View Full Version : Background, Game seed, Plot hook ??

2017-11-25, 07:10 AM
This is the hook from my current game, wanted some feedback.

In the beginning, in the time before time there were two powers; there was substance and there was void. These two forces remained in constant struggle, as substance would create void would consume. This was the way of things until substance pulling itself from all corners of this place, calling on all the matter and power it could manage to one purpose: to create a prison -- a prison to lock away the heart of the void and in doing so halt its constant hunger.

The prison that was crafted became, in time, Terra -- a world of life, of gods, and all manner of creature. At its center, the Void hungered, still corrupting all that was within, and for this the seven anchors were crafted and used to ensure that the Void would never escape. But, as with all things, they have been lost to time and their true purpose all but forgotten.

The names of these primordial forces, once worshipped as gods, have long since been replaced with the gods of man and mer and now those gods themselves wane in the shadow of the ever-progressive march of technology and the passing of the arts of magic.

Fewer and fewer are able to harness the powers of the divine and the arcane, relying instead on cold steel, alchemy, and most recently Ichor: a strange and powerful substance from within Terra.

Ichor is unlike anything any alchemist or even wizards of old have seen. In its purest state, it is a thick black-blue liquid that almost draws light in, some would say. It has enabled vast and rapid advancements in technology and has started a revolution of creation and experimentation.

Ichor’s less refined state is that of a black chalky stone that stains all it touches, but even in this form it has a wide number of uses.
Ichor is power; a rare and difficult power to obtain and its presence has not gone unnoticed by the grand kingdoms across the sea. For a while this power was beyond their reach, but a desire to have it and a fear of war over it is what crafted one of the grandest joint ventures in all of the known history of Terra: the claiming of the West.

The savage West to some, home to many more; the West is a harsh land with its own complexity, filled with its own native people, and their own ways and wars.

It was these conflicts that the kingdoms of the East exploited, playing one side against the other and back again ‘til their numbers and resources were spent. This left the natives of the West to turn to their eastern allies only to have to trade lands for all manner of things essential to their survival.

With a firm foothold in the West, the kingdoms across the sea aimed to push farther and farther ‘til there is nothing left. To do this, they have set up a government of sorts, backed by the ruling bodies of the East. This government hasn't grasped all there is as of yet, but as things are now, it is only a matter of time ‘til the Frontier falls.

2017-11-25, 11:39 PM
This is the hook from my current game, wanted some feedback.

The Yogg-Saron storyline of World of Warcraft's Northrend continent is similar. They made a lot of money off of people playing that expansion, so your story line seems like it should work.

An ancient god had been defeated and imprisoned, but over the eons had managed to corrupt most of the guardians set to watch the prison. The players were unwitting agents that allowed Yogg-Saron to finally be freed. Their actions triggered various fail-safes intended to stop meddling mortals from being stupid, but the story line had the players do exactly that. Eventually, the players were the ones to "defeat" Yogg-Saron permanently.

The ancient god's blood was a resource called Saronite, which would seep to the surface and could be mined and turned into powerful items.

The two factions in the game (Alliance and Horde) landed simultaneously on Northrend, and basically colonized the northern continent.

The problem I had with that story line was Blizzard's insistence that the players must be the unwitting pawns of the ancient god - if I wanted to progress my character, I was railroaded into doing things according to the story plan. I found that extremely frustrating.

2017-11-26, 12:26 AM
As a whole, the background for this campaign seems perfectly fine.

That said, I would say instead of telling your players everything before the paragraph that starts, ""Ichor is unlike anything...," you could drip-feed them info about the origins of your world as they become more and more powerful and the large scale threats (which I assume would appear from the void, and the Ichor's connection to the void) become more and more of your campaign's focus.

I never like to tell my players about this cosmic mystery stuff before the cosmic mystery stuff becomes relevant. I think that doing so undermines the focus of the early game, and you could reserve the background of your cosmos as a reward to reveal to players through exploration.

2017-11-27, 12:53 AM
This is somewhat unclear. So ichor is only found in the west? So is it the western people who have developed the technology, and the eastern people are coming from over the sea to get some for themselves so they don't fall behind? Or is it a Europe/New World analog, and the people from the east have developed technology but only have small amounts of ichor, while the west has more ichor and lots of people that don't know how to use it, and easterners are coming to exploit the natural resources that requires displacing the natives from their homes? Since it's clear you're doing a "taming of the west"/frontier theme (and maybe a hint of "technology is destructive and the earth is dying because we've abandoned the old ways"), that's what I'm guessing you mean.

Other than needing a little editing/clarification in the actual writing, the premise seems fine. But I wouldn't give this to players. They should only know what their characters would know - so there should be information about the different kingdoms and lands they know of (at least telling them the names of the kingdoms describing their relationship with one another), what they know about ichor and where it comes from, and what they know about the west and the people that live there.
Most likely, the characters should have incomplete and sometimes mistaken information about the world. The players need to know what sort of things their characters are likely to want and to do, they need to know what the world looks like to their characters.