Previously on Building a Concept we set up location and setting as well as a general plot point map for our actors and adventurers to work through. It has been a while since our last installment of Building a Concept so lets use this installment as an overview of everything we’ve setup so far. Details abound!
Different stories and gaming sessions merit the use of different styles of adventure construction. Some gaming sessions will be more free-form (“sandbox style”) with the adventurers weaving their way through a storyline at their own pace and in their own style. Other sessions may be simple dungeon crawls through the forgotten tomb of a long-thought-dead necromancer. As the Game Master it is up to you to determine what session (or “module”) type best fits for your given situation. Some groups prefer campaigns or adventures while others want only to stick with the streamlined dungeon crawl. For this particular adventure module we are going the route of an Adventure Module as my particular gaming group holds the benefit of regular and easy scheduling, allowing us to easily pickup one adventure and work on it session after session.
So we set things up for an Adventure Module, this allows for the use of larger locations as our setting in order to imbue the players with a greater sense of freedom and control. For this particular module we will be making use of a small way station by the name of Maiden’s Point; an isolated location on the western edge of the Delaris Mountains, just northeast of the Smoking Crown. Maiden’s Point is set far up the mountain, perched at the cliff edge of small plateau. Maiden’s Point gets regular traffic in the form of merchant airships stopping to trade or refill on critical supplies. Maiden’s Point makes for a scenic setting to place our adventure, giving our heroes the freedom of choice to roam the entire compound while still being contained by the boundaries of the plateau itself. Maiden’s Point is the stage upon which this adventure will be set; be sure to describe the environment to the players as much as possible in an effort to fire their imaginations and best engage them.
The primary story that is driving us is that of our wayward outpost of Maiden’s Point going silent, no longer returning any communications requests of any kind. Attempts to open portals to the outpost repeatedly fail, further deepening the mystery surround it all. Our adventurers have been contracted by the Z.A.G. (Zethyrian Adventurers Guild), in cooperation with the dwarven government, to travel out to Maiden’s Point by airship and investigate what is going on. Communications (and portal access) must be restored at all costs and the dwarves suspect the A’Bondi Nation to the north as being behind it all.
The plot will revolve entirely around a mysterious artifact that has suddenly activated, plunging Maiden’s Point into chaos and disarray. A bubble like astral barrier has been thrown up around the entirety of Maiden’s Point, stopping any and all magic that attempts to cross it. This bubble must be crossed on foot by the adventurers, allowing them to walk into a seemingly calm situation. The artifact at the source of all of this manipulates time on a broad and seemingly erratic scale, pulling hazards and threats from the dark past of Maiden’s Point, bringing them into the searing light of present day and directly on the feet of our intrepid adventurers.
The lead source of assistance and historical information regarding Maiden’s Point to accompany our adventurers will be the aging Captain Artan Whiteblade, retired soldier for the Dwarven Empire and former hero of Maiden’s Point. His granddaughter Brey Whiteblade is the current administrator of Maiden’s Point, giving Artan a distinct personal investment in the silence that has fallen across the outpost. Artan will accompany our party of adventurers, acting not only as a mouthpiece for the history of the location but to act as an emotional soundboard for the severity of the adventure module as it progresses. Maiden’s Point will have an additional 15 staff members, 10 of which will be dwarves of various archetypes. This will round out the staffing for our outpost quite nicely, adding a more populated feel to it.
The primary goal of this adventure is to have a mysterious and powerful artifact plunge the outpost into isolation from the rest of the world of Zethyria. Once this isolation begins, hostile forces appear from long since resolved historical conflicts. The outpost is plunged into chaos as the players not only have to navigate a battlefield that is constantly changing due to appearing and disappearing foes, but additionally requiring them to navigate the actual history of the site itself so they can better anticipate what is to come. This means that we will need a timeline of critical / important events mapped so that we can pull threats and hazards from it, heaping them upon our beleagured adventurers. While the absolute details of this timeline map is not critical now, I recommend putting at least 6 points on it so as to give a variety of scenarios through which the players must navigate.
In Part 3 we began to address the prospect of rolling up the bad guys. We have a timeline that was mapped out it Part 2, automatically giving us a set of guidelines to create NPCs with. Each mapped out historical incident will have a specific theme to it based upon the races and nations that participated in it. These themes can be used as our guides to better staff our adventure.
In Part 5…
In Part 5 of Building a Concept we will write down some hard numbers for our actors as well as flesh out some of our other timeline points. Stay tuned for the next installment of Building a Concept!