Friday, November 12, 2010

Viphtry: The First "Hook"

In the last blog entry I discussed how writing fiction can help create a campaign world, and set the tone of the campaign.  I really didn't go into a lot of detail, but it makes a lot of sense.  Many people ( GMs and DMs ) get inspiration for their campaign worlds and adventures from works of fantasy fiction.  My idea would take it an extra step.  You write your own fiction, for your original campaign world.  It wouldn't have to be a whole novel, but rather a series of short, short stories.  These in turn can be used as adventure hooks, and "color" for the campaign to help the players get a feel for the world their characters live in.

Also, it doesn't even have to be complete stories, maybe just snippets, a paragraph or two.  Entries into a wizard or sage's journal, or even a letter, would work, and help flesh out your world.  These of course can became hand outs/props you give your players.

Here's one example that I plan on using to get players to the main city of the campaign.  It's a letter from one of the character's old friends inviting them to come to Viphtry.  This is the initial adventure hook.

Greetings _________!

I hope life finds you well, and that you and your family are prosperous.  As you know I traveled to Viphtry to seek my fortune last year, and I have not been disappointed!  I have secured a position at the Castle Viphtry.  I am the second assistant, to the assistant of the Royal Adviser on Civic Improvements in Viphtry, and I am learning so much.  However, once I have earned enough for tuition I will be entering the Viphtry Academy of Magical Arts and Sciences. ( I know I talked about attending the School of Alchemical Cookery, but I decided that sort of schooling would not help out on adventures of the sort we are going to have! )

In fact I have secured a tutor, and have already begun my magical education.  This was necessary, because to enter the V.A.M.A.S. you need to be able to show some magical aptitude.  I can already make my thumb glow with enough light to see by!  This is very handy when I need to go the privy at night.  My tutor tells me I have great potential, and that I will be throwing flaming balls and scorch bolts with the best of them before long.

Well, enough of my ramblings.  Perhaps you should come to Viphtry?  We always talked about adventuring together, and if you want adventure then Viphtry is the place to be.  Plenty of opportunities here.  Viphtry is a great city!  There is usually some sort of festival every month.  Always something exciting going on in Viphtry! 
I am sure you have heard some rumors about how unsafe the city is, but aside from a couple of rare instances caused by undesirables, Viphtry is very safe.  Occasionally ork gangs make it into the city, but the city watch is very diligent in keeping the peace.
If you decide to come I can assist you, at least until you can survive on your own.  Also, if it all possible could you bring a couple of jars of your Aunt's Tok Jam?  No one here makes good Tok Jam.  Upon your arrival here you can meet up with me at the Ork Knob Tavern.  I am usually there every night.  Hope to see you soon...

Your friend,
Jig, soon to be Red Shadow the Wizard!
I think the letter could use a little work, but it's just a first draft.  I would print it on parchment paper to give to the player.  Every player would get something similar, perhaps from the same NPC, if the PCs live in the same town or village.

The letter ( aside from being a hook ), also gives the players a little information on the city of Viphtry.  Not much mind you, just enough to hopefully entice them to travel to the city.  Do they have to go?  No, that would be railroading, but I would hope that they would.  It is after all such an exciting city!

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