So I came up with an idea for a D&D5E campaign. Not an adventure. A humongous, 20-level-long campaign that could set a gaming group for years. Still working on details, but the framework is here.So the party is in jail for whatever reason, and they're approached by some bloke who calls himself Sigismund Rolander who wants to talk to them privately. According to him, he has been elected as a representative of the Modern Magician's Association for Research into Fantastical Phenomena - a society aimed at researching various types of monster and magic to create innovative ways to counter or harness them.What does this have to do with the party? Well, the Association are comprised primarily of alchemists, surgeons, scholars and inventors – meaning they cannot collect samples of monsters on their own. He intends to hire the party primarily to collect powerful artifacts, slay certain types of monster and transport their bodies to their HQ – and the Association are willing to both buy them all out of prison and pay them for their work.The reason they can't go out and hire, say, an army is because that many men and horses plus all the supplies needed to sustain them would be ludicrously expensive, and the Membership only receives so much money from government grants and donations every year. Hiring a group of adventurers is infinitely cheaper, more covert and reliable and "besides, this is sort of your thing, isn't it?"Little do the party know...Cont.
As they power their way through the checklist of shiny things to pick up and big nasty brutes to fuck over they start to notice assassination attempts starting to pile up. Upon enquiry, the assassins will reveal they are working for the local government.Turns out the party is itself being fucked over. Turned out there is no Association, and never has been. It's actually a conspiracy covering up a massive cult that call themselves The Sculpters - who have the ultimate aim of creating their very own mindless physical deity from monster bits and using it as a tool to ascend to godhood themselves.Discuss.
>>53922267>So the party is in jail for whatever reasonSounds fucking boring.> and they're approached by some bloke who calls himself Sigismund Rolander who wants to talk to them privately.Sounds even worse.
Still working on artifacts, but creatures to be hunted currently include:>An illithid elder brain, apparently to research the exact nature of psionics, mind flayers and their society (actually to give it psionics);>A gorgon, to develop alternative anti-petrification techniques and to carefully observe its metal body (living armour and petrification breath);>An ancient blue dragon, so as to create possible defences against its fire (to give it wings and lightning);>An empyrean, to develop possible defences against divine magic (one found in the Lower Planes can be used for evil, and serves as a good base for a living god);>A group of ghouls complete with ghast, to research their paralysing touch (gives it paralysis);>A kraken, for obvious reasons (gives it 30-foot-reach grappling tentacles);>A colony of kuo-toa, again to study the effects of prolonged exposure to psionics (their ability to inadvertently create gods will kickstart its transcendence);>A mummy lord, to discover new methods of turning undead and combatting the living dead (this will give it innate spellcasting ability);>Black pudding, to research their nature and discover chemical-based repellents (it will bleed sentient acid);>An efreet, to research the nature of the denizens of the Planes (fire magic, and more spellcasting);>Pixies, captured alive, to research anti-fey techniques (their sacrifice is necessary for the ritual);>A troll, to harness its regenerative properties for medicinal purposes (speaks for itself.)Any suggestions for creatures or artifacts?
>government grants and donationsWhen will the government stop your anachronistic hand
>>53922305Well, obviously they didn't just wake up there. How they got there will be worked out according to circumstances (party got in trouble with law during previous adventure, something to do with backstories etc
>>53922340If the party were to find out the truth about their employers before they deliver all the pieces, would you make them create the god less powerful? Because judging by the OP, they might find out very early, say by level 5-10?
>>53922392If they find out the truth early, they'd fight a previous attempt that the Sculpters had already made and wasn't powerful enough for them, but they kept alive to see where they went wrong.
>>53922392And in what world are they going to have killed a kraken by level 5-10?
>>53922267>So the party is in jail for whatever reasonSounds like one of the mainline Elder Scrolls games.
>>53922432>>53922449They wouldn't, but I assumed the assassination attempts would start earlier, and depending on how they deal with assassins, they might find out earlier. I might have misunderstood you. I also offered the idea for a weaker version of the god, because when the cult finds out that the party knows, they might go "fuck it, we'll just make do with what we have". So depending on how many parts they have, the god would be weaker, but so would the party.q
Oh right, I see where you're coming from. I was thinking that yeah, the assassination attempts could start early on, but they could be cleverly disguised as random encounters with bandits/soldiers/whatever. As more parts are collected and the situation becomes more dire, the assassins could do away with subtlety and focus more on getting the job done. This could be reflected in easy-to-miss hints like odd placements of enemy groups or one of them saying "That's them!" or finding a letter in an unknown language mentioning the adventurers' names etc etcAnd on the subject of weaker gods, I was thinking this fella would need to be brought to life by a ritual sacrifice in the thousands, the kind of thing that can't be arranged quickly. I thought he'd also have to surpass a certain unwritten level of power to roll over into divine.Besides, who ever heard of a weak god?
>>53922267>>53922340>>53922683Besides the given name of their would-be employer being corny, the idea sounds good. Overarching plot to tie everything together, different enemy types, and enough adaptability so that things aren't over if they kill Sigismund at the jail and take his shiny things. I can see how actually finding some of these monsters would be difficult in itself, and could foster gameplay other than "the monster is here, kill it". >The location of Elder Brains might only be known to the Drow or Duergar, who could extract favors for the information or require some sort of PC trickery to gain anything useful from without being betrayed.>Trip to the lower planes for the Empyrean means either somehow evading all demons/devils on the way, or striking a deal with some for protectionJail is cliche, I would setup the situation some other way.>Siggy is in trouble on the road, troll has picked his teeth with the bones of the hired mercs, Siggy is next>PCs find and slay troll, Siggy offers them job after seeing effectivenessI would add in some people outside the main line as well, see how they get drawn in. Competing monster hunters, the kindly old man who undercharges for monster transport, the more intelligent monsters who may see the PCs coming and prepare accordingly.
>>53922882Wow, man, thanks for all the advice. I'm gonna have to put all that in my notes.The elder brain is a really great example because 1: just finding them will be a job and a half, like you said, and 2: I really like the story of Tucker's kobolds and I was wondering how devastating it would be to play a mind flayer colony like that, especially given their advanced intelligence and what you said about seeing them coming.You're right about the cliché jail, I'm working on that. Secondary characters are also something I'm racking my brains for. Maybe the innocent girl who swears she's been talking with pixies, and proudly presents a dead locust? Or the superstitious sailors who charge a fortune to basically agree to die fighting "the Tollman of the Forough-Dallam Trade Route"? Even the outcast desert guide who laments about being rejected from his village, which we'll now have to go around to reach the tomb?
>>53922882And finally, how about Clemens Alder?
>>53923064>>53923100The name doesn't matter at all, just your presentation and players. If you present "Xavier Doomhollow" as the badass alchemist with the only known philosophers stone, I guarantee the players will think of and refer to him as "Dr. Doom", "Scientist guy", or "That pretentious dick we need to steal a fancy stone from". PCs will not think of NPCs as anything but questgivers, loot sources, and plot devices unless they are humanized to some degree, identified with, and therefore taken seriously. Even if Xavier Doomhollow is the guys legit birth name, having him publish trashy romance paperbacks in his spare time or attend his sons Tuesday Orkball games will turn him from NPC to person, regardless of the outlandish name. In any case, the name matters worlds less than how well you respond to PC action and their impression of your worlds robustness. As to the mentioned potential NPCs and hooks, consider having things not be as they first seem.>After no traction on finding the elusive pixies, the PCs learn that the particular fey hunt large bugs for sport. Were those really beak wounds on the bug?>The sailors agreed to go, and at a strangely reasonable price. Their purses seemed quite full already, but who paid and why?>Did the outcast reject his village, or his village reject him? Do the faded, half-finished sacrificial tattoos snaking up his left arm offer any answers?
>>53924375My rule is that for anything which might screw the PCs over that I control, clues must be there. Sometimes not much more than a few words said in passing, but enough that the "so THAT was why the barons lieutenant was in the tavern last night!" moment happens. Direct player interest is usually rewarded by more specific info, like the knowledge that the fine scars on the lowborn lieutenants cheek are dueling scars, a practice usually reserved for the nobility. Enough of these placed here and there mean that when mutiny occurs on the barons wedding day and the PCs daughter gets slain, it won't be "fuck you for killing off my characters family for the plot GM!" but instead "That bastard! I want the lieutenants head on a pike!". Catching the PCs off guard is easy when you control everything but them. The real game is placing things in plain sight that tie into any surprise coming their way. It not only feels fun, but also gets them to pay attention to the world more than reciting a page of backstory because you demonstrate the world affecting them directly. As to mind flayers, I would say they are on an entirely different level from Tuckers kobolds. The kobolds worked because they used smarts to pose a challenge. Mind flayers, even when jockeying for the favor of the elder brain in an evil society, are smart enough and powerful enough to hide even the huge challenge they pose. I would treat mind flayers as a kingdom-wide conspiracy, creating a few pyramids of a kingdoms nobility, military, and peasantry and determining which people are under the brain suckers control. The quest could start out with something as simple as "we need mind flayer parts, and the countess was found with her brain sucked out in a back room of the ball" but transition to a darkening conspiracy as bit by bit the PCs uncover one mind-controlled noble after another. The "always leave a clue" game would have to become even more subtle as the PCs become more paranoid.
Personally I'd get bored of this campaign, it's literally just your story. The players have no input on the game other than killing monsters and learning about some conspiracy
>>53922267I will say that "the patchwork god" is a kickass name and I will utilize that.
as a fan of the eldritch insanity concept, even though its overused would there be some form of psychological effect to making the full god?maybe not even affecting stats just things like>you hear a small tapping some where nearbyafter rolling perception and such.also what would you party consist of? or is this hypothetical?
>>53927318Well, considering the nature of this thing (a colossus of rotting body parts that could wrestle Godzilla) plus its extreme power and unnatural nature, it could perhaps weigh heavy on the fabric of reality surrounding it. Things like animals dying, horrid stench with no apparent cause, the feeling of spiders under your skin, seeing lifeless objects twitch out the corner of your eye, etc.It could also be reflected in stats - it could have the Frightening Presence feature with no immunity after save. (You can't get used to this thing the same way you could get used to a dragon.)This is hypothetical, I'm still looking for a party. Obviously I'll tailor it to specific characters and backstories, like any good DM.
>>53928065>unnatural natureThis is why you proofread.
>>53928065this gives a bit more room to have at it, ill try to give some obvious ideasnecromancer: he sees in as the pinical of his craft, or he can see it as a defiling of the perfect autonomy.that last point could also go on with a druida paladin could see it as blasphemy a insane character like a jester could be immune to the fear effect and he actually seems less insane
if you want me to shut up, tell me too otherwise I will post until I run out of ideas or the tread out of posts. whatever comes firstso to help can you run through any details that you want to add in in the campaign? any parts you missed in the OP and subsequent posts?
>>53924710Well, I'm hoping for them to walk in on the ritual and interrupt it, so the Sculpters can remain a recurring enemy for a time. They could attempt ascendence in other ways - experimenting on storm giants, working in league with grandmother hags, attempting to travel back in time to when the gods walk the earth... the opportunities are countless!Alternatively the Patchwork God could come to life, promptly kill most of the cult and run away. Then the party would have to think of a way to stop it basically wrecking civilisation.Reasons why not to just fight it:>It's going to be stronger than the Tarrasque, who might be needed to weaken it>It warps reality while alive, who knows what'll happen when its lifeforce tries to reach an afterlife?>Sympathy: it's going to act like a big child, nervously discovering its abilities and its environment (and accidentally breaking all its toys). It was made by evil beings from evil monsters for an evil purpose, but it is not evil.
>>53928199Like I said, this is still in the ideas phase. Nothing's being honed yet.
>>53928224if at that, then as I suggested make them insane around it and likewise have the insaneones stop being insane. if its a child then I think a good idea would be you pass a very hard animal handling/ persuasion/ ancan cheak and I'm talking 18 or 19 on a d20 for the knowledge on what it is, how to help him [amulet of normalise anyone?]and then actually convincing it the party are not big bad hurty people and really good friends.bonus points for the way to do so being in the cults base before this one, dedicated to the problem of containing it and its aura control.other wise when its friendly have it blow a hole the size of a garage in a hostile golem defender or some shit while it looks to see if they are okay
another idea for the system in genralwhen the seesion starts have the paranoid/ crazy players roll a dice. then depending on the outcome pass them a note, or private message abut what they think might happen. change the chart every session, or don't the purpose is that sometimes he is right, others he is just crazy.its ripped off from the all guardsmen party if that's a problem
>>53928361Here's the thing: it really is just a cataclysmic baby. The adventurers would have to deal a decent amount of damage for it to consider itself hurt at all (I'm talking immunity to physical nonmagical attacks and resistance to everything else, Magic Resistance trait, healing factor, the works), and even more for it to consider anything a threat. An angry rampaging war machine isn't the problem. The problem is a massive child that wants to play with everything it can see (and accidentally destroying it) and kills townsfolk before it even notices it.Think of what a 100-ft human baby would do to a world inhabited entirely by normal-sized ants and you'll get the idea.
>>53928720that's a bit tough to swallow, so again make the cult have thought of all of this but not have had time to complete the designs because the adventurers caused the time table to be sent forwards.also give them a chance to stop it. if they fuck around then watch them shit themselves.
>>53928804I like your ideas about the cultists not having finished the designs. That means the players will find themselves scouring through the professionals' notes and finding nothing, meaning this is a problem they have to solve.And I was absolutely going to give the party a chance to stop it. I'm going to have them walk in conveniently when the ritual is taking place and blood sacrifices are being made, and if they manage to take out the leaders before they finish the god never comes alive.
>>53922267>Patchwork god>Though OP's pic was some kind of ragamuffin from the thumbnailThat'd actually be a neat, a demigod made from discarded Deific artifacts/leftovers from sites of battle and was patron to that old monster, the ragamuffin, animated household items, Mimics, and Tsugami or whatever those possessed japanese household items were called.
>the last time a group of mortals succeeded in acending to godhood it caused a war in heaven that nearly tore the world asunder. >There's still a few ancient orders around dedicated to stopping this sort of fuckery.
hmm could they encounter a witcher? like if he is sorted out and they find somewhere to put him [isolated island paradise anyone?] then a witcher of an old order>>53930773will try to kill him.
>>53923064Honestly, Tucker's Kobolds worked because it fits the character of kobolds. Mind Flayers might have some traps, but I feel like they're too arrogant to build a deadly warren to hinder invaders. They'd rely primarily on their own massive power, plus battle-slaves (Umber Hulks, Duergar, Morlocks, Intellect Devourers and the like). Of course, the fact that they're all powerful telepaths would make things interesting - no good way to sneak or surprise them without a way to stop them detecting your thoughts, and there's no alarm you can prevent once you initiate combat for the first time - as soon as one Illithid knows you're there, the whole colony will.