Tales of the Bloodstone Lands
Last night, I offered the players the opportunity to make Tales of the Bloodstone Lands into a Shared World. The Vaasan Gate and the Board offers an golden opportunity for someone to DM a “One-Shot” with little backstory or prep, but anyone could spin a story off the current adventure with enough thought. Changing DMs comes with a bit of uncertainty and spontaneity, but we all need to follow the guidelines below to make Shared DMing work.
Don’t Screw with Someone Else’s NPC
Feel free to create a story revolving around the next assignment on The Board and Muddy Blades. Bring in a crotchety dwarven sage to hire the party for an assignment. Don’t make Telmuth the secret guildmaster of the Citadel of Assassins. Feel free to use NPCs “as written” or introduce your own, but don’t attach major alternate hiostories or stories to existing NPCs. If Soldekur introduces the old crotchety dwarven sage above, any DM can use that NPC, but they can’t change the NPC. Don’t Mess with NPCs.
Start and End in the Same Place (and Time)
The job on the board results in a sorcerer who teleports the party to Calimshan. A mysterious portal gates the party to a different world (or region). At the end of the adventure, the party finds itself back at the wall (or Heliogabalus or wherever the adventure began). The same goes for Time Travel – you know who I’m talking to. Don’t mess with Continuity.
Don’t Favor or Slight a Particular Character – Especially Your Own
You can NPC your character in the group, or decide to have your character sit out. If everyone has their character sit out, then the loss of XP is shared by the group more or less equally. That said, Tai’s (the wizard’s) player shouldn’t run a session that ends up with the party finding a complete set of spellbooks, Robe of the Archmage and Staff of the Magi. On the other side, another GM should run a party through a dungeon completely set in a magic dead zone. Don’t Show Favoritism
You can choose to have another player run your character, NPC him yourself, or have him stay behind. If running the character through the adventure, rule 3 applies – no favoritism, and don’t have the adventure revolve around your character. The DM’s character should be in the background, not center stage.
If the character stays behind, he earns half the XP of the group (and can always recoup the XP using the Earn XP downtime action. All character XP will be set at least at the midpoint of the level below the average group level. It’s very likely that my own character will always be a level below the group level.
Feel free to create as elaborate or simple a story as you’d like. More elaborate stories might be best in parts. At low levels the Old Dwarven Sage ask the party to find an old ruin, then after a few adventures (and mid-levels), the sage returns to request another favor. Finally the dwarven sage is discovered to be a frost giant shaman (by the sage’s creator) who has been duping the party all along (at high levels).
Mu-Tahn Laa’s attempt to merge his Abyssal Realm with Vaasa created a thinning of the Veil in Vaasa, which Zhengyi exploited to make contact with Orcus. The Blackfire Adepts seek to weaken (and ultimately control) the Veil. Demon-focused adventures fit very well into the story of Vaasa.
The volcanos in the southern portion of the western Galenas (forming Vaasa’s sothwestern border provide an excellent local for Fire Giants, and in fact Vaasa is a haven for giants of all types, so giant-focused adventures are a good fit for the campaign.