Campaign Introduction


Well, now it begins. This new campaign is meant to be very character-driven. If your character is interested in the lost castle of the long-dead mage named Vendra...well start looking for it! If your character is interested in the Storm Giants and their frozen grip on the Azure out information on how to face them! If your character is interested in the near constant warfare between the town of Dumit and the horse-clans of Shronth...go join the war! I will be seeking feedback from players throughout the campaign as to what they want to explore next...and I will work hard to keep ahead of the party, developing adventures, encounters, and challenges that mirror the characters' interests and goals.

I will provide all of you with the Player's Guide for the Azure Kingdom. I DON'T EXPECT you to read through and study every detail of it. It is a resource that should allow the curious player to come into the game with a fair knowledge of the World into which his character was born. Glance through it page by page and read what catches your eye or interests you. Spend a little time looking at the color map of the Azure Kingdom provided in the centerfold, and try to get an idea of where some of the important sites are located. The first night of gaming begins in the town of Greenmark. Here are some ways the Guide can and will improve your game:

1. Players who know more about the campaign world are more likely to experience a sense of depth to the game's story. They will know who they are running into when they meet an important NPC. They will know what NPCs are talking about when they refer to a geographical location or town in the Azure Kingdom. They will see the big picture.

2. Player's requests for permission to create characters outside the scope of the official rules are more likely to succeed if they come from the Player's Guide. Already one player has asked me if he can play a special race he saw in the preview copy of the Player's Guide I brought to the last game. Since that special race is part of my campaign, and will tie in with storylines I already had in mind...I said, "Yes." (We then figured out how to do it without the need for any rule changes.)

3. The more you know about your character's surroundings, the easier it will be for you to develop interests and goals that I can use to shape the game. It only makes sense that a player that pays more attention to the campaign world and the game will find his character's interests and goals "driving" the game more frequently than a player who simply "shows up."

While it is not neccesary to memorize the names of NPCs that you run into, it is a good idea to have a sheet of paper out at the game for taking notes. Blank space is provided at the end of the Player's Guide in case you would like to keep your notes in the Player's Guide itself. There is also an index to the Player's Guide, so that you can quickly find information about NPCs and important places.

Since character personality and developement are central to the game, spend some time looking at pages 87-94 in the new D&D Player's Handbook. At some point before our first night of play I would like to get some notes from you regarding his/her "Personality" and "Background" (page 94 of Player's Handbook). How does your character come across to others? Why does your character adventure? How did your character become the class he/she is? What was the character's family life and childhood like? Is the character loyal or a loner, dirty or clean, well-spoken or a stutterer, funny or serious, spiritual or greedy, judgemental or forgiving, etc? This can take the form of a few lines scribbled on a piece of paper, or paragraphs typed and e-mailed to me. However you feel comfortable letting me know what your character is like....

That brings up another topic: RACE. There are so many cool options in the Player's Handbook regarding the different races...take advantage of them! I know some of you are itching for something NEW. These races are defined with all new benefits and characteristics, and I would love to see a dwarf or a gnome in the party. If you do play another race, I want you to put some thought into how you will play this character different from a human. If you make a human primary character, think about making your back-up character a race you have never played before! Make sure you read the material about Multiclassing before you attempt to make a multiclass is different than before.

I would like to ask you a favor. Unless you plan on running a D&D game in the very near future, please don't read the 3rd Edition Dungeon Master's Guide or Monster Manual. Let's keep those books sort of a mystery for now. I think you will enjoy the game more if you don't read material from those two books.


Here is a checklist of things to do prior to our first D&D game:

Glance through the Azure Kingdom Player's Guide, reading whatever interests you.

Look over the color map of the Azure Kingdom in the Guide's centerfold.

Make your primary character using one of your number sets.

Flesh-out your character, deciding what the character looks like, as well as his/her personality and background. E-mail this to me, or write it on a piece of paper you can give me at the beginning of the first game.

Create a back-up character in case things don't go well for your primary character. As DM, I never really want to kill characters, but (as a great philosopher once said) "shit happens." This campaign will not be as "epic" in tone as the Star Wars campaign, and it is more likely that characters may die. If you made a human for your primary character, I would like to see your back-up character be a character race that you have rarely played before.

Familiarize yourself with the D&D Player's Handbook, if you have time. We are all starting from zero here, so drive yourself nuts reading the rulebook. (Don't read the DMG or MM, if possible.)


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Feel Free to Contact me at

M. Ludwig Stinson, P.O. Box 28204, Gladstone, MO 64188