Friday Night D&D – The Lost City of Zenefil
Like normal, I’m stealing slightly from something that I’ve been watching. Into the Badlands. The world has “ended” after something happened and there’s this Badlands split up and ruled by barons in the show, but that’s not what I care about. What we’re caring about here is this city of Azra that people know about in the show and believe to be some paradise that they can maybe find and escape to.
In our case we have our city of “paradise”, Zenefil, and there’s a deity in the world who has created this for the adventurers to find. Now, that sounds great for our adventuring party, but the world otherwise really sucks. There are powerful chromatic dragons that are ruling the lands with fear.
So this is clearly going to basically be the whole thing getting to the paradise of Zenefil, but generally if something sounds too good to be true, it probably will be. And the deity should definitely have put a limit on how many people can actually get in. So while I said adventurers, everyone and their mother is going to consider themselves adventurers and probably be willing to kill to try and get there. Plus, then you’d have the dragons who would be trying to stop the people from leaving because they need subjects to torture or it’s just dull.
Beyond the dangers of the other people going and the dragons, I’d make it sort of a puzzle/mystery sort of thing where players need to figure out clues and decipher things that the deity is giving them in order to eventually make their way to Zenefil. This will do two things, it’ll weed out some of the weaker NPC’s that they might run into for a while so it becomes less chaotic, it also kind of gives you points of timing for other NPC’s. Beyond that, it allows you, the further they get away from the dragon kingdoms towards Zenefil, they should start seeing more monsters and natural things like that.
You can also add in less natural things as well, depending on what you want to do with Zenefil. Do you want it to be an amazing sanctuary and refuge against the dragons, or do you want it to be a equally as bad, if not worse place. Now, you can have the players need to fight at this point and try and defeat the deity or the deities monsters/henchmen.
This is going to be more exploration focused in some ways as your clues can lead them to various landmarks along the way and put them into unique situations. Also it’ll be an exploration into what the player characters are deciding to do with the other NPC’s that are running about as well. I think that there’s going to be a lot of interesting stories to tell with that, will the PC’s help some less fortunate NPC’s, will they leave an NPC that is injured out there who can be brought back as a nemesis? Is there another group that is their arch rivals? Play around with those emotions and groups of people, heck, even family members.
So, would you run a game like this? Would this be something that you’d do for a whole campaign? For me, this is a higher level campaign, or the second arc of a campaign. If you can set-up the dragons as rulers in the first one somehow, then you could create the paradise/Zenefil part as the second arc at a higher level. It would give the players less competition and more reason to not just worry about their own survival.
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