Randomly Generating a Game, Part 3: GM’s Edition

Game Ready Content Campaign Setting Experiment Game Generators

Vorstland

This is the third in a series of posts about creating a game that’s completely inspired by the output of random idea generators. In my first post, I laid out my plan, and gave the output of all the generators. In the second, I started to fill in the details within the framework provided by the generators. I recommend reading those before continuing on with this one.

The last edition described a bit about the setting, and a few of the NPCs. In this one, I’m going to continue laying out NPCs that the players may not have met or heard of at the beginning of the game. I’m also going to get into the “behind the scenes” part. In other words, this one’s classified GM’s Eyes Only. There has been some interest expressed in my actually running this campaign for our group, so if you’re one of my players, stop reading now!

NPCs

Welond Porter (Ally: Faithful Dog)

The players have been instructed to meet Welond in Glacenium, a young, stocky, enthusiastic boy in his late teens. Like his father, he’s a member of the influential Porter’s Guild, which controls deliveries, and transfer of goods between the highways and rivers that intersect in town. This means that he knows every street in town to which something might be delivered.

He’s also something of a Guard wannabe, from a family of Guard supporters. Having been raised on stories of the heroism of their Imperial forebears, he sees them as the inheritors of that lineage. Unless they abuse his trust, he will idolize the PCs

Theg Ellson (Ally: Sage)

Theg Ellson knows the Glacenium Confederacy’s many member states like Welond knows the city. He was once the self-styled king of a small valley near the border with the Verdansk states. With his rough hands, gray hair, and beard, he looks like the barbarian warrior that he was. It would, however, be unwise to underestimate a man who survived for any amount of time as a border lord.

He lost his lands and family when he was betrayed by an ally. Though he got his vengeance on both the turncoat, and the Verdansk enemies, he still has many enemies among their survivors. He joined the Guard in an attempt to atone for the violence he feels he brought upon his family, and was posted as the Station Master in Glacenium to keep him out of the reach of his old rivals.

Julia Aurelius (Competitor: Anima)

Vorstland is a place where petty kings are loath to honor warrants from other kingdoms, and aren’t likely to devote resources to catching criminals unless their own interests are threatened. Even the Guard don’t have the resources to protect everybody, so they tend to set their sights on more existential threats. Under those circumstances, seeking justice can be extremely difficult. Thus, the Thief-taker’s Guild has thrived since the fall of Imperial power.

The beautiful Julia Aurelius is a mid level Thief-taker based in Glacenium. She has decided that the bounty for solving the riddle of the recent attacks will be more profitable, and possibly safer, than pursuing thieves, bandits, and ransomers across the kingdoms. She is cunning, resourceful, and not above sabotaging others seeking a bounty, as long as they’re not fellow Guild members.

Though she is an able hand with a sword, she tends to rely on her wits and charm more than violence. She also has informants in many towns, especially in the Glacenium Confederacy, and is able to call on the assistance of other Guildsmen. She will absolutely not help the PCs, unless she stands to gain, and, if necessary, will work to block their investigation. She won’t physically attack them, however, unless they attack her first.

Captain Swala Tharsson (Superior: Trickster)

Captain Tharsson is head of the Guard. See the previous post for more on her.

Atavus Rig (Mentor, Enemy, Antagonist: Sage, Shadow)

Another resource available to the PCs in Glacenium is an ex Guardsman named Atavus Rig. Something of a scholar and magician, he put his mystical talents to good use through many years of service to the Guard. In his last mission, Atavus was severely wounded defending a town. He might have recovered, had the local lord not forbidden anyone to help the Guardsman, whom he considered to be a threat. A combination of infection and frostbite cost him both of his legs, and has given him a horrible, scarred appearance.

Being bound to a wheelchair, he can no longer adventure as he once did. This new life has not agreed well with him, and he has become somewhat dark and cynical. He’s especially critical of the current political situation of the Vorstland, which gives power to the myriad ruthless warlords that rule there. Still, Atavus does what he can for the Guard, which provides his pension.

However, his experiences with the power structure of Vorstland have led Atavus to believe that it must be corrected. He has turned his attention to engineering the elimination of many of the minor lords, and unifying as many of the kingdoms as possible under his own control. He’s executing his plan with a combination of magic, and the many unsavory groups with whom he came into contact during his adventuring years.

Though he agrees with the Guard’s intentions, he’s come to believe that they’re only maintaining an unacceptable status quo. He knows that they will try to stop him if they find out what he’s doing, so he will guide any investigations away. He will avoid hurting Guardsmen and peasants if at all possible, but will do so if necessary to his “higher purpose”.

King Cassius Aristus (Enemy: Wounded Healer)

King Aristus is tired of hearing of the constant warfare and death in the outer kingdoms. He remembers his grandfather’s stories of the peace that existed under the Empire. He wants to bring those days back. Though he knows it may come at great cost to him, his family, and his kingdom, he believes that the Vorstland must be reunited. He intends to use the current summit to eliminate as many of the rival kings as possible, and has assassins in place both in Glacenium and in the halls of many of the lords who didn’t come.

Cassius considers the Guard to be misguided meddlers, exploiting the memory of old Alirium for their own ends. He doubts their stated intentions, and, even if they’re true, he believes such things should be left to the nobility. He will definitely not help them, and will work against them with even the slightest provocation.

What’s Going On

The Cartogorium

During his adventures, Atavus found a forgotten ruin of Alirian architecture atop a remote mountain. At the top of its central tower, he found a room completely filled with a giant map of Vorstland. Its mountains, hills, and even castles were carved of stone brought from the features they represented.

The Empire’s mages had used this intricate map to communicate with (and spy on) the Alirians and allied native forces spread throughout the area. Atavus has repaired the map, which he calls the Cartogorium, and is using it for a similar purpose. He has also extended its powers, so that he can cast spells through it, though it exhausts him to do so. With the aid of this tool, he can spy on any of the kings that reside in old Alirian fortresses, and can monitor most of the travel routes. In addition, he has also captured the minds of several of kings with enchantments.

Atavus can use a magic circle in his house in Glacenium to teleport to the Cartogorium. He won’t do so if anyone else is present. The only other people to know of the existence of the place are a set of carpenters and stone masons he hired to shore up the crumbling ruin. He believes he has wiped the memory from their minds, but several have begun to go mad from his interference with their heads. The memories could be recalled through either magic or somehow forcing them to confront the gap in their memories.  Still, he was careful not to show them his true face, so they can only attest to the Cartogorium.

The Plot

Using his mystical powers, Atavus Rig has forged deals with a variety of extraplanar beings. He’s using those beings, along with more mundane monsters and bandits, to wipe out raiding parties as they return, which he can monitor with the Cartogorium. This has allowed him to accumulate a large stockpile of wealth and goods, and has simultaneously kept them from the hands of the petty kings.

His intention is to maintain and expand this strategy through another fighting season. He believes that, without the food and gold they use to keep their peasants fed, and their warriors paid, the kings will be overthrown by their own people. At the same time, he’s using his enchantments and ill-gotten wealth to influence other lords to overlook the presence of his bandits, and to turn away unwanted attention.

Once the kings begin to fall, he’ll take control of their lands. With the resources he gains, he’ll begin outright attacks on other kings, while repeating his strategy of intercepting raiding parties. He believes he can repeat this cycle until he rules the entire Vorstland.

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