Wednesday, October 29, 2014

[Campaign Idea] Eberron - Morgrave University Archaeologists

Here is a campaign idea which I want to run one of these days:

Morgrave University - situated in Sharn, the famed City of Towers - is a beacon of scholarship and research (and claims that it is funded primarily by selling ancient artifacts under the table are vile rumors started by rivals)! Its archaeologists travel the world in search of knowledge - the jungles of Q'barra, the Shadow Marches, or even myth-shrouded Xen'drik - in order to excavate the past, illuminate the dark strands of history... and be the first ones back alive in civilization to talk about it! It's a "publish or perish" world, after all...

The PCs would be a professor of archaeology and assorted flunkies, such as students (ordinary, grad or even PhD), post-Docs, bodyguards, wilderness scouts, black marketeers, and so forth. Their mutual home base unites the party and also gives a good excuse for rotating or absent players (i.e. the character had another appointment coming up).

Away from the university, the basic missions are clear: Go to distant countries and remote regions, find ancient stuff, and excavate and plunder it - not so different from what normal adventurers are doing, really, except for the veneer of academic research. Opponents can include pesky natives who seem to object digging around in their ancient burial grounds, adventurers and looters without the proper academic credentials, people with the proper academic credentials but who come from rival universities or departments, and so on.

But the stories need not end at the doorsteps of the university, as academia can be every bit as cutthroat as the outside world - just in a different way. Rival student societies, rival academics, and the day-to-day hazards of a university environment where far too many people know how to use magic. And as a special treat, there should be occasional "faculty meetings" which the player character professor is required to attend - while the other professors as well as the dean should be played by the other players, with their own personalities and agendas provided by the GM. Who can successfully blame the latest budget shortcuts on others, while spinning the problems of their own department in the most positive way? Vicious back-stabbing is strongly encouraged!

Essentially, this campaign would run like a crossover between Indian Jones-style adventuring archaeology and GURPS IOU.

Your thoughts?