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Grimwell
11-25-2007, 05:10 PM
Your feedback and ideas welcome!

Mission:
To run a D&D 3.5 game for a group of people I have never DM'ed for and cover the distance between now and next summer in a bi-weekly format that is fun!

The Big Idea:
The players must prove their heroism and become the next leaders in a new land.

Background:
The adventure begins in a colony off the main land. Back on the mainland the world is about half settled and stable. Each player race has a 'home nation' that fits their generic identity and role in standard D&D. These nations have relations with each other, but there is a political distance between them all. The races may get along, but they don't mix much.

The colony is north of this mainland -- across a Mediterranean Sea like distance, and has only been settled for the last century or so. For years it was an untamed wild land with a climate much like that of northern Europe. It snows in the winter, and people hole up to tough it out. There are no real nations in this new land, but there is order provided by former adventurers who helped tame the land to a degree.

These former adventurers were a new blood and formed a mixed-race party (unique in it's time) and they adventured and fought to make the colony safe for the people who have come to settle it. In their time these adventurers carved out four 'provinces' that they now rule over in terms of authority (they are not legitimized by any mainland power and do not claim titles that offend the mainland -- they are simply the people who get the job of ruling done for the colonial folk).

They have created a unique culture that is a blend of the mainland races. Yes, the races still tend to cluster together, but there is considerable mixing due to the need for cooperation. As an example of how radical this is, on the mainland there are almost no half-elves; in the colonial settlements half-elves are not thought of as anything unique.

The Problem/Impetus for Adventure:
These original adventurers are ready to retire. Normally one passes his/her power to their children at this phase of life, but the original adventurers have no (living) children. They have either never produced a sire, or their children all died young depending on individual circumstances. Still, the humans of the group are in their 50's (pretty old for the setting) and the non-humans with extended lives are ready to 'retire to the mainland' and move on from this phase of life.

Leaving without putting someone in power would create a vacuum and cause chaos in these lands that the adventurers have carved from the wilds, and they have no natural heirs, so after some consideration they have put forth the call for a new generation of adventurers to prove themselves, solve some of the current day's problems, and take on the mantle of leadership in the colonies.

The Real Challenge:
The crowning achievement of the original adventurers was the defeat of a powerful dragon that claimed this land as her own domain. With the influx of mortals, conflict was a natural result and these adventurers were drawn into a final battle with the dragon in which they emerged victorious (and were crowned by status to lead).

Unknown to the original adventurers at the time was the existence of the dragons child. She survived this time and quietly replaced her mother when things settled down. In the last few decades this dragon has quietly grown in power and influence over the lands, and is actually the reason the current generation of leaders has no children. She is the secret hand of evil in the land.

The Adventures Unfold:
The natural assumption is that the PC party steps up to meet their leaders challenge and claim the right to rule in this land through heroism and deed. They need to prove themselves to each of the four provincial powers and gain the approval of these elders to become the new rulers.

At each step of the process the players will take on the largest threat to the safety of a province and (if successful) gain the fame, clout, and authority to become the next generation of leaders. Initially it will seem that the four provinces have four different problems, but the reality of this is that the dragon spawn has been silently backing the threats and causing them.

Her master plan is to groom the 'heroes' as a challenge and then to come forth and slay them proving her dominance over the land. Each of the four provincial threats will have a draconic link to tie them back to the hidden master, and while the players don't have to figure this out, it will give them a bit of a clue if they do.

The Climax:
The final battle of the campaign is between the dragon and the new heroes. They have (hopefully) proven themselves in four provincial challenges and are ready to face the dragon in a showdown that will decide the fate of the colony. If the players succeed, the defeat of the dragon is the final feather in their cap that proves their legitimacy as the next generation of leaders. If they fail the dragon takes over the land and rules over the mortals in a campaign of terror demanding constant tribute in exchange for survival.

That's the whole concept of the micro-campaign. My goals are to get comfortable in the DM's chair again (it's been over a year) and give the new players a chance to get to know each other (they have not played as a group before) as well as have a short story filled with adventure points that take them through the levels. The game will be a 'beer and pretzels' game where there is combat every week (something they have indicated a desire for) and roleplay, but not obsessive roleplay (one of them is a first time D&D'er).

What do y'all think? Interesting? Enough to run a half year or so? I figure I can continue with things if we like the setting, or I can shift gears as 4th edition comes out and we have something new and shiny to like. More than anything, I want an encapsulated story that has room for high adventure and fun within that defined ending.

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 08:55 PM
Seems nice and pleasant.

Grimwell
11-25-2007, 09:28 PM
LOL! He rips me up in the chat room and then gives that here? :P

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 10:01 PM
Its because there is no evidence left behind in the chatroom...its just his word against yours.

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 10:05 PM
I ripped you up?

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 10:49 PM
yeah...don't you remember? he left after you called him that bad word!!!

Grimwell
11-25-2007, 10:51 PM
I was making a joke :)

rabkala
11-25-2007, 11:04 PM
It seems like a very playable and interesting story. As I read it, I seem to get stuck on a few minor points. Maybe they could be explained away easily, maybe it's just me...
The old adventurers don't seem the type to just pass power on to their children, even if they had them. They are not nobles with titles and are more likely men who believe that action speaks louder than words or a bloodline. I am not sure how important it plays in your story. For some reason, I don't feel it.
A few decades doesn't seem enough time for the dragon to mature and become much of a power. Chromatic dragons seem more solitary without much familial bond. Either way, why wouldn't the dragon try to pick off these over the hill adventures maybe with guile and create the power vacuum right away?
The established nations to the south seem rather unconcerned about the colony. One would expect a lot of greedy eyes and attempts to gain power from the established people of the south.

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 11:06 PM
And I'm trying to get rid of the #3 poster on the site so that I can take his place!!!! Why are you ruining it?

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 11:14 PM
Now why would you do that? I'm pretty comfortable where I am, thanks.

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 11:27 PM
I may have an answer to Rabkala's insights.

Perhaps the original dragon never died but was mortally wounded but somehow survived. Decades later the dragon has finally healed and is ready to wreak havoc again.

Just a thought!

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 11:31 PM
One of the original points that I brought up to Grimwell was that I felt the legacy element was too heavy. The fact that all those provinces' leaders were retiring at the same time and the dragon coming of age again at the same time seemed too much to me.

I would suggest altering the dragon and varying the reason that the leadership of the provinces is under question (assassins' poisons for example?) would help. Or perhaps not even have the legacy element be the impetus for all the characters at all.

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 11:38 PM
A magical disease or poison could be the reason the old guard are dying. Perhaps it could be revenge from beyond the grave and now the new adventurers have to find the cure to save their beloved leaders.

While doing so they find the dragon, stop him, and save their leaders. All the while proving their worth to be the new leaders.

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 11:40 PM
A magical disease or poison could be the reason the old guard are dying. Perhaps it could be revenge from beyond the grave and now the new adventurers have to find the cure to save their beloved leaders.

While doing so they find the dragon, stop him, and save their leaders. All the while proving their worth to be the new leaders.

How do they save the old leaders and become the new leaders at the same time?

Digital Arcanist
11-25-2007, 11:54 PM
At exactly the same time!!!!

I was thinking that this near-death experience causes the old guard to step down and of course there are these new adventurers standing right there....

PhishStyx
11-25-2007, 11:57 PM
Still not seeing it. I'm still not entirely sure what brings the 4 (or apparently 5) pc's together other than the story forces it.

PhishStyx
11-26-2007, 12:05 AM
It occurs to me that the 5 might come together at say an annual harvest festival where cases affecting all the provinces are heard, and there they are given a mission by the 4 barons to investigate what's going on in the farthest parts of the colony. That way, they aren' stuck trying to get together, and it doesn't need to be the dragon's job either.

Digital Arcanist
11-26-2007, 12:19 AM
They could be simply adoring villagers of the respective homes of the old heroes. They could also be lesser cousins sent to check upon these near royal adventurers.

PhishStyx
11-26-2007, 12:25 AM
Sure, they could be virtually anything, but my way offers a dramatically interesting reason for them to be there. They are the chosen 4, one from each village, hand-selected to venture forth under the blessings of the Great Dogfodnah (or whomever) to investigate the goings on of the land.

Digital Arcanist
11-26-2007, 12:28 AM
Well apparently you were posting while I was posting and I didn't see your post until after I made mine.....you might be closer to the node than I therefore your bits are out the gate faster than mine.

PhishStyx
11-26-2007, 12:30 AM
Trust me, my bits are hard workin' fellas.

Digital Arcanist
11-26-2007, 12:36 AM
ewwwwww...........

So I wonder how long it will be before we scare Grimwell away? I guess our advice sent the last guy asking screaming for the hills....

PhishStyx
11-26-2007, 12:37 AM
I dunno, but if you really want to spam a forum with stuff, you can post in mine for a bit.

http://forum.usslynx.com

Grimwell
11-26-2007, 11:13 AM
I don't scare easy. I may not be in the top 5 for posting, but I've been here for quite some time. Work just gets busy and makes it not possible for me to post from time to time.

As Phish noted, I'm up to five folks as one asked to bring a friend. I'm used to running for 8 so this should still feel small scale enough to be a comfortable 'welcome back' after the time away.

I also like the idea of a festival announcement for getting them together. I'm definitely forcing much of the hand in the setup to make sure it's clear what they should be doing, which is normally something I abhor, but this is a deliberately short game and I'm doing what I normally don't to get the action going fast. :P

Malruhn
11-26-2007, 09:51 PM
You could start it like last season in Heroes (the TV program on NBC). How many players are there? There USED TO BE that many plus five that were the old adventuring party, and over the last year, the other five were killed under strange circumstances. At the big festival that everyone is talking about, how about a botched assassination attempt against one of them that gets them talking and they discover that the other five are dead...

Insta-hook.

DrAwkward
11-28-2007, 09:55 AM
One of the original points that I brought up to Grimwell was that I felt the legacy element was too heavy. The fact that all those provinces' leaders were retiring at the same time and the dragon coming of age again at the same time seemed too much to me.

I would suggest altering the dragon and varying the reason that the leadership of the provinces is under question (assassins' poisons for example?) would help. Or perhaps not even have the legacy element be the impetus for all the characters at all.

How about--

The child dragon was born plenty long ago, and was off on its own. When it heard of its mother's murder, it headed back for revenge. It knows it can't take on these rough and ready adventurers, but it's patient.

The child dragon researches the adventurer's strengths and weaknesses, and contact's her own father. Yes he's tough enough to eat them, but no - he's not interested in revenge. Piss off kid, ya bother me.

Fine. She'll bide her time, making sure they don't have any offspring, and when she's ready - plant rumors of a "threat that only they can handle" pointing them to Dad's lair. That'll show them, and teach that deadbeat to blow me off when I ask for his help.

Now, she's a little pissed that they won't go off on to get eaten by her dad until some sort of "successor" business is taken care of. Fine, whatever. She'll steer threats and send lackeys until somebody proves themselves and these old farts get whats coming to them.

Then she'll eat the successors, and rule a reign of terror. Bwahahahahaha.

Farcaster
11-29-2007, 12:31 PM
Grim, it sounds interesting. This sounds like it is a unique setting of your own devising, so part of the fun for the players will be in exploring the completely unknown as they travel the various provinces.

As to some possible alternatives, the old-timers don't necessarily need to be retiring to make a call for heroes of the land to rise up and deal with these unique challenges that have been engineered by this secret adversary. As you say, they are an aged group, and the challenges of 'ruling' would be very time consuming. So, it stands to reason that they would want to cultivate a new group (or groups) of heroes.

Perhaps after the players prove themselves and prove themselves worthy of the trust, the old-timers may feel comfortable stepping down. Also, the dragon's overall goal may have been to wear these marauding-murders down until the cost of rulership was so high that they could not bear it anymore. This would leave the vacuum of power the dragon was looking for. And once they had a few less guards (and wicked ballista) at their disposal, she could start picking them off one by one. So, even though the PCs may slay the dragon in the end, the toll that the dragon exacted may still weigh heavy on the old-timers. Thus, it may be at the end of the campaign that the existing rulers decide to step down, having found worthy successors.

This approach may get better buy-in as to why they may all step down around the same time, since the PCs would have been along for the ride. I'd suggest, though, that one of them, perhaps a stalwart demi-human, stay on as ruler of one of the provinces. I'd make it evident that s/he is staying on at great personal sacrifice, to be a stabilizing force in the region as the others are succeeded.

Those are some possible alternative scenarios. I hope some of that may be useful. :cool:

PhishStyx
11-29-2007, 03:00 PM
How about--

The child dragon was born plenty long ago, and was off on its own. When it heard of its mother's murder, it headed back for revenge. It knows it can't take on these rough and ready adventurers, but it's patient.


The problem for me isn't chronology, it's thematic. That all 4 provincial leaders are retiring at the same time and this dragon threat returns at the same time, seems simply too coincidental to me. In short, the fact of it breaks disbelief without adding anything substantial to the storyline.

DrAwkward
11-30-2007, 10:05 AM
The problem for me isn't chronology, it's thematic. That all 4 provincial leaders are retiring at the same time and this dragon threat returns at the same time, seems simply too coincidental to me. In short, the fact of it breaks disbelief without adding anything substantial to the storyline.

I agree that simultaneous retirement is a bit too coincedental, which is why I suggest they not be retiring, but actually be planning thier last big adventure. Four old adventerers gathering back up to go wreak some havoc one last time sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Also, the dragon threat isn't just returning -- its been there, lurking in the shadows, since just after they assumed power. I think the plan was to weave into the story the fact that the dragon has been arranging for thier heirs' deaths all this time, waiting for a good time to strike. In the dragon's case, a good time to stike is after these old farts leave, since she knows she's no match for them.

From the party's perspective, the leaders hold a festival and annouce that the Seer have fortold a great threat rising from the north, that only the leaders themselves are capable of dealing with. The know they are old, but are no less brave for it. Nonetheless, if they fail, or return on thier shields, they want to ensure the land is left in capable hands. Therefore, the call goes out for brave souls to prove themselves.

Why would they leave a cushy job for one last adventure at their age? Perhaps it isn't so great a job. Thier reign has been plagued with nothing but troubles. Some say its the dying curse of the dragon they slew. Bandits, random fires, and monsters galore create a constant strain on the guard and the coffers. Taxes are higher than they'd prefer, and the fires make it so there's always barely enough food to go around. If the next batch of andventurers can stabilize the situation, then obviously they are more fit to rule.

The dragon's heir, of course, is controlling the Seer, and causing all the problems. This gives the seer credibility, as he can "predict" where the fires are going to break out, and where monsters may strike. Even as "accurate" as his predictions may be, it's still barely enough. Nevertheless, he is well trusted - and if he says the leaders must travel on to deal with a rising menace, then they start packing. Didn't he even predict where they would find the drowned body of Namegar's only son? Or that Otherguy's daughter would die fighting the fire in Delltowncity? They offered to leave the lands in his care, but he refused -- saying it was not meant to be. What a nice guy.

The Seer, of course, would want to buddy up with the next batch of suckers. He'll give them tidbits of where to find good adventure (all stuff they can handle) and sing up thier deeds to the leaders. His plan is for the old guys to leave as soon as possible, and overinflate the prowess of the party. This way the lands are *not* ready after the old guys leave, and the dragon finally strikes.

Also part of the dragon's plan is to set up a deathtrap for the old farts, but one she has no direct part in (too risky). The party, when they discover that she's been pulling the strings, can have one last big fling rescuing the geezers.

rabkala
11-30-2007, 10:32 PM
I think Dr Awkward's new take on it is my favorite so far. It is packaged up rather nicely.

dormcook
11-30-2007, 11:46 PM
I agree, that version seems the best. There are less loss ends.
If this were eberron the seer could be the dragon.
Eberron allows nonmetalic dragons to shift like metalic ones. I could see the dragon pulling strings and working itself into there lives as a seer, the whole time using gold to organize an underworld group to hinder the kingdoms. The seer is the leader of an underworld group, a beloved public figure and the heir to the dragon all at the same time.

Maelstrom
12-01-2007, 12:41 AM
Here's a new twist... what if the old characters after being sedentary so long and having so many challenges such as loss of children that they've grown apart?

What if a couple of them have even started feuds between their provinces over some perceived wrongs?

Could be that the Dragon is stirring these feuds up by framing one or the other for some misdeeds she causes.

Something like this could add a bunch of intrigue and plot twists along the way as the players have to somehow reconcile the provinces and their leaders to gain favor.

Digital Arcanist
12-01-2007, 10:55 AM
The dragon doesn't have to chromatic to evil. Dragon Magazine put out an issue recently expanding the metallic dragon species. The dragons they listed ranged from CE to LE. I believe it is issue #356. The species are pretty cool and I think the dragons would work well in the story.

So what does Grimwell have to say about all this? Have we scared him off yet?

Grimwell
12-01-2007, 11:38 AM
No, incorporating the feedback is his weekend project. Right after he fixes the toaster. :(

rabkala
12-02-2007, 01:52 PM
Yes, toasters! Since it is a short term thing, lets go a little crazy and really cleanse your pallet for the upcoming 4e. Okay, only technology can save us now.

So, the old dragon didn't die. It's spirit was pushed through a rift in time/space/dimension. The spirit took over the body of another creature and vowed revenge. After thirty years of building a mighty futuristic army, it discovered a way to open a rift back from whence it came. The rift is a one way trip, but it will surely conquer the entire world with its army. It returns and easily destroys the old fat bastard adventurers with a fleet of plasma tanks and semi-automatic laser gun toting ninjas. It's ships are descending on the established nations to the south. All seems lost until the brave new adventurers step through from the future armed with truckloads of explosives, serious firepower, and revenge on their minds because the 'dragon' killed their ancestors.

Ya, dat's what i'm talking 'bout!

Maelstrom
12-03-2007, 03:34 AM
Ick, that was just painful to read. Am I in the twilight zone? Or did we get a cross post planar phenonema from the sci fi board?

Moritz
12-03-2007, 09:29 AM
It makes me dizzy to read that. The sort of dizzy when you get on one of those spinny rides that go backwards and you start to feel like you're going to puke and there's no one to pull you out of the maelstrom.