Howdy, forum. Asked a question here and got a good response, so I’d figure I’d go for a second.
I’m running an online roleplay right now involving four characters set in a low fantasy themed world based around real-life historical events. This is a politically motivated faction war style campaign. Plenty of political intrigue, espionage, fading Imperial splendor, and other such things; the world shifts between the late Renaissance to 1600s depending on the area. The players are 5 lifepaths.
Currently, the group is in the Capital of one of the larger nations in the game, running hither and thither doing tasks and quests to make a name for themselves. Tasks so far include investigating the work of an Alchemist gone wrong, investigating a spree of violent murders concentrated in a University, and deciding whether or not to assist a Lich in completing his ascension for a grand reward.
The issue I’m running into, though, is that I feel like the party I’ve assembled have varying beliefs. This isn’t a bad thing, and can lead to conflict–But in my case? I just feel like it’s so hard to unite them all and engage their characters under one concept. I can come up with quests and plotlines that engage them individually, but grasping them all together isn’t easy. I feel like I’m failing to engage the beliefs and instincts properly into my stories, and the narrative is suffering because of it.
The core conflict of the campaign will be two of the largest nations waging war on each-other, and the PC’s deciding which side they want to support, and why. The war will engulf most of the world’s continent and will shape the world’s future drastically.
Player one: The Mercenary
A grizzled veteran and gold-hungering warrior that has no problems being dishonest to achieve his goals.
Loyalty is just a measure of who offers the bigger reward.
Always pick the winning side. Or plan to change sides.
A heroic story is just as good as a heroic act.
Always keep a blade close to hand. You can never have enough knives.
Always watch a ‘good’ man. Morals make him unpredictable.
Never rush to a fight. You don’t know all the details.
Player two: The Wizard Spy
A sarcastic, zealous former battlemage turned spy that seeks to purge the undue influence of magic and sorcery where he finds it while advancing the cause of his homeland, Ascaria. In love with his brother, Jorgen. One of the most engaged players.
As a spy, I will find a way to sabotage Enscien in favor of Ascarian interests.
I suspect there is a conspiracy against Jorgen; but I must confirm it.
Only Ascarians are capable of controlling magic; all others are mere heretics.
I always keep an eye and ear out for things that might interest my brother.
Given the option, I always kill the elf first.
In the event of a failed spell, I am never the man in front.
Player three: The Cossack
A horselord based off of the Mongols and Cossack peoples.
The Cossacks are indisputably the greatest people in the world.
Gunpowder is a dangerous new technology; understanding and controlling it will be of major importance
[Had a third belief, but decided to do away with it. They’re considering a third now.]
If someone attractive pays me attention, pay it back.
Overlook no insult to a horse, they are sacred animals and should be treated with respect.
If they waste my time, I waste them.
Player four: The Craftsman
A hardworking, kindly craftsman that seeks to better himself and others through improving his work.
I will always find a way to improve myself and my craft.
If it is broken, it can be fixed. If not by me by someone better.
Magic is not to be messed with in any way shape or form.
If it’s about crafting, I’m already paying intense attention.
If it’s broken I start looking it over to try and fix it.
When things get physical I go on the defensive.
My questions, then
- How can I get these varying characters engaged in the story, and consistently be giving them artha for their actions? I feel like their characters are just so different. How am I supposed to incorporate the guy who’s all about crafting with the person who wants sabotage and anti-magic with the person who wants gold and fame WITH the person who really likes horses? I can come up with one plot based around these things, sure, but how can I make these elements constantly interact? Am I approaching this from the wrong train of thought?
- Currently, the players are small fish in a big pond–How should they realistically be scaled up and gain access to larger opportunities without it being unrealistic or forced?
- Unrelated, but to you, what does a 6 attribute in a skill mean? How good would someone with a 6 attribute be at that thing? What about a 7? 8?