3.5 Campaign Concept: Legend of the Seven
in 1993, Squaresoft developed a game called "Romancing Saga 2", a non-linear JRPG that has you playing not just as a single hero, but rather an entire series of emperors trying to quell the land. It's a game that is generational, basically. This served as the inspiration of this setting.
The backdrop of the setting is that the world was once threatened by a great evil but was defeated by a band of heroes known as the "Seven Heroes". the Seven defeated this great evil, destroying it forever and returned as saviors of the world. However, over time, the people began to resent them and feared the power. Eventually, they turned upon the Seven, and caused the Seven to rebel against the very people they saved.
Another war ensued, resulting in the Seven being sealed away for some time. In this alternate dimension, the Seven's hatred of those they saved festered until they eventually too became something entire sinister and malevolent. Then one day, the Seven returned as demons who would bring war and strife back into the world.
As kingdoms fail before them, the Seven eventually split up and each took up residence in one kingdom they have occupied, becoming the undisputed masters of their domain.
This is where the players story starts. They play the heroes of the once great kingdom Avalon, now but a shadow of it's former self, reduced to ruling a single city in the northern continent. Their goal? to restore peace to the land by destroying the Seven, and restore the glory of the great Avalon.
The players will play a multitude of characters over the course of the campaign. They will create a first party, with one character playing the emperor of that generation. At each generation skip, the players would create new characters (or age the older ones) to represent the new generation, with another player taking on the role of emperor for this generation. This way, each player will get to be emperor at least once.
To go with this, players could only create characters from a fairly limited list of classes. As the campaign continues and the empire's influence grows along with their access to talent, they will begin to have more and more access to different classes and PrCs.
The same will go for things like arcane spells and such. In the beginning, magic users will only have access to a small number of spells. Players can certainly research more but it will be slow in the beginning. But as the magical infrastructure in your empires grow, you gain more spells at your disposal.
This game will also utilize a belief system to drive the drama and conflict within this game as well. Veterans to the Burning Wheel system will be familiar with this and should have no problem recognizing it. Belief,_Fate,_and_Destiny_system
When you create a new generation, you roll up a character whose experience is the same as the previous generation. Keep in mind, you must create the new character based on the parameters of the empire itself. That is, full casters are very much limited by the level of infrastructure available.
There is one problem with this in that at some point we might end up in a situation where the PC caster level just outstrips the parameter limit, making it a hard proposition to retire the old character and probably encourages people to make all the powerful classes with low level infrastructure elves.
This has given me impetus to bar long living races and maybe limiting the way that the mentor / apprentice program works.
the empire will have a number of attributes that helps you measure your empires capabilities. These will all start at 1 in the beginning Economic Level: shows the economic strength of the empire. This is an abstract point for now just to keep it a manageable number. You use this buy new infrastructures and new improvements for your empire. As you gain more assets that builds your economic structure, this will go up as well. Magic Tech: This denotes the state of the art magical research in the empire. This number will serve as the highest potential level full arcane caster you can have. So if your current character levels are around 10, but your magic tech is sitting on 4, the highest arcane caster level you can attain is 4, meaning the highest level arcane caster must be an arcane caster 4 / something else 6. Usually, this highest level character will be your party wizard. Magic Infrastructure: this shows the widespread of your magical technology. The highest level means that you'll see magical items all over the place. Improve this and magical infrastructure can be VERY expensive, however. Mundane Tech: this is about mundane technology level. As this rises, you can start creating better weaponry, more masterwork tools, etc. Subterfuge: this shows how powerful your subterfuge / spy network is. When making gather info checks for your empire, you can use this number. Martial Level: This denotes the over all quality of your warriors in the kingdom. Religion: shows the development of religion in your empire. This also serves as a the level cap for your highest level divine caster. Much like magical tech, improving this requires extensive resource commitment. Again, the highest level character will usually be your party divine caster. Culture: shows the level of cultural development in your country. Basically limits your artisan quality.
One of the problems with the current model is that we will come upon a weird situation where a full caster might be of a certain level, only for his next generation replacement to be forced to take a much lower level CL character due infrastructure constraints.
One schema I think might work is to allow the current generation mentor, if they have throughout the game spent the time to nurture an apprentice, to allow the apprentice in question be the exception to the infrastructure rule.
The kingdom has a magic tech level of 7. But the current sorcerer character is level 12. (through adventuring and learning from other characters in the kingdom) This means that if we were to do a generation skip and he makes a new character with no associations, the maximum character level he can be is 12, but with only a maximum full caster level of 7.
Now, if the sorcerer in question has been training an apprentice throughout his generation, and has managed to survive long enough to make it to the generation jump, allow the apprentice to ALSO be a CL 12 caster but ONLY in the class that the mentor has. That is, the mentor may only pass along knowledge that he possesses, and he may only pass it on to his apprentice who he has been training. (Thus, the mentor usually will have to take a cohort or some such)
Crown of Inheritance
When creating a new generation, the new emperor who receives the crown of inheritance can gestalt ONE class from the previous emperor. However, parameter limits must still be observed.