View Full Version : DM Help Refining A Story

2015-11-23, 02:12 PM
Hello All. I will be DMing for the first time in a couple of weeks. This came unexpectedly as our previous DM had to stop due to time constraints. I was planning on taking his place after the end of the campaign that we are currently in, but that was supposed to be months from now.

In any case, I had an idea for a custom campaign story, I wanted to get some feedback and fill some plot holes. I will present what I have so far, with a number of the specifics truncated so that I can just get the story out.

Towards the early times, at the beginning of the world, the first races were very much under the influence of the Divine Powers (The Gods) and The Arcane Powers (Basically, energy from the elemental planes, also known as the arcane winds) as well as under threat from constant invasion from other, older, material planes. The early races sought to seal off their plane from these external threats/influences.

The created the Djzin (might try to find a better name for this). Which are Powerful Arcane (I get the slight irony here) "Creatures" (I'm not sure whether they should be sentient, or not, or perhaps even just items). The Djzin were tasked/created for the purpose of sealing off the world, and so they did to a major extent. Travelling to or from the world to a different plane is impossible with a physical body. Only souls may leave, or re-enter if they are being revived through magic.

Divine gods can no longer directly influence or enter the plane. They can, however, channel their power through clerics/paladins if they are willing. So, gods still have some indirect influence.

The Arcane winds still flow to a lesser extent through the plane. Certainly, enough to be manipulated my wizards, enough so that they are not impeded. The major problem, however, is that the arcane winds were greatly responsible for not only creating the plane of existence, but for maintaining its existence, and the world is slowly eroding away. (Some of you may see the influence of Golden Sun here).

Fast forward many years. History has nearly long forgotten the creation of the Djzin, as nearly all except one of the original races (the dragons in this case) have gone extinct, been replaced, and then gone extinct and replaced again. (Mass Effect?) In any case, many generations have passed.

Now, the age of humanoids have begun. The king of Faroc, person A, has discovered an ancient ruins that belonged to these original beings. He sent his most powerful mage, mage A, from the University to study the site, and in doing so, discovered the Djzin and dedicated his life to learning about this original race and the Djzin. This mage was also the tutor of King's eldest son, person B.

Fast forward again and Person B is now king of Faroc. He seeks to find the Djzin and unbind them from the task of sealing off the world from the external influences ans powers, also in order to save the world from its eventual demise from eroding away. Afterwards, he will use the power of the Djzin to power himself and other mages from the university, allowing the current world to be able to stand against invasion from other planes as well as resist, at least to an extent, influence from the gods. He is currently seeking to collect the Djzin at the start of the campaign, however, is he currently losing this fight to collect them to Mage A.

Mage A is greatly opposed to what Person B is trying to do. He believes that the world, even with the power of the Djzin is not ready to join the rest of the multiverse, and that the current races will become subjugated. He is currently trying to find all of the Djzin with the hopes of hiding them in different places around the world, where Person B won't be able to find them. He only has a small core of followers, and is using a mind control spell to create a small army (mostly consisting of kobolds at the moment).

The party will be drawn into the story and convinced by Person B that Mage A is trying to collect the Djzin in order to use the power to destroy the world (which in Person A's mind, is not too far from the truth. The party then goes out to collect the Djzin, and at some point ideally will learn the truth of the matter. The party will then decide who it is best to side with, Mage A or person B?

Additional important side note:

It is unclear to either person B or Mage A how far along the world currently is in "eroding". It could end today or in a billion years. All of the known world is still in tact. Even if it will actually erode away, or suddenly be gone in a flash. They are both, however, aware of it occuring.

I would like to pull a Deus Ex and make the campaign seem black and white at the beginning, and then towards the end show that it is actually a world of shades of grey and blurry lines. Any other advice on changing just about anything with story is welcome.

Thank you for reading, and thank you ahead of time for your input :smallsmile:

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-23, 06:20 PM
The biggest question I have is what happens when the players start to collect the Djzin for themselves? What will they be able to do with these things, and how difficult/dangerous will it be?

2015-11-23, 08:08 PM
To be honest, I was planning on having the "secret" of using the power of the Djzin to remain just that, a secret. I know it's a bit of a cop-out, but allowing them to tap into said "power" would quickly become game-breaking. As for retrieving the Djzin, it would be the main focus of the campaign levels 1 to however far we go. I would just scale the eventual dungeons that they are located in to the character level.

Honest Tiefling
2015-11-25, 12:35 PM
So how are you going to, storywise, keep them from trying to learn these secrets? If they botch rolls, they might not know which party to trust and decide to trust neither, or to use the power to fix things after all.

2015-11-25, 11:39 PM
I would definitely not suggest including mysterious powers that the PCs aren't allowed to use. The last RL campaign I played in did something like this, with a magic item that had a lot of uses but only one that we were allowed to actually use it for, and it was infuriating to my scholarly PC. Seriously, it was annoying enough that another player and I still gripe about it several months later.

If you're concerned about the PCs getting too much power, you might say that it can only be accessed once they've collected a considerable proportion of the Djzin. Given that you're making it the focus of the whole campaign, that means that once they get access to it it'll be nearing the endgame anyway. You could also make it so that accessing the power requires a very high check, with the benefit based on how high they get (I don't know what system you're using, so I can't say what the details of this might be mechanically). That way it feels like there's an accomplishment involved, and the player can feel like they achieve something as the bonus they get goes from being nonexistent to being fairly considerable over the course of the game.

There are a lot of things you can do with this. Just have some plan beyond "the secret information is secret and shall remain secret regardless of how much research your characters do." Otherwise, depending on the group you're playing with, odds are good someone's going to be very disappointed.