|Since it's dead anyway
||[Feb. 20th, 2010|12:19 pm]
Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition
I wrote last night that I'd killed my campaign, but I thought I'd throw out my notes/ideas here so that others could use it or steal ideas from it or whatever. It's set in Eberron, but rather loosely so (to say the least) since my players wouldn't appreciate or care if I was scrupulously accurate with the setting. It could probably be pretty easily be rewritten out of Eberron entirely.
Before the campaign even started, the players were given a bit of common background. The game was in the Eberron setting and all of the players were fighting on the side of Breland during the Last War and they were fighting somewhere in Cyre territory. They could have all sorts of reasons to be doing so, but there they were. What the players didn't know is that 2 weeks before the end of the war, they were tasked for a special recon mission along with their unit to go deep behind enemy lines and investigate rumors of Cyre building some sort of new weapon. The characters and their unit made it to the research facility, where things were already going horribly wrong. An eldritch machine of some sort had been built deep in the heart of a House Cannith facility and it was going haywire. The PCs managed to stop it from getting worse, but in the end the machine is what caused the Mourning. The PCs and their compatriots and some of the House Cannith engineers & sages were spared because of their immediate proximity to the machine, but the magic had powerful affects on them anyway. It removed their recent memories and made them simultaneously very important to the Draconic Prophecy and very very hard to pin down within the Draconic Prophecy. Determined people could see that fates were changed because of them and would change further, but merely by being involved the PCs clouded things severely and made things harder to predict. Which made them prime targets to be used as agents by many different people. But the PCs had no way of knowing all this. Eventually, they'd learn more. They'd recover some memories of the missing 2 weeks. They'd eventually (as part of the plot) have to go back to Ground Zero for the Mourning, which in turn would reveal more memories.
However, since the PCs didn't know all this, they have a 2 week gap in their memories. One minute, they're fighting in the war, the next they're retreating after the Mourning with nothing in between. The players have moved to Sharn, City of Towers and set themselves up as an adventuring company with one of the local guilds. They're hired by a local lord to recover a locked and magically sealed box that was stolen from a landcart that had just arrived in Sharn. The PCs asked around, learned things about the gang who stole the box, where they were, what their motivations were, and so on. They heard that the gang had specifically been hired to steal that box, a hint that the job was more than your typical recover stolen goods adventure. They destroyed most of the gang in their warehouse headquarters and were following the survivors into the sewers/tunnels/ruins under Sharn to find their secret hideout. It was down here that they ran into the other hint that this job was going to be more complicated than they thought. The PCs had, through the local lord as an intermediary, been hired by a silver dragon who is part of a group called the Chamber. The group that the PCs ran into in the tunnels was working for a green dragon who ~also~ was a part of the Chamber. They both wanted the same thing for different reasons. The enemy agents offered to let the PCs live if they would flee and not interfere further. Naturally, this turned into a fight. A fight the PCs lost. Towards the end of the fight, the leader of the enemy agents again offered to let them run and lick their wounds if they would cease their involvement. The PCs said no and thus they died.
What would have happened, had they won the fight, is that they would have eventually gotten to the gang hideout, killed the wererats and other gangers remaining, and recovered the box. When they returned the box, their silver dragon patron (disguised as a half elf woman) would reveal herself and show the PCs what they'd recovered. A giant dragonshard which had volumes and volumes of study, interpretations, and examples of the Draconic Prophecy. She would explain (lying by omission somewhat) that the dragonshard had information that could be used to prevent something like the Mourning from happening ever again. What she didn't say is that it had information which could be used to do something like the Mourning all over again, on a greater or smaller scale. But the characters, again, have no way of knowing this. The next day, she sends the PCs off to have a professor at Morgrave University examine some things that she's transcribed from the dragonshard overnight. They find the professor, only to find that someone else has gotten to him first. A changeling is impersonating the professor to the the information, then kill the PCs afterwords. The PCs would be lead to believe that it's the same group whose agents they ran into in the tunnels, but in fact this is a third faction. This one is one of the big demonic raksasha that were sealed into the world thousands of years before. His agents are trying to free him from his prison and the dragonshard information could be used to do that. Or just destroy the world. It's a demonic evil thing. It's probably happy either way.
Using clues from the attempted assassins, the PCs investigate and try and rescue the professor. Along the way they get some hints at the third faction. Most notably they run into the rival Chamber's agents again, who are demanding that the PCs hand over the professor. If the PCs don't know there's at least 3 sides at that point, they're idiots. Granted, they don't know that there's ~only~ 3 main players right now (they could guess as many as five, if they're paranoid), but even so. They eventually rescue the professor and return him to the University, where he's put under heavy guard. With the papers from their patron, the prof sends them down into the absolute depths of Sharn to find a fabled dragonshard called one of the Thirteen Stars spoken of in legend. This dragonshard is special and could be used as part of an eldritch machine. So the PCs would go down into this ancient and ruined industrial area with forges and clockwork and other interesting stuff. They'd fight their way through undead clockwork machines, aberrant creatures, and strange traps until they recovered the dragonshard. Classic dungeon crawl.
That's the extent of the detailed planning. I had other ideas that would be worked in at some point. Their patron would leave not long after recovering that dragonshard and leave in her place a representative that would work with the PCs. Eventually this person would come to value the PCs more than their mutal patron, something which would come in handy. Enemies would at some point attack the manor in which they're staying to kill the PCs and recover the information/artifacts that they've recovered. The PCs would slowly work out that their patron had no intention of preventing a machine to be made and instead had planned to make one and use it herself. The patron would have good intentions (maintaining world peace, destroying evil) but would do anything (including killing innocents, destroying cities, ruining nations) to get what she wanted. Around this time, the patron would turn on the PCs and try to have them killed. So now they'd be on the run from assassins from three groups, all while trying to figure out a way to ensure that nobody could ever build such a machine again and then actually ~doing~ what it required (think along the lines of the trip to Mount Doom in LotR). I was going to at some point have a battle in the air as the PCs travel on an airship and enemies attack the ship. I was going to have the PCs try and bust someone who had important information out of an island prison. The one player who gave me a character background would have found that his twin had been recruited into the rival Chamber's group and would be a recurring antagonist.