Matt Colville, over at MCDM, just released a new video that includes a fantastic resource for getting started with your own campaign. It’s a form fillable PDF covered in questions that, when answered, will result in a local area that can support adventure for the foreseeable future. This idea–that you don’t need a cosmology, a carefully curated timeline spanning thousands of years, internecine political conflicts with completely fleshed-out origins in the cultural histories of various tribes, or even a freaking map–is not new in the DMing space. It is, however, something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I love worldbuilding and lore, and have tended to emphasize it over “playability” in my settings.
To that end, I’ve quickly filled out a copy of this sheet for the starting area of Casters & Castles. The party isn’t going to stay here long–they’re on an epic quest that will span thousands of miles and multiple kingdoms–but it’s an example of how things might go down if they never seek the Book of Dawn in Kraius, and become embroiled in the turmoil of the Northern Kingdoms.
Note that no matter what the supplementary material says for this campaign, it’s only canon if Bren, the Dungeon Master for Castles & Casters, uses it. When you write an adventure module, you’re setting it up one way but it’s no longer yours as soon as it lands at someone else’s table. That’s part of the joy of the hobby–watching people make things their own!
Castles and Casters is a livestreamed D&D 5e campaign featuring esports broadcasting talent, costumes and audience interaction. You can watch Castles & Casters Mondays at 11am pacific, at https://twitch.tv/sideshow