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ID: 218


December 23, 2005, 8:43 am

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The Evil Brothers


The PC’s have to help a disenfranchised young man reclaim his village.

This is a classic plot from many different cultures (I chose one that everyone will likely be acquainted with, but not wanting to spoil the movie, I left its name absent). 

In a small village there are two brothers, one good and one evil.  The good one is a leader and tries to help the village and the evil one tries to harm it.  Sometimes they battle.  Then the evil one lures the good one’s son into the ravine and starts a stampede (with the help of some lackies.)  The good one charges into the ravine to save his son, and does so but in trying to climb out, the good one asks for his brother’s help, but his brother throws him into the stampede.      He dies and his son is chased out of town.  Now his son is all grown up and he and some of his friends want to retake the town and be leader again (even though he doesn’t want to, he feels obligated) and they need the adventurer’s help to overthrow his evil uncle and his band of lackies. 

It is a story of betrayal within the family, the severing of bonds and the fruition of tensions and hatreds that only brothers can truly understand, those formed over years of living together, being so much the same yet so much different, with driving testosterone and rampant jealousy.

The actual details of this story are unimportant in my mind—this is a psychological adventure, based around exploring emotions, forcing the characters to think and the players to roleplay.  The above story can be fit into any setting, any system, and can, with a bit of work, be tailored to your own unique tastes.  Explore the nature of power (beyond simply that people want it, explore why they want it, both from your perspective and from the perspective of the great minds of history). 

Explore the nature of sibling rivalry—could it in fact be so intense that it could lead to something like cold-blooded murder and treason?  How might the evil brother react?  Is he truly evil?  Does he feel remorseful?  How does this betrayal affect the good brother?  Is it right for him to return?  Must-reads for this adventure are Shakespeare’s Hamlet and MacBeth, with particular focus on the title characters.  I’m not going to lay out how you should do it or how what conclusions you should reach—this is a beginning to give you an idea, not the end.  What you end up with is between you and the players.

Twists (these are optional and in my opinion would make the adventure worse).
—The nephew is in fact the evil one, seeking the PC’s as his unwitting lackies (good for PCs who are stupid and trusting and don’t want to press the limits of the good, the psyche or pretty much anything else).
—The uncle is about 20 times more complex that he seems to be.  His motivations lie in hitherto unseen paths of goodness, such as a strict utilitarian approach to leadership (my brother was too kind, his mercy and compassion made him beloved but made his state weak and his laws laughable.  The people were falling into decline, and needed a strong, if unpopular, leader to bring them proper morality and guidance.)  (Good for PC’s who are hardline zealots in what they think the good is).
—The uncle was sunder the control of an evil wizard and cannot be held-responsible for his actions.  He never wanted to kill his brother, though he is evil.  Is his lesser evil justification for killing him, though he clearly as some good in him?  (Good for those same zealots).
—The uncle was given dispensation and pardon to remove his brother by the king, thinking that the good brother’s mind was failing and would never abdicate his rulership (thus putting the PC’s sense of goodness at odds with their obedience, if any, to the law and rightful king).

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Comments ( 14 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

August 23, 2005, 9:29
Lion King?

Err, something constructive to say... What about some background of the village and the ravine? What about the brothers, why is the other one good and the other evil? Where they raised in different places? Why why why why who why when how why. Those are pretty much the basic questions. When you answer those, the post's value skyrockets. In my eyes anyway.

zero points
August 23, 2005, 9:44
The village was founded by their great great grandfather, and the ravine is (predictably) made by a river. I intentionally left those areas void so it might fit in well with whatever the GM already had. One's good because he was raised properly to be the next leader, and the other one is bad because he wants to be the leader, but can't. So he overthrew his brother and became the new leader. They wheren't raised in different places. They were both raised in the same town, though maybe one was raised by the mother and the other by the father (even though they lived in the same house). This is just the barest of bones -- something for the aspiring GM out there to play with, and maybe modify to suit his or her tastes, not a ready made, fill-in the stats adventure.
Barbarian Horde
August 23, 2005, 10:51
I like it. It's clearly a rip-off of he Lion King, but it shows some promise. Power is always a commanding motivation for evil, and what some might term cliche, I would in this case term classic. I understand your desire to make it as maleable as possible so it fits into many different settings, but if you make it too maleable, it wont be worth fitting into those settings. Do some work and try again Gleeper.
Cheka Man
August 23, 2005, 15:46
August 23, 2005, 17:00
I have a feeling someone is trying to be funny.
Voted MoonHunter
August 24, 2005, 9:52
Actually, it feels more like a western I have seen.

So lets go through some productive comments
1) The Language level is acceptable. The writing style is choppy.
2) Presentation: While the Idea is fairly typical, if not cliche, it is presented poorly. There are not enough details here to make the cliche interesting.
3) Investment: There is not enough effort applied to this post. Most of the plot posts here take 30-50 minutes of dedicated work to produce, if not more. This looks dashed off. The author should looke at this listing, to see what we expect of a post.
August 25, 2005, 10:38
The rewrite is much better. The plot is still too hard to impliment unless the characters are specifically designed to part of it.
August 25, 2005, 21:00
I dunno, as long as the character's are willing to help and concerned with morality, then they can be fit into this adventure rather easily (I mean, it would be much better if they were desgined for the adventure, or, more probably, the adventure were custom tailored to them). This is, if nothing else, a sort of prototype for a psychological adventure, perfect for cliche characters of all sorts (you know that one who wants revenge? Well, throw this adventure at him along with the object of his vengeance. Might be interesting).
August 27, 2005, 7:10
Sort of lost on how to even use this in a game, any game. A psychological adventure based on exploring emotions? Besides the fact that the relational requirements for this plot are so specific as to force players into roles, but it also shoehorns each sides personalities. All you do is summarize the Lion King, as mentioned. Where does the roleplaying suppose to start when all you do is give us the story?

Maybe can be used as an overall storyline that is happening in the world. No, strike that...did you really have to go so far as to even use the stampede? yikes.
Voted KendraHeart
September 30, 2005, 15:06
This is a better back story than adventure plot.
September 30, 2006, 13:16
Essentially, you are saying lets do Hamlet, but instead of starting with Hamlet you start with disney. Then in your proposed set up the PCs aren't Hamlet or even Rosencrantz or Guildenstern, they are hired guns. In essence your proposed set up makes the PCs the audience for this play. That is bad.

I am all for ripping off classic plots, but to really explore the concepts you suggest to explore, than PCs need to be the ones with the conflict. What if one your PCs are placed in Claudius's postion. How do the PCs deal with Hamlet? Could they trust Gertrude not to side with her son?

Or the PC could be in Hamlet's postion. Do the PCs really want to be King or do they enjoy their adventuring life too much? Is this vengeful spirit talking their ear off really a force for good and the reincarnation of their dead father or is he something more evil?

The summary of the lion King's first act and the laundry list of what you see to be the potential conflicts in Hamlet do not specific plot make.
Voted axlerowes
September 30, 2006, 13:17
Only voted
Voted Murometz
May 21, 2008, 21:54
Wow. I bump you from the bowels of the Citadel!
Voted valadaar
October 31, 2013, 14:37
I concur with the comments here. Its not awful, but it also does not really bring anything to the table. Its okay to reuse, but you really need to do a better job scraping off the serial numbers.

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Ideas  ( Plots ) | November 2, 2007 | View | UpVote 1xp

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