Twenty Gems


My current campaign arc Perfect Flaws is coming to an end soon and I’m having to do some preparation for the next arc Twenty Gems.

We’re currently holding off on any discussion around what we’re going to be doing for Twenty Gems because it’s very easy to get distracted by a new game and to lose sight around completing the end of the current game. However I’m still spending a bunch of time trying to figure out some goals that I will want to accomplish for that game.

More Dungeon World?

The first campaign arc of Twelve Signs was played with vanilla SRD Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 Edition. The second campaign arc was played with Dungeon World. I’ve been asking myself what worked well and what needed improvement.

Dungeon World was a very large shift from D&D as there is significantly less crunch to the system. Gone is the skill system, gone is the complex rules for lots of actions. We’ve been playing with that system for greater than a year now, and I while I like it, I think I’m also really ready to try another system. Part of the problem we had with Dungeon World is that it’s designed for an adventuring party that is going to do a lot of traveling, and this campaign arc was firmly seated in one location. The next campaign arc is significantly better suited for the Dungeon World system, and I’d be happy to use it if that’s what my group decides to do.

I’ve also been working on a FATE hack for a fantasy setting, and specifically Twelves Signs. I haven’t had a chance to run FATE yet, which is rather unfortunate, and I’m hoping that I will the chance at some point during the Twelve Signs overarching campaign. I think that FATE might provide additional opportunities for players to take charge, and provide me, the GM, some better tools for placing challenges in front of players without always feeling like I’m doing so just to be a jerk (the FATE point system is something I’m keen to play around with).

The third option I’m strongly considering is Monte Cooks Cypher System. I’ve been playing Numenera on Sundays recently and there’s a lot to recommend the system. It’s got some similarities to FATE, but with a stronger flavor of d20 for those people who are a fan of that sort of thing. I’ve not had a chance to look at how Cypher fits a fantasy setting, but I suspect it works just fine.

Draw maps, leave blanks

I’m not the kind of GM who can plan out the exact landscape of a fantasy setting ahead of time. I don’t have the patience or the right tools to properly create a setting with a full worlds worth of information. The Dungeon World method of “draw maps, leave blanks” works well for someone like me who has ideas, but not plans.

Twenty Gems will have a lot of traveling and map drawing. It ought to at any rate.

The Arc

The Twelve Signs campaign, as implied by the title, has twelve distinct campaign arcs, and at least one big one. One of the goals for Twenty Gems is to do a little bit more cementing of one of the major campaign setting arcs. Start revealing some (more) information that will carry across multiple games.

It’s very difficult for me to roll out certain pieces of information. I’m a GM who definitely likes to hint a large puzzles without giving too much away. I feel like intrigue is a core element to games, but it’s a little frustrating (for players too) because they’ll get information that there won’t be a final answer too for some period of time.

So, there are 2 major data points I want to roll out in this arc, that will be the toughest challenge to do properly. So far none of my players have gotten too upset about how I roll out info, though I have been told that I am required to wrap up some of these loose ends. Fair enough.


Our first arc (not counting the pre-roll we did), took roughly 2 years to complete. This second arc took over a year. How long should a good campaign run? Every time we do this we start over, not from scratch per-se, but we retire a lot of work and move on to something new. This campaign has run for about as long as it should have. How long should the next one run? Is a year enough? If we ever want to get through all twelve arcs we might need to do less than a year for some of these. I guess the right answer might be, “as long as it takes.”

Twelve SignsCampaignPlanningGaming

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