D&D General Best forum/message board for discussing home campaign metaplots/story arcs


Is there a particular place (here on EnWorld or elsewhere) that is particularly good for getting metaplot help/discussion? I have a thorny issue I'd love to discuss, but I rarely see such discussions here, and they rarely get more than a few responses...

log in or register to remove this ad


So, here's my current campaign's metaplot, as I have so far worked it out:
Ancient Powers at war
In all of the World, well before the time of the 1st Miraborian Empire, there were 10-12 extremely powerful godling/wizard-emperor/magical beings, each with many more powerful underlings. They constantly feuded with each other, and at times things escalated into open warfare. They grew in power until each was so strong that they had the ability to destroy the world with their firepower. At that time 3-4 of the "powers" realized that the wars would never end, and that eventually the world would be destroyed, bombarded into lifeless rubble. So the Four banded together, and did their best to end the situation. Alas, in the end, all they could do was to divide the world into multiple parts, and seal them away from each other. They created walls around all of Emmenoru, Arastha and Hereddikh, subdividing each into 5 or six different regions. Miraboria and Mistland they left intact, as a single region, wherein they initially dwelled. In this way they hoped to enforce some sort of stalemate on their feuding compatriots. Once they had created their barrier, they discovered it was far more permanent than they had imagined, and they realized it would endure for tens of thousands of years, in all likelihood.

The powers who had isolated those areas were either trapped within, or, perhaps wishing to give the world a chance to heal, they left this plane and went elsewhere. No one is certain which, because they apparently left no records behind. Of course, the powers who were not part of the cooperative group who created the barriers, were caught within the walls wherever they happened to be at the time. What they did when they realized they had been trapped is, of course, also unknown. But by now tens of centuries, have passed.

What Did Come to Pass:

There were once two "Powers" that were feuding over this part of the world (Bessair). They were not the greatest Powers, but rather some of their vice-lords, wizards or dragons or similar beings of immense but not overwhelming power. They raised armies, fought, decimated each other, and then subsided, only to arise again a few generations later; even after the great barriers rose, this has happened again and again. In fact, there have been eight separate periods of warfare, and at least two periods of "peace" during which one or the other power was in almost complete dominion. Once, the evil Power was caught, caged, and nearly destroyed; in fact, it is impossible for either the good or evil Power to destroy the other - they are bound in eternal servitude to their Greater Powers, and their souls are not here - much like liches, their life-preserving souls are stored elsewhere to keep them service. This, and the barrier, has ensured that neither side can truly win permanent victory. But for nearly a thousand years, peace and prosperity ruled here, and all was well. Then some evil or misguided souls freed the evil Power, possibly thinking they could control it and gain its powers for themselves. They were, of course, wrong; the evil overwhelmed them and was able to eventually seize control of most of Bretannia after a short, brutal conflict. For many generations, the good forces were knocked down, overwhelmed and outnumbered. Eventually, however, they came back, and fought again to a standstill.

In the last phase of war (about 300-500 years ago), there were at least three "good" or neutral forces, each led by a powerful dragon or wizard. They were allies, but did not always see eye-to-eye, even though they ultimately all served the same Good Power. And there were at least two evil forces, one led by a wizard, and one by a three-headed Dragon, who both served the Evil Power. The good forces had many human, elf, fey, giant and dwarf groups on their side, as well as other creatures. On the evil side were arrayed orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, some demi-humans and humans, and many giants. On both sides were powerful wizards and priests of many gods; note that their gods were quite different from the gods of Miraboria today, as their faiths had diverged over the ages.

Eventually, the "good" side of the equation realized that they were NEVER going to defeat the evil side. They were certain that at some distant time in the future the barrier around their world would be breached, and their divinations encouraged them to believe that when this happened, Good would prevail, both in their realm and elsewhere. So they decided that it made more sense to attempt to prevent war, death and suffering until such time as that breach occurred. The most powerful leaders of the Good forces thus decided at a time when it seemed that evil was rising again, that they would hide away and protect as many of their own "good" peoples as they could, enchanting them in some way, effectively "storing" them away safely where evil could not reach them, in such a way that eventually they could be rescued and restored to their natural condition. The general population had little idea what was to happen, and were blindly convinced they were being rescued in some way. The Good Power used all of its energy to complete the transformation, and fell into somnolence for some indeterminate time.

The forces of evil were also affected by what was done - the Great Evil Power was somehow drained of much of his vital energy, which was used to power the transformation of the "good" races. In the time since, the minions of evil have slowly grown to dominate the otherwise vacant island, but they are essentially leaderless and without focus. At least, as of yet.

That was 300 years before the current campaign began.

Around 50 years before the campaign start, Baroness M'nea Touchstone, her henchmen and her magical island have (in some as yet unknown way or for some unknown reason) managed to penetrate the barrier around Bessair, and reconnect it to the rest of the world. Aricum has been rebuilt, the Barony of Touchstone established, and this change is causing everything on the island to begin to stir...

The PCs are adventurers exploring Bessair - which is a large but not enormous Island, separated by the magical barriers mentioned above, from a nearby mainland. There are NO humans or elves or other demi-human races (except for one smallish dwarf city, and I have an idea why it survived separately from whatever else happened) to be found, so far.

So, what was done to hide away most of the "good" peoples? And why did it drain the evil power? And what changed? Why did the magical barrier part and allow contact with the rest of the open world to resume? Etc...

I don't know how much detail I really need - I'm not overwhelmingly interested in forcing my PCs to interact with this plot in hugely significant detail. But I do want to be able to hang current situations and plots on a tree that doesn't accidentally collapse on me with contradictions. And if they get curious, want to explore to find out more, I need to know what they're going to find. Any ideas?


Well, that was fun
Staff member
I think it's about writing a good thread title, and making what you're asking clear. It can be tricky to get people to read one's backstory.

Level Up: Advanced 5th Edition Starter Box

An Advertisement