Whether you’ve just finished an epic campaign or are just starting a new gaming group, it can be challenging to come up with ideas for a new campaign.
In this article, we’re going to show you how you can use Absolute Tabletop’s modular adventure-building toolkits— Adventure Kits — to flexibly and easily plan your next campaign.
As of the writing of this article, our latest book, Adventure Kit: The Battle for Arctor’s Vault is currently funding on Kickstarter here.
We have two other Adventure Kits that are available as Kickstarter Add-Ons or in our store. These will be the fuel to create the framework for your next campaign.
Adventure Kits Work in Any Setting
Each Adventure Kit includes ingredients that you can put together in any combination to create the perfect experience for your group. Each kit includes multiple Locations, Encounters, NPCs, and Monsters, as well as a robust, thematic toolbox full of generators and inspiration (many Adventure Kit users have created entire campaigns out of a single kit by mixing and matching the pieces continually).
Our Adventure Kits are loosely set in a shared universe known as Arbitron, but the characters, story, and conflicts are setting agnostic.
The beauty of Adventure Kits is that they have enough lore to work as standalone stories, but not so much lore that you can’t easily insert any kit into your existing story or campaign setting.
The Campaign Framework
To build your campaign, we’re going to use our two existing Adventure Kits as acts one and two, building up to a massive battle in act three using our forthcoming Adventure Kit: The Battle for Arctor’s Vault. First we’ll outline the general phases, then give you some in-depth tips on how to navigate your campaign as it progresses.
Note: Each Adventure Kit has detailed sections on getting started, the general setting, and the story so far. This outline will serve as a guideline, but for the most in-depth information, read the Adventure Overview section in each kit.
Act 1 – Shadows Over Driftchapel: You’ll begin your campaign in a seaside town plagued by an unfathomable evil.
Act 2 – Oath of the Frozen King: You’ll trek into the frozen reaches of the realm to deal with an undead plague.
Act 3 – The Battle for Arctor’s Vault: You’ll investigate the potential source of it all, fighting a massive battle to gain control of an ancient, magical vault full of untold relics.
Campaign Progression Ideas
The loose campaign setup is that the adventurers will begin in a sleepy seaside fishing town and discover that a vile, elder deity has enthralled the population to do her dark will. To connect act one with act two, provide the Cult of Qatu with mysterious roots originating in the frigid north. If the players survive, they must venture into the frozen mountains and face the deadly cult head-on.
If they defeat the Frozen King, the cult’s true goal will be revealed: they wish to end the world using the powerful relics within a hidden, magical vault. This vault is where the Frozen King’s runeblade originated. The cult and its many powerful leaders seek Arctor’s Vault at all costs.
The campaign will culminate in the party finding clues that point to the location of Arctor’s Vault, and racing other factions and powers to find it first–– but war is brewing, and unless it’s stopped, the largest battle the realm has seen in centuries will erupt in Adrienne Pass.
Campaign Note: Don’t just use a nameless cult. Adventure Kit: The Battle for Adrienne Pass features a powerful faction known as the Durakis Initiative – a discreet “cult of apocalypse” hell-bent on bringing an end to the perpetually imperfect society wrought by the powers that be. Consider introducing the simple word Durakis in the Frozen King’s minions’ battle cries, and in the ominous ritual speech of Qatu’s cultists. This way, when the party characters arrive in Adrienne Pass, they’ll have a bead on exactly who these people are, and how dangerous this wretched network can be.
Perhaps the Durakis initiative are responsible for calling to Qatu, awakening the Frozen King, and now inciting war in Adrienne Pass. They must be stopped–– the very fate of the world depends on it.
Fitting the Kits Into Your World
Here are some simple tips to place the existing Adventure Kits into your world seamlessly. Also consider that you might have similar locations in your world already–– if so this is a great thing. Just slot in the name of your location and its surrounding lore and use the thematic and modular elements of each kit as needed.
Adventure Kit: Shadows Over Driftchapel
You can put the remote town of Driftchapel on any remote shore or island. The key is to make the party feel like they’re the only sane people in a town of mad folks, so the farther from other cities and towns, the better.
Adventure Kit: Oath of the Frozen King
This can be placed in any snowy, frigid region of your campaign. If the party has to travel a great distance to find the Frozen King and his minions don’t fret. This can be an incredible opportunity for conflict and struggle (especially if you’re using the Treacherous Travel rules from Absolute Tabletop’s worldbuilding guide A Dead Man’s Guide to Dragongrin). Optionally, if there isn’t a snowy location nearby, the magical sway of the Frozen King and his oath can be so powerful that they transform an otherwise temperate mountain into an icy tomb.
Adventure Kit: The Battle for Arctor’s Vault
The fabled Arctor’s Vault is said to be hidden somewhere in Adrienne Pass – a region that can be set anywhere the characters would find bountiful woodlands, mountains, hills, and mysterious magic. There is plenty of opportunities for an epic battle to occur, so consider the environment you’d prefer for sweeping, cinematic combat sequences.
Alternate Campaign Opener: Prequel Edition: The Calm Before the Storm
We’ll be sharing certain completed sections of the book as soon as the Kickstarter ends in a prequel edition of Adventure Kit: The Battle for Arctor’s Vault.
As a fun twist, you could optionally start the party in the Amelian Orchards of Adrienne Pass, using it as a classic “starting zone.”
The party can join Archemist Charon’s research team, and as they investigate the strange occurrences in the woodland they’ll find that the potent arcane Varia they’re extracting is tainted. Charon will inform the adventurers that the source of the blight appears to be coming from the east.
Charon must stay and continue to study the strange goings-on, but the party must stop the blight once and for all. As the party follows the call to adventure, the blighted Varia will get worse and worse until they reach the town of Driftchapel.
By starting in Adrienne Pass, it will raise the stakes when the heroes return for the final battle for Arctor’s Vault.
Reskin, Rename, Re-Use
In closing, remember that you don’t have to use any of the Adventure Kits as they’re written. At their core they’re full of easily re-skinnable, 5e compatible modular elements that can be used again and again. This is just one of virtually limitless campaigns that you could build with any single Adventure Kit, let alone all three (plus the prequel edition).
Begin your campaign today, and back Adventure Kit: The Battle for Arctor’s Vault, live now on Kickstarter.