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Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:45 pm
Posts: 196
 Post subject: D&D meets Game of Thrones Campaign: Seeking 1-2 players
PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2015 12:18 pm 
Four years ago I started an original setting campaign with very specific goals. I wanted the game to feel epic in scope, and yet I wanted them to care about the world on a very personal level, and so I made about 75% of the campaign take place within a single city. By doing this, I allowed the city to evolve, and be significantly impacted by the players' actions and decisions. Rulers rose and fall over the course of the campaign, not just Kings and Emperors, but also gang leaders, rivals within the nobility, and others. I also wanted the game's NPC's to feel like more than just generic avatars handing out quests. I also didn't want the NPC's to feel like they only existed to give the players something to do. And so I worked relentlessly to give the NPC's motives and resources from which they could naturally go after their goals. Sometimes their goals involved the players, but often they did not. An example would be that the players killed the leader of a gang, and another, smaller gang leader--entirely off screen, and never involving the players--took the opportunity to slowly absorb that gang, increasing the power of her own gang greatly. This sort of thing gave the NPC's agency in a way that made them feel, in certain respects, as important as the PC's themselves.

Because the vast majority of the campaign took place in a single, large city, the players would run into the same NPC's a lot. More than run into them, they'd develop ties to them. They made friends they could trust and rely on. Sometimes these NPC's would join the players, and sometimes they wouldn't. There were bonds of friendship and loyalty formed, as well as bitter betrayals. This was not a world of good and evil. This was a world of choice and consequence, where every choice was driven by a motive, which always made the bad guys sympathetic, and blurred the lines of morality to the point that the players often had a difficult time knowing if what they were doing was the right thing or not. A good example is that after the King died, probably two years into the campaign, the Prince took over, and seemed to be a disaster of a ruler, to the point that the players eventually decided that they needed to kill him. He was the rightful ruler, but the players could no longer abide him, and so they killed him. What resulted was a war of succession between the nobility as they jockeyed for power that the city darn near burned to the ground as a result. More people died, and/or were painfully, disastrously affected by the war of succession than the Prince ever affected himself. The interesting thing about that plotline in particular was that none of this was predetermined--nothing in the campaign was ever predetermined, in fact. I had over 300 named NPC's, each with their own goals they were going after. I never had to railroad or shove things into place to fit "my vision". I didn't have a vision like that. I just had NPC's who I treated with as much respect as I did the players, and I let them bounce off of each other. The result was almost always more interesting than anything I could have come up with ahead of time. Also, by never going into things with a concrete plan, this really made the world come alive, and make the players feel like they could truly affect the world in a way I've never experienced with a campaign before.

Finally, I wanted the players to truly experience the consequences for their actions. I wanted the danger to be real. I am a firm believer that there's nothing heroic about being a nearly unstoppable badass killing people who pose little to no threat to you. To me, that makes you a bully, and so the danger was always real. I wanted the players to feel like not only could they run away from a fight, but quite often they should run away. Sure, nobody likes running away, especially in a game where you envision yourself as a badass warrior. However, what I found was that by simply making NPC's, even unnamed thug NPC's be capable of harming players, every fight felt intense, and it always made the stakes feel high, which in my opinion is how it should be. It also meant that the players might avoid trying to piss off particularly powerful organizations, which made everything feel more natural in a way I don't think would be possible if the players instinctively knew OOC I'd rig most every fight in their favor, and if anything went wrong I'd start pulling my punches. I never pulled my punches. Players rarely died, but on more than one occasion they did become horribly mutilated in a way that greatly effected their character (one lost a hand, for instance, and it was permanently gone).

Over the course of three and a half years, the players went from being peons at the bottom of the pecking order, to affecting world politics, slaying Kings and putting new rulers in power. They even killed Gods, and two of them became Gods themselves. And it was done interestingly enough that the players who didn't become gods never felt like they were useless just because they were significantly less powerful than another player. It always felt interesting.

After 3.5 years in real life, about 9 years had spanned in-game, and there was a grand finale to everything they had worked for, and the campaign ended. Quickly though, I started up a sequel, specifically for the three surviving players, which spanned 7 years (in game), and lasted about eight months. One of the players had a kid, and the player, by the end of the game, had sacrificed herself for her child, the rest of the group, and the world.

That campaign ended last weekend.

I have decided to start a third sequel, but this one is, in a sense, less a sequel and more like a new series taking place in the same world. "The Next Generation," if you will; and quite literally, too. The game is going to take place 18 years after the previous game ended, and the world is going to be so massively different in many ways from the previous campaign that I feel like I could easily bring in an extra player or two, and they'd basically be on the same footing as the players who have been with the campaign forever. My veteran players are going to be creating new characters for this campaign, one of them is even going to play her child from the previous campaign, all grown up now.

My hope is to find one or two quality players who can commit to the game, as I intend to give this campaign just as much love and attention as I did the previous two. And because so much has changed, you won't be missing much by not having experienced the previous two campaigns. It happened two decades ago, and so it's essentially backstory.

Here's a bit about the campaign you need to know: It is going to take place in a single, somewhat small city. The population will probably be a couple thousand within the city limits, with maybe another ten thousand in the nearby villages and provinces. This city is situated in very volatile territory, with two serious political rivals near their borders, and monsters in the nearby forest and up in the mountains. The city has its roots in military culture, and so some of their ways might seem pretty barbaric. The players are actually going to rule over this city, and over the course of the campaign I envision the city changing quite a bit, altered by the players' decisions. You might greatly expand the city, bring in new revenue streams, draw visitors, improve your defensive walls, etc. You might also broker peace, or start wars, with the other nearby factions. Treat the common people right and they might be more active, and generate more revenue. Treat them wrong and they might revolt and burn the city to the ground. Your decisions will have a huge impact on the city.

This, however, is not going to be purely some Sim City game. There's going to be a serious amount of donkey kicking involved as well. Expect a lot of politics, a lot of adventure, and a lot of violence.

Now, for those of you who made it this far, here's what I'm looking for:

This is a game that takes place on MapTool. We play every Sunday at 3:00 PM EST, but occasionally, if everyone is around, we might have an impromptu session some other time. A typical session tends to run until about 9 or 10 PM. We try not to go past that, as some of my players have to wake up early for work. The times are non-negotiable, though. We've been playing at this time for 4 years now, and it's pretty much the only consistent time my current players and I can always get together. Believe me, I've tried to change the days/times in the past, and we can never make it work.

This is purely a text-based campaign. We do not use any voice-chat programs, and so the game tends to flow like an interactive novel. This means that you need to actually be able to put a coherent sentence together. I don't need you to be a professional writer capable of stringing together beautifully crafted prose, but if your basic writing/typing skills are crap, you're just going to be distracting and take away from the feel of the game, and so we can't have you.

I need you to have some sort of Instant Messenger program that I personally use. I have access to AIM, Gmail, MSN and Trillian. I'm not going to get Skype, so you'll need to have something else. If my only access to you is through email, we'll probably never be able to properly organize an impromptu session, and we'll never be able to talk shop in any sort of conversational way.

I don't need you to create a character and submit it to me as an application. In fact, I'd prefer it if you don't come with any specific character in mind when you join, so that you can learn more about the setting before you try to form a strong idea of what you want to play. I'm not going to force you into a character, mind you, you'll get to craft the character entirely yourself. I just don't want you to bring me your half-cat, half-dragon, all-outerdimensional-minotaur character without us having a conversation first.

If you're interested, you can post here, but a faster way to get in touch with me is probably over IM, I can be reached at the following:
AIM: ShaneFitzsimmons
Gmail: tyshalle83 at gmail.com

I hope to hear from some of you soon. Thanks!

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