View Full Version : [3.5... ish] Atypical Campaign

2011-09-09, 04:36 PM
I'm starting up a new campaign soon, in the next week or so, and I have an atypical idea for the way the campaign will go. Rather than be adventurers on a mystical quest, they're farmers, blacksmiths, and merchants, escaping their doomed plane to a plane which might support them. The idea was inspired by another person's post on these boards, though I can't remember what it was called for the life of me.

In any case, I'm letting the players have a lot of freedom in this game. They will mostly be choosing everything themselves, from where to begin building the town, what surrounding areas to explore, and what resources to not only stock up, but also what to use.

Now, I intend to have a bunch of NPCs who will be the other inhabitants of the town, and they will not only all have backstories and the like, but will also have personalities and their own ideas about how the town should be made, and defended, and all those questions. So, this will be a different sort of campaign.

My question for the Playgrounders is twofold:

First, does anyone know how many people would be needed to reinvigorate a population? IE, how many people are needed to repopulate a species? I want the town to have enough people to theoretically repopulate their world without becoming inbred freaks.

Second, I intend to randomize the exploration of the world around them, or at least semi-randomize it. As such, I'm beginning to create lists of randomly determined biomes, more specific locales, and obstacles. They aren't finished yet, and I'm open for ideas, so I was wondering if people had some ideas for cool encounters.

Now, in terms of level, I'll be starting at 1st level, so that it's more dangerous. We'll see how fast they level.

2011-09-09, 04:41 PM
Thought I should post this before my thread gets moved...

In terms of mechanics, and why I put this thread here and not in the World Building forum, is the randomization, but also creatures. I'm looking for ideas for atypical fauna and flora, maybe even other intelligent species. I like the idea that this is a new, alien world, ripe to be explored, but strange.

2011-09-09, 04:42 PM
Finally, reserved for my randomization statistics.

2011-09-09, 04:55 PM
I'm looking for ideas for atypical fauna and flora, maybe even other intelligent species. I like the idea that this is a new, alien world, ripe to be explored, but strange.

Ooh, I very much look forward to seeing what you come up with.

A string of random ideas:

Mess with skeletal structures. Don't assume anything needs a backbone. However, lack of backbone doesn't necessarily mean exoskeleton or lack of skeleton. Things like a diamond-shaped skeletal frame, potentially with joints at the corners would allow for some very peculiar creatures. Just start mentally moving things around until you get something unique and interesting that you like.

Mess with the laws of physics. Have varying gravity areas. Have random bubbles of air under water. Have tunnels that traverse distances they couldn't possibly traverse. Have portals that don't look like portals. Pretty much anything to enforce what a weird place this is. For bonus points, be consistent with your weirdness, which in turn implies that there are underlying principles at play.

Add weird entities. Not everything moving needs to be a standard creature. Have things like spirits - interacting with the world but not being seen themselves. These could be personifications of various forces (the wind, music, greed, war, etc.). These entities could potentially be befriended or angered by the players, quite possibly without their knowledge.

I wish you the best of luck.

2011-09-09, 05:13 PM
If I recall correctly, a race need at least 72-76 members to repopulate a species successfully without falling to inbreeding.

2011-09-09, 08:45 PM
I was definitely planning on weird laws of physics areas, 'cause those are just fun, but the different backbone idea... I need to brush up on my His Dark Materials Trilogy.

70ish, huh? My research seems to be pointing towards 50, so that seems reasonable. I think I'll make the town itself begin with 30 or so NPCs, and then introduce new ones as time goes on. Foreigners can be great breeding stock (not to mention outsiders, dragons, and elementals...).

Now, here's what I'm thinking for in terms of randomization. First, we separate things into biomes. I like biomes, and they give a good baseline. If we set that up now...

Biomes|Percent Chance

I'm leaving the percentage out for the moment, 'cause I'm not sure how I want to work it thus far. But, in any case, that covers the fairly terrestrial biomes, except for variation. The two most obvious types of variation are elevation and temperature. So, we construct a nice little table for that...

{table=head]Temperature|Percent Chance

{table=head]Elevation|Percent Chance
High Above Sea Level|
Above Sea Level|
Sea Level|
Below Sea Level|
Far Below Sea Level|

Without research into actual elevations, I'll just use these five designations for the moment. It should be adequate enough for my purposes.

Now, what we have here is a basic list of possible biomes, as well as differentiation based on temperature and elevation. Some don't make much sense (a mountain far below sea level?), but could actually exist, given odd circumstances.

But, these are all normal, terrestrial landscapes. Being a D&D world, odd things are possible. I am looking for some of those oddities, but I have some of my own ideas for them, which I'll list here.

{table=head]Biome|Percent Chance
Undersea Bubble|
Giant Geode|

Those are all I have in mind for now, but I'm sure I can come up with more.

In any case, that seems fairly good for a basic list. However, my love of randomization is too much to contain. I wish for even more. Therefore, my next course of action will be to create sub-lists for possible unique locales within each Biome. Ideas, as always, are greatly appreciated.

2011-09-09, 09:12 PM
I know this isn't what you're exactly looking for, but it's on topic. Most animals need about 200 individuals to start a healthy population, less if they're very diverse. Humans, with our weird susceptibility to inbreeding, need more like 600, or we end up with some unusual recessive traits becoming common. If anyone actually studies this and wants to dispute me, please do.

2011-09-09, 09:46 PM
On townmaking; while making the town don't forget to add children(14 or younger) and (56 or older)elders, not as many of them as adults(15-55), but it makes sense for a town to have a few, in addidtion, adding a few work animals or food animals as resources could help the town survive at lower levels.

For odd landscape features; perhaps some sort of giant flying plant?, like a spore crossed with a tumble weed, or a tree with insect wings edit; nevermind about the tree with wings, I can't actually think of how it could be used as terrian.

2011-09-09, 09:50 PM
Weird creatures? Try things with combinations of Endo and Exo skeletons. I'd post a picture of what I mean, but I'd have to draw it first :smalltongue:
Try eliminating the back-bone, like Welknair said. Nothing says anything had to come from the same roots that yielded those, does it?
Alternatively, try "Split" backbones, Vertebrae with an obvious "Y" shape, although that's been done before with the Hydra, and anything else with more than one head/neck. Try inverting the "Y" into a "^". Maybe make the frame sideways instead of forwards, and try non-standard limbs, or even eliminate limbs. Try looping the frame around into a big ring, but rather than making it roll, lay the ring out horizontal, stretch the creature to fill in the "hole" you would assume with a ring frame, and give it some big suction cup/Pseudopod so that it "suctions" to the ground, then slams down, pushing air down and out, lifting it up to jump a long distance (Flipping over is optional. Bonus points if you figure out how to FEASIBLY keep it from flipping, and put it's mouth on one side and teeth on the other).

Weird plants, just watch "Avatar". Not the one with the benders, the one with the blue skinned guys.

Realms of Chaos
2011-09-09, 11:13 PM
As far as plants, I've got a few interesting ideas that may work. The following are examples:

1. Galescrub: A common weed that spreads its seeds with even the gentlest breeze, Galescrub appears to be edible but tastes foul if eaten dry. If dampened, however, it acquires a rich taste and can be eaten whole or be ground into an oatmeal-like paste (a possible staple crop).

2. Asgril: This fruit, to the contrary, tastes simply delicious, though it has low nutritional value. If eaten regularly for at least a week, most creatures develop an addiction to Asgril (this could be trouble if citizens want to start replacing actual food crops with more asgril or if the PCs have to "detox" most of the population).

3. Tangleweed: Whenever anything brushes past a tangleweed, it sticks to the weed as it bends around the impediment. Most creatures are strong enough to keep walking and pull the weeds out by the roots as they go along but each square of tangleweed counts as difficult terrain (undergrowth in field form)

4. Angler's Flotsam: These clumps of free-floating plantlife slowly "paddle" their way through the ocean using feeble pseudopodia. If gathered, it can be used as a vegetable and has a mild taste (a plant for fishermen to go after and larger ones may be actual creatures).

5. Bright-Berries: These small white berries protect their seeds with three pockets of separate poison, one of which is blue and causes rashes, one of which is red and causes dilirium in large amounts, and one if which is yellow and induces vomitting (separated out, provides pigmentation for other purposes).

6. Borns: These ripe fruit, slightly larger than a watermellon, actually serves as the "egg" of a larger plant creature. If eaten, the fruit has a remarkably sweet fruity taste but has the chewy consistency of meat.

7. Turtle-Bush: While this bush spends most of its time basking in the alien sun like a normal plant, its root system is large and mostly hallowed out. If enough pressure if put on the bush or something attempts to eat it, most of the bush retreats into its own root system, hiding like a turtle in its shell.

8. Crystal Apples: Completely unrelated to apples, these rare, inedible fruits are named only for their basic size and shape. More powerful creatures are capable of chewing crystal apples and have something of a taste for it, though it can also be used as jewelry if properly cut.

9. Colony Root: This root resembles a normal potato in both basic appearance and taste. Unlike normal potatoes, however, colony root grows at an amazing rate and forms vast underground networks. Some section of colony root are also known to be home to swarms of small stinging insects.

10. The Walking Tree: Much like some plants of the material plane, walking trees can move over time. Walking trees, however, move at an outstanding rate, moving 10 feet each round in a straight line. A DC 20 strength check is needed to change the path of a walking tree in motion (more if it is particularly large) and the walking tree can make Strength checks with a +10 bonus to break obstacles in its way.

2011-09-10, 05:00 AM
I think I remember feartheboot mentioning a game called Reign that had macro and micro mixed play.

2011-09-10, 05:24 AM
OK, with regards to your very first question:

First, does anyone know how many people would be needed to reinvigorate a population? IE, how many people are needed to repopulate a species? I want the town to have enough people to theoretically repopulate their world without becoming inbred freaks.
Approximately 200 if you have a diverse ethnic genepool and you selectively breed for at least 3 generations. If you're looking at a population of nothing but the same ethnicity, then it's more like 350+ with no more than 40% males.