Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Campaigns Use People

The title is a riff on the old joke. When the clueless president of some company decides he wants  a new people-centered slogan, and he comes up with "WE USE PEOPLE!"  Just a silly old joke.

Anyway the point of this post is to pass on some player-centric campaign advice. Sure the Ref can do his best to build out a sandbox or string together interesting adventures, but if the several players aren't doing their intellectual due diligence then the whole thing falls apart sooner or later.

Save versus d20!
The first rule for playing a guy in a campaign is, if he dies, he didn't make it through the campaign! Always take care to push one of the other PCs ahead of you and keep a Lawful guy behind you. And you would never catch me telling you this in front of your mother, but sometimes the truly heroic thing to do is to sacrifice a henchman and then lie about it later. Everyone likes a chance to mourn a great sacrifice, and they don't need to hear about how it wasn't voluntary. 

Okay, now the seriousness advices.

1. Always ask, "how do we get the loot without putting ourselves in much danger?"  Loot is how you level; combat is how you die. 

2. Always have a larger plan. You might be able to afford to build a castle at level 8 but who's going to actually build it? Who will man it? What peasants will support it?  A random castle in the wilderness is worse than useless. It's a huge mausoleum. 

3. Build up the towns you visit through industry and military power. Make them remember you by leaving a mark on their town. 

Industry: build a work house. Like maybe there's clay nearby. You can hire a master potter from the nearby city to show the hapless sods how to throw clay pots, and then build a pottery factory. Or maybe invest in some looms and start a rag maker's shop. Something to improve the lot of the least among the townsfolk.

Military: spend some time with the men showing them how to fight. Introduce them to your gods. Offer to take them out adventuring nearby. And when you leave, give them a way to call out to you if they ever need your help. This will build you an army and make sure the town is safe when you return. 

Family: if you are a boy character, take up with a maiden and have a baby. That will tie you and the town together in a way no mere physical connection can. Given enough down time, a lady character could make a baby and leave it with the dad in the same way. 

If you plan to stay a while, finance a palisade around the town or at least a bailey. That way you will have a defendable position and the beginning of a fort or castle in the future. 

All of these tasks can be completed in several different towns in order to establish a real territory. 

4. Clear areas systematically. You will be able to build new frontier out of wilderness piece by piece. 

5. Spend treasure to buy legitimacy. Titles and political favors are as valuable as military might.

6. Have stuff your guy wants, and tell the Ref he wants it. Then a good Ref will give you opportunities to find or earn those things. It makes things go easier for him to get input.

7. One of the very important things that all of this requires is adequate down time between adventures! Down time requires a calendar and regular time keeping. So if you want to have a real campaign, offer to take care of time, seasons, and weather for the Ref so he doesn't have to. 

There's lot of other good advice to give, but that's all I have for now. What kinda of advice can you give to players so they add entertainment to a campaign?  For instance, what advice would you give the player of a thief guy?  Or a cleric?  A elf?

The Dungeon Master by and copyright Moulinbleu

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