Hello there. Here I am again with another campaign diary for my Dungeons and Dragons campaign that I’m running for a group of my colleagues at Ubisoft Quebec. This week the party recovered from their ambush on the road. They levelled up their characters for the first time and started to progress their characters. They also reached the town of Red Larch, where they interacted with a bunch of NPCs, had some down time, and looked into helping the locals with their issues.
One of my goals when moving to Quebec late last year was to make sure I continued writing RPG campaigns and dungeon mastering games. I had decided that I would get a PC and simply run games online for friends back home, and other people on the internet, but what I really wanted to do was find a local group. I had this grand campaign idea in my head that I really wanted to write and play, so I wanted a group of friends that I could sit around a table and run it for. Luckily, working in the games industry means I’m usually not short of a nerd or two who wants to play in a D&D campaign. After running a successful Christmas themed one-off session for some of my new colleagues, I realized I had found a good group to play with.
Storm of Death is the name of my four part epic Dungeons & Dragons campaign. It takes place in the Forgotten Realms, and sees the players travel from the sword coast, all the way to the Anauroch Desert in the east, and to realms beyond. It’s divided into four, twenty four hour chapters, each containing four parts. This format allows me to structure the sessions properly, and makes designing narrative arcs much easier. It also enables the campaign to become modular in nature, so that when I publish it online, other groups can use some or all of the modules based on their needs. The campaign is designed as a complete campaign experience, taking characters from level 1 all the way to level 20. It can, however, be used by existing groups by picking one of the chapters and playing through it as a self contained adventure arc. I started the campaign on the 7th February, and we’ll be playing bi-weekly. I decided I wanted to record the play through on my blog so people can follow along, or see how my group played through it.
I’ve been running role playing campaigns for many years now. I think the first one I did was for my school friends when I was around fourteen, or fifteen. It was a Warhammer Fantasy Role play campaign I think, or D&D, I can’t quite remember. What I do remember though, is that I barely did any preparation. I just went in there, rolled characters, and started setting a scene. It went okay for a few sessions as I just threw combat encounters at them, but we started to lose momentum around the fifth wave of goblins!
I realized that my campaign, whilst functional, had no deeper meaning. There was no story to be told here other than the murder of goblins. I realized quite quickly that my campaigns needed to be planned better if I was going to keep players interested in what I had to offer them. Far forward some fifteen years later, and my campaign planning starts months before.
I’m about to start a brand new campaign with a group of my colleagues, so I thought it would be fun to share some of the methods I use to prepare for running a role playing campaign.