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D&D 3E
a few days ago i posted asking feedback on what everyone thought of… 
24th-Sep-2004 10:59 am
a few days ago i posted asking feedback on what everyone thought of me dissalowing elves in my campaign. i thought of a way around it and i'm allowing them. i've got the intro to my game written and i'd like some feedback. take a read and let me know what you think, and throw some ideas for adventures at me.

what everyone knows:

You live on a piece of land called the Island. As far as you know
that's the only name for it, and the only name it's ever had. The
Island is a crescent of land 50 miles from tip to tip that floats in a
sea of air. Anything or anyone that falls off the edge falls out of
sight and is never seen again. Legend says the Island was once
part of a larger world, that there was a cataclysm that broke the
world and that all that's left is he Island.

Most of the humans on the Island live in the City, the only city on
the Island. The City is surrounded by the Wall, and outside the Wall
is the part of the Island known as the Farmlands, where most of the
halflings reside. Below the City is the deep underground home of the
dwarves known as the Burrow. Out past the city, past the boundary of
the Farmlands, is the Grove, the great forest where the elves live.
And past the Grove, are the Wildlands, where the untamed tribes of
goblins, orcs, and other more dangerous creatures fight each other for
survival. Deep in the Wildlands lies the Mountain, where many dwarves
go to work the Mines.

While most of the people of the island keep to their own, travel is
not uncommon, especially among the gnomes who are at home anywhere,
and often act as emissaries and merchants between the humans in the
City, the Dwarves of the Burrow and Mountain, the halflings of the
Farmlands and the elves of the Grove. Every faction of people on the
island lends volunteers to the Militia. The Militia is charged with
protecting the border of the Wildlands, and the road to the Mountain.

The sky is almost always covered with clouds. Night and day are
distinguished only by the presence or abscence of light behind the
clouds. Sometimes when the clouds break stars, the sun or moon are
visible behind the clouds, but these breaks in the clouds are so rare
that they are often considered a sign from the gods.

Your player character is a member of the militia. How he or she ended
up there is up to you. Every community is held responsible for
supplying volunteers to the Militia. Some are drafted, some are paid
to take another's place, some volunteer out of a sense of civic
responsibility, some convicted of minor crimes are sentenced to a term
of service, some volunteer to pay off a debt. Whatever the reason, you
are a member, and you are all in the same squad.

eventually i'll have the players hopping from island to island, and the first adventure will involve them finding a way off the island they're on. eventually there will be several ways to travel form island to island including riding flying creatures, spells, and flying ships. my favorite that i've decided upon is through the ethereal plane. in the ethereal plane the world is still whole, so if they go ethereal and walk from one area to another that are broken apart in the material plane but connected in the ether, then move back to the material plane, they will be on the other island. anyway, what do you think? any ideas for adventures?
24th-Sep-2004 10:25 am (UTC)
I especially like the still-whole ethereal idea.
24th-Sep-2004 10:36 am (UTC)
thanks. i think i decided on my first adventure. its a good link to what i know i want to do for my second adventure. the players militia squad will be sent to look for another squard who went missing on patrol. they'll track them down to an abandoned temple deep in the wilderness occupied by goblins. deep in the temple is a gate to another island. the goblins had captured the prior squad and locked them in the dungeons below the temple. they escaped through the gate they discovered. the pc's depending on what they do, will either:
1. find the gate after defeating the goblins,
2. be locked in the cellars the same way as the prior squad
3. interrogate surviving goblins to find out that the missing party was locked in the cellar then dissappeared

the goblins never went through the gate because they didn't recognize it and couldn't figure out the puzzle to activate it. i've got a logic puzzle based on prime numbers and the fibonaccie sequence i plan to use.
24th-Sep-2004 12:25 pm (UTC)
Interesting premise. There are just a few things I might want to clear up, if I was DMing...

The toughest thing is always coming up with some justifiable reason to keep the party together. As it is, the only thing keeping the PCs together is their Militia squad. The whole Gate-to-another-island is a good hook, but it might not be enough; is there a reason your party would even want to leave the Island? Especially if any of the PCs are lawful, they might elect to simply solve the puzzle, see the gate, and report back to their superiors. There are a few ways I can think of to handle this...

1. Treat the Island as a paradise. The City is beautiful, and most of the population gets along quite nicely. The only need for a Militia is those goblins you mentioned, and very soon their only job will be public service sorts of stuff (in fact, I can see you starting the adventure building up with much anticipation for the squad's crucial mission, only to find it's some alleyway that needs cleaning up). When the party finds the gate, they get sucked in, or otherwise have no other choice but to go through. When they reach the other side, they might find orcs, or horrible dungeons, or all the other stuff that Actually Gives You XP. This would set up all subsequent adventures very well, since the party is collectively trying to get home to their Island paradise.

2. Treat the Island as a hell. The Militia is the backbone of the City's defense against ranpant goblins, and other foul creatures that have made life hard for just about everyone. You can still give the PCs no choice on going through the gate, but their motivation has shifted from getting back to the Island to getting off of it. Of course, what they find on the other islands may be none too hospitable either... in this case, it would be harder to supply an innate conflict to subsequent adventures.

Keep in mind, these considerations are what I would make for the players I've DMed, and the sorts of campaigns I run. You know your own players better than I do, so maybe what you have so far is all they'll need.
24th-Sep-2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
interesting. i had considered the possibility that they might not stick together. my basic plan had been that they don't know what the gate is when they find the puzzle, when (if) they solve it they get sucked through, no choice in the matter. then they can't get back. now they're stuck together. i see two flaws with this:
1. they might not solve it. but they SHOULD. its a very easy puzzle, basically they have to recognize two number sequences and fill in the next number in both sequence. the primes should be easy, and even if they don't recognize the name of the fibbonaci sequence or don't recognize it, the pattern is pretty simple and they're smart enough to figure it out. if they don't... death by goblin i guess, i don't know.

2. if they do solve it they don't have a choice, they go through. my players generally hate not having a choice or feeling forced into anything. but hey, sometimes you just gotta deal with the consequences. i'm not real worried about this one.

i like both your suggestions above. i'll think about it. it would be better for them to have more motivation to stay together than being stuck together.
25th-Sep-2004 09:27 am (UTC)
A good way to give them motivation to stick together is to have multiple adventures together first before you throw out the meat of the campaign at them. Going off to fight the goblins and rescue the other squad is a good idea, but maybe they've done stuff together before that?

How long have they been squadmates?

Soldiers inevitably build a bond with one another during their tours of duty, but if they've only just met and haven't done much work with one another, they won't exactly feel obliged to one another.

Here is what I would do, as a DM:

1) Have the players give me definative reasons for joining the military. Reasons are often extremely varied, and it affects how soldiers interact with one another, based on idealogy, or alignment. (Alignments should generally be compatable anyway, but you know that. :D)

2) Determine, based on the ages of the characters, how long each of them could have feasibly been in the squad. For those that have been joined up for a long while, it would seem more justifiable for them to start off with more exp, so you should be careful on this. New PC's should never be actual veterans, but having -some- time under your belt is oftentimes just enough to forge a bond with your soldier buddies rather than earn experience. (Think of boot camp.)

3) Send the PC's out on at least 2 adventures/missions before they come to the Rescue/Gate mission. The best way to encourage a bond between them is, unfortunately, to throw them into the face of danger where they have to work together to survive. This is probably the most difficult aspect, as you have to honestly challenge the PC's to the utmost of their combined abilities, but put them in enough danger that they can't simply walk away without planning a strategy and working together. The hard part, for low-level PC's, is keeping everybody alive while they accomplish this task. Outside help might be a good idea, but you want them to rely only on each other, so keep it to a minimum if it does come.

In one of my campaigns, three of the PC's started off in the same hometown, and thusly grew up together, and joined the militia at roughly the same time. Then, as I started the game for them, they were sent out on a diplomatic mission that went arwy when they got themselves lost and in trouble when they followed a mysterious figure to help him on his own quest. This, of course, is more or less what I wanted, as it not only got the PC's off to an adventure they could call their own (and gave them the choice of whether they should be continuing on their own, or helping a stranger), but kept them together because they honestly chose it.

:D Hope that helps a bit. If not, I still enjoyed typing. Ciao!
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