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Thread: New Plot Help

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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default New Plot Help

    Yo playground!

    So in a couple weeks I will be running a 4e Essentials game and I need to come up with a plot for the game. Normally this isn't a problem, hell I'm pretty good at pulling ideas out of my behind :p.

    But where I run into a problem is that I have 2 core players (these 2 will always be there) and I'm still looking for others. Some people I talked to said they could make it but due to college/work they might not be able to make it everytime. I need to come up with a game that will be ok for 2 people but at a moments notice new PC's can show up and leave.

    I figured perhaps a military type plot where the PC's get sent out on missions (assasinate, recon, delivery) and if someone joins the game or leaves it is only because they got new orders.

    What do you think? Any advice? Also has there been made a premade adventure by a company that is sort of like this?

    Thanks in advance!
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    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Tegu8788's Avatar

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    My standard advice for a rotating cast list is this: make them a mercenary group. If someone isn't there, they are off on a special assignment. It explains their absence and how they managed to stay on level with the party.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    SamuraiGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    Quote Originally Posted by Tegu8788 View Post
    My standard advice for a rotating cast list is this: make them a mercenary group. If someone isn't there, they are off on a special assignment. It explains their absence and how they managed to stay on level with the party.
    Plus, when someone new "comes back from assignment" they always seem to carry plot hooks important tactical information.
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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    Similar to the previously posted (if not exact), a band might be the answer - that's what I intended to use when I was counting on a group that might change in size.

    So, if you need something a bit more specific, I created "The Legion"
    Spoiler
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    The characters have joined a world-wide group of adventurers. The main goal of this group is to keep in order ravaging parties of evil beings and prevent another Reckoning. To earn the right to be called a member of the Legion, you must first be chosen by your people and pass trainings and tests. These tests are not easy, but the real adventures are only to come…

    where people are sent on assignments but only after they've passed some smaller tasks. If you want more of it, message me, I'll fill you in.

    Note
    that this is not easy to uphold for more than a few levels, because, if your campaign tends to be rich in plot, players usually start looking beyond the organization's scope. They can easily get bored by just getting simple instructions to do this or that, and will follow any leads from their adventures outside of the normal bounds of the assignment, probably. So have a backup idea of what might be happening with their friends during the stuff they do, which is sometimes really difficult or even impossible.

    Good luck and have fun!

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    I'm gonna join in on the majority here and agree with all of them. While adding my own sorta-twist on it.

    The whole idea with an organization that involves groups of people that come and go is actually not a bad idea. But has, as they say, some problems. I'm not going to list them since the others allready did. Instead, I'm going to present options how this can be done:

    The Mercenaries
    Like Tengu said, a mercenary group works. Characters can come and go. Even if you're playing with the group leader as the actual leader of the mercenary group, you can simply slap a "got sent to do this or that" tag on missing players. Be inventive. And it helps bring along hints of whatever rising evil you might add in.

    The Guild
    Now this is one of my favorites. Make the players, As with mandrakes example, part of a guild of adventurers and would be heroes. Weather they do anything for money or have an actual sense of honor and noble intentions. The thing here is that you can have your characters rise in the ranks and, much in the style of classic RPGS, have the missions feature a reccuring evil creating a sort of arching plot in the process. You might not encounter this same menace on every mission. But it may start at clues and then lead to your discovering this dastardly plot and, of course, getting assigned to many a mission to foil it with your guildmates. FOR GLORY! This creates an episodic campeign with plot episodes coming now and again, adding a plot to it so it doesn't feel like you're just doing side missions.

    The War
    I once did a campeign about a war between two races. In my case it was Dwarves and goblins. All the players were dwarves. Part of the army. And assigned to the same squad. Now, this lead to many adventures. Namely their missions. Each mission was related and added to the story as well as allowed the players to impact how the story went. If they did exceptionally well, it was a victory for the dwarves. Or at least a thorn in the side of the goblins. If they did badly, it'd reflect on their sides preformance in the war. This way, each mission seemed important. even if they didn't all chain togather. The episodic playstyle makes SENSE in this case, since each squad is assigned to where they are needed. As with absent player, you can simply say that they got assigned to some diffrent task.

    I really reccomend this type of campeign to be tried at least once. War, when played as a looming, ever present danger is a hell of a setting. Usually it's just something that's there. But when you place the PC's in the thick of it, manuvering behind enemy lines or hunting down skirmishing hostile forces or even defending a keep... the atmosphere and feel of it is just balls to the wall IRON. Really gets your players invested and adds a sense of severity to it.

    (Don't mind my horrible spelling. I'm at work. Being baaad.)
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    Orc in the Playground
     
    Lord_Kimboat's Avatar

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    Actually, there is a Mongoose campaign setting called Wraith Recon which sounds pretty much like what you are looking for. There are even a couple of adventures with it. Could pay to check it out.
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    Barbarian in the Playground
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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    Thanks y'all.

    I've decided to ask a few questions to help shape the world. Is there a list of "what do you want to play" type questions?

    I was thinking of something like..

    Choose 1 of from each question

    What do you want as the Technology Level?
    A. Stone Age
    B. Middle Ages/Dark Ages
    C. Darksun (err Trigun?)

    Is there a disease or miasma covering the land?
    A. Yes
    B. No
    C. We are causing it!

    Are the gods active in someway?
    A. Yes
    B. No
    C. Not only are they active, they walk among us!
    D. The gods are dead!
    E. The Primordials won.

    How do you think this could turn out?
    Official clergy member of the church of Thor the Electric Hate

    Smite!

    The True Paladin


    2e Martial Arts for the 3.5 Monk

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    Poorly, I fear.

    If I remember correctly, you have only two players, right? By asking them questions like that you'll just get them, maybe, on opposing sides - one picks A, the other picks C, and it's 50%-50%, what do you do?
    Also, it's really hard to cover everything in the world with those questions, though I really like the idea on the whole, honest.

    What I suggest is either that they at least have only one questionnaire which they complete together, or [and this is what I would do]

    make them make backgrounds which would, actually, be even better if they were somehow intertwined - that way, they know each other, that way, they might share a common goal, that way, they live in the same world with the same characteristics.

    So, tell them to imagine their character's history and their social and natural surrounding. What were their options growing up? What happened? Who got involved? In this manner you can get answers of how much magic, deities or diseases (?) there are, and what they want. This is not complete, far from it, and you must make sure that you "keep in touch" with your players, talk to them outside the table as well, and shape the campaign thusly. This questionnaire, if it doesn't have at least 20-30 questions, as far as I can see, will get you nowhere, and even then, I don't think you'll be able to see the forest from the trees. And I even like questionnaires!

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    Pixie in the Playground
     
    MonkGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    this is... along the direction of what I do when I design settings for a specific adventure or campeign. Usually, I allow my players to write a, usually not too specific, background for their characters (again A'la Mandrake... damnit) and go from there.

    Here's the key though: the questions. The entire setting is usually created by questions and answers. And trust me, it growst quickly and easily if you get your imagination running. I developed an entire country with the starting point being: Why aren't your parents around.

    Turns out, they were conscripted to a war.
    What war?
    Oh the one going on between this kingdom and two others. Though it isn't a full war because we don't want that taking all the focus from the campeign.
    If there's a war going on, what's life like for you?
    Well turns out alot of the enforcement is weakened down to almost nothing since all trained fighters, save perhaps sellswords and adventurers for the most part, are on the frontlines. So crime and banditry and monster raids have gone way up.

    And so on. Really, it's just finding answers to follow up questions togather withy our players.

    Like building LEGO my freind.

    just as fun, too
    You ever punched a polarbear for making you miss the buss? It's fun.

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    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    HalflingRogueGuy

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    Default Re: New Plot Help

    This might be useful for your players, and you, as well, in deciphering what the game will be all about:

    http://community.wizards.com/richmon...ute_Background


    e.g. if an answer for a goal is master all the forlorn foul magic prowling the souls of this world's people then you better get some magic in your world.

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