Decisions, decisions. We need a structure of some kind for this coming session, but it must be flexible – as flexible as real life. This flexibility is controlled by only one person, though: the DM. So it is a presented setting, but a shared adventure experience.
I could start with a prepared scenario, but the reality is that it would take me a long time to load up all of that data. Longer, perhaps than it would to create from scratch. The compromise solution I have come to is to broadly define the setting and the story, and let the plot take care of itself. I need a big picture, in other words.
So here it is, in bullet point form:
- Imperial political structure; many provinces; players are agents of the government, which explains why they can wander fully armed.
- The region is now a frontier, but was once influential.
- Coastal; abandoned lighthouse as this section of coast no longer supports close shipping.
- Inland is a lava plain which is being slowly recovered by nature; in the middle of the plain juts a remains of a church; legend has it that a once great town squatted on the plain but the land split open and an oozing volcano devoured everything, leaving only the church to mark the spot.
- The church has been reoccupied by a warlord, making it his stronghold, who claims a title from the governement; the locals tolerate him; he has invited you to enjoy his hospitality while you are in the region.
Enough to go on with?