We’re onto the last column of alignments, and we’re looking at those chaotic characters. I think, and on the Total Party Thrill podcast they talk about this, chaotic good should be the default position for most adventurers. When you think about it, most adventurers don’t […]
Now we’re getting towards the edges of the races you can play in Dungeons and Dragons from the main Players Handbook. There are additional races or race options in other books. I’m going to call out some Tiefling things are from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes. […]
So a couple of days ago I started building out a D&D Campaign – the first part can be found here. I want to try and write on it and add in more things a couple of times a week at least, might be more often than that.
Now, I will say that this is a bit more granular than I might build, but I do think it’ll be a good exercise for me as I look at getting back into DM’ing after a few weeks off. I also think that a little bit more detailed approach, especially up front, will help me know what to do next in the story.
But let’s talk about Magic!
Where we left off in the previous article was some world building. I had determined that I wanted to play in a smaller location than world hopping adventurers. So it was a trade town known for mining granite for nobles. So the question is, how much magic would there be in a town like that?
I think, starting looking at it, there would probably be a fair amount of magic from whatever temples are there. So there is going to be a fair amount of divine magic, I’d think. So you’d have your paladins and clerics who are casting some spells and probably are there primarily as healers.
I also think, because it’s a fairly remote area, you’d likely have some druids around as well. While they might not be a part of the normal society, they likely would be around the fringes, taking care of the woodland creatures, and probably butting heads with the town in some ways. If the mining starts to displace creatures or destroy groves, they likely would take up issue with them.
Warlocks seem to naturally show up in most D&D and fantasy RPG societies, because as long as there is someone who has a lot of power, there are people who are going to be willing to make a deal with them for better or worse, and the same with Sorcerers because a Sorcerers magic happens more naturally and flows out of them without the training you need to be a wizard.
That brings us to the one that is the biggest question, would there be a wizard in the town? Wizards are generally very learned, and I don’t think even a medium sized trading town, like the one that I’m building, would have a wizarding school in it. That education wouldn’t be something that is highly valued. So anyone who does show that ability would either get limited teaching from some voodoo style of wizard, which there might be one or two in the area, but that would be about it, or they would get sent off to a larger city to learn. Obviously, that would only be the children of some of the richer people in the town, the poorest would likely only get that limited training focused more on controlling the magic than anything else.
However, for this campaign, I think that there is one person in the town who is a powerful wizard, and they have a tower. I see it as part of the towns political structure. There’s the noble who is in charge of the town, but the wizard, who is kind of a recluse has a lot of sway over the town as well, because they are powerful and people are scared of them. This can be a solid starting point for conflict in the story. The wizard says one thing and the noble says another. Do you disobey the person who can blast you with lightning or do you go against the person who could raise taxes or arrest you?
I think that actually is starting to lead us into the next part which will come out next week, D&D Campain Building: The Hook.
How would you have used magic in the society that was built in the first article? Would you have put in a wizarding school? Is magic common in your games?
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A lot of RPG characters and D&D characters seem to come from humble backgrounds and work their way up into a more favorable position by gaining money and fame from their adventuring. But what if it’s the other way? What if adventuring is a step down for a character, but still seems better to them than any other option? That’s where this background slots in to Dungeons & Dragons for me. These characters are bored with life, have been kicked out of nobility, or possibly are just undercover seeing how the poorer of their lands live. Whatever reason, you have a character who has taken a step down in life.
Now, it’s very possible the noble doesn’t consider it a step down. Maybe they consider it to be more exciting or interesting to be an adventurer than to be doing whatever they were doing before. Regardless, I do still think there are some key differences between your standard adventurer and one who is or was a noble. The noble is often going to care or know more about the history of the locations they and their party are going to. A noble gets the skills of history and persuasion from their background, so they are going to look at situations differently than just another chance to kill monsters in a dungeon; they will care more about the history of the dungeon or at least know more about it. It is also probable that a character with a noble background will expect to be more in charge. They’ve had people waiting on them for much of their life, and camping out in the woods might not be quite their thing.
Before I give away all my story ideas while talking about the background, let’s get to them. Here are some suggested backstories for your D&D Noble.
I was only a child when my uncle killed my father and took over his lands. I was supposed to have been killed myself, but my father gave his life to give my mother and myself time to escape into the woods. We walked for days before we were taken captive by a native tribe living deep in the woods. I was young, and my mother says she was terrified for both our lives, but they didn’t kill us. They saw how hungry we were, and they fed us and taught us to live off the land. I honed my skills as a hunter, and my mother instilled a hatred of my uncle in me by telling me stories of a father whom I could barely remember. Much later, we were forced to run again as my uncle tried to clear his lands of all the natives. The tribe used me as a scout, and I realized I could integrate myself back into society and get my revenge. I said goodbye to my aged mother and my spouse from the tribe, promising to return. Now I am trying to get revenge on my uncle, take back my lands, and let the tribe return to their lands. But taking down my uncle won’t be easy — I’ll need help.
Alignment: Lawful Neutral
I put the last of my money down onto the table. It’s not that I’m a bad gambler, I just have bad luck when it comes to games of chance. I felt the weight of my signet ring in my pocket and thought about putting that on the table. Or maybe I could sell it if I found the right vendor. It might get me enough money to get back to my lands. I didn’t really want to come back to my parents as a beggar. I had run away from home several years ago, and I had a decent amount of money with me. It’s amazing how much things you don’t own will sell for when they come from a noble’s household. If I don’t come back with some money, it’s going to go very poorly for me. I have a sword still, and I can fight; maybe that will be my plan, since I just lost the last of my money.
When you come from a large family, you can’t always get what you want. In my case, I wanted to just live an easy life. My parents are rich — what would you expect for someone who is nobility? I was given a few options. I could marry into another family to strengthen an alliance, I could join the military, or I could join the temple. Those were the only positions that were good enough for me; anything else was too much of a step down. Ideally, I’d choose one of the last two and still do the first anyway. I might be ready to settle down sometime, but it is going to be on my terms, and I am not much of a fighter. So my option was to join the temple. That life was a little bit boring for me, but I found ways to make it interesting, much to the chagrin of the temple. Turns out, that might not have been my brightest plan, because they have decided I would be a good person to start an offshoot of the temple in a small town. I need to travel there, but maybe I’ll do it in a roundabout way and have some fun as I go. They can’t complain if I say I’m spreading the good word, right?
Alignment: Chaotic Good
There are expectations for every child born into my family. You had to look a certain way, you had to behave a certain way, and you could not be connected to magic at all. Magic is evil — that is what I was taught from a very young age. I believed that too. But a voice came to me in the middle of the night, and took me away from my bedroom. According to my parents, I was gone for less than a day, but to me it seemed like a week. They could tell that something had changed when I came back. There was magic running through my veins. The doctors said that my blood had been tainted, and my parents believed them, and I believed them. They kicked me out even though I cried. I said that I wouldn’t use the power, but the law of our land is clear — I’m an outcast. I want to find out how I got these powers to see if I can get rid of them, but they have helped me, so I need to know more to see if they are evil or not. I don’t know much about the world, so I probably should find someone to travel with.
Alignment: Neutral Good
What sort of Noble have you played before? Is it a background that has interested you, or does it seem too simple/straightforward?
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The final installment of the D&D Classing It Up series! We end with Warlock (since we’re going primarily in alphabetical order). Warlocks are one of the more interesting classes. A Warlock makes a pact with another entity of some sort to get their powers. It’s […]