- Heroic Tier is Ultima I. The evil wizard Mondain has taken over the land and he must be stopped! I would use the maps and cities and monster types from U1which are pretty standard fantasy types. The land is divided into four islands which are separate realms so there is some opportunity for travel.
- Paragon Tier is Ultima II (sort of). A few years later, Mondain's evil apprentice has become even MORE powerful and taken over a land across the sea! The Heroes of the earlier adventure must venture to a new land and stop her! This takes place on one large landmass known as Sosaria. I see this as happening a few years of game time after the events of Heroic Tier - things quieted down then rumors begin of a new menace and the PC's (perhaps including some new faces) decide to journey there and finish the job.
- Epic Tier is Ultima III (also sort of). A few years after this the evil offspring of the prior two villains, known as "Exodus", has achieved immense power and disrupted time and space. The now legendary heroes who stopped the evil wizards must now take on their greatest challenge and journey through time and space to put a permanent end to this unholy legacy. Time gets a little fuzzy - it could start 10 years later or 10 seconds after Minax goes down - and heroes from a variety of ages and lands could join the fight.
|Sosaria - the land of Ultima III, which I would use for Paragon Tier|
The biggest thing I would change here is to use the map and world of Ultima III for the second part, then use the time and space jumping theme and plot for the third part because (Spoiler alert here for a game from 1983 - BEWARE!) Exodus is a computer. In the CRPG when you finally invade Exodus' fortress even the grass attacks your party, followed by the bricks of the fortress as you move in. I think a plane-hopping, time-hopping, potentially planet or moon-hopping fight against a self-aware supercomputer would make for an awesome Epic campaign. It's a good reason to throw in some technological elements and maybe a side trip to Gamma World (for the Aftermath) and just talking about it has me ready to play. If Exodus' goal is to remake the universe into a more logical and rational place, you have a nice conflict for the characters without going stereotypical "Big Evil" after doing that in Heroic and Paragon. As the universe comes apart, the heores fight a final battle against the abomination of magic & technology. Assuming the good guys win, the final scene would be the chaos subsiding and a new world coalescing, containing many elements of the old but also much that is new, and setting the stage for the second campaign.
|The map from Ultima II - yes, Time Bandits was an inspiration according to the game designer|
|A combat encounter from Ultima III, C64 style!|
Then in Epic things get crazy and you can add in some technological opponents, Warforged as a PC race (maybe a rebellious sub-fragment of Exodus) weird mixed elemental types, and bring in the Far Realm stuff for the first time as the walls of reality collapse.Add in everything from the PHB3, the Realms & Eberron player guides, maybe even Dark Sun and Shadow as well as strangers from afar with new ways join the fight to save the universe. This is an anything goes phase of the game so bring it all in and SAVE THE UNIVERSE!
Some might look at this outline as "too simple" especially for Heroic and Paragon - I see it as "focused" and there is a difference. Many campaigns are a sort of sandbox where the PC's wander between adventures with no specific goal or theme and if that works for everyone then there's nothing wrong with it, but it's not the only way to play. If the players discover at first level that the land is in trouble and it's the fault of the evil wizard who has taken over the four realms, then they have a goal and everything they do after that can be in furtherance of that goal. The players can still decide how they want to go about taking down the enemy and it could easily make things more player-driven and less "what has the DM prepared for us this week." There are still dungeons to be delved and gold and magic to be acquired. Targets for player action could be local garrisons, gold shipments, monsters that the wizard has allowed to roam free, then eventually the centers of power in each realm, freeing the rightful leaders of each realm (some of which might be the PC's) and then taking down the evil wizard as the finale for Heroic Tier. Playing the rebels against an oppressive authoirty is a less-common type of campaign and puts a different spin on things than the traditional loot & level-up approach.
|They aren't kidding|
|That gray square is a Moongate|
|The lands of Lord British, circa U1|