Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Majestic Wilderlands as a persistant campaign Part 3

In this post Brendan talks about Persistent Campaign Settings. This is part 3 on commenting and answering the questions he poises.

Now to answer some of Brendan's specific questions.

Do any of you have a setting that keeps developing as specified above? 
Yes the Majestic Wilderlands.

If so, did you start with a published setting, or did you start from scratch? 
The Majestic Wilderlands started out using the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. The original Wilderlands were devoid of any high level campaign detail. It was all local level detail leaving it to the referee to craft the broad overview. In this it shared the same design as the Spinward Marches of Traveller.

How many campaigns or groups has your setting supported? 
I would say a dozen groups, with one group in particular (centered around Tim and Dwayne) having more impact than any others.

Have you progressed through multiple historical or technological eras? 
No, although Time Travel is a staple of my games and as fan of Time Travel stories and Alternate History I have several techniques that I use to make sure what the players do seem part of the normal history. These techniques revolve around the fact that history rarely records all the details of past events. I never ran a game set in the past although I considered it for one of my theme campaigns.

What about multiple game systems? 
Yup main systems included (in order) AD&D 1st, Fantasy Hero, GURPS, and now Swords & Wizardry/MW Supplement. I ran one off games using Harnmaster, AD&D 2nd, D&D 3.0, and Basic Roleplaying.

Have you ever "upgraded" (or downgraded)? 
No sure what is meant by this. Early on I changed some fundamentals of the Wilderlands that transformed it into the Majestic Wilderlands. I went from 5 miles per hex to 12.5 miles per hex and the original villages became towns and important castles and I added a lot more smaller settling around these. I was lucky to hit on the idea of having different fantasy settings in widely separated geographical regions early on which kept things fresh.

 Do you think the diversity of products available now makes such fidelity unrealistic? 
No is more of a lack of information about alternatives to published settings. Sure D&D and most fantasy RPGs had information about creating your own. But detailed advice on what to do was few and far between. So to the average referee using a published setting looked a lot less work than making up one of your own. The internet has changed all that and now there are several alternatives to choose from.

I contend that in the long run using a persistent setting for a specific genre winds up being less work for the referee. It like any skill or body of knowledge the more time and experience you build up the easier it becomes. Published setting can be still be a useful starting point. The trick is picking one that can be expanded as one's interest and tastes changes.

Are there any techniques that you use to record campaign developments?
Basically it all boils down to keeping good notes. I been using the Keep by Nbos recently.

Hope you find this series of post useful in running your own Persistent campaign.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Greyhawk Grognard said...

"I was lucky to hit on the idea of setting different fantasy in widely separated geographical regions early on which kept things fresh."

I get the impression that a crucial word or two is missing from this sentence, which I can't parse at all.

Peter D said...

Good series, Rob. And you're right, if you just set the next game in a new place on the old map, things stay pretty fresh.

Plus it helps scratch that "we've never been to Goblintown" itch when your next game is set in Goblintown.

It's even more fun when yet another group of PCs goes to Goblintown and encounters the effects of the previous PC's actions.

Robert Conley said...

@Joseph, I corrected it to say

I was lucky to hit on the idea of having different fantasy settings in widely separated geographical regions early on which kept things fresh.

Greyhawk Grognard said...

Ah, thanks Rob!

Alex Schroeder said...

Your post inspired me to write up my own answers. In fact it was you who convinced me to give it a try back in 2008! :)