View Full Version : Well, I don't think that could've turned out much better.

2011-03-28, 02:45 AM
So last week I posted here complaining about my players not supplying me with the backstory information I needed to run a campaign. So this week I simply told them to adjust their character's backstory to fulfill three criteria:

- They must know - and be on good terms with, none of this "secretly plotting each other's murder" bull**** - at least two members of the party.
- They must have a reason to travel outside of their comfort zone. This is an adventure game, not a sit around and do nothing game, and I don't want to resort to the old "blow up their hometown" cliche.
- They must have some specific goal they want to accomplish. "See the world" or "move somewhere less ****ty" are general goals and don't qualify.

With these new criteria, the party dynamics seemed to shift considerably and I was supplied with material to run a good campaign with. Here's a rough rundown:

Al-Ed Lladnar (TWF Rogue 3) - Nomad Hunter/Leatherworker. Knows Darius (a member of his nomad tribe), Atem (his twin brother) and Osama (a frequent customer of his leatherworks). His goal and reason to travel are sadly vague but acceptable, as they basically consist of "follow Atem's lead."

Atem Lladnar (TWF Rogue 3) - Nomad hunter. Knows Darius (a member of his nomad tribe) and Atem (his twin brother). Wants to take over his tribe and use it to conquer the other nomad tribes in the desert to form a nation.

Darius Vajheer (TWF Warrior 3) - Nomad hunter. Knows Atem and Al-Ed (members of his nomad tribe). Wants to learn magic so he can slay the djinn that killed his first hunting party. Believes that Saltus Malum, a massive rainforest to the south that is left completely untouched by civilization out of fear of what lurks within, could contain the secrets he needs.

Osama Jamal (Archery Rogue 3) - Legion Sniper/Siege Engineer. Knows Xumi Sanddancer (a citizen of his hometown) and Al-Ed Lladnar (his primary source of leather equipment). Wants revenge against whoever burned down his hometown. Travels looking for leads.

Xumi Sanddancer (Archery Rogue 3) - Hunter. Knows Osama Jamal (a soldier from her hometown) and Al-Ed Lladnar (introduced to her by Osama). Wants revenge against whoever burned down her hometown. Travels with Osama.

That other guy. (TWF Rogue 3) - Criminal. Spoiled noble child kicked out to make a name for himself, wants to conquer the empire. Doesn't know anyone else because he couldn't be arsed to show up.

So all told this is material I can work with for quite a long time. Since Atem wants to conquer all of the local tribes I can just keep harping onto that plot point until I get bored, since there's roughly 25 such tribes to deal with. When he finally covers that he'll probably have to deal with the Empire not liking him raising an army under his noses, and on top of that the kingdom that the Empire is at war with taking advantage of the Empire's divided forces. Add in an awakened eldritch abomination or two and I think this could be a long, fun campaign.

Of course, first he needs to take over his own tribe using only the party versus the 20 just-as-well-trained-as-they-are hunters that live there. So as to make this more than a self-indulgent journal post, what sort of factors should I consider while I'm setting up a lengthy military campaign in the middle of a desert?

2011-03-28, 06:39 AM
It would seem straightforward that if this is a low-magic, low-resource enviroment, access to magic (iirc you said that only whatever existed in the crusades exists in your setting; real magic might be non-existant, but what about superstitions / sacred or haunted places / valuable relics / etc.? plenty of those at the dark ages) and resources should be their first priority; it gives them leverage against the other hunters and the other tribes. Additionally, blunt force would be the last resource if someone wants to form an army. You wont get soldiers that way, youŽll get mercenaries, and if you are going against someone bigger you want your army as enamored of you as it can be. So try and have the players rope the rest of the tribe into their goal together? Conspire and try to always save face, and keep them pointed at your future enemy?.

There was a really neat episode in TacticsOgre where the young idealist rebel leader gets to a mining town to, suposedly, recruit the miners to fight this opressive kingdom. Turns out they only want to be left alone and in peace. But that was the rebel army expectation all along: they are there not to recruit them, but to slaughter them and blame the opressive kingdom, thus rallying the neighbouring towns to their flag and causing an all out revolt. The leader (the player) then chooses to either stain his hands 'for the greater good' or remain an idealist and hated by everyone. Maybe that helps?

2011-03-29, 09:15 PM
It's good to see this group becoming interesting and doing well.

As for what to do, it's kind of tricky. You'll want some reason for Atum to go adventuring away from the tribes, and thus something beneficial to ruling or becoming a better warrior out there. For example, if Darius goes to Saltus Malum over a rumor about the ruins, you'll probably want to include a Spear of Ruling Power or some such magical item in the rumored hoard.

Getting hooks for Darius and Osama/Xumi seem simple enough; anyone expected to have magical gear or rumored to have been involved in the town burning work at a basic level.

It seems like you'll be playing a somewhat political game, in which case you may want the Osama/Xumi hometown burning to be an ongoing mystery. If it is just "this guy knows something, go kill/extract information from him", it can get boring. If the characters make a point to look up information in town, go ahead and prepare a paper trail of sorts hinting at who did the deed.