View Full Version : D&D 5e/Next Devil Rise (Campaign Thoughts)

2018-11-11, 08:13 PM
If you want to maintain a sandbox feel, I'd suggest building up something like the way a typical Bioware or Elder Scrolls RPG unfolds: a central storyline with a handful of quests, and then a sandbox-like set of sidequests that the party can explore or not, as is their wont. Just make sure that the central storyline proceeds slowly enough that the PCs could resolve a few sidequests in between, but inexorably enough that they have to pay it some attention (unlike a Bioware or Elder Scrolls game, where they can resume the main quest at their leisure).

Even better, by doing this the challenges in the central storyline can follow one of the principles of sandbox play, which is that challenges aren't automatically balanced against the PCs' capabilities. The PCs might find that some of their initial clashes against the drow are very unfavourable, and that they need to find allies or gain strength through sidequests (that they choose).

Composer99 had a good post in another thread. I'd like to expand on this and work on it.

The specific details (notably Drow) aren't important, simply pertaining to the thread this post spawned from.

So, the idea is, obviously, that we have a main plot. This plot moves slowly, but steadily, and HAS to be addressed, if not right now. Then, there should be plenty of sidequests, with them sometimes being all but mandatory (though which ones are is not-you could do quests A, B, and C, or F, G, and H, or A, H, and Z, etc. etc.) to get the needed resources to proceed.

I'd like to address sidequests first. So I will.


I think that they should be broken up into three main categories: Alliance, resource, and power.

Alliance quests get you reputation and favors in places, allowing you to have people to draw upon and armies at your beck and call, eventually.
Resource quests get you items-probably magical ones-that will aid you in your goals.
Power quests are the ones that level you up directly.

In order to make power quests an actual thing, I think how levels work will have to be changed a bit. You don't just suddenly level up, mid-dungeon, and gain new spells. You have to take time to train, and, when you reach further heights of power, undertake quests to improve your powers.

Which is not to say leveling up should be SOLELY the province of the quests. Especially early on, I'd say that leveling up should simply be a downtime thing. But starting Tier 2 (levels 5-10), you'd need a trainer to level up in a timely fashion. (Trainer does NOT necessarily mean someone more powerful than you-the Fighter could be trained by the old master, a person who's too old to adventure, but knows a lot, for instance.) And then, starting Tier 3 (11-16) you'd need to undertake quests that are a bit more epic in scope for timely leveling.

Hm... Thinking on it, perhaps structure it like this:

Tier 1
Levels happen when you get the indicated amount of XP.

Tier 2
Levels happen when you get twice the indicated XP. Power quests award double XP.

Tier 3
Levels happen at thrice the indicated XP. Power quests award triple XP.

It DOES require tracking XP, but that's not that bad. Quests can be designed to award XP simply. And, this way, an easy power quest will still award less XP than a really hard resource or alliance quest. Plus, it allows leveling even without power quests, though slowly.

The Main Plot

The main plot should be simple, but grand in scale. I'm thinking something along the lines of a Devilish Apocalypse. Various cults and groups are working to bring forth the Hells to the Prime Material.

It can start small, with players dealing with a minor cult or bandits or something, and finding they have an imp adviser, and grow from there.

The World

So, the world will obviously have to play a role in this. Since there are whole quests dedicated to making alliances and whatnot, there need to be FACTIONS. Kingdoms, crusading orders, churches, crime dens, guilds...

I'd like to snag at LEAST twelve, so that there can be one for each class. And upon typing that, I realize that's a LOT, so maybe less.

The classes are, of course:

So let's group them!

Barbarians should probably get their own faction.
Bards too.
Clerics and Paladins can go together.
Druids and Rangers likewise.
Fighters can get their own.
Monks can get their own.
Rogues can get their own.
Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards can go together. Probably gonna focus more on the wizarding aspect, since sorcerers and warlocks are not as organized.

So that's eight factions.

Let's brainstorm for what the factions can be!

The northern tribes.

Bardic colleges.

Clerics and Paladins
Crusading orders.

Druids and Rangers
Druidic circles and their protectors.

Mercenary groups.


Crime rings

Sorcerers, Warlocks, and Wizards
Arcane colleges

So those are the eight factions that should be present in every land. Some will have less prominence (the well-ordered and lawful kingdom might not have a large crime ring, but many monasteries, for instance) but that's the idea.

We'd also need the government itself, for nine.

As for the actual lands themselves...

Central-north located. Prosperous and ruled well.

Southern. Ruled brutally, and wealthy, if wealthy with ill-gotten gains.

Western. Highly advanced magocracy.

The Badlands
Eastern. Monster infested, uncivilized lands.

2018-11-11, 08:14 PM
Almire is a well-kept nation. The government is strong and usually just, and the various negative groups have only limited influence, as do some less nefarious ones, such as barbarian tribes and druidic circles

The main representation of the tribes is found in Nohsem, a former champion of one of the tribes. He's a goliath who speaks for the tribes in Almire, though generally he just asks that Almire keeps to itself.
If looking for barbaric sidequests, Nohsem will direct them to his homelands.

The bardic colleges come in two main parts-the college of literature and the college of arts. Literature focuses on spreading literacy throughout the kingdom of Almire and providing works to read, while the college of arts focuses more on itself, training those with talent and collecting rare artworks.
The college of literature's alliance quests primarily center around spreading literacy. As adventurers, the best way to do that is to work against the old fogies who claim reading will ruin the word of mouth. Eventually, as the players' fame grows, simply endorsing literacy can be done.

The college of arts' alliance quests center around recovering old or lost artwork, and potentially rescuing artists who have gotten themselves in trouble.
The main resources available from the colleges are scrolls and instruments.
The colleges can offer much experience to any who have a more intellectual pursuit. They have plenty of scrolls and items to pick at the mind, including some items that can induce fugue states where one trains in their own dreams.

The main church of Almire is the Church of Four, dedicated to each of the four main gods of Almire. There is Celestia, the ruler of the day; Luna, the ruler of the night; Alpha, the beginning; and Omega, the end. Each god has various facets, and are generally regarded as forces for good, but with nasty sides. The current Arch-Deacon is a gnome called Indofa Shint. Indofa is an old woman, nearing the end of her life, who has not yet found a successor.
The church requires those it would assist to behave in a manner worthy of the gods. The main quest at the time available is finding a successor, though other quests, such as making pilgrimages, restoring temples and churches, or participating in a crusade are there.
The church has many holy artifacts, suitable primarily for paladins and clerics, that it is willing to see used for good.

It also has demonic and devilish artifacts that it would take a LOT of work to part with, even temporarily.
The church has many rituals that can empower and bless the faithful. In addition, it has divine trials for those willing to undertake them.

Representing the druidic circles is Bentham, an awakened wolf. Similar to Nohsem, he mostly just asks for Almire to mind its own business.
Sidequests from Bentham mostly consist of him telling you to go visit the druidic circles to get more. He does like fresh meat, though.

The primary mercenary group in Almire is the Red Eagles, a tightly ordered group of warriors. While they're perfectly willing to kill for coin, they do have at least somewhat of a code-minimize collateral damage, no killing the innocent, take prisoners when possible-which is why they're tolerated in Almire.
The Red Eagles, in order to gain their trust, require you to help improve their reputation. While tolerated in Almire, they are still looked down on, and they endeavor to change that.
The Red Eagles have a whole host of minor items, primarily for battle and siegecraft, but nothing of significant power.
The Red Eagles have their own training ground, the Nest, which one can train in if they perform services for the Eagles.

The Monastery of The Stony Egg is the premier place for monks and other spiritualists in Almire. Founded by a tabaxi named Dog, it teaches the disciples to see the world in a different way.
The Monastery is pretty welcoming, though to earn true power amongst them, one must prove themselves against the masters. Alternatively, if one can find the stony egg they were named after, they would be fiercely welcome.
The Monastery has virtually no powerful items. They practice an ascetic life.
The Monastery has excellent trainers, but most require proper devotion before training you.

The largest crime ring in Almire is run by Boss Macragge, a hard-bitten man. He is one of the most well aware of what's going on in the world and its imminent demise, and is trying to get the other factions together to do something, but decades of crime has soured them against him.

The Academy of the Arcane is Almire's foremost academy. Centered in the capital, it has branches throughout all of the nation.

The government is run by King Gerald Almire. His family has been in power for eight centuries, and while initially came to power via a coup, have since become some of the most well-loved in the history of the nation.

2018-11-11, 08:15 PM
Reserved post #2

2018-11-11, 08:16 PM
Reserved post #3

2018-11-11, 10:01 PM
In order to make power quests an actual thing, I think how levels work will have to be changed a bit. You don't just suddenly level up, mid-dungeon, and gain new spells. You have to take time to train, and, when you reach further heights of power, undertake quests to improve your powers.

Going to use this myself.

2018-11-11, 10:02 PM
Going to use this myself.

Feel free to!

2018-11-14, 03:25 PM
Added some details on Almire.

Trying to figure out a good place to start the campaign-thinking maybe with Boss Macragge.