Wrapping Up Warcraft

October 18th, 2008

When I ran the first part of my Shadowfang Keep adaptation, I brought a stack of pre-made characters.  I explained the basics of each class and the d20 mechanic, told them we’d get to the rest during actual play as it came up, and jumped right into the adventure.  This is a faster start than I’ve normally used in the past, but it seemed to work pretty well.  During the first encounter, with the extremely simple terrain, they were able to pick up most of the combat rules very quickly.  But the game really took off when they reached Baron Silverlaine’s hall.

“It’s going to be tough to fight all of those,” one of the players mused.

“Is that what you want to do?  Fight them?”

“…What?”

“Well, he just demanded to know what you’re doing in his keep.  It’s up to you to decide how your characters respond.”

I think that’s when the nature of the game really clicked.  They went on to join forced with the Baron, negotiate with Commander Springvale, and prepare to assist the ghost soldiers in their assault.  At that point, we ran out of time.  The idea of a second session to wrap up was met warmly, and ultimately, after a rather difficult fight, the characters succeeded in defeating Atugal.  They even chose to capture him and bring him back to the nearby village for trial rather than to kill him outright.

So that’s my run with adapting an idea from Warcraft.  The conversion was a little more direct than my usual, but it worked out, and everyone had a good enough time to want to play a second session.

Shadowfang Keep is a pretty straightforward dungeon, but there are many other sources of inspiration to be found in World of Warcraft.  Some of my particular favorite plotlines, which I feel are well-suited for Dungeons & Dragons, are:

Onyxia.  A powerful ancient dragon secretly kidnaps the King, locking him away in a dungeon, and uses her magical abilities to impersonate a high-ranking noble, influencing the nation toward her own ends in the King’s absence.  The characters might first uncover evidence of the missing King, then track him down, rescue him, and ultimately confront the dragon in her lair to put an end to her schemes.

The Defias Brotherhood.  A large group of organized bandits has begun to trouble the kingdom.  The characters might be moved to deal with them, but what happens when they find out that many of these bandits are artisans who were never paid for their work in rebuilding the capital?  I would alter this plotline so that the bandits cause direct harm only to the nobility, in Robin Hood fashion — the idea being to avoid having one side be the “bad guys.”  This plot was practically made for exploring moral shades of grey.

Hakkar the Soulflayer.  An ancient god (or a primordial), long banished from the world, seeks to return.  His followers might trick the characters into resurrecting him, or into gathering for them the pieces they need to enact a reincarnation ritual.  Then, once they realize they’ve been had, they must discover a means for the old god’s defeat, and finally confront him in an epic battle.

Hemet Nesingwary’s Expedition.  Need a break from defeating evil and saving the kingdom/world?  How about a hunting safari in the depths of the untamed jungle?  The characters confront savage humanoids, maddened beasts, and the environment itself as they try to track down their legendary quarry.

The Caverns of Time.  Some powerful force is interfering with the events of past history.  The characters must first determine what’s happening, then find a way to travel back themselves to put a stop to it — and without significantly changing history themselves.

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Related posts:

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  5. Losing Your Religion

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