Kingdoms of Kalamar: The Death of Kings
“The Death of Kings” is a story about high adventure through a world of gritty needs and constant change. The adventures start in Dodera, a duchy of the Kalamaran Empire best known for its military strength and otherwise low-key profile in the larger political picture of imperial news. Bet Dodera, the capitol city, is a bustling and orderly home to thousands of humans and demi-humans—and it is there that our player characters are centered.
Some are natives, having grown up in the city their whole lives, with very little interest or experience living and working in places more chaotic or rural. Some are wanderers throughout the region, coming and going from Bet Dodera on missions for their faith or research for their craft, but always returning to the city they’ve come to think of as a home. Some simply enjoy the safety of a strong capitol city for their comfortable lives and creature comforts, crime is not unknown in the duchy—but its dealt with so swifty there tend to be few repeat offenders. Life is good. But, stability is costly and there is little work in Bet Dodera for adventurers or those interested in anything beyond service to the community.
This game is playtesting the brand new D&D 5th edition rules and started by using a combination of the Starter Set rules (from the Starter Set released July 3rd, 2014) and the Basic Rules released by WOTC online, with supplemental information from the leaked Alpha Draft of the Player’s Handbook] . With the introduction of the Player’s Handbook (official), we’ve been off to a stronger party. Our players are remaining flexible for rules changes and spells or mechanics may shift in the coming months retroactively given new information in the DMG.
This game begins with a revised, altered version of the Start Set adventure “The Lost Mine of Phandelver” (there might be some spoilers in our Adventure Log if you intend to use that material) to accommodate its being set in the Kingdoms of Kalamar instead of Forgotten Realms (our players’ favorite setting is KoK). This includes some minor racial and personality changes to the NPC’s to reflect the lower-fantasy nature of KoK, a few changes to monsters to give them a more natural and pragmatic motivation and role, and the elimination of “Common” in favor of “Kalamaran” to burden the language mechanics a little.
Our players have a wide range of experience with table-top roleplaying games (we’ll just call it “gaming” for ease from here on out). Our newest player, Kathie, will experience this as her first real gaming experience (being there to start up and participate in the beginning of a new game, playing with others in such a way as to truly influence the story) and certainly her first exposure to anything D&D. Ronnie and Jim are intermediate players with a few experiences under their belts in D&D 3.5 and WoD. Jeff and Roger are more veteran players with experience running and playing in a variety of games.
The mix of players with the brand new D&D 5 experience is proving to be an excellent playtest for the game. It provides the perspective necessary to judge the product from the standpoint of the new and old playerbase honestly.
The DM, Flannel, is a veteran game master and story teller having run countless dozens upon dozens of games across a score of systems, including the largest long-running LARP in the South. His perspective on the new system will be largely one of comparison and contrast to the needs of his style of game: a narrative, story-filled sandbox world where PC’s are able to find dungeons to root out treasure from as easily (and interestingly) as they are to find political campaigns to influence and economic coups to exploit. While requiring more prep, his games emphasize the expanse of a world and the free choice of the PC’s as main characters—allowing for extremely high adventure and interest in RP over crunch.
Games are played with the very excellent Paizo laminated grid mats (good for wet- and dry-erase markers) with wooden proxy blocks for monsters; we use books and a laptop hooked to big screen TVs for tossing up images and rules; and enjoy excellent catering from Broadstreet Bakery here in Jackson, MS (the group has been fond of their ham & cheese croissants and danishes for the last year). We play in Jackson, MS, on Saturdays.