View Full Version : What have we done! (help me with this plot)

2010-10-16, 08:10 AM
The current adventure of our group will end in two or three sessions, and I've not yet come up with a plot for the next one.

Something that often suprises me in adeventure fiction is how easily the protagonists believe all the big plot twists revealed by a defeated or gloating villain. While I don't expect my players to fall for it that easily (they got a lot of information from a captured goblin much earlier than I intended and managed to say the one thing that would make the villains henchmen leave without either offering them a job or leaving them a map on his corpse), I'd really like to decieve them on a great scale.
My idea is, that they work for the bad guys most of the adventure, and even do lots of bad guy work themselves, but only realize their mistake quite late. And to really hammer it home, I want it to look as if they were completely free to chose which side to side with.

Of course this is something quite difficult to arrange and requires a lot of considerations regarding the players, characters, and setting. So what I'm asking for is hints for plots and stories in which the protagonists sided with the wrong side and only realized it rather late.

For example when playing Dragon Age I did not play a dwarven noble and so I sided with Bhelen. The moment my work was done, I realized that was really not what I wanted to happen. Stuff like that.

Mr White
2010-10-16, 08:35 AM
Does there have to be a strict good and bad. When nothing is black/white then there is a lot more room to be unintentionally backing the wrong side. Just look at real life history for many examples of this.

You can also get your players to try to pull of more and more radical actions in order to win the war/protect their way of life/... At a certain point they will realize that they went to far or lose the backing of the people around them.

2010-10-16, 08:59 AM
That works as well. My prime goal is making them villains without being evil.

Something I really like about the plots of many Japanese writers, is the lack of good and evil sides. Take NGE, Metal Gear Solid, or Princess Mononoke, and many others more. The antagonists really just have made bad decisions the protagonists don't agree with, but that does not make them bad people. And the protagonists fight them because they have conflicting goals, not because they want them dead.
The only similar case in western media I can think of is Dragon Age, in which I would handle many things very different depending on if the main character comes from a human-chantry, dwarven, or wood elven background. As a chantry follower, playing all potential mages in a Circle and keeping the Templars around to slay them at the first sign of trouble is the only way to prevent disaster. As a wood elf who doesn't believe the Chant and grew up with mages as revered community leaders, the Templars are just evil slavers and murderers. That's just great. I love such things. :smallbiggrin:

2010-10-16, 10:34 AM
Personally, I'd suggest a religious - or other ideological - conflict as the background. That way the good/bad ideas of all affected parties stem solely from philosophical disagreements and the moral differences sort of fade to grey, especially when both sides are fanatic. Or wrong.

We used to play in a homebrew setting whose main source of conflict was a constant dissent between a civilization of human necromancers (atheist-philosophical), one of elven vampire mages (idolatric-shamanist), one of hobgoblin tribesmen (polytheist-druidist) and one of human psions (monotheist-mysticist) about whose idea about the origin of their world was the right one. We, as players, ended up backing the psions, because they were the one faction not yet out to get us. When we learned that the necromancers we had been boycotting and opposing were actually far more of actual good guys and the one thing keeping the vampires from wiping out humanity, we felt more than a little stupid...