Okay…so the universe has been signaling I should run a D&D campaign for a few months now. First, I get a set of the 5th edition books for free; their original owner didn’t want them. Next, there’s a crap ton of people on the local Meetup looking to play, to the point there’s two full groups on Thursday. The guy heading up the Meetup group (who also gave me the books) asks me if i want to step in and run a game for the Meetup. I mention this in passing on Facef#$k and to a few friends. Suddenly, I’ve got about 5-6 people who are interested, and a few of my long term gamers telling me they’re interested in how I would do fantasy… Other incidents conspire to say, “Hey, why don’t you run a D&D game?”
Me: I haven’t run it since 1984 for a reason…I did the epic game back then, it was awesome, but I don’t much care for d20 or fantasy…go away, universe.
Then I read the books. Oh, says I, it’s AD&D, but with some nice fixes. Sure, it’s still got classes and alignments (really!?!) and AC and HP, but now I’m nostalgic for those time when we (no, fooling) played D&D in my friend’s basement (they had a bar setup; it was cool…) or Car Wars, or James Bond: 007, or or or…
So, a few days ago, having started to suffer from no gaming due to the holidays, and having a bit of free time, since I can’t really get much work done when everyone is on vacation, I start tinkering with ideas for my first Dungeons & Dragons campaign in 32 years. (Christ, I’m old…)
So after 279 words of prologue (Christ, I’m verbose!):
I have a metaplot that will wrap the entire game, no matter if we have to dump it early, or it goes on forever. Dropping hints will be part of it, but it will explain the why of the game universe, including all the shitty inconsistencies that come along with a D&D game. It is also a fine reason for why you have characters with as much or little backstory as we might have. I’m planning on a lot less backstory that we usually have for our characters in this group.
So the world — First, no lost technology or sci-fantasy we’re the remnants of some lost space colony where the tech is what makes magic, that’s been done. A lot.
I have a few choices but I’m narrowing on two main ideas. 1) a modified Forgotten Realms game keeping their pantheon of gods and some of the planar stuff, and 2) a modified Earth where the old gods never left and their horrific progeny — the monsters — are still wandering the world during the medieval period. I’m leaning toward the first, though I miss playing with the Olympians, as we did with Battlestar Galactica.
On either of these I’ve decided to throw out a goodly chunk of the Monster Manual. With the modifed FR game, I’m thinking of doing a bit of tinkering — pulling some of the races together to use elements of the classic bad guy races while cutting chaff. Orcs, for instance, are a Tolkein thing, but he uses them interchangeably with goblins and ogres, so I’m thinking ogres and orcs are the same thing, just named differently, depending on where you are. “It’s an orc!” “Oh…we call these ogres where I’m from.” “Let’s kill them!” “We call that murder where I come from.” “Shut up, Sir Thesaurus! Chaaaaaarge!”
Similarly, I’m thinking the “angels” of the game will be the avatars or manifestations of the various gods; you can’t kill ’em, but you can take their proxies off the board. Demons and devils — same thing — but they’re the manifestations of “evil” gods. I can raid the MM for stats on the fly, but keep some level of consistency in the world’s cosmology. I want to use the tiefling. For some reason they really speak to me, so I want the aasimar as their “cousin” race. They’re the half-breeds of these good or evil avatars. Maybe. Still thinking on it.
The world itself will start off badly defined — a small county/country that will be part of a world that will be designed on the fly or in very broad swathes. I’m usually pretty good at extemporaneous world-building, but it’s also part of the metaplot.
For the type of adventures, I’m leaning toward wilderness crawls and mercenary work over big maps and dungeon crawls, politics and morality plays over murder and treasure gathering. With my group, it’ll fly.