Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Zapp » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:47 am

I would like to run a mini-campaign using Dragon Age rules (but not necessarily set in a 100% faithful Thedas world).

The main themes are to be personal, choice, sacrifice. The stakes should be personal and high, involving family, politics. The mood should be dark mature fantasy.

Do you know of any adventure, scenario, campaign or even outline or discussion revolving around any of this?

If you do, I'm much obliged.

Zapp

PS. All rpg systems considered. It's not the rules that matter, it's the story. Besides Dragon Age is simple enough to make it easy to convert anything to it.
Last edited by Zapp on Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:52 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Zapp » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:51 am

As you might guess, I'm trying to break out of the usual "farmhand having to save the world from Bad God Y using random artifact X" mold here.

Also, the basic "explore and loot ruins X" or "catch bandit gang Y" are basically what's available for most fantasy rpgs. But that's the easy stuff, the stuff I can write up myself.

I'm looking for as detailed advice regarding the more heavy campaign arc:y stuff.

I believe you deserve a few examples, so allow me to whip some up:
* having to lead his clan into new homeland (get charter from Duke). Land is already settled and they resist your invasion. Do you tell your kin to slaughter the locals?
* you are unknowingly carrying a "dark seed" making the next child you concieve "a harbinger of doom", must confront father (or perhaps undead greatgrandfather) about dark ritual made.
* You're part of an important family. A bitter feud is tearing it apart. You discover that your uncle/sister/son have (in)directly caused the death of innocents. Which side do you take?
* You discover that your family are really werewolves/ghosts/vampires and that they need to eat/sacrifice kinsmen on a certain day each year. Do you stop the practice even if it means signing the death sentence of your mother, your brother, your daughter, yourself?
* your family is secretly making its fortune by selling poor people into slavery. How do you react when confronting your father, your sister?

Stuff like this. How to interweave the destinies of four different PCs so each gets their own story while still adventuring (slaughtering hurlocs etc) together.
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Elfie » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:34 am

So I think the key to a personal story is starting with the backgrounds your players gave you for their PCs. I started with my own idea of an epic story that would be very much about the players and would also tie into the video games (something that's important to me, but might not be to you).

My base story was that this group would be responsible for the Blight. In the books and games, we learn that actually it was The Architect who was responsible. He tried to infuse Urthemiel with Grey Warden Blood (a process that creates intelligent darkspawn like himself) and "something went wrong" waking the archdemon early. In my story, four very powerful Rage Demons have decided that The Architect's plan will ruin their fun. If he successfully merges the darkspawn and human societies, everyone will essentially be darkspawn-like and will no longer dream, making it impossible for Demons to posses them or watch them or anything. So these demons have infused the players with power in order to get them to stop the architect. The players don't know this of course. They only know that something has granted them powers and has been leading them in the direction of stopping the Architect. Stopping him from what? All they know now is that he wants to "bring peace" which doesn't seem that bad, does it? Ultimately the players will learn everything and have to decide the fate of the world. Help the Architect and stop the blight, but doom humanity to becoming more like darkspawn, or help the demons and secretly corrupt the Architect's experiments, causing the blight and bringing about the deaths of thousands.

For fun (and profit), the players occasionally have experiences in the Fade where the demons give them visions of how horrible things would be if the Architect succeeds. While they are "out" the demons are actually possessing them, running around Ferelden doing HORRIBLE things with their bodies. The first time, this lasted a week, the second time THREE MONTHS. The players remember nothing of what happened and only know that for some reason the Chantry and Templars are after them.

That's the long-term campaign story. But of course I wanted to also tie in the characters' specific backgrounds. Here's what I got from them:
Imekari: half-qunari, half-avvar, raised by avvar, abandoned by father, wants to find him
Elden: apostate mage, very superstitious, lost his best friend in some accident that Elden blames himself for
Godric: templar in training, has a younger brother that he hasn't seen in forever
Reza: City elf, stuck in a marriage he didn't want, fled to find adventure
Ashana: human raised by elves from a very young age, considers herself an elf in every way

From all this I created a single human antagonist for the party to chase while they're trying to figure out what's up with these powers and dreams and missing memories. He is a slave trader named Atilio.
Imekari: is actually fully qunari, was traded to the Avvar in exchange for helping Atilio escape Ferelden to Orlais
Elden & Godric: Elden's friend and Godric's brother are the same man, murdered by Atilio when he stayed behind to let Elden escape (they had seen Atilio transporting slaves and he wanted no witnesses)
Reza: Reza returned home to visit his parents only to find that his estranged wife had teamed up with some slaver (Atilio) and kidnapped many of the elven children. Many of the adults (including Reza's parents) went after him and haven't been seen since
Ashana: Atilio is actually her father. The elves stole her from him because he had stolen their children.

All this stuff came out in pieces over the course of a year of playing. They have only just recently put it all together and are now actively perusing Atilio. Of course it won't all be cut and dry. It still has to be a hard choice. I came up with a new (actually very old) race of humanoids called the Taltos. They are lovely people. Peaceful and kind. The party has actually met them. They should have died out centuries ago, but the lineage of one family has kept them alive, bringing them the only food their digestive system can tolerate. That lineage is the family of Atilio (and Ashana). That food is the elves that Atilio is not able to sell, mostly the old and/or otherwise feeble. What's that? The only thing the Taltos eat is elves that they get from Atilio? And Atilio may have kidnapped Reza's parents? And the party encountered the Taltos shortly after that and ATE THEIR FOOD? MUAHAHAHAHAHAH



Soooooooooooooo yeah. That's a really long post. Feel free to steal any of it, but I think the key to a dark personal story is to base it on your players' character concepts. Have all sorts of terrible things going on in the background that they slowly learn about, but also adapt. When you get to know their behavior, abuse it. Reza is a huge man-whore, so the Taltos ladies were very sexy, but because they are very fragile, mating with other species often results in their death. Reza finagled four of them into a fivesome and THEY ALL DIED. Elden really likes women who find his inane stories interesting, so one of the Taltos hung on his every word after he healed her. "You didn't use magic, did you?" "No of course not!" He assumed she just didn't like mages just like the most of the rest of Thedas, but oh no... When he got her pregnant with twins, the children inherited his magical powers. (Taltos grow VERY fast, btw.) A Taltos mage is a terrible thing. They killed their mother and were clearly mad. Elden had to lead the party in killing his own recently born children. Dark and personal enough? :-D
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Arimmus » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:37 am

I have Glenberry.

While this may be more horror than dark fantasy, it does allow for the players to make choices that effect them for the long run. This was run by my Friend for Shadowrun and I take some of the credit for I asked for this. I asked for something Cthulhu investigation dark and weird. I got what I asked for and so did the group. TO this day anyone that mentions Glenberry to them receives a " F*** you Arimmus".

We were sent on a mission to retrieve something that a doctor was working on from the town of Glenberry. Our group decides to do more research on the town before we enter it and get boned( we were still boned).

We Learned that :
Town was founded in the 1800's. It had burned down many times since then.
Town was known for pagan rituals
And now the town does not exist.

It took our group 6 months (Real time) to gather this much information, and our rolls were awesome.

We figured at this point that it was high time to head there. Some of us went Via bus, others went via helicopter. We were in location of were it was said to be and we found a fog covered farm house. We decided to head back to the town that we decided would be home base, only to discover that the bridge was gone, and the chopper was disabled. We figured that it was some sort of rival group since we learned that the Mr. Johnson had sent 4 other groups ahead of us, and none returned.

We decided to head to the Farmhouse, discovering it abandoned. We decided to look around for clues finding: That it screwed with our heat vision optics, and our Mage had issues seeing anything with astral projection, and if he did astral project, he saw things that made you crap yourself.
In the Barn we found bags hanging from the rafters, and our local Mage opened one to have a vision of a woman (seemed elven) being ripped apart by some "thing". We decided it best to leave the house.

Our Comms started to act weird and started picking up a radio station that had to be nearby. We found the Station, Which was run down derelict and now crumbling. My Character decided to enter it... and was transported back to the 1950's. I was becoming increasingly paranoid at this time and asked the receptionist for any information on the town. Figured I could ask some of the residents about glenberry. Well She attempted to call the cops since I was dressed in funny clothes ( I was from the future 2061) and at which point My gun toting character shot up the desk and the phone. I left the Building ready for a fight ( I had a sniper rifle, 2 sub machine guns, 1 assault rifle, 1 hunting rifle, 12 gauge 3 barrel shotgun, and Bullet proof armor on.) Only to find myself back in my time, and the desk in which was inside ( the group learned this) was shot to hell, as if a person was shooting it up. This is when we first met... them....

They seemed innocent at first. Children dressed in all white, blonde hair, blue eyes. All they asked for was "daddy to play with them" and "if they could get some ice cream". Our mage knew better since he could see their aura. He pointed a gun at them and that's when they replied " Daddy' Don't you love us?".
Arimmus Thoma

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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Disemvowel » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:52 am

Elfie, while your constantly rotating profile pic confounds me, you are my kind of fucked up. Well planned...standing slow clap

EDIT: Because my ipad typed Ellie...I am sorry for that. Goddamn autowreck
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Elfie » Fri Feb 17, 2012 9:02 am

Disemvowel wrote:Elfie, while your constantly rotating profile pic confounds me, you are my kind of fucked up. Well planned...standing slow clap


hahaha thanks :) I'm glad you enjoy my plotting. My players do too. I always get praised from them after they've been forced to make particularly horrible decisions. The guy who plays Elden told me that the session where his Taltos children were killed was one of his favorite ever (across all RPGs he's ever played, which is a lot). And I'm glad my magical changing icon is driving you slowly mad... I mean... is interesting to you.


Just as a follow-up, I thought I'd give you some of the PC reactions to this stuff.

After learning that the people who raised her had lied to her her whole life, Imekari went very broody and quiet for several sessions. At our last session, she actually quit the party (taking a fan-favorite NPC with her) to seek the Qun in Par Vollen. The player (my wife) then rolled a new character.

After the death of his daughters, Elden went to an NPC who they recently learned had the power to make people forget things, and asked him to make him forget everything that had happened with the Taltos. Of course now he remembers asking to forget, but doesn't remember WHY so he's running around asking the other PCs to explain to him what happened!

The girl playing Reza is on a brief hiatus because she just had a baby, but at her suggestion, Reza has been an inconsolable ball of "Oh Maker, I killed them with my penis!" since the incident. I'm REALLY looking forward to how that plays out whe she returns, because Reza loves the ladies and actually has a secret deal with a Desire Demon to give him seduction-related powers in exchange for letting her watch his conquests through his eyes, which he must engage in "at least once in any city or town that he spends more than a single night in." Reza also secretly loves Ashana, and part of the "deal" was a threat of unnamed terrible things happening to Ashana if Reza ever fails to meet his end of the deal.
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Zapp » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:38 am

What is Glenberry?
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Saisei » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:58 am

Elfie wrote:Reza loves the ladies and actually has a secret deal with a Desire Demon to give him seduction-related powers in exchange for letting her watch his conquests through his eyes, which he must engage in "at least once in any city or town that he spends more than a single night in." Reza also secretly loves Ashana, and part of the "deal" was a threat of unnamed terrible things happening to Ashana if Reza ever fails to meet his end of the deal.


I remember you posting up about that a few months ago and loving the idea. Your whole post on your party is a really great, fun read.


Back to Zapp's original post, I have done some "personal, dark" stories but alot of our stories revolve around the players decisions coming back to bite them in the ass. I've mixed together different adventures and characters to give a cohesion to the campaign. I'll give an example of one of our situations.

________________________________________

One of our characters Tobbin is a bit of a ladies man (there's always one). We started off with the adventure "A Bann Too Many" and I used the subplot "The Starstruck Daughter" from that. The girl, Delia, flirted with Tobbin and it didn't take much for him to sneak away for a bit of slap and tickle with her. He got some angry looks from the owner after that, but they were helping the town so nothing was said.

Later on, as the party were leaving to track the bandits, Delia begged Tobbin to let her come. He said no, and that she'd be safer in the village. She eventually agreed and the party left to pursue the bandits.

After tracking them to their base, the party planned out their attack and planned to wait until nightfall. However, in the late evening they heard screaming and crying and saw Delia being dragged into the camp. Her clothes were torn off her and it became pretty obvious what the bandits planned. Tobbin lost it, and some of the others grew ancy too, and they attacked early. In the end the party won and saved Delia and the village of Logerswold.

The next adventure took them to Denerim where I used the Chantry of the Stilled Tongue plot. The party tracked them down and confronted Mother Brianna. Brianna however enthralled Tobbin making him see a pregnant Delia and begging for his protection. He fought for her against his friends but was knocked out. The party let Brianna go though, realising she was a demon of some sort and not wanting to get into a fight with her. Afterwards for the next few months Tobbin's memory is fragmented and he cant really remember what happened.

After a few other adventures, the party gets called back to Logerswold because there are more problems. The town is attacked by undead (which all turn out to be the bandits and loggers that were killed previously, aswell as an undead Gorehand) and there is a weird barrier surrounding Bann Krole's keep (the party left Bann Trumhall in charge, but only one of them knows he planned the initial attacks). The barrier is actually a gateway tot he fade which the players must pass through. They realise however that if they simply walk in they will become helpless dreamers and will simply be trapped.

Tobbin also gets the surprise that Delia is pregnant.

As this is going on the party have heard talk of a new woman in the village, as well as her daughter who seems to have no tongue. The party go to investigate and find none other than Mother Brianna. She says she isn't the cause here, that there is something darker but offers to help the party to get into the fade and retain their minds and power, for a price. Tobbin agrees and she helps the party.

After the party get back to Logerswold after saving the town again, Tobbin looks for Delia but her father tells him that Tobbin's mother came and took her away so the child could be looked after in Denerim. Tobbin essentially traded his unborn child.


____________________________________________

Wow that's a long post. So Tobbin has been looking for Brianna and Delia since. I plan on using them in conjunction with an adventure I've written and the Last Moon cult from Autumn Falls. Basically the cult has realised/thinks that if a demon possesses a girl with magical power while she is pregnant, they can bring forth one of the deceased gods/archdemons. I have some other stuff too but this post is long enough as is.
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby jgladeb » Fri May 04, 2012 12:53 pm

I really dig this plotting and planning behind the scenes. As a GM, this stuff serves as great inspiration for stuff to do to my players... >:D

For my main campaign, I'm planning on basically having a pivotal moral choice for my players: do they prevent the next blight and the darkspawn from bringing the next Archdemon out that is buried beneath the recently discovered Dwarven city of Kal-Sharok and doom the Dwarven race further? Or do they save Kal-Sharok and the Dwarves by allowing the darkspawn to free the Archdemon and bring about the resulting Blight that will kill tens of thousands? It would have been a tougher choice perhaps if any of my players were actually Dwarves, I've got a couple of Dalish Elves and the rest are Ferelden humans. I could always introduce a PC played by myself into the mix at some point that's a Dwarf to further that end, but the moral and emotional choice isn't as big for me since I'm the freakin' GM...

My wife is playing a Circle Mage, and I currently am playing a character that is essential a Templar in training and is essentially her escort outside of the Tower. She resents the Chantry and the Templars as they are responsible for the death of her apostate mother and taking her to the tower as a young child. So, I'm actually using this Templar-to-be PC of mine as a means to further her resentment as he forces her to check in at chantries and follow the letter of the law. I kind of hope he falls in combat and see if she bothers to heal or save him--if he winds up dying, I see it as a good thing in a lot of ways. It will show my players that PCs can die and will hopefully delve deeper into my wife's PC development. Her dark story comes from the fact that her father is the one that turned her mother in to the Chantry, and she hates him for it. I plan on having her catch up to him at some point--but he's moved on, started another family (but probably lost his wife again), and her moral choice will come down to basically orphaning her step-brothers/step-sisters or not. How far will she go for revenge?

One of my players that's playing a Dalish elf warrior fancies himself a freedom fighter of sorts and in his past strived to bring the city elves out of the alienages. He was married once to a Dalish apostate mage that found a tome deep in the Brecilian Forest and after studying it, they went to Denerim to free the city elves from the alienage. Super idealistic, and dumb--I know. The bigger problem was that the tome was a blood magic manuscript from the Ancient Tevinter. When the PCs wife used the incantations from the book and cut herself to finish the spell, a greater rage demon possessed her and she became an abomination. Fortunately or not, there were magisters of the current Tevinter Imperium in the alienage (taking a page from DA: Origins where they are helping smuggle city elves as slaves out of Denerim) that subdue the PCs wife. In the battle, his possessed wife wounds him, leaving a disfiguring scar on his face, and he sees her die essentially. (I actually wanted to have the scar on his face come from his wife as she needed more blood for the ritual--but the player didn't like that idea...)

She did not die however, as he will find out, and the blood mages of the Tevinter are actually holding her to study the greater demon for research. In DA:Origins, with the possessed boy at Red Cliff Castle quest, the mage suggests that it is possible for a blood mage to enter the fade and possibly destroy the demon possessing the boy. In my Dragon Age world, the Tevinter mages are in fact capable of doing just that--with lesser demons. When the PC shows up with the party, in a tough moral choice the mages will offer the PC the chance to enter the fade--but their first suggestion will be for him or members of his party to sacrifice themselves to get the amount of blood needed for the ritual. If not, the Tevinter will offer some city elf slaves they have on hand for just such an occasion requiring lots of blood for blood magic rituals. So essentially the player will have to make the moral choice to sacrifice the very elves he was trying to save in the first place. There is also the chance that it won't work, or that the demon might simply abandon the wife and possess someone else. I'm hoping that it is pretty dark regardless.

Of course then I have to deal with players in the Fade. There isn't a clear system for this yet. I thought about essentially having a base number and the players willpower modifier take the place of HP in the fade. Mages would be able to use their regular HP. Mana won't regenerate in the fade however, and regular weapons won't actually hurt creatures of the fade. Lyrium veins can be found in the Fade (just like in the Fade in the Origins game), and can regenerate some mana, probably at a rate of 2d6 or something. Probably won't come to this for a while--and maybe set 3 will be out by then (at this rate, I kind of doubt that though...)

I have the two Dalish elves PCs in my party being from the Dalish camp in the Dalish Curse campaign that we started on, and one of the other PCs living with Sister Arda in the small chantry from the adventure. Our first adventure last time found the over-zealous player of the Dalish warrior I described above cutting down Revenger after Revenger only to find that they were elves that he and the other Dalish elf PC knew. It worked out rather nice actually. Once the battle turned in their favor, I allowed them to slaughter the Revengers wholesale, knowing that they were his own people (also giving him more incentive to get away from it all and travel with the other PCs).

We are wrapping up the Dalish Curse tomorrow and I'm hoping to throw a few more small vignettes in there where players will have to choose to press the attack on the abomination or save people they know or choose which people to save... Anyway, there is more, but those are some of the better things I've come up with so far. I'm really trying to create adventures and choices that are "damned if you, damned if you don't" kind of thing. Hopefully I'm on the right track!
- It's always darkest before it goes pitch black...

My custom Dragon Age miniature related downloads: http://www.daddymonsterstudio.com/downloads.html
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby 5trangeCase » Sat May 05, 2012 5:06 am

Elfie wrote:*snip*


You're just...I don't even...what!?

That's the weirdest £$^% I've heard in quite some time. I thought J.V. Jones was the weirdest *&^% I'd encountered outside of stupid horror movies, but this makes that look like Winnie the Pooh! How the *%^& did you fit all those different threads into a single campaign!? How often does your group meet? Because our most convoluted campaign (mostly the players' doing) managed to get through a month and a half in two years (before the DM gave up because we were like "lol, you had a plot? nah, don't think so"). It wasn't completely messed up like yours, but it was pretty complicated.

Have you ever considered seeking therapy?
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Re: Any dark personal fantasy scenarios out there?

Postby Elfie » Sat May 05, 2012 10:50 am

hahah We meet every other week for about six hours, give or take depending on schedules and babies. We've been playing for over a year now, maybe close to a year and a half.

And it's not all that convoluted when we're actually playing. There are several big plots going on in the background, like the tattoos, the Architect, the rage demons, and Atilio. Plus we have the two or three session adventures that take up the majority of the time. We've played through all of the published adventures except Fragile Web and Autumn Falls, but I changed them all so that things tied in with the overall story. The ruins in Amber Rage had a symbol matching the tattoos they all have. The elf in the hayloft in Dalish Curse was actually one of our PCs. The villain in Where Eagles Lair was the one who introduced our Qunari's "adopted" parents to the slaver, Atilio, who solder her to them. One of our PCs was promised to marry one of the Neruda children from Arl's Ransom. The lost keep from Dalish Curse actually collapsed into the Deep Roads when the PCs went back to investigate it further, and that is now the key location for moving the demons vs Architect story forward.

As for how I keep it all straight... I take a lot of notes. For everything I plan, I consider "how does this matter in the grand scheme?" and "What pieces of this can I bring back in the future?" and "What seeds can I drop for stuff I already have planned down the line?" The party is hanging out in Orlais right now and they met Adric Beranti (from Fragile Web) while he is at the University of Orlais getting his learn on. One of our female characters has become quite enamored with him (the player COMPLETELY drove that plot, not me) and seems on the path to losing her virginity to him. Boy is she gonna be pissed when she finds out what a womanizer he is!

Thanks for the praise though :) And no, I haven't considered seeking therapy... for this >:)
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