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Author Topic: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign  (Read 1318 times)

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Offline Dossta

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Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« on: September 22, 2011, 04:52:24 PM »
Purpose: to get some ideas for a campaign rewrite.  My group has been playing this for over a year now, and one of my players has guessed too much about where this is going (and voiced his suspicions to the other player).  Both players know me very well, and I'm afraid that any ideas I come up with for a rewrite will be as easily guessed as the first.  That's where I'm hoping a few Strolenites can step in.

Challenge: Fit the following elements into a plausible campaign plot.  These are events that have already played out, or information that is not easily retconned, so they'll have to stay.
  • Six ancient elven bloodlines that are somehow connected
  • One half-elven PC who is slowly transforming into something draconic, after touching some glowing artifact on their first mission.  The other PC was smart enough to stay away from it.  She may be a member of one of the six elven bloodlines.
  • The mysterious capture and transport of elves from all over the Realms to an unknown location, for an unknown purpose.
  • A powerful merchant house that is at least partly responsible for the disappearance of elves in the city of Crimmor (PCs have uncovered evidence that the house was paying raiders to intercept elven travellers and deliver them to a warehouse within the city).  This house is headed by a woman who has in her possession a ring inscribed "Follower of the Scaly Way."
  • The dark elves (not my choice).  Their patron goddess has bestowed a vision on her favored clerics, revealing to them the names of the six elven clans accompanied by a strong sense of opportunity and/or danger for her people.
  • One PC (a dark elf) who is on a covert mission to follow the half-elf and document the changes happening to her.  His house heeded the vision sent by their goddess and captured a surface elf with the appropriate clan name, but could learn nothing from him through either magical experimentation or torture.  So the player has been given a ring that lets him take this elf's likeness, with instructions to find and observe other elves of those bloodlines.  The first one that his family spies encountered was the half-elf.

For anyone who contributes to this thread, I will be happy to write a gift sub for you based off of one of your own submissions.  It's the least I can do for help with saving my campaign.  I am happy to answer any questions you have, but have intentionally left out my original campaign story to try and give people a clean slate.  I'll also use this thread as a place to post my own musings on the matter.  Go nuts!
« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 09:53:23 AM by Dossta »

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2011, 06:31:10 AM »
So where was the previous planned path that your players have sort of figured out?


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Offline Dossta

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2011, 09:38:40 AM »
When the dark elf player saw the half-elf gaining unusual powers, he assumed that I was ripping off of Baldur's Gate.  He figured that there was probably some cult trying to revive an evil deity of some sort, and that her character would probably be wanted by said cult for sacrifice fodder.  That's more-or-less correct.  I'll include the full story in the spoiler.

The Coming of Seradess

Forgotten Realms Lore: At the very beginning of the world, dragons ruled the world and all the creatures within.  Lesser races, like elves, were usually enslaved and unable to build lasting kingdoms or empires because of the dragons.  So six great elven wizards got together and created the Dracorage Mythal -- a powerful elven magic that alters reality itself -- and tied it to the King-Killer Star.  Thereafter, whenever the King-Killer Star is in the sky dragons everywhere go insane.  The insanity lasts for several weeks, with the dragons killing their offspring, turning on their minions, crushing their own empires, etc.  The star returns every 200 years or so, which was enough of a disruption that the reign of the dragons was broken, and lesser races began to thrive.

My Addition: Seradess was the major dragon deity of justice.  She was moved by her followers' pleas for revenge against the elves, and determined that the elves had perpetuated a great injustice against the race of dragons.  The only way to make things right, she reasoned, was to find a way in which the elves themselves would share in the fate of dragonkind.  Working in secret, her church kidnapped direct descendants of the six elven wizards, and infused each of them with the blood of a slain dragon, sacrificed willingly to the cause.  In order to get the fusion to stick, however, she also had to sacrifice a good portion of her own divine essence to the experiment.  Before she could complete her vengeance, however, she was discovered by Bahamut and the other dragon deities, whose pride could not allow the unnatural fusing of dragonblood into a lower race.

There was a terrible fight.  Bahamut eventually destroyed Seradess, however, and cast her remains to the earth as a burning meteor of liquid metal.  In this way, Bahamut assumed Seradess' portfolio of Justice.  The elves pleaded for their lives and Bahamut, who is really a very kind god, merely sealed away their dragon essence so that it could not harm (or benefit) them.  This was over 50,000 years ago.

In the present day, The Cult of the Dragon is on the move.  This is an insane group of wizards/necromancers who believe that "dead dragons will one day rule the world."  They have discovered the remainder of Seradess' body (a large, misshapen chunk of metal) and have begun kidnapping elves from across the Realms in an effort to resurrect her as a dracolich.  So much time has passed, that the dragonblood (and Seradess' essence) has been bred into nearly every elf (and nearly every dark elf, but they don't know that).  The Cult must sacrifice many elves (on the order of 6000), to accumulate enough of Seradess' divine essence that the ritual will work.  They also need a live dragon (preferably willing) to become the host for her spirit reborn.

Once Seradess is reborn, she will reactivate the dragon blood in all elvenkind, causing them to go insane at the next rise of the King Killer Star.  What's more, elves of direct descent from the six wizards are so tainted, that they will lose their will entirely to Seradess, becoming horrific half elf/half dragon shock troops under her complete command.

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Offline Scrasamax

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2011, 11:24:36 AM »
Interesting, and I can see how having the punchline stolen is a problem.

Planning.

Step one: Limit the importance of dragons, make bullet point 2 a red herring. The item in question reptilizes elves who touch it. Why? Because somewhere there is an ugly wizard with bad skin.

Step two: establish new conspiracy surrounding the six elf clans.

The six elf clans are important, magic users, leaders, good blood, of the race. These six wield a great deal of power and influence over the rest of elfdom, controlling them or destroying them would allow for the manipulation, or shattering of elfin society. An ancient and wicked demon is using the Legend of Seradess as a cover for its activities. It wants to break the six clans to weaken Elfin magic. It is vulnerable to this magic.


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Offline EchoMirage

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 06:06:55 AM »
You could also make it actually two plots, too: the missing elves are actually moving away to a better world, without all the orcs and mind flayers and manticores and humans and other yucky stuff. Perhaps a certain kind of magical gift is necessary for them to maintain that new dimension, or pehaps only a special kind of elf can survive there. Hence, not all get to go.

The order of the scaly way or whatever is another sect of elves. They use dragon essence to become tougher. They guard the passage to the other world.

And the dark elves? While they theoretically could go, they were not invited. But if they learned of the other world, they could go there too.

On a more sinister note: the other world can be just a temporary refuge, to shelter the elves while the world is purged of all other critters, a magical genocide on unprecedented scale. The poor Followers of the Scaly Way are actually an elven sect who stay behind to ensure all the nasty things are wiped out, and none follow to the Refuge. Of course, they will likely die too, but that is a small price to pay for the future of the elven race.

The Legend of Serdess is just a ruse, or may have been misinterpreted. As for the trasforming PC, the thing he touched was just an initiation device of the Order of the Scaly Way which activated dormant dragon powers.

So, the dark elf will be like: "They want to leave us behind to blow up with all the creeps?"
The half elf may believe he gets to live, until he realizes a) he's scaly, so no, b) half-human's can't go.
The rest will of course deem the elves to be nazis.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2011, 06:29:03 AM by EchoMirage »
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Offline Dossta

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 04:11:03 PM »
The idea of making the elves the baddies is intriguing.  If I take Scras' suggestion of building a new conspiracy around the 6 elven clans, and Echo's suggestion of having the elves removed to a safe place, then we get a post-apocalyptic scenario that works really well with existing Forgotten Realms lore.

In the Forgotten Realms, many elves have already removed themselves to the Evermeet -- a sanctuary beyond the edge of the world where they can guard themselves against the invasion of other races.  However, many chose to stay.  If I take Echo's suggestion and make the Order of the Scaly way a secret elven sect, then they could be charged with kidnapping the rest of the elves that chose to stay, forcibly removing them to "safety".  The leaders of the six clans, meanwhile, are working in the shadows to bring about Echo's Appocalypse over the rest of the world to wipe the slate clean.  They will find some way to make the land itself reject the seeds of civilization, and flood the Underdark itself with cleansing waters, vanquishing the dark elves at the same time.

This puts the dark elves in the uncomfortable position of having to save the world, as well.

Me likes, but I'll have to give it a bit longer to gel together in my head.  Any other thoughts?

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Offline Ancient Gamer

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2011, 03:58:23 AM »
The Forgotten Realms is a rather well known setting, with hundreds of campaign books and dozens of computer games (Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Woods, etc...) being based on it.

As a reformed Forgotten Realm's GM I feel the urge to inform you that it is not you, it is the setting itself, as the benchmark RPG, the system default, that makes your plots easily revealed.

Throwing your player's off the mark is no harder than making Elminster the villain, or some such. Make him the grand seducer, the big betrayer.

(Elminster is Ed Greenwood's "Mary Sue", his in setting persona and the most über wizard of them all)

I actually got a parody of Evermeet in my setting. I do not present it as parody, but the islands got parade streets where nazi-like legions of elves march and hail the Pure Blooded Elven Emperor, and the few half-elves and human prisoners that have not been executed swipe the streets and work the mines.

I suggest reading some unorthodox fantasy authors, or even ancient history. Try meso-american cultures, Phrygia, the campaigns of Pyrrhus, Persia, or something like that.

Then inject that into the setting.
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Offline Dossta

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Re: Challenge: help me rewrite my campaign
« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2011, 10:25:42 PM »
Thanks for that, AG.  Basing my campaign in FR has been a problem from the start, but as a brand-spanking new GM I was told that it's better to use an established setting at first.  And one of my players absolutely loves it, so I wanted to make them happy.  The Realms isn't all bad, but sometimes I wonder what Greenwood/Salvatore et al were smoking when they came up with some of this stuff.  The Cult of the Dragon, for example, is completely 100% canon (and they really do believe that dead dragons will one day rule the world).  /rant

On a side note, I may have stumbled upon a mini campaign arc that my party is much more interested in at the moment.  I took Scras' advice of making the artifact something that reptilizes elvenkind.  What I didn't mention was that my industrious drow had swiped the thing from the temple (taking care not to touch), and sent it down with a courier to be studied by his family.  He's now gotten word that one of his sisters is beginning to experience weird changes.  Considering the slight (but useful) bonuses that I've been giving the half-elf every level as she transforms, this player is now regretting not getting the "dragon power" for himself, and is worried that control over the artifact will start a house feud.  Now I just have to decide what to do with the MacGuffin to distract the party while the elves begin to bring about the Appocalypse.  Good times.

In my spare time, I've started to look over old subs from all three of you guys.  Gift subs will come as soon as inspiration strikes.  Thank you all. :)

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