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Continuing Campaign

tglassy

Adventurer
I've recently finished up Curse of Strahd, which I've been running with my family over the last few years. We don't play regularly, but we do every now and then. Now that Strahd is done, they want to continue with the same characters, and I've got no problems with that. I just don't really know where to go from here.

Due to a twist of fate (me giving them a big plot device), they are able to travel to different planes/worlds, so any world, and any setting, is available. I've talked to them about the kind of game they want, and they're open to anything. We have done the "Fantasy" campaign with Mines of Phandelver, and they did the spooky gothic stuff with Strahd. I'd thought about diving in to Ravnica for a complete change of pace, but that's a lot of work on my part.

Part of the problem is they are all level 11, and most of the other campaigns start you out at lvl 1-3 and never even get past lvl 11. So that means I'm probably going to have to make something myself.

Any ideas to get me going?
 

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robus

Lowcountry Low Roller
Supporter
I've recently finished up Curse of Strahd, which I've been running with my family over the last few years. We don't play regularly, but we do every now and then. Now that Strahd is done, they want to continue with the same characters, and I've got no problems with that. I just don't really know where to go from here.

Due to a twist of fate (me giving them a big plot device), they are able to travel to different planes/worlds, so any world, and any setting, is available. I've talked to them about the kind of game they want, and they're open to anything. We have done the "Fantasy" campaign with Mines of Phandelver, and they did the spooky gothic stuff with Strahd. I'd thought about diving in to Ravnica for a complete change of pace, but that's a lot of work on my part.

Part of the problem is they are all level 11, and most of the other campaigns start you out at lvl 1-3 and never even get past lvl 11. So that means I'm probably going to have to make something myself.

Any ideas to get me going?

Sounds like a trip to the jungle might be in the offing? Some sunshine and warm weather would be a welcome change from the doom and gloom of Strahd :) . So I'd suggest ToA but starting near the city where they can discover the death curse and go deal with it?
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
When I have DMed in the past, I find that at higher levels the story tends towards the narrative more and encounters which we do play out (especially the combats) tend to only be the important ones. Higher level characters can handle most routine encounters without issue, and playing them out takes away precious game time, especially when you only play now and then.

As far as ideas, pick your adversary and build around it. What would your end target level be? That will be a factor in choosing your end game (or at least your "end adventure").
 

tglassy

Adventurer
To be honest, I’d love them to go to lvl 20 and beyond.

Taking a more narrative approach is interesting. Doing Tomb of Annihilation might fit, but my brother, one of the players, is a DM and he really wanted to run that for us at some point, so I’ll talk to him about that. Maybe I can hand the reigns over to him and play for a change.
 

6ENow!

The Game Is Over
I've liked it. Of course, as DM, I would then use milestone leveling and not worry about the XP awards. I always thought of it like a book, each level of accomplishment being a chapter in the story. It also allows you to advance the group at the pace you want.
 

aco175

Legend
Pick a good monster that can level with the PCs and build around that. You can have a demon plot or a elemental plot. I once made a construct BBEG and had a bunch of modified monsters to scale. Best thing was that the players did not know how tough the constructs were going to be.

A good idea may be to have the town the PCs were in transport to a new land like FR. This was some of the same locals and NPCs are around instead of having everything be new. The lord of the new place now has a town and farms in his kingdom to deal with and collect taxes from, but also has the town telling him how powerful and heroic the PCs are. Just in time for the new threat from the neighboring kingdom sending demons across the mountain passes.
 

S'mon

Legend
If you're willing to do a bit of conversion, 1e AD&D Ravenloft 2: The House on Gryphon Hill is perfect for this situation.
 

Satyrn

First Post
You could have them do some crazy dungeon crawling through Undermountain with Dungeon of the Mad Mage . . . By having them enter through Stardock. And when they're not in the dungeon, they could spelljammer around a surprisingly significantly populated asteroid belt in a ship that lacks faster than light travel.
 

Brashnir2

First Post
There are definitely pre-packaged adventures that start at level 11.

That said, I've always found that building my own adventures is more rewarding. My suggestion for doing so is to build the campaign in such a way that there is an inflection point, which usually happens off screen - unbeknownst to the players - that sets a ball rolling. This is usually, but not always a villain doing or planning something villainous.

As an example, in the last campaign arc I ran, the wife of one of the local nobles was an impostor. She was an agent sent by the Githyanki to break 6 ancient seals with protected the land from invasion from other planes. This particular part of the world was an area where a bunch of magical ley lines converged, and the seals were placed at particular junctions of these lines. The countess hired the players to destroy these seals, but lied to them about their mission. They were told that they were in fact repairing the seals.

So they went off on adventure after adventure to break these seals, and I put clues in front of them that these seals maybe weren't actually sealing, by doing things like sucking them through a portal after they "repaired" them. But they didn't put the clues together, until eventually they came across the guardian of the 4th seal, who was being very cagey with them, and through conversation, he told them that the seals were supposed to be a certain color when sealed, and the party realized they were turning them a different color.

At this point they decided to turn around and confront the villain, but made the mistake(?) of going through a forest which was destroyed by a calamity in the past (also related to these seals) in which the barrier between the material plane and the feywild was almost non-existent. They spent a week traversing the forest, and when I had them roll a die to see the time-dilation results of their feywild excursion, they got a really bad roll that resulted in days becoming months, so now 6 months have passed in the real world since they set off.

During this 6 months, the villain moved her plan forward with another adventuring party that I had set up as rivals to the players. These adventurers were 100% loyal to the Countess and knew what was really happening. So instead of the final confrontation being something which stopped the Countess from destroying the seals (my original expectation when setting up the arc in the beginning), the final confrontation ended up being at the site of the portal, and it opening on the party as they were trying to stop it from happening by killing the githyanki around the site.

So the party got sucked into the Astral Plane, had some encounters, and eventually ran into an Astral vessel with the Countess (now in her true Githyanki form) and the rival adventuring party on it. They fought and killed them, and then plane shifted out of the Astral Plane.

That's where the arc ended, and now I'm working on the follow-up, which will involve dealing with the mess that has now occurred.


But back to the process of setting up a campaign - I typed all that out above because I wanted to explain how the campaign got to be what it became. I started with the Villain and her plan. Once that was established, I worked out a rough sketch of where I expected things to go, based on three possibilities.

1 - The party follows along with the obvious path presented to them
2 - The party actively goes against the obvious path presented to them
3 - The party completely ignores the obvious path presented to them

And once I come up with those, I try to decide if all three of those possibilites are fun.

1 - The party follows the countess to the end and open the portal - fun
2 - The party learns they are being duped, and try to stop the plan - very fun, and almost what happened
3 - The party goofs off on some other treasure-hunting adventures and ignores the countess (or accidentally loses 6 months in the feywild) and a giant portal to the Astral Plane opens, and Githyanki and Red Dragons pour into the world creating a huge mess - The most fun and what actually happened. I'm currently outlining the follow-up campaign as I type this.

If your premise doesn't seem fun in all three contexts, well, it's time to workshop some ideas to make it fun in all three. You don't have to build out all the details of each branch. You only really need detail for the first couple sessions worth of material. Build the immediate adventure, know what the Villain(s) are planning, and who the major players are.

Everything past the first couple sessions is just a rough outline, since if your players are anything like mine you never know what they will decide to do. Once you know what the driving issue is behind the campaign, it becomes easy to adjust to player actions when they stray from the main thread. (That BBEG isn't just going to sit in his dungeon waiting for the players to come kill him. He has plans. Have him act on those plans in ways that affect the party.)

For the campaign described above, I started with the town they would be working out of, Created the Countess, Count (unwitting bystander) and Captain of the Guard (who was also an unwitting bystander) who was the direct liason between the players and the Countess.

I decided that there would be 6 seals, and decided they they would be themed to Air, Earth, Water, Fire, Light and Dark. I placed them in the world such that Air, Water, and Light would be accessible overland, while Earth, Fire and Dark would all require a trek into the Underdark. I decided that all of them would be guarded by good or neutral creatures(except the final one deep in the Underdark, which had already been corrupted by the Drow), but the early ones would be difficult or impossible to communicate with. I only designed the Air "dungeon" to begin with, since that was the first one the party would be hired to destroy.

And that's all you really need to start up a campaign arc. An overall tension, and an immediate adventure with a handful of important NPCs. The rest can be filled in as you go. I didn't know when I started that the Countess was going to be a Gith. My original idea was an Erinyes, but the Gith idea became a lot more appealing after the trip to the feywild put Option 3 on the board. Also, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes came out around then which reminded me how cool Gith are.

You can also go with a more simple setup where you send the characters on a discrete adventure every session and they aren't really connected in any tangible way, but I find it much more interesting to build something that takes a long time to become clear to the players. They also seem to really enjoy it.
 
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Quartz

Adventurer
Part of the problem is they are all level 11, and most of the other campaigns start you out at lvl 1-3 and never even get past lvl 11. So that means I'm probably going to have to make something myself.

Look at some of the mini-campaigns in Dungeon. Spawn of Sehan and Shadows of Istivin come to mind. Or, at level 11 they're not too late to start GDQ1-7.
 

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