My players just finished the arc of my campaign, a home grown world using a glorious past a hardened present with an uncertain outlook. They disrupted the evil priest from channeling the power of his god to become a Hellfire Dragon leaving him a strong flaming serpent but not a dragon or hellfire-ish. Then they delved under a freebooter city into caverns and set free a city of Dwarves who had been enslaved by Orc’s allied with the evil priest. Now the Dwarves are trading partners with the PC’s.
Save the world, make a mint… what now? Oh and did I mention the Succubus Madame.
We recently lost one of our game members and that brought us down to 3 players. One of my players searched and screened for potential replacements and found someone worth meeting. We met at a local diner had coffee and just sat around talking for an hour or so. We joked, laughed at our group’s role playing track records and showed off our odd senses of humor.
The new addition is a 3rd edition player but is new to 4th edition so I made a choice. So with the empty chair filled I decided that without starting a new world or campaign all four of my players will make new level 1 character.
What about the old characters? Will the players still be able to play them? They’re only level 12 so lots of room to grow right? They decided that with a world seemingly lacking in Adventurers that the next thing to do would be to buy a house and start their own guild. I’ve let the founding members come up with the charter, rules and regulations, but had a few suggestions on benefits and requirements.
Enter the level ones, now I have the excuse for bringing in new characters without throwing the old ones out. These entry level members will be given tough assignments and made to prove themselves, but they will be getting some benefits from the guild as well. Besides receiving a 10% discount for buying basic supplies through the guild they will receive room and board while in the city. Though they must pay due’s it would be a cost of upkeep. I’ve settled on 10 gold pieces per month, or a tithing (10%) of the treasure and rewards for adventures. This 10% is usable for buying any of the characters new or old, items and gear. Or. Even to hire more guards to guard those caravans.
I set the profit’s at 10% of there initial investment each in game month. Additional gold they pour into the investment will increase the amount of return. The members can spend their tithing and profit on caravan and increase the amount they earn each month from trade. But they will either spend all their time protecting the caravans or spend that profit to hire guards, but occasionally a foray into recovering there own goods will be warranted. I hope this will instill in them a sense of long term goals and a feeling of passing time.
The PC’s will gain some benefits depending on what they bring to the guild. The founding members of the guild each have talents that have helped them in the past but we don’t want all that hard work to go unrewarded. So I drew up some benefits the founders lend to the guild as a support network.
The human warlord Ian is a good tactician and a priest of Pelor, The church gives a discount for services rendered. Offering healings, and a safe place to rest as well as chapels across the land guaranteeing that respite is always near.
p. Benefit: 10% discount on healing droughts, lay on hands and free resting places.
The half-elf fighter Freya is a sergeant in a militia so contacts with the local authorities are handled cordially as well as being an accomplished diplomat who knows the best way of dealing with clients.
p. Benefit: +2 to all diplomacy checks for all guild teams while working with writs bearing the guild seal.
Chickadena the gnome ranger is as good as any thief when it comes to disappearing and striking from a distance and possesses the tracking skills of a predator. Her hunting skills have sustained the party so far and with some down time she and her friend Xander can hunt to stalk the larder.
p. Benefit: +2 to all nature checks for all guild teams while foraging for 1 week after departure from the guild house.
Then there is the Wizard / Druid Xander. Freya’s brother. Who recently took up the art of magic item creation. He also studies the manuscripts dealing with the ancient empires and the wars that led to their destruction. He has also been tracing the lineage of the Three Emperors to solve further mysteries he has come across.
p. Benefit: +2 on all History checks for guild teams while able to communicate with Xander. And the access to magic items created to order for the guild members as long as they supply or pay for the raw materials and magic items.
Well with a team like that I think that the Guild has the chance of working out as long as they do more good than bad. They have already started trade with the Dwarves they rescued and want to expand that to the towns to the east where the player’s started. With opening up trade to other communities and the chance to rebuild a fortified town near the characters home that could eventually be a center of trade. Well it a start to a new age.
I’ve taken to the advice of say yes to my players. I mean it’s a wide world out there and variety abounds. After all there is the whole of the continent to explore, sieges to break, and the occasional god to stop from rising to burn the world.
So I can say “Sure you can play an Eladrin Warlock, Oh you want it to be an Infernal Pact, sure not problem!” (Then they get a little nervous when I steeple my fingers and chuckle). I learned back in the day’s of 2nd edition that you use the players own ideas, conclusions and misinterpretations to build the world around them. Usually it turns out better than what you originally planned, but not always. My players have greatly dictated the path of the story, if they were interested in one thing and not another I made that the focus.
‘If the party grows suspicious of the work camp cook who has been saying things to the humans in the camp trying to set them against the dwarf miners. Let them. When they decide that he must be more than a simple bigot and tie him to the evil god’s plans. Take it and run with it. Way better than just a scuffle over who’s better then who. Now I have a reoccurring villain and a threat that I can use at any time.’
On the way into the sewers to get to the black market the PC’s passed through a brothel used as an entrance. One of them noticed that everyone who worked there wore a mithral bracelet. The wizard made an impressive arcane check and wanted to know if any enchantments were on the bracelets. I immediately decided “Yes, you notice a subtle augmentation to there charisma. It also has a cleverly disguised alarm spell.” He really rolled that good I had to give him something. So the Fighter decided the party had to free these slaves after they were done with disrupting the evil priest’s / Cook’s plans. She doesn’t like slavery and wouldn’t abide it in her presence.
I was thinking whoa, ok I can work with this. I’m pretty good at improvising.
So on their way back from stopping the evil priests/cook’s attempted coup of the city on the surface and after freeing an underground city of dwarves from Orc oppression they rescued the slaves from the brothel. They announced their intent of liberation at the end of one session and we had three more in between before they returned to the surface. So I used an old idea that had been kicking around my head and viola! A brothel that was being run by a Succubus in human form who used the establishment as a front for soul trafficking. When they bluffed their way into the establishment after business hours and Sneak their way to the Madame’s chambers her guards were not alerted until she was slain. Now they have to fight their way out while keeping the slaves safe. Then they have to get across town with out being caught and down the tunnels to the Smugglers Cove were if their lucky a boat will take them away from the island. Oh and since the succubus is immortal and was defeated by the PC’s resulting in her being sent back to the underworld she’ll be looking for a chance for revenge.
Well she’ll be back somehow some time. And the new characters may be getting the brunt of the devils Eire. But with a number of enemy’s left bleeding and battered in the wake of the party’s rise to fame and fortune some of them are bound to resurface looking for revenge.
Next we kick off with combat, skill challenges then move to being role play heavy were they will be making deals, hiring new members and making a name for themselves. Spending the session intermixing this with the book keeping required for the new level ones should keep it from getting monotonous.
The session after that, the next day. This is when the new recruits get there orders. The first mission is guarding a caravan going north owned by the Guild and its investors. Then a week later they will be coming back with another caravan of trade goods that are to be sold in the city. So this will leave the Players with a responsibility of payment to their investors. So if things go badly it could mean a lot of people could get hurt, with the PC’s at the top of the list.
It is hard to believe that it has been less than a year since the characters left the comfort of Apple Town Market and the Cross Roads. Now they have uncovered mysteries, made many friends and allies as well as an enemy or two. And a few gold coins to boot.
As the GM its my job to threaten the world and the peace, theirs to lay low the beasts and expose the conspiracy’s.
B. M. King
p. 08 December 2009
~ All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well … Until there not!~