Thursday, July 30, 2015

In which I finally get a fantasy campaign I like

Okay, that's a little harsh.  I don't dislike running fantasy campaigns (that would be Adam from Barking Alien), I just have had a hard time getting really enthusiastic about fantasy campaigns because they all have fairly similar qualities for the most part: slaying monsters (sometimes for a reason), accumulating wealth, growing in personal power and ability.

I call it, using a phrase from the Order of the Stick webcomic, "kobolds and copper pieces."  It is an easy, straightforward concept, one that looks a lot like what a lot of people think D&D should look like.  It's also really boring.

Since January, I've been moving from one fantasy campaign style after another.  The Tomb of Abysthor, for example, was an old-school dungeon crawl.  Well, after the "Negative Crisis" I had some things to think about.  During that multi-universe adventure the tarrasque that forms the center of the D&D campaign city Grimfest made an appearance and was last seen floating through space above the city of Sigil.  Now in a comic book, a big cross-over event often ends up not doing much to the story continuity.  I had a decision to make--do I return the tarrasque to Grimfest and pick up where I left off, or do I have the tarrasque stay gone and extrapolate what happened?

So I decided to shake things up.  The tarrasque has gone, and now the Levirate Sublimity has lost their source of their power, magic, and longevity.  In the months that followed, the nobility of Grimfest would descend into chaos and factionalism.  Cabals would form, groups that are based around mutual self-interest that would attempt to steal others' tarrasque flesh while protecting their own.  Each group would attempt to boost their own power in different ways, trying to gain an edge over the others.  So far the PC's have met members of two factions.  The first is the Parliament of Bone, who reputedly are necromancers.  The second is the Children of the Third House, a group of diabolists.  They have heard of two others, the Puppeteers and the Ragpickers, but they know little about them.

Now my campaign feels like The Godfather or playing in Mordheim, or like the movie Yojimbo.  The group is now trying to figure out how to navigate the various groups, making and breaking alliances and trying to stay safe.  Plus, of course, three of the members know the most valuable secret in the city--the location of the tarrasque.

Finally, this campaign feels like something memorable, something different, and something I could keep playing for a while, and man does that feel good.

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