Yesterday I started moving from macro scale to micro scale, outlining a set of possibly-related campaigns. Now I’m digging for some more detail in Donnerkonig Heirs.
I’ll start by working on the graph for the campaign. I know I’ve got Keys of Heraka-at and four adventures to acquire the treasures needed later. I’ll be looking for at least four more adventures to associate with these. I’d like to have about ten adventures available to me, but I’m going to start with a graph of fifteen to give me the option of culling, removing adventures rather than looking for an exact fit.
This graph clearly has a central adventure (K) that I will take to be Keys of Heraka-at, and five branches out. The PCs should be able to find something to do. The Keys of Heraka-at may actually reveal the locations of the treasures and the PCs can go get them, or may provide some direction toward the treasures and the first step there. I’d like to see an average of two adventures possible related to getting each treasure, but allow shorter routes in some cases.
Some of my early attempts were pretty linear, really consisting of just the choice of which item to go after first. I think I will vary this a bit. First, I note that ‘K’ has two sub-elements. I’ll have to think of something to put there. Also, there are two edges between ‘K’ and ‘L’, twice the opportunity for the PCs to choose to go that way. I think I’ll make that… if not an easier adventure, at least one that is more straightforward. ‘A’ is another significantly-connected node, with five directions to go, but they are much shorter. I expect the players will be passing through here a few times, and seeing the double link from ‘A’ to ‘B’ suggests this might make a good place to put a link to another campaign — in or out. ‘B’ is likely to be an overlap adventure, ‘A’ is nexus. ‘I’ connects to both ‘K’ and ‘A’, so it should be ‘easy to find’ a path there, so ‘I’ will take the PCs in a direction toward treasure.
I will only place treasures at nodes that have three edges, making it reasonably certain they can be reached. Initially that means ‘K’, ‘F’, ‘I’, ‘A’, ‘D’, ‘B’, and technically ‘L’ are eligible, but I might add more edges if I don’t like how that looks.
I have four treasures to distribute. The names are subject to change as I get a feel for things, but for now they (and their locations) are:
- Trident of Lightning (D)
- Horn of Gales (F)
- Crown of Rain (I)
- Ring of Waves (L)
This gives me one that should be easy to find (the Ring of Waves at ‘L’), one that can be close but has two nearby routes from ‘K’ (the Crown of Rain, at ‘I’), one that is fairly near an overlap adventure (the Trident of Lightning at ‘D’ is close to the overlap adventure at ‘B’), and one that may be a bit more work to get to (the Horn of Gales at ‘F’). There are no purely linear approaches that are two or more steps long — the closest to linear is the double path from ‘K’ to ‘L’, and even that has a ‘long way around’ option to get there.
I’ve still got nine adventures I know nothing about, and the four ‘treasure adventures’ could stand to have better names but they’ll do for now.
I’d like to have some idea what’s there, so time to break out my old school adventure namer and look over the results.
- Shrouded Fen (A… not a pleasant travel hub, I suppose, but it does tie well to the Polluted Altars of Zuli’ir)
- Polluted Altars of Zuli’ir (B, campaign gateway)
- Spire of the Bronze Sorceress (C)
- Storm Mountain (D, location of the Trident of Lightning… seemed natural, really)
- Cairn of Winter (E, goes well with the Forest of Belzoad, Wolf of Winter)
- Pillars of the Sky (F, seems a reasonable place for the Horn of Gales)
- Horned Abbot of the Grey Canyon (G, campaign gateway along with Rift of Ravoshtu… they may be a nexus for multiple campaigns, really)
- Hidden Shrine of Mitrimai (H, yet another campaign gateway)
- Sea-Swept Vault (I, the Crown of Rain is here)
- Forest of Belzoad, Wolf of Winter (J, connects nicely to the Cairn of Winter)
- Keys of Heraka-at (K, primary gateway to this campaign)
- Grotto of Aeshtua, Serpent of the Water (L, sounds like she may be the guardian of the Ring of Waves)
- Sunken Monastery (M)
- Rift of Ravoshtu, Singer of the Abyss (N, campaign gateway, may be a nexus of several along with the Horned Abbot of the Grey Canyon)
I tried to select a range of what are likely to be dungeon and overland adventures. Some can lead right out of the campaign, but it is possible to achieve all the treasures without touching any of these, though there may be benefits to doing so. I know nothing about the other campaigns, but until it looks like the PCs are getting closer I probably don’t need to.
Okay, that’s enough for tonight. I’ve got enough now that I can start working out The Keys of Heraka-at and lay good (I hope) clues and leads to the treasures that will lead to identification of the Donnerkonig Heirs and the Return of the Donnerkonig. I expect I may change the relationships shown here, and possibly add or remove nodes, but this is a start on an improved level of detail for the gateway adventure.