D&D Campaign Pitches
These are the pitches for the upcoming D&D campaign. Please read each and make notes about what you like and why. We will discuss what pitch we will choose at our first session. For each, there are character setups that need to be filled. This is not intended to be limiting, but challenging and guiding to the campaign.
You’ll be expected to help create a rich background for your character. I’ll have questionnaires on this site for awhile for you to answer. A good background is important so that adventures can be centered on your character.
The Neverending City
”A city like no other demands detectives with no equal”
Sigil is a city like no other, lying at the cynosure of many different planes of existence it has a unique population made from people coming from each of those planes. There are many factions vying for power and Sigil is ruled by the ruthless and powerful Lady of Pain. The Lady does not concern herself with laws, she is only interested in the stability of Sigil. If someone wants justice, they must hire private detectives to do it. The players characters are those detectives, and their mission is to find the truth and bring justice, for the right price.
There have been a series of mysterious murders in the city of different faction luminaries, and the Lady of Pain seems unconcerned. A cabal of some of the most powerful factions of the city recruit and enlist the player characters to find the killers and bring them to justice.
Everyone in the group should be capable of adding to an investigation in some way. Any type of character is possible, as this is a Planescape setting. If you want to be a kobold barbarian, go for it, but you’ve got to be useful in an investigation in a multitude of ways.
The Brains- A highly trained investigator who has fallen from grace and seeks redemption. Excellent at research and keeping the group together. Why fight through the front door when there is an old sewer tunnel?
The Grifter- A con artist who really is an artist, looking at cons as professional challenges. Why fight through the front door when we can bluff our way in?
The Wiz- A cerebral wizard who never seeks direct damage, preferring to “hack” circumstances again. Why blow off the door and fight your way in when you can Dimension Door?
The Heavy- Former enforcer and hitman honorably retired from a crime boss, the Heavy seeks a normal life for his or her grandchild. Known and feared/respected by many, the Heavy has numerous contacts throughout the city. Why open the front door when my old buddy can let us in the back?
The Thief- Expert burgler, cutpurse, pickpocket, and more the Thief has no apparent fear and tries crazy solutions all the time. Why go in the door when there is an open window 50 feet up you can get to up the slick gutter?
The Hunter- A bounty hunter who is too old to work alone anymore. Can track and find virtually anyone, anywhere, the hunter resentfully needs help brining them in now. The hunter forms frienships with his catches, and often has many contacts of people he has previously caught. Who cares about going in the front door when you can just wait from your target to come out?
Truth and Justice. What is the nature of truth and are what are the consequences of bringing that truth to light? What is justice and is it always arrived at by revealing the truth?
Gritty and weird. The Planescape setting provides a great amount of general strangeness, and the all-urban setting is not pastoral by any means. Being private detective stories, the campaign will have mystery (including a set of firm rules for magic related clues). The whole thing should feel like a show done by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.
Influences and Inspirations
- The Planescape setting,
- Hard-boiled detective stories (e.g. Mike Hammer)
- Larry Niven’s “Long Arm of Gil Hamilton” stories
- Grim Jack comics by John Ostrander and Tim Truman
- Art by Tim Truman, Brian Fround, Tony DeTerlizzi
Pictures & Resources
After the Fall
”The End is the Beginning”
Once, the Nerathi Empire ruled the land for a 1,000 years, destroying the empires of Bael Turath, Arkhosia, as well as other great nations. A century ago, a prophesied comet called the Chaos Hammer fell and the empire was destroyed in a night. The capital sank underwater. Some cities were decimated by floods, fires, earthquakes, or months of strange weather. Other places disappeared mysteriously, sunk underneath the surface, and a “Great Beast” is believed to have been released that devoured an entire army before vanishing.
The crater, known as the Chaos Scar, is where the Grand Temple once stood. Civilization crumbled after The Fall, with only a few remaining points of light existed in the dark chaos that swept the land. The old gods were forgotten, and the secrets of arcane power were lost.
The characters are a group who are investigating and eventually fighting the evil of the Chaos Scar, which has been calling monsters and others to it for a century. In doing so, they find the fate of the Empire.
The players have been summoned to Restwell Keep by the local priest to help him deal with a threat to the castle. The PCs soon find out that everything is not as it seems and they must choose which side they are on.
The Heir: A descendant of the orignal Imperial family, the heir seeks to find a path for the Empire to return or how to avenge its death. (Human, halfelf or halforc, psionic class)
- The Seeker: A student of the arcane who seeks to rediscover the magical secrets of the Nerathi Empire (like enchanting magic items) and investigate the widening overlap with our reality and the Far Realm (Wizard, any race)
- The Pilgrim: A cleric of the old gods who seeks to discover relics of power in the ruins of the Grand Temple and reestablish the old religion. (Cleric, any race)
- The Doomsayer: A student of the stars who believes a prophecy of the End of Ages seeks to find the Heart of the Scar. (Sorcerer or Starpact Warlock, any race)
- The Champion: Believing himself(herself) to be the reincarnation of the Empire’s Eternal Champion, this character seeks to destroy the Heart of the Scar (Paladin or Avenger, any class)
- The Creation: A living construct made by the magesmiths of the old Empire who seeks to knowledge of his (her) creation and any evidence of others like him (her). (any class, warforged (unique to this setting))
Order vs. Chaos The campaign will explore the conflict between order and chaos. The Far Realm seems to come through the Scar with increasing frequency and the source needs to be found.
Reclaiming the Past vs Rebirth of Civilization The Nerathi Empire fell suddenly and mysteriously when the Chaos Hammer fell. Since then, civilization has been in decline and much of the Time of the Ancients has been forgotten. The characters discover many secrets of the Nerathi and may begin the world on the path to reclaim civilization.
Crumbling ruins and crudely built newer structures. Charlatan prophets announcing new gods. Magic items and spells in greater and greater rarity. The characters are constantly reminded of the shadows of the past.
This campaign uses True Names, everything has a True Name that contains power. PCs may invoke their True Names for bonuses, and knowing the True Name of an opponent means being able to reduce their defenses and be exploited in other ways. Ceremonies that involve disclosing your True Name to others can increase your abilities.
Influences and Inspirations
- Chaos Scar series of adventures
- Points of Light setting
- Non-fiction on caves, craters, meteors, and layered ruins
- H.P. Lovecraft
- Wizard of Earthsea series by Ursula K. LeGuin
- Old Man Logan graphic novel
Sea of Skye
”In a shattered world, fortune favors the bold.”
The Shattering literally tore the world apart, now floating islands and moons drift and orbit a small sun in a hazy atmosphere. Ruled by a powerful magocracy, the player characters explore and make their fortunes aboard an airship named “Sea of Skye”. They seek the legendary Silver Moon, which is said to have a great secret, while running from a dangerous crime syndicate and agents of the various Towers of Sorcery. The players trade and explore as they go on their course to the Silver Moon.
The ship crew is preparing to make a run to escape the agents of a crime lord the captain has displeased. Among the passengers they take on include a prodigy of the mages, one whose power all the different Towers of Sorcery wish to wield or destroy. The Sea of Skye must evade its pursuers while the child must reach the legendary Silver Moon to fulfill her destiny.
- The Captain: A cross between Han Solo and Captain Malcolm Reynolds (although it does not need to be male). A confident rogue with a heart of gold and a mind for guile. The captain resents the magocracy for past wrongs and will foil them out of sheer spite. Otherwise, his (or her) main priority is the ship and crew.
- The Prodigy: A young person with extraordinary power but an afflicted mind. The prodigy is wanted by various Towers of Sorcery for their own ends. (arcane class, any race)
- The Starbuck: The second in command, calm and reserved as a counter to the Captain’s devilry and charm.
- The Caretaker: The prodigy was saved by the caretaker, who has a personal interest in saving him (or her). The caretaker is shrewd and fierce protector of the prodigy.
- The Heavy: A former criminal recruited by the captain long ago as a crewmember and “security”. The heavy is dodging a criminal past, both from law enforcement and from former colleagues.
- The Engineer: The Sea to Skye seems to a symbiotic relationship with this eccentric and inventive individual. The engineer is a native to an island that is rebellious and will happily participate in any plot against the Towers of Sorcery.
Man vs. Destiny. The PCs have a “child of destiny” in their midst. They must come to terms with what that means and if destiny is already written, or if a man writes his own destiny.
Temptation- The PCs will be tempted throughout the campaign, and must make their choices accordingly. What do you do when everything you want is handed to you, if you only do that one wrong thing?
Magicpunk and nautical. The world has considerable technology based on magic, and the entire campaign may take place upon the ship. There will considerable “wow” factor as much of the campaign is exploration and seeing incredible sights.
Sources and Inspiration
- Eberron (magicpunk)
- Spelljammer (flying ships)
- Dragonlance (Towers of Sorcery in different colors)
- Star Wars/Millennium Falcon
- Voyage of the Dawn Treader
A land where dream and nightmares are very real
The players have been summoned to deal with an increasing threat to the Feywild, while they seek a route home. They must overcome the threat while finding the route home, exploring the magical and dangerous world of the Feywild and numerous figures of legend within. Besides the numerous dangerous of the Feywild, the characters will also have to deal with the mysterious, arbitary, and capricious nature of the Feywild as well.
Oberon, the King of the Seelie Court, has used an artifact to summon the greatest heroes of all time. Unfortunately, it has brought him the player characters instead. After some consternation, it is discovered that the PCs WILL be the greatest heroes of all time, but not yet. The players have been summoned to take care of a dread threat to the Seelie Court, while the PCs want to find a route home.
ALL the players are children. All the characters need to be races that are NOT related to the Feywild, such as elves, eladrin, or wilden. Replacement characters, should they be needed, MUST be Feywild related. Each PC receives an artifact associated with that character,
- The Athlete: Self confident and aloof, needs to learn humility
- The Innocent: Naïve and ignorant, needs to learn adjustement
- The Fool: Throws caution to the wind for a joke, learns to learn consequences and responsbility
- The Scholar: Studious and learned but lacking experience, needs to learn pragmatism
- The Charmer: Charismatic and lazy, needs to learn hard work.
- The Loner: separated from others, needs to learn interpersonal skills
Coming of Age- The PCs transition from children to adults throughout the campaign.
Innocence vs. Experience- The campaign will show that sometimes experience is the best teacher, and sometimes fresh ideas are the best.
Childhood is terrifying- The world of the Feywild often presents a facade that hides terrible horrors behind it.
Inspirations and Sources
- Fables comic by Bill Willingham
- Pan’s Labyrinth
- Grimm’s Fairy Tales
- Grimm roleplaying game
- Labyrinth movie
- Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle, and other Miyazaki movies
- Harry Potter series
- The Breakfast Club
Time is the greatest enemy of all
The Kingdom had once been united under the great and powerful Red King. Since then, the Kingdom has been fragmented into many principalities. Each Realm has a Prince (or Princess) who is a descendant of the original Red King. This gives them powers beyond those of normal people.
After the disappearance of the Red King, the Council of Princes reigned with Six Crowns of Power. These were lost with the fall of the Council. If found, they could unite The Kingdom once again. The royal courts of the Realms are being infiltrated by infernal agents, and six princes must find the Crowns of Power to stop them.
Many mysterious incidents have happened throughout the realms and the princes stand on the precipice of war. The High Priest invokes the right to call a counsel of the six princes, and there lays out evidence that infernal agents have been stirring trouble. The council is interrupted by an assassination attempt by infernal agents and the six princes agree to find the Crowns together to unify the land and defeat the hellish menace.
Various realms to be defined by the players.
War vs Peace- The threat of war is constant, both between the realms, from rebellious factions, and from an infernal invasion. When do you make peace and when do you fight becomes an important question.
Nobility vs Birthright- All the players are born noble, but are they actually noble? Players are faced with tough decisions where being less-than-noble is a temptation. Do the ends justify the means? Is nobility something you are born with, or that you earn?
Medici style politics is constantly a background feature. Players fight side by side while their nation’s agents may work against each other. Like the Dune books, politics and possible assassination are constant.
All players are either Princes (direct descendants of the Red King) or Bastards (disenfranchised descendants of the Red King. Thus, all players must be Human, Half-elf, Half-Orc, or Tiefling (Half-devils in this setting.)
Children of the Red King have innate magical powers. No Arcane powered classes are allowed. Rather all characters are technically multiclass with wizard or sorcerer. They may substitute powers gained for an arcane power, which is called a Talent. Each PC also gets a Knack, a cantrip that they can always do.
- Machiavelli’s “The Prince”
- “Charlie Bone” series
- Lord of the Rings
- Medici historical period
- Frank Herberts “Dune” books
When the world was young, death awaits
The world is young, civilizations are just starting, although many have already perished. Tribes of barbarians live on the edge of civilized lands, often in a primitive state. Priests offer human sacrifices to dark and primal gods while sorcerers discover increasingly more potency. A prophecy foretells of destruction, and the PCs encounter different dark and malevolent forces all guided by the same hand.
All the PCs, in the same city for a celebration. There each is targeted by a doomsayer cult who believes each PC is a obstacle to the cleansing doom of the world. The PCs must band together and strike back at the doomsayer’s temple to stop the threat and uncover what the prophecy is.
Character Breakdowns All characters are human. Different racial traits will be allowed per region (yet to be determined).
The Barbarian: The last of his (or her) kind, from a tribe killed by an evil sorcerer. (Barbarian, ranger) The Buccaneer: A pirate who awakened an ancient curse and can no longer be on the water. (Fighter, ranger) The Rogue: A master thief wanted by many for the crimes she (or he) has committed, or to steal something from someone else. Meanwhile she hoards gold hoping to bribe/ransom someone important. (Rogue, ranger) The Mercenary: A former stone-cold killer running from something in his (or her) past, seeking redemption. The Warlock: Someone who has made a powerful pact with otherworldly forces who seek an avatar in the human world. (Warlock) The Prophet: A cleric of a new, monotheistic religion which seeks to bring a message of peace throughout the land. (Cleric, Avenger, or )
None so far
Civilization vs. barbarism: What does it mean to be civilized? What does it mean to be barbaric? The campaign explores these questions with no clear black and white areas.
Survival- The characters will spend considerable time just surviving. Civilization is fledgling, and getting from one place to another can be a source of mortal peril.
Fate vs. self determination- The characters will be told they have certain fates, do they follow them or forge their own? The latter comes with great difficultly and cost.
Gritty- The campaign is very much about the grimy little details of life. Primal- This is a shadowland of early history, where you might meet dinosaurs or other primeval monsters, encounter civilizations lost to time, and where technology is sparse and primitive. Deadly- People die frequently and often, you’ll want a back up character
Sources and influences
- Conan stories by Robert E. Howard and related media
- Atlantis role-playing game by Steve Sechi
- Age of Bronze comic series
- Non-fiction on ancient civilizations
Night & Day
Fight the Dark
The world does not rotate, one side always faces the sun and the other is always in darkness. This means the side of light is a vast desert while darkness claims the other half. Most people live in settlements on the Twilight Lands, the zone between the two regions.
The characters are slaves taken by one of the imperial city-states of the Twilight Lands. They join a slave rebellion and are freed. From this point on they either build their new nation of former slaves, or set about freeing other slaves. To gain the power they need to do either, they must explore ruins in the Dayside and Nightside from the Time Before, when everywhere saw day and night.
Characters should include gladiators and slave of various sorts, including public slaves that carry influence due to their station.
Freedom vs Enslavement- The PCs are thrust into a battle for freedom and the responsibilities that come with it.
Light vs Dark- Both the light and dark sides are dangerous, can one truly be said to be better than the other?
Harsh and Cruel- The players live in a world with life is cheap and other people are very dangerous.
Tough Environments- The Dayside is a dangerous desert, the Nightside is full of creatures in the dark.
- Dark Sun campaign setting
- Midnight campaign setting
- Spartacus TV show
Isles of Dread Find your destiny or find your death
The players are explorers, mercenaries, and profiteers trying to find their fortune in the Lucian Archipelago. Several advanced empires are attempting to colonize the isles for greater glory and profit. There are numerous issues, however, including the bloodthirsty natives and enormous monsters. According to some report, absolutely gigantic monsters. Just the ravings of drunken sailors, to be sure.
The players are hired by a sea captain for a mission he won’t divulge on a boat whose crew seems sketchy at best. Into the journey the captian mysteriously dies and the crew blames the PCs for it. They must work together to keep their freedom and possibly discover the nature of the mission they were intended for. A mission to find a precious artifact in a long lost temple on a long forgotten island.
Civilization vs. Barbarism What does it mean to be civilized, what does it mean to be barbaric? The PCs will be confronted with the best and worst both have to offer and will have to make hard choices.
Man vs Nature with the volume turned all the way up
The Lucian Archipelago is DANGEROUS. The players must be adept at keeping themselves alive and choosing their battles in order to survive.
Magicpunk- Fantasy that seems born of an early, industrial age.
Dangerous- Anything can take a lethal turn at any time.
- Eberron (magicpunk)
- Godzilla and other kaiju movies, comics, etc.
- King Kong, notably Skull Island
- Freeport campaign setting
- Pirates of the Caribbean and other over-the-top pirate movies
- Alan Quartermain stories
- Isle of Dread module
- Land of the Lost