J&L Campaigns

Starting a Campaign

 First off, let me answer your most burning question - 

  • Yes, I am for real. 
  • Yes, I am inviting you to run your game in the official, canonical reality of the Shaintar IP (intellectual property). 
  • Yes, your story and your players' stories are going to be allowed to exist and happen for real in the real Shaintar world.
  • No, I'm not kidding.
  • Yes, I am probably crazy.

OK, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to how this all works.

First, You Have to Agree to Play Nice

There is, in fact, an official Justice and Life Code of Conduct for players and GMs, and anyone participating is assumed to agree to that Code. Anyone violating that Code is subject to being removed from the Campaign, and to having their participatory material removed as well. 
 
You good with this? You sure? OK, let's move on.
 
Now You Figure Out How You Want to Set Things Up for Your Group
Your next decision is as follows - 
Do I want to run a Rangers campaign or do something else?
Honestly, everyone doing this pretty much needs to run a Rangers-based campaign; it's the easiest way to make sure everything is inter-connected and that's what the whole thing is designed for.
 
However, I know at least a handful of you are going to really want to push boundaries and do something else while still being a part of the Justice and Life structure. Such ideas will be considered on a case-by-case basis, and you'll have to make a really good pitch to convince us that what you want to do is a good idea that can still be incorporated into the official Big Picture. It won't be that hard if you want to tell a good story elsewhere with different characters, but because it may result in your group having less interaction, we need to know you have the right angle on it.
 
Some of the alternate ideas that might work include: 
  • Olaran or Galean military, primarily dealing with the advent of the Crimson Crusade. They may be dealing with many of the same foes and challenges that the Rangers are, but are doing so specifically in service to their kingdom.
  • Members of the Unchained, fomenting rebellion and part of a full-scale civil war in the Kal-a-Nar Empire.
  • Cavaliers and other Royalists trying to restore noble rule to Camon and bring down the Church of Archanon's rule.
  • A group of Black Lanterns going about the more scoundrel-like business of protecting the Southern Kingdoms against its more subtle foes.
  • Mercenaries in service to just about anyone who needs extra protection against the many threats of the Wildlands or beyond.
  • The crew of a merchantman or war ship plying the seas surrounding Shaintar, dealing with pirates and naval vessels of enemy nations.
There are potentially other great ideas, but again - seriously - there's massive potential in running a Rangers group, and it will be a great deal easier on all of us if you at least start out there.
 
Let's assume you are running a "Rangers of <insert location here>" Campaign. Now comes the next decision -  

Where am I going to set my campaign?

For more on this, check out the Campaign Bible. As well, you'll want to have a copy of the Shaintar Map.
 
These are actually the two Big Questions for you up front. After you figure them out, much of what happens next is typical for any new RPG campaign: Make characters, Run sessions, Award experience, Chronicle what happens though adventure logs and submitting summary articles to the J&L Worldbook Wiki.
 
But first, you need to register as an Official Game Master by contacting a member of the Ravens Flock and asking for access to the GM's forums. 
 
Campaign Managment
To help out players and GMs run the best game they can we have partnered with Obsidian Portal for our Campaign management needs.  Once you ahve yoru campaign concept figured out you'll need to set up a campaign page so you can publish all the information about your campaign for other GMs and Players to see. Take a look at our Obsidian Portal Template Guide for help in setting up your campaign page.  Feel free to post any questions in the thread and the Raven's Flock and other GMs will be happy to help. Once you have your OP page set up you can use the tools provided there to record characters, adventure logs, and maps.  Think of this location as your own personal web site for your campaign. For reference here is a list of all the current campaigns running as Shaintar Justice and Life at Obsidian Portal
 
Now having the Raven's Flock and other GMs read and review all the campaigns at obsidian portal is a bit much to take in.  So to help in creating a central repository of people, places, and events in the world that have occured via Justice and Life campaigns we have created the J&L Worldbook Wiki.   Here you can view entries other have submitted and approved.  To submit your own entries into the wiki take a look at our Wiki guide.  
 
Experience and awards for your players

Its really up to you as a GM on how much experience you give out per session.  However it is suggested that 2 exp points be given for each standard 4-6 hour game session.  With epic story sessions (like those at conventions and at the conclusion of a story arc) can be up to 5 exp.  Also some general guidelines for equipment rewards are listed below.

Gear and Resource Awards

This is a little trickier, but also necessary to ensure some general balance for GMs having to deal with characters moving between game groups and venues. Instead of truly hard-and-fast rules, however, we are going with strong guidelines and "GM Option" rules to handle special cases. 
  • The Resource Die of a Justice and Life PC should be no higher than d8 at Novice and Seasoned, no higher than d10 through Heroic, with d12 reserved for Legendary.
  • Characters shouldn't have Gear that exceeds the appropriate Soul-Bonded Item Edge for their Rank; this doesn't mean they cannot receive or find items outside of taking the Edge, only that the Edge should guide the GM in what's appropriate for such items:
    • Heirloom for Novice Rank.
    • Soul-Bonded Item for Seasoned Rank.
    • Improved Soul-Bonded Item for Veteran Rank.
    • Greater Soul-Bonded Item for Heroic Rank.
    • Artifact for Legendary.
  • The Game Master Option Rule applies overtly here; whatever a Player Character has on their sheet, the GM of a given session has the right to alter ("nerf") or even disallow the item. GMs are asked to be careful in exercising this option too heavy-handedly, but they need to be able to protect their game from potential abuses.

The Chosen of the Horn

This is a very special "condition" that characters can earn via story means in a Shaintar campaign. Among other things, it was an award folks could receive for their official Justice and Life PCs as part of their Pledge for the Kickstarter. As such, it cannot be handed out "willy-nilly" in the Justice and Life campaign.

Basically, only GMs of Veteran Rank or higher can award the status to certain characters. Even then, such an award should only be done as the result of a truly epic moment in the game. 

For the most part, Chosen of the Horn will be awarded by SPF at very special convention events.

GM Exp rewards - We all love our GM's.  The ones who go out of their way and take so much time to build these epic stories.  But if your running a game, its hard to level a character up at the same time.  When a GM dooes get to sit down and play, he has a young character that sometimes cant keep up with the older more experienced characters.  Sometimes those more experienced characters are his or her own players.  So in the spirit of many other organized play RPG games out there, we are encouraging our GM's to take 2 EXP for every game they run and apply it to a character of there choice.  It is requested that you still craft a story of what your character is doing to earn this experience and even create adventure logs in your Obsidian Portal campaign pages if you can.   Like many things in J&L this is a trust system that we hope wont be abused.  Also remember if you take one of these characters to another GM's table, they get final approval if you can play using that experience or not.  So it is also a good idea to keep a log of your experience and how its spent, just in case.