Monday, 6 April 2015

The Great Dale Sandbox 0 - Introduction & Table of Contents

My Neverwinter: Year of the Ageless One campaign will conclude in a few more sessions and I need to get another campaign ready. I have a few ideas that I have been toying around with for a while - plus the ones I have mentioned in the past on this blog - but I realised today I needed something simpler: Good vs Evil. Dungeons. Maybe dragons. Very little plot. Fairly old school.

While looking for something else in the 4E Forgotten Realms Player's Guide I noticed this description of the Great Dale:
The Great Dale is the vast, windswept vale that divides two enormous forests, the Dunwood to the north and the Forest of Lethyr to the south. The druids and other folk who inhabit the great rocky tor of Yeshelmaar are all that stand between the sparsely settled, wild southern woodlands and the festering evils of the northern forest.

Trade has collapsed along the Great Road, leaving the defenders of Yeshelmaar as the last bastion of civilisation in the Great Dale. Demons that were bound beneath the Dunwood by the long-fallen Empire of Narfell now stalk the northern forest and threaten to overwhelm the wild reaches of the Forest of Lethyr. The southern woods are home to hidden wood elf villages and a handful of human settlements along the border with Thesk.

And then I looked at the map and realised it already showed a few dungeons which means I would simply show the map to the players and let them choose where to go to find adventure. That's simple. That's fairly old school. And that might be just what my players are looking for after a more plot-intensive campaign.

Further, I continue to hope that I can persuade my wife's extended family to play this game one day so a simpler dungeon-focussed campaign is probably a good thing to have as a standby. So, here comes a series of posts called The Great Dale Sandbox which could otherwise probably be called Dungeons & Demons....

(It also gives me something to blog about while I wait for my copy of Princes of the Apocalypse. Ahhh, the joys of living in a Third World country....)

What About 5E?

Frankly, I think this idea of dungeons-on-a-map would work perfectly with 5E or any of the old school editions/rules. It's also suitable for DMs who don't have a good grasp of FR as, at its heart, it's a fairly generic campaign involving exploring dungeons with a possible BBEG being an aspect of a demon lord (and I think of aspects in the context of the 3.5E Miniatures Handbook where they were CR 12 or so and not Epic threats - I think that would also work well in 5E).

Introduction

(TL;DR: I have come to think of this campaign as something like the answer to this question: What would happen if Necromancer Games set its adventures in the world of the Forgotten Realms?)

The layout of the Great Dale is quite simple. There is the demon-haunted Dunwood on the northern side and the druid-protected Forest of Lethyr on the southern side. Dunwood vs Lethyr, or demon vs druid, is a fairly simple shorthand for describing the conflict in the Great Dale and the source of so many adventuring opportunities.

Beyond that, the Great Dale is a place containing numerous ruins from the demon-worshipping/-binding ancient Empire of Narfell. For my own take on this sandbox-based campaign that I expect/hope to run, I am actually calling it Legacies of Narfell. In due course, I hope to post actual play reports... assuming that is the campaign that we run through next.

The BBEG is going to be an aspect of Demogorgon and this aspect will be the source of much of the corruption of the Great Dale and its forests. That said, I suspect some of the other unique tanar'ri such as Orcus - or at least said tanar'ri's followers and thralls - will make an appearance but it's going to be a campaign that ends in a confrontation with the Big D himself.

And, yes, that means I will be stealing ideas along the way from the Savage Tide adventure path.

Table of Contents

Adventure Locations

From the 4E map:
Clymph Tower
Dun-Tharos
Val-Murthag


From the 3.xE map:
Fortress Narder
Great Barrow
Tower Threespires 

Other Locations & Features

Bezentil
Dunwood
Easting River
Forest of Lethyr
Giantspire Mountains
Great Road
Kront
Lake Ashane
The Mucklestones
Narfell
Tammar
Thesk
Uthmere
Yeshelmaar

Helpful Links

WotC posted the sections on the Great Dale from both the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide and Forgotten Realms Player's Guide <here> and <here> respectively.

All of the information from 3.xE's Unapproachable East - one of the best FR sourcebooks, IMO - can be found in four posts on another site: <overview>, <people>, <cities>, and <history>.

 

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