1. ditch arcane entirely - arcane magic just doesn't exist.2. lifting crystal is anti-gravity - GEMF (Gravitational Electro-Magnetic Force) in this universe has resulted in refined crystals which when heated to 196F align in polarized fashion which repels the Earth (or other world name) which can be used for airships among other things. Also, although with few practical applications, heating these crystals to 2465F results in the polarity reversing and the crystal being strongly attracted to the Earth.
3. not enslaved by orcs again. I know the idea is common because it works, but couldn't they just be hired to discover why tools keep disappearing from the mines instead of being enslaved?
4. if playing the Great Game with super-powers and multiple baronies, then play the Great Game. Have the players be a special operations and reconnaissance team for an intelligence agency, either for one of the supers or for some home-team faction which may not be aligned with any of the baronies (i.e. The Church Mice, an organization which is dedicated to opposing the Church and to a lesser degree to restoring the true king). Send the PCs out to do hot extractions of compromised intelligence assets; locate, isolate, and recover information which has come adrift and those members of the intelligence organization who have caused it become adrift; convert the assets of adversarial organizations (either to assets for our intelligence organization, or to fertilizer).
I like a lot of your ideas. Thank you for sharing.The only reason that I'm thinking of enslaving them is because our group has never done the enslaved party encounter. 15 years of playing lol. We've done liberating enslaved populations, but never actually played as characters that have been enslaved.
Your 4th point is where I want to end up. I think I want them to really start hating their home nation and how oppressive and communist/social it is and join some kind of resistance where they effecting change through manipulations, war, espionage etc.
I think you got it upside down...
...the kingdom has no casters because it's an Orc kingdom, that vanquished the encroaching humans. Magic energy gets pent up, and when humans invade, bringing casters with them, the flares start to appear...
Then, human crusaders break into the valley and raid their village... the PCs are enslaved, mocked, persecuted... give them the X-men treatment. If a player wants to be something other than an Orc, let them know that that race (Gnome, Elf, Goblin, Tengu, whatever) is seen as a conspirator with the local Orcs and tagged as an enemy to the humans as well.
Have the adventure begin after they've been captured... let them know that the Orc chieftain has fallen in battle but let them know there's several fortresses that are holding back against the dreaded Humans...
1. Labor Camp
2. Escape into the Wilderness!
3. Journey past Razed Orc Villages... now occupied with Arcane Abominations
4. Reach a Friendly Town
5. Defend the Town!
6. Join the Resistance - Retake a Fortress!
7. Uh Oh, Apparently the Evil Mastermind Archmage has been Pushing for an Invasion of the Orc Valley because he Knew the Magic Flares would Happen, and Plans to Use them as a Weapon to Conquer the Valley and then THE WORLD!
Yeah, I think you're on to something here. Throwing another race into the mix over complicates and takes away from what I'm trying to accomplish. I'm going to run straight Human I think. Orcs would be cool, but it would be in an entirely different geographic location of our homebrew world if I went that route, and I've already hand illustrated too many maps for this are.
Currently this is sorta my outline:
1. Take a "job" setting up a new mine. Get enslaved by an evil baron. I think they are going to keep their slaves in line by having them chained to pre-pubescent Grey Renders that they've trained to "protect" their flock. I think it might be fun to have the PC's break some sort of conditioning on a Grey Render and have it join their side, alternatively they could just kill it. We'll see.
2. Escape into the wilderness. Due to exposure concerns they steal from an apparently abandoned wagon that belongs to the Church military.
3. Imprisoned and tried in a court of law. Banished from their home barony, the court understands the necessity for survival, but can't condone their actions so they banish them from their home barony because that's where the "Spice" ala-Dune style flows from.
4. Get caught up with a smugglers ring that is really a resistance.
5. Find a prince. Not sure if this is going to be an actual Anastasia-esque "find a prince" or if they might just get charged to make one up. Maybe one of the PC's. It would be awesome if they did this on their own.
6. From here it's a series of Political adventures, utilizing espionage, manipulation, sabotage, and outright war.
I can see this working. Thanks guys!