Before I begin posting this, a few words on the setting.
This is a fantasy world. It is not a future or past version of our world. And it has been created with one driving principle; the world does not stop once the characters move out of sight.
The world is a large place, and magic is alive in it, more vibrantly in some areas than others, it’s true. And things are happening everywhere, all the time. Nothing ever stands still. And the characters, while the focus of our story, are not the center of the universe. The characters actions will affect all the events around them, but things can and will happen of which they have no knowledge, that may have nothing at all to do with their quest, or story, or troubles. Shit happens.
I have a timeline, a very, very long timeline, covering ages past and hints of the future, for many cultures. There are a;ways plots abrewing aplenty.
I designed things this way, a ‘defense in depth’, so that players could truly go haring off in any direction, or pursue any plan, and encounter a wild world full of adventure in every direction. The catch, of course, is that while they are doing something in one part of the world, events are continuing to move forward in others. And perhaps, just perhaps, the players choose poorly on their priorities… or maybe not.
I know from experience with previous groups, that knowing that you truly have free reign to act as you feel your character would, and role play, rather than try to act within the confines of what you believe the GM wants you to do to advance the story, has strange effects on players. Some take it as a challenge to try and game the system, stress test the GM, and ‘break’ the game. 18 years designing this world, baby. Go for it.
The other thing I have seen, though, is that players feel both freer to have fun and play a character and try new things or take the chance to go off on a personal quest, and also feel under much more pressure to understand what is going on in the game, put clues together, and choose a course of action that will lead them closest to their goal. With so much personal control over what happens, the pressure is on, and you become much more attached to your character.
Manny, having played with me in real life, also knows that I delight in several things. First, I love to provide clues, backstory, details and information. I bury a player in information, since I despise games where you are only told what is necessary to further the plot. A player asks what the barkeeps’ name is, and the GM says… “Umm, uh… Frank.” The player knows, immediately, Frank is undeveloped and has no importance to the story. No worries that ‘Frank’ is part of an underground bootlegging operation, or an assassin lying in wait for our heroes, or in possession of an important clue that you might be able to wheedle out of him.
Hah! Try that shit in my game, bub. Frank may very well be a dragon of the greater bronze lying low and having secrets of his own, that have absolutely NOTHING to do with the story the players are involved in. I love it when new players see a well developed NPC and freak out, sure it MUST have something of importance.
“You see a gazebo in the grassy field to the right. It is alrge, and round, and seems to look very sturdy and strong.” “I attack the gazebo.” “You what?”
You know what I mean.
And of course, I believe 100% in the adage “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s sometimes hard to remember you’re job is to drain the swamp.”
I will set the characters on the path to great adventure. And then I will besiege them with endless plot hooks to entice them into wandering astray, losing focus, and getting totally distracted and confused, chasing shadows and having fun mini adventures, until someone says, “Hey, weren’t we trying to rescue a damsel from an evil Warlock?” And I reply, “Yes, too bad your deadline to prevent her sacrifice ended on the last full moon… two weeks ago. Right about the time you were fighting off pirates on the Black Wind.” “Shit.”
I find adversity builds character. Focus, focus, focus.
And one last thing. I ain’t monty hall, I don’t godmode, my NPCs, no matter how powerful, never take center stage over the players’ characters (at least not for long), and if I seem to have handed a player an item or ability of game breaking power… well, let’s just say the last time I did something like that, every player in the room stopped, shook their heads and said “Oh shit, we’re fucked.”
I think that’s enough of a warning… and I think I’m not going to discuss the setting at this time. there is just way too damn much backstory to lead into how things have gotten to where we are now. Instead, I’m going to post the first THREE turns of Manny’s character Lauchlin, so you get a bit more than just one small intro. And because there is a ton to post eventually before I am posting brand new material.
So today you get three turns at once, broken into chapters. It won’t continue to be this big a flood.