I started running a new campaign at my friendly local comic and games store, Fallout Comics, a few weeks ago. For a little over a year I had run a 5e game at the store. My dissatisfaction with 5e had already grown enough that I had stopped running it for my home campaign months prior. I gutted it out a bit longer with the store game before I spoke with the owners and got their permission to switch systems. As I did with my home game, I decided to switch to Basic Fantasy RPG (BFRPG)…with some house rules of course. BFRPG has quickly become one of my favorite D&D systems. All but one of the players who had been playing 5e decided to keep playing and we were joined by a new (old) player. We rolled up characters at the first session. Here is the list:
- Edda: A female human fighter with a bubbly personality played by Jen.
- Laila: A female half-elf fighter with a high level of naïveté (given her Wisdom score of 4) played by Rachel.
- Gabor: A male human cleric played by Todd.
- Thorbird: A male dwarven thief with a definite preference for free ale played by Jason.
- Alok: A male half-elf illusionist played by Jon.
The premise of the campaign is relatively simple. I put together a map which will serve as the sandbox for the campaign. It is a frontier type area that is sparsely populated with lots of wilderness for who knows what could be hidden or lurking. A small version of the map is to the right (click on it for a large version). Why yes, it does look remarkably similar to the Nentir Vale, doesn’t it? (The Nentir Vale served as the first 5e campaign setting.) I’ve populated with it with a few settlements where the PCs can rest, relax, recuperate, shop, and, of course, interact with various NPCs…some of whom will invariably have their own interests in mind. Perhaps more importantly, I’ve also populated it with various “adventure locales.” Each of these locales is based on a classic D&D module. I’ve placed five or six of these locales on the map so far. I’m sure some more will get added. Outside of this, I have no preconceived notion of how this will play out…no metaplot or story waiting to be played.
More about the campaign below the break.
Before the first session, I put together a series of six envelopes that contained some rumors about two of the adventure locales. Each player randomly picked one of these and these were the rumors that their character had heard somewhere. I don’t quite remember which character knows which rumor but below is a list of the rumors that have been shared (a number of characters had heard the same rumor). Those familiar with classic D&D adventures might recognize the source of some of these but I have changed various names…not to protect the innocent or anything like that but just because I almost always do this. I tend to “borrow” a real world language and use names and words from it to make things consistent…just one of my DMing quirks. Apologies if I’ve posted one that your character may not have shared yet.
When the village of Bronby was founded, a small keep was constructed. The founders, the Rustad family, hoped to eventually expand the keep and challenge Dalstag for dominance of the Dale. However, after just a couple of generations after completion of the keep, the Rustads were penniless, the family disappeared, and their lineage ended. The keep was left to fall into disuse and ruin.
- The Rustad Keep is rumored to be haunted. Strange lights and sounds are often seen and heard in the ruins by passing villagers.
- Members of the Rustad family are rumored to still inhabit the keep and prey upon the residents of Bronby.
- People in Bronby are being altered by some creature or force. A “changeling” can be recognized by fang marks on their throat.
- The keep was built with rough granite blocks, now pitted with age. Only two towers remain, connected by a gatehouse, and only the first floors are still intact. The rest of the keep is in ruins.
- The water throughout the village of Bronby has been poisoned with a powerful drug.
- Savage crocodiles are straying from the nearby marsh and attacking villagers.
- A huge, many-headed reptilian creature has been spotted in the Dreki Fens, seemingly worshipped by crocodiles and lizardmen alike.
Somewhere in the hills and woods north of the road between Dalstag and Gransby lies a valley riddled with caves and tunnels. These caves, known as the Caves of Chaos, are home to all manner of fell creatures who lie in wait for those who dare trespass in the valley.
- A powerful mage, Umanus, resides somewhere in the Caves of Chaos and has a massive hoard of magical tomes and unique artifacts.
- A bottomless pit lies in one of the caves of the Caves of Chaos. Adventurers who have visited this cave report that whispering voices can be heard rising from the pit.
- Kobolds can move safely amongst the various tribes and factions that reside in the Caves of Chaos.
- A mad hermit lives in the woods near the Caves of Chaos. He knows much about the Caves of Chaos and the inhabitants but he is wild, crazy, and possibly dangerous.
- A mage, Masruq, from the southern lands has been seeking a magical wand of undisclosed power. The wand is purported to be made of platinum and can create numerous magical effects. A significant reward will be provided to any who can deliver the wand to him.
- A vicious tribe of kobolds, the Hornedheads, calls some of the northern portion of the Caves of Chaos their home. They act as caretakers of the valley and repair and reset the various traps throughout the caves.
- A series of caverns contain dozens of statues and no one knows where they came from but the monsters of the valley avoid these caves. It is said to be haunted.
- Piles of magic armor are being hoarded by tiny lizardmen in the northern caves of the Caves of Chaos.
Decades ago, two noted personages of the Gränsomrad Dale, Ragnarr the Fearless (a mighty warrior) and Zarifa the Unknown (a sorceress of beauty and mystery) constructed a home and stronghold far from any settlements in the Dale.
- The very walls of the stronghold speak to visitors.
- The treasures of Ragnarr and Zarifa are safely hidden in a pool of water.
- No outsiders have every entered the complex and returned to tell the tale.
- Zarifa had a magical workshop in the stronghold where she worked on magic stronger than any known today.
- There is a rear exit from the stronghold that is extremely well-hidden from the outside.
- The name of the stronghold is Quasqueton and it sits atop a hill that is a dozen leagues or so due east from Dalstag.
Tordenspire is a dormant volcanic peak that towers above the surrounding lands. It has remained dormant for dozens of generations and is home to many ruins.
- A band of slave-trading ogres is using the Tordenspire as a base for forays against Dalstag, Skogby, and Fiskby.
- A bubbling lake of lava lies below the Hill. The lake is the source of the steam columns that often rise into the air from many vents on the slopes’ summits.
- Centuries ago, an old monastery was located on the slopes of Tordenspire.
- An evil witch lives upon the Hill. She keeps and tortures the souls of those who have trespassed in her domain.
- A huge orc army is encamped on Tordenspire, waiting for orders to begin a massive assault on Dalstag.
- A fire-breathing dragon lives within Tordenspire.
- An ancient city lies beneath Tordenspire, buried by the gods themselves for the foul, horrid rituals conducted ages past.
- Man-eating ghouls prowl Tordenspire in a constant search for food.
First session write-up in the next post. 😉