Starting A Game

I am starting a new mini-series campaign in our shared Dungeons and Dragons 5e world, and I couldn’t be more excited! (My game group has been playing Eclipse Phase for the past year and that has been amazing though with that campaign concluding I am looking forward to returning to Dungeons and Dragons.)

I have also not had the chance to dabble in running a tier 2 game1 so I pitched a mini-series campaign for 3-4 sessions for 9th-level characters.

The Story:

The Sunken Sea is getting closer to full war as the internal conflict that has simmered within the Kingdom of Ghar for the past two years comes to a low boil. Rumors persist that younger Thayne children, and serfs alike are running away to the revolutionary movement as the Imperial garrisons throughout the Empire present a greater show in force, and the Church Prestors proclaim the Great Wyrm stirs.

Yet, the Keneasian Clans care little for Imperial politics and Imperial ways so long as they have the waves and currents it is a good day. Now is the time for Clanmeet, which promises many great stories as the clans gather for a seven-day bacchanalian experience.

This year the Meet is abuzz with an alliance between two larger Clans, Clan Gunnar and Clan Arnyr, to cement the coalition the Clan Elders from each Clan have set forth a quest for the strongest warriors from the Clans. Recently, it has come to light that the location of an ancient weapon lost during the waning days of the Cursed War has been discovered. The Elders have consulted their oracle runes and said this quest poses great importance for the alliance and the Clans.

Campaign Set-up:

Since I have been working on designing a more custom experience between Dungeons and Dragons and our campaign world I wanted to incorporate those elements into the campaign. I have been working on character backgrounds, and then also been intrigued by Level Up Advanced 5th Edition (A5E). I took the opportunity to write up several backgrounds that would work with the campaign, and then also decided to incorporate maneuvers and the skill specialty rules from A5E2.

This mini-campaign is taking place in the Sunken Sea3, a large underground ocean deep beneath the ground, that poses some interesting story-telling challenges too.


I developed a few custom background options for the characters to continue my opportunity to build out our world:

Ghar Thayne

Description: Whether a 2nd, or 3rd child seeking your fortune or the eldest set to inherit the fiefdom the Ghar Thaynes administer the Empire laws, collect the taxes, and ensure their hosts bring in the harvest.

Skill Proficiencies: History, Persuasion

Tools Proficiencies: Hunter’s Tools, Cartographer’s Tools, or Painting Supplies

Languages: Ghardilian, (Kenesian or Aedohian)

Equipment: fine clothes, fine weapon (check proficiencies), fine traveling cloak, belt pouch with 20 gps

Feature: At Your Service You are familiar with courtly etiquette, and the political machinations within your fiefdoms region in the Empire. You have a trusted attendant who sees to your personal care:

  • What is their name?
  • What is a unique feature about them?
  • How do you view them?

Kenesian Hunter

Description: You are part of the Clan’s hunting parties that go after the sea leviathans and other underdeeps creatures to roast over the clan fire.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Survival

Tools Proficiencies: Skinning, or Piping

Languages: Kenesian, Ghardillian

Equipment: Hunters clothes, sharpening stone, Blowpipe and Needles or Harpoon.

Feature: Bring them Down You are familiar with the behavior patterns of sea leviathans and many other sea creatures and their uses beyond meat such as their organs for tinctures, their hides for armor, and their bones for weapons.

Kenesian Warrior

Description: You defend the Clan beasts and the Clanships from Aedoh Pirates, rival clan raiders, and Ghar Kingdom Imperials.

Skill Proficiencies: Athletics, Perception

Tools Proficiencies: Water Vehicle, Pipes

Languages: Kenesian

Equipment: A martial weapon, Medium or Light Armor, Blowgun & Shards, Adventuring Garb

Feature: Waterborn You have experience fighting both aboard ships and below the waves amid the depths. The waves are a part of you and you know how to fight among them with skill and aplomb.

  1. Tier 2 being levels 6-10 in Dungeons and Dragons per the Dungeons and Dragons. 

  2. The skill speciality rules and maneuver rules can be found on 

  3. I like to think about this part of the world as Waterworld meets Journey to the Center of the Earth though I need a good way to compel that to the players.