There's a distinction to be made between the games you want to make and the games you want to run when it comes to DnD.
When it comes to the games I want to run:
- I want it to be epic. I want it to go to level 20. I want it to have big battles and quiet moments. I want the works. Dragons, zombies, death and resurrection.
- The party needs to jive. I need Jerrod, Josh, and Chris, or honestly just Jerrod and Chris. They are the polar opposite and they create the conflicts that are interesting. Everyone else is like the spice. Josh is the chaos, Coleen is the character depth, Emily is the puzzle freak, Jordan is wacky and fun, Jeremy is the comedic relief.
- It's usually all improvised. There's a beginning that's exciting and gripping and the party guides the story from there.
- The world comes from the actions and what the party wants.
- At the same time, it's nice to have the world there. My last campaign was based in a region I had planned out and ready to go and it was one of the best, but the player agency wasn't as strong. The progress was there and they saw it and enjoyed it, but it never transitioned into the "We want to do this, forget this place" that usually grips my more entertaining campaigns.
- A weekly game time at least.
When it comes to the games I want to make:
- They need to be easy to understand
- Modular. Meaning they can fit anywhere.
- They exist in a world that is learned about through these games, but can also be ignored by DMs who have their own worlds.
- they're fun. I read them and want to run them.
- Simple in design so that they can be tampered with. They should be able to be dropped into any campaign and used with minimal effort.
- They should be able to launch the kind of campaign I want, meaning that the endings have consequences or continued hooks.
So what does this mean?
An idea I've been obsessed with for a while is the idea of dungeon existing inside of things. Things like books, paintings, pools, dragon's memories, etc.
This idea is seen in Mario 64, Dark Souls, Psychonauts, Page Master, some other shit.
That is my world. It exists in these spaces. It exists in that book of legend, and the painting of that unknown castle. It exists in a snowglobe and a haunted house. It exists in the mind of a criminal on death row and the memories of a dragon nearing twilight.
Inside these things exist fallen spaceships, castles with mad kings, towns run by intelligent dogs, armies of skeletons marching to the tune of Black Sabbath, a smiling moon that controls the undead.
The first project? Haven's Throne. A castle protected by the mythic Fall Minx and haunted by the creepy Haven twins.