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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:16 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:And, on a totally non-political or religious topic:

This week I ran the first "module" I have used in a while:

1)  I purchased PDF maps of a citadel, a wizard's tower and a pirate ship from 0one games, and I printed out the maps I needed in blue ink.  (Oone products are $1.65 or $1.99 apiece on RPGNow, and they are highly utilitarian...you can take out or put in the grid lines and there are other options.)

2)  I used the Jamis Buck online NPC generator to create advanced stone giants and bugbears (and copied them to Word so I could modify to taste).  

3)  I got the advanced harpy stats from D20 Online and also modified using Word.

4)  I printed out two exotic monsters from a PDF of the Monster Manual III

5)  I quickly drew a large scale map and a local area map on 11x17 graph paper (from Staples) and....presto!

    I put all of it in a folio notebook and the entire effect is very much like holding a module in my hands.  Except for the larger 11x17 maps, the entire adventure was created electronically.

    Having barely survived the previous adventure in my campaign...which is located on a moon-sized planet half in darkness and half in light...the party walked out of Nightside's frigid sea of ash, the Mare Frigoris, toward the Mons Phyrrus and the darksider steading of Piraeus.  They found Wako Pass garrisoned as expected...but not by darkside elves.  Instead, a force of bugbears and stone giants occupied the old guard tower.  Three of the player characters moved into overwatch on the tower with dune rifles while the other six reached its main gate cloaked by invisibility.  They stormed the tower....

   This is a lead-in to the steading of Piraeus, which has been occupied by powerful humanoids.  The players are about to discover what has only been hinted at so far....the existence of The Stormbringer Juggernaught (right from Goodman's Dungeon Crawl Classics, but modified to fit my campaign).  Owning The Stormbringer Juggernaught on PDF allows me to lift and modify portions of that module to meet my storyline needs.

   Anyway...interesting to me because most of the adventure is printed from electronic format...allowing me to mix and match and saving me much time.  Also, the flexibility of the 3.5 rules allows for highly varied monster stats and unpredictable challenges.

   What are you up to at the moment?


Talking D&D in the offtopic thread? What will they think of next??? :D

I enjoy using all avenues of technology to make my DMing easier...for example, my core rules program has been incredibly heavinly adapted to my own campaign world (with orignal classes, magic items, spells, kits, monsters, whatever).  I only wish I had it 30 years ago...or something like it.  Makes it so easy to basically roll up an NPC, fully complete (all armor, weapons, proficiences, spells, etc already included), in five minutes or less, particulaly a high level foe like a mage or priest that would have in the past taken an entire afternoon!

I like taking my pdfs of classic adventures, 1st or 2nd edition, or from dungeon mags, copying them to word, then heavily adapting them to my own campaign world (often just leaving the flavor or room descriptions, which I'm terrible at for the most part).  I typically keep maps intact from original publications, perhaps taking out a room or two, adding a few, maybe adding a secret passage or hallway....

In the last few years, I've eschewed the tradtional "fantasy setting" although not to the extent Mark has.  Two campaigns ago, I ran basically "Night Below" with a few twists.  The slaves being taken were kidnapped by piratical slavers, who delivered them to a Earth Temple of Elemental Evil, who in turn sold the spellcasters to a far deadlier force deep below the earth (lead in to Night Below). So the  first half began with T1....set on an island....which led to the Temple of Elemental Evil...on another island...and at the bottom levels, a teleport gate...to another island...on which there was a fortress (a heavily adapted UK3 The Gauntlet)...through which led the party to the underground horrors of Book Two onwards of Night Below.   As can be guessed there was a lot of sailing from destination to destination, piratical foes, ship combat, creatures of the deep, and what not, until the Night Below which at that point focused exclusively on underdark adventuring with NO backing out or replenishing "safe" spot for the characters except what they themselves created (mages were allowed to use teleport to get supplies, hirelings and such, but weight limits and spell limits prevented anything more than just making sure the party had essentials). The jolt in this campaign was the fact that characters that had been essential during the first half (characters specialized in sailing, boats, the sea, etc) were basically useless underground (until the Sunless Sea was reached, that is!), so it led to some interesting twists---one character retired his ranger with sea foes as his favored enemies, and another who wanted to retire his pirate character roleplayed him going insane in the underdark after a few sessions, and after attacking the party mage in an ambush was killed and destroyed; the player rolled up a new character and started over!
  The next untraditional campaign was on a jungle island thousands of miles away from civilization.  Characters belonged to a "merchant house" which sponsored expeditions to the dark untamed continent, selling the goods back to a town called "Southpoint" which was the farthest area of civilization from the occupied territories of civilization.  The characters were based in a fortified village on the continent itself, a few hundred miles from Southpoint, and were in charge of protecting caravans, battling monsters and native tribes, and exploring jungle ruins.  Heavy armor was useless, horses and other traditional beasts of burden died quickly due to certain viruses (giant pack lizards were used instead),  diseases were rampant (disease check every week or perhaps more), communication was difficult (each of the three native tribes inhabiting the area spoke a completely different tongue), and spells for mages were very hard to come by (basically could only be discovered as treasure while investigating ruins or lost cities).  A lot of traditional dungeon style adventuring and strategies had to be tossed out the window for this campaign...my favorite character was the guy who played a warrior type with heavy armor, lance, proficiencies in riding warhorses, etiquette, etc (this guy did a great job roleplaying his character, as he knew most of the stuff he's chosen was going to be useless in the setting), only to find most of the stuff of no help in a jungel enviornment...in about 3 adventures he'd "gone native" and had ditched his armor for lionskins, the heavy weapons for spears, and the warhorse for a giant lizard...!
  The campaign I'm running now is basically the same, only reversed direction: the continent is north of the world's arctic circle, with three months of dark a year, and constant cold, snow, and ice.  The weather and temperature are enemies as much as the creatures inhabiting the heavy pine forests and mountains (so far, they've battled Frost Giants, White Dragons, and Yetis, and they are only 1-3 level!), and orc hordes as well as Priestesses worshipping the gods of cold are on the horizon.  Life in the north can be nasty, short, and brutal as they have found out (pretty much everyone's family was wiped out in the hardcore beginning adventure), and you either learn to deal with the cold or you die, that simple.  So far I don't believe anyone in the party has metal armor, or even a shield, as travelling light and quickly is more important than loading yourself down andmaking yourself into a target....


Someday, other "nontraditional" campaigns I wish to run are: a dwarven kingdom beneath the earth (with everyone playing a dwarf or gnome characters) that is involved in a centuries old war with nearby Duergar and Derro civlilizations;

Soldiers conscripted to explore and pacify (the monster population) an entire island that is basically a 100 square mile swamp (with an ancient Black Dragon ruling over all);

and a large city on a plateau, that is smack dab in the middle of a desert, the only inhabitable area for hundreds of miles in any direction, surrounded by hostile weather, temperatures, monsters, evil desert nomads, etc.  The city itself is ruled by a hereditary despot, as lack of contact with any other civilizations or cultures for hundreds of years have left the sort of "lost" world that REH and ERB wrote about many times....

As you can probably tell by the above campaigns I have run or am going to run someday, I enjoy using weather, terrain and nature against characters as much as monsters; and I also enjoy putting players into situations where traditional D&D  stereotypes (the mage with the poiinted hat and robe, the heavily armed and armored fighter, the "city" thief who climbs walls and picks pockets), and goodies (platemail and heavy armor, for one!), either don't exist or are more of a hindrance than a help.  Also I enjoy making more obscure yet interesting creatures (Yuan Ti, Derro, Yetis, etc) become the main enemies or focal point of a campaign (the Norvik campaign I am running, frost giants and their ilk have already become the main focus, and the party is low level....!)  I don't have anything against traditional D&D foes....but when you engage in your 100th PC on orc combat, things can get a little boring...

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:30 pm 
 

Hum, why do I get the feeling the show Man vs. Wild would be good for your players to watch Mike :)

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:30 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:i hear ya :)

i love the role-play side of it and i like the combats nice and fast so peeps have to think fast or it doesnt happen the way they want.

i just like a good game, simple as that.

Al


To me, the roleplaying side just can't be forced, though.  The best characters and roleplaying sometimes just pops up out of nowhere.  Some of my original group members, guys i've loved and gamed with for 30 years, can't roleplay their way out of a wet sack.  Sometimes, nothing about the characters themselves makes them interesting, and the roleplaying within the party just never "clicks".  Some of the best roleplayers i've ever had, actually, weren't veterans of gaming but instead novices playing their first campaign (no expectations, and they were familiar enough with stereotypes to fall back into cliched characterizations).  
For example, in my above post, I referenced a player having his character go insane.  It turned out to be entirely thought out by him, and a brilliant move since it reinforced the gloomy, depressing atmosphere of the Underdark.  The player came to me himself and suggested it, knowing he had a character who was great in a adventure on the high seas and somewhat useless in caverns miles beneath the earth, he suggested "How about instead of retiring him I make him go slowly insane and try to kill everyone?".  BTW this was a high level character he'd run for about a year, so it was no light decision.  I was intrigued and over the next few sessions, he had his character act angry, depressed, fearful, and paranoid concerning the setting and circumstances...a set up the party failed to notice! Finally he had his pirate attempt to backstab and kill a party mage who he had gotten off alone one day (convinced in his sick mind the mage was behind the madness he was feeling).  The mage tried to restrain him, couldn't get help or get away, and was forced to kill the character through a lightning bolt that did enough damage to basically disintigrate the character.  The guy working the mage was upset at first because he hadn't meant to destroy the guy, thinking he had been taken over by a mind controlling monster, but when the player with the now dead pirate explained to everyone what he'd done, they thought it was brilliant (and realized then they had missed all the little clues the character had dropped over time about slowly going mad). Then he rolled up a new character (a mage this time) and started over!  Now that's great roleplaying!

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:32 pm 
 

Plaag wrote:Hum, why do I get the feeling the show Man vs. Wild would be good for your players to watch Mike :)

ShaneG.


I get some good idea from that show (Anyone for drinking elephant dung?)  :D

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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:48 pm 
 

Your Night Below campaign is set...I take it...on a large, underground ocean?

I like it.  My players have always resisted the Underdark.  Except for a few new guys who like the R.A. Salvatore novels, the rest positively hate the drow...and I find them a bit thick myself.

I like your idea of the huge swamp island ruled by a black dragon.  I did something similar several campaigns ago, incorporating the basic ideas found in the Judges Guild module, Portals of Torsh.

I have tried to float the idea of "Hey, let's all be dwarves!"  My players aren't very enthusiastic...especially the female players...and I hestitate to foist a whole campaign of short and ugly on them.

My players have been pretty good about the whole thing...putting up with two campaigns in a world where almost all of the fantasy genre cliches have been turned on their sides.

They have also taken well to the specialized equipment of my current world....primitive firearms, flamers, primitive grenades, bomb golems, ships that sail on land, magic wheels, etc...  They've been pretty good sports.

I have the next campaign on the design table.  It will be set in The Empire...a sort of alternative Dark Ages in which Germany was a part of the splintering Roman Empire and Scandanavia is a stronghold of humanoid and giant kingdoms.

I figure next campaign it will be time to allow my players to have some fun in a more traditional fantasy setting....one where you could ride a horse, for instance. Also, it will continue the fleshing-out of my inter-connected world setting.

Also...two of the most intriguing 3rd Edition fantasy settings I have come across...both by Atlas Games....are Nyambe (fantasy Africa) and Northern Crown (colonial fantasy America).  My fantasy campaigns have been to alternative Africa before, but Nyambe is the first complete setting for it I have seen outside of Aesheba, by Fantasy Games Unlimited, which was good but less ambitious.


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Post Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2007 9:35 pm 
 

FormCritic wrote:Your Night Below campaign is set...I take it...on a large, underground ocean?

I like it.  My players have always resisted the Underdark.  Except for a few new guys who like the R.A. Salvatore novels, the rest positively hate the drow...and I find them a bit thick myself.


I think the drow have been overused to redundancy...so I never use them.  The exist on my world, but above ground in heavily forested areas, and not underground at all (they would be heavily outnumbered by the dwarves, derro and duergar in my world and wiped out if they tried to go underground).  I haven't had a drow as a foe in over 7 years of play...

I like your idea of the huge swamp island ruled by a black dragon.  I did something similar several campaigns ago, incorporating the basic ideas found in the Judges Guild module, Portals of Torsh.


Thanks. I go the idea for that when I was drawing out a large archepelago to set a island chain on, and couldn't figure out good idea for the last island, so just drew a bunch of cross hatching on it and told my players "That island is just one giant swamp, the king has troops there, you don't want to go there".  Then started thinking what was on that island and why no one would want to go there..and why the king would covet it. Led to a bunch of plot twists and interesting secrets, and a few cool campaign ideas sprouted forth...about that time I was also reading ICE's Shade of the Sinking Plain, which had a lot of good ideas...and the Dungeon magazine series "Mere of Dead Men"...so it all just came together. And of course my now documented predeliction of nasty terrain and/or weather to adventure in (not a lot of plate mail clad warriors stomping through the swamp....)

I have tried to float the idea of "Hey, let's all be dwarves!"  My players aren't very enthusiastic...especially the female players...and I hestitate to foist a whole campaign of short and ugly on them.


Ditto, no one wants EVERYONE to be a dwarf, so I had to find a way to shoehorn at least humans and halflings (still no elves or half elves, though) into the setting, just to gain any interest at all.  I hope to run this one someday, I've already worked up the dwarvish priests and the gnomish mages and how their spell lists would be very different from an above ground party...and have a pretty cool (IMO) campaign arc worked up.  

My players have been pretty good about the whole thing...putting up with two campaigns in a world where almost all of the fantasy genre cliches have been turned on their sides.

They have also taken well to the specialized equipment of my current world....primitive firearms, flamers, primitive grenades, bomb golems, ships that sail on land, magic wheels, etc...  They've been pretty good sports.


Hey, they can ALWAYS campaign in the standard stereotypical 1000th take on Tolkien's middle earth or the Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk or any number of pseudo medieivel settings out there, I think experienced players especially enjoy having a twist or two to deal with...

I have the next campaign on the design table.  It will be set in The Empire...a sort of alternative Dark Ages in which Germany was a part of the splintering Roman Empire and Scandanavia is a stronghold of humanoid and giant kingdoms.

I figure next campaign it will be time to allow my players to have some fun in a more traditional fantasy setting....one where you could ride a horse, for instance. Also, it will continue the fleshing-out of my inter-connected world setting.


Very cool idea, some Dragon mags in the 250s or 260s had a couple of good articles about adveturing in the dark ages...Always thought that would be an interesting setting

Also...two of the most intriguing 3rd Edition fantasy settings I have come across...both by Atlas Games....are Nyambe (fantasy Africa) and Northern Crown (colonial fantasy America).  My fantasy campaigns have been to alternative Africa before, but Nyambe is the first complete setting for it I have seen outside of Aesheba, by Fantasy Games Unlimited, which was good but less ambitious.


I used the Nyambe book extensively to flesh out my jungle campaign...if you can get it cheap, this is crammed with ideas for a jungle/africa/dark continent like setting.

Mike B.


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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:45 am 
 

i have a dwarf fighter pc that i have had for many a year - hes great fun to play. these days, cos i DM all the time, i tend to throw him in as a NPC to help the party at times when they need a fighter to beef things up for them.

trouble with him is, he can be very random in his actions and is lots of fun to play.

the group were in a passage plotting how to overcome some guards way down the end of the passage, when suddenly the dwarf took off, charging down the corridor to attack. he had got fed up waiting :)

as i say hes lots of fun :)

Al



  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:03 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:the group were in a passage plotting how to overcome some guards way down the end of the passage, when suddenly the dwarf took off, charging down the corridor to attack. he had got fed up waiting :)

LEEROYYYYYY . . .

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:50 am 
 

JohnGaunt wrote:LEEROYYYYYY . . .


yup :)



  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:24 pm 
 

Plaag wrote:Hum, why do I get the feeling the show Man vs. Wild would be good for your players to watch Mike :)
ShaneG.
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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:45 pm 
 

Badmike and Formcritic-
I really like the campaign ideas.  Well thought out, very interesting.  As a DM I'm humbled and shamed just reading about them.   I just use the Greyhawk Gazeteer with some ad hoc homebrew changes here and there.  :oops:  

Badmike:
When you mentioned your core rules program, you are speaking of something you created yourself, yes?  Is it like a reference or more of an active rules cruncher tool.
Either way that's quite an undertaking!  Very cool.

  

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Post Posted: Mon Jul 16, 2007 9:52 pm 
 

Badmike wrote:I get some good idea from that show (Anyone for drinking elephant dung?)  


I thought the second season was a bit softer than the first until he drank his own piss.  He also seems to tell a few more stories where people survive or are rescued rather than dying.

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 4:16 am 
 

Agent Cooper wrote:Badmike and Formcritic-
I really like the campaign ideas.  Well thought out, very interesting.  As a DM I'm humbled and shamed just reading about them.   I just use the Greyhawk Gazeteer with some ad hoc homebrew changes here and there.  :oops:  

Badmike:
When you mentioned your core rules program, you are speaking of something you created yourself, yes?  Is it like a reference or more of an active rules cruncher tool.
Either way that's quite an undertaking!  Very cool.


Thanks a bunch!  Hope anyone who wants can take what they want and use it if they wish...
Like I said, I really got tired of the quasi-medievel world after anice long 20 years...time to branch out I say.  Actually got a lot of ideas from the seperae worlds you can travel to in Q1, I think they are about the coolest undeveloped ideas ever dropped into a module (I1 Forgotten City is a close second!). Plus I always enjoy throwing the jaded player a curveball..as in "platemail and sheild is NOT going to work in 100 degree heat, sorry buddy" or "That spell is as useless as tits on a orc chick when you are on a boat on the sea..."

The core rules  program I refer to is the offical AD&D 2nd edition core rules, plus the core rules expansion.  However, it is HEAVILY customized over the past 7 years or so I've been using it. I can truthfully say, I use it every day.  It contains all the core books, plus most of the supplement books including Arms & Equipment, all the players option books, Necromancer's HB, etc.  Just a great reference for 2nd ed. In it's heydey, there were quite a few websites that had tons and tons of downloads, from every magic item in the Encyclopedia Magica, to ever spell in the Priests and Wizard's spell compendiums, I took advantage of most of these.  So I have hundreds of customized spells, magic items, and also monsters that I did myself.  The program is really quite incredible, in that you can customize almost anything. The best part is the ability to create or alter character classes, so I was able to add all my own tweaks, plus alter spell selection, weapons, armor, etc for specific priests (in my campaign world, each priest has a highly individualized spell selection, special power, special spells,, etc).  
 I like that when you print out character sheets, all saving throws, to hits, etc, already calculate all bonues (strength, dex), plus anymagic item bonuses, or character class bonuses (like weapon specializaion for a fighter, or two weapon fighting for a ranger).  I also like theability to cut and paste spell descriptions, proficiency desriptions, and magic item descriptions, so basically for al players in my campaign I make them their own little spellbook (if they are a spellcaster) so they don't even have to flip through the PHB to get spell information, it's so easy to do it takes minutes to put together.
 I can't tell you how much time this little program has saved me over the years...rolling up NPCs, for example, or stocking a dungeon.  Also has easy to make monster encounter charts, dice rolling program, much more.  Honestly, it may be my favorite item ever released by TSR.  When I DM now, I don't even need books, dice, whatever, I just have the program in my laptop, and use it to reference all the books, plus roll dice, etc.  EVen has a pretty easy to use map drawing program that isn't too difficult to learn.
 What's really cool?  If you wanted to take the extra time, you could enter in all the 1st edition stuff (PHB, MM, DMG info), it would take a long, long time, but you could eventually set it up where you could use it for 1st edition, or OD&D, or Basic D&D, or whatever, just as long as you entered by hand all the customized info.  I managed to fix it up so it would roll up Gamma World characters, basically anything with the six  classics characteristics would work At this point, I couldn't imagine gaming without it.....

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Post Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:40 pm 
 

Agent Cooper wrote:Badmike and Formcritic-
I really like the campaign ideas.  Well thought out, very interesting.  As a DM I'm humbled and shamed just reading about them.   I just use the Greyhawk Gazeteer with some ad hoc homebrew changes here and there.  :oops:  

Badmike:
When you mentioned your core rules program, you are speaking of something you created yourself, yes?  Is it like a reference or more of an active rules cruncher tool.
Either way that's quite an undertaking!  Very cool.


Nothing wrong with Greyhawk...which is where my campaigns were located for many years.  I created my own city on Relmore Bay and modified the ridiculously named Prymp (which I tried to murder, once, by the way) into a rival city.

I just got interested in other themes.

When my players voted to go to 3.0, we started a new campaign setting of interconnected worlds...the first world we dealt with was The Northern Isles.  The first campaign was all Vikings aboard one ship.  The second setting was an elven realm quest with more intricate role-playing.  The third was fantasy Ireland.  Then there were two campaigns on the world of Rhiannon...which was my Greyhawk setting, moved in space and time.  Now we are on our second campiagn in a moonlike world, half in day and half in night.

Mark


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:38 am 
 

My $.02 worth . . . has anyone ever tried running a campaign along these lines:  Turn your  town or area you live in into the D&D dungeon setting!  Imagine you are any setting D&D, etc. characters and then go through your regular life as if you were playing D&D.  (Example:  Try describing a bowling center as-is in D&D terms--it does bring a different perspective!)

In other words, instead of a module, game, CD/DVD, etc.  the setting is the area you live in . . . maybe in a different condition (alternate universe, some form of "post-apocalypse" setting where few if anyone lives in the area, or even a regular D&D campaign with the real area replacing the standard dungeon.  Does that make sense?

  


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:40 am 
 

Nooooo.  That way my friend lies madness and strife  8O

I remember a friend tried to start a Call of Cthulhu campaign like that (much more do-able in terms of the system's compatibility with 'modern' life), and we spent three whole sessions arguing about what stats and skills we all had/deserved.  In the end he canned it.


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 7:57 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote:My $.02 worth . . . has anyone ever tried running a campaign along these lines:  Turn your  town or area you live in into the D&D dungeon setting!

The character Dave in the Knights of the Dinner Table comic book did that.  IIRC he was DMing for the first or second time.  Madness and strife, indeed.   :D

  

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:20 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote: Turn your  town or area you live in into the D&D dungeon setting!  Imagine you are any setting D&D, etc. characters and then go through your regular life as if you were playing D&D.


Never tried that but back in the late 1980's one of the gm's in our area ran a short Palladium - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that was based in our city.

If I recall correctly, I played a mutant dog that hung out in strip clubs.  :D


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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:45 am 
 

Amazing what you can get on Ebay as extra freebies nowadays:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/6903433.stm

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Post Posted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:57 am 
 

sleepyCO wrote:My $.02 worth . . . has anyone ever tried running a campaign along these lines:  Turn your  town or area you live in into the D&D dungeon setting!  Imagine you are any setting D&D, etc. characters and then go through your regular life as if you were playing D&D.  (Example:  Try describing a bowling center as-is in D&D terms--it does bring a different perspective!)

In other words, instead of a module, game, CD/DVD, etc.  the setting is the area you live in . . . maybe in a different condition (alternate universe, some form of "post-apocalypse" setting where few if anyone lives in the area, or even a regular D&D campaign with the real area replacing the standard dungeon.  Does that make sense?


We set our 80s Villains and Vigilante's campaign in Texas, with both Dallas and Houston being the focal points. It was actually pretty fun to have superhero battles destroying parts of the city, or have villain hideouts in warehouses or abandoned office buildings nearby.....IIRC, my youngest brother's character lived in my apartment complex....!

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