In the Midst of War

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The idea behind my campaign is that in the North are the Surviving Kingdoms; fractured states that were once part of a greater empire. To the South is a vast expanse of ruin, Where Angels Fear to Tread, and at the heart of this is what once was the capitol, now the hub of an expansive Hellscape. The campaign centers around the war that is beginning as the armies of the Nine Hells once again begin to reassert themselves.

My fear is that the scale may become much. I want the world to be breathing, that events still occur even without them present, but what tips would some more senior DM's than I have to make sure my players still feel they're having an impact?
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I would suggest reading the Hellgate: London series. Great read...might give some ideas for such a campaign.
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If you are giving choices throughout, make sure to reference them in later conversations.  If they wait on one choice for awhile, make it noticable that time happened(better prepared monsters).
One way to ensure that your players feel as if they have an impact is to throw them into (or give them) missions which directly affect the wellfare of the Surviving Kingdoms. I have a couple ideas which I have listed.

Reconnaissance & Infilitration:
Knowledge is power, and knowing what the enemy is up to can tip a battle (or even a war) in your favor. This might be especially applicable to a team of stealth orientated (or simply high Dex) PCs, however it could be made to work for any group. For instance, athletics could be used to dash across a field before the guard returns from his break, endurance to hold your breath underwater as a patrol passes over, history to recall what patrol patterns the enemy favors, bluff to convince a guard your his superior etc. This allows the PCs to recover vital information for the kingdom, upon which future plans can be made. They could even attempt to turn some of the Diabolical generals agaisnt themselves...

Guerilla warfare:
A strike team can wreak havoc on an army is properly deployed. The kingdom might decide that the PCs best use is to assualt the enemy intermittently. This will allow the PCs to weaken enemy armies and give their own troops a better chance at victory.

Warfare:
The PCs, being the amazing individuals they are, are probably some of the deadliest soldiers in the Surviving Kingdoms, and their contributions on the battle field could be invaluable. This would allow the PCs to have a direct impact upon the outcomes of a battle, and perhaps the war in general.

Politics:
After having won a name for themselves, the PCs opinions will be highly valued by the various powers in the Kingdoms. Thus, the PCs can voice opinions that could change alliances and battle plans, for good or ill.

Research:
As the armies of the Nine Hells are trying to reassert themselves, they have obviously either been summoned, or have managed to punch through their prison. Thus, surely there is a way to de-summon them? Perhaps a tome of knowledge (or several) holed up in long forgotten ruins might hold  the key, or perhaps their is some sort of anchor in the centre of the Hellscape, one that binds the infernal forces to the natural world, which could be interfered with, or perhaps simply destroyed...

Does that help? 
Once I've finished my most recent reading of Tolkien, I think I will pickup Hellgate: London.

And for the majority of my PC's I think politics would play in very naturally. Surviving Kingdoms is plural for a reason, and while the major human cities pay loose allegiance to a city called Fastigium, the elven city Anmera is under the governance of the Spiral Tower, Dythan's Legion (from threats to the Nentir Vale) is also present and seeking to rebuild their empire. Then there are the reclusive dwarves, who when the Nine Hells first swarmed Caelum sealed themselves off in the Mountains to the North. Plenty of room for that.

I think research and reconnaisance/infiltration also plays in rather well. The world first came to the state that it is when the Last King of Caelum made a pact with the God of Death Orcus for immortality, but at the price of becoming a Death Knight, now a thrall of the God of Death. Caelum was a Kingdom ordained by Bahamut for the destruction of the Tiefling Empire of Bael Turath, and when the Line he had ordained failed so utterly, Bahamut largely abandoned mortals. Their Divine Blessing now absent, many leaders made the same pact with the God of Death.

Then there's always the fun of warfare, and I think I'll have to blend both given the mix of Timmy and Johnny that I have in my playgroup.


I'll be keeping tabs on cities, characters, story, etc. for the campaign if anyone would be curious, and I'd love to know anything else ya'll think might work well.
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