So I've decided that my next fantasy campaign with use the three original books as the basis for the rules. I started out with the Moldvay edit of Basic D&D and this will be my first time running the original game on an ongoing basis. I'm starting this thread looking for tips, specific to OD&D or not, or recollections of starting your first OD&D campaign. What do you think about when starting a new campaign? What do you wish you had done differently back then? Heck, if you just want to wax nostalgic over campaign worlds of bygone days, please feel free! I'm not looking for anything specific here, I'm just trying to tap into the experience and wisdom of the august personages here assembled.
My first campaign (back in 1975) began as a single dungeon. It was only a couple of levels deep, but as time passed I built onto it until I had 6-8 levels. We played
The second phase was to create a town, and I had the players do little adventures going to and from the dungeon. They also had to interact in the tavern in the town, collecting rumors and paying their bills. This seemed to be a natural evolutionary step.
From there I expanded outward to a regional map. Here I detailed a few nearby towns, a big city, and mountains full of orcs nearby. At this point I encouraged the players to venture out to battle orcs and they started to have some "true" wilderness adventures.
Eventually I detailed a whole continent, although the detail was much less than my original regional map. I placed modules and dungeons in various locations and let the players wander around. By this time they found the countries of major races (the Dwarrowdelf and Greenwood for dwarves and elves) as well as several human nations which were in conflict with one another.
Overall this campaign lasted for about 4 years, which is a long time for my games. (Usually I switch campaigns every 9 months or so.)
Basically, a campaign can grow in the same way that a character grows -- you start with a simple one and it gets better and stronger with experience!
The problem with most campaigns nowadays is that they're all set up from the onset. Every nation detailed, every city-state full of encounters. There's no evolution because it's all done already. Someday I'd like to build another campaign from scratch again if my players will be patient enough to let me do it. Usually they want to jump into the wilderness or nation phases and skip some of the development along the way.
Hope that helps!
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
Post by crimhthanthegreat on Oct 16, 2007 18:51:52 GMT -6
Our first campaign which began in 1971 started out as just wilderness, then a dozen TPKs later, a few small towns began to make their appearance. A bit later on we heard about dungeon crawling and started adding in dungeons, our first was two levels and then it grew from their.
A good way to start is a small town, a small dungeon and a smidgen of wilderness and then create from their on the fly. If you are not a good seat of the pants man, then create pieces but don't locate them on the map until you are in the game and the time is right for a town right "THERE" or a new dungeon level "NOW" or an orc village "HERE". I just put things in wherever they seem to fit.
Place a few things here and there and the rest of it, you and the players can discover together.
I guess when I start a new campaign these days I give the geopolitical stuff a certain amount of thought - not too much detail, just some local nations and persons of importance. The reason is, I'm getting increasingly interested in going back and forth between man-to-man mode (D&D) and wargaming mode to settle things, having the players sometimes command armies in addition to their characters and stuff like that; plus I always like the guy who knows from the start he wants his first level warrior to be king someday, even if he's got to have the skill and patience to actually do it. So you want to know what kingdoms are out there waiting for the would-be Kull to conquer.
But you don't need to know that much about that stuff for firsties.
I do try to spend a little time tying the PCs into _each other_ during early play (old friends/enemies, from the same town, dating, rivals for x, whatever) before getting to the action, but that's mostly because I find it intensifies the action. Tying them into the setting is less important for me, I do that if someone wants to, but if the PCs have attitudes towards each other besides "this is my dungeoneering partner" I find it intensifies the psychological pressure of the challenges in the action sequences and gives people something to RP about in the early exploring phase before the shirt hits the fan.