This is the ninth in a series detailing the 34 steps I recommended for making a Fantasy Sandbox Campaign. Today's post will cover the following step.
21) Look at your notes and come up with two to four plots that ties one or more locales together. Write a paragraph or two on each.
To me plots are not a script but rather a plan in the form of what ifs so I can better prepare for what players could do. The plan will have to adapt as choices and luck alter the circumstances of the campaign.
Fortress of the Lich Lord
Hopefully this will wind up the centerpiece of this campaign. The pull is simple greed; the lure of more treasure and better gear. The push will be the realization that someone or something is trying rebuild with dire consequences for the island. This entity I will call the Black Queen, Lady of the Underearth. She will be a wraith like figure. Originally a minion of the Dark Lord and a minor ally of Tavaras she survived the crusade. Now several hundred years later she has carved out a kingdom in the Underearth and not seeking to reclaim Tavaras old domain.
The plot will initially start at Sable Port. In a bit of twist I will be making this a 1st level ruins to explore saving the dungeon for later. In Sable Port there are several factions. The Rot Lord the agent of the Black Queen is in the process of creating a zombie army to seize control of Sable Port. The Bone Knight is a skeleton warrior and is in nominal control. He remain loyal to Tavaras’ command to defend the port although his forces are much diminished because of the Crusade.
From Sable Port the PCs will be able to find out that the Rot Lord is the servant of Sir Avar. Once a paladin and now fallen into darkness. Sir Avar has taken control of much of Bone Keep. Partly because he an ally of the Black Queen but also because he is searching for the body of Duke Barradon. Duke Barradon was the leader of the crusader and fell during the assault on Bone Keep. 200 men got cut off during the assault and Duke Barradon personally led the rescue against impossible odds. The rescue was successful but the Duke was cut down. His men say that the divine light of Veritas was with him during the fight.
When Bone Keep was sacked a shrine was erected to him. For a few decades it was a minor pilgrimage site but then forgotten amid the ruins of Bone Keep. Sir Avar believes that if he finds the shrine he will be able to be redeemed. He will use whatever means necessary to find that shrine. But so far it has eluded him. There are multiple levels underneath Bone Keep still to be explored.
The players will learn of the Black Queen and after they are finished with the Bone Keep hopefully decide to move into the Fortress of the Lich Lord.
Finally there is the Fortress of the Lich Lord. Some of it controlled by the Black Queen; but other factions exist. Some factions are good, some evil all are fighting for survival against the rising power of the Black Queen. The players can eventually go into the Underearth into the realm of the Black Queen herself. I envision this as a very high level adventure.
I will need to come up with some interesting treasures and artifacts when I detail these dungeons.
The Threat of the Sahuagin
I will hook in this in two ways. First will be by shore raids by the Sahuagins, if the players choose to investigate these raids they can track down the Sahuagins back to their lair. I don’t envision this as a simple follow the patrol back to the base. Rather the Sahuagins use every trick, such double back back on a trail to throw off any tracker. The second hook will be via Sable Port where they could rescue a merman from the Bone Knight. Hopefully this will lead to the player becoming friends of King Aventis.
I will probably do this in two parts. The first will happen at mid level and will result in a false victory. The PC aid the mermen in fending off a serious raid by the sahuagin. The later part will be at when the PC is beyond name level. The original raid was just a test to gauge the strength of the opposition. Now the more serious attack begins and it starts with a series of devastating raids around the island.
The Empire of Po
The Empire of Po wants to absorb the Kingdom of the Isles. If they succeed then they will have uncontested control of the Midland Sea. The Isle of Piall is near the border with Po and an early target for expansion. With this plot what I will be looking to do is too recruit the PCs as agents of Po. The ultimate prize will be the Empire granting the island to the PCs as their reward.
This plot will have to remain vague as its execution greatly depends on circumstances. I figure that there is a 50/50 chance that PCs will grow disgusted enough with the conflict between the Sheriff and Baron to give serious consideration to any offers from Po.
The Baron and the Sheriff
The Gervons have long enjoyed being the sole power on the Isle of Piall. They view recent arrival of the King’s Sheriff as a threat. Like the Empire of Po plot this will have to remain vague because circumstances will change depending on what the PC will do. The main effect of the conflict initially is that the PC can get different rewards for exploring Sable Port depending on if they go to the Sheriff or the Baron. Some of these will involve making a choice for example if both want the Chalice of Healing that is known to exist in the port the player will have to decide which one to give it too.
The Dwarves of Southpoint
If the players investigate the mines they will find an ancient evil from the time of the Lich Lord has been awakened. The answer to its demise will be found in the Fortress of the Lich Lord. I will probably design this so it can’t be defeated without the macguffin. It will be tricky to give the player enough foreshadowing to know that they may need to run to come back another day. I also thinking about way for the evil to escape to terrorize Southpoint. This is meant to be a fantasy Cthulu type plot.
Basically all of these plots setup the initial circumstances of the island. What happens after depends on what the players do. I have multiple points of conflicts happening. Conflict means adventures. Depending on how the players deal with these conflicts the campaign can head into an interesting direction for both me and them.
That it for Part IX, next is Part X.