View Full Version : Campaign setup. Critique?

2007-04-20, 10:28 AM
I felt like running the ideas behind my campaign past the forum denizens before actually starting the campaign, just for storyline critique. Some elements are taken from these boards; I recall someone else mentioned a campaign they were in or running that used a similar set-up.

The party begins in an inn (all adventurers of minor experience; level two) where they stopped for the night during a storm. They don't necessarily know each other yet. They meet the innkeeper and his family. In the morning, several bizarre things happen.

First, a burly half-ogre shows up and starts acting dangerous, as if he's going to pick a fight. They don't know it, but he's about level six and would wipe the floor with them. A fight may actually begin.

Second, a portal flashes open briefly and the innkeeper's son falls out, twenty years older. Note that that same person is also in the room, so there's now two of him. The older version looks around, swears, and guts the half-ogre with a single hit before yelling about a crisis and taking off to the east. He's apparently a powerful adventurer, and has a few artifact-level items. The younger version has a nervous breakdown on seeing himself.

The trail he leaves is extremely apparent (running full speed with haste on wet ground and not trying to hide it? yeah, easy trail). Following him leads them to a gutted mind flayer (possibly encounter with an enslaved creature or two). Spot and arcana checks reveal that some of the adventurer's gear was designed to absorb mind flayer blasts and burned out after use.

The events that follow take place whether or not they pursue the adventurer. He interrupts a mind flayer ritual that was intended to muck about with the time stream and pull reinforcements from their future height of power to aid them; in his original timeline, they succeeded, but his interference shatters the physical laws holding the world into one timeline. A massive detonation later and the party finds that the adventurer and his foes are dead (their gear and bodies also have decayed as if thousands of years have passed; successful searches can net the party a starting weapon of legacy, power not yet determined). The area they're in is now encased by dull, sky-blue walls. A shard of the same pseudo-material is now on the altar where the ritual was taking place.

This shard can pierce and destroy the walls that now separate their world into dozens of chunks, but two catches exist: The first is that on each side of any wall, time has been going differently. The party was at or near ground zero; other areas have experienced hundreds or thousands of years. Some have been frozen. Still others have had time go backwards, with man reverting to primitive forms, or even dinosaurs coming back. In some, the mind flayers rule. When the shard is used to pierce the wall, the normal time stream rules come into effect for both pieces, effectively repairing part of the world...but the shard is, in the process, lost somewhere in the new chunk of the world.

2007-04-20, 10:44 AM
Mostly good (almost yoink-worthy good). Appart from the high level adventurer. Players, as far as I know (myself included) hate seeing higher level characters 'on their side', so maybe they should get to the alter without a different hook. It would also keep the mystery of 'what the hell just happened here?' alive for longer.

2007-04-20, 08:03 PM
Sounds interesting enough. I agree with Leush, though, that it is often annoying to encounter High Level Adventurer Allies. I wouldn't be surprised if a particularly beligerant Player killed the Inn Keepers Son, just to see how such an action interacts with causality.

2007-04-21, 12:37 AM
It would be interesting, wouldn't it? Causality is already broken, though, as in the boy's original timeline, no future version of himself appeared and the day ended without time splitting--instead, illithids conquered the globe.

But yeah, the high level adventurer is mostly scenery. I'm not even statting him up. Due to his use of haste to get a head start, they won't really see him fighting except the aftermath at the end, when he dies. Assuming I keep him...

If I think of a better plot hook than him to introduce the cause of the disaster, I'll post it, but as of now, he's the method of introducing the rift in reality as well as the bbegs (mind flayers). Think of him as Captain Kirk in a red shirt.