So last time, the world ended…

This past Sunday, my stint of being ‘just a player’ ended as Kyrei’s introductory story came to its dramatic conclusion with our characters stumbling across an incredibly compelling quest story, just as the world ended.

I guess we had to expect that given that we were exploring the rich setting for Greymalkin Designs’ fascinating post-apocalyptic fantasy RPG, Desolation.

Infinity +1

For our next meeting, I will pick up the duties of GMing once again, and starting initially with a new cast of characters we will move into the Thaw following the Long Winter. The tale will begin in a set of dungeon cells beneath a stone holding in the mountains near the traditional borders between Jherlind, Verelanar, and Nascency. Players have been prepared with the idea that sometime during their desperate wanderings, scavenging for warmth and food during the Long Winter, a patrol they initially took to be a sign of salvation has proven to be one of despair. Rather than saving them from the depths of Winter and restoring them to the light and life of companionship, they have instead been interred in the earth, fed on scraps, and advised to pray.

For the Greater Good

The community holding them, it turns out, firmly believes that sacrifices made to its pantheon of deities brought about the end of the winter and the return of spring. In deference to that belief, each month on the dark of the remaining moon, they burn a number of captives alive to ensure that winter does not return.

Meat vs Magic

Although all of us enjoy playing magically-capable characters, I have had a premonition of sorts that the challenges of magic in the After will lead to more frustration than we have time for in the limited session durations we have. Rather than have the focus in the game be on trying so hard to get things done with magic, I would rather have us slide more toward the sword end of the sword and sorcery scale. Player reaction has been understanding, and so far the character concepts lean toward serious fighter-types with a penchant for roughing up mages when they find them. That strikes me as a good way to start. As an additional consideration, it is good to break from type every once in a while to discover new things, and to rediscover why we like our staple choices.

Wherever you go…

The location choice for the campaign was likewise selected for its evocative setting material and close proximity to pretty much anything the players – and by extension their characters – may want to do. With luck, we can begin a long quest, but even waging war against their captors, and/or setting up a settlement of their own will be extremely interesting.

Obviously, gaining freedom will be the first step in this campaign and so I have the great pleasure of setting the scene for my players to stage their own prison break for our introductory session. I am very much looking forward to seeing what they come up with to bring that about.

The campaign itself is entitled ‘In the Steps of the Fathers’ and is built around the basic theme of ‘the burden of choice.’ In this new world whose slate has been essentially wiped clean by the wrath of some otherwise silent force, each day will bring about decisions which will either be to follow along with the accepted wisdom of the past, or to forge ahead into something new. The specific theme for the first story will be ‘fear and loathing.’  Despite the heavy-sounding themes, the sessions will be fast-paced and the players will make it both entertaining and humorously adventurous.

There you are

Character design, for once, will be simple. Players are free to build any mundane character capable of survival in the wilds of the After and able to play a role in a successful escape from a typical fortress dungeon.

Updates of the Before Campaign – The Road Less Taken – can be found on Obsidian Portal, and once this campaign gets underway, that will continue.

Threads and other odds and ends

One nice element we have to work with is that although we are starting out in the After with a new set of characters and a new location, with the exception of Ramolis whose death was definitively played out, the fates of the other PCs and NPCs is essentially open to discovery. We can infer from what was played that Odinrack survived the Night of Fire, but other than that have no idea what transpired in the Long Winter to follow. What befell the other members of Pal’Tan’s caravan and the poor people of Rangon Bay? What happened to that vile and oh-so-arrogant sorceror who escaped us? What was the ultimate fate of the scattered artifacts which we had just A) learned existed and B) learned were scattered?

All of these vital threads may come to naught in the coming sessions, but then again… one never really knows.

3 Responses to “So last time, the world ended…”
  1. On a completely unrelated, save for the title, note — that was how I introduced the Cylon apocalypse in our BSG game. They’d been playing in the universe for about 2 years game time (maybe six months actual) and smack in the middle of an adventure where they were hunting down fugitives (most of the players were a marshal-type service) their radios go dead and they see brilliant flashes over the mountains from the direction of Caprica City.

    It was a great way to jerk the rug out from underneath them (and starting before the war gave them stuff to lose…)

    This sounds like a good lead into the next campaign.

    • Runeslinger says:

      I was really pleased with how he did it. One of the challenges we wanted to focus on when starting this shared Campaign was providing a real sense of loss. I have never been satisfied when a GM tells me how my character feels, so I hoped we could go beyond us telling the players to feel loss, and prattling on about how much easier Action X would have been just a few short months ago… you know, before the world ended.

      In his story arc we were able to encounter most of the key cultures of the setting, explore reactions to and the capabilities of several types of magic and magical items, and began of our own volition to invest in shaping a better spot for ourselves within the world he had started painting.

      Then he blew the hell out of it as we stood in front of a cave with a map which intimated that there were many artifacts of great and unwholesome power out there, and a race afoot to release them.

      • Kyrei says:

        I think it could have gone better, but then I am by far my own harshest critic… and my own biggest fan! Anyway, thanks for the kind words. The campaign did, I think, establish what I wanted it to do, which is how cool and Ubiquitous magic was in the Before. [Did you see what I did there?!] and now I think the players (myself included) will really feel the difference. For the newer players that will apparently be joining us, they will have to experience that in OOC form as we players reminisce with things like “Oh yeah, in that Before game when you created that dragon…” and feel the loss that way.

        Thanks again for the kind words, I feel they are highly exaggerated and thus I am blushing at my keyboard. I heartily look forward to the campaign Runeslinger is setting up for us (san le magique) and getting down to some nitty-gritty survivaling.

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