Support the GITP forums on Patreon
Help support GITP's forums (and ongoing server maintenance) via Patreon
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 55
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    First things first:


    If your gaming group players names are Guy, Tomer, Alon or Ariel, stay out! I mean it guys- Sooooo many spoilers! Don't read- it would ruin the entire campaign! (When and if we get to play it)


    Ok, not that's out of the way, on to the thread...
    -----------------------------------------

    This thread is a campaign log, but not of the normal kind- It does not deal with the actual game, but rather the process of preparing the campaign prior to the game. "Set the stage" as it were... In this thread, adjoining threads and a few of site contents (Wiki and such) I'm going to try and elaborate, discuss, and show a "behind the scenes" look, about how I am trying to develop this campaign. It is entirely a work in process, and though I have quite a few ideas in mind and on note, they are far from complete, and as I go through this process, I will most likely go back and forth, change stuff, add stuff, discard stuff, and so on...

    I have had the idea for the campaign for quite a long time, and it has developed and changed over the years. Still far from complete, I'd like to tackle this project, which involves quite a few design aspects I haven't touched upon yet. It is a bigger and more ambitious project than I've done so far. A bit of an adventuring in design... Welcome to the ride, if you wish!

    The rest is in spoilers, to facilitate reading.

    This thread goals are:
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Show my planning process, the dilemmas, work process, decisions and reasoning behind the choices I make.

    2. Help me sort out my material, and try to address it in a more thorough way. It will be the focus of the planning.

    3. Discuss design theories and practice, known and new design concepts and issues, drawing from other forums and sources as necessary, and from the GiTP's own discussions.


    What to expect- What this thread most likely be about, and what it will not:
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. This isn't a "How to design a campaign" handbook/ tutorial. This is how I approach the design of this specific campaign for this specific group. That said, I imagine quite a few of the issues may be ones that others may have dealt with, and as such can probably find some interest in it.

    2. Though I do try to organize stuff over this thread and other material, I am not the world most organized person. There will be things I miss, there will be mistakes.

    3. That said, I do tend to write somewhat... at length (If you've read any previous logs of mine, you'll understand). That's how I write, hope you're ok with it.

    4. Due to real life obligations (I'm soon to be 37, a doctor, with a kid to be born in about a month and a half, and a few other responsibilities as well), I cannot guarantee a fast update or response rate. I am currently a player in my group, having taken a long hiatus, and though this project is important for me, I cannot guarantee a fast paced update. I will address this as I can.

    5. I do not intend to publish this campaign, or make any commercial use of it. I think it will be too narrowly focused in order to appeal to a huge crowd.

    6. English is not my native Language, and I have a bit of dyslexia. I do try to go over my posts and fix stuff (Well, in current logs. Past projects are at times fraught with misspellings), but i miss some mistakes .Feel free to correct me. (In private is preferable)


    So how is this going to work?
    Spoiler
    Show
    I've given some thought to the organization of the log and the campaign. What I've come up with this is as follows:
    1. This thread will be the center of it all. In this first post there will be a spoiler with an update log: Date of updates, subjects, categories, and possibly links.

    2. The following post will deal with them main themes, major design approaches, and such- "The Big Stuff", sort to speak...

    3. The following posts (I will reserve quite a few) will each contain the major discussion/ development issues of main sections in the campaign (Factions, settlements, NPCs, hex exploration and so on...). Their goal is to gather/ document all of the main issues, and the design on different sources, though the exact detail will be dealt elsewhere, which is what the links are for.

    4. Links in the main posts- Thee links will connect either to:
    - Posts further down in this thread that deal with a specific aspect (Such as a specific NPC, or a specific concept I'm having difficult with), - Adjoining/ side threads. (For dealing with slightly bigger subjects, that may deserve their own thread)
    - articles/ discussions on other sites. (TheAngryDM, GnomeStew for example)
    - The campaign's wikis. (I'll touch on that in a short while).

    5. The wikis: I'm using the PBWORKS site to create to separate wikis:
    - Nature of the Beast- GM content- This wiki will contain most of the detailed info, (Mostly mechanics- stats of NPCs, encounter tables, Settlements stats and so on). It is also a work in progress, of course.
    - Nature of the Beast- for players- This wiki will contain the content that will be available for players for the campaign. it too will be a work in progress.
    So far both wikis are empty...

    6. Updates: At the end of this post (And possibly on the main subject posts, or even the wikis, I haven't decided yet) Will be an update log. Also, I will write each update in this color, in order to facilitate finding it. I keep the colors for some time (About 2 weeks I think?) for people who might have missed stuff, and than change it to regular black. I'll use this color for things which are "in the works"/ "coming up next".

    7. Problems remaining: Just before the update log, I'm putting a section called "To be solved", which accumulates the questions that rose in the various threads. For me to keep up. Feel free to suggest your ideas!

    8. The Bucket of Ideas: One of the last posts of the main subjects post will be "The Bucket of Ideas": I'm putting into it all manner of ideas that got stuck in my mind and that may be relevant, but are way too far from actual putting into design. Most of these will be fairly short blurbs/ half baked stuff. Mostly to keep tabs, and to remember where they came from.

    9. Tags: All of the sub threads dealing with ANY material about this campaign 9Including various threads from years before the opening of this thread, contemplating upon stuff), have the "nature of the beast" tag attached to them. Other tags may be added for specific subjects. I will try and group specific issues under the same tags.


    Ok, time to get with the actual campaign stuff!

    To be solved:
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Names of:
    - The entire region, both by Galifar lore, and the savage races. (?The Savage Lands"?)
    - Home town base.
    - Gnoll lake
    - The Centauri domain.
    - The Outpost
    - Shifter's bog
    - Khundarak- ogre lord mine.
    2. Regional borders:
    A decent "in world" explanation for the western and southern border of the region. (See suggestions by wobner and Karion at P. 2. (Borders part, 3rd post)
    3. Secret of Falcon's team, and the tie to Shere- Khan. (History part, 3rd post)
    4. Defining and developing the "really old culture" (History part, 3rd post)
    5. Lycantrhopy:
    - The exact mechanics.
    - Natural lycanthropes.
    - Origins: The exact origin story, the reasons for the surges.
    - Moons: A tool for predicting their states.

    Updates log
    Spoiler
    Show

    5/6/2017: Finished the Gnoll faction basic description.
    23/4/2017: Finished the "home base" faction basic description.
    26/3/2017: After a loooong absence, I've written the basics of Factions, and most of the "home base faction."
    10/6/2016:
    Though it took quite a long time to write, The Mystery of Lycanthropy is now written and complete.
    28/5/2016:
    1. Finished the third post:
    - Added a regional map sketch.
    - Added a section about the region's history.
    - Decided to move the factions to their own section.
    - Due to the original length of the post (>50,000), I rephrased some of the intro, making it more concise.
    - Also removed the post's own update log. Unnecessary.
    2. Added the "To be solved" section to this very post, plus the initial problems.
    25/5/2016: At the third post, I finished the section about "filling out the terrain", except for the initial regional sketch at the end of it.
    16/5/2016:
    1. Continued to fill the third post, up to the end of "Defining the borders" (With a simplified list for the next part).
    2. Moved the details about the main dragon mark factions under "A simple roster- the major powers". Needs revision, once I get to it.
    13/5/2016:
    1. Wrote part of the third post- Basic region design- The Stage, up to the dragonmarked houses on the time period.
    10/5/2016: Finished the second post ("The Big Stuff". For now at least!) Added the following:
    - An intro, explaining the issues discussed.
    - A section detailing how I envision the game to go. (Second one)
    - In the 8 aesthetics section, detailing on the 4 aesthetics either opposed or neutral to the campaign design.
    - Added the "Notable design issues section".
    7/5/2016:
    1. Wrote most of "The Big Stuff" post (2nd post), up to explaining the 4 aesthetics of the campaign.
    6/5/2016:
    1. Nature of The Beast campaign planning log thread started.
    2. Both wikis started. (Bare so far)
    3. Reserved posts for main design issues, bare so far. (All the posts till others post)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2017-05-06 at 02:29 PM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    "The Big Stuff": Major themes, design approach and choices

    This post will deal with the major design ideas for the game. But it also tries to describe the process, and reasoning that led to them. As I'm unsure of what may interest you more, I put everything in their own sections, with spoilers:
    - At first defining the core ideas, using aspects. A useful tool to focus on what's important.
    - Secondly I'll give a rough sketch of how I imagine the game to go.
    - Next I detail various sources of inspiration, along with some of the seed thoughts for the campaign.
    - I then discuss "the 8 aesthetics of play", the relevant aesthetics in the campaign design, and how I intend to bring them about.
    - I then touch on specific game design elements: Choice of system, choosing P6, Mysteries, and more...

    Defining the campaign's core ideas:

    Spoiler
    Show
    So what is the game about? Well, a lot of stuff, but I will be using an idea from the FATE core rules system- Aspects, to help define the game. Not for their mechanical features, (No need to know the FATE core system), but rather it's meaning. An aspect basically means a short but concise summary of an idea. What's important about it. It helps to put emphasis on what MATTERS. As a DM, it helps me focus on the core and most important essential of an idea, before getting lost in detail and minutiae.

    So, if I had to define in one sentence the entire Nature of The Beast Campaign, I guess it would be:

    Nature of The Beast- A contained sandbox P6 game, set in Eberron's past, on the fringes of civilization, focused on dealing with the mystery and threat of Lycanthropy.
    (Ok, so it's not THAT short and concise, but will do for now. )

    To break it down in short, before getting to the why and how:
    - A contained sandbox: The campaign, while played as a sandbox (Players drive the game, their choices, no set plot), it is also contained- contained to a specific region, to a specific time frame, with some limits on player's options.

    - P6: The campaign will use the E6 concept (Basically, characters get up to 6th level, but from then on only gain feats), but with the Pathfinder rules. This greatly affect the sort of tone for the campaign.

    - Eberron's past: The setting is Eberron, but not in the setting's default start time (998YK), but rather about 170 years in the past, a few years before the Silver Purge. (Around 830 YK). This changes some basic concepts about the setting (Before the Last War, before changes in dragon marked houses, before the Warforged, to name a few...).

    - On the fringes of civilization: The region the campaign will take place is the western parts of Breland, what is known in the default time line as Droaam. Though claimed by The Galifar Empire, the area is mostly savage (It got the nickname "land of monsters" for a reason). The place boasts a few bastions of civilization, surrounded by a great expanse of wilderness, and more savage cultures and species (Gnolls, ogre, giants and more). This too, is a major theme and component of what the campaign will be about.

    - The mystery and threat of Lycanthropy: Lycanthropy was a major force in Eberron's past. In the established time line, a short time after the start of the campaign, lycanthropy was seen as a major threat, and a crusade by the religion known as The Silver Flame came to wipe out the threat. This campaign deals with the period PRIOR to that. The campaign wishes to raise some moral, ethical and "practical philosophical" questions and dilemmas. Lycanthropy will be dealt differently than in the standard D&D/ PF material. (I will get to that later).

    These are the core ideas. It focuses both me, the players, and you readers (Hopefully), and the core issues I'll deal with, and the main feel for the campaign. Having to define complex and big ideas using an aspect, (Sort to speak) is a great tool for focusing on what MATTERS. I will use it more in the future, for NPCs, locations and more.


    How do I imagine the game to work out? Game's basic expectations and "plan"

    Spoiler
    Show
    - Pre-game/ "Session 0": The players go over the wiki (Which will have both flavor and mechanics info, as well as expectations) and plan characters with me and the group together. The PCs are expected to be tied to the region (Most of them at last. I know that one of my players dislike heavy backgrounds, there will be an option for him for... simpler stuff). The PCs have lived in the main town or the smaller settlements. Part of the process will be to choose/ create connections in the setting (I will describe this later). These can be useful assets in the game, as well as tie-ins and plot hooks. Another major part of the process is to establish some level of the PCs knowing each other. Lastly, we shall discuss some PCs goals. Pursuing these goals and achieving them will be rewarded (Something similar to XP. I'll detail later). The emphasis on making the connection and personal goals mechanics rewarding, is to enhance players' pro-activeness, immersion and the sense of belonging and caring for the place.

    - At the start of the game/ First few sessions: There will be A few more immediate concerns (A sort of "gold rush" situation, where a new resource has been discovered, which draws many opportunists, whose exploit also threaten to disrupt the tense cease fire with the wild tribes). On this situation there will be various plot hooks. Some of these neutral, some of them involving factions in the region, some of them will be tailored during the character creation to progress their goals. The main idea behind this is to get the party to get to know and experience some of the setting "first hand", and the feel of their main settlement, as well as a bit of exploring nearby.

    - Medium and major factions plans kicking into play: After they get their feet wet, depending on their tastes and interests, I will try to move along the plans of some factions. Medium factions plans will probably be more prominent, while major, more secretive factions plans and actions may be harder to spot. I do intend to have some of the plans of the Lycanthropes faction come into play, as this is the major conflict the campaign seeks to explore, and the main unavoidable threat. This campaign section's main purpose is to introduce the PCs to the notion of "There are bigger things happening", set some initial relations with factions and groups, and develop the characters and their goals in the campaign further. As part of it, they will probably explore farther, into more major adventure sites, as well as race/ battle against the other factions proactive measures. A living world.
    I imagine that by the end of this part, they will be close to 5th or 6th level, or their "Epic P" status.

    - Development: I can't really say what will happen from here on... The players and PCs re supposed to be quite involved in the campaign, have their own interests, allies, enemies, and things they wish to explore, build upon, and so on... We'll run it from there. Ideally, their conflicts with factions/ explorations and so on, would lead to several climaxes, between which there will be more exploration, maneuvering, and build up. But... that's up to the players and me reacting as the world's forces. I don't have any set ending, just ambitions and drives for the various forces.

    - Shocks/ "Shuffling the deck": If the campaign get a bit "stuck", or the players succeed or fail spectacularly, I intend to put in "Shock elements"- Events that deliver shock through the campaign, and make everyone think again- A major NPC dies, A new power enters, or a major power gets eliminated. And so on...


    Inspirations for Nature of The Beast:

    Spoiler
    Show
    First of all, Since this has been brewing for a long time in my mind, I may have forgotten some sources of inspiration. I never said I do anything that original, but rather mix and mash other ideas interestingly. But thinking about this log, I thought it would be important to try and look back at what inspired some ideas, and see how they developed, mutated, and what final form they will take.

    1. What can change the nature of a man?
    A long time ago came a computer game, called Planescape Torment. The game has fantastic flavor, exploration, room for expression and it was one of the best gaming experiences I've had, from computer games. The game asks one main question, which is a repeating theme- "What can change the nature of a man?" In the game you meet past "personalities" of yourself, and can choose quite openly who and what you'll become. It raises some interesting philosophical questions, but the main answer to that question, in the end, is the one that you make for yourself...

    I guess that stayed with me, subconsciously, for quite some time. I wanted to make a game that challenges the party, both at players level and at PCs level, about the party's personalities. I (And many of my players) have often been drawn to expression of their characters personalities, and some of our best moments happened in events/ scenes that posed quite difficult questions, with no clear answer, that the players and characters answered for themselves. No set answer... no "true' answer, nothing definite, but that doesn't mean it's less powerful or meaningful. But what sort of a question? (On a side note: If you haven't played the game- Play it! Seriously! Phenomenal game!)

    2. Lycanthropy: When I first came upon the idea of werewolves, were creatures, lycanthropes in RPGs, I found it intriguing that by the default rules, the "affliction" changes the soul/ nature/ spirit/ alignment of the afflicted. So this wasn't just a matter of a physical change, but also that of change of one's... self? One's own core? Now, while D&D doesn't much delve into that, and treat lycanthropy fairly simplistically, I wondered if there are other views.

    And they are- if from myth, from other RPGs (WoD and more), and so on... I was fascinated by the idea of an outer influence that also changes/ morphs the person. And there seemed to be more mystery and conflicted opinions about this, than agreement (As is the case with many myths). I wanted to explore it. But how? In what setting? I kind of forgot about this for awhile, till I started reading about...

    3. Eberron's Silver Purge+ "Shades of grey": I am a fan of Eberron, I especially like the "shades of grey" approach to morality in it, that very little is black or white/ good or evil... Even the gods themselves are open to interpretation, and no one really knows if they exist- The religions are a matter of belief, similar to our own world in that respect. Sot groups, philosophies and approaches have better and worse qualities, they are quite... complex and intricate. I liked that, and need that for the tone of campaign, and exploration, that I wanted to build and play.

    In Eberron there is a period called The Silver Purge, in which due to growing menace of the lycantrhopic spread, a crusade was declared against them. The crusade was long, and made more difficult by the difficulty to actually identify lycanthropes. A lot of the shifters population (An Eberron race descendant from lycantrhopes, but not suffering from the full force of the disease) suffered greatly at the hands of the Purge. There have been... many opinions, both in game and on various forums, about whether the crusade had stopped a fast spreading threat that was endangering all known lands, versus it being mostly an atrocity of massacres. I like to think that it, as with all of Eberron, is comprised of shades of grey, but mostly very, very, very difficult choices for the people on the field. Upon reading Fatihs of Eberron (The best book dealing with religions in a fantasy setting that I've found) I quite liked the following pic, that came ingrained an inspiration, for the sort of atmosphere I was aiming at. (Also, you if you want to learn a bit more, you can look up this small article. (I may bring other discussions and such while discussing the campaign on other sections)

    Spoiler: Picture of The Purge from Faiths of Eberron
    Show


    So... I wanted to have the party be involved in the situation where lycanthropes are a threat, but to what extent do you fight it? If it is so hard finding out who's a lycanthrope and who isn't, whom can you trust? What if yourself? In your efforts to stem the plague, of which you know little about, but which seem to change people, and it spread in secret, how do you fight it? And what if you find some can control themselves? And some can't? What, and Who, will you risk? How far will you go? What compromises will you make? What is the price?

    The campaign's name- "Nature of The Beast", refers to many aspects of this time, and it's many moral conflicts- the nature of Lycanthropy (after my changes), and how it changes people, how it changes society, how it changes the PCs, war, and more... It is my hope that the game will reflect the many dilemmas, struggles and choices made. I have no answer of my own. I hope we'll find our own answer, in this game, one that may or may not suit us...

    An important note! Though I play in Eberron's past, I do not, by any case, intend to "follow the canon history". If the players screw with it and take it in an entire different direction, so be it. It's just a starting point, but I'm VERY willing to diverge from the source.

    4. That "Home town" feel: At first I thought to throw the players and their PCs straight into the crusade. But this posed 2 problems: First, they were most liikely at the start on this side or another, which takes some agency, and some of the edge, their choices. Secondly- Why would they care? Yes, the players can write some sob story of that sort or another in their background, but most likely they'll lack any more involved emotional investment. So I struggled with this, till I came upon Buffy (I tend to watch a lot of well known media material well after it aired. I get very little TV/ film time, due to RL. Heck, I haven't yet seen Game of Thrones. )

    In Buffy (And probably similar shows) I quite liked three themes-:
    - The first was the interconnections, struggles and changes within the core group of protagonists, but I was fairly sure my players will handle that, given enough opportunity and engaging situations.
    - The second and very important feature was that it was all based in Sunnydale- season after season, it built upon the same place, the same NPCs, a history... The place enabled the PCs to get connected to the place, to people, and so on... They had ROOTS, they CARED about stuff there (To a degree). They made CONNECTIONS, which were felt...
    - The third was that though each season had it's own antagonist, and a "main threat/ plot/ baddie to deal with", there were enough breaks for personal goals, "side quests" and other exploration. As such, it didn't focus solely on the end goal, but took enough "detours" along the way, which gave it great pacing.

    And so, I decided to not start in the crusade, but rather focus the game on the time preceding it, when the lycanthropic menace was still mostly unknown, but started to become a problem, and to focus the PCs as part of a single region, and be part of the community there.

    There will be one main town/ city, with a few other more minor settlements, and a single region to explore (No jumping "on the red line" to far reaching locations, such as Sarlona, Xen'dric, The Mror Holds, Demon Wastes and so on). This goes somewhat against the Eberron feel, but I feel it is essential for the campaign. the players will help create some of the places/ NPCs in their settlement, they will most likely make their own projects (And will be rewarded for them) in this region, have plans, goals and ties to the region and people within it.

    I am not sure we'll go into the actual crusade and the Purge itself (If it comes to that)... The campaign might focus entirely on the time before it, or lead to it (There will be forces who's natural plans and progression will definitely lead to that eventuality). Will we lay the start of the actual purge? Not yet sure... to be decided. It will shift the themes and focus of the game quite drastically...

    Yes, I'm leaving some options for players who want to be less involved, but having connections in the region will also benefit those who have them, and I think will lead to greater player involvement, and better play.

    As the threat will take time to loom and gather, and will require quite a bit of exploration to tackle, I hope this will give the players enough time to explore venues not directly involved to the main threat.

    5. Deadwood- The western town: Another excellent series, dealing with a sort of grittier "Wild west" setting. (Not an exact description, but will do). I very much intend the campaign to fill "on the verge of civilization", where the party is on the edge of the wild... (In this case- Western Breland, or future Droaam). The main settlement will be big, but not overly big, and things are smaller scale than the big capitols of the nations. This enables the PCs to know the major players sooner, more intimately, and have more impact on matters, as well as grant a feeling of "Danger zone- be alert!" As a lot of the game will feature exploration, a region of dangerous wild is necessary, and future Droaam features enough danger...

    6. Star Control II- The Ur Quan Masters": Another ancient game, but a spectacular one, which involves a huge amount of exploration, done right. I've discussed it a bit in the "Why Hexcrawling?" thread by Yora, and may touch upon it again in the appropriate section. (If interested, you can check out The excellent fan remake of the game here)

    7. Task based adventures: Another thread by Yora, which suggested quite an interesting approach, which I will adopt in my design for this contained Sandbox. I will touch upon that later as well...

    8. Red Hand of Doom: I never got to actually play or GM this module, but have read sufficient campaign logs of it, as well s some of the handbook for it. The campaign introduced (At least to my knowing) the concepts of a time line for the enemy, a plan, and re precautions of the PCs. It is, in itself, a semi- contained sandbox, and I'll probably implement the time line and time pressure concept from the plans of the major factions.

    9. The West Marches experiment by Ars Ludi: A game focused on exploration and danger. I'm using some of it's elements 9not all of them, but some) to plan out the wild regions that will be explored by the PCs.


    What sort of game style does the campaign caters to? Or "The 8 Aesthetics of play" in my campaign

    Spoiler
    Show
    A few months ago someone mentioned this game design concept on a thread (Unfortunately I forgot where). This intrigued me, and so I began reading about this concept, applying some ideas to my games analysis, and to approaching the design of this campaign as well. Basically, the concept says that there are some core aesthetics, sort of "gaming experiences", that different players like or dislike in certain games, and that different games offer different aesthetics. Many choices and/or problems with systems/ house rules/ gaming groups/ DMs/ Players/ Adventures/ Campaigns and so on can be better understood when thinking of aesthetics. It sure helped me understand my group better. So, with that in mind, I was thinking of what aesthetics my game will appeal to, and what not. And would they suit my group?

    I suggest checking out the following for more info, if you're interested:



    Spoiler: Nature of The Beast Aesthetics
    Show
    Upon contemplating, the campaign will focus on 4 aesthetics (This is already a tall order): Expression, Exploration, Fantays & Challenge.

    Expression: Probably the biggest one.

    Spoiler
    Show
    - First, the very questions the game deals with are about difficult choices, morals, philosophies and such.

    - Secondly, since there is no set plot, no set ending, and I just set the powers in the regions, and let the PCs handle/ change/ screw with them as they wish, then their actions MATTER, and will change the region, for better or worse (Most probably both?)

    - Thirdly, he campaign aims to get both players and PCs involved in their region and care for it, along with making ties to NPCs, and forge personal goals (Make a home, a business, join/ make a faction, arise in power, and more) and will reward them for it. (Progression, a bit like XP but different).

    - Last, but not least: There is a good chance that some of the PCs might get inflicted with lycanthropy as well. I intend to make the change more complicated than the D&D/ PF does, and it will involve a great deal of choices and struggle by the player, a transformation, and not a simple one (Most likely), but one that is greatly influenced by the PC itself, and their personality.

    Exploration: Also a big one.

    Spoiler
    Show
    - The campaign will hold a lot of mysteries (There will even be a "Mystery" mechanic of sort, which I'll explain alter on), Some of them complex, and the PCs may find all of them, part of them, but finding them all are not necessary to play the campaign, though they will reward the players greatly. The main mystery is of course the Lycanthropy (Which as I've said- I've changed), but also secrets of their home town, of major NPCs, of the history of the region, of specific entities and monsters called "Spirits of the land", of secret locations and more. The rewards are of many types- whether gaining a better understanding, leverage, loot, or even "unlocking" powers and options- new feats, prestige classes, powers and options. Some of which the antagonists will look for as well...

    - The game will feature hex crawl exploration of the wild, which I'll touch upon later. There will be quite a few destinations for exploring, yet many of them are not "necessary" to play the campaign either.

    Fantasy: The most difficult to plan and to run. (Probably)

    Spoiler
    Show
    - I aim to make the game consistent, act reliably, and have recurrent, thematic themes, that will grant a feeling of verisimilitude (i think that's how it's called?) and greater immersion within the game. This will come into view in.... basically everything- Planning the geography, the people, the history, the cultures, a lot.

    - The game will have some limits on what fits it or not. This applies both to the design of the regions, areas and more, but also to the choices available to the players and PCs. In order to create the "campaign feel", some races, classes and options will be excluded. I've tried something quite similar with a former campaign, where there were a few vastly different cultures in conflict, and each culture has it's own choices (Some of them overlapped) which enhanced the feel of the campaign greatly.
    "But what if I want to play X, and X isn't allowed?" you may ask. Well, this will be discussed with the players way before the game, when explaining what the game is about, expectations, and the campaign rules (Will be in the wiki, once I get to it).
    Doesn't this contradict "Expression"? Well, to a degree it does, but I think there will be plenty of room for expression within the frame and limits of the campaign.

    - The world moves. The world changes, and it does not solely revolve around the PCs (Though they will matter greatly... hopefully). Each faction will have their plans, and unless hindered, they will progress as planned. Places change, people change, and the world both reacts to the PCs actions, and initiates actions on their own. It is very possible to come to a location that was visited by another faction and find it has been robbed of that precious loot the party was after, or find that a faction they've thought was not dangerous, is now very, very dangerous...

    - Using P6 (A pathfinder version of the E6 rules): In D&D/ Pathfinder the leveling is usually very fast, and the PCs are shooting stars, that quickly unbalance their region, and have to keep moving to significantly tougher threats, often making previous threats laughable, and insignificant. This cannot work in a campaign that might run for quite some time, and need to keep some of the original threat still in place. Sure, a level 6 may not fear 1-2 gnolls, but a group of 10-15 gnolls is still something to be weary about. The Entire gnoll tribes would not be curb stomped as you reach level 12-13 half a year after the campaign started. It is essential to keep the game world feel fairly balanced, and the same region still dangerous.

    Challenge: The joining aesthetic of our group.

    Spoiler
    Show
    Now, my players have varied interests in terms of aesthetics, but if there is one aesthetic that is important to all of them, and that gets them thrilled, it's Challenge- To overcome obstacles, without "fudging/ adjusting/ saving dice" by the GM, to face an obstacle, and overcome it using their choices, wits, plans and more. For our group it's great fun. We've had some experience with that in prior campaigns, and I'll be using some of what I did there, but will add a few more things:
    - As there is no plot, no end scene, I am fully prepared (And will let the players know), that failure, in parts or at the entire campaign, is perfect ably acceptable.

    - "Players roll all the dice" house rule. We've been using it for many years now. I've discussed it on previous campaign logs, and will discuss it under the appropriate section. Mechanically, it had the single best effect on our games, and fits the aesthetic well.

    - Not everything (In fact I think fairly few things) will be CR/ Level appropriate. Regions and places have their own dangers, and will not change just to suit the PCs. Info gathering, planning, and such will be major in success, not just "Jumping in" and expecting things to fit. I will be using some of the West Marches design by Ars Ludi to note either make the really tough places hard to reach or well known for being dangerous, but other than that it's up to the PCs.

    - P6 enforces this Aesthetic as well: By limiting somewhat the meteorite rise of power, challenges are not met by "be more powerful" only tactic, but often require more clever, more tactful use of resources, allies, options and more. If you know a CR 12 dragon is guarding a place, you can't just say "Oh, we'll wait to level a few more levels". Now, You have to think about what you do.

    - Some challenges are beyond just brute force/ killing everything. If the stone giants tribe of 40+ stone giants is angry with your place, facing them directly in battle may not be wise. Better think of other solutions.
    - As the factions are "alive", react and initiate, this calls for another level of Challenge, which lacks from many "passive" enemy adventure designs.


    What aesthetics does it not fit?

    Narrative:

    Spoiler
    Show
    AS the players guide the play, and with a lot of possibilities for failure, changing pace, direction and so on, maintaining a "proper" narrative structure (A beginning, middle, end and so on), is quite difficult. Most likely it won't be possible. For narrative there needs to be a certain amount of control, which I've purposefully receded to the players. It's not that the narrative aesthetic is impossible, but the campaign structure won't support it. If it will rise, it would be mostly due to how the players develop their story.

    This worries me as at least one of my players does have a narrativistic desire, and many times so do I...


    Submission:

    Spoiler
    Show
    The campaign structure is awful for that. It requires a lot of planning, adjusting, and most importantly- player initiative and pro activeness...


    Aesthetics that are fairly neutral:

    Fellowship:

    Spoiler
    Show
    As this is Pathfinder still, where the basic assumption is that you form a group that needs to work together to accomplish goals, the Fellowship aesthetic is supported by the system. That said, Nothing in the campaign structure itself will especially support it. There might be conflicts within the party (My group tends to have some on most campaigns, though not lethal ones), PCs could split, hiring/ allying with NPCs to fill roles (For example, if they are on time pressure, and seek to explore two sites at once). But the campaign doesn't hinder Fellowship either. This too I leave for the group.


    Sensory:

    Spoiler
    Show
    Yes, there will be a map (Or maps?), which are in themselves an element of the sensory aesthetics. And yes, I will most likely add some music tracks for various regions/ places/ enemies (Those who've read my journals probably know that by now), and I might even find an artist to sketch some of the major NPCs/ locations/ items. But... the campaign does not focus on that, and can do well without it as well. There will be sensorial touches, but not as a major theme or investment.


    Notable design issues and choices

    Spoiler
    Show
    By this point, if you've read the previous sections, many of the reasons for the broad themes of design have been touched. I will explain on a few more, and perhaps expand a bit on others:

    1. Choosing a system- Pathfinder:

    Why Pathfinder? Well, this is two part question- why the specific system, and why not others? Some of the reasons:
    - Familiarity: My players already know it and the basic concept of the d20s system. This enables an focusing more on the play, and less upon learning the system. Besides, at our ages and time constraints, trying yet another system is a hassle. The campaign already has enough to deal with, I want the system itself to be easy and familiar.

    - The PFSRD: All of us play with laptops. And frankly- The PFSRD makes using the system so much easier, simpler, and fun. Connections, interconnections, instead of pouring and looking through the myriad of the 3.5 books. A rules question? A simple search finds the answer.

    - Why not 3.P?
    Well, the PFSRD (the 3.5 SRD is not nearly as good) and I prefer not to add similar/ contradicting/ confusing rules. (Wait, which version of power attack are we using? Wait, are undead vulnerable to SA or not?) Yes, I could do a list of house rules to say what we use from where, but I think it's more of a hassle than a benefit. Single, easy to use source. For our group, the options in PF are way more than enough.

    - Customization: Both from the point of variant rule systems, to the customization of PCs, NPCs, monsters and challenges. The system is broad enough to enable us to expand what we want, and disregard what we don't.

    2. Why P6?
    Or in other words: Why not continue leveling?
    - Keep the theme of the game, for a long time: I've touched upon this in the aesthetics, but with the meteoric rise of power in PF/ D&D, the very theme/ type of the game changes as the power levels increase. P6 keeps the progression slower, and limits severely some options that would severely disrupt the theme and atmosphere of the game. (Either just not enabling, or costing a great price).

    - More manageable progression: The last campaign we played was Wrath of The Righteous, and the progression there rocketed. This was true also to previous campaigns that used theD20 systems. At some point it became quite ridiculous, and the players didn't fully even know what powers and capabilities their characters had, nd felt the characters power progressed far faster than their ability to master them, or progression of their character's story and so on. In P6 characters still progress, but after 6th level the progression slows down considerably, and then not"Over the board"- HP, saves, spells, feats and more, but rather by feats. The campaign will hold a few rewards that can increase power as well (In the form of connections, PRC option, powers, items and more), but these are gained not simply by "upping a level", but rather by very specific accomplishments.

    - A different kind of challenge, "Keeping in lethal": In most D20 systems, the system encourages fights as the main default "conflict resolution", and many times that involves straight up fight. (Most challenges are CR tailored). Yet in the P6, one of the basic assumptions is that the PCs are still threatened by lower level threats (A big group of gnolls can still pose threat), and that soem challenges my require quite lot of planning, resource gathering, and "out of the box" solutions. (A CR 12 dragon is not something to just charge into, when you're mostly about level 6).

    - Still mortal, and needing mortals: In many game worlds in the d20 systems (And Eberron in particular), at a certain power level the PCs are so far above the normal populace, that they become distant from them, and can mostly interact with others in their (Very limited) league, with the challenges they face. The PCs are at many times "The only ones!" that can save the situation, but they usually can rely on very few NPCs, if at all, to aid them, simply dude to the threat level. But in P6, even though they might be 6th level, they can still gain substantial aid even from low level NPCs, and that can strengthen the connections, and community interactions, which the campaign wishes to build.

    3. A "Contained Sandbox?" Why contain it?
    There have been very heated discussion about Player agency, railroading, their definitions and more. One might argue that by limiting the campaign to this specific region, that I'm infringing on player autonomy and freedom. I disagree, for the following reasons:
    - Still plenty to do! First, the campaign will still have LOTS of things to do it. And the players will know the frame/ boundaries of the game, and as such they can prepare for them accordingly. I once heard a definition of railroading which I quite liked, and adopted: "Railroading isn't saying "There is a wall that way", but saying "there are walls everywhere but THAT way." There is still plenty of players agency, and they can try whatever they want within the initial campaign premise.

    - End scene? What end scene? Railroading players usually stems from having a preconceived "end point/ result" for their actions, and forcibly trying to steer them towards it. Yes, I may have ides for locations, plans, actions of factions and adventures, but I've intentionally and pre emptively chosen to not attach to those, and be willing to throw them out, if they players do something that steers in another direction. I greatly enjoy when the players surprise me and take the story to a wholly unexpected direction. I don't know what the story will be, I'm playing with them, to find out!

    - Grounding point:Providing a theme, and some boundaries, provides an anchor, and help coordinate some expectations, and a common understanding. It also helps to enhance the Fantasy esthetics. If the players know they will play in this region, with this and that level of technological and magical possibilities, and so on, it helps them define and fit their characters and actions to fir the game better, and provide a more satisfying experience for all.

    - Pre game/ Sessions 0: lot of the problems with these issues stem from not talking with the players before hand, and clarifying out the frame of the game, enable them to ask questions, and discuss problematic boundaries BEFORE the game even starts. I will be doing that, and it will be it's own part of the design process.

    4. Achievements and progression:
    If we're discussing P6, I'd like to address character advancement. I'm ditching the classic XP system. Instead, we'll be using "Achievements":
    - No XP, not in the normal sense:Instead of XP, the character needs 10-12 achievements points (haven't decided yet) to gain a level (less for epic feats).

    - What for? Achievement points (AP) can be gained only for significant stuff: I will touch on that later, but not every bloody battle or such will gain them APs. It needs to be either impressive, risky/ dangerous (At least CR+2), costly (In time, effort, resources and more), or make a big change. These are not just by battles, but also solving mysteries, gaining significant advantages, good plans, and more. Why? To drive the players to be bold, to try for big stuff, in any way they think might provide a memorable and significant gaming experience. Different challenges will reward different amount of achievement points, by a sot of category. I'll touch on this later.

    - Personal goals:Achievement points will also be granted for pursuing and achieving personal character or group goals: You manged to create your little organization? You've disgraced your arch rival? You've finally found how to make that secret nectar? You've managed to built your own business? You've married that girl/ boy you were pursuing for so long? Get awarded! And the rewards will be significant.


    5. Mysteries and Knowledge skills:

    At times, the discussion of "How much can a good knowledge roll reveal?" is asked, usually by the GM who worries that the skill will unravel a great deal of mystery and experiencing the adventures. In my campaign I'll be introducing something I've sort of used in previous campaigns, only unofficially, without calling it by name: The Mystery elements:
    - Ain't no rolling stone:Basically mysteries are parts of the game that knowledge skills simply cannot explain by a simple roll. knowledge skills are deemed academic knowledge, what has been discovered so far, yet there are limits to that- Some things have not been discovered or known. In each game I designate specific subjects/ locations/ items and so on as "Mysteries". The knowledge on those is limited, and defined as I plan the Mystery element. The only way of learning about it is by... exploring it, by playign the game. In this game, the obvious example will be Lycanthropy. There will be some knowledge of it at the start, but for the most part, the party will have to solve it. There will be other mysteries (The secrets of the forming rulers, of some power groups, some locations, some cultural aspects).

    - Am I not severely limiting Knowledge skills? They will still be very useful. They can still help find oout many enemies abilities, provide info on cultures, places, and more. More than that, while Knowledge skills can't directly find out/ solve a mystery, they would often suggest clues for further investigation. ("Hmmm... A lycanthrope? Damn, I don't know almost anything about it. But... The shifters are descended from them, right? Maybe go ask their chief? And history says tht the ruin of X had carvings of men beasts... perhaps we should check it?")

    6. Social interaction and Connections:
    The campaign will have lots of potential for social interactions, of many kinds (And my players LOVE them). unfortunately, the D20 social systems are some what lacking. So I'll be using several changes in order to make them into a challenge:
    - Different diplomacy system: I'll be using Rich Burlew's diplomacy system. Our group has used it for a few campaigns, and it served us very nicely. Basically you don't alter the NPCs attitude, but rather try and persuade them to do something, with the modifiers coming mostly from two sources: Their attitude towards you, and what you actually offer (Cost vs. benefit). I'll detail on that later.

    - Complex interactions: While simple interactions will rely on a single die roll, more complex/ intense/ important social interactions may rely on more. I'll be using something similar to the FATE core contest rules for that.

    - Limit on what can be done: In Rich Burlew's system, each level of NPC attitude (They can like you, be your ally, friend, or intimate for example) affects mostly the modifier. But, I may implement also a limit at how much can you ask from a person. Either the limit is absolute, or asking beyond the "attitude/ connection" level may incur greater penalties. (Asking someone who just likes you to fight and die for you probably won't fly, no matter how good you are).

    - "Tagging aspects:" Again, from FATE core, each NPC/ issue may have aspects that define what is important about them, for them, and their outlook. (usually 1-3 simple phrases. If important- up to 5). If a PC touches upon such an aspect, it can help them. Not all aspects are known of course. (Say... If they talk to the Sheriff, they might try to hit on his/ her dislike of the foreigners, him wanting to "just keep things calm", or might inadvertently sabotage themselves, revealing they are trying to undermine one of the nobles, who unknown to them has the sheriff on a a secret bribe.)

    - An idea burrowed and adjusted from Shadowrun, about Connections: At character creation the player will be able to "Buy" (Using a separate "Point buy" mechanism) connections, either from the existing setting NPCs, or by simply creating them with me. Better connected NPCs, and more loyal/ close/ friendly ones, will cost more. This serves both as useful social resources, but also to connect the party to the setting, increase their immersion and involvement. The connections will be useful!

    - Improving connections: will be done through roleplay, with a sort of "connection track", (A bit similar to "leveling" the connection). I'll detail on that later.

    - Roleplay or rollplay? The social system seeks to incorporate both flavor and mechanical aspects, to enhance both the Expression, Fantasy and Challenge aesthetics. Though the players will not know all of the modifiers, it is important to us (And for the game), to know that the modifiers DO RELY on some mechanics, and not simply my own adjudication of what I think was the effect. I prefer to rely on rules, that take into account (Even in somewhat broad terms), the various influences in of roleplay, in a numeric way. It enables the players to plan better, know what to expect, and feel that their actions matter. ("You want to persuade him to do what?! I think it's risky. We're not on that good terms with him, and what you offer is as risky as it is beneficial... And we have no idea what he thinks on that issue. We need to change the equation somehow... Either get more on his good side, better the deal, or perhaps... perhaps we should snoop around about him more...")

    7. On the fringes of civilization:
    Why am I placing the campaign there? Well, for a few reasons:
    - Civilization vs. the Wild: The old "Good vs. Evil" conflicts bore me a bit, (I won't be using alignments anyway), but "Law vs Chaos"? Where the party can sort of pick either? it's important to note that I'm not using the (Very lacking) D&D definitions of these terms, but rather the concepts of society vs. individuality, or "the needs of the many" vs. "the needs of the few"... (I think I've read something about this by DMofDarkness... Not sure). How far can society impose on liberties to preserve the needs of the collective population? How far would people go to preserve their individual rights in spite of society's needs?

    While the civilized settlements and the wild do not so strictly adhere to either end of this spectrum, and at points blend, they do also collide at times, quite sharply. One one end the settlements at the edge of the Galifar empire, at the other end the wilder, more savage local population of the gnolls, the ogres and more... I think it would make a great contrast, from which a lot can happen, with the lycnthropes seeking to mess things up.

    - Danger abounds! The edges of society offers greater danger than more centrally civilized places. Both in town, and in the wild.

    - "To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new civilizations, and to boldly go...": Exploration needs an unexplored land, unexplored locations, unexplored secrets.

    - PCs as major players: In the frontier, there won't be that many high powered organizations and individuals. Also, far less has been established, and new opportunities, new enterprises, new undertaking are more likely to take root! "When you're in a place where there is nothing, you can do anything!" A fertile land for imaginative PCs.


    These are thee big design issues that I thought to touch upon, that will greatly affect the other, more specific, design elements. I hope it was clear enough? Yes, they are so far in broad strokes, but they are quite important none the less, and I hope they gave you (And me!) a better understanding of the core features of the campaign. I'll sum up with the core "aspect" that I described at the beginning:

    Nature of The Beast:
    A contained sandbox P6 game, set in Eberron's past, on the fringes of civilization, focused on dealing with the mystery and threat of Lycanthropy.

    (Time to start detailing the rest! )
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2017-03-26 at 11:55 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Basic region design- The stage

    This post will start dealing with the actual details of the campaign. While more detailed than the previous one, the ideas here on in various levels of completion.

    As such, this post (and future ones) will update as ideas form and change. The creative process I guess. I'll note updates, and you can check the update log above.

    As the idea grew, I understood that I needed to understand "the stage" upon which the campaign will take place. I needed to understand better the region it will take place in, and the major forces in it. Then, (In future posts) I could zoom in on details- a faction, NPC, local... and at time zoom out, as needed. (I did something similar to the story creating process in the intriguing Microscope RPG game Only by myself, but similar. The game is phenomenal!)

    Important notes about the Eberron setting:
    - Unfamiliar with Eberron? I will explain what I can briefly, as the need arises. Feel free to ask for explanations.
    - Familiar with Eberron? I love the setting, but I don't know it all. I will make some mistakes, and some intentional changes, to fit my ideas. No offense meant though!

    Defining the time period

    Spoiler
    Show
    The default Eberron campaign starts about 170 years from this current campaign. In it, there has been the collapse of en Empire, a bloody multi sided 100 years war, the breaking of nations, springing of new nations, magical devastation, the creation of a new race (The warforged), Major changes in long lasting commercial power houses known as The Dragon Marked houses, and a few other changes.

    But going back to bout 830YK, I shall need to redefine some elements of setting. True, not all of them fully pertain to the specific region, but some things can affect from afar, both in terms of geography and history... Shall we start?

    1. The Empire of Galifar:
    The Empire of Galifar, established t 1YK, now controls most of Khorvaire, or at least it's central parts. The heirs control the five nations that comprise the Empire, but for most people the term "nation" speaks only of the past, and they are seen more as region of origin, but the identity is a citizen of Galifar. There isn't any serious animosity between Breland, Karrnath and so on... Perhaps in court, fashions, culture, but not as a core identity, not enough to shed blood for. The laws are the laws of Galifar, not of each nation.

    The empire is at a prosperous time, fairly at ease, focusing it's investments mainly in the cultural centers, and treating most "out-regions", as "unwanted necessities"... The days of widening the borders, mounting expeditions and seeking out new frontiers have passed. The empire is sure of it's power, has sufficient resources and control, and has gone somewhat... lax... in looking for threats on the outside.

    Yes, there are more savage frontiers- The Eldeen reaches, The Jungles of Q'barra, the land beyond the Blade Desert (Default campaign Valenar), and more... Amongst these regions is our region- Western Breland, (I'll need a better name for in, for in game purposes. Ideas?). But other than establishing forts and forces on these frontiers, to block the occasional savage incursion, the empire mostly forget about them... They are savage, uncultured, and as such- unimportant...

    Why am I putting Galifar as such? Well, a few reasons:
    - I want the region to be mostly isolated from the rest of the Empire, and feel quite distant, a bit cut off of the major hubs. This makes is to give the feeling of "No one will really help us unless we will", or that trying to garner a significant help form the Empire will be delayed, most possibly too long, and therefore the region is mostly on it's own. The party can trust themselves.

    - Eberron has a lot of magi-tech flavor, but I wish to keep the region feel some what scarce, wilder... As such it will have less access to "novelties" of the major cities (No continual lights street lamps for example). I want the region to feel as a frontier.

    2. Religion: Of The Sovereign Host, The Dark Six and The Silver Flame:
    Religion might play an important role in the game (Eberron's take on religion in a fantasy world differs from most- there is no evidence or communication with the deities. The religions work on belief. No one has any proof, just as in our world). The religion of the Sovereign Host is very dominant in the civilized areas, while various incarnations of The Dark Six are mostly worshiped by the savage races, though in this outlying regions, many"civilized folks" offer sacrifice for the Dark Six as well, though not in the open, to avoid great calamities and misfortune. It is more tolerated here.

    The Silver Flame has not yet risen to the power and worship it will have after The Last War. Compared to The Host, (With various incarnations dating many thousands of years old), The Silver Flame has existed only since 299YK (About 530 years). At times, various knights/ order and so went on expeditions into this region of monstrous races, and their presence is very ill liked. The savage specie of the region would treat with hostility (Perhaps only social, yet many would make it physical) any who seem to worship it. Their presence in the region is minuscule (At least at the start of the campaign, they may have agents in the region).

    I intend to focus only on these 3 religions. PCs can bring in more, but the region's religions are these.

    3. Dragonmark houses:
    In general:
    - House Cannith didn't yet suffer The Mourning, and isn't broken up. It didn't create the Warforged yet.

    - House Phiarlan is the only house of Shadow, Prior to the break up of Thuranii. I'm not including Mordain Fleshweaver. Will be too far west anyway.

    - House Tharashak is still a very new house (Only about 200 years). As such it is still very eager to prove itself equal, and tries to explore many new venues for profit.

    - Now, While dragonmark houses are very influential in Eberron, and though I want the party to feel their influence, and use some services, I don't want to put all of the houses, with all that they offer in the region. Instead, I prefer to focus on a few houses as more meaningful to the region and campaign (I'll touch on that later).

    4. Magic and technological levels:
    In the default setting, the 100 years continent tearing war, has brought up quite a lot of new inventions. For now, I intend to keep most of the material as is, but I'm noting a few major changes. Might add as the campaign design develops:
    - Transport and travel: No airships, no Lightning rails, no elemental/ magically powered vehicles: While the lightning rails just started to be built, they are fairly new, and none of them reaches this region. As the campaign is P6, most of the advanced magic that circumvents much of exploration (Teleport, long term flying) is not available. For the most part, exploration will be old style- on foot, horses, other mounts and carts. The campaign WILL have a few possibilities for faster, more efficient travel (Flying mounts, some powerful magical sites and hidden options) but these will require discovering or a significant effort to attain.

    - Magic levels: Since this is P6, regular spells cap at 3rd level, with a few options to learn "epic spells" that mimic specific higher level spells, but at a considerable effort/ investment. Some magic sites/ entities may have higher spell power, but these are rare.

    - Dragon mark services: Many will be available, but not all. I'll try to detail those later. A few things that I am currently do wish to keep: House Vadalis animals and magical beasts (Including Magebred), Jorasco healers, A Khundarak bank, Healing Stones, and Orien Couriers.

    - Fire arms? The default Eberron setting does not ave fire arms, but I'm thinking of adding those for the Gunslinger class (And a few other options) I'm not that well familiar with the rules for them, but I think they would fit the "frontier western" feel quite nicely.

    5. Racial and cultural changes:

    - No warforged.

    - Shifters are far less common, and considered mostly as a savage race, mostly in frontier/ backwards regions, such as the campaign region, the Eldeen reaches, Talenta and beyond and so on...

    - Goblinoids: In Eberron they are mostly part of the common races, though considered "second class" citizens by most of society. The goblinoids hail from a long lost empire (Dhakkan), that fell while fighting a war with the extra planar abominations of the Daelkyr. A great deal of this was was fought in the campaign's region, and the place is littered with ruins from that age, including the main settlement, which was built upon the ruins of as fort from that age! (My campaign's "Ruins of an old civilization". Well... at the more obvious one... The second one is a mystery. ). This is important, as part of the region's history.

    - Orcs and half orcs: Unlike most settings, in Eberron the orcs are a minor race, nearly gone. Most of them are in the Shadow Marches to the west, along with humans. Half orcs are seen as the better of both parent races, who work together. House Tharashak, a major player in this campaign, originates from there, and has orcs, half orcs and humans as members.

    In the region itself, most of the orc population has been enslaved by various overlords (Mostly ogres and other giant-kin), as work force and warriors. It's not the focus of the campaign, but a strong savage cultural feature.


    Defining the campaign region's borders

    Spoiler
    Show
    Defining the geography, I'll start from the outside in. As this is a contained sandbox, there is a limit to how much the players can explore, and so defining those borders at the outset is quite crucial. I intend to have the area to be fairly big, offering a good gaming experience. I'll be using some of the Eberron maps for reference, but will make some changes of my own. As I am using an established campaign setting, I'll first note where it is in the world, in relation to bordering regions:

    Spoiler: Khorvaire by regions
    Show


    The region in question is the brownish one ,at the south west, labeled Droaam. On the east, in border with Breland, one of the 5 nations making out the Empire of Galifar (The empire has laid claims to the region as well, but was unable to develop or settle it much). To the north there are the Eldeen reaches, with the Byeshk mountains proving as the natural border. To the west there are the Shadow Marches, home to most of Khorvaire orc population. To the south- the ocean.

    Now, for a bit of a more focused look:

    Spoiler: Droaam's map
    Show


    This map is from after the war. It notes many forts, keeps and such, most of them belonging to post war regional chiefs, serving the trio of hags that will rule there. I won't use most of these, but focus on some geographical features, as well as a few key points:
    1. "Home base"/ Greywall:
    (I will be using a lot of "place holder" names, till I get more flavorable ones. ) On the east of the map you'll notice a settlement called Greywall. In the default setting, it's the first settlement visitors come to when traveling from the more civilized lands to the west, from Breland. I've chosen this location as the "home base" settlement for the campaign. It will be the biggest civilized settlement, and the Empire's "seat of power" within the region. A sort of "capitol", though with this being far at the frontier, the place will resemble a small town more than a major city.

    In ancient history, the place was a hobgoblin settlement and fort called Korash Khaar, used to guard the gap between the Byeshk mountains to the north, and the Greywall mountains to the south. It was conquered and destroyed by the Daelkyer, before the war ended. Since then it changed many hands. about 15 years ago, a band of adventurers was hired by the Galifar empire, to stop raids coming from the savage lands. The culmination of their efforts was an attack on Khorash Khaar, defeating the gnoll raiders there, and establishing a tenuous cease fire with the major savage inhabitants of the land. The Empire of Galifar bestowed noble status on the leader of the group (I'll call him "The Falcon" for now), the deed for the land, and the resources and men to build a fort and a community, to protect against any further incursions. The Falcon now rules over the settlement, and the region, in the Empire's name, and has even established a sort of trade and commerce with the savage tribes.

    In the default setting Greywall is inhabited mostly by the monstrous races of Droaam, but in my campaign Home base town is mostly inhabited by the "civilized empire folks". The place is built upon the ruins of Korash Khar (Which still holds some secrets), a fort to some degree, and some standing troops. Yet, the savage tribes remain a constant uncertain threat...

    You might have noticed that I've chosen a settlement in the far east of the region. This is intentional. While there might be a few close by adventure and exploration sites, most of exploration occurs westward, either straight west, north west, south west, and so on... A new frontier, sort to speak.

    2. The western border- The Great Crag:
    After choosing the home base, I'd like to define the edges of the exploration map. First I'll start with the western border. If I'd just go with Droaam's map, I can use it's western border (Mainly the Black water lake). But it doesn't fit my needs for two reasons:
    - First, It's waaaayyy too far (Around 450-500 miles by another map, with scale). That's very far for ground travel (Note that it also affects the north- south borders, as I wish for the exploration region to be roughly square/ a not-extreme rectangular). Yet, this in itself isn't a very compelling reason, since I can easily adjust distances (I don't think my players will look it up, or begrudge this).

    - More importantly, I want "reaching the edge of the map" to feel like a great accomplishment. For that it needs to contain a significant local/ landmark. Now, I can probably make Blackwater lake into such, but there isn't any info on the place (To my knowledge at least). The mountain in the center however, The Great Crag, does. It was a mountain that was created in the old war, supposed to be a highly dangerous place, with high stepped mountains, and deep sharp crevices, and in the default campaign setting it is the seat of power for the ruling trio of hags, with many rumors of vast secrets in it. Sounds promising! I decide that this will also be the secret home of the leaders of the Lycanthropic faction, which poses the most significant threat. I will detail the faction and it's leaders later, but for now I know that this will probably be a site of the most utter importance!

    Choosing the Great Crag as about the western border, gives me an estimation of scale. With a bit to the east and west of it and Home Base town, I guess the East-West length of the campaign is about 250 miles. How does that translates into hexes? Depends on what size of hex I'll use. There seem to be two favorites: The 6 mile hexes and Pathfinder 12 mile hexes. This gives about 20-40 hexes side East- West, which is quite a LOT to explore.

    I will talk about the two different hex kinds later, under exploration, and will debate which to use. I also decide that I may change this length, to be more or less, as the campaign requires. For now though, I have cropped a bit of the original map in order to give me an estimate of the region that will be mapped:

    Spoiler: Regional map, cropped from the Droaam map"
    Show


    The map is... very bare... Good! In the words of someone I unfortunately can't remember- "Where there is nothing you can do anything!" I will fill things up. But first, I'd like to address the borders still:

    3. Northern border- The Byeshk Mountains: By the map the mountains comprise just a bit of the north, while in my imagination the mountains DEFINED the north. So, I will make them extend more westward, than North West. These mountains will be formidable, and I imagine them to be the home of some of the most powerful, yet reclusive inhabitants of the region- Stone giants, rocs, wyverns and the homes of some harpy flights. It is a place of earth and air, home to big creatures, an old and dangerous, yet majestic region.

    4. Eastern border- the gap and Greywall Mountains: The Greywall mountains are also a natural and formidable border. These mountains may hold a few old secrets from the Dhakkani empire. I'm not yet sure of other stuff, but I'll probably draw these more as the outright eastern border of the map, minus the gap into Breland.

    These two mountain ranges will probably form the major rivers/ big sources of water for the region, along with possibly The Great Crag. (Though currently I think not).

    5. Western and Southern borders: Now, these are more difficult... With the more focused map, not covering all of Droaam, the south doesn't end in the sea, and the west, while holding the Great Crag, is kind of bare on the rest of the border. I'd like there to be some sort of a transition there, into what would feel like another region, another land, a more natural border than just "You got to the end of the hex sheet". But tell the truth- I don't have an idea at the moment. I'll keep that as a question to deal with later.

    Ok, I got the basic borders down. Time to get a feel of the interior a bit more.


    Filling the major terrains, areas and locals in the map

    Spoiler
    Show
    Ok, so we got the borders, mountains, in the east Home base town, and in the west (and a bit North) The Great Crag. What's up next? A lot of this campaign will focus on exploring the wild. Other than the lycanthropes, there will be 4 major inhabitant races of the savage lands- The gnoll tribes, the Centauri tribes, The ogre lords domains, and the spread out shifter population. I'll keep those in mind while planning the region, but for now I'm going to start with the basics for exploration of the wild- Terrain, flora & fauna, and weather.

    1. Terrain:
    I got the main mountain ranges. The region is supposed to be inhospitable for farming. That said, I don't want it to be all desert and arid plains! I want there to be some variations, and the region needs to be able to support life, and in fairly big abundance. How to reconcile the difference? I don't fully know yet, but I have few ideas: Either the people of Galifar just never really learned how to work and farm this particular soil, or perhaps lingering magic effects from the Dhakaan- Dalkyr war, or perhaps just the numerous dangers of the region. It's more high risk than the more civilized lands in Khorvaire. I'll work out the details later. For now I'll think I'll use this simple aspect to explain my concept:

    A harsh land, predatory land, yet rife with life, tough lives.

    I'll start off with main bodies of water:

    - The Serpentine river: It's not on the map. This will be the region's main river. I imagine it starting fro ma few sources in the Byeshk Mountains to the north, and then moving south, spliting into several arms, which will form 2-3 main north- south streams, one of them making it's way all the way even to Home base town, forming it's western border. i imagine it prevalent in most of the upper half of the map, at some points getting to it's middle. The Serpentine gets it's name from it's many twists and turns, but also from it's wild, dangerous nature. It is a very fast, powerful, and capricious moving river. My main goals for the Serpentine are as follows:
    - Natural exploration border, and aid: The Serpentine will sort of "divide" the region into several segments, which can correspond easily to sub-regions, and areas of exploration. Also, the river can serve as a distinct mark for navigation, if the party gets lost. If they get lost in the hills/ woods/ plains, the party can head east or west, and will eventually get to one of it's venues, and will be able to reorient themselves. Also, at least for the start, it can provide an easy track to follow.

    - Natural obstacle, and choke points: The Serpentine is dangerous and difficult to cross. I will put various easier points where it can be crossed (Bridges of old, shallower and calmer streams, ponds/ minor lakes), which will form sort of "central traversing points" in the region, which can be used to ambushes, minor savage settlements, and so on. The Serpentine can be crossed at harder points, but that would require skill, resources and daring.

    - Mysticism, culture of the wild, and Spirit of The Land: The savage species both respect, fear and revere the Serpentine. For the various aspects of worshipin water (Both life giving and destructive), but also for a very good cause- it hosts the spirit of Serpentine. Part of the region's mysteries will be a rare few mythical creatures, unique semi-fey spirits, who are both creature and mystery. Each is unique. I aim for the feel of "monsters/ creatures of legend", which requires more than just brawn to beat or deal with. I'll touch more on this later, but for now it's suffice to say that The Serpentine river hold a powerful creature, who can create a sort of serpent like body from it's waters, and is the object of worship for many of the savage residents, even though it's appearance is rare.

    My main problem with the Serpentine, is that I need a destination where it flows TO... I don't want it to go all the way south to the sea (I want there to be other bodies of water there), yet it can't just... end up nowhere... The rive'rs arm that gets up to Home Base will probably just continue a bit south, and then east to Breland, off the map (Hey! Just got a trade route!) while the others might end up at small lakes, maybe a bog/ swamp or such? Not yet certain...

    - Gnoll lake: A big lake, which is NOT connected to The Serpentine, (The Gnolls fear the spirit within), and which forms the hub for most of the gnoll tribes. I intend to put it in the West- South West, yet not as far out as the Great Crag. Around it's shores (Perhaps not all of them), are the gnoll home steads. I intentionally put it much souther than The Great Crag, in order to have the party explore also southwards. I intend to spread out a lot of the major locations around the map, both for direction options, and to have the party explore much of the map. (An idea that came from the Star Control II game where nearly in every region you have something to explore.

    - Southern river: This one will come out of the Greywall Mountains, and will run more East- West/ South west. A calmer river, with a different feel to it. The main reason for it are to create a feel of a different region, a different feel from the north half to the south, and for a different type of river, which may present other types of interaction with this exploration obstacle. No name yet, not many other details.

    Other major terrain types:
    Between the rivers I imagine two mjor terrain types: Hills and plains (Mostly Savannah like plains). There will be few major forested areas, and a few more clumps of more dense vegetation, but on the most part the region will have sparse vegetation. I'm thinking something akin to not-tropical Africa and possibly Australia in my mind. I think it will make for good variety, but also give a distinct feel for the region as a whole. Other than a few specific places (Mostly for exploration), I have no concrete places. I'll touch on those as I detail the adventure/ exploration sites.

    2. Flaura and Fauna:
    While many campaigns sort of skip over this, assuming some sort of a "default/ European" background, In this campaign taking some time to overview this is important, for several reasons:
    - Fantasy aesthetics: I'd like to form some sort of a consistent feel. Verisimilitude/ Immersion and all that. I want the party to get a feel of the region. Now, this may be hard, as I'm no geography expert, but for these first steps, I'll try to focus mostly on the feel I want to give the place.

    - Lycanthropy, region and culture: Part of the Lycnthropy mystery (That I'll touch on later segment) ties heavily into the animal aspects of the region, and the different roles and perceptions of animals in different cultures. But for that, there need to be animals to refer to! For starrters- Lions, Tigers, Hyenas, Pigs and more may play significant roles. You might see later on that various places, rumors, titles and groups may have animal motifs, as part of those cultures. (The leader of Home base town called "The falcon", The head of the lycnthropes called "The White King", and more...)

    - Various nature themed classes, spells, and more, rely on what's in the region. Animal companions for example.

    So for a few of the basics:
    - Hot African/ Australian feel- Savannah vs. Forests: I already touched upon this, but I wish to create the feel of a harsh land, a hot land, with violent weather chnges at times, with wide stretches of land in which vegetation is sparse and rough, with small patches of vegetation, woods and such (Around bodies of water usually), with few big forests. The region favors greatly the gnoll and Centauri population, with the ogre lords mostly sticking to the hills, and the shifters spread out, ins small, secluded communities.

    - Pig Country! No cows! I don't know exactly why it came to my mind, but for some reason, from the earliest conceptions of the campaign, I felt it was important that the more "traditional" live stock, couldn't easily be grown here. So no cows, few horses, but a lot of... pigs, boars, hogs, and so on. Most of them quite wild, most of them quite fierce, and dangerous. The farmers of Home base town are mostly pig farmers, who use the nearby woods to grow them, and the House Vadalis (A significant dragonmark house in the region) has a branch there working on breeding and improving the pigs livestock. I'll need to read more about this.

    This shall have an effect on Lycnthropy, since a lot of the normal folks that will contact the affliction will most likely turn into were-boars/ people. Oddly enough, this sense of "Pig country" came before I ever saw the picture in the previous post with the were boars vs. the Silver Flame. yet it oddly fits...

    - Magical Beasts, and lots of them! Ankhegs, Manticores, Displacer Beasts, Hydras, Bullets and more! Many of the major predators in the savage lands will be magical beasts of various power. It adds to the feel of a savage dangeorus land. As I work on the campaign, I'll decide more.

    - Giant Kin and monstrous humanoids: Droaam is "Land of monsters". While I've already mentioned a few of the more prevalent savage races, there will be a few more, lesser populations, mostly in specific regions and sites. These will include the various "giants"- trolls, ettins, and other humanoid like creatures of large size, who exemplify strength (Minotaurs and such). Harpy flights, originating from the Byeshk mountains, butwith some bands and more flying more south.

    - Aberrations: Mostly as an aspect of horror, weird stuff, remnants from the old war. Most of these won't be very intelligent or scheming, but rather just abnormal terrifying monsters. (Not going for Illithids, Aboleths and such, but rather Gibbering Mouthers, Rune hounds and the like). Mostly tied to old ruins and such, or worshiped by the savages.

    - A few additions from my own compendium of misaligned and forgotten monsters: A long time ago I started a special project of reworking various monsters, and in the process give them a more grounded feel in a campaign. I will use some of those. Stirges, Stone Giants (As have been mentioned), Gargoyles (Who will be quite different than "D&D gargoyles". I'm going back to lore, where they are guardians of places, sort of semi- sentient constructs), Possibly Nagas, possibly hags and Aranea. I don't wish to use the campaign to "publish" them, but these ideas have strong ties and connections to the campaign.

    - The Fey: The fey will have some influence in various parts of the region (Not just forests) but will mostly be site- focused. The fey are dangerous, and very hard to deal with. Yet, at 1-2 locals in the setting, where remains of ancient fey court remain, are hidden clues to the mystery of lycanthropy.

    - Spirits of The Land: I've touched upon this briefly before (Such as with Serpentine), but there will be a few mythical like creatures, each one unique, who are very tied to the region's lore, religions, and cultures. These are formidable opponents, yet can also be dealt with by non violent means. More of the region's mystery and options. So far I have ideas for about 5 of these (Including Serpentine). I'll touch on these later.

    - The "rare and few": The campaign will either not have at all, or very few, of the following types: Outsiders, Undead (Perhaps 1-3 specific locals), Constructs (Other than the gargoyles, and perhaps very specific locals).

    - Dragons? As to dragons, I may have lesser versions (Wyverns, perhaps small drakes, perhaps ambush drakes), but as to major dragons? Perhaps 1 big one, possibly a few off springs in the region. Dragons will not be the focus of the campaign, more aspects of danger (If a dragon has been sited somewhere, the party better take serious precautions traveling through it's domain!), and as a possible reward for the party who wishes to undertake side quest to deal with it. No connection to The Chamber or such (An Eberron dragon faction). Any dragon will be an independent one, a "rogue" dragon, as in traditional games. But as Dragons of Eberron mentions "The dragon may not be part of an overarching world scheme. It might just be hungry. Good luck with that!"

    3. Weather:
    I will be using Eberron's calender for this campaign, along with season, moons and more. I don't have a very clear idea on how to handle this, but the feel I'm aiming for is again African like- mostly hot and dry, yet with a very powerful rain season (Possible floods), and at times fast changing weather (I've spent some time in eastern Africa, and some of those storms came out of Nowhere!) I'll need to work and read about weather more...

    4. Major populations: As these form the some of the factions, I will detial more on them later, but in terms of the map, and locations of central populations:
    - The Gnoll tribes: As mentioned, the gnoll homestead will reside around Gnoll lake, in the western- south western part of the region. The place where they keep their young, the few centers of their civiliztion, and more. Yet, Gnoll bands roam through out the region, and will be the most populous and common savage species.

    - The Centauri: Though fewer than the gnoll tribes, the Centauri re quite dangerous. The center of their homes shall be more to the north-west, a bit east to The Great Crag. The gnolls and Centauri compete over prey, territory and influence. Sometime they trade, sometime raid, it's an ever fluctuating conflict. The Centauri also roam over the entire region, though a bit more rare than the gnolls.

    - The ogre lords and ogre tribes: Though Giant-kin re well spread through the region, non are as numerous and influential as the ogres, and their ogre lords. They mostly congregate around hills and high terrains, levignthe plains and forest mostly to the former two. The ogre tribes hold some spread out domains, yet mostly focused. They travel and roam less than the previous two factions, yet in their regions they act like lords of small fiefdoms, and pose a serious obstacle to deal with. I currently have ideas for 2 such locals, one of them a close adventure site. I'll touch upon this a bit later.

    - The shifter population: The shifter are an important part of the puzzle, and one of the major problematic moral decision points, as the spreading lycanthropy will pervade. I imagine them as being spread throughout the region, in nearly every possible terrain, yet in very small groups, most of them nomadic, or willing to live under other populations. I want them to feel "always in the background", "hard to place", and "not a threat", at the start, but keep a lot of secrets to themselves, with a lot of hidden communication between the groups.

    - Orcs: Not exactly a faction, more like a "regional feature"- Orcs are slaves throughout the region. Mostly to the ogre kin, but to others as well... Part of their role is to underline the savagery of the savage races, and the interaction with House Tharashk, whose orcs and half orcs are more" civilized". They'll have NO places of their own.

    5. Adventure locals:
    I'll detail but a few here, some of the ones for whom I have fuller ideas. I'm not touching Home base town yet (Who'll have LOTS to do in), or The Great Crag for now.

    I'll start with 3 close locals:
    - The shifter's bog: A bit north, following The Serpentine, the decent sized bog is home to one of the only major shifter populations in the region. The poor village subsides by the natural surroundings, with a few more "civilized" settlers. The bog my hold a few adventure spots, and the shifters gather various potent natural products from it (Which they trade to home base). The bog is well known for it's stirge population. The shifters bog will be one of the major places the PCs can learn more of the shifter population and culture.

    - The Khundarak- ogre mines: The dwarves of House Khundarak have established a small expedition force southwards, towards hills ruled by one of the major ogre lords. The ogre lords rules over an ancient ruins, which goes deep down, to vast halls. (This is kept a secret, by the dwarves as well as ogres). The house made pact with the ogres, enabling them to mine deep into the ruins. One of the bigger dungeons, with an intriguing social make up at the top. The place enables delving into some secrets of the past, as well as learn about the Ogre lords secrets, regarding lycanthropy. (More on that later)

    - The Outpost: (I'll really need a better name). This is the forefront of the dragon marked houses effort (Mostly House Tharashk and House Deneith) expedition to search for dragon shard fields, and such. It is very new, located some distance to the west, and is comprised mostly of various mercenaries, and the various support and specialists for "finding gold!/ dragon shard fields". This outpost is run like a semi military camp, and is posted further west than the agreement between the gnoll tribes and the falcon (ruler of Home base town) agreed upon. Tharashk agents try to appease the gnolls, yet as more opportunists, bolder expeditions venture into the savage lands, the place creates a friction, that slowly intensifies.

    Some other locals:

    - Stone town: A very dangerous local, with enough rumors to warn about it. The Stone hills (Somewhere midway to the gnoll tribes, fairly central) have various run down "ruin spots" in them, from the hobgoblin era. If you go into the small ruins, you find yourself in a far vaster city, made entirely of stone. Home to Gargoyles, Medusas, and quite a few petrified statues, the place is highly dangerous. (I partly copied The Stone city in the west of Droaam to here, with a few changes). The ruins shift every so often, and the exact local is not known. A mystery place, of dangerous adventure, high rewards.

    - The Hunger Woods: Ancient woods, home to the fey. Yet very few who happen to be there at night leave alive. The rumors tell that the forest eats those within it. And there is some truth to the tale... I'm thinking of placing one of the key forgotten/ lost fey courts within it. I'm thinking of placing it at the south, near the border of the map.

    - Darkness and The Red Hound: A special local, between the gnoll tribes and the Centauri, of great cultural and religious significance to them. Most savage races know of the place, but steer far from it. At times, leaders or priest, may decide to venture to seek The Darkness help and advice. They give tribute to The Red Hound (One of the Spirits of The Land) that guards it. The party may well come upon this place, later in their travel. It will be in the mid western portion of the map, about middle way between the center and the western edge.

    I've drawn a simple sketch of the region so far, with most of what I touched upon in this section.
    Spoiler: Initial sketch of the region so far
    Show



    The red diagonal lines cover the region's vast plains and Savannah. I may add/ change more in the future. This is just for a general concept.



    Ok, now that I've got region's basic make up, I'll do a brief recap through the history of the region, to understand the current situation and the past that the major factions will play in...


    A brief look through history

    Spoiler
    Show
    I was intending to go into the factions, but realized that in order for them to make sense in their context, I'll need a few basic pacts about the past, that shaped the region. My aim is not to give an exact time line, or fill in all major events. Rather than that, I aim to grasp the feel of the major periods of the region, and I'll focus on specific events as my campaign planning progresses. I'll start with the source of the recent source of the campaign's major problems, and then spread from it- forward up till the campaign's start point, and backwards to ancient times, to the true source of lycanthropy...

    I'm partly using the concepts from the game Microscope: Using Periods (Vast swaths of history), Events (More particular major occurring, but from a bird's eye view. You know how it ended, bu not the details, not the secrets. And possibly Scenes (The actual scenes, between characters and such)

    I'll get started:

    Period: Home Base on the frontier: About 15-20 years ago- About 2 years ago:
    Gnolls, ogres, and possibly other monstrous races, have been making raids into the western civilized parts of Khorvaire. Over the past few years the raids have become more and more bold, damaging. The Galifar officials tried sending mercenaries, and skilled "problem solvers" (Adventurers of various motives and natures) Yet most of these failed.

    Then came a group led by the future ruler of Home Base town, ("The Falcon", for now) who managed to delve into the region, fight and "conquer" the gnoll staging base of Korash Khaar (Which later Home Base was built upon), fortified it sufficiently as a base of operations, (With support from Galifar), from which the party made quite few raids and expedition into the wild, taking down various menaces. The party became respected by some of the savages, if not feared... It is said that The Falcon understood their "Diplomacy", and resorted to quite vicious, violent, and "demonstrative" acts to gain that respect.

    Questionable as some of the stories were, it worked. After a fashion. The Falcon and his team mates have made a sort of a truce/ bargain/ "Understanding"- The raids will stop, and Home Base will be allowed to be built, and prosper, as a trade post with the lands of Galifar. Yet, The Falcon and his team will also respect the savage lands, and will not venture further in, will not make raids, and respect the land.

    - Event- The taking of Korash Khaar: I don't have the details of it, but it's the first part of The Falcon's reputation and renown, both among the people of Home Base, and the savage population (Mainly the gnolls). I imagine the taking of the place emphasizing a few major aspects of The Falcon: His smart and cunning, his understanding of his enemies, (Behavior, culture and more) and his willing to go to extremes to "get the job done".

    - 2-3 more events- Various other examples of the team's prowess: The Falcon's team is supposed to be a sort of a local legend. Some of them still live, and act as protectors of Home Base, as well as rulers/ administrators/ holders of key positions. I'm not yet sure what these events/ legends will be, but they need to both emphasize The Falcon, but also give a feel for his other team members (All detailed NPCs, most probably 6th level/ Epic in P6). Perhaps even tie into specific adventure sites?

    - Event: The secret of Falcon's team: I guess I drew inspiration from Rich Burlew's introduction of a former adventuring team- The Order of The Scribble, which the OOTS keep unraveling their story, their secrets, choices, and more. I'm not fully sure what the secret shall be, but I guess some sort of a schism, and possibly stumbling upon/ activating the new rise of lycanthropy. In any way, I want them to be intimately tied to the leader of the Lycanthropes (Who might be conceived then? Perhaps due to some sort of romance gone wrong?), Shere- Khan, Te White King, and his siblings, who lead the lycanthropes faction. The event is of course a mystery, which the living remants of Falcon's team keep a very hidden secret.

    I envision that the event also placed a sort of commitment/ complication, for which neither Falcon's team nor the lycanthropes can act too overtly against each other... well, at least not till things get more... serious...

    - Event/ scene: Making the cease fire/ mutual understanding of the wild: A sort of an unwritten contract. I'd like this to have a publicly known version (Part of Falcon's legend), and partly a mystery. The true reason why the cease fire was made (Perhaps the two sides lost too much, perhaps they wished to avoid growing escalation, perhaps inner turmoils/ dissension?) Not sure yet what it will be exactly.

    - Event: Rise of the White King: Shere-Khan, The White King, through his studies and exploration of the land, comes upon his revelations, philosophy and vision about lycanthropy, as long as gaining some of his more... unusual abilities (Templates or such... Future development). I think this needs to be tied to a discovery and exploration of a ruin dating back to the earliest period, and the emergence of lycanthropy. If the PCs find it, and explore it, they will learn and understand much more about the affliction, and him.

    Shere Khan establishes the base of operation in The Great Crag, amongst the White Pack (A group of advanced or dire lions), and begins putting his vision, his plans into action (This happens but a few years before the start).

    Period- The "Gold rush" (Place holder name)- From about 2 years ago till now.
    House Tharashk finds a valuable resource in the region (Currently thinking about Eberron dragon shard fields- A resource that is greatly sought by magical artificers, and the dragon marked houses). This discovery propels the house (And a few more houses following it) to put resources into making expeditions for finding and securing such fields, despite the dangers. The Falcon's warnings do not stem the greed, and after pressure from the houses, The Galifar ministry orders him to make the expeditions secure. The gnolls, and others watch apprehensively, and violent "accidents" happen. Harvesting the dragon shard fields becomes dangerous, and mercenaries, opportunists and more flock to the region.

    - Event: Rising of tent town: The influx of new comers is not sustained by the small Home Base town. As such, small tent town rises on the fringes, and with it more cultural effects, strange commerce, and crime. Home Base grows from about 2,000- 2,300 to about 3,000-3,500, in a matter of a few months. The town has not yet adapted, some liking this, some not. A constant flux.

    - Event: The Khundarak deal with the ogre lord: House Khudarak, making an expedition of it's own, goes into the territory of a powerful ogre lord and his tribe, which reside in a huge past ruin of the past (Mostly underground). They make their dealings with the ogre lord, and build up a small operation there, partly a mine, partly excavating the vast tunnels of the ruins.

    - Event: The building of The Outpost: Suffering too many losses to the savage parties, and wishing to have a closer base deeper inside the region, House Tharahsk and House Deneith put resources into building The Outpost, as a "field base" for the various expeditions. At the start of the campaign the place is still in building and fortifying process, into gnoll lands, which gets their attention.

    Period- A land forgotten, a land of monsters: From the fall of the Dhakaan Empire (About 8,000 years ago, till bout 15-20 years ago)

    Yeah, that a LONG Swath of time! The idea is that since the Dhakaan fell, no long lasting civilized force was able to claim and civilize the land. The place does have history, but most of it is the oral history and vague tails of the savage tribes in the region. I'm not fully picturing major events at this time. Or at least, not very concise and though of ones. I do have a few important notes and thoughts though:
    - Peaks of lycanthropic rise, and the origin of species: The major populations described above (Gnolls, Centauri, Shifters, Ogres), in my campaign, are not "just" monstrous humanoids who happen to lived in the land. They are in fact, the result/ aftermath/ effect of previous rise of lycanthrophy in the region, and Khorvaire. The gnolls were a people who came to unite themselves with the hyena manifestation of lycnathropy, transforming their entire race. The Centauri joined themselves with horses, the shifters managed to somehow find a sot of balance/ not full traits of lycnathropy, which are a major part of their tradition and culture. At various points in the past, lycanthropy rose (As it will in the campaign), and became far more sweeping, far more spread out, and the races who lived here before, were transformed by it. I'd like there to be events/ sub periods for each of the races, a mystery to unravel, and which can shed more light on the threat and potential danger, but also of the varying choices of dealing with it. (I'll touch more fully on it in the mysteries part). A few other races, such as minotaurs, harpies and other "half beast humanoids" creatures may also have originated by lycnathropy rises, yet with far less history, or ways of tracking it down.

    - other than that, just various legends giving hints to adventure sites.

    Period- The Era of Dhakaan (About 15,000- 8,000 years ago):
    Dhakaan was a continent wide goblinoid empire, which rose to far greater power and acievement even than modern Galifar (Though few in Galifar would admit to that). The regions was one of the major battle grounds against the Daelkyr invasion, which defeated the Dhakaan, before the druids stopped the Daelkyr.

    - Event: The Dhakaan- Daelkyr war: The region will have quite a few ruins, and as the war involved immensely powerful magic effects, there will be a few magical phenomenons dating to that era. (The Great Crag itself). I need to think and "put meat" to this conflict, significant enough traces.

    Period- The days of glorious old...
    While the earliest know humanoid settlements on Khorvaire go back as far as around 38,000 years ago (Goblinoid and orc mostly), I want there to be an even older one! A surprise mystery) This is NOT cannon- I'm adding this for my campaign solely.

    I imagine it as extremely spiritual, enlightened, magical society, of a race long gone. A sort of a "golden age, of enlightenment". Nearly nothing remains of them- Time and their own foils erased all but the following:
    - 1-2 ruins, well hidden and guarded, that may shed light on their mystery.
    - Lycnthropy, which rose first, from them seeking to "better themselves/ find their true form", and dealings with the fey.
    - The ogres, and ogre lords: I'll admit that I got this from Dragonlance- I once read in one of their novels ("Lord Toade" I think?) about the ogres being descended from far more advanced and beautiful beings. The ogres all forgot, yet some hints remain- some ogres manage to activate highly advanced magical gear, that no one else can, and the offshoots to the past- the ogre mages.
    Any events or scenes made for this period, will focus on giving an impression of the people, their tragedy, and the origins of lycanthropy, from dealing with the fey of old...


    The stage is set. Time to put in the chess pieces...
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-06-10 at 09:21 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The Mystery of Lycanthropy- Nature of The Beast


    I decided to shift and write this post after the basic details, since Lycanthropy, it's mystery and the troubles it arouses, will probably form the major issue in the campaign, and will pose the main questions the campaign will revolve around. Most other subjects are affected by it, or designed with it in mind.

    It's been quite a challenge to think of how to write this subject. I've approached this subject on the forum twice before- latest in 2014, and earlier in 2012. Yep, the idea has been long brewing! I hope that this presentation will clarify and make it more... coherent.

    The goals of the lycanthropy mystery
    Spoiler
    Show
    The main goals of introducing the mystery, are as follows:
    1. Deal with the subject of CHANGE:
    A change of body, a change of personality, a change of life, a change of society, a change of a region. CHANGE, as a theme, will have many layers, many interpretations, opinions and more. The change is, to an extent, an outside influence, but is dealt with by inside influences as well. Where does one begin? Where does one end?

    2. Tough choices, in a non-obsolute situation- grey areas:
    Due to the nature of Lycanthropy itself, it's status as a mystery, of which little is really known (Many rumors & opinions, little known fact), in a situation which demands action, with no clear moral, and a great complexity, will mean making tough decision, many times not fully clear or obvious ones, and with many there is a price (Not necessarily mechanical, but in-game-world price). Some of the main dilemmas I'd like to introduce (Though I imagine the game and players will introduce some more):
    - Are civilization's laws and constructs better, or worse, than "the natural state"- our primal being, our more animalistic natures? What is the balance (Or imbalance?) between such forces- our own deep desires, and conforming to society? What does it say about us? About others? About the nature of soul? Of decision? To steal from Orson Scott Card- "What is the arrhythmic of your soul?"

    - How much of the change is an outside influence? How much an inside choice? Where does responsibility begins? Where does it end? Who decides?

    - How much can you trust someone? And if they change- does your trust change? Does it change if it's a loved one, vs. someone you have no connections to, or even hate? Is there "justice" for all, or a case-by-case basis?

    - In a situation withe a highly concealable, fast spreading, very dangerous threat, which cannot be fully understood- What steps will you take? What limits? How far will you go? The freedom, liberty and rights of the few vs. safety of the many? Where does your compromise, between pragmatism and high morals, draw the line?

    - How do you deal with fear? Rumors? Preconceptions? What when they appear to be true, or are true? What IS true? What is not? And does this have significance?

    3. A tool for Expression:
    This element of change, is of course WONDERFUL for those who like the Expression aesthetic. However, that might depends on the form of expression- if one seeks to portray a happy, successful, "All is ok!"/ "I am good, always!", type of character, this may not suit them. The campaign will certainly have a "Bad things can happen to good people, even without their control", premise. This premise, theme, will be known by the players when coming to play. May not be everyone's cup of tea, yet this campaign isn't necessarily meant for all.

    4. A complex and multilayered mystery for Exploration:
    The mystery has many parts, and is quite vague at first. Yet there will be LOTS of ways to explore it, be it from interactions with the denizens of the region, secrets found in adventure sites, player experimentation, and lots more! For players who like the Exploration aesthetic, the mystery offers a lot!

    5. Nature of The Beast:
    It's the campaign's name, but here I think I can explain the choice of that name better. Due to all of above, this phrase- Nature of The Beast, is another term for the mystery of lycanthropy. In it's way, it encompasses many of the questions above. In the setting, this will be a phrase, common with the more indigenous people, who may have rubbed on the new settlers as well. The Beast, can mean many things: One's soul, one's struggle with itself, the changes on the other races, the new settlement, the older races, the mysteries of the land, the hard choices and actions that will be made, the conflicts that will ensue, and more... What IS The Beast? And what IS it's nature? These are the questions that they campaign will pose, and the game may answer, in whatever fashion it will be. (I make no answer in advance. Where ever it may go, we will go as well).


    Inspirations for the mystery
    Spoiler
    Show
    Though I've touched on the main inspirations for the campaign on the first post, I'd like to address a few more. I may add more, as I remember them:
    - Various shapeshifters, in literature and more:
    There are MANY of these, either shifters, or a people with "animalistic traits". Some examples can be seen with X-men (Wolverine, Sabertooth, Toad and more), and quite a lot of other works. In many of these examples, the character takes upon itself some of the characteristics of the related animal- they are influenced by the connection, taking upon themselves some characteristics. Also, in most of them, this "animal aspect", often gives a more "savage/ uninhibited/ wild" feel. To many it may cause problems, and often the struggle with one self, and the growth form it are central to character.

    - The Beast, from X-men:
    A somewhat different case, as The Beast is very much in control of itself (Mostly), and is portrayed as a highly intelligent, sophisticated, spiritual and thoughtful being. Yet, even it may succumb to rage and destruction. There is a certain ambiguity in how The Beast considers it's his condition. Though it is many times evident that he would have liked to live without it, yet had to find a way to live with it.

    - Bruce Banner/ The Hulk:
    Another interesting example. I'm looking more at the psychological effects here, rather than the physical ones. The two are quite different, and for a long time Bruce considers The Hulk as almost a different being, living within it, which he needs to control. Yet The Hulk sometimes shows signs of Banner's personality, and in some iterations of the story, The Hulk is a manifestation of Banner's own rage, anger, and destructive tendencies. It makes for an intriguing process of self control, of losing control, and of self discovery, and of course- Change.

    - V's own transformation:
    Beware! Spoilers if you haven't read the OOTS comic! (What, are you insane? )
    Spoiler: You've been warned...
    Show
    When V becomes Darth V, and commits the Familycide, The dark 3 make a very insightful comment: "A good way to make a decent person do something horrible is to convince them they are not responsible for their actions." The matter of self responsibility, vs. outside responsibility will be a major issue in the campaign.


    The core of the mystery- Nature of The Beast
    Spoiler
    Show
    In D&D/ PF/ d20, Lycanthropy is treated as a disease, transmitted by bite, who grants the ability to transform to the shapes of the were-creature who bit you. At first you cannot easily control the transformations, (usually 3 days a month, around the full moon) yet there are also "natural lycanthropes" who do control their shapes fully.

    And yet, there was part of the description that intrigued me- were creatures had their alignment change, by the type of creature (Were wolves and were rats were evil, were bears were good...). I found this intriguing, since animals in the D&D game are either unaligned, or neutral. While I do not play with alignments, I did find the idea of a personality change quite... intriguing.

    But where do the change/ personality come from? It's not from the animals themselves, so... One idea, that is used in a lot of fantasy concepts, is of an "animal spirit" or such, which DOES have it's own morals. A sort of "Spirit intrusion/ take over". In some fantasy concepts some have learned to live with the spirit, while some are corrupted. I'm taking a different outlook though. There are quite a lot of changes to the D&D concept:

    Lycanthropy isn't exactly and outside influence, but rather the weakening/ breaking of one's own inhibitions, adherence to civilized norm and compliance.

    In one of the 2014 thread, the concept that the personality change, comes from rising of inhibited, more subconscious, more primal parts of one's personality, rather than the personality take over of an outside influence/ power. "It makes you more YOU", as I've used the term. But as complex creatures, people who must make compromise in order to live in civilized society, is "being more you" favorable or unfavorable? Well, depends on whom you ask... Shere- Khan, the leader of the major lycanthropic faction and his followers might sum it as such:
    "A curse? A blessing! You, pup of civilization, are a slave, who cannot see it's chains! You are whipped, and yet offer your back, over and over. You are lorded over by weaklings, weasels, snakes and manipulators, who uses the constructs of... "laws"... to rise more than their natural station. The Beast is an awakening, a breaking of chains of spirit, opening of your eyes, to what you TRULY are!"
    But I guess I need to explain this a bit more, as this has caused some discussion when first introduced:
    1. Breaking down of inhibitions:
    I will try to compare it a bit with other... dis-inhibiting agents, such as alcohol, drugs and more... Even the barbarian's rage? These often make people act differently, letting down their own guards, their own restraint, their own "breaks". Yet, where does the substance influence ends, and where does the person's personality begins? Different people react differently, yet many times, when under serious influences, Bad Things (TM) happen... When the guards are down, though a few just become more sociable, some become funnier, and so on, quite a few become aggressive, oppressive, and violent. One might argue that consuming such substances is a choice, while being afflicted usually isn't, and that is true. Yet, dealing with the addiction/ affliction/ curse/ blessing- Well, that is a far more complex question.

    2. Enhanced power:
    Unlike substance abuse, The Beast usually doesn't wreck your body, but rather enhances it- Better senses, increased attribute, animal vitality and powers, even increased survivability in the form of resistance to non-silvered weapons! Being a lycanthrope makes you physically better, stronger, more powerful! What happens when you get more powerful, more capable, along with facing your "new", stronger urges?

    3. A long change & struggle:
    ] The mental/ emotional/ spiritual side may be more complex- as one deals with the breaking of their own inhibitions, they struggle with new thoughts, emotions, urges, instincts and more. Some may think of these as outside influence, yet they will also recognize that it's THEIR OWN hidden echoes... Dealing with the change, either trying to resist it or accepting it, is the focus of the lycanthropic experience. That, and dealing with the outcomes.

    Wait, so is The Beast good or bad for you? Well, as the entire concept tries to suggest- it's complex. Yes, you may get more power, more confidence, and be able to accomplish more, but you may also lose yourself to instinct, to urges on the way. You may strike at the tyrant, but you may strike at your loved ones, or your boss as well. Many of civilization rules try to cull violent behavior, make order (And sometimes justice, but not always), enable people to work together, less it devolves into chaos and mayhem. Yet, as Shere-Khan might say:

    You say the wild is savage? The wild is dangerous? Death can come to you every day? Then tell me, shackled one- when did a wolf pack declared wars that lasted years, if not decades? When did bears invent torture, cruelty? When did rats invent prisons, executions? The "sentient beings" as you call them, and your precious "civilization", are but masks, an illusion to cover the brutality, the inherent violence in the thinking animal that is you. And an animal you are, make no mistake, and your kind preys upon each other, not for body, but for soul, servitude, and bending of knees... You prey on others WHOLE LIVES...

    We however are free. Yes, we can be violent, we can be passionate we can be extreme, we can be dangerous... Yet we LIVE! Our lives are our own! Our freedom is our own! Our lives are true! We do not live the lie of... "civilization..."
    4. The animal part of you:
    In the D&D concept, you turn into the same were-animal type of the were-creature that bit you. Yet I've changed that- The type of animal one "acquires", depends on the fusion of two parts: The type of person you are, and the perceived cultural role of the animal. I'll explain:
    - Each culture gives meaning to different animals in their culture, through stories, proverbs, imagery, symbols and more. As such, each culture allocates different qualities for different animals. In one culture Wolf is an evil murderer, killer, and cunning. In another Wolf is the loyal companion, the hunter, one of the pack. In one society Rat is sneaky, thieving, coward and diseased. In another Rat is wise, careful, and practical. These "Totemic animal traditions" affect the type of animal one may become, according to how he is perceived in society. Some of you may raise questions at this point: What, the animal type is influenced by how OTHERS see me? Partly yes, since The Beast is more than just a transmittable disease, it is a sort of pseudo-spiritual power, which is affected by preconceived concepts, learned through tradition, history, and more, to shape some of our OWN perceptions of the animal types. The subconscious, influenced by society, given form. (Quite literally!) Yet there is another important factor:

    - The personality if the affected individual, and the way it views itself, it's nature, it's "Inner animal", is also a major influence. All may see you as a coward, but you see yourself as a fighter, a warrior against odds, one who does what needs to be done to survive, so you might become Tiger. One's own perceptions of self may be less, of equal power, or more influential than the cultural concept.

    In short, depending on how much one perceives their "animal self" by society's pre-conceptions, or by their own individual conception, plays a great deal in the type of animal "type" one gains.

    I'm planning on having quite a few potential animal types, though all will be mammals. For NPCs that might change, I will decide myself on the animal type. For PCs, if it comes to that, they will chose, as long as it's justified by their personality and character. The campaign will include quite a lot of cultural influences, for the different cultures in the region (You may have noticed some already- Pig country, meaning most farmers/ poor folks are likely to turn into were boars, for example).

    None of this is initially known by the characters though, and as such it may raise more questions:
    - What does animal type mean? Does one type always means the same personality? A very similar personality? Can you stereotype by it? (This can be a major question when the threat is established in the public's eye)

    - Why can two were creatures with different personalities have the same animal type? We thought we knew how this worked!

    I'll finish with some words from Shere- Khan:
    Shere-Khan might have words on this as well:
    Your... leaders? What makes them such? Kings old, passing hereditary titles, or scheming treacherous nobles, weaseling their way by "pedigree"/ "titles" and such? Words, without any REAL content! How many times have you looked at your "leaders", and you KNEW they didn't really deserve to lead? You see- despite the words, the masks, the lies, all people have a core, have a true nature, which we all feel, and cannot avoid... Yet you, shackled one, dance around to the weasel's flute of lies, and not claim your true place, your true nature. Me? I'm The White Lion. Ask yourself- What are YOU?"


    Afflicting The Beast:
    Spoiler
    Show
    In the D&D rules, lycanthropy spread by a bite from a natural lycanthrope. Keith Baker. the creator of Eberron, once explained that the fast spread (and threat) of lycanthropy at this time period was due to the fact threat the affliction was also transferred by inflicted lycans, not just natural ones. (Due to a special arrangement of the moons or such). But I will do this a bit differently. I wish for the spread of lycanthropy (At this time) to not be just transmitted by bites/ physical means. That feels too... "scientific/ disease spread" to me, while I see it as a magical condition, and as such it's transition is less scientific, and more mysterious...

    On the 2014 thread, I've discussed the "structure" of affliction with Alberic Strein quite extensively, and we came upon a sort of way to describe who, how and why, does an individual get transformed.
    1. Exposure to a Source:
    There are different sources for the lycanthropic change. I'm not talking about it's origins, but rather sort of "centers of affliction", the preliminary requirement for any change to occur. I'm currently thinking of several ideas:
    - Interaction with a lycanthrope: This does not necessarily means violence, but any interaction in which one is exposed to the less restrained, more primal, less inhibited nature of the lycanthrope. This can be anger, desire, obsession, love, free spirit, and more...The stronger the emotion and experience, the shorter time of needed exposure.

    - Special locals: Very few special locals in the world, have "echoes of The Beast" in them- areas which are wilder, more primal, and may have had a strong connection to the history of The Beast. In the region, some of these will be tied to the fey, some to ancient ruins, some to old places of the transformed denizens (Old sites of the gnoll and centauri culture for example).

    - Special rituals: Taking from the D&D concepts of "rituals" (called "incantations"), very strict magical acts, under very specific and sensitive conditions may serve as greater sources of lycanthropy.

    Susceptibility:
    Some people are more prone to transform than others. Yeah, I can just make that a will and/ or con save, but I'd like to make it more attuned with the concept of The Beast. And that is- "A failing of civilized constraint, and accepting/ seeking a more primal/ bestial/ instinctive side." This can come from many paths- being an outcast of society, disagreeing with it's rules (Even a vigilante type of character, who decides to take things upon themselves), basically anything which might make you want to act upon your inner desires, despite more accepted/ "normal" ones.

    The transforming event: (Here I changed a bit from the design discussed with Alberic Strein. My apologies, but I think this may work better. )
    If exposure to a source has been sufficient, and the target is susceptible enough, then there is but one element missing for the affliction to take place- the triggering event. The event is any situation, in which the person experiences two strong factors:
    - A strong emotion/ sensation that is more related to animal/ primal/ sensations- Fear, Lust, Love, anger, violence, passion and so on. The emotion needs to be beyond the normal scope of the person's experiences, something powerful enough, unique enough to feel exceptional, beyond their "control".

    - Acting upon that emotion/ sensation. A willingness to go beyond normal constraints and self imposed limitations, to do something different than your normal behavior. This can be instinctual, subconscious, a sort of lashing out, or a conscious, self aware, accepting act. This of course can be played upon- how much of the act was instinctual, and how much was it truly desired?

    Various examples can include striking in violence, willingness to pursue a loved on despite danger, protecting someone against immense danger, fleeing your duty and more... I've intentionally detailed some acts that are not "violent/ dangerous" to show that the affliction can spread in many ways. Yet, for many, even the threat of life, being attacked by a savage half humanoid- half animal creature, may be sufficient. You don't have to BITE them...

    How will this work, mechanics wise?
    The above are the principles. They live a great deal for maneuvering, which is the purpose. There are different elements, which means different ways of affecting this. I'm not fully sure how I'll play it out number-crunching wise, but a few thoughts:
    - Exposure to a Source may be as easy as tracking "exposure points", which differ by different sources- Stronger vs. weaker lycans, the form they are in, the level of intimacy, the local's exposure, and so on... Shere- Khan might seek to increase exposure, by infiltrating lycans, who need to interact with many people, or get people to special locals, create locals perhaps? And of course- special rituals and so on... If the PCs understand this element of the mystery, they can act upon it, but this may mean distancing people, lycans and more...

    - Susceptibility might be played in different ways: A modifer to save/ checks, or even a sort of "resistance measure" against various kind of exposure. A "normal being" may have a certain resistance factor, more susceptible ones can have it lowered, while more resilient ones will have it higher, so they can withstand exposure better. Shere- Khan might try and "recruit" more susceptible ones, or mess with the lives, the beliefs, and the social structure to reduce the resistance of more resilient population. The PCs can also affect the situation, by the same means.

    - The triggering events can be varied, but they will stand out (At least in that person's view). As "lashing out" usually happens under duress, desperation, and possibly hopelessness, Shere- Khan might try to create such occurrence, which the PCs may try to prevent.

    Of course, if Shere- Khan or his followers decide to target the PCs, when they might become too much of a hindrance, or if they intrigue the White Lion, all of the above measures may make the PCs lives very... interesting.


    Coming to terms with The Beast:
    Spoiler
    Show
    In D&D, once you contact lycanthropy, there are basically 3 stages: Being afflicted but not knowing it, transforming in full moons and then forgetting about it on the next day, becoming aware of your condition (So you can try and control the transformations, and maybe seek a way to counter it), and being a natural lycanthrope. (Or possibly fully in control?)

    I'd like to make living and adjusting to lycanthropy a complex struggle, a sort of a tough choice between trying to remain mostly as your "former self", or succumb/ accept the more primal/ bestial parts of yourself. This is tricky, as part of it is forced (You can't choose NOT to have the affliction once you contacted it, and it does "urge" you for lose of control at times), but a great part of it should also be choice (How do you deal with it, what do you choose, and what steps do you take now that you're aware?)

    I'm not fully certain of the mechanics, but a few core guiding principles for this:
    1. A long process:
    Being a lycan will not be a "Yes/ no" status, (Well, not exactly). It's not a "Wham! Bam! Thank you Lycan!", but rather a process, with various stages and transformations. One will start with a few personality changes, and a feeling of goign through a change (A sort of a prodromal phase/ incubation period) Including potential involuntary changes. Yet once aware, the lycan needs to figure out what to do with their new condition, with the new wanted/ unwanted emotions and feelings, and with the transformations. I'd like to make it more than "just rolling will saves". I'd like to make it a process, in which the afflicted chooses how to deal- to accept the affliction? Fight to control it? Run from it? Face it? What path will s/he choose? And how? I'm calling this "Paths of The Beast".

    In D&D terms, Paths of The Beast isn't a template, but rather the paths are similar to entering a PRC, (Prestige class), with multiple "level/ feature options", which rely on the way you deal with the situation. Transition between levels/ power is very much determined by the process you go through- the choices (Willing or unwilling choices, conscious or subconscious) of your character and personality. You might ask "PRCs? But this is 6P! You might only get 1 level at most in a PRC!" The way I'm thinking of handling this as a sort of "semi-gestalt" PRCs. I'll touch upon this later... The Were-Master shifter PRC is the rough basis for it (After the various erratas, and adjustment to pathfinder) in terms of physical changes, but there will be significant changes, which will include the mental/ emotional/ personality struggles.

    2. Different paths, changing paths:
    There isn't just "one way" to be a lycan (Though it may seem so at first). Dealing with The Beast can be handled in several forms (And the PCs may even create their own?), which can lead to different paths, different "evolution", different features and more. As a very rough example- one who gladly accept the affliction may learn to shift more, to more powerful shifting, perhaps faster, but may find it harder to keep it's humanoid form. While someone who does his best to control The Beast, may be able to gain more control of transformations, and added benefits of learning self control, but suffer from remorse/ fatigue after shifting, or lose himself more when s/he does shift.

    Two main features about the different paths:
    - They should be different in power, but on the whole, fairly equal, if used right. No one should be "obviously better" than the other.

    - A lycan might find it moves between paths, if they change their personality, nature, reflect by their choices. In the Wrath of The Righteous Paizo module, they introduced a mechanic of a Redemption Scale, of a sort, which gives numeric significance to "Acts of redemption", and a sort of scale to "become good". While I won't use the exact same thing (Which is not that well designed in my opinion), I will be using a similar idea, a sort of "Beast Scale", which may move upon choices made, and reverting your course will be more difficult the more extreme you are on the scale. So change is possible, but that option is not always known...

    3. An unknown process:
    The Beast is a mystery. Unlike other classes (Or my version of PRCs), very little is known about how to be or how to deal with lycanthropy. As such, when one does become one, the process of dealing with it, is quite unknown... In flavor terms, this means that aside from some folk tales, most afflicted people won't know much about their condition, and it will be a learning process. And there won't be many others who may have actual experience/ concrete knowledge of how to deal with it. There will be a few potential mentors in the campaign (The lycanthrope faction is an obvious one, so some of the shifters, and potentially another lycanthrope faction, a more minor one), but finding them, even knowing about them may not be evident at first...

    Mechanically speaking, this may be odd- when entering The paths of The Beast, one enters a PRC which they don't know it's specifics- not the class features, not the different choices, not what affects these choices. (The Beast scale for example will be a mechanic not shown to the players, but it's presence and general function should become evident, though in flavor terms, not numbers). This is part of the mystery, and the terror of it all.

    All of this will require quite some work, and may very well also develop in game. I expect to make a few paths, yet as the game progresses, new ones might arise.

    4. In game flavor implications:
    When a person change, people around him may welcome the change, embrace it or dislike the change, even fear it. Both the personal relationships, as well as the social effect will most likely play a major part of the process, and may in fact be major forces that accompany, and influence the afflicted person's changes. And these in turn, might be influenced by various factions, and the PCs. (An example from Babylon 5, with Mr. Morden assassinating Lando Molari's loved one, and how far this had driven him...). Some major themes include rejection, stereotyping, fear of the different (Which may be justified at times, but how far?), fear of getting afflicted, religious concern (The Silver Flame's initial fear of this was due to their fear of corruption of souls, as the affliction changed a person behaviors, and made them violent at many times. The entire Sovereign Host vs. Dark Six schism hinges on one side promoting civilization, while the other promoted savagery).

    5. Role of the Moons:
    To those who don't know of Eberron- Eberoon has 12 moons and 1 more alluded moon. And to those who DO know it- don't confuse the moons with the planes! (Xoriat, Dal- Quor, and all of those are NOT moons!). The confusion stems from them having the same number, and the picture showing the planes show them in orbits. yet the orbits are around the PLANE of Eberron, not the planet itself. This dragon shards article describe the moons themselves. The months of Eberron are named after the moons, and various qualities, dragon makred houses and more are believed to have a relation to them. IN the past, Wizards made a tool, which showed the state of both moons and the planes in relation to Eberron, which you could use to see their state at ANY time. I liked the tool a lot as it enabled me to foresee the different moons, a "Moon table", yet the link is now dysfunctional. Damn... If anyone saved it, or can provide me some algorithm (More for the moons than the planes), I'd be REALLY grateful!

    The connection between moons and shifting is one of the core concepts of the mystery, strong enough that I do not wish to break it. Yet, as mentioned in the article as well, with 12 moons, there is almost no night where you don't have a full moon, or a few in fact! So how to deal with this? Well, some ideas:
    - A full moon does not immediately triggers transformation. Rather, each adds a certain chance for transformation. More moons, mean more chance, more lycans transform.

    - Each of the moons have their own themes, which may be the same as the ones in the article, or have another, more secretive meaning for lycanthropes. I'm thinking that when they are full, they may grant some minor power/ effect to lycanthrops (Such as Sypheros, the Shadow, possibly granting bonuses to stealth, or dark vision, or some such). As the lycanthropes "evolves" in their path, they may create a connection with one or more two moons, and draw more power from them. (A bit like the Moon Speaker shifter PRC).

    - The moons, their cycles and influence, may well be related to special occurrences, or be requirements for special rituals/ incantations. By solving the mystery of the moons, the party might predict which nights might favor which lycanthropes, and which nights are more dangerous. Also, the lycanthropes may well be building/ preparing for a special night, with the right "alignment of the moons". Hey- got a time limit element now!

    6. Spread, detection and social impact:
    In Earth History, amongst the most major impacts on our civilizations, were major, fast spreading, highly damaging plagues. While lycanthropy isn't exactly a normal plague, it has quite similar features:
    - Highly concealable: The Beast many times hide in plain site- it can practically be anyone, even those close to you. Now, though some D&D spells, abilities and items help find shapeshifters, I'm going to ban those at the start of the game. Flavour wise- It is only in the coming conflict (If played by Eberron's history), that these tools will be developed. The idea is to not enable any "easy" way to find out lycans in the humanoid form. The PCs may focus effort to be able to invent such a tool, but that will require effort, and unraveling enough of the mystery, to develop such tools.

    - Highly confusing: Even the prodromal signs, the ones that accompany the change of behavior, can be easily misleading, since they can signify many other changes, stress, and process non related to lycanthropy.

    - Highly contagious: While it doesn't exactly spread as a normal disease does, it will spread fairly fast, and the means of it's spread will be quite difficult to understand at first.

    - Highly dangerous: It transforms people, often making them aggressive or violent unexpectedly, and it gives the afflicted far greater power and makes them harder to kill.

    - Poorly understood: It is a mystery. There info known from legends and lore doesn't necessarily fits the current situation (A surge), a lot of it has been distorted/ lost, and understanding the danger, proves very difficult.

    - No known cure/ control. A person who has been afflicted, cannot be turned back, by any known means (See below). And due to all of the above- there is no known/ proven way of dealing with it.

    All of these will lead to one main thing: Panic, suspicion, prejudice, and quite possibly- chaos. It will begin slow, but will gain power, and speed. Soon enough the PCs may have to deal with not only the lycans, but the deteriorating situation in Home Base town. And what if their loved ones are afflicted? What if it themselves? As Shere- Khan might add:

    Look at them... Some speak their mind, some find their selves, and this structure crumbles... Control, it's all about control. Control of the populace, control of your subordinates, workers, family, friends... Civilized, eh? I show you the true face- the lies, the savagery, the brutality in the protected masses, now unsheltered. How can they grow, how can they deal and evolve, when they deal with what's untrue all their lives? We are savage? The wild is murderous? See the atrocities and the horror your precious "civilization" will now descend to, under it's own accords... Tell me, who is the real monster?"
    7. A cure?
    D&D enables curing lycnthropy, either by some uses of Wolf's bane (Belladonna), or by a high enough level cleric. I'd like to enable the party to search for the cure, but though they may be substances/ magic that can help minimize contacting the affliction, (Through the various parts of it,m described above), or help with the choices on the paths, The possibility of "getting rid" of lycanthropy would be non existent, or very, very rare (Possibly the equivalent of a very limited and hard to find campaign minor artifact), or the production of such a cure will require great expenses, time, other sacrifices, or all 3. I want the situation to be none- dismissable. It's not something you go to the cleric and ask for a "Cure disease/ remove curse" spell and it's done. Once it's there, how do you deal with it?

    Yet, the possibility of a cure, and the uncertainty of how one might find it (And if there is one, then who wil lget it?) Can be a VERY strong motivating power for afflicted people.

    8. Natural lycanthropes:
    Now this is quite tricky. In D&D/ pathfinder this means someone born with the condition, and had complete control of their transformations. In D&D they are also the only one that can transfer the affliction, while afflicted ones can't (And as mentioned- Keith Baker said that in this specific period lycanthropy was so dangerous since afflicted ones could also somehow afflict it). I'm not fully sure what to do with Natural Lycanthropes, other than the fact that they have been living with their condition for far longer than most, since childhood, and may have come to a later stage in their path, whatever that may be. Should it signify something different? I think mentally and emotionally yes, mechanics also perhaps, yet I'm not sure. Shere-Khan and some of his siblings though, are born out of a woman that had contacted lycanthropy early in her pregnancy, and have grown as such since early childhood.


    Origins of The Beast
    Spoiler
    Show
    I got some rough ideas about this, though not yet fully formed ones. I envision lycnthropy as something old, veryold, predating the rise of the Dhakaan empire, and a force that was sort of dormant most times, yet at times increased, and then it affected fates of entire peoples, entire races. What I hope to achieve here:
    1. A feeling of an ancient, long lasting, history shaping power:
    I want the party to feel the scope of things, that this happened before, and most likely happen again, and that it is SERIOUS. Giving The Beast a history, adds depth to it, shows it as evolving (of a sort), and greatly increases the magnitude of it.

    2. Vast impact:
    When the party meet the other races of the region, and realize that they are the result of lycanthropy, they once more understand the scope, and see how things might end... They will also see various ways others have dealt with it- mostly became monstrous humanoids of sorts, most of them quite savage, yet some (Like the shifters) seem to have found different routes. This is also a hint that the affliction cn be dealt with in more than one way, more than one path.

    3. The matter of choice: In each of the major races transformed by The Beast, I'd like to emphasize at some point that part of this was a choice, and the tragedies of such choices. Also, a major part of it is the culture of the races transformed.

    4. A (super) natural phenomenon:
    This is important. Though the party may find the origins, clues, explanations of the nature of The Beast, there is no quick solution- No Mcguffin, no special ritual, no special entity to summon. It's here, and it's here to stay. No magical solution (At least not in a P6 campaign). I'd like to emphasize that you can't just "reverse the wheel" and make things better. The party may seek such a solution, to solve their problems (Their own, their loved ones, and more), yet once they found out there is no "big red shiny button", how do they deal with the grim reality?

    5. Nature of The Beast:
    Lycanthropy, despite having originated from the fey, is not an entity or a force unto it's own. It is a construct made, developed and maintained mostly by those afflicted with it. Yes, it's partly an outside force/ influence, yet the shape it takes is very much made by the people who experience it. The matter of responsibility... It is more YOU... As Shere-Khan tries to explain:

    Yes... I've seen the wretched gnolls, and the centauri, lost to their woods... They have failed, but will we? I do not know yet. Each time it happened before, The Gift was either abused, or quelled, by those who feared what they cannot control. And we so CRAVE control, do we not? Yet, control, growth, does not come from locking, bordering, killing and silencing the different, the changing, the evolving. No, true control comes from learning from it, adapting, and growing stronger from it! I have seen it, I have seen and learned from the errors of the past. It is my vision, we can unshackle ourselves, both from the errors and fault of the past, and from the depression and chains of the present. Will you dare, will you join me, in our future? We do this now, or we perish. What is your choice?"
    Rough ideas for origins
    Ok, so about the origins. I've touched upon this briefly in the history, but the basic idea is as follows: A very old race, (Possibly an entirely home brewed one for this campaign) of which there are almost no remains, of quite advanced creatures, both technologically, magically and spiritually, sought to improve/ better themselves, and were on a search for "The Truth", at least of their own. They contacted some powerful Fey, and... somehow, got their wish- In the form of The Beast, which showed them their "True nature". This had quickly led to their disillusion of their culture, and the quick destruction of it, with most of it's afflicted members turning to their "true nature"- ogres... The party will find such clues in 1-2 remaining ruins of the culture, perhaps a few hints from the ogres own... eccentricities. And possibly a visit to 1-2 remains of fey courts, which have grown far weaker and more decadent, which may keep stories and tales of such a time.

    Obviously, a lot to work on here. I'd like to focus somewhat on telling the history, beauty, and high standards of that lost race, and their immense downfall. Should feel like an immense tragedy, yet one with some sort of "lesson" or such. I'm not sure. Part of this may be the trickery of the fey, part of it accident or miscommunication, but a big part of it comes from the culture's own choices...

    Them I'd like there to be several "Surges" where lycanthropy spreads far faster in past historical times. I'd focus on the periods which have created the gnolls, centauri, and the shifters. With the last giving quite a few hints of a new way to deal with the affliction. Here and there might be hints of other races (Minotaurs, Harpies) yet with far less history to work with.

    I'll need to find a way to explain why these "surges" occur, and when they end. Not sure right now, but I'm thinking of either tying these to the moons and/ or planes, or to some changes in major societies in the region. Perhaps some sort of a cultural/ people feel, that "awakens/ triggers" lycanthropy? This is important, as it will be tied to the current rise as well.


    The mystery, unraveling it, and it's progression in the campaign

    Spoiler
    Show
    Keeping lycanthropy a mystery, which gets revealed part by part, is a big challenge. Especially in a sandbox-ish campaign. There are various tools I'll be using:
    - A slow start, NOT focused on lycanthropy: At first, the party will deal with quite a few other adventures and issues. The main thing here is for them to feel the people, the region, it's culture. In the culture there will be quite a few animalistic themes- titles, names of places, legends, animals, organizations and more. The party will also most likely form quite a few NPC contacts. This will enable the party to make some links between personality, choice, culture and the afflictions. When they do start investigating such cases, it will most likely be with either strangers, or people with whom they have less contact. But later on, the affliction will strike closer to home, possibly at the PCs themselves?

    - A slow start of the spread: Part of Shere- Khan's faction's goals are to "recruit" and "teach/ guide" as many as they can before their presence becomes exposed. At the start they will target loners/ outcasts and such more. People who can go missing easily. Yet, the spread picks up later, more than they anticipated- Each lycan is a source unto themselves, not all cases are controlled, and there are disagreements in the faction itself, on how to pursue things. This will gradually raise alarm, and more cases.

    - Various efforts: Due to the various parts of The Beast (As stated above), the faction can try and affect many parts of the spread: Sources, Susceptibility, Triggers, and guiding on the path. All of these may give many options to investigate the affliction from many angles.

    - Various levels of misinformation: Be it from old legends/ rumors, theories spawned by the populace (Some of which may also be lycans in disguise, some of them stem out of fear, prejudice, and such).

    - Keeping the pressure: Most factions won't stand idle, and will initiate all kind of trouble and such in the region. The party will need to divide their time, make choices.

    - Key info: Can be gained in many ways- leaders of the lycans, key sites (Like the old ruins), and more. The key here is to allude to these at some point, yet make it quite difficult to learn, but VERY rewarding.

    - Useful info: Learning about the mystery does not just add to the learning experience, but can be used "in the field"- ways to fight the lycans, ways to oppose them, ways to deal with the affliction themselves or by loved ones, and more. It may even serve as the basis for developing magic/ tactics. So exploring the mysteries, will be rewarded, in more ways than one.


    How will it end?
    Spoiler
    Show
    A good enough answer.
    Well, it's possible, but not a must. Truth is? I have no idea how it'll end. The Beast, as I hope I have made myself clear by this point, will pose a real and serious threat. Yet I have no pre-planned solution for the problem, I do not wish to predict the outcome. I wish to set the pieces on the board, and see... A few things I'd like to note though:
    - Despite posting various opinions of Shere-Khan in this part, his counters may have other, just as legitimate ideas and perceptions upon The Beast. The party can pick either side, someone elses side, their own side or whatever they want. I know where they start, but it's all up to them from that point on.

    - They don't "have to" unravel all aspects of the mystery, and I think it unlikely they will. Part will most likely remain mysterious, parts will be discovered, and quite a few decisions and actions will be based on necessity, and incomplete info. Which is part of what the campaign wishes to explore.

    - The situation will escalate. I imagine there will be some attempts to "control the situation"/ "Find a definite solution/ cure/ McGuffin", but there won't be one, not without seriously delving and uncovering the mystery, which may take time, in which the situation will continue to escalate. If the party manages to do something very clever, I'll roll with it, but I imagine that at one point the panic and chaos will prove VERY hard to control.

    - Enter The Silver Flame? A faction that has nearly no presence at the start, may come in when the threat becomes real obvious. The Flame suspects this threat at the start, but hasn't got sufficient proof to get the Galifar powers behind it. Yet it has been preparing... One the threat reveals itself in full, they may well enter the region, this time as a shocker, a major faction, that may lead a small war against the lycans. Most of it's intentions are good, yet the means to secure their goals, and some side interests, may well taint this noble effort. Again- tough choices.

    - I am unsure how far I'll play this. Will we play the start of The Purge? Where will the PC be in this conflict? How far in do we play? This I will decide with the gaming group, once we've reached a satisfactory, and when we came to our own answer to the question- "What is, the Nature of The Beast?" I'll guess we'll have to discover that together.


    I hope I've explained this well enough. Feel free to ask, comment, or suggest. Next up will be "Faction design"!

    Thanks for reading!
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-10-27 at 07:26 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Basic factions design

    (Edit: I've slowly wrote and rewrote this section in my ling hiatus, due to the many life changes, the main one being the my son being born. At the end I've decided to make it simpler, and focus on the core aspects, instead on the structure of "Faction templates", which was the initial idea).

    So now that most of the general outline is there, it is time to start getting to the details. The first part of it is the powers that affect the game- The factions. I'll start by explaining my general design philosophy, and then I'll detail the factions themselves.

    Design Philosphy
    Spoiler
    Show
    I'm taking inspiration from many sources, though I don't remember them all. I will note though The Giant's own Villain Workshop & Dust's guide to villain building- the 5 Ls. While these deal mostly with antagonist building, a lot can be applied to factions as well, with a few changes.

    What does a faction gives the game?
    A faction's goal is to be an active force in the world, with an agenda of it's own, and the resources to pull it off. Though many are led by powerful NPCs, they aren't based solely on those leading NPCs (Usually). few thoughts about faction design, especially in a sandbox campaign:

    Faction qualities
    Spoiler
    Show
    1.Proactive:
    A faction needs to be active. It cannot just be reactionary. As such it needs goals and motives.

    2. Agenda:
    In order to pursue this goals, the faction needs a plan. It needs to have both resources, and limitations, which together set the faction's capabilities, strengths, weaknesses, and impact.

    3. Capable of change:
    Due to the nature of sandbox games, a faction needs to be somewhat flexible. This is reflected in multiple paths to accomplish it's goals, varied resources, (Not necesserily powerful) and ability to suffer setbacks, and find a way of response.

    4. Not just about the leaders:
    Ideally, this also means they need not rely on the leading NPCs to exist. If the PCs manage to dispose major adversaries, the faction may suffer a major setback, but new leaders may arise. The faction may go through major changes, but it's major influence and roll will continue.

    5. Heterogeneous:
    Part of the faction's makeup is it's sub- factions, which may have a power play between them, which leaves place for various interactions with the factions.

    6. Not "just" antagonists:
    Similarily, a faction's goal need not directly oppose that of the PCs, in a zero-sum type of conflict. Ideally, the party might be able to negotiate/ deal, find a suitable solution to their conflict with the faction.

    7. Part of the world:
    The factions also have complex interactions, of various kinds with each other.


    Core concepts for factions
    Spoiler
    Show
    (Edit: I've messed around with a "faction sheet", but realized it was too complex for no good reason).

    While thinking of factions, and keeping the above in mind, I try to think of the following main concepts per faction:
    1. Faction's main aspects:
    What are the main themes of the faction? What matters about it? As in the initial design post ,I'll be taking this from the Fate Core concept of Aspects- short saying about the most meaningful things about the factions. These are all affected (And affect) the following.
    2. Motives:
    Why does it seek to do what it does? What's the driving force?
    3. Goals:
    What does it seek to accomplish? While motives are the reasons, the goals are the "Victory conditions" that the factions seek to achieve.
    4. Resources:
    What major capabilities can the faction utilize to reach it's goals?
    5. Limitations:
    What stops it? What hampers it? These can be just as strong driving forces!
    6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:
    Do all in the faction agree and work in perfect unison, or are there... disagreements, differentiating goals and more? (Hint: The latter nearly always! Makes it more interesting.
    7. Relations with other factions: No one exists in a vacuum, and the relations between factions can be interesting in their own right.
    8. Main plans:
    Currently these are plans in broad strokes. Think strategy, not tactics. May also include major responses or contingencies, if appropriate.
    9. Major leaders/ focal points:
    An idea of the major NPCs, and peopel of interest. (Will be detailed as the game progresses).
    10. Main roster:
    Currently a general idea of the types of main "regular nameless" the factions has.


    Scale of factions
    Spoiler
    Show
    It helps me try and "tier" the factions, mostly to keep in mind the focus and level of impact.

    1. Major factions:[/B]
    A major faction has the following characteristics:
    - It's goals and impact has the potential to transform the region, or even beyond it.
    - It cannot be ignored or circumvented, as it's influence will affect nearly every other faction in the campaign.
    - Dealing with them will most likely take place through out most of the campaign.

    2. Moderate factions:
    These factions are significant, yet their impact is more contained:
    - The goals are often major, and require considerable effort and planning, yet contained to the region, and usually but a part of it (If a big one).
    - Most likely they will engage the PCs, but usually in a more focused way than the major factions (usually a sub region, or interest)
    - Dealing with them will usually feature main parts in the campaign, but not through it's entire length (More like an arc).

    3. Minor factions:
    Sort of "optional factions" which may grow significant, or disregarded entirely (or nearly so). Most of them serve the purpose of side quests/ bonus interaction/ exploration. They are a bit of a distraction, and a bit of a wild card...
    - The goals are often quite local, and far simpler.
    - They will most likely engage the PCs in very set circumstances (Certain events, locals, adventures).
    - Dealing with them will either be happenstance (Say... traveling through it's region), or the focus of 1-3 adventures.
    - They may become bigger, or vanish entirely, depending on the game.

    These factions usually have quite limited scope of goals and plans, and may either be interacted with occasionally, or even not at all. Most of all, these are good for side quests/ bonus accomplishments, and a sort of a wild card... The PC might get quite creative with them.


    Major factions


    Before starting with the actual factions, I'd like to give an overview of the approach for the 4 major factions. The factions basically represent sort of 4 origins of culture. (Not alignments!):
    Spoiler
    Show
    First of all, the factions could be very roughly divided into forces of civilization vs. the wild as one conflict, and change vs. stability as another. I say "roughly", because each is complex in it's own right.

    Home Town, stability seeking civilized faction:
    These the original inhabitants of Home Town. Hardy folks, who came to understand the region is dangerous, and mostly wish to make a living and progress slowly, but have a deep fear/ respect for the wild. They are led by Falcon's team, legends in their own time, who brokered a peace with the gnoll tribes, and wish to keep it so. The original tight knit team also has a deep secret to protect...

    The faction's stands out, as it is the one the PCs start in, and are most connected to (In Session 0 and most likely quite a lot in the game itself). It is also the major hub for merchandise and services.

    The gnoll tribes, stability seeking (More or less) wild faction:
    These mostly comprise the gnoll tribes, who consider themselves as the ruler of the region. Easily the most numerous, and the most spread out. They are an old race, and are somewhat set in their ways, and traditions. That doesn't make them any less dangerous though. They are weary of the newcomers, but also see some benefit from them (trade of better manufactured goods). As long as these new comers know their place, right?

    These form the main antagonists (Most likely) early on. Yet they are more complex, and more of a challenge than the "humanoids mooks horde", that many campaigns offer.

    The dragonmarked expeditions- Change provoking civilized faction:
    The newest faction in the field, but far from the weakest. Comprised mostly from Hosue Tharashk (Explorers and surveyors), House Khundarak (Wealth and security) and house Deneith (Mercenaries and armed forces), they comprise a strong alliance. Motivated by the new discovery of (Insert precious and rare commodity, most likely some sort of dragon shard fields?) who are deep in the wild territory. Driven mostly by the combined efforts of a few dragonmarked entrepreneurs, and the rush of other opportunists, fortune and thrill seekers, this faction drives into the wild, upsetting the tense peace, which sets off the initial major conflict.

    This faction is the most versatile, and probably the best equipped and funded. It can prove a great patron, and great adversary. Yet they are also the newest, and lack a lot of the intricate understandings of the region...

    The Lycan blessing- Change seeking wild faction:
    The Lycanthropes start quite hidden, with but a few influences that reach up to Home Town. They start relatively few, but their numbers grow fast. Led by Shere- Khan, a man with a vision, who sees himself as a liberator and true king of the region (The White King), this hidden menace will infiltrate and become more and more dangerous, till the major conflict will occur. And they have a settle to score, with whom? Falcon's team, whose secret is tied greatly with them.

    The faction is the most secretive and most elusive one, and the one that can grow what fastest, and is the least expected. Though there may be hints of it at the beginning, it is supposed to come to real play only in the mid- late sections of the campaign.


    Home Town faction (Again, for a lack of a better name)
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Faction's main aspects:
    - "It's a tough land, it breeds tough people!"
    The people of Home Town are not strangers to hard work and adversity. The land was hard to settle before for a good reason! I imagine them as sort of gritty, hard working, grumpy, wild west bastards!

    - "It's pig country!"
    A lot of the farming revolves around raising pigs, hogs, and similar animals. Cows and most other cattle doesn't seem to sustain here. A common saying is that the farmers got some of the characteristics of the pigs themselves.

    - "I gotta hand it to Falcon- he keeps the place running, and the gnolls out!"
    Falcon's team are living legends. While some may not agree with some harsh rules they put, they do respect them, and their capabilities.

    - "Trust no savage, especially a gnoll grinning!"
    While they may trade with the savage races, they still see them as savages. There is a great mistrusts of the wilds, and their inhabitants.

    2. Motives:
    - Keeping the status quo:
    The main driving force. The people of Home Town, under the leadership of The Falcon, mostly seeks to slowly grow, and avoid getting into conflict with the savages. Now, this may seem like a not very "pro-active" motivation, but the status quo is kept by severe means, some open, some more secret. And with the other destabilizing forces in the region, and especially with Falcon's "preemptive" fore-planning, some of this can be VERY proactive.

    - Keeping the past secret:
    Falcon's team, which is a very small, yet very influential subfaction, seeks to keep it's secret. (Mainly the event that led to the current lycanthrope faction) a secret. Some members of the team also have other, more personal desires.

    - Control the pig undustry:
    The Pig Barons, who are forces inside of Home Town, who wield considerable economic influence, and who seek to gain even more. Their influence however is contained mostly to Home Town and it's near surroundings, and not as grandiose as the Dragonmarked expeditions.

    3. Goals:
    The goals are kept mainly by Falcon and it's team. The most important ones are:
    - Maintain Home Town as safe.
    - Maintain the trade and the truces.
    - Keep Falcon Team's secrets.
    - Keep gathering info on all other factions and points of interests. (Falcon greatly believes in "knowledge is power", and will go to great lengths for that.
    - Disrupt/ disrepute the dragonmarked houses, yet without it backfiring on the settlement. (The dragonmakred houses are supported by Galifar in their efforts).
    - Disrupt any attempts to unify the Gnolls clans. Keep them disorganized and infighting.
    - The Pig Barons also seek to gain an upper hand on each other, and on Falcon's Team.

    4. Resources:
    - Falcon's Team abilities:
    Most of it' members are considered epic (By P6 rules), and so wield considerable powers and resources each (Will be detailed a bit later).

    - Military and militia:
    Home town has a garrison and militia (And even some specialized forces).

    - Knowledge of the region, the town, and the wilds:
    To a lesser extent than the wild factions, but considerably more than the dragonmark faction).

    - Moderate wealth:
    The faction has more wealth and specialized goods than most of the savages factions, but not close to those of the dragonmarked faction.

    5. Limitations:
    - Code of Galifar:
    Falcon's team and Home Town mostly try to adhere to the code. As such, they are also under it's scrutiny, and don't seek to upset the great empire too much.

    - Keeping the secret:
    Falcon's team's secret, drew considerable resources, and forced various actions.

    - Keeping the truces:
    Both with the gnoll tribes, and the secret truce with the Lycanthropes.

    - Inner turmoils:
    Both disagreements inside Falcon's team members itself, and with the Pig Barons.

    - Keeping the peace:
    While the other factions can more freely devote freely to their agendas, Home Town needs to run, which is... time and effort consuming. The significant struggle to make a living, outside dangers, from the wild and from the ruins of the city, keep people busy...

    6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:

    2 major inner struggles:
    - Between Falcon's team members themselves. While they do keep the place working, they differ on some crucial matters, and tensions are present.
    - The Pig Barons, each one ambitious and seeking to become "top hog", are constantly scheming.

    7. Relations with other factions:
    The gnoll tribes:
    A tense "peace"/ "Status quo". The gnolls think of the land their own, yet respect the achievements of Falcon's team. They also appreciate the goods made by the civilized "foreigner outpost", but watch them warily. Falcon's team, knowing the vast numbers and threats of the gnolls, continuously try to prevent an alliance/ rising leader between the tribes, though they do so cautiously, and without trying to attract attention. Though there is some animosity and distrust, there is also a great measure of respect. Falcon learned the gnoll culture, and proven a worthy opponent, yet also one that respects the land and it's dangers. As such, he earned a mediocum of respect.

    The dragonmarked expeditions:
    While home town inhabitants welcome the influx of wealth and prosperity, the agents and ambitions of the dragonmarked houses threaten the delicate status quo in the region. Falcon team watches them wearily, and seeks to slow them down/ sabotage them. This is complicated since the crown of Galifar stands behind the expeditions...

    The Lycans:
    The relationship here ties to the big secret Falcon team's tries to keep secret... Not yet sure what it is, but it should be very, very personal, and a big shame. Think "order of the scribble" mess... I'm thinking there is also a kind of truce here, yet with some inner factions/ NPCs who do not necesserily see "Eye to eye" with Falcon. Another possibility is that while Falcon's team is aware of the potential threat of lycanthropacy arising, they do not know the extent of it, and so may be caught at least partially unaware. I need to think this through.

    Shere- Khan and his siblings, and their secretive base and expanding force, act secretly and covertly. Shere- Khan sees Home base as a font of civilization, of "shackled ones", and seeks to "free" (turn) as many worthwhile NPCs as possible, yet without drawing too much attention... (Not n easy feat!). He seeks to become powerful enough, before showing all of his cards, for he fears facing the might of Galifar in it's entirety.

    The other races of the land
    Home town promotes limited trade with these races and factions (such as the centauri, the ogre lords, the Byeshk giants and so on). it holds a special market, just outside town (I'm currently calling it "The howling market/ laughing market") which takes place about once a week or 3 days a month (undecided yet), where all of the savage races may come and trade. This is done for trade, but also to give the settlement a place in the region, and a source for info. None are allowed inside Home town itself though. (I'll expand on the market later).
    While the team keeps an eye on the other races, they consider them far less of a threat than the gnolls, and a potential tool to use in the region.

    8. Main plans:
    - Keep calm and expand slowly: Falcon's teams is slowly building it's defenses, training it's small military, and expanding it's information network. Falcon worries over a possible gnoll (Or other monster faction) uprising, and seeks to prepare.

    - Embarass/ sabotage the Dragonmarked expedition: Falcon sees them as an intrusie and oblivious force to the workings of the region. As such, he seeks to undermine them. Yet he cannot do this openly, due to the support of the crown. So, they will seek ways to make them look bad, ineffective, and the entire venture as costly and unprofitable. He hopes forces from the Empire will decide to shut them down.

    - Keep the gnolls destabilized: Falcon fears a gnoll uprising, and knows they have little chance of withstanding it if the gnolls tribes unite. So he seeks to prevent that. Either by secretly supporting some leader, supplying various tribes, seeding discord and more. This too, must be done with caution.

    - Expand infromation sources: Falcon believes in good intelligence as the source of all strategy. As such he seeks to expand his intelligence network as much as possible. Be wit by magical means, alliances, informants, and more.
    - Keep an eye on the lycan threat: The team knows the hidden danger, from the secret event long ago. They try to keep an eye to see if it rises. Yet the different members of the team think differently of how to deal with the threat, which is a major source of friction.

    9. Major leaders/ focal points:
    Falcon:
    I see him as both a military genius, schemer, and leader. I see him mostly as a martial character (Fighter? Cavalier?) Hailing from Rekkenmark (A highly prized military academy in Karrnath), who sought to make a name for himself. He did, yet as the years went by, he becomes dissatisfied with his "reward"- lordship over Home base. I see him as a patriot, believing in Galifar, yet at the same time somewhat disappointed by it. A man who took time to learn the region, it's inhabitants, and who respects them even if he doesn't necessarily likes them. I see him as a man carrying a deep burden- for the safety of Home base, for the secret shaming event, and for the many secrets and compromises he must make. I see him as a devoted man, yet also highly practical, and capable of hard and even cruel decisions, if need be.
    I also see him focusing on air forces and intelligence (be it trained falcons, or an elite force of Griffon riders). He must also have the ability to buff/ influence/ boost masses.

    Lord d'Vadalis:
    Falcon's friend, and a dragonmarked heir of the houses of Handling. He got a reward for a "Research facility and breeding grounds", which he uses to explore, breed and train various animals and beasts. Lord d'Vadalis is intriguing, because he is, in a way, involved in two more other factions- He knows the way dragonmarked houses work, and as such is in the mot contact with them (And at times work against Falcon's wishes, in order to promote his own agendas), and the Pig Barons, which he competes against, in a way (Since he also breeds highly prized pigs and hogs).
    He is also intriguing since he holds an almost opposing view to Falcon's, in terms of dealing with the Lycan's threat. d' Vadalis does not seek to "keep them at bay/ keep it on the low", but would rather learn to control the lycans, master them. As part-beasts, this lord of beasts see them as part curiosity, part demeaning, part a threat. He is secretly developing various measures to capture, experiment, and control Lycans.
    As to personality, I see him as a combination of a few themes: A lord, but one accustomed to harsh living, and which isn't afraid to get his hands dirty. yet he is educated, well mannered, and worldly. He is also a scientist, which seeks to understand, and to exploit the world around him. Yet his strongest characteristic may be that he is masterful. Meaning, he is used to command, to control, to subjugation and hierarchy, and sees the world as such. He is also a friend to Falcon, and the rest of the team, even if he disagrees with him.
    He would make an interesting opponent to Shere- Khan, a potential employer and service giver to the group, and a very involved individual, if mainly behind the scenes. (To start with at least).
    Mechanically... I'm not sure. I see his grounds as having highly professional crew and staff, and various animals and beasts. I would like to emphasize the aspects above, mostly the scientist one and the masterful one. I'me not quite sure how to do this though.

    Hunter/ Worgen:
    A goblin or hobgoblin (Not decided yet. And not the Golarion version, but rather the Eberron one). She is the team's enforcer and wilderness expert. Fiercely loyal to Falcon, (Due to a past event), this highly lethal stalker and killer is feared both by the gnolls (Of whom she killed many) and home base population (Who calls her "Falcon's b*tch/ guard dog). She is a hunter/ stalker/ assassin, very stealthy, very lethal. Not much of a conversationalist though...
    She also heads the small elite force of wilderness ranger, called "The Worgen" (Named after worgs, vicious intelligent wolves), which are the only ones allowed by the falcon a free reign through the wilderness, and act as both his messengers and "problem dealers" (Be it a dangerous monster, scouting or more). It may be a sort of prestige class (more on that in the rules section).
    Mechanically, I'm not sure how to make her. I'm thinking of several options- ranger, slayer, hunter, assassin... Not sure. It may actually involve her teaming up with a worg/ wolf, or maybe not. Not sure...
    I may make her a changeling, yet in home base mostly keep her goblinoid appearance. She can thus change appearance when another image may be needed for... "delicate work". (If so, her true nature will be a very well guarded secret).

    The mage:
    The team's mage. Not fully sure of specialty, but quite likely divination or illusion, to cover up the team's secrets and info gathering. I also see him/ her as deeply interested in exploring the remains of the goblinoid- Daelkyr struggle in the region (There are quite a few ruins/ affects to the struggle). I see the mage as also not agreeing with Falcon about the lycans, but also cooperating out of friendship, and trust. While not going to the lengths of House Vadalis differences, I do see the mage as looking for alternate solutions to the problem, if just to prepare to when Falcon's plans may fail.
    I see the mage as both a source of info, a benefactor, but also one who once he befriended the party, may use this connection to keep an eye on them, and may thwart/ divert them if they get to close to the secrets.

    Other Falcon Team members?
    I'm not sure, but I think I'd like to have 1-2 more. Not yet sure who, but I'm thinking perhaps a child of someone who ws lost from the original team, who may not be "in the know" about the secret. I'll need to think of this more.

    The pig Barons:
    I'm thinking there should be four, one of them Lord d'Vadalis. Each one seeks to control the main economic power of home base- the export of pigs/ hogs and so on. Each one has lands, farms, and other holdings, and seeks to get bigger. I've got some vague ideas here, not sure how to fully expand on them:
    - The gnome baroness: I sort of want to represent Zilargo in here. A highly social and amiable gnome, who is in fact a total b*tch, who controls her operation with a velvet fist. A sort of very tight mafia here. She mostly seeks to take control by blackmail, extortions, and gaining social influence.

    - The Kingpig! A half orc (In a land where most orcs are slaves, mind you!), who is a new comer, and acts all flashy and expensive. Not fully sure of his plans yet, but he is VERY active, and is a bit of a local celebrity, fashioning himself as "A fair employer for the common folk", and so on...

    - I have no idea as to the fourth one...

    Other home town NPCs?
    There will be more (As this will be the most detailed settlement probably). Yet for now I have but a few ideas... I'll get to that later.

    10. Main roster:
    Not fully certain, but some basic examples:
    - Commoners, level 1-3
    .
    - Warriors, levels 1-3.

    - Worgen: Rangers/ similar classes, levels 3-4.

    - Some others to round up the small military garrison.

    I may develop this further later...


    The gnoll tribes
    Spoiler
    Show
    1. Faction's main aspects:
    - "This land is ours! No one is stronger than us!"
    The gnolls are a very significant power, and consider the region their own. While they do not "control" everything and every place, in the way civilized people do, they consider the entire region their hunting grounds, their ancestral homes, and their right. Yes, there are others beasts and races, but they cannot fully comete with the gnolls. While most other savage powers have their own territories, and can range from them to some degree, the gnolls are strong enough that their bands reach nearly everywhere, and feel everyplace is theirs for the taking.

    - "Strength comes from the pack, and the clan!"
    The gnolls, while they may look savage and uncivilized from outside, do have a working society, in which the loyalty to the hunting pack and clan are paramount. The gnoll packs main strength come from working together, not as lone hunters... In most packs or clans, each member has a role (or more) to fill, somewhat similar to an adventuring party. Gnolls work well and are emboldened by their packs, and rarely act alone.
    This is also one of the gnolls main weakness, as gnolls find it very hard to commit or identify with larger concepts, such as "nation", "kingdom" or "empire". For them the loyalty comes to those they know, have bonds with, and can be distrustful/ competitive with other hunting packs and clans. At times various forward thinking leaders have tried to unite man of the clans, yet have failed, due to this.
    Yet... till now, no one really threatened or challenged the entire gnoll population... Things my change...

    - "It's all in the flesh!"
    One of the main reasons the gnolls are so feared and deemed as utterly barbaric and reprehensible (Whether that is actually the case, depends on interpretation), is their culture and beliefs focus on flesh. Be it consuming fallen foes for power, scarrification and tattooing, bodily modifications, and even their priests, whose "medicine" takes a very pointed view on surgeries... The flesh, meat, and all that comes with it has a big significance in the way they think (Highly practical), worship, hunt, and more. The civilized races of Home Town find many of these practices rather... gory and disturbing...

    - "All of life is a hunt. You're a hunter, a prey, or a slave."
    The land is very dangerous, and the gnolls mostly subside on meat. This has led to them becoming considerable hunters. A lot of their mentality is based upon this concept, and they see most people as either prey to slay, slaves to capture and use, or as dangers to avoid/ circumvent.
    This flavors nearly all interactions they have with non gnolls. They have become skilled and efficient hunters, and nearly all gnolls have some survival and martial skills. They have become slavers, capturing many beasts and other races for various purposes, and they have learned to seek out dangers, and refrain from them as possible.

    - Cursed origins:
    The gnoll culture is a result of one of the surges of lycanthtopry, and have actually been a different race, who was converted by the affliction to their current situation. I plan to play it that though there will be clues to such origins, these can either be understood by deduction, or by fairly rare situations/ locations. It's worthy of note that the gnolls (Or the vast majority of them) are unaware of this. It's also worthy to note that like the other "lycanthropic heritage" factions in the region, they cannot be further affected by the affliction, which makes them... problematic for the lycans.

    2. Motives:
    The gnoll tribe is an oddity of a faction, due to it being a collection of tribes, where the clannish motives are usually stronger than the entire faction motives. Yet there are a few motives that matter to nearly all groups, on which they may collaborate, and may unite at times. These are usually more on the line of "joined interests":
    - Survival and prosperity:
    While the gnolls "own the land", the land is quite hard to live by. Survival is no easy feat, and relative power even less so. Yet the gnolls are ambitious, and seek out any new opportunity to advance their lot.

    - Expansion!
    Whether due to the motive above, or due to a lingering drive from the people they used to be, the gnolls seek to expand their influence, power and control. They may collaborate between clans and hunt groups to achieve more.

    - Fear of the supernatural:

    The gnolls's religion focuses on their own versions of some of The Dark Six (Mainly The Devourer, The Mockery & The Fury). They see the divine as savage, capacious and dangerous.

    3. Goals:

    Again, various sub- factious may have more individualized goals, but the following is accurate for most:
    - Eliminate/ subjugate/ control the territories:
    resources and population of the other main factions of the wild (Mostly Centauri, Ogre lords, and possibly a few others).

    - Gauge and utilize the newcomers: The gnolls gained respect for Falcon and his group, and the truce held fine for now. The coming of new ideas and new items is viewed both with interest and suspicion amongst the gnolls. They have not yet decided who these new comers are, what is their place in the region. (Various clans have different ideas). Now, with the coming of the dragonmarked expedition, and their push into the land, this... quandary... just gained new importance.

    - Gain more slaves, more power:
    The gnolls are actively seeking ways to acquire more wealth, power and slaves. They are somewhat like adventuring groups in that fashion, and very ambitious, if cunning and careful...

    4. Resources:
    - Gnoll power:
    The gnolls are many... their numbers far surpass that of the civilized folks in the region (About 8-15 to one). More than that, they are physically more powerful, more adept at surviving and hunting the land, and most of them have some warrior training.

    - Slaves & beasts:
    The gnolls have many slaves and beasts- from orcs, captured ogres or centauri, to animals and magical beasts. They have a lot of "tools" to use.

    - Considerable cooperation:
    Gnolls think in hunting group and clan mentality, and as such have learned to function well as groups. This often creates a synergistic effect. A hunting group is often composed of variously skilled individuals, similar to a professional fighting team.

    - Knowledge of the land:
    The gnolls have lived here long, and know many places, many dangers, many tales and secrets.

    - Extreme living:
    With their focus on the flesh and The Dark Six, gnolls have witnessed/ been pushed/ experienced/ accepted many quite disturbing and hard practices and mentality. They are very hard to shake, and their customs and habits can easily instill the fear in others, which they use widely.

    - Gnoll lake (For a lack of a better name):
    The lake and it's surrounding offer a stable source of water, some food and relative secure place for their young.

    5. Limitations:
    - Divided loyalty:
    The gnolls population have failed time and again to form into a unified whole/ nation. Falon suspects that if that was to happen, then their combined forces would sweep across the region, and perhaps beyond. It is unclear whether this is due to their culture, or part of their "origins curse"... There are some who still try to unify them, be them gnoll matriarchs, or even outside forces...

    - Not making friends:
    Part of their mentality makes it very hard to form alliances/ working arrangements with non-gnolls (Thought there have been instances). As mentioned, the gnolls mostly have 3 categories for non-gnolls: Prey, Slave or Danger.

    - Primitive equipment:
    A culture mostly focusing on using others, or nomadic hunting, the gnolls craft and create fairly simple and specific tools. Their level of equipment is sub-par to those of the civilized folks, which makes trade possible and appealing.

    - Struggle for survival:
    A lot of their lives are spent on survival efforts. This leaves little time for grander and more elaborate projects (Mostly, there are... exceptions).

    - Superstitious:

    The gnoll learned to respect many forces of the land, be them fey, Spirits of The Land, Aberrations and more. While many customs are well grounded, the gnolls have developed quite a few other superstitions, which may not hold any real relevance.

    - Few casters:
    While they do have some divine casters (Who are feared" Not to be messed with" dark priests), the gnolls greatly fear arcane magic, which only a selected few are allowed to practice. (It is believed to be cursed "Shadow" magic).

    6. Inner struggles/ sub factions:

    This is quite big for this faction, and due to the population's size, each such "Sub faction" is as big as many other full factions. I wll need to give this additional thought, but currently the idea is to create 5-8 major clans, with a few more minor ones. Thinking of a few ideas:
    - A few Matriarchs who seeks to unify the clans, but each under her own clan, an for different goals. One sees the newcomers as danger, and seeks to wipe them out. Another see them as useful, and may seek to ally/ use the Dragonmarked equipment and training to gain the advantage over the others, while another may be a religious leader... Not fully certain...
    - A faction or two who are influenced/ directed (secretly) by Shere- Khan, who uses them to both sow conflict in the clans, and bring them into conflict with the civilized factions.
    - A religious faction, who seeks to promote adherence an following of the Dark Ones, mainly of the Mockery (In a reverence of flaying and working "the flesh").
    - Factions who specialize in fighting/ capturing members of other factions.
    - A faction who's "job" is to keep gnoll lake and the nearby region safe for gnoll, (including from inner fighting!). They do not roam the land much, and are given a tithe/ sacrifice from others. Amongst the most powerful clans.

    7. Relations with other factions:
    Home base town:
    The gnolls are respectful, and for now do not consider them a threat, but an intriguing curiosity. The place belonged to the gnolls in the past, and some seek to reclaim it/ avenge those who Falcon's Team killed in the process.

    Dragonmarked Expedition:

    The gnolls try to gauge their intentions, danger level, and role. They DO NOT like them breaching the standing truce. It is important to note that most gnolls do not differ between the factions, and may well hold Home Base responsible for any... "transgressions". Yet their high level of gear, and new supply of potential slaves make many gnolls think how to use this new development.

    The Lycans:
    Many don't know of their existence, as Shere- Khan seeks to avoid a direct confrontation. They cannot be turned, and he sees them as "a mistake/ a dark spot" on The Blessing. He seeks to use them/ manipulate them/ eliminate them. From the gnoll perspective, he is powerful individually, yet his small faction is no threat yet... And they hide well, within the protection of The Great Crag.

    Centauri:
    The Gnolls major competition so far. The two races fight/ compete/ struggle often. The centauri's protected lands, their high mobility and endurance, and their druidic magic make them formidable opponents.

    Ogre lords:
    The domain of the ogres have long tempted the gnolls, yet capturing them is tricky... first, the ogres are no push overs, and have their own slaves, defenses, and are strong warriors. Secondly, some of the artifacts/ instruments/ contraptions the ogres use, cannot be used by any other race (more on that later), which means that it's better to trade for their benefits. (The currency of trade is often slaves/ beasts). The two races of weary of each other...

    Other wild inhabitants?
    Either prey, slave or danger...

    8. Main plans:
    Again, will need to be developed per sub faction. But on the whole:
    - War with the centauri.

    - "Test" the new comers, mainly in "The Outpost", and other small expeditions.

    9. Major leaders/ focal points:
    - To be developed later... with the subfactions.
    - Matriarchs.
    - Gnoll lake.
    - Places that give clues to their origins?

    10. Main roster:
    First of all, I'll be changing the basic gnoll a bit, adding things like a bite attack, and a few other features to make them look more ferocious and savage.
    The gnoll roster isn't about individuals, but rather compositions of hunt groups (A bit similar to a large low level adventuring group), and clans. Some major points:
    - I imagine most gnolls to have 1-2 levels. About 70% will have NPC classes, the others will have PC classes.

    - Of the classes: Warrior, Expert, Adept. Most "wild" classes, such as ranger, barbarians, slayer and so...

    - Most "civilized" classes will be excluded, such as wizard, alchemist, fighter and so... Though "wilder" archetypes may apply.

    - Two major exclusions: NO druids (This is Centauri domain). They mostly use witches, spirit shamans, oracles and possibly a few clerics. FEW sorcerers and similar. (Great distrust or "regular" arcane magic).

    - Heavy use of slaves/ beasts. From Krenshar, Ankhegs, captured orcs/ ogres, up to possibly (Rare) Manticores, displacer beasts, Wyverns and such...

    - Focus on team synergy. Possibly with classes granting tactical team feats such as Cavalier?

    - Some potential "PRCs" (With a conversion to P6) of flesh cutting monk/ priests.


    The dragonmarked Expedition


    The lycan blessing


    Moderate
    (Pig Barons)
    (Centauri )
    (Ogre lords )
    (Silver flame )
    (Minor settlements)

    Minor
    (Harpies)
    (Byeshk Giants)
    (Fey court)
    (Stone city)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2017-05-06 at 02:25 PM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The players in the game

    (Readjusting the campaign to them)
    (Specific Aesthetics of players)
    (Connections)
    (Goals and achievements)
    (Character creation- Including race, traits, feats, limitations)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-06-04 at 04:17 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Major house rules

    (Players roll all the dice)
    (As the dice falls)
    (P6)
    (Connections)
    (Exploration)
    (Mysteries and knowledge skills)
    (Know- region)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-06-04 at 04:19 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Basic settlements design


    (Civilized vs. wild)
    (Sub regions)
    (Facilities)
    (Culture+ law)
    (Interactions)
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2016-05-06 at 10:47 AM.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Exploration and hex crawl, Including Map

    (Exploration Aesthetic)
    (Major articles on the subject)
    (Regions)
    (movement and exploration)
    (Time)
    (Weather)
    (Danger and population)
    (Transportation modes- Including magicaly fast)
    (Getting lost)
    (Random encounter tables)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Major adventure sites design

    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Time keeping

    (Time frame)
    (Days, weeks, months)
    (Moons)
    (Holidays)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Religion in the game

    (Sovereign Host)
    (Dark Six)
    (Silver flame)
    (Druidic)
    (Others)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    PC's connections

    (System)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The Gnoll tribes

    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The Lycanthropes

    (Shere- Khan)
    (Kulashtar)
    (Brother Tiger)
    (Lion Fort)
    (Minor cells)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Main settlement design

    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Spirits of the land


    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The Centauri


    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The ogre lords


    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    The shifters


    (Will add a bit later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Regional encounter tables design

    (Will add a bit more later)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Achievements

    (Design)
    (Major)
    (Big)
    (Regular)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    "Big Bucket of Ideas!"

    (Whatever comes to mind)

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Reserved extra 1

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Reserved extra 2

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Reserved extra 3

    Ok, nephews came suddenly, so I got a bit distracted. Life happens. I will get to detailing the major concepts and themes when I get a bit more time. Sorry folks!

    "You can post from here on."

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Ettin in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2012

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Looking forward to seeing what you'll put up here. It looks quite ambitious!
    My D&D 5th ed. Druid Handbook

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Quote Originally Posted by hymer View Post
    Looking forward to seeing what you'll put up here. It looks quite ambitious!
    Thanks! And yeah, I think so as well, but thought to try it anyway. I got my nephews here up till the evening, so I got to write only part (Though most of) the second post, dealing with the major design stuff. Not there yet, but on my way. (I just hope to have the time for it! ).

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Israel
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    Hey everyone who might be following. I've just finished the second post, dealing with the major design concepts and decisions (Additions are in purple, as described in the opening .

    I think I covered the major stuff, but if you have any questions/ comments, feel free to ask. I hope I'll have time to detail on the others posts soon enough.

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    SwashbucklerGuy

    Join Date
    Jul 2010

    Default Re: Campaign Planning Log- Nature of The Beast

    From what you have written so far, thank you its an awesome read.
    I am looking forward to more of it being filled out.
    Spoiler
    Show
    Milo - I know what you are thinking Ork, has he fired 5 shots or 6, well as this is a wand of scorching ray, the most powerful second level wand in the world. What you have to ask your self is "Do I feel Lucky", well do you, Punk.
    Galkin - Erm Milo, wands have 50 charges not 6.
    Milo - NEATO !!
    BLAST

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •