Design Goals

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Design Goals

The following is a list of things that I would like to use as a basis as I develop the campaign.


The last few years of my DMing have been full of lead-the-PCs-by-the-nose epic adventures. I would like to create the campaign in such a way that the PCs can choose what they pursue. This doesn't mean that there won't be an overall plot, but I would like to run several sub-plots concurrently. At any given time, the PCs should have 3-4 things they could pursue (dungeon crawls, personal goals, intrigue, affiliation advancement, etc.)

Non-combat Focus

In adition to the linearness of past campaigns, they have also been full of level after level of meat-grinding dungeon. The focus was entirely on the tactics of each combat with downtime consisting of bettering themselves for the next combat. To have a more balanced approach between character development, role-playing, combat, etc., the following are all ideas to help with this.

Goal-based Experience

Adjust experience point awards so that the majority of points do not come from combat. Provide experience for completing goals, whether those are personal goals that are set up at points during the campaign, or are a part of the plot. Award XP at the end of the dungeon, the end of the mystery, the attainment of a new rank in an affiliation, etc. Find or create guidelines for awarding experience for interacting with NPCs or for good role-playing.

At the same time, use this to slow character level advancement. I would like to design the campaign to consist of levels 1 through 10, at most halving the rate of experience gain normally found in one of my campaigns.

NPC Interaction

In developing the campaign, I would like to spend a bit of effort on creating interesting NPCs that have goals and reasons to interact with the PCs. Cauldron NPCs succeeded more in this than Diamond Lake did. I'd like to think that the PCs were interested and involved in the plights of Kristof Jurgensen, the lone keeper of the Shrine of Pelor in Cauldron. Development of NPCs should include their histories, their desires, their affiliations, possible work for the PCs, etc. I want to make interaction with the NPCs a key part of the campaign. I want the PCs to want to get back to town to see what the NPCs have been up to. I want to work towards removing the general feeling from the players that all NPCs are out to screw them in some way.

PC Advancement

Not intending to steer players into the type of game I want, I would still like to encourage them to find other ways to advance their characters besides increasing their combat prowess. I would like to provide ample opportunity to advance in organizations, develop relationships with NPCs, become influential. I would also like to somehow provide for team-based advancement, like having the party start a guild or build and manage a fortress.


I would like to provide lots of hooks to possible adventures. I plan to have much of the content created before the campaign begins, so on day one I could start alluding to the dragon in the hills that the party couldn't possibly face until much later. In this sense, the world will be a dangerous place, not CR-tailored to the party. If the party goes off to woods that are infested with Orcworts, then they will soon be dead.

Lower Magic Level

In an effort to put more player value on magical items, I would like to limit their exposure to the game. The current plan is to have very limited item procurement from the local magic shop. Magic items will have to either be crafted or plundered from some ruin. In fact, I think that one of the main purposes of dungeon-type adventures in the campaign will be to procure items, as opposed to gaining experience. However, I would still like to include a Skie's Treasury type shop (possibly traveling) that has a random assortment of magic items; I will likely make this affiliation-based, so that access to magic items will be one of the rewards for advancement.

With item creation being an almost necessary option here, the campaign will need to allow for th kind of downtime that magic item creation takes.

Basic Premise

I would like the area that the campaign takes place in to be a frontier-like area that Dormantown was in. It would consist of minor settlements, with mountains, forests, plains, and waters all in the area. The various settlements would act like quest hubs (ala WoW). At each settlement, there would be something(s) to do. Those somethings could often chain into other adventures or areas.

PC Info

PC:Design Goals

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