Thursday, April 11, 2013

MAJUS: Five Adventure Seeds to Get You Started

As I write this, we’re just 9 days and $1,119 away the end of the MAJUS Kickstarter campaign. Some of you have already contributed and now have a playable copy of the game in your (digital) hands. But where do you begin your new MAJUS campaign? With many different options available to you, you might already have the wheel spinning in your heads. However, some folks may require a little helpful guidance before heading into the shadowy underworld of the Maji. In that regard, I’m here to help.

What follows are five adventure seeds you can use to jumpstart your MAJUS game. As is my usual design philosophy, I’m going to avoid hard game mechanics and just give you the gist of things to get your creative juices flowing. Whenever applicable, I note what version of the Skein might work best for these seeds, but feel free to ignore whatever I say (which is also my design philosophy in a nutshell).

1) One of the young scions of the Skein bloodline (Skein option #1) vanishes and the PCs become embroiled in locating the child, either by their Tower or as part of their own schemes in the Mehen. With no ransom forthcoming, kidnapping for monetary or magical gain seems unlikely. The PCs’ investigation unearths that the child went missing while accompanying his minders on a seemingly mundane errand close to one of the seamier section of the city. Unbeknownst to all, the child was lured away from his protectors by a band of Tylwyth Teg slavers intent on selling the child to the highest bidder, be it child slavers or rival Maji. The PCs must venture into the faerie-controlled criminal underworld to rescue the child before he goes up on the block.  For a more horrific adventure, substitute the Tylwyth Teg faeries for one of De Rais’ Children, making the PCs’ search a race against the clock before the missing boy becomes the ogre’s next meal.

2) On May 20, 2003, US-led forces invade Iraq under the codename “Operation Iraqi Liberation.” Ostensibly, the collation’s purpose is to end the regime of Saddam Hussein and stop Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction initiative, but was there another purpose? In this adventure, the Iraq War is the public face of a gambit masterminded by the Projecteers to locate and loot a number of ancient sites dating back to Sumer strewn throughout the Iraqi deserts. The PCs are deep-cover operatives of the Projecteers charged with the discovery and plundering of those sites before rival Towers can do the same. Played against a backdrop of on-going warfare and insurgency, the PCs must navigate a treacherous landscape where not all threats are magical. In addition to dodging bullets and IEDs, the Maji must face down enemy sorcerers and mystical guardians, some of whom have grown incredibly powerful since they accepted their charges from the priest-kings of old. Skein options #2 and #3 work equally well for this campaign, which can continue throughout the occupation of Iraq.

3) A series of anonymous tips alert the PCs to certain stratagems in play by rival Maji, allowing them to counteract their enemies’ schemes before coming to fruition. The identity of their informant remains a puzzling mystery, but one thing is clear: Whoever is alerting them knows much about the Old Game. But can this mysterious source be trusted? After much convincing, their unknown ally agrees to meet with them and the PCs discover that he is none other than a “feral” golem whose master died in the Old Game. Now searching for a place in the mystical underworld, the golem is well-versed in the Mehen and is both a valuable source of intelligence and a formidable opponent in battle. But can he be completely trusted, or is its aid all a prelude to its subtle campaign to bring about the destruction of all Maji, who it still harbors ill-will toward for its creation and abandonment? Skein option #4 works well for this adventure idea, but cunning CMs might use option #3 and make the golem itself one of the artifacts important to the Skein.

4) The PCs catch wind of a rumored artifact of old, long forgotten in an ancient temple dedicated to an obscure deity from antiquity. The location of the temple has vanished in the mists of history and the worshippers of that long-ago god no longer exist to aid their search. With no other leads available, the Maji must venture into the Astral Plane to the region known as Cemetery, where old gods go to die. After navigating the hazards of the Astral realm, the PCs win their way to Cemetery to locate the flickering spark that was once a deity and convince it to reveal the location of its former temple. If they’re lucky, the PCs might not only discover the resting place of the artifact, but inspire new life in the dying divinity, earning them a potent new ally in the Mehen once the god begins to reclaim its old power.

5) It is a well-known fact that nobody walks away from the table once they’ve started playing the Old Game. Retirement is not an option for Maji. Nevertheless, it seems one Majus intends to prove everyone wrong and has decided to duck out of the Mehen at the top of his game. In order to do so, he must tie up decades’ worth of loose ends, owed favors, enemies still gunning for him, and a host of other small tasks to make a clean break. To do so, he decides to employ the up-and-coming PCs as his agents, promising to hand the reins of his magical empire over to them if they help him get out of the Old Game. Can he be trusted? Does the Majus really want out or is this just another one of the multi-faceted schemes he’s used over the years to build his powerbase? This adventure seed works best with option #4, but can easily incorporate any (or even all) other Skein option in a campaign. CMs looking to run a campaign with a secretive director issuing regular adventures to the PCs for them to pursue will find this an excellent framing device for the campaign.


Herb Nowell said...

Just a suggestion, but these last two posts should go on the Kickstarter to help those on the fence decide.

Michael Curtis said...

Thanks for the suggestion, Herb. Dan, you want to link/add these to the Kickstarter page?