For Every Action, a Consequence
This statement will be a core concept in the creation of Veyrn as a setting for 5e. The idea that a players actions will ripple through the world, and even the smallest action can create change in the world at large. Consequences need not be negative, as every heroic deed could possibly have both a positive and negative impact on the world. The book will have a section, covering this at length, and giving examples of how to implement this idea in their own campaigns.
A Case Against Good vs. Evil
As common trope in RPGs, and the fantasy genre in general is the conflict between good and evil. In some cases this distinction is clear cut, with very distinct differences between the two. In others morality is a bit more gray, preferring instead a more realistic (in my opinion) approach to world views.
Veyrn falls among the latter, with the lines between good and evil blurred. This will be evident in many aspects of the settings history and the beliefs of its people. It will be especially true of the gods and spirits. Removing alignment of these beings will free the player from preconceived notions of deity, and hopefully instead get them to view the gods through the beliefs of their characters homeland. It is meant to allow for a wider range of character concepts, and let the player craft a character that may have follow a deity that may be seen as “evil” by some, without being forced to play an evil character themselves. Ethics and Morality, will change depending on the cultural backdrop, which may vary from campaign to campaign, or even create a sense of culture shock as players encounter ideas which greatly contrast with the society in which their character originated from.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
While consequences need not always be negative, there should always be potential for a negative outcome despite good intentions. Please note this not does not mean to punish the characters for good behaviors, but instead to make the world more immersive and realistic in reacting to the players deeds.
The players work to halt the work of Halqan slavers who have been raiding settlements on the outskirts of Zayran territory. After killing the slavers and driving them off, they manage to liberate the slaves.
The players intended to set them free then move along, but discover the slaves have served their whole lives, and have very limited skills outside of their roles as house slaves. They do not know how to hunt, how to build shelters, or even how to navigate their way to a place safe from the chains of Halqu.
Our heroes are faced with a couple choices.
#1: Leave them to fend for themselves.
Not the most heroic action, but practical if the party has time constraints or pressing matters to deal with elsewhere. This could result in the slaves making it to safety on their own, dying of starvation, or being recaptured and punished for their escape attempt. They may not even want their freedom, and return to their Halqan masters of their own volition. It might work out for the best, but it is far more likely them meet death if left alone.
#2: Lead them to safety, or pass them off to someone who will.
Probably the better of the two choices presented here, the players must take time away from any mission or quest they are partaking, which may or may not endanger the completion of their objective (If time sensitive). This side trek could have many unforeseen complications, as they must make sure they all survive the journey to safety.
Passing them off to another is an option, but unless they have a trusted ally in proximity, it may be dangerous to put faith in someone they do not know well. They could get them to safety, but may request large sums of money for the task, as they must feed, lodge, and transport many people. If dishonest they may take this money, then sell them back to Halqu for a reward thus making even more profit.
In short life is messy and complicated, and the game world should reflect that. Don’t punish the players, but instead make them thoughtful of their actions, so they think of the impact they have on the world. Doing so will create more invested players, and allow them to fully experience Veyrn, or any other setting.