Growth of a Campaign
Ragnarok Missions and Name Changesby Et Al
Growth of a Campaign
Ragnarok Missions and Name Changesby Et Al
Growth of a Campaign, 9th Installment
Ragnarok Missions and Name Changes
This is an ongoing column following the development of a campaign through emails between a GM, his potential players and a few "consultants" (a "Brain Trust") as the campaign develops and progresses through from conception to execution. The players have no hand in the development of the campaign, and the consultants won't play in the game.
Rich is the Storyteller for the campaign.
Hiro, or Norwood, is an English major, a myth lover, and master debater.
J, or Breitzman, is an art student, but doesn't get to look at naked people.
Grover is not blue and fuzzy, but has been known to wear a cape and helmet.
A Giant Assassin
While researching pantheon.org, I came upon an interesting goddess by the name fo Ran, which started a few emails about a potential endgame scenario for the Assassination of Surt mission:
Ran (from pantheon.org)
Ran is the goddess of storms, and the wife of the sea god Aegir. She rules over the realm of the dead which is situated on the bottom of the ocean. She sinks ships and collects drowned sailors in her nets and takes them to her hall where she tenderly ministers them (drowned persons neither go to Valhalla nor to Helheim). With Aegir she is the mother of nine daughters (the billows), who wore white robes and veil.
Drowned sailors are unaccounted for in the last battle. They'd make a nice army, one might think. I could see a quest from Frey to recruit them or bargain with Ran for their service during the attack on Surt perhaps...
Surt hit : What could be used to kill Surt? How could the lowly PCs have a chance to enter his realm and kill him and leave alive?
I like the idea of the party using the armies of Ran to attack Surt, it’s an elemental conflict. Torstain reads the runes to say that water quenches fire, and the party negotiates with Ran for her armies of drowned sailors to attack Muspellheim and kill Surt.
Perhaps mutually assured destruction enters... wouldn't the water be likewise destroyed. Though, admittedly, only to return once the steam cools. Regeneration being part of the bag of tricks of the Vanir.
I like it. Now, I only need to have some foreshadowing and clues leading to the story. Maybe I'll watch Attack of the Clones again for inspiration...
Grover continued to discuss the Surt mission with a different approach, to talk about who could set the plan in motion, and :
Frey, perhaps, might realize that none of the prophecies of Ragnarok are necessarily going to happen... Indeed, he might be the one who (eventually) "suggests" the idea that the PC's remove Surt from the field (for several reasons -- to keep him from burning the worlds ((Frey was supposedly very strongly attached to the elves and Alfheim)), and, of course, because Surt was supposed to kill him, Frey, in Ragnarok, and get away clean...).
This is where I'd like to take the game. It's where I saw it in my imagination but could never detail it. The PCs are agents of change. In a way, they're a part of the Apocalypse, and they don't know it. With the death of Thor, aided by the PCs’ parents (they told Thor the only way out of the realm he was stuck in), Ragnarok is unbalanced. Now, the Aesir are in turmoil, and the PCs are a vital part of the gods' plans. But which gods? What plans? This is an excellent direction for the game.
As the discussion headed towards a solidification of who stands where in this cosmic conflict, Grover came forth with an idea for some inside jobs.
You know, in re-reading some stuff, I stumbled across something I must have read 15 times, or more, in the last couple weeks. I don't know why it didn't click, but there it is. Anyway, there is one aspect of Norse mythos could serve to tie in several plots and offer an interesting direction/choice, both for the campaign and for the PC's.
Frey, Freya, and their father, Njord, the Sea God, are Vanir... not Aesir. They were the Vanir exchanged, for Mimir and Honir. What if they've been working against the Aesir, all along?
If the PC's accept Frey's mission to whack Surt, and if they're successful, maybe he then recruits them a little more fully, on behalf of the Vanir (or the Vanir who survive... we've talked about how they faded out... Maybe these are the only three remaining, or maybe there are plenty of others... Depends on the direction you want to take it).
So, as the PCs move away from Odin and lose the Valkyrie totem, they join Frey and the Vanir. The Vanir are more similar to the Wyld than the Aesir. A very cool twist.
Hm, this does make for a tough choice. However, the Aesir and other giants and gods are not the most honest. Just as Satan revolts against God in Christianity, I would think it possible for a Valkyrie to switch sides. Perhaps Loki has managed to corrupt that which all the Aesir thought incorruptible... Or, perhaps, with the death of Thor they see that there is no predestination and it's everyone for themselves....
Another thought... if you end up having the balance of power swing back to the Vanir, do you want to allow some of the Aesir to go along? If so, who? Certainly none of Odin's faction, since that would cause to many problems (Frey's faction would never trust them, even if the others were willing to concede and join). Perhaps Sif, for example... Magni and Modi, however, seem to have a rep. that doesn't seem very nature-based...
I would agree with you that it would be hard for us if we were Vanir to trust any of Odin's loyal following. However, the Norse myths seem to overflow with a sort of chivalric acceptance of a person at their word. I mean the Aesir/Vanir put up with Loki until he kills one of them, Odin is nearly as untrustworthy, and while the Vanir are obviously opponents of the Aesir initially they are welcomed to Asgard and become chief gods hand in hand with the Aesir. While the characters constantly cheat and backstab each other (Even Tyr placing his hand in Fenrir mouth is a sort of trick on the basis of loyalty) they always trust each other until the blow is landed. I think that says something about their mentality. I'm not sure exactly what since it could be interpreted several different ways. My feeling is a sort of doomed fate and also a certain chivalric code.
Bringing up Modi and Magni is a good point. Why is it, do you think, that these two gods servive Ragnarok? As Grover points out they aren't very nature oriented.
Good point, on the mindset of the Aesir, Norwood. Rich, this could certainly be a useful game tool (particularly if the PC's figure out that the Aesir will take them at their word, until they're definitely found out...)
Now we had a loose idea of who would stand with the Aesir and who would align with the Vanir. We had a method of operations for the Aesir and how each side trusts the other. With the idea of Frey and Freya acting as inside forces against the Aesir, the conflict took more of a reflection of the Black Ops campaign that spawned this game.
The Name Game, pt. 2
As I brought the details of the game into focus and players fleshed out their PCs, the player of Emily came to me with a problem he was having. I presented it to the BrainTrust:
Greg has complained that the name of the evil oil corporation (Endron) sounds too much like Enron, and using this name will cause him to think of out of character thoughts and take him out of the game when the company is mentioned by name.
Since several oil companies have changed names during mergers, I don't think a name change is out of hand. So, any ideas on a name and corporate logo (J, logo ideas please?) for the new Endron?
My thoughts are it should be a word, not initials. It should be short, less than four syllables. It should means something, or hint at something. Here are some ideas to get us started :
Farbauti Organization (the father of Loki, his name means "Cruel Striker")
Syrdon (According to Georges Dumézil, Loki shows a great resemblance with Syrdon, a demonic creature from Caucasian legends)
Ganglot Oil Services (maidservant of Hel)
Jormung Corporation (refers to Jormungand, or the Midgard Serpent)
Nidhogg (the serpent which eats at Yggdrasil's roots)
That's what I got from Pantheon.org. I'll send more when I find an online thesarus that's working.
I didn't realize until last week that Exxon, or Esso overseas, is the same entity which was formerly known as Standard Oil.
All interesting names. However, perhaps a bit too obvious? Pentex doesn't scream evil to me, even in light of various mythos and WW's own triad of forces. I think subtle is much more sinister. You could go to dictionary.com to use the thesarus there.
I like Syrdon the best as well. I'll try to do some images with a couple of options tonight. I'll also digiphoto the character drawing I did for Torstain (since I haven't had time here at school to scan it).
It will be very interesting to see these. Also. I agree with Rich and J. Of the names so far proposed, I like Syrdon the best. The mythical connection is obscure. Plus, it has a sort of Enron/Endron sounding name.
I choose Syrdon. J called me last night, and he's trying to work up some corporate logo stuff. J, I was thinking some form of an S that could resemble a snake would be interesting.
I think Syrdon could be one of those combo names when two big companies join, like Qwest. So, it could be a combo of Endron and Syrrus Oil (some made up company). Here are the corporate logos drawn by J and sent to the BrainTrust:
I like 4 the best... It says "corporate", but it also says "Wyrm"... (or BSD)
I like number four best as well. It’s excellent.
All of them were good. IMHO, the second one is the best. Corporate looking without being too obvious with the Pentex/BSD connection.
With the group mostly in agreement for number 4, Endron became Syrdon, and even had a cool new logo.
Over Their Heads?
As the first game loomed over us, and all of the pieces of the campaign came together, J brought me back to focus on a crucial element... the players.
I had another thought while reading this: Are you (Rich) going to have someone the PCs can ask about Norse Mythology? You are taking characters who don't necessarily know the cosmology (assuming even that the players do)? Are they going to know who is who or what the prophecies are? Are they supposed to know the significance of the horn or Fenris getting free or any other signs of Ragnarok? I mean, I don't always know what you guys are talking about and I've been following this discussion (more or less). I've picked up a book on Norse Mythology and I still don't always know what you guys are talking about.
Hell, I don't always know what I am talking about.
Even if you do provide a source, how much gametime do you want to devote to Norse theology lessons?
I would think the easy way to cover this is with handouts. Perhaps Torstain could give the players some handbook of Norse mythology- and this could equate to some dusty, dog eared copy you could actually pick up Rich. Perhaps a, OOC suggestion of making notes in the flyleafs would be a good idea, too.
Just a concern, I guess.
And a very worthwhile concern. We spoke about this briefly at the start of the thread, though I cannot recall any particular outcome.
I've been assuming, for some time now, that the characters (and, thus, the players) will sort of learn by doing...?
You know what happens when you assume...
Anyways, with any luck one of the players will know something about Norse mythology, even if only cursory. At the start that'll be all that's needed. I can't think of much more than a basic knowledge of who Thor, Odin, and Loki are to be of much concern at the start. As the plot thickens it would behoove them to know more depth, but that could be something for them to do on their own. Conversely, a PC who expends XP on learning the knowledge of Norse Mythos might be given some more insightful knowledge which pertains to some of the hooks in the campaign material.... This, along with the previously suggested game prop of handing the Players (and thus the PCs) a book/cyclopedia of Norse mythos, would seem to cover the responsibility of the ST to provide some sort of grounding.
J had an excellent point. Only one of my players had a passing interesting in Norse mythology, and his interest was colored by his love of the Marvel comics for Thor. He was my one resource within the party who could keep up if the story progressed too quickly. Norwood brought up some solutions to prevent player confusion, and I made myself a note to keep the pace and knowledge at a reasonable rate.
The ninth article was supposed to detail the first game session, but I've run out of time. Article Ten will be all about the first game session, from outline to results. We'll pick it apart, and chart out the future, then spend some time reflecting the long journey from conception to execution for the campaign.
- Et al