Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

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Postby Kevin? » April 1st, 2013, 7:59 pm

So during Spring Break (Woooooooooooooo!) I came up with something like eight different crazy campaign ideas.

Here's one:

Grimm Nation

This is an Urban Arcana setting.

The first adventure takes place in modern day. The characters are kids in the city on a field trip. Suddenly, thick, dark clouds appear overhead. Seemingly from nowhere, an army of creatures from Grimm's Fairy Tales attack. They are unstoppable- the giants, witches, fairies, elves, and talking animals use magic to eliminate all resistance. But from the characters' perspectives, the only important thing is survival- throughout this crazy war that has suddenly sprung up, the kids just try to get to safety. When a kid is separated or captured or makes a poor decision, that player stops playing the kid, and makes a new one.

Once the surviving kids have reached a safe zone, we move forward 20 years.

The United States has been under the occupation of the Old Bloods for two decades now. Technology has not moved forward, but magic is now a daily occurrence, and has replaced many now obsolete devices (cell phones, internet, etc). The Old Bloods are not the characters from Grimm's Fairy Tales, but they are the modern descendants of those characters.

The City that the characters live in (now called Stalk City for the huge beanstalks that grow over buildings) is divided into a number of districts. The Old Bloods are the upper class- they get privilege, wealth, and basically carte blanche for how they wish to treat the humans. The humans are resigned to the worst parts of the city, and everyone works to support the Old Bloods. Who the Old Bloods are, where they came from, what they want is not known to the humans. They just try to survive each day under the shadows of their occupiers. There are still jobs that humans can do, but most have resorted to gangs and homelessness.

Here are the districts of Stalk City:

Cloud Central: A permanent layer of clouds now covers the business district and the nicer parts of the city. The Giants (noble conquerors rather than the brutes of the old days) live above the clouds in hedonistic luxury. They are the true rulers of the city, and see all the rest as support for their luxurious lifestyle. Vines cover the lower halves of skyscrapers, and inside, humans, under the management of Old Bloods, toil away at whatever the Giants need.

Subaronies: The royal descendants of cruel kings and barons, such as the murderous Bluebeard, have divided up the suburbs into territories they constantly fight over. The humans here are peons turning lawns into farmland, digging warfare trenches in the streets, and sent to fight bloody turf battles in the names of their rulers. They say there are secret underground Homeowner's Associations that are planning a resistance movement, but you can't believe all myths!

High & Low: The old tenements have been taken over by families of witches and fairies. If you need a potion, a curse, or some street-level magic, you come to the towers at the corners of High and Lowe Street. But be careful: the Godmothers control all distribution of magic in the city. If you cross them, you'll find yourself being visited by- or turned into- some nasty creatures.

Deep, Dark District: The talking animals have taken over a number of neighborhoods that have now grown into a sort of half-forest gangland. Lions, wolves, and bears (oh my) scuffle for control of the houses and stores that are breaking down now that no one with opposable thumbs lives to repair them. There is a lot of debate in the Deep, Dark District over whether to stand on two legs or four (fairy tale animals have something of a choice in the matter). You get stubborn donkeys and lions who refuse to stand like humans, but also packs of wolves standing in pinstripes, hitting up jazz clubs trying their best to become human.

This campaign, though, would focus on the impact this impossible event has on humans. The characters are the grown-up children of the first adventure, just trying to survive in a world where they have no rights, job security, and only a tenuous grasp on the magic that the Old Bloods easily use. Will they resort to slinging street-level magics for the Godmothers? Will they join a resistance movement against the Barons of Suburbia? Will they try and climb the Corporate Beanstalk? Any way about it, they're fighting against mythic odds.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby lincoln » April 2nd, 2013, 1:45 pm

Holy crap, me likey. Me likey a lot.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Greg » April 2nd, 2013, 9:00 pm

Definitely some inspiration from Fables in there looks like.

Damn, I need to get back in to reading Fables. I was hardcore in to that for a few months but then I burnt out.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 6th, 2013, 11:21 pm

I'm having fun coming up with "Urban Arcana" style campaign settings, so here's another one:

Life After the Bomb

An Urban Arcana setting.

Background: When the top-secret Manhattan Project was ready to test the first atomic bomb, they had a number of predictions of what would happen. There might be a big explosion. There might be no explosion at all. The bomb might set off a chain reaction that would destroy all matter in the universe. What they did not predict was what happened: the bomb broke reality. Somewhere in the process of fracturing an atom, the universe as we know it was fractured. Ley-lines of energy traced out in a vast web, and cut the world into different realities. Immediately parts of the U.S. were replaced by lands from other possible universes. In these universes, the impossible- magic, aliens, monsters, mutants- were ordinary. By crossing a ley-line, you might pass from a futuristic laser-powered society to a village of hyper-evolved dino-folk, then over another ley-line to a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The world was forever changed, and nothing- not culture, not the inevitable wars, not even the laws of physics- were ever the same.

The Campaign: Now, some 60 years later, the characters live in Fusion City, a specially-constructed city evenly divided by ley-lines into six different realities. Fusion City is supposed to be a model of peace and prosperity between various realities. But when has a city ever been peaceful?

The characters work for DiplomaCorp, a company that is hired out to deal with conflicts between realities, using any means necessary. The characters might be robots, aliens, psychics, or just an Earth-born human, but no matter what they're just trying to survive day by day in a world that no longer follows any rules.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 7th, 2013, 9:02 am

Okay, here's how I'd do a Star Wars campaign:

(Note: I know there's a whole extended universe that charts what happens after the movies. I have never read any of it.)

Cloud City Blues

(Play this song while reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ApfqeUWpTmk )

A Star Wars Campaign

Background: Emperor Palpatine has been killed, and now Jedi rule the galaxy again. But as any galactic citizen who has studied the historical records called The Wire know, Corruption is not a problem limited to individuals with power- it is systemic. It did not take long for the New Jedi Council to become just as corrupt and overbearing as the old Empire. But at least Storm Troopers didn't have the force! The new squads enforcing the Jedi Council's laws use their powers to detect any whiff of treason. Rebels are quickly identified and terminated. You would have to be crazy to even think of rebellion.

But Cloud City is a crazy place.

The Campaign: This campaign takes place on and around the planet Bespin, where Cloud City and other cloud-mining facilities, jazz clubs, and hives of scum and villainy float through the thick, concealing clouds. It is one of the last planets not entirely controlled by the New Jedi Council, though they are trying! Something about the planet disrupts force powers, and now many criminals, rebels, and business entrepreneurs have flocked to the planet to ply their trade without Big Jedi watching.

Your characters all start in dept to a Hutt named K'zarr. He owns a floating casino / jazz club / anything goes called the Bizarre Bazaar. At first, you assume that K'zarr, like all Hutts, is only after money, power, and a frightful reputation. But you sense through his missions that there is more to this Hutt. You sense conspiracy.

What is Bizarre K'Zarr's secret? What is he planning? Could he be more than a criminal mastermind?

Could he, in fact, be a rebel? And what will your characters do about it? You could easily turn him in to the Jedi. Or you could continue to hedge your bets and see how it all plays out.

This campaign would chart the Second Great Rebellion, against the corrupt New Jedi Council. Your characters might be rebels conspiring beneath the clouds of Bespin, or Jedi Informants sneaking into meetings between conspirators, or bounty hunters taking on any job from either side. It's up to you! After all, anything can- and will- happen in a Cloud City Casino.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 8th, 2013, 6:06 pm

Alright, one more Urban Arcana campaign:

The Waking Dream

A mix of Inception, The Matrix, Neil Gaiman's Sandman Series, and All the Magic-Is-Secretly-Being-Practiced-Behind-The-Scenes Stories

(Note: play this 10 HOUR VERSION OF THE INCEPTION THEME while reading this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a9utxj7N03k )

Background: (BWAAAAAA) Before there was the world, there was the Dreaming. It is the source of all magic, all wonder, all belief. But as soon as the physical world was born, life began eating up and replacing the Dreaming.

There has always been magic in the world. Humans used to use magic as a daily convenience, consulting gods and demons, casting fates, summoning rains. But magic requires belief, and as human society replaced faith with science and technology, magic was forgotten- quite literally. Because humans no longer believed in magic, the history of magic became unknowable, lost in the labyrinths of human memory. But in dreams, we still believe in the power of magic. And so in dreams, magic remains.

Few people in the world still know how to access the magic of the dreamworld. The aborigines in Australia are the last society to be fully aware of the Dreaming's power. There are still some who devote their entire lives to studying and harnessing magic, but they are rare. Those who harness this power can use some magic in waking life, but the power is limited because of the lack of belief by the general population of the world.

As kids, the characters each possessed the ability to use magic in their dreams. They were each summoned to a kind of Dream Academy to be trained by the few scholars who still possessed power. Night after night, the children learned how to manipulate dreams, and use their power in real life.

Then, one night, the kids stopped dreaming about the Academy. As years passed, most of the children, now adults, have either forgotten about the training, or simply believe they were childhood fantasies. The memories are fading.

The Characters: The characters (BWAAAAAA) are now all adults living in the same city. They have a variety of jobs, but over the years they have become friends. Even though they never knew each other as kids, and no longer remember their training or the Academy, they sense a connection between themselves. They mostly get together after work and drink or play D&D.

Then, something impossible happens. Something from a dream- a monster, a fantastic storm, a train (BWAAAAAAAAAA)- crashes into reality, and the characters have to deal with the mayhem. It is a threat that has appeared in each of their dreams, and it wakes up something of a shared memory of the Academy.

The strange thing is, after the conflict, nobody but the characters remember it. Though the physical consequences- broken buildings, injuries, etc- remain in reality.

That night, the characters all share a dream. They see each other, and interact in this dream, and again face a threat.

And soon, things start to fall apart in their lives. They are fired from their jobs, their significant others grow paranoid and want separations, pets run away, neighbors leave threatening letters on their doorsteps.

It's almost like someone is poisoning the subconscious of everyone in the characters' lives. Someone the characters should know, but cannot remember. Almost as if the memories (BWAAAAAAAAA) have been erased (BWAAAAAAAAAA).

And also the characters are developing magical powers.

The Campaign: This campaign would be about the characters trying to figure out who is ruining their lives. Somehow, the wall between the Dreaming and reality is weakening. Dangerous dreams are escaping into the world, and only the characters, due to their forgotten training as children, can deal with the threats. The characters develop magic powers pulled from the Dreaming, but need to keep the powers secret. After all, some dude hurling blue fireballs is going to draw even more negative attention.

Most of the campaign takes place in the waking world. Someone powerful is screwing with the characters' lives, messing with their memories and the thoughts of their closest friends and families. The characters need to find out who, and fast!

Some of the campaign will take place in the Dreaming. The characters develop the ability to access a sort of global network of dreams. They can step into, and mess with, the dreams of others. But someone else has been here before them, setting up traps, threats, and hunters.

What will the characters choose to do with this power? They could step into the Dreaming to reclaim jobs, lost loves, and vast fortunes. They could try and find the source of the leaks of the Dreaming into reality. They could try to figure out who is screwing up their waking lives. Or they could just retreat fully into the Dreaming and become dream wizards.

And at the end of the day, how do they know any of this is real? If no one else remembers fighting that giant flying manta ray through the subway tunnels, how do you know it wasn't just a... (BWAAAAAAAAAAA) dream?
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kowal » April 8th, 2013, 7:04 pm

Kevin, I want to steal your Star Wars idea. I've been trying to figure out how to mix Star Wars with film noir for like two years, and something about your setup jives with me.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 8th, 2013, 7:23 pm

Kowal wrote:Kevin, I want to steal your Star Wars idea. I've been trying to figure out how to mix Star Wars with film noir for like two years, and something about your setup jives with me.


All of my crazy ideas are always free to be stolen.

Honestly, I think Jedi should be removed from any good Star Wars campaign. As soon as you take out the "light side vs dark side," the whole Star Wars universe becomes a bunch of Han Solos and Boba Fetts running around just trying to survive. Which is awesome.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 9th, 2013, 8:42 pm

Alright, here's a real crazy one that I've had for a while:

All the Adults are Monsters

(Note: play this song while reading: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP07louhhBY )

Background: One day, all the adults became monsters. All at once, everyone over 18 transformed into huge, slavering monsters. Big scaly or hairy or winged beasts, with claws and fangs and quills and claws. Mindless, they began tearing apart everything in sight. All over the world, all the adults have become monsters.

Characters: The characters are kids in a gang. Now, a few years later, the only survivors are kids. They have formed gangs to survive. They try to find food and shelter while avoiding monsters. They fight for territory, steal from each other, and every once in a while do something like watch a rated-R film or go on a roller coaster that they're not yet tall enough for. After all, there are no adults!

The only bummer is that they live under the constant threat of eventually becoming a monster. On a kid's 18th birthday, he transforms, loses all sense of identity, and starts hunting down his former friends. Growing up sucks, dude!

The Campaign: The campaign follows a gang of kids just trying to survive in a crazy world where ALL THE ADULTS ARE MONSTERS. They need to eek out a territory by fighting off other gangs of kids. They need to avoid roving bands of monsters.

Also, some crazy intelligent monster from the city has started harvesting kids. This monster's trying to train all the other monsters to only eat at his brand of fast-food restaurants called KidBurger. He's been recruiting any monster with an iota of intelligence. He's turned old schools into jails, and for some reason he's got his eye on the characters' gang!

Can the kids avoid becoming part of the KidBurger franchise while also duking it out with other kids over every scrap of food? Can they find a cure for growing up before they turn into monsters?

Find out on.... ALL THE ADULTS ARE MONSTERS!
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 16th, 2013, 10:38 pm

Alright you crazy cats and kittens, this is how I would do post-apocalyptic:

Legion

Background: In the mid-21st century, human civilization ended. A series of catastrophes so scarred the world that humanity may never recover.

By this time, civilization was already suffering from devastating overpopulation, class warfare, financial crashes, and extreme weather problems. Then the Legion Plague hit. The Legion Plague targeted dense populations, and killed with ebola-like symptoms within hours. Populations within cities crashed as millions died overnight. And as citizens fled, they spread the Legion Plague into towns, villages, and communities around the world.

Terrorist cells, fundamentalist zealots, and homicidal anarchists took this opportunity to kill even more. In midwest America, nuclear power stations were hijacked and forced into meltdowns, turning the United States farmbelt into a desert. Dirty bombs irradiated most of the west coast, and the President was seized by a faceless mobbed and decapitated on the last live television broadcast in human history.

Even worse, the Legion Plague mutated, spreading to animal populations. Herds of cattle, fowl, sheep, and pigs dropped dead. Plants not poisoned by radiation soon became host to this ever-spreading disease. Whoever survived the plague now fought over scraps of edible food.

Within weeks, civilization had ended. The population had dropped from 15 billion to barely one million. Any gathering risked exposure to the Legion Plague. There could be no more towns, no more governments.

Humanity should have been doomed.

But, as a great mathematician once said, "Life, uh, finds a way."

The scraps of human civilization have survived for three centuries.

The Campaign: I am going to admit it right now: this campaign is heavily influenced by Fallout. As it should be. Now I have only played Fallout 1 and 2, so if it seems like I am stealing from Fallout 3, that is just a coincidence. And probably true.

This campaign takes place in what was once called the United States of America. The Legion Plague is still active, though it has mutated. The killer strain of it has died out, and instead those afflicted are either crippled, mutated, or turned into brain-dead cannibals. You know, the usual stuff.

Here are the regions of this brave new world:

The characters start in The Whisper:

The Whisper: A vast badlands stretching over much of the continent. Where once farms produced crops to feed the world (mostly corn, to be honest), there are now only rocks and desert and dangerous canyons. Still, people come to the Whisper to avoid larger populations near the coasts. It is not easy to survive in the Whisper, where food and water are rare, and bandits thrive. Even the Legion Plague, apparently, cannot survive the expansive wastelands. Cases of Plague are rare in the Whisper, which is why so many roving bands of traders, nomads, and raiders call it their home.

North - Nightless Country: The lands to the north of the Whisper are still heavily radiated- so much so that the ground glows at night. Still, there are populations who live here. Bands of hideous mutants battle for territory over the strange crops that sprout from the irradiated ground.

Northeast - Cities of the Dead: One of the first mutations of the Legion Plague ate away at the host's brain while strengthening their bodies, leaving them in a cannibalistic, zombie-like state. Vast swarms of the brain-dead roam through the empty cities of the Northeast, though they say the ancient buildings are full of old treasures.

Southeast - The Green Fang: The everglades have taken over much of the southeast, spreading Legion-mutated plants and animals into a thick, green jungle. The four-headed gators hiding in the murky waters are almost as dangerous as the backwoods telepaths who haunt the ancient greens.

South - Plague Cities: Jazz and disease fill the air of the cities of the south. The citizens here have decided to put up with constantly mutating viruses in order to live together. The constant shadow of death has created a sort of devil-may-care attitude in the citizens of the cities. Small squabbles constantly break out into gunfights. The most common occupation is criminal. The cities of the south are havens for business, crime, love, and Plague.

West Coast - Failed Paradise: Two hundred years after the fall of civilization, a coalition of brave scientists, philosophers, architects, and engineers banded together to try and re-create the three cities of the coast: Lost Angels, Golden Gate, and Sea-Atoll. It is unknown if the dreamers of these cities were driven mad by an outbreak of the Legion Plague, or had been mad from the start, but these would-be paradises turned into war forts battling over territory. It was not long until the Plague took everyone involved... or so they say. There are rumors, though, that the original dreamers remain, immortal and amassing new armies.

Southwest - Oil Fields: I'm just going to say it: Mad Max.

The Moon - Island of the Old Ones: And worst of all, every night the survivors on Earth are reminded that there are those who thrive. The cities on the moon glow brightly. The humans who established their lunar civilization before the Plague live in a low-gravity paradise. Now if only we could build a rocket, we'd show those lunars what survival is really all about!

Characters: The characters would be survivors in this harsh new world. However, the characters have something special. Everyone else just wants to survive. The characters all have a dream for something more. Is it a new civilization? A cure for the plague? Finding a treasure-trove of old technology? True love? The characters are united because they don't just want to survive- in fact, they have something they're willing to die for!

Here are my ideas for the playable "races:"

- Norms: Humans. Despite radiation, plague, and high-fructose corn syrup (mother's milk of the post-apocalypse), there are still normal, everyday humans.

- Irradiants: Hideously transformed by radiation. Super hard to kill, like a cockroach. Also ugly, like a cockroach.

- Viriants: Hideously transformed by the Plague. May have special powers. Also ugly.

- Tickers: Humans with telekinetic powers. Runs in the family.

- isaia's- Intelligent Synthetic Automatons for Interdisciplinary Analysis. Humanoid robots constructed before the Legion Plague that continue to specialize, collect information, and add their knowledge to the Holy Mainframe. Many isaia's have malfunctioned, severing their connection to the Holy Mainframe, but as a side effect creating personalities. An isaia character would be a malfunctioning one.

Factions:

I had some ideas for the kinds of factions that squabble over territories and resources.

Red Cross: The Red Cross pretends to be Plague specialists who locate sites in risk of contagion and eliminate all living beings therein. In reality, the Red Cross is a band of mercenaries-for-hire, willing to identify anyone as Plague-bearing for the right price. They use flamethrowers.

White Flags: These roving, white-robed figures try to help those who are suffering. They will give water to the thirsty, food to the hungry, and medicine to the ill. They also believe that some folks are just screwed, and often lead group suicides (though, strangely, they never participate).

Book Soldiers: Roaming law-enforcers. They carry battered copies of the ancient Bill of Rights, trying their best to solve conflicts the way the Founding Fathers would. Think Dogs in the Vineyard crossed with BioShock Infinite.

Raiders: There are lots of bands of raiders.

Bandits: There are also bandits.

Old Coats: Once, the Old Coats and the White Flags were part of the same mercy organization called the White Coats. They were traveling doctors, surgeons, and chemists who helped those in need. When the White Coats started getting a little too into suicide pacts, a group calling themselves the Old Coats broke off. The Old Coats are basically rebel doctors mixed with vagabonds. They leave stashes of medical supplies along roads, and they say those who learn to read the Doctor's Code written on old fence posts can learn secrets of the trade.

And so on!



Anyways, I think this would be a fun campaign setting because it has a little bit of everything post-apocalyptic! Zombies, telepaths, mutants, radiation, society reflected through a dark mirror, hobos, robots, etc.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » May 2nd, 2013, 6:06 pm

The Arcane Underground

Here's a quick and crazy one. This is a Modern Arcana setting. Kind of the opposite of Waking Dream.

Characters: The characters are all agents of the Arcane Underground. They do not know who runs the Arcane Underground. They do not know any other members of the Arcane Underground. They do not remember their training. All they know is that they have lead more or less ordinary lives, until magic came into it. At some point, they must have been trained, and then had those memories magically erased from their brains. So now they are police officers, neurosurgeons, bus drivers, grant writers who use magic and are called to perform their duty. They also have awesome badges.

The Campaign: Each adventure takes place when the characters are called on a mission. Somewhere in the world, a magical threat is rising, and the characters must put it down. Cultists summoning the Deep Ones, wizard terrorists, Yetis on snowmobiles, psychics ruining the stock market. They must be stopped, and all evidence of magic must be destroyed.

Kind of like Men in Black, but with a twist:

The characters aren't sure they're doing the right thing. They are alerted to their mission by mysterious forces, and compelled to complete them (they become sick and start dying if they refuse). But they don't seem to be acting as the good guys.

The campaign would involve the characters trying to complete mysterious missions while also trying to unlock the secret of the Arcane Underground organization. How did they get recruited? Who sends them on missions? Why does magic need to be secret? Can they take down a syndicate that they are part of? How awesome are these badges?

This would be kind of a jet-setting, Cowboy Bebop-paced action adventure campaign with an undertone of absolute paranoia and terror. The world seems to be one magical disaster away from total annihilation, and yet you are the ones being sent to fix it. You've got money magically pouring into your bank accounts, arcane energies giving you ulcers, and the invisible hands of the Arcane Underground pulling your leash. What could go wrong?
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Tappanater » July 16th, 2013, 6:25 pm

WoW just wow...all your ideas are amazing and i would love two see them all being played, keep this up i enjoyed reading all of your ideas and look forward two the next one :D
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Greg » July 16th, 2013, 7:12 pm

Kevin loooooves world building.

Cailin and I went to him to discuss ideas and tips on world creation process to design the world we're using in Season 2!
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Tappanater » July 17th, 2013, 7:54 pm

Wow thats amazing. How much did he have his hand in this world set up?
i would love to know what it was before Kevin got his world making hands on it.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » July 18th, 2013, 10:09 am

Tappanater wrote: i would love to know what it was before Kevin got his world making hands on it.


Image
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Eric Holland » July 23rd, 2013, 12:57 pm

So hilarious. Kevin, with the Midas touch of setting creation, applies his talents to fictional lead.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » August 4th, 2013, 10:30 pm

Tappanater wrote:Wow thats amazing. How much did he have his hand in this world set up?
i would love to know what it was before Kevin got his world making hands on it.


Okay, in reality, Greg and Cailin e-mailed me with the basic concept of two worlds that have crossed over. They wanted help coming up with fantasy races, culture, and flavor. I wrote probably a ten-page reply with all sorts of crazy ideas. It seems that they took some of the ideas for races, and combined them into the Hegians and Nohaine. One of my biggest ideas that came through into the final campaign setting was having the races based on a conflict. I used "sun vs moon" as my conflict, and I believe Cailin and Greg settled on "technology vs magic," which perfectly fits the central concept of their campaign!
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » August 4th, 2013, 10:31 pm

Effigy
A Fantastic Fantasy Campaign

Campaign Background:

In this fantasy world, there are three realms. There is the realm of knowledge, which is just pure ideas. There is no physical mass in the realm of knowledge. If you were somehow to access the world of knowledge, you would be so overwhelmed by the purity of the thoughtless thoughts that your brain would melt. Any idea, discovery, or realization that has ever been made or will ever be made already exists in the realm of knowledge. In fact, the very act of discovering something is an act of accessing and pulling energy from the world of knowledge.

There is also the realm of elements. The realm of elements is pure matter: solids, liquids, vapors. There is no life in the realm of elements. All is in transition into another state, rocks breaking down into sand into powder, water vaporizing and then freezing and melting again, magma bubbling and flowing or freezing into new stone.

Then, finally, there is the Realm of Life. The Realm of Life is a crossover between the Realm of Knowledge and the Realm of Elements. In the Realm of Life, the elements take their form from knowledge.

Knowledge in the Realm of Life is a physical thing. It is manifested in an object or a series of objects. When someone discovers something, they form an object to physically house that knowledge. For example, a finely-crafted sword holds the knowledge of folding metal to craft a keen-edged blade. The sword literally is the knowledge; if the sword were lost or destroyed, those who had learned how to fold metal would no longer know how to fold metal. These objects are a binding between the Realm of Knowledge and the Realm of Elements. They are called Effigies.

Originally, there was only one race of people who could create Effigies. They created a vast library full of Effigies, and they ruled over all the land with their knowledge of medicine, technology, science, martial strategies, and magic.

Then, in a great and terrible war, the Library of All Things was broken open, its contents stolen or destroyed, and the Effigies were spread over the land. Since then, other creatures, formerly of animal intelligence, have gained access to the Effigies and their power.

Setting:

The world is divided into a number of territories, each ruled by a people with vastly different kinds of knowledge, depending on the Effigies they own. Effigies are, again, not just magic items: they are knowledge incarnate. If you have access to an Effigy, you have that knowledge as if you spent your life mastering it.

A person gains access to an Effigy through their bonds to a family, a kingdom, a school, etc. Basically, the knowledge that a person is part of the organization that owns the Effigy gives that person the access to the Effigy. Magical realms, remember.

Some Effigies are owned by the government that rules each territory. These tend to be Effigies of general knowledge: blacksmithing, or pyromancy, or spear throwing, for example. Effigies for specific crafts, techniques, or categories of knowledge are usually owned by schools, guilds, or families. The Locksmithing Guild, for example, holds the Effigy of how to craft locks. To gain that knowledge, you either have to be part of the guild, or try to (illegally and very difficulty) build your own Locksmithing Effigy. Note that the more Effigies of the same knowledge there are, the weaker the knowledge is; it is, in other words, diluted between the multiple Effigies.

Families build their own Effigies all the time. When a person is born, their family makes an Effigy (usually a clay sculpture) that now represents all the knowledge of that person. As long as the statue is not broken, lost, or stolen, the family will always have knowledge of that person.

Language, by the way, always has an Effigy.

However, there is no Effigy for writing, because this world is entirely illiterate. Knowledge is learned and spread by access to Effigies, never by reading or writing.

Here's what I see as a possibility for the different races of the world:

Himnel - The first race to create and access Effigies. They used to be a vast kingdom, but were fractured by war between factions. Their powerful store of Effigies was spread out, and the access to those Effigies created all the other races. Himnel are aloof, usually hidden inside the walls of their crumbling cities. They have lost the knowledge of how to use most of the science, technologies, and magic that they discovered. Himnel armies raid other territories, trying to reclaim the Effigies they lost in ancient times. Himnel are mostly human looking, though they are tall and gaunt with pale skin and hair.
Himnel Effigies: The Himnel possess Effigies that represent scientific practices, such as alchemy and medicine. They have much knowledge of how the world works, but not much on how to use that knowledge.

Syrit - Syrits are tall, feathered people with beaks that cover their whole faces, like masks. They were the first race, after the Himnel, to gain access to Effigies. Syrits are explorers. Rather than having a single city-state capital, they build bases in unclaimed areas of many other territories. They commonly travel from one base to another, collecting information along the way to craft into Effigies. Himnel see the Syrits as eternal thieves, and in fact Syrits are not beyond observing other races to try and recreate their Effigies. However, the Syrits do not see this as stealing... instead, it is another form of learning.
Syrit Effigies: Syrits possess Effigies that represent travel paths and technologies. They build ships, carts, and know all the shortcuts and safe pathways between bases.

Corrial - Corrials were the second people to gain access to Effigies. They are a reptillian people, with short snouts and large cowls that display colors depending on emotions. Corrials are exceptional artists. Their cities are full of incredible architecture, sculptures, and mosaic murals. Corrials have a very structured hierarchical society, with the finest and most educated artists ruling over others. Because the Corrials lack knowledge of many basic labors, they use many slaves from other cultures.
Corrial Effigies: Corrials possess Effigies that represent artistic knowledge and historical information. They use this to put on amazing plays.

Dohmin - Dohmin are muscular, broad-shouldered, bear-like people who are one of the most recent races to gain access to Effigies. They were a knowledge-less race until they accidentally uncovered a hidden cache of Effigies of warfare. They now have the knowledge of weaponsmithing, gunpowder, and war strategies. The Dohmin have slowly been conquering outposts of other territories, building up their bases of knowledge. Some Dohmin war-purists destroy any Effigy not related to warfare. However, there are other secret Dohmin academies in which its people are learning other ways to live.
Dohmin Effigies: Dohmin possess Effigies that represent all manner of warfare, including gunsmithing, folding metal into blades, battle strategies, and even basic artillery.

Characters and Adventures:

The characters would all start in an experiment by the four territories: a united territory that is shared between all the races. This was started by the School of Peace, an academy that collects Effigies of philosophies, meditations, negotiation techniques and magic that promotes pacifism. The core of this campaign would be about Effigies. The adventures would include recovering lost Effigies, stealing Effigies, and protecting Effigies from enemies.

One big twist in this campaign would be the discover of books. It turns out that an ancient branch of the Himnel discovered written language. Books are exceptionally powerful; they are essentially Effigies that require no bonds to access, just the ability to read. Some territories wish to gather books; others seek to destroy them. Which side will the characters take?
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Eric Holland » August 9th, 2013, 10:36 am

Latest campaign idea is an awesome backdrop Kevin. Silmarillion level stuff here.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Sam » August 9th, 2013, 3:59 pm

Yeah you should be writing books or making games or something. There are too many cool ideas in your head to not be sharing them.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » April 19th, 2014, 6:46 pm

Long drive today, so I came up with a new one.

Uplift, Downfall
Fantasy / Sci Fi

I am a lover of blues and jazz music, and I've always wanted a campaign world that justified the use of blues and jazz as not just background music, but actual music in the campaign world. So I started thinking about what such a campaign world would look like during a long drive today, and here's what I came up with.

A lot of blues and jazz was generated during a time of great class divide. The music was created by people who had less social status, but was recorded by and listened to by people of higher social status. A lot of black musicians were able to access "social uplift" in America through their blues and jazz. Race-exclusive clubs would hire black musicians to play, though (ironically and terribly), they would never allow a black guest.

Any campaign world that has blues and jazz in it has to have this social divide. Now the fun thing about fantasy and science fiction is that social problems can be represented visually and physically. I started imagining a world literally divided by class and race.

Setting: Imagine a world of terrible storms, abandoned cities, constant rain battering down on crops, on the tin roofs of slums, on the poor, drenched people who live beneath the storms. This is the land of Basin. Rising from the plateaus are massive columns of stone, carved with monolithic effigies. The columns rise high, high above churning clouds. At the top are the Skylines, cities harness magic from solar power. The byproducts of this solar-to-magic process are stormclouds that surge over Basin. The Skylines have electricity, plumbing, and a society that appreciates the finer things. Those who live in Basin below serve the residents of the Skylines.

The People: There are two classes of people, the Skylords and the Base Folk.

The master Skylords are the Phosphors. Phosphors are humanoids with translucent, brightly-colored skin that resonates with light. They dress in beautifully crafted silks and jewelry. They are immortal. The Phosphors built the Skylines and rule over the Basin. Phosphors love art, music, theater, political intrigue, rumors, and petty wars. The Phosphors do not originally come from the Basin. Long, long ago, their ancestors came from another realm (either another dimension or another planet), and settled in the uninhabited Basin. They used long-forgotten technology to craft all the other races from local animals. Phosphors never set foot on Basin. They stay always within the Skylines, or on flying pleasure barges that skim the clouds. No player will play as a Phosphor.

The only other race of Skylords are the Shrikes, blue skinned, feathered people with no empathy. They are the Phosphors' enforcers, flying on giant hawks around Basin. The Phosphors are the judges, setting the laws, but the Shrikes are the juries and executioners. They were the first race made by the Phosphors. No player will play as a Shrike.

All other people are Base Folk.

Base folk may be based on any kind of animal; they look like the classic half-human, half-animal, to varying degrees decided by the players. So you might have a snake Base Folk with scales and fangs, and a mole Base Folk with claws and whiskers.

Adventures: The campaign is centered at a city gathered around the base of a Skyline. This is where adventurers gather to earn money performing favors for Shrikes and Phosphors. This is also where entertainers gather to try to get gigs up inside the Skyline.

The characters are all adventurers/musicians. The popular music of the day, originating with the Base Folk, but now popular with the Skylords, are blues and jazz. A good musician might be given a job to play for a ball or a dinner or a club up in the Skyline. A great musician might get a regular job in the Skyline, and get to live there full time. This is the dream of everyone in the Base City.

Because this city is at the base of the Skyline column, it receives some electricity. So you have flickering neon signs, static radios, and electric speakers pumping out blues and jazz! It's smoky and dark beneath the constant stormclouds.

The typical adventure will include the characters being hired out to clear some crystal mine, or defeat a band of raiders, or explore an abandoned Phosphor city for goods, just to make rent. Then all night they will play music to try and get the attention of agents for the Phosphors. There would be a lot of social conflict, climbing of the social ladder, and good music.


Anyways, that's just the seed of the idea, but I thought it was a fun one!
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Sam » May 13th, 2014, 4:53 pm

I am always amazed at the stuff you come up with.
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Re: Kevin's Crazy Campaign Ideas

Postby Kevin? » June 1st, 2014, 12:36 pm

Here's a quick little idea:

Spooky Action at a Distance

Campaign Background: The idea is that there are multiple, parallel universes that are tied together narratively... the same stories play out on different worlds, though the rules of the universe may be vastly different. This looks kind of like the classic multiple universes of many fictions: the normal modern universe, a fantasy universe, an aliens-and-space universe, etc. So World War II (or something similar- the Genocide War, the War of All Kingdoms...) has played out in every single universe, but in the Fantasy Universe it was a lich trying to wipe out all "dirty" non-undead life, in the Robot Universe it was a New Operating System, in the Mermaid Universe it was... Hitler Mermaid, or whatever.

Characters: We would start in "our" universe, with normal, human characters. The characters all witness a strange event, a crossing-over of parallel universes. In this moment, they are all touched by a strange energy, and greatly injured by it.

In the secret government hospital where they recover, they are recruited into a government organization that spans the multiverses. The injuries they received effect all of their identities, across the multiverse. They will need regular medical upkeep that only this organization can supply. On the other hand, the injury allows them to shift between multiverses. So while they will die if they leave the organization, they can now live in any multiverse, accessing the knowledge and memories of their multiverse-counterparts.

The Campaign: At first, each block of the campaign would take place in a different universe. For example, the first arc might have the characters traveling to the Fantasy Universe. When the characters "travel," they actually become their fantasy counterparts. Their knowledge and memories are merged with the Fantasy Characters', and they are now living as the fantasy characters.

I think it would be great fun for each player to choose the fantasy race their character becomes. Does the big brute become a Minotaur? Or a gnome? Who knows magic? Who is royalty?

All of their relatives, friends, enemies, etc, also live in this Fantasy Universe. Again, the universes are connected narratively, so anything that happens in the Fantasy Universe plays out in the other universes. If they kill a dude, that dude dies in all multiverses. And maybe they'll even be blamed for it! Imagine killing a big dragon, and then coming back to Our Universe to find yourself on "America's Most Wanted" for killing a politician!

After the Fantasy Universe Arc, they would return to Our Universe, then complete other story arcs in other universes: Post-Apocalyptic Universe, Cowboy Universe, Everyone's An Animal Universe, Robot Universe... I don't know, it can get pretty silly but I think that's the fun of it!

After a while, travel in the Universes would become easier, and the characters could start slipping from Universe to Universe in the middle of adventures. Imagine trying to break into an evil corporation's high-tech headquarters... so you slip into the Fantasy Universe and cast an invisibility spell... and then switch into the Robot Universe where you de-activate and reprogram the guards to be your allies... and then switch into the Mermaid Universe where you simply swim to the top of the tower... and then go back to Our Universe and you are in the secret laboratory!

The Universes: Here are some universes that could be switched into:

Our Universe - Boring old Modern Earth in the Information Age. Races include "Millenial," "Generation X'er," "Baby Boomer," "The Greatest Generation"
Fantasy Universe - D&D World. The races include Elves, Minotaurs, Gnomes, etc. Magic, Nobility, Dragons, all that fun stuff.
Post-Apocalyptic Universe - Highly-radiated, mutations, zombies, Mad Max, etc. Races include: Mutant, Leatherhead, Android, Survivor.
Alien Encounter Universe - Aliens interfered early in human civilization, are part of daily life. Races include: Martian, Venusian, Human, Jovian, etc.
Victorian Universe - The Victorian Era never ended! Everyone is all dressed up fancy, speak in accents, maybe steampunk technology? Races include: Distinguished Gentleman, Distinguished Lady, Butler, etc.
Superhero Universe - Everyone has superpowers! Races include: Alien, Robot, Mutant, Scientist, Sidekick, etc.

Anyways, you get the idea!
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