RPGaDay2020 Day 1: Beginning – how beginning a new campaign phase led to Developing Akorros

RPGaDay2020 graphic

It’s August, so that means RPGaDay is back, and like last year, the prompts are words or phrases rather than questions. Today, the first day, appropriately enough, is Beginning.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with RPGaDay, it is an initiative which has been organised by Autocratik (David F Chapman) and Runeslinger (Anthony Boyd) for the last six years, where TTRPG bloggers everywhere are invited to create (write/film/…) a new post for every day through August, and share them under the RPGaDay2020 banner on Twitter and on the RPGaDay home page. To help and theme the posts, each day has a prompt.

This is my third year participating. In 2018 I got through about half of the questions, and last year I managed to post all 31 before the end of August. I’m hoping to keep up again this year.

I’m going to try something a bit different this time. I have just participated in the WorldAnvil Summer Camp 2020, developing my concept of Akorros in The Republic of Darokin, and I’m going to see how it works continuing that development through RPGaDay.

Of course, I have already done some development of Akorros on this blog, so this will build on it.

Beginning

For this post, Beginning, I’m going to look at the beginning of my development of Akorros. As regular readers will remember, this time last year (and for most of the year beforehand), my campaign was working its way through Castle Amber and the land of Averoigne. That took us another 6 months before they finally made it through Averoigne, collected all the items, found their way to the final tomb, battled through the guardians and freed Etienne (I hope I’m not giving too many spoilers for someone here…).

However, the team which completed the module was very different to the team which started it. The only two characters who came through from start to finish were Reed and Sergi. Not only did we lose characters along the way, we also lost their players, and indeed most of the characters didn’t appear until Averoigne. So these were newly created characters with new players who had never played in my Mystara world. I had offered an assortment of home bases for their characters, and they had all been taken by the thought of Akorros, but of course they had never actually played there.

So when it finally looked like we might be finishing Castle Amber, I thought I ought to help the characters explore their roots. But that meant I now needed to work out what Akorros was actually like.

Developing Akorros

I started by researching The Republic of Darokin and the city of Akorros, and the obvious place for this is GAZ11 The Republic of Darokin. Which holds surprisingly little information about Akorros. I unpack what information there is in my first post in the series. This gave me the background of the ruling thieves guild, which suggests quite a rough lawless place, but also a lot of wealth which suggests the opposite. I had fun developing a concept and a map – follow the links to see where this led me.

Which was all very well, but I then discovered it didn’t really help me with a play session, so I then had to scramble to come up with some sort of entrance to introduce them and get them instantly engaged with the world.

They landed with a bang – almost literally:

Etienne took the two Flakes of Winter found so far. He magically filled in the gaps to make them into the whole snowflake and held it up in front of them. It started to spin, throwing out magical snowy sparks which enveloped the group. When things cleared again they found themselves in a basement.

A flaming black sphere spitting out sparks was in the centre of the room, and the repaired snowflake continued to spin between the group and the sphere, throwing icy lines of force at the sphere. The sphere’s flames started to die and it seemed to be shrinking in on itself, when whatever magic Etienne had used to fill in the gaps in the snowflakes ran out and the four spectral flakes winked out. The sphere was ejected up through the ceiling like an orange pip squeezed between fingers, trailing flame and darkness as it went and followed by a fountain of snow from the flakes.

The group found themselves fighting a flaming being and two suits of flaming armour. It was a tough fight, not helped by their tank disappearing part way through as the lock-down started to bite and the shift to online D&D triggered his player’s migraines too much so he has had to pull out until such time as we can meet face to face again. They eventually prevailed, although it very nearly turned into a TPK.

Of course, the Darokin guards just knew there were strange goings-on in the building, so when the characters finally emerged, they were arrested, They were ransomed out on the word of Gianluca du Malbec, front man of Panache, on condition they searched the building for a couple of items which belonged to Panache and had been stolen.

Success in this mission has led to them being recruited as the newest Panache franchise.

But what has happened to the sphere? …

Tomorrow we talk about Change

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