Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The World As They Know It

To the players in my Saturday Labyrinth Lord campaign, the map to the right represents the entire universe.  It's just about every place they've ever been or heard about.  I have an overwhelming desire to flesh out more - but I stop myself and let dice rolls and the player's wanderlust shape The Wild Lands.

My intention was to start the players in Audrain Keep (actually the Keep on the Borderlands,) flesh out the main east-west road, and have the players move north towards the Razing Zone - an area of many monsters and a place for high adventure.  I even named the campaign 'The Razing Zone,' as I figured the players would be all over that place.

As you can probably tell from the map, the players have made a almost direct bee-line south, in the opposite direction. 

I think this might have something to do with my new DMing style.  When running a 4e campaign with the same group of people, the mere mention of a monster set them charging off to go fight it.  They knew I would play 'fair' by 4e rules and give them reasonable challenges.  But they know the kid gloves are off in Labyrinth Lord, and it's not uncommon for me to throw monsters 5 to 10 levels higher than they are - all at the whim of my evil red twenty-sider.  "Old School Runs" just doesn't refer to the dungeon, but the entire world - apparently.

In fact, last game when the party found out that the dragon Abaraxis and a cadre of orcs had taken over Audrain Keep, there was heated debate on exactly how far away should run away.  One party member did press the group to go vanquish the dragon, but in the end they party agreed to "explore a potential economic partnership" with a distiller who lived even farther south than they had already traveled. 

When fleeing (I mean strolling in a calm, economic sort of way,) south they came to a bridge, and of course that bridge was guarded by orcs in the employ of the dragon, but that is the kind of asshole - I mean DM - that I am.  :)

- Ark

PS - I'd like to mention how proud I am of the players.  They are now fighting and conquering monsters far above their level by using their smarts.  They almost never stand toe to toe against an enemy without some trick or trap ready to spring.  They are getting quite brilliant and it's starting to get difficult to out-think them.  I love it.

5 comments:

  1. So, you kinda wanted them to go north, and they went... south? Why am I not surprised?

    I remember back when I was first getting behind the screen. I was about sixteen, and I had spent about three days carefully constructing the Temple of All Evil. All seventeen handwritten pages of it. Come game-time, the players took one look at it, decided that there was no way in hell they'd ever set foot in that unholy place, and set out to slaughter goblins.

    That's the last time I ever wrote an adventure.

    It sounds like a fun game, though. Brains over brawns are always more interesting.

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  2. @Harald - It's like herding cats, I swear. In the end, you just have to let them wander wherever they want and try to kill them as much as possible. It's the only way they're happy. :)

    - Ark

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  3. I ran a short lived campaign way back when. I loving called it the "Cop Out Campaign". It started like Riverworld where all the characters had died but appeared on the shore of a lake with all their equipment. I designed a death story for each character. They then set off exploring with each hex being determined randomly as far as terrain (within limits) and then me ad libbing what was there. I quickly realized the only person on the spot was me and it was no cop out. I love the idea of building it on the fly and not giving them all the detail.

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  4. @Wymarc - That sounds like a cool idea for a campaign. I would have probably had the players come up with their own death stories - as the people I play with now have much more interesting imaginations than I do.

    - Ark

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  5. What program do you use for your maps?

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