March 10, 2010

Dynastic Campaign Part Two

In the previous article I discussed the concept of what a Dynastic Campaign is, how it can be set up and run. This second part will detail a couple of sample campaigns and how the generations can be laid out over the course of the campaign.

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The world is under the control of an evil race and the players and their descendants work toward freeing the world from this tyranny.

Generation One (Starting Level=1). The characters are present when the evil race invades, killing the ruling family and putting themselves into power. The first adventure should start the players in a typical setting which is quickly disrupted by a force attacking and subjugating the character’s homeland. Encounters can consist of trying to survive by either hiding or trying to blend in, depending on the choices the players make. To set the tone, the invaders should clearly be of superior power and it should be plainly evident the war is lost and fighting will end badly. This is about learning to live with the occupation and survival. This generation can last a few levels as the character seek to escape death and subjugation or it could end quickly if the characters choose to fight.

Generation Two (Starting Level=5). Coming to understand the capabilities of the enemy, this generation moves from simple survival to organizing resistance. The characters establish safe locations and gather people willing to fight. This is a time of politics as other people have the same idea and there is an ebb and flow to revolution groups as they form and can be merged into a cohesive resistance group. Perhaps a member of the royal family survived the invasion and this royal line needs to be rescued and kept safe. Minor skirmishes with the enemy can also be run at this time.

Generation Three (Starting Level=15). This generation should be hardened to the rigors of resistance and have inherited the resistance groups formed in the previous generation. Now the fight is taken to the enemy in earnest as they attack key leaders of the opposition. Also at this time quests can be undertaken to recover lost items of power that will give them an edge. Diplomacy is also an option as the characters seek to keep the fires of revolution burning in the hearts of those not active in resistance groups after many years of occupation. This generation is about moving the fight forward.

Generation Four (Starting Level=10). This generation is young and is suddenly thrust into the forefront when something unexpected happened to the previous generation (perhaps they were all killed or captured). Using the resources gathered by previous generations key locations are taken. First one city, and then more as the characters move the fight forward and regain possessions the kingdom had lost when they were first invaded. Sieges takes months and years as the characters slowly reclaim their lands. Near the end, the lines of battle will stabilize setting up the climactic battles to be fought by the next generation.

Generation Five (Starting Level=25). This sees a quick buildup to the final assault on the power base of the oppressors, perhaps even taking the battle to the enemy’s homeland. Killing the leader of the enemy and driving the enemy completely from their lands is the goal.


A prophecy reveals the death of an evil god (one who prevents heroic souls from journeying on to a heavenly paradise upon death) and outlines what must be done to accomplish this noble task. Different generations will be able to move this prophecy along its course.

Generation One (Starting Level=1). This is all about gathering information. A group seeking to fulfill the prophecy is looking for people with a unique birthmark that is passed from generation to generation. The player characters naturally have this birthmark. They are discovered and brought together to fulfill the prophecy. The prophecy itself is fairly vague so the GM can improvise or change things if he needs to down the road; such things as “In the times of past the silver way will be found”.
Also discovered is the cult that serves the evil god and wish to perpetuate the problems and destroy the characters and their families. By not allowing souls to move on properly, undead ravage the land at certain times of the year.

Generation Two (Starting Level=15). The characters begin gathering the items and accomplishing the deeds mentioned in the prophecy. Throughout this time they must contend with the cult that is trying at every turn to make sure the characters can not propagate and keep the prophecy alive. Making sure the family line continues is another vitally important consideration to the characters.

Generation Three (Starting Level=10). To keep the quest feeling epic and holding to the concept of a dynastic campaign, a new set of characters need to follow in the steps of the former generation, continuing to gather what they need to fulfill the prophecy. This is one of those times when killing off characters is not a bad thing. At this point there could be a series of generations run depending on how much of a dynastic feel the DM wants.

Generation Four (Starting Level=20). The characters confront the cult that serves the evil god. This is about discovering the leaders of the cult and where their hidden base is. The destruction of the base and cult will bring a positive change to the world around them.

Generation Five (Starting Level=25). Items from the prophecy are consolidated and descendants bring the campaign to an epic end. They invade the home plane of the evil god and destroy him, thereby releasing the trapped souls to continue on their way. There can even be a special end scene where the characters are greeted by their former characters who can now go on to their rightful reward.
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