Westgate Campaign: Background Info

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Westgate Campaign: Background Info

Post by Carlo » Mon Aug 04, 2014 9:36 pm

In addition to these forums, the Gateway to Adventure site serves as a permanent backup for communications and campaign info.

Most notably, the Campaign Chronicles and PC Vignettes are available for download there.

URL: http://www.gatewaytoadventure.net/#/wes ... 4512882213

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Re: Westgate Campaign: Background Info

Post by Carlo » Wed Nov 21, 2018 5:14 pm

A general description of the campaign follows, so people have an idea of what kind of experience it provides. More specifics on how it works in practice can be found in the topics on:

Westgate Campaign House Rules - viewtopic.php?f=59&t=738
Westgate Campaign Technical Aspects - viewtopic.php?f=59&t=737

Separately, I'll post a personal perspective on the campaign, for those interested in such things.

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The Westgate Campaign is set in the Dragon Coast region of Faerun and is hosted in a custom Neverwinter Nights (NWN) mod. The campaign area extends from the city of Teziir in the west to the city of Starmantle in the east, with Westgate in the center and various other towns, villages and points of interest; a map is included at the bottom of this post. The campaign currently uses legacy NWN as a platform, but will upgrade to NWN:EE (Enhanced Edition) for its restart in 2019.

The setting is 3rd edition Forgotten Realms (FR) and the campaign takes place in "real time" in a fashion similar to pen and paper (PnP) campaigns. Travel and rest take up appropriate amounts of in-game time, but talking to your companions won't eat up hours (unless you really want it to). Campaign time currently is in the year 1373 DR. Although the campaign uses available FR canon, in classic D&D style new content and the adaptation of older content is also featured. Having the setting knowledge of a Forgotten Realms archivist is not required to play and the DM can help provide suitable background knowledge for PCs as needed.

It is an open-ended campaign that is player-centric. Designed to be run on a weekly basis whenever possible, with scheduled breaks for holidays or when a majority of players have time conflicts, the campaign was originally launched in 2004 and centered on the city of Westgate. Since then, content has been added and updated on a regular basis, with player actions reflected in the gameworld setting. While the DM runs the gameworld and various major and minor opportunities will present themselves to the party - sometimes with deep and lasting consequences - there is never an obligation to follow a particular path. (Although a failure to act can also have consequences in the gameworld...)

Role-playing and intrigue are the central features of the campaign experience, although violent confrontations and various types of dungeoneering opportunities are regularly encountered. All alignments are supported for PCs, except for Chaotic Stupid. Your PC's background and motivations, to the extent desired by each player, can be developed and integrated into the gameworld in consultation with the DM. All PCs have the opportunity to pursue individual activities both in-game and "off-camera" between sessions, whenever logically possible. This aspect of the campaign is primarily driven by individual player engagement and imagination.

The campaign is hosted on Sundays, currently with sessions starting at a reference time of 2:00 PM Eastern US time (i.e. New York). You can convert this to your local time using an online tool, such as https://www.thetimezoneconverter.com/

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Re: Westgate Campaign: Background Info

Post by Carlo » Thu Nov 22, 2018 4:30 am

The above is a reasonably objective description of the Westgate Campaign and its qualities, and really all that any prospective player needs to know about it. Here I'll also offer some of my personal perspectives, for those who may be interested in some of the history and philosophy behind it.

When I launched the campaign via Neverwinter Connections in February 2004, I had no idea it would still be going over fourteen years later (and hopefully counting). What I had wanted to do from the outset was to capture the essence of what was special about the ability to create and DM in Neverwinter Nights, distilling it into a lasting campaign.

My initial DMing and building experience occurred on two of the role-playing persistent worlds (PWs) that were being built after NWN's June 2002 release, A Land Far Away (ALFA) and TORIL: The Forgotten Realms Chronicles. I found the promise of a persistent, living and mutable DM'd gameworld filled with quality roleplayers to be irresistible. My experiences with both projects - I ended up being part of the TORIL leadership for a stretch of time - reinforced to me that this idea really was the holy grail of roleplaying, and even attainable. Unfortunately, the above allusion to the grail was all too apt, as the huge amount of time, effort, coordination and project management resources involved meant it was only attainable for short periods and ultimately not sustainable. One thing I did note, however, was that on the PWs, it was the DM-run plot arcs with a single group that resulted in the most player enjoyment and fostered the best roleplaying experiences - campaigns, in other words.

Having previously built and DM'd my own relatively technically simple modules in parallel with the projects, I felt I could aim for an achievable goal of creating a DM'd roleplay campaign in an immersive setting. Fortunately for me, Anachrodragon and Londerwost's prefab for the city of Westgate fit the bill perfectly as the bones on which I could build such a campaign, so I am forever indebted to them for their work. I was also able to borrow and adapt various script systems to underpin the world's activities, although the campaign module still relies on DM actions; all of these are credited in the "Westgate Campaign: Technical Aspects" topic linked above.

I gave just as much, if not more, thought to the type of experience I wanted to create for campaign participants. First, I made it open-ended, which meant that player actions would be the main drivers for everything rather than a set main plot progression, although various active plotlines would advance or change based on logical reactions to the PCs' in-game choices. This freedom of player choice to pursue (or not) various possibilities has resulted in a variety of dramatic successes, painful setbacks, and sometimes simply baffling behavior (from my perspective) over the years. Second, I kept the campaign experience consequential, both positive and negative, to be consistent with gameworld and roleplay logic. This included the possibility of PCs' deaths, if they could not be raised for whatever reason; to date, four PCs have permanently died. Each of those events was difficult for the campaign, in different ways, but was nevertheless the outcome (even if not intended) of player choices. Third, I decided to emphasize mature values, in the sense that everyone is treated with respect out-of-game, and that in-game actions, as long as they make sense for the PC, are also respected in-character. For me, this is the foundation of a strong roleplay-based game, being able to separate the person from the PC and thereby contribute to an immersive and at times challenging experience.

I've done a lot with NWN over the years, playing and DMing in various campaigns and individual modules, and thoroughly enjoyed pretty much every game I was in. I've had the good fortune of being a player in some outstanding campaigns, including former DM-Friendly Initiative (DMFI) leader Arawen's games set in her own Castellar universe, which I still consider the epitome of an RP campaign. In a similar vein, I confess that at first with the Westgate Campaign I was, even if rather illogically, envious of the players, since I was creating what I most valued in a roleplay D&D experience - but then couldn't play in it (!) That feeling has ebbed over the years, as I've accepted and fully embraced the DM's perspective on the campaign, and was able to scratch the playing itch periodically. Having some truly great players has of course also been part of that, as I've been impressed and surprised by what they've done - and on occasion not done - in-game, ranging from epic situations to quiet moments.

NWN now has a solid future with NWN:Enhanced Edition and I'm more enthusiastic than I've been in a long time about the NWN community's prospects. So I expect the Westgate Campaign will continue on for however long people wish to play in it.

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