My World: Help me with conflicts


It may sound a bit lazy but I feel it may not only help myself but potentially other people looking to run a game, I'm looking for different possible conflicts that may be going on between areas and within themselves. Not a random d100 that gives a random quest, but actual possible conflicts that would exist in certain areas.

To give an example of what I am looking for:

I have a country that is heavily invested in magic; for now, we'll call this the Magocracy. It's run by mages, but it isn't so magic heavy that it has ridiculous stuff like magical trains and elevators and whatnot. One conflict idea I have is between the commoners and the magocracy; while all wizards would know using a summoning spell (summoning, not calling) to summon a demon to fight for you is possible regardless of alignment and thus isn't evil, the average townsfolk have a hard time swallowing these stories and believe the mages are putting power above all. Additionally, the capital and major cities are heavily diverse, seeing as how every race's mages and alchemists and whatnot (yes, even the orcs due to their alchemist favored class option) it can be seen by the natives that the mages are selling out the land to foreigners. Additionally, the barbaric land of warriors, for now called the Kingdom, despises and fears magic, so the two have never gotten along.

Another example: The Theocracy, called so because the nation is theocratical and heavily Lawful Good, has had a problem in that many of the paladins, holy warriors of justice, are not able to be sent out into combat, namely due to having lost powers over abuse and abridging of their gods' codes and due to the fact that paladins are both staunch warriors and celebrities revered by the townsfolk. This is partly inspired by the ideal of the paladin being a chivalrous holy knight and the problem of players overanalyzing their codes, trying to get around them, and trying to force parties into playing their alignment as well and possibly being domineering. Just a small idea I had since it would be feasible that, given the amount of perks that come with paladinhood in such a country that corruption would become an increasing problem. Additionally, the Theocracy has some growing conflict with the Magocracy's wanton use of magic, even necromancy, and they are also not fond of some other races, namely the freedom-loving elves who prefer not to get involved in crusades and the halfling caravans that seem to invite theft.

These are just a couple ideas of what I am toying with. Obviously I'm also looking at how monsters would play a role in all of this. Pleas,e feel free to toss any suggestions my way, I'd love to hear other people's ideas, especially if they've been played in a campaign.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

This is truly the best advice you can give someone building a world:

Steal it. Find established work, steal it, and reflavor as needed.

Just look at history or current events. What drives conflict? Typically fear, competition for resources, or friction between cultures. Leader's egos can drive them to conflict with other political units.

Famine, drought, other natural disasters can create conditions that foster conflict.

In a fantasy world big marauding monsters or hordes of evil creatures can directly provide conflict or create conditions ripe for conflict.

BBTs advice works too. Plagiarize. Let no one else's work evade your eyes. Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, SO do not shade your eyes. But Plagiarize Plagiarize Plagiarize.

But only be sure always to call it please -- research.*

One thing you should do which most settings keep failing to pay any attention to...

In real life there are multiple religions based on the same actual god.

Example of a made up religious schism:

(the following example is based on a religion i used for a project a long time ago, I have forgotten some details so things are a bit rough and simplistic as written)

According to myth, before the appearance of religions X and Y, a hermit lived on a mountain. The hermit was a skilled farmer and had plenty of food and resources at his disposal. One day a mighty, and clearly divine, voice spoke to him and said "Fast and I shall spare your life". The man fasted and his life was spared. One thing led to another and two separate religions arose from this based on two separate interpretations.

1: God appreciates those who obey his orders
2: God appreciates those who fasts

(the way this was written here was rather simplistic, but you get the idea... I can't find my original notes >_<)

Yeah, so it is kind of difficult to really make generic conflicts without specific setting information. I mean, the two kind of go hand in hand, but I'll give a try using the example you provided.

Internal Conflict (Magocracy) - The Magocracy has long struggled with the demands rulership has for sheer manpower. The tradition of the Art is one for which not everyone is suited, and the magic class has never granted political power to any of the Ungifted. Prior to the ascendance of the first Archmage, arcanists had a tradition of searching out the most worthy apprentices to receive their magical legacies, but the needs of the magocracy ended such luxuries. Therefore, in the year 314 AM, Archmage Valon instituted the three Arcane Academies across the country. With these schools came the Delving, where diviners would traverse the country seeking those who had the gift. No longer were arcanists coming from those wealthy enough to send their children to magic tutors, but any common child with enough potential was recruited to join the academies voluntarily or not. The parents were always compensated in gold, and many saw this as an opportunity for their children. Still, there were just as many who saw the Delving as little better than kidnapping.
Attacks on the Delving caravans were rare but consistent occurrences on the roads out from some villages, oft from beleaguered parents, who were angry and mourning the taking of their children. However, there were never more than minor disruptions until twelve years ago. It is believed the first attack by the outlaws now known as the Returners were motivated by the same things as all the others. They were probably parents or siblings trying to get back a child discovered by the Delving. It was their success that made them any different than a footnote in history. For some reason, the diviners did not predict the attack and the entire caravan was overtaken. The bandits did not slay all the magi, but they took all the children. From this first heist, all the children were returned to their villages, and form that act these bandits got their name. What members of that original group remain in the Returners is unknown, but their current leader, Orryn Spelltooth, has become the most famous outlaw in the Magocracy. Delving caravans have increased their guards every year in the past five, but the caravans continue to be robbed of children and coinage as the Returners have been fond of pilfering the diviners gold.
The local magistrates have offered massive rewards and put out their own men to find the Returners, but with little success. Most concerning is that the Returners are well liked in the countryside, and Orryn Spelltooth has become a folk hero. Still, the conflict has had some bloody skirmishes. There are also some parents who have become concerned when their children's caravan has been assaulted, but their child was not subsequently concerned. The necessary secretive nature of the Returners may be hiding more than just their identities.

Okay, I REALLY like the ideas here so far but as far as stealing ideas I really don't have a large amount of source material other than video games (which is pretty large but that's why I'm asking for help: I want more than just Fantasy Scrolls Age Quest LXVIII).

As far as the setting; it's a work in progress. Thus far, I've decided that this is my setting:

The "apocalypse" happened many, many centuries ago. Society went through tough times but through the struggles of all humanoid races things have been rebuilt and have peaked for a time. Thus, the reason so many different ruins across the land would exist for dungeon delving is because of the destruction of many evil cults. Evil was driven back to a small section of a land that for now will be called the Forsaken Hills. Small cults may exist throughout the world but evil above ground poses little threat on such a large scale that it previously did.

People migrated in large numbers to places where their ideals held fast. The Magocracy now touts itself as the melting pot of the world having attracted all races, the Theocracy hold itself as the front-line garrison against evil being next door to the Forsaken Hills, those who despise and fear magic now hold their ways in the isolated Kingdom known for the most powerful warriors in the world, and the Desert Empire holds many mines and beaches where its profits come from precious gems and metals but is plagued by being in constant turmoil by the assassins that essentially run the politics. The Elven Forest was mentioned earlier, it prefers to ignore the threat of evil until it comes to attack despite having valuable resources to aid a constant war like Darkwood and other wood-based materials and equipment, not to mention the prowess of different elven races in combat. The Dwarven Mountains are placed right between a mostly Taiga/Tundra wasteland and the Forsaken Hills, separated by massive mountain ranges but connected by underground tunnels. The dwarves are known to be stingy by other races, however the dwarves heavily pride themselves on being the first line of defense against evil.

Now there is a little mixing where need be; as always, there are many, many traders on the Dwarven continent's ports, but it's mostly mountainous dwarves inland. The elves have many forests and lands where their kind reside across their nation, which is mostly left alone except for trade areas due to elves being more aloof and living much longer, thus seeing some life-long human conflicts as somewhat futile. The Orcs have dispersed encampments around the Dwarven Mountains and in the Farmland nation near the Magocracy. While many orcs still hunger for battle, they have been somewhat complacent in simply building strength since the great war took out most everyone's numbers and they were required to cooperate against great evils. However, many orcs are still evil themselves, so they operate across the world on a "raid-or-trade" mentality depending on the strength of their enemy. Gnomes tend to travel in sparse groups on their own whims, usually to simply find something they're curious about, so they're more concentrated in areas like the Elven Forest where they search for different natural beauties, the Dwarven Mountains where they love to delve caverns and ruins, and the Desert Empire's ever changing political structure gives them plenty of freedom to sell their finds in markets. They also make a good seafaring folk because of this. Halflings travel as well, but they tend to travel in organized caravans where they trade, craft, and sell constantly. They're found most everywhere and are mostly only settled in a country's largest cities, so they're found everywhere. The Theocracy is mostly made up of humans who find worth in fighting evil and tend to fill out most roles necessary in both the Theocracy, in the Desert Empire where the more shrewd ones can fight using their pens and speech, and in the Kingdom where their strongest warriors fight for honor and to suppress the power of magic over their land. Of course, these are simply the places where they are the most concentrated. Like the small races, they're found most everywhere.

If I made a bit of a conflicting statement about the races it is because I have yet to read any race related books in Pathfinder (please let me know if there are some). And, if anyone has other ideas they want to toss given this information feel free to. I know it's crowded blocks of text but what I have written is so much larger I fear it would take too long.

Switching up races is good, clean fun. I once did a world where the Elves and their god had smashed the Drow Empire and actually killed Lolth, but her poisoned bite had turned Corellon and his children less-than-good and continued the crusade into near-genocide of the orcs, enslavement of the remaining drow, and general dickery.

Anyways, that's my silly nostalgia, we're talking about your living world.

Magocracy - I could (and actually just deleted for brevity's sake) wax poetic on societal constructs and intricacies of a country that bills itself as a meritocracy but acts like an aristocracy, but this is a forum not a freakin' novel.

-I would have religion be present but the churches mostly be owned/manipulated by other political powers. The general societal mindset would be deistic and summed up as "the gods are in their heavens, but Man must forge his destiny and this earth."

-Nobility would seem to be hereditary, but any major house that wanted to keep its power would either be magically empowered or be seeking out a powerful mage to basically give their title and son/daughter to.

-I would have slavery be nominally illegal but still practiced in the form of indentured servitude. In fact you could even enslave the dead, because necromancy is allowed but governed by "The Black Laws" which state what methods are legal for obtaining bodies, what types of undead are allowed, procedures required for containment, cleanup, and disposal, and how long you are allowed to keep an undead servant around before you have to decommision it. Example rule: at the end of 2 years a humanoid zombie must be taken to a disposal site (usually the same place it was created) then burned to ash and the area consecrated to avoid necromantic pollution.

-Magic schools don't officially kidnap kids, but the government and semi-government agents (mercenaries) can apply all sorts of leverage to "convince" a family to give up their kid, and basically if you don't want your magic-potential child to disappear to a boarding school that will let you see him only once a year you have to move to another country.

-The nation is not EVIL, just Lawful neutral, so it will use evil means (undead, demons, etc.) but only if they can convince themselves the ends are justified, they also spend a lot of effort keeping sections of the country dimensionally anchored because where there is power there are devils and demons trying to seduce mortals and national pride includes a strong belief that political machinations by evil outsiders is not just wrong because of evil, but because they are filthy outsiders instead of a Righteous Prime-Born Race™.

Perhaps more later, it's time for shower/breakfast.

Magic Art or Magic Science... Most CHA base caster view it as art while most INT based Caster view it as Science.

In high undead area zombie work force dose all manual labor and put out work common folk. Think Hattie type zombie stories. Civil unrest ensues. See south park "they took are jobs"

Common themes in literature

In time you see the word techolgy replace it with magic.

make Sure you can answer Who?What? When? Where? Why? and How?

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