Along the shores the cloud waves break, and the twin suns sink beneath the lake, while the shadows slink within this nightmare.
Strange is the night where black stars rise, and strange moons circle through the skies, though it’s stranger still within this nightmare.
Songs that the Hyades shall sing, where flap the tatters of the King, must die unheard within this nightmare.
Song of my soul, my voice is dead, die thou, unsung, as tears unshed shall dry and die within this nightmare.
-Adapted from “Cassilda's Song,” Act One, Scene Two, The King in Yellow
Welcome to the Demiplane of Dread.
I will be running The Grand Conjunction Campaign.
To be honest, I have never played by post. However, I have studied these forums pretty intently over the past several weeks and think I might have the hang of it. To be completely honest, I have never played 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, and haven’t even played Dungeons & Dragons at all in many years. However, I’m not running 4th Edition, so that shouldn’t be an issue.
So, now that you know some bad stuff, let me tell you some good stuff. I am very familiar with this particular campaign, its storyline, its travails, and, most importantly, its atmosphere. Long ago, I prepared and ran the campaign to the grim delight of my players. I will do my best (as the medium permits) to bring you within the misty shadows of this spectacularly creepy realm. I will give each of your characters a unique opportunity to shine, to contribute, and, frankly, to survive.
But enough about me, let’s talk about more interesting things.
The Grand Conjunction Campaign takes place in Ravenloft, which is also called the Demiplane of Dread. If you are not familiar with Ravenloft, I do not recommend acquainting yourself if you are interested in this campaign. If you were once familiar with it, and have forgotten, I do not recommend reacquainting yourself. Ravenloft is best served by surprise. The less you know about it, the more thrilling it can be.
In terms of atmosphere, adventures in Ravenloft are akin to endless horror-stories. Have you ever had a bad dream, and then awoke only to find that you were still in the dream? Your muscles are tight and you actually feel your grinding teeth. You are aware of what’s happening. You’ve figured out that you are still trapped in the dream. You have not, however, quite figured out how to wake up. You thrash and twist (at least, you imagine that you do) and you hope for the alarm to go off or for a light to come on. You hope for something, anything, that can pull you out of your lock-jawed panic.
That’s Ravenloft. Like a dream or nightmare, it waits until you wander into it and then it decides when to let you out.
In terms of storyline, the Grand Junction Campaign is dark, horrifying, and positively epic. By the campaign’s conclusion, characters will have gone from first level to about twelfth level. Critical will be your cunning, resourcefulness, and team-work. Attacking Ravenloft’s monsters with sheer bravado is the single fastest way to become lunch for some shambling, clawed, nameless thing.
Simply put, this place does not play around. Care is necessary, and your character’s psychological stamina will avail her far more than her physical stamina.
By popular response, this campaign will operate under Dungeons & Dragons Edition 3.5 rules.
I feel a little funny asking for applications. As one GM put it, I've more to prove to you than you've to prove to me.
Here’s some bad news. Only the core books are allowed for character creation. That means PHB & DMG. Nothing else is allowed: no Fighter’s Guide to Dual Wielding Tiger Sharks, no Wizard’s Guide to How to also be a Duel Wielding Fighter, no Rogue's Guide to How to be a Dual Wielding Fighter-Wizard-Shark, etc.
I am somewhat old-school in this regard and, like I said, I prefer simplicity in mechanics. I also believe that, with your imagination, everything you need is in the core books. That said, each player’s character concept will be given careful consideration and, if necessary, I’m happy to apply the appropriate bonus here and there.
The campaign will accept five active players. Given the way the campaign is designed, I suggest the following classes:
Two Combat Types (Barbarian, Fighter, Monk, Paladin, Ranger)
One Mage Type (Sorceror, Wizard)
One Priest Type (Cleric, Druid)
One Rogue Type (Bard, Rogue)
At this stage, please do not generate your character. Rather, post your interest on this thread (along with any questions/smart remarks/ etc.) and PM me with the following information:
1. Race, class, and the general type of character you would like to play.
2. A succinct summary of his or her attitude, outlook, and personality. No more than a brief paragraph is necessary.
3. A brief physical description.
4. A concise summary of the character’s background. Again, no more than a paragraph is necessary.
The reason I want PMs is because the characters will not know each other to start and will have to learn about each other as the game goes on. To have the characters be mysterious to each other, in my view, will only help to make the game more mysterious. Also, evil characters will be considered (under strict scrutiny) and, well, what fun is it being evil if everyone knows it?
Characters will start at first level and will have maximum starting hit points for their respective classes.
Equipment will have to be purchased from the PHB with starting gold. Ravenloft is a dreadful place for many reasons. One of those reasons is that resources will be limited. Expect to be in situations where even the smallest bauble (such as a candle and a way to light it) can mean the difference between survival and massacre. To that end, when characters are created, each piece of equipment must be carried and accounted for. Casters will have to carry their spell components, for example.
The campaign is pretty long, consisting of six core modules plus about three more that I am putting into it. In the game, the campaign can take years to complete. In real terms, I would prefer players who can expect to be playing a year from now. I would also prefer a posting commitment of once per day.
Projected Launch Date
I hope to have characters selected by
September 15, 2009 September 5, 2009. We’ll have some discussions after that over the next month to tighten things up. The game is set to launch (first game post) on October 15, 2009(Edit: The prologues of the campaign may launch sooner, depending upon the wishes and availability of the selected players).
To be sure, Ravenloft is a dreadful place. But it is not without its beauty. The Grand Conjunction is a story lined with horror, sadness, a little hope, and a whole lot of tragedy.
However, I honestly believe that any great story is about the people in it. Consider Night of the Living Dead. That story was not about the zombies. It was about the people trapped in the house together and how each of their personalities contributed to the outcome of the apocalyptic setting in which they found themselves.
Pray, intrepid adventurers, that you fare better than they did.