You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘campaign’ tag.

Man, I hate it when a PC game devours my attention completely! Well, that’s what happened the last days, and the digital masterpiece responsible for it is Aion: The Tower of Eternity. I’m a sucker for MMOs, but somehow Aion never caught my attention. That is until a few days ago when it had its Western launch. Unable to resist its call, I bought my digital copy at Direct2Drive and jumped right into the adventure…

Three days later I’m sitting in the queue waiting to get on my server (EU-Telemachus), using the time to update ExSuccess. But since my head is filled with thoughts about Atreia, Daevas and other stuff relevant to Aion, I am just forced to do something with that. So why not see what stuff could be mined from the rich world of Atreia presented in Aion: The Tower of Eternity?

The world Atreia

The most notable feature Aion’s lore is the world itself, named Atreia. Long ago, it was a simple globe like our planet, with at its center the Tower

Picture courtesy of NCSoft

Picture courtesy of NCSoft

of Eternity. The god Aion watched over the world and all life on it, and for a time everything was alright. But then Aion created the Drakan, a race of ferocious dragon-like creatures meant to guard and protect Atreia. But somehow the Drakan turned mad and ravaged, plundered and destroyed everything in their sight. Ultimately, the Tower of Eternity itself was under siege, and Aion had to act…

In order to protect the Tower, Aion granted some humans divine power, turning them into the ascended Daevas. These angel-like beings were able to hold the Drakan, now warped into the evil Balaur, back for awhile, but in the end the Tower of Eternity was destroyed, and the explosion brought the Cataclysm, tearing Atreia into two halves. Only the remaining Aetheric powers prevent the halves from drifting out into space. This made Atreia into what it is today: two worlds separated by the dangerous Abyss.

The lower half is named Elysea, home of the Elyos. Elysea basks in the warmth and light of a bright star, and is thus a very comfortable place to live. Asmodae, the upper half, does not have such luxury; it is a gloomy, dark and cold place, and the Asmodeans were forced to evolve into the perfect predators in order to stay alive. This creates two very different races, with completely different cultures and ideas.

Personally, I love the idea of a broken world since it gives you room for all kind of wackiness. In a system like D&D, low-level characters would start out in their very vanilla-style fantasy setting, getting to know the world. But at a higher level, they might fall accidentally through a rift to the Abyss, and meet explorers from the other half of the world. Later on, they might sail the Abyss in steampunk-inspired airships, fighting against the vicious Balaur who still call the Abyss their home.

I feel like this kind of setting would work really well in a fantasy game and would make for a rather interesting world map. Also, it gives you a perfect reason why some races are not available to your players: they simply do not exist on their half of the world. Just watch the look on their faces when they travel to the other half of their planet and meet a Tiefling for the first time in twenty levels…

Advertisements

I never ran an unbelievable long campaign. You know what I mean: the kind of chronicle that last for several years, with changing casts and sometimes even changing players. Somehow, me and my group just can’t stick to a game for a long time, and sometimes that frustrates me and my companions. I mean, how awesome would it be to see a Werewolf chronicle evolve over two, maybe three years? Or imagine a D&D campaign where the players look at copies of their 1st level characters, comparing them to their 30th level demi-gods who shape entire dimensions three years later?

A certain post over at Campaign Mastery elaborates on certain techniques that grant a campaign that necessary variation to keep it alive and different for the players. Many things have already been said in that article, but I would like to elaborate on some here.

First of all, player character influence is to me the most important technique to keep players actually involved and interested. As soon as the players get the feeling that the actions of their protagonists do not have any impact on the world around them, why bother? In my Exalted campaign, I gave the player characters massive amounts of influence, leading to the construction of an entire city! In general, character-driven games survive longer than plot-driven games.

Another interesting technique that the authors of Campaign Mastery also elaborate on is recycling old characters, no matter if it’s a PC or NPC. So one of your players has quit the game, and now his character is still lingering around? Great, you just got yourself a new non-player character with a very strong background and tons of plot utility. Also, consider the return of an old enemy or friend after some time, letting him or her play a vital role in a complete new story arc. That should mix things up.

Talking about story arcs, it’s important to keep these short and meaningful. Yes, you will need an “overarching megaplot” (as Mike calls it) to keep it all together, but the smaller storylines should be…well, small. Keep them focused on a central theme, and make sure they fit, somehow, in the big picture.

Lastly, there is one tip in the article provided on Campaign Mastery that many will find strange, but is actual more than useful: watch soap operas from time to time. No genre in the existence of televised entertainment knows more about keeping itself alive and sort-of interesting through many decades than that one. Look how they recycle characters, places and even storylines, but still manage to keep their crowd coming back. You might learn a thing or two!