So I figured I’d update this a bit more frequently, though less than my main blog. But man what a week. Announcement at work about a pay cut. Ton of work over the weekend. And spending way too much time googling the Swine Flu of Doom for all the good it does me.

Right now I’m leaning a touch in the 4e direction. And I’ve been flipping through my Eberron books from the 3.5 version of the game. Probably my most succesful D&D game in recent memory was set on Eberron.

So for those unfamiliar, what is Eberron? Several years ago Wizards of the Coast instituted a “setting search” allowing readers to submit various campaign world proposals, with greater detail in each round of this competition. Eberron was the winning of this competition. Eberron could be described as a setting with a ton of magic, but not at a super-high level of power. Not quite so prevalent to be “magi-tech” but trending in that direction. It also has a huge pulp vibe to it. Its largest city, Sharn, is referred to as the “city of towers” owing to its skyscrapers. Kind of like a fantasy version of Coruscant – especially the parts reminicient of 1930s New York. It takes place in the aftermath of “The Last War”, a war which dragged on for nearly a century with no real winner but lots of losers. It has its own “lost continent”, known as Xen’drik, once the homeland of powerful giants (perhaps designed to resemble the titans of myth). The giants slaves, the elves and the drow, rebelled against them thousands of years ago. When all was said and done the giant empire was shattered, senting the giants into barbarism. The elves fled the continent although the drow remain, though unlike drow in most campaign settings they live above ground, being savages roaming the wilds of Xen’drik. And there’s dinosaurs. I’m getting a big King Kong vibe.

So in our last campaign I kept meaning to move the action to Xen’drik. But the action never seemed to take us there. So I think it behooves us to start the action there – if not on the continent, then making ready for such a journey. Kind of like in King Kong with the plot starting in New York City but moving quickly to the ship and island of Kong. Sharn is considered the “gateway” to Xen’drik so that gives us an excellent opportunity to kick things off in civilization. The main university in Sharn sponsors treasure hunting expeditions to Xen’drik so this gives a reason for the characters to all be together initially. Some can be mercenaries or adventurers while others can be academics.

The action on Xen’drik needs some sort of a home base. Fortunately the setting already includes one, the city of Stormreach. Essentially a free city, it evolved from a pirate stronghold. And it is also an excellent place for adventure, having been inhabited by giants, elves, drow, and, most recently, the incestoid thri-keen. This last group is especially handy as they dug constantly. I’m visualizing something like the old Greyhawk Castle Dungeon that Gary Gygax frequently referred to – a deep dungeon underneath the ruins of Castle Greyhawk, being under a day’s journey from the City of Greyhawk.

One neat thing about the pulps was a lot of the characters had military experience. While 4e makes it clear that even first level adventurers are exceptional, I’m thinking of starting the group up a little higher – probably second level. The caveat being the players need to fill in what their character was doing during the Last War. Nothing super-detailed – indeed I kind of prefer characters have a skeleton of a background so it can evolve over play. But this also provides perfect opportunity for flashbacks to play out incidents from the characters’ pasts.