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  1. #1
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    Return to the Taelshore

    I'll be starting a new campaign (in Springfield Missouri) on November 18th, based once again in the Taelshore. I'll be changing up my house rules a bit. Rather than requiring 50% non-spellcasting multi-classing, I'll be using some classes from settings that emphasize a subtle magic. Because I will still be using skills as a key componant of spell effects there will be a strong incentive to take skill classes (notably a PC version of Expert) to make spellcasting effective.

    My own preference is to DM as a simulationist (a gaming style where I develop a setting in depth and let the PC's do as they please with the setting responding accordingly) but I am very comfortable adopting dramatic style as well (a gaming style where I create dramatic situations and make the adventure feel like a book or a movie). I'm not terribly attracted to the gamist style (where the DM's job is to create well matched/balanced opponants, traps, and puzzles to challenge the players). A certain amont of challenge is neccesary, but I'm not convinced my job is to find the sweet spot so that players get a thrill from just barely overcomming the latest encounter. We'll be sitting down to discuss what the players want and what my tendencies are as a GM. I will start off with some prepared adventures (I've got six selected), including a courtly intrigue, a warfare/battle adventure, a mystical mystery, a knightly tournament, a trade mission, and rumors of an ancient Sidhe tower. Starting players in a true pro-active/ simulationist game is a little unfair, they don't know the world well enough to go anywhere expect by whimsy. A large number of adventure hooks still allow a great deal of choice and encourages the players to make decisions. If the players want me to create interesting things to do for them, I will. If they want to go off on their own, I'll just detail the locations they identify interest in.

    Last time around, with a different group of players I had two divine spellcasters (druid and bard) and four combatants (barbarian, Rjurik noble fighter, Anuirian noble fighter, and ranger) and I am interested to see what range of characters is selected this time around. I have to imagine it will be a little more diverse, but it may be that the Taelshore setting summons certain kinds of class chocies. I'd like to see a priest of Haelyn or Cuiraecen or a druid of Rournil, they'd be interesting. A druid of Rournil is one easy way to make a pretty decent arcane spellcaster without negative reactions in the Rjurik realms. Hedge Mage (from Legends of Arthur) is another.

    More on this as it goes forward.

    Kenneth Gauck
    kgauck@mchsi.com

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    I think it's time to move to Missouri. Sounds great, Kenneth!

  3. #3
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    We all met on Saturday to discuss our campaign. Some had to leave early, due to prior commitments, but the setting was explained and character creation was discussed. Next weekend will still be a holiday for some, so I expect our first game will take place on Austerlitz Day (Dec 2nd).

    Among other projects designed to support the new campaign, I have been upgrading the entries on my website. These include new characters, augmented descriptions of old favorites, and complete 3rd edition formats in place of the 3e/2e hybrid which still resembled the entries in the published materials.

    http://home.mchsi.com/~kgauck/taelshore/chmcourt.html

    Hjalmar Helder has a new format and expanded detail and text.
    Rikhard Alreksson, Alfric Njallsson, and Aesa Hafgrimsdotter are new characters, being among Hjalmar's cohorts and followers. Hjalmar's 20 1st level followers are also detailed in two groups: the Woodsmen and the Scribes.

    Depending on time over the next two weeks and the direction of the campaign after that, I plan to detail the family, court, and followers of Marshal Heidrek Bern, Guthrim Gauksson, and Olfjor Ylvarrik.

  4. #4
    Site Moderator kgauck's Avatar
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    As an indication of how the best planned campaigns of mice and men can be overthrown by players, I set my new campiagn in the Taelshore and looked to having another noble based campaign, but the players, who had no experience with Birthright, picked character classes and concepts that made no sense as Rjurik or Anuirean nobles.

    I had a Binder (who binds spirits from the shadow world, not vestiges)
    A priest of Sera
    A barbarian with shapechanging doom
    a blind druid with the doom of foresight

    So instead of a noble campaign involving high politics and the rise and fall of thrones, I am looking at introducing the Giantdowns and seeing if they will be interested in building realms from scratch

    I see nobles as the ultimate insiders, and normally spend world building energy on insider activities politics, negotiations, plots, instrigues, the plans of major NPC's, figuring out how other courts work so interactions with them aren't all the same and have personality.

    Barbarians are the ultimate outsiders, and the best explanation for who these characters were and how they knew one another was to make them part of the Fjrlaaf tribe who were refused their naming cerimonies because they were frighteningly different. Cursed by dooms, worshiping Sera, or binding spirits were all reasons to bother the Fjrlaaf. Cast out barbarians are even more outsider than normal barbarians.

    Heidrek Bern is an ex-Barbarian who is now Marshal of Stjordvik, so he is a link between the PC's and the insider world of politics, but we'll have to see whether the PC's are inclined to get involved in that world.

    Their prior experience seems to be that politics was an excuse by DM's to blame them for things (outsiders as scapegoats). So we'll see.

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