New campaign, need some ideas and thoughts (long).

So, I'm starting a new campaign shortly, and though I have most of the concepts I want to use, I wanted to share them here to get some thoughts and ideas from other Storyguides. I have most of the pieces, but I need to fit them together. This campaign is not troupe style, and I'm the only Storyguide in it.

This might contain some spoilers for players, since I'm basing most of it on material published by Atlas Games, and building on it. It draws heavily on official material, and campaign ideas in Guardians of the Forests, Mystery Cults, Covenants and Realms of Power: The Infernal.

The campaign is set in Pomerania, in Northern Germany, on the border of Poland, by the river Oden.

The Magi of the newly established covenant are four members of House Bjornaer, forming a Sept. They are all from Clan Maruhs, and each of them represent one of the elements. So we have an Eagle (air), Lion (fire), Otter (water, this is an NPC, played by myself) and a Bear (earth). One idea I wanted to use for these characters is that they all spend much more time in their heartbeast form than in their human form, and they have very little contact with mundane society. This might change, of course, but being of Clan Maruhs, they tend to shun away from regular people, and go their own way.
The covenfolk of the covenant are pagan worshippers of Radegast. For those familiar with Guardians of the Forest and Infernal, Radegast is indeed a powerful demon, not a pagan god. I want to use him and his servants as the bad guy, but of course, the Magi won't know this. In fact, the covenfolk are not loyal to the Magi, but to their "god", and I came up with the idea that they are in fact planning to use the Magi as pawns of some kind in an upcoming ritual. But in the meantime, they are posing as loyal covenfolk, not the diabolists they really are.
So, first step is to create Radegast. I want to write him up as a demon using the rules from Infernal. From what I understand, he is a False God, with the rank of Prince, making his Infernal Might 50. This guy is the ultimate villain in the campaign, so he should be very powerful. The covenfolk are fanatics in worshipping Radegast, and I want to make their leaders as mean and evil as possible, but this is something the characters should have to discover during the camaign.

So, I need some ideas at this point:
-What kind of evil could the covenfolk do behind the Magi's back?
-I want to use the Dread Host at some points. Any ideas where it should fit in?
-I thought about using an Infernal Regio, putting it somewhere nearby and linking it to the covenant. But to what purpose?
-I'm also using the campaign ideas from Guardians of the Forests, specifically Devil and the Deep Blue Sea and the Crintera Schism. How could the covenant of Bjornaer Magi be used as tools in Radegast's war with the other demon described there?
-I'm also want to use horrible demons at some point, which the characters might be able to destroy, maybe with the help of Radegast, to earn their trust? Maybe these could come from the Infernal Regio?

The Crintera Schism is not linked to the Infernal plot I'm cooking up here, but it should be used to draw the attention of the Magi, so the the demons may do their work longer without being discovered.

So any ideas from the Storyguides here? My intend is to corrupt, be evil, but subtle at the same time.

Also, I got some inspiration from an unlikely source. Even though I haven't played the game it's based on, I watched the movie Silent Hill, and that has some great ideas on how Infernal Regios might work. I want to fit some of that into the story, but medieval style, of course. :smiling_imp:

So, Storyguides, bring it on! :slight_smile:



Well, first off, I worry how 3 Bjornaer single-elemental magi are going to deal with "demons", even forest-based ones, but I suppose that's part of the challenge (and you know best if that translates to "fun" for your players.) Usually it's a Vim mage, but, like I said.

First suggestion, which is more a general principle for BBEG's- use a glass onion. Layers and layers of minions, each of whom seem evil, but whom inevitably reveal that they are working for "someone higher up" who is actually the person truly responsible, in an ongoing process of working up the ladder to the true enemy. Thus, a single offense can create a hook, a resentment or indignation in the magi, and every time they "succeed" in beating the guilty party, it just gets worse. Thugs working for a boss who works for the headman who is being blackmailed by the lord who is in fact being controlled by the vizier who is in the evil cult ruled by the priest who, finally (maybe!), actually knows that a demon is involved. "Never" let them know who's at the top, until you're nearing the endpoint in that campaign meta-arc (or the saga itself, depending.)

The regio could be an old sacrificial stone, now representing a gate to that regio that's only open on certain ancient (un)holidays. Or, several pieces of an evil gate that have been "scattered" around the area, but not far enough, and are still magical in their own right- magical enough to grab the attention of magi, who will bring them all to... their covenant. 8)
(This would be best if they knew a legend of a great evil overthrown and scattered, but didn't have quite enough info to make the connection until after the gate was reactivated. Ah, I never tire of the "We did what?!" Factor. Doh! Good times...)

As for the peasants, they should be no less than about the 3rd level of the onion. First, some bandits, or a few of an evil group of do-badders (who would be the 2nd layer.) Only then does it become clear that the do-badding is a more widespread problem- perhaps a single village, or better, a widespread farming community (harder to define to "wipe out" in a single effort.)

What could they do? Meh, kidnapping is a good start (or at least apparent kidnapping) - you'll want to work up to the truly demonic elements, so as to not give everything away at first. Perhaps a tax collector, or a stone mason (going to build a church?), someone who poses a larger, but non-obvious threat to Radagast on a long-term level.

The more that earlier elements can foreshadow the later, the more that the magi can look back and say "Hey, remember when...", the better "the pieces" will fall into place toward the end. Even if it is human sacrifice, "kidnapping" should be the initial appearance. Evidence of animal sacrifice (and a chapter or three tracking them down) before the human sacrifice is clear, etc.

A lot of disinformation and distraction too, but while that can be fun, sending magi on a wild goose chase, it can also confuse them as to the main plot, and waste time while the main plot languishes. Dead ends should be obviously "dead", otherwise the players become more confused than any character would.

In keeping with that, try to insinuate someone "above reproach" into the magi's trust- an aging and pitiful village priest who is not what he seems, or the daughter of the missing headman who actually orchestrated his disappearance.

Lastly, don't try to sketch out every detail of the progress from one clue/foe to the next. Keep the details open ended, so that you can more easily tie them together as the magi surprise you with their conclusions and responses. If, by reasonable conclusions, they determine that they must go East (literally or figuratively), but your next encounter can only be found by going West, then just flip the map.

How comforatable are your players withthe advancement rules,and how willing are they going to be to let things slide in order to allow time within the story to advance?

If they're going to be rabid go getters then your might 50 demon will be appropriate for the ultimate bad guy. If the story is going to last decades, then you have to accept that characters will eventually get together the spells and arts necessary to squash your demon like a bug. (Perhaps delayed some what if you adjust the rules for wizard's communion)

At this point, your story can change into a big game of cat and mouse with the demon manipulating mundanes and infernal servants to bring woe upon the magi (and woe upon the mundanes as well, naturally) and the magi trying to find some way to bring their magic to bear upon the demon (a situation made quite difficult by the demon's convienient quality of not generating arcane connections).

-What kind of evil could the covenfolk do behind the Magi's back?
the coven folk can engag in profane pagan ceremonies that are morally troubling but not blatently evil.
The coven folk can steal inorderto provide sacrifices to their god.
The coven folk can be convinced that another group (town/convent/merchant house/family) is their enemy and persecute these innocents "pre-emptivly".

-I thought about using an Infernal Regio, putting it somewhere nearby and linking it to the covenant. But to what purpose?

A pagan holy site where "holy men" can go to commune with their god. No magi invited.

Covenfolk often have a better quality of life than the villages in their area.
Play on the jealousy angle with other folk.
People will put up with small corruptions to gain relief from constant hard work with no seeming reward.
Maybe the Covenfolk provide a "medicinal cordial" made from herbs that grow in an Infernal Regio.
Even Honey gathered from bees in an Infernal regio would be very simple and not suspect on casual inspection.
(You could make mead)
This drink has an hallucinogenic effect
making things seem brighter and taste better (or is an aphrodisiac) and dulls pain and fatigue.
However it is only temporary and people will always want more.

Create a network of contacts throughout the area , possibly beekeepers.
These "suppliers" will have a few addicts here and there who will be willing to provide service and information.

Play up the corruption effects ,
as playing drug dealers does not seem very Mythic in one sense.
People will lie , cheat , steal & murder to get their "fix".

The covenfolk could even conduct their foul rituals within the covenant grounds, causing the aura to be effected. Nothng gets Mages off their robed behinds like their aura getting messed with. Plus attempting infernal magic is more dangerous in a Magic aura, so there are bound to eventually be some terrialbe botches, possessions, destructions, etc.

I think the covenfolk and the demon should try to bring the mages on their side, drawing them deeper and deeper into damnation, into the 7 sins and the worshiping of Radegast himself (without their knowing) pherhaps it could be your NScs that is goinf trough this alone and at some point your magi will be shocked about their best friend sbecoming a diabolist. Pherhaps sometimes they resist and get help from real pagan gods or from angels and saints, pherhaps they try to trun over the cult.
In my opinion demonic influence should always inculde a way to turn teir enemya into their followers through sins.

You should think of something else: if your covenant is only of Bjornaer and is very near to Crintera... why shouldnt the ask Urgen or someone like him, or pherhaps a Quaesitor to help them with such a demon? To avoid this you have to make the players do something very wrong such as freeing Radegast from an ancient prision in the epilogue of the sage or sacrificing him some priests, agels, relics, whatever without knowing this. In such a case they cant ask for help from the most magi, because they have to fear to get marched.

Without this Radegast with only 50 might is such an easy prey for a 80 year old magus. Imagine Philipus NIger to go to the covenant and help them, killing Radegast, all covenfolk, 1000 demons and 10000 bad fearies in 3 minutes. Urghs. Definitly a plot breaker.

Just want to say, but why have the covenfolk aware that their god is a demon. It works just as well if they are all fooled.

The covenfolk believe totally that they are worshipping their god, they perform seasonal worship, including in the covenant. They encourage their magi to participate, I don't know how many magi would wish to offend their grogs by refusing. Only after 10 - 20 years of worshipping the demon in character do the magi start to realize there is something off about the practices, something that reminds them of a certain book. They follow it up, and over a few more years realize that it is infernal practices they have been following. Then comes the realization that they are in deep #%!$, how do they get out of this, spread the revelation of the false god to their grogs. The grogs don't believe them, they need proof. Once proof is delivered, the magi go after the demon and get their arses kicked. They are infernally tainted and subject to his power.

They need to purify themselves, which involves converting to christianity and sincere repentance etc. When they do so, they find their covenant really is an infernal aura know, no one noticed the slide as they were damning themselves while it was sliding. But free once again, they bring in priests to go to work destroying the infernal aura, and their covenant (sob!), and begin to target the local infrastructure of the demon worship. Forcibly converting the local sinners to christianity, and killing the hard core fanatics. Then once the locals are no longer a threat going after the demon itself.

The players in other words are forced to be part of the vanguard of the northern crusade against paganism not from religion but to save their souls and protect themselves against the demon.

Wow! Alot of very good answers here. Thanks a bunch for the ideas. Here are more details:

The Magi represent the elements because of their tempraments (see Mystery Cults) but they are not entirely focused on these elements with their magic. The Otter is very good at Aquam. But he is also a Seeker, meaning that this NPC will often be away, chasing legends around Mythic Europe. It would be interesting to have an adventure like "Oh, look what the otter dragged in!" when Ancient Magic comes out. :slight_smile: We might have another player coming in to play a Tremere demon hunter at some point. He has heard rumours about a subtle infernal influence on the covenant and comes to defeat it, and become a member of the covenant.

As for Radegast, he's Might 50. That's how high a demon can be. If they characters can defeat him at some point when they are old, that's fine. But it should be hard. They will have to work really hard to get past that Might. Remember that a demon has no Arcane Connection apart from his True Name. Learning the True Name of Radegast would be an adventure in itself, and there would be alot of opposition to this. The Magi are just recently out of their Gauntlet (or at least the Bjornaer version of it), so it should take some time for them to reach that level of power. In the last campaign, one of the characters were laid low by a spear thrown by a Hrool in Calabeis. It was a misunderstanding, the Magi was a half Satyr Merinita, and he got a heavy wound. :open_mouth:

The ideas that came up with the regio being an ancient pagan site is interesting. The Magi are also pagan, and their coversion to the Divine might be a plot in the compaign. They would not accept the Church, or any organized form of religion, so this might be tricky. It's like the t-shirt I found some years back, saying "I have nothing against God, it's his fan club I can't stand!" :stuck_out_tongue:

But let's organize this into parts:
-First, we have to covenant itself, with the Magi.
-Second, the village, with the covenfolk, doing their Infernal rituals to Radegast. What kind of rituals could these be, using RoP: Infernal?
-Third, the Regio, this might be where the rituals are held, outside the regio. What kind of regio is this? This gateway might be broken, requireing Gatestones or magical help to fix, and the Magi might help. When it is done, they have released some horrible servant of Radegast.
-The Dread Host and the Dance Macabre is something I want to use.
-Could the Knights of the Sword be involved in this??

Questions, questions :stuck_out_tongue:

Again, thanks for all the ideas. Keep 'em coming!


Dont overestimate a might of 50, with an PeVi5 Demons Enternal Oblibion that was mastered and someone who spend a month to make a figure out of Radegast and pushes his penetration score, pumpin in vis and confidence (a demon hunter or a char which spends 2-3 years to achieve this task could easily have Sta+2, Pe 13, Vi 12, 1 confidence score, penetration of 5 and a mastery ability of 3 with penetration, fast casting and multi casting giving him with 3 vis used in the first of the 4 spells a safe 63 without a dice roll, so even with an infernal aura it should be easy) he could lower his might with fast casting in one round to 30 and at this point most of the other magi should use their spells on him.
If you let your magi prepare too long for this or let a true demon hunter to the covenant then Radegast is dead meat if he engages the magi.

Well, if I understand Might correctly, the PeVi spell only lowers the demons might, as if it was using it's powers. Is the Magic Resistance lowered as well?


mystical beings with Might have:

  • a Might Score, which is "Fixed", and determines Penetration and Magic Resistance
  • a Might Pool, of temporary points used to fuel Powers

normally Might Pool points used on Powers are refreshed over 24 hrs - usually at a continuous rate over the 24 hrs, so Might 10 recovers 1 point every 2.4 hrs.

Normal activities do not reduce the Might Score - but "damage" does. PeVi spells damage the Might Score.
A PeVi spell which causes a loss of 10 Might removes 10 from the Might Score (reducing MR & Pen), and also causes the loss of 10 Might Pool points.

The effect of reaching 0 Might pool is variable - it may have no effect (a corporeal being may be tired but unaffected), render them unconscious (a different corporeal being), is dismiss them (most summoned incorporeal spirits are dismissed if their Pool reaches 0).

If Might Score is reduced to 0, the being is destroyed - "dead"...

It is not written down what happens to a being whose Might Score is reduced, but not to 0, and which then "escapes" - my own view is that Might Pool use is like "fatigue" (recovering over the day), and Might Score loss is like "Wounds" - and that Might Score (>0!) gradually recovers over time, but slowly.
So PeVi harms Might Score like PeCo harms the body...

(TMRE makes it clear this is so for mortals who become Immortal through magic, but not all Might based creatures are equal... )

If you need a demon with more might, then go ahead a make one with more might. If you don't want a demon's magic might to be "ablative" then don't make it so. Rumors that it is could simply be a demon's idea of a joke.

Just imangine what might happen to a demon that is worshiped directly for decades by 100s of persons. It might have powers far beyond those listed. If you don't want to change the base rules for lesser demons, you could say that this is a special demon, due to it's close ties to its worshipers.

Or perhaps the close ties to the magi give it specific powers over them and their covenant.

Or perhaps, once the magi have sparred with it for long enough and decide to dedicate years of study to its defeat they get a chance to defeat it.

Or perhaps the demon is nearly defeated, but reenergized by its worshipers.

Or perhaps the demon escapes its near defeat and becomes much more subtle in its assaults, or even surrenders to do the bidding of the magi. Did all the magi become demon hunting machines or was it just one? Could the demon then set its traps to destroy this one mage with non-demonic forces? Could it then scour the underworld and earth to look for something to defend it from this or these mages?

Sounds like a good campaign!

Don't over estimate how difficult it is to get 50 penetration. Three magi each casting wizard's communion at level 25 gives you a 75 point bonus to the casting score to work with. No creature this side of the almighty can be safe from a covenant of magi who put their heads together.

And don't underestimate the sneakiness and long term vision of demons, immortals plot for decades, centuries and millenia in advance.

"That vis you are going to use to blast me with, you didn't happen to gather that from the small rock outcropping 12 miles away from here did you. I thought so! Please feel free to try to use it in an infernal regio, perfectly safe."

How many of the vis sources in an infernally dominated countryside are tainted, how many of the aura's and regio's are corrupted. How many of the covenant scribes are also worshippers of the demon and have 'edited' the summas and spell texts that the magi have learnt from. The longer it takes for the magi to be aware of the demon cult and move to stamp it out the more preparation the demon cultists would have done subverting the magi's powers so that they are ineffective against demons. And if the magi have not yet weeded out the demons worshippers from the covenant when the confrontation happens, then it is hard to think how they could win if they are lying on the ground clutching their stomachs in agony because a worshipper in the kitchen poisoned their last meal.

Until the magi have thorougly cleaned out their land of demon worship and absolved themselves from the sin of any action they were tricked into doing that was demon worship, then to attack the demon prince they were worshipping would be suicide. I haven't read ROPtI but I would assume that actively worshipping a demon counts as giving it a pretty strong advantage against you, and weakening your own attacks against it.

You'd think they'd be that smart, but in my experience they're normally just as dumb as the storyguide (ie. me). :frowning:

I agree with Erik on that one. A penetration of 50 isn't that hard...

One of the reasons I think the upper end of the scale for Demon might is way too low....

The main problem is finding the demon. When you do find him, he might be in possession of someone...and you can't kill him that way, only kick him out. You could torment the magi for years...he keeps 'grabbing' a covenant member and causing mischief...burning the barn, poisoning the well, impailing the priest... :smiling_imp:
or better yet...stealing their Vis or books...

:smiley: :bulb:

I love the way you think, sir.

Magi: Taste my mastered multi-cast vis-boosted Demon's Eternal Oblivion, foul filth!

Demon (digging under finger nails while leaning against a tree): Oh. My. The pain. What ever shall I do? yawn

Magi (as his own spell wraps around him, draining him of energy): Wha...? How?

Depending on the extent to which your players enjoy moral dilemmas, you needn't (necessarily) have the demon working at cross-purposes to the magi.

Demons aim to corrupt, of course, but one form of corruption is simply that of knowingly receiving benefit from the infernal. For instance, suppose agents of Radegast seek to undermine a nearby church, and suppose the dominion aura of said church has lately been threatening the magical aura (vis sites, etc.) of the covenant. Given their feelings about the church and how much they stand to benefit, your players might be quite willing to cooperate (passively or actively) with such an Infernal plan. Such culpability might tie their hands when they later want to go to the Quaesitors or Church for help in combatting the infernal.

The infernal isn't identical to the Cthulhu mythos - Demons may aim to destroy and ruin, but using temptation and seduction to sow despair and pride will often do far more to accomplish infernal goals than killing people and breaking things simply for the Hell of it.

The infernal might, for instance, even try to provoke the eventual persecution of the followers of Radegast. Many of those who would die would currently be in the clutches of Hell, so having them killed would efficacious in preventing their later repentence. Likewise, the sins of wrath and cruelty that must comprise such persecution would allow the infernal to exapand the circle of corruption to those who have resisted the blandishments of Radegast.

That brings up a question about the medieval paradigm - If a Pope declares a holy war and that any who fight in it will be forgiven their sins, the paradigm treats the pope's word as good for heaven right?

RoP: Divine says that monotheism is correct and while Judism , Islam, and Chritianity all have divine support the nature of the Divine trancends the teachings of any one religion.

The word of the pope can have the ability to change the tempers of auras within mythic Europe, but the game has left questions of the eternal reward of souls unanswered. That being said, I would allow effects with a duration of Grace (is there such a duration? it has been a while since I've looked over the divine range/duration/targets) to be cast upon the holy warrior and have them last until the warrior screws up and looses his state of grace.