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    Canonfire :: View topic - In need of help...new DM starting a Greyhawk campaign...!!
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    In need of help...new DM starting a Greyhawk campaign...!!
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    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 13, 2004
    Posts: 7


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    Wed May 19, 2004 6:01 am  
    In need of help...new DM starting a Greyhawk campaign...!!

    I'm in dire need of help. I have been stuck for like over a month now on ways to start my campaign. I'm in need of some pointers from experienced DM's.
    Here is what I got so far. I chose to start my Campaign in the Sheldomar Valley. I was thinking of Keoland, but haven't decided for sure.
    To start me out, i've bought some of the published adventures...The Sunless Citadel, the Forge of Fury, and The SPeaker of the dreams. I have some short adventures made up to play between these.
    My problem is figuring out how to start it out....
    Also, where should i place my Sunless Citadel..... ??
    For starters, i made up a small mining village, i've named it Thornwood... I just can't figure out where to place my small village.
    I'm wanting to map out all directions out from my village....So my players have a freedom of choice..then somehow lead them to the town of Oakhurst. Then just go on from there....
    Any suggestions are more than welcome. I appreciate all the help you can give me...
    thanks..have a good day!
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 333
    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Wed May 19, 2004 9:24 am  

    Hi there,

    I know its tough as a new DM. I really don't have a lot on point with the published modules you already bought (I'm an old 1st-2nd edition guy) but I have some old Keolandish adventures that, if you were willing to pick up, would be perfect for a Keoland campaign.

    Module N1 - Against the Cult of the Reptile God takes place in a small villages in the northern reaches of Keoland, between Hochoch and the Rushmoors. Great adventure, very challenging and I think it has been adapted for 3rd edition (see the review for it on Canonfire "CF").

    Also, the U series of adventures can take your party all the way from newbies to mid level. It starts with U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. That town is located in the very southern tip of Keoland, near the Hools.

    If you wanted to stick a small village somewhere in Keoland, with a name like Thornwood, I would suggest in the hilly western reaches of the Dreadwood, perhaps near the borders of the Good Hills. But you could easily put it near one of the above mentioned modules with a minimum of effort, the Dreadwood is huge and relatively unmapped (but see the map made by Chatdemon on this site) and the Dim Forest could use some human habitations (parts of that forest were described in the new Against the Giants Accessory).

    If you want to check out the lay of the land, there are some great maps right here on CF. Also, the Living Greyhawk web site at www.keoland.oerth.com (I think this is the web address, but not 100% sure) has a lot of details for a Keoish campaign that you may find helpful.

    Best of luck!

    O-D
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 333
    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Wed May 19, 2004 9:30 am  
    Sorry, wrong web address!

    Oops, sorry about that:

    The Living Greyhawk site for Keoland is

    http://keoland.living-greyhawk.com/default2.htm

    I know you may not be into the LG campaigns, but there is a lot of good info on the site you can adopt for your use (I just ignore the specific rules about LG play and focus on the geography and other tid bits on the land). There are some great background articles on the law of Keoland that I have found very interesting.

    Again, best of luck.

    O-D
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 13, 2004
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    Wed May 19, 2004 9:44 am  
    thanks for the advice...

    hey, thanks for the advice....i'll look into it....
    one question though, is where can i find those adventures you mentioned? i live in West - By God - Virginia...and the bookstores are pretty light on the D&D stuff...plus we have no local D&D shops..(none that i know of, anyhow) ...

    i don't necessary have to use the published adventures i bought..i just picked them up early on...
    though i would love to use the Sunless Citadel.....

    my biggest concerns..are mapping the roads...i found a website that maps out the main roads...that may get me started...and from there i guess i can do some sub-roads...

    how would you handle that situation?
    lets say that i put my village where you said..believe it or not...thats where i was thinking about putting it....

    i'm just confused...i try drawing up a map..and it seems i always wad it up..and have done this over and over...

    also, i'm debating if Keoland is an adequate place to put the Sunless Citadel...recalling from my memory..Seven miles south from Oakhurst..there is a ravine that is really long..that contains the Citadel..
    i'm just debating if its a good idea really putting this module in Keoland...

    how would you describe the geography of inside Keoland? Green grassy plains? Rollin hills?
    and i have checked out that link you sent me...with all the provinces...
    it seems that it is very spaced out..all the cities within each province...

    i know its really all in your imagination..
    i'm just trying to get a start on it....i'm getting close to playing...learning the rules .. i picke up all the 3.5 core books recently..and planning on starting it up soon...
    can't wait!

    thanks for your help...sorry that i ramble...i can go on and on about stuff like this...i find it very interesting to say the least..
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
    Posts: 333
    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Wed May 19, 2004 10:19 am  
    Some more advice

    On my review of Against the Cult of the Reptile God on this website, the adminstration has linked to SVGames, where you can down load the module for about $4. You can find many of the old modules on that site available for electronic download. I think there is still a sale going on....

    Bottom line: Keoland is so big that you can probably just plunk a village/town down wherever there is some empty space on the Keoland map and none will be the wiser. As a DM, sometimes you just gotta know when to say "to heck with this, I'm making a command decision here" and go with what you want over what the published material says. If you are spending too much time trying to make "everything fit" you are likely losing too much adventure time.

    Another very sketchy detailed locale is the Lortmil Mountains. I know nothing about the Sunless Citadel module, but there are great spots for development in the mountains and forests surrounding this range. Some dwarves and gnomes live in the mountains, having driven off the humanoids during The Hateful Wars (see a Postfest submission on Grot-Ugrat for some details on this event).

    For Keoish geography questions, check out the LG site, they go through great detail. There is so much information out there, so don't get overwhelmed. Remember: this is role playing and it is always OK to fudge things when done with the purpose of making an adventure work.

    Take care!

    O-D
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Mar 17, 2004
    Posts: 34
    From: Cullman, AL

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    Wed May 19, 2004 6:06 pm  

    I just moved away from West Virginia, so I can sympathize. I'm not sure what part of the state you're in, but I'd think that Morgantown, being a university town, probably is the best bet for gaming stores.

    As far as mapping goes, if you are going to set the village in the hilly region, you are in some luck. Check out local sporting goods or hunting supply stores for topigraphical maps. They should be perfect for you, even with tons of little towns and villages. Just change the names to protect the innocent and like that. You can likely get maps of the mines, too. They might require a little expansion, but would likely make good dungeons.
    Apprentice Greytalker

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    Thu May 20, 2004 3:11 am  
    just out of curiousity

    i've thought about, before i decided on the Greyhawk Campaign, using a world map..and starting w/ North America....Using the geography we have now....fill it in w/ cities, towns, dungeons, and the like.
    Most of the mapping part would be done, if you just take a topographical map and just fill it in w/ what have ya....
    but for some reason, after reading the Living Greyhawk Gazetter...i'm so impressed w/ how rich it is in fantasy......
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 24, 2001
    Posts: 86
    From: Maryland

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    Thu Jun 24, 2004 4:59 pm  

    Check out the Living Greyhawk area of the WOTC website theres an old LGJ article on Keoland. Download u1-U3 from svgames. They're set in Keoland near the Hool Marshes. There's also conversions to 3e on the web or on ENworld.

    I'd skip using the WOTC sunless citadel unless you're set on it.

    Mike
    Novice

    Joined: Jul 03, 2004
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    Sat Jul 03, 2004 10:11 am  

    I know it's not Keoland, but I think I did pretty well locating two of the modules in the 3e series in Southwest Greyhawk. I'm always a sucker for the Wild Coast, so I turned back the clock to CY580 and did the following...

    Used Forge of Fury, sticking it in the Lortmils. This worked really well since I morphed the history slightly and Khundrukar's history had it being a fortress during the Hateful Wars that was lost to the orcs. Around CY580, you can even have the upper level orcs be tied to Turosh Mak in some way.

    Once the players were tired of dungeon crawling, I had them head to Safeton on the Wild Coast to rest up. A walled city that requires peace-bonding of weapons... this was a perfect chance to use Speaker In Dreams - a normally safe city now threatened by a plot to make it unsafe. I rewrote the map and modified Speaker a bit, since Safeton's a coastal city I needed to reorient it, but the geography of the city wasn't really important to this module.

    I know it's not Keoland, but you can make almost any module work anywhere you want it to - in hindsight I was a little shocked at how well this worked out for my group!
    Novice

    Joined: Jul 05, 2004
    Posts: 4
    From: Austin, Tx

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    Mon Jul 05, 2004 4:30 pm  
    re. How to start...

    Salutations,
    most, if not all, of the responses in this thread so far have
    addressed the issue of location. I shall attempt to offer a
    couple of "opening threads" to help you determine how the party
    got together (assuming that you are also interested in that
    aspect).

    These also give you hooks which you can build on in later gaming
    sessions.

    1) the characters could have recently escaped from some form
    of imprisonment. This could range from anything from escaping
    a crazed wizard's dungeons, to being in jail for violating some small
    town rule.

    2) some local official may have "put out a call" to recruit characters
    to the area to deal with some local menace. New (or seasoned)
    adventurers with the promises of fame and fortune.

    Since you know what type of campaign you are planning, you can
    work in either political or other threads and drop early clues so
    that you can easily guide the players while giving them a reasonable
    degree of "free will" in terms of where they go adventuring.

    Hope this helps!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: May 13, 2004
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    Fri Jul 09, 2004 6:16 am  
    In reguards to my campaign...

    Well, i thank all of you for the help....i've been reading the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer...and came up w/ some ideas and major changes..
    first off, i've decided to relocate my campaign..(still, i haven't started it yet)...
    i've did some research online..and found lots of other people use this area too...i'm gonna go with the Veluna area..and Verbobonc....Dyvers.
    that area.....
    i've seen people who put the Sunless Citadel in the Gnarley Forest....
    what i come up with..i wanna put it between Veluna and Devarnish...
    on the Great Western Road.....like in between Asnath and Devarnish..
    my question is....what do you think about that?? i dunno...
    i can't find much info on the Great Western Road....on how big it is.....i know it carries alot of traffic.......to me, it seems like a perfect place to stick Oakhurst...the road is already in the direction where it is...
    i read somewhere that the Western Half of Veluna is more populated or something, but the Eastern have is more hilly w/ farmlands...
    and the Forge of Fury adventure, i am gonna stick it somewhere in the Lortmills...
    and the Speaker of the Dreams, i'm gonna place it on one of the rivers that branches off south from the Velverdyva River...
    I'm still going over the rules...and i am gonna modify the adventures that came with the basic boxed set of the 2000 D&D...
    i did like the looks of the new Basic Boxed Set..it even includes miniatures....(a black dragon!)
    after running those small little adventures..i'm gonna somehow plant a hook to the Sunless Citadel to lead the characters head first in the story..

    i DM'ed back in highschool...which was bookoo years ago..that was 2nd Ed...i forgot all the rules...but i am now using 3.5 edition..going thru the rule books learning all i can......i have over 100 miniatures so far from the various lines WOTC releases....

    any comments or suggestions are welcome
    thanks
    Novice

    Joined: Jul 13, 2004
    Posts: 3
    From: SF Bay Peninsula, California

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    Tue Jul 13, 2004 3:15 pm  
    buying role-playing books and intro DM'ing

    Hi -

    For shopping, EBay is my friend. They have darned near everything Greyhawk in what seems to be a two to three week cycle (if you don't see what you want, check again in two weeks or so and it'll probably be there). I have bought nearly all the old stuff that way and have been very happy with the prices. Most of the time it's old gamers just getting rid of extra stuff, and they are a good group to deal with.

    I was reading your posts and remembered how I felt when I first started running a campaign.

    When I start off new characters in a new setting, I usually try to find out what some of their personality quirks and occupations are. This helps to find reasons to get them together. You can guess where they will choose to hang out in a new town or how they might act if confronted. Or you can use an existing reputation to your advantage. If you have absolutely nothing to go on, here are some other possibilities.

    Sometimes they end up on the same street where someone is being mugged and they meet each other while helping defend the innocent. At other times, one of the characters may have a reputation and be sought out by another for help or for a duel. Sometimes I have one character religiously inspired to go look for the other character mystically fits a description given in a vision (prophecy can be fun if done well). Or it can be something as simple as the idea that there's only one inn in town and it's full except for the stables. Tell them it's below freezing and there's a storm coming. Then have all your characters arrive on the same night bit by bit, and make sure there's a nasty creature intent on killing them and eating them attack in the night (something they can beat). If the creature manages to stir the characters thoughts into realizing there must be an old dungeon not far away, or stir others to mention the rumor, well, there you go.

    I agree with a previous post in that one must occasionally make some command decisions about locations. Otherwise good gaming time may be lost.

    Have fun!
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 24, 2001
    Posts: 86
    From: Maryland

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    Fri Jul 16, 2004 7:02 am  

    There's a new article on the Great Western Road on the front of the site. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil is set around Verbobonc which might make a good start as well.

    There used to be a good write up of Verbobonc on the Codex of Greyhawk those files are supposed to be on this site somewhere. That might help too.

    Mike
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    "I waste it with my +12 Hackmaster" - Dave
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Sep 24, 2001
    Posts: 86
    From: Maryland

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    Fri Jul 16, 2004 7:02 am  

    There's a new article on the Great Western Road on the front of the site. Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil is set around Verbobonc which might make a good start as well.

    There used to be a good write up of Verbobonc on the Codex of Greyhawk those files are supposed to be on this site somewhere. That might help too.

    Mike
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    "I waste it with my +12 Hackmaster" - Dave
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2004
    Posts: 7
    From: NC

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    Thu Jul 29, 2004 11:15 am  

    Building on this post, I though I might ask a question of my own for you more experienced DM's out there. When I was younger my PC's weren't as concerned with story content. In other words they met like thousands of heroes have met...in a tavern. The majority of our campaigns dealt with fighting orcs from Iuz or patrolling the Wild Coast.

    Now that I am starting a new campaign, I want the PCs to meet more naturally. So here goes: how do a dwarven fighter/cook, half-elf bard, and human priest meet on the Sword Road of Nyrond in CY 586?

    If possible I'd really like to incorporate their meeting with their backgrounds and their first 1st-level adventure. I thought maybe they could get together in Rel Mord or Mithat. I want to get to the Shield Road eventually and create a campaign around the Marklands and Ivid the Undying. That might be a bit much for low level PC's though.

    I need help!
    Adept Greytalker

    Joined: Aug 10, 2003
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    From: Harker Heights, TX

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    Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:31 pm  

    Lord Penetron,

    To give a logical means the three characters could meet would be to give them a military background. Nyrond in 586 is still recovering from the Greyhawk Wars. These three could be the last survivors of a decimated Nyrondese unit that was stationed along the Sword Road.

    The dwarf would be the unit's cook from the Flinty Hills. The bard would be employed by the army as a morale booster, he would most likely hail from the Gamboge Forest. The priest could be the unit's chaplain. To start off the adventure would be the scene of the unit's junior chaplain picking through the remains of an orcish raid, finding the bard and cook among the bodies of their devestated comrades. Adventures could fuel from what they do afterwards, they could be officially pensioned by their remaining leaders, they could desert (and thereafter be hunted), they could attempt to seek revenge, or they could get captured and led behind enemy lines into Almor and have to hack their way back to Nyrond.

    A good resource for this area is Carl Sargent's The Marklands. It gives great details on Furyondy, Nyrond, and the lands around them.

    Good luck!

    O-D
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 29, 2004
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    Thu Jul 29, 2004 2:58 pm  

    Wonderful ideas! Thank you very much...I guess I just have to get those creative juices flowing again.
    Master Greytalker

    Joined: Jul 13, 2002
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    From: Orlane, Gran March

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    Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:21 am  
    Post subject: In need of help...new DM starting a Greyhawk c

    Why not try something just a little different... do not have them meet at the beginning of the first adventure... have them meet at the end of a short adventure. In one or two character groups, they can be pursuing a goal, and only togeather can they survive. But they do not know that anyone else is coming (the characters, not the players). This should be something difficult, but uncomplicated, like stopping bandits, or catching Kobold raiders.

    A favorite is the Jewel Eyed Idol (remeber the old Players Handbook?). 10 Koblolds have set up shop near a major road. They have a large statue with fake jewel eyes and a jar of sovereign glue. Your thief/monk/fighter/mage is caught redhanded by the trap and is about to be dispatched by the nefarious kobolds; but at that exct moment the two fighters sent by the Matron of Thornwood arrive, and save the day, or at least kill the kobolds. But where did they put the solvent?

    One defender stays behind to protect the incapacitated player, while one sets off to find the solvent. But the only find Universal Solvent to be found is in the temple of the Great Whomever, where a young cleric is setting off to see the world and spread the gospel. She is dispatched to aid the Stalwarts of Thornwood, and return with the remaining Solvent, and any Glue that can be found on the remains of the Kobolds. Or with the three Kobolds that escaped....

    I usually do this in two or three indavidual sesssions, and it allows me to develop the NPC's of my village/tavern/guild and allows the players to develop their character without the normal fun and antics associated with the group. I get a feel for each character, and my game this way. AEG has an excellent resource, the TOOLBOX, which is great for just random happenings.


    Good luck...
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