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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tormsskull's Avatar

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    Default A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Hello all,

    So my group that was playing 4e decided they really didn't like it, so we scrapped that campaign and we went back to 2nd edition AD&D. We decided on the Birthright campaign setting, and some of the players wanted to use the Player's Skills and Options books (particularly the one where you get to customize your race/class).

    So, I find myself with a 1/2 Orc Fighter, Dwarven Cleric [of Moradin, standard], Elven Rogue, and Minotaur Ranger as the PC classes. I've asked each of them to give me a detailed backstory, which will hopefully provide me with a good way to tie them all together.

    Anyhow, I've decided to start the PCs in the City of Anuire, and I am trying to flavor it as a multi-cultural, all races are welcome as long as they abide by the laws, type of city.

    What I could really use is some suggestions for non-human merchants/traders/professionals in a city. Just making the blacksmith an orc seems boring. What job might an orc take in a human city? What kind of strange traditions might they bring with them?

    Also, my players really like to do non-standard stuff, and they often complain when there is "nothing to do" in a town. As such, I want to make this city chock full of a bunch of interesting things, and I need ideas. In particular, I'd like an idea for a type of sport or game that might be famous, and a generic explanation on how it might work.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Well, it's not terribly creative, but if you need a ready-to-go idea, try Saltmarsh from DMG2 (3.5). It has a city mostly laid out for you. All you have to do is decide which quest hooks you want to work out ahead of time and which NPCs you want to stat out.
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    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Well, that depends on whether you're going to be using the races as per the standard fluff from the D&D multiverse. If so...

    Half-Orc/Orcish bodyguards, tavern bouncers, town guides (for a view of the rougher parts of town), couriers (when the employer is expecting resistance), herbalists, wheelwrights (to repair heavy wagons), carpenters (timber can be very heavy), acolytes/priests (to a deity of war or something similar), streetsweepers, nightsoil removers (ever wonder where the contents of your chamber pot goes?), etc.

    I'd post more up for other races, but I'm pretty busy at work at the moment.
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  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    For the game - Hazard (or Cantrip).

    It's played, not by Wizards (Wizards are free to play, they just can't stand the game), but by rich men and fools hoping to strike it rich. Kingdoms have been bet on Hazard games.

    Cantrip is played everywhere - in fine halls and dank sewers, flooding cities and burning towers. The game generally starts at a table, though, by custom. All the players are issued their tokens (cards, statues, coins - the elves like poetry scrolls, and the orcs like small weapons), the Hazard is released, and play begins.

    The rules are simple. Each card (or what have you) represents a cantrip. The player themselves cannot cast this spell - and that explains the cost of entering a game of Hazard. For each player is followed by a wizard (hired from a guild), who will cast the spell upon being given the token for it. They cast the spell as commanded. They will not, however, offer any explanations or advice. This is important - the players are never told what spells they have. To be sure, many games make this easy - the card painted with roaring flames is easy to guess, as is the statue of a snowflake - but others enjoy the extra challenge. The elves consider finding out what you hold almost an art in its own right.

    From there, the game truly begins. Tokens are bargained and traded, lied about and hidden. Skilled players show them to their wizards, attempting to determine what they are by watching the wizard's reaction. Yet soon enough, everyone runs from the table to avoid the Hazard (often still arguing as they run).

    For that is the central part of a game of Hazard - The Hazard. It can be anything - a tiger let loose in the basement of a locked house. A flood, a fire, an approaching army. A riddle, a hired thug, a graceful elf seeking to "tag" the player and remove them from the game. The Hazard is different for every game, and the rules are different as well.

    Now the players scrabble to win - often winning simply means surviving (though, in games of low stakes, it might simply be the first to a certain point, or to find a hidden object). Each rushes to defeat the Hazard - spending their tokens to do so. Keen minds twists spells to uses never intended to move themselves ahead and their opponents back, steal their tokens and guard their own.

    It's a game of cunning, of deceit, of speed, of creativity, bravery, and foolhardiness.

    RULES (As written by the guildmaster his excellency Montforth)

    * No magic. Tokens, or none.
    * Take no weapons. You may use what you find.
    * Take no tools. You may use what you find.
    * No words (books, scrolls,etc.)
    * No complaining. They may steal from and stab you if they wish. You may do the same.
    * No help. You are alone.
    * Your follower leaves once it is clear you have lost.
    * The winner(s) shall be the first one who wins.
    * The winner(s) shall receive the prize.

    Note that knock-off games exist. Danger is played almost the same, but in dungeons and each player receives one or two random dungeoneering tools to help in a race to the exit. (It's known as poor-man's Hazard). There are rumors of a game where the tokens are for all spells, not merely cantrips. This is said to be a game where countries are bet and lost. The Hazard guild hate knock-off runners, of course.

    A sample game, low stakes -

    There is a storm approaching - a big one. The game takes place on a hill. The storm is the Hazard, and the object is to find a small paper flower - without letting the rain or wind destroy it. The guild has instructed each player to wager to form the prize - in this case, several hundred GP, and a collection of cheap magic rings.


    A sample High stakes game -

    An old manor is said to have the living dead in its crypts. The players are locked in. The winners are all those alive in the morning. The prize is the manor itself, full exorcised.

    Sample plot hooks -

    The guild hires you to track down a Hazard cheater (or knock-off runner) and make him very unhappy.

    A McGuffin (plot item, ancestral home) is bet in a Hazard game, the party must play to win it.

    While drunk a party member unknowingly enters a game, now the rest must find a way to save him without cheating.

    The king is addicted to betting on this game. You're ordered to enter, and to win. On pain of pain.


    There you go, hope that might help. At least add flavor, I suppose. Might want to grab some net spellbooks to get more cantrips if they play.
    Last edited by streakster; 2008-09-01 at 09:43 PM.
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    Ya know, Strife, I'm really happy for you and I'mma let you finish, but streakster made one of the the best analogies of all time. Of all time.
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  5. - Top - End - #5
    Orc in the Playground
     
    BarbarianGuy

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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Hmm, I never played Birthright, so I can't address the specifics much. But I think if the city is going to be multicultural you will probably need to set up rigidly defined areas that are species ghettos. Yes, people will cross from one to another, but most will tend to live together if at all possible, with only a few exceptions. If the city is built on a hill it would make sense for there to be caves in it for dwarves and other nocturnal/underground creatures.

    I think the city guard would need to be as evenly racially mixed as possible, to help matters out as much as possible, to prevent people from believing that one group or another is being unfairly targeted. Even if they are, of course.

    Hmm, I'll think about this a little more. Interesting concept. Mixed cities are always going to be powderkegs waiting to explode. Souds like a great place to start a game from.
    I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Well, for flavor stuff;

    - Weapons purchased in the city have larger handgrips than normal weapons to accomodate multi-racial wielders.
    - Orcish shopkeepers hang a boar's skin outside their shops to bring good fortune.
    - The Elven magic shop/herbalist keeps a shop filled with plants and butterflies to remind him of home.
    - Minotaurs within the city greet eachother by grasping the others' horn in their right hand and bumping heads. When greeting other races, they grasp the back of the person's head.
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    SwashbucklerGuy

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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Quote Originally Posted by Tormsskull View Post
    Hello all,

    So my group that was playing 4e decided they really didn't like it, so we scrapped that campaign and we went back to 2nd edition AD&D. We decided on the Birthright campaign setting, and some of the players wanted to use the Player's Skills and Options books (particularly the one where you get to customize your race/class).

    So, I find myself with a 1/2 Orc Fighter, Dwarven Cleric [of Moradin, standard], Elven Rogue, and Minotaur Ranger as the PC classes. I've asked each of them to give me a detailed backstory, which will hopefully provide me with a good way to tie them all together.

    Anyhow, I've decided to start the PCs in the City of Anuire, and I am trying to flavor it as a multi-cultural, all races are welcome as long as they abide by the laws, type of city.

    What I could really use is some suggestions for non-human merchants/traders/professionals in a city. Just making the blacksmith an orc seems boring. What job might an orc take in a human city? What kind of strange traditions might they bring with them?

    Also, my players really like to do non-standard stuff, and they often complain when there is "nothing to do" in a town. As such, I want to make this city chock full of a bunch of interesting things, and I need ideas. In particular, I'd like an idea for a type of sport or game that might be famous, and a generic explanation on how it might work.

    Thanks in advance.
    Orcs and PC minotaurs in the Birthright setting? That's a bit...atypical isn't it? IIRC there were no orcs in Birthright (Orogs and goblins took their place as BBEG cannonfodder), and the only minotaur I remember lived in a giant haunted maze in SW Khinasi.

    How are you handling the endemic parochialism and xenophobia of the setting (the arch-racist elves, dwarves being reclusive rocks, the fact that "monster = Awnshegh" in the yokel mind, etc.) in play, or is it just being handwaved?

    ! (tangent begins)

    As for using the City of Anuire in play. I always thought of it as a mix of medieval Rome (half-ruined and fallen from greatness, but still very conscious of its history) and the Levantine city of Acre during the later Crusader period (20-odd rival jurisdictions, diplomatic immunity gone feral, 100 languages on the street, and scores of ethnic neighbourhoods).

    The idea for me was that the city was the axis mundi of the whole setting; the place to which all eyes turned and to which wealth, ambition and glory were gravitationally drawn. Even the Gorgon considers the City of Anuire, not the Battlethwaite, to be the focal point and capital of his future empire of Cerilia. The idea for me was that, even in decline, Anuire was the city where anyone could find their heart's desire...for the right price.

    This metropolitan centrality was juxtaposed with the irony that the focus of all this attention was a long-empty - and viciously disputed - throne. The caput mundi being sans caput if you like. Of course, every big name in the city (and beyond) sees himself as the saviour of the empire and future lord of the city, but none of them has the clout, the following or the popular support to mount the throne himself.

    And there's an excuse to cue deliciously vicious, plot hook-rich urban politics, along with all the street-fighting, espionage, assassination attempts, false flag operations, subversions, blackmail and such that that implies (late Republican Rome, medieval Italy and early modern northern Europe are all good historical source here...).

    ! (tangent ends)

    (guff about adding local colour trimmed - Tormskull knows where he's going with this game. )
    Last edited by bosssmiley; 2008-09-02 at 06:04 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Tormsskull's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    Quote Originally Posted by streakster View Post
    For the game - Hazard (or Cantrip).
    Wow, amazing. This is exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. That just borne several ideas in my head. I think I might use a poor man's game of Hazard in the first session. Thanks very much.

    Quote Originally Posted by Crow
    - Orcish shopkeepers hang a boar's skin outside their shops to bring good fortune.
    - The Elven magic shop/herbalist keeps a shop filled with plants and butterflies to remind him of home.
    - Minotaurs within the city greet eachother by grasping the others' horn in their right hand and bumping heads. When greeting other races, they grasp the back of the person's head.
    Good ideas. I like the boar skin thing for orcs, I hadn't really thought of that. And the minotaur part could be interesting to my player since he is a foreigner.

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley
    Orcs and PC minotaurs in the Birthright setting? That's a bit...atypical isn't it? IIRC there were no orcs in Birthright (Orogs and goblins took their place as BBEG cannonfodder), and the only minotaur I remember lived in a giant haunted maze in SW Khinasi.
    Yes, it is a bit atypical. Orogs are the product of ogres and orcs, if the 2e AD&D MM can be believed. So if there are tons of orogs (especially under the mountains of Baruk-Azhik), then I wouldn't think it too much of a stretch for their to be some orcs hanging around.

    To that end, I made orcs a very depopulated race, which is basically civilized. They don't have a nation to call their own, and they tend to mimic the races they live with. Minotaurs, again according to the MM, are cursed humans. Since one of the players really wanted to be a minotaur, I was connecting this to "The Wizard" from Five Peaks. She turns her hated enemies into Minotaurs.

    The PC Minotaur is coming from another country, mostly because he isn't aware of his own origins, but that when he spoke to wise men in his land they told him of such a place.

    Quote Originally Posted by bosssmiley
    How are you handling the endemic parochialism and xenophobia of the setting (the arch-racist elves, dwarves being reclusive rocks, the fact that "monster = Awnshegh" in the yokel mind, etc.) in play, or is it just being handwaved?
    The only really racist elves are those under Rhuobhe Manslayer. The ones in Sielwode & Tuarhieval (I know I'm butchering both of those names), while distrustful of humans because they have lost their lands, aren't really "arch-racist". Dwarves are reclusive, but since their land (BA once again) is under dire threat from orogs below, they are always looking for allies.

    The yokel mind will persist in small communities and cities where they don't see a lot of strange and exciting elements. In the capital city, the people will be more accepting of other races, but obviously only to a point.

    In addition to this, I'm pretty sure that all of the characters are actually coming from a foreign land. I encouraged this because then instead of running into issues of "Wouldn't my character already know this stuff since I live here?" they will all be experiencing it first hand.


    Thanks everyone for the ideas. This has already been very helpful.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Hal's Avatar

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    Default Re: A Fresh Beginning [Need Campaign Ideas]

    As an additional fluff thing, any of your brawny races (minotaurs and orcs, for example) would make obvious prison guards.
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