Here are the stages our homebrew game (now called Wizards & Warriors) has gone through in the past year:

  1. Tweaked Labyrinth Lord game
  2. Heavily house ruled Labyrinth Lord game
  3. Modified Labyrinth Lord game with new write-ups for monsters and spells
  4. New game based on Labyrinth Lord/B/X with a lot of OD&D influence on presentation
  5. New game based on Labyrinth Lord/B/X/OD&D but with 5 Color magic
  6. New humans-only game based on LL/B/X/OD&D but with 5 Colors for everything
  7. New 5 Colors game that sort of resembles LL/B/X/OD&D with a fair amount of classic Traveller influence

It was this seventh stage that freed us from the shackles of trying to pretend it was still just a modified version of D&D. Yes, the play will still resemble oldschool D&D, but the rules are not going to be constrained by attempts to “remain true” mechanically. I think the oldschool D&D spirit will still be there, and I even suspect that someone listening in on a session might not quite realize that we aren’t playing early 1980s D&D.

Either way, late last week I decided I was sick of always WORKING ON a new game and decided it was time to PLAY a new game.

So over the weekend my kids and I got in a short session of a new campaign, and here is what I’m using for our initial setting:

L1: The Secret of Bone Hill

L1: The Secret of Bone Hill

I’ve already made a lot of headway converting NPCs and monsters to our new system (and have worked out more details of that system while doing so) and am looking forward to getting more done.

My current plan is to use the Restenford area as a sort of base for a sandbox-type setting, with a number of other oldschool D&D modules placed here and there, along with some one-page dungeons and a number of my own creations. For instance, up the road from Restenford is a keep, and beyond the keep are what the locals call the Borderlands. Also, rumors of a certain ghostly tower can be heard whispered in the dark corners of the Dying Minotaur Inn, and tales from those who have ventured into the Borderlands tell of an ancient ruined city inhabited by….well, the PCs haven’t heard those rumors quite yet.

Why not the Forbidden Jungle? Well, to be honest, I’m having trouble convincing my current players (mostly my own family) that it’s a fun place to adventure. I’m now wondering if I should work on developing the Forbidden Jungle using Labyrinth Lord (+/- AEC). We’ll see about that, as well.

I do plan to incorporate at least parts of the other stuff developed for the L series into the campaign at some point, but we’ll have to see what effect the players have on the area before deciding exactly how and when.

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6 Comments to “Kicking off a Campaign”

  1. Erin says:

    Why not the Forbidden Jungle? Well, to be honest, I’m having trouble convincing my current players (mostly my own family) that it’s a fun place to adventure. I’m now wondering if I should work on developing the Forbidden Jungle using Labyrinth Lord (+/- AEC).

    I’d love to see some Forbidden Jungle. In fact, I crave it.

    Why don’t your players like it? And, perhaps more importantly, why would you use LL to develop it instead of your new Wizards & Warriors system?

  2. Kilgore says:

    Why don’t your players like it?

    This I cannot explain. I think that my son, in particular, isn’t overly fond of wilderness adventures, and that’s kind of the default mode for FJ, though there is no shortage of dungeon-type places to find. I also wonder if I oversold the lethality of the place when it was going to be a S&W White Box setting and I was heavily playing up the “adventurers are not heroes unless they live long enough to reach 4th level” angle, in part to counteract my son’s infatuation with the 2e rule books. I’m more than a little disappointed that there is no enthusiasm for the setting.

    why would you use LL to develop it instead of your new Wizards & Warriors system?

    I’m considering the LL option in order to make it the most accessible to the most people. LL is at a pretty nice spot in the oldschool D&D sphere, pretty much being compatible with everything pre-WotC, especially with the Advanced Edition Companion. And there’s nothing about the setting that begs for the Five Color system, for instance, that would mean major adjustments to the standard D&D machine.

    Our Wizards & Warriors, now that we’ve decided to cut the umbilical to D&D and let it be what it wants to be, is coming along nicely and we’re enjoying it and think it’s a solid system. Or will be once we’ve got more playing in. But I have no intention of selling it, though I may make PDFs available at some point when things get ironed out a bit more if there’s enough interest.

    Forbidden Jungle, on the other hand, I could see developing into something that might be worth making available for sale alongside a goodly amount of free material. I wish we were playing it today to help the development along, because I fear it will never be much more than a grand idea of mine, but I do think the potential is there. Maybe going the LL route, or a non-specific oldschool D&D route, makes the most sense if that’s the way things go.

    • Erin says:

      I’m considering the LL option in order to make it the most accessible to the most people.

      Got it. Though that approach will work only if you force yourself to use the LL material as-written, no tweaks or mods. It would be hard (read: impossible) for me to do.

      You might consider writing it for W&W, then adding a conversion guide for use with LL.

      I say this having been down the same path myself. Maybe I should write “Swords of Telm” in System X to make it more accessible? My reality is that if I don’t write the setting in terms of the system I envision for it, the system material suffers (or never gets done). YMMV.

      • Kilgore says:

        Though that approach will work only if you force yourself to use the LL material as-written, no tweaks or mods.

        You make it sound as though I might tinker with something.

        Though, as I mentioned, there’s not really anything about this setting that I particularly “envision” as being for our game more than for any standard old game.

        In fact, our game is going to put a lot more emphasis on wizards and spell casting than the old stand-bys put on magic-users.

        I see Forbidden Jungle to be less high magic/fantasy and more along the lines of the good old swords and sorcery genre.

        This last thought had never actually occurred to me in those terms before, and it warrants some serious thinking. My initial reaction is that Forbidden Jungle is WRONG for Wizards & Warriors, in fact.

        (Of course, this means that I will be taking existing modules and settings and converting them to W&W for play and then writing new material (FJ) for existing games. If it was the other way around, I’d be half-done already. Maybe I’m setting myself up to never be finished?)

        • Erin says:

          Maybe I’m setting myself up to never be finished?

          True that.

          (Says the guy whose tinkering habits have spawned 3 major and 11 minor revisions of a home-brew RPG in 3 years. And we’re not even talking about setting…)

          Just sayin’ 😉