View Full Version : Organizing a resistance (4e)

2011-01-17, 09:02 PM
First, some background:

The requirements for character creation were non-standard race (no human, elf, dwarf or anything typically tolkien-esque) and non-good aligned. As a result, I've got a Minotaur Barbarian, a Goblin Wizard, two Swordmages: a bladeling and a Shardar-Kai, a Thri-Keen (sp?) Monk, and a giant spider (refluffed from a rogue with some houseruling). My initial goal in running this campaign was to accommodate the... homicidal tendencies that my PCs often exhibit to NPCs (shopkeepers and anyone who has the potential for anything of value in particular).

The campaign world is human-centric as far as they know. Any non-human race is a second-class citizen. The story began in prison, the PCs arrested for various crimes of negligible importance. They were all prisoners on the same cell block, and organized a prison break. Once outside the city walls the ran into a group of slavers and ended up freeing some assorted non-humans destined for slavery (humans having non-human slaves is legal in this world). After defeating the slavers they came across several individuals bound for slavery. I explicitly gave them the option to allow these people into slavery for (for a significant profit), at which point they declined and declared these people to be free, and announced their intent to become freedom fighters against the human oppression.

I'm not quite sure how I'm going to DM this. I need ideas of encounters/missions that the PCs can go on that fit with the theme of overthrowing an oppressive empire. Any suggestions?

2011-01-17, 09:25 PM
Well, they could attack slaver raiding parties - ie. ones that raid villages/towns to capture slaves.

They could go on liberation missions to free slaves - probably not in cities but in remote locations and work gangs.

Once they earn a name for themselves they could expect enemy soldiers/mercenaries coming after them.

They could act as a disrupting influence like raiding supply convoys intended to resupply the raiders.

2011-01-17, 09:38 PM
They could also go out get fame and become Robin-hood's with vicious tactics verse the vile-humans. So they subvert there rule for equality of all either causing full on rebellion or forcing them to rethink there politics.

Kurald Galain
2011-01-18, 12:18 AM
They could wear Black Iron armor...

...what? :smalltongue:

2011-01-18, 12:35 AM
I agree whole heartily.

2011-01-18, 03:48 AM
Neat, this seems to be the new plot of your campaign, eh?

Well, they can't do it alone, that's for sure! Have them catch word of a "radical half-orc general" or something along those lines that they have the oppurtunity to save. Not that I don't trust your PCs to run a resistance by themselves.

I'm just sure you don't trust them to do it.

Anyway, have them save this guy, and then he can be the "behind the scenes" puppetmaster. He's organizing resistance and calling in favors while they're taking out barracks or propaganda that your Humans are shipping out.

A mentor figure is something that fits in a campaign like this, someone you can use to be on the PCs side, give them a direction that still provides a great story, and then...well let's face it...ultimately backstab them.

Mark Hall
2011-01-18, 12:00 PM
Part of the question becomes "How popular is slavery in this world"? Not just allowed... does the average person like and accept slavery as a normal part of life? Or is there a significant abolitionist movement?

For example, compare popular perceptions of the rebellion of Spartacus and John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry. The rebellion of Spartacus was pretty universally (amongst the free population) deplored, because slavery was viewed as right and normal; every Roman either owned a slave or wanted to own a slave (in fact, a sign of abject poverty was being unable to own a single slave). The Harper's Ferry raid, however, was viewed more ambiguously... while it was pretty universally deplored in the South, some people in the North applauded it, some deplored it... either because they thought of slavery as a right in the South, or because they disliked the methods used.

Your job, as a DM, is to determine reactions to this. How much are the average people going to get up in arms about this? Is there going to be covert aid to the rebels? If so, how are the rebels going to control their people? If the common folk are on your side, you have to be exceptionally careful to avoid making them mad, and any uncalled-for atrocities will do that. You also have to question who makes money from the slave trade and how they're going to respond.

A good set of books to read is the Guardians of the Flame series by Joel Rosenberg (not Joel C. Rosenberg, who writes political thrillers), specifically the first four or five. "The Sleeping Dragon" is arguably the best of the series, but for your purposes, you're probably going to want to look at "The Sword and Chain","The Silver Crown" and "The Heir Apparent". All of them deal with a group that decides to take on slavery by making slave-trading too expensive, and by providing technological incentives to stop slavery.

2011-01-18, 01:38 PM
one question you also may want to wrestle with is how individuals end up in slavery. We typically think of people who get captured and forced into it (often with issues of racism mixed in). That is not how slavery always worked. In the roman world individuals would often be sold into slavery by family members or would even sell themselves. As such, slavery functioned something like a social welfare system (a privatized "workfare" system if you will)(yes, yes, the roamns forced people to become slaves too, but it was an infrequent event). Now a system like this would function well if you want non-humans to be living side-by-side with human with a fair degree of regularity. It also adds a degree of moral complexity as many slaves, while desiring their freedom, probably wouldn't be antagonistic against the system itself.
you may be interested to read up on the maroons