Adventure Ideas---Non Traditional Campaigns
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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 10:36 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:This wide-open style is what some people don't like about D20.

My current game is set in a bizarre and highly stylized world.  

I got tired of trying to catch up to Sam and Frodo and went off in a different direction.


This quote got me thinking; how many still run traditional campaigns?  That is, the characters tramping around in a dalelands with rangers, elves, dwarves, etc fighting orcs, goblins and trolls while investigating abandoned castles and ruins?  Or is your group composed of Tieflings, sorcerers, and constructs battling liches and demonic beings on a windswept desert world?
    A lot of the criticism with D20 has been this wild and crazy, roller coaster approach to campaigns; basically, "fantasy" as only backdrop.  Some of the ideas I've seen have been very good (I liked the Midnight setting, for example and obviously Nyambe as will be seen), while a lot of these, mostly the liscensed products, are not so good.  TSR tried this a bit back in the day be introducing Dark Sun, Planescape and Spelljammer (Ravenloft in it's way was very traditionally based, as was Dragonlance and Al Qadim).  All three of these were quite a change in mind set, character type, locales, everything, and became "cult" favorites.  With the advent of 3rd edition/D20, these types of settings have greatly multiplied until it's become hard to find the classic type campaign world/setting rather than the bizarre.
  The only way I've been able to maintain interest is to throw in non-traditional bits and pieces while maintaining a traditional "feel".  In other words, take the traditional style characters and place them in odd or non traditional enviorments.  My players are mostly very experienced and have an average of 20 years gaming....I can't just keep running G1-3 and expect them to stay awake.
   Anyone still running the traditional T1/L1/B2 etc ina traditional fantasy setting?  Or have you tricked it up a bit to maintain interest? Did you love Planescape/Spelljammer/Dark Sun type settings enough that the new settings introduced with D20 were a creative breakthrough?

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:00 pm 
 

I live for the bizzare... hense why I run planescape.

As for 3.5 D&D... I get bored of running dungeon bashing... we had a really silly planescape game run on the fly at the student nationals when the actual GM didn't show up... that was just random. I've found such games tend toward chaos... hahaha.
I love it.

I'm currently working on a piss take game based around the film bubba hotep atm... if I ever finish it, it'll essentially involve geriatric adventurers trying to save their nursing home. Well, 3.5 DID give us the rules for aging... they only have themselves to blame! besides, I find the idea of a warrior with a gippy back and a senile mage funny.

I always really enjoyed Xcrawl for D20 actually, it made dungeon bashing so much more interesting.

Some people however enjoy mindless dungeon hacks... Worlds largest dungeon perhaps might appeal to the more hack and slash minded. I remember laughing my head off at the group attempting that last year, especially when their paladin who had the awesome uber holy sword that was about the only thing that could destroy the big bad fell in a pit and got er.. digested alive... sword, armor and all... oops

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 12:06 pm 
 

i tend to run a traditional campaign, but i throw in stuff here and there, as and when i feel like it, to just have a nice bit of "fresh air" in the campaign.

as mentioned in a prior thread, i like to find excuses to throw the group into the ravenloft world from time to time. just shakes things up a bit and not everything works the same way and totally throws them and then after a while, put em back where they were.

Al

ps. have never tried planescape, but it does look damn interesting.



  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 2:24 pm 
 

Traditional, but with a million things happening at once. I keep track of all details of a world, who is warring with who, where armies are, which countries have plagues, etc.


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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 4:05 pm 
 

Planescape is the greatest setting ever... but ignore all that psudo fake planescape 3.5 crap.. it's lame. AD&D setting all the way! it's not thaaat hard to convert if you have the time and patience. I was all excited when they brought out the planar handbook for 3.5 but somehow.. it lacks the flavour... it's got some nice ideas.. like converting factions to prestigue classes... but on the whole, just doesn't fit with the feel of sigil.

What other D&D setting could you have ravens that eat people's emotions and sentient razorvine that answers questions in sacrificial blood... alongside a guy who answers every question with three answers (yes, no and maybe), a pair of goth poet trolls and of course, seamus xanthus Zenus, fiendslayer, merchant extroadinare and perveyor of the dead! (a mephit)... I love Seamus... I really really do.

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 6:47 pm 
 

Both the campaign I play in and the one I DM are both very traditional. One is 3.5 and the 1st Ed but both very Faerun based. May go a little more farther afield with my 1st Ed DMing but as the players are all new to the game I thought a more accessable base was best to start with.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Nov 06, 2006 7:23 pm 
 

Lewisexi wrote:Both the campaign I play in and the one I DM are both very traditional. One is 3.5 and the 1st Ed but both very Faerun based. May go a little more farther afield with my 1st Ed DMing but as the players are all new to the game I thought a more accessable base was best to start with.



Personally, the guys I've been gaming with, the core group, have been adventuring for something like 25 years.  So it's essential i offer something other than the traditional fantasy based setting. What I like to do is use the rules as written, but throw the characters into a completely different physical enviorment so they won't get comfortable and fall into old patterns/habits that have served them well in past decades.  Sort of making them invent new strategies and such to keep the game fresh.
   My campaign before my last one was set on my own campaign world, which is a world of island chains. The campaign was the Night Below boxed set, but the first half of the campaign (the above ground part before they got to the underground adventures) was set in the island chain nearest the players. The plot line of Night Below is spellcasters are being kidnapped and brought underground for some nefarious purpose; in my campaign, it was bands of piratical slavers plying the seas and raiding villages up and down the island chains.  Instead of traditional adventuring we had lots of ship battles on the high seas, and the players had to fight off pirate raids, follow the pirates back to their base island, and attack the stronghold (which was the Temple of Elemental Evil from T1-4, I was able to work in the classics!) The campaign as a whole, until the underground portion was reached, ran very little like a "traditional" fantasy campaign.  No rangers, dwarves, castle ruins, rolling hills and forests, dales, etc.  There was a half orc shaman, a gnome lore master, a couple of water elemental priests, and some elven piratical rogues.  The players enjoyed the new challenges they had to account for (not wearing heavy armor, travelling light, using ships instead of horses for travelling, etc).   It also meant a lot of attention being paid to new proficiencies like Swimming, Boating, Navigation, Ship Handling, Rope Use, Sailing, etc (We play modified 2nd ed and proficiencies are very important in my campaigns).  Once the adventure got underground, it was an interesting twist because the characters had been created with swashbuckling sea adventures in mind!  One of the more creative players actually had his character go slowly insane while underground, surrounded by rock with no sun or sea, which I thought was pretty good roleplaying.  Plus, once they characters reached the Sunless Sea (the final foe are Aboleth who inhabit an island in the middle of the underground sea), their ship skills again came in handy!  All in all everyone enjoyed, so much so I haven't run a traditional campaign since!

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:05 am 
 

Just a quick strafe on this topic...more later....

I use the 3.5 rules.

My current campaign is set on a dismal world that was blasted by the Mage Wars centuries before.

The world is dumped on its side and has a night side and a day side, with a narrow band of twilight between...much like the Judges Guild module, Portals of Twilight, only the environment sucks a lot more.  The locals are prisoners of this world, forced to remain there if they linger too long...transformed by the low gravity and the magical forces of the world (known as the "Law of Change").

I use my own firearm rules........essentially, muskets and the like are slow to load but they have great potential for scoring criticals and they punch through armor very well (you get 1/4 of your armor, rounded up).  Essentially, you fire once and then drop your firearm and draw a blade.  The potential for very painful critical hits ensures that high level characters do not laugh at guns.

The society and setting is a blend of Dune, Vault of the Drow, Elric of Melnibone, Hawkmoon and Creatures of Darkness and Light (Zelazny)

The culture is Greco-Roman, with heavy elements from historic Near-Eastern paganism (as opposed to the un-historic pagans of typical fantasy, who act much like Catholic priests only more bald).  The unsavory practices of actual, historical pagans can be quite amusingly horrid and alien to modern minds, conditioned by the the light and rationalism engendered by 20 centuries of the Christian Era.  

There is a slave class, just like Roman society. The slaves do all the work, which keeps a true technological society from emerging...that, and the luxury of practical magic.

Pretty much everyone's hand is raised to defend against everyone else.  There are no goodguys.

Everyone in free society is an elf...only they are not immortal and they lack most of the sneaky benefits of being an elf.  Everyone (everyone) is a rogue.  After 3rd level it becomes a favored class.  Other races appear often in the campaign...always as slaves or Outlanders.  (As you might guess, the campaign's player character design notes run to 17 or so pages...with equally large files for religion, culture, politics, common gadgets and the actual campaign setting...gotta love email and attachments for running a campaign!)

There is a certain level of technology based upon the simple invention of the magicaly-powered wheel.  Thus, it is possible to have elevators, pumps, light trains, etc...with the limitation that they have not developed rubber, plastic, polymers or other substances that make these technologies really work well.  

Other pieces of technology are lying around...usually in the form of hideous weapons from the Lost Age.  There is always a debate over whether to use such things when they are found (and pay the soul-draining price they always exact) or destroy them.

The campaign orbits around magical gates and endless plots and counterplots between the great houses...usually over money, power and prestige.  Everyone fights over shares of OMM (Opera Mezzaluna Merchantile), the company that owns everything.

Because all of my players are adults, there are frequently un-PC themes in the campaign, such as drugs, insanity and casual cruelty.

One of my players has decided that his character has a strong desire to see (and possibly own?) a horse.

This looks like a lot more than a passing strafe on the topic, but it is actually just a light dusting of background.

Mark   8)


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 9:12 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Just a quick strafe on this topic...more later....

I use the 3.5 rules.

My current campaign is set on a dismal world that was blasted by the Mage Wars centuries before.



What a cool world, Mark!  Sounds very Elric-like in theme.  Also like some of the Clark Ashton Smith locales like Averoigne. I dont' know where I would find the time to develop something like that, kudos!  I restrict myself to non-traditional locales on a mostly traditional world, you've gone and created an entirely non-traditional world.  
    The business angles are intriguing. Something I've always thought missing in a lot of fantasy roleplaying, the effects of inflation, supply vs demand, etc.  
 

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:02 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:
What a cool world, Mark!  Sounds very Elric-like in theme.  Also like some of the Clark Ashton Smith locales like Averoigne. I dont' know where I would find the time to develop something like that, kudos!  I restrict myself to non-traditional locales on a mostly traditional world, you've gone and created an entirely non-traditional world.  
    The business angles are intriguing. Something I've always thought missing in a lot of fantasy roleplaying, the effects of inflation, supply vs demand, etc.  
 

Mike B.


his world with light one side and darkness the other - there is a moorcock novel with that theme. i have it at home, but just cannot recall the title right now. its not an elric or hawkmoon novel though (that i can remember) - its about 10 years since i read it.

great concept though - i like it!

Al



  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:14 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
his world with light one side and darkness the other - there is a moorcock novel with that theme. i have it at home, but just cannot recall the title right now. its not an elric or hawkmoon novel though (that i can remember) - its about 10 years since i read it.

great concept though - i like it!

Al


IIRC its the Book of Corum


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:49 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
his world with light one side and darkness the other - there is a moorcock novel with that theme. i have it at home, but just cannot recall the title right now. its not an elric or hawkmoon novel though (that i can remember) - its about 10 years since i read it.

great concept though - i like it!

Al


You may be thinking of Jack of Shadows, by Zelazny.

My campaign has a different concept than Zelazny's book, but the night and day sides are a common theme.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 1:14 pm 
 

I guess I am the stick in the mud. I am perfectly content with Greyhawk, or maybe the Known World (D&D).

There is plenty of stuff to do and use. Even after playing for near onn 30 year now, we still find plenty of adventure. But then again, we were never the huge "role" playing kind of group.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:03 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:
You may be thinking of Jack of Shadows, by Zelazny.

My campaign has a different concept than Zelazny's book, but the night and day sides are a common theme.


here ya go, i knew i was right :D

"The Shores of Death" (1970)

http://www.novymir.com.au/terminalcafe/misc70s.html

its a good novel too.

Al



  

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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 2:35 pm 
 

Sounds very much the same as my own campaign world.  

There is so much Moorcock that I have not read!

One difference...my campaign world is not set on an alternative Earth, but on an alternative Moon.


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Post Posted: Tue Nov 07, 2006 3:31 pm 
 

MShipley88 wrote:Sounds very much the same as my own campaign world.  

There is so much Moorcock that I have not read!

One difference...my campaign world is not set on an alternative Earth, but on an alternative Moon.


hehe

it was the on its axis thing - one side light and one side dark which turned the light on with regards to that book.

great concept though and could develop some very cool adventuring ideas.

Al



  

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Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 9:23 am 
 

My world is a patchwork of real kingdoms or even land masses that have been "stolen" from our (real or imagined) history, and cobbled together into an empire that is now in decline.

Examples include nation-states like Palatinate in old Prussia or the lost continent of Mu.

The empire is ruled by a Lawful race.  It is threatened by a Chaotic race.
(Yes, very similar to JMS' Babylon 5 story arc, although my campaign predates his show by 15 years or so).

I use only the three original alignments of law, neutrality, and chaos.

The decaying empire is a fantasy version of Asimov's Foundation novels' Galactic Empire, which were a heavy influence on me when I was a teenager.

The "Foundations" are monasteries where magic is accumulated in the expectation of the fall of the empire.

A prime commodity in the empire is "holes", which enable characters to transport from one locale to another.  These "holes" are bought and sold and even used as a currency.

The holes, of course, are manufactured by ACME.  Wile E. Coyote would have it no other way.


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Post Posted: Sat Nov 18, 2006 10:54 am 
 

MShipley88 wrote:

The world is dumped on its side and has a night side and a day side, with a narrow band of twilight between...much like the Judges Guild module, Portals of Twilight, only the environment sucks a lot more.  The locals are prisoners of this world, forced to remain there if they linger too long...transformed by the low gravity and the magical forces of the world (known as the "Law of Change").


Definitely sounds interesting!!!

It reminds me also of one of the Star Trek novels (from the original series, not The Next Generation or later) but I can't remember which book it was in--I do remember it was an interesting idea for a planet...... :)  :idea:

  


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 8:13 am 
 

bbarsh wrote:I guess I am the stick in the mud. I am perfectly content with Greyhawk, or maybe the Known World (D&D).


Hear hear!

I've used Greyhawk, parts of the Forgotten Realms, and various homebrewed worlds for years, all of which exist in the same planar continuum (usually).  The homebrews matured over the years from being Beleriand/Moorcock/GH rip offs to Mendenein, my "full-service" campaign setting.  Mednenein is a sister-world to Greyhawk (they're planarally close in the same way that Corum's Ghost Worlds of the ghoul-like halflings are), and both share some NPCs and organizations (the Hierarchs, for example), often with similar (or different :D ) agendas.  Mendenein also shares Oerth's two moons, and has a few others too (the number varies by season/year; some have very long periods and are "away" for a long time, and when they return they're more like the plague moon from Warhammer FRPG).  

Planescape was one of the hallmarks of 2e that turned me off from the game:  the cant in particular, but I never really got into the Blood War concept, which was too simplistic for my tastes, and seemed to set up the forces of evil to be very checked by one another and left good with too-free a hand to run the multiverse.  

I do enjoy the feel of the classics, but I only tend to use modules about 40-50% of the time, and when I do I tend to change them lot.  N1 is a good example---Orlane became a Lovecraftian backwater; the town cultists were replaced with woshippers of HPL's mythos, while the trogs of the town and dungeon became deep ones.   The dungeon had a shoggoth added in, and an EHP (for whom the naga was the chief henchman).  The NPC mage was kidnapped and sacrificed after the PCs grew to like and trust him, so he wasn't around to save their bacon at the conclusion ;)


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Post Posted: Sun Nov 19, 2006 8:19 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:"The Shores of Death" (1970)


I haven't read that one yet, but the description definitely made me think of Rodney Matthews' "Inverted Landscapes"---the world with an earth above and below, with a sun shared between them in the middle, from Moorcock's "Elric at the End of Time."  You can see it @ http://www.rodneymatthews.com/cgi-bin/r ... MP009.html


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