RoC campaign thoughts

From: Smith Harald C (smith.hc@mellon.com)
Date: Mon 02 Feb 1998 - 18:38:00 EET


Richard asks about his campaign ideas.

>1. Nomad Adventurers
Now as I said before I'm looking at the idea of a motley crew of nomad
PCs (plenty of player choice) adventuring in RofC/SC.

>From a nomad point-of-view, the first question to ask is: "Why am I working
with my enemy and not with my clan?"

Possibilities:
1) You have a common foe. But even with this one, the nomads are more
likely
to divide the work based on tribes and not be cross-cultural.
2) You all have abandoned your clans. Here, you are basically forging new
ties.
This was the premise with the Borderlands campaign--Duke Raus, an exiled
noble
is given land between Weis Cut and Bilos Gap and he hires mercenaries to
become
his warriors. Though Duke Raus theoretically arrives in 1615, by 1616-17,
he
may need either new warriors because the first ones died or left or he may
have
a special mission which requires new warriors. Alternately, Duke Raus
failed in
some important task (he didn't deliver the eyepatch of the duke bandit to
Sor-eel
or his war with the newtlings of Five Eyes temple was a disaster) and in
consequence, Sor-eel gave the east side of the river in this domain to
some other flunkey who is now hiring.

Another idea would be that your nomad PCs are all from the same tribe, but
from differing clans--perhaps clans so decimated in intertribal warfare that
the
remnants have had to band together. This is particularly good for bison or
impala riders in this region. You can still get good player choice this
way--
differing clans may have differing customs or favored spirits. Perhaps
these
remnants are converging around a charismatic leader or shaman--one who has
found
a new spirit in this region. Part of your longer term goal can then be to
forge
the clan bonds and reestablish yourselves in the larger tribe. But in the
meantime, you are still trying to just eke out a survival along the river
and
the gaps along it. You can deal with raiding enemies (impala or bison
riders
from the east, sable riders from the west, morocanth from the south), make
deals with duck bandits or Duke Raus (with the latter you could offer
scouting
or protection services in return for having some grazing ground on the east
side
of the river), and continue hunting for whatever your shaman dictates.

> I'm conerned with the concept of basic character support in the area -
i.e.
where are they going to get trained and get hold of new spirit/rune magic
spells.
To this end, I'm trying to figure out what nomad clans they might come
from, so that they can get back to their clans periodically for shaman
support, etc.

If you take the idea of clan remnants trying to reform, then you can have a
shaman (maybe he is charismatic, but young and somewhat untested) with a
great
vision for the future and who is still contacting spirits to gain
spirit/rune
magic for your new group. This is an advantage of a single group (bison,
impala,
or whoever). You can still have occasional forays to meet up with other
nearby
clans from your tribe to gain other magics (especially if you've gained
magic
items or other booty to trade), though they might look askance at your
general
poverty.

>a) I'm going to need the PCs to be on good terms with their clans,
otherwise this just isn't going to be possible.

Best done if they are all from one tribe, though they may be splintered from
real clans. As said before, if you want PCs from multiple tribes, then a
Duke Raus option may work best and the Duke is the one who provides magical
rewards. Or the group could be down-and-outs hired by Sor-eel, Gimgim the
Grim,
or some other Lunar to keep an eye on Duke Raus. Again in this case, the
PCs
will have pretty well severed ties with their clan.

>If someone wants some
particular spirit/rune spell, they're going to have to rendezvous with
their clan, or a friend's clan, possibly at some specific spot. I like
the idea of this - it'll make the PCs realise that magic isn't an easy
thing to get hold of (which seems in keeping with the spirit (oops -
pun) given in RQ3).

A would-be clan shaman could have some access to spirit magic and some of it

may be easy to get. But such a shaman may not yet have the larger spirit
connections or may still be learning the spirit paths to obtain other
magic. If the PCs want a magic to sharpen their spears, they may find
that when the shaman tries to get it, that he is blocked on his spirit path
by some foe/demon or that the spirit he meets requires some special
sacrifice,
etc. All good plot devices to suggest that gaining magic isn't easy for
either the PCs or the shaman.

>e) As a follow on from (d) I need to figure out an inter-clan reaction
guide (like the inter-cult one in Companion).

Within the tribes, interclan reactions would generally be neutral with
a scattering of positive and negative reactions (the Sky Llama clan hates
the Black Llama clan, but is friendly with the Two Spear Llama clan).
Between tribes, the bison and impala between 1610 and 1625 have an uneasy
anti-Sable feeling, but it may not be enough to make clans work together.
But the other tribes will generally keep to themselves.

> The way I'm thinking is that a number of khans faced with a common
problem, which they *know* is a common problem, refuse to do anything
about it themselves (why should *they* take all the risks). Eventually,
things get so bad that some compromise is reached and they all agree to
contribute someone (or two) into a campaign. Of course, they'll send
someone they probably don't mind losing, and hence we have a motley crew
of adventurers. The clan should still honour them as members though
their friendship with each other will make them less wellcome within the
clan than before.

If a khan sees a major problem like a chaos outpouring, they will try
to accomplish things within their clan/tribe first, before turning to
other tribes. It is only with really significant events (Lunar invasion,
Pavis' quest, etc) that tribes would come together and then on a largely
military basis. Not that you couldn't come up with something, but I think
the rival tribes would always be trying to get the best of the others.
I also think the diffusion of nomads across Prax and the Wastes will limit
this interaction.

>"Raising An Ancient Cradle" (the most expensive campaign ever written)

Sounds like a good find, whether for Duke Raus (maybe to regain face or
power with Sor-eel) or with a reforming clan (who want to show the tribe
why they should be a real clan) or for someone working for Sor-eel or the
like.

>Before I move on, though, I'm still desperately after any indications
about how things will change in the RofC/SC area *after* the cradle
wafts by.

Depends on your particular results. If the Cradle escapes the Lunars,
expect major shakeups: Sor-eel returns in disgrace to the Empire (and a
new governor arrives), the Lunar garrisons are embarrassed and take out
their frustrations on the natives, more anti-Lunar activity comes to the
forefront, word of a liberator (ie. Argrath) spreads amongst the Orlanthi,
etc. If the Cradle falls to the Lunars, expect: Sor-eel returns in triumph
to the Empire (and a new governor arrives), the Lunar garrisons are
jubilant,
anti-Lunar activity takes on a desparate character. Either way, there may
be talk of great things to come or that a new age is about to begin, etc--
prophecies are told of dragons rising.

> Opinion as to whether an ancient stuck cradle was sensible or not
varied. I actually can't find anything about the SunStop - could
somebody point me in the right direction?

I think there are two possibilities, especially if you find the remains
in one of the Bogs. Think of the Danish bogs, where wood and people are
preserved for centuries. This Cradle obviously failed to make it to the
sea. Why? The Jrusteli could have stopped it and sacked it and broken
it apart. The remains (wooden beams, scattered or broken objects, slain
defenders) all fell into the river and were carried by currents into the Bog
or simply settled there. Or at the Sunstop a Cradle was coming down the
River and the magics failed at this point. Maybe the Cradle sank completely
because of this lack of magic and has fallen apart in the interim--remnants
are now scattered through the bogs (this would of course include the
preserved remains of a giant baby). The latter would suggest that a number
of potentially magical items could be found, but that these are inactive
and would need something (a Gold Wheel Dancer or a special spirit perhaps)
to activate.

>For the hook they key thing is that it gets the nomads to act together
in the way I've described above.

The only thing I could think of along this line would be that Duke Raus/
Lunars find the Cradle remains in the Bog and begin to raise pieces of
this. The local nomad clans might gang up to raid the Lunar work effort,
but this would probably only be bison and impala folk and would be limited
to raids.

>the 5 eyestemple (which alas I haven't got). Could you tell me enough about
this so that I could make my own up?

There are five holes in the cliff face which look like eyes. Around 1615,
newtlings entered these caves and founded a shrine to the River Horse. They
were foes of Duke Raus and frequently ambushed the Duke's newtling allies.
In 1615-6, the Duke theoretically began an effort to eliminate these foes.
The result was campaign dependent. The Duke could have cleared the caves
or maybe he was forced to make a truce with the newtlings. The newtlings
had an ally in a dream dragon that inhabited one of the caves. This dragon
could occasionally be seen flying around the Condor Crags.

Hope this helps.
Harald

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