View Full Version : DM Help Help me write this story

2016-01-29, 11:35 AM

Hiya, Playground. I'm having a bit of writer's block right now. I've got lots of pieces and small plot elements for my story right now, but no idea how to string them together into something coherent. Here's the situation right now:

The PCs (3, detailed below) recently escaped their metropolis home-city when a shadowy giant caused a great cataclysm and put most of the city's population into a stasis. They sealed the giant away using an artifact (still in their possession, now dormant) and fled to a New World-type land. Upon finding the land uninhabited, they decided to relocate the city's population from the ruined city to this New World. Due to the geography of the setting, the PCs can only make the trip between the New World and the city once per month, and cannot reach any other land. So, they have returned to the city for the first time to find it overrun by animals(/magical beasts/aberrations/oozes) and a horde of intelligent spiderlike creatures called chiteras. The chitera horde has set up a base of operations over the area where the city's population is located. The PCs must now find a way to defeat the chitera horde and transport the city's population to the New World.

Here's what the PCs don't know (i.e., the plot fragments I have to work with):

The chitera horde is led by a powerful weretiger king and his drow viceroy, who serve the shadowy giant and came to consolidate control over the city at his telepathic command.
The drow has dreams of ruling the chitera horde herself, and despises the weretiger (unbeknownst to him).
The shadowy giant can be freed from his artifact-made prison if the PCs make their intent clear - such as by attacking the prison. The viceroy knows of the PCs' return and has (at great personal cost) carved away a shard of the prison. Her goals in the city are to a) free the shadowy giant by tricking them into attacking the shard (possibly by wearing it and using herself as bait) and b) using the PCs to overthrow the chiteras' current weretiger king and take control herself.

Semi-related information: the PCs have access to a flying ship, and elderly elf companion, and an Earth elemental cohort.

Here's where I'd like things to go:

The PCs defeat the chitera horde and unintentionally free the shadowy giant, who wants them to take the city's population to this New World - and then seal them out of the city entirely.

Everything else is pretty malleable. Some elements I've come up with already/that can be worked with: the king may have weretiger warlords he created himself, the hundreds of other creatures roaming the city, the chiteras are mildly mutinous, the king has no idea the drow is working to overthrow him, there can be any amount of hidden knowledge in the city.

How do I string all of this together into a coherent/fun/interesting plot?

The player characters are level 5, low-to-mid-op by the boards' standards.

Warforged crusader/warblade: Big (not very stupid) fighter. Highest-op with thicket of blades and reach weaponry. Effective at keeping the other two alive. Character believes he was built to save people, and attacks his duties with gusto.

Half-elf sorcerer: Some metamagic, lots of battlefield control. Grease, some nauseating cloud spell, working his way up to Sculpt Spell and Wild Mage. Character was a businessman before he received his calling, and has been the most reluctant about it. Party face.

Aasimar spirit shaman/warlock: Going into Eldritch Disciple, does a little of everything right now. A teenage orphan sponsored by the church, is coming into her warlock powers (reflavored as holy light, etc). Very Good, actually says prayers when casting spells.

2016-02-08, 02:49 AM
Things to consider:
Where did the giant come from and how did he find such odd subjects as a weretiger and a drow? Is he a god? Is he a particularly powerful creature that can actually induce lycanthropy? Is he the creator of lycanthropy? How old is he? Why does he want the city? Is he actually a powerful vengeful nature spirit that wants the city so he can destroy it and return it to its natural state? Did he somehow arise from a polluted river or somesuch? Why doesn't he just order his minions to let the PCs evacuate the city if this is what they all want? Is he somehow tied to the city? Is he a mildly insane spirit of the city who wants to forcibly relocate the city so he can have a new area to extend his power into?

How do his minions control the horde? Is there an artifact the PCs could wrest from the king to gain control over part of the horde?

My suggestion: The giant was originally a very ancient nature spirit of the nearby land (http://d-infinity.net/blog/derek-holland/dd-monster-week-spirit-land) that was associated with hunting, such that the rare occasions that it or similar spirits took physical form were the origins of the stories of vampires and were-creatures and things that hunt in the night. However, a human city was built on the land, and over time the collective unconsciousness of the humans began to exert a significant change on the land itself (and its spirit by extension), and that slowly corrupted the spirit to a peversion of its previous pure incarnation. Thus, the spirit wants to remove the humans to return itself to a more natural state, but in the short term its altered state demands it hunt the humans to extinction. The Weretiger was alerted by the spirit and asked to come help eliminate the humans in exchange for power (jump from were-tiger to were-dire tiger). The tiger had acquired a powerful spider controlling artifact when it had killed a small party of drow, leaving only one to help him control it, and used it to control a tribe of spider creatures, which he set up to harass the city. The artifact has 3 pieces, two of which the Tiger holds, and one which the drow holds, which give them some measure of control over the spider creatures (Not mind control, but can give Suggestions).

Sets up the drow-tiger dislike, sets up a way to deal with the spiders, explains the backstory and why a tiger associates with a shadowy giant.

2016-02-08, 05:13 AM
Thats a solid idea Demidos.

The party could explore the city fighting monsters and chitera. They encounter the drow who escapes them behind waves of chitera. They are railroaded into an ambush by the weretiger and drow and overwhelmed by waves of grappling chitera. As prisoners the drow solicits their aid against the weretiger. The weretiger is watching and waiting having concluded rightly or wrongly he can do without the drow and heres a chance to provoke a showdown.

The party can attempt to fight everybody at once. They can ally and betray the drow at which point they fight the weretiger and chitera. Or they can ally with the drow and fight the weretiger after which they have to fight the drow, the chitera and the awakened giant who the drow arouses.

The optimal solution is to deal with the chitera and ally with the chitera against the drow and weretiger and then confront the giant with the chitera, but the party has to think of that on their own and succeed at some stiff diplomacy.

The giant is a tough fight but he is fighting to disable. The giant wants them to renounce the city and take the humans but wont say so until he is down or half the party is down. the party may disbelieve but the chitera take him at his word and leave. i think something like that lets the party smash everything or try to dicker

2016-02-08, 05:36 AM
Chitera could fight in groups of five, with a red stripe, yellow stripe, green stripe, and blue striped fighter chitera fighting under command of a speckled chitera with boosting auras and a circle of protection. Killing the speckled sergeant makes the other chitera leave to be reformed into another sergeants squad. This lets you coordinate your papers with crayons and a pencil. The speckled sergeants are fed up being slaves to the weretiger and the drow. Your party can find all this out the hard way.

2016-02-10, 11:16 AM
If the red-stripe and all the rest of the stripes are identical, perhaps for ease of reference it might just be easier to distinguish the sergeants from the rest (both for the chitera themselves, and for you and your players).

I would also be careful throwing around the words railroad and optimal solution, not because I think that you are going to enforce it heavy-handed, but because it might bias your thinking -- e.g., an easier fight than your suggested optimal suggestion would be to ally with the drow and chitera agaist the tiger, then backstab the drow, or ally with all three against the giant, then backstab the drow/weretiger one at a time.

If you like the relic idea, defeating the drow or weretiger can give them substantial bonuses for diplomacy with the Chitera by using the artifact.

2016-02-10, 02:28 PM
It's true you could have the factions tumble out any number of different ways. A major point is to make it very hard to win by ignoring the politics and smash away at all comers, since you went to the trouble to have contrasting factions in play.

I call it railroading because I set up a plot hook. Instead of doing a dungeon crawl bashing everything shady, the party would have to deal with at least one of the factions just to get its pants back. It doesn't have to be that way. In fact you could have the party approached by the drow and the weretiger and a chitera sergeant separately and just asked to fight for them, if that would work. My usual party would try blasting everything unless hogtied, so I invented a capture.

Yes I was up too late with the color-coded chitera. It is simpler just to have warriors and sergeants and combine them yourself into squads.