Flavor and Festival
There are altogether too many Fs to cover in one update, but as we get into the final 20 days, I wanted to give you two quick samples of the Blight from a list of many Fs. The first is an introduction to one small part of the overall GM’s Guide—Flavor. The Flavor section commences a part of the GM’s Guide that moves on to GM styles and Campaign styles; another group of articles on how to pitch the Blight at your own players and style which is full of ideas and suggestions for your group. The Guide also helps GMs with numerous charts, propositions, NPCs and other options to give you suggestions to running your own adventures here in your own style, or tweaking your style to provide twists.
After that comes a short clip of part of my favorite part of the Blight—the gaudy wererat metropolis of Festival. I guess you could shout out for SPOLIER ALERT, but the secret about rats is an open one that most people know and try not to think about. This minor extract comes from the extensive GM’s Guide section of Festival concerning rats...
THE FLAVOR OF THE BLIGHT
“The imagination is the spur of delights...”
The descriptions of people and places gives you an overview of the city, its decaying parts and its twisted alleyways, but these are merely the main components to the dish. The true essence of the Blight lies also in its flavor, its smells, its atmosphere, its spice.
Appendix A includes a number of random charts, these are included not only to give you some inspiration if you need any for the strange locales and locals found in the city, but also to give you a taste of what is lurking there. Hopefully these lists will inspire you to set up adventures, encounters or even perhaps just simple conversations.
Bear in mind also that the Blight is of course more than the sum of its parts, and that any twisted dark fantasy setting could have these elements. Over and above these flavours, here are a few more ideas to give you a taste of the city.
I started titling this next section mature campaign themes, but I’m not sure if that’s the exact phrase I wanted. Mature can mean many things, but initially comes across as sex, violence, drugs and other themes. Those issues certainly have their place in the Blight, as it’s a grown up dark fantasy setting, but it’s not all it’s about. The optional rules and ideas that follow are for you to judge; do they suit your style, are they unacceptable to your group or would they have a place with a slight alteration?
Campaign Themes and Styles-Stories
Some groups play an incredibly deep and absorbing campaign, some like to de-stress by beating up orcs. Most (ours included) like a balance of both; unmasking a politician one week, and slaughtering a group of goblins without dialogue the next. Linking adventures into themes through the PCs is one way to bring your PCs realistically together under a common bond. It’s not for everyone, some groups like to start and roll characters with total freedom; an elf monk here, a dwarf barbarian there, but sometimes a change of pace is good. It may not always be appropriate to do so every time, but occasionally, ideas like those below can offer a change of pace.
The Player Characters as Part of the Story
Having a theme to a group of PCs can be a great way to commence and find a thread through an Adventure Path. Are the PCs all associated with a thieves’ guild, are they all pirates or members of the same holy order? Having a purpose and identity is a powerful way to start a campaign, however, restrictive themes can soon become tiresome, so whilst using these themes, try to vary them. Perhaps one group of PCs is indeed part of a holy order, but even such an order has its more dubious associates. The fact that the PCs begin the campaign as members of a thieves guild certainly does not mean everyone is a rogue; such guilds are complex, and need muscle, charm and magic, so...
FESTIVAL EXTRACT - CURIOSITIES
Rats, rats and more rats
Cats are virtually never seen in Festival, but few people live here long enough to notice. Rats are, however, seen in vast number, and those that are glimpsed are not only huge, but uncannily alive. The phrase ‘as cunning as a Festival Rat’ comes from encounters between visitors and the rats of Festival.
The number of wererats is conjecture, but offers you several options as GM to theme adventures in Festival. Much of Festival is infested with families of the creatures and many pay homage to the Family itself, however, the Family is not omnipotent, it is fractious and riddled with envy. Furthermore, although infestation with lycanthropy is common, the Family have a code that they stick to—the Troth—and a queen who they honour and worship. Whilst it is a common secret that many wererats infest Festival, it is not clear just how many that is, and the Family have to be careful not to invite any potential religious cleansings. They therefore adhere to a code and are careful not to flaunt their lycanthropic roots...