Good Afternoon, All:
As I contemplate the next campaign I intend to run (assuming I don't shift my focus between now and then), I am looking forward to exploring a number of themes over the course of that campaign. The Madlands campaign will tackle some of the issues presented in Hammersong's Legacy, and build on them to create adventure opportunities.
My first focus will lie on the resurrection of a dead god, and their subsequent restoration to the pantheon. I ended my longest 3E campaign with such a feat (at 24th level), but truly, it was not a part of the campaign from the beginning. In this case, I'm looking to develop the background for this story element from the beginning. Of course, the actions of the PCs could easily change the outcome of this particular story element. The PCs could choose to become involved on either side of the conflict, seeking to bring the god back to life or prevent others from doing so. Alternately, the PCs may not pursue that story element at all, in which case the events of that element may simply unfold in the background, and catch the PCs up in related events indirectly as a result of the actions of others. This story element is intended to appeal to those that enjoy magical events and being involved in epic changes to the campaign world.
My second focus will lie in the infiltration and overthrow of an existing government by unknown forces. This story element should offer plenty of opportunity for espionage, political maneuvering, mass battles and that kind of thing. This is a more low-key story element aimed at those that enjoy humanoid opponents, urban adventuring, and more military and stealth-oriented campaigning.
Both of these first two campaign foci offer me opportunities to explore the background and history of the setting, and grow as the players grow. Both offer great opportunities for combat, negotiations, puzzles and a well-rounded gaming experience. However, two foci are not enough. A good GM should always have at least three avenues for characters to pursue, and I don't want make an exception here. So far, I've done what I could here to appeal to martial characters, as well as divine characters. I've also aimed at an epic story element and a heroic story element. I suppose that I should look at a more arcane story element, or a mixture of arcane and martial, and perhaps a less than heroic venture here.
Depending on the nature of the party and the players in the next gaming group, it might be very interesting to explore the growth of a Band of Brigands, a mobile Thieves' Guild, if you will, looking to recruit characters for various larcenous acts. Such forces could easily become involved with the other two story elements, or look towards its own growing pains, both internally and externally. Being as these are bandits, the PCs could either become defenders of the land or members of the band.
I'm still trying to decide. I'm sure the right ideas will come, as the thoughts percolate. Who knows? Maybe reading some other blogs will give me some ideas to work with.