Bryan’s Campaign Manual – Introduction

January 2006

This is where I bore everyone with a brief telling of where all this came from.

For those that haven’t already lost interest … this is an online version of the MS Word document I created to contain my campaign materials. By campaign materials I mean not “house rules” for my AD&D game; rather descriptions of my campaign world. Each of the pages in this section corresponds to a chapter in my campaign manual.


This volume truly got its start in January 1983, when I started playing Advanced Dungeons & Dragons at SUNY Potsdam. I played that semester and learned a lot, and over the summer started DMing for a local group. I ran several campaigns over the next three years, and my brother ran a couple, all set in a shared world.

Sometime in early 1984 I created the basic map of my world, which I first envisioned as a pocket universe, e.g., the entire universe consisted of a single limited area. That took care of issues such as space travel, other planets, etc. The world was a single continent surrounded by ocean. Go a month’s travel by ship in any direction and a thick impenetrable mist was encountered, then a bleak, rocky, lifeless shore. Go inland a mile and you reach the River Styx, the absolute boundary of that universe.

At the time it was a great idea. But like many initially great ideas it had it’s limitations. During the second campaign in the spring of 1985 I added a new section to the map, a group of islands to the south of the continent. That provided a new playing field for a new campaign, keeping the characters of the original campaign separate from the original.

In the course of playing we invented several other pocket universes, settings for specific series of adventures. Places that the original universe didn’t have a place for but proved necessary for the story line.

That got me thinking yet again, that and Larry Niven’s Ringworld series. So my world morphed from a pocket universe into a ringworld. An artificial construct that had enough room for every possible adventure idea I could think of. It even allowed for other games systems — as part of the Search for the Rod of Seven Parts, I ran my strongest party through a Gamma World scenario.

The concept of mixing magic and technology worked in this ringworld idea. Magic might work in some areas and not in others or be known in some but not in others. Same for technology, and in some areas, both could work just fine.

Note: For the most part I avoided technology — the weapons my party brought back from Gamma World proved to be VERY unbalancing, but a creative DM who rules that the power packs degrade quickly with usage fixed THAT problem! But that particular adventure and the subsequent ones proved enjoyable.

The original concept of the known universe ringed by the River Styx? Well, that was just a myth. With 10,000 to 15,000 miles of open ocean between continents terrestrial travel between the continents proves impractical, so legends spring up. Nothing ever said in the game was violated by changing the basis for the entire universe.

Then came the idea of eliminating the outer planes; or rather bringing them in to the Prime Material. That cleared up inconsistencies in outer planar travel, and in problems I found in dealing with astral travel.

The last campaign I ran in 1989-1990 brought this idea to better fruition, although that campaign didn’t last long enough to really test it. I got married, moved, and my AD&D materials got boxed up and put in storage for 15 years.

Last year (2005) I dug the box out of the attic and showed my sons, then 7 & 8 years old. They got very excited by it, rolled up characters, and suddenly I was a DM again!

I still had all my materials on disk — I had updated them every few years, in my pack rat way hanging onto things I never thought I’d use again. This volume, and the others I’ve put together, are the results of renewed enthusiasm in AD&D!

This Volume

The other volumes (see note) I have written/edited/compiled have all been generic in nature. Any dungeon master could pick up any of the volumes and use any of the information in any campaign setting — Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, home grown, etc. Those volumes contain general DM information, general player information, and general monsters. *

In contrast this volume contains information specific to my campaign world. Herein I have defined specific items in my world, including some of the history, the pantheons of gods, and non-player characters and artifacts of note. Nothing all that different from what may be found in a commercial campaign world such as Greyhawk or Forgotten Realms. For lower level parties this campaign world is really no different from a commercial world. Even for parties beginning to travel the Ethereal Plane to any of the inner planes, there is no difference.

But for upper level parties traveling to the outer planes? Well, there are no “outer planes”. Well, there are outer planes, but they exist on the Prime Material Plane, at terrestrial distances that are practically insurmountable to even modern technology. Distances that require magic to travel, as even a modern jet airplane would have difficulties in covering such distances.

Practically speaking, though, this world functions the same as the commercial worlds. The interactions with gods and with the outer planes works the same from the players’ point of view. Getting to those outer planes is different mechanics, but effectively the same.

What this world offers is a framework that can be extended for any use. It’s got the mechanics built in to allow for pretty much any game system, including technological rather than fantasy systems. I didn’t really intend that much flexibility, but it kind of worked out that way. I may never use it again, but as James Bond said, “never say never again”.

Note: Other volumes include Bryan’s Dungeon Master Supplement, Player Handbook Supplement, and Monster Manual Supplement.

This page last updated: 31 October 2008

Copyright 2008-2020 Bryan Fazekas

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