View Full Version : A Noble Goal

2013-05-04, 12:14 AM
/begin Ye Fake Olde English

A Gentleman, in possession of a slave army and ancient forested demesne, is in search of a noble goal to which he may apply his considerable resources. Such goal should involve benefit to all of humanity, and should hopefully be achieve-able in part using the labour of his captives (whose well-being does not need to be guaranteed).

I have an anti-villain with some loyal mercenaries and a large number of slaves living in an ancient ruined city. Problem is, I'm having trouble thinking of a good goal for him to work towards, that uses the labour he has available. Fantasy setting, he has access to a very small amount of powerful spellcasters in dire situations, but overall a mostly mundane operation. The setting is still somewhat unformed, so hopefully most ideas should be able to be fit in without issue.

2013-05-04, 12:43 AM
To look for buried treasure*, of course! Why else would you hole up in an ancient city with a bunch of slaves?

*By "buried treasure", I mean to say "historic and/or magic artifacts".

Gabe the Bard
2013-05-04, 02:49 AM
The city could be the sacred site of an ancient cult that worships the villain or whoever is in the position of authority. Perhaps they are performing rituals among the ruins, using the slaves not only for labor but also as worshipers and sacrifices.

2013-05-04, 03:55 AM
There's an ancient superweapon there - the only problem is, it's freaking huge - probably as big as the highest tower in the city, and it exists only on blueprints. Having found the blueprints, the villain decides to use his slaves to build the weapon for the goal of uniting the world under his banner of wise and reasonable rule. Unfortunately, some drunk mercenary speaks of it in the inn...

2013-05-04, 10:48 AM
Hmm superweapon might work, though I think I might change it from weapon to more of a worldwide happiness and docility machine so there would be no more war, or crime or the like. Leaves a bit of edge with the whole emotion calming thing, but overall is still a desirable outcome for most people.

2013-05-04, 11:19 AM
Weapon could also be used for this goal - just like a nuke. It's not it's power that makes it useful - no one is using nukes because no one likes living in the wasteland. It's the possibility of using this power any moment now that makes them so horrifying.

2013-05-04, 12:00 PM
Unite the land by force, in the name of peace.
Unite the land by force, against some perceived external threat like dragons or a rising regional power.
Unite the land by force, to press his claim as king/emperor/khan/kaiser/sultan/etc.

Build a pyramid (or other similarly-impressive structure like a ziggurat) to increase his patron deity's influence in the region. This will require great sacrifice in sweat and blood. He and the ruling class think using the slaves is justified for its completion. The structure will grant impressive power, sway battles, boost crops and trade... but only if the ruler routinely sacrifices sentient creatures in a brutally spectacular and painful manner (the god will prefer his own subjects, since it demonstrates more loyalty on behalf of the ruler), or recruits unreasonably large numbers to the faith (though this gives much less power, it is a more responsible and sustainable way to use it). Truly massive and crippling sacrifices (often involving the ruler's family members, nobles, and close friends, plus a thousand or so people) can summon the deity's avatar to act directly. As the ruler becomes more desperate, he will need to make ever-larger sacrifices to keep his god happy and his realm afloat. If he's not careful, he will eventually find himself ruling alone atop a throne of blood.

2013-05-04, 12:26 PM
Yeah, but I'd rather not have him be a direct threat like having a nuke would be as the final objective (actually I had intended him to have a similar device temporarily for short term blackmail purposes, but it would only threaten a single city or settlement). He's also not intending to rule, at least not permanently, but retreat to the shadows after his job improving the world is done (the "I have no place in this better world" sentiment).

I like the pyramid idea, maybe combining it with the above and having it drain the local mana levels instead of sacrifices (which would be an unforeseen problem).

And I guess I gave the wrong impression with the OP, but he isn't a cultural elite at all, just a single really charismatic dude.

2013-05-04, 01:07 PM
I like the pyramid idea, maybe combining it with the above and having it drain the local mana levels instead of sacrifices (which would be an unforeseen problem).

That would be pretty interesting, using mana-depletion and dark magic as an analogue to pollution. Perhaps it drains the soul energy from nearby plants and wildlife until they don't have the strength to resist malevolent spirits (giving them crazy growth and a template like Fiendish or Shadow Creature), blackens water-sources, makes Dryads and nature-spirits go bonkers, and warping people's minds until they go bath-salts crazy and start eating people.

If left running at full tilt for too long, perhaps the pyramid would start sucking the energy out of planar barriers, slowly opening rifts to other places, or even causing strange weather events. Of course, a lot of people (traders, craftsmen, farmers, nobles) want to keep it going to fill their own pockets.