Adkisons Ilboria Campaign
By Robert Holzmeier
of the Coast founder and former CEO Peter Adkison
may have left the company to pursue new challenges, but he's still quite
the active gamer. Peter currently serves as Dungeon Master for two groups
in his own long-active campaign Chaldea-- and also runs games at
Gen Con, UK Gen Con, and other special events. And if all
this DMing wasn't enough, Peter slips into player character mode while
participating in two other campaigns closer to home in Seattle.
Since 1981, Peter
has led intrepid adventurers to glory and occasionally gory ends in his
home-brewed campaign of Chaldea. More than a single world, Chaldea is
(in Peters words) "a huge multiverse" with a lot of development
that's taken place over the years.
Currently, the campaign
focuses on a specific setting, the primeworld of Ilboria. This new frontier
sprang from Peter's imagination only a couple of years ago -- young terrain
in a campaign that's been built up over twenty years.
I'm striving for a flavor that is very Conan-esque but using Norse, Egyptian
and Greek mythologies," Peter says. "It's a very barbaric setting
and the influence of evil is particularly strong on this plane. So, on
average, everyone's alignment is about a half-step more toward evil than
[in] a typical campaign setting."
But virtue and heroics
are not completely absent from the face of Ilboria. As Peter explains
it, "Good people are like extremely rare gems. They are something
to be highly valued."
Peter runs two groups
through the paces on Ilboria, but with drastically different sets of circumstances.
The first group has
been exploring what's left of the ruined city of Tabat, about three days
travel north of the unruined (and well-established) city of Emaz. The
church of Poseidon in Emaz has garnered much political power through repeated
claims that Tabat and its citizens were destroyed by a tidal wave sent
forth by Poseidon himself. Apparently, the Tabat-folk hadn't been showing
Poseidon the proper respect, so he washed them away.
Poseidon's clergy in Emaz, a local wizard possesses evidence that contradicts
the churchs claims of divine (and very wet) retribution. Enter the
heroes, hired by him to sift through the rubble of Tabat to find further
evidence that the city was destroyed by something other than the whims
of Poseidon. Of course, what is just an interesting research project to
the wizard turns out to be much more to the PCs and the church of Poseidon
in Emaz. Information that undermines the clerics' claims could lead to
a weakening of Poseidon's faith (not to mention the churchs political
influence) in the area. Regardless of the outcome, Peter appears to have
put his heroes in a predicament where some powerful enemies -- both secular
and divine -- could come down against the party.
Of the Four
Peter's second group
of Ilborian adventurers found themselves brought into a strange situation
against their will, but they're making the most out of it.
It all started when
an adult green dragon kicked one of her hatchlings out of the nest. Although
inherently evil, Mom had her child's best interest in mind, which is why
she set her daughter up with a keep of her own as well the beginnings
of a respectable treasure hoard.
the hatchling, amongst her many new possessions was a deck of many
things. The young dragon couldn't help but draw a card from her new
deck. The card summoned up four heroes whom she was forced to fight to
the death. Of course, the four folk who found themselves summoned into
the presence of a green dragon weren't keen on sacrificing themselves
to it, and so fought back pretty ferociously.
As it turns out, the
heroes found themselves in possession of one green dragon corpse and an
unfamiliar keep located deep in the wilds of an unfamiliar land. Not only
do they not know where they are, they have no idea how to get home again.
And to make matters worse, they've recently discovered that the closest
thing to civilization is a nation of ogres just to their south. Don't
even get them started on the troll tradesman/extortionist who drops by
once a month to chip away at the groups dwindling resources.
From House Rules
to Home Tools
Peter if he had developed any house rules for the new edition of the D&D
game that could be transported to other player's campaigns. "For
years and years I developed a ton of house rules," he answered. "It
got to the point where my campaign was so different from anything published
that it took massive amounts of time to teach people the rules I used
and I spent lots of time on rules discussions instead of actually playing
the game. And I noticed that my players had trouble fitting in to other
campaigns because the rules were so different." Peter admits that
one of his hidden agendas when the new edition went into development was
to make the game good enough that he would be willing to play it pretty
much as written.
With the new games
release, Peter has veered away from house rules and more toward home tools.
He has developed custom Microsoft Excel-based programs for a number
of tasks, including dividing up treasure among party members, and randomly
generating NPCs and dungeon contents.
out Peter's NPC generator featured in a previous Celebrity Game Table.
Peter Adkison Biography
1961, Walla Walla, WA.
Raised primarily in Northern Idaho and other parts of the Pacific Northwest.
Education: Graduated with a B.S. in Computer Science and a minor
in mathematics from Walla Walla College in 1985.
at Boeing as a Systems Analyst from 1987-1993. Founded Wizards of the
Coast in 1990. CEO, Wizards of the Coast, 1990 through 2000. Sector Head,
Hobby Games, Hasbro, 1999-2000.
The Primal Order and Sarista.
Playtested numerous products produced by Wizards, including Magic:
The Gathering and several expansions. Set overall design direction
for the new editon of D&D.
About the Author
has played D&D for more than 20 years. A lapsed player, hes
glad to come back into the fold with the release of the new edition of
the game. He has contributed spells to our online Spellbook,
as well as designing a free online adventure, The
Vessel of Stars and its associated creatures in Monster