Author Topic: Help me write a good front!  (Read 5348 times)

(not that) adam

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Help me write a good front!
« on: June 17, 2012, 05:11:52 AM »
I suck so bad in making fronts I'm ashamed. I don't know why! I'm a very good in preparing games like solar system or dogs in the vineyard.

Well, I need to make fronts for the new game I started last week. Obviously I didn't even try to build any for the first session. Here the important things in the story:

Characters:
• Erran, good human druid from the arctic circle, hulking and blonde, very spiritual.
• Ferfaril, good elven wizard (the shorty fairy kind of elf).
• Marlow, chaotic human thief who is all about money and is a compulsive liar.

the thief and the druid traveled from town to town, with the druid acting as a prophet of a new religion wich professes poverty among other things. Long story short, the thief convinced every new believer to give him all his possessions to become truly free, one with the nature, etc.

However, the wizard foresaw that the druid will actually have an important role in the future events. Meanwhile, the thief stole a very important tome from the wizard. The tome contains two very powerful rituals: one to command the most powerful spiritual entities, and one to break them free from their bonds. We're talking about freeing spirits that would cause the end of the world.

After being attacked by priests of the order of Oronx who accused the heroes of heresy, they raided their church and discovered those cultists actually wanted the tome for who knows what evil plot. There was also a scene where the wizard confined a flesh demon into a chamber using a ritual, but the sigil will last only until the next full moon—about 20 days from now.

Fleeing from the church, they started to argue about who would have the right to keep the tome. A failure on tricks of the trade by the thief to pickpocket the wizard and steal the tome again, broke it. Upset (and very mad at me—bwahahaha), they decided to travel towards the Cursed Ruins—a place of power where the wizard will be able to repair the tome with a ritual. That's because the tome itself in the right hands can be used to do all the good, and their plan is to bring it in some sort of enchanted forest full of good creatures where it will be secure.



Now, I'm completely stuck. I tried to find ispiration from dangers but nothing seems right. I just managed to make custom moves for the tome:

When you bind a spirit, roll+CHA. On a 10+, hold 3, on a 7-9 hold 1. Spend holds on a 1:1 basis to have them follow one order of yours.

When you break free a spirit, roll+WIS. On a 10+ both, on a 7-9 choose one:
• it's free;
• it's grateful towards you.


I wrote this dangers:
The Order of Oronx
Ambitious Organization (Religious Organization: to establish and follow doctrine)
Impending Doom: the order frees Badhazumal, lord of annihilation
• the order locates the book
• the order obtains the book
• the summoning ritual begins

The Cursed Ruins
Cursed places (place of power: to be controlled or tamed)
Impending Doom: the power vanishes
• the stars are right

But as you can see, they suckity suck. Also I have no idea of what other front I could throw in.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 02:21:37 PM by (not that) adam »
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

noofy

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2012, 08:51:13 AM »
Hey Adam, don't be so hard on yourself! These are great :)
What a wonderful AP too, so awesome and full of goodness.

Well, keep it simple yeah? You know what the players want to do right? Their goal is to Repair the Book at the cursed ruins and then place it in the hands of the good enchanted creatures in the forest for safe keeping. Cool! Draw the map together and place these locations near the home steading. Spout lore about them, or just ask provocative questions. Just keep expanding on your basic idea of the front to antagonise the players preferred outcome.

You know that the cult of Oronox wants to steal the book and complete the ritual to raise the demon. But why? What does the cult want? That's all you need. A reason. Make that reason A BIG DEAL and at odds with the Players Bonds, their class, their goals, their Steading. Choose one of the major Impending dooms and embrace its overwhelming consequences:
Tyranny (of the strong over the weak or the few over the many)
Pestilence (the spread of sickness and disease, the end of wellness)
Destruction (apocalypse, ruin and woe)
Usurpation (the chain of order comes apart, someone rightful
is displaced)
Impoverishment (enslavement, the abandonment of goodness
and right)
Rampant Chaos (laws of reality, of society, or any order is
dissolved)

Ponder about the cursed ruins... What would you like to see in play? Do you have a vision for them? What makes them cursed? How and where in the ruins would the Wizard repair the book? Would you rather disclaim decision making and make all this up together as you explore? What Dangers lurk in their crumbling walls?

Threaten the enchanted forest with hordes of cultists... have the spirits of annihilation emerge from the Arctic Circle and start devouring all the druid holds dear... Have the order of High Wizards from the local steading offer the thief something he can't refuse to steal back the (broken) tome for them... whilst the enchanted forest creatures foretell that no good will ever come from this book and the Druid will be their undoing if they bring the book to them....

Do you see? Having factions and threats that have reasons to do what they do makes its easy.  This allows you to translate their motivation into action (and make up their moves). This means you need to embrace those impulses for your dangers to bring them to life. Think of them somewhat like the townsfolk in Dogs, a means to challenge your player's choices.

Your stakes questions come from pondering what happens when you throw all these factions (with all their various motivations) into the fray and at odds with the players desired outcome. You already have the locations, just re-incorporate them, let the players author them in as you go, or indulge in some lonely GM fun and draw a simple dungeon map.

Let us know how you go, I think you have a wonderful front in the making!

(not that) adam

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2012, 12:47:55 PM »
That's all you need. A reason. Make that reason A BIG DEAL and at odds with the Players Bonds, their class, their goals, their Steading.
You're so right. Why am I so slow in making fronts for DW? I suspect during the first session I fail to ask questions wich would answer what I want to know, focusing only on questions that would build the setting and the characters' backgrounds.

Complete Front incoming!
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

mease19

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 02:24:20 PM »
I bet all those people will come to realize that they don't feel at one with nature when the drought hits.  I bet they'll want their possessions back.

...and the cleric's temple, they heard that they were going to get a massive donation.  Where's that donation?  I bet they're going to send some people out looking for it - you can't defraud the faith of that much and expect it to go unnoticed.

I bet there is another group who has a safer place to sequester the tome.  It's a shame but I bet they're really good folks too.

« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 02:33:38 PM by mease19 »

noofy

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 09:40:11 PM »
Oooh, I like the way you think Marshall! Oblique impulses for the win!

(not that) adam

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Front: The Tome of Binding
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 11:13:05 PM »
Thank you very much, guys! You really inspired me! I'm very proud of this front, even if it's a mash up of your suggestions and diablo and skyrim :D

FRONT: THE TOME OF BINDING

Dangers

The Order of Oronx
Ambitious Organization (Religious Organization: to establish and follow doctrine)
Grim portents:
• the order obtains the tome
• the ritual is started
• The Water Elemental storms the northern villages
• most villages surrender and accept the religion of Oronx
Impending Doom: the order of Oronx extends its domination to the northern tribes (tyranny)

The Fallen People
Horde (Underground dwellers: to defend the complex from outsiders)
Grim portents:
• someone harasses the fallen people for the last time
• the underdark council decide they had enough of the surface people
• the soul gem that fuels spellcasting in this land is broken
Impending Doom: a magical sickness relinquishes spellcasting powers to all those in the kingdom (pestilence)

The Ulfklod Clan
Horde (Wandering barbarians: to drive their enemies before them)
Grim portents:
• the invasion of the elven realm starts
• the last elven citadel standing is under siege
• the elven king is killed
Impending doom: the enchanted forest is no longer a safe place (rampant chaos)

Description
The Tome of Binding, wich allows the owner to control the most powerful elemental spirits, was broken while the heroes were trying to bring it to the elven realm in the enchanted forest to kept it secret and away from the wrong hands.
Looking for a place of power where the broken tome could be repaired, the wizard lead the party to the Cursed Ruins, an underground complex inhabitatet by an ancient, tainted population—once human beings devoted to defend an incredible treasure and the Soul Gem, the powerufl artifact that fuels spellcasting powers in all the kingdom. The fallen people however are sick tired of the constant struggles of the surface people and could well destroy the gem to keep the surface world forever at bay.
Meanwhile, the Order of Oronx, a monotheistic, inquisitive religion wants the book to unleash a spirit on the northern tribes and finally convert all those pagans, achieving complete domination on all the human factions of the continent.
The strongest and largest clan of the northern tribes, the Ulfklods, could not stand their people forgetting their own gods to accept the cult of Oronx, and self-exiled to find new, rich lands to conquer. They decided the enchanted forest was a place hard enough to live in, to preserve their spartan, violent culture where only the strongest must survive.

Cast
• Archbishop Varxas, (bald) head of the executive branch of the Order of Oronx
• Krashitanak One-Eye, master sorcerer of decay and leader of the fallen people
• Valhild, chief of the Ulfklods and probably the strongest and most beautiful woman in the world

Stakes
• what will be of the ancient tome?
• will the northern tribes succumb to the new religion?
• will the enchanted forest be conquered?

Custom Moves: see my first post

Now I'm writing monsters :D

ps: by the druid's answers, all of the northerners are shapeshifters like him. I twisted this concept and made that every clan has its animal, while the druid, being the spiritual pacificist he is, was the only one able to shapeshift in different animals.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2012, 11:18:10 PM by (not that) adam »
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

noofy

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 03:34:53 AM »
Awesome! I can't wait till all of those impending dooms become apparent to the players, they can only address one, meanwhile the other portents gather momentum... You look at them innocently. 'So.... What do you do?"

Epic! Well Done Adam :)

(not that) adam

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 01:54:15 AM »
Thanks! I actually improved the front, following another suggestion by mease19. The Danger of the Fallen People was weak and sort of gratuitous. So I came up with:

The Inquisition
Ambitious Organization (to establish and follow doctrine)
Grim portents:
• an heretic commits religious murder
• all the heretics are took into custody
• the head of the heretics is tortured in public to make him confess heresy
Impending doom: slaughter of the heretics (I don't know how to classify this impending doom!).

Description
Following the doctrine teached by the druid, those heretics are persecuted by the order of Oronx. However, they are willing to fight for their new religion and will be the first to strike.

Cast
• Derrick, leader of the heretics
• Father Roran, leader of the inquisition
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

Mtallen

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2012, 04:33:59 AM »

Impending doom: slaughter of the heretics (I don't know how to classify this impending doom!).


It could be something like:

First it was the heretics, next it will be you. Religious pogrom.

Trying to make it something the players would care about.

(not that) adam

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2012, 06:17:15 PM »
You're right! But that would be too much similar to the other danger. I reversed the situation:

HERETICS
Ambitious organization (Cult: to infest from within)
Grim portents:
heretics commit religious murder
an heretic is tortured in public by the inquisition
heretics unleash fire and flames through the whole town
Impending doom: the town of Glorian is burned to the ground

Glorian is the steading where they started and where they conned the population.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

skinnyghost

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2012, 08:33:14 PM »
The idea of the "Grim Portents" is that they point towards the Doom.  That someone with some foresight could look at a portent as it happens and say "well, this can only lead to..." and it becomes clearer and clearer and more and more difficult to stop as you roll towards the bleak end.  It sounds to me like you're on track with the heretics bit.

Heretics commit religious murder.  Maybe people in the know can figure what happened and what it might mean to the town, but everyone else is still confounded.

Someone in the inquisition figures out it was a heretic and punishes him / her or some other unrelated heretic for it.  This is great - it's 'good' because yay punishment! but it's also bad because it makes the heretics get angry.  Anyone could look and think "shit, this is just going to piss them off" and then BAM.

Fire.  Town burning, bad shit happening like crazy. 

The only thing here is that it sounds to me like your Impending Doom and your last Grim Portent are the same!  What happens _after_ the fire?  What's the worst possible thing that the heretics could do?  Or is there another step where the High Inquisitor shows up and just goes all EXTERMINATUS on the town?

samuraiko

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2012, 01:40:52 AM »
It sounds like you were on the right track with your initial Inquisition Danger. The Heretics and the Inquisition will play off one another, but I think you probably only need to keep track of one of them, whichever has the more Impending Doom. In this case, I'd follow the Inquisition as it seems the more Dangerous. Something like this:

The Inquisition
Religious Organization (to establish and follow doctrine)
Grim portents:
an heretic commits religiously motivated murder
the Inquisition publicly tortures and executes a "random" heretic
[escalate heretic response] -- public acts of defiance or some such
[escalate Inquisition response] -- detainment of heretics and other discriminatory practices
heretics unleash fire and vengeance throughout Glorian, razing it to the ground
Impending doom: the Inquisition begins a religious cleansing of the region (Tyranny: few over many)

From what you've written it sounds like the Inquisition is the one that ultimately ends up going the furthest in the back and forth, and so it makes more sense to have them unleash an Impending Doom. The Heretics are still sort of a Danger, but mostly in relation to the Inquisition and their reactions. They aren't going to be the biggest potential problem. Like Adam mentioned, Grim Portents are way posts towards what may happen. I view them as the escalating events that lead towards the Impending Doom, much the same way that angry words, dirty looks, insults, a push all lead towards conflict and open violence.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)" -- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

(not that) adam

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2012, 02:17:57 AM »
Both of you are right. I'm way too soft on the impending dooms!!!

Exterminatus on the population seems fine. "Kill them all, God will know his own." But I fear in this way the danger is too similar to the other danger, the church against the northern tribes. It's basically the same situation :( that's why I tried to change the wind and having the heretics be the actual danger, so while the players may want to fight the church on the northern lands to leave them free, they are going to defend it if they want to save Glorian.

I don't know, I think I have to ponder a bit more on this.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

samuraiko

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2012, 02:50:02 AM »
The nice part with this Danger though is that they don't have just the Inquisition to deal with. The heretics are also a force. The characters can attempt to deal with either side in order to prevent the Impending Doom. Maybe they can get the Inquisition to back down, or they can get the heretics to make amends or move on. There are different strategies they can take in addressing the situation.
"Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)" -- Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

(not that) adam

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Re: Help me write a good front!
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2012, 03:01:15 AM »
Sure! But if the impending dooms of both dangers should come true, the result would be the same: Oronx. Oronx EVERYWHERE!

I have another day and a half to work out something cool, then I'm gonna go with:

Ruraxartis
Arcane enemy (dragon)
while the elves who kept him are busy at war against the barbarians, the dragon escapes from his forest prison
the countryside is plagued by his presence
foodless and helpless, the town of Glorian is took under siege by the dragon
Impending doom: Glorian goes down, becoming the new lair of Ruraxartis, the few survivors turned into his slaves.
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.