Last Updated: June 22, 2021
Once in a while I have an idea for a campaign that I like enough to write down. Some of these ideas may be explored in depth, some may include unique mechanics, and some will just be half-formed ideas with a few sentences of description.
Fantasy: First Responders
Imagine a DnD-style metropolis in a high magic setting (Sharn in Eberron is a great example). The residents are as native to that setting as any player character, so there are numerous clerics, wizards, etc. and the world is shaped by the presence of those classes. Businesses and other services cater to those people’s needs, and interacting with a wizard is as normal as interacting with a real-world engineer or scientist.
However, the introduction of magic into a densely populated area introduces certain dangers. To address these issues, the city establishes a first responders organization: a government-backed guild of heroes paid by the city to respond to fantasy catastrophies much in the same way that real-world firefighters respond to fires.
Fantasy: Gang War
Players take on the role of members of a thieves’ guild or a similar criminal organization, and the campaign begins with an erupting conflict with one or more local rivals. Players must overcome their rivals by any means necessary, struggling for influence, territory, money, and anything else of value on the streets of a great city. Warehouses, homes, businesses, and the homes of the wealthy take the place of dungeons. Most enemies are humanoids since you’re primarily fighting and robbing enemies.
Probably best for a non-good, low level campaign. Lots of opportunities to use under-utilized skills like forgery. Consider bringing in other subsystems like the Franchise mechanics from Dungeons and Dragons 5e’s Acquisitions Incorporated sourcebook to simulate officer roles within the thieves’ guild.
Fantasy: Massive Chalice
I just finished Massive Chalice, and I absolutely loved it. Despite mediocre reviews and some legitimite criticisms of the game (This Kotaku Review addresses most of them very nicely, I think), the base concepts of the game are solid and could be adapted easily to a class-based fantasy game like DnD or Pathfinder. Replacing heroes with their descendents every few years also opens up the ability to experiment with a wide variety of builds, which seems very appealing for enthusiastic character optimizers who love to play a build idea two or three times before dropping it to explore another.
Many Dungeon Fantasy systems like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder include abundant options for exploring aquatic environments, but generally those only get used if you’re in a dungeon and a room floods or if you’re playing a pirate-themed campaign like Paizo’s Skull and Shackles.
In this campaign, the world is almost entirely flooded. Players play survivors, clinging to life on ramshackle flotilla communities that cross-cross the flooded world just trying to survive. Wood is more precious than gold, but can only be found on islands where the elves make their homes, jealously guarding each tree like ancient treasure, and trading with the flotillas for whatever valuables they can collect or produce on the endless seas. While the sea provides abundant food, flotillas come into conflict over more scarce resources like wood, cloth, paper, and metal.
Adventure is found beneath the waves, plumbing the depths of the ocean to explore the submerged remains of what were once cities, castles, and even the occasional dungeon, and emerging with forgotten treasures which you can use to barter. But as your flotilla’s greatest warriors, you must also defend your floating home from the beasts and monstrosities which hunt below the waves. An attack from below could spell the end for you and everyone you’ve ever known.
Shadowrun: Green as Grass
Shadowrun’s character creation rules assume that the characters are experienced and often have a decent amount of gear and connections to support them. I want to see a game where the characters first get into running the shadows. How do they meet their first fixer? How do they get their first job? How do they go about their jobs with no prior experience to fall back on? I especially want to run this for a group of players totally new to the system and setting to get the full experience.
Star Wars: Inquisition
I really enjoy the Star Wars: Rebels series, and the Inquisitors themselves are especially interesting. We learn more in Swar Wars: Fallen Order, but there is still a lot left to explore. A lot is hinted at or implied about their organization, but very little is actually detailed.
Where information is left to the audience to guess is where we can find space for a game. How does the inquisition recruit? How large is it? How are they trained, and what do they do (if anything) when they’re not hunting jedi? Do they hunt other enemies of the Empire (rebels, etc.)? What makes them all so willing to embrace the dark side? We know that they’re assigned a number, but how does that work? Is it a rank, or seniority?
Players take on the role of inquisitors or their associates (pilots, purge troopers, imperial officiers, etc.) and hunt the enemies of the empire, struggling to gain favor in the eyes of their masters, but also to outdo each other in a constant search for power.