Thus Spake Zaranephilpal/AutonomyOption
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Necrolemur - 12/30/2003 23:27:54 - firstname.lastname@example.org
As for that autonomy issue... hmmmm....
Well, my best solution for you is to kill off a Deathlord and leave the formerly vassal Abyssals scrambling for the succession to become the new dark lord of the region. If you haven't read Zelazney's Amber Chronicles, I strongly suggest you do so for the intrigue and double-crossing and the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend-of-the-moment interplay between the feuding siblings of that supernatural royal family. Great books full of wonderful ideas. In such a scenario, you have a group of deathknights with near total autonomy and an environement where the stakes are raised very, very high for anyone who can claim and keep the black throne. Such a ruthless style of gameplay emphasizes that freedom isn't always the power to do as you want. Sometimes freedom is the safety of knowing your tyrannical dark lord won't let your "brother" put a knife in your back when you aren't looking. What is freedom? What is autonomy? Run with these themes against a looming gothic backdrop of necromancers and ninjas and tempest-tossed castles, and you have a fairly dramatic story.
The setting gives you the tools to build the kind of chronicle you want. Exploit that.
Just a thought.