View Full Version : Campaign idea

11-18-2007, 08:29 PM
I`m making a campaign fro me and my friends but this is the first one ive ever created. I just wanted to get some feedback on my campaign idea.

So my basic idea is there will be an orginization of criminals , i`m making it using the "D&D Complete Adventurer". I havn`t thought of a name yet so if u have any ideas plz post them. The orginization will have bases located outside major towns as safe houses fro crmmiinals. I havn`t thougth of how the organization is led but i`m planning on this being a long campaign so its not that importnt right now. I`m planning on starting the campaign by having the group meet in a small town because of a wanted poster. Once they find the person he will have a note on him that if the adventurers find will tell them about the organization.

This is my first campaign so any tips would be appreciated. Also tell me what u think about the campaign.

11-18-2007, 08:54 PM
If you don't mind old school or can convert the material to 3.5 yourself, there was a series of three modules in 2e that were great. They were based around the I,Tyrant supplement. It was great, and the new Lords of Madness would work for it now. The story basically had the adventurers trying to take down a thieves guild. Eventually they discover all sorts of behind the scenes players pulling strings like illithids and beholders. I doubt newer players would have any knowledge of it.

You might be able to find it on ebay or a very popular peer 2 peer site.

11-18-2007, 09:40 PM
I`m trying to maek it myself. Last time i used a pre-made campaign it was a disaster. Couldn`t find NPC info or anything.

11-19-2007, 01:10 AM
Well, you have a setting (the world you're game is taking place in), and you have a villain (this organization). Now you need some conflict. What is this organization doing that is going to spark the group's ire and really make them want to work against it? Or, conversely, what makes this organization so lucrative to join and what kind of challenges does the group need to face to get in? Once they're in, perhaps they will quickly find themselves over their heads when they find out a dark secret about this organization they coveted.

There are a lot of possibilities. You just need to consider what direction you want to take it. With my games, I usually try to plan an overarching storyline to some vague degree of detail, and then get detailed for a single story-arch, which usually ends up being about five or six games in length.

11-20-2007, 09:55 AM
There are a lot of possibilities. You just need to consider what direction you want to take it. With my games, I usually try to plan an overarching storyline to some vague degree of detail, and then get detailed for a single story-arch, which usually ends up being about five or six games in length.

Thats how it works for me as well. I usually sketch out a few story arcs, flush out the first enough for it to be playable and then flush out the next few just enough that I can seed clues and hooks for them in the current arc.

For example, in your case, I'd think of a decent and short intro module that doesn't use that guild at all (buying you time to flesh it out), but have the note in there on one of the minor humanoid villains (maybe a rotten note on a zombie made out of a dead rogue). I'd expect the party to probably ignore it, and thats fine -- its a secret orginization, so the note should be cryptic anyway.

The next adventure might be something like a thug who is trying to join the guild, and his general villainy while trying to impress them gets the adventurers on his butt. They might find his research about the guild (from an outsider's view) which can spell it out for them in as much detail as they need to know -- this is a great place to put clues for your overall story arc.

At this point you hope they remember the first note, and can use his research to decipher what it means -- like directions to a rendevous point and more adventure. I wouldn't flush it out any further past this initially, because my party always does something to suprise me.

This would be my though process for building a campaign, hope that helps. I'm not a big fan of pre-made modules either, but I'm certainly not opposed to taking one and stealing maps and towns, and putting my own stuff in place of the story. Its a real time saver, especially if the original module was close in the theme I was going for.

11-20-2007, 10:23 AM
So are the PC's the cops or the robbers (or even both)?
It makes a big difference in the kind of game you're going to run.

If the PC's are the cops, then you'll probably want an investigative storyline, a mystery, of some kind. Well, the most important mysteries, thus the most dramatic, are murder mysteries or kidnappings.

The flip side, playing bad guys, offers some alternative interesting possibilities. You could have them plan heists on the road to developing a sort of "Robin Hood" storyline, where they're actually planning to overthrow the local cruel evil lord. They could encounter lots of problems that need solutions here, money to buy swords and armor for their uprising, rescuing emperiled villagers, all sorts of fun stuff.

I know you're planning a long campaign style game, but don't skimp on providing the players with a goal to shoot for.

Digital Arcanist
11-20-2007, 10:49 AM
There is only one rule you MUST follow if you are going to play D&D and it is: there must be at least one dungeon and at least one dragon in the campaign.

I played in a campaign shortly where ne never once entered a dungeon or fought a dragon. We, the players, revolted and renamed the game to "Above Ground Ruins and Orcs."

Seriously though, don't dismiss the usefulness of pre-made adventures. They can often times give you a cool NPC or plot element in a pinch.....or more likely when you've exhausted your creative powers for awhile.

11-20-2007, 10:59 AM
Man, why's everyone think dungeons are strictly underground structures?

11-20-2007, 11:34 AM
Dungeons that aren't underground are Castles? :)

11-20-2007, 11:44 AM
Dungeons that aren't underground are Castles? :)

Nope, most dungeons were above ground jails inside larger structures. And most castles didn't even have them.

11-20-2007, 11:46 AM
Well, they'd best get their sim city going on and build a jail, because there's overcrowding at the police station.

- I love that game for some reason.

Digital Arcanist
11-20-2007, 07:17 PM
When I say above-ground ruins, I mean a wide-open space dotted with stones and occasionally a sem-standing structure. Usually, whatever creature we were supposed to fight would be camped in the middle.

I like to mix up the traditional underground death traps with castles, floating and flying citadels. In modern settings I like alien landscapes to serve as dungeons, someplace where you can look up and maybe see two suns or a couple moons and the sky is purple or green.

11-20-2007, 09:18 PM
PhishStyx has an excellent point; are you planning on them joining or opposing this mysterious organisation?

So are the PC's the cops or the robbers (or even both)?
It makes a big difference in the kind of game you're going to run.

As for a name for the organisation I have always loved "The Black Hand" for an insideous and mysterious group, other options that I am partial to are: The NightHawks or Night Stalkers or Shadows - pretty much anything with a darkness motif. Alternatively you can always go with a traditional - Thieves Guild or Assassins Guild.

11-20-2007, 09:27 PM
I love the idea of a city based campaign that revolves around a "thief guild" even if it is hunting the guild.

You might want to look into the Cityscape book or if you are setting it in Eberron then the Sharn: City of Towers would also be a good resource.

If this is your first time running a city-based campaign I suggest that you prepare a whole bunch of random names for off the cuff NPCs. When I was running stuff in the city I found that my PCs would *always* ask for names of the people they ran into, even if it was a one-off meeting with no consequences. I found that suspension of belief was difficult when the DM is always umming and erring over names and race, etc.

I`m making a campaign fro me and my friends but this is the first one ive ever created. I just wanted to get some feedback on my campaign idea.
I`m planning on starting the campaign by having the group meet in a small town because of a wanted poster. Once they find the person he will have a note on him that if the adventurers find will tell them about the organization.

Digital Arcanist
11-20-2007, 10:22 PM
Cityscape is one of my favorite books for the core setting.

11-22-2007, 02:27 AM
Here is the start to an adventure I ran awhile ago. I like to send my players a lot of stuff in e-mails throughout the week to keep their mind on the game and help set things up for game day. The last little bit of news is just to let the players know that the world is alive and moving along not always because of them. This is an example with some of my pointers afterwards...


You have gathered at the offices of Tallons' Transactions for various reasons. After a short wait, an older gnome known as Tallon enters. Nodding to you in turn, he speaks,
"Several men left town with my nephew, Milo Elbuort, a few days past. They have gone to investigate an old dwarven stronghold on my property near Rhoendinford. I have a shipment of goods going to the village of Holbrae. If you would accompany it that far, it is only a short walk to Rhoendinford. I will send my guard Rocco along the rest of the way and he will pay you 10gp each for your services. Feel free to join in the search, as I am sure glory and treasure await."

You accompany the caravan to Holbrae without incident. From there, you head to the Northeast toward Rhoendinford. Traveling with you is a most unusual man, a towering figure almost 12 feet tall. Rocco is obviously a half-giant, to those who know such things, he has brown curly hair that is tangled and unkempt. Dressed in studded leather armor an enormous greataxe rests on his back. A human sized greataxe hangs from his belt where a shortsword also resides looking like a dagger on the massive man. Not an unkind face the half-giant has a toothy grin with a few teeth missing here and there. His eyes are dark and keen intellect is nowhere to be found in these dark pools of ignorance. His features are largish and exaggerated giving him an odd appearance even if he were normal sized.

The weather begins to take a turn for the worse as your group nears the city. You can see it a few miles in the distance through the large oak trees, though the light is quickly fading and a storm looms on the horizon. There should be shelter available in Rhoendinford, and possibly some lucrative opportunities as well.

Rounding a corner you see a pair of men relaxing on the side of the well traveled dirt road, about 50ft up or so. They are dressed in deep blue uniforms over their armor, which shines brightly as it picks up the little bit of sunlight left. A sword hangs on both their hips. Across from them is a another man, also in uniform, doing some sort of impersonation, hunched over with a small stick for a cane and hissing his words.

“Yesss I saw the pretty little lassss that night and she had something of a leather belt in her hand yesss and then a man came running out of the doorway trying to hold up his trousersss seee and I didn’t know a little old man like meee could laugh as hard as I did that night yess….”

The impersonator picks up a handful of dirt and begins to cough into his hand, blowing the dust away in small clouds. One of the men sitting across the street laughs loudly but the other does not seem amused. You hear a second laugh in the trees behind the two men, giving away the position of an archer that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Movement from the bushes across the lane betray a crossbowman watching your approach.

Upon seeing your group one of the men sitting down, the one laughing, recovers and stands, waving to you with a smile. “Hello friends! Come to visit the beautiful city of Rhoendinford have you?”. And with that, the three men in uniform walk casually toward you.

The three men approach quickly, but casually. The one in the middle is still beaming, whether or not because of the joke you cannot tell. The other two have drawn very unemotional faces and watch the group carefully. You can hear the heavy metal clank beneath their deep blue uniforms as they near the group, but it does not seem to hinder their movements in the slightest; obviously a good make. A strong wind passes by, reminding you of the storm on the horizon, and as the trees shiver with anticipation, you lose sight of the archer.

You can tell the men are impressed by Rocco’s size. The man in the middle spends a great deal of time admiring the half-giant’s build and appears to be lost in thought until he laughs hardily at another's jest.

“Welcome to Rhoendinford! My my, a half-giant… We certainly have our share of strangers in this city but I must admit, this is a first. None the less, Rhoendinford is more then capable of catering to such a large creature. And to all of you, of course! Now, let me introduce myself. I am Saul, a leader of the Blue Order brigade.” He holds out the embroidered symbol on the chest of his uniform, showing a silver snake that wraps around in a complex blue pattern to bite its’ own tail. “And these men are two of my many loyal bothers. We are the protectors of this city, employed by the Baron and the good citizens of this fare city for almost a year and a half now, to keep the peace and to keep the trade routes open during the chaotic state after the war. Now, after a job well done, we have kept our status and work alongside the guards to ensure peace.”

He pauses for a moment and smiles, as if receiving silent applause, then continues:

“Unfortunately, although we are necessary we cannot work for free. Every person that enters the city is given the opportunity to support our services of protection…. a small donation of 10gp each is all we ask. With this you may sleep well at night, knowing that we are working to protect you, to allow you to go about your business. Without these donations, we are not able to ‘protect’ you now, are we? It is only logical you see. So, what say you… ?”

Saul listens patiently to everyone’s comments, never letting his smile fade. “No, my good sir I am neither threatening you nor standing in your way. You are all free to come and go as you please, it is just not wise to do so without the Blue Order brigade there to watch your back. I meant you no offense.”

Rocco steps forward and you expect trouble. The half-giant hands the men his coin purse with your newly earned gold inside. Saul hands him some small wooden tokens painted blue with a date stamped at the center. The Blue Order brigade make a hasty retreat while Rocco moves to block their escape. Handing you the tokens, he says, "Its best not to make enemies. This is the way things are done here now."

The wind howls loudly through the trees and this time the breeze does not die down for a long while. All of you are left covering your faces to block the leaves and dust, and the chill goes straight to the bone. The last of the sunlight disappears behind a black, ominous cloud.

When you finally reach the gates there is some relief. 70ft above your heads is the floor of a bridge that joins the two massive, white stone towers. The wooden doors that stand between them act as the gate, reaching almost as high with steal bracing that weaves its way through the great planks. The town occupies a low hill beside the Rhoending river. Crenelated stone walls, interrupted by tall watchtowers, surround the buildings. Four town guards, wearing bright red tabards, give each visitor a small speech and look them over carefully. The guards can be seen peacebonding all weapons.

A young guard of maybe 18 years steps forward in his ill fitting uniform. Before launching into his practiced speech, he nervously looks over his shoulder. His glance backwards alerts you to four crossbows pointed down at you from the towers.
"Welcome to Rhoendinford, the city of law. You have come at a good time, the fair is scheduled in four days. All weapons and spellcasters must be peacebonded before entering the city. By entering the city, you agree to abide by all our laws. Failure to do so, will result in appropriate punishment. A small deposit of 50gps is required for all non-humans that wish to enter."
He directs you to a small room at the base of one of he towers. Inside is a colossal book, the likes of which you have never seen. Upon a stone dais, the book easily weighs several tons which could take weeks to read. A cursory inspection reveals all manner of rule and regulation with very large sections dealing with restricting non-humans.

Rocco leaves you at the gate giving simple instructions to get to the inn. You continue on toward your destination. The 2 story buildings that line the street look to be shops. The doors are shut and barred, but many of the second story windows are lit from inside, and some people are sitting in the sills or standing on the balconies watching the storm and the passers-by.

After what seems like an eternity of walking you reach an open court. There are many carts that have been abandoned, some covered and tied to guard against the rain and some that have tipped over and spilled goods into the square. A few scavengers are picking through the goods and stuffing them into various pouches and bags. You notice a couple other Blue Guards keeping watch on select carts, chasing away the scavengers if they approach, while allowing them to raid others.

As you round the corner you see two very large men with braided black hair in green uniforms with a griffin embroidered on the front. One is holding down an overweight, older man dressed in fancy clothing, and a few feet away the other is sitting on top of a woman, holding her face a few inches above a puddle in the mud. She is struggling under his weight but to no avail. Their arms are exposed, and you can see dark skin with intricate tattoos running all the way up. Behind them is a cart that has been covered in a thick canvas and chained shut. There is a small man, maybe 4 feet tall, who is attempting picking at the lock.
"You should have paid your dues..." The man trails off at your approach. Seeing your serious expressions and that they are outnumbered, they grab a few items and disappear down an alley almost immediately.

The merchant stands and shakes his head. "We owe you a great debt. I am Sardo Estwe, and this is my wife, Sharona. Please come to my shop in the morning and we can talk. I must get my cart back now. Thank you again."
He gives you directions to his shop and hurries down the road with cart and wife.

Soon you can see the lights of the inn. It is quite a large building, standing 4 stories high amongst the decrepit shacks that surround it. The green paint has peeled off in a countless number of places, and much of the wood is obviously weak and rotted. The balcony railings are broken and there are holes in the floors where feet have punched through. Still, the inn is full of life and the wonderful smell of potatoes is almost overwhelming. Some interesting scraps of paper hang on the back wall.
Asukoth – wanted dead, 200gps – Ginad (signed)
Umef - wanted dead, 150 gps – Asel
Need guard for passage to Skykeep, 50gps - Setram
Adwaukin – information on whereabouts, 25gps - Cigo
Legic – wanted dead - Ibohatram
Adeacan – DEAD, 200gps - Nibsolomus
Gwaeseth – wanted alive, 100gps - Trililith
Ethoabard – wanted alive, 150gps - Palidim
Information about group 'KillerKoboldKings' - 175 gps - Beepo
Need elf to passage in Ealondar, 300gps - Arohald
Gilinad – wanted alive, 100gps - Astigod
Prerich – wanted dead, 50 gps - Hririd
Coalition of Darkness - whereabouts , 200gps - Tinuviel

Before you can sit down, a gnome approaches. He smiles lightly at a halfling.
"I am Milo Elbuort, to those of you I have not met. The good news is that the fair is in a few days. The bad news is that the dungeon has disappeared below the waters of the river. Come sit down, I will fill you in on what I know..."

As you sit at a small table that smells of stale beer, Milo waves a young serving wench to the table. He orders drinks and a meal featuring the inns famous sweet potatoes for everyone. His gaze lingers on the young girl as her hips set her skirt dancing like the wind in a loose sail.
" As I was saying, I fear our information may have been faulty. The dungeon is gone amongst the flooding in this region. Due to its location, I doubt it was a dwarven stronghold at all. The informants we dealt with, have all disappeared. The city of Rhoendinford has taken a turn for the worst. Four mercenary companies which were hired by the baron have taken ahold of the city. They are the Silver Service Militia, the Blue Order Brigade, The order of the Black Spur, and the Green Griffin Company. The city guard is dwindling in numbers for unknown reasons. Many strange occurrences have the populous in fear. I am not sure what will happen when the fair is loosed upon the city."

He takes a drink from one of the frothy mugs the wench has returned with. He continues,
"I have also heard this..."

News From Abroad:

On the far off isle of Seklgarn, they are plagued by an invasion of goblinoids. The backward people of the isolated isle fear for the worse. The people have sent diplomats to the mainland in search of help.

To the southeast through the pass of the ancients, it is believed that dragons are amassing in Moorescrag. While the cult of the dragon has not been seen in several generations, most people fear it could resurface.

Far to the east, the sovereign of Kingland has died of illness. The small kingdom is in chaos as they search for the missing heir. No leads have yet to be found in his disappearance. A power struggle seems inevitable.

To the northwest of Pentegarn, a small farming community still reels from its recent invasion. The village of Fendlethorp was beset by a small army of kobolds lead by an aberrant dragon. The small army is believed to be the same as the one spotted several times moving north through Zym. They produced papers which they claimed gave them the right to travel freely through human lands. They again proved elusive as they slipped away before a force could be sent from the kings garrison in Pentegarn. A reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those party's responsible.

A small mountain community near the pass of the ancients claims miracles abound. Many of the citizens of Mycacene claim to have been visited by the spirits of the ancients. A healing pool is said to exist in the mountains near the town. Many clerics throughout Zymlandia have planned pilgrimages to the area to investigate further.

The town of Brisindale on the east of the Firehigh mountains has stood against a sudden orc invasion. A group of brave adventurers lead the combined forces of Brisindale and the local tribesman to an impressive victory over a Superior orc force. The group known as the Brisindale Blades are being hailed as the heros of the day after discovering the ancient stronghold of Gradinok the Bold and clearing it of evil before their victory at the foot of Mount Frakdushar. In related news, the baron of Brisindale was nearly killed by an evil Succubus. A reward is being offered for its death.

The small village of Redmount, which is nestled in the valley of the Firehigh mountains, has recovered from the plague that had oppressed it after the war. The population has swelled in size as the mines are again active. They again produce the fine red steel weapons they were known for.

The capital of Skykeep is still rebuilding after the long war with the forces of evil. King Eric has not been seen for nearly a month. Rumors flourish as his absence from the public eye still continues.


I had several ideas in mind for many avenues of adventure. Just get some basic ideas, grab some random NPCs from any source you want, grab some random maps like warehouses/city buildings, and let your group decide which random loose ends to pursue. Flesh them out as needed.
The various mercenary companies all had different underworld backing. I just used the border tower map in the Sword and Fist for their bases and adjusted slightly for each group. I fleshed them out as needed with random NPCs.
The city itself was a large map I got off of a web enhancement I think. The baron had been replaced by a group of extra planar beings with ideas of eventual invasion. They were happy to have the chaos and killing continue in the city.
The wanted posters were a good way to get them started and around the city. Hours of RP potential just following leads and knocking on doors.
The flooded dungeon was a complete red herring from an unreliable source working for one of the mercenary groups who were trying to take over Tallon's interests in the city. It did give more opportunity for them to find this out by searching for clues. It also provided hours of wilderness encounters near the city when they needed a break from the intrigue.
The fair was an opportunity for all sorts of craziness. Games of chance, exotic items, fortune tellers, general thievery, and side treks.

11-23-2007, 10:45 AM
Hey, oliver78789, you still out there? Does that kind of thing help at all, or still a miss?

Digital Arcanist
11-23-2007, 11:26 AM
I think we sent him screaming for the hills from our uber-1337 campaign skills.

Your setting is strong, but my homebrew is stronger still!! Waaaaaaaahhhhh CRASH! BLAMO!!! KA-POW!!!!

11-23-2007, 05:04 PM
No, Digital-san.

My Crimson Twilight setting is strongest of all!

You cannot defeat it.


Digital Arcanist
11-23-2007, 05:31 PM
No, Digital-san.

My Crimson Twilight setting is strongest of all!

You cannot defeat it.


Pffft....Crimson Twilight sounds like an old-folks home for warriors....

11-23-2007, 06:38 PM
It's a sailor thing.

11-24-2007, 10:00 PM
I really wanted to find out what kind of criminal organization he wanted... here I was, plotting and scheming... thinking Majestic 12 and the Freemasons...

and you meanie-butts just scare him off! You ookie people, you!! ;)

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 12:00 AM
It was Moritz......he hasn't bathed in some time...

11-26-2007, 09:36 PM
And I had thunk it was something I had stepped in! ;)