Thursday, June 1, 2017

My In-Person Summer Campaign - Into the Redlands

One of my in-person players is spending the summer abroad, so our adventures on the Island of the Blue Giants is taking a hiatus until he gets back.

In the mean-time, I've been thinking about how to try to get people together to play under the following conditions:
  • Not every player can or needs to attend every session
  • (this means that the millieu needs to be something less outre than the Blue Giants)
  • (this also means that the structure of play needs to be expeditions: out and back each session)

  • The campaign setting needs to be low-prep on my end
  • (this means that I will be using a combination of pre-packaged adventuring sites, and procedural-generation rules to create the setting as we play)
  • (this also means that both the rules and the feel need to be fairly consistent between the various components of play to limit the prep-time needed to convert rules or re-skin setting details)

  • The rules need to be basic enough that my players can grasp them easily, clear enough that I can make rulings without having to keep looking up details, and interesting enough that I'm not tempted to waste a lot of time bolting on fiddly bits as options
  • (this means that actual B/X and Labyrinth Lord are out as rulesets, I'm afraid, and it also means I'm not going to try to cobble together my own preferred BX-ish house rules for this)

So, I've decided that I'm going to use Lesserton & Mor to establish a home-base for players to launch expeditions from, and to provide their first potential adventuring site: a ruined ancient city, which will be procedurally generated during play. I'm also going to use In the Shadow of Mount Rotten to provide the second source of adventure: expeditions into the procedurally-generated monster-occupied wilderness. And finally, I'll be using Barrowmaze as the third main adventuring site, the giant necropolis of the ancient city. Treasures and dangers abound in all three locations, and each session's players can decide where to set out. There may be other adventuring sites (particularly in the wilderness) that are discovered during play.

I'm going to be using Adventurer Conqueror King as my ruleset for character creation, and I should have little or no trouble integrating the monsters and other setting details from my three Labyrinth Lord setting books. I find the way ACK handles attacks (essentially, roll higher than THAC0 plus ascending AC) to be easy enough to grasp to avoid slow-downs during play, and I'm particularly fond of the some of their classes and especially the templates in the Player's Companion.

Human adventurers can choose from the following character classes:
  • Assassin
  • Bard
  • Cleric
  • Explorer
  • Fighter
  • Mage
  • Shaman
  • Thief
  • Venturer

Creating a dwarf character requires having Constitution 9 or higher. Dwarves can choose from the following:
  • Dwarven Delver
  • Dwarven Machinist
  • Dwarven Vaultguard

Creating an elf character requires having Intelligence 9 or higher. Elves can choose from the following:
  • Elven Courtier
  • Elven Enchanter
  • Elven Ranger

The town of Lesserton sits on the southern coast of what its human inhabitants call either Red Island or the Redlands. The Lessers eke out a living farming a narrow strip of fertile land along the southern coast. Red Island itself is far to the north of the continent, rarely visited by other humans except for occasional visits by missionaries, merchants, and raiders. Just to the west of Lesserton sits the ruined Imperial city of Mor, once a great metropolis, now a reminder of the Empire's collapse and the dark days that followed its fall. Just to the east is the Maze, a great underground necropolis dotted with above-ground barrows and cairns where citizens of Imperial Mor buried their dead. To the north lies the towering visage of Mount Rendon and the great expanse of the Redlands, an island mostly occupied by monsters, who in their own tongue call the peak Mount Rotten and the island itself the Rotlands.

Sessions will take place in-person, usually on Saturday evenings, as often as I can get at least two players able to meet at my house or host me at theirs.

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