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Author Topic: Alternative Beginnings  (Read 3694 times)

Cyberzombie

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Alternative Beginnings
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2006, 10:53:32 AM »
Quote from: willpax
4. In extreme cases, I have been known to make up 8-10 PCs, complete with background, and simply allow the players to choose one from the group. Although it seems rather restrictive, I've often had my players identify with characters given to them in this way quite well, because each character already fits the world so well.


Mad Hatter ran the beginning of the 2nd edition Werewolf introductory adventure.  As with all such things, they had sample characters -- but they were all very different than any "Werewolf" stereotype, *and* were very different from the sort of powergamer characters most people would make.  They used some of the more obscure powers and niches of the game.  It made for a damn fun adventure, 'cause everyone was getting their roleplaying muscles stretched.  :)
 

ColonelHardisson

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Alternative Beginnings
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2006, 11:26:55 AM »
Quote from: Cyberzombie
One I'd like to try some time is where the players get given character sheets for some high-powered badasses.  They play for a while, then get munched by the BBEG.  Then the actual game starts with their real characters, who deal with the  mess that their predecessors left.


Sounds a lot like "Vecna Lives!"
"Illegitimis non carborundum." - General Joseph "Vinegar Joe" Stilwell

4e definitely has an Old School feel. If you disagree, cool. I won't throw any hyperbole out to prove the point.

Name Lips

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« Reply #17 on: March 01, 2006, 11:30:33 AM »
I had an idea for starting off 5th or 6th level characters as captured slaves pressed into the gladiator circuit. They all start having won several matches, and been assigned to kill each other in a free-for-all. (necessary background - none of them like this and all would like to escape. Perhaps they all know each other from the gladiator pits.) As the match starts, there's a tremendous earthquake and the arena is damaged, allowing escape during the confusion.
Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways, it's still rock and roll to me.

You can talk all you want about theory, craft, or whatever. But in the end, it's still just new ways of looking at people playing make-believe and having a good time with their friends. Intellectualize or analyze all you want, but we've been playing the same game since we were 2 years old. We just have shinier books, spend more money, and use bigger words now.

Nicephorus

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« Reply #18 on: March 01, 2006, 11:40:21 AM »
Quote from: Name Lips
I had an idea for starting off 5th or 6th level characters as captured slaves pressed into the gladiator circuit. They all start having won several matches, and been assigned to kill each other in a free-for-all. (necessary background - none of them like this and all would like to escape. Perhaps they all know each other from the gladiator pits.) As the match starts, there's a tremendous earthquake and the arena is damaged, allowing escape during the confusion.


I'd try to work in a couple who were disappointed that the fight didn't happen and who are waiting for a good opportunity to give it a go - have Mugen and Jin (from Samurai Champloo) rivalry going on.

Janos

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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2006, 10:50:27 AM »
I've never been a big fan of a start that immediately strips a character of all possessions.  Especially the slaves/prisoners angle as that's been done to death.

Some of my favorites are:

Adventuring College - Easy for most players to relate to, a shared companionship with the inherent cheesy cliche of being from a small town, and you can play a more mature character.

Danger! - The players all start not knowing one another but in a situation where they're overwhelmed and have to work with the others to surivive.  Examples include starting all 5 characters in the Underdark, and having a hunting scene where each player had to run from a lot of kobolds.  Eventually the PCs end up in a large corridor facing the kobolds and one another.  They fought together, really bonded and covered one another, and destroyed the kobolds.

The odd thing about this one is that my players actually worked better when they didn't know one another than when they became a party.  I still don't get that.

Amnesia - The players all wake up in a small town without any real memory of who or what they are.  There are several townspeople suffering the same condition.  Eventually the players discovered more of their memory.  Of the 5 players, 3 were part of an adventuring party that had uncovered the artifact that wiped the town's memory.  2 were passing through.  Another party member (NPC) of the 3 that were together stole the artifact and left them with the amnesia.  The players were able to write their backgrounds up until about a year of game time before the campaign started.  It worked marvelously.

Mentor to Student - 4 or 5 retired heroes each took on an apprentice and trained them together, then brings the students together for the first time to go off on a mission.  That first mission was a test of their abilities created by the older heroes, and after that they send the PCs off on some specific missions to tie up their own lose ends, and eventually off on their own for good.
 

Nicephorus

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« Reply #20 on: March 02, 2006, 11:36:32 AM »
There is a local gaming group that meets monthly and I've been thinking about starting a semi-campaign of simple 3.5 D&D (no extra rules as I want everyone to be on the same page right away).  I can't count on having the same players every time.  You also can't expect people to remember much after a month, so I want each night's action to be largely standalone, one shot adventures, but I want people to be able to reuse their characters.

Here's the setup I plan on using.

You have been found guilty of a moderate level crime.  It might have killed someone in an illegal  duel, caught carrying illegal weapons, tax evasion, theft, import/export without the proper forms and fees, something worse than loitering and less than murder.

You may or may not have actually been guilty.  Perhaps you are a foreigner ignorant of local laws or someone who did the honorable but illegal thing.  That is now irrelevant.  You have already been sentenced.  The city of Neess is quite progressive and doesn't use execution or even maiming in most cases.  The city loves to use fines.  But if the person is too poor or the crime is too serious the person is Marked.  Marking puts a permanent imageof a horned skull on a person's face.  It magically shows through makeup and hoods.   Nothing short of wish level magic can remove it.

Soon after your sentencing, you are approached by a mysterious woman.  She informs you that she is from the Neessan council and would like to hire you for a secret mission.  You will be paid.  She has a secret spell that will remove the Mark for a week.  The missions are quite dangerous.  But, if you succeed in three missions, your Mark will be permanently removed and your name stricken from the crime record.  She warns you that she has no official title and only a few people know of her existence - if they get caught, no one will believe that they are working for the government.

Your character is someone who has agreed to this proposal.  Maybe the Mark prevents them from pursuing their earlier life and work.  Or may they just want the chance to do cool dangerous stuff.


The adventures will be spy stuff in an urban fantasy setting: assassinations, object retrieval, finding out secrets, etc.

Cyberzombie

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« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2006, 12:16:29 PM »
Quote from: ColonelHardisson
Sounds a lot like "Vecna Lives!"
Generally, yeah, though I had the idea even before that (from some book I read, I think).

Actually, given our conversation on the Star Frontiers 2001 module the other day, it got me thinking about this some more.  It would be difficult to do, but it would be interesting to have a group run two sets of characters -- one in the past and the other in the present -- at the same time.  I'm not sure how you'd coordinate it, and it would be tough to keep things straight (and not have the past wipe out things done in the future), but it is an idea that intrigues me...
 

willpax

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« Reply #22 on: March 02, 2006, 08:59:39 PM »
I remember an opening I did once for a hybrid fantasy/sci fi campaign with a loose "Amber" feel: I let the players each make up any kind of character they wanted (at a particular level of power), in whatever world they wanted, and then immediately had them summoned to this campaign plane by a very powerful wizard. If they wanted to get back home, they had to help the wizard (although they later learned of other options by maneuvering around the rather complicated politics of the place).

The characters get their stuff, the world is completely unknown, and the only people who can understand their situation are the other summoned characters. It worked pretty well.
Cherish those who seek the truth, but beware of those who find it. (Voltaire)

Emerald

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« Reply #23 on: March 02, 2006, 10:09:15 PM »
oops, thought whis was a new thread.  Oh well, on topic:

I started my last campaign by having each of them write their backgrounds so that they ended up in the same city.  Then they each recieved an invitation by a local Lord whose considered it his job to know things and acquire items.  He offered to hire them as a party to do some jobs for him.

Not that original I know.

*Comming soon - a new thread on working in a new character*