Author Topic: Grad Project Hook - Original enough for submission?  (Read 1658 times)

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Offline Robotguy

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Grad Project Hook - Original enough for submission?
« on: February 03, 2015, 04:17:59 PM »
A couple of months ago I was attempting to put together an on-line campaign for players who were new to RPG, and I was looking for the hook to get everyone started. My research indicated several things to take into consideration:
  • The 'meet in a tavern' idea was overdone to the point of death
  • Campaigns usually run better, especially for new players, if a party is decently balanced
  • Characters need a reason to work together toward a common goal
  • Low level characters wouldn't have a lot of experience to draw from

I am an engineer by trade, and while it tends to limit my creativity a bit, it does come in mighty handy when troubleshooting and problem solving, so I set about searching for a hook that met these requirements and came up with the following concept:

Break the silence, douse the flame, snuff the dragon’s beacon,
Break the circle, call the name, veil and curtain weaken.
Widdershins ‘round the empty tomb, past the age-old keepers,
Legions of the dark exhume, wake the long dead sleepers.
Break the ancient binding rite, block the turn of season,
Suspend the world in endless night, shape the dark god’s treason

Recent research has discovered a new interpretation for a common nursery rhyme, long considered ominous but nonsensical. Interpreted correctly, the rhyme describes a process for raising multitudinous armies of undead on a certain night, about one year from now. Combined with current intelligence from the realm, it appears that someone has begun this process and intends to follow through. The local government is taking the threat seriously enough that all major organizations are being charged with assisting in the hunt and stopping the prophecy from being fulfilled.

The players are students about to graduate from a university that trains adventurers. Seeing this crisis as an opportunity to serve the realm, and gain some notoriety for the university, the master of the university has grouped the highest level student into well-balanced parties, promising full marks for the year it the prophecy is averted. The parties have each been given a magical beacon, sent off across the realm in every direction to seek signs of the enemy, and instructed to call in any suspicious activity.

After a bit of traveling and investigation the party discovers several things:
  • The timing of the prophecy was misunderstood, the ritual is happening NOW
  • The magical beacon is nonfunctional for whatever reason, they are on their own
  • The enemy was not expecting such early discovery and the party actually has a chance, however small, of thwarting their plans

There are three major directions that I can see this going:
  • The null solution, TPK ;-)
  • The party can stop the enemy and return to the university heralded as heroes
  • They fail and return to the university to assist the realm in it's fight against the undead hordes, known far and wide as the ones who let this happen

If I do submit this, I plan to write it up as a letter from one of the party members, written while waiting to attack the enemy, attempting to explain to his family why he died. He can always rip up the letter on the off chance they succeed  :)

So what do you think? Is this worth fleshing out into a submission?

Offline Strolen

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Re: Grad Project Hook - Original enough for submission?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2015, 08:20:38 PM »
Hells yes!

 :thumbup: :victory2:

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Offline Dozus

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Re: Grad Project Hook - Original enough for submission?
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2015, 07:29:26 AM »
I think you'll find that, in general, we're fine with well-worn tropes so long as they're well written and show some nuance. You've got a nice blend going on here: ancient rhymes, zombie curses, adventurer community college. It sounds pretty cool to me.

Using it in a letter format is a nice hook. I would say instead of writing the entire submission like a letter, integrate and intersperse segments of the letter throughout the sub. Formatting a sub as a plot can be pretty diverse, but I might look at a good quality plot sub - f'rinstance, MuroMax's Flight of the Pegasus - as a model or at least example.
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