View Full Version : Too high concept not enough low concept?

2013-09-12, 08:34 PM
So I plan on starting my new campaign in a week. But I have a problem.

I was talking with the other players at my store(none of which will be playing it or know the players in it) and bumped my idea off of them.

General overview was as follows:

Before written history the gods fought for dominance over the world. In the end those that won were known as the Divines, whereas those who lost were banished and known as the Damned.

Once the battle is finished humanity settles the lands and worship their saviors, the Divines. Those who did not believe in the Divines were exiled into the wilderness.(Resulting in many crusades to destroy the heathens)

Almost 500 years after the fall of the Damned a group of trade houses separate themselves from the religion. In the resulting war with the believers the trade houses win forming the Consortium.

Skip to almost a thousand years, the old ways are dying and many have forgotten the legends of old putting off most of it as superstition.

In a small town in the frontier, would-be adventurers awaken to the sound of demons attacking the town. Long thought myth, now made flesh.

To make a long story short:
Twist involving the demons that hopefully the players won't see.

The premise revolves around organizing the factions against the demons and stop them from taking over the world. The demons are not at full strength so only a few minor demons come out of the wood work first along with some strong sergeants.

The world is very small in scale and scope, so a village might only have less than a hundred, cities maybe a few thousand. Comes from a belief I have about glossing over causalities in game.(5000 people die from Kaiju attack? How about half of a town because of one Wrath Demon?).

The Problem
The problem I face is one of using the main storyline. Originally I was going to have the players start off at level one and meet the lesser spawn as they attacked the town they are in. Now I have misgivings about having my players face demons so soon.

Originally the weakdemonspawn were going to be pallette swapped kobolds. Now I feel as though I should maybe hold off a bit on the main storyline and have them go up against smaller fish, such as goblins or orcs before tackling the main plot.

My local LFR campaign group had a lot of fun going up against a Goblin King last session which surprised me. I would have thought it would be lame, but it was well written and lead to some great roleplaying.

This is what I was going to do for the introduction:

Waking up in the middle of the night the adventures discover the village is overrun with demons. Roleplay moments would follow, once the players handle the situation they jump to having to find allies against the demons and warning everyone of the impending invasion.

What I plan on now:

The village supply roads are being attacked by Orcs/Goblins bandits. Lead to standard find location of goblin camp discover that they appear to be paying tribute to a demon(unknown by the players) and joining its army

Any thoughts? Should I scrap the original intro idea and use this new one?

What would you do for an introduction to a game about demon invasion?

2013-09-12, 10:26 PM
If your setting supposes that demons don't exist (according to most folks), then I think you could do worse than to start with goblins. If there are any hints of demon worship among them, play it off as supperstition and madness among the "lesser races."

Use this time to highlight the political problems and divides which your party will be overcoming throughout the game, and maybe even give them a human enemy or two... a trader or tax collector, something like that.

Let your first sentient demon seem powerful, cunning, and unnatural. Even if, at higher levels, this sort of imp will be mere cannon fodder, letting the first one knock your level three party around a bit will add to the threat when there's an army of them later.

So yes, I vote easing into the whole demon thing. Take your time, plant your hints, and make sure your players are as surprised as their characters should be.

2013-09-13, 07:56 AM
You could always have the orcs/kobolds/goblins being controlled by a demon. Instead of the demons coming in "guns blazing" have them use the tradition cannon fodder of fantasy gaming to test the realm, and where to attack first. Also, those races allying themselves with the demons in order to get a better spot when the real hellspawned troops come in could easily fit. Also gives an RP hook if your players want to attempt to convince the orc/kobolds/goblins to turn on the demons. This way, you get your demons and still get to set level appropriate encounters.

2013-09-13, 07:59 AM
I think a very important question is how long do you plan this campaign to run for. If this is supposed to be a campaign spanning years of game- and realtime, I say start off slow and have them fight goblins first, encounter the world around them before confronting them with the demon thread.

On the other hand, if it probably won't last that long, in my experience it can be pretty disappointing to end a campaign without proper resolution, so I wouldn't try and put in too much "prologue"

2013-09-13, 08:14 AM
I can see going either way, and I agree length of the campaign (in real time) should be a factor. Have you talked with the players (i.e., those who will have PCs) about how long they would like the game to last? (I've found as I've grown older that I like shorter (few months) campaigns to longer ones (year+), not that I think that applies to everyone.)

If the shorter end, either weak demons (but maybe it's not clear what they are) or an evil race who they find worshipping a weak demon.

If the longer end, I think some leadup and things to acclimate them to the political basis that will matter later would be good. Maybe reveal that 'something' is manipulating the various enemies they fight, and some supersititions, but not reveal for a bit that demons are real. An awesome Mage: The Ascension game I was in took a few months before we even got an idea of the over-arching plot, and it was about a year before we really figured out what the deal was (though sub-plots got resolved in the meantime.)