I completed the first draft of my campaign’s backstory, the impetus for our intrepid party’s adventure. And, according to the Tome of Adventure Design that’s the first thing that needs to be completed. It has a list of 9 items that make up a “Masterpiece Adventure”. And that is precisely my aim with this new campaign/adventure.

Coincidentally the next item on the list is: Location. And that’s the next item on my internal list. However I don’t have a single location to define. This adventure is going to span the known Forgotten Realms. Whether revealed or not, the initial location is Waterdeep. And, depending on the choices and successes of the party, the final location is/might be/could be Goldenfields.

Main Quest

I have to map out the locations for the main quest. These will be the points between A (Waterdeep) and Z (Goldenfields) should the party stick solely to the Main Quest. And in my loose notes I want to try every kind of encounter: city, dungeon, forest, castle, temple, on the sea, under the sea, etc. And, if possible, different seasons.

Note: Just because I say I want to do it, doesn’t mean I’ll actually do it. I’m battling time and, eventually, party interest and enthusiasm. My first rule is: keep the adventurers engaged.

For each main quest location I’ll be answering these questions:

  • Why is the party here?
  • Where are they going next?
  • How will they accomplish this?
  • What are the ramifications for not going?

There may be more questions, hopefully not fewer.

Side Quests

After I get the Main Quest locations mapped out, I’ll start considering the addition of Side Quest locations. This also requires I define some Side Quests.

I haven’t spent time thinking about the Side Quests other than I want to tie them into the Player Character’s background and/or motivations. I feel I can setup some inter-party conflict with the Side Quests.

I’ll need to be mindful on “degree of difficulty” and ability to reintegrate into the Main Quest for each Side Quest. While Player Character death is always possible, I’d rather it didn’t happen in a Side Quest. But it could happen.

Maps

I’m already gathering some resources for the location maps I’m going to need. I’m also considering using map tiles and miniatures. I haven’t decided on the specific execution of these ideas though. I have a feeling I’m going to experience some “perfect is the enemy of good enough” moments.

Once I start sorting and deciding on maps I’ll post a link to the resource(s).

Music

This is a new element for me. For this I have zero experience. However, I’ve been really lucky in finding some play lists in Spotify. I have also found some ‘dark ambient’ music producers. I have a feeling this aspect of the campaign definition is going to be time consuming; I need to not overthink the music.

I’m planning on creating my own play list with the music I want to play. I want each piece to set the mood, enhance the encounter. I also need to find some ‘filler’ pieces that can be played when the party is in between encounters.

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