Build the World, Go Forth and Conquer

A Cold Dawn is intended to be quite a bit different from most campaigns. It is intended to be a 5th Edition D&D campaign(s), but other than that I can’t really tell you very much about it because the group has yet to create it. Specifically, it is our intention to form a group, and then using the World building game Microscope we will create a game world to use. This is a collaborative effort, and I encourage you to take a look at (and buy) Microscope and its associated media. Once a game world is established, another (similar) session will establish what kind of party the players wish to try within the world they created. Each ‘campaign’ is likely to be 10 or less sessions, unless popular demand dictates otherwise.

So several steps:

  1. Use Microscope in a full session to create a world
  2. Use a microscope-like system to create a party and characters in a full session
  3. Run the chosen campaign
  4. Return to 1 and repeat, Microscope allows expanding on existing worlds, so the world could be expanded or used as is and another time, place or concept attempted.

There are several bits I would like to add to the the Microscope Palette up front, mostly so that people who might be interested can get some feel for what the campaigns might feel like when complete. I promise I have no intention of dictating any world building sessions, I am mostly simply trying to set the tone beforehand:

  1. No Campiness (e.g. ‘We seek the invisible swordsman!’, or ‘Airplane’/‘Naked Gun’ movies), it is fun sometimes, but tends to grow old quickly, and more importantly, I just don’t run it well (I have tried). You will be happier without my lame attempts at outright camp.
  2. No Common (language). While the party will certainly speak the same language. Languages tend to follow political and financial might such that the same language will be spoken widely around strong kingdoms and empires, but even this will fade with time. Remember, French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian and Portuguese are essentially what happens when the local farmers are left to speak Bad Latin for a few hundred years. This goes for humans as much as other races, although the ‘drift’ (e.g. from Latin to the Latin languages) will be relative to the average lifespan of the speakers.
  3. Modified Alignment. While we will keep the normal alignment system there will be some modification. That is for each character, answer the following:
    1. Who do you consider real family?
    2. Who do you consider friends?
    3. Who do you consider your ‘community’?
    4. What constitutes a person?
    5. What sins are unforgivable?
    6. What is the path to redemption?
    7. How do you feel about property?
    8. What and who can or cannot be owned?
    9. What do you feel about fate or destiny?
    10. What of these things is most and least important to you?

This reflects that ‘Good’ characters commonly employ tactics which if you replaced ‘Goblins’ with any current religious or ethnic group would self evidently be genocide or ethnic cleansing at least. This way a Lawful Good saint who considers all living things sacred and a Lawful Good knight who would die for his fellow knights and kills everyone who does not believe in his God on sight, no matter age, sex, or race, can be treated differently.

A Cold Dawn