Monday, April 5, 2010

Fragments of campaign potential: Kingdoms of Kalamar

As I was reading my Kingdoms of Kalamar campaign set, I realized how to write setting background. Let's take a look at this.

The kingdom of Cosdol in Brandobia is described as a peaceful nation of magicians and merchants. But, the description also mentions how the capital is overrun with refugees from a tsunami-like event out on the coast. Combine this with the fact that the king's main advisor have just been assassinated and how that have forced the prince to take a more part in the ruling of the land. Do you smell change and conflict yet? Add to this the fact that Cosdol have a legal code based on elven morals, which means very lenient laws, and the fact that the whole land of Brandobia is split in three nations which are constantly at each other's throat.

Now we have a nation that is described as ordered and prosperous, but with a lot of tension. I can see a lot of things you could do in a Brandobian campaign. Let's just suggest that the influx of refugees means more social unrest. Quite likely, I'd say. Add to that one of the strange cults which can be found in the lands, with a strong and charismatic leader. Imagine that happening at the same time as more assassinations, probably payed for by a foreign power. I think it could be quite fun.

Good writing for a setting means sowing the seeds of change while describing how everything fits together, feels real and there being an imagine of normality. Sometimes Kingdoms of Kalamar have been accused of being a bit plain, and almost dull. Reading this I'd say the most plainly described setting can be filled with interesting conflict, if you just read the plain description thinking of how this situation in balance could be tipped in the favour of somebody.

I'm not sure if I managed to make it clear, but I got some insight from this and I wanted to somehow impart the gist of it in a post.

2 comments:

  1. Cosdol allways seemed to me as a great background for politival as well as military campaigns, too. I like the whole Brandobia setting, but Cosdol - the weakest of the three states that make up Brandobia - alone offers so many adventure seeds.
    The Kalamar Campaign book is a great reading even without all those high fantasy assets of worlds like Dragonlance or the Forgotten Realms!

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  2. For some reason I always spent most my timing reading of Pekal, and I just discovered Brandobia. Then I remembered that I had read reviews claiming KoK was dully written, and felt I had to post this.

    I'd love to read what someone made of the powderkeg that Cosdol is.

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