Friday Night D&D – The “Heroes” Journey
This is another idea that I started formulating while watching a GM 9-1-1 video from Nerdarchy. The question that was asked there was how the GM could create a game where someone else was the hero of the game.
Normally this isn’t something that I would want to do, the players are clearly going to be the hero of the game or if it’s an evil campaign the villains of the game. But they had one idea that I want to run with more, and that I think could be an interesting game that would allow the players to still be the heroes of the game, while dealing with a chosen one hero who is going to save the day in the end.
Long ago in this game world, there was a prophecy of a chosen one who would defeat the mighty Zorlack, an evil deity from another realm. The hero would be born under a blood moon when the faeries sang their mid summer song and they would be born with the sign of the lioness on their right shoulder.
A couple of thousands of years have passed, and you are not that hero, but you know who the hero is. They are a big pain in everyone’s arse, because while they might be the way to defeat Zorlack, they’ve almost died ten times in the year from silly little problems like getting shot by a single arrow from a goblin, stepping off the edge of a cliff and falling 10 feet, because they wanted to get a better view, swallowing some bird poop from a bird flying overhead that they wanted to look at. They are not the hero that everyone was expecting.
Now, the signs for Zorlack’s return are starting to be fulfilled and you, a scrappy band of adventurers have your hands full dealing with this impending doom. But your life has become more complicated than just the monsters that you’re starting to deal with. There was more to the prophecy, and you’ve been tasked to help deal with the rest of the prophecy.
This is where the game really begins. I don’t see this is a massively long campaign, but it’s going to be a goofy campaign. To start, I think I’d have the players do a few fetch quests to get a few items that the hero is going to need to defeat Zorlack. I think that it makes sense that they are all pieces of an epic weapon that only the hero will be able to wield, somehow. With that, you can introduce Zorlack’s minions, some sort of small monster who are going to be a bother in numbers, but pretty easy to kill.
From there, I’d make the players have to fight their way to the remote monastery where the hero is being kept to keep them protected. This should be a pain in the butt for the adventuring party, dealing with wild creatures, fighting more minions of Zorlack, and probably dealing with some crazy weather. And when the players meet the hero, they are going to find that the hero is whiny, self-entitled, and basically a level 0 character that the players are now going to have to protect on the next fetch quest. But they need the hero to be able to get the weapon together. All the time they are doing this, I would have the hero almost die over and over again, if you have a cleric with revivify, definitely actually have the hero die a few times and have the party have to save them. But do it in absurd goofy ways so that the players don’t feel like you’ve added a complication to them, because it’s so absurd.
Eventually once they’ve collected all the pieces, there’s probably going to be a last part of the prophecy, where only a certain dwarf will be able to forge the weapon by heating it from the lava flows of a volcano. Again, making the players lives more annoying, but probably drop off the hero in one of the large cities at that point to keep him safe. Once the weapon is back together and delivered to the hero, now it’s time to ride into the massive storm that is the battle of the human, dwarf, and elf armies that are holding back the now massive hordes of minions to get to where Zorlack is so that the hero can destroy or banish Zorlack. Don’t have the players really take much part in the battle as the armies will clear a path for them, they’ll just have to deal with a few bands of minions, which should be easy.
Eventually they’ll finally face off against Zorlack who should be either tiny or the most over the top villain of all time, like those from 80’s cartoons. And I don’t think I’d even have the final battle be a normal battle. Borrow from something like The Devil Went Down to Georgia or Guardian’s of the Galaxy. Have it be a competition of some sort, and something that the players can help with, probably by either performing with the hero, rigging it so that Zorlack does worse, and the hero does better, whatever the rules are for the actual final battle.
In this game, I’d also be adding is something heralding with Zorlack actually shows up. Like a light in the sky that is getting closer, or something that is incredibly stupid, 80’s, and metal.
I’m definitely thinking that this game gets some of it’s styling for making everything over the top from 80’s hair metal bands, He-Man, Heavy Metal/Heavy Metal 2000. Really taking those 80’s sci-fi/future things and twisting them for a fantasy setting. Maybe Zorlack doesn’t end up being a deity, but a super powerful alien that this more primitive world would see as being almost god like powers.
Compared to some of my other ideas, this one is clearly the most silly. But sometime you want silly games with geysers of flame going off as Zorlack’s Minions are chanting the lyrics to We Will Rock You by Queen.
What do you think of this idea? Do you like to prefer in a more serious game or a sillier game?
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