[Exalted/Qwixalted] To Live and Die in the House of Festivals
I'm going to be running a short (somewhere between 6 and 12 sessions, I'd guess) Qwixalted game set in Great Forks for my group. There'll be a "premise generation" session with them when they make characters to start feeling out what they want to see in the game, but it would be useful to come into that with a batch of ideas I could twist and fold, or discard, depending.
Three divergences from "standard" Exalted
Before I get into any details, I'd better lay out the three great divergences from what people might assume when they see "Exalted" in the title.
First and foremost, I'm not using Storyteller; I have no interest in it and more to the point my group have played before and would have refused to play if I'd proposed the native mechanics. This is a trial run of Qwixalted, to see if we might want to use it for a Dragonblooded game in the future.
Second, this is not a Solars game, all the PCs are God-Blooded. That's also part of the trialling process - use simpler characters than Exalts to kick the tyres and see how things work. It's also a nice departure from the usual assumptions about what's going to be happening. I really like lower-powered games set in Creation, and this intentionally-short game was the only way my group would agree to play non-Exalts.
Thirdly, the game takes place in RY762 (six years before the canon start). This means no disappeared Empress, no imminent Realm civil war, and most importantly, no Solars/Abyssals/Infernals. The PCs are not about to get blitzed by some random Celestial, and I don't have to think about what they might be up to in all of this. I might put a Dragonblooded antagonist up against them, but that's about as Exalted as things will get. It has the advantage that most of the familiar, established stuff is also relatively useful so we're not having to make everything from scratch.
It also means that the Battle of Mishaka was a recent thing and Great Forks doesn't merely have a flimsy, ill-prepared army, but barely any army at all. Resulting in turmoil in their region of influence (I'd expect what little troops they have to be focusing on protecting the narcotics crops, rather than patrolling their borders) and a lot of nervous people.
The outline premise
We always knew this was going to be a game with God-Blooded PCs, but it took a while to arrive at the possibly obvious answer of using Great Forks. We didn't want a game in the North, because our D&D4e game is set in Icewind Dale and there's too many thematic similarities. They didn't want another game in the South, having already done that in their Solars game. That brought it down to East or West, and while an Odyssey-style island hopping game appealed to some, the East edged it out.
There was a strong feeling, when discussed, that they wanted the game to be urban in character and relatively fixed. We've done all sorts of roving games, so being situated and tied to one place would be a novel departure. I'm expecting a mixture of natives, immigrants and visitors to the city, but all with some reason to care about what happens to the city, or at least the block they're part of.
One of the ideas I've floated is that some or all of them might be co-owners of an inn, tavern or teahouse. As property owners, they have a stake in the city and also act as a community focal point and information exchange. Another is that they might be part of a crime family or "community association" that runs a block and controls everything going on there, like the crossroads colleges of ancient Rome. I want to de-emphasise the role of the Enforcers in keeping order here and play up the role of social convention and in particular clientage. If you have a dispute with someone, you don't run to the Enforcers, you get your patron to talk to the other party's patron to sort things out.
We're a bit early for character concepts, but two of those I've had floated by me are a Star-Blessed (ie Sidereal Half-Caste) broker/fixer who knows everyone and someone who can fly (whether Moon Born or child of an Air elemental or some god with flight in their portfolio). Obviously being somewhere so full of spirits and others means virtually any type (barring Solaroid Half-Castes) is available. They're also a rich source of antagonists, too.
Where to from here?
I don't want to have a fixed plot that the PCs run through. What I'd like is ideas people have for significant NPCs who might have schemes in motion the PCs could stumble into/discover. Somewhere in the half-dozen region would be ideal; so there's lots of potential hooks they might bite, and things that can develop organically as they choose whether or not to involve themselves in them. Some might concern their neighbourhood, some the whole city and others still the whole Confederation of Rivers.