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 Post subject: [D&D] Hallowed Tears - Fleshing out locations.
PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 1:05 pm 
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I'm working on my next D&D campaign at the moment (for those of you who don't play D&D, I need help with plot and world, so you can still help out), and in short, I'm trying to get as much help as possible in terms of figuring out the storyline (and eventually the locations, history, and so forth).

All the details are here:
http://boards1.wizards.com/showthread.php?t=753236

I would copy it all into this thread, but we can't use [sblock][/sblock] on this forum, so it would just become a gigantic page-stretching mess, I guess.
I will however, copy over the (comparitively brief) plot summary:
  • The Beginning
    • There are two worlds, Rithe and Raum.
    • Rithe = 19th C. style.
    • Raum = More closely related to dark ages.
    • In Raum, an Avatar of the three gods was planted to manage all things arcane.
    • Everyone wanted the Avatar's power, war ensues.
    • Avatar loves having people want her power, Avatar encourages these wars.
    • One Raumian wizard escapes to Rithe.
    • After a while, everyone has killed everyone else, Avatar is sad.
    • Raum is divided into chunks, and each chunk stored as a pocket dimension by someone. Each pocket dimension was placed on another chunk of land, which was turned into another pocket dimension, and so on.
    • Four Decades pass, Avatar gets bored, realises that there is a barrier between Raum and something else (Rithe), she tears away at it.
    • Raumian wizard in Rithe notices that the world-barrier is breaking, sees opportunity to return to Raum, and destroy the avatar, then become the next avatar.
    • He needs 8 people for the ritual to become the avatar, each with specific background. Wants use the 7 players, himself as the 8th.
    • Brings all the players to one particular location, tricks them into destroying what remains of barrier.
  • The End
    • Raumian wizard returns, players now pose a considerable thread to his plans.
Summary of Chunks of Raum, as sealed by Io:
  • The Entrance
  • The Sun
  • Aquatic
  • Mountains
  • Desert
  • Forest
  • Snowy Plains
  • Mines
  • Farm/Highway (Plains)
  • Battlefield
  • Grasslands/Gentle Hills
  • Jungle
  • Rugged Hills/Canyons
  • Beach/Island
  • Lake/river
  • City Ruins
  • Tundra/Marsh
  • Mechanical Realm
  • Graveyard
  • Land of Eternal Night
  • The dead. All the skeletal remains of civilisation that came about as a result of Io's attention-seeking were hidden away by her, as an effective "I didn't do it" maneuver, mayhaps?.
  • Four chunks with are specfically towns of sorts.
  • More chunks in general!
And the most important things I'm working on at the moment.
  • Time to start figuring out the world! I need suggestions for themes for chunks, as well as contents for all chunks. :3
  • Did the gods divide and pack up Raum, or did Io?
  • Opinions on the plotline (and world) so far. Is it original? Interesting? Anything that could be tweaked for the better? ie. An organisation throws the players into Raum, rather than just one wizard?
  • Do you think the name "Hallowed Tears" suits the campaign? Does it seem too generic-medieval-campaign? Got any other suggestions for names?


Last edited by Keilious on Thu Dec 14, 2006 12:08 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 5:23 pm 
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It certainly sounds like an interesting idea... not the normal medieval-style era that D&D is traditionally set in.

How easy is it going to be for people to cross from one world to another? IMO, this is probably going to be biggest decider as to why the players would be crossing over. The more difficult that it is, the less likely it would be that they would doing this without assistence, finacial or otherwise.

The best place that I could suggest to look for these sort of reasons is our own history. There are several examples that could be taken from our own world of a 19 century entering into a lower technology region. Some of the first examples that come to mind are the British in Africa (later 19 century - think the Zulu wars and people such as John Rhodes) and in India (yes, they were not in the dark ages, but would were on the technology scale then the Europeans), and the expansion of the USA across the north american continent.

As for reasons, the most obvious one that I can think of is resources/money. Unless they've previously had contact with the new world, the people of the old world aren't going to know about the struggles going on over there. More likely than not, the initial people heading over would either be looking for resources to continue to keep some sort of industrial revolution going, or to obtain something that is unavailable in their own world (could be anything from diamonds to potatoes).

The biggest issue that I can see with this is that there is going to be BIG technology difference between the two worlds. If you look at the sort of technology that is available in the 19th century (not only military such as Gatling guns, etc) but also non-military technnologies. There was experimentations in the late 18th century with making "lighter than air" balloons in which people could fly around in. Combining this level of technology with magic (if magic is going to be commonly available in your campaign) could make for very powerful combinations


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:10 pm 
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I'm 100% sure I don't want the two worlds to interact at all to begin with, but from there on, I don't know...

After all, the entire theme of Raum is that, well, everyone (meaning the core races) is dead. If Rithians could freely travel to Raum, then it wouldn't be an eerie ghost world of sorts (which is pretty much excuse to allow lots of "ruins" and other yummy dungeons to exist), as they'd just keep repopulating it.

After the players initially enter Raum, I might slowly open a link between the worlds, the main reason for this is that it will simplify the introduction of any new character if an old one dies, as well as allows links to each character's past to enter the plot (For example, an old rival of one character might enter Raum and begin restoring chunks of the world too).

As for magic, I prefer not to clearly cut the availability of it between the two worlds, as is often done in such settings. Instead, without the presense of an avatar, all arcane spell in Rithe are cast at -2 caster level, essentially resulting in magic being used largely for convenience (prestidigitation!) and "party tricks".

Edit: As it stands, the main idea I have at the moment is that the avatar in Raum (Dammit! I still need a name for her, I might just call her Io like I originally intended and be done with it) searches for people in Rithe (either physically, or through divination) who have epic desires of sorts that could fulfilled using her powers. Once she finds such a person, she drags them into Raum.
So far all the characters have a need for something that only (well, the avatar's their best bet, anyway) she can provide.

Edit2: The problem from there is, how do I convey to the characters "Go find the avatar and rebuild this hokey world!" without seeming abrupt and cheesy, but at the same time jumping them into the action as quickly as possible? (Yeah, they're not a particularly patient bunch. They don't mind lots of roleplaying, as long as its in the middle of combat. :P)


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:47 pm 
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Keilious wrote:
Edit: As it stands, the main idea I have at the moment is that the avatar in Raum (Dammit! I still need a name for her, I might just call her Io like I originally intended and be done with it) searches for people in Rithe (either physically, or through divination) who have epic desires of sorts that could fulfilled using her powers. Once she finds such a person, she drags them into Raum.
So far all the characters have a need for something that only (well, the avatar's their best bet, anyway) she can provide.


What is the main motivation for the avatar pulling people across to the new world? I assume that it's not for their benefit, but that he/she requires them to do something. This may well be the "Go ... and rebuild this hokey world!". Also, at first, the players probably won't know/need to know why they have been dragged across. If it is involuntary, all they will know is they have been trapped somewhere and need to get home. Finding out the reason why they are there should be just as much a part of the adventure as finding the way home/completing the quest.

Keilious wrote:
Edit2: The problem from there is, how do I convey to the characters "Go find the avatar and rebuild this hokey world!" without seeming abrupt and cheesy, but at the same time jumping them into the action as quickly as possible? (Yeah, they're not a particularly patient bunch. They don't mind lots of roleplaying, as long as its in the middle of combat. :P)


When you say the core races are dead, does this mean that there is still other "non-core races" still alive? If so, would they be able/willing to provide information to the players. Perhaps they could pass on legends of how the land is cursed (in their opinion) and that the only way to return home is to break the curse. This of course would be done by restoring parts of the world.

Otherwise, there are spells that could be used to contact a higher power and ask them questions (such as Augery). If the players aren't of a level to cast a spell like this, perhaps it could be found on a scroll in one of the ruins that they search.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 6:55 pm 
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Oooh... Clever ideas.

The avatar wants to have people trying to gain her power. It may be simple, but its a good step up from villains who have said power, are using it, and must be stopped. :P

Good point about them wanting to find out where they are, curiosity and mystery, if played out correctly, could work far better than direct motives, initially.

Indeed, other intelligent races still exist, some from D&D supplements, and others I intend to create, and quite a few would help the players, so there's a fine idea.

*goes to triangulate the location of some dinner-like objects*

Edit: *returns with dinner quite considerably eaten*
Anywho, so mayhaps an additional motive for the avatar could be handy. Mayhaps whoever has "control" of her long enough to have their dream fulfilled becomes the avatar in her place, whereas she can finally live out her life as a full mortal, age and eventually die.

So ultimately, its a toss-up between a deranged opponent, and one who just wants to be able to live normally. Hmm. I'm really not sure on this one. My last campaign featured an anti-hero as a villain, whom the players all thought was evil up until the near-end, after they, well, killed him.
So I may not want to repeat that general feel again...


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:10 pm 
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Keilious wrote:
Oooh... Clever ideas.

The avatar wants to have people trying to gain her power. It may be simple, but its a good step up from villains who have said power, are using it, and must be stopped. :P


This is also raises the question, do the players want to gain the avatar's power? If they are opposed to the views of the avatar, there could be ramifications for the players if they do what the avatar wants

If there are any clerics that come through, they especially would not be interested in helping a rival power. I would imagine they would (or at least should!) be more interested in spreading the word of their own religion. The way that I would see it is if they don't, and their own deity can still contact them/grant them spells, thhey could be in for a rude shock.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:24 pm 
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fastideo wrote:
This is also raises the question, do the players want to gain the avatar's power? If they are opposed to the views of the avatar, there could be ramifications for the players if they do what the avatar wants

If there are any clerics that come through, they especially would not be interested in helping a rival power. I would imagine they would (or at least should!) be more interested in spreading the word of their own religion. The way that I would see it is if they don't, and their own deity can still contact them/grant them spells, thhey could be in for a rude shock.

Hmm. Well I know that all the characters I've recieved information on so far would go along with it. However, clerics, as you mentioned, would be quite the problem.
Granted, there's one primary religion in Rithe which centres around three gods, and this is an avatar of those three. However, I certainly don't want to be railroading any cleric into choosing this said religion, or just ending up with "HAH! Your god doesn't exist, but this one does".
I'll have to think on this one, but unlike core and similar supplements, the dieties in my campaign don't play such a (comparitively) hugely active role in the world. They made the worlds, threw some of their things in here and there (like the avatar), and now mostly retire to watching, while their divine energies continue to grant clerics their spells.
For this reason, they don't just instantly shut down and replace the avatar when she borders on inciting war.
This distancing between the avatar and divinity could work out quite well, for example, the clerics, paladins, and other people for whom it would matter don't necessarily have know that the avatar is an avatar at all, they could merely understand it to be some long-lost arcane force, and perhaps intend to use it to create a thousand temples for their religion across the land.

Edit: In the event of alignment detection, she's true neutral, swinging somewhat towards chaos, methinks, so that wouldn't be much of an issue.
In the event of divination determining her true nature (something I'd rather not fudge information on, as divination is already extremely rarely used as is), the character in question may now seek to destroy the avatar.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:33 pm 
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Keilious wrote:
I'll have to think on this one, but unlike core and similar supplements, the dieties in my campaign don't play such a (comparitively) hugely active role in the world. They made the worlds, threw some of their things in here and there (like the avatar), and now mostly retire to watching, while their divine energies continue to grant clerics their spells.


This doesn't mean that the followers still don't like to play politics. If you think of the catholic church throughout European history, they had less proof of God (no spells, as such) continued to use religion to force their views on people (things like the Spanish Inquisition). Lack of deity interest shouldn't mean that the church does the same. In fact, it make even make the heads of the various churches feel even more independent, as there is the lack of divine influence "looking" over their shoulder per se.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2006 7:40 pm 
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fastideo wrote:
This doesn't mean that the followers still don't like to play politics. If you think of the catholic church throughout European history, they had less proof of God (no spells, as such) continued to use religion to force their views on people (things like the Spanish Inquisition). Lack of deity interest shouldn't mean that the church does the same. In fact, it make even make the heads of the various churches feel even more independent, as there is the lack of divine influence "looking" over their shoulder per se.

Quite true, but I was just saying that to justify why the avatar may not perfectly reflect the will of the gods, and yet she still retains her position.

I think that this is just a bridge I'll have to cross when I come to it. If I will indeed have a cleric in the party (which I should, considering there are 7 players, but who knows), then depending on her religion, alignment and so on, I can decide how to tweak the situation.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:32 am 
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Quick update, C&P'ed from the WotC boards thread:

Okie doke, after some discussions on other forums and MSN, a good deal more of the overall holes have been filled (I'll put these in the first post in a moment).

  • The avatar is now named Io, I like the name too much to give it up.
  • After Io indirectly resulted in the destruction of all civilisation and somesuch, the gods which she was a subject of divided the land and contained it to effectively "seal" her. (Yeah, I hate that word, because it makes the plot seem generic.)
  • One of the most powerful Raumian wizards opened a portal to Rithe shortly before the last bunch of people died.
  • Io eventually found her way out of the chain of contained chunks of land (not physically, as she doesn't exactly travel much either way), and now finds it rather convenient to have an essential "fortress" because of it, with which she can "test" people who will seek her power.
  • Io recognises that there is a barrier between her world and something else (Rithe). Naturally, out of boredom, she starts tearing away at it.
  • The Raumian wizard realises that the barrier is weakening, and he spends weeks/months/some significant period of time scouring the city with his Divination magic (read thoughts, horray!) to find people with the most ambitious goals, which Io would obviously want to get her hands on as soon as possible.
  • He is already familiar with the DN and the Wizard, as he essentially secured the DN a position as a professor, and the Wizard attended the same wizardry university as the DN was lecturing in.
  • As for the remaining characters, he simply sends out servants with false invitations ("Ms rogue person, my master needs to meet with you to discuss your recent graduation, we have some bad news")
  • Using his powers, he would erase what little is left of the barrier, effectively letting Io's powers through, and she would grab the seven players, drag them into Raum.
SO! Here's what needs figuring out now.
  • Why didn't the gods just dispose of Io, if they went to the length of sealing her. Mayhaps someone else sealed her.
  • Does the Raumian wizard actually understand that Io just wants attention, or is there another reason he wishes to send seven folk into Raum.
    The obvious motivation is so that he can kill Io, any other ideas?
  • Why does this mighty wizard need to send seven inexperienced weak people to Raum, rather than just go there himself straight off? Why can't he just open a portal back the way he came? (Maybe after the gods sealed the chunks of land, they also prevented arcane travel between the two places, as a result of this one guy managing to get through)
  • Why these *specific* seven people? Once the barrier is broken, Io will just take the first people with ambitious dreams that she can see.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 11:58 am 
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Keilious wrote:
[*]Why didn't the gods just dispose of Io, if they went to the length of sealing her. Mayhaps someone else sealed her.


Possibly the gods have too much power tied up in her, and are afraid that if she dies they will be unable to reclaim said power. They then could just lock her away for a period of time, whilst they ponder this possibility. This would also tie in with the gods being distant and not overly caring about people, as they have bigger issues to worry about.

Keilious wrote:
[*]Does the Raumian wizard actually understand that Io just wants attention, or is there another reason he wishes to send seven folk into Raum. The obvious motivation is so that he can kill Io, any other ideas?


Tied into the idea above, he might want to kill Io in the belief that he can seize her power for himself.

Keilious wrote:
[*]Why does this mighty wizard need to send seven inexperienced weak people to Raum, rather than just go there himself straight off? Why can't he just open a portal back the way he came? (Maybe after the gods sealed the chunks of land, they also prevented arcane travel between the two places, as a result of this one guy managing to get through)


The bluntest reason I can think of is cannon fodder. The wizard send the othersr through to soften the avatar up a bit before risking his own neck.

Keilious wrote:
[*]Why these *specific* seven people? Once the barrier is broken, Io will just take the first people with ambitious dreams that she can see.


Maybe they simpy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wizard was looking for people who could soften the avatar up a bit, but not be a serious threat of killing her themselves.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2006 12:11 pm 
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fastideo wrote:
Possibly the gods have too much power tied up in her, and are afraid that if she dies they will be unable to reclaim said power. They then could just lock her away for a period of time, whilst they ponder this possibility. This would also tie in with the gods being distant and not overly caring about people, as they have bigger issues to worry about.

So... The only way they can remove Io, is by effectively destroying her, but in doing so, they'd lose the powers they invested in her. Sounds good to me, I'll be stealing that idea. B)

fastideo wrote:
Tied into the idea above, he might want to kill Io in the belief that he can seize her power for himself.

Yup, I've had that suggested before too, I'll probably go with that concept.

fastideo wrote:
The bluntest reason I can think of is cannon fodder. The wizard send the othersr through to soften the avatar up a bit before risking his own neck.

Okie dokie, someone to "test the water". :P

fastideo wrote:
Maybe they simpy in the wrong place at the wrong time. The wizard was looking for people who could soften the avatar up a bit, but not be a serious threat of killing her themselves.

Hmm... Well, this would merit that the wizard needed to meet with the people to enter Raum personally. Maybe to cast some kind of scrying spell on them or something, so he can keep track of their progress.
Otherwise, once he's openned the barrier, Io will be picking out lots of random people anyway, and they can quite well serve as cannon fodder.

Edit: Okai, a guy on the WotC forum pretty much wrapped this up for me:

Quote:
I was actually thinking about that myself over the last few minutes... I figure what if each of these 8 individuals must have experienced a certain trial or been to a certain place in order to create the Ascension...

So, towards a certain part in the adventure they uncover text reffering to the 8 who are to be sacrificed "One must have seen the green fields of Talador. One must have climbed the highest mountains of Taiga. One must have passed through the fires of Krassler Depths. One must hold the vigilance of everlasting light. etc..." Make it a little obscure, and just maybe they'll be wise enough to figure out they've done all those things =)

Except for the last one of course, which none of them could ever have possibly done... Which is left to the Wizard.


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 Post subject: World Building
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:11 pm 
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I'm actually facinated by the worlds within worlds.
How hard will it be to travel between worlds? Does it increase in difficulty as you move toward the centre? Or the other way around. Possibly it gets harder for the first half to 3/4 of the shells, and then gets easier, how difficult is it to go back.
Me personally, i'd avoid the each world is noticably different, sure make the combats and the like harder, but none of the: this world is covered in water, this world is a desert, just make them locations of the world, broken into pieces.
Also what is the size of each, does each world get smaller and smaller like babushka dolls? (actually called Matryoshka, but babushka is a common enough variation)


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 Post subject: Re: World Building
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:57 pm 
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Aaron wrote:
I'm actually facinated by the worlds within worlds.
How hard will it be to travel between worlds? Does it increase in difficulty as you move toward the centre? Or the other way around. Possibly it gets harder for the first half to 3/4 of the shells, and then gets easier, how difficult is it to go back.

Only one(?) person has ever travelled between the worlds, the wizard who sends the party to Raum.
Closer to the centre are more of the regions that suffered the most under the battles over Io, and hence, are places possessed by madness of all sorts, and nasty things.
Aaron wrote:
Me personally, i'd avoid the each world is noticably different, sure make the combats and the like harder, but none of the: this world is covered in water, this world is a desert, just make them locations of the world, broken into pieces.

Appart from personal preference, any reason for this opinion? As far as I'm concerned, it makes places considerably more memorable than regular "cut-through-this-region-that's-slightly-different-from-the-rest" thing. Also, it allows me to create more drastic interactions between different chunks of the world.
Also what is the size of each, does each world get smaller and smaller like babushka dolls? (actually called Matryoshka, but babushka is a common enough variation)[/quote]
No, each chunk is more or less equally sized.
And yes, I am aware that its called a Matryoshka doll, but comparitively few people are, so I went with the other name to avoid confusion. :D


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 7:34 pm 
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Anywho, quick update while I'm here:

After having figured out the general gist of the openning chapter (still don't know whether I'll be using a single Raumian wizard or some kind of organisation), I've moved onto building Raum, starting from the beginning in order to justify the current architecture, different weapons and so on.

Currently I'm looking at everything originating from a somewhat mayan style of architecture, with features changed and added on that would only be possible with the assistance of magic of some sort.
Also, I've compiled a list of possible (normal) indoors dungeon locations, if I've missed anything, do let me know.
  • Religion Based
    • Temples
    • Monastries
    • Tombs
    • Cathedrals
  • War Based
    • Castles
    • Forts
    • Outposts
    • Towers
    • Factories
  • City Based (Alot of stuff missing from this one)
    • Palaces
    • Libraries
    • Constabularies
    • Organisation buildings (mages guild, etc)
    • Prisons
    • Mansions
    • Shops
    • Courthouses
    • Sewers
    • Entire Cities
  • Nature
    • Caves
  • Misc.
      Colloseum
      Ships
      Mines


I have approximately 21 days until the campaign begins. Before then I need to complete the the 30-odd chunks of land, of which I have 23 or so already decided, with the remaining 5-odd reserved for more unique environments.


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