Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quattro con Carnage - Hometown Heroes-in-Training




Almost Ready



It's almost time to unleash the fury of my players on this crazy, 4-in-1, old school campaign.  Over the last couple of weeks I've been sharing blog posts about campaign design, maps, and character creation, in the hopes of giving you at least a small glimpse into the convoluted mess that is called "Jim's Brain."  Now, with just a day before we kick off this grand experiment, all the planning and preparation is entering a new phase of design: the campaign introduction.  


I consider the first few adventures of a campaign to be an extension of early campaign design.  Campaign design never ends.  Sure, the game-master is handing over a lot of the creative energies to the players when the campaign begins, but solid work should still continue as the game progresses, especially in those critical early games.  Expect whatever you want from those player characters when you see them on paper, but until you've met them in-game, you have no idea what kind of train wreck awaits your storyline until you see them in action.  

For the first adventure I always have a lot of materials prepared, and try to provide as much story and flavor as possible to the starting locale and any non-player characters.  This is especially critical when I'm crafting a sandbox campaign.  Rather than giving the players a story on rails tomorrow, I'm going to be handing them the keys to a small town called Zerlina's Rest.  I want the town and its residents to come to life for the players, and give them the feeling that anything is possible.  I'm spinning character connections, adventure hooks, side-quests, obvious allies, potential villains, and a clear flavor for this campaign all in the very first sessions.  I've combed through dozens of Dungeon Magazines and old adventure books that I have, and have chosen and modified several that can occur nearby, of which the players will need to choose which direction to go.  Those paths they don't take may even lead to some unlikely ramifications.

To put this in video game terms, I want this to be a truly open world.  

So without further adieu, let me introduce you to the first four player characters in this rather unique romp.



Dramatis Personae con Carnage


Umbrin, played by Jeremy
A guard-for-hire from Tannryth once in the employee of a wealthy Archon

  • Human Fighter
  • Level: 3
  • Alignment: Neutral
  • Str: 14,  Int: 10,  Wis: 10,  Dex: 12,  Con: 11,  Cha: 12  
  • Hit Points:  13
  • GM Note:  The first picture that Jeremy sent me of Umbrin was the 8-bit, fire-haired fighter from Final Fantasy 1.  When I started working on the backstory for the first adventure, I named the 7th Archon of Tannryth "Rand Lavos".  Rand is the name of my first fighter from Final Fantasy 1.

Lomman Senan, played by Marc
A devout crusader of Ogmios looking enforce some "justice healing"

  • Human Cleric
  • Level: 3
  • Alignment: Lawful
  • Str: 10,  Int: 12,  Wis: 17,  Dex: 8,  Con: 10,  Cha: 9 
  • Hit Points:  14
  • GM Note:  Marc came up with an incredible backstory based on his class and gear.  Lomman's uncle Callum was an adventuring cleric and crusader who perished in "some ancient catacombs."  When Lomman brought back the remains, he took up his uncle's mace (Ogmios' Gavel of Light) to do some "justice healing".  As an FYI, I don't know what "justice healing" is, but Marc brought it up in an important G+ conversation, so we're going to figure its some kind of special unwritten power.  

Rydian Ornitiar, played by Andy
An Aarenian relic-hunter who longs to recover a lost family artifact

  • Elf Fighter/Magic-User
  • Level: 2/2
  • Alignment: Lawful
  • Str: 13,  Int: 18,  Wis: 8,  Dex: 15,  Con: 12,  Cha: 8
  • Hit Points:  13
  • GM Note:  Andy dove head first into the Final Fantasy games for backstory surrounding Rydian.  His elf's name resembles a certain caller/summoner from Final Fantasy 4, he's dressed like Vivi from Final Fantasy 9, and he's searching for an ancestral artifact known as the "Cat's Claw", which he says was in Final Fantasy 1.  Andy's a bit bummed that Basic Fantasy RPG doesn't allow for Final Fantasy 7 or 8 style summoning abilities.  

Jorin Everlast, played by Craig
A pilfering initiate to the Embrace who just "made bones" 

  • Halfling Rogue
  • Level: 3
  • Alignment: Neutral
  • Str: 14,  Int: 9,  Wis: 10,  Dex: 16,  Con: 12,  Cha: 11
  • Hit Points:  10
  • GM Note:  The term "Made Bones" came straight from Craig.  He wanted to play a member of the Halfling Mafia, and we came up with "the Embrace."  Rumors say that the higher ranking members of the Embrace are actually undead.  No one outside of the organization has ever proven this to be true… yet.  Thanks Craig for giving me some campaign ideas! 

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All of the fun so far: