Author Topic: Trying to keep an extraplanar campaign from getting too linear/forced...  (Read 1448 times)

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  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
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Alright everyone, I'm in a bit of a predicament with my current campaign idea. I'm very fond of the basic concept, but am struggling with how to make sure it doesn't feel like a series of "Oh, good, you got that magic item. Now go grab this other mcguffin..." quests.

The basic idea for the start of the campaign is that the entire party, having not met before, is going to be summoned/planar bound to another plane of existence. There, they will meet and incredibly startled and slightly frightened gnome. This gnome will eventually explain that they are on a plane that was created by a Genesis spell by his master, and that he is just an apprentice wizard. He had gone there to train, and as part of his training, was bound to the plane, unable to leave until he had completed his training.The master wizard then proceeded to disappear/kick the bucket. The goofy, likable little apprentice is now stuck on this plane, and has been experimenting with all manner of magic he didn't really understand in the desperate hope that he might be able to bring someone there to aid him. Having now unintentionally bound the party, he will send them on a quest to other planes of existence, searching for the magical components/keys/whatnot he needs to cast a spell he found in his masters notes that he thinks might be powerful enough to free him.

Here's the kicker: The adorable little gnome wizard is not actually an adorable little gnome wizard. He's the BBEG, a malevolent arcanist that was essentially trying to make himself a god. Ages ago, a party of adventurers bound him to the plane. He is trying to trick the party into collecting something...either keys of some kind, or perhaps artifacts that belonged to the party that originally bound order to break free. If he succeeds, the remainder of the campaign will be based around trying to defeat this guy.

Any thoughts on the concept? The game will only be running from now until December. Pathfinder rules, if that matters. Some things I'm trying to figure out:

What to make them get to free the wizard? Why were they specifically summoned? (All of them are from the Material Plane) How to not make it ridiculously forced?

Thanks in advance for any and all help!


  • Grape ape
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Re: Trying to keep an extraplanar campaign from getting too linear/forced...
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2011, 03:20:11 AM »
Is this plane populated?

You could make the BBEG set up some ritual where the players would go to disrupt it (probably by killing the cultists).... but make the cultists' deaths trigger the ritual instead.

Make the players go after a mere commoner that somehow ended getting some of the plane's energy on him, and killing it would release it (and the BBEG already have some kind of artifact to draw that energy to him).

...I have no more ideas, but I hope these can help you think on more options.


  • Ring-Tailed Lemur
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Re: Trying to keep an extraplanar campaign from getting too linear/forced...
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2011, 04:53:45 AM »
Entirely my bad, I should have been more clear about the plane they start on. The plane they initially get summoned to is populated only by this little gnome guy. Little gnome guy sends them to other planes, because the keys/items are scattered around other planes of existence.

I'm thinking the justification for this is that basically, because everyone is forgetting this BBEG ever existed except for the "cult," no one has paid any attention to this mini-plane for a long time, and the enchantments on it are weakening. That's why he's powerful enough to do bursts of magic, like bringing the people there and flinging them haphazardly through the multiverse, but not powerful enough to do any genuine control or to free himself, or even manifest his real body.


  • Organ Grinder
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Re: Trying to keep an extraplanar campaign from getting too linear/forced...
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 09:43:10 PM »
Even if you have a 'retrieve the macguffins' quest, have multiple macguffins, with each being easily found but almost impossible to retrieve. Maybe have the macguffins themselves be demiplanes. The players have to figure out how to enter each demiplane (say, dreams and nightmares scattered through the plane of dreams, and attached to one or more outer planes), then adventure within them to trigger a cascade event to collapse the plane into something portable. The triggers are all different, and each one is difficult to escape. They have to deal with the denizens trying to keep their homes from being destroyed, while the players think they're just dream-constructed simulacrums.

The key is to make each one different and unique enough to prevent the players from feeling like they're on a series of fetch-quests.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2011, 09:45:04 PM by Lycanthromancer »
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