I mentioned in my post Prepping for a New Game that instead of starting by diving right into the creation process for my next campaign I was going to do a postmortem, or review, of my last campaign The Realms of Rylon or Rylon for short. Here we are three months later so I figured I better get this postmortem started.
Here are the points I’m going to hit during this process:
- What was the original campaign idea?
- The good – what was well received, done well or enjoyed by all
- The bad – what could have been done better, could have been good if handled differently
- The ugly – what hurt the campaign and the players/GM’s enjoyment
Will that cover everything? Probably not but it does force me to focus on where I can improve things for my next campaign and also remember what worked well so I can continue to use it.
Let’s start at the top, what was the original campaign idea?
The original campaign idea for Rylon centered around an artifact called The Keystone. According to legend about 400 years prior to the start of the campaign the Keystone was broken into four pieces to seal off the city of Tangarth and it was the goal of the party to collect the four pieces and return them to their employer.
While I had the above in mind and some preliminary notes put together I didn’t initially put this to my group as I didn’t want to railroad them into it, so I did a soft sell. I did this by writing up an initial adventure during which their future employer was looking to select a group of adventures to complete some task. The adventure allowed the group to bond together by giving them some common experiences and set the stage for a number of role-playing sessions during which the players agreed on terms with their employer and started their quest.
Was the idea good? In a lot of respects it was as it gave a lot of room for creativity and also provided some themes for different aspects of the campaign as I eventually linked each piece of the keystone to a base element, earth, fire, water and air. The theme idea I’ll admit has been done almost to death but it did work well for this.
I also decided that I wanted this campaign to take the group of characters to epic level (for those not familiar with 3.5 D&D that’s above level 20), which translated to five levels per part of the keystone. Here was the first mistake I made and the first lesson I learned – you shouldn’t plan out your campaign based level advancement.
Why not? What happens with the party doesn’t advance in levels? The plot can stagnate. What happens when the party goes off on a side trip? Advancement stagnates. Both situations make it difficult on everyone to enjoy the game.
Lesson learned – don’t tie major plots to character advancement make the two independent of each other.
In the next part of this series of articles I take a look at what worked well in the campaign. I promise it won’t take another three months!
May your dice roll well.