Boy, first off I must say that there's something about Washington (I don't know what it is, probably my friend here and just being away from home), that really makes me feel a lot more productive. I think I've gotten in the last week more work than I'd have done in two at home, despite being sick.
Anyways, I have always said from the beginning that I didn't really like the story I had (that Illeria was this Atlantian island that became deserted, and is now crawling with treasure hunters), that it didn't covey the right mood, and that it just didn't seem all that grand. I mostly went with it because it was the best I could come up with. I was talking to Mike (my roommate) about possibilities for a campaign mode, and he kind of agreed with my statement. He said that it didn't give characters that much of a reason to fight, and certaintly it wasn't the desparate fight to the death I wanted. We talked, and I mentioned what a really early idea had been (back when this was still maybe going to be a sci-fi game), of refugees trying to escape a dying planet. He liked it, because that gave people a reason to fight each other for the sake of fighting: thin the numbers so there are more resources. So, I got to thinking, and realized that this could be somewhat adapted to a fantasy world. I could summarize it, but I think I will just give you the front page introduction:
"No one is really all that surprised by what Illeria has become. Why should we be? The very creation of this island was an act of evil. It has been home to the most horrific acts in living memory. Why should we expect it to become any less despicable, just because we ousted the former masters?
"I suppose that I should start at the beginning. The Island of Illeria was created by Emperor Balthazar, a man who could frighten the Devil himself, as a prison camp. Criminals, revolutionaries, POWs, political prisoners, religious minorities, and other deviants of society, all were sent here. We spent our days doing hard labor, having information extracted by whatever means necessary, or acting as the test subject for new forms of warfare. Sometimes it felt like we were being tortured for no reason other than the entertainment of our guards. When we were done with us, at least for the day, we were paralyzed and frozen, so that we could be stored underground without trying to escape. All this time unaware of the world meant that no one noticed when someone disappeared. All we knew is that no one escaped. Illeria was not an inn or a dungeon, it was a grave.
"I don't know what it is, what caused it, whether it was spending so much time in suspended animation, the constant exposure to bizarre and experimental magic, or if Illeria just naturally sits at a rift between the worlds. All I know for sure is that somehow we learned to commune with the realm of the spirits, and the guards didn't. At first we used this as a way to hide from the pain. Then, one day when the ships stopped coming and supplies ran short, we used our powers to fight back.
"But with the masters gone, the prisoners have done nothing but wreak havoc. We have turned our swords on each other, and devolved into nothing but heartless beasts, fighting for our own survival. Although I suppose why shouldn't we? What other option was there? There are so few resources left that I suppose even if there was peace and harmony, most of us would still perish. And the problem becomes worse every day, as new prisoners continue to awaken from their magical sleep. No one really knows how many of us there are, just that there are too many to feed.
"I have hoped, I have begged, and I have prayed that someone will come and rescue us, but I know this will never come true. With everything that has happened, I am beginning to doubt whether there is a man on this island who even deserves it anymore. All I know for sure is that the only way to escape this wretched place is to take matters into our own hands..."
Cool, huh? Anyways, this gave me an idea for a new campaign mode direction, but I just don't have the energy for that right now, so I'll type it later. Cheers!
“Patriotism is supporting your country always and your government when it deserves it.” – Mark Twain