THE LOCAL TERRAIN

 

The starting point of any RPG campaign should have a few basic elements in common. This is the place where the PCs are going to get their first taste of the game world, so it really needs to be a microcosm of the overall campaign. There needs to be a safe area with resources, and danger nearby.

 

The map is 10 miles per hex. That big river, Colwater River, is particularly wide, just over a mile most of the way. That means that men and horses can’t just ford it. Boats are required. The open area bounded by the river to the south, and the Starflight Mountains to the north, is very sparsely inhabited. It is mostly wild creatures. Traveling through that open area is particularly dangerous. There are, however the remains of structures dotting the area. This is an area of wandering monsters. Travel is particularly hazardous. At the Northwestern end of that area is a castle which blocks the passage between the open plain and the Sleeping Swamp. The castle is held by an evil wizard. – of course. To the south east, where the Colwater and MistyMoon River meet, Overtrue castle sits on a hill, Controlled by the forces of Chaos, and keeps all ships from passing.

On the south side of the Colwater River, the castle of Kerlingham guards an open area, where the towns of Hayfield and Goeth reside, comprising the largest population centers. Less populated, but just as important is the Temple of the fields. This area is protected by the Olympian Gods. The Temple of the Fields is their stronghold in the area. The close up map shows the area protected by the Temple. No Chaotic creatures can pass that oval boundary.

At Kerlingham Castle, the Player Characters have a position of relative safety to get their bearings, make some allies and figure out what they’re doing next.  The protected area is collectively called Fairhaven Meadows. There are always external threats and potential resources to gather outside the area of saftey. Also, the Olympian Gods have their own problems, what with being constantly under siege by the forces of Cthulhu. So The gods have been stripped of their power, transformed and scattered. A good adventure is for the PCs to go and get them. Only Zeus remains in the temple, old and frail and weak, barely able to maintain the protection of the area. The more victories the PCs manage, the stronger Zeus gets. The more of the other gods who are retrieved, the more power the temple has. So there are plenty of built in adventures for the PCs.

It’s important to note here, that the Olympian Gods are physical entities who interfere with the lives of people around them, they are still gods, and able to manifest themselves in any number of places. The entire Universe is, after all, just a proving ground for heroes and villains.

This is definitely a medieval fantasy campaign. Modern heroes have the advantage of modern thinking, and will have often brought with them some seriously useful equipment, but the disadvantage of not being integrated into the world. And they will quickly be out into the world.

The geopolitical landscape of the area is far different than what we are used to in our civilized world. Here, areas are controlled by whoever can maintain control of the area. Currently, the area north of the river is controlled by creatures of Chaos. There are two fortified cities that are holding out against chaos. They are Brinnywine and Tinimore. If Kerlingham can join forces with them, then the forces of Chaos will be at an extreme disadvantage. That situation gives the player characters a definite goal, and a number of ways to achieve it. Notice that there is also a House of the Old Ones and a Red Tower. Two more potential places of adventure that will further the campaign.

So, knowing that the player characters will start off at Kerlingham Castle – which conveniently has a great hall where all the locals end up at some point, let’s have a look at character creation.