The Chronicles of a Dead Empire
Dungeon Master's Introduction
Welcome to the Chronicles of a Dead Empire campaign! As your Game Master or GM, I’m very excited that you want to go with me on this tale of high adventure in the world of Mathoja. I’ve attempted to be as detailed as possible, so slipping into character will be easy and fun. I encourage you to do as much as you can to play up your character and lose yourself for a few hours.
As a GM, I like to put all my cards on the table so players know what to expect, what they can start out with, and what they can expect at the beginning of the campaign. This wiki gives everyone a heads up to what is expected without burning up loads of face-to-face game time explaining those things, or having to spend considerable talking to the GM. Most of your basic questions should be already answered once you read through.
Also, it’s nice to have a handy guide you can have with you that is specific to the campaign. I encourage you to make notes, share ideas and use this Obsidian Portal site to the fullest. As the game develops and grows, I will update the content as needed.
Chronicles of a Dead Empire has many outside influences in spirit:
- Conan series by RE Howard. Although the world of Mathoja isn’t like Hyboria in any sense, I did take a cue from Howard who was unabashed about using older or different real world cultures as a basis for the backdrop of his stories.
- Call of Cthulhu and other stories by HP Lovecraft. An element of the weird will come into play, and yes, I’ll make you do Will checks to see if you freak out at the unknown.
- Eternal Champion stories, Elric, Corum, Count Brass and Hawkmoon by Micheal Moorcock. One of my favorite writers, it is Moorcock who showed me that you have to take artistic license in fantasy, but also ground it to the world.
- The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Who hasn’t been been influenced in the slightest by him?
- Avatar the Last Airbender (the cartoon series) You may ask, “OK, explain this one fully.” That explanation is easy. I consider this one of the best fantasy cartoon series ever made, to date. Like Howard, the creators borrowed from other cultures, mainly middle to far eastern. But the main influence to this campaign is the simplicity of the backdrop. They didn’t get into huge strange sounding names or places; things were simple. The Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, Water Tribes and Air Nomads. The richness was derived from the cultures and characters. I hope to do the same with CDE.
The expectations of the players in my games are summed up in the following social contracts. Social contracts are important part of beginning a game with new players, it puts the expectations and rules to manage those expectation on the table. Is this a contract you sign with blood? Nope, and I’m going to force players to consent to rules that I’m not going to follow too. We’re a team! Can the players change the terms of the contract? Yes, just as long as it doesn’t affect the vision of the setting. I’m not a tough GM, so much of what you’ll see is simply common sense. Here are various rules of the house and game:
You may ask: OK, what can I expect as a player? How do you GM?
My answer: Expect a lot, but it’ll all make sense once the game is under way. I’m only the guide and creator of the backdrop, mechanic to how the world works and the judge to the goals of the campaign. The players play out the story from bits of background you’ll know before the game begins or that’s picked up along the way. Once a goal is met, then the game will recess so I can ready the next backdrops.
My style of roleplaying is more character/story-driven, and less GM vs Group. I do expect the players to take care of their character sheets and be attentive during play. I’ll also communicate with players off-line for various reasons. The devil is in the details, and I’m a fairly detailed GM.
Since I don’t run carefully scripted modules, you won’t be too terribly confined in your actions. On the other hand, you’ll have goals to keep you focused. Running around too willy-nilly away from the group, you may find yourself more of spectator than a player. Keep your head in the game and be thoughtful about the why when you do something. Going off half-cocked will have consequences.
I expect a fair amount of player/PC interaction. Much of the roleplaying might be spent talking as PCs, gathering information (intelligence) from each other. There will be chances for the exciting parts such as gun play and figuring out puzzles, but information gathering will help you get to those exciting parts. This won’t be a combat-oriented game, but it will have action and risk of life and limb.
As a GM, I focus more on roleplaying, and less on game mechanics. This is why I’ve chosen to use Castles & Crusades. I won’t use every optional rule in the books, but rather what fits my style of GMing or what the setting calls for. This OP site details what I allow the players in the context of the game.
My games are divided into “house campaigns", which are really mini-campaigns that last for 2 to 8 sessions. This allows for players who are concerned about making a long term commitment to make a shorter term commitment instead. Once the house campaign is finished, I’ll set the next game out for RSVP on RTR. If you want to play, simply RSVP back in. Be quick, seats are limited!