This campaign is the fruition of work I started nearly 30 years ago as a teenager playing the first D&D Basic set, when I didn’t know nuthin’. It was better-developed using the newly-printed 1st Edition books, and given a comprehensive setting with the World of Greyhawk Boxed Set. I stopped playing around that time, but continued developing the campaign sporadically over the years. At my friend Martin’s behest, we started a game for fun in the early summer of 2009, and the development and refinement has been non-stop ever since – the bug bit me square in the nethers…
Kalak Ropebeard – Dwarven Ranger, male, currently Level 5
Bobill – Human Magic-User, male, currently Level 5
Chees – Human Cleric, female, currently Level 6
Darmok – Human Paladin, male, currently Level 4
Exex – Gray-elf Magic-User/Thief, female, currently Level 4/4
Garath – Human Barbarian, male, currently Level 4
Paddy the Tallfellow – Halfling Fighter/Thief, male, currently Level 4/5
Rebamac – Half-elven Cleric/Fighter/Magic-User, female, currently Level 4/4/3
Trathonax – Human Ranger, male, currently Level 4
First off – yes, according to the 1st Ed. rules, Dwarves can’t be Rangers; well, the campaign started as a one-off “just for fun” session, so I didn’t bother sticking too closely to all the rules. Once our group took off and was playing regularly, I decided to let it stand. And that’s the story of the dwarven ranger.
Play began with a module, B2 – Keep on the Borderlands. On the third session we had six players plus myself DM’ing, and after this I decided to resurrect my hoary North Journey campaign and incorporate this module into it. I revised the evil temple and turned it into a Temple of Ralishaz, and located the whole complex in the hills near the border of the Dreadwood.
Why “The North Journey?” Before I ever picked up the Greyhawk folder, and then the boxed set, I made many adventures, but no specific world or locale for any of them, and they weren’t interrelated. Among these was an epic adventure for higher-level characters that would take them into icy northern wastes to fight godlike beings. Though such an adventure never really materialized, I incorporated many of its scenarios in my evolving Greyhawk campaign and the name stuck.
DM’ing a party of this size is challenging; with so many characters of above-average hit dice and fighting ability, they tend to walk all over standard opponents for their level. I’m finding that I have to either increase opponent numbers or beef up the opponent stats – usually both. The players are very good combat tacticians, targeting opponent spell-casters and leaders first in an attempt to break morale. Obviously, such tactics don’t apply in puzzle/trick/trap scenarios, so I’ve begun adapting “tricky” techniques to opponents in combat situations. It is a lot of fun and forces me to be more creative.