Looking at Settings

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So recently a friend and I were discussing some old games we had played, some a decade ago and it got me to thinking about working up an epic and longlasting campaign, a last hurrah if you will.  Overall plot came easily, and subplots are popping up hither and yon in my mind, but what I seem to be unsure of is where exactly to set it in Toril.  I'm looking at the center of the map, areas like Sembia, Cormyr, Moonsea maybe, perhaps the Dales, but I'm just not 100% sure yet.  I want a central setting to give the appearance of a greater area to explore without having to travel from one end of the map to the other.

Please note that I am also looking at 1374 DR, none of that stuff that happened in 4th Edition, I feel I must point that out because it would most likely be relevent in one's choice.

So...where in and around these areas would you be most likely to set up shop?  Why?  I would love to hear everyone's thoughts and reasoning on such a thing.  Smile
What exactly are the specifics of your campaign idea?

Sembia, Cormyr, and the Moonsea are all excellent if you had a political game in mind.

Cormyr has always been a hot-spot for political intrigue, shadowy alliances, and two-faced nobles scheming against the Crown and the common folk. The place is crawling with War Wizards, elite houses, and loyalists all looking for the aid of adventurers in either defending or working against the will of the Obarskyrs. Sembia is similar in terms to the number and layers of plots that are forever moving and shaking society, but Sembian schemes typically hinge on coin more often than Cormyr's. Politicians scheme against one another and use bribes and intimidation if need be, and the wealthy look for ways to take from their rivals and protect their own pockets.

The Moonsea is a different animal, in that it is various city-states vying for supremacy and brokering alliances to ward off potential enemies. There is a greater diversity of custom in the Moonsea, and backstabbing occurs on a grander scale. Betrayal and friendship can splinter and unite entire regions, depending on the plot.

What the Dales lack in political plots they make up for with good ol' fashioned ruins and wilderness. Forgotten crypts, monster-infested ruins, and ancient sources of magic are best placed in the Dalelands, especially considering the proximity of Myth Drannor, which is a wonderland of death traps and dangers assuming you stick with the pre-Return version. The Moonsea offers plenty in the way of roaming monsters and uncivilized perils, as well. Cormyr and Sembia are better patrolled, though; if the threat involves aiding an undermanned defense of a specific area, the Dales or Moonsea would work better. If you want to uproot a threat as a coordinated effort with an effective military, Cormyr or Sembia is probably better (although there are a few Moonsea cities that would fit the bill, too).
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147048523 wrote:
"I don't like X, they should remove it." "I like X, they should keep it." "They should replace X with Y." "Anybody that likes X is dumb. Y is better." "Why don't they include both X and Y." "Yeah, everybody can be happy then!" "But I don't like X, they should remove it." "X really needs to be replaced with Y." "But they can include both X and Y." "But I don't like X, they need to remove it." "Remove X, I don't like it." Repeat. Obstinance?
56790678 wrote:
Until you've had an in-law tell you your choice of game was stupid, and just Warcraft on paper, and dumbed down for dumber players who can't handle a real RPG, you haven't lived. You haven't lived.
56902498 wrote:
Lady and gentlemen.... I present to you the Edition War without Contrition, the War of the Web, the Mighty Match-up! We're using standard edition war rules. No posts of substance. Do not read the other person's posts with comprehension. Make frequent comparison to video games, MMOs, and CCGs. Use the words "fallacy" and "straw man", incorrectly and often. Passive aggressiveness gets you extra points and asking misleading and inflammatory questions is mandatory. If you're getting tired, just declare victory and leave the thread. Wait for the buzzer... and.... One, two, three, four, I declare Edition War Five, six, seven eight, I use the web to Go!
57062508 wrote:
D&D should not return to the days of blindfolding the DM and players. No tips on encounter power? No mention of expected party roles? No true meaning of level due to different level charts or tiered classes? Please, let's not sacrifice clear, helpful rules guidelines in favour of catering to the delicate sensibilities of the few who have problems with the ascetics of anything other than what they are familiar with.
56760448 wrote:
Just a quick note on the MMORPG as an insult comparison... MMORPGs, raking in money by the dumptruck full. Many options, tons of fans across many audiences, massive resources allocated to development. TTRPGs, dying product. Squeaking out an existence that relys on low cost. Fans fit primarily into a few small demographics. R&D budgets small, often rushed to market and patched after deployment. You're not really making much of an argument when you compare something to a MMORPG and assume people think that means bad. Lets face it, they make the money, have the audience and the budget. We here on this board are fans of TTRPGs but lets not try to pretend none of us play MMORPGs.
90571711 wrote:
Adding options at the system level is good. Adding options at the table level is hard. Removing options at the system level is bad. Removing options at the table level is easy. This is not complicated.
57333888 wrote:
112760109 wrote:
56902838 wrote:
Something like Tactical Shift is more magical than martial healing.
Telling someone to move over a few feet is magical now? :| I weep for this generation.
Given the laziness and morbid obsesity amongst D&Ders, being able to convince someone to get on their feet, do some heavy exercise, and use their words to make them be healthier must seem magical.
158710691 wrote:
D&D definitely improves mental health; Just as long as you stay away from these forums ;)
I've shoved the politics heading to the side for the moment, although it could become a very big part of setting a little later.  After all, do-gooder's will be better recieved in a place like the Dales than, say Mulmaster.  The dynamics of that could have far reaching consequences indeed.  I am currently thinking more along the lines of logistics.  Originally I was thinking about Waterdeep, huge metropolis (relatively) with access to just about anything you can think of.  This is great from a PC view, and as a DM, I could take the easy way out on that.  But I don't want things to be easy, otherwise they aren't worth it.  I want them to be able to get what they need, but not in a one stop shopping experience like it's a city wide Walmart.  They really need to work for some of what they have.

I'm also looking into what I am calling the "Skyrim Effect"...essentially while you have a main quest, you can literally stumble over smaller, quick run quests as well.  This isn't something that I've done before, at least to the magnitude that I am thinking right now, but I want to give the players little things to do between point A and B.  You know, "Bandits have stolen Ingrid's necklace that she got from her mother and retreated to their lair in the hills, and the constable is too busy with ensuring the safety of the rest of the town to chase them" kind of stuff.  Not overly deadly or difficult sometimes, but some flavor and fluff, practice, if you will.

Overall, my main campaign idea stretches the length and breadth of Toril, an epic campaign that will take these players to places that none of us have been before, which involves months of planning on my part.  Taking them to strange places, I want them to have a more familiar place to be able to return to when they need to, and that ranges from the Moonsea all the way to Waterdeep.  Having played in these areas, they will encounter past characters that they've played as, a personal touch that I feel will enable them to make a deeper bond with the campaign as a whole.  But just because they are familiar with the setting, doesn't mean I always want them comfortable.

Ultimately, I think I'm looking for an outside POV, maybe a observation that I hadn't seen yet concerning those areas.  You've definitely given a fair amount of that thus far though, what would your personal preference be?
One of the things that shapes my choices is the availability of a good map.

In your case, that would be good maps.

Frankly, what you are doing is much like I am doing with my current Neverwinter campaign. There is a larger overarching plot but lots of little side plots and locations for the PCs. Even the overarching plot has been driven by the active choice of the PCs.

One quick warning: you are talking about an enormous amount of prep. This being the case I would focus on those areas with the best maps - the North, Cormyr, the Dalelands, the Underdark - which, coincidentally, are also the areas where you're only a Google search away from some quick descriptions and adventure hooks.

What is your overarching plot idea, by the way?
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
And, personally, I would run that game in the Silver Marches. There is so much material in 3E's excellent Silver Marches that, really, there is not much need to go further afield. Start your campaign in Deadsnows. Use the included map of the mountains and whatnot around Deadsnows to create a mini-sandbox including a site much like the Caves of Chaos from Keep on the Borderlands and then have some fun.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom

I still have the 3rd edition Forgotten Realms sourcebook with the foldout map, plus some old 2nd edition maps as well.  As for the overall plot, I've labeled it The Pillars of Creation for the moment, one of which is potentially in the High Forest.  Still working out many of the details currently, but I am not planning on starting the campaign until September or so, thus I have plenty of time to work every out, as well as create a 'mini-quest' portfolio along with other odds and end. 

What about starting in the Norhern portion of teh Western Heartlands.  You are reasonably close to the Sword Coast for all the city intrigue and excitement, also close to the High Forest and the North so it would be easy to incorpoate and travle to locations there, and you are a modest journey away from The Dales, Cormyr, etc.  Also, if you need to through an adventure into the uncharted frontier, the Heartlands are pretty much an open canvas.
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All good suggestions, I think I have an idea pounded out with them in mind.  It was late, and I was playing Eve Online, watching Warrior and reading the Forgotten Realms sourcebook, and it all came together in a chocolatey, peanut buttery concoction of 'Geez, I should have thought of that already'.  Cormyr is the winner, and I think it should work out well with the various plots, NPCs and political intrigue throughout the area.  However, that doesn't mean that later on, the PCs can't keep summer homes up north and winter homes down south.

If they survive, that is.
Cormyr was going to be my suggestion. Largely because I'm currently reading "Volo's Guide to Cormyr" and thus it's the area that (for me) is most brimming with adventure hooks (largely because of excellent book rather than because it's inherently better then any other region).

If you're looking to put politics off to the side for the time being, I'd recommend Arabel. Volo's Guide is written from the perspective of 1368 DR. But I can't imagine the region changes THAT much in 6 years (everyone should still be alive, simply 6 years older).

Arabel is good in that it's a "frontier" city. It's the one city in Cormyr where you don't need to keep your weapon peace bonded which makes it more forgiving to adventurers (although funnily enough you could have the gate guards insist weapons must be peace bonded when LEAVING the city, trapping the PCs in the city unless they have their weapons peace bonded or can get an exception). In order to be able to have your weapons not peace bonded in the rest of Cormyr you need to belong to an adventuring company (or have a writ from the King). This gives you an NPC that can provide the PCs with "a loan" to put up the startup money required to purchase an adventuring company license which allows you to steer the PCs towards certain adventure hooks while giving them the freedom to choose their own in other areas.

Arabel is also bordered by the Stonelands which is the perfect site for more traditional adventures while the city sees more than its fair share of traders, allowing the PCs to hire on as bodyguards should they desire to travel anywhere.