January 19th, 2013

D&D d20

Dungeons and Dragons Campaign - Forgotten Realms - Family Matters

So, over the last four months, I've been running a D&D game. Well, to be fair, I've been running one for going on 7 years now, but we finished up one (like the 4th campaign I've run with this group) and started another. As I've been good about doing the write-ups, I thought I'd post them so people can see the progression of our story.

All of our campaigns have been D&D 3.5 edition rules, with occasional things added by me or the campaign setting. I ran a Dawnforge campaign, an Eberron campaign, another Dawnforge campaign, and now this one is a Forgotten Realms campaign. As our last campaign was extremely high power and high level (Dawnforge is a very high-powered setting) that involved traveling over half the known world and uniting a half-dozen separate peoples to fight a great war, along with time-travel and the use of artifacts therein, I decided this campaign would be different.

Also I have a lot of low-level monsters I haven't been able to use in years because I'd started our other campaigns at around 5th level.

This campaign is centered in the city of Waterdeep, known as the City of Splendors. It's effectively the magical fantasy equivalent of New York in terms of size, importance, and diversity. It's entirely possible to center a whole campaign around the intrigues, alleys, and dungeons in Waterdeep without ever really leaving the city. Our last campaign was also heavily combat-centric, while this one, being city-based, would have several sessions where no combat was done and little dice-rolling. It's been really fascinating to watch my players realize that, "No, I can't cut down this annoying guy in the street, even though he's a murdering bastard and I know it, because the city Watch will throw me in jail." They can't casually cast manipulation spells in public, can actually call the Watch for help (if they can prove they didn't start a fight), and have to use their contacts to help solve mysteries.

It's a delightful change of pace - the only hard part is I have to keep coming up with names for NPCs on the fly! I finally just kept my "list of Faerunian names" page open on my lap to keep up with the demand.

This is my opening e-mail to my players (they'd already written up their characters at this point and given me their backstories - 1st level, 32 point-buy, regional feat for free):

"Ok, with the Dawnforge Kingmakers campaign all wrapped up in all its glory, we embark upon a new journey. A journey in the Forgotten Realms, where you all live in the great city of Waterdeep. Though you are all just starting to hone the skills that will hopefully bring you honor, glory, power, treasure, renown, fame, fortune, and/or all the knowledge in the multiverse, you all have ambition to go as far as you can in the City of Splendors.

Attached is a handout that has basic information about Waterdeep, including laws and punishments, rulers, some power groups, and coinage. I also have included a Faerunian calendar, which we will be using, along with a list of the Faerunian deities. I've also included the elven and gnomish pantheons for [three of my players]'s characters, in case you need them. It's a rather long document (a good 14 pages), and it's probably one of those things you'll want to print out so you can reference it for all the relevant data, rather than memorizing it outright. ;-) Unless you want to, in which case, more power to you. Some of the passages in the handout I ripped wholesale from the Forgotten Realms online wiki, others I copied verbatim from the various books. Some I adapted.

About the only thing I don't have is the recent events of the city. In short, the city has suffered two large recent attacks, one from orcs, the other from various ocean races, in the past few years, as well as weather some magical crises (some magical portals were spitting out creatures from all over Faerun into the city before they were shut down). Amongst the usual problems of power struggles between the good and evil, lawful and chaotic groups of the city too.

Welcome to Waterdeep. It's going to be a hell of a trip."

And now, without further ado, our first session write-up!

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D&D d20

Dungeons and Dragons Campaign - Forgotten Realms - Family Matters - Session 2

Our next session began even before the session, with a series of short e-mails to my players about things that happened to their characters after their encounter in the sewers. Some of these include the player's e-mails back to me about what their characters did with the information/bones I threw them. ;)

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With all the pieces of my plot in place (rubs hands together and cackles madly), it was time for the session!

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D&D d20

Dungeons and Dragons Campaign - Forgotten Realms Campaign - Family Matters - Session 5

When we last left our intrepid heroes, you had several unusual leads to pursue, some bits of things to unravel, and things to do. (One piece the DM forgot to remind you all about - You learned that the maker's mark on the empty potion vial you got from Getha's mother's house was for one Melvin Mask, a distiller and alchemist.)

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