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Author Topic: Campaign Ambitions: Player Crafted, DM Approved  (Read 792 times)

jeffcotrou

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Campaign Ambitions: Player Crafted, DM Approved
« on: October 14, 2020, 05:47:32 PM »
I've seldom used published campaign settings for very long, but I think I've tried most of them. The early TSR materials and rules sets - and I'm going back as far as the Basic set here - very much encouraged DM's to create unique environments and campaign settings for their players. And the modules from the classic game right through 2nd Edition AD&D could  easily be folded into those worlds. As much as I've enjoyed visiting the Forgotten Realms, Krynn, Dark Sun, and a host of others, I'm just not as excited about treading the same ground that thousands of other players have inhabited. So I've stayed away from that hypothetical M Theory sort of multi-verse.

Currently, I'm more interested in attempting an exercise I've done in the past. Many of you have done the same, no doubt. I'd love to see some of those old school maps you've got tucked away in folders or hanging from your walls. During one extended campaign, using only the central rules of the game (both classic and AD&D), I created a map of some small territory, set a group of players to work exploring it, inviting them to participate in an initial story before encouraging them to help me define the parameters of the world their characters occupy. Their actions and travels even helped define the shape of the continent. We had a few house rules, of course. In the past, I've let players add a lot of their creations to what eventually becomes a familiar world while still allowing for whatever sorts of plot twists and adventures I could throw their way. I wish I still had all of it. Sadly, a basement fire destroyed not only the gaming table I had been setting up, but scores of modules and notebooks comprising a few years' worth of game creations.

I've run a lot of games using later editions, and I frequently find that some players are resistant toward exploring possibilities outside the bounds of what is covered in newly released products. I can't really blame game designers for this. There's clearly ample room for players to create their own worlds. But I do think there is some degree of catering to the sort of audience that wants all of their options clearly defined by a specific set of conditions. And much of that stems from video games.

Right now, I'm fascinated by the amount of great material on this thread and on many others, whether people are adding new components to modify existing settings in unique ways or creating their own. I've said it several times over the past few posts; I think this forum needs to come to life again. I truly hope it does. You guys have created some amazing things.

Offline Loma

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Re: Campaign Ambitions: Player Crafted, DM Approved
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2020, 09:02:53 AM »
You should have made an account, so I could give you XP for this.
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Offline sgtslag

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Re: Campaign Ambitions: Player Crafted, DM Approved
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2020, 10:28:55 AM »
Jeff, I hear, and I understand, your point of view.

I started playing in 1980.  One of my players bought the Greyhawk Folio, then the boxed set, when that came out.  I used that as our campaign world for three years.  It was waaayyy too complicated for me to wrap my head around:  so many nations were on the verge of war, and I could not commit them all to memory!

When I went off to college, I drew a map of my own campaign world, in 1983.  I've been using the same world ever since.  It started as a world map, then I realized it was really only one continent, not a whole world.  I later drew in other continents, creating an Earth-sized world.  I've only used one other continent, on a limited basis, focusing 30+ years on the one continent, where I based my campaigns, for four different player groups, 19 different players.

I know my campaign world -- I created it, from whole cloth.  It is not fully documented, as most of it is in my head, and the heads of my players, alone.  My players love it.  They feel as if they own it, because they helped me develop it.  It is not developed to a terribly high degree, as I only develop it as required by play.  The adventuring areas are more highly developed, as the campaign demands.  My players have adventured across 2/3's of this continent, over the past three decades, so it is highly developed, in my mind...

It has been a blast, for me, and for my players.  It is a large part of the attraction for them, to my game:  they've invested a great deal in the campaign world, and their PC's; they know it, they are familiar with it, and they own land in it.  It is "home", to their PC's.

To me, that is one of the greatest achievements in my gaming career.  It gives me great satisfaction to hear them take serious interest in what happens in my campaign world.  They get angry when things go awry, and they work hard to set things straight.  They are deeply invested in my campaign world.  That, to me, is the greatest success I can achieve, as a DM, as a storyteller, and as a gamer.  Cheers!
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