Let’s build a Hollow together!

If you missed the stream where CJ and I kicked this off, you can check it out here:


WHAT WE'RE DOING

There are several answers to this, all of which are true! We're experimenting with (and to some degree, playtesting) the Hollow and Entity creation chapter of the Hollows book. We're showing how to take a player character or NPC's narrative arc and turn it into a Hollow. We're also setting up a really fun event for the end-of-campaign stream, where our characters from the ongoing actual play of The Sins of Grisham Priory fight whatever we create!

We want to do this together with you, as much as we can. This is daunting for us and maybe tricky for you, since we're asking you to have ideas about a game you maybe haven't played yet. But, we saw in chat that folks who have played Hollows a couple of times already have really great design ideas, and even if you've never played it at all, we're talking about taking a story and turning it into a game - if you've ever written an adventure or a character backstory, you can help with this. Helping us design this Hollow is a great opportunity to share your ideas or ask questions about how something might work in Hollows, and it’s going to be loads of fun. Maybe in the Type II way.

THE STORY

We're working with the backstory of Alexandra Breckett, CJ's character from our stream.

Alexandra's a blue blood noble. She became a Hunter when a suitor she rejected raised a mob of dissatisfied citizens and stormed her family home, killing everyone but her. This was not only Alex's worst day and the Seed of her corruption, but also his.

We've established a few things about this relationship:
* It wasn't a romantic connection for either party
* He was under pressure from his bankrupt family to marry well and save them from poverty
* Alexandra was entirely uninterested in him. She wanted to play her violin and enjoy her rose garden, not get married to ensure the family line
* When he destroyed Alexandra's home and murdered her family for revenge, the Grand Malignancy Pride sank its claws into him, and he Hollowed.

THE HOLLOW

Unbeknownst to the characters, the Hollow is physically located in Alexandra's family home. 

We know that the Hollow originated from this suitor's desperate pride and his emotional rock bottom. How could we symbolise that? We've thought about combining the two ideas, and juxtaposing sinkholes of emotional collapse with grandeur and elegance - an example of how to represent this might be theatrical props that look fine and expensive, but break down or come apart under scrutiny.

We know we need four locations for the four Entities the Hunters will fight here, and other areas for them to explore in between fights. We want Hunters to encounter the mob Alex's suitor rallied, his demanding family (perhaps a trapped sibling, and an overbearing parent), and her family. But how and in what contexts? 

We’re also interested in providing character moments for each of the player characters. One character, Rosie, was created inside a Hollow, so we think there’s some great story in how she reacts to a mob of Hollow-born common folk who can either be treated like an obstacle and slain – or made into allies to attack the Entities of the Hollow.

THE ENTITY

Alex's suitor is a proud, vengeful, somewhat self-destructive man. And those are the traits we'll turn into game mechanics to fight him (more on that in another discussion thread). They should also tell us something about the other people in the Hollow, who are in different ways the victims of his pride and now exist in service to it. 

OVER TO YOU!

We'll carry on this design challenge in other threads and maybe other streams, but before we go too much further we'd like your input! This is a community exercise, so all ideas for cool moments or engaging story are welcome – we can work together to refine them in the comments.

* What should we call this Entity? Like the Vicar or the Bishop from Grisham Priory, we like to rename our Entities to create a separation between the humans they were and the monsters they've become
* What should the Hollow look like? What locations could we add as interesting backdrops for Entity fights, or places to explore? (e.g., the chapel where the "happy couple" could have been married, the beloved rose garden, labyrinthine wine cellars, a gallery of mirrors indicating the Lord’s vanity, pride, but also self-loathing as a result of his failure)
* What hints can we drop and NPCs can we include to help tell the story of the Hollow's Lord and why he did what he did?
* Who should his Vassals be?
* Who else should be in the Hollow? 
* How do we communicate the story of family pressure and damaged pride to the players as they fight their way through the Hollow?
* How should the Hollow get more dangerous as Doom increases?

We're also going to ask for your help to design the Entity himself, but we'll save that for another thread.


user avatar image for CJ (Community Lead)
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