Friday, November 1, 2013

Ruminations on OD&D: The Endgame

It isn't hard to do an internet search (I prefer DuckDuckGo, sorry, Google) and find all sorts of forum posts, blog posts, and pontification about the ballyhooed "endgame". They run the gamut between lamenting its loss, to praising various clones for bringing it back to full glory. This post isn't like that. This is just a couple of ideas for integrating the endgame into the ongoing campaign/world. I'm not going to pretend they're original or profound, they're just my take.

First off, "name level" characters who construct strongholds attract followers. Why not base part of a campaign around that? Once the characters establish themselves, say 3rd level or so, they can offer their services to a name-level NPC who has established a stronghold. Perhaps this NPC is just starting out, so to speak. His stronghold is small and he is looking to expand. The PCs can pledge their service, and the NPC can send them on "missions". He can offer them support services, like healing and magic item identification, in exchange for finding whatever loot he desires. Maybe their liege is a cleric who sends them on a mission to recover the shrine idol stolen by bandits. The PCs would return the idol, and perhaps a tithe of other treasures recovered, and keep the rest.

I wouldn't base an entire campaign around this concept, but for a few levels, it could bring a logical structure to things. Plus, if the PCs have been honorable in their oath, when they reach name-level they will have a powerful friend and ally who can help them establish their own domain. Which brings me to . . .

Point the second. Once the PCs reach name-level, I think it would provide a nice break from the high-level game to have followers become PCs every now and then. Have each player fully create a follower, and sometimes have a session or three using the party of followers. If the campaign continued long enough, one day those followers will establish their own strongholds. I know it sounds ambitious, but the setting would develop strongholds, villages and towns, and politics very organically if it could be pulled off.


  1. I think ACKs handles this kind of play pretty well, I am currently running a Pazio Kingmaker Adventure Path, using Swords and Wizardry for the base and ACKS for the Kingdom building, and I must say even it is equally enjoined by the 30 year olds as well as my 8 and 9 year old boys.

    To be honest I personally have always had issue with the concept of "end game" it's just to World of Warcraft to me. It was never even considered back in the day, you just played. I will never understand, "Builds" or "Endgame" or what not. These terms seem to pervade modern gaming.

    Away, Good article!


  2. I'm working on something like this now actually. Combining some of the ease/speed of 1e with board game/scaling elements of 4e to get PCs to the point where they can hire themselves to a lord, raid enemy bases, establish their own strongholds, and "pay it forward" unto the next generation of PCs.

    I'm borrowing some ideas from DotA. I even blogged a bit about it this morning. ;)