D&D 5E Where's the Villain? and other musings. Why some published campaigns are great and some aren't (Spoiler alerts)

Autumnal

Bruce Baugh, Writer of Fortune
Total agreement. I had a rat bastard old school style GM that loved punishing the players. So, was oddly dumbfounded when they never wanted to travel anywhere because it was stupidly dangerous to do so, and their kingdom went the hell if they were not back in time as well.

There is definitely a difference in facilitating play, and carrot and stick philosophy to game mastery.
So many GMs are baffled by the idea that they get what they reward. And that if they reward nothing, the players will choose nothing.
 

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TheSword

Legend
Have been reading a very interesting campaign layout in King For A Day.

1. Introduction - covering basic setup, culture, legal system, some glossary bits and a general overview of what’s going on.

2. Gazetteer - with about 50+ locations each described in varying levels of detail but importantly references to plot lines that might involve that area

3. NPCs - about 200 characters that inhabit the world of varying levels of importance referencing the various plot lines they may be involved with.

4. Plot lines - Several dozen plots that occur with full reference to the characters and locations they may involve.

5. Conclusion - with some designer notes and a possible finale.

Very interesting structure. I think it would be straight forward enough to run on VTT if it was all at my finger tips and I’d read through a few times. Very interesting structure, never really seen anything like it before.
 
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Quickleaf

Legend
Have been reading a very interesting campaign layout in King For A Day.

1. Introduction - covering basic setup, culture, legal system, some glossary bits and a general overview of what’s going on.

2. Gazetteer - with about 50+ locations each described in varying levels of detail but importantly references to plot lines that might involve that area

3. NPCs - about 200 characters that inhabit the world of varying levels of importance referencing the various plot lines they may be involved with.

4. Plot lines - Several dozen plots that occur with full reference to the characters and locations they may involve.

5. Convulsion - with some designer notes and a possible finale.

Very interesting structure. I think it would be straight forward enough to run on VTT if it was all at my finger tips and I’d read through a few times. Very interesting structure, never really seen anything like it before.
Sounds like the "adventure setting" approach, but on a massive level. Pretty cool.

Do they have a map / flowchart /diagram of the various plot lines?
 

Have been reading a very interesting campaign layout in King For A Day.

1. Introduction - covering basic setup, culture, legal system, some glossary bits and a general overview of what’s going on.

2. Gazetteer - with about 50+ locations each described in varying levels of detail but importantly references to plot lines that might involve that area

3. NPCs - about 200 characters that inhabit the world of varying levels of importance referencing the various plot lines they may be involved with.

4. Plot lines - Several dozen plots that occur with full reference to the characters and locations they may involve.

5. Convulsion - with some designer notes and a possible finale.

Very interesting structure. I think it would be straight forward enough to run on VTT if it was all at my finger tips and I’d read through a few times. Very interesting structure, never really seen anything like it before.
It's a very, very similar approach I'm using for "The Shardlight Epic," which is a 1-20 create-your-own-campaign I'm putting in an upcoming book. IMO this is one of the best ways to deliver campaign information because it makes it out to be a kit you can easily build from, with plenty of references to everything else.
 

TheSword

Legend
Sounds like the "adventure setting" approach, but on a massive level. Pretty cool.

Do they have a map / flowchart /diagram of the various plot lines?
It does not but it does identify some core/major/important plot lines locations and npcs.

I must admit I like it. Not going to discuss the adventure itself as it is definitely DM only stuff and I wouldn’t want to spoil anything but it’s a very detailed well thought out Anglo-Saxon era adventure. It definitely fulfills the well detailed open world element that I think is so crucial.
 

Have been reading a very interesting campaign layout in King For A Day.

1. Introduction - covering basic setup, culture, legal system, some glossary bits and a general overview of what’s going on.

2. Gazetteer - with about 50+ locations each described in varying levels of detail but importantly references to plot lines that might involve that area

3. NPCs - about 200 characters that inhabit the world of varying levels of importance referencing the various plot lines they may be involved with.

4. Plot lines - Several dozen plots that occur with full reference to the characters and locations they may involve.

5. Conclusion - with some designer notes and a possible finale.

Very interesting structure. I think it would be straight forward enough to run on VTT if it was all at my finger tips and I’d read through a few times. Very interesting structure, never really seen anything like it before.
Yes, there are a variety of different ways you can set out adventure material. I think it's unfortunate that WotC have settled on one and use it continuously, because it means that style is passed on to others as the "right" way to do it.

What I like to see is different approaches, and different voices. Which is why I maintain that Radiant Citadel is the best thing WotC have put out recently. There is a chance for individual voices to shine through, rather than everything be Perkinized.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Yes, there are a variety of different ways you can set out adventure material. I think it's unfortunate that WotC have settled on one and use it continuously, because it means that style is passed on to others as the "right" way to do it.

What I like to see is different approaches, and different voices. Which is why I maintain that Radiant Citadel is the best thing WotC have put out recently. There is a chance for individual voices to shine through, rather than everything be Perkinized.

Haven't read Radiant Citadel. How does it compare with Candlekeep (owned) or Golden Vault (also unfamiliar).

Think Wild Beyond Witchlight was last one I bought. Used to get them essentially free/$6.
 

Haven't read Radiant Citadel. How does it compare with Candlekeep (owned) or Golden Vault (also unfamiliar).

Think Wild Beyond Witchlight was last one I bought. Used to get them essentially free/$6.
Candlekeep feels Perkinised, he was a bit heavy handed with the editing. The individual adventures in Golden Vault follow a format, so don't have the same variety. It is very very inspired by the Mission Impossible TV series, down to each episode following the same formula. RC is the best of the set.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Candlekeep feels Perkinised, he was a bit heavy handed with the editing. The individual adventures in Golden Vault follow a format, so don't have the same variety. It is very very inspired by the Mission Impossible TV series, down to each episode following the same formula. RC is the best of the set.

The arts a turn off for me. Had a quick flick through and the hook didn't interest me much. Didn't like Candlekeeps hook much either but some of the individual adventures were good.

Couple reminded me of the old Dungeon magazine adventures.
 

The arts a turn off for me. Had a quick flick through and the hook didn't interest me much. Didn't like Candlekeeps hook much either but some of the individual adventures were good.

Couple reminded me of the old Dungeon magazine adventures.
I've only used them to drop into ongoing campaigns, I've never run them as a single continuous campaign, so have never used the provided "hook" - which is tenuous anyway.
 

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