Something that is fairly rare in campaigns in my group is the concept of time passing.
Now I obviously don't mean this in the sense of everything happening in the same second. No. What I mean is that from start to finish on my last level 1-20 campaign, the time that passed in the world may have been as much as one year. That's it. Go from scraggly farmer-equivalent fighting ability as level one guys, to (literally) gods among men in a year's time.
This is largely due to the mercenary kind of work most of the campaigns with my group tend to take on. As described in the previous post, it often becomes sort of a cyclical quest-money-quest-money sort of thing. The PCs spend exactly enough time in town to buy stuff, then they are out rampaging through dungeons or wilderness encounters again. There's no feeling of the town/castle/safeplace being anything more than a string of shops and quest givers.
It wasn't always this way, mind you. In the first campaign I DMed (Back in college, remember I'm not a grognard), the players interacted heavily with the town. It was a bardic town, however that works, named "Crumbsprinkle".
Crumbsprinkle had all kinds of problems once the PCs started basing there. Demon attacks, theives, orcs, goblins, svirfneblin, drow. But the PCs cared. They even built a castle outside of town with some dwarven allies they'd made. They designed the castle, the paladin placed a temple to Hieronius in there, it was neat.
Despite being based out of Abbigallen, the capital of the nation of Stark, from about level six to around twenty, the PCs in my latest campaign seemed to have a hard time even remembering the town's name, let alone giving a crap about what happened to the place. I'd chalk it up to gamer burnout, since we've been playing basically weekly for years, but still it's disconcerting.
What do you do to keep players interested?
Design Flow: Teaching Setting
2 days ago