Monday, May 3, 2010

The Wilderness of Bones

We played another session of Apocalypse D&D the other night and it went great! I'll have an AP for it soon, I hope.

I plan for this to be a year where I really develop an approach to game mastering that works for me. The next step in this process is going to be to come up with the kind of campaign that gives me the kind of play I want. The campaign I'm looking for has a specific scope (say 5-10 levels), lots of freedom of movement, but with plenty of places for me to prepare stuff for the players to encounter. I'm thinking of it as a sort of hybrid sandbox campaign style.

The new campaign will start with a map (The Wilderness of Bones, which I'm almost done creating already). I'll drop a half-dozen or so as-yet unpublished microdungeons into the map in specific locations. Then I'll seed the environment with a few hooks, rumors, and connections for the players to discover. Then I'll cut them loose and see what they do.

Microdungeons work well for this because they're small enough that I can sketch them out, then fill in the prep when the players get close. Knowing basically what dungeons are out there makes it easy for me to spin rumors and make connections between what the characters are doing and what's already out there. A few of the dungeons also have some consequences for the world if the players don't go there, like (minor spoiler) a trade route to the main campaign town that gets disrupted as the monster infestation increases.

There's also a dungeon that wanders around, and one whose location is likely to greatly surprise the adventurers. I'm very excited! When I'm done, I hope to have the bare bones of a publishable campaign setting as well. We'll see where the journey takes us.

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Blogger Ben Wray said...

This sounds totally sweet.

I also dig the potential of some microdungeons to be dropped in an existing megadungeon structure, resulting in that sort of Nightmare Fractal pattern I described in a story-games post so so long ago. Like, Kobold Trickery, that one Mad Sculptor one, a few of the others if you replace cave entrances with openings to some Greater Corridor Network. I'd totally dig seeing a "subdungeon" week, or even month, maybe.

May 3, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Blogger Lanth said...

I love the idea of scattering partially-prepped dungeons around a sandbox world. I might give something like that a try myself.

I would definitely be interested in the campaign setting you end up developing during play; your dungeons always come with plenty of intriguing hooks.

May 28, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks! I'm pretty excited about making some mini-campaigns. I'm going to be publishing something in the near future. Shhh....

May 30, 2010 at 10:31 AM


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