Step #0 Brainstorming

My 5th Edition group has kind of petered out, since the bar we played in has closed and I broke my foot.

A new campaign! This time, I’m building it B/X and I’m building it with dice. No over-arching themes, no plots. Just lots of tables and weird house rules.

It shall be a savage world, drawing the best from Howard, Leiber, Doyle, Bakshi, Frazetta.

The campaign will begin with the characters escaping from a wrecked slave-ship. They were the cargo, not the crew, and as such they’ll begin play with no weapons or money or gear. They’ll have to fight off the surviving slavers and then… we’ll make a random encounter check.

I want to focus on the “non-combat” rules:  encounters, exploration, movement, inventory control. The good stuff.

I want to drastically reduce the amount of magic, both spells and items.

Demihumans are dumb. I’m going to make them even shittier mechanically:  BX elves are just too much. My elves are savage elves. They dislike non-elves and are basically Apaches with stone-age technology and random magic. Elven Chain becomes Elven Hide Armor and instead of bows and longswords, they are famous for bows and hand-axes. Dwarves and Halflings are going to stay the same, just… less common.

Fighters rock, and shall be made mechanically mightier.

In fact, combat as a whole is going to change quite a bit. I want to mix stone/bronze/iron ages, and make the distinctions matter. Bronze weapons dull and bend often, iron less often, steel hardly ever– and so steel becomes the rarest and greatest thing in the world, excepting only magic.

Recruiting, developing, and deploying your retainers and hirelings will take on a much bigger role. PCs should be leaders, and each player should be representing something akin to a pack of characters.

Finally, I’m going to prep this campaign in a step-by-step process. That will (hopefully) help to keep me honest.

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The Caldera Campaign

Getting pumped about B/X led to some brainstorming and worldbuilding. For now, I just want to put down some ideas and a general idea of the campaign… including that amazingly unartistic sketch of the setting’s cosmology. In development and play, my hope is to emulate the West Marches style  and organizing principles. In terms of “story” and “feel”, I’ll throw in my lot with the D&D as post-apocalyptic crowd. More to come on this project in the years ahead, and of course:  Input and feedback are always appreciated!

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BX House Rules

I mentioned in an earlier post that I’ll be a player (for the first time in a decade!) in a B/X campaign starting in a week or two. Although I (really, really) look forward to being on the other side of the screen– as well as playing and edition that I love– I just can’t help myself…

I must tinker.

So, I suggested incorporating a couple rules. They’re posted below. Let me know what you think!

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Basic/Expert

I dig 5th Edition. Got it as soon as I could, as a sort of present-to-myself celebrating victory in a political campaign that I’d had some involvement in. (Get ’em, Jim Kenney!)

Before 5th, I had written a 4th Edition version of my personal Viking-themed campaign, complete with house rules for class/race/equipment/setting peculiarities for a friend who was jumping in to the Amazing Universe That Is D&D.

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Straight Outta Mordor

Headed up to the beautiful city of San Francisco over the Labor Day 96 and proceeded to drink entirely too much. Great times with old friends sandwiched by grueling drives. Picked up my little brother Slam P, who will be staying in the Cruel Desert for a week or two. Because he is skilled in the musical and visual arts, he will be paying his rent with campaign art and various other projects. While we build this shit up to critical (hit) mass, here is a short music video from a classic hip-hop group.

The show is great, and has the occasional D&D reference, as well as drinking games that employ d20s, etc. I haven’t seen them play a session yet. Still holding out hope.

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Stairs and a Picnic Table

After a few days in Chicago and a few more occupied with last-minute investigation assignment (which made me miss my initial flight and cost me a day of leave), it is time to return to some D&D.

As our current campaign is focused on urban adventures, I’ve been focused on minis and terrain that hit our most common encounter area: marketplaces, taverns, and brothels.

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The City of Tarsus

City of TarsusAt the center of the Five Duchies is the sprawling metropolis of Tarsus, home to nearly ninety-thousand souls. An ancient city that predates even the Imperium itself, the city-state is now the most powerful on the eastern coast.

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