The Situation

Brainstorm for settings and game ideas
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Agamemnon
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The Situation

Post by Agamemnon » 02 Sep 2018, 12:40

Sword & Scoundrel is fairly explicit in focusing on the players. Through their drives and traits, the player characters ultimately choose where the story is going to go -- but what about where they start?

Every good campaign begins with a situation. Sometimes called a kicker, the situation isn't just a general premise for the campaign, it's a specific event or circumstance that thrusts the story into action. The situation is where the GM gets to make their voice heard in the shape of the game to come, even giving the players a solid starting point from which to write their drives.

The situation inevitably springs from the premise, but any given premise could spawn a theoretically infinite number of situations.
Premise: The PCs are all important figures in a revolution to bring down a theocratic regime. For the good of the empire, the chains of the false god-emperor must be shattered and the man exposed for the pretender he is.

Situation: At the revolution's climax, revolutionary forces stormed the palace and with the help of a strange old priest slew the emperor. It was only in the howling, screaming, chittering aftermath that they realized without question and beyond dispute -- the emperor was a god... and they have killed him.

Premise: The PCs are members of and connected to one of the five most powerful noble houses in the kingdom. For generations, they have had a blood feud with a rival house that goes beyond any hope of reconciliation.

Situation: After the most recent clash between the houses threatened to engulf the kingdom in a civil war, the King himself has put his foot down and demand the two houses put a stop to this madness. The two houses were forced to enter a peace accord, swearing an oath that neither shall seek harm against the other or break the kings peace on pain of death and the stripping of title and lands from every member of the house responsible. No more than a week after the accords are signed, the former head of the PC's household dies mysteriously on a boar hunt. The house physician strongly suspects that the wine was poisoned with some form of sedative.
Premise: The PCs are members of prestigious Musketeers of the military household of the King of France -- or, more colloquially, the King's Musketeers. Swashbuckling adventure will ensue.

Situation: After an evening of carefree drinking and gambling in a lower-class tavern, they are set upon in an alleyway by armed men. The target? One of the PCs. One of the assassins? A Spaniard. No one knows why.
Have you been kicking around any ideas for your Scoundrel campaign?
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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thirtythr33
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Re: The Situation

Post by thirtythr33 » 06 Sep 2018, 10:29

Premise: The PCs are all in an army invading foreign territory. Maybe they were conscripted, a patriot serving their country, or just a mercenary looking to get rich, doesn't really matter.

Situation: The commander has decided that they are to follow a river to a shallow crossing at a small village downstream. When they arrive they see a commotion of people at the shores of the village, but they are no army. Mostly women by the looks of it. The commander gives the order to cross the river. As the army is coming up the shore the women attack them with flaming torches and stones while screaming like wild animals. Having crossed they can now see in the village is a circle of men wearing black robes and standing on a raised platform. They are chanting in a strange tongue and stretching their arms out to the sky. The army puts the women to the sword and advance next on to the chanters. They too are cut down, the chanters don't even defend themselves, chanting until the last. As the slaughter slows down, they begin to realize what is going on. The platform the chanters were standing on is a giant funeral pyre. A surviving woman, still carrying her flaming stick, lights the pyre ablaze which begins to consume the bodies of the chanters. The army has been tricked into participating in a dark ritual fueled by the sacrifice of the women and the chanters. Oops.

Inspired by: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_con ... f_Anglesey
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
dysjunct
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Re: The Situation

Post by dysjunct » 06 Sep 2018, 22:32

Premise: The PCs were once movers and shakers in the Thieves’ Guild in the most powerful city in the world. The old leadership was ousted in a coup and the PCs barely escaped with their lives. Since then, they’ve been plotting revenge, and the time is finally ripe.

Situation: The PCs infiltrate the city. They isolate the current leader and move in for the kill. Then, he drops over dead from clearly unnatural causes. The town guards move in. What do you do?
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Agamemnon
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Re: The Situation

Post by Agamemnon » 09 Oct 2018, 02:43

Premise: The PCs are members of and connected to an ancient and venerable noble house known for its wealth and prestige. The problem? No one knows that the silver mine upon which that wealth was based has been dry for two generations and the family has spent nearly every penny of its considerable treasury keeping up appearances.

Situation: An agent appears representing hitherto unknown but powerful foreign creditors. It seems that in addition to spending all of the family's existing funds, the previous head of the household took out considerable loans to help maintain the charade. The agent is here to express his masters severe disappointment that payment on these loans has lapsed since the previous Lord's demise and insists that the debt did not perish with the lord who took it on. Now, they want the matter resolved. Entirely.
Premise: The PCs are agents of the Emperor's Holy Inquisition or retainers thereof. The inquisitorial seal they bear grants them the highest authority, answerable only to the throne itself. They are assassins and holy men, sworn knights, spies, and witch hunters, all tasked with rooting out any threat to the empire from without or within.

Situation: The northern provinces are rife with rumors of civil unrest, and so the agents are dispatched to the edge of the empire to investigate. En route, they hear fantastical rumors of a mysterious beast attacking peasants or travelers along the road. These rumors take on a more substantive edge when they find a mortally wounded man on the road, torn nearly to ribbons but somehow still breathing.
Premise: The PCs are part of a sizable group of knights and pilgrims returning home from crusade. Among their company, a number of templar (some of whom may even be the PCs themselves) who are sworn to protect the travelers walking the path from the Holy Land. Despite ultimately being victorious, the returning company is only a small portion of the men who went east years prior. Each and all are tired and haggard, filled with pride and loss in equal measure. Still, it is a long journey home and there will be months yet on the road.

Situation: Some weeks into the journey home, the party comes across a scene of slaughter. The city was to be a major milestone on the road home, a friendly shelter at where the hundred-man company could resupply and recover. Now, it lies in ruin with no stone left standing upon the other. The enemy had come and made their voices heard. Making matters more complicated, upon seeing the company of pilgrims survivors emerged. There were hundreds, mostly women, children, and the infirm. They escaped the city before the invaders arrived.. and now they are defenseless, with no where to go and no one to protect them but our haggard company.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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thirtythr33
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Re: The Situation

Post by thirtythr33 » 09 Oct 2018, 22:36

Premise: The PCs are members, students or employees of a magic university. The university knows of a once in a century astrological conjunction coming in a months time. If all the practitioners at the university cooperated, they could use the conjunction to cast a spell powerful enough to change the world.

Situation: Noone can agree what spell should be cast. As the date looms closer, the university is breaking down into factions each trying to gather support and resources for their cause. Some have even spoken of breaking away from the university entirely and performing their own casting when the time comes. A leader of one of the factions has been found dead, with a seance revealing that he was forced to commit suicide by a magical compulsion.
"O happy dagger!
This is thy sheath; there rust, and let me die."

- Juliet Capulet
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