For the past couple of weeks i have been DMing for a group of new players that all never played DND before. It is a real fun experience because i get to try out my new story driven campaign in 4th edition. I want to share the campaign with you guys here so you can give feedback and maybe use some of it for your own games. I used events, names and places from different games and other DND campaigns so if you don't like that, feel free to change them for yourself. I hope you enjoy it. English is not my native language so forgive me for miss spelling.
The way i like to build my campaigns is with a deep ongoing story. I like to create memorable characters that return from time to time. Amazing places that the players want to go back to, or are forced to go back to against their will. And have 1 big global event that is happening with the players running around in it. this is not a dungeon crawler. This is a world that is alive and changing at all times depending on the players choices.
Before we started i asked the players what do they enjoy in a good movie or a videogame. One said he loved a good story. Another said he loved the freedom of choice with real consequences. My entire group is actualy a fan of the ''mass effect'' series so i wanted to capture that way of story telling. Now since all the players never played D&D before i helped them out in the first couple of chapters to show them what they can do. And ofcourse allow them to ask questions at all time.
When we started our playergroup only consisted of 3 players: a half-elf paladin, a dragonborn warlord and a tiefling rogue. later more people joined but this is where we started.
If you want to read only the short story version, scroll all the way down to the summery.
Chapter 1: A Dreamy Start.
The story began in a dark field. A big cloud of fog was covering the place. 4 creatures (the players +1) were walking through the field. it was hard to see eachothers faces through the mist but they felt secure for some reason. Even if they didn't know eachother. a couple of meters in front of them where 4 skeletons (level 1 minions). Behind those skeletons was a giant 3 headed skeleton lord. The skeleton lord started talking to them: ''you chosen of Cadkhar...you are not prepared. The Evil i will unleash upon this world can not be stopped. The end of your time of light is near. And like this mist...darkness will cover the world once and for all...you are not prepared''. ''Ok everyone roll Initiative'' i said. This first chapter was made for the players to learn the mechanics but also to give them the feeling there was a great evil there. The start of a story. Knowing there was something going on they didn't understand yet. Now those of you who know D&D well know that the 3headed skeleton lord is a level 10 monster. My players are level 1 and as expected they got their butts kicked. However it took a while before they were all down so if i would do this again i would pick a stronger monster. They even almost took down his first head.
But ofcourse this was all a dream and each of them woke up in their respective beds hearing the skeleton saying one more time: ''you are NOT prepared!'' (i loved the trailer of WoW burning crusade)
Now the players all were in Curast, a port town in the mid south of the worldmap. I described this town as kind of dark and shady. No stable goverment. Only different streetgangs kind of running their districts and constantly fighting eachother. Our paladin player was traveling with a group of paladins (led by Master paladin Anduin (human)) from the captital city Arein to this shady place. this to pick up an important piece of cargo that one of the ships would bring. They were staying at the inn. Also in the inn was our warlord player looking for mercenary work. The head paladin recruited him to protect this important cargo and there the paladin and warlord player met. In the mean time the rogue had heard about an important ship with rich cargo arriving today. After a succesful streetwise role, he and his 2 human rabble lackey's went to set a trap for the paladins in a dark alleyway. As they were sitting there waiting for their victims, a group of kobolds showed up and grabbed 1 of the rogue's lackeys. They threatened our rogue player because apparently he was part of their gang before and had betrayed them by stealing their money. As they slit his lackey's throat...the other two players (that were send ahead by Anduin) showed up on their way to the docks. They saw a poor guy being murdered to they rushed in to help.
I made this encounter to bring the players closer together so i made kobolds jump of the roofs and trap the players from both sides in the alley. i also had kobold slinger standing on the roof to teach the players about positioning.
3x Kobold Minion (right side) (167) 1x kobold slinger(168) (rooftop) 1x Kobold Skirmisher (left side) (167) 1x Kobold Dragonshield (left side)(168) (total exp: 300)
(this is how i write it down in my notes, the numbers are the pages in the monster manual that i use)
The dragonshield kobold was their leader for this encounter so i had him do some cool talking about the rogue leaving their group and stealing their money. And him ofcourse taking his life. In the end the party wasen't in any REAL danger in this but that might be the luck of the roll. It was fun to see the rogue climbing on the roof to take out the slinger while the two others held their ground in the alley.
After the encounter the rest of the paladins showed up and they went down to the docks. There Anduin recruited our rogue and the party was complete. When they arrived at the docks the ship wasen't there yet. I created this moment for the players to talk about their characters (in Character ofcourse) to eachother and ask eachother questions. so after 10-15 minutes of character talk the ship arrived. A big strong dwarf came off the ship having the name Brann. followed by an Eladrin female wizard (Minori), a human male ranger (Val) and a dwarven male cleric (Thargas). Brann greeted Anduin and they went into the captains cabin to talk. There i allowed the players to get to know these 3 NPCs and pick their favorite. This favorite was going to be their new companion for the coming quest. The party picked Minori the eladrin wizard so i had her going into the cabin aswel. The rogue stealthly followed her while the other 2 helped the dwarven crew unload the ship. In the cabin Brann, anduin and minori had a big Chest which the rogue observed. He couldent see what was in the chest but he saw them casting some spells on it. after a couple of minutes they left the cabin and the rogue went looking around. What he didnt know is that the content of the chest was magicly put into an amulet that minori carried around her neck. so he found the chest to be empty. But he did steal the captains sword...which he later sold back to him telling him that he ''found it'' (clever players)
Then anduin got the whole player group together and hired them escort minori to the old monestery in the north. Here came another player choice. Anduin asked them if they wanted to sleep first and leave in the morning of leave right away. Depeding on their choice, the next encounter would be different. The group decided to go right away so they set of in the night and that was the end of chapter 1.
End of chapter 1
Next to setting up a senario for the players, i also write for myself events that happen in the world on places where the players are not. So that when they come at those places...they see the result of what happened at couple of episodes ago. basicly i run an off screen a campaign for the main evil guy. it builds for me his character and makes the world more alive. Even though the players have not met the Main boss yet...he is going through the world doing his evil stuff...and those events might cross with the players sometimes. It also gives me material for when the players come to a burned village or an prisoners camp.
The story starts a couple of weeks before the players meet. On the other side of the sea there lived a very powerful mage. Like Halister blackcloak from the WotC campaign. This wizard actually turned to necromancy and a group of strong paladins went to his fortress to stop him. Leading them was Eladrin paladin Alaria and Captain of the guard human Nathan Theramore. They managed to kill this ''mad mage'' but his body could not be destroyed. it was protected by powerful magic so that Halister's deciples can resurrect him again. So Alaria, Nathan and the other guards took the mad mage his body and his scepter and transported it to their city of Fallcrest. That city was later attacked by Tichondrius (the mad mage his apprentice) who had an army of goblin mercenaries and undead. But before the city was attacked, Nathan had sent the body of the mad mage away on a ship. The scepter however was lost to Tichondrius.
Brann, the dwarven captain of the ship, sailed to Curast where the paladins from the capital would pick up the body and transport it to the human capital city Arein. With brann where the 3 guards that pledged themselves to bring the body to Arein. Minori the eladrin wizard, Val the human ranger and Thargos the dwarven cleric. But a goblin ship followed the dwarven ship all the way.
When Master Paladin Anduin (human) learned that Tichondrius his forces had crossed the sea, he set up a diversion in Curast where he split his group in 3. They would all take different routes to Arein to confuse their followers and the enemy spies. The players get hired by Anduin to escort 1 of the 3 guards and the body north past the Arathi monastery. After the players get attacked by a kobold streetgang on their way to the docks
While the players wait near brann's ship, Anduin brann and minori use their magic to trap Halisters body in an amulet. However this can only contain him for 3 days. After that the spell will break and his body released fromt he amulet. And since Arein is more than a weeks travel, the party has to go to the Arathi monestary north of Curast. The mages there can strengthen the seal for the journey. The players leave the town before nightfall and so ends chapter 1.
tell me what you think and if you are thinking of using it. i will post chapter 2 very soon.