These Scattered Isles: Prepping a D&D Campaign Ep. 1: What has Gone Before

As I mentioned last week, we did a bit of playing in These Scattered Isles (TSI). It never really went as I planned, but its still helpful ground to build off of. And it’ll be helpful to designate what we want to save as we go forward…

TSI lasted about… five months? Something like that. It started as idle talk after the weeklyish home game I was running at the time. (which failed to stick the landing, big time) The idea of running a pirate style game. Not nessicarily pirates, but not exactly not, either. Swashbuckling type adventure. And a big part of it was I was excited to not run the game. I had rolled up a fun looking fighter I named Darryl Flynn, who was going to boldly and blindly follow my captain, a player know for making rash decisions. It was going to be great!.

Then the person who was going to DM announced he was moving, so he’d only have one week of running the game. This was.. annoying, to say the least. Suddenly, the hot seat was mine again and, what’s more, I had to take his introduction bit and lead it into more stories. It was not as easy as if, say, I had done the introduction bit. Picking up exactly where someone else has left off is a really tricky endeavor. But I managed to do so, with moderate success. (I’d do it better, now, of course)

We then transitioned into a treasure map, that I used again at the shop. It was a good way to meld the party together and do the type of gameplay I think is my specialty: the open exploration. (At least, I find it to be a lot of fun) I even prepared some props to make it super special. And, out of the whole TSI experience, this island and map is where the good stories come from.

From the treasure map, we ended up at Rhoessa, a kingdom who I wanted to use to further the lore, but never really did. I introduced my best NPC ever and that kinda stole the show. I used some primitive urbancrawl techniques, and, you know, I’m sure I’d run it better now. (mild shock!)

From there, we went to… uh, Sebastian’s folly? something like that. A small village that started with a sea battle against orc raiders, moved to a fight against a pookah, found A Clue, then proceed to find a way to not fight my big stone boss I was stealing from URealms Live, and instead, they ended up awaking a primal stone entity that lets shardminds exist. So that was a big mix up that ended up being really cool.

When then went to another city, where I had a map this time and thought I could do the urban crawl stuff even better. Turns out, nope, it was kinda lame and some big lore/plot hooks we had didn’t get resolved.

then one person left, and another was about to, so I brought it all to a finale, where I ruined a reveal or two, and, all in all, failed the dismount for the campaign. I don’t think I could do it better. Endings so very rarely happen, you know?

Over the months, we had a few people come in and out of the game. As far as I can count, we had a total of 9 players, with 6 of those being at the same game. Most of them were decently regular members of our group. 2 of them were Skyped in, with varying success. They were a good group and I wouldn’t mind playing with most of them again.

We had, if I recall correctly, 6 races played. I had forbade Tieflings and Dragonborn, claiming (as i still do) that they had no place in that world.

I played a Dwarf for my one session. No one found the true pun in his name. They focused too much on the secondary, obvious pun. He ended up being my convent NPC boat guy for the adventure. We’ll talk more about him later, I’m sure.

We had a sole Elf. I didn’t have any lore for Elves, so he wasn’t integrated into the world. I’m not sure if Elves will be in the final version or not. I keep flipping back and forth on it. Their existence may depend on my thoughts on various airships. We’ll see.

3 of the races played were custom to the campaign. The first was a Darfellan, a race of, well, whale people. Somewhere in between the two, about halfway. I didn’t write up the stats for it; I trusted the player to not be game breaking. I will definitely be writing up a lot of stuff for it this time round, though. The second was a race I hesitantly call the Calmar? Totes not a final name. They were kind of like Were-Octopuses. We didn’t get to explore them too much but I liked a lot of the lore I began to build around it. Third were basically selkies. I made them up in either the last or second to last session and they got no lore or real showing. I’ve got a lot of thoughts to tweak them with.

The rest of the characters, as far as I can remember, were humans. Which is gratifying to me, as I don’t think they get enough play. But as powerful as it is to play as a monstrous character and deal with those interactions, I think theres a lot of strength in being a common human and pushing up out of the crowd and becoming a hero.

No one played gnomes or halflings, which I’m fine with. It lets me make big changes to the race without messing with other people’s characters.

Let’s see, classes, classes, classes. The Darfellan was a Sorcerer, which will need some custom bloodlines, I think their called. We had a barbarian, which may need some options, and a druid, which may need to have some balance tweaks on one of its abilities to make it work well. The rogue played out okay, I feel, and all of the fighters we ended up with did pretty good. I’ll need to flesh out ship vs. ship combat a little in future posts, but other than that, they did okay. I think that was it. No warlocks, clerics, or wizards. I’ll want to look at each class, of course, and see if I can find some good options for them. We’ll get to that tho.

The biggest thing that we established in our run of TSI was the awakening of the Stone King and the introduction of Shardminds into that world. That was pretty monumental and definitely exists going forward.

I think that is all the important bits of the past that we’ll need for the moment. I’ll bring up stuff as I go, of course. But that’s it for this week!

Cheers!

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