One longer-running campaign I ran evolved organically over time. I’ve revisited it a few times with an eye toward running it again or, at the least, culling some of the better (and less derivative) ideas that grew out of it.
The campaign began in the titular Glen with the well-worn idea that the location would serve as the home base and jumping off point for a series of adventures, much same way as TSR’s village of Hommlet. The Glen marked the northernmost outpost of a large unnamed kingdom. From there, the player characters would initially investigate rumors of a possible goblin threat that would turn out to be the harbinger of an all-out invasion. The visual inspiration for that initial foray came from Jeff Easley’s cover art for the Monster Manual II and the idea of a monster-haunted forest (much like Mirkwood as Iron Crown’s MERP setting was an influence, but rather more deciduous and slightly less dangerous à la the Trollshaws).
As I added elements to the game and the threats escalated to match the level of the characters, the Glen was quickly left behind in favor of an extended foray forever deeper into the lands where evil forces had gained a far greater foothold than anyone imagined. The idea of locations linked by a larger story arc obviously drew in great deal from the Giant and Drow series, but taking place almost entirely overland and sharing far more with the Dragonlance series. I was also inspired by the military campaign style of Glen Cook’s Black Company series that first came out at that time.
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In a previous post about a long-running Gamma World campaign of mine, I discussed the characters traveling eastward to confront rising threats there. I had plans for a further stage of that campaign that never came to fruition where the looming threat becomes a direct confrontation in a race to uncover sites of the Ancients.
I thought that I had only planned that part and forgotten that I had done a great deal more planning and mapping until I uncovered a stash of old gaming material in my mom’s attic. As I scan and organize that material, here’s a couple of maps I made.
The first of these was from around the time the campaign ended. Different groups have converged on the ruins of what was previously the city of Provo in search of key information to the location of an ancient site. The characters may interact with allied groups like the Deathgroup and the Confederat, while competing with the Darklands force and the Wasteriders members. Meanwhile, the inhabitants of Provo, a well-fortified group of carrin control the area from their eyrie apart from a group of mutants calling themselves Batcavers who are powerful enough to oppose the carrin overlords from their underground tunnels.
I also conceived the central fortress of the Darklanders, based heavily on the art from the cover of TSR’s Gamma Base adventure (GW8). This location wasn’t intended as somewhere the characters would travel to, being rather like Barad–dûr in Middle Earth.
I wish I had made more maps like the above to cover the various bases and staging areas of the Darklander invasion forcers. Among other things, it’s interesting to conceptualize what sort of support and Ancient technology would be needed for the terraforming machines that I planned as part of the invasion’s vanguard.
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