Need help with plot ideas. I'm lost!


Advice


Hi! Im a long time DM (for DnD) but my groups typically consisted of powergaming murder hobos so making a story was usually something that was.....secondary. Needless to say my skills have greatly atrophied in the intervening years and I FINALLY have some real role players in my new group.

As such I need to make a REAL campaign with plot and story. I've started on the beginner box since I'm new to Pathfinder and I have Troubles in Otari to help me branch out. I've plopped Otari into Tian Xia, specifically Shokuro. My players are all native Tian characters but have no real loyalty to Shokuro outside of it being a sort of home for outcasts (they all are refugees of some sort). The plan so far is to play through the beginner box and sprinkle in Troubles in Otari depending on how they react to the different kinds of adventuring (they are all new to table top RPGs) and I want to seed in references to a shadow organization that will be scheming to undermine Shokuro. The problem is I haven't quite decided where to go from there or who will be doing it! Ideally it would have the party heading to the capital looking to uncover the mystery and help save the kingdom.

I was wondering if you had any suggestions on things you might have done, or what sounds the most interesting. Currently some ideas are...

The Aspis Consortium wants to regain their foothold in Tian Xia and are bypassing Goka and heading to Amanandar. Their actions are intended cause the colony to invade Shokuro and come to them to be exclusive suppliers.

The spider people, ghosts, and other outer god creepiness of Shenmen is wanting to gain a foothold in Shokuro by slowly infiltrating the area. Kind of a dracula meets spiders meets invasion of the body snatchers creepiness campaign

The golden league wants revenge for losing out on their previously secret control of the country prior to it being freed. This would likely be full of ninjas.

The family of the corrupt lord that Shouro Toriaka killed and was banished for wants revenge after finding out that the samurai has been doing well for himself. Probably more ninjas, maybe even a combined Oni plot involving the same group that established the Jade Regent.

More straightforward, Lingshen, who didn't seem too mad about losing the country really wants it back so they can feed their armies of conquest. This would be a lot less of a shadowly plot because nothing about Lingshen strikes me as "subtle".

What do you think? And I have never done an intrigue style campaign before, what premade adventures or sources would you suggest for helping me flesh this out?


Are you looking for something completely homebrew, or something to reskin to fit your campaign?

Fall of Plaguestone could fit in terms of a shadow organization looking to undermine a town, and adventurers with only loose ties to the town working to save it. You'd have to do a lot of renaming, but it seems like that's something you've done in the past.


Watery Soup wrote:

Are you looking for something completely homebrew, or something to reskin to fit your campaign?

Fall of Plaguestone could fit in terms of a shadow organization looking to undermine a town, and adventurers with only loose ties to the town working to save it. You'd have to do a lot of renaming, but it seems like that's something you've done in the past.

Im fine with either homebrew or reskinning. Im at least adept enough to be able to repopulate encounters to make them fit the proper level. Im just short on getting my ideas to go from point A to point B at the moment plot wise. How have you done intrigue kind of games?


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One question I have is, why only one organization? A common trope in intrigue-style stories is "wheels within wheels," where one organization is directly or indirectly doing the bidding of another. The Aspis Consortium could be funding the Golden League, for example, so that the party graduate from dealing with the League, who want their empire back and to re-establish their criminal rackets, to the Consortium, who are hoping to open up wider-reaching networks across the continent.
This can also lead to betrayals by either group, or both of them, which are helpful ways to generate dungeons because the inciting incident becomes pretty easy. Stop the bad guys from doing things to other bad guys which get innocent people caught in the middle.

Also, don't be afraid to ask your group what kind of campaign they want. If they know the style going in, and enjoy roleplaying, they are more likely to make characters who fit the campaign better and that helps you as a GM generate content, because you can play off their backstories.


Perpdepog wrote:

One question I have is, why only one organization? A common trope in intrigue-style stories is "wheels within wheels," where one organization is directly or indirectly doing the bidding of another. The Aspis Consortium could be funding the Golden League, for example, so that the party graduate from dealing with the League, who want their empire back and to re-establish their criminal rackets, to the Consortium, who are hoping to open up wider-reaching networks across the continent.

This can also lead to betrayals by either group, or both of them, which are helpful ways to generate dungeons because the inciting incident becomes pretty easy. Stop the bad guys from doing things to other bad guys which get innocent people caught in the middle.

Also, don't be afraid to ask your group what kind of campaign they want. If they know the style going in, and enjoy roleplaying, they are more likely to make characters who fit the campaign better and that helps you as a GM generate content, because you can play off their backstories.

You are quite the genius, I love this idea. Use different groups at different levels (ie golden league will be more local, Aspis will be more regional, etc). Thankfully my players are pretty open to just about anything, they want an opportunity to roleplay first and foremost. Backstory wise I think I at least have some hooks to start. One character is a pyromantic Monk that was exiled from a Quain monastery over some fires, I have a Kitsune witch that gained powers from being experimented on by a villain from Tianjing, and an Elven Storm Druid from Jinin who likes to wander a bit too much. To make sure they live ill put in a fighter NPC to take some blows.

Liberty's Edge

I find that having the backstories of PCs mixed with the campaign's backstory works awesomely. Use the PCs' stories as springboards and inspiration to add more details to your campaign.

People are not what they seem. Ulterior motives, both Good and Evil, abound. Betrayal is just around the corner. And that applies to NPCs as much as PCs.

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