Thursday, January 13, 2011

Why, hello!

Welcome to my blog! This will primarily be focused on Dungeons and Dragons, a game I have been playing in one iteration or another for a good fifteen years, both as a player and DM. I have a few different projects that I am going to post here, including developing campaign settings, adventures, 4E-style Dungeon Delves, characters, ideas, thoughts, and commentary. I'll also link up to the other places on the interwebs that I'm stealing things from for my own campaigns, as well as tools and just about anything else related to Dungeons and Dragons.

The one thing I will not do is get caught up in Edition Wars or any other kind of NerdRage. There are plenty of other blogs out there that do that quite well, and I just don't have the patience for it.

My two oldest children are 10 and 8 years old. They are both very interested in playing D&D, and they (like the other children) love The Legend of Zelda video games. So, currently, my biggest project is adapting The Legend of Zelda video game world to the Dungeons and Dragons 4E system, while also simplifying the system so that it is not too overwhelming for my kids. Trying to find a balance between the 4E style of play and the feel of a Zelda game has been kind of tricky, and I am going to share what I come up with here. Interestingly, I've had an easier time adapting the mechanics than I have coming up with a storyline and dungeons. Regardless, I'll be posting a lot of that here.

Now, to kick off the new blog thing here with something totally not related to the Legend of Zelda, I give you "The Great Tree". I originally posted the kernel for this campaign setting on the WotC D&D forums, and here it is a little more filled out.

The Great Tree

The trunk of the Great Tree is two thousand miles across, with countless kingdoms and lands spread out among its huge branches. The Tree is surrounded by numerous floating earthmotes, where stone is mined for use in the kingdoms of the Great Tree

For directional purposes, North is always towards the Tree.

The huge branches tend to be about 100-200 miles across and thousands of miles long. Civilization tends to stay close to the trunk, generally within a few hundred miles. Past that, that the terrain becomes treacherous and monster-infested.

Typically, each branch is the domain of a single political entity, be it kingdom, democracy, magocracy, etc.

There are a great many carved tunnels throughout the trunk, many of which connect different branches/kingdoms. Many are Underdark-like. There are a number of Dwarven kingdoms in the trunk as well.

No one has ever returned from an expedition to the base of the Great Tree. It cannot be seen from the lowest branch/kingdom, obscured by clouds and mist.

Large, flat areas of branches are typically covered with soil deep enough to sustain some farming. It regularly rains on every level of the tree. Some areas get water from never-ending earthmote waterfalls.

The sun appears to travel around the tree, so that when the sun is behind the tree, relative to your position, it is night-time (ie, it is dark because the tree is providing shade). The sun is never directly overhead, however. High noon is when your shadow is pointed directly at the Great Tree.

Out beyond the earth-motes is sky, forever, and danger. Elementals and dragons rule the skies out there, and skyships rarely stray more than a hundred miles from the Tree.

The Great Tree is the source of all life on the Prime Material Planes. Before the Gods created Faerun, or Krynn, or any other “world”, there was the Great Tree, in the midst of the Heavens. They filled the Great Tree with all manner of creatures, natural, fey, and shadow, living, dead, and undead.

All other worlds have been populated with creatures chosen from the population of the Great Tree. All other worlds are connected to the Great Tree, so much so that the destruction of the Tree would bring an end to life on all Prime Material Planes, for it is from the Great Tree that all life flows.

Of course, the denizens of the Great Tree do not know of the importance of their hometree. Most are unaware of the existence of other planes of existence. The Gods are real and make their homes on their own branches of the Great Tree. Those branches are very well protected, and the gods are not often found there, anyway.

There is one group, however, that does know of the Tree’s history and importance: Melora’s Guardians. They protect both the Tree and its people from threats abyssal and elemental.
The Primordials are jealous of the Gods, and the life-sustaining power of the Great Tree. They seek to tear it down. Those from the Far Realm seek only to corrupt and feed off the Great Tree; they are abominations and must be destroyed.

Well, that is my overview of "The Great Tree" campaign setting. There is definitely a lot of room to expand, and plenty of possibilities for adventure. I'll start filling in the branches as inspiration comes to me.

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