Thursday, February 7, 2013

Kicking My Imagination in the Butt (or Ask and Ye Shall Receive)

The provision of my Lord and Savior is always inspiring to me and in this case it’s extremely timely as well.  As I’ve covered in my last post I’ve been struggling with coming up with ideas for this new campaign and not making any real progress.  I’ve been surfing my usual sites looking for inspirational sources and discovering that almost half of them have been quite for at least a month and in some cases much longer.  So no help there.  And honestly it’s hard not to want to ‘borrow’ whole-cloth from some sources, BaronVonJ and LeadAddict’s Beyond the Wall campaign is brilliant, why couldn’t I have thought of that?  Oh well.

So now you’re wondering, I thought something good happened based on the first sentence but he’s just lamenting his current lack of creativity and that he can’t find inspiration in the usual places.  Hang on, I’m getting there.  One of the key factors for me as a DM in crafting a campaign is an interesting idea or two to hang the setting's history or backstory on, and thanks to John Matthew Stater of LAND OF NOD fame I think I’ve found it.

Matt’s been writing a series of posts about Mythic Races, where he makes races out of various pagan pantheons, and the latest one in the series - the Primordials in which he combines Aztec deities with dinosaurs - just clicked with me.  My reading of this particular post just happened to coincide with my discovery of the Aztecosaur species in the KingsIsle MMORPG Pirate101 (My exploration of the Spiral in KingsIsle’s companion MMORPG Wizard101 had not yet made me aware of the Azteca location’s existence until today’s internet research session).

My exposure to this idea from two separate and discreet sources has really sparked something for me, and remember I believe in providence not coincidence.  So thanks to the inspiration that has been given me, my campaign setting is no longer the temperate woodlands that I had been imagining; now it’s a lush sub-tropical forest with geography not unlike the Seattle,WA area, with plenty of marshy, swampy areas and the ruins of Mesoamerican-style stone cities and step-pyramids poking up through the forest canopy.  I now know what pre-human ruins my ill-fated abbey has been built upon.  And I have a pretty good idea as to what kind of savages might be lurking around out in the wilderlands…

Thank you Lord!  Hallelujah!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

General Update #3

When did this get so hard?  When I was younger and playing and running in the Islandverse (The meta name for my weekend group’s multi-dm campaign) I was crafting a new campaign setting every time I ran, which was every couple of weeks.  The Isle of Ice, the Haunted Jungles of Pirate's Haven (home of my infamous Sea Liches), the Lands of the Witch Queen, etc.  Now I can’t seem to get a coherent thought together, never mind on paper.
The why is complicated, even from my perspective, partly the pressure I’m feeling comes from the fact that I’d like this setting to be my masterpiece, the home to all my future campaigns or one-shots.  So, no pressure there, right?  Really?  Sheesh, talk about your own worst enemy.  Worried about being able to fit everything I want in a fantasy game into this setting and not even sure I should try.  Of course, this has caused a lot of hesitancy and procrastination on my part and hence the flood of gaming material and not so much campaign stuff.  Just need to kick my imagination in the butt...

So the only real news today is that the Basic D&D Expert Rules was released as a PDF.  Get it at  Don't miss out; I got mine already so now I can start on my dream project - combining the two rules sets into one document.