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Campaigns in a nutshell. Adventures in a sentence.

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Here's an interesting fact: Aspen Trees are a clonal species- they can spread by runners. One of the largest organisms on Earth is an Aspen grove in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains that has 41,000+ trunks.

That inspired this:

No Man's Land:

5000 years ago, a druid (whose name is lost to humanity...) of great power picked a large and remote island devoid of human life as his home, choosing a grove of aspen trees his most sacred space. At some point, he chose to cast Awaken upon one of the aspen...and the entire grove came to life! He had forgotten that Aspen spread by runners...the entire grove was actually one plant- and now it had a mind equal to his own. He trained it in the ways of the druids.

Eventually, death found the druid, but his greatest student lived on. Eventually, the Aspen grew enough in power that it began to experiment with Awaken itself. First, it made other Aspen and a few other mighty trees as self aware as it was, forming the Green Council, each a druid, cleric or mage in its own right. They, in time and in turn, granted awareness to some of the animals of the forest...bringing them into a society ruled by the Green Council, each day's food created by powerful magics.

As decades passed, the island became a great druidic haven, but still unknown to man.

1000 years ago, Man came...and he was not ready for what he found. The animals and trees welcomed those who resembled the one who had made their haven possible, but the ignorant sailors who found the island hunted for food for their journeys, and were driven back by the island inhabitants. The sailors returned to civilization to tell tales of the mysterious island to the East, where both animals and trees thought and fought as if men.

The Council's research of the civilized world (directly and through its awakened, shapechanged agents) has brought them much information about the destructiveness of man...and also solutions as to how to fight back. Those shapechanged agents often lived lives among the so called civilized men, bringing their children, natural shapeshifters, back to the island. The Council did much the same.

Now, the island is inhabited by more than trees and awakened animals. Alongside them now live natural shapechangers and other curious hybrids of man and beast or beast and plant...all members of an insular society on the island.

And they are leery of Mankind's intent.

(In game terms, the island is inhabited by Awakened Trees of the Green Council (each with 20 levels of some combination of Druid, Cleric, Wizard or Sorcerer, some with Epic levels); Awakened animals (any class, Rangers and Druids most common); Anthropomorphic Animals (see WOTC's Savage Species); Shapeshifters (see WOTC's Eberron, but instead of being linked to Lycanthropes, they are linked to Druids); and Woodlings (see WOTC's Monster Manual III).
 
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Gilladian

Adventurer
War in the North; my current campaign is quite generic, but the party is enjoying it. They're all members of a military group guarding the northern frontier of a dwarvish kingdom. To the north lies the home of ancient enemies - hobgoblins, giants, orcs and ogres. A new leader has arisen among them, and an ancient evil sorceress has ben awakened to join forces with him. Soon their armies will march south...
 

The Long Road: The modern world that we know has a hidden partner, Gaia, the realm of the fey and the magical, hidden from us for over a thousand years. Now, though, even those few who knew of Gaia are mysteriously barred from traveling between the two worlds, and the Bureau, law enforcers and keepers of secrets, are unable to protect mundanes against magical threats. Chance lands a group of travelers in the same Greyhound bus as the only man who might have the power to repair the breach, but they must survive terrorists, ghosts, assassins, and far more ancient and powerful foes if they are to succeed. Indeed, as they travel this long road, they must decide if magic even should have a place in the world, or if it should be left to fade away.
 


SpiderMonkey

Explorer
My current brand new campaign:

Beyond Boundless Space and Ageless Time.

200 years ago, a catastrophic event led to the fabric of reality between the Prime and the Far Realms to become thin and torn. The beasts that poured forth destroyed much of civilization; those who survive huddle behind the warded walls of overcrowded cities, ruled under the iron fists of the incanters (who need Forbidden Lore to learn the proper incantations).

If it were not for the fact that the outerbeasts are not acting in unison, humanity would have been wiped out long ago. Recently, however, they have been acting with something insidiously resembling purpose...

Who is organizing them?
How?
Why?

Find out next week, same bat-time, same bat-channel.
 

the Jester

Legend
A few pieces of my campaigns, past and present:

The Apocalypse- a series of terrible events presages the end of all things, when Tharizdun will awake and devour everything. Pools of blackness, called Pools of Tharizdun, are starting to appear, and they grow when things enter them (being devoured). Ultra-powerful Angels of the Apocalypse appear, able to destroy even gods. The pcs must go on a desperate quest to gather the pieces of an ultra-powerful artifact granting control of space, time, matter, energy, space and time in a last desperate struggles to stop Tharizudun from devouring Nature itself.

Of Sound Mind the Halfing Way- a group of halflings begins a series of adventures that will eventually lead them to a quest for the halfing Promised Land. The campaign follows themes of psionics, madness, prophecy and, of course, food. After we play this group my face often hurts because I laugh so hard.
 

Mr. Draco

First Post
Karanos - In ancient times, the first emperor made a bargain with Death to gain his power. The current emperor tries to cheat the bargain, but the backlash destroys civilization as you know it, and seals away magic for hundreds of years as bizarre undead wander the land. The heros died when Death punished the empire, but they're revived by a brave chieftan in the dark days, hundreds of years later, and with their rebirth, magic begins to reenter the world. Can they set right what went so wrong so many years ago, or will all life end at the hands of undead monstrosities?
 
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Crust

First Post
Beneath Castle Grimstead
Goblins lairing in the ruins of Castle Grimstead spur a call to adventurers. Delving deeper into the ruins, a darker evil is discovered. The heroes discover that the goblins (along with drow elves and vampires) have been collecting victims for an ancient vampire known only as The Elder, who is seeking to create a new blood pit for himself in Faerun. The heroes must fight their way through a tribe of goblins, a drow coven, a sect of vampires, and countless guardian monsters to make their way to The Elder's blood pit, free any captives, and drive the Elder from Faerun! This campaign arc should take PCs from levels 1 - 11.

The Elder's Return
After having escaped destruction at the hands of powerful adventurers, The Elder returns from his refuge on The Barrens of Doom and Despair. With the aid of countless vampire servitors, a myriad of undead, and yugoloths from the Barrens, The Elder prepares to wage war. The true peril of the land lies in the eclipse that has settled over Faerun's sun! With the Elder's magic plunging the world into eternal darkness, the ancient vampire's army of daemons and vampires has surged up from the ruins of Grimstead. Can the PCs help turn the tide of this horde, shatter the eclipse darkening Faerun, and finally cast the Elder into the Void forever? This campaign arc should take PCs from levels 11-20.

Into the Barrens
With the armies of The Elder crushed and his eclipse spell disjoined, the heroes must follow The Elder into the Barrens of Doom and Despair as the vampire desperately escapes. It is on this infernal plane that The Elder has made his home, and it is up to the heroes to track down and destroy The Elder once and for all. Their trek will take them through the crimson landscape and into the frozen wastes of Loviatar's realm, to a great glacier where devil lords rule and guard the true sanctum of The Elder: a pocket plane full of the ancient vampire's most-deadly guardians and servitor vampires. The final confrontation with The Elder is at hand! This campaign arc is set for epic levels.
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Personally, I'm thinking this thread needs to be sticky- from what I've read here so far, its a good resource for GMs of any level of proficiency.
 


awayfarer

First Post
Defeat the Dawn of the World - The god Azalak has discovered what went wrong during Creation to cause all the evil in the world, he seeks to correct the error and create a utopia, but that would destroy all who currently live. The party must stop Azalak (combat solution) or convince him that his is misguided (roleplay solution). They will fight and ally with Celestials and Fiends alike, all have various motives surrounding the birth of a new and perfect world.
Thats awesome. A feel a big scene involving demons and archons actually fighting on the same side would be a really cool thing to include. Basically to drive home just how severe the threat was.
 

Templetroll

First Post
Imperial Summons

The campaign setting was based on the comment in the 1e DMG about there having once been 10th+ magic during which time artifacts were created. I set an ancient empire where this was so. The armies were all outfitted with magic armor and weapons and there were military units of magi and clerics. They spread out conquering the world and building heavily fortified underground defense installations. Elves held out in the deepest parts of the forests. Dwarves moved back underground, and then these races made treaties that stopped the assault against them for work done on behalf of The Empire.

Any listing in the MM type books that attributed the existance of a creature to a 'mad godling', 'wizard's experiment' or 'occult ritual' were all due to The Emperor or at his direction. Most Artifacts were of Imperial design.

Then, it happened.

There was a mystic cataclysm, called the Decline of Magic, that brought the level of magic possible down to only 9th level spell effects. This had the side effect of making most of the magical items created by The Empire of Calydonia lose their magic completely or in part. This allowed the subjugated races to rise up and free themselves of The Empire. Many magic items changed hands as the Imperial Army tried to retreat. Some items that reatained their magic also acquired a degree of intelligence, but whether this was from the magic or by absorbing someone dying nearby is unknown.

The capital city of Calydon was devastated by the Decline; the Emperor, a mighty Lich, disappeared that day and was believed destroyed. The capital city became a location of monster lairs and strange magical effects. A corridor on an upper floor of the palace would shift through time, past and future. When it hits the time of The Decline it was deadly to be in the area.

The newly freed lands split into kingdoms and freeholds, and monsters wandered freely in newly uncivilized lands. Time past, things settled down.

A group of youths from a small town decided to do something other than fish or farm so they looked around for something adventurous to do. During one such journey there was a strange dark cloud flowing oddly across the sky. A single bolt of lightning struck one of their number and left a smouldering pile of ash. Shaken, the group continued on their journey, carrying the ashes of their friend. A few days later, after they had accomplished their task, they once again saw the strange cloud but this time the bolt of lightning that cracked down left their friend! He stood there smiling with tendrils of smoke rising from him.

Turns out he had spent the time with The Emperor, in the Palace of Calydon. The Emperor only seemd to want to chat with him about his life and what he had been doing. So it was for many adventurers over the years. Some of the more astute noticed that not all of those they adventured with were summoned, however.

A couple of players figured there had to be a reason for it all. I just smiled, and cringed inside because the reason was to allow me to remove absent player's characters from the game and get them back the next time the player showed up!

So, I set out to come up with a proper reason - The Emperor would be in a great battle against powerful Heroes. He was near defeat and then took a trip back in time to set up a trap. The Emperor put a Clone in the palace with a powerful spell set in place that would draw those Heroes to him while they were young.

The goal was not to defeat or kill them before that great battle but to set as many up for an Imprisionment or Trap the Soul spell by permitting the clone to spend years talking to the young folks and learning all the details of their lives. Then, at the point where the Emperor had escaped the Clone could come in and use his spells to decimate the Heroic forces. We didn't get that far yet. :)
 

awayfarer

First Post
Blood of the Kings

The PC's find out a horrible truth. The seal partitioning hell away from the material plane is due to fail soon. The solution is complicated.

Long, long ago (The exact date lost) six kings sacrificed their lives in a ritual that created six runes to seal away hell. They willingly participated in the ritual, which drained every last drop of blood from their body to write the runes. Six special swords were created which drew every last drop of blood from their bodies. Without these, the ritual would not have been possible.

Time stole the event from human memory but the gate to hell will soon open. The PC's are among a very, very small few who know the truth. Sealing away hell requires them to do the following.

1: Gather the swords. Each one must be filled with the blood of a king

2: As this story is ages ago, it will likely be difficult if not impossible to convince anyone that it is true. Trying to convince a king to kill themselves for the ritual would be nearly impossible. If they're not willing to give their blood freely, it must be taken. This opens up a lot of possibilities.

--If the PC's are good, can they find six evil kings to "donate" the blood? If not can they bring themselves to kill a good king? For that matter, assuming the ancient kings were all good, will the ritual have a different effect if evil blood is used?
--Killing a large number of national leaders will likely destabilize a large area. The civil/international wars that could result would be catastrophic.
--Is there even enough time? How close is the day when the seal fails? Can they go around picking targets or do they just have to get the nearest monarch they can?
--Assuming the PC's succeed, they will likely be outlaws nearly everywhere.

3: Finding the ritual site and getting there in time. For that matter, finding someone who knows exactly how the long-forgotten ritual must be done.


((I listened to the band Manowar for the first time tonight. The idea was inspired by the song "Blood of the Kings" :) ))
 

Brains…!

The Undead Plague Part I
One night an empty ship crashes into the docks of a major port city. No-one is on board, that is no-one is alive. Contagious carnivorous zombies spew out into the city fouling the air with their breath and clamouring for brains. This plague spreads at an alarming rate faster than any clerics can turn. The density of the population making it easy for the zombies to feast and spread their plague. Can the heroes stop the plague before everyone gets turned into a zombie?

The Undead Plague Part II
After the heroes have eliminated the plague in their home city, they must seek out the source of the plague before it spreads to rest of the world. Already other ports are under siege from the contagious carnivorous zombies. Can the heroes stop the source of the plague and save the world?


By the way, I ran both of these campaigns in 1994–1997 and it was a ton of fun.
 

Old Gumphrey

First Post
Dannyalcatraz said:
Here's an interesting fact: Aspen Trees are a clonal species- they can spread by runners. One of the largest organisms on Earth is an Aspen grove in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains that has 41,000+ trunks.

That inspired this:

No Man's Land:

5000 years ago, a druid (whose name is lost to humanity...) of great power picked a large and remote island devoid of human life as his home, choosing a grove of aspen trees his most sacred space. At some point, he chose to cast Awaken upon one of the aspen...and the entire grove came to life! He had forgotten that Aspen spread by runners...the entire grove was actually one plant- and now it had a mind equal to his own. He trained it in the ways of the druids.

Eventually, death found the druid, but his greatest student lived on. Eventually, the Aspen grew enough in power that it began to experiment with Awaken itself. First, it made other Aspen and a few other mighty trees as self aware as it was, forming the Green Council, each a druid, cleric or mage in its own right. They, in time and in turn, granted awareness to some of the animals of the forest...bringing them into a society ruled by the Green Council, each day's food created by powerful magics.

As decades passed, the island became a great druidic haven, but still unknown to man.

1000 years ago, Man came...and he was not ready for what he found. The animals and trees welcomed those who resembled the one who had made their haven possible, but the ignorant sailors who found the island hunted for food for their journeys, and were driven back by the island inhabitants. The sailors returned to civilization to tell tales of the mysterious island to the East, where both animals and trees thought and fought as if men.

The Counci's research of the civilized world (directly and through its awakened, shapechanged agents) has brought them much information about the destructiveness of man...and also solutions as to how to fight back. Those shapechanged agents often lived lives among the so called civilized men, bringing their children, natural shapeshifters, back to the island. The Council did much the same.

Now, the island is inhabited by more than trees and awakened animals. Alongside them now live natural shapechangers and other curious hybrids of man and beast or beast and plant...all members of an insular society on the island.

And they are leery of Mankind's intent.

(In game terms, the island is inhabited by Awakened Trees of the Green Council (each with 20 levels of some combination of Druid, Cleric, Wizard or Sorcerer, some with Epic levels); Awakened animals (any class, Rangers and Druids most common); Anthropomorphic Animals (see WOTC's Savage Species); Shapeshifters (see WOTC's Eberron, but instead of being linked to Lycanthropes, they are linked to Druids); and Woodlings (see WOTC's Monster Manual III).
Consider that stolen and twisted to my own nefarious purposes.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
OK...I'll confess to watching to much Sci-Fi today, but how about this for an adventure:

Evard's Inspiration: A giant octopus* terrorizes a small fishing village by occupying the only harbor granting access to an isolated island along a minor trade route. Drawn by preying on sharks following the scents of the refuse ships leave behind, it starts by scavenging upon the corpses of the unlucky victims of thieves and assassins dumped in the water. It continues by plucking drunken sailors from the wharves- whose dissapearances are ignored by officials as nothing unusual.

Then it eats the mayor. In broad daylight.

Evard, a minor mage and mayor-pro-tem calls for heroes to rid the island's waters of this black-tentacled scourge...

*To scale things up for more powerful parties, you can use a Kracken, or if you're ooooooold school, a Golden Ammonite (from Dragon Magazine)...
 

Ry

Explorer
Legends of the Last Age

Four young Akavars prepare for their Naming Hunt, when they will slay a beast that will become their totem, and join the ranks of their far-travelling fathers. The trail of the White Ape is long and hard, but when the boys return, victorious, fame and glory seem just beyond the next hill. But as they take up their fathers' paths as mercenaries among a strange people, the Akavan of the White Ape finds that the fame earned by blood brings more enemies than friends... and their fathers' fame was the bloodiest of all.
 

Ry

Explorer
Legends of Great Knights

The twisted un-god stirs within its idol, and its cancerous madness has returned to the world. Mad cults begun to profane the West, even as the East weakens itself with incessant religious war. As an empire crumbles, three knights must set aside the kings, peoples, and faiths that divide them. Joined by duty, they must sacrifice family, happiness, and finally their lives to confront a horror whose slavering hunger and sick fecundity defies all comprehension.
 
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mythusmage

First Post
There are ankhegs in the wheatfield, jermlaine in the kitchen, and the pigs have learned how to open the gate to their pen. And you thought farming was going to be easy.

Country Life, an epic misadventure for levels 1-4. :D
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Heh- with a bit of a twist, you could make that into a dandy "Jack & the Beanstalk" adventure...

In the Giant's (Titan's?) kitchen, the ankhegs would be the equivalent of the weevils in the flour...and the thri-kreen the equivalents of the ants throughout the house...

A dire displacer beast for a housecat...preoccupied with the great white sharks in the aquarium...or the bullywugs (or slaads) in the terrarium.

Myconids are trying to escape the root cellar...
 

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