Arising from this morning's article, about the OSR, I've had a crazy series of ideas coalesce into something that might just work.
Raw, untested, undeveloped fantasy RPG ideas!
This is being posted with the hope that someone might help me refine it.
Of course, it could just as easily be simple madness.
The Valley of the Moon King lies somewhere in a lost wasteland of a world now plunged deep into an Ice Age.
In former days the valley was rich and verdant, populated by an exciting and growing fantasy culture. At some point, however, the glory of the past was lost and the valley fell into darkness and icy shadow.
|Yes, this is the album cover that inspired the title.|
The valley is ruled by the Moon King, the consort of the Moon Queen - a cold and unforgiving Goddess. At the heart of the valley lies the Crystal City, from where the Moon King rules. All the peoples of the valley are now enslaved by his power and forced to labour for his own purposes.
There is a resistance to the Moon King. Some of the slave population have been banding together, hoping to recover the strength to rise up against this tyranny. Faithful to the now lost teachings of the True God, the rebellion is about to unleash its ultimate plan.
The story begins as a small band of rebels locates and accesses the hidden Temple to the True God. Their aim is to find their way through the heavily defended and trapped environs, enter the central shrine, and enact the Ritual of Hero Summoning. Carrying the artefacts of former pre-darkness heroes exhumed from sacred sites all across the valley, they believe that they can summon heroes from across the cosmos to come to their aid.
The players take on the role of these newly summoned heroes. In the journey caused by the Ritual they lose their memories and awaken in the central shrine of the True God. They discover the slain bodies of the rebels who summoned them... and they must find their way out of the site and up to the surface. Then they must realise their destiny and overthrow the Moon King.
As an additional twist, the only way that heroes can "level-up" in this setting is through completing tasks. Each time the heroes overcome a challenge on the road to their destiny they access the next stage in their development. This can be envisioned as happening when they uncover a sacred artefact or knowledge, when they defeat a key henchman of the enemy, or when they serve the purposes of the True God faithfully.
The story will end when the Moon King is defeated and one of the heroes takes on the mantle of the new Servant-King of the True.
How it might pan out
What if the game begins with the players as the initial rebel raiders entering the ancient Temple of the True God?
First they choose an iconic heroic artefact with which to summon a hero. Then they play through the multi-level dungeon adventure with their Level 0 or 1 rebel characters. As they complete the ritual, their life-force enters the spell and they can then create the heroes they summon - each based upon the artefacts they are carrying.
What if normal XP awards were replaced with chunky level-up awards based on completing quests?
The players have to uncover artefacts, defeat henchmen, recover lost knowledge, whatever. Each task completed leads a character to level-up. Think Highlander-style sudden power-ups. Would that be cool?
What if, at the end of the story arc, the land is restored from the Ice Age?
At this point the heroes can begin to quest across more of the world... but not until they unfreeze those mountain passes by freeing all of the people in the valley.
Is this crazy?
I don't know if this kind of game could work. What do you think?
Obviously this is crazily raw. Let me know if you think it's worth developing.
Labels: fantasy, musings, settings