Friday, March 4, 2011

Legion: The End is The Begining of the Begining of the End?

Spoilers abound so if you don't want to know anything about the post-apocalyptic movie Legion, read no further.

So you want to put together a one shot campaign that ends the world? Legion covers it. God is tired of man and decides that its time to send the angels on down to take care of business again. Pretty simple right? In this instance, its like a zombie plague for the most part. Those of 'weak will' are taken over by angels are go after the stronger willed individuals. And hey, just like with zombies, if you're resolve weakens, you can now be taken over.

But what about a longer term campaign?

The first step, is determine what you want to do with this set up and where you want it to go.

Are the players low level individuals that may be making up some of the militia? Are they the epic level heroes that will lead the resistance into the future with the promised ones show up?

If its the end of the campaign, and you're playing a game where there are users of magic, of almost all sorts, you need to determine, how boned are these individuals? In the movie Legion, the main 'hero' if you will, not only has his superior physical abilities of being an angel himself, but has a hell of a lot of firepower. In older editions of Dungeons and Dragons specifically, clerics and mages tend to suffer a little at lower levels because their spell power at higher levels makes them very potent and powerful against a wide range of characters and obstacles.

But if the astral plane is sealed, and essence dries up, and the gods no longer hear the pleas of mortals... well, that pretty much takes care of psionic power, arcane power, and divine power. It leaves those lowly fighters and rogues at the forefront of things.

But in my experience, high level characters tend to have a lot of magic items as well. What if this new alignment of the planes or this new passing of an era, takes care of those too?

Mind you, these are huge and drastic steps that will have massive impacts on the campaign and the ability of the characters. In older editions of Dungeons and Dragons for example, its often impossible to effect certain monsters without magic items and a high level wizard without his magic is well, a sorry sack of some odd thirty hit points. But if your going for an end of the universe style campaign...

To counter that, perhaps there are some items that not only work, but they allow the cast to draw upon his own pools of inner energy or allow others to provide some type of siphon for him to draw on his power. It could almost be like how Middle Earth Role Playing handled Magic in that it attracts all the wrong sorts of attention to the user. In games like GURPS and Hero, this isn't necessarily the end all be all it is in games like Rolemaster or D&D so remember those long term ramifications.

In addition to providing huge changes to the world, if its more than a one shot, think of the larger consequences. In a setting lik the Forgotten Realms, its been through so much that even the death of the goddess of magic and massive spell plagues didn't do that much to change its overall nature and scope. As a matter of fact, the setting had more magic with Sword Mages introduced along the way. Think not only of the negative, but also the positive.

In the movie Legion for example, while the world is in a new 'Terminator' state, there is still hope and there is still resistance. If the players have absolutely no chance to effect real change or provide that hope themselves, break out the old Call of Cthulhu game and tell them you're running a very special episode of "In The Mouth of Madness."