Introduction to the Hero-Cities Campaign

Russell Impagliazzo, designer and narrator



The Hero-Cities campaign is a relatively traditional fantasy role-playing campaign. It incorporates traditional fantasy elements from fantasy literature, comics and movies, e.g, dwarves, elves, hobbits, dragons and other monsters, wizards and other users of magic, enchanted swords, and ancient fortresses reeking of evil.

The setting features traditionally heroic characters. What is a little different is that such characters are not loners, but instead have institutions (hero-cults) that provide ways for such characters to be valued and useful members of the community.

We will use the Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 edition rules, with a few house rule variations. (See House Rules )

I am restarting the campaign in San Diego after being on leave for the fall. I ran a few sessions this summer in San Diego, and a few more in Haverford, PA over the fall. If you live in the San Diego area, and are interested in playing, send email to russell@cs.ucsd.edu I would like to start playing an on-going game, with weekend afternoon sessions once or twice a month. While there will be some continuing subplots, I will try to make the adventure for each session self-contained, so that characters can join and leave between sessions without disrupting the adventure. I will also try to make on-going themes robust, and not dependent on particular characters, so that there will be little disruption when players join or leave the campaign (or simply miss a game).

One theme I wish to explore is how characters are given higher status and more responsibility as they gain power. So I am hoping that some players will play frequently and for a long-term period.

I prefer to emphasize fast-moving plots, rather than strategically intricate combats or logistics. These plots will be driven by character choices, not narrator fiat. I will try not to have a fixed plot in mind, just some interesting events that might happen. I will try to keep things moving by pacing, skipping quickly over the dull parts. One thing I consider dull is rules discussions. If we can't agree on a rule in a minute or so, we'll wing it and look it up offline. Also, any events without consequences (e.g., hopeless last stands by monsterous opponents, long routine voyages) will either be spiced up or skipped over. ``A week later, you arrive in Angwyn's Reserve. You were attacked by orcs twice, but easily defeated them.''

Conversely, if there's dead time, I'll insert something interesting.

I consider PC's interacting with NPCs interesting, even if they aren't ``significant'' encounters. Adding personal sub-plots involving PC/NPC relationships will be something I'm willing to spend game time on, even if it's not directly relevant to the adventure at hand.

If you are interested, you can either start to design a character or read more about the game.