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Vox Silentii
2016-12-15, 11:56 AM
I'm thinking about a campaign that happens 15 years after the "so called Hero" died during battle, so that the evil wizard or the evil cult managed to do all the bad stuff, because there was no one around them during that time to stop them / or failed to stop them. basically the bad guys have won and it's time for our new heroes to walk these forsaken lands in hope to bring the light back.
I just need ideas that the players will encounter, will they climb a tower once belonging to a fair princess only to discover a witch instead, or help take down a king that once deployed a coup to take down his brother. I need more of these. What has happened? What would happen if the hero never arrived?

Stealth Marmot
2016-12-15, 12:14 PM
Well the first question that needs to be asked is, what happened?

By that I mean, what was the villain's plan? Now that it worked, what was the aftermath? Are we talking an entire country being swept into chaos? A continent? The whole world? Only everything past Baker street but before Oak street?

What was the scope of the effect? Who was affected? Did the majority of people die, get enslaved, vaporize? Did 50,000 zombies show up and Michael Jackson wasn't there to make them dance instead of eat brains?

Here; TVTropes actually made a pretty nice list of potential apocalyptic actions.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ApocalypseHow

Pick from the list and tell us what we are dealing with.

Telonius
2016-12-15, 01:38 PM
To take a few ideas that aren't quite end-of-the-world scale:

- The players raid a castle where a maiden was supposed to have fallen asleep due to a curse. The castle is haunted by the ghost of the maiden, who was never awakened by her prince; she was eaten by a passing owlbear when the castle was left undefended. She's not happy at this turn of events at all.

- They pick through the ruins of a once-great city. Its fall was due to a dragon. With no hero to protect them, the city kept up its tribute of young women until the peasants fomented a revolt. It never recovered from the fighting. Eventually they missed a "payment" and the Dragon destroyed what little was left of the population.

- They travel through something like Eberron's Mournlands; it's the site of the single revolt against the evil wizard that was ever mounted.

Freed
2016-12-16, 05:39 PM
-The Sword was never pulled from the Stone, and eventually it's magic seeped into the ground below, causing the surrounding land to gain magical enhancements. A group of gnolls have planted a forest around the sword and are using the magically enhanced tree's wood to supply the BBEG's army with wooden weapons that can fell mountains. Unfortunately, the animals nearby eat the plants grown in the forest and nobody has been able to get past the magically enhanced creatures, other than the gnolls who eat the same crops. The PCs must pull the sword from the stone and stop the flow of magic.

Freed
2016-12-16, 05:50 PM
-The Sage who prophesied the Hero would save the world was exiled for incompetence and turned to necromancy to force the hero to save the world. Unfortunately, some of the threats that the Hero "should" have killed have been vanquished by other heroes, so the sage has brought them back and plans to kill off half the population and take the world in order to have his prophecy come true. Unfortunately, the Hero had fought a creature that could copy anyone's appearance, and was disguised as the Hero when he was vanquished. This creature was only killed because the Hero and all his allies fought together against him. Now, the sage will bring the creature back, thinking it will save the world, when it will in fact, doom it.

Freed
2016-12-16, 05:58 PM
- The cute animal companion was never rescued from the villain, so he was corrupted and works as an assassin, pretending to be an innocent puppy and then biting your face off.

RazorChain
2016-12-16, 08:29 PM
This probably

https://www.fantasyflightgames.com/en/products/midnight-second-edition/

Aliquid
2016-12-17, 11:41 AM
What has happened? What would happen if the hero never arrived?What if the hero did arrive... but failed. The bad guy won.

You could have a "prologue" to your game where your players get to be the heroes... and play out the final battle (and a bit of the lead-up) where they ultimately fail. Just let your players know that the bad guy wins, and you WILL railroad that ending if needed. As long as they know this in advance, they should be ok with it. The players can decide why they fail (have fun playing our major character flaws like 'excessive ego' or something)

Then re-start the game with the new characters, 15 years later. Now the players have a general idea what sort of mess they need to clean up (but their characters might not know)

Hopeless
2016-12-17, 01:11 PM
How about they had the major battle but at the critical point they were betrayed and the Hero died protecting the true Hero whose been unseen for the intervening years because they were badly hurt as a result of the betrayal.

So deliberately identified as the traitor they are being hunted by the triumphant "good guys" with your PCs unaware the bad guys have won and they're slowly discovering this secret resulting in them being declared traitors and subsequently hunted.

Their only hope is that "traitor" is still alive!

Jay R
2016-12-17, 02:19 PM
Then the sleeping beauty would just stay there and sleep.

Then the transformed prince, knowing that he can never be returned to human shape, would go mad, become a beast in reality, and the forest would be haunted by a great monster.

Then the beautiful but aging queen would continue to rule, and her murders would grow in numbers, as she continues to age, and more and more young girls become more fair than she is.

Without the hero to guide them, Frodo and Sam stay lost in the Emyn Muil until, weeks after Sauron's great victory over the Captains of the West, they drown in despair in the Dead Marshes.

The diamond in the rough never has a reason to try to be more than a mere thief. He was born a street rat, he dies a street rat, and only his fleas mourn him.

Then the scarecrow remains brainless, the tin woodman remains rusted, the lion remains cowardly, and two evil witches continue to rule mercilessly.

As the empire's grip tightens, nobody knows that a lonely droid on Tatooine has the plans for the death star.

The prince marries out of duty, not love, never knowing that his tiny-footed true love is slaving away for her step-mother in another part of the city.

Then the alcalde/sheriff keeps oppressing the peones/Saxons with higher taxes.

The sleigh full of toys never gets delivered through the stormy night.

Then Queen Guinevere would remain faithful to King Arthur to the end of their days, they would raise wise, noble children, and their dynasty and the virtues of the round table would last for centuries.

GrayDeath
2016-12-17, 02:25 PM
Love the last one. ;)

Dr_Dinosaur
2016-12-17, 02:39 PM
In their desperation, the royal family prays for salvation, and the land is drowned beneath a great sea, the only survivors eking out an existence on the mountaintops that have become islands.

In 1999, the beast at the center of the Earth awakens, tearing up through the ground and laying waste to the world before beginning to spawn. Humanity is left powerless before it, forced into hiding in their once-great factories as the food and hope slowly run out.

Traab
2016-12-17, 03:55 PM
Then we have something like the FF6 World of Ruin. The landmasses have been smashed and shifted, kingdoms are reshaped in size and are ruled by sycophants of the great god king kefka barring a few holdouts he is unable to smash for various reasons. I liked the idea listed before, lets give it a real justification. In a series of books written by a fantasy author I like, there is this force called The Tradition. This force erm, forces events to take certain paths, you have rapunzels, swords in the stone, goldilocks, princess and the pea, etc etc etc. However, a major EVENT just happened, the hero failed, which is so strongly against the tradition that the backlash has shattered it. Now there are no heroes, noone expects there to be heroes, and its never happily ever after.

Your party has to fix this. It will require a great feat of heroism in a realm where even the fates seem to work against you because the good guy isnt supposed to win anymore. So you wont be getting convenient tests from fairies out to hand out power ups to the worthy, or getting lucky breaks on finding a path through the evil wizards maze. In fact, its made harder because the world is actively working against you. Think of it like, taking a -2 on all rolls that would cause something good to happen to the party.

That could be a very interesting long lasting campaign. Your heroes want to fix things? They have to go forth and create happily ever afters in all these twisted versions of the classics. Rapunzels tower is now guarded by the blinded princes that failed to save her and were enslaved by the evil witch. The prince has taken to killing a young woman every night as he has them take the pea test and they fail, an evil knight has claimed the sword from the stone and corrupted it. You need to kill him, cleanse the sword and replace it in its stone. As you complete these quests, the weight of the broken tradition starts fading as things are put back the way they should be. Finally ending up by going after the big bad guy who initially won against good and broke everything in the first place.

Jay R
2016-12-17, 04:06 PM
Love the last one. ;)

Thanks. I had to upset the trope somehow.

John Longarrow
2016-12-18, 05:28 AM
Well, you have your current game. The hero didn't show/failed/what subverted/went out for pizza so the BBEG got to become the BBEG. Happens ALL THE TIME.

BBEG doesn't fear the random good guy coming into his lands, he's afraid of a knife in the back from his own subordinate/being back stabbed by the BBEG running the country next door. Just about every adventure is based on the hero not showing up previously to deal with said bad guy. More often than not, the BBEG is removed by another evil. EVIL is not generally a team player and unlike good factions seldom tries to deal with like aligned beings with diplomacy.

Think for a second what it must be like in a Drow house. If your in charge your most concerned one of your own children will kill you off. Your not really to worried about "Sir Paladin of the glowing armor", your worried about getting killed over dinner.

If the hero showed up often we'd never have BBEGs.

Klara Meison
2016-12-18, 05:31 AM
There is a whole book (https://practicalguidetoevil.wordpress.com/) with that as the premise. You may be able to find some ideas there.

Knaight
2016-12-18, 06:00 AM
Then Queen Guinevere would remain faithful to King Arthur to the end of their days, they would raise wise, noble children, and their dynasty and the virtues of the round table would last for centuries.

I don't remember Gawaine doing anything to upset the marriage. :smallwink:

Freed
2016-12-18, 09:34 AM
-The ring has fallen into Gandalf's hand, because he had to get it away from Bilbo, but Sauron's constant gaze has driven him crazy and he essentially thinks like a ghoul, eat, drink, eat, drink. The PCs must either kill him or figure out the ring is at fault and remove it.

GrayDeath
2016-12-18, 03:28 PM
Thanks. I had to upset the trope somehow.

it shos that at times the "hero" is not THE Hero very well.

I think I am going to use something like this if I ever get to DM my Real World Campaign.....ah well..

tomandtish
2016-12-18, 06:33 PM
What if the hero did arrive... but failed. The bad guy won.

You could have a "prologue" to your game where your players get to be the heroes... and play out the final battle (and a bit of the lead-up) where they ultimately fail. Just let your players know that the bad guy wins, and you WILL railroad that ending if needed. As long as they know this in advance, they should be ok with it. The players can decide why they fail (have fun playing our major character flaws like 'excessive ego' or something)

Then re-start the game with the new characters, 15 years later. Now the players have a general idea what sort of mess they need to clean up (but their characters might not know)

Not 15 years later, but 2nd edition had a module that used this: Vecna Lives. You started as the Circle of Eight facing Vecna, and the script called for a total party wipe...

Then the real characters come along.

Not entirely the same, as he hadn't totally succeeded. But might be a useful resource...

Esprit15
2016-12-19, 03:37 AM
The lich successfully goes to war with a rival nation, his/her undead army tearing appart the enemy forces. They kill the heads of state in each conquered nation and makes them into dread warriors that serve them and lead yet more armies, taking on more numbers until all of the Material Plane is theirs. The few survivors are fed and kept comfy so as to be complicit, and their children the same, but upon death are simply added to the undead workforce. Now the lich has raised an army many billions strong, and is eyeing another plane of existence to add to his kingdom.

The players are all outsiders, whether by being from the first plane targeted or by temporary alliances made between the planes to combat a greater threat.

Frozen_Feet
2016-12-19, 05:47 AM
Watch the movie Hero, then look up some Chinese history.

Long story short, the conquering Emperor crushes opposition, unifies warring nations into single great dynasty, creates unified writing system, builds a whole lot of new infrastructure, then gets killed by angry peasants in a revolt later down the line.

hifidelity2
2016-12-19, 06:51 AM
You 1st of all need to determine what the BBFGs goals were and if they were 100% successful of if the Hero was able to limit them

So

Hero dies before killing evil pretender to the throne
Kingdom(s) is/are now ruled by the evil king
Totalitarian state(s)
Highly corrupt elite
Everyone else is a serf / slave
Hero is talked in whispers / martyr
Church may well be controlled by the King / toe the party line


So the party will be
Being tracked down by the Secret police
Denounced by the Church
Will have to work hard on the PR side to become heroes of the common man (Think Robin Hood)

ElChad
2016-12-19, 09:43 AM
The party stumbles across a small graveyard after getting lost wandering an almost endless fog in a moor. At first, the graveyard looks old, almost as if it's been there for centuries. However, the graves are all recent; their dates spanning the last 15 years. Wretched ghosts wander and moan around the graveyard, each one wearing a green cloak, but still clearly showing their wounds from how they died. While the ghosts cannot attack the party, they openly harass the intruders, feebly trying to drive them away. The party arrives just in time for the latest funeral. It is for a young boy, about 15 or 16 years of age. His family stands by the grave, all wearing matching green cloaks and featureless masks. Some of the ghosts stand amongst the robed figures solemnly. It is hard to tell who is alive and who is a ghost. The tombs bear the names of the deceased; their last names are all the same. One major tomb rests on top of a hill overshadowing the rest. The ceremony ends with the leader placing the legendary sword back into the stone, where it locks into place, awaiting the next potential.

This is the graveyard of the Fallen Hero, and his family who try to take up his mantle.

Virfortis
2016-12-19, 10:17 AM
If I may:

Some of the party (the more RP heavy ones, for example) are awakened by a tug at their soul. They are pulled gently to a rift between the worlds, where it is discovered that the souls of a band of heroes are desperately trying to reach out to any capable enough to take back the realm.

This opens up fantastic story reward options, meaning nice little surprises that a loot table doesn't cover. As the players level up and strengthen their bond with the "heroes of the soul forge" they unlock some of the power from their ghostly mentors.

Trust me, a Paladin can never get divine wings (flavor only) of holy vengeance fast enough. They ALWAYS love that.