August’s Featured Campaign: The Melekar Chronicles

Friends, we have done you a disservice. You see, we thought that we had already featured the Melekar Chronicles in the past, because it’s so damn good. Turns out, we were wrong. Horribly wrong… So! Now we correct that mistake, let me present to you: The Melekar Chronicles by DM Gaaran.

Broken Empire from Zachary Dando-Thompson on Vimeo.

Obsidian Portal: How much of the campaign/system is original content developed by you and your players?

Gaaran: The vast majority of the content for my campaign setting has been created by me, with the help of my players. Occasionally we’ll throw in a pre-built dungeon crawl or two, but other than that, it’s all original. I’ve had a lot of help from my players in fleshing out the world over the years, so they deserve this as much as I do.

Obsidian Portal: Your campaign looks great, can you tell me more about it?

Gaaran: When I first started putting my campaign together, I had just intended this to be an organizational tool for all my notes, past campaigns, and information like that. But then I started looking around at some of the other campaigns, and I was really impressed with what I saw. I decided that if I was going to take the time to put all the information on here, I should make it look good too. I took inspiration from some of the other users on here, like gnunn, Arsheesh, JimTriche, and ChainsawXIV for my base line, and worked up from there. I’m also rather proud of my world map, which I couldn’t have done without the help from the “Cartographer’s Guild”:http://forum.cartographersguild.com/

Obsidian Portal: Where do you get your inspiration the story and the world?

Gaaran: I try to be as original as possible, so while I might be inspired by ideas in movies and books, I try to make it something completely different, and make it my own. I also have some pretty awesome players, and in the early days of the campaign setting, they helped me create the world’s history. In the beginning, I created the world map with vague blobs for continents. Every campaign I ran in the world, I would choose a new area, and my players and I would create the map, and the towns, and even the history together. It was a fun process, and a great way to get the players more involved with their characters.

Obsidian Portal: How well do you know your players?

Gaaran: I’ve been blessed with some pretty awesome players. In my current campaign, I’ve known most of my players and gamed with them for several years, under several different DMs, but I have some of my other players that due to time constraints couldn’t join that I’ve been gaming with for 10 years or more. It makes the life of the DM easier when you can at least KIND of predict how your players will react. Doesn’t matter how well you know them though, they always manage to surprise you, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Obsidian Portal: What kinds challenges are you faced with in your campaign?

Gaaran: Well, for this campaign, most of the challenges have come from outside the game. I was originally going to run 4th edition, to try it out, but then realized that we all like 3.5e better, so i had to retool for that. And encounters are totally different, let me tell you. Then, we had some problems with the player base, that were unrelated to the game, and I was down to 2 pcs, so I had to retool for that. THEN we reconciled and things were alright, and we had three again, so I had to retool yet again. So that’s all back end issues on my part. The only other challenging part has always been for me is planning non-combat npc encounters. But that’s mainly because when it comes to role-playing, my players shine, and it’s pretty impossible to tell what they’re going to do in a given situation. Makes it hard to script out what an NPC might say, so I do a LOT of ad-libbing.

Obsidian Portal: What aspects of your campaign are you really proud of?

Gaaran: Without sounding too full of myself, I’m quite proud of three things. The fact that I’ve managed to keep this game world alive and do as much work as I have over the years to have a fairly fleshed out campaign setting, as well as a partially complete story that spans several thousand years (I still have a lot of work to do) is still mind-boggling to me. Second, I’m pretty proud of my world map, it took me probably 20+ hours to make, and I was really pleased with how it came out. I haven’t yet, but I’ve been meaning to have it printed, banner style. And lastly, and probably most importantly, I’m proud of the fact that my players tell me they’re excited for the next session. That’s really all I need to keep going, if they like what I’m putting out, then I’m doing something right :).

Obsidian Portal: According to your players, what have been the highlights of the campaign?

Gaaran: I asked my players this, since I don’t want to put words in their mouths.

“The pure depth of the world in which you created for the campaign. I truly feel immersed.” – Krygon

“For all the slayings and noble deeds, I would have to say that the highlight so far has been making romantically vague and socially awkward situations with the party’s cleric seem more dramatic and perilous than any monster-filled trap-infested dungeon.” – CrankyPelican

Obsidian Portal: What future plans do you have for your campaign?

Gaaran: Well, for my current story arc, I don’t want to give anything away to my players, so I’ll be vague. Let’s just say that ain’t seen nothing yet! As for my campaign setting, and the OP site, I’m still working, little by little, on getting all of my history and geography, and all that information written and added to the site, but I still have a ways to go. With the current campaign running, I’ve been more focused on keeping up with adventure logs and the dossiers for people and places the players have visited. Eventually I hope to have a fully fleshed out campaign world that someone could use for their own game, but THAT is quite a ways down the road.

Gaaran: I just want to say thanks again! To my fellow OPers, gnunn, JimTriche, Arsheesh, ChainsawXIV, and all the others who helped show me what you can do with this site, and inspired me to try and make something of my campaign site. I want to thank my players over the years too, without them, I wouldn’t have had such a rich campaign world to put together. And lastly, thanks to OP for being exactly what I was looking for.

Award Winning!

Gold ENnie for Best Website 09'-11'

Silver ENnie for Best Website, Best Podcast 2012-2013
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