We started playing TTRPGs in 1999 with a D&D 3rd edition campaign of eight friends. When that campaign ended, we began a new campaign in the same world, with a slightly larger group of friends. That second campaign we called Big Campaign 2, or BC2.

Since then the world of Xelanis (the Material Plane) has gone through a lot. Xelanis wasn't always the Material Plane, for one thing. Planar destructions and recombinations have changed the cosmic map. Races have come and gone, and some have returned. Heroes have left their marks on the world. Later heroes added to those marks, or erased them and wrote their own stories in chunky black marker, and some "heroes" were really determined to burn some of the books that those stories were written in, and bury the entire library under a hundred tons of concrete for good measure.

Big Campaign Stories is a podcast set in our seventh campaign in this world: BC7.

Over time we've moved from D&D 3e to 3.5, then on to Pathfinder 1e. We've added a bit of homebrew to each campaign as we go, sometimes to fool around with mechanics and balance, and sometimes to formalize some of the world flavor.

You can check out a lot of that homebrew in other sections of the site, but for everyone that is jumping into BC7 without the context of any of the previous campaigns set in this world, here's a little bit of world background and some of the most fundamental changes to the Pathfinder rules.

What happened in BC6?

The very short version is that Xelanis fought a multi-front war. A Lawful Good group known as the Harmonium was intent on invading Xelanis and imposing its control, having determined that our plane was a primary source of everything that Lawful Good folks ought to be opposed to. Sort of the "team of paladins decides to wipe out the local goblin encampment" trope, just on the level of an entire plane, and we were the goblins. (And yeah, some of those "heroes" from previous campaigns might have done some things to give the impression that our plane was dangerous to the survival of other planes.)

BC6 had three groups of players operating simultaneously in the world. One group ended up defending the world from the Harmonium. Another group ended up destroying Mechanus (the Plane of Law) and making it much harder for anything like the Harmonium to happen again. And the third group went to the end of the Astral Plane to kill the Bishop (one of the old gods) and free Xelanis from the oversight of some of the basic forces of the universe.

Three hundred years after the end of the Harmonic Wars, Xelanis is a world ruled by corporations, where technology and magic exist side by side. Hedron, a metal with antigravitic properties, is harvested as a power source for communication devices, hoverbikes, and airships. Androids and cybernetics are commonplace, and in the wild places of the world rangers lead expeditions to harvest rare biological ingredients for new pharmaceuticals. And of course, not everyone is happy about the world's slide toward a high-tech capitalist society... but they don't get invited to the fancy parties.

What's different about Big Campaign compared to Pathfinder 1e?

To start with, we're using a variant that's very close to The World is Square and The Elephant in the Room rulesets; this means that all characters start out with a bunch of baseline feats, for one thing. All the races have been adjusted to make them all just a bit better, and every character also gets benefits from a Location and a Background.

Character advancement has been adjusted to give every character a bonus feat at each level (rather than each odd level), and a +1 stat adjustment at every level after level 1 (rather than every four levels). We cap levels at 10.

In a tech-based world, with a globally-integrated capitalist economy that now uses credit and a fiat currency, the equipment available and cost of items in the world is probably very different than what you'd find in a "normal" Pathfinder campaign. We tend not to adhere strictly to rules as written for things like crafting, tracking expenditure of ammo or daily meals. DCs don't always follow what's in the book, and the rule of cool reigns supreme.

All this together tends to mean that characters have a high power baseline. We don't worry about "balance". We don't worry about XP. We don't worry about encounter levels, or whether one party member is OP compared to another. We lean into the roleplaying and the flavor of the world, trick our characters out to do awesome things, and trust our awesome GM to facilitate a good story.

Welcome to Big Campaign.