Campaign Idea: 'Tower Defense'

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Hi everyone,

So I had been working on one of the campaign stories I've had (Working Title: Crux of the Kingdom), and there was this one encounter I'd thought of that would involve the party members stopping in a fort-like settlement for the night, only for the settlement to be attacked by monsters that night. The players would then have to fend off several waves of attackers to survive the night. I liked the idea, and I thought to myself, "What if such a scenario were done on a larger scale?" So, I come to you all with this concept I came up with to see what you think. No concrete story's been fleshed out yet, but I'll post that when it's ready.


The campaign takes place primarily in a central tower, castle, or other fortification, as well as the surrounding countryside, caves, forests, and other areas.


An army of nocturnal monsters, striking from a hidden base, attack the main fortification at night, hoping to claim a treasure or power source that lay within, as well as prey upon the innocent villagers in the castle town. The duty of the players is to defend the fortification by night, and attempt to find the source of the monsters by day.


The nature of the campaign, involving defense of a castle against a large horde of enemies, fits the idea of having a large number of players serving as a small army against the monsters. Now, I'm guessing that you're probably thinking: "So I'd take my turn and have to wait til the other 47 players AND the enemies take their turn before I can move again?!"

Not to worry; I know a campaign designed like that runs the danger of getting very boring very quickly. To give you an example of how one of the night campaigns might work, let's say there's 8 parties of 6 players, for a total of 48 players. The castle has an outer wall shaped like an octagon. Each team would be responsible for one of those walls. Each team would have a DM, and the group of DMs would collectively work out what monsters would show up, as well as where or when they'd appear. In addition, each DM would watch over one of the teams, who can either work independantly or with other parties to deal with various issues, such as more-powerful enemies or breaches in the castle walls.

The campaign itself would have four "phases" that players would be able to take action in.


During the day, party members can take part in a multitude of different activities. I've listed some examples below.

-Repair or fortify the walls with material gathered from battle or outside.
-Shop for supplies
-Interact with and/or trade goods with other parties
-Venture out into the outer lands to find supplies or search for the enemy stronghold; traditional dungeons can be found during this time as well.


An extension of the day phase, this is mainly a sort of "warning" phase. Hurry and finish what remaining preparations you have, or, if you're still outside, now would be a good time to head back to the castle, because as soon as the sun drops below the horizon, the gates are LOCKED for the night!


This is it; you've prepared as much as you could during the day. Was it enough? Only one way to find out...

Waves of monsters will assault the castle from all sides. The attacks continue until one of two conditions are fulfilled:

A. All monsters sent out that night are defeated.

B. The sun rises (They can't withstand the sun's rays)

Of course, the game is over if the enemies break through to the innermost chamber and take the power source away from the castle and back to their lair.

If the players manage to defeat all of the monsters before the sun rises, any time left over during the night is free to use as the parties see fit.


If any monsters are left outside the walls, they beat a hasty retreat back to the darkness from whence they came. During this time, it's a good idea to discuss what your party is going to do during the upcoming day phase, once the castle gates are opened.

Each night, the intensity of the enemy attacks will increase not only in terms of quantity or strength of monsters, but also in terms of new, devious tactics to break into the stronghold. Prepare well, and you may survive to the next day...

Anyways, that's the idea I had. Thanks for reading. Feedback, both positive or negative, as well as suggestions are welcome below. Thanks in advance for telling me what you think!

Check out the Chaos Scar Adventure, 'Dead By Dawn' in Dungeon 176. Might find a bit of helpful info/ideas there.
RIP George! 4-21-11 RIP Abie! 1-2-13
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Hmm. you seem to most of this in order... however, how are you going to defend agaisnt the monsters? I know that the PCs are supposed to guard the castle and fight off the monsters, but is this going to be hand to hand fighting at the front gate or are the PCs going to be arrayed along walls and in towers to rain devastation upon the enemy? These seem to favor either melee or ranged combatants but not both, as there is not much a fighter can do in a tower, and most wizards aren't good at hand-to-hand... further, if you split the party between the two (archers in the towers and knights at the gates) isn't that going to weaken the party? If one of the groups is routed, the other might not be able to assume new positions in time to stop the advancing monsters... of course this could be the intent, forcing the PCs to manage their resources and powers.

You could allow the PCs to errect barracades, which the melee characters could guard from the front and the ranged characters could stand atop of. This prevents the melee characters from being flanked (as their back is to a wall) and the ranged characters get the advantage of high ground and being out of the melee. 

Also, would it be possible for the players to hire/train/acquire assistants? This may or may not be nessecary depending upon monster number of difficulty but it could be fun for the knight to have his/her own squire and the sorcerer to get an apprentice (death by dancing brooms!).

Finally, is food going to be an issue, and can the PCs build more than just walls? If the monsters are raiding at night (during which time, everyone has flocked to the castle), who's guarding the corn fields and similar? Getting food for the survivors could be an ongoing subquest for the PCs (you might want to check with your group first though, even the good natured paladin might be a bit put off at the idea of a quest involving picking apples and fishing...). Further, can the PCs, or their flunkees, build traps? If the monsters take a similar path every night then digging a spiked pit of some sort could be useful.

Is this helpful?
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