As part of my sophomore year of college, I took an introductory screenwriting class. All of these scripts were written as part of that class, and intended to be 3-5 minute shorts. All three of these shorts are intended to be horror scripts.
This is the campaign that I am currently working on. Having focused on both map making and environment building in previous story arcs, the next aspect of a campaign for me to improve upon is the story behind the campaign. The sonnet above is both the inspiration for the campaign and a product of the story.
For my High School English class I had to write a sonnet but I wanted it to be unique and interesting, which is where I came up for the idea of a death threat. From there, it sparked the idea for the entire campaign. This letter is supposedly written to Mayor Vivian Claxton, but she actually penned it herself, to lure in and test the abilities of adventurers. She presides over a town that is just now becoming industrialized, thanks to the discovery of extremely valuable gems in a nearby cavern system. However, the miners that are in the caves are adversly affected by the gems themselves, with resulting pain and disfigurement. As for Mayor Claxton’s plans, she wants to build a machine that will cure her people’s suffering by removing their sense of pain, but needs the adventurers’ help to do so.
If you want to read a brief story featuring Mayor Vivian Claxton, click here.
Our adventure opens on our heroes recieving word in a fortified village that the neighboring town was under intermittent seige from automatons which emerge from the nearby forest. The heroes travel to this neighboring town and investigate the tracks left by the automatons returning to the forest. The adventurers come upon an old temple eminating sounds of hissing steam and of grinding gears. The sounds are faint but noticeable. Inside the temple, our adventurers discover the temple to have functional automatons on guard inside, with traps set throughout the hallways. All of the heroes have persistant nightmares every night they sleep in the temple, each one progressively impairing their constitution. Finished with their exploration, they stumble upon a door in the foyer that was not previously seen, and charge through, not knowing what lays ahead.
I wanted to try a heavier “theatre of the mind” campaign, so I didn’t show the players any maps at all. Instead, I focused my efforts towards the environment and interesting effects that the environment could have on the players. For this, I also created pre-built characters so that my players could try role-playing a bit more and could get more into the characters.
Wandering about and looking for a job, my adventurers came across a remote village near a large forest. The village specialized in constructing ovoid wooden lanterns known throughout the land for their quality of craftsmanship and the industructability of the wood. After resting for a night, they were approached with a quest. A villager had heard a “legend” from one of the town children that there that there was an old lantern factory that was haunted, and the villager wanted the adventurers to see if the rumors were factual. Supposedly, the outside of the old factory was in shambles but the inside was still spotless. Accepting the quest, the adventurers traveled to the old factory, and found that the building was as the rumors had said: shambles on the outside, sparkling clean on the inside. Exploring through the ruins, they found an old automaton, still tasked with cleaning the factory. Seeing dirt on the clothes of the heroes, the robot attacked!
For this campaign I wanted the players to try a more exploration/dungeon based quest. I also wanted to make a much more linear experience than previous campaigns, as I had been leaving my worlds and quest lines a bit too open ended. This also allowed me to create maps for the insides of buidings, another thing I hadn’t done much of in previous campaigns.
After my players had stopped a civil war, vanquished the evil organization of Cardinal, and investigated the murder of an important ambassador, their travels took them to the city of Crow’s Landing. The city itself was a massive traveling merchant city, formed by having many large zeppelins and blimps attached to each other, forming larger platforms for the people to walk and live on. The players were on their way to the city when they were ambushed by sky pirates. Oblivious to all foreshadowing, they picked up various side quests such as clearing the sewers of spiders and investigating Warehouse 878. After just a few days in the city, they found themselves under siege from the entire armada of the sky pirates. Forced to fight seemingly endless waves of pirates off, our heroes fought through them and into the capitol, where they found the mayor tied up and a pirate running away in a small dinghy. Jumping in one of the townsfolk’s airships, they chased after the retreating pirates.
For this campaign in particular, I was really focusing on the quality of the maps that I was providing the players. In previous campaigns, I felt that this was an aspect that needed improvement, which is why I put in additional work to increase the quality. In addition, as the play group was growing in size, the need for maps became evident as it was becoming increasingly hard to track where the players and the enemies were.