June 10th, 2003

Boromir battle

Because I've Never Really Done It Before...

I've mentioned in passing that I have in mind to do a new D&D campaign once version 3.5e comes out (which is due next month). I've been thinking about what approach I might want to take with it, and I've decided that, because I've never really done it before, I might go ahead and do an archetypal Tolkien-ripoff game, right down to the characters serving the forces of good against an all-conquering dark lord type.

My past games, particularly the fantasy ones, have tended to be more along the lines of, "good-hearted but essentially non-aligned band of misfits try to navigate a world full of political treachery and various hazards as they try to get what they want out of life."

My current D&D game is something of a blend between the two; the characters began the game as bodyguards for an elf who was investigating the mysteries of his race's past. Without realizing it, the group attracted the attention of the drow and their goddess, Lolth, who decided that this would be a good time to hatch some evil plots she'd been brewing, and the characters have been dealing with the fallout of that ever since.

Problem is, the story's taking forever to get anywhere, partially because we never game, and partially because my focus keeps wandering around. The characters have been bounced around on "off topic" adventures two or three times, and I had a house rule in place that kept them from leveling up as fast, which didn't help.

I used to design campaigns with an eye towards them lasting forever, or at least as long as I could make 'em. However, now I'm thinking about the value of a campaign that has a start, a middle, and a finish ... and a decidedly finite lifespan. 20 levels of D&D, assuming 2 - 6 sessions between levels, means 40 to 120 sessions, or a good couple of years for each campaign. Although this appeals to me more as a player than as a DM (I am constantly getting tired of characters), it also means that I can come up with a rough outline for the campaign before it even starts. "Lessee ... they'll do this adventure for levels 1 and 2, this one will probably take them from about 3 to 5..."

It's a thought, anyhow.

-The Gneech