A few weeks ago we saw the release of 5e Dungeons and Dragons, and I was pleasantly surprised with the system (for my reviews- Part One and Part Two)! So of course with the big new shiny to play with I asked my players if they would like to take a break from our Hubris campaign (which we are about to hit the one year mark of play) and do a mini-campaign to try out 5e. No big surprise that all my players were chomping at the bit to try out the system.
I started pondering where I would want to run the game, and of course, I started getting too carried away- thinking of a whole campaign and world building rather than just realizing that this campaign will most likely only be 4-5 sessions before we go back into Hubris.
At first I was pondering running in in Planescape, but nixed that idea when I realized how much work I’d have to put into getting everything set up to run it… I’m too busy editing Hubris and writing notes on my next RPG book to read through a whole campaign setting right now… So, that’s out.
So I started thinking about just mashing a bunch of things together… I also decided that this was a perfect opportunity to test one of my designs of Hubris.
When I started Hubris I wanted it to be a full campaign setting, but I also wanted it to be able to be hacked to whatever setting you wanted to use. Maybe you don’t want to run a game in my fucked up and gritty world, but you do like the Land of Perpetual Stone and Mire, perfect- just take that land… It’s perfectly stand alone and hackable!
So I decided I wanted to use the River Kingdoms from the Pathfinder world, Golarion (or whatever it’s called)- however, make it a bit darker and twisted (because that’s what I like to do).
I also decided that since 5e had some serious nods to the older versions of D&D and to the OSR, I’d run an older module. I decided to go with the Sinister Secrets of Saltmarsh since I was already decided to start this campaign in a swamp area. This also got me excited because it meant I could run the awesome Scenic Dunnsmouth (one of the best modules/adventures ever, btw) as well!
Also I decided to use a swamp because it allows me to test Hubris. I created my own swamp territory in my setting called the Bogwood Swamp. I’m not going to use the locations in it, but I AM going to use the Lay of the Land chart and the Encounters chart to see how well they translate to a completely different setting/world. I know it’ll be fine, but I just want to see for myself.
I plan to start with the player emerging from the mountains with a man they are escorting to Saltmarsh. I plan to have this be a sandbox (contained within the River Kingdoms, since it’ll be a short campaign), and we’ll see where they go. I’ll do a session write up with thoughts of 5e mechanics after we play on 9/14 and 9/21.
I love looking at pictures to generate ideas and use them as a reference point. I also think it is fun and easy to show them to my players and say “this” and them get the jist rather than constant use of descriptors that can be confusing. I also tend to use pictures to give my players a sense of the campaign rather than a huge wall of text that I know they’ll never read.
Here are a bunch of pics! Enjoy!