Campaign Code: FAGABFDB
Jim is an old school gamer, who looks like Thor. Been playing about as long as I have, around 15 years or so. Maybe a bit more. He tends to get frustrated over being one of the few veterans in the group. Most of the group is neophytes. So every time they do something stupid, he gets slightly angry. And slightly means that he calls upon his Thor aspect and you can practically see the thunderclouds gathering. It's funny, actually. Cause he shares in their triumphs as much as they do. So the stupid stuff happens with neophytes. Granted, we have not had any MEGA stupid things. One of these days remind me to tell you about the Fire Elemental. That's a story worth repeating. And the sad part is that its really true. BUT, that's a story for another day. Now, to stop messing around and get to business.
Wow, this one is easy as heck. I could do this in my sleep.
Background: In the kingdom of Something Something, the old grand vizier has died. The king knows that without a powerful arcane user, the kingdom is threatened. A new Grand Vizier is needed. However, applicants must be tested. The King is not an idiot, but has no knowledge of the arcane. He has gathered all the arcane users of moderate power to the court to let them know. He offers them the position. However, they must preform several feats of ability to show their worth. He puts them into several groups, along with several of his loyal subjects (thus if someone wants to be a court cleric, warrior, or 'spy master' here's their in). So the PCs are one group, and the opponents are set in other groups. The loyal retainers will NEVER attack one another, but will be glad to deal with other threats. Because part of a Grand Vizier's job is the proper allocation of resources. There is a secondary objective to the King though. There are several threats to the Kingdom that need to be taken care of. If he is able to send these wizards to deal with them, and they do, good. If they die, well, they obviously weren't ready for the job.
Adventure 1: The King's first mission is fairly straight forward. They have to find a specific book in the library. However, the old Vizier was a bit paranoid. Did I say a bit? I mean A LOT. There are all sorts of magical traps and summoned monsters. The library itself though is like a MC Escher drawing. Odd walkways don't end up where they are supposed to. While the library itself is a danger, one of the main dangers should be one or more of the other groups of mages. While for right now, they aren't going to fight to the death, they are willing to delay and trick their opponents.
Adventure 2: This where things start to get a little more dangerous. There is a dangerous cult building up in one of the southern cities of the kingdom. That's the only information that the king gives them. How they get there and what they do about it is up to them. If the PCs bother to ask, they can borrow resources to accomplish their mission. But nothing too extravagant. The small city actually has TWO cults in it. One is a animalistic nature god, and the other is to a minor saint of the god of justice. That's where it gets interesting. The nature cult is the obvious choice, because the cultists are protesting and sabotaging the cities new logging industry, which threatens the natural wildlife. The cult to the minor saint, on the other hand, is actually a cover for cultists of the god of revenge and murder. Which is the one that is actually causing all the problems. There are several ways to play this out. First is that a few of the other groups will investigate one or the other cult. Some of the loyal subjects will talk among themselves, probably to another pc. Or, one of the groups will try to convince the cultists that the PCs are a threat. So the PCs should be besieged on all sides. However, if they are able to gain the confidence of the cult of the nature god, they will gain allies. The nature god cultists do not want to kill people, after all they ARE people. They just want the forest not to be logged indiscriminately. If the PCs are able to secure the forest for them, they will stop causing problems. However, the god of vengeance and murder need to be apprehended or killed, or the problems will still continue. This should be a hard role play based adventure. It could take a long time to do, or just a short time, depending on the investigative skills.
Adventure 3: After dealing with the cultists, which the king will look favorably on if the PCs manage to both deal with the murderers and the saboteurs. The next adventure is much harder. The king has found out through the information vine, that one of the other potential candidates (who didn't show up) is actually a lich. Having a lich in the kingdom's borders is a problem. The lich shouldn't be a major lich, barely able to reach the minimum requirements for lichdom. However, this is the adventure where the midden hits the windmill. With an obvious magical opponent, several of the evil groups will be willing to actually kill the PCs. Which should make the loyalists with them hesitant. However, the king never specified that they COULDN'T kill the other applicants. This should be a pretty hard adventure. However, it is possible to lessen it, because if there are more then one other group they can fight between them, and the PCs will fight a weakened group. The PCs will be facing both a lich and its cohorts, plus the other groups. Not all of them, but at least one that is equal to the PCs.
Adventure 4; Since there are only two groups left, the PCs and one other. The king has decided to up the ante. He has decided that to showcase the raw power of the arcane users, he has the High Priest of the country open a portal to the outer planes, where the PCs have to retrieve a legendary item. There are several that could fit the bill. The Golden Fleece, A Golden Apple of Eris, A drought from the Fountain of Youth, something from the artifacts section of the DMG, whatever. So in this adventure there is the threat of whatever outer plane you send them to (which should tie into the item), plus the last remaining group of human opponents.
Ending the Campaign: Should the PCs be successful, the one that had the most success (ie didn't need to be raised from the dead, or did the most damage, or showed the most wisdom), is named the Grand Vizier, and the others are made the lesser Viziers.
Continuing the Campaign: Hey, the PCs are in a position of power in the country. Which can lead to courtly adventures, and defense missions, all sorts of things. Very easy to transition into a longer running campaign that will last until higher levels. Here's an easy next one, an invading force of Ogres. Fireballs, anyone?
If you've read this leave a comment. I think I got my mojo back...