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Gloranthan Campaign Ideas/Pitches


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What are some ideas for interesting campaigns that y'all have had, especially ones that you have or would like to run? Something different from the standards like "you're adventurers in the Big Rubble out to get rich" or "you're a member of clan X of tribe Y, deal with clan issues like stolen cows and raids".

Here's a few of my own:
"You are all former Lunar slaves who are on the run up into Balazar, where you will need to rebuild your life from the ground up."
"New recruits to the Lunar Provincial Army, your regiment was destroyed in the Battle of Heroes and now you need to either escape on your own back to the empire or try and survive among the Sartar barbarians." (thinking of actually using this for a game soon)
"Hired in Nochet by a rich merchant captain to act as guards or just an extra pair of hands, the Opening rites went wrong somewhere during your voyage and now the rest of you, with little sailing knowledge, have been shipwrecked on the other side of the world, Pamaltela. Again, you need to either find a way home, or find a way to survive in a totally alien world."
(I think I may have a theme with the players getting stuck in unfamiliar circumstances, I need to get more creative...)

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"You're all Sartarite female line female descendants of that ancient Asrelia priestess who just died, and who wants to be buried in her family crypt outside of Nochet. You're from different clans and tribes, have vastly different cults, but somehow Esrolian inheritance matters." Already written up in a short version in the German HeroQuest adventure collection book, still waiting for an expanded treatment with way more action on the way to, in, below and outside of Nochet in English language. Getting the Nochet book to deal with that part of the setting might accelerate the job.

Edited by Joerg
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Good idea, I hope all this thread is considered by Chaosium as pitches for future campaign books! 😋

"You are all Aldryami in the Garden of Old Pavis, trying to geat ahead of the plans the trolls have to hunt you down and burn down your Shanasse Tree".

"You are all Masloi pirates trying to eke out a living in the Edrenlin Isles north of the Elamle Peninsula, when one day, you get pieces of a weird treasure map" (I was playing this one before the virus...! 😞)

"You are a group of Pelorian adventurers who have found out a temporal way to sneak past the Syndics Ban and into Charg: your mission: explore the land and try to break the Ban from within."

"You are all rune lords and ladies from the six kingdoms of Kethaela during the Second Age, trying to thwart the plans of the EWF who want to turn the land into the Head of the True Dragon".

"You are all a group of Heortlanders, Esvulari and Godforgotters, sneaking into the dangerous Clanking City, trying to find a secret at the behest of Mularik Ironeye, one of the friends of Argrath".

When Google+ was still up, I remember someone was running a campaign in which "You are all Lunar missionaires trying to get as many converts as possible in Teshnos, to eventually convert the king to the Lunar Way".

In the KRAKEN CON of 2016 Robin Laws produced another nifty campaign idea using ideas from the public: "You are all members of an Issaries merchant caravan heading to Kralorela in search of draconic secrets to bring back to the rebellion, but also trying to get there before Lunar agents and Etyries merchants".

Edited by Runeblogger
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You are a Pavis Survivor trapped in Pavis at the time of the Troll Occupation.  Your heroes have fallen, Balastar lies moldering in his barracks.  What will you do to ensure survival in this post apocalyptic nightmare?  Turn to Chaos? Cannibalism? Become a troll slave?   Because the other humans are doing these things, and many not hesitate to sacrifice you......

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Many of our great campaigns involved Lunar PCs, and were inspired by TV or Movies or Current Events.  Which, IMO, often do fit in better with the more "modern" feel of the Lunar Empire compared to Sartar.  They typically involved fixing the bad deeds of various Lunar conspiracies.  Yolanela featured prominently!

  1.  Some goody two shoes had killed Humakt to "free the world from Death".  See Torchwood, Miracle Day.
  2. Corrupt Power-grubbing Danfive Chancellor had taken over the government and had killed / imprisoned the two main candidates for Emperor.  A mix of Putin and Richard III.
  3. A "Rune Chef" competition for a powerful ancient artifact, mixed with a nasty "Anister - Tark" Dart War.
  4. Military duty patrolling the Dorastor Marches.  A mix of combat, scouting, and dealing with inept or corrupt Lunar Bureaucracy and jealous rivals.

 

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1. The Lunar forces in Elkoi are experiencing pushback from the native Balazarings, and local clans aligned to them are either not enough or the sudden uptick in demand for their services has made them greedy and demanding (alternatively, the Lunars just want to soften up the Balazarings who aren't already aligned with them). Whatever the reason, local forces aren't cutting it and the empire isn't willing to send conventional reinforcements, so the strategy now is to recruit skilled hunters, scouts, raiders, etc. from across the empire (probably a lot from Saird) and assemble them into squads of irregulars to go out and fight these barbarians (and possibly also trolls and such) on their own terms as bushwhackers and guerillas.

2. For various political and magical reasons, the Grazers, Sun Domers, and Runegate Elmali have organized a massive tournament with numerous events both mundane and magical, competing for fabulous prizes, eternal glory, and to prove once and for all whose god's light shines brightest and truest, with unexpected Lunar interference as they either attempt to covertly spark a war or else to insert themselves into it and force all three to submit to the supremacy of Imperial Yelm and his Fortunate Successor. Players might all be on one side (either directly as competitors or providing outside assistance both official and covert) or even be competitors on multiple sides, perhaps driven to work together by circumstance and forging a new understanding out of it if they succeed.

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34 minutes ago, Runeblogger said:

I haven't watched Torchwood, but wow. Did they resurrect Humakt?

They eventually performed rituals to replace Humakt with a "new" one.  And the new one could have been a troll, dwarf, Yanafali, or something chaotic, which would have had great repercussions.  Turned out he was replaced with one of our overly-powerful-time-to-retire Humakt (female) PCs.

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Another idea, all about chariot racing.

Circumstances have led to the resurrection of the worship of both Varnaval the Storm Ram and Saren the Charioteer; not necessarily as part of the Three New Stars, but if you ran that campaign and resurrected one or the other it might make a cool semi-sequel where the other has somehow come back as well (unless you brought them both back, but honestly I don't see why you would).

Anyway, the recent introduction of two new charioteer gods has led to a sudden resurgence of interest in the sport of chariot races, which are fast becoming very competitive and divisive as factions are forming around different teams representing different gods. Varnaval and Saren's worshipers have a lot to prove, but so do new teams worshiping Mastakos seeking to prove that Orlanth's charioteer is still the best (Varnaval I think would be a shared sub-cult of both Orlanth and Heler, while Saren is a sub-cult of Elmal/Yelmalio). Factionalism, hooliganism and sports riots are soon to come.

The players are a newly-formed chariot team in a major city looking to hit it big, which will require convincing a rich local patron to sponsor them. Players don't all have to play drivers; their characters could make up the pit crew, they might act as promoters/spokesmen, the team's healer (chariot races are dangerous, even more so if magical attacks are allowed), etc. From there, it's all about navigating a new and rapidly-growing sport, not just winning races but also cultivating (and perhaps manipulating) a loyal fanbase, navigating the political and religious consequences that will inevitably emerge, and so on.

The most likely place to put this campaign would be Nochet or some other big, cosmopolitan Kethaelan city, but I could also see placing it in Pavis, where Mastakos and Varnaval are big with the Sartarite settlers and Saren with the Sun Domers, and both have to deal with the nomads likely wanting to butt in and wreck all this vile horse-and-cart nonsense (unless both sides had the foresight and resources to use zebras or other herd beasts), though you might also see morokanth arguing that they should be allowed to compete with chariots pulled by herd men.

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1 hour ago, Crel said:

I've wanted to play a clan-based game for a while. But the players are a bloodline of ogres, trying to avoid getting caught by their clan.

Given just how many secret ogre families I've seen in published sources and adventures alone, it honestly doesn't seem that hard.

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6 hours ago, Leingod said:

Given just how many secret ogre families I've seen in published sources and adventures alone,

There is a big running joke in my group from the 'Encounter table for Prax and the Wastes' in Shadows On The Borderlands for RQ3. The encounter table had 'ogres, masquerading as traders' as one entry. But not traders. So if you ever met traders, they were 100% ogres... 

 

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You PCs are the retainers of a Lunar noble family. Your clan is involved in political struggle and Dart War with another clan. As part of the struggle, your family has lost control of their heartland territory, and instead been assigned to control a Lunar territory on the edge of Empire. But the Dart War follows you. 

(freely cribbing from Dune if you make it the Eastern Edge of Empire and maybe you end up fleeing into the desert and living among Pentans, but you could make it something quite different if you choose another frontier, such as dealing with the Arrolians and Charg. The RQ2 version would have been Sor-Eels entourage.)

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50 minutes ago, davecake said:

There is a big running joke in my group from the 'Encounter table for Prax and the Wastes' in Shadows On The Borderlands for RQ3. The encounter table had 'ogres, masquerading as traders' as one entry. But not traders. So if you ever met traders, they were 100% ogres... 

Only the randomly-encountered ones.  The non-random traders might ... just be traders.

 

I mean... there's strong implication in the RAW that it's a helluva longshot...  but it could happen!

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The adventurers are all members of an Uz kitchen crew. Their job is to go out into the surface world and acquire rare, tasty ingredients for the greatest show in Wonderhome: "Who's Eaten Last by Big Momma?" The classic game show where kitchen crews compete each season to come up with the tastiest treat, and be spared one more season's devouring by the Uzuz Big Momma's legendary appetite. The last crew standing gets the honor of being eaten last, before she returns to her decades-long naptime. (Well, we hope!)

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Reading the premise of the planned Valley of the Plenty entry into Jonstown Compendium made me think how awesome it would be to play kids of the various houses in Nochet, involved in their own little gang wars that mirror (but don't exactly mimic, just so things get extra complicated) the politics of their parent houses. The villains are the baddies of the opposed gangs/houses, your parents ("Oh my gods MOM!") and often whoever acts as authority and enforcement in the district. A Romeo & Juliet scenario certainly sounds possible and your Initiations loom large on the horizon...

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On 5/16/2020 at 6:22 PM, Richard S. said:

"New recruits to the Lunar Provincial Army, your regiment was destroyed in the Battle of Heroes and now you need to either escape on your own back to the empire or try and survive among the Sartar barbarians." (thinking of actually using this for a game soon)

Twilight: 1625

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23 hours ago, dumuzid said:

based on the characters' backgrounds, I'm planning to open a forthcoming campaign with a caravan trek from Pavis to Tarsh.

This one is good.   I'm somewhat notorious in my gaming circle for sometimes popping out a very extended, nearly a campaign in its own right, Lewis and Clark style adventure.  There are plenty of travel stories to lean on -- Around the World in 80 days, Little House on the Prairie (seriously, the chapter where Pa gets surrounded by 50 wolves without his gun, and then the wolves surround the house at night -- which doesn't have a door yet, had my kids' eyes popping out), Gulliver's Travels, Anabasis, heck, the Odyssey. 

The trick I found, was to make it arduous -- at LEAST six sessions, well planned terrain and NPC descriptions, a couple of scripted encounters and some long term concerns for the players to fret over (supplies, water, mcguffin safety, being found out, etc.)  It has to take a lot of game time with lots of little and large problems popping up along the way, and no "time skipping".  Basically video game style fast travel kills the spirit of the adventure.  Even if no violence occurs, something must be felt to be happening, and some concern and problem needs to be present.  Man vs. Nature is perfect for these interludes between "heroic" combat.    At the end, the players *always* felt like they had been on an epic adventure, and often wound up with dramatically better characters through wholesale use of skills. 

And once the players learnt to use skills like Craft(wood) or Survival, they don't tend to go back.  You start seeing plans like "we'll disappear into the mountains, they'll never be able catch us there, and we know how to live on the land -- they don't", or "I'll use the snare trap like that time in Tarsh.  You buy time for me to devise it, and then don't forget to jump."   The game changes after an adventure of that sort, and always for the better.

Edited by Dissolv
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As I'm in a Manirian frame of mind these days...

  • After the Lion
    • Greymane has died, leaving a massive power vacuum among the Solanthi.  The party are either Wenelians of the countryside, or agents of the Trader Princes looking to bring order to the land in the name of Ashara.
       
  • The Magnificent Party of Some Size
    • The players are Ramalian revolutionaries plotting the fall of its despotic rulers.  In addition to straight up combat, the players must forge alliances with Ramalian peasants, Mraloti, subversive nobles, and external groups willing to fund & support their efforts.  There will be ideological conflicts over what comes next.  Also, why do the Elves support the Ramalian ruling dynasty?
       
  • The Reforestation Begins
    • Almost overnight, an elder wood regrows over much of Maniria and the Elves proclaim their dominance once more as the Pralori act as their main human allies.  How does your Wenelian village or Trader Prince city survive?  Do you resist the Elves or accept their rule (with their rules of how to live in peace with the Forest)?  Given that the fields and farms are now all forests, how will your community survive?
       
  • The Blue Vision
    • The Helering High Priest has a vision of the Third Flood.  The PCs must scour the lands for magic that will help Maniria survive.  The Helerings of rain, the Howlers of Lava, and the Highmen of Old Slontos must figure out how to weave their power together to somehow resist the Everise Tide.
  • Scale against Brick
    • The ancient, sorcerous city of Kaxtorplose survived the Vrok, and it survived the Slontan Flood.  But after the Dragonrise, the Newts of Ryzel have become agitated and more alien than before.  They marched on Jubal, burning it to the ground.  And now they send emissaries to Kaxtorplose and their Wenelian allies, describing unspeakable rites they must perform or meet the fate of Jubal.  What will the city do?  How will the party save Kaxtorplose?  And should they take the offer of help from the Vadeli merchants who have come by ship?
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A Carmanian game, especially one around Spol anyway, cries out for a lot of gothic romance. The Edark legacies of the Spolite Empire and the excesses of the Bull Shahs are everywhere, including in the local manifestations of the Lunar Way (the masochistic mysticism of Gerra, and murderous Natha cult), and there are necromancers, Darkness witches, brutal thuggish warriors, etc all over the place. And then there are the vampires. Of course heroes will want to fight these ancient monsters - but the big complication (besides the obvious difficulties of killing a vampire who might be over a thousand years old and a skilled sorcerer) is that many of them have sworn to assist the Empire in maintaining its secret Vampire Legion! So the battle against the vampires must be secretive and without the support of the Empire (but perhaps often with the support of the terrified peasantry). 

Crib freely from stuff like Vampire: The Dark Ages or The Witcher if you want - but more importantly, gothic novels and vampire stories and scenery inspired by the gloomy forests and harsh mountains of Eastern Europe etc. 

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And of course these vampires worship Smeyer, a Hero of Vivamort that discovered the connection between Yelmalio and the Lesser Darkness, to the extent that unlike other vampires under Yelm's influence, they give off a distinctive sparkling glow...

(I'm so very very sorry...)

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