Aaaand back to the game notes:
So, we need a conflict that the players will weave in and out of in an attempt to solve. Global conquest is a tried and true scenario as it’s possibly the most used plot device ever put forth in popular literature. So we can use that, but we need a few twists in the concept to keep folks on their toes… For example; the BG’s are seeking, though covert means, the supplanting of the leadership of the world’s governments and therefore allowing their harvesting of human “potential” to go relatively unnoticed and making just about any human encountered a potential threat. Or something like the bad guys turn out to be ok, but are running away from something even worse which the players and the BG’s need to team up to defeat.
Remember, for conflict there has to be a goal for each side. Will the bad guys’ goal be the total enslavement of the human race? Will they be seeking to control certain nexus’ of ethereal power so they can funnel it back to their home? Will they simply be seeking entrance into this reality and equality with humans? Whatever the case, the player’s goal is usually to thwart these events, or promote them. Whatever the case, you need to know what the ultimate goals are and have both groups work towards them.
So, an idea would be:
Throughout the history of humanity the have lived amongst the Fay and with the exception of a few well focused folks through the ages, they’ve been unknowing of this. The Fay are extra planer, having been exiled there for some transgression (will of god, lack of belief, fear of industrialization, etc) but since the great sundering of the year 2000, some have found they can get back here.
This started out pretty invisibly but has been growing bigger over time. The Fay, once here, gain sustenance from the belief of humans and so tend to gather around those gifted with “paranormal” senses or abilities as the ‘norms’ are incapable of affecting, or being affected to a large degree, by the Fay and don’t tend do a lot of believing. Of course the Fay are also tricksters and tend to make the lives of those poor souls a bit strange. As each gifted person gets a little stronger the miniscule and well hidden rifts that allow the passage of the Fay into this real open a little bigger and allow more to pass through.
The Fay also bring with them minute amounts of raw, unfocused power from their home realm, “the Court”, and as the subject of their attention is a ‘sensitive’ they can, and often do, learn to harness this energy. This harnessing can range from subconsciously affecting the outcome of events in a minor degree to full on magic with special effects. Of course, the more one attunes to this Fay power, the more belief they naturally have to exude and the more attractive they become which gains them more potential power.
Now, we can’t have herds of mage-like humans roaming the fertile planes of our game here, so we need a limiting mechanism. Something like 99.9% of humans, when presented with a Fay encounter, immediately try to explain it away logically and this pretty much instantly destroys the Fay. This effect also works against the attuned humans who have to work pretty hard to do anything “special” when surrounded by the norms who can logically explain their magic right into non-existence. So the whole game premises becomes pretty secretive and can be played off in a “today” setting.
Now along with all of this specific attuning to the Fay powers, the Fay also bring with them minute amounts of “free” essence which will, if things continue the way they are, bring the entire world into a more magical vein. This untapped power tends to coalesce in clumps and in random places (old houses, secluded glens, abandoned subway lines, etc) and gives rise to spooky or magical places. This allows for the spontaneous creation of an attuned player; they walk into a magical “hot spot” out in the forest, encounter some critter that suddenly awakens them, or any other thing they really just can’t explain for example.
Ok, queue the BG’s…
Unbeknownst to the players, the Unseelie are the ones who spirited away the Fay in the first place and sealed them away in their realms to fuel their magics. This leakage back into the mortal realms will have them a bit worried and so they set about to fix this. Of course this means taking out the sensitives, cleaning up the clumps of untapped power, and doing it all without awakening the norms who will just make the holes bigger and escalate the problem.
Bingo, we now have our conflict.
Now most players won’t want to play “Joe Human” so we need an excuse for their existence.
The great sundering severely weakened the barrier that separates this reality from all the myriad others that are just slightly off from this one and where the Fay’s untapped power pools, the barrier is the thinnest and often will pull beings from other places into this one. Unfortunately for them, the disbelief powers of the mundanes can drastically weaken them, send them back home, or in really bad instances, destroy them.
This would tend to have our otherworldly friends either hiding most of the time or learning to disguise themselves to move about in the daylight or local mall.
So here we have the necessary “secret war” quotient to allow all of this to occur in a “today” setting. We can use current events to further the story line very easily. For example; the big blackout of a few months ago could have been the result of the Unseelie cleaning up a conclave of “other characters” up in the North-East and the resulting exchange of power blew the grid.
We can also have groups of Unseelie who have discovered that humans generate their own form of power, much like the Fay, and this power can also be tapped. This human generated power is based on their fear, confusion, and hatred.
The Unseelie have decided that humans make nice cattle and they have decided to stick around. They’ve been insinuating themselves into official positions and creating the chaotic events of late like the war in the middle east, the world trade center event, and other such “insane, but they did it anyway” events of late. Notice how really bad shit is happening and the vast majority of people don’t care? That’s the Unseelie siphoning off the fear and anger for themselves. 😉
This adds another layer of conflict, for the players now have to (A)-remain hidden / undetected from humanity in general, (B)-keep the Unseelie from erasing them / Opening the gateways to access more power to keep the Unseelie from erasing them, and (C)-prevent the local Unseelie from throwing the entire world into chaos just to send power back home.
So there we have the basis for an ongoing game that fulfills the requirements I set out in the first installment. With this template we can accommodate any character, have an all-consuming bad guy, place the events into today’s newspaper, and have a formula for a continual gaming environment.
And with that I have to head to work. Good luck and happy gaming!