Thursday, September 15, 2011

5 DM's, 7 Players... LOTS of ideas!

Let me first explain that we have a total of 7 players going into our new campaign. Of those 7 players 5 of us are going to rotate being DM. This will hopefully ease the burnout effect of constantly DM'ing. It should also create new environments as you transition from one DM's game to the next.

Six of the seven players met on our usual gaming night last night to start hashing out ideas and issues. The only player not able to make it was on a cruise but our planning will continue through next week so he should have time to put his input in yet as well.

The first thing we did was decide on which gaming system we wanted to start with and build from there. Some of those mentioned were AD&D 2e, AD&D 3e, AD&D 3.5, 6E and Castles & Crusades. There was also the possibility of creating a complete mix and match of various system features we liked. We ultimately decided on using Castles & Crusades as our base system.

From there we began listing topics we wanted to address and figure out how our campaign would handle them. These ranged from religion, magic, survivability, treasure, money sinks and action points. There were many more but you should be able to get the general idea of our process from that. We quickly discovered our views and opinions varied on almost every subject. However, it was a great brainstorming session with much accomplished in the hours spent together.

At this moment we have decided that each DM will have a large island mass to build their world on. This is approximately the size of England. We wanted there to be enough space to have different areas but not so large that it would take you months to travel from point to point. There will more than likely be a sixth landmass that will be the common area or base of operations for the adventurers.

The next thing we decided were some ways to increase the survivability of our heroes. This was a hot topic in our emails last week. Our group of gamers range from thinking death should always be present around every corner to the thought our characters should not be average folk but heroes just starting out. We came up with the solution of getting max hit points each time you level rather than rolling the hit dice to see what you end up with that level. We also decided that raise dead would be available but not everywhere in the world. By having the max hit points we are assuming the heroes will be wise enough and durable enough to retreat from battle if necessary and in a timely manner. Lastly, Mike is working on a couple of options for a death and dismemberment table for what happens at zero hit points or below.

We decided religion would exist but I think we are leaning more toward many gods rather than an all encompassing church throughout the world. This may yet change. We also figured we will more than likely do away with the traditional alignments and do an allegiance or aspect system which John is working on some options to present to the group. We definitely want there to be repercussions for doing evil acts but we want there to be more option to role play among the party without straight up arguments and someone needing to have their character removed from the party.

We discussed several possible ways to increase the enjoyment of magic user players as well. If I recall correctly we decided to give magic users the ability to scribe scrolls right from the start. I don't remember what the cost per scroll will be but this will also help us add a money sink aspect to our campaign as well. The choice was made to have all characters begin with approximately 6000 experience making any character rolled up be level 3. This will hopefully get rid of some of the previously mentioned non-heroic characters as well as increase the enjoyment and usefulness of magic users and other classes that start out slow.

This brings us to the subject of experience. We wanted to actually slow the experience gain process so that when your turn came around to DM it wasn't 5 or 6 levels later. What we came up with was a simple solution. Each DM will get 3 to 4 sessions to run an adventure. By the end of that adventure all characters in the party would get the average level of the party X 1000 experience. We originally discussed using the fighter's experience as the base but I simply stated average level of the party in case we happen to not have a fighter. So an example would be a 3rd level Fighter in group would give everyone in the party 3,000 experience points. The first couple of levels may go fairly quickly but by around level 5 or 6 the speed at which characters level up with slow down considerably.

Tom is always a fanatic about weapons and armor so he is working up some options for that. We also want magical items available in the world but not over populated. This was more of an agreement rather than any set method of measurement.

In addition to the allegiance and aspect system that John is working on, he is also coming up with a couple of possible action, hero, awesome points possibilities. This stems from our awesome Old School Hack session a couple of weeks ago. It would need to be tweaked to be used in a traditional d20 system like we are running but I think we can come up with something.

As far as the setting of the campaign goes, we decided on a lower magical fantasy setting without gunpowder and laser beams. There will also be no physical manifestations of gods. However, we decided to leave demons and devils in the world but they are not considered monsters rather than gods.

All in all we accomplished a lot last night even if we didn't work on much of the world building itself. Mike found a game of sorts to use to build a world but I don't know if we are going to use that method or just draw up our own islands. I have found a few island maps to use as guidance if we end up designing them on our own but if not, I am definitely up for giving the world building game a shot too!

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