Okay, let’s wrap this series up. We’ve got epic level characters, we’ve got to now do the impossible! Write a story that will properly utilize their talents, and in a way that dramatically changes the world in which we play. THAT is what Epic level characters do. They are no longer fighters, wizards, and priests, they are now the stuff of legend! It is time that they themselves become the myths of time. People will remember their deeds for thousands of years! We need to concoct a story of deep reaching impact . . . But how?
Plotting the greatest adventure of all time
Look at your world as a whole, is there something that you don’t like about the world? Maybe it’s not something that is there, but something that ISN’T there. Regardless of how this story will end, we want a drastic change to our maps, and it must be something that can’t be changed over night. Be it a great threat from an epic monster, or an invading horde from some part of the world that nobody has ever heard of. It is time to mix our stuff up some! And we want the Epic Characters to be right in the thick of it. This should be something DRASTIC and HUGE! Perhaps an event will forever change how magic is cast? A powerful God suddenly disappearing as well as the power he bestows to his clerics . . . Which kept the world in balance from the Gods nemesis.
Through out our characters adventures, we have been obsessed with balance, but for this chapter we will be doing the exact opposite, we’ll purposely be upsetting this balance. In the beginning, perhaps the PC’s will agree with it . . . Maybe they even take part in the forming of this idea, however by the time that they realize what they really did, it is too late to stop it, and now they must decide a new coarse, and play a brutal game of minimizing the damages!
Make it big, make it permanent, and make the world a totally different place. This idea probably won’t form in your mind over-night, so it is best to perhaps put it off until you get an epic level idea?
Epic Level Storytelling
We got it!!!! We’ve got an adventure hook, that will have deep reaching impact on our game world. Maybe the Christ child is born, and all of the gods fear it thus they seek its destruction. How we introduce this tale to the PC’s should be subtle, this is our grandest scheme EVER, and a good storyteller knows how to milk it for all it’s worth. We want to start this chain of events off as slowly and as innocently as possible. A dumb little problem that isn’t worthy of their time . . . Try to get a henchmen to go investigate it (Played by the PC’s of course) Make them think that it is just a random and isolated occurrence! These characters are strong enough to take on large and drawn out campaigns, and we are going to make sure that they will have to fight for every scrap of information that they can get! And just when they think that they know what is going on, something else happens, seemingly unrelated but the truth is that it is the work of the same mastermind.
ENTER THE EPIC VILLAIN!
We’ve talked about this guy at great length, but he still isn’t ready to take on the ultimate good guys. We need to make sure that HE is just as dynamic as your players are. He grows with them, he learns, and he predicts. In the case of the little child that will obliterate all of the world religions, this villain will be people that the PC’s have grown to know and trust . . . The high level clerics. Perhaps a member of the party himself is a high level cleric? The motivation for the attacks won’t be evil to them at all! They are preserving their place in the world, they are preserving their titles and their way of life. A good organization can be corrupted at any time.
We want the villains motivation to be as real and believable as possible, and it could very well be somebody who the characters already know and respect. Take a look at the villains charisma, how many henchmen can he have? These henchmen will be loyal to him, and do his dirty work, and they should be strong enough to convince the PC’s that they AREN’T just dull-witted dungeon bosses. Study the villain’s stats and USE them! He doesn’t need to be Chaotic Evil . . . Actually, it works best if he isn’t chaotic at all! He needs to have excellent organization skills.
He is going to want to infiltrate the heroic party, watch them from the inside. He may employ them just so that he knows what they are doing . . . These are Epic Level Characters, they cannot do anything without being noticed anymore. This is the high price of being a celebrity . . . Use it!
Saving the princess . . . They’ve probably already done that, hell at this point the princess is now their wife! Even our side-quests should have huge impact. This is were we put our legendary monsters. Great thought has to be applied to everything now. A perfectly realistic side quest could be a Dragon hunt!!!!
A dragon is powerful enough to challenge the most stacked PC . . . However this won’t be enough. We won’t have the dragon be red-lighted. We won’t hang any signs out in the woods that point to the dragons house. We’ll have a mastermind dragon who is skilled at how it operates. Study the dragons stats, and don’t just have it attack, dragons have powers that can be confused with natural events, how long has the dragon been there? How does this dragon relate with the villain? Could it be standing in the villains way? We are going to milk this side-quest too.
Send the henchmen up the river to find out why the water is making people sick. Subtlety is always the best route to go! Perhaps the dragon is terrorizing a large city who has always been so afraid that they dare not speak of what they do to protect themselves? Sacrificing the prettiest, healthiest youngsters to a fiend is not something that the local officials would be proud of, they will hide it the entire time! They’ll no doubt deny it until the dragon itself is dead . . . But this is an epic level story, and it can’t stop there!
Everything that the PC’s do at this point will have far reaching impact on the world around them. The DM must study and think outside of the box. Who is effected by the dead dragon? Did the villain benefit? Who is going to move into the dragons lair now? Will the huge surge of treasure cause a recession down the line? What about the man whose duty it was to organize the sacrifices . . . Surely he won’t be as important anymore and he may hold a grudge against the PC’s. His attacks will confuse and confound them, as he’ll stay hidden too! Just not as hidden as our main villain.
The RETURN of Captain So-n-So
We should pepper the landscape with NPC’s that are well-known to the adventurers. Think back to all of your adventures and create a list of friends and foes. Maybe we can bring a nasty villain back from the grave and turn him into a henchman, or perhaps the master mind himself?
We want to build a foundation on what has become before. We want to return to area’s that excited the PC’s from their past! Maybe they got a huge kick of a specific dungeon . . . Why not go back?
Take your time and remember that this is the last Hazzah! After this adventure, the heroes of this story will most likely retire to full NPC status, and you can start a new game from the very beginning using the new world that your character helped create!
Crafting story-lines for Epic Characters is no easy task, but hopefully, I laid enough guidelines so that you aren’t so spooked that you never allow your characters to even go there, and I am positive, that somewhere down the line I’ll think of more stuff to add to this list, but for right now . . . THE END?
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- Random Bad Habit Generator - with some ranting for...
- Adventure Notes 5: Tomb of Horror
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- Mastering Epic Levels part 5
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- Mastering Epic Levels part 3
- Mastering Epic Levels part 2
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