Friday, December 16, 2011

Return to the Badlands

Regarding Dave's interest in returning to the Badlands campaign following a "Kings of Orion" interlude. I read this interesting article at Gnome Stew about switching between game systems within the same campaign.

Dave, would you be interested in perhaps opening up your world to other campaign possibilities using different game systems in this way in the future? Do you plan on sticking with the current ruleset when we return to the Badlands, or do you plan on doing some rule tweaking? What happens when our PCs get over sixth level and our NPC flunkies start to simply get too weak to make any sort of difference in a battle? Will we have the option to hire more powerful NPCs?


  1. Yay, this is working for me again!

    Anyhow, I like the simplicity of what all is involved in running the current campaign (basically 1st edition AD&D). It lends itself well to alterations, it's extremely familiar, and like we all saw the last session it doesn't take too much for things to turn against even a well prepared party. Plus, I have like a closet full of books that are easily turned into something I can use.

    I would like to see the same group of PCs to continue the game, but strictly for selfish reasons. I've never had a character get to the 'stronghold' level. My current character hasn't really made a direct impact on the campaign world, as yet. I had grand ideas set for what I wanted this character to be about, and I've just started to bring those plans into reality. Basically, at this point, if we were to jump ahead again, Bob's character would be about the only one that would make a real lasting impact on the campaign world. But then again, I do have ideas for a replacement character that I wouldn't mind running.

  2. In the long term, I would certainly be open to using the same world with a different game system. I mean, we're already in the second game system for this world (Return of the Trolls being the first). Just like Caedes was originated for Basic/Expert D&D and then was used for 3rd edition.

    In the medium term, however, I'd like to stay with the system we're using for the most part. Maybe with some minor tweaks, but basically the same. I am incredibly happy with the economics scheme that's underway, with the real set of choices that arises between hiring flunkies, spending for experience, and making potions and scrolls. I am also happy with how Bob, Jason and Marlon (more or less) are developing their own space in the world.

    Furthermore, I really have no desire to abandon the game we're playing (unlike other campaigns). I'm more than happy to take a break for Kings of Orion because Andrew is excited about running it and I could use a DM break. But, the campaign is actually running very smoothly and I've never been happier with the overall campaign mechanics (whether or not some of the combat mechanics are a little creaky).

    As to flunkies, the players have some of that in their own control. Bob has nutured Peaches up to 4th level, and Hobo with a Crossbow to 2nd. As the players advance, level 0 mercenaries are going to be less useful in dungeons, but henchmen become more important. The players need to start giving henchmen more of a treasure share so they can advance and continue to be more useful. If they nuture some mercenaries too they can advance to class B and class A and become more useful (Class A have 2d8 hit points and fight as level 1 fighters, and can't be rampaged).
    I also should put some "Sergeants", "Lieutenants" and "Captains" in the hireling decks, these are troop leaders of levels 1, 2-3, or 5-8 respectively who are tough but don't advance.

    I'm interested in seeing some players getting to level 8-10 and see some of the followers show up. Fighters, thieves and rangers especially can get some very useful flunkies.

  3. Also, as regards to the more powerful NPCs, Dave was talking awhile back about new henchmen ideas for the henchmen deck. Adding a few things along the same line as Earl of the Mountains into the deck to spice things up. Nothing terribly overpowering, but things that could add variety to what's available.

    There's also the thoughts of capturing and training assorted larger monsters or animals. Griffons, hippogriffs, owlbears, and a variety of other monsters can be captured and trained, if you have the time (capturing an egg should actually take at least a game-year or more to get to the point where the egg can be hatched and the critter inside is big enough to be trained), patience (training a horse or dog can be difficult enough, let alone when you're trying to train a young ravenous monster that you actually have no practical experience of dealing with), and money (dogs are frickin expensive to raise nowadays, something that eats a horse every other day and is capable of eating anybody but the character that gets near will be exponentially even more expensive). I think Marlon is the one who is actually going this route with all those war dogs, if he can actually get some hirelings to handle the dogs for him, and they don't get themselves killed.

    The other thing to think about is that we could also try to hire some of the things we've been fighting. For example, we might've been able to hire those berserkers we came across in the last game with some careful words and offers of money or violence. If we had fewer morals it'd be fairly easy to hire humanoids to work for us (or find spellcasters to create undead or goblins/orcs for us). Again, Marlon's old character was ahead of the curve on this one as well.

  4. Ok, cool! Here I was worried about that level 6 plateau that Dave and I have discussed in the past (I'll have to find the article on it.) It sounds like everything is under control.