Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Campaign Spark - A Blue Dragon Egg

So way back when before Paizo started running their RPG Superstar contest, they ran a one-time deal: pitch us an adventure outline based on a few things (town named Azurestone, wilderness adventure, etc).

I was fortunate enough to be one of the ten finalists out of little more than a 150 contestants.

The reward? Write a full blown adventure proposal.

I ultimately lost out to David Schwartz’s piece: the well-written Flight of the Red Raven (this was the title of the piece regardless the winner).

These past few days I’ve been cleaning up some files on the ol’ computer and came across my adventure outline. I liked what I wrote, though I also see some of the inherent failings. Ultimately I had a good idea that I didn’t live up to in the plotting of the piece. I went way too heavy in combat encounters for a 32 page module.

Running parallel to this urge to clean the files on my computer has been an urge to start crafting a 4e campaign for when my current Pathfinder campaign ends.

Why not merge the two together?

While I’ve lost the adventure pitch for this piece, I’ll put a summary here and expand throughout the course of this blog. Kind of a behind the scenes of prepping a campaign.

Let me stress that this adventure idea is just that – an adventure. It may lead into the campaign arc, but it is not the end-all-be-all of the upcoming campaign.

Bluesky Vale is a bustling little artist’s community. Founded by a legendary bard, the town his home to a legendary school of the arts and is renowned for the many splendid paintings, sculptures, and songs of its inhabitants. Nestled against the shores of Lake Iriel, Bluesky Vale is an idyllic and peaceful community.

However, what secures that peace is truly unique. Resting in the center of town is a magically preserved blue dragon egg – the scion of the ruthless blue, Shassurtha, that lays claim to the Three-Spear Peaks a few days north of town. Fear of this egg being destroyed has not only kept the dragon from destroying the town, but has also held in check kobolds, bandits, and other monstrosities from savaging the village for fear of attracting the mighty Blue’s wrath.

But things are about to change.

A village rapscallion with dreams of grandeur has cut a bargain with the mighty Shassurtha for a legendary item that will win him respect and fame. All he has to do is steal the egg for her . . .

Tomorrow I will go into the backstory of the town a bit more and the adventure synopsis. After that, I’ll start tying it into the main campaign arc and populating our lovely homebase for the PCs.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Picked Pockets - Spirits of Eden

I am a big game jumper. Sometimes I am dissatisfied with 4e, sometimes with Pathfinder . . . sometimes I want to sulk in the World of Darkness, other times I want to watch my friends die in Warhammer . . .

By the by, if you read this blog, but not his, you need to readdress your reading priorities.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Picked Pockets - RolePlaying Pro

Going to Spain tomorrow. Won’ t be back until 5/22. Then that weekend is burdened with 3 freelance projects (2 greenlights, 1 query).
However, as I want to keep up on the blogging. I wanted to leave a few quick hit blogs in absentia.
These blogs won’t be anything too involved, but will likely be 4e centric (it is what is on my brain right now). As a matter of fact they will be links to archived stuff of 4e blogs I always find useful.                                   

Roleplaying Pro is the site behind these great ideas; they seem to have recently lost a bit of steam, or I’ve just become less aware of their recent postings. Either way  - too bad – they rock.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Hip Deep in Gnomes and Faeries

Took a week off to work on some project before I go to Madrid for a week . . . So this is the beginning of roughly 10 posts or so that will be posted in my absence.

First off all good news for Pathfinder fans: The Fey Folio (#1 at EN World’s RPGnow site!) will be published for Pathfinder as well ~ the process of converting and transitioning these from 4e is interesting to say the least. But I’ll leave that little snippet at that for now.
To say I’ve been up to my eyeballs in fey lately is an understatement.
1. Wrote the Fey Folio
2. Converting the Fey Folio
3. Playtester/Senior Patron (looks like some of my baddies, ideas will be in the final version) on Wolfgang Baur’s Courts of the Shadow Fey (4e)
4. A Senior Patron (absentee unfortunately) on Tim Connor’s Tales of Old Margreve.
Oh . . . and my dog looks like a sad gnome.

Moving on . . .

One thing I wanted to discuss with my selection of creatures for the Fey Folio is where they came from – my last post deals with that a bit, and if you’ve read those links and have the product, I doubt it is very obtuse to you how things came to be.
So instead let’s talk about the philosophy behind the Fey Folio and other things I’ve brewing.
Read the Jack-in-Irons entry of the folio. Now read the dullahan, fachen, spriggan, and GM section (including the skill challenge).
I’d like to think there is a lot of material to work with there.
My goal, and my desire, for ‘monster manual’ type products is to go a bit deeper than simply presenting stat blocks and tactics for creatures you may fight. I want them to feel rounded; I want them to be wellsprings from which a story, adventure, or campaign could emerge from.
Jack-in-Irons’ unique story and his connection to many of the other fey allow me to do that. The DM who uses this material gets a story upon which to seat a lot of these fey. Interrelations are explored, desires of the creatures are given, and items are included to help the GM make use of this book as more than a collection of bad guys.
A recent reader mentioned how sweet it would be if I could release the xml files to these monsters so that someone could incorporate them directly into the monster builder.
I agree. That would be sweet. However, I imagine that some form of legality must be navigated to do that. It may be something I broach with the publisher, or wait to hear from WotC for. If allowed, I could see this being the new wave of 4e publishing.
However, I know the total epic sweetness of DDI’s suite of tools may deter some buyers of 3rd party products that aren’t adventures. I still implore you to check out the Fey Folio. It is a PDF, so cutting statblocks and pasting them into your pages, or, however, you run your game, should not be too difficult. Also, at most it would take 5 minutes to plot the info yourself into DDI’s Monster Builder.
Let me leave you with a review from everyone’s favorite internet persona – Wyatt Salazar . . .

Till next time.