Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Next Campaign

Here's what I have in mind as my year-long break from running a campaign comes to an end. I don't care if any of my players in the future read this. 

--Given the epicness of my last campaign, my next campaign is far from epic, low key. There is no grand story arc inherent in the campaign. The player characters develop the campaign through their own decisions, focusing on wilderness and dungeon exploration.

--The campaign is called The Expeditions in the Northlands, inspired by Ben Robbins's West Marches campaign. It takes place in Domikka, in the "Northlands" were civilization fell some hundred years ago or more. Nobody really knows--it is a dark age! 

--I'm using Swords and Wizardry as the base rule set. I wanted something simple, easy to learn, and to modify. Also, since I'll be doing a lot of typing (working on my novel, blogging, etc.), I wanted to hand write my notes; the stat-blocks in OD&D and its retroclones are much smaller. Thus, less time is spent in preparation. (Heck, I hated typing out the long stat-blocks in 3e and onward anyway--heh, I didn't quit playing D&D...)

--Classes: Fighter, Magic-User, Cleric, Thief. I may allow "elf" as a class, but instead call them "sorcerers" or something like, and because of their supernatural nature, they cannot touch iron without being harmed (this is a rule from Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG). No dwarves or halflings. Domikka is very much a humanocentric campaign setting. Maybe I might allow some of the variants out there. The Beyond the Black Gate Compendiums have some great stuff I might use. (Just scroll down to the "Stuff I Wrote" on the right column).

--Character generation includes the "funneling system" from Dungeon Crawl Classics. Each Player gets to roll up three "0-level" characters, rolling 3d6 for ability scores, and 1d4 hp. Survivors returning from their first foray into the wilderness become first level and can choose a class. Part of the old-school approach to gaming is player's relying on their own skills rather than just the abilities of their characters. 

--I might even have my players read Matthew Finch's Quick Primer for Old School Gaming.

--So why a West Marches-style campaign where I need to have a pool of about 12-14 players? Well... I'm new to the area, and I want to meet more people. I'd like to introduce new people to RPGs while catering to people's busy schedules. 

My hope is that people will be open to this old school approach and the sandbox-style campaign. In the past, I've encountered people so die hard about a given rule set/edition they the won't even consider anything else. It made it difficult to get games up and running. But in the Atlanta area, I should have a lot more people as prospective players. 

Finally, have you played Swords & Wizardry? What are your experiences? I appreciate any advice, since I haven't run the game before. The last "Old School" campaign I ran I used AD&D 1e, about four years ago.


  1. I would love to play some sandboxy dungeon crawling D&D. Isn't S&W more or less a 1e clone?

  2. S&W is somewhere between the original brown boxes and the Holmes edition with some stuff from BECMI added in. It is kind of hard to tell, and even the authors admit this, because even the 4th printing rules differ from the rules in the first print run.

  3. Regardless, I want to play. If you ever decide to run a Google+ game I'd sign up for it just for the opportunity to play. It could be a good opportunity for a second shift Western Marches party...

  4. At the moment, I'm resisting Google+, but I know I'll give in soon. I know other people have used Google+ to run their games, heck, I've skyped players in, I just don't know if I'd like it or not.


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