Monday, 28 May 2012

DnD Next and This is Thracia

I got to be part of the Dnd Next Friends and Family Playtest via work. We promptly signed NDA’s and put together a group for playing. Just before the announcement I had been reading Chris Perkins’ Dungeon Master Experience articles and have fancied running an oriental feeling game for some time. So I put together a campaign named The Legends of the Hungry Phoenix. We played several sessions but inevitably I left a session on a cliffhanger and then we struggled to get all the players in the same place at the same time again.

At the same time I had been reading alot of posts from Ars Ludi and The Alexandrian both writing a lot of interesting things around the subjects of player led,open table, hexcrawl campaigns like West Marches and The Caverns of Thracia game and it inspired me to do something similar.

This is Thracia is my campaign based on those ideas. I made an area map in Hexographer based on a region in Turkey. I gave the players a base town of Cannakale, put it near the haunted Ruins of Troy. (which so far no one has braved), and put all of my favorite dungeons on the map, as well as asking my players for suggestions as to where they might like to explore.

In addition as we were playtesting I made sure that there was at least one dungeon from each edition I could get my hands on and have been converting them to NEXT on the fly. To see how they could be handled in the new edition.

I started with The Caverns of Thracia as I had been inspired by The Alexandrians posts about it.
I added The Moathouse and The Temple of Elemental Evil at the request of one of my players.
I put in The Sunless Citadel as an Iconic low level 3rd Ed adventure.
The Keep on the Shadowfell was added for 4th ed adventures.
I used Dysons Delve  an ODnD adventure from A Character for Every Game  for an old school mega dungeon. I have also used a lot of his maps  to make my own dungeons.
I put in several dungeons that I stole from Skyrim  including the Haunted Prison and a Fort Full of Mages because I had enjoyed playing them.
The realm of the Goblin King (using this adventure) has caused some of the most interesting roleplay in the entire game. As one of the Characters (Ceri) is now engaged to the Goblin King.
I used Zak’s Vornheim book to run the session in Constantinople and have had a lot of fun using the fortune telling tables from that book.
I have also pulled several Pathfinder adventures and stuck them on the map. The haunted mansion from Pathfinder Adventure Path #2 The Skinsaw Murders. has been investigated several times but so far the others have not been discovered.

Having dungeons from every edition on the map has led to some interesting dynamics as the players choose where they want to explore. They are actively looking for older edition dungeons because the treasure tends to be better.

So far we have run 28 sessions with a variety of players and the most consistent feedback has been that it feels like D&D and the system is unobtrusive. The flattening of the power curve has meant that even if a brand new player signs the NDA and joins the game they don't feel impotent when they adventure alongside the highest level Character (currently Xavian “The Greatest Thief in the Mediterranean” played by Robin Gould)

Have you signed up for the new playtest? Go here and follow the instructions to have a look at the open playtest.