs, bending Saruman to his will, etc. Sauron needed the Ring to recover fully to his former power.

You can't compare the D&D worlds to things like Tolkien; D&D is so massively self-referential it is a reality unto itself.
 
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bpickering

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But there is part of me that thinks the players, or at least the characters, should not know a whole lot about the world they live in when they start their adventuring careers.
Good players can play it even if they are deeply familiar with the material.

My favorite game (lasted about five years) used RM2nd Ed, followed by Standard Ed. when it came out. We started out in Middle Earth (and who DOESN'T know a lot about that?), then ended up Portaling to Kulthea (the Shadow World setting) when our DM decided he didn't want to worry about us trying to go up against the Witch King. :) (Yes, sure, he could have fit in other adventures, from other settings. Problem is, you get to a certain level, and you would be fighting baddies which the Witch King would either a) be allied with, or b) already take down as getting too uppity. :laugh: Either way, he felt it would be difficult to fit more good adventures into ME, and we decided we liked the new challenge.)

Loved that environment, wish I could have continued to play (but a move across the country made that moderately difficult...).

The earlier comment about 100-level spells in MERP holds true for RM as well. Heck, with proper preparation, even lower-level spells can be nasty. 15th level warrior mage, has a "talent" for fire, so along the way he picked up an item which helps him cast fire-based spells. Then, one night, he gets possessed by a demon (one of those disadvantage "character traits" purchased long ago, which the DM finally decided to take advantage of). DM hands player a message, "You are possessed by a demon, whose sole goal is to cause chaos." OK, I sat for a moment (other players were having a little "discussion" which hadn't quite come to blows...), then started writing. I came up with something like:
  1. Cast a Fireball (IIRC, lvl 8 spell)
  2. Taking extra time to cast (to help overcast)
  3. Talent- fire-based spells are 1/2 cost (that's probably the balance for the Disadvantage talent)
  4. Using the fire-based spells item (something like 1/2PP for fire-based spells)
  5. Doubled the radius (*2 PP) to envelope the majority of the party members, esp. the really good fighters
  6. Tripled the damage (*3 PP)
  7. Centered on the nastiest fighter of the bunch (Mio) (because I knew that, with her temper, I likely wouldn't survive if she did...)
8*2*3/2 = effectively a level 24 spell. Tough, but not impossible, for a 15th-or-so level RM character.

I RARELY saw the DM surprised by something we told him we were going to do.

The eyebrows raising in surprise, followed by the nod and the smile as he agreed with my calculations, made my day. :laugh:

Made the Mio spend THREE "Fate Points" to survive. That was another first.

Chaos indeed.

What was that about needing new character sheets...?

Brian Pickering
 

Dr Zaius

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One of the things I REALLY like is giving any spellcaster the ability to cast spells above his/her normal level. If I remember correctly, MERP had this built right into the rules.

I think it's great for a 5th level wizard to attempt a 25th level spell out of sheer desperation! Sometimes it will work, and sometimes it ends in a disaster of epic proportions. I feel this helps keep magic "wild and mysterious" instead of ho-hum and by-the-book.
 

Palantir

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One of the things I REALLY like is giving any spellcaster the ability to cast spells above his/her normal level.
I have that in my system- Spell casters can attempt to "Push" beyond their abilities to cast a higher level spell or increase one that they already know.

However the results will drain them of further casting for "X" amount of time based on how much they attempted to push over their ability.
 

Dr Zaius

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I also think this helps to compensate for the relative weakness of low level wizards by giving them a fighting chance, albeit at considerable risk.
 

Mordrig

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That is a Rolemaster rule as well. I use it in all my campaigns, then again the players rarely take advantage of it, because of fear of failure, there have been a few very spectacular ones in the past.

Once a player tried to blast a group of enemies with a very powerful fire spell, while the party was trying to run away. Net result the fire attack exploded in the middle of the party, many seriously wounded, the mage almost died. The party was captured and put in prison. they spent the next 2 hours escaping. ;)

As to campaign worlds, I have to say my favoutire to run is Middle Earth, I just work at keeping the characters out of the main action. My Campaigns run in times out of the book. If the characters do something that would make great changes it can be compensated for and covered. I tend to run third age, during the Angmar Era. Sauron is weak, Gandalf is just learning about the peoples, The Ring is still lost, the Nazgul are around, but masking their powers so they do not attract too much attention.

To play in, my favourite world is The Lands of Nevron. UK Based, the GM made the entire setting and did a great job of it. He keeps meticulous track of everything, once a player took an old cow skull and stuck it on a stake in the middle of a clearing. Two years real time later a group of players entered the clearing and found the skul on the stake, they spent days of game time trying to figure out what it was there for and what it meant. :clown:
 

Aries

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Ultimately my favourite technique, is to play in settings of popular literature that have never actually had any connection with rolegaming.

In that way, I personally know the setting, but it hasn't been quantified in gamespeak yet.

Thus Terry Brooks is easier than Tolkien.
 

Mordrig

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True, You do get the ability to pick many aspects. This is my reason for ME Mid TA. Loads of material, some idea of what is happening, yet much freedom. I think that is a very good idea. A good GM can do wonders with the minimal information to be gleaned from books.

I should try this too. Perhaps after I kill off this latest batch of characters. :skull:
 

Palantir

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I should try this too. Perhaps after I kill off this latest batch of characters. :skull:
Said like a true GM! :devil:

Running "with/alongside" a book's timeline/main characters is tough to pull off.
I did that with part of the DragonLance series and my PC's actually got ahead of the stories characters for a time. Needless to say when the "book characters" got to the locations mentioned- nothing was there for them to do. To correct the time line I had my PC's go off on a side quest then brought them back into the main storyline later.
 
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