D&D Extra Life Donor Prize Package!

We’re giving away an awesome D&D prize package to support Extra Life! Official contest rules are below. The winner will receive the following:

  • 1st Edition Fiend Folio
  • War of the Dragon Queen D&D Miniatures booster box
  • Critical Hit/Fumble Deck
  • Pinny Arcade 2014 Tiamat pin
  • The Paladin Istel resin Gale Force 9 miniature
  • Gen Con 2012 drow dice set & dice bag
  • TSR Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom adventure pack
  • Kree-O Dungeons & Dragons Fortress Defense set
  • TSR Ravenloft modules x3
  • Reaper pewter miniatures

IMG_20150405_112416372_HDR IMG_20150405_112424450

Official Contest Rules for D&D Extra Life Prize Package

  1. To participate, donate $10 or more to Greg Bilsland’s Extra Life page (bit.ly/bilslandxl) or mail a postcard with your name, address, email, and phone number and to Attn: Greg Bilsland, 1600 Lind Ave. SW, Suite 400, Renton 98055.
  2. Participants must be residents of U.S. or Canada
  3. This contest is not affiliated with Wizards of the Coast LLC. or official Dungeons & Dragons.
  4. The contest will be conducted April 5th through April 26th, 2015. Deadline for entries is April 23rd, 2015. Prize drawing will be held on Sunday, April 26th at the next D&D livestream of Dragons of Miryndir. In the event the game is canceled, the drawing will still take place. The winner will be contacted by email within one week of the drawing taking place, and prizes will be mailed within two weeks to an address in the U.S. or Canada supplied by the winner.
  5. You must be 21 years of age or older to win.  No purchase necessary.  You need not be present to win. Void where prohibited.
  6. The contest is open to everyone with the exception of participants in the D&D Dragons of Miryndir game, their families, agencies and representatives.
  7. All taxes relative to the prize package are the sole responsibility of the winner.  No prize substitutions, assignments or transfers.  No cash equivalents.
  8. By participating, all entrants acknowledge and agree that they have entered the contest of their own free will, that the full rules and details of the contest have been made available to them in writing and they therefore understand and agree that neither Greg BIlsland, Extra Life, their agents, affiliates, sponsors, representatives or employees have any liability with respect to any damages out of acceptance and use of a prize.  By entering this promotion, participants agree to be bound by these rules.
  9. Approximate value of the prize is $200.

Dragons of Miryndir: New Haven NPCs/Locations [Spoilers]

To prepare for the launch of Dragons of Miryndir, I used the NPC creation tables from the Dungeon Master’s Guide. The result was an eclectic and diverse set of characters, each of which I then created an interesting hook or secret for. Although the character details may change as a result of the party’s actions, I figured I’d provide them as a useful reference for those following the stream. It’s likely a lot of the NPCs won’t ever see use, but hey, that’s the way it goes.

New Haven, City of Bells

Population: About 1,000

Government: Confederation of citystates of the Free Coast. Ruled by an elected council of five: Holli Tanglestrand (Leaping Satyr), Vistra Rockharvest (dock chief of Southdock), Giselle Fletcher (abbess at Monastery of the Keepers), Jiri Puddle (priest of the Temple of the Savior), Amber Brawnanvil (Castellan of Summer’s Keep)

Defense: 20 full time city guard, supplemented in times of danger by mercenaries and militia. Captain of the guard is Ferrek Irongull.

Commerce: Primarily fish and grain, but the town is also renowned for its bellfounding.

Organizations: Temple of the Sister. Temple of the Sword. Grove of Dragons.

Atmosphere:

Smells: Sea air. Fish.

Sound: Gulls. Ocean. Bells.

Feeling: Constant cool ocean breeze.

What’s Unique: New Haven

Closest Settlement: Mistwatch

Coinage (Free Lands): Flag (coppery), Banner (silver), Liberty (gold)

Languages: Common, Halfling

1. Inn—The Leaping Satyr

  • Proprietor (Council Person). Holli Tanglestrand. Halfling, female, adult, formal, clean clothes, expert cook, taps fingers, interaction—hot tempered, ideal—balance (neutral), bond—drawn to a special place (anything to save her tavern), secret—secret crime or misdeed (paying protection to the Network).
    • Hook—kobolds active up in the Trollmounts, Antinua just returned 15 snouts to Ferrek Irongull for 5 gp apiece.
  • Milo. Human, male, young, exceptionally beautiful, paces, interaction—ponderous.
    • Hook—has noticed that Holli has been having heated discussions in the Libo, the scribe of summer’s keep.
  • Antinua Siannodel [Moonbrook]. High elf, female, adult, wears entirely pelts and skins, high ability—strength—powerful, brawny, strong as an ox, chews something, interaction—quiet.
    • Hook—unusual kobold activity in Trollmounts. Found a cave where they’d scrawled images of a meteor.

2. Jiri Puddle’s Residence

  • Hook—a secret vault beneath his house contains evil elven relics—the drow. He’s supposed to be collecting them for his patron. Contained within are various art objects related to Dragons. Includes
    • Mirror of Life Trapping (command word known only to Jiri; “Merrshaulk”—Master of the Pit)
    • Horn of Valhalla crafted from the horn of a unicorn (cursed; summons 2d4 + 2 berserkers that attack blower).
    • One of two Sending Stones. The other is in possession of Ivan Iandra.
    • Carved bone statuette (tarrasque; 25 gp)
    • Ebony ewer (25 gp)
    • Ivory bracelet encircled with snakes (25 gp)
    • Black valevet mask of a snake face stitched with silver (25 gp)
    • Description of an iron flask

3. Southdock

  • Dock Chief (Council Person). Vistra Rockharvest. Dwarf, female, middle-aged, wide-brimmed hat, expert rock skipper, squints, interaction—argumentative, ideal—aspiration (to purchase her own ship), bond—protective of a sentimental keepsake (a coin from the Wyrm’s Teeth from her clan), flaw—prone to rage.
    • Hook—ships arriving on the docks reporting that pirates have been using explosives combined with poison the paralyze other crews, capture vessels, and set them adrift. The pirates are mixed humans, bugbears, hobgoblins, led by masked figure calling himself The Ghost. Ship is entirely white, and can’t be located by divination—Amulet of Proof against Detection

4. Marketplace

  • Corby Deepstrider. Halfling, male, middle-aged, piercings, high ability—dexterity, expert juggler, paces, interaction—blustering, ideal—neutrality (neutral), bond—loyal to a benefactor (House Trevenat; paying him 1 gp per week to report on arrivals and departures in town), flaw—specific phobia (heights).
    • Hook—Knows that the Wormroad through the Shadow Hills is closed. No one has come out from the tunnels, and reports from across the bay in Free Harbor say same thing (troglodytes).
  • Nicola Hayward. Human, female, very young, nervous eye twitch, bites fingernails, interaction—irritable.
    • Hook—knows that Corby Deepstrider makes a drop to a courier every week, addressed to the capitol (Telvia).

5. Tavern—The Drunken Demon

  • Dodd Hindergrass. Human, male, adult, distinctive posture (crooked), stares into the distance, interaction—blustering.
    • Hook—The drunken demon was the first tavern when the town was founded centuries ago. Claims that a demon was bound into the foundational stones, causing quite the pugilism in drinkers at the tavern. Some truth, if they examine the foundation stones, a barlgura was in fact bound there, and it’s weakening.
  • Gemma. Dwarf, female, very young, unusual hair color, charisma—persuasive, forceful, born leader, uses colorful oaths and exclamations.
    • Hook—She was a foundling, brought in by some pirates that discovered her off the shores of Whitecliffe. She actually remembers a secret ocean entrance to the dwarf kingdoms but won’t share it unless her trust is gained.

6. Bellfoundry

  • Clotilda Brightwater. Human, female, elderly, pronounced scar, speaks loudly, interaction—arrogant.
    • Hook—the ingredient for making the best bells was rust monster blood, keeps them from rusting and tarnishing. When she was younger, she used to get them from the Trollmounts, but none of the adventurers or mercenaries will go. Secret—she actually wants the blood as a component for an iron golem, which is being constructed by the Network in Grimm’s Keep. She’s being forced by Network to provide assistance in its construction.

7. Abandoned Warehouse

  • Bodo. Halfling, male, young, missing teeth, none, dexterity—clumsy, fumbling, paces, blustering.
    • Hook—people come and go from the warehouse, even though it’s supposed to be abandoned; it’s actually a smuggling operation. He knows they are moving bodies. Truth is that the Network is smuggling bodies from the mortuary to feed to the carrion crawlers in the warhouse, from which they harvest a poison and sell it to pirates (specifically, the Ghost).

8. Library—House of Tomes

  • Garvin Cresthill. Human, male, adult, plays a musical instrument, bites fingernails, ideal—live and let live (neutral), bond—dedicated to fulfilling a personal life goal (uncover and record the history of New Haven), flaw—envies another creature’s possessions (the Monastery of the Keepers has records dating back almost a thousand years, which they won’t grant him access to).
    • Hook—he is aware of the vaults in the monastery and shares existence of them with anyone who will listen.
    • Hook—he knows that Jiri Puddle has been collecting relics. Jiri has consulted him on several occasions to validate the authenticity of an item.

9. Northdock

  • Dock Chief. Grimmalk Ramcrown. Dwarf, male, adult, unusual skin color, high ability—strength—powerful, brawny, strong as an ox, squints, interaction—curious.
    1. Hook—From Dwarfhome to the west, has a great sense of smell; recently smelled a whole load of steel that came through on a smuggling ship. He confiscated the weapons and the castellan of Summer’s Keep, Amber Brawnanvil, offered to buy them on the cheap; actually a ploy by Brawnanvil to avoid paying duties and full price.

10. Temple of the Sword

  • Priest (Council Person). Jiri Puddle. Halfling, male, adult, exceptionally beautiful, interaction—rude, ideal—greed (evil), bond—loyal to an employer, secret—possession of forbidden lore.
    1. Hook—has been using temple funds to purchase elven (drow) relics on behalf of an employer in the capitol. He doesn’t know who or why, but all the relics have to do with snakes and worship of the Dragons among the elves (yuan-ti). Benefactor goes by the moniker “2” (Ivan Iandra)

11. Residence—Former Adventurer

  • Snakebait. Halfling, male, adult, braided beard or hair, none, charisma—dull, boring, prone to singing, whistling, or humming quietly, quiet
    1. Hook—Believes that the Dragon Gods are still living, slumbering away here in the world, and that their dreams are what grant powers to those that pay them homage. Has journeyed to the Forest of Tears, where he claims to have encountered Nagul slumbering, worshiped by hideous snake creatures. He had a map there, but he left it with his elf companion Quarion Meliamne (Oakenheel), who returned to Celistyl, the Mythal north of Grimm’s Keep.

12. Monastery of the Keepers

  • Abbess (Council Member). Giselle Fletcher. Human, female, elderly, tattoo (tear drop), severe, high ability—dexterity—lithe, agile, graceful, skilled dancer, taps fingers, ideal—charity (good), bond—twin (Lia), flaw or secret—shameful or scandalous history—has a twin, fled the capitol. They were once members of House Lumare in the Court of Roses.
    • Hook: When they were smuggled south by their house, they were insinuated within the monastery and initiated into the ancient order of the Keepers. On the surface, dedicated to recording the history of the world, they keep the secrets that would upset the balance of power (e.g., truth about Thander, weapons etc., location). In the vaults below is sealed one of the sleeping dragon gods—an ancient Bronze Dragon, part of the reason bells forged here have magic to them).
  • Lia Fletcher. Human, female, elderly, tattoo (tear drop), interaction—qiuet, ideal—charity (good), bond—twin (giselle), flaw or secret—shameful or scandalous history. They were once members of House Lumare in the Court of Roses.
    • Hook: As above. Unlike Giselle, she would do anything to protect sister, including reveal secret. Jiri uses the Mirror to find out what Garvin knows and then trap Giselle to coerce Lia to reveal secret.

13. Summer’s Hold (Keep)

  • Castellan (Council Member). Amber Brawnanvil. Dwarf, female, adult, distinctive jewelry: earrings, necklace, circlet, bracelets, knows thieves’ cant, whispers, interaction—curious, bond—protective of a valuable possession medallion of thoughts, flaw or secret—overpowering greed (not reporting everything she collects to Shorty)
    • Amber Brawnanvil is a member of the Network, and the local crime boss. She oversees Summer’s Hold, but the actual owner of the keep is a person over in Free Harbor known as Shorty (halfling), who blackmailed/purchased the deed off the original holders (Irongulls). She has Libo deliver a cut of gold every month, originally through the Wormroad, but now is putting it on ship.
  • Rolanda Grantham. Human, female, young, nervous eye twitch, bites fingernails, interaction—irritable
    • Weapons that Brawnanvil purchased didn’t actually go toward arming the militia. They were shipped off to Grimm’s Keep to be distributed to other members of the Network. Saw the cart loaded up and moved out in the night.
  • Scribe Libo. Halfling, male, middle-aged, distinctive jewelry: earrings, necklace, circlet, bracelets, constitution—hardy, hale, healthy, great at solving puzzles, particularly high voice, suspicious, domination (evil), secret crime or misdeed
    • Has a penchant for gambling. Spends his night at the Drunken Demon. He’s tight-lipped, but he’s been known to give up secrets in exchange for gambling debts. He also keeps a record of all transactions. In addition to knowledge of Brawnanvil, he knows Puddle has been purchasing elven objects.

14. The Roaring Rose (Tavern)

  • Grenzel Evermead. Dwarf, female, late adult, missing fingers, prone to predictions of doom, interaction—rude
    • Hook—been hearing crazy things from boats coming down the gleaming river through the fey wood: flying goblins
    • Hook—was forced into letting the Network use the facility for clandestine activities. There’s a pair—elven twins (male and female) who come in periodically for rendezvous; she’s not supposed to know who they bring in, but she knows Ferrek was among them.

15. Temple of the Sister

  • Lavant Graylock. Human, male, adult, unusual eye color (or two different colors), high ability—wisdom—perceptive, spiritual, insightful, chews something, ideal—aspiration (other), bond—protective of family
    • Formerly lived in the capitol. He had a lover, Jerald, from House Trevenat. When Luther Trevenat discovered it, he threatened to kill Lavant’s family unless he left, so he did.
  • Brey. Human, female, very young, tattoos, whispers.
    • Knows that Graylock secretly corresponds with someone in the capitol, but he doesn’t know who.

16. Northbridge

17. Grove of Dragons

  • Meriele Holimion (Diamonddew). Elf, female, adult, flamboyant or outlandish clothes, high ability—constitution—hardy, hale, healthy, speaks in rhyme or some other peculiar way, interaction—irritable

18. Constable’s Office

  • Ferrek Irongull. Human, male, late adult, unusual hair color (umber/sunset), dexterity—lithe, agile, graceful, drinks everyone under the table, hot tempered, family (good), dedicated to fulfilling a personal life goal (getting Summer’s Keep back), forbidden love or susceptibility to romance.
    • His family originally held Summer’s Keep. He has a wife, but he was seduced by an elven woman (succubus) in the Network’s employ. The Network has a special magical object called an iris stone that can capture events. Used this to blackmail him, and he chose to preserve his family than to keep his family’s hold. Brawnanvil has the iris stone somewhere in Summer’s Keep.

19. The Angel’s Eye (Lighthouse)

  • Lighthouse Keeper. Shanairra Liadon [Silverfrond]. Elf, Female, Adult, Flamboyant or outlandish clothes, High Ability—Strength—powerful, brawny, strong as an ox, Chews something, Interaction—Quiet

Dragons of Miryndir: Campaign Kick-Off

My new fifth edition D&D campaign, Dragons of Miryndir, kicks off this Sunday. I’ve already posted a little about the setting here, but in advance of Sunday’s stream, I wanted to include a few additional background notes for viewers. The game will be broadcast on Sunday, February 8 at 2 PM Pacific on twitch.tv/gregbilsland and will be archived on my YouTube channel.

Creating a Start Area

The starting town for the characters is a small port city called New Haven along the Free Coast. The Free Coast is one of the few territories independent of the Teluvian Empire. It is a loose confederacy of city-states. They trade between one another and with the empire (despite past armed conflicts).

As part of campaign outlining, I created a four-part sequence focused in and around New Haven. The players always have the option of diverging from the planned story, but I like to have a general sense of the direction of things. Here is the episode name and the parts:

  1. Episode 1. Fallen Stars (1 – 4; local heroes)
    1. Week 1. New Haven & Impact Site (kobolds)
    2. Week 2. Flying Goblins (goblins)
    3. Week 3. The Ghost Fleet (hobgoblins, bugbears, pirates)
    4. Week 4. Summer’s Keep (undead)

In building New Haven, I relied heavily on the new Dungeon Master’s Guide. I started by constructing a profile for the town.

New Haven, City of Bells

Population: About 1,000

Government: Confederation of citystates of the Free Coast. Ruled by an elected council of five: Holli Tanglestrand (Leaping Satyr), Vistra Rockharvest (dock chief of Southdock), Giselle Fletcher (abbess at Monastery of the Keepers), Jiri Puddle (priest of the Temple of the Savior), Amber Brawnanvil (Castellan of Summer’s Keep)

Defense: 20 full time city guard, supplemented in times of danger by mercenaries and militia. Captain of the guard is Ferrek Irongull.

Commerce: Primarily fish and grain, but the town is also renowned for its bellfounding.

Organizations: Temple of the Sister. Temple of the Sword. Grove of Dragons.

Atmosphere:

Smells: Sea air. Fish.

Sound: Gulls. Ocean. Bells.

Feeling: Constant cool ocean breeze.

What’s Unique: New Haven

Closest Settlement: Mistwatch

Coinage (Free Lands): Flag (coppery), Banner (silver), Liberty (gold)

Languages: Common, Halfling

Adding Locations

After I had a general sense of the town, I started fleshing out locations. I used one of the maps available on page 313 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide and applied my own numbered locations.

New Haven 2

After that, I set about numbering the locations and creating NPCs attached to those locations. I used the tables on page 112 of the Dungeon Master’s Guide for plenty of inspiration on the locations, and for creating the NPCs, I built a generator in Excel that used the NPC creation tables in chapter 4 of the DMG. Here’s a couple sample entries from the town that resulted from the work.

1. Inn—The Leaping Satyr

  • Proprietor (Council Person). Holli Tanglestrand. Halfling, female, adult, formal, clean clothes, expert cook, taps fingers, interaction—hot tempered, ideal—balance (neutral), bond—drawn to a special place (anything to save her tavern), secret—secret crime or misdeed (paying protection to the Network).
    • Hook—kobolds active up in the Trollmounts, Antinua just returned 15 snouts to Ferrek Irongull for 5 gp apiece.
  • Milo. Human, male, young, exceptionally beautiful, paces, interaction—ponderous.
    • Hook—has noticed that Holli has been having heated discussions in the Libo, the scribe of summer’s keep.
  • Antinua Siannodel [Moonbrook]. High elf, female, adult, wears entirely pelts and skins, high ability—strength—powerful, brawny, strong as an ox, chews something, interaction—quiet.
    • Hook—unusual kobold activity in Trollmounts. Found a cave where they’d scrawled images of a meteor.

2. Jiri Puddle’s Residence

  • Hook—a secret vault beneath his house contains evil elven relics—the drow. He’s supposed to be collecting them for his patron. Contained within are various art objects related to Dragons. Includes
    • Mirror of Life Trapping (command word known only to Jiri; “Merrshaulk”—Master of the Pit)
    • Horn of Valhalla crafted from the horn of a unicorn (cursed; summons 2d4 + 2 berserkers that attack blower).
    • One of two Sending Stones. The other is in possession of Ivan Iandra.
    • Carved bone statuette (tarrasque; 25 gp)
    • Ebony ewer (25 gp)
    • Ivory bracelet encircled with snakes (25 gp)
    • Black valevet mask of a snake face stitched with silver (25 gp)
    • Description of an iron flask

Wrap-Up

I’ll post more about New Haven and the D&D campaign development in the weeks ahead. We hope you’ll tune in to Twitch for the game on Sunday!

And We’re Back…

After several years on hiatus, the blog is back! Well, sort of. This blog is more of a repository for my livestreaming schedule and all things related to the D&D Extra Life team.

Right now, we’ve got two streams set up:

Classic Campaigns—a weekly  Dungeons & Dragons game focused on playing through classic adventures using the fifth edition D&D rules. We’ll rotate through a different set of players every couple of weeks. Games are typically weeknights.

Dragons of Miryndir—a persistent semi-monthly D&D game set in my homebrew campaign setting. This group has the same players each week, and is typically on Sundays.

COMING SOON

Crashplay—a livestream of my floundering attempts to make props for my next cosplay. No guarantees of this being educational or interesting, but you will get to watch me curse a lot.

D&D Campaign Mode

I’ve recently been reading Francesco Nepitello’s The One Ring roleplaying game. Chris Tulach picked up the book for me at Gen Con, after I mentioned how impressed I was by its aesthetic style.

The one element of the book that interested me most was the “Fellowship Phase,” which addressed a question that had nagged me for some time: What is the best way to capture the time in between adventures in roleplaying games?

Let me preface my answer with a bit of explanation: I run games laden with intrigue and sweeping plot arcs. I juggle multiple storylines, each with a write-up. I invest time creating elaborate background for nonplayer characters and player characters. The problem is, when you’re only meeting once every other week for five or six hours, you can only relate so much of all that story over the course of a game.

To that effect, I’ve taken inspiration from Nepitello’s system and created something suitable for my own needs, and I call it: Campaign Mode.

Campaign mode isn’t for everyone, but I hope some people find it useful. My hope is that I might actually be able to use the following rules set to (a) wrap up all the character story lines and (b) include some players who have left the campaign due to relocations. This system is still something I’m developing, so please comment with your feedback. If you’re a player and not a Dungeon Master, I still welcome feedback, and if you like what you see, please encourage your Dungeon Master to take a look.

Campaign Mode

Campaign mode is a new instrument in a Dungeon Master’s toolbox for time and story management. It can be used to pass days, months, or even years, without forcing either the players or Dungeon Master to go into great minutia about the actions taking place in the campaign world. As a Dungeon Master, you should decide whether or not campaign mode is right for your game, though it’s a good idea to take into consideration the types of players at your table and to consult them before introducing it.

The Flow of Time

Time in a Dungeons & Dragon game normally flows in three ways compared to game table time: either at a fractional pace, an equivalent pace, or at a moderately accelerated pace. For example, time flows at a fractional pace during combat. The time “in game” is only a fraction of game table time.  In 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, one combat (five minutes) is about an hour at the game table, or approximately one-tenth game table time. Exploration or social interaction occurs at an equivalent pace. You say what your character says to the nonplayer character, or alternatively, in the time it takes you to explain that your character is searching the room and roll the die, the character could have made a good start on his or her search. Finally, game time proceeds at a moderately accelerated pace. You might explain to the Dungeon Master how your character spends his or her day in town, or how the part is traveling by horse to a nearby cave. In this case, the game time might be equal to anywhere from one-hundred to one-thousand times the game table time. That is, it takes you 1 minute to explain what your character is doing, and in that time, a couple hours might pass, or a day might pass.

Nothing in the game limits escalating of this system of time to a higher magnitude. Why shouldn’t a player be able to explain what a character does over the course of a week, a month, or even a year? In a traditional Dungeons & Dragons game, the answer to that question is that the adventure or the campaign doesn’t allow it. A Dungeon Master can’t have his or her players saying “I spend the next year of my character’s life going to recover the Rod of Seven Parts.” For one, it puts a Dungeon Master in the awkward position of telling that player to not bother showing up for the next session, plus all the sessions after that. It is also impractical because a Dungeon Master can’t just let the players complete quests without challenge. For that reason, a Dungeon Master should decide whether to use campaign mode in his or her game, and when to use it.

Campaign Mode Basics

Once you decide to use campaign mode, ideally with consulting your players, you should provide or communicate the following rules to them.

Initiate: A Dungeon Master initiates campaign mode at the end of a rest, generally in a safe location, such as a town. However, in order to expedite travel through wilderness, a Dungeon Master might decide to initiate campaign mode during a rest while the heroes are traveling through or exploring harsh or dangerous environs. The Dungeon Master can announce that the game is entering campaign mode or can do so through the narrative. For example, you might state that in subsequent days, travel passes uneventfully, and it looks as though the party faces no immediate threats and has no pressing matters to address.
Determine Timespan: Both the players and the Dungeon Master determine how much time passes. Before asking the players how much time they want to spend in campaign mode, you determine the upper limit of time the characters can spend. This amount of time should generally not exceed 5 years, and it is usually limited by events related to the campaign. Villains are unlikely to let the characters relax for too long, and threats of war and the promise of treasure can interrupt the actions characters perform in campaign mode. Determine the maximum timepsan by choosing an increment of time. Also, decide what campaign event, if any, interrupts the characters actions in campaign mode.

After you’ve decided upon the timespan and campaign event, it’s time for the players to decide how much time to expend. This decision should be a collaborative process, in which the players examine their characters’ goals, obligations, and interests, and then come to a consensus. If a consensus is not possible, you can deal with the disagreement in two ways: go with the length of time the majority of the players want, or go with the minimum amount of time a player proposes.

Determine Actions: Once both DM and players have decided on a timespan, each player decides how to spend his or her actions during that time. A player chooses how to spend his or her actions based on the entire unit of time. For example, a player can’t break a month down into several week-long increments, or a year down into twelve month-long increments.

A character’s activities in campaign mode are represented by two types of actions: a major action and a travel action. A major action, similar to a standard action, makes up the bulk of a character’s activities during the campaign mode timespan. A travel action, similar to a move action, represents a character traveling some distance overland, based on what can be accomplished during the timepsan.

Going around the table, each player tells the DM how his or her character will spend these actions during the timespan, and in what order. Whether or not a proposed task can be accomplished within the timespan is determine by the Dungeon Master. If a player’s proposal is too ambitious, let the player know how long his or her character expects the action to take. At your option, you can allow a player to accomplish part of his or her major action if time runs out or if an event interrupts the action (see “Unfinished Business”). Here are some general suggestions for what a character might accomplish with his or her major action.

More Than 1 Year

Creation: Build a castle or tower, create a mundane or magic item of exquisite craftsmanship, found a city, invent a new spell, create a magical beast, write a book

Education: Retrain your character classes, learn a hard language, adopt a new career requiring years of training, such as captain of the guard, general, a guild leader, a governor, a chieftain, a physician, an abbot, or a high-ranking member of the clergy.

Exploration: Track down an object or location lost for centuries,  mount a major expedition, map an a vast uncharted region, complete a challenging major quest

Relationships: Start a family, develop a vendetta, gain a nemesis, train a dangerous or untame beast, rekindle a friendship with a long-lost family member, gain an apprentice, develop a lifelong friendship with a person or a rapport with the citizens of a city.

 

6 Months – 1 Year

Creation: Build a large house, create a mundane or magic item of fine craftsmanship, found a village, invent a new cantrip, research a secretive organization or obscure arcane subject,

Education: Attend a university, train a domesticated beast, retrain your theme, skills, feats, powers, or class features, learn an easy language, adopt a new career requiring considerable training, such as a knight, a lieutenant in the army, an armorer,  aweaponsmith, a metalsmith, a merchant, a mayor, a constable, a steward, a scholar, an innkeeper, an apothecary, an animal trainer, an artist or performer, an acolyte, or a mid-ranking member of the clergy.

Exploration: Track down an object, location, or a person that has been seen or heard from for decades, mount an expedition, map a dungeon or small uncharted region, complete a major quest,

Relationships: Get married or develop a relationship, gain a reputation for something incredible, develop a rivalry, develop a strong friendship with a person or a rapport with the citizens of a large town.

1 Month – 6 Months

Creation: Build a small house,, create a mundane item of good quality

Education: Research an obscure organization or esoteric subject, train a simple domesticated animal, retrain one of your skills, powers, or class features, learn fragments of a difficult language, become a squire, a soldier in the army, a mercenary, an apprentice armorer, an apprentice weaponsmith, an apprentice metalsmith, a counter, a scribe, a stablehand, a deputy, a server, or a low-ranking member of the clergy.

Exploration: Track down an object, a location, or a person that hasn’t been seen or heard from in several years, mount a minor expedition, map a river or a path through a wilderness region, complete a challenging minor quest

Relationships: Fall in love, meet a rival or adversary, gain a reputation, develop a good friendship with a person or a rapport with the citizens of a small town.

 

1 Week – 3 Weeks

Creation: Purchase land, start a farm

Education: Read a tome, decipher a faded scroll, research a widely documented organization or subject, train an intelligent domesticated animal, find out the local rumors or legends, retrain one of your powers, learn fragments of a common language.

Exploration: Track down an elusive local object or a person that hasn’t been seen or heard from in weeks, explore a local forest or mountain, gain insight or hints into completing a quest.

Relationships: Become smitten, develop a friendly rivalry, gain a minor reputation

Coming next week…

  • Characters aiding each other
  • Interrupting character actions.
  • Integrating rewards.
  • Providing a narrative.
  • Adding complications.
  • Advancing the story.

Do you have some suggestions? Something else you want to see integrated? Help me playtest this system and build more robust options for characters. When I’m finished, I’ll compile all the rules into a single, easy-to use document.