Not With a Bang, but With Portents of Dice

rpgblogcarnivallogoThis month’s RPG blog carnival, as hosted by Rising Phoenix Games, is about adventures in which the known world is at stake. The nigh has ended and should the characters fail then they and the whole world will suffer.

If the GM has the time, the patience and the scheduling, then planning ahead will reap great dramatic reward.  Choosing early what apocalypse the characters will face lets you build it into the fabric of the game world.  Whilst the party are off rescuing princesses from various castles, fighting mad wizards and robbing the assassin’s guild, the doom in their future is quietly brewing.  Hints, sign and portents of what is to come can be scattered in the game world and the story.  That mad wizard has a diary in which he rants about trying to escape before his tower his destroyed.  Or there could be a cult of doomsayers that grows larger and larger over time, appearing more frequently in the streets urging the unfaithful to repent.  An adventurous GM could look to find a way of stringing all the previous stories together into a weave that reveals itself to the characters only much later.

An Oncoming Monster

A very very very large monster is heading towards the city of Vallumen across the continent of Vryhs.  It will take it several months to reach Vallumen, but its progress is inexorable and consistent.  A large as a mountain, its footsteps crush everything beneath and shake the ground apart.  What is not ruined is burnt by the monster’s intense body heat.  Its goal is a shrine, buried beneath the temple of hope.  When it uncovers the shrine, the monster will transcend this plane and escape the piercing pain of existence.  Its mortal shell will collapse and a mountain’s worth of flesh will impact the ground.  As the monster comes ever closer, the flow of refugees increases and panic overtakes logic.  The plume of smoke that comes from within it reaches to the top of sky and can be seen from hundreds of miles away.

Portents – murals in an ancient temple of a moving mountain; a thick flat layer of ash that runs throughout a mine complex’s walls; earthquakes of increasing size and power as the monster awakens.

Industrial Revolution

In his great and terrible fortress, Baron Tuka has been making lightning from iron and steam.  Capturing it in jars, he has built metal men that do his bidding flawlessly and exactly.  His inventions have left the nearly all peasants of his land without work, making them reliant and subservient on his great workshops for food and goods.  His army now nears completion, needing only the next violent storm to fully charge them.  He seeks to make war upon the world and spread his efficient way of life to the people near and far.  For Baron Tuka cannot abide waste.  For him, everything must have a place and a purpose, otherwise it is a disuse of the gift of life.  He rejects utterly the propaganda that he is obsessed with control claiming instead that in obedience he brings freedom for worry.  Should Baron Tuka be victorious, no one will need worry again.

Portents – thunderstorms in the far east despite the season; a sudden increase in manufactured goods in markets; finding the remains of a hunting pack killed by lightning.

No More Words

It first started in the middle of a theatrical performance.  The play was billed as the most linguistically complex philosophical drama yet produced.  At the start of the second act, the actors started to fumble lines and forget words. When the infuriated playwright attempted to intervene, she couldn’t speak at all.  The spread out from the playhouse was much slower, with it taking several weeks before a sufferer is rendered completely mute.  With it being so hard to spot the afflicted, only the most isolated communities or the most murderous of quarantines have had any effect.  No voices are now heard in the city of Arcedas and its surrounding countryside with people communicating with written notes and signs.  An urgent conference of mages and clerics has been called. They hope to discern why the god of language has either forsaken them or cursed civilisation to ruin.

Portents – erudite and well spoken characters suddenly having trouble with words; repeated closures of the temples of the god of language; people using the phase “watch what you hear” as a metaphor for caution.

Image Credit – Wasteland by Ashley Jonathan Clements – CC-By-NC-ND-2.0