Now, this monster is a bit different than the other ones that I’ve talked about. This one is just a monster not with abysmal intelligence but with fairly low INT at 7 (-2 modifier), so it isn’t going to be your plotting or planning sort …
Tag: Wizards of the Coast
Like normal, I’m stealing slightly from something that I’ve been watching. Into the Badlands. The world has “ended” after something happened and there’s this Badlands split up and ruled by barons in the show, but that’s not what I care about. What we’re caring about here is this city of Azra that people know about in the show and believe to be some paradise that they can maybe find and escape to.
In our case we have our city of “paradise”, Zenefil, and there’s a deity in the world who has created this for the adventurers to find. Now, that sounds great for our adventuring party, but the world otherwise really sucks. There are powerful chromatic dragons that are ruling the lands with fear.
So this is clearly going to basically be the whole thing getting to the paradise of Zenefil, but generally if something sounds too good to be true, it probably will be. And the deity should definitely have put a limit on how many people can actually get in. So while I said adventurers, everyone and their mother is going to consider themselves adventurers and probably be willing to kill to try and get there. Plus, then you’d have the dragons who would be trying to stop the people from leaving because they need subjects to torture or it’s just dull.
Beyond the dangers of the other people going and the dragons, I’d make it sort of a puzzle/mystery sort of thing where players need to figure out clues and decipher things that the deity is giving them in order to eventually make their way to Zenefil. This will do two things, it’ll weed out some of the weaker NPC’s that they might run into for a while so it becomes less chaotic, it also kind of gives you points of timing for other NPC’s. Beyond that, it allows you, the further they get away from the dragon kingdoms towards Zenefil, they should start seeing more monsters and natural things like that.
You can also add in less natural things as well, depending on what you want to do with Zenefil. Do you want it to be an amazing sanctuary and refuge against the dragons, or do you want it to be a equally as bad, if not worse place. Now, you can have the players need to fight at this point and try and defeat the deity or the deities monsters/henchmen.
This is going to be more exploration focused in some ways as your clues can lead them to various landmarks along the way and put them into unique situations. Also it’ll be an exploration into what the player characters are deciding to do with the other NPC’s that are running about as well. I think that there’s going to be a lot of interesting stories to tell with that, will the PC’s help some less fortunate NPC’s, will they leave an NPC that is injured out there who can be brought back as a nemesis? Is there another group that is their arch rivals? Play around with those emotions and groups of people, heck, even family members.
So, would you run a game like this? Would this be something that you’d do for a whole campaign? For me, this is a higher level campaign, or the second arc of a campaign. If you can set-up the dragons as rulers in the first one somehow, then you could create the paradise/Zenefil part as the second arc at a higher level. It would give the players less competition and more reason to not just worry about their own survival.
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We were back at it again last night with the third session of Tower of the Gods. Previously, our “heroes” Barrai, Bokken, and Thrain had gone through the test of the Tower with Steve as their fourth, unfortunately, Steve didn’t make it. Upon exiting the …
So, I got back into running some Dungeons and Dragons last night on Zoom. Three/four player game that I’ve named Tower of the Gods. I think I previously did a Friday Night D&D explaining the concept, but I’m going to do that here again and …
Pretty often when playing in a game of D&D or another RPG, there’s a world or universe ending event that has to be dealt with, and this can be fun because it really ups the stakes for the end of the game. You get to have this awesome face off with a deity or something that has this power and fight it for the fate of the world, and then the campaign ends.
But what would happen if you lost that final fight, the world is now in shambles and everything is going to hell, or the abyss, and sometimes that means literally. Today’s campaign idea takes a look at what happens after the fact, but not to the planet but to those heroes who fought bravely and in the end failed at being able to save the world, they’re all dead, and now they are level 1 characters in the next life, the afterlife. But because the apocalypse has come to their world, this Crystalline Halls of what’s basically Valhalla are starting to crumble and there is evil seeping into a place that shouldn’t have had any.
The story that I’d run with for this game is that because the heroes were the last ones to die, they remember and no more about the actual world. So while there are massive wars between Aasimar and Demons/Devils around them, the players are going to be tasked to find some way to undo what has been done. This is going to be a game about fighting a few small skirmishes, but exploring and finding where in the Crystalline Halls the PC’s can find what they need to turn back time and win the fight against whatever being it was that destroyed the world.
I think that you have several different plot threads that you can have the players run through. The first part would be about finding where the Demons/Devils are coming through into the Crystalline Halls. This would be a stealth mission of sorts, but there can be skirmishes with lesser creatures. Then they would have to explore in the abyss to find out the weaknesses of the being that destroyed the world that they couldn’t defeat before. Finally, they’d need to find a way to turn back time, either from the abyss or in the Crystalline Halls.
That is a fairly standard, end the apocalypse, but you’re going to be running the story in a different setting. I think creating the setting is very important here, because you want the players to feel like what they are doing is because they have specific knowledge, not because they are going to be able to stop the battle that is happening in the Crystalline Halls, if they fail at their mission, they fail and everything is over, there’s no after-afterlife.
I’d even be tempted to play around with the rules of magic a little bit. Only radiant damage works in the Crystalline Halls, but healing is boosted, and as long as a spell doesn’t do necrotic or fire damage, it does radiant damage instead. Also in the Crystalline Halls, anything that brings someone back from the dead doesn’t work, same when travelling in the Abyss, because the characters are technically already dead. However, healing is doubled in the Crystalline Halls, so if you’d heal someone for 6 points of damage, you heal them for 12 instead. Just to keep the characters alive. Now, in the Abyss, healing goes back to normal and spells do their normal things.
Another thing I’d probably add in as well, is that the players at some point in time stumble across a subplot where an Aasimar has been corrupted somehow or has turned evil and they are turning other denizens of the Crystalline Halls into Devils or Demons. You could even, once the players know about this, kind of use it as a timer where if they don’t stop the Aasimar or go back in time by a certain point the Crystalline Halls will have been overrun and all will be lost. It gives a solid branching plot for the narrative, like if the players feel like they won’t be fast enough, they can branch off and solve this problem first. And I’d make it some sort of magical item that the Aasimar has on or something like that which has been corrupted, or it’s a denizen of the Abyss or Hell who is disguised and pretending to be a specific Aasimar and the players need to prove that. Give it a few options there as well and see what direction the players immediately go with. But don’t make this an easy encounter, make it something that the players are either going to have to really race against, taking more risks, or it’s a fight that they’re going to need to prepare for.
Eventually, when the players likely have taken care of it all, and are ready to head back in time to stop the apocalypse from happening, give them some knowledge of the weaknesses of the being and probably some sweet weapons. Make them powerful, really powerful, maybe even give them boons that they can call on. Then send in waves of smaller monsters plus the big being that ended the world before and have an epic fight. Let the players do epic things and let the waves of smaller monsters die and run out, so eventually it’s that big final battle.
Would you play or run a game like this? What sort of story do you have at your table now?
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I’ve talked about a lot of games that are about that epic adventure for a small group of characters. Birthright is about epic things, but not on that smaller level. Birthright is about great leaders going to battle against other nations, probably with other world …
Time to get back to talking abut a little bit of D&D, this time looking at the campaign setting of Greyhawk. This setting is a Gygax original creation that just started out as a simple dungeon under a castle, grew into having a nearby town, of Greyhawk, and eventually a whole world. While some of the worlds were created fully formed, Eberron for example, Greyhawk is an example of how I think you should homebrew a world, start small and grow it as you need to.
Greyhawk is a traditional fantasy style world and, as I said, possibly one of the original worlds for Dungeons and Dragons. It has the elements of spell casting while focusing on a war style of game. But in order to differentiate itself from war games, there was the role playing element added to it, and it was a dungeon, an early dungeon crawler, that eventually ended up in having a 13 floor dungeon in which players battled their way through traps, monsters, found secret passages and eventually made their way down to a slide in the 13th floor which would take them back to the outside. Then Gygax stepped aside and let someone else run a game in Greyhawk and working with that DM, eventually the dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk reached 50 levels.
If you’re following along with the Dungeons and Dragons source books for 5th Edition, you’ll have heard of the book Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes or heard of the spell Bigby’s Hand. These are characters who were created and played in this Greyhawk setting, so, beyond them, a lot of interesting characters who have continued to shape the worlds of Dungeons and Dragons came into being.
Greyhawk as a setting for playing it, again it’s going to be that more traditional setting. I’d probably say it’s somewhere between Sword and Sorcery and High Fantasy setting, but it is fairly Forgotten Realms before Forgotten Realms was a thing. If you wanted to start out as nobodies to eventually become a hero, you would play a game in Greyhawk. The one difference is as an older setting it’s going to be filled with dungeon crawling experiences. Yes, you might end up exploring the lands, but it’s a setting where you’ll go from a dungeon to a dungeon more than you would in the Forgotten Realms.
Would I play in this world? Probably not, again, because we have Forgotten Realms now. If someone suggested a game in this world and wanted to adapt it for 5th Edition, I guess I would, but there isn’t a massive reason to do that as Forgotten Realms can do the same thing. It is a good setting if you wanted to adapt a dungeon delve. Like I was saying at the beginning of the article, there is a dungeon under the old castle Greyhawk that goes down 50 levels. So if you and your group want to turn that into something for 5th Edition, it’s sitting out there ready to get taken on, it’ll just take time to convert it.
How about you? Would you play as a PC or run a game as a DM in Greyhawk? Is there anything unique that I should have pointed out?
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Back into Dungeons and Dragons settings with Dragonlance. This one is probably best known for the D&D books that came out around it, though it is one of the oldest settings for D&D. Dragonlance falls into that more classic fantasy flavor, which makes sense for …