View Full Version : [4e]need some help with my campaign

Guinea Anubis
2008-10-10, 12:40 PM
To any of my players that could be reading this PLEASE DON'T!

The players are trying to stop a Devil/demon Prince from being released from a sword (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=5067131&postcount=1). To do this they are trying to save last heir of each of the 7 heroes familys who traped the devil in the sword. Because for each one that is killed the seal traping the Devil weakens untill he is free.

Out of the 7 heirs 1 is died and started this whole quest to stop the devil from freeing him self and got them to level 4. I am trying to give the PCs about 4 level per heir so when the have to face off with the free devil they will be about level 28-30.Out of the other 6 heirs I only have a good idea about 1 and 1/2 of them.

The one that I have really well thought out is there first or second stop, Is is a sword maker. They will show up 1 day to late to save his son but will offer to make them a sword like the one his ancester made to trap the devil but needs 3 things to make and the PCs will have to get them.

The one I only have 1/2 an idea about is I want him to be on the #1 ranked gladiator/pit fighting team. I really am not sure how to milk this for 4 levels with out A) a ton of random encounters and B) making them take part in a really big gladiator/pit fighting tournament.

The other 4 I am at a loss as what to do for them, I have ideas but nothing set in stone yet.

One is a Dwarf advencher/explorer, I was thinking classic dungeon crawl to save him to only find out he has been dead a long time.

Two is a Elf seamstress living in the main elf city in the woods.

Three is Halfelf that is going to a magic school to be a wizard, I was thinking the school has been taken over by a cult at the school. I was even thinking of letting them kill the BBEG tiefling only to have there "pet goblin" (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4949558&postcount=1) pick up the sword and become the new BBEG.

Four is a Halfling that I have NO idea what to with/about.

So as I am sure you can tell its going to be a really long campaign where I as the DM have to kill off all 7 heirs with out making the PCs feel like they are being rail roaded.

I am open to any and all ideas

2008-10-10, 01:15 PM
How about not railroading them? :-)

So you have 7 heirs. Need they all be unique?

The trapped Demon is a strong one. And possibly has been growing stronger from the frustration of the prison.

Each blood line is part of the seal to hold the Demon in. As each one dies, the seal gets weaker. This lets the Demon ... influence reality more.

With one blood line destroyed, the Demon now can ... influence ... the possessor of the sword, and can bend chance to make the sword move to a good host. You can use this to set up a BBEG that isn't the Demon.

The Sword-holder, influenced (and later possessed) by the Demon, is now trying to slaughter the heirs. The players are trying to save them.

If they kill the sword-holder, they now have a problem -- a sword that will corrupt them if they keep it, and can bend chance itself to find a new host. As more blood lines are destroyed, the sword gains more powers, and grants its host more powers. These powers tend to be along the lines of the being who possesses the sword's natural talents.

At best, they can attempt to delay someone else taking up the sword.

On their side, it typically takes time for a bearer of the sword to gain power from it...

The players are now free to save as many of the bloodlines as they want to. It isn't futile.

However ... each bloodline is part of the seal. The seal on the prison of a demon that is reaching out and touching the world anew. The heirs themselves are being corrupted, and the fewer there are in each bloodline, and the fewer bloodlines, the faster the corruption comes.

Eventually the very heirs the players saved could turn against them, having been turned into agents of the Demon's will.

Or maybe the players will figure out a way to trap the demon before this happens!

The overall plot -- a sword containing a demon sealed by the bloodlines of 7 heros -- remains. Except now the players can influence what happens.

A cult of the demon will be attempting to kill the heirs of each bloodline.
Some weak-willed heirs will be corrupted by the demon.
Some will be killed.
The bearer of the sword will oppose the PCs, hunting down heirs, trying to turn them to side with the demon, or killing them if that fails.

By the end, entire empires may have been turned to the dark, as the demon's grasp on reality grows.

2008-10-11, 02:59 AM
If much time passed since the demon was trapped, it might be hard to find the heirs of the heroes who did it. The Familiy names change over the generations because of marriages etc. So the PCs might have to work hard to even find out who they have to protect. Perhaps they need to search an the ruin of one of the original heroes' stronghold to find the family records. There they find out that just one member of the family escaped a siege and wanted to go to [name of a town in your world]. So they will have to go there and find out where he went from there, who his descendants were and where they lived.

Some of the heirs might not even know what their ancestors did and mistrust the PCs.

Someone who wants the demon to get free might spread false information so the PCs think he is one of the heirs and that the true heir belongs to the cult attempting to free the demon. Give the PCs subtle hints and see if they get it or if they destroy the seal themselves.

Guinea Anubis
2008-10-23, 10:51 AM
Sorry it took so long for me to get back, I was in the hospital (I am fine now) for a bit and could not post.

As for why I am railroading my players, They like it. I know its hard to believe but they told me when I was trrying had not to rail road them in the last 3.5e campain. They where all so overwhelmed with what they could do that they really did nothing and told me "they like having a path they can follow. Kind of like a good RPG video game its on a set path but does not feel like its on one". I was a little bewildered by this, but I have since changed my DM style to make them happier to what I like to call "free form railroading" Where point a and point b are set but how they get from a to b 100% up to them. It has worked out very well so far in are other games.

Also as for the names of the heirs and such, they have them as in my world there is a GREAT library that is THE repository of most known knowledge. It took them almost the whole night to figure out how to get in :smallbiggrin:

But since I was layed up for so long I had a lot of time to think. I will spoiler each one just to make it an easyer read. A lot of this will be a rehash of my last post but what the heck.

Eladrin Sword Smith

The PCs will show up 1 day to late to save the ESS's son from the BBEG. The ESS will offer to make them a sword like the one his ancester made to trap the devil but needs 3 things to make and the PCs will have to get them.

1. A very special "holy" metal made by only 1 clan of dwarves called Moradin's Tears. The PCs will not have enough money to buy it as it take a full year just to make 1lbs of this metal. But the Dwarves will work out a deal with the PCs that if the kill a dragon and her kobold worshipers for them they will give them the metal.

2. A black smithing hammer said to have been blessed by Pelor. It is somewhere in Mad Mage Mistmore's living Castle. Mistmore turned his castle in to a living construct to be his assistant and the keeper of his research projects. (On a side note Mistmore bought the hammer thinking his walnuts would taste better if he cracked them open with it.)

3. The sword mold used to make the first sword that is rumored to made with some of Corellon Larthian blood. It will be in deep in the Holy Vault of a fanatical religous group called the Silver Hand. The "Holy Vault" will be filled with ton of deadly things so only the worth can get something out of the vault.

Dragonborn Pit Fighter

The PCs where told he was town, but this info is going to be a little out of date, as he has moved on to bigger badder pit fights. The PCs will have to find some way to get in to an invite only undergroud pit fighing club. After they get in they will find the only way to find out where DPF got sent to is to take part in the pit fights and work there way up to rank 1. The PCs will then be shipped off to the same place as the DPF and have to do more pit fighting to even talk to him since he will "only talk to winners". After all this they will see him die in a pit fight with the BBEG who is disguised.

Dwarf Archaeologist

The DA will be a member of the of the Explores League (a club for archaeologists) that set off to research an ancient city that was just found because of an earthquake. This will be a fun classic ancient ruined city in a cave dungeon crawl. They will find the DA long dead, maybe even dead before the first heir that started them on the quest.

Elf Seamstress

The ES is living in the main Elf city. The Elfs will not trust the PCs and not let then see the ES because one they have heard about the heirs being killed off, and two they are in a lossing war.

The PCs will find out that race1 which the Elfs had an understanding/truths with has turned hostie and race2 that the Elfs had been in a millitary stalemate with has been getting the upper hand because of this new hostlity of race1 towrds the Elfs. A Wormtongue like advicer will have the king send them off to prove there goodness by negotiating peace with race1.

The PCs will find out that the Race1 is going to war with the elfs because an elf took a holy relic from them. It will turn out it was the Wormtongue and he gave it to race2. Once the PCs get back this relic and peace is restored and Wormtongue is exposed. The Wormtongue will turn out to be working for the BBEG and escape off to her/him.

When the PCs get to meet the ES they will find out she is not the one they are trying to save. Her family switched last names with Wormtongue's so they could protect them in case what is happening, happened.

HalfElf School Student

When the PCs get to the Mages School he HSS has gone missing. The teachers know he is still someplace on campis because they have a magic bairer up the alerts them when anyone enters or leaves it. This bearier will also stop teleporting and scrying (but not summoning). The PCs will have to track down the HSS. As they track the HSS down they will uncover a cult in the school that is in leage with the BBEG. The PCs will have to fight off the cult to stop them from summoning the BBEG to the school and killing the HSS. I was going to let them kill the BBEG and save the HSS only to have there pet goblin pick up the sword get posesed by the devil and kill the HSS and become the new BBEG.

Halfling Wine Merchant

The HWM will not believe the PC, But since he needs some body guards for a long trip he will hire them (at a BIG discount:smallwink:) to guard him and his wine. The PCs will find out really fast that he has a lot of others after him then just the BBEG. It will turn out that the HWM is not only selling wine, but slave, drugs, weapons, ext. So not only will the PCs have the BBEG and minons to deal with but a lot of unhappy clients and compedators.

It will turn out the person who ordered the wine for a town celebration was the BBEG as a trap.

The last "step" I guess will be facing the Devil after he get out of the sword. He will run away from the PCs (as he is not at 100% power yet) to his old stronghold. The PCs will have to track it down and kill him. After they kill him they will become the new greatest heros of the world and there characters will get retired in to the world as Super NPCs.

So that is the basic outline of how I would like this campaign to go. I am sure my players will throw 1 or 9 monkey wrenchs in to the works so I have to change stuff.

Please tell me what you think and how you feel I could make this better for my players.

2008-10-23, 01:10 PM
When I set up a plot like this, I start with the villain's agenda. How much does he know? What's the best way to systematically tackle each obstacle between himself and his goal? What resources, allies, and subordinates will he need? How does he acquire them?

Of these details, I focus on the ones that will most readily impact other significant individuals in the world. (Note that these people can be significant because they're important in world context, or because they are in close contact to the PCs.) If he wants something, how is it guarded? What plan would he use to take it? Would he need to gather resources or allies ahead of time? Would intel agents get word that something was brewing? How do the important NPCs of the world react?

If a villain is planning an undead army, he'll need bodies and zealous followers to animate them. Graveyards may be pillaged, remote farms and villages may be attacked (possibly with planted evidence to shift the blame to another group, i.e. local orcs), whispers of a new cult may reach people's ears (doubly interesting if the cult hides its true motives), and secret locations the group has secured may cause them to butt heads with other groups (i.e. local orcs). These signs, in turn, lead to plot hooks that can be presented to the PCs. If the villain is pursuing his agenda on enough fronts, there'll be enough hooks in the world that the PCs will choose at least one to investigate further.

So, the "tl;dr" version:
1) Identify the villain's key objectives.
2) Devise methods to achieve those objectives.
3) Brainstorm the changes those plans will have on the world.
4) Present those events to the PCs

The one thing NOT to do is to spend too much time planning things from the PC's perspective, i.e. "first they go here, then there, then there," trying to invent ways to lead them along. If you're well equipped with key locations, villainous NPCs, and bad-guy lairs to raid, you won't have to dwell much on what order the PCs pursue them.