Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Year of the Demon Lord - Pre-game mission statement


Welcome to Year of the Demon Lord! A monthly campaign in 12 (ish) sessions over 12 (? ish?) months with my friends +James August Walls+Troy Pichelman+Sean Anderson+Brian Ries+Dave Hanlon, and +Andrew Cady. While I am terrible at actual play recaps I am hoping and intending to blog not only my thoughts on the game, but how I build my encounters and my own story notes for people use as inspiration. Since we don't kick off for another week I figured a preamble might be in order...

Last week the first of my Kickstarter fulfillment for Shadow of the Demon Lord arrived. An innocuous looking hyperlink to a typical DriveThruRPG page. Little did I know that the email, link, and page were all stained with blasphemies and would lead me to the corruption of the Demon Lord's throne...

... which is to say that I didn't realize that I would quickly be putting together a game with some online folks and acting as GM to a game I'd owned for less than a week.

After spending a long plane ride having skim-read a good portion of Shadow of the Demon Lord I posted a comment on Google+ saying, "It feels, tonally, like the bastard's offspring of Dungeon Crawl Classics and Dragon AGE in some ways." That's my aim at the moment, to make a game for my players where the slightly crazy and death prone DCC mixes with the moral grays and horror of Dragon Age.

How do I plan to do that?
  • Emphasize the horror - I consider myself a fair to good writer, and if I can bring the descriptions of the horrible creatures to life that will be half the battle. Putting horrific spins on the events that take place will also be top priority.
  • Moral ambiguity - while demons are Evil (capital "E") people aren't usually that way. So, much as the book discusses, I need to paint NPCs in mixed light. This will have the added boon of making the stories more interesting, and the choices more important.
  • Genuine peril - I'm not a very bloodthirsty GM, but I plan to take the reigns off and turn a cold shoulder. I'm not going to go gunning for the PCs, but I won't pull punches either. I actually do hope that somebody does die, or at least have a close encounter with the other side. I really intend to push the PCs to the brink of sanity and beyond. And I am going to try and tempt them down the dark paths because "the ends justify the means" will make for some good roleplaying.
I hope my GMing is up to the challenge, and I really hope my players will not only enjoy the ride, but actively engage with the darker aspects of the story and setting, and help to bring about a dark tale of mortal heroes rising up against the Shadow of the Demon Lord ...

... speaking for mortal heroes ... the cast of six for the initial adventure (for which I had decided to run Survival of the Fittest with some minor modification).

  • Buckets the Goblin - played by +James August Walls; you can read about Buckets on Jim's blog Living4Crits, but the short version (ha! pun!) is that Buckets worked for a wizard and spent his days moving water around for his master, until, that is, he summoned a demon ...
  • Reudan the Human - played by +Troy Pichelman; Reudan is an orphan and a friar who got abducted by elves due to his better than average good looks...
  • Runt the Orc - played by +Sean Anderson; Runt is (for an orc anyways) a runt, who has lived a hard life and even tried his hand as a town guard ...
  • Holgar Flakkison the dwarf - played by +Brian Ries; Holgar was a warrior and a torturer until he found himself an unlikely convert to the Cult of the New God...
  • Sage the Changeling - played by +Dave Hanlon; Sage looks like an older human woman, but she's really only just into her 20s, Sage may well become the witch that she impersonates...
  • Fox the Clockwork - played by +Andrew Cady; Fox's sad tale involves a lonely farmer who built a clockwork to deal with vermin but ended up with a surrogate son, unfortunately things don't work out and Fox was the victim of a poorly timed wind-down while trying to rescue his "father" from their burning home...