Obfusjake (jacob09481) wrote in roleplayers,

Campaign Reversals

Have any GMs here ever seen their campaigns unintentionally take a complete U-turn due to character death or other factors? For example, in my current campaign...

Initial PCs: LE Human Sorcerer (Manipulative politician sort, and the only one with a positive charisma modifier), LN Hobgoblin Fighter (the sorcerer's bodyguard), NG Tiefling Cleric and N Human Ranger (both singularly-focused Demon Hunters). The campaign's initial focus was on the threat being raised by a demonic cult out to perform the archtypical realm-shattering ritual about which man was not meant to know. Alignment issues never come up in the early game, despite the wide variance, as the Sorcerer was playing it as a very mature, subdued, mastermind sort of evil. No baby-eating, or mustache-twirling, or anything to bring out the torches and pitchforks here. Honestly, the tiefling drew more community ire, thanks to a 7 charisma, obvious infernal origin, and a... let's call it "overexhuberant" reaction when he came across a child who was posessed by a demon in the early days of the campaign.

Anyway, through the course of adventuring, the Ranger and Cleric both met their demises, one from a rather disastrous bout of overconfidence (it's a bad idea to bet your life on hoping you can one-shot the bad guy) and the other from an overdeveloped martyr complex (and not having a way to cut himself out of a monster's gullet). Their replacements were even more morally questionable than their zealous forbearers: a CN Barbarian who believes civilization is the cause of the world's ills, and a NE Wizard/Cleric (mystic theurge) necromancer who was a member of another evil organization that had been an uneasy ally to the party to that point in confronting the demon lord's schemes. In the meantime, the sorcerer has orchestrated a coup after the assassination of the unpopular and draconian baron of the campaign's home base, giving himself a very influential power-behind-the-throne position to the eight-year-old son of the former baron, and the fighter has secretly taken a lucrative offer to be a spy for a goblinoid empire with aims on conquering said home base.

So the group has mutated from a zealous band of dedicated anti-heroes to a much more selfish band united only by the threat of world destruction at the hands of the demon lord. And in fact, they'd all rather persue their own goals instead.

So I'm letting them do just that. I'm giving them a few sessions to mess the world up as far as their evil plans want to take them. Then I'm ending the campaign, moving the timeline forward 5 years or so, and restarting with a group of heroes to clean up the mess their old characters made, AND stop a demon lord who's made a decent amount of progress in his nefarious schemes, except for those two components the old PCs have sequestered away to delay the nasty one's plans. So far...

  • The necromancer is amassing an army of the undead to seige the world's bastions of magical lore, so he can find the secrets to eternal life as a lich.
  • The barbarian has found the ancestral sword of the last great barbarian warlord, and is rallying the tribes into a grand warband set out to eradicate civilization from the continent.
  • The sorcerer wants to learn the ritual that the demon lord is after, so he can cast it himself and become like a god.
  • And the fighter is sticking to the sides of all three, finding out what she can about their schemes, and then leaving to mentor the heroes who will someday rise to defeat these horrible threats.

I must say, it's interesting throwing a Lammasu at them as a random encounter. This evil party thing opens up whole new possibilities from that old Monster Manual. But that aside, I can't wait to get back to heroics when this is over.