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 Help making a Shade campaign needed
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Farso
Acolyte

Denmark
2 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2008 :  14:30:14  Show Profile  Visit Farso's Homepage Send Farso a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hi
I hope you my fellow GMs would help me out perfecting my shade campaign by reading though my ideas and maybe give some advise.
This is my first real campaign as a GM even though i have been a player for the past 6 years.

Anyway the setting is 3rd and the campaign is set in 1372 as the forgotten realms campaign setting suggests, the PCs will start out as 2 lvl humans living in the city of shade and their classes will be restricted, since the city only have one god (shar) and the fact that the city screens its citizens and gives them the jobs they are most suited for.
The Lords of Darkness book states that the shades train everyone that can work magic in the art so unless the PCs have 10 they have to choose some sort of spellcasting class, that might sound pretty cool but my doubts are if it'll really work so i hope you could tell me what you think of this idea.
The plan is that the PCs will be sent out of the city on missions consisting of stealing much needed raw materials, gaining bedine trust, setting up trade with the bedine, allying with a bedine tribe, locating netherese decendants and bring them back into the fold, locating netherese magic items and lore and the end of campaign plot will be to defeat the phaerim treat defeating the by then returned flying netherese city from the gates of the moon.
The reason the PCs need to be sent outside the city is that the newly returned city is in bad need of almost all kinds of supplys to free their wizards/clerics from summoning all those things all the time and since their planes are to restore their empire they'll need allies, weapons and information about Faerun.
So there is plenty for the players to do but there is a few things that bothers me, first off why would the city of shade send out a few lvl 2 chars to do importent stuff outside the city when they have so many high lvl mages around?
My best answer so far is that all of the high lvl guys they have around already have their more importent missions and therefore they have no other to send out.
2nd how do i let the PCs buy and sell magic items and such in the city itself since the Lords of Darkness states that the Shades all work for the greater good and therefore are given what they need to do their task, that would mean that the PCs have to return all loot to whatever official they are working for every time they return.
Maybe i should let them trade in their loot (if they can't use it themself) for whatever magic items they need themself?

If you could help me out by telling me whatever flaws their might be or give advise on how to make it better i would be gratefull.
P.S sorry for my spelling but my primary language is not english.

Mace Hammerhand
Great Reader

Germany
2296 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2008 :  17:06:59  Show Profile  Visit Mace Hammerhand's Homepage Send Mace Hammerhand a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Flaws...well, I dunno...it might be a much better concept to let the PCs not start in Shade but in Cormyr or something, let them be 'normal' folk that get hired by the shades. If they wanna join later on that's fine. If they wanna work against Shade that is fine as well.

The problem I see with any sort of 'shoehorning' PCs into a situation is that players do tend to make decisions based on feelings etc. and with a purely evil campaign you might step on some people's toes, or worse they decide that they don't want to be part of the "shade-threat".

Plus, you might decide to run adventures outside the basic premises of your campaign outline which will be difficult to explain in some circumstances.

Also, if the players know their Realms they'll know that Shade is evil and as such don't want to take part in it.

Make the affair more "mysterious". Think X-Files "Deep Throat" sort of... they get contacted by the same person over and over again who gives them hints about lost treasures etc, and them when the time is right, or the players want to find out whom they have been working for open pandora's box

Mace's not so gentle gamer's journal My rants were harmless compared to this, beware!
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ShadezofDis
Senior Scribe

402 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2008 :  17:40:39  Show Profile  Visit ShadezofDis's Homepage  Send ShadezofDis an AOL message Send ShadezofDis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If you center the perspective on Shade then the PCs can feel like good guys. No problem, they're from the city, the city prospers and aids all inhabitants (I'm sure there are exceptions but whatever) and they have a long history of authoritarian rule that hasn't harmed the citizenry (too much anyhow)

As to why, well, because the other Shades have better things to do and they do need to figure out who is a suitable candidate for advancement in society (ie. if the PCs do well then they'll get more important missions and more responsibility, if they do poorly they may just be exiled or killed, probably killed but that'd put a damper on the campaign). They could also be aiding a particular mage, rather than Shade as a whole (gotta love throwing the PCs into political intrigue *g*).

There are several ways to go about this type of campaign and retain verisimilitude, mostly through a "sending agents through the ringer to see if they are worthy" type scenario or through a "Mage X doesn't want mage Y to know what mage X is doing, so mage X uses the poor PCs to do some dirty work" Or a little of both. :)

Either way, sounds like it could be a bunch of fun. Though I do have one little problem with what you've laid out and that's that I don't see the Shades dealing with the Bedine beyond killing them if they get in the way. It's not like the Shades would consider the Bedine anything but vermin and the loss of honor in the city of Shade for dealing with the likes of such vermin would be pretty extreme, IMO of course and my knowledge of Shade isn't that large. :)
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Dalor Darden
Great Reader

USA
3595 Posts

Posted - 27 Feb 2008 :  22:07:00  Show Profile Send Dalor Darden a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I considered a campaign just like this.

As for the City of Shade being evil...not everyone in the city is evil. If we have learned anything from the Forgotten Realms it is that no society of any race is strictly one alignment (i.e. the Drow adventurers of Salvatore and the female...can't remember her name off hand). So you could have an adventuring group composed of any alignment you like. Just as King Azoun of Cormyr has subjects who are of every alignment, so do the Princes of Shade.

If you are worried about Shar being the only deity, even she has clerics who are not evil...a Neutral cleric of the Lady of Loss would be perfectly fine.

Non-evil characters would be highly valuable to the Princes of Shade...it is hard to send your Evil hitmen into Cormyr; but a bunch of Lawful Neutral, Neutral or Chaotic Neutral characters could easily go almost anywhere in Faerun...and a misguided Good aligned character would be like having gold in hand (maybe the Good character serves because his dear Mother stays within the city and he fears his betrayal would cause her death).

I would have to disagree with ShadezofDis about the Bedine though...the Princes of Shade know that they have a shortage of manpower; so while in the long run they may have plans to eliminate the Bedine, even their ancestors worked with the Barbarian Tribes of what was the Empire of Netheril. The players could be under the misguided notion that the Princes indeed want valuable friendships with the Bedine to work against the "Evil" Zhentarim that the Bedine already hate...the players don't need to know that the Princes want the Bedine for little more than mercenary fodder to use in battle.

To give your players a little freedom, without having to constantly go back to the City of Shade, you could use a higher ranking wizard from the city to be their contact. Essentially the party could go anywhere in the world and the wizard could come to them. Sort of like "Ok...give me the Netherese magical items you have found. Here are the things you requested last time when you turned over items. Do you have a new list you would like to be filled for your giving over these items?" That would also allow the party to pursue its own independent goals at times as well. If they only have to report to their superiors once a month, then you could make all sorts of side treks for them to go on. They could perhaps even become well known "heroes" in various areas...even if the information they are giving the City of Shade will result some day in the lands they are adventuring in becoming an easily acquired vassal to the Princes.

Last question: why such low level characters? Well, the best spies can be simple barmaids...a level 1 Commoner. Folks just have to be in the right place at the right time. Also, if the party is not evil, then perhaps the Lords of Shade want to make sure these "non-conformers" have an outlet for their talents...and thus they are kept away from home where some of their "talk" could get them killed; which would only result in the Princes losing valuable resources they can manipulate.

The one thing I would seriously avoid in your game is making any of the characters into actual Shades unless your group really wants to go evil and work strongly for the City of Shade. I can see a Neutral character (LN, N or CN) being a Shade, but I don't think the Princes would bestow such a "gift" on anyone in their heirarchy unless that person was seen to be the ideal of what the Princes stand for.

In the end, your party could turn out to be turncoats and fight against their home city or immerse the group into the plans of Shade...entirely up to them.

AD&D for me!
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Farso
Acolyte

Denmark
2 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2008 :  11:28:24  Show Profile  Visit Farso's Homepage Send Farso a Private Message  Reply with Quote
thank you for the answers! They really got me thinking and i am sure that you helped me improve my campaign alot.

My last remaining question for you is:
How you the rest of Faerun react if the city of shade started building up its military might inside Anauroch and started to claim the desert but never officially went beyond?
I guess that most of the nations around Anauroch would start their own military build up and send in spys and adventurers to try and find out what the shades are up to, but what about the secret groups such as Harpers and the like?
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Fhaorn quessir
Seeker

Canada
52 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2008 :  16:16:16  Show Profile  Visit Fhaorn quessir's Homepage Send Fhaorn quessir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well its a given that the more renowned organizations such as the Harpers and the Lords Alliance most likely have thier eyes on the events in the newly founded city of Shade. Think about it this way though: They have thier hands full the majority of the time with the Zhents and the Red Wizards, the Cult of the Dragon etc. Some of the organizations within the desert may object bieng controlled and put up a resistance. Unless they extend thier reach outside of Anauroch to the silver marches or the Heartlands, I cannot see the more powerful organizations getting too involved without opening up thier backs for a well placed dagger.

Hope that helps a bit.

Wander ye all to my humble gallery of art of the Realms, Ye'll find it right next to the Sly Wink Alehouse in Sumberton. Or at this page: http://goldendwarf.deviantart.com/


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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31636 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2008 :  17:11:47  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A lot of groups would be keeping an eye on the Shades, though to varying degrees. The Harpers would likely be trying to protect the Bedine. The Zhents would for once be on the same side as the Harpers, though they'd just be looking to protect the Black Road. Most nearby nations would be watching to make sure they don't get caught with their pants down if the Shades pulled something. The Red Wizards and Arcane Brotherhood would both be snooping around for magic to steal. The Tel'Teukiira would prolly be acting behind the scenes, not as much in opposition but to both watch the Shades and to keep them from getting their hands on some Netherese goodies. Speaking of Netherese, any of the original Netherese that are still around would be watching what was going on...

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StarBog
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
152 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2008 :  17:18:20  Show Profile  Visit StarBog's Homepage Send StarBog a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:

Speaking of Netherese, any of the original Netherese that are still around would be watching what was going on...



Oooh, that could get nasty if a certain Netherese survivor in particular happens to cast his beady little lichy eye-sockets upon the PCs.

Though the merest "hint" of you-know-who if almost always much more effective than the actualitie of you-know-who in particular.
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Mace Hammerhand
Great Reader

Germany
2296 Posts

Posted - 28 Feb 2008 :  20:13:52  Show Profile  Visit Mace Hammerhand's Homepage Send Mace Hammerhand a Private Message  Reply with Quote
LOL Larloch as you-know-who...

Seriously tho, if Shade were to build up their military other power-groups will know about it. Harpers, Moonstars, Zhentarim, Red Wizards... Shade is a threat to all of them, and what Azoun made possible during the Tuigan invasion could become possible again under a good leader: everyone ganging up on the Shades.

Evereska, although weakened, does have a couple problems with Shade, after all they kept the phaerimm in and close to the mythal so that the city was almost destroyed.

The Zhentarim will see their trade "monopoly" threatened.

The Harpers... well the mere existance of Shade should be enough to get them upset.

The Moonstars... where the Harpers only get upset, Khelben and gang will act.

Cormyr will still be recovering from the dragon-issue...but the melting of the high ice should give the nobles something to worry about and possibly act, after all Shade tried to betray the country.

Lot's of possibilities... and most of them unpleasant for Shade PCs who are actually achieving stuff, because sooner or later *I* would have them meet a Chosen of Mystra or some such thing.... if they have achieved a notorious enough profile. (Yup, if that was my group and everything they did turned out to be "just right" they'd have done enough to piss some major player off and then good-night, John-Boy)

Mace's not so gentle gamer's journal My rants were harmless compared to this, beware!
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