12
Jun

Obsidian Portal Campaign of the Month June 2018 – Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road

The King’s peace is not an easy thing to maintain. It takes bravery, dedication, and sometimes sacrifice. On this particular highway, that responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Rangers. From the city of Harken to the great Elven forest of Landra’Feya, their patrols hold back the darkness that would otherwise overrun these lands. Truly, Olara is fortunate to have such protectors, some of the best in Shaintar Legends Awaken: Rangers of the Greenway Road – June’s Campaign of the Month! Muster your courage and come with me to Echer’Naught, where GM howardrbrandon and his Rangers reside.

To start the ball rolling, tell us a little about you. Where are you from? What do you do outside of the world of tabletop roleplaying? Is there anywhere else on the internet where we might find your work?

I am a Georgia resident, having grown up in the Atlanta, Ga area. Though, now I live in the historic small town of Madison, Ga. I really have two jobs, other than the full time job of being a dad. By day, I am a contractor and property manager for a small family rental business. Nothing too glamorous, but I get to work with my dad and best friend. By night, I actually write for RPGs. I am a contact writer for Savage Mojo. And, In the past couple of years, I have had the amazing opportunity to be part of the writing team for Shaintar, due in large part to my enthusiasm as a player and GM. Dreams do come true. You can find my work on our company website Savagemojo.com, on our Facebook page , and on Drivethrurpg.com.

So, take us back to the beginning. When did you get your start in tabletop, and what was it that kept you in the hobby?

My first rpg game was in late 1997. I was a cadet at a military boarding academy and a lifelong friend introduced me to D6 Star Wars. Now, my father hooked me on Star Wars when I was very young, so I already had a passion for the setting. But, in gaming, we found an escape from the white cinder block walls of the academy dorm. Within three months I tried my hand as a GM, and that was it; Gamer for life.

 

Community and expression I think are what keep me in the game. I love my gaming groups, every one over the years. Some of my best friends have come from gaming. And, as I have begun working “in the industry,” I have met some of the most amazing people from all over the globe. As for expression, I love stories, telling them, sharing them. Gaming is the greatest storytelling and I cannot imagine ever giving it up. And, the friend who got me into gaming? We still play regularly, 20+ years later.

I understand that your Shaintar campaign (featuring the Rangers of the Greenway Road) is part of a larger organized play society. Can you give us a bit of background on this organization and your role within it?

Yes. Legends Awaken is Savage Mojo’s “organized play” environment. Our GMs sign up through our website and have access to special information, plots, and stats. Each year, we create an overall storyline for the Suzerain Continuum and host regular Convention and Online events featuring major story points for players and GMs. At home tables, GMs have access to background information and featured villains and factions to include in their own games. The GMs and players post their reports on SavageMojo.com where we work to integrate their stories into the lore. In fact, we recently completed our Kickstarter for Thundering Skies Plot Point Campaign. That PPC follows the events of our entire first year’s play, including PCs, NPCs and even individual game sessions from many of our participating GMs!

 

In addition to working on the writing staff, I manage the Legends Awaken Initiative. Along with a dedicated group, I help establish the global storyline, and work with GMs to set up and run games, and players seeking advice.

How long have you been a part of the organization? How did you get involved?

I met the creator of Shaintar, Sean Patrick Fannon, at a convention in Atlanta in 2013. At the time, he was planning on launching the Shaintar Kickstarter and offered me a chance to work with him. My first job was data entry, helping input world information into our website. That’s when I started my Greenway Road Campaign and set up my Obsidian Portal page. I’ve been working and playing Savage Mojo games ever since.

The site states that every story taking place in the Shaintar Legends Awaken organization is considered to be cannon. In terms of the various groups and campaigns, how does this function on a session-to-session level? How much of a factor is this interconnectedness to the Rangers of the Greenway Road?

This is one of the most exciting aspects of Legends Awaken. As stated, we create an overall storyline, but GMs are free to include elements in their games as and how they wish. But, through our social media and forums, our GMs have a direct line of communication for support. They write reports and submit them to the website with each game having its own assigned thread. From these reports, we draw elements to include in upcoming storylines, and even for inclusion in our published Guidebooks. The GMs may also requests that elements from their campaigns (villains, factions, etc…) be included in global story lines to affect larger regions or even Realms!

 

As for my corner of the Continuum, the Rangers of the Greenway Road are Regional Headquarters in Shaintar (Starfall Realm). In game, that puts my HQ as an important military outpost. This allows other gaming groups to “report” to my HQ both in and out of game. This adds a unique layer of realism. Rank, as in PC position within various militaries, organizations, and factions in the various Realms matter. When an approved Legends Awaken PC arrives in a game, if they have verified rank, then they are immediately granted a leadership position. This adds a unique dynamic to play and rewards role play and teamwork.

 

A more personal example: The first PC in my game, Captain Rah-Sahn Hawksclaw, played by the first Player to join my campaign recently submitted an email transcript for a Convention game to be read to a group of Players that passed through our HQ during a mission. Hawksclaw’s player could not attend due to work. One of the Con players then joined my home game later with a new character who was inducted into the Rangers by Hawksclaw, meeting him in person for the first time. We have official wills of fallen heroes who pass their iconic gear to other Players. One shield has protected nearly 4 iterations of the team. Letters are passed between groups, intelligence gained in one campaign is sent to another to help in their mission. I once used an oath created by a game in France to induct a player on the other side of the US into a special order of knights during a major online event run from my home in Georgia.

 

Across Realms, games, and geography we fight together. I’ve known some of these PCs for five years, and never met the player in person. Ours is a living, breathing world of friendship born in battle, loss, and honor. It is hard to put into words.

For anyone out there who sees your campaign and wants to get in on the action, how would they go about getting involved in a Shaintar Legends Awaken group?

First, you would sign up at SavageMojo.com. Easy enough. Then pick one of our amazing Realm settings. Contact our team via the website or our Facebook page to set your game a unique forum thread. And then, start playing. Our entire community is there to help you establish your game, answer questions, and welcome you to the Continuum. Oh, and don’t forget to post up reports. If anyone is curious about HOW to write reports, well, they can check out my Greenway Road Rangers reports here on Obsidian Portal or on Savagemojo.com.

Where do you draw inspiration from when writing material for the game? Are there any recommendations you would make for people considering a campaign of this type?

I’m a huge history buff, so I always look to the past to create realistic scenarios and environments. Savage Mojo’s Suzerain Continuum has a wide variety of settings to choose from, all part of Legends Awaken. My Greenway Road game falls mostly in the Epic High Fantasy setting of Shaintar. So, I really look to Norse epics, Celtic history, and Arthurian legend for inspiration. A popular tag line for Shaintar is its Lord of the Rings meets Die Hard. So, I always try to keep that in mind.

 

For new people getting into Legends Awaken, and Shaintar specifically my advice is to start small. Shaintar is only a part of the Realm of Starfall. And the Realm of Starfall is only one of many in the Continuum. So, find your niche, your setting and style, and build from there. My game started humbly in a small town in the middle of no where in a converted, abandoned warehouse. The map is actually on my Obsidian Portal page, though it has been vastly improved since those early days.

 

But most importantly, have FUN!

Are you able to provide some details as to what’s been going on for the PCs in your campaign? and maybe some spoiler free hints as to where things might go?

Certainly. So, up until last year, the Realm of Starfall, of which Shaintar is a small part, was hidden from the rest of the Suzerain Continuum. Even the gods and great spirits knew nothing of Shaintar, or Starfall. When we started Legends Awaken almost five years ago, the first major entity in the Continuum discovered our Realm and managed to pierce the Veil protecting and hiding us. Though the crack was only small to begin with, and we successfully fended off the first invasion, our presence was revealed. Incidentally, that entire storyline is the subject of our Thundering Skies PPC.

 

In any event, over the past few years more and more Realms and factions have discovered Shaintar. This year, 2018, is the year of Crosspoints. Alien enemies, never before seen in our Realm, are invading and we must put aside our petty internal differences to defend our Realm from powerful invaders…or face annihilation.

 

We just wrapped up a major invasion story line event at MomoCon 2018 (local Atlanta Convention). Together, the heroes turned back the third major incursion, but as the cost of a Legendary PC. He had been in my game for almost three years, but sacrificed himself to save his world. Rysak Ironblood, you will be remembered!

What would you say has been the biggest highlight of the campaign for you thus far? What about a setback, or something you’d do over again if given the chance?

I know mine. My primary GM NPC is Colonel Alexander Wolfhaven. I created Wolfhaven to assume command of the Greenway Road Rangers of the city of Echer’Naught, and through him, establish my game. He has since become my most beloved character. But, in the beginning, he had a tragic back story where nearly his entire family died during the War of Flame. He saved only his youngest sister. Without the resources to maintain his lands, or fulfill his duties as a Baron, he negotiated with this Liege lord to sell his hereditary rights to secure a future for his sister. He then joined the Rangers to die in some far flung corner of Shaintar.

 

About two years into the game, my players got together, without my knowledge, and orchestrated buying my character back his barony and title, in game. They used their own resources, role played the entire negotiation process, and made it a personal goal of every character in the group to support me. Going above and beyond even this, they tea aged papers, and then drafted real documentation, a writ of title and deed to my land. Their love of our game, and the passion they put into that moment was one of the highlights of my gaming career. It was that level of enthusiasm that had made this game, Legends Awaken, a success. All of this is because of our amazing Players and GMs.

 

My biggest setback has really been finding a constant place to play. At one point, it was me and my first two players in a back shed playing by a water heater! We have been forced to move four times in as many years. Each location has had its drawbacks and I truly feel that if, and when, we are able to find and settle into a dedicated gaming space with all the necessary amenities, that we can take this game even farther.

And finally, to bring things to a close, tell us the best lesson you have learned from being a GM!

Being a good GM is 90% caring for your players and 10% game management. I spend far more time building a good group, and seeing to the well being of my players than I do planning game sessions. By putting time, energy, and love into my players, the game only improves.

And with that, our time under the watchful eyes of the Rangers of the Greenway Road has come to an end. While we must now leave Shaintar behind, we do so with the knowledge that another featured campaign isn’t too far off. Next month, another grand journey awaits, and we’re oh so eager for it. In the meantime, you can do your part to keep our user-led initiatives alive. If you have, or know of a campaign you’d like to see featured here, please tell us about it in the nominations thread on the community forums.

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