Tuesday, 3 December 2013

WB1, When the Earth Growl, how it started

With five sessions done and posted on this blog, I thought I'd post a bit more information about how it started. 

Below is the campaign synopsis I used when trying to find new players over on roll20:
(Early spring 1001AC, The Heldannic Territories)

For reasons of your own, you decided to join a small merchant caravan heading to the village of Pflenzen, up in the northwest regions. 
According to the news flying around Freiburg (the city capital of the area, your starting point), the old governor of Pflenzen was recently replaced by force of arms, things there are changing and there might be some good opportunities for men and women bold enough to seize them.
The region is, from what you could gather during your preparation for the journey, quite wild, even more so than in the rest of the Heldannic territories. The Theocratic order of the Heldannic Knights (current rulers of the Territories) have been working on pacifying the land, but Pflenzen is remote and so far seems of little value to the order despite it’s mines, wooded hills and massive lake rich in fish.
With Spring beginning, you might avoid the bone-chilling winds of wintertime and the constant snow, but this close to the Mengul Mountains (mostly unexplored region along the northern border), you know that the land is usually harsh and the wild's inhabitants harsher, even in warmest of summers.
You spent a few days preparing yourself for the journey ahead and, with the new day, are now meeting with the Hognisson brothers (Jonas and Hinrik, owners of the caravan you’ll be travelling with) and other travelling companions.

A week travelling west along the road then north, and after that...Pflenzen and whatever future it can offer...

also made up a mock-up for a Campaign Module cover, really old school but quite like it.

Using Roll20, the graphical feel I wanted was old school and all my battle-maps are done using the blue theme that could be found some years back in published modules. This allows me to very quickly make interesting maps, leave much to the imagination and above all, keep the size of the props and images very low (since it's mostly blue and white).

Within a week, I had found four players that agreed with the style I wanted to use for the campaign. This is really the beauty of tools such as roll20. I spent the past 15 years trying to find a group I felt comfortable with to do regular RP sessions, without success and within a couple of weeks I found exactly that on roll20.

I may present the characters in more details in a later post, but here is a quick recap for now:

  • Danik, an Hattian mage scholar working under contract for the Heldannic Order. Having raised questions that should not be raised, he was re-assigned to Pflenzen until his contract ran out. 
  • Grom, a young half-orc druid trying to find balance between his wild instincts and civilization. In order to help him achieve this, his Grand Druid advised that he should start small, travel to the village of Pflenzen and gain an understanding of both worlds. 
  • Urist, a dwarven cleric of Kagyar. From a small clan in Freiburg, he decided to go to Pflenzen and see if his services would find more use there among his brothers. 
  • Serrin, a mixed blood roguish bounty hunter. After working for some time collecting debts and unpaid taxes for the Order around Freiburg, he decided to up his game and see if the recent changes in Pflenzen would present more opportunities. 
So far, after 5 sessions, I still consider the PCs to be in Chapter 1 of the campaign. I felt I had to make it somewhat "rail-roady" for the first session (mainly to make sure that all rules where understood), but since then, I mostly present situations and hooks, and let the players handle how they want. Of course there are "obvious" things to do but how these are handled is quite open.

The entire campaign idea came up after reading the recent Threshold publication (Over at www.pandius.com). I used to play in Mystara 20 years ago and go between that and the Dragonlance setting but had completely forgot about it since then.

After rediscovering the setting I started pouring through all the content over at Pandius and I really wanted to play in the Heldannic Territories. Not only I loved the concept but it was also less "polished" than the other regions, so I felt I could have more leeway. The region guide book was great and soon ideas started to race through my head about it.

Here are handouts I made for the Heldannic Territories and for Freiburg itself:

Couple days and tons of notepad files later, I had the webs for a large scale campaign wrote down. Since then, it's just a matter planning events, conjuring situations and hooks, prepare tactically interesting battle-maps and various random ones, then just let the players do their thing :)

We now play weekly games on roll20, between 3 and 5 hours per session. The game is 100% chat based, no voice whatsoever.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...