I’ve been plotting the next 4e D&D scenario for a while. Not building. Not planning. Plotting. I use that word intentionally because this is going to be one heavily plot driven tale where events follow a carefully woven path along which the heroes tread.
That’s not to say this is this is going to be a railroad – far from it. Each scenario the heroes will face choices, and those decisions will influence the shape the story takes as it unfolds. I have a rough idea of scenes and events that may (or may not) take place. It’s entirely up to the players when, where and how things turn out.
Of course, that makes the plotting tricky.
Unlike the Endday Campaign this is no world-shattering epic. It’s a strictly local affair (provided the heroes resolve things in time) that I’d expect to last no more than four or five game sessions.
I’ve asked the players to generate 3rd level urban-based heroes who are all members of an established adventuring party. The scenario begins in the city of Whitehold. That’s their home and a portion of their loot has financed a rather swish townhouse-slash-base of operations in the smarter district. In other words – they have a vested interest in the well being of the city.
Whitehold itself is a young independent city state bluff with the excitement and bustle of youth. Twenty years ago it was a town-sized settlement nestled above the Stonemarch to the North-West of the Nentir Vale. Rumours of gold in the ancient imperial ruins and the promise of a fresh start on unclaimed fertile soil brought prospectors, farmers and adventurers alike to the area and Whitehold flourished.
It is ruled by The Whitehold Council, twelve democratically elected members who represent the urban population and surrounding rural communities. They keep a firm grip on the law in what would otherwise be a lawless frontier state with just three punishments for any criminal activity: a Fine, Death, or Brand and Exile. Highly unusually for a city, this means there are no prisons, though there are holding cells for those awaiting trial.
The actual population of Whitehold is unknown (certainly in mid to high tens of thousands) though there are plans for a first official census to be taken in the near future. As usual Humans account for the highest percentage with Dwarves and Tieflings making up a higher than normal proportion of the populace. The Dwarves are a common sight due to the continual building work taking place, though the high number of Tieflings is less easily explained. Common belief is that they are “looking for something” – though what, precisely, is open to speculation and they’re not saying.
All of the other races can be found in and around Whitehold including a small Shardmind enclave who work with the Dwarves to add strange crystalline mosaics to the building surfaces, casting colour and light onto the streets below. Elves and Eladrin alike have the run of the city maintaining and shaping the common land into beautifully tended parkland spaces.
In short, Whitehold is something of an idyll – a city on a frontier run by a popular yet firm democratic government where the races work together out of burgeoning civic pride.
What could possibly go wrong?
Next: It begins with the horses