Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Map

After putting some thought into it I decided that one of my old takes on a fantasy Europe would be the best way to approach Yggsburgh and the world around it. In the first volume of Castle Zagyg the East mark is described as somewhat English in nature and this was something that I felt was a good jumping off point.

So, doing a search for a map of the British Isles and making some changes to it I came up with a rough map of the area I will be running the campaign in. While it is mainly a rough area map it gives me an idea of where certain countries and domains would be. As well it allows me to decide on where Yggsburgh and its area would be located.



As for the countries many will still be in the same place. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all remain in their current locations. However the a fifth country, Calontir, sits in the area that was once ocean and forms the main campaign area. This will be where I place Yggsburgh and the other areas I will develop for that part of the world.

I am also going to be bringing in material from Codex Celtarium and Codex Nordica into the setting as well as borrowing ideas from the old historical series from TSR. This will help flesh a few more things out and hopefully create a nice backdrop for the campaign. Of course history and such is not set at this point but having a good base helps when I get to the point of overall history.

As for the map itself, I am going to be trying to use GIMP to edit the map and hopefully make it more presentable and functional. As it is now, the map is a good starting place for the new campaign and hopefully the beginning of something bigger. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

5e Campaign Done, Back to Yggsburgh

Sadly my 5e Eberron game went out with a whimper and not a bang. Faced with some players moving away and a few cancellation due to health reasons the campaign saw an untimely death. 5e was fun but I also had a hard time writing for it and did not have the time to set up encounters or to keep checking the rule books for various answers to questions. As well, with a mid-week game and a fluctuating group it was time to look at another option.

I decided to go back to what I did best and that was a system that I could run with little prep time and that I could wing on the fly. That system is my old AD&D/C&C hybrid with a few things added in from systems like 3.X D&D and now 5e. The beauty is that I will not have to keep checking rule books and I can use pretty much everything I own when writing and creating adventures.

Of course you need a world for this and I felt it was time to run a new Yggsburgh campaign with also working on building up a world around the original map of the mini-setting. This time around I decided to place it in a world that is basically an alternate Earth with Yggsburgh itself being somewhere on the British Isles in the newly formed country of Calontir in the province of Gaxmoor.

I also am planning on using this world to continue my crossover work between Magic and D&D and as a testing ground for some other ideas. As well, I have decided to go back to some fun times I have had with the hobby and have decided to steal from everywhere and let players have some input on the world itself.

 For example, I am teaching my son how to play and he is a big Zelda fan. So to make it personal for him I had the elves worshiping a certain three goddesses from the series. Also being a fan of Skyrim I am making the main Nordic type deity Talos from that series. So if I see something I like I will more than likely use it, modify it or include it without any reservations. Much as I used to do.

To add in a bit of excitement to this I finally convinced my wife and daughter to join the game and play with the new group. This excites me more as I have always wanted them in the game at some point.

So here we go back to fun but familiar ground with new ideas and a fresh take.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Plane Shift: Planeswalking in D&D Part I

The Planeswalker is possibly the most important aspect of Magic: the Gathering lore and I feel is the one thing that needs to be handled first in this project. Ever since reading Plane Shift: Zendikar I began to work on just how to handle the idea of Planeswalkers in D&D. Exactly how these beings would present themselves in the D&D universe and how they could be integrated into a campaign and group would need to be one of the first issues tackled. Sadly, there is no easy answer to beings as powerful as Planeswalkers in D&D.




Planeswalkers as Magic sees them

The history of the M:tG Planeswalker begins with the idea of Planeswalkers being immortal, godlike beings that represented the players of the game. Their forms were the expression of their wills and they were some of, if not the, most powerful beings in the multiverse.

This was until the Time Spiral event where Planeswalkers were toned down and were now just powerful wizards that were now mortal. Yes, they could still move through realities and cast powerful spells but they were now mortal, aged and were limited by many of the same things the 'lesser' beings are.

In both versions the necessary means to become a Planeswalker is the Planeswalker Spark that only a few beings ever carry and even less see ignite. So becoming a Planeswalker could be a one in a trillion chance. While this works for Magic in D&D this becomes a problem as it becomes virtually impossible for any character to become a Planeswalker.

However using the above and making some adaptations we can get something going here. While it may not be pure Magic lore it will work for our purposes.

But first. . .


Planar Travel in D&D

Compared to the above, planar travel in D&D is much easier. When you have worlds, and a universe, with planar gates, portals and doors as well as magic items and well known spells it becomes much easier to hop from reality to reality.

 No spark is needed to traverse the planes and all you need is some knowledge of how to use certain events and items to your favor. Then once you find your way into these realities all you really need to do is make it into Sigil and you are at the center of everything.

From there it is a matter of just collecting new knowledge, spells and magic to transcend to a new level of being and become even more powerful that the new breed of Planeswalker has become.



Fitting them together


While thinking on how to fit this together I came upon a couple of ideas that would fit the old Planeswalkers, new Planeswalkers and the easier travelling in D&D together in some form. While this breaks a lot of canon and lore in both universes it does work and creates some interesting adventure ideas in the process.

Let's begin with the old Planeswalkers and the Time Spiral.

With the temporal breakdown on Dominaria and the rest of the multiverse a few of the old Planeswalkers saw what was coming and the destruction of the original spark. Not wanting to see the end of their power they began looking for a way to escape what would befall them.

It was during the planar chaos of this time a few of these Planeswalkers found another universe that was seemingly unaffected by the trouble in and around Dominaria. Using the rifts in their multiverse these Planeswalkers escaped Dominaria and came to what we know as the D&D universe/multiverse.

However, they made a miscalculation and arrived in the pasts of many worlds. On one such world, the Planeswalkers known as Bane, Bhaal and Myrkul established themselves as gods. On another the Planeswalker Vecna built an empire and unknown to all, the Eldrazi Tharzdun appeared in the primordial universe but was imprisoned by a mixture of gods and Planeswalkers.

Unknown to the citizens of this multiverse, many of their gods, demon lords and dukes of hell were at one time original Planeswalkers. While they may have lost some of their power in the move they did not suffer the consequences of The Mending as their Dominarian kin.

With the old Planeswalkers established as gods or demigods this leaves the question of the new Planeswalkers and how the spark would manifest in the D&D universe. Given the D&D rules and the rarity of the spark I would say that it only would manifest under a certain set of conditions.

Perhaps maybe with certain spells, items or maybe even as an epic boon of sorts. Another option would be that Planeswalkers manifest differently in the D&D universe than in the Magic universe. Maybe the combination of certain high level spells and magic items would be enough. And with the various portals on many of the worlds you do not need to have a spark to be a Planeswalker.

Of course, this is all speculation and thought exercises at this point. But you could rework high level NPCs like Elminster and Rary to be the new breed of Planeswalker in the D&D universe. The final point is that Planeswalkers in D&D would be different than their Magic counterparts and this should be so.

What's Next?

Next would be how the D&D multiverse would look in this exercise (Here's a hint, think 3.5 D&D), how to build a Planeswalker using D&D rules and how famous Planeswalkers would look in the D&D universe.

After that foundation it is on to a core world and how to bring creatures, spells, artifacts and items into the game. Yes, it is a long process but it will be worth it.







Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Plane Shift:Crossing Magic and D&D

Plane Shift is an ongoing series that I will be doing that continues the ideas given in Plane Shift: Zendikar and working toward playing D&D with ideas and flavor from Magic: the Gathering. I have said in the past that mixing ideas from the two is something I have done for years but with WOTC treading the waters on a crossover I decided to take the ideas I have had further to a fully realized world where ideas from both universes exist in the game.

Before I begin I want to say that this is not an attempt at making a Magic: the Gathering RPG. As much as I would love to see one I do not have the time or inclination to make one. Rather I am using the rules of D&D to build a game that has the flavor and 'fluff' of Magic included in it. While there may be some slight rules changes and definite 'conversions' of monsters, races and spells from Magic, this will all be done through the lens of D&D.

Of course, there are some challenges especially in the area of Planeswalkers and exactly how to handle mana in the game. I have looked at the first issue and have found a possible solution to this but the second is a bit tougher to handle as one would have to go through every race, class, spell and magic item in D&D to get this sorted. Something I really do not want to have to do.

As for the whole of the D&D universe there are many worlds and planes to explore and Planeswalking has been a part of the game since the earliest days. In fact, a game would never need to go to planes like Zendikar, Innistrad or Dominaria to have the Magic feel. Crossing from Oerth to Toril to Eberron can accomplish the same thing. Though visiting somewhere like Phyrexia or stopping an Eldrazi invasion on Toril would be fun and something I do want to explore.

Now, on to the series itself.

In this series I will begin to cover how make and define Planeswalkers for D&D, do some creation of spells like Lava Axe and such for D&D and even work on reskinning and making monsters whole cloth for D&D from Magic sources. I will make a 'home plane' that contains aspects of both Magic and D&D to serve as a jumping off point for the adventures.

In the end, I am hoping to help create a workable setting of sorts that combines both of my favorite games into one whole. As always questions, comments and constructive feedback are welcome.