Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Campaign Story Lines/Plots

When developing a living campaign world it's important to have stuff going on.  Maybe there is a border war with another kingdom.  Orc raiders razing farming villages.  A cult of necromancers  littering the landscape with undead.  The point is, there is something going on when the players enter the scene.  There is movement to the world.  A life of events that exists beyond the characters. 

How much of that infringes on what the players do?  There is no right answer.  I guess the rightest answer for me is, as much as the players want.  Events will occur whether players chose to be involved or not.  Say those necromancers attack a town and the players have chosen to go after some rumored treasure.  When they return, a good chunk of the town is burnt to the ground.  Unloading all their treasure becomes more difficult.  So the attack affects them indirectly.

I'm developing a new campaign world (very slowly it seems) and I like to have a few over arcing story (plot) lines that are shaping the current landscape of the world; politically, spiritually and monetarily.  The players can chose to be as involved as they want.  The side quests/story lines/plots are usually developed during play.  I might have a vague shadow of an idea, but it's the players that flesh it out.  Players make the best story lines accidentally.

As of now, I've have some of the smaller things figured out, such as, developing a few interesting cultures and how they interact.  A little history to add some depth to the world.  If you're going to have ruins for the players to explore there should be a reason why they are there originally.  It helps shape the adventure.  Plus, I can add artifacts from past cultures or kingdoms.  I like adding that sense of history to a campaign.  I learned this important lesson from the Majestic Wilderlands.  Rob Conley has developed such a rich history that it is a pleasure to explore.  So I like to offer that same option to my players.

As I develop my campaign, and I might add, I am ripping off ideas from blogs left and right, I'll post some of what I'm working on.  No spoilers for the players though.  I need to do something like Trey Causey did with his Weird Adventure and develop an index.