The way I learn new games, aside from playing in other people's games, is to over-prep an adventure or two so that I can tinker with various rules and mechanics in the given game system. I'm doing that now with D&D Next ahead of its release. I will be using the latest playtest packets. When the final game is released, I will endeavor to update anything I have to the official rules at launch. This will be a series of posts about what I'm doing and why and I welcome constructive feedback.
Some design considerations:
- Adhere to rules as written as closely as possible to learn the system before altering it.
- If it is in D&D Next, it's in The Next World, sometimes overtly.
- As needed, the Fronts/Dangers system from Dungeon World will be used to keep track of campaign threats.
- Grids (known as "The Tableau") will be used for set-piece encounters; other encounters will be Theater of the Mind.
- This campaign doesn't take itself too seriously.
- All classic D&D tropes are welcome.
- Game will be run online via Roll20.net and Google+ Hangouts.
The Next World
The setting and backdrop to the first adventure, "Trope," is The Next World. There was a previous world and there will be a next Next World (according to learned trolls and raving madmen). In fact, all told there were eight previous iterations of the world, each with its own distinct features though some of those changes were more subtle than others. Some changes caused great schisms that echo through the world to the current timeline.
The campaign begins in Startertown, at the Pony Up Tavern. Startertown is run by a mad warlord by the name of Questgiver, an unwitting agent of the Four Evils. All adventurers must kick up a cut of their take to Questgiver or be "embargoed" from the trade. Startertown's economy is largely based on gold that adventurers spend there.
Many adventurers ply their trade in the wild environs such as The Bog Standard, a vast swamp and hunting ground to the black dragon, Redscale, or the Ruins of Old School, a blasted wasteland that was once a wizard's academy before a magical calamity destroyed it. The Tannery was once the town of Workaday which once rivaled Startertown as the central hub for adventurers, but it was destroyed by Redscale in a fit of rage after he was rejected by Tiamat. Now it is a sinking mire of steaming pools of acid and crumbling ruins. A map to the Dungeon of Gold & Glory was recently uncovered in the Ruins of Old School. It serves as the primary goal and location of the first adventure, "Trope." The dungeon was originally crafted by the Grognards, an ancient and benevolent all-male race of neck-bearded giants.
That is all the canon of The Next World. The rest will be created as we play by players and DM both. The map below was adapted from one of Dyson's creations. I wanted something hand-drawn to evoke nostalgia and since the latest Next packet says wilderness maps are to be in hexes, then hexes it is.
Campaign Front: The Great Dissociation
A remnant of the previous world, The Four Evils, still lingers. Its goal is to imprison the world in a magical grid and force all of its inhabitants to cease any meaningful interaction and battle each other to the death. They refer to their nefarious plan as the Great Dissociation. The Four Evils manipulate events behind the scenes using its agents in The Next World, some of whom do not even know they are doing the bidding of this malevolent force. In "Trope," the Four Evils have manipulated the halfling thief, G. Golly Willikers, Esq., into leading his adventuring group, The Pathfinders, to stealing the map to the Dungeon of Gold & Glory so that they can be the first to claim the MacGuffin Generica - an artifact of incredible power that has existed in all the heroic quests of the previous worlds and is pivotal to the Great Dissociation.
No amount of tips, tricks, or gimmicks will ever be better than simply talking directly to your fellow players to resolve your issues.
DMs: Find Your GM Style | Structure First, Story Last | Spoilers Don't Spoil Anything | No Myth Roleplaying | 5e Monster Index & Encounter Calculator
Players: 11 Ways to Be a Better Roleplayer | You Are Not Your Character | Would You Pay to See Your Character Fight? | Pre-Gen D&D 5e PCs
Follow me on Twitter: @is3rith