Thoughts on my plot outline (it's REALLY long, sorry...)

edited July 2010 in General Discussion
Well, now that I have my campaign page more or less how I want it (still have a few background things to add, but it's mostly there) and the game is underway, I thought I would see what people thought of the story line I've come up with. The setting is my homebrew campaign, with some elements from both 3.5e and 4e D&D. I also will be incorporating 3 pre-built games over the course of the campaign. Despite some of the stuff in there, the game is played entirely in 3.5e (for example, some of the gods, and monsters). Well, without further adieu, I give you the "current campaign": in the Melekar Chronicles:

The ultimate end to this story will be to confront Vecna in his tower at the center of the plane of Pandemonium. He has designs on usurping the power of the Gods, taking it all for himself, and to do it, he'll use anyone, step over anyone. Trapped within his tower on Pandemonium is a great Primordial known as Timesus the Black Star, and Vecna is using its power to fuel his own.

The PCs begin the story with Ember being sent to Highmoor, into the care of Alecar. Their first night in town however, the Archbishop is murdered, and Alecar is asked to investigate. He hires Solaren to help, and they managed to find the villain behind it.

The first enemy the party will face is Garreth, once a proud member of the council of elders, he found a mysterious black scroll in his chambers one night (a scroll of Mauthereign, open grave 215) and after reading it, he began to become a little... off. First he simply became irritable, then prone to violent mood swings, and finally we see him as he is today, plotting assassinations and taking control of the council. Eventually, if he wasn't stopped he would eventually invite the Cult of Vecna into power in the council, and it would be a dark day for Luness. For now, he is simply power hungry, and following the tenets of Mauthereign, committing evil to show evil the wrongness of its ways. That is why he wishes to take over Cumberland, and then he would set his sights even further if he were not stopped. Garreth fled after being convicted of murder. He has gone to join Cumberland to stamp out Luness, who has betrayed him.

From there the PCs will have to contend with the Cult of the Yellow skull (storm tower), which is being used as a tool of Mauthereign to collect the 13 golden skulls, and destroy them, freeing the demonic essence within them (they really only want to destroy the one that has trapped an aspect of Orcus within it).

The PCs are then asked to take the golden skull they found in the Storm Tower to the Luminaries to see if they know of a way to destroy it. They offer to take it and try to find a way to do that, but in the mean time, they hire the party to investigate Slaughterguarde, cue The Shattered Gates of Slaughterguarde adventure module.

After returning to Fallcrest, the party dicovers the town to be in bad shape. It's quiet, subdued and empty feeling. The Temple of the Yellow Skull has been sending raiders to find the remaining skulls that are supposedly dotted around the country-side, and anyone that gets in the way (or even SEES the cultists) is brutally attacked. Captain Faringray once again calls on the PCs for help to take them out at their temple once and for all. Discarded in the bowels of the temple they find another of the black scrolls (although the party doesn't realize it, but this one failed, as the Prelate had already fully succumbed to the evil in his heart).

After dealing with the cult of the yellow skulls, the party is invited by Panzanzabon to join the adventurer's guild. While enjoying a rest and stories of the Unvanquished company, an emissary of bahamut is sent to Fallcrest to inform the PCs that Garreth has returned, and he has an army behind him. Cumberland, Garreth, and the Golbin King have joined forces and are coming through the mountains to attack. Their first target appears to be Wellspring, so that's where Luness's forces are going to gather, and the PCs have been asked to go with them. Cumberland moves to attack, along with Garreth and the Goblin King.


  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Part 2:

    After finishing with the war, the pcs find out that there have been increased drow attacks on "surface" elves, and they are asked to do something to help. (Expedition to the Demonweb Pits) This draws them into the middle of Abyssal affairs, the dealings between Graz'zt and Lolth. They stop some of the drow, and take a note from one of them, telling them to return to the Styx Oarsman in Sigil. Graz'zt's son, Rule-of-Three, in disguise tricks the party into doing three tasks for him. Eventually these tasks take the party to Yggdrasil, The Beastlands, and to the Abyss itself. The ultimately have to decide between helping Graz'zt to stop Lolth, or vice-versa. There isn't a clear cut "win or lose." After finally attending the demonic council, and possibly killing several demonic aspects, the party will return to Melekar once more.

    Returning to Fallcrest and the adventurer's guild, the party is then informed of the Unvanquished Company, legendary sets of armor. Buried with them at the end of their days, all of the tombs are guarded so that whosoever seeks the armor of the Unvanquished Company will be found worthy.

    After collecting the Armory of the Unvanquished, the party will be kidnapped and taken to the Shadowfell, the city of Gloomwraught specifically. The party will wake up in chains in separate but adjoined cells. They are beneath the arena, and are going to be the main event in the arena. Mauthereign, not content with merely killing the PCs for continuing to foil his plans, he plans to use them before he disposes of them. However, he didn't know that the party was in possession of an item that would allow them to travel freely between the Shadowfell and the prime. When the PCs win their rounds in the arena and eventually escape, they use this item to travel back to the prime, but not before overhearing that they were brought to the arena by Mauthereign himself.

    After escaping and returning to their home, Alecar receives a message from his brother Jethro, the first in many years. It is a strange letter, and only after careful study can they decipher the hidden meaning. It is a cry for help. Josseth Crownblade, the Lord Captain of the Platinum Talon, has lost his mind. He has taken the ideals of justice and right, and twisted them into a tyrannical law, where if anyone steps out of line, the punishment is death. So powerful is his zeal that even the Kingpriest dare not stand against him. The party must go to Harrington to rescue Jethro and stop Crownblade. How they do that is up to them. They might get help from the Kingpriest, or they might just go in and kill Crownblade. During their investigation, they discover that Crownblade also had a black scroll in his possession, and this time they find out where it came from. Kravenghast Necropolis.

    The party will then go to the Kravenghast Necropolis, where Mauthereign has revived the Cult of Vecna. Here they will confront Mauthereign himself. After dealing with Mauthereign, the party thinks that they have succeeded in defeating the cult of Vecna, but it turns out they are very wrong.

    The party will then be contacted by the Raven Queen, because Orcus has found a way to enter a place known as Death's Reach (Death's Reach module) and is in danger of upsetting the flow of souls to the great beyond. She explains that divine beings are forbidden to enter Death's Reach, and so she is begging them to intervene. Even she doesn't know that Vecna was the one that told Orcus how to enter Death's Reach, and that his real plan is to have his archangel, Vecna's Silence, enter Death's Reach and steal away the slumbering form of Timesus, the Black Star, a powerful primordial sealed away there since the Dawn Wars. By the time the party realizes that Orcus was a decoy (if they don't, the Raven Queen will inform them), Vecna's Silence will be long gone.

    After completing the Death's Reach Adventure and returning to the world of the living, the party will eventually be attacked by elite cultists in the service of Vecna. They bear the symbol of Osterneth (the party doesn't recognize it). The party must travel to the great library in Iasen, and they find her symbol in the ancient tomes as the symbol of the Bronze Lich, Vecna's mightiest servant. In those ancient, forbidden tomes they find that she has literally taken Vecna's heart and replaced her own with it. The party must find out that she is now a lady of high standing in the city of Sigil, and they must go there to confront her to end Vecna's plans. The party can kill her and destroy her phylactery, ending her immensely long unlife, but they lack the means to destroy the heart of Vecna. The only way to do that is with the sword of Kas.
  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Part 3:

    They must discover that Vecna made a deal with Mephistopheles, trading the soul of Kas, the First Betrayer, for passage into the ancient corners of Cania, looking for secrets forgotten since the beginning of time. The party must navigate through the Nine Hells to the frozen eighth layer, and gain an audience with Mephistopheles. This could be as simple as killing a bunch of gelugons, and impressing him. They obviously can't take on his entire citadel, so they must make a deal with the devil. Mephistopheles agree to give them Kas in exchange for exploring Kintyr, a palace forbidden to all but mortals, and destroying the magical shielding that prevents him from finding it and accessing its secrets. They must choose, to destroy Vecna they must help Mephistopheles. After doing what Mephistopheles asks, he shows the party to where Kas is frozen, and releases him to the party. He summons his equipment and immediately attacks Mephistopheles. Kas is then destroyed, leaving his equipment behind for the party to take, including his sword. The party will then be free to go as Mephistopheles is quite pleased with how everything turned out. In fact, he'll tell the party that he's heard of an ancient tower on the plane of Pandemonium where Vecna and his greatest immortal servants work in secret. The party can then destroy the Heart of Vecna, making it possible for Vecna to succumb to Final Death. The party must then make their way out of the Nine Hells (they will be given a boat to travel the Styx, if they don't have one).

    Once back into the Astral Sea, they must head to Pandemonium for the final confrontation with Vecna. They must make their way through the winding tunnels of the plane to eventually arrive at the Tower of Secrets, where Vecna is waiting at the top. Being a god, of course Vecna is waiting with supreme confidence, however, even he didn't know that being the ones to destroy his heart with the weapon that gave him the name the Maimed Lord has made the party immune to his divine powers. He is far from weak however, being one of the most powerful casters both divine and arcane in the multiverse. After defeating Vecna for good, at least one of the party members must ascend to Godhood in his place (any of them that wish can ascend, splitting the amount of influence Vecna had among them, in effect becoming a group of Demi-gods instead of a single god). After Vecna's death, his tower begins to crumble, and the party must escape before it implodes in upon itself. When they emerge from Pandaemonium back into the Astral Sea, the other gods feel the change that has occurred and they are there to greet the godlings.
  • JimTriche
    Posts: 483
    Holy moly, what a great story! Seriously want to play in that game man. You put a lot of thought into your plot, Vecna has always been a favorite bad guy of mine, and the settings are awesome as well. Sounds like epic confrontation after epic confrontation.
  • arsheesh
    Posts: 850
    Yeah that's quite well thought out Gaaran. I've actually never run, played in, nor even read any campaign journals concerning an epic level campaign before, so this is sort of my first glimpse. I like the overall story arc of taking down Venca. I'm curious though. As detailed as your plot is, how do you deal with unforeseen character actions and deviations from the main storyline? Have you thought out alternative story scenarios that would ultimately lead back to the main storyline? Anyway, I am excited to see how this plot unfolds. Like Jim said, it's quite epic.

  • gaaran
    Posts: 740
    Hey, thanks guys, yeah, I've really put a lot of thought into this one, and so far the players are enjoying it. I'm still on the Slaughterguarde adventure module, so I have a LONG way to go but it's been pretty awesome so far. Sheesh, as far as them doing unexpected things, one of the things I pride myself on is ad-libbing, so I don't really worry about it. When it comes up I'll let them go do their thing, whatever they want, and then I'll introduce an event that sort of steers them back to where I wanted them to go. I've never played a campaign that went from level 1 to epic before either, so here's hoping that it works out. Keep an eye on the adventure log for more! :)
  • Duskreign
    Posts: 1,085
    This is pretty similar to how I outline my own campaigns in Wyrmshadow, actually. I feel in you a kindred spirit, Gaaran. With regards to dealing with unexpected player input, I, like you, absolutely thrive upon it. My last campaign, Sins of the Fathers, was meant to be a quick, 12 session story. Then, I got an infusion of newbie players and the idea dawned on me to have two separate factions, the lawful Order and the chaotic Current, approach the same story from vastly different perspectives, but with common enemies and intertwining storylines. That stretched the length out to about 30 sessions or so.

    By the time my players got their mitts on my plot as it unfolded, their decisions prompted me to rethink certain plot points, swap some out, rearrange others, and add entire new segues to the overall narrative. In the end, the game was 41 sessions long and eleven players and one exhausted DM were far better off for the changes.

    I was reading what you have planned, and, like JimTriche and Arsheesh said, dayumm! (well, they didn't say that exactly, but the sentiment is the same.)

    Regarding this part: "The party will then go to the Kravenghast Necropolis, where Mauthereign has revived the Cult of Vecna. Here they will confront Mauthereign himself. After dealing with Mauthereign, the party thinks that they have succeeded in defeating the cult of Vecna, but it turns out they are very wrong. "

    Those last eight words are my favorite ones in any plot outline. I remember fondly the first epic D&D game I ever played (consider first that I was young, and any campaign that lasted more than 10 sessions was epic to me), when we were led to believe that we were facing the final enemy, the guy at the very top of the heap. After a hard-fought battle in which one of the PCs and all the supporting NPCs were dead, in strides the first minor villain we faced in the very first session, clapping his approval, telling us that we all played our parts beautifully. This jerk was the big-bad the whole stupid time! Goosebumps, to this day.

    Your players are going to feel the exact same way when they beat Mauthereign and realize they just scratched the surface of something far greater, and far more epic than they could have imagined.
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