Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Starting a New Campaign

In talking with one of my best friends last night, he suggested that he and his son (who is 8) would like to play a few games of Saga of the Splintered Realm... and as we talked, we realized that with summer nigh, we could schedule a weekly game that would go at least for a few months. They're both new to RPGs (although both have played a lot of miniatures games, so they have some grounding in what goes on, and I've run two sessions before, one of my game and one of the intro scenario in the new D+D boxed set). This is the first time they want to sign on for something longer with brand new characters starting at level 1.

Suddenly a campaign was born.

Right away, I knew I didn't want to use anything from the two books for SSR... he and his son may end up playing later some time, and it would be great that they have resources available to keep playing. If they have already run through the Vault of the Goblin, then they will have less fun the second time around. This means I get to design an actual campaign for real players for the first time in almost 20 years.


Since they don't read the blog (I know, right?), I figure it's safe to talk about the design of the game here. My initial thoughts...

- This happens (or at least starts) in a pocket realm disconnected from the Splintered Realm proper. Eventually, the characters will probably end up there, but for now they're (quite literally) in their own little corner of the universe.
- The pocket realm is VERY loosely inspired by the original Ravenloft module. There's a magical valley, a small village, a ruined castle, and a few small outposts of demi-humans spread around.
- Almost no one realizes this is just a pocket realm. They assume that there's a larger world beyond the mountains and southern gate held by dwarves. They are wrong.

The hook is this: the elder of the village (who magically kept the whole place in check) has recently died. He was actually a very powerful sphinx (some form of elder sphinx, I assume) that took human form, but no one knows this. He was 'the wizard'... the only magic-using human of the entire valley (as far as the people know)... he had put up magical wards that protected the village and kept the vampire lord (or maybe lady?) of the castle from taking over the village. Now, he's dead, and he has left in his will some... odd things for the player characters (who both had some tie to him in life). I'm not sure exactly what yet, but I keep thinking about a pocket dragon who just happens to cough up a fur ball ('scale ball'?) a few days later. In that half-digested mass will be a key... I want to wait until I see what kind of characters the two players create, but I've got a hook for almost any character archetype. As long as they don't both want to play thief grave-robbers, I should be able to make it all work. 

I assume I'll post maps/play materials/etc. as I make them up. First thing up will be an area map, and probably a map of the village. The castle itself is a bit further down the line, but I've already got ideas for the dwarven gate, the elfin tree fort, and the ruined stoutling hamlet.