Inspired by the blog carnival, Making Loot Part of the Plot.
For a long time I’ve wanted to run a game where the players just killed a dragon. The game begins as the dragon’s blood begins to cool, the warrior assesses her burns, the wizard starts thinking about uses for the dragon’s corpse and the thief can’t believe they jumped on the dragon’s head in order to get that eye shot. There is real adventure in having that much loot on a distant mountain top and getting it all to civilization. Once they get to civilization, there is real adventure in spending a fortune in a fantasy world (and I think I now know what I’m running at 11/11/11).
Castles and Cathedrals
What would it take to build a castle? That fascinates me. If you are on some kind Keep on the Borderlands frontier with land that is not claimed by anyone with a flag (obligatory Eddie Izzard reference, poking at imperialism) than there is the problem of hiring workers, finding crafts-folk and getting the material out there. If there are crowns and courts and flags around, putting up a fortified big house is going to take some political wheeling and dealing, some oaths, and more money.
Religious folk might look into buying a leg up in the church hierarchy.
“But you aren’t a Bishop, Brother Dragonslayer.”
*sound of 1/4 of a dragon’s hoard hitting the table*
“I meant, where are you going to put your cathedral, Bishop Dragonslayer?”
Politicking, rival religions, etc. Good fun.
No, you aren’t caravan guards anymore but you might need to hire yourself some caravan guards. Sidenote: Job interviews are pretty fun to role-play.
“What is your experience in caravan guarding?”
“Well, we looted to Temple of the Frog-God and that is a bit like caravan guarding.”
“I…I don’t know…but don’t you get a lot of cross-over between adventurers and caravan guards?”
“Yes, but H.R. frowns on it and they are usually just part-time help, freelance gigs between towns.”
Shipping in spices from distant lands, investing in exploration, there are all kinds of neat options that will likely cause fun complications.
My own Guild!
Yes, they could start their own wizards guild, which is pretty nifty. Herding wizards into backing an organization can’t be easy and would likely take a great deal more than just gold but gold can’t be a bad place to start.
Of course thieves’ guilds can be more like crime syndicates, buying muscle, hiring thieves for the right jobs, and paying off the always-corrupt city guard.
My own Title/Land/Crown!
“Have you heard that knight killed the dragon and is now a baron?”
“How much did that cost?”
“Turns out the queen always wanted to bath in alchemically treated dragon’s blood after being handed 40,000 gold pieces.”
“Feh, new money…”
Buying one’s way into the aristocracy is going to come with a ton of problems. That character is going to be treated with mild disdain from those who see their blood as superior and with that title comes all kinds of responsibilities that are pregnant with adventure. Speaking of pregnant, they’ll need heirs.
A dragon’s hoard worth of money creates its own adventures and those adventures very often create castles/cathedrals/guilds/crime families/lands that the players are invested in.
I dig on games where the characters crawl out of prison in their underclothes, no shoes and a knife stashed in a distant flop-house but there’s something about having resources that will push on the world, allowing the players the ability to create something and allowing the GM inertia with which to push back.