Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Now THIS is the way to start a campaign!

Go read this.  THAT is the way to start a campaign!!

Don't like science-fantasy?  Who cares?  Take that general mold and fit it into the style of campaign that you want to run.

For instance:

You want to run a modern-day rpg?  Have the characters wake up in an overturned SUV, injured all to hell, not remembering who they are or how they got there.  Have several ambulances arrive to treat them OR have another identical SUV arrive with people in it offering to help them if they move quickly.  (Are the people in the SUV friends, foes, or something else?)

You want to run a superheroes rpg?  Have the characters wake up scattered in the destroyed remains of your campaign's version of the 'Hall of Justice'.  They don't remember what their powers are; they don't remember anything about themselves.  (Are they all good guys or are some of them villains?  Who did this?  Why?)

You want to run a standard fantasy rpg?  Have the characters wake up in a room, each in a bed, with no memories and with various physical injuries.  A man enters the room who seems suspicious.  He tells them that he found them in the (woods, ravine, dungeon corridor, etc) lying amidst a dead group of (pick your monster--but perhaps he doesn't tell them) and that he brought them back to his abode.  (All sorts of good question possibilities.)

You want to run a straight sci-fi rpg?  Frankly, very little to do differently.

You could follow steps 1-3 of that article exactly.  The rest will have to be altered as necessary to match your theme, but you need to use the attribute checks, some major combat encounter, and the clues that point to 'another one'.  Who is that other one and what is the connection to the player's party?  Those questions may never be answered or they might be the point of it all.  But THE POINT of all of this is that the players will start this campaign feeling the way that we all did the first time that we played an rpg.

This was probably the best blog post that I've read in the past week, and I just had to write something to complement it.


Although I have to be completely honest: Tonight has been a most fruitful blog reading evening.  Two other posts that I have to highlight are this one and this one.  The first talks a little about the megadungeon in your campaign; the second talks about something that most people who run wilderness campaigns probably never think of.  Both posts are excellent!  Hopefully, when I have time, I'll write a little something to go with each of those as well.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

One Map Dungeon Contest?

I'm sure that most of the readers here have heard of the One Page Dungeon Contest, wherein a nice template for outlining a dungeon on one page was used as the basis for designing dungeons.  It started off as an idea (Sorry--I can't remember whose idea it originally was.) to free the DM from overly-detailed settings and the prep time necessary and to force a different experience in gaming.  The concept then grew into a contest in 2009 and then a second one in 2010.

Brilliant idea, and a lot of people executed it brilliantly.

I'm wondering if there is any interest in a slightly different kind of contest?  As the title implies, I am talking about a One Map Dungeon Contest.  How would it work?  Basically, I would draw a map of a dungeon--you know, some passageways, some doors, perhaps some rooms and caverns and some other stuff.  Then, YOU the reader would write the text for it to turn it into an actual dungeon.  (Obviously, the map would have to be really good to inspire people to write something for it.  THAT burden would be on me.)

Everybody would have the exact same map to work with.  I'd have to think of some other criteria for the text--either a word or page limit.  Or not--maybe it's best to leave it completely wide open.  Also, I'd have to decide if any modifications would be allowed to be made to the map.

Similar to the original concept, I'd gather some people together to judge all of the entries and then we could announce the winners, etc, etc.

This idea came to me as I was thinking back on my gaming experiences.  I've purchased many modules in my day.  There were quite a few times when I was more inspired by the map included in the module than the written adventure itself.  Am I the only person that that has happened to?

Anyway, what do you think?  Is this an idea worth pursuing?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dungeon Compilations

Awhile back, I commented that I was doing a little work with Tony Dowler, of How to Host a Dungeon and Year of the Dungeon fame.

If you aren't familiar with YotD, go take a look at it immediately.  His "mini-dungeons" are really cool and are great sources of inspiration.

Anyway, I've been doing a little layout work for him--basically taking his dungeons and gathering them together in monthly compilations in pdf form.  (The layout is very basic, but he is happy with it.)  They are all for free at the site; if you go there, they are all available down the right column under 'my games and stuff'.  If you are not familiar with his work, I highly recommend it.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Business Side of Gaming

I seem to come back to it occasionally.  I just can't help it.  I enjoy reading about it, I enjoy trying my hand at it, I just enjoy it.

I recently came across a blog that I find very interesting: 20th Level Marketing.  I really like the post here about pricing products and sales.  I agree with him completely regarding his thoughts on pricing digital products.  Now if only more people (in the OSR) actually bought them...

Thursday, September 9, 2010


No--not a 22nd level fighter.  Depending on which version you are playing, that could be fun, stupid, or just plain impossible.  I'm actually referring to the US Air Force's newest fighter jet.

Why?  Well, if you were to glance below and to the right, you would see that I have a soft spot for Concept Ships.  I just dig strange and creative aircraft and spacecraft.  If you follow this link, you will find yourself looking at a gallery of photos of the F-22 that are incredible and just dripping with awesomtivity.  Some of them would fit right at home on Concept Ships.

The other reason that I like this collection of photos is that IMHO some of the styling on the fighter would look fantastic on a suit of armor.  In general, I just think that the fighter is badass.  I have for a long time, and these photos prove it.