Campaign Help Needed!

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Re: Campaign Help Needed!

Post by Winterwolf » Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:42 am

delazar wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:18 pm
Winterwolf wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:27 pm
If you want a summary of how it ran in my campaign, I can easily send them to you.
Sure, that'd be great!
PM me your email address and I send them to you...

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Location: Adelaide - Australia

Re: Campaign Help Needed!

Post by Kurt » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:34 pm

Hi PencilBoy99,

I think the Darkening of Mirkwood campaign is excellent and provides a wonderful framework for storytelling in the lands of Middle-earth. The flexibility that it offers is great. Winterwolf and I LM'ed The Wizards Man completely differently and both were great fun for the players. My version was completed in one four hour session and took place along the Dusky River. Winterwolf used three sessions and it took place further south in Mirkwood. In both cases the players enjoyed each version (I am a player in Winterwolf's game).

Now, regarding how I would flesh out events in the Darkening of Mirkwood.

The core rulebook has broken down the adventure phase of story telling into three elements, you should use that as guidance. For example, over four hours I like to cover at least two of the three main things during a session:
1. Journey
2. Combat
3. Encounter

In addition to these things I think about the following:
1. Physical Environment (Weather, Trade, Resources, Survival)
2. Political Environment (Society and Culture, Internal Power, External Power, Leadership Motivations)
3. Character Motivations and Internal Conflict (Goals, Beliefs, Values)

For realism, one of the things I do is imagine the human civilisations in Middle-earth in terms of our historical past. I visualise the Woodmen and Viglundings as 8th century Anglo-Saxons. I visualise the people of Gondor as 11th century Normans. I visualise the Rohirrim as a mix between the two. The Dunlendlings to me are similar to 6th century Germanic tribesmen or 8th century Vikings. To get a better understanding on the Political and Physical Environments watch a few documentaries on these times, the people, their leaders. If you want to get interested in the political environment watch a couple of documentaries on The War of the Roses. Watching the television series The White Queen is a entertaining way to learn about The War of the Roses. Life during these times was brutal and unforgiving. I see the title of "The Last Good Years" in the Darkening of Mirkwood as a relative term ... as in good compared to what is to come. The only place of decency, immune to a lot of the hardships and troubles in the world is The Shire. What would a large scale assault do to a community if they lost fifty men (soldiers, militia, serfs, farmers, craftsmen - or young heirs). What are the challenges that society would need to overcome? What if the only two blacksmiths in the area died in that battle?

The other thing that I like to do is challenge characters motivations. I did The Wizards Man and Words of the Wise before Folkmoot at Rhosgobel for a reason. It will force the characters to think deeply about their values and beliefs. Throughout my campaign I want them asking themselves the following:

1. What is the right thing to do?
2. What is the smart thing to do?
3. Are these two things aligned or is there a conflict?
4. What would my character do given these choices?
5. How will the party feel about my choices?

The internal character conflict is as good, and sometimes better, as the external conflicts. This is something that you should introduce into the game. As the core rulebook states you can do this by ensuring the characters have a stake in the world (family, property, etc). You can also do this by questioning their personal beliefs, getting them to make choices between what is smart and what is right. The TV series Game of Thrones (I haven't read the books) does this perfectly. There is often a choice between doing what is right and what is smart ... and sometimes doing what is right will get you killed. Even better is the mechanics related to Shadow and misdeeds. Imagine the struggle of having a choice around committing a misdeed for the greater good, and the guilt that follows if commited. At the end of Words of the Wise two of my characters came exceptionally close to death. With one of them, the dice were rolled and she was dead (by the axe of her nemesis) unless someone intervened, which they did fortunately. The tension was immense it was a very evenly matched and exciting battle. When we return to the game they will have to cope with the aftermath, emotionally and physically. One of the characters (the one that almost died) will be leaving to return home to Rohan and this will effect the fellowship.

Lastly, in relation to your post. Your players share responsibility for the story telling process and they need to engage. If they are not engaging then they need to work with you and suggest how the story can be improved. I get frustrated with lazy players and have high expectations that everyone sitting at the table will do their part to make the game a fun and enjoyable event for everyone (including the LM). As a player I like to do my part and work with the LM and others at the table to help create a good story.


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Re: Campaign Help Needed!

Post by Lifstan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:21 am

Just got my The One Ring: Journeys and Maps and it contains many ideas (as hazards) that can be used as events to beef up some of the Darkenning of mirkwood scenarios. So if you don't have it, consider bying it. You can use those as written (as hazards when travelling) or as full events in your scenarios.
Winterwolf wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:27 pm
However there is NO way I could finish an adventure in one session, let alone with a Fellowship Phase added on.
It depends on the playstyle (the Loremaster and the group), because I can definitely finish some of those in one (4h) session, especially those toward the end of the book. The more you go, the less details there are. I do the Fellowship Phase for one hour, and then play 3 hours the scenario (more or less of course). So I definitely have to do homework to make it last longuer (if I want a scenario to cover more than one evening).

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