Red Eyes in Black ~ A Campaign Journal From the GM's Side of the Screen
I'm sticking this here for now as a placeholder to encourage me to start actually writing this as i mentioned elsewhere that I would. We played the second session last night and I can already tell it's going to monolithic and awesome. I've felt the New Relationship Energy with campaigns before...and this isn't that. This is the real deal. I'm off to start a new job this morning that doesn't involve breaking all my fingernails and stabbing myself with screws, so I haven't the time to go into too much detail beyond a the broad strokes of the campaign's intention and a brief sketch of the character.
My girlfriend was always interested in roleplaying, even before her and I got together, but not enough to play. We worked together when we first met and she would listen to me ramble on about my roleplaying experiences. She's been an avid video gamer since she was 8 and there was somethihng about roleplaying that didn't resonate with her at first. After we got together and then ended up living together all it took was her being upstairs playing one of our XBox 360s while I was running a session downstairs for her to ask me later if she could make a charatcer and join in. What she heard going on was a million miles form what she expected to hear; she saw in it something that she could sink her teeth into that video games would never provide.
For the next year and a half I ran a campaign I've mentioned on here before...me destrying a world just so I could say I did it. She liked it, don't get me wrong, but there was something missing for her. It just didn't esonate because unlike with my other players I had yet to have the much-duscussed "discovery conversation" with her. Eventually I did, and what we're playing now stemmed from that. More than anything, she wanted to experience a campaign that was long, epic, involved, deep, and changed the world permanently through her character's actions. All of this stemmed from her desire to become part of my ongoing out-of-game story about my experiences as a career gamemaster.
My end of the campaign in one sentence; darkness from the past rears it's head in a land of shadows and mystery. That's it. That's my "mission statement" as it were. That's the theme. I'll explore that theme extensively on many levels, but everything needs a starting point.
I found my starting point in the Pathfinder adventure path Carrion Crown. I'll often take some prepublished idea and use it as a skeleton to hang the other 75% or so of the campaign upon. This one suited what she had already outlined as her character's background perfectly. I've glanace through all 6 parts of it, but I know I won't get much past the halfway mark of part 2 before it goes completely organic and does it's own thing. Knowing this is paramount to success as a gamemaster as all the Gamegreners likely already know. You get to far ahead of yourself and you just get let down.
This is the broad stroke of the introduction; the PC is attending the funeral of her mentor from the mortal sciences university she studies at in a "nearby" city in a nation shrouded in the darkness of a sinister past. His death turns out to be anything but the accident that it was assumed ot be, and her investigations inot his dmeise lead her to a dark conspiracy that will eventually unfold to include her deceased father; a priest of the god of knowledge whose footsteps she walks in now that he is gone and someone needs ot carry on his work and legacy. It's sort of Ravenlofty, sort of Call of Cthulhuy, sort of action adenturey. What I'm kicking in on my own is the emphasis on the progress of scienbce and how it will one day outstrip magic in it's potential to effect change in the world. It's taking place in a fantasy setting of my own design that so far is my proudest creation as a gamemaster, moreso even than the last setting that was in development and play for something like 15 years. I'll go into specifics later.
Venni Lohnarr, the PC; a 15 year old neophyte in service to the god of knowledge that is a "mortla sciences" student at a university in a learned city. She now finds herself in a small and superstitious town with no trust for outsiders at all. trying to get on their good side (as small as that side might be) so that they can aid her in her quest to discover what acatually happened to her mentor while he explored what he thought to be a dire plot by a little understood cult from the past of this shadowed land. She's a "cleric" I suppose you could say, but one trained almost as equally in the ways of combat by her mother, a drunken mercenary she no longer speaks to. In game terms she is part Adept, part Warrior. I'll go into detail on that as well tonight, giving setting details that will make the specifics of how magic works inthis particular setting and where she fits into that model.
Two sessions in and she almost died horribly already. Thank whoever for that red plot chip...
As I said, details later. It suffices to say that unlike in traditional D&D or d20 rules, in the True20 rules system a skeleton CAN in fact kill you rather messily; Venni now has the bite mark scars by her eye and on her neck and jaw to prove it.....sometimes all you can do is run and jump through the hole in the crumbling wall into the murky and stagnant pond in the sinkhole outside and wish you'd made a better plan before going off half cocked into a place that took the life of someone far more powerful than you.
You'd think that his funeral, the prompting event at the beginning of the campaign, would have spoken as to the lethality of what he was involved in...but we all know how players are, right?