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Welcome to the frozen colony

This post expands upon the previous one. The introduction to the setting should be like a funnel but instead of going in a dungeon, the player are trying to survive the first night. The harsh realities should be delivered as a punch in the face. In the Lair of the lamb the opening scene has a monster coming at the PCs and eat one of them. This should feel the same here.

The PCs have been exiled here. The old kingdoms are happy to send them away and don't really care how they are treated in the colony as long as the riches keep coming their way. The various colony factions know that most people won't survive long here. Either the players are able to fend for themselves, or their lives are worth less than their clothes as far as everyone is concerned.

The players are let out of the boat. A soldier releases them from their cuffs. Suddenly, after being mistreated by the judiciary system in the old kingdoms and suffered through a very difficult journey on the north sea, they can taste their freedom. And the cold. In the confinement of the boat gallery the air was fresh but kept warm with all the promiscuity. Now than they are out in the open they feel the bite of the wind. Apply a mechanical status that penalize them (impaired, deprived, etc). They cannot rest in the cold. Any action they take is more difficult because it is hard to focus.

The soldier explains to them that 90% of the new colony citizen will freeze to death during the night. Their body will be looted the next day.

The players are at the docks. If they look around they see:

  • workers discharging the boat. Those are members of a dockers guild.
  • soldier supervising them. Those are paid by the company.
  • a priest is standing next to an officer. He is representing the old kingdoms.
  • lots of beggars. Nobody gives anything to them. A dockers threatens and beats up one who comes a bit too close to one of the boxes. At some point the beggars move toward the priest. He tosses a small coin. Three beggars are fighting for it. Dockers laugh at them.

This initial scene is there to sum up the power dynamics of the colony: The company at the top of the food chain, loosely checked by the old kingdoms. Some factions each managing some part of the actual work and fighting to get bigger and grab more land and responsibilities. And the bottom, the disorganized outcast that manage to survive by scraping things here and there.

No faction has any moral high ground. Everyone is trying to survive.

The player can work for any of these. The key challenge should be to overcome their qualms.

  • If they go solo they will probably need to steal from another beggars or even kill some of them. Any higher target will be difficult to deal with but it can be done.
  • Finding a job in one of the guilds requires a show of strength and loyalty. This will probably also mean hurting or stealing.
  • Working for the company will be difficult at the beginning. The company could be interested by someone with ties which could be turned in an informant.

The basic elements of survival are: abandon your morality and don't work alone. Even beggars works in groups of four or five.

Once the players have survived the first night, release the pressure on the survival elements. It should not stay as central as in this first session. The following sessions should aim at digging more into the lore of the world.