I'm planning very soon to run Iron Kingdoms for my RPG group, but I'm adding some variations from some of my favourite roleplaying aspects - notably dark fantasy roleplay.
So I'm learning the official fluff but seeing as my guys won't be overly familiar with it my changes can go unnoticed, this is a habit with roleplaying games and is how I personalise them to suit my particular style being an old school Ravenloft DM.
The main emphasis I want to achieve with this scenario is importance and weight of decisions and choices (derived from my love of Dragon Age: Origins).
It is often very hard to get a perfect result, usually something or someone suffers from a decision made and I want to capture that.
Basically the story goes as thus:
There is a small village in a no-mans land between kingdoms that is having trouble but have some Menoth-ish Mercenaries (a religiously fanatic leader but overly enthusiastic to the point of blasphemy, nihilism and sadism) watching over them known as The Slayers who are led by a cruel trio - Korska, Guido, and Star.
Korska the leader is the only one with bombastic fervor while the other two lieutenants are more into it for the sport of hunting their fellow humanoids.
In the village there is a young girl named Isla and her family who have recently fled there due to the young girl having gifted manifestations during times of stress but wants to live a normal life - if she were discovered she would most likely end up a Vassal of Menoth or dead.
Add in typical troubles on the road nearby and we reach the main crux where mists rise at night and the risen enter the village seeking warm flesh.
Such troubles are getting progressively worse, where the risen have been getting smarter/ more cunning / more formidable with each passing - as if someone is refining their technique or product.
Eventually the characters will discover an old decrepit tower high atop which will be the source of the risen just as the main assault begins - do they stand and fight to save the town or use this to their advantage to investigate the tower while they think it is lightly guarded?
Either way the young girl will be taken during the fight and brought to the tower to be 'processed'
Depending on the characters decisions during the attack they have one of the following:
- Rescue the girl before anything bad happens to her.
- Arrive too late to find the girl processed and a villain to be slain along with the main baddie making for a tougher fight.
- (another option which I haven't figured out yet)
One variation I love to add into roleplay is dynamic end boss fights (particularly inspired by WoW Raids) - the main villain will be some kind of mad doctor crossed with Goreshade the bastard looking guy who has some kind of Soul Summons ability where he can force part of an enemies soul to leave their body and come to him.
Any soul fragments that reach him heal him and empower him slightly.
If the characters rescue the girl her gifted powers will have manifested blowing her secret which will cause conflict with Korska and the Slayers who will want her handed over to Protectorate authorities to become a Vassal.
So heavy emphasis on decisions and consequences is a key element I want to play on.
I don't want obvious and easy decisions due to each action having an effect on the entire story - "risk the town to save the girl early" for example.
Also do they set the girl free to live her life on the run, or let her be handed over to Korska, or does she end up a corrupted enemy to be slain.
Normally with other systems that I am more familiar with I can tailor encounters on the fly to achieve particular effects, but with Iron Kingdoms any suggestions you can give me for balancing encounters on the spot would be appreciated.
Protectorate of Menoth (2 Warcasters, 11/80 Points)
Circle Orboros (1 Warlock, 18/56 Points)
Such a long way to go...