View Full Version : (Fantasy) Campaign Hatchery: The Reborn

10-09-2006, 08:33 PM
The RPG-DFW Campaign Hatchery thread has been reborn, and taken wing to the general forums! Woo!

OK, here's the idea I was tossing about last night.

In every heroic tale, there's always some wise woman or cryptic oracle or mysterious stranger who triggers the Great Quest. There's always a lucky coincidence that saves our heroes at the last moment. When they complete their quest, there's invariably an adoring throng or a king who'll grant them half the kingdom, whereas in the real world the peasants don't care and the king would gut them and claim credit in an eyeblink.

Somebody arranges all that. Guess who?


You're part of an invisible organization that makes sure quests turn out right. Your boss is immortal; you're not. Your boss provides the omens; *you* run around in the freezing rain making sure the precious heroes don't get mugged by the Thieves' Guild or eaten by wandering monsters. In the puppet show of life, you're the black-clad figures against a black background that the audience should never notice, but who make the little dolls move.

Aren't you special?

10-09-2006, 08:58 PM
Since anyone can remember, the Gods have protected your little village. At night they guard against evildoers; they bear away murderers and thieves and blasphemers, and purify their souls. Sometimes the evildoers don't survive the process; sometimes they come back shadows of what they were. At least they have been purified.

And did the Gods not descend from the mountain when the Northmen came? Did not Lord Samyaza himself cleave the Northman chieftain from shoulder to waist, and bathe in his blood? Did not Lady Berith beguile half the warband, take their evil souls, and transmute them within herself into pure flame? Glorious was that day, to see the power of the Gods made manifest.

Yet, this morning strangers come to the village. They call the Gods an evil name, and seek to recruit blasphemers and ne'er-do-wells to their cause. The strangers say they will venture up the mountain, break into the fortress of the Gods, and "destroy" them. (Destroy them? They are Gods; how can mortal man destroy them?)

What do you do? Slay the strangers? Bind them for judgement from the Gods? Do nothing, and wait for the Gods to smite them? Or perhaps give in to the blasphemous doubts in your own heart, and join them ...?

10-10-2006, 01:17 PM
Not sure what you are looking for in terms of the 'hatchery' but I really like the first idea of players being the 'mundanes' that make the hero's look good. Has an Inspector Gadget feel to it, without the little girl. :)

10-10-2006, 01:32 PM
On the old RPG-DFW board, Gary McBride started a thread called "Campaign Hatchery". Here's his original prologue:

So, we all have a campaign we wish we had time to run. Post those ideas and discuss which are you favorite or how you would improve them. Who knows maybe someone will take your idea and turn it into an actual on-going campaign. Any genre, any system, sky's the limit. Only requirement – it must an RPG campaign you have not yet run.

10-10-2006, 07:49 PM
Ahhh, makes sense now. :) I always love to chime in and share thoughts, but felt that this had some sort of format by how you posed it.

10-10-2006, 08:14 PM
Yeah, sorry. It occurred to me too late that not everyone on the general forum came from the DFW board ...

11-03-2006, 12:18 AM
(White Wolf/WotC naming is contagious ...)

Skimming the "Resurrection" thread on D&D, mixed with the treatment of Elves in The Shadow of Yesterday and this quote from the Wikipedia article on Tolkien's Elves:

Elves who die or are killed go to the Purgatory-like Halls of Mandos in Valinor. After a certain period of time and rest that serves as "cleansing", their spirits (fëar) are clothed in bodies (hröar) identical to their old ones.

So, imagine all the PCs are Elves of this kind. They can be killed, but they will be reborn at some later date. However, if this later date is months or years, that would mean that each session or multi-session adventure might wait for any killed members to rejoin the party. Some other options:

Elves are reborn as children, with the physical strength and coordination of children. Perhaps they lose some memories and skills with their old bodies.

Elves re-emerge as adults, but somewhere in the deep woods. They have to work their way back to their former companions, which can be played out in an accelerated form. (I think this is how TSOY handles it.)

Being reborn would take centuries. Thus, the human world could evolve or decay between each adventure. Elves might be respected wise folk one century, and fiends in humanoid shape the next, as human kingdoms and religions rise and fall. And if mortals start inventing technology ...

Perhaps the campaign would cycle around one human kingdom, as elven power waxes and wanes, and elves decide whether to save humans from their folly or help them destroy themselves.

11-11-2006, 05:46 AM
So, the original idea that started all this is about to take wing. The first entry in the rpgdfw campaign hatchery was this:

"City of Thieves"

Night caressed Shadizar, the city known as the Wicked, and veiled the happenings which justified the name a thousand times over. The darkness that brought respite to other cities drew out the worst in Shadizar of the Alabaster Towers, Shadizar of the Golden Domes, city of venality and debauchery.

In a score of marble chambers, silk-clad nobles coerced wives not their own to their beds and many-chinned merchants licked fat lips over the abductions of competitors’ nubile daughters. Perfumed wives, fanned by slaves wielding ostrich plumes, plotted the cuckolding of husbands, sometimes their own, while hot-eyed young women of wealth or noble birth or both schemed at circumventing the guards placed on their supposed chastity. Nine women and thirty-one men, one a beggar and one a lord, died by murder. The gold of ten wealth men was taken from iron vaults by thieves and fifty others increased their wealth at the expense of the poor. In three brothels perversions never before contemplated by humankind were created. Doxies beyond numbering plied their ancient trade from the shadows and twisted, ragged beggars preyed on the trulls’ wine-soaked patrons. No man walked the streets unarmed but even in the best quarters of the city arms were often not enough to save one’s silver from cutpurses and footpads. Night in Shadizar was in full cry.
– Robert Jordan, "Conan the Magnificent"

The PCs did not come here of their own freewill. They were dragged to the Wicked City as slaves destined to be a whip-strapped laborer, a pit fighter, a prostitute or to be sacrificed on the altar of some dark Zamorian demon-deity. The fickle gods of fortune had other plans. They escaped just before passing through the Gate of the Morning Star. With neither food nor water, the Slave City was their only oasis in the savage Desert of Arallus. Now they must make their way in this cruel caravanserai upon the Road of Kings. It is a city with neither hope nor heroes and desperate for either. Behold the Golden Throne of the Mad Tyrant, City of Princes and Thieves, Jewel of Eldest Zamoria, Gateway to the East, Temple of Spiders, Fabled Shadizar.

The campaign would center around a rag-tag group of escaped slaves rising to control the thieves and rogues of Shadizar. It would be up to the players to decide whether they were good guys fighting against the all too prevalent evil or whether they embraced this city's darkness. Think Sin City meets Lankmar and Thieves World in the Hyborian Age.

Anyways Shadizar starts next weekend. Now let's see what else we can hatch.


11-11-2006, 10:06 AM
The other entries are currently archived at http://rpgdfw.com/forum/index.php?page=topicview&id=251&kfs13=0

12-23-2006, 12:30 PM
You wake up in a cold, bleak room with bare walls. There seem to be several others, who to your discerning eye, bear the tell-tale signs of also being adventurers. As they begin to stir as well, you can't help but feel that you're conencted to them somehow, though you've never seen them before. Odd. Perhaps it's a geas or quest that's affecting you. Things are still fuzzy. One minute you were in the tavern, the next- here.

Finally, everyone seems to realize at once that the room is lit by a large crystal egg mounted on a pedestal in the center of them room. Adventurer's instincts tell you all that here is the key to this puzzle. And rightly so, for as you all turn to contemplate it, a mouth appears on the pedestal and begins to speak;
"Rise, young Seekers of Fortune" it intones,"a path to glory awaits you. You are, should you wish, to participate in a duel of old men. The rewards that await you shall be beyond that which can be offered by even kings and emperors: Riches? Yes. Land? Of course. But what would you say to becoming rulers yourselves? What would you say to ever-lasting life, eh?"

"Take the Egg before you. Two arch-magi await it's arrival. Do not fear, the magic locked within is inert and benign. You have only to find one of us, and deliver the Egg. We may not contact you beyond this message, we may not be more specific about your reward than I have already explained, but bring one of us the Egg, and you will be happy for all your days."

"Go now. Find us. Seize your destiny. Deliver the Egg."

I'm developing this campaign out of necessity, to stay in touch with my old friends-who-game, and as a time-saver for creating a campaign for (hopefully)soon-to-be gamer friends. Above would be the only introduction the PCs would get, and they could choose to take the adventure or not (though in truth, they are under a quest spell to take it- but I play it subtley, so that if they say "no", I say "Ok, of you go to do other things" but the two arch-magi keep them moving along the paths they want. I'll explain) We are toying with the idea of having the PCs wake up early to hear the tail-end of the two wizards argueing.

The IC premise is that two wizardly rivals hatch a game of chess two decide once and for all who will win in what has been their life-long feud. They've created the egg as a vessel to hold some of their life force/magic... enough that whichever of them gets their hands on the egg first, can finally destroy the other. They've set rules for this game, which include guidlines for scrying, direct and indirect contact, information control, who can participate as playing pieces, you name it. They put all their selections together with the Egg, and off they go. Now, one of the wizards is evil, and one good (of course). It just so happens, though, that the good one, is one of the extremely rare Lawful Good Liches in existence, and he's very adept at scrying and tries ot influence the party that way. The evil wizard is Neutral Evil, and has already violated one of the rules by placing one of his henchmen into the group- he tries to influence the party through the henchman since he can't scry. Hopefully these bits will make it hard for the party to figure out which mage will likely kill them after he gets the Egg, and which will actually havea reward waiting for them.

The OOC premise, is that I have a buddy living in Michigan and a buddy living in Baltimore (I'm in Chicago), both of which I'd love to have a campaign running with. So I give each of them some guidelines, and let one play the Evil Mage, and one play the Good Lich. I feed them the info they get from their info-gathering techniques after each session, they have a week to get back to me how they want to influence the party, and I use that the next session. On their own, they can develop their own dungeons, henchmen, etc (their both DMs), and one already has a great crypt dungeon going for his Lich. This way, I get help coming up with adventures sinceI don't have as much time anymore to do that, and my Pc go up against some great villians that are far more deep than I could create on my own.

And if they say 'no thanks' at the beginning, I simply relay that to my out-of-town wizards and let them come up with ways to keep the party on track. Hopefully the PCs will assume that the wizards are meddling with them for the Egg, and never figure out they are, in fact, seeking the wizards' pets out thanks to that quest spell. It'll hopefully be a geat way of giving the campaign continuity through a plot over-arc taking place at the same time as their regular adentures.

12-28-2006, 08:36 AM
Elves who die or are killed go to the Purgatory-like Halls of Mandos in Valinor. After a certain period of time and rest that serves as "cleansing", their spirits (fëar) are clothed in bodies (hröar) identical to their old ones.

The cleansing of their spirits varied, the most extreme example being Faenor who won't be allowed to leave the Halls of Mandos until the end of Arda/World. Following their release from the Halls of Mandos they did recieve another form, but it wasn't another body of flesh. These forms were more like those the Valar assumed, and they were free to traverse Valinor but were unable to return to Middle Earth. Only Beren and Luthien were given new lives, bodies and returned to Middle Earth, Namo/Mandos having been so moved by Luthien's song was unable to refuse her. I'm not certain but if I remember correctly even this decision needed Eru/Iluvatar's approval.

Christopher Tolkien has completed the editing of his father's tales concerning the Children of Hurin, and the book will be released in '07. If you're familiar with the Unfinished Tales, then you'll be familiar with the tragedy; I truly enjoyed and was moved to pity by JRR Tolkien's tales of this family and their plight! I'm sure it will do so again!

05-12-2007, 11:55 AM
The wakening:
A woman's face lingers over your inert form. She speaks but her words are too far away. Your skin feels dry and brittle. It will need to be moistened soon. Did it always need to be moistened? You can't recall. The effort of moving your head nauseates you. When your eyes focus and the room stops spinning you view the feeble, palely glistening, veinous thing that you know must be your arm. If that is a measure of what you are now, it is a far removed thing from the tanned and well musculed being you used to be.
As you leave and re-enter the land of the waking, you catch glimpses of a mustached man in silved plate armor, ragged men at arms who must be carrying you upwards through the labrynth of dank tunnels of the sewer complex. You remember, later, an elderly man in blue robes chanting and waving his hands inches above your body while the light transfuses your skin and forces the flesh to be pink and healthy once more.
This time your head clears as the last vestiges of the aboleth's slimy tentacle in your mind dissipitates. The silver man, Captain of the Guard Harlock Duress, explains the plight you have been through. He details the men he lost fighting the skum, the sickness pervading the city because of the backed up sewage, the abberrant fish creature known as an Aboleth that enslaved your mind for gods know how long, and the reversal of the transformation of your amphibious skin. Then, he tells you how you can repay your debt. Servitude as an apprentice, working years to pay off the price of your new life, or risk it all again and take up arms as a sworn defender of the realm. With the choice in mind, you make ready for your audience with the King.
After a time, Captain Harlock escorts you to the audience chamber just in time for his royal majesty, King August Turlain, Protector of Rudo and the Southron Alliance, Lord of the River Cronos, first of his name, to sentence a lesser noble to death for plotting with the Gaiares empire and it's fiery dieific Lord Fahazul. Turlain looks displeased as he eyes the knobby lot of refugees who would be his newest stalwart defenders.
"My friend, Harlock." He sighs. "I am displeased with these results. The city still reeks of excriment, the creatures you found clinging to life would have been better put to the sword than healed at the expense of the crown. On top of that, you propose that the three score men that died be replaced with this sorry bunch. All because of some fish."
Harlock Duress responds in measured tones. "The situation has been handled as well as could be expected and all those saved are the first step to regaining what we lost. They have all sworn to repay the crown in all ways that they can. These few who stand before you show much skill at arms and will swear fealty to you."
The king shifts in his seat, looking terribly uncomfortable on the mighty throne."Duress, I'll leave it to you, I trust your judgement. However, our ill luck doesn't end. The men you'd sent to reclaim the mines from the goblin band were scattered by undead. The priests I sent after those swear they were run off by trolls, Onrimas's apprentice and crew came back scared to death that a beholder was coming after them out of the depths. We need that shaft to produce iron for our smiths and granite for the new dam being constructed. Until such time that Lord Wizard Onrimas Mercate graces us with a solution, he recommends that we send an expedition through the rune gate to find more resources." The king gives a long
sigh."Captain, a crown weighs heavily on any man. I leave you to make ready the task force to venture through the gate. This will be a perfect gauge for your new recruits. Dismissed."