Sunday, January 24, 2010

Trokair Rumors

I am reading Joe Abercrombie's The First Law trilogy (The Blade Itself; Before They Are Hanged; The Last Argument of Kings) and it is really good. Crowroadaw is also working on Iron Heroes v2 and between the two I am thinking about Trokair.

I have always wanted a rumor table for PCs to roll on at the beginning of the campaign. Because Trokair's charm lies in its mutability, I want to leave it up to the PCs to shape the course of the campaign. To do so, however, they need information about the various factions, their goals, and motivations. To guard against my influence, I want it to be a random table (though it still allows me to dictate which rumors I give; I need not present accurate information if I do not care to at the time).

Rumors need to be an assortment of: truths, half-truths, and lies about the factions; true and false rumors about the ruins and environs unrelated to the factions; and some rumors about areas unrelated to the ruins at all.

I am not sure if I want to organize the rumors by truth or by subject (their arrangement in the table is irrelevant as they are randomly generated).

To follow: Rumors
When I went to bed last night, I had an idea for the presentation of a rumor or a quest (NPC hires PCs).

"You remember an afternoon in the tavern, not too long ago, when a bedraggled merchant stumbled through the door, weary, world-worn, and really pissed off. He starts out grumbling under his breath but after a few drinks his complaints increase in volume. He was robbed on the road to (insert city name; Free City Valor, Thornscape, Free City Somethingelse); the bandits did not take everything but he would be lucky to break even on what he has left."

(Here, if you want a quest, you can mention that a special order for a customer was among the stolen goods and if he could recover that, the trip would turn a handsome profit. The special order is actually meant for Dhamon Riales, the wizard necromancer. PCs who recover it could meet his nephew in town during the sale (since he will have the money the merchant needs to pay them) or, if they meet Dhamon in the ruins, they could cut the merchant out of the deal and sell it directly.)

The above rumor is just "there are bandits on the road." Extra details, such as other bar patrons mentioning the old city ruins of Trokair in that area, or that the bandits are supposed to be former soldiers from the Free City region, or that Kelem is supposed to be an army officer/noble from Valor, can be added on top of that. False rumors are also needed. Man I suck at false rumors.

False rumors need to be interesting enough to catch the PCs attention and lead them in the right direction, but not so terribly interesting that the players are disappointed when the rumor turns out to be false. Of course, if they really get into a false rumor, you can just make it true, I guess.

Kelem is a noble from Valor.
Kelem is an army officer who fought for the nobles of Valor.
The bandits are mostly ex-soldiers from the armies who fought for Valorian nobles.
The bandits are mostly escaped thieves who serve the bandit king, Kelem.
Haunting spirits and the restless undead walk the streets of Trokair.
A necromancer lives in the ruins of Trokair.
People have been disappearing near the shrine to Derrgan.
The lame keeper of Derrgan's shrine was cursed by the Wandering God.

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