We know quite a bit about our group, the Shields of Abigil. They fight a covert battle against Gyliam the Noble in an effort to restore Abigil’s status while making things better for the common folk. There are a few associated members with their own agendas that don’t really line up with Abigil’s cause. Involvement with this faction is also likely to be more roleplaying or creative problem-solving than throwing a bunch of damage at the issue.
Last time, we assumed that our players wouldn’t investigate the Shields very closely. Whether they formed a partnership with Gyliam or just generally didn’t care to talk through things, they could easily find themselves opposing the Shields for one reason or another. This time, we’re going to look at a couple of (admittedly similar) scenarios and how they could be adapted if you would rather have your players ally with Abigil and her cause.
Scenario 1: A Boorish Affair
Under this scenario, the group is approached by one of the members of Abigil’s faction, informing them of Gyliam’s oppression and pleading with them to do something about it. Luckily, they know that Gyliam is preparing a major feast, and they think they can get the group invited. This time, your players are tasked with sabotaging this party. However, they need to be subtle about it–if they are caught, Gyliam will get wind of Abigil’s efforts and stamp them out. You can have the Shields member make suggestions if you like or leave it up to their own creativity. Side note: whenever you give your players free reign like this, they’ll almost certainly surprise you.
Scenario 2: Tournament of Champions
In this approach, Abigil has approached the players to act as her representatives in this upcoming tournament. If you use this scenario, you should have contests for each of your players. For the minor contests, your magic user might have to identify different spells as they are cast, the rogue or bard may get a Performance opportunity, and the barbarian might have a test of strength. The cleric might even get to play “tag” with a group of undead–once one touches him or her, the game is over. Additionally, you should probably make a final battle where they can fight as a team in the tournament against Gyliam’s representatives–an adventuring party like themselves.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed about creating this faction is that we ended with a group that encourages conversation and subtlety. This isn’t an approach for everyone; if you have players who would prefer to dungeon delve or fight heroic battles, so be it! Nevertheless, these suggestions might be an alternative if you find yourself tired of fantasy combat or just want more roleplaying opportunities for your players.
If you use this group, let me know what you think.
Next: more generic thoughts on faction-building.