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Legends of Kralis Campaigns

    As with all things for the GM, creating and running a campaign is the most lengthy process that you will work on and in some cases the most difficult. While the rule book is meant to be played within the World of Kralis, it can be used to in any world that you create.

    How you begin, a campaign depends on how you decide to run the game. Typically, campaigns is a series of adventures linked either by the characters moving from one story to another or by over-arcing plots. The heart of the campaign is the adventures, and the spirit of an adventure are the encounters that characters overcome.

    Even though you will be basing your adventures in the World of Kralis, it is still your campaign. You should alter things and stress specific parts of the world that are important to your current campaign.

    The critical component in running a successful Legends of Kralis campaign is consistency. This requires you to make sure that the NPCs they met in the Town of Coldiron before they ventured into the Halls of the Mountain King are still around (for the most part) when the party returns to Baleos' Supplies to resupply. Or that when they return to Khagon Asteroid base, Phuldan's Outriggers is still supplying much needed Void gear. This will allow the players to feel that they are adventuring in a living world.

Creating Adventures

    Adventures are the stories that make up a campaign. You can think of them as chapters in a book or a whole book in a multiple volume series. They can be stand alone events with no interconnection, or they can be a part of several adventures over many game sessions that are part of a plot.

    Creating an adventure can be as simple as you wish or as in depth as you want. In either case, an adventure is made up of a number of encounters that help you define the challenge of the adventure, which then lends itself to creating the overall plot or plots and then end with the finale.

    This structure, beginning, middle, and ending should be woven together in a neat package that allows you and your players to craft a fantastic story or series of stories. Your story can be either location based or event based.

Location-Based Adventures

    Location based adventures are often set in a specific location: ancient dungeon, remote starbase, the interior of a void ship, or in a remote Wildlands location. These are often the basis for some of the most incredible adventures in the RPG world.

    These adventures can be devised from a couple of steps and concepts that inspire you. You should decide what is going to be the goal of the party and the location. Is the party searching for a long lost dungeon, investigate a remote star base that has gone dark, escaping captivity on a ship, or rescuing a captive being held by a band of oku. Perhaps they are requested to escort an NPC, find an object lost in the Void, investigate an unnatural disaster.

    Once you have identified the goal for the party, you should also identify the essential NPCs that will be met or interacted with either at the location, before the location or along the way to the location. These are your villains and your PC allies. Your villains can range from a monstrosity guarding the ancient dungeon to a powerful undead beings agenda to cultists bent on sacrificing their captives to the fiend in the center of the starbase.

    Next, you should take some time to flesh out the location, draw a map, add important location descriptions, and know who and what are in and around the location.

    Next and perhaps most importantly, you need to determine the ideal hook and introduction to the adventure. These hooks can set the tenor and tempo of the adventure. Some sample hooks can look like:

    • A town or village needs some volunteers to go to the location.

    • A wealthy merchant needs an escort from one location to another location.

    • One of the PC's inherits a map from their recently deceased relatives that leads them to the location.

    • While flying through the Void, the PCs come across an abandoned derelict void ship lost in the vastness.

    • The PC's are ordered to go to the location by their superiors.

     These are just some of the many, many hooks that you can use to grab the attention of the PC's to head to the location.

    Finally, the climactic ending is something that you should at least consider. How it all ends is really up to how the PC's handle the adventure location. So how should the ending and climax go? It could end with a bloody confrontation with the main villain. The PC's actions result in a cataclysmic event that they must now escape. Or a trusted ally betrays them at the crucial moment of victory or achievement of their goal.

Event-Based Adventures

    Event based adventures focus on the interactions and events between characters and villains. Event based adventures are more about the how and why instead of the where or when. These adventures require a great deal of work, and like with location based adventures they can be done with a few carefully considered steps.

    The most important aspect of these adventures is the major acting NPC, whether the villain or an ally of the party. Be sure to spend a great amount of care into creating this prominent actor. They will play a pivotal role in advancing the adventure.

    Once you have fleshed out the main NPC, you should spend some time thinking about their motivations and the actions she will take to accomplish her goals. Does she seek revenge? Does she seek the down fall of a particular group or individual? Does she want to locate a lost artifact? Does she want to prevent or be responsible for the advancement of a specific event?

    Will the NPC plan her activities to occur during a singular event or will she commit actions that will grow bolder over time or will they commit actions in a series? Or is she pursuing her goals through specific actions in a sequence?

    Finally, you must determine what the goals of the players should be? Are they to bring the NPC to justice? Help the NPC make good on her goal? The party's goal could change based on the events that they interact with or hear that have occurred.

What is an Encounter?

    While the adventure is the heart of the campaign, and as interesting as they are, the soul of the adventure, is the encounter. Encounters are best described as individual scenes which are linked to building your adventure.

    Like the adventure, the encounter should have fun, drama and excitement for the players and be easy for you to run and place. Encounters tend to have a straightforward objective and should have connections to a degree to the larger story of your campaign. All encounters are meant to be overcome by players in some fashion, both to further the story and plot and further the characters' growth.

    There are, by definition, a multitude of encounters, however, the most common are: Combat, Environmental (puzzle, trap, or environment) and Social.

    Encounters will have three outcomes for the party: Success, Partial Success or Failure. Each outcome must have consequences, both good and bad depending on the encounter, so that the players feel that their successes and failures matter.

Combat Encounters

    The most common type of encounter is the Combat Encounter. They are often difficult to design, but they are the most important. This represents the most dangerous time for players as their character's lives are on the line.     

    Combat encounters are the obstacle that the players must overcome to reach the next encounter, and there is no right or wrong way for the players to overcome this. There is the possibility to sneak past foes, convince them to surrender, or let the players pass.

    Combat encounters will predominately have the players fighting opponents, whether they are monsters or villainous NPCs.

     Combats within Legends of Kralis should more often than not be about something. There must be something at stake for the character's. "Avoiding death," while interesting and often the point, it should not be the only one. Combat should be fun and exciting, and while there will be many dice rolls to determine specific outcomes of attacks and defenses, finding a creative way to end combat or beat the big bad boss quickly should be encouraged.

    Designing a combat encounter for play within Legends of Kralis is based on the approximate rank value of players vs. the opponents. This can be averaged, ran equally, or increased, depending on what difficulty you determine the encounter should be.

    As a general rule, most monsters are built approximately in the same fashion as players (with abilities, skills and attribute scores). Putting characters up against equally ranked monsters or villains is perfectly acceptable.

    When designing these types of encounters, you may want to drop in ten oku. While that is a pretty straightforward encounter, you can make it memorable and epic by flavoring it with a "mini-ecosystem" whereby the oku encounter now has three guard dogs on leashes. The air is filled with buzzing, stinging insects that get into the players' eyes, nose and ears that annoy them and might have combat effects. Now you have an encounter that is not just a whole bunch of one thing, but a mix of elements that take the combat encounter from straight forward to now we have to think and move in such a way as to get better tactically to defeat the encounter.

Social Encounters

    Social Encounters are often challenging to design and can be tricky for you as a GM if you have difficulty with making things up on the fly. But with time you will get better with doing things on the fly.

    Unlike combat encounter design or environmental encounter design, designing a social encounter in the Legends of Kralis is built upon interaction with NPCs.

    Social encounters should be roleplayed out with the players, if you feel that there is a significant challenge involved. If the goal is merely to meet an important NPC or find out a particular piece of information while hanging out at a bar, than a little bit of role-playing may be all that’s required. However, if the goal is more complex and if there are consequences for failing, then a skill checks are going to be the best way to adjudicate the encounter.

    Having NPCs skill checks in the use of Convince, Skepticism, Gaming, Leadership, Etiquette, Haggle or Interrogate set the Target Success challenge for your player's characters and vise versa if the goal is more complex and if there are going to be consequences for failing.

    The amount of work you need to put into building a social encounter will depend upon your group's style of playing. For those that prefer to bash monsters or even explore dungeons, caves, voidstations or new worlds, then social encounter will likely just be filler for them. However, if your group enjoys the deeper role-playing side of things, a social encounter presents your players with ways to challenge their characters, develop them and use social skills more heavily.

    When you are creating social encounters, draw on your own real-life experience. After all, this is one of the few areas of gaming where you can apply things from your life to the situations that PCs might be facing.

    The key to any successful encounter is preparation. If you are prepared then the encounter runs smoothly, and everyone has a good time. To help with you designing social encounters here are a couple of tips:

    • NPC Agendas - Always give your NPCs an agenda, from the lowly street urchin to the Emperor. Just like the PCs knowing what your NPCs want or desire will help determine how they react. Avoid having grand agendas. Though villains may have a grand scheme in play, most agendas have simpler steps.

    • Focus the conversations - Never allow yourself to let your NPCs have conversations with each other without directly engaging the PCs. If this has to happen, it is better for you to narrate this conversation than actually go through it. Such as the guards arguing with captain about why the arrested the PCs, or chancellor arguing with the ambassador over the protection of the nation. Describe that interaction, avoid narrating this NPC-to-NPC discussion without integrating the PCS.

    • What do you need to tell the Players - Social encounters are not always life or death situations, like combat or environmental encounters. Social encounters are often designed to deliver information to the players in an engaging way. When done this way, be sure to have an idea about the information you want to pass on or even have it written out in notes. You also need to have a clear understanding of whether it is okay if the players miss out on this information. If it is not, you may want to consider having that information available to the PCs through numerous sources in one form or another.

Environmental Encounters

    Environmental Encounters can easily be overlooked and even underused as an encounter type, and can easily swing wildly from too simple to too complex. Yet, these encounters can be the easiest to implement and included in the previous two encounter types.

    In most cases, environmental encounters are based on the difficulty of the encounter you want the PCs to come across.

    Similar in fashion to combat encounter difficulties that are set by the monster's rank, in this case you can create an encounter based on either how difficult you wish to make it in terms of Target successes or create the encounter and set the TS based on it.

    In creating and setting these environmental encounters here are some tips for designing these encounter types.

    • Puzzles - Are one of the greatest and funnest environmental encounters you can create, but they can also become impossible, impassable roadblocks that choke the player's creativity and drive up frustration if the player's are unable to figure out the encounter.

    As the creator of these puzzles you know the answer, see the outs, but the players, unless master detectives themselves, may not see the answers. When you create puzzles, give them multiple correct solutions or even answers, place hints to the answer around, or even answer before the puzzle. You could even allow the PCs to bypass the puzzle in some other way.

    • Don't Oversimplify - When you present the players with a non-puzzle environmental encounter, it is essential to ensure that it offers a complex challenge. Any challenge that can be overcome with a single skill check or attribute check is far too simple. Layering checks to by-pass the encounter can raise the average encounter to one that stands out in the players minds and can make for some great stories beyond the campaign.

    • Reactive Environment - In a universe where magic and technology go hand in hand, it is not beyond the idea that the land itself could be active or even sentient. But not ever place the players travel is sentient, but it can all be active and work against the players. But this type of encounter takes planning and will require you to think about the environment in a very specific way: an old forest has trees that could collapse suddenly, a valley could suddenly be filled with a flash flood, the plains suddenly are engulfed with a wildfire, the voidship is hit with micro-meteors ripping holes through the shielding, or a voidflare sweeps through the region.

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