Dungeons and Dragons! Or at least, that’s how I’ll always recall the good old days. Holy crap that MP3 is almost old enough to buy cigarettes and I’ve been playing this game for far too long. Other things to establish, I’m firmly in the camp of Old School Roleplaying when it comes to the editions. Everything from 3e and the d20 revolution moving forward just seems like something entirely different, more gamey and less free and wild. Yeah all the artist and authors changed with the times and moved on into the new millennium, but for me D&D will always be the black and white crude imagery that is filled in with the imaginative narration of an excellent storyteller.
Over the past many years I’ve worked on my game world that the players make their way through with the ultimate goal usually established early in the first handful of sessions of a campaign. I like to introduce big overarching stories that the players take their hand in determining an outcome. This gives them a direction to start moving in, but I try to let them guide the direction of the campaign, and at the end of each session get a feel for what everyone is expecting to happen next. Sometimes I get a chance to plan appropriately, sometimes they all change their mind an I end up winging it for four hours. Thems the breaks!
In the current campaign, all the players are members of an academy that was destroyed by civil war while they were in stasis, the only memories of their immediate past were obscured by the nightmares during their slumber. They awoke in the basement of the academy to a cityscape destroyed around them and infested with all sorts of evil undead creatures that they had no business tangling with.
The campaign goes on as the players made their way out of the city and into the nearby countryside as they stumble around, fighting off local bandits, establishing relationships with refugees and survivors, then eventually finding out their purpose while in stasis was to be reawakened by the leader of the academy in the event of a tragedy, a plan that went terribly wrong to begin with. There’s a lot more discovery that went on as they started to discover ways to possibly fill their already failed destinies.
Anyway, this is just the most recent campaign in a world that spans 5 continents and dozens of countries, much of which is notes on paper from when I was much younger, with only the recent sets of rule adjustments and customization being digitized. I did mention back in September that I might be going about and making some posts about the campaign, so I decided it would be cool to start with the classes of the Princeton Academy.
Mind you this is all pulled word for word from my documentation, so the context might be off a little bit. I tried to write it as if a player were reading for the first time the classes that would be available to begin the campaign. There’s a lot more detail for each of them that I’ll probably post in the coming weeks. The concept was that for each of the four basic classes, there would be a dual classed character of each possibility that could function in a unique manner. The names here of course are not unique, and even the concepts are probably used in other material. These were ones that I created in a way that I thought was the most intuitive blend of the classes.
The Princeton Academy was founded in the southern capital of Thelos as an adventurers training facility by Prince Dorian. He commissioned some of the best instructors from all aspects of adventuring in order to come up with more dynamic and capable defenders of the country. The result is the six classes you get by creating dual classes from each of the four basic archtypes.
These are not your normal adventurers as they are sent through a formal education process and start with little practical experience in the wild. Prince Dorian does occasionally deal with these graduates directly as there are plenty of need for them on assignment within the kingdom. Players that choose one of these will be quite literally trained through a series of classes and programs to become a graduate of the academy.
The Scout – Fighter/Rogue. The scout, as per their namesake, are trained to get around without being detected. They also retain a high level of martial proficiency, combined with the tactics of a rogue, and make for deliverers of deadly force. They are trained to make their way through a battlefield taking the most opportunistic advantages along the way without putting themselves in significant danger. They are more likely to be a finesse style fighter with the ability to backstab both up close and from range, as well as defensive maneuvers to get them out of dangerous situations.
The Templar – Fighter/Cleric. These clerics make for a great initiator onto the battlefield. They prefer heavy armor, large weapons, and can heal while smashing in heads. When a religious enemy of their chosen god is on the battlefield, they’re imbued with even more power, along with the ability to mark them and spread that power to his companions. As a Templar gains more divine abilities they tend to become a more defined center of the battlefield with a large supply of buffing and healing ability as well as leading in combat tactics.
The Arcanite – Fighter/Mage. If you have a reckless disregard for safety on a battlefield, the Arcanite might be for you. Technically they’re arcane spellcasters, but not in the traditional sense. Once they understand the concept of magical energy, an Arcanite is trained to use that energy to throw blasts of it raw dealing a greater concentration of damage than normal. They still retain some manner of vancian casting through weapon katas for more traditional combat spells, and eventually temper their blood lust and learn to cast non-combat spells from a book. Not to disregard their ability with a weapon either, an Arcanite can wield a sword just as well as other fighter classes can.
The Seeker – Rogue/Cleric. The Seeker has some interesting implications as a class. They lack the raw power of either a fighter or a mage, but instead rely on their other less obvious talents to be effective. They have a disposition towards Gods that allows them access to multiple domain powers at a time, can recharge magic items spontaneously, and at higher levels are in great demand for their ability to seek out the most powerful of magic items. In combat they prefer using magical items over martial skills, although their rogue training can allow them to get in a backstab on occasion.
The Shade – Rogue/Mage. This class is made for those that enjoy the power of darkness and shadow, in a sense. A Shade is most effective coming from the shadows to address a threat through the use of his backstab imbued spellcasting. As if backstabs needed to be any more dangerous, a Shade can additionally bypass normal magical defenses by getting the drop on them. They also have the unique ability to dive into the shadow realm where they keep a small room for sanctuary, contemplation, and research.
The Channeler – Mage/Cleric. This class is a combination mix of what it means to wield magic. They are not vancian casters in a traditional sense, nor do they have a deity to draw power from. A Channeler instead learns the very fabric of magic, both divine and arcane, then draws from them simultaneously. They are limited to the number of spells they can learn, which are derived entirely from trial and error (i.e. per level selection). The standard methods of spellbooks and specific rituals are beneath their potential and simply don’t make sense for how they understand magic in the first place. They might not have the raw power potential of an Arcanite, but they represent the most flexible spellcaster yet seen in the country.
6 thoughts on “First Look At My D&D Campaign”
2nd Edition got many things right – one of the reasons it was the longest running of the bunch. And with the Player Option books, putting together a custom world was pretty slick.
3rd Edition was good for awhile – until power creep came rushing in. And 4th Edition…well, its not a roleplaying game, its a board game – more Advanced Hero Quest than anything DnD related. Not to mention we let WotC off the hook way to easy for reneging on its promises about Open Content.
Anyways, always enjoy hearing about custom campaigns, lay it on us!
I like your class combinations, very intriguing. I’d love to see this in action.
We could use another full-time player! But it’s probably a bit of a drive once a week for you I would guess.
Do people livestream D&D sessions?
You’d all laugh at my noobishness. They do have online PnP RPG facilitators. I once had a guildmate running one while also in a Rift dungeon. I don’t know the details, though.
I’ve considered moving online before, there’s just an atmosphere at the table when you have a bunch of friends in a room that you’d miss online. We bullshit a LOT. That’s half the fun I think. I’d feel bad for the person waiting behind a digital character sheet and dice roller for us to get a move on already.
I think you’re right. There’s something about getting together with friends.