Heroes of Bestillville
Note to the Players
Below is some mostly common knowledge stuff for the setting I’m reworking. I forgot how much of it I had altered to be open world, built specifically for a couple well developed PC’s that had been frequently used in former settings. I had mainly just used the concepts for the world and a couple of the Major NPC’s and then let them free reign the whole place. Surprisingly, even in the open world setting they actually got to the halfway point of the campaign’s main story arch twice before life circumstances interrupted those games. Anyway I’m having to rework a lot of the setting, removing those character specific elements I had created just for their individual characters, which leads me to several quandaries and proposals that I could use feedback on.
- I intend to present a structured main story arch, by creating a world that has factions and individual NPC’s that continue to act and be guided by their motivations in a sensible timeline whether or not the PC’s interact with them. (I hope this will give the sense of a living world that players can both shape and be shaped by.)
- Regarding the main structured story arch, in the past, characters have been allowed to pursue plots or have back stories that push them into the forefront as semi-spotlight characters. These individual characters have had a greater capacity to impact the campaign’s major plot points than other characters in the setting. At this stage of rebuilding the setting, does the group want to allow such characters come into existence within the party by players in game choices, or should I alter the setting to completely exclude the capacity for any individual character to gain that level of influence? (My personal preference leans towards following whatever direction a player takes a character in RP to it’s logical consequence, given whatever factors are in place governing the situation at the time)
- Should we use the pre-made back stories I’ll generate, or would you prefer to write your own, and potentially have some capacity to influence the shape of the setting while I’m rebuilding it? (This is in support of the idea of my belief that the world settings are more entertaining if they are a push-pull environment between your player input and my DM imagination.) The back story constraints are relatively simple: must be party friendly, must have a deep interest in the starting city of Bestillville, and must fit with the alignment and age group for the pre-generated character you randomly draw.
- I intend to make available multiple quest lines that will be mutually exclusive, but will each have a unique piece of information to guide the party toward the primary storyline. The hope is that the main storyline will diverge and converge periodically as the players choose different routes to complete their goals, and will give the players the ability to explore routes along the way that I hadn’t considered (but might be equally as valid or obtainable as whatever I intended).
- The caution here is that the further from the pre-made routes/quest lines the more open ended the game becomes and along with it the stakes for benefit and detriment. I very much would like to reward lateral routes for completing goals, but to off set the potential rewards the potential risks increase as well. This is because the world’s main plot continues to move forward whether or not you’re along for the ride, and the lateral method may alter something about that course in ways that you can’t predict.
- The setting, due to a cataclysm in it’s relatively recent history, is steeped in oral myth and legend. This means that much of what characters will know about the world is subject to heavy speculation and debate.
- Due to the speculative nature of the setting, acting on false assumptions should be expected to be the norm, not the exception. One of the major goals of the campaign will be to sort out fact from fiction, and the nature of the world the characters are in.
- Use some knowledge skills no matter how skilled or trained your character is in a given skill (or how far out of your grasp) short of actually going out an testing whatever postulate you are positing. (Bard’s may likely be the exception, but I will not pose their answers as a certainty, rather as a possibility to be confirmed.)
- No matter your knowledge skill you will receive some information about any topic you inquire about, as the preference will be to give your character some information to play towards even if that information turns out to be a tall tale, of a rumor, of a friend, of some guy your neighbor ran into on the street corner years ago. The question is, does this seem like an enjoyable concept to play to, or will it be perceived as the DM being a jerk and wanting to see the players fail by lying to them?