View Full Version : Continuing a Campaign

2008-05-12, 03:34 PM
Ok, so a few months ago I finished my campaign a long drawn out affair that brought the Party from level 1 all the way up to 19-20. Now they're all telling me that they'd like for me to step back into the DM chair when the current DM finishes his campaign up in a few months.

I've no problem with that. The only hitch is they all became attached to their characters and would like to continue with them. Problem is I've played Epic Level campaigns before, and I've grown to dislike them. So I've come upon this solution: A reverse leveling campaign.

It's something unique, whether it's a good idea remains to be seen, that none of them have ever encountered and it could likely add something to the game that's different from the usual quest-kill-loot-xp-level gain that they're all so used to.

And it could be done and tied into the campaign decently I think. During their adventures the PCs did manage to start a war between two major countries that could spill over into the rest of the campaign world. Near the end of the game they also attempted to stop a uberly evil Chaos God from being reborn and failed. I figure that all the carnage from the war and this new God could very tip the cosmic balance into the favour of chaos and evil.

Perhaps this new imbalance could bring things more into favour for the forces of evil. A divine curse could very easily come from from on High, cursing followers of the good Gods with a debilitating condition that slowly drains them of their abilities (i.e. levels) and perhaps their sanity as well, with the only cure being a quick conversion to the forces of evil.

Of course the PCs will oppose this, with their steadily weakening condition motivating them to try harder, while simultaneously removing the feeling of invincibility that high level characters so commonly have.

Now the only problem is how to work this out logistically in the game mechanics. I've never been as good with number crunching as I have with other things, so now I turn to the board for assistance. How would the rest of you do this?

2008-05-12, 04:08 PM
My knee-jerk reaction is negative XP. The more goblins they massacre, the more they exert themselves, the more the curse gets to 'em.

Perhaps some kind of application of that taint mechanic from Heroes of Horror as well? I don't recall exactly how that worked, though. :smallredface:

2008-05-12, 04:18 PM
I'll leave mechanics to others. The first thing I'll say is that I wouldn't run a campaign like this, at least not without running it by my players first.

Gaining levels and power is one of the most exciting parts of the game. There's something very satisfying about watching your character grow and mature. You start taking away feats and powers and so forth, and your players are going to feel quite cheated.

Besides, there's a Chaos God running loose. You expect a bunch of level 10 mooks to deal with that?

If you don't want them to become exponentially, game-breakingly powerful from here on out, try to work in rewards that don't involve either XP or gold. Those things are the default goal, but if your players are willing to chase a different carrot, then the game can still be rewarding.

2008-05-12, 04:31 PM
oops I should mention that they will get those levels back after some work. This whole thing is just to make them sweat at not having their powerful nigh God-like powers.

2008-05-12, 04:36 PM
Fair enough.

What is the party composition? I like the idea of negative XP. What if they lose XP everytime they cast a spell? The higher level the spell, the more XP they lose?

Obviously, this will hurt full casters more than anyone, and pure melee classes will be unaffected. An alternative might be needed for them, if you (or anyone else) can think of it.

2008-05-12, 04:39 PM
Apply a negative level after each day adventuring. Set the DC so that it is "Determined by the strength of your soul" or something, so the DC scales. Make it so it targets the weakest of their saves, not necessarily Fort. Set the DC so they usually fail about once every 4 days. That should be just a bit slower than their level gain, so if they slow down at all they start to lose strength. Change the numbers to fit your idea, but as long as it's a short-term campaign they shouldn't gain or lose too much power, but they'll feel epic when they beat the BBEG and can actually take a rest.

2008-05-12, 04:47 PM
I like that idea. And Hal, the composition is Paladin, Wizard, Fighter/Cleric, and Rogue.

The Sandman
2008-05-12, 10:30 PM
For a better way of screwing with the casters, why not roll randomly (and secretly) to determine their caster level before combat, or in non-combat situations where you know they'll be using their spells. Run with some increment between 0 and 40, with a random epic caster level giving them free metamagic...but chiefly of the variety that enlarges, empowers, delays, or possibly quickens their spells, so their casting has unintended consequences. On other days, meanwhile, their caster level is 0 and they're basically a high level commoner. If you want to mess with them even more, roll separately for divine and arcane spellcasters, and separately for prepared and spontaneous spellcasters.

The same sort of thing would work for the magic items that the non-casters in particular would rely on. Some days they work much better than normal (doubled enhancement bonuses, extra charges, etc.) and some days they don't work at all. Any spell-like abilities they may possess should be affected the same way.

Also, make this the norm for everyone and everywhere in the game world. The advantage the servants of the evil chaos god would have, at least at first, wouldn't be consistent power; it would be knowing exactly what the conditions are going to be like in the next few days and being able to plan accordingly.

What you can do to give the PCs a chance, though, is two things. First, their skills, abilities, and mundane equipment would be unaffected by the issues with magic. Second, start slowly giving them divine ranks, or whatever else you can come up with to represent both their own increasing belief in their own strength instead of their magic or their gear and the increasing belief of everyone in the campaign world (including, just for kicks, any evil beings who aren't serving the chaos god) that the PCs will somehow be able to save them. As they succeed in individual plot threads or quests, increase that belief; if they fail, decrease it. The way the players can track this, if you don't give them specific numbers, is that the higher that level of belief, the less the increasing chaos in the world affects both them and the area around them.

Once the PCs reach some predetermined threshold, you have them ascend as actual deities to have the final battle with the evil chaos god. Then start a new campaign, with new characters, set in the same world, and have the old characters actually present as gods that the players can have their new characters worship, and have their signature items hidden away as relics for the new PCs to find. If the old PCs won, of course.

2008-05-12, 10:43 PM
Why not have them muck around as level 20s for a bit, and then have them magic'd back to level one? This of course, works better if their attachment to the character is more about who the character is than what the character can do.

The Necroswanso
2008-05-12, 11:55 PM
If they attached to the Character characters, progress the game. No need to fear epic progression, as you could sway the game more into role play rather than roll play. Are any of them married? Run any guilds/factions? People look up to them? Set them up to make bigger names in the world, live, love, train n00b5.

Another option is to simply put them up against something they can't handle. And when they die their signature weapon become a legay weapon for new PCs to seek out and stop new threats with.

Another option is to consider the PC's to have so much power that they become godlike, or become some elemental or spirit, have them create new PCs that are avatars of their old characters.

Or just straight up kill them 19 times.

2008-05-13, 10:58 AM
Maybe the character's deaths and return as petitioners withen a PlaneScape campain would be the easiest way to continue the story with the "same" characters. This way you can have the characters pick up with little to no memory of themselves that they can discover through their new adventures and culminate in them trying to repair the damage they caused in their first incarnation.