New Campaign Conundrum

Discussion in 'RPG Discussion' started by JediSoth, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    For the sake of argument, say you had 3 players. You wanted to make a D&D campaign. One that is friendly to a new player (new to RPGs in general; a true newbie), but with complex enough character customization to also appeal to veterans. You cannot count on a perfectly balanced party. You may be missing either an arcane caster or a divine caster, perhaps both.

    Which edition and/or campaign setting would you choose? (Saying "I wouldn't play D&D isn't a valid response.")

    I cross-posted this to several forums, so if you go to more than one place you might see it.
  2. mark

    mark Spellbinder

    I think lacking in particular classes becomes a setting problem more than an edition problem. I think 1E or Basic (or maybe 2E) lends itself better to newer players unless that non-D&Der happens to have a background in CRPG or MMORPGs, in which case 3E or 4E should be easy enough to get them started in tabletop D&D gaming. OD&D is sort of its own animal though if the new RPGer has a background in early forms of tabletop wargaming, such as with Chainmail, this might be the way to go.
  3. JediSoth

    JediSoth Troubadour

    The new RPGer (my wife) has no background in any kind of games, whatsoever (aside from certain boardgames like Scrabble). However, her identity and the whole background of my question is something that's really lengthy, and I hoped I could distill it into the basic question which I asked without getting off too many tangents (I've already had people at other message boards suggest games that aren't D&D..despite me specifying D&D as one of the parameters).

    Of course, if I had gone into more detail, I wouldn't get posts (not here, elsewhere) explaining A) why D&D isn't suited for my question B) all about the differences between 3E & 4E, etc.

    Basically, the problem is this: I have a game already. We're playing Basic D&D as part of my DoctorStrangeRoll Campaign & Blog. We're playing classic adventures, as written, using each edition in turn. So, with Basic D&D, we're playing U1: Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (until they burned the adventure locale to the ground before finding all the clues they needed and I switched to X1: The Isle of Dread), I3: Pharaoh, and a high-level adventure to be determine. When that's finished, we'll switched to AD&D and play U2, I4, and the next in the high-level sequence. Then Pathfinder and U3, I5, and so on and so forth. Trouble is, about half my group is flaky and unreliable, attendance wise, so it's hard to run the adventures as written because there's usually not a balanced party. I don't want to abandon that game, because I think the comparison between editions has value, but we're playing it so infrequently that my wife is getting frustrated because we're not playing often enough for her to really grok the rules.

    So, I had an idea to have the Core Group (the three that usually show up) start playing a second D&D game. We'll still go back to do the Doctor StrangeRoll game when the other people show up, but lately, they haven't been.

    Yes, I realize that for 3 players, there are better suited game. BUT, my wife wants to learn & play D&D for Fantasy. She asked for it by name. I could do a hard sell and convince her another game is just as good (and I believe there are other games just as good, if not better), but I really don't want to push the issue right now. There's no point in it, and I'm certainly not interested in edition warring within my group & family. That's just silly.

    Most suggestions I've received have been Pathfinder Beginner Box or D&D 4E (I've gotten some for D&D Next, but I don't consider games that aren't published yet an option). I fear with Pathfinder, I might have to have one or both of my veteran players run two characters, whereas in D&D 4E, I've heard that as long as there is a Defender and Leader, you don't really NEED anything else to give the party a shot at reasonably surviving any encounter.

    Any game I run would be a mix of published adventures and original content (depending on how much free time I get to design adventures, since I do have day job and I have novels to write, plus ENnies stuff).
  4. mark

    mark Spellbinder

    Later versions of the game seem more tied to a balanced party, IMO. I'd go 1E or Basic and adjust things either on the fly or once the group gains a few levels you can adjust things prior to game night to fit who is there.
  5. sir jon

    sir jon Spellbinder

    Setting? Simple. Greyhawk is the go-to for newbies and is IMHO, the best.

    As far as balancing the group, stick to 1E, maybe 2E if you absolutely have to add some of the nonsense... or allow for an amalgam of both. Basic? Meh. Too... basic.
  6. francisca

    francisca Troubadour

    1e is my default response for system. From there, pick a setting you like working with and tailor adventures to the party. It's pretty much that simple.

    Fighters + Thieves = urban adventuring, along the lines of Lankhmar

    Fighters + Rangers = Barbarian campaign.

    Fighters + Clerics = Quest for a lost religious artifact as the campaign theme. make Magic-users evil by default.

    Clerics + Thieves = a story of redemption, the group is possibly out to save souls, or infiltrate and exterminate chaotic evil cults from within.

    Magic-users + Fighters OR MU + Thieves = overall theme could be the players are in service of a Mage's Guild, or a particular Wizard-King. They seek arcane secrets, plunder tombs, etc..

    You then construct each adventure taking into acount the party's pros and cons, and remind the party to play to their strenghts.

    If you are using publised adventures, you might want to consider multiple characters and/or henchmen/retainers for each.

    Another idea for small groups is to establish a stable of PCs, each character having 3 to 6 PCs of varying class, all of whom belong to some sort of explorer/treasure hunting/adventuring guild. You then post "jobs", and the players select from the roster the best set of characters to form a team for that adventure. They set forth, complete the quest, then report back to the guild. PCs which did not get selected for the team receive 1/3 to 1/2 the experience of those who did. This solves some continuity problems, by saying the guild briefed each team member on what other PCs had discovered, and keeps the stable of PCs within a few levels of each other. Eventually, the players will settle in on a few PCs they lke best, or settle on some due to attrition, then you can you start focusing on those PCs as you build adventures.

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