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Stompy

Campaign Idea - Feedback requested

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I have an idea I got from another game system, and thought it might make an excellent Fantasy Hero adventure.

 

Dwdal Valmek was a dwarf brewer that developed magic to enhance the taste of his beer. As a gift to the Royal Family, Dwdal gave the King Hardin his crowing achievement, a book called "Dwdal's ancient brew master guide." The beer brewed from this guide has a significant magical effect. It is so delicious that after a single glass the drinker refuses to drink any other beer or other forms of alcohol. The King quickly perceived the danger in such a book, and quickly hid it in the hands of his most trusted brew masters. Over time, whispers of the magical guide has reached the ears of other Dwarven Kings. It has been at the center of numerous political intrigues, and outright hostilities. Thankfully, word of the book has been isolated to Dwarven royalty... until now.

The brewer's guide has been stolen. Should it be used to brew beer and others drink of it, the affect would be wide reaching and extremely severe. Wars, economic collapse, or even conquering the entire world by the power of beer.

Obviously, the brewer's guide will need to be discreetly retrieved. Those who know of it will need to be silenced, etc.

 

Meta plot: Taken directly from Never Winter nights, an ancient race of evil doers is attempting to take over the world. This adventure is the first time the party perceives someone is discreetly pulling strings.

 

So, what do you think? Also, how would make the book? 

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How would you make the book, or who would make it?

 

Who is easy: some lawful evil water sprite ("Wctu") looking to do away with drunkenness forever; after everyone has partaken of the magic brew, the sprite will dispel the book, leaving all mortals with an unrequited thirst they will never fulfill.

 

I admit I'd fall into the slapstick mode if I played in this, and try to play a drunken master monk type.

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To me, the book seems like a MacGuffin. It doesn't need defining because the players are likely to not plop it down in front of a scribe and have it copied (then copies of copies, etc.). It just does what it does because you say so.

 

If you absolutely had to stat it out, I would define it as a massive Transform and class it as an Absolute Effect. I hate that idea but that is how I would do it. Mind Control with a set effect could also be a workable solution. I also hate that one. GM Fiat for the purpose of telling your story is my preferred method.

 

As to the rest, I suppose that it is a viable adventure/mini-campaign. Are you asking for help in designing the adventure?

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Guys:

 

Thanks for the feedback. I got the idea from the magical items listed in, "Undiscovered: The quest for adventure." The book is in no way intended to be comical. I envisioned the game having some strong Black Ops \ political intrigue elements from every arch type. (street, church, royal court(s), wilderness, mages, etc.) Plus, I plan on really playing up the moral flexibility that may be required to keep the books existence \ location secret.

 

To answer a few questions:

I WAS looking on recommendations on stating out the book. However, I agree it is unnecessary.

I was also wondering if the plot sounded like game that would be enjoyable.

Recommendations are always welcome.

 

-Stompy 

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Hah, what an interesting idea.

 

I would stat out the book with one power and two effects:

 

1. Transformation

Of course you need this. You will change a character permanently.

 

2. Effects:

a) Psychological Limitation: Loves The Beer, will do anything to keep drinking it

b] Dependence: Needs the beer, will do anything to keep drinking it.

 

How you can work these two out I leave up to you, but since it is a permanent effect, it will mostly likely involve GM fiat. So, I agree with the MacGuffin option. Just like artifacts, it's more of a concept than an actual thing. =)

 

As for the game atmosphere, I agree, you can do it anyway you want. I think it will depend on your players, or whoever the protagonists are. If the people looking for the beer are there to have a good time, then it can be funny or slapstick or what have you. If they are more serious, then the whole thing can take on conspiratorial overtones, with plots within plots within plots.

 

As far as it being enjoyable, that will depend on your players. If they like that stuff, heck yeah, they will jump at it. But if they don't, if they would rather do some hack & slash, or perhaps simple episodic A-B-C quests, then a deep level of political intrigue and power mongering may not interest them at all.

 

How your players enjoy it, or what they enjoy, does not in any way diminish the merit of the idea. =)

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Keep the exact nature of the book secret and it makes for a good espionage game. Once the players know, then your game will become inundated with "Here! Hold my beer!" jokes.

 

It's just the nature of players.

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If you are talking about Neverwinter the MMO, that whole game struck me as a tongue-in-cheek poke at how badly WoTC destroyed the Forgotten Realms with 4th edition (which it's mechanics are loosely based upon). I especially loved the quest where you find a Demi-Lich that just wants a nice (Evil) place to slumber for a few milenia, and gets so fed up with all the ruined spots you find that he tells you to take him to the clerics to be destroyed, because he doesn't want to unlive on this planet anymore.

 

Regarding the topic at hand though... If you choose to write it out, I think the beer it creates would be a Transform of some kind, and the book itself would use Differing Modifiers to grant the reader the ability to create such a draught while they had the book to hand. You might also give the draught some other beneficial side effect (like increased strength or recovery) so that players aren't wondering why anybody would willingly Attack themselves with such a virulent poison.

However, if the book's purpose is to be a McGuffin, I wouldn't even give it a build or make it useful to/usable by the players at all. Make whatever language it's written in so ancient they aren't even allowed to learn it. Only whichever NPC(s) wanted the damn thing can use it, and whatever magic it contains makes the book (almost) impossible to destroy.

Part of the drama of the plot should be who they take the book to (such as the obviously evil person who hired them to acquire it, or the apparently good person who wants to keep it "out of the wrong hands"), or whether they should try to destroy it instead of letting anyone have it. Keeping it for themselves shouldn't be an option. If they try, everybody should come after them and keep coming after them even if they lose the book or give it away, just because the know about it or may have it.

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Well, this screams slapstick. I'm not a slapstick player and I would struggle to NOT treat this as a fun, goofy exercise.

 

If you want to achieve the right tone, you should consider revising the lore/projections around the book. Frankly, this thing is not a threat to the world. Once it starts to impact a large number of people, everyone will obviously clue in that there is a magical threat that is forcing addiction on people, and oh, it's linked to beer.

 

People will drink other alcohol or abstain, and set about destroying every beer source. A few minor wars might start, but trade embargos and careful management of the addiction is entirely feasible.

 

Trying to present this as a threat of global domination is what pushes this from the level of "fantasy" to "absurd."

 

However, it IS sufficient to cause problems, especially within a society. It's a great distraction in that it roils merchant clans, incites national economic rivalries, etc. So it could be a part of a larger set of actions or even simply a distraction/cover to achieve certain things - like if the evil forces want to remove an obstacle to their machinations at court, and that obstacle happens to be a figure who is very wealthy due in large part to his/her revenue from holdings in a beer company.

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if you want to keep it serious, DO NOT LET THE PLAYERS PERSUE THE CONTENTS OF THE BOOK, Put a spell on it or something to keep it "locked".   Also, start statting up the major players and major player NPCs, so you know what the factions are and what their reasos and operational methods are. prepare to be "reactive to the players action, but reactive "in characcter" (see:previous point on factions) that will keep things flexible, and keep you from having a brain anyeurism by plotting too much, and then the players going somewhere else.

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OK well here's a stab at it:

 

Effect defined as Major Mental Transform 6d6 for 60 pts. It's at least major because it affects the target's nature, but is not severe since it is not a total re-write of their psyche, and has no effect on "adventuring" abiltiies. I'd be inclined to allow it to be minor, since choice of beer is a pretty minor thing, but BtB it must be at least major.
 
The transform adds Psych Comp: will not drink any other beer or alcohol (total, 20pt). No dependence was indicated in the original post, although you could slip that in easily. Dependence would raise the transform to Severe.
 
It is not an all-or-nothing transform; if one beer doesn't get you, the second one surely will.
 
Major Mental Transform 6d6 (60),
  • Reversed by dispelling a 90 AP curse, or by drinking something even tastier.
  • AVAD (mental defense instead of power defense, +0)
  • Works against EGO not BOD (+1/4)
  • Limited Target: sentient beer-drinkers (-1/4)
[brewing]
  • 250 charges that never recover (-1)
  • Extra Time: one month brewing time (-5)
  • OAF: the recipe book (-1)
  • OAF: immobile brewery arrangement (-1 1/4)
  • RAR: PS Brewer (-1/4)
[Potion]
  • Usable by Other (+1/4)
  • No Range (-1/2)
  • OAF: fragile expendable beer (-1/4)
  • Must be imbibed (-1/2)
Charges never recover, so you have to sink 8 CP into each batch of beer. Still, you're getting 30+ addicts for each CP invested, which is a pretty good return.
There are technically three foci: the book, the brewery, and the beer. I split them up above for clarity, but it is a single focus for rules purposes.
A quick google search says that it takes about 2 weeks to ferment beer and another 2 weeks to age it before it is ready to drink. Thus 1 month to prepare. I guessed that 250 pints approximates an industrial size batch of beer, but really I have no idea.
Usable by other instead of trigger; the one who drinks this does so willingly and brings it upon themselves. No doubt at the urging of their comrades who have already partaken.
 
Base: 60
Active: 90
Real: 8 (-10 total limitations)
 
Prohibitionists could make good use of such a book: get everyone hooked, and then cut off the supply!
 
Actually this is pretty funny. A potion that only has the effect of getting you addicted...  I don't think I would treat this humorously at all. I would leave it low key, just put it on the menu and wait for a hapless PC to try it by mistake, or have a drink bought for them by an NPC. Let it spread silently and wreak its economic and political havoc.
 
A likely plot would be hiking the price on this beer, driving the other brewers out of business while enriching oneself on the monopoly. The guilds would be in an uproar, but as soon as they taste the new brew they would cheerfully "admit" it is truly better, drop their lawsuit, and change professions in shame. This sort of thing could spread nefariously and require subtle and speedy investigation to get under control. If the king gets a taste, he might even order the investigation halted. The distributor could run it like organized crime, they could break kneecaps and threaten to cut off the supply to any middleman that reveals the source. Eventually once everyone is hooked they could come into the open, though still protecting their "trade secret" in a fortified factory guarded by armed thugs. The R&D arm could be hard at work developing new "variants" like hallucinogenic beer, beer in pill or powder form, etc.
 
But rather than being slapstick, or an emergency, I could see it forming a subtle backdrop to a campaign. Something nobody notices or pays attention to, or maybe they mention it in passing. Like everyone addicted to their cell phone or their morning coffee or their latest netflix binge. It's just known and accepted, and so enjoyable that people LIKE being addicted. Why change a good thing? Only if the pesky PCs take notice and do some digging do they discover the seedy secrets behind it all, and get themselves into trouble trying to fix a problem nobody thinks needs fixed.
 
Just had a thought: maybe failing your brewer roll creates a tainted batch of beer that tastes... bad. Real bad. So bad that where before, you would not drink any other beer, now you would drink ANY beer but this. Sort of like how if a food makes you sick you can't stand it anymore. That could be another way to reverse the curse. A villainous brewer would of course need to test each batch on an unsuspecting victim to ensure any tainted kegs are destroyed and not distributed.

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!

 
Actually this is pretty funny. A potion that only has the effect of getting you addicted...  I don't think I would treat this humorously at all. I would leave it low key, just put it on the menu and wait for a hapless PC to try it by mistake, or have a drink bought for them by an NPC. Let it spread silently and wreak its economic and political havoc.
 
A likely plot would be hiking the price on this beer, driving the other brewers out of business while enriching oneself on the monopoly. The guilds would be in an uproar, but as soon as they taste the new brew they would cheerfully "admit" it is truly better, drop their lawsuit, and change professions in shame. This sort of thing could spread nefariously and require subtle and speedy investigation to get under control. If the king gets a taste, he might even order the investigation halted. The distributor could run it like organized crime, they could break kneecaps and threaten to cut off the supply to any middleman that reveals the source. Eventually once everyone is hooked they could come into the open, though still protecting their "trade secret" in a fortified factory guarded by armed thugs. The R&D arm could be hard at work developing new "variants" like hallucinogenic beer, beer in pill or powder form, etc.
 
But rather than being slapstick, or an emergency, I could see it forming a subtle backdrop to a campaign. Something nobody notices or pays attention to, or maybe they mention it in passing. Like everyone addicted to their cell phone or their morning coffee or their latest netflix binge. It's just known and accepted, and so enjoyable that people LIKE being addicted. Why change a good thing? Only if the pesky PCs take notice and do some digging do they discover the seedy secrets behind it all, and get themselves into trouble trying to fix a problem nobody thinks needs fixed.
 
Just had a thought: maybe failing your brewer roll creates a tainted batch of beer that tastes... bad. Real bad. So bad that where before, you would not drink any other beer, now you would drink ANY beer but this. Sort of like how if a food makes you sick you can't stand it anymore. That could be another way to reverse the curse. A villainous brewer would of course need to test each batch on an unsuspecting victim to ensure any tainted kegs are destroyed and not distributed.

Breathtaking. I bow to your superior villainy and math skills. This is truly an elegant  "spell".

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I made Snake Oil as a minor magic item in a similar fashion as above (I believe I posted it in a thread for minor magical trinkets). It was a Transform you subjected yourself to that made you believe you'd been cured of whatever affliction you were using Snake Oil to try to cure.

EDIT: Here it is!

Snake Oil

It heals your wounds! It regrows your hair! It cures leprosy! There is nothing my magical ointment and elixir can't cure! It's not to be confused with the substances sold by those other snake oil salesmen... Just be sure you drink the whole bottle!" In reality this minor alchemical product only relieves the most obvious symptoms of any given malady. Unfortunately the drinker believes themselves to have been cured, which may lead to some very poor choices on their part.

Game Info: Cosmetic Transform (Person Into Person Who Believes Their Affliction Has Been Cured) 3d6, Partial Transform (+1/2) (13 APs); No Range (-1/2), OAF Fragile (-1 1/4), Limited Target (Sentient Beings; -1/4), Rapid Healing (REC per Day; -1/2), 15 Charges Which Never Recover (-2). Cost: 2 points.

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