In this post I continue the discussion of the “high concept” part of this project. The previous post finished with a summary of the pile of material I’ll have when I’m done. In this one I’ll discuss what it’s good for. What types of campaign can you play in Gransys?
The Eternal Quest
One alternative that springs readily to my mind is to steal the plot of the original game. The dragon comes, and the Arisen must confront it and uncover its secrets. This has the advantage of providing a solid structure and focus to the overall campaign, but also has the big drawback of holding no big surprises to anyone who is familiar with the source.
Even if your players don’t know the original game, it’s better to not slavishly adhere to its detailed sequence of events. The important story elements in the original are its revelations, those moments when the player solves one of the many riddles posed by the game. How you get there can and should vary considerably.
This kind of divergence is helpful both because it keeps familiar players guessing, and because it keeps the campaign itself fresh for the GM. It also makes use of the strengths of the new medium, as a tabletop game will undoubtedly offer far more possible resolutions to a given scenario than a computer game can. Players will need little incentive to come up with these novel solutions, and accepting that it’s OK for them to do so will turn their creativity into another asset for the campaign.
One PC in this campaign must be the Arisen. The others can be either Pawns, or human allies. Another interesting variation is to have several PCs be Arisen. This can either be because the Dragon created more than one this time, or because older Arisen decided to come out of the woodwork for their own reasons.
The appropriate power level for a campaign of this kind would be 250 points or more, the standard Dungeon Fantasy power level. The Arisen is always a very capable individual, and so should be anyone who can fight by their side.
Just The Dungeon Fantasy, Please
You don’t have to bother with all this Arisen business if you don’t want to, of course! Gransys is a perfectly adequate setting for a standard fantasy (or Dungeon Fantasy) campaign even without that. Decades or centuries pass between each draconic invasion, leaving plenty of time for people to get into unrelated trouble in between.
Your party could be a normal group of adventurers who raid dungeons or take on dangerous jobs for fun and profit. The expanded map we’ll be working on should have plenty of space for you to fill with extra places to explore, and if the original game is any indication the inhabitants of Gransys are always needing someone to control the bandit and monster population or to go into dangerous and remote spots looking for relics and rare ingredients.
This is pretty much a standard DF campaign with a more fleshed out map and a variable amount of Dragon’s Dogma flavor. You could even just use the map and not bother with any of the setting-specific character options if you are so inclined. 250-point characters are still appropriate, as are “low-level” 125-point templates if the group wants that specific feel.
Beyond the Dungeon
Gransys is also a good place for less dungeon-y fantasy campaigns. There’s plenty of urban intrigue to be had in Gran Soren and the Duke’s court. Wandering merchants and peddlers can lead quite eventful lives trying to make a buck. Soldiers in a remote fort have to contend with monsters from outside and morale problems from within. And it could even be interesting to step into the shoes of a regular citizen in this monster-infested world.
Loot and Pillage
Even if you decide not to use the setting at all, some of the supporting rules material could still make its way into a campaign set elsewhere. This includes character templates, any new items or item-related rules, and the monsters. Dungeon Fantasy can always use more monsters, no matter what setting it uses!
So which will it be?
Most of my efforts here will prioritize the first two approaches. This means they will be geared towards a campaign mostly based on the Dungeon Fantasy rules, with 250-point characters and lots of action. There will be rules to play Arisen and Pawns, but the rest of the material should work perfectly well for games without these things. I’ll try to include tips on lower point level games where appropriate.
I will, however take some more time to detail the possible sources of intrigue in the setting, so those wishing to to focus there will be well-supported.