View Full Version : The last-hurrah campaign

2008-04-07, 06:12 PM
So my normal group just finished the big campaign we've been doing this semester, and we still have roughly 3-4 more weeks before almost half of us head out of town, or out-of-country for at least the next two months, and after we get back we'll most likely switch to 4E. So we decided to do one last awesome 3.5 game, and the character creation guidlines were: "Starting level 11, Wealth-By-Level. Make that one character that you've always wanted to play, but never got around to, never were allowed to, or never got that opportunity to play. Heck, I even told them that ToB and psionics were allowed (which for me, is a pretty big deal).

Naturally, people were excited and are working on some fun characters. I don't think the party is going to be effective, but I'm expecting us to have a blast. However, This means that I need to write a campaign, and since it's our last hurrah, I'd like to throw something wierd and crazy that we haven't seen for the last 8 years, and that we won't be seeing for at least the next few years (I mean, odds are that our first campaign in 4E will involve goblins or kobalds or stuff like that, so I'd like to avoid some of the very stereotypical d&d stuff, because it'll most likely still be there in a few months).

This brings me to 2 questions.

1) So, what are some crazy campaign ideas that I can throw at them? (remember, this is only going to be a 3-4 session game, so nothing too complicated)

2) What are some fun monsters from the Fiendish Codex's, environment books, and MMII and MMIII that would be neat to throw at a party? Fun monsters or encounters that most players don't run in to?

2008-04-07, 06:18 PM
Heck, I even told them that ToB and psionics were allowed (which for me, is a pretty big deal).

If you allow top tier spellcasters in your campaigns (I'm willing to bet that you do), Psionics and ToB are plenty balanced. Kudos to you for at least finally giving them a chance.

1) So, what are some crazy campaign ideas that I can throw at them? (remember, this is only going to be a 3-4 session game, so nothing too complicated)

The Spellplague is a' comin'...

Alternatively, have the heavens and depths descend upon the mortal realm.. it's the Final Reckoning, war on gaia, and it's every mortal for themselves!

2) What are some fun monsters from the Fiendish Codex's, environment books, and MMII and MMIII that would be neat to throw at a party? Fun monsters or encounters that most players don't run in to?

Awakened Disjunction overlords with their Awakened Rust Monster legions (with class levels). :smallbiggrin:

2008-04-07, 06:22 PM
Living Spells! Nothing says "I love my players" like a living disintegrate!

2008-04-07, 06:25 PM
Living Spells! Nothing says "I love my players" like a living disintegrate!

AKA_Bait has a spell template for "Awaken Spell" somewhere on these boards. That was my suggestion, to be paired with Mage's Disjunction for an "Awakened Disjunction", for your player's infinite enjoyment :smallamused:

I honestly forgot that Awaken Spell was the homebrew, and Living Spell was the WotC version.

2008-04-07, 06:25 PM
1) So, what are some crazy campaign ideas that I can throw at them? (remember, this is only going to be a 3-4 session game, so nothing too complicated)

The campaign world's divinity functions off the "Mo' followers mo' power" system. Pick a god. The PCs have a grudge against this god for some deeply meaningful personal reasons. They must now travel the world, burning temples, slaughtering priests, and converting the masses to some other faith (any other faith).

When the final follower has been ripped from the deity's flock, he is cast from the heavens; forced to assume mortal form. Conveniently, this mortal form is challenge rating appropriate to whatever level the PCs are at the time.

They then fight and kill the weakened deity, and go down in history as the first mortal godslayers...

2008-04-07, 06:28 PM
The Campaign Setting: Your standard fantasy world, with the big exception that all the races have, for the most part, put aside their differences. You still get bugbear bandits raiding caravans, but proportionally there arn't any more bugbear bandits then human bandits. However, a portal opens that leads to your standard DnD world, and through pour "Heroes" all of which see a village of bugbears or goblins or orcs or whatever and instantally thinks "AHA, evildooers with shinies!"

The PC's are in charge of stopping these incursions.

2008-04-07, 06:32 PM
Maybe play a paranoia campaign. The Party is on a great quest (possibly the aforementioned kill a god quest) and some 3rd party is hunting them. This third party could be anything from highly organized assassins to a incredibly overpowered Centaur War Hulk Hulking Hurler.

2008-04-07, 06:38 PM
I think you should go with the classic PC-monsters-slaughtering-adventurers inversion campaign. Seems like a nice send-off.

2008-04-07, 06:41 PM
Role-reversal. The players arrive in a world where the 'greenskins' are the 'civilized' races, and dwarves, elves, and humans and such are the uncouth, slavering 'monsters' living in dungeons to be slaughtered and divested of their shinies. Let the players devise their own demise... er... dungeon (within certain parameters) collectively, with what they choose to put in it, then the DM sends in the 'heroes.'


2008-04-07, 06:47 PM
The campaign world's divinity functions off the "Mo' followers mo' power" system. Pick a god. The PCs have a grudge against this god for some deeply meaningful personal reasons. They must now travel the world, burning temples, slaughtering priests, and converting the masses to some other faith (any other faith).

Xefas, you are a quote machine.

And this sound amazing.

Magnor Criol
2008-04-07, 06:57 PM
I suggest some liberal application of templates to random creatures. Make some truly crazy creatures. Half-dragon bulettes, multiheaded camels, celestial gibbering mouthers, et cetera, ad nauseum. They don't even have to be effective or logical; they'll just be different, and crazily so, and thus pretty memorable.

Plus, application of said templates can be loads of fun, particularly applying multiple templates. My personal flagship creature is a Pseudonatural Four-headed Half-Celestial Celestial Half-Dragon Draconic Stone Giant.

Also, look up the Elite Opponents article (http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=dnd/arch/eo) at the Wizards website. It's got some real gems of strange templates, including abusing some of the rules and applying templates that technically aren't allowed. It's also got a 30-headed Tarrasque, which is a total abomination unto the light of the world. It's also really freaking hilarious.

This won't do much as far as the plot of the story, but it's sort of like throwing some random spices into a food dish. It'll certainly make things memorable when your players are facing down a half-fiend, half-gold dragon halfling.

And if you really need an explanation as to why there's so many weird creatures running around, simple explain that some wizards guild crossbred magical creatures as experiments, or something similar. "A wizard did it" is always a valid explanation in DnD. =p.

2008-04-07, 07:51 PM
Pseudonatural Four-headed Half-Celestial Celestial Half-Dragon Draconic Stone Giant.

That got a chuckle out of me. Particularly the "Half-Celestial Celestial Half-Dragon Draconic" part.

But it's the Pseudonatural template that brings that beast together - it's not really all of those templates, it's a Pseudonatural version of a creature that would have had those templates :smallsmile:

Kol Korran
2008-04-07, 07:52 PM
sounds like a fun project! my idea may sound not realy serious, but played correctly i think it can be. i'll first describe it's concept, and then maybe some suggestions on how to make it work. this is partly inspired by my ideas for the "primewalkers" campaign thread that is one the boards.

the basic idea is based exactly on the situation you're in: the creators are closing shop... that means that whomever had been running the world you play in behind screen (and i do not mean the gods or some other strange force), is done- no more making sure things are balanced, the laws of physics and magic are working, and major concepts cease to work properly.

the world inhabitants, from the lowliest animals to the gos themselves, notice these things, and everyone is worried, but no one has the asnwer. panic starts to reign, some perdict doom, old alliances and hatreds are forgotten, new relationships are formed. the powerfull associate with the meek, new theories are... theorized, and everyone tries to explore or find some explanation, or escape out of this. many are lost, and it does seem the world is coming to a halt... (think "the never ending story", with the Nothing)

the creator is actually a DM, or a game designer (could also be a few of them. i'll just refer to this entity as the DM from now on), and the party finds some clues/ leads that enable them to explore this, till they finally meet him/ her/ you/ them... the DM/ creator/ designer then tells them of the new world, the new reality (basically 4E), and might offer them a chance to transfer to it, though they will begin with far dimished powers (they will turn to 4E characters, of a lower level). this way it could be a good transition to the next game. (think "the never ending story", when but little is left, before the entire universe is replaced)

this is but a very, very rough sketch of an idea, but here are some interesting ideas/ encounter that might explain things:

1) have some of the encounter of their old campaigns repeat themselves (highlights only!) but with some... oddities- a BBEG who doesn't know why it is in this busieness anyway, a major confrontation which ends up with the wrong monster/ enemy (an efreet in the bottom of the sea, a rust monster with glued on wings and red paint instead of a red dragon, a necrophile instead of a necromancer...), or even perhaps someone who scryed on the characters/ spied on them/ gained infromation on them, but for some reason expects to fight either their old characters from that game, or people who freakishly resemble the players...

2) have mjor concepts broken: when a dragon "gracefully flies" it actually tries to jump flapping it's wings real hard. gods are now on the earth, and some are stoned to death on the street, dwarfs associate with goblinoids, orcs and elves, and direct an attack on the hated humans, a lich bemoans having turned ondead and seek any means to return to the world of the living. demons, devils, and the good outsiders stop their war (what is the point?) and work together, trying to hunt down all those who summoned them over the millenia for petty chores. mind flayers rebel agianst their image, buffing up and becoming warriors (or joining with some).

you have to be realy carefull here, and give a good (if perhaps desperate) explanation to these behaviours. since many may seem rediculeous (such as the mind flayers one).

3) as the campaign progress, certain areas of the world might vanish, and all kinds of "holes" may appear in other places. out of these you may spring out the odd monster or concept of 4E, but keep it to a minimum (i haven't yet read any of that material so i can't help you there).

4) i'd suggest that at times, certai nrules and abilites may break down (either work differently, not work at all, or create a semi- radom outcome). after a few of these, let the players understand that there is a "gap" where the usuall rules have been, and let them try to fill it. the more creative, descriptive, and fun the player's solution may be, the more you may allow it! (if i understand this right this is a special kind of campaign, with many of the breaks off. lets see what your players can contribute!) this should relate to battle menouvers, conversations, athletics, magic, belief, and more. run wild!

you can standardise this a bit, with "creation points/ tokens", which the players can use for a realy creative bending of the rules. these are gained by some other creative thinking, that doesn't break the "rules", but does relate to the special theme of the campaign...

if you do this, then these spurs of creativity may become more and more importent as they reach closer and closer to the realm of the DM itself. some of the rules and solutions they created become semi permenant for them, and their main means when coming closer to the fortress of origin (or whatever name you want to give to the DM's lair).

5) campaign structure: throw them into the near ending climax of another "campaign" (tell the players you're starting at that point, have them create a joined history of their previous adventures. some minor villain they haven't defeated from a previous campaign, and that has risen to greatness should be a good one). continue with this for a session or two, dropping odd little hints (odd monster behaviour, responses, perhaps tiny "holes"), and let the climax be somehwat of an... anti-climax: something very basic "feels wrong", the villain itself is acting... odd, and some minor rules aren't working.

in the next few sessions, as the party is burdened with "closing loose ends" of the campaign, it finds more and more of the world acting wrong, and this appears to be everywhere, affecting everything, and the panic rises dramatically! the best divinations give answer suc as "it doesn't realy matter anymore..." and all seems to be going downhill. make the players aware of some of the major results of this "catastrophe" (the "holes" for example), and let them try to find a way with dealing with it (skill "bend things your way"? or feats? mind you- the way skills and feats work might break as well...)

next, have the PCs go on a fairly simple quest or two, to try and find the answer (visit an elder god, find the source of magic, the never sleeping dragon of the far realms and such) these places/ people are now far more accesible due to the breaking of reality. there will of course be no answers from this quests. this is mostly to make the players see how widely this breakdown is.

the final act is the players somehow learning of a way to penetrate into some local that isn't exactly... "here", whether by some theories of a mysterious cult, some clues from one of "sources of information" from the last section, or maybe some inklings of understandgins within themselves? they do whatever is needed to be done to get to the DM's vast lair (tap their rubies slippers?) there, as they search for the DM/DMs, thye encounter all your half finished ideas, your odd traps, weird encounters, strange scenes, weird rule applications, and more... they might find their own character sheets (with your critic remarks on them), they might find and fight the players themselves, or at least as the DM stated them, they might meet your half baked monsters, inspirations from other things and more...

the idea in here is to put on all the cool ideas you want, that do not need any kind of serious background, but make it fun, make it stange, make it funny, make it serious. many of these should have a "work in process feel" (a trap that causes no damage, or does random damage, because you haven't figured it out yet. a monster that keep changin appendages, because you haven't decided whether it should have claws, tentacles, or normal arms. an ominous castel that changes it's size and number of turrets). i suggest that travling through this should be like choosing door ("behind curtain number 3 we have this lovely, easy to use adventure hook!"), to give the character some control, and some direction. how they actually get to the DM (should be something special, conceptual, some sort of enlightment/ realisation stuff), and how much the laws could be altered here ( should be a lot! this is the center of creativity) is for you to decide..

finally they reach the lair of the DM, which explains to them that "we decided to repaint" (think "the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy" series, when they find the message from the creators- "sorry for the mess"). it then offers them a bargain, of moving to the new setting, only with decreased powers.
as to the climax with the DMs:
- perhaps the DM have wathced them, but also a few other groups of gamers. he can only take one group, and thus pits them against the others. the others may turn to be villains they faced, or perhaps their own previous characters! from previous campaigns and such! "i thought a proper challange, against a creativity matching your own should suffice"...
- perhaps some other group (this fits a group of prior ressurected villains better than the first idea), followed the group through here. they have been defeated by the players, humiliated by them, vanquished and generally ground to dust. they sense something of the players in these PCs, and they demand their revenege!
pit the players against all of the party's most memorable villains at once, only to the villains, they aren't fighting the PCs, but the players themselves!
- the DM has but a few more ideas left, and it demands they will be tested- he throws at the party any challange you ever wanted. these could be resolved i nthe normal way, only creative ways (creative points/ tokens), or perhaps, by one of the players coming up to you and closing your book/ shutting your computer down/ tearing up the monster page/ getting up and leavign the table/ just saying "you know what? we ****ing won! lets move on to the next game!"/ doing some sort of a final act, indicating this was the last fight...

another suggestion for this final confronation: you could make a deal with the players/ PCs that you'll give them some perks in the next edition, in character creation, depending on how well they performed here. since i don't know the 4E material, i can't say what that can't be. but you can probably work somethign out (or people on this form suggest something).

also- thorugh this last part, the fortress and all, make the distinctions between players and PCs blur more and more (record dice rolling, and sound it out loud when they, and their enemies act... also all kind of off character comments such as "how much damage di you do?", "what is it's AC?", "my spell's DC is..." you have quite a few sessions before this one, record them in secret, and choose your comments carefully). this is especailly true if you want them to do the final act of "ending play", as i described above.

hope this helped, would be nice to hear what happened, or if you ended up using any of these ideas.

2008-04-07, 08:00 PM
You gotta bring back some major NPCs from your previous adventures. Who were some of the bad guys the players loved to hate? Res 'em, bring 'em back for one last shot at the PCs.

* exaggerated movie announcer guy voice * They're back, and this time it's personal.

Dr Bwaa
2008-04-07, 11:07 PM
Make the setting simple and easy-to-work-with. I vote with the people who want a lot of violence; get down to some old-school dungeon-crawling (or what-have-you). I liked the temple-slaughtering bit. In a similar campaign that I have a PC in, we (a bunch of lvl 10 adventurers) went into undermountain and have been captured by an incredibly powerful wizard, who is just putting us through our paces (ie giving us whatever encounters the DM feels like at the time) until such time as the campaign will end. We've fought Mephisto from Diablo II, had the two meatshields (myself (dwarven fighter) and a human barb) panic an army of Kobolds and Goblins each (I've never rolled Intimidate so high...), and had infinite fun with a Deck of Many Things... it's a good time.

Specific suggestions:
Deck of Many Things. Especially if the players like to gamble (we did).
Start in a tavern!
Returning characters from other campaigns, from other settings, from other games/prime material planes altogether (my above-mentioned party had the company of an NPC human bard named Justin Timberlake for a couple encounters)

2008-04-07, 11:14 PM
I had a major campaign that ended early. So I made an "epilogue" which advanced the timeline several years (not to mention seven levels which put them into epic) and this was massively successful in tying up even more plots loose ends and bringing back old NPC - all while the players were having a blast with their freshly empowered characters. This might not be for you though.

My ideas revolve around a single monumentous event:
-A heist of an impossible vault that involves a large settup, gathering information, collecting allies, emergency back-up plans, the execution, and of-course, getting away scot-free.
-Kill a single powerful man. Like the former idea, it requires a lot of planning and settup to pull off right.
-A grand war. It doesn't matter what is being fought over, all the characters believe strongly in their side, but don't want the war to go on any longer than it has to. Small and large scale battles are always being conducted, dangerous and unusual missions are undertaken, secret weapons are revealed, allies switch, commander grow die or defect etc.

2008-04-08, 03:55 AM
Here's my suggestion. Make a campaign about time-travel, perhaps in an established setting if you play in a particular one. Travel into the past searching for the BBEG who perhaps has a metamorphic form based on the time period, and base the plot of each session on a favorite Fantasy novel you've once read, or a real-world myth everyone is familiar with. As they travel, visit upon the things of D&D that are and always will be classics. Traps and sorcery, goblins, Beholders in vertically constructed caves, Argumentative Trolls, Flumphs, unreasonable traps, Heck, have a Dungeon with a Dragon in it. Have the party members meet in a Tavern. Do it by the book and laugh at it.

Mark Hall
2008-04-08, 11:17 AM
Remember the campaign prior to the L5R abortion that I ran? With the device that suppressed psionics that we were protecting?

What if they were involved in the war before that? Or the time leading up to the war?

2008-04-08, 05:26 PM
(my above-mentioned party had the company of an NPC human bard named Justin Timberlake for a couple encounters)
Wow. That guy would not last through the first encounter with my party. With some luck, we might get him in the surprise round before he starts singing. :smallamused: