Who doesn’t want to be a hero? It seems so simple, slay the bad guy, become the good guy, have everyone love you, right? But after the initial jubilation is over, the mighty oppressor is gone, then what? Who takes his place, if anyone? What kind of vacuum is left behind, which cockroaches will scuttle to fill the void? If you remove the symptom, but don’t cure the disease, what have you really done?
Our group just made a play that upset the power balance quite heavily in our area. It was the right thing to do, it was just, it was epic, but was it prudent? I imagine many settings treat this scenario in black and white — you either solved the problem and all is well or another bad guy will simply take his place. But knowing what I know so far about this setting, it won’t be so simple or predictable.
We’ve uncovered just the tip of a few seemingly intermingled but separate plots lurking below the surface, and only just begun to understand the implications of our actions. Sure, we are currently lauded as heroes for freeing the improvised masses from the clutches of a tyrannical lunatic, but we haven’t improved the harvest, given people work and wages or even given them any new leadership, at least not yet. There is still so much to be uncovered, so much to be done, and so many new enemies with their eyes now on us.
I don’t regret what we did, I just don’t think it’s really sunk in what it will mean in the long run. That’s obviously the point of the game — to find out. So I’m not concerned as much as I am curious. I won’t go into too much detail here, it would be much better told in a different format, but there are a few things I’ve been thinking about that the GM hinted at:
Outlaws – We just murdered a Castellan and everyone knows it. Luckily, the only witness thinks we are heroes, and the only evidence is a pair of boots thrown down to the bottom of a mine shaft. Well, and a melted mine entrance with a few tons of obsidian beside it, but who cares about that, right? Or the row of scorched trees… they’ll grow back. Regardless, in time questions will be asked and some sort of authority will show up to resume its role of ‘protecting’ the people. The funny thing is that protection may actually be needed. We were told one of the duties of the Castellan was to guard against whatever horrors dwell in that massive forest to the east of us. We don’t currently know how diligent the former Castellan was in that duty, or how necessary it was, but I imagine that could bite us in the ass if we forget about it. Does this mean we are now responsible for that duty, at least in the term between whatever ‘official’ will show up to take over?
Fame and infamy – Sure we are heroes to some, but what about the allies or friends, if they had any, of the men we killed? They surely thought they were doing the right thing, as horrible as it was, perhaps those that are left behind feel the same. To them we are the villains, the usurpers, the murderers. And they are right, in a way. While we were just in our actions, we still took the life of someone who firmly believed in what he did, and conviction can be contagious.
Plots and schemes – we obviously put the breaks on one plot, not that we have any idea what it really was/is, but we also stumbled across a few more. If there’s one thing that intrigues me about this setting in particular is that it’s both real and unreal. What I mean by that is what the GM tries to emphasize – the world is plausible, realistic, graphic and brutal; in that sense it’s like Game of Thrones (to give a pop culture reference) or more accurately like medieval Europe (at least the part of the world we are in; it’s a ludicrously massive setting). Daily life is ultimately mundane and uneventful for most. Going about one’s daily business isn’t all that exciting. Yet at the periphery, under the surface or just out of focus is something fantastic lurking. So much will pass without us ever knowing. Crazy shit is going down (to put it bluntly) and whether through accident or intent, it’s exciting to come across it simply because it isn’t everywhere.
As the GM tells us when we go over the top – less is more. That surely is the case here, and we have a lot of things ahead of us to find out. Or not. We could always take the villagers praises, their money and then their women and head off to the luxury island to the west to retire. End of story. Right? *glances nervously at the man behind curtain* Right?