Friday, March 27, 2009

What I intend to do about D&D's Endgame

Here Grognardia talks about the loss of D&D's Endgame. One of the reasons that made my Majestic Wilderlands so long lasting is because I never lost the endgame Grognardia talks about. My campaigns were always about the players making a mark on my world. About building that stronghold.

Over the years the concept expanded from literal stronghold building. I had a few do what it took to enter divine service to one of the Gods, some established whole realms after becomeing a ruler, guilds, even something as mundane as opening a potion shop was a big deal to one of my players. The past decade the trend has been to climb the ladder in one of the big organizations (temple, guild, royal court, etc) and achieve a position of power rather then build a castle in the wilderness.

Regardless of what the player choose in the end they were deeply satisfied because they made a difference. I continue to reward them by using the result of past characters action as the background for the next campaign

When I got into writing professionally and drawing maps professional. I was really focused on doing what it took to get the Majestic Wilderlands. More than just to see my personal campaign I knew that I could do something with the Majestic Wilderland that the other settings were missing and that was to offer a fun endgame.

However in 2003 I didn't have all of this expressed coherently. So much was wrapped in the idea of publishing the Majestic Wilderlands. It wasn't until I pitched Points of Light to Goodman Games that it all started to come together. Forced to look beyond both Bob's Wilderlands and mine I really had to think about what made a sandbox fun.

Aside from freedom to roam, easier prep, a well designed sandbox will have opportunities to for players to make my mark. So when Dwayne and I wrote up Wildlands, Borderlands, Southlands, and Acheron we made sure there were plenty of things players could do to alter the landscape.

Now having done that (and again with the upcoming Points of Light 2) I have to consider what is the next step. To me the answer is to get into the rules business. Give referees the support needed to run the endgame whether it is building a stronghold, estabilshing a dynasty, or just opening a potion shop. Then return to the sandbox of Points of Light, Wild North or Wilderlands to give things that the referees can use to drop in their games.

I am glad James talked about this at Grognardia as it reinforces the ideas I already have. I intend to restore the old endgame. In style.

Hopefully I will get a shot at publishing the Majestic Wilderlands as well. We will see.


Jeff Rients said...

I intend to restore the old endgame. In style.

This is GOOD NEWS. I can't wait to see what you come up with.

Will Douglas said...

I want to hear more about Points of Light II. Will this be more information about the settings in PoL, or will it be whole new areas to explore?

(Either way, I'm going to buy it as soon as I can -- I love the first one!)

Robert Conley said...

Appreciate the compliment.

PoL 2 Beyond the Sunrise Sea expands the backgrounds I setup in PoL 2 and give new areas to explore.

The theme is exploration of the edge of your campaign. Three lands plus a outer plane like the first.

This one is 64 pages instead of 48 page. This is due to a slightly expanded hex map (two more columns) and the fact that the outer plane is a full map instead of a half map like Acheron.

Unlike the first one this has the land set in the same "time". Namely during the period of teh Grand Kingdom of Southland. You will learn what happened to the Sarrath faction of Borderlands and meet one of the other human kingdoms.

The lands are much more diverse geographically. One is one a temperate region, another on a tropical shore, and the last on a island chain like Indonesia/Caribbean. Their names are the Golden Shore, Amacui, and The Misty Isles

The outer plane, Mazatal connects to the three much in the same way Acheron connected the first three lands.

I tried to avoid a rehash of Maztica the FR New World. For example the new world empire in Amacui is more like Assyria then the Aztec and the natives of the Golden Shore are more like Bronze Age Greeks than native Americans.

Sword and Sorcery fans should like this Points of Light a lot.

Nope said...

When does POL2 come out? I scooped up the first one as soon as I checked out the preview. I haven't used the actual content yet but the book itself had a big impact on how I now approach world building. I'm definitely planning on picking up POL2 when it comes out.

Anonymous said...

I've rarely had PCs get to the "endgame." One became king when he "won" the campaign (child of destiny and all that) but we had very few characters actually make it to name level.

My own best character was a 10th level fighter named Kilgore. He entered the Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth on what I believe was a Wednesday. We had to call it a night about half-way through the lower caverns and intended to resume play that weekend.That was over 15 years ago.

Not exactly the endgame I was hoping for with him...

Unknown said...

Sounds interesting; I know there are plans for an OSRIC supplement of this sort in the works.