Gotta get things rolling for the D&D campaign as I don’t know for sure when the group may be ready to play. And it’s for real for real, as I’ve proposed we just go ahead and start playing to my brother. That’s 66% of us that’s ready to go already, and I’m way behind.
I’ve been doing some more research on how to start a campaign, and I discovered I’ve got to spread out my info quite a bit so the party can feel the “open world” feel. Less about me creating story arcs, more on world building for now.
Also got some great insight from commenters and follow gamers. Seriously, the D&D fandom is such a wealth of knowledge and they’re so supportive! Mostly it comes from a place of love for the game and wanting others to share that love. It’s a pure enthusiasm, man, and I haven’t experienced it too often.
In order to help out my players, I’ve compiled some information about the Dalelands (below). It’s information I think anyone would know about the Dalelands if they’re from the area or have spent any length of time in the area. For now, I’m going to assume the players are from the area, and for whatever reasons are in Archendale when they meet.
I’m definitely looking for feedback wherever there are gaps. I’m relying heavily on the DnDWiki for the descriptions of the dales, but I expect to create some places of my own in time. For now, not trying to reinvent the wheel. The Dales offer a tons of different spaces to explore, and it’s where I planned for the major arc to resolve from the beginning. The way I figure it, having all this existing world off the rack could alleviate some of the workload. Instead of world building, I can focus on NPC designs, understanding combat and general rules, and just being a DM for the first time and figuring that out.
To be fair, I want to change things based on what the players want to get out of this game. Matthew and I are tremendous fans of Dungeons and Daddies, so I need to know how “serious” this game will run. I’ll also need to find out if they want to play in the theater of the mind, but I know for myself and keeping things in line, I’ll need at least a few maps and markers. I expect things to change as they add their own to the story.
Trynna KISS it for now, though.
This guy: Guy on his channel “How to be a Great GM” is so right.
“…you are going to over complicate and get analysis paralysis… because you’re going to try and create this epic Lord of the Rings adventure for adventure one straight off the bat… [but] the idea is to keep it simple.”
High Fantasy, The Forgotten Realms, Tolkein-esque setting
The Dalelands are a plush, diverse, well-connected area arguably in the heart of Faerûn. If not the heart, the Dales are at least one of the strongest beats in the realm. The Dales see a lot of trade within its borders and physically connect the large, established cities of the area: Sembia, Cormyr, and Cormanthor. The Dalelands are a collective area of numerous tribal lands, each consisting of its own Dale. Each Dale has arbitrary, undefined boarders that fluctuate with the ambitions of their kings and queens, though most are content with their territory.
The majority of the Dalelands are peaceful, not minding much of the world beyond the mountains or the sea. They have enough resources within their autonomously governed city-states that they do not need to trade with foreigners, but they do not discourage interactions either.
Magic is rare in the dalelands. Though not outright criminal, as many mages are chief advisers, magic users are still rare enough to elicit both awe and suspicion from the villagers. The people here believe in upholding tradition while simultaneously seeking innovation. Magic is a natural innovation, but not common enough to be comfortable.
Each Dale hosts its own religion and centering culture, though all subscribe to the same pantheon (Forgotten Realms).
Urban Dales: Archendale, Scardale, Tasseldale
Suburban Dales: Deepingdale, Harrowdale
Rural Dales: Battledale, Daggerdale, Featherdale, High Dale, Mistledale, Shadowdale
Fallen Dales: Moondale, Sessrendale, Tarkhaldale, Teshendale
The World as We Come to It
Within the last six months or so, the natural world has overgrown and become wild. Areas known to be wild have grown overly thick with vegetation. Cleared lands have been choked out by forests and jungle. Fields that were once organized farmlands that yielded dependable harvests suddenly sprouted wild vines and unrecognizable crops. City walls are threatened by the strength of this growth; a growth of which no one understands the origins or how to defeat.
With the natural order disproportionately balanced against civilized life, every city and village alike struggle for resources. Traditionally peaceful people are now quick to hostility, thievery is at an all-time high in the realm, and people are rapidly starving to death.
As humanoid life diminishes in power, beasts of all sorts become emboldened. Packs of owlbears, bugbears, and wolves take on more hunting territories, sidling right up to shriveling towns and villages. Evil things like hags have taken over entire towns, turning them into abysmal wastelands.
The people of the Dalelands are losing faith in their gods, faith in their chiefs, and faith in their own strength as the jungles continue to impose on their lives.
The story begins in Archendale, one of the most densely populated territories of the Dalelands and a strong trading hub.