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Thread: A Little Help?

  1. #1
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    Default A Little Help?

    I was hoping to use these forums as a soundboard for some ideas on fleshing out my own DL campaign. A brainstorming session as it were. Would this be allowed? If so I'll post some information on my campaign and where I'd like it to go.

  2. #2
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    Well that's what the Game forums are for. Go for it.

  3. #3
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    Posting campaign questions is encouraged.

    I think I had a 5 page thread of questions for.my campaign.

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    Excellent! Well right now I am DM'ing a 5th edition and a 3.5 edition going through the same campaign. I've modified several different modules to tell my story, including Key of Destiny which they are currently going through. I've set it during the early years of the WotL (350 AC currently). It gets a little complicated from there. My main campaign thrust is exposing/stopping a Nzunta plot to retrieve the Heart of the Irda and use it to bolster the Nzunta ranks, making them a true threat to the rest of the races (in my campaign the Heart of the Irda has the capability of changing a fallen ogre into a high ogre). They have got a ring that is leading them towards finding different items that will in time lead them to the Heart. The ring first led them to find the Key of Quinari and once that was found it is now directing them to the Fallen Temple in KoD where once they retrieve the Shard of Light it will lead them to another place where they will finally find the Heart of the Irda. What I am having some trouble with is coming up with ideas for some ways to make it so the players aren't being led around by the nose so much by the ring (or at least make it not seem so) and also some ideas on how to illustrate that the Nzunta are already infiltrating the other races in positions of power such as the mayor of a city or the head of a thieves guild without derailing the main campaign goal of getting the Heart. Also, while I want the party to be successful in stopping the Nzunta from being completely successful in their goals, I do want them to be successful enough that I can make them an ongoing threat in my campaign world. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

  5. #5
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    I'm just going to reiterate here, because I think the UA mystic thread may have derailed this one.

    * Ideas for keeping the adventure from seeming too railroaded.
    * Ideas for how to show that the Nzunta are infiltrating positions of power amongst the other races.
    * Ideas on how to finish the campaign with the party successfully stopping the Nzunta end game, but still allowing the Nzunta to be successful enough to become a serious threat in the world.

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    It did seem to do that, didn't it?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaithan Kanathar View Post
    I'm just going to reiterate here, because I think the UA mystic thread may have derailed this one.

    * Ideas for keeping the adventure from seeming too railroaded.

    Well, can't help with the railroading. I might recommend splitting your campaign to be episodic in nature, like I did with my DL game. Basically mini-adventures that tie into a much larger story arc.

    Or be ready to level-up or level-down opponents. if you have story arc A, B, and C, the players can decide which arc to pursue, for example, B, A, C. But in this case, you do B1, A2, C3, where the number represents the beefing up the episode's challenge rating.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaithan Kanathar View Post
    * Ideas for how to show that the Nzunta are infiltrating positions of power amongst the other races.
    Well, you said this was going to be during the War of the Lance. Are you talking about the years between WotL and the Chaos war?

    I'd imagine any group. I did the same thing with Sivaks and Auraks before DoSF was a novel. They were infiltrating all levels, both the escape the Dragonarmy, and to further Takhisis's schemes.
    Members of the conclave are switched out by infiltrators who are now declaring threats as renegades.
    Qualinesti's royal family or Silvanesti senate members are acting peculiar.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaithan Kanathar View Post
    * Ideas on how to finish the campaign with the party successfully stopping the Nzunta end game, but still allowing the Nzunta to be successful enough to become a serious threat in the world.
    Thanks again.
    I think stopping the Nzunta while keeping the idea of Nzunta a threat usually means 1) most of them get away to fight another day, or 2) the beaten Nzunta all follow a hidden leader/army who the PCs haven't even met.

    I did that with my flying Citadel adventures by alluding that the knights of Takhisis were were slowly building their own citadel fleet in unknown territory. I laid clues, everywhere that there was a looming threat, machinations in the background. PCs finding giant holes as if something ripped up entire chucks of islands where nice clues. I never had a chance to finish the campaign, tho. It would have been "Battle of Endor" epic is scope.
    Last edited by Weldon Chen; 03-15-2017 at 01:43 PM.
    Fanwank
    Formerly from Wikipedia, circa 2006-7,
    A fanwank is [...] an attempt by fans of a work of fiction to explain or justify plot holes or continuity errors, often through convoluted contrivances...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    Well, can't help with the railroading. I might recommend splitting your campaign to be episodic in nature, like I did with my DL game. Basically mini-adventures that tie into a much larger story arc.

    Or be ready to level-up or level-down opponents. if you have story arc A, B, and C, the players can decide which arc to pursue, for example, B, A, C. But in this case, you do B1, A2, C3, where the number represents the beefing up the episode's challenge rating.
    I like this idea. It seems obvious but I hadn't thought of it myself. The party is pretty set on following the ring to their next destination and ignoring most other things as being a distraction however. Being a good aligned group though I bet I can come up with some scenarios they would have a hard time ignoring.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    Well, you said this was going to be during the War of the Lance. Are you talking about the years between WotL and the Chaos war?
    Its happening right smack dab in the middle of the WotL, the present year is 350 AC.

    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    I'd imagine any group. I did the same thing with Sivaks and Auraks before DoSF was a novel. They were infiltrating all levels, both the escape the Dragonarmy, and to further Takhisis's schemes.
    Members of the conclave are switched out by infiltrators who are now declaring threats as renegades.
    Qualinesti's royal family or Silvanesti senate members are acting peculiar.
    Yeah, I want to get a little political intrigue going with the Nzunta infiltration and something along the lines of your suggestions are what I have in mind, but with this campaign being more or less a race to the Heart of the Irda I'm having trouble thinking of ways to implement it. Any suggestions?


    Quote Originally Posted by Weldon Chen View Post
    I think stopping the Nzunta while keeping the idea of Nzunta a threat usually means 1) most of them get away to fight another day, or 2) the beaten Nzunta all follow a hidden leader/army who the PCs haven't even met.

    I did that with my flying Citadel adventures by alluding that the knights of Takhisis were were slowly building their own citadel fleet in unknown territory. I laid clues, everywhere that there was a looming threat, machinations in the background. PCs finding giant holes as if something ripped up entire chucks of islands where nice clues. I never had a chance to finish the campaign, tho. It would have been "Battle of Endor" epic is scope.
    Those flying Citadel adventures sound like a lot of fun. It sucks you didn't get to finish it up. For the end to my own campaign, I had planned on them having a battle with the big bad but maybe I'll make it with her right hand man instead and leave her to be thorn in the side of good later on. I suppose even if the party finds the Heart of the Irda and hide it away again the Nzunta wouldn't have to just give up their dreams of replenishing their race. They'd just have to find another way. I played around with the idea of magically induced Valin at one time.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaithan Kanathar View Post

    * Ideas for keeping the adventure from seeming too railroaded.
    This is a general DMing question, really. The most success that I've had is to create a large world where the characters are aware of things that are happening outside of the main storyline. Those separate side stories might come into play at times as characters make different decisions, but ultimately the group has to decide on whether or not to stick to the main quest. In essence, the group's decision to go on a quest is a narrative element, not a meta-game element. For example, if the group is charged by a Knight of Solamnia to find evidence of and to potentially destroy the rumored existence of a temple of Sargonnas in the city of Sanction (my current campaign), then the party becomes beholden to that knight for accepting the quest. If they begin to get sidetracked with other explorations that don't have much to do with the main quest, the knight shows up at some point and asks for a report on their progress. The group's reputation is affected by this, and as such I modify the renown rules in the DMG to include party renown points. This is particularly important when the party reaches that third tier of play--11th level. The group is so powerful by then that they've become their own influential faction, and thus the need to track party renown.

    Ultimately, ask yourself why the group is trying to find the Heart of the Irda. Is it because you said so? That's a meta-game reason. Is it because of an aspect of the story that the party has bought into? That's a narrative reason.
    Last edited by Tiwaz; 03-16-2017 at 09:29 AM. Reason: spelling

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiwaz View Post
    This is a general DMing question, really. The most success that I've had is to create a large world where the characters are aware of things that are happening outside of the main storyline. Those separate side stories might come into play at times as characters make different decisions, but ultimately the group has to decide on whether or not to stick to the main quest. In essence, the group's decision to go on a quest is a narrative element, not a meta-game element. For example, if the group is charged by a Knight of Solamnia to find evidence of and to potentially destroy the rumored existence of a temple of Sargonnas in the city of Sanction (my current campaign), then the party becomes beholden to that knight for accepting the quest. If they begin to get sidetracked with other explorations that don't have much to do with the main quest, the knight shows up at some point and asks for a report on their progress. The group's reputation is affected by this, and as such I modify the renown rules in the DMG to include party renown points. This is particularly important when the party reaches that third tier of play--11th level. The group is so powerful by then that they've become their own influential faction, and thus the need to track party renown.

    Ultimately, ask yourself why the group is trying to find the Heart of the Irda. Is it because you said so? That's a meta-game reason. Is it because of an aspect of the story that the party has bought into? That's a narrative reason.
    Well, there is the argument that if you even have a main-quest/side-quest system, the players are still rail-roaded down the main quest. In fact, I've seen it argued that any adventure with a story, i.e. a beginning, middle and end, is a railroad.

    So, i've seen many methods that try to balance between telling a story and giving the players autonomy.

    Obviously, you have a main quest with many available side quests. The players get to enjoy choosing side quests, but they return to the main quest. A prime example is Final Fantasy 7. You have all sorts of side quests, but Aerith is still going to die, and Cloud still has to fight Sephiroth to prevent Meteor from destroying the planet.

    There was the example I previously mentioned, which I guess is more commonly known as the Magician's Switch. It's very rail-road, but only if they players don't know they didn't have a huge choice. the concept is simple. the Magician places a coin in his right hand, and asks the Mark to choose left or right. If the Mark chooses left, and Magician congratulates the Mark for finding the empty hand, and proceeds with the coin in the other. If the Mark chooses right, he's found the coin. The magician proceeds as normal.

    I take inspiration from Cam's Price of Courage. Your goal is to collect the 5 skulls of the first chromatic dragons before Gellidus can collect them for his dragon-head totem. It didn't matter which head you start in your search. what mattered was that as each arc is completed, the remaining arcs got harder. The campaign is then a long story, the ultimate defeat of Gellidus.

    Another example was in the RPG classic, Ultima IV. In the beginning, you had a tarot card reading based on your morals. (i.e. you see a rich man drop a bag of gold he's not going to miss. Do you return it or do you give it to starving children? are you more honest, or more compassionate? ) Your choices determine your starting point in the game, 1 of 8 different cities each with their own virtues. In the end, winning the game is about learning all 8 virtues, and beating the final dungeon. It didn't matter how you started, your final endgame is the same.

    The second method is what I call the balanced-scale method. In the original wing commander game, you have missions, but your level success or failure of the missions are added up. Enough failures, and the final mission is a last stand against the Kilwrathi over Earth. Enough successes gets you to the final mission with the Earth fleet over the Kilwrathi homeworld. Basically two different endings are based on character choices through out the campaign.

    Then there's the choose-your-own-adventure method, the true anti-rail-road method. Basically you start from the beginning with a premise, like you discover a Cave of Time. Starts out with a Cave, but you can end up anywhere, anytime from a western, sci-fi, fantasy. That is a completely subjective DMing experience, because you have to come up with a million endings. let the players make all sorts of choices and the DM goes with the flow. In that style, there's really no pre-defined endings.
    Last edited by Weldon Chen; 03-16-2017 at 01:41 PM.
    Fanwank
    Formerly from Wikipedia, circa 2006-7,
    A fanwank is [...] an attempt by fans of a work of fiction to explain or justify plot holes or continuity errors, often through convoluted contrivances...

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