The Valley of the Moon King

Arising from this morning's article, about the OSR, I've had a crazy series of ideas coalesce into something that might just work.

WARNING: 
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 Set-up

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 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.

Game on?

Labels: , ,

UbiquitousRat's Roleplaying Dreams: The Valley of the Moon King

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Valley of the Moon King

Arising from this morning's article, about the OSR, I've had a crazy series of ideas coalesce into something that might just work.

WARNING: 
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 Set-up

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 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.

Game on?

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

At 10 February 2013 at 15:53 , Blogger Wolfchild said...

I like the idea of near instant boosts to ability rather than the 'lets sleep for 8 hours and wake up somehow better' approach of most RPGs, the difficulty is then how that is implimented:
You don't want it to slow game play, so the players would either have to choose their next advance before they get it, or the advance would be pre-determined some other way. Whatever method used, it would need to be a quick bolt-on that doesn't take too long to figure out and implement.
It suggests gifts of 'favour' from the True god, as it develops strength from the steady reduction of the Moon King's power.
It would be pretty cool if the new ability or boost either grants something related to the task required to achieve it, or something this is tailored to benefit our heroes in their upcoming challenges.
For example, if the True god knows your about to face some undead gribblies, something your heroes have no knowledge of yet, then the boost could be tailored to tackle them.

The whole thing buzzes nicely with common fantasy themes like classic Conan.
I hope it works out well.

If you did it as a split quest where players get to fight as the rebels first, then as long as some of the rebels still succeed in reaching the temple, perhaps if they'd brought the rest of the artifacts you can buy those heroes back in. = no lost players from early mistakes.
If you see it as a larger thing, you could develop the main adventure of the heroes, then oddly to most, go back and design a pre-quel expansion, in how the rebels learn of their quest, find the artifacts (various locations) all trying to evade the forces / knowledge of the Moon King before setting out for the Temple.

There's so many layers available. Great concept :)

 
At 10 February 2013 at 17:40 , Blogger Che Webster said...

Someone on FB threw out this suggestion: "...stick with the rebels entering the tomb but instead of dying let them become 'avatars' vessels of the summoned Heroes. When waking these avatars have no knowledge of who they are...their tasks..to find out who they are..level/ knowledge unlock with a piece of armour/ weapon of thei hero aspect..."

 
At 10 February 2013 at 17:43 , Blogger Che Webster said...

Really glad you like the concept. Nice and useful feedback - thanks!

I think I'd like to emphasise that the overall outcome of the game needs to remain open even though the aim to overthrow the Moon King is the goal. The players need to have the possibility of failure, otherwise it's a no-risk pre-destined plot. That'll be the hardest thing to work out.

I think that a co-operative style of play with the players pre-determining the upgrades they'd like to gain would work well though.

 

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