In movies, television, and novels there are often story elements or plot points of which the main characters are not aware.  But, these plot points add depth, interest, description, and even irony to the story.  They are a necessary part of storytelling, in most cases.

Role-Playing Games tend to focus on the story immediately surrounding the main characters...the player characters.  But, for a truly dramatic and interesting story, sometimes you have to know about the movements, emotions, goals, and adventures of characters other than the main characters.

These stories do not directly affect or involve the main characters, but the events and characters depicted in these side-stories will play a role in the overall storyline.  They contain player-knowledge and not character-knowledge.

For Story Depth... 

"Jestak and the Throne of Might"    

The tall armored figured strode from the entrance of the throne room, down the long rich purple carpet that ran the full length the stone floor.  His heavy boot treads echoed off walls and pillars, rising up to the ceiling, and back down into his ears.  He liked being alone in the throne room...the center of power...the nexus of control for the Feron-Jacobe empire.  This was his hall...his creation.
The throne room was a 100 yards wide and 400 yards long, its vast painted ceiling held aloft by 144 pillars sixty feet high.  The stone in the walls and pillars of the throne room was of many different colors, for as each kingdom fell under the Empire's control, their own seats of power were dismantled, transported to the City of Citadel, and used to build the Emperor's Keep.  The art and ornamentation in various parts of the room varied just as much, because the best and most beautiful artwork and craftsmanship from every corner of the Empire was brought here and put on display.
About half way down the long central carpet, the armored figure stopped at the very center of the room.  His plate armor reflected the light coming from the high windows, causing bright patterns of light on the carpet and stone round him.  The armor was filigreed with silver and gold, was encrusted in places with precious gems, and his chest piece had a stylized fist design hammered into it.  His long purple cloak draped off his shoulders, and flowed as he turned slowly, surveying the throne room.  His blond hair was cut short...showing in places as many scars on his scalp as there were scars on his strong and rugged face.  His blue eyes were piercing, and reflected a sharp cleverness that those who met him personally never forgot.
It was so quiet then.  The thick walls of the room held out the sounds of the bustling capital city just outside.  In just a few hours, the room would fill with 40,000 of the Empire's citizens, and it would be a much different place.
After a few minutes, Emperor Jestak resumed his long walk towards the throne.  Today was Emperor's Day...the one day a year that the Emperor himself passed judgements on criminal matters, legal disputes, and the complaints of his citizens.  He would also give a speech regarding the condition of the realm today, and the direction of the realm moving forward.  Over the past several weeks, people from all over the Empire and its holdings had been traveling to Citidel hoping for the clemency or judgement of the Emperor, and to hear him speak on the important matters of the Empire.  Today would be a long day...but it was a tradition that Jestak had maintained every year of his long rule. 
Jestak's gaze was focused on the golden throne.  Crafted by the combined artistry of many craftsmen and jewelry makers, the solid gold throne was monumental in size and artistic detail.  Its angles and form seemed to catch all of the light of the room, and reflect it outward, causing a golden glow the emenate from it.  This was the seat of power.  The true heart of the Empire.  And it was his.
Jestak thought back on his youth.  He was born among the hardships of the Grasslands of Shronth, to an axeman and his captured bride.  He was raised on horseback, had a sword in his hand by the age of three, and had killed his first human by the age of seven.  It was a harsh origin, that had hardened him, and made his mind and body strong.  Stronger than most.  By the age of 16, he had left the horse clans for a life of adventure and treasure-hunting with is childhood friend Gorg and a collection of odd characters from various nations and races.  Thinking back on those days, Jestak smiled.  The stuff of legend. 
Then the Swaldune and Norlund invasion of the mainland had changed his life forever.  Why was no one else capable of seeing that the unification of the kingdoms was the only way to drive the invaders from their lands?  Why was no one else capable of making the hard decisions that would bring together the Empire?  Why had so many stood in his way, of doing what he needed to be done?  These were questions for the philosophers and historians to consider.  Jestak had simply done what needed to be done.  Years of war followed...years of campaign and bloodshed.  And in the Empire was born, bloody and screaming.  It was over a 100 years later, and the Empire was consolidated, stable, and the laws had matured.  Jestak held power with the fist of Kempin himself, and order had been brought to half the known world.
The Emperor strode confidently to the Throne of Might, and took his seat.  "Advisors...attend to me."
Eighteen men, of various ages streamed from doors at the side of the huge cavernous room, and made their way quickly to the area before the throne.  Briefings on various high-level matters were given.  Occasionally, Jestak would weigh in with a simple "No" or "Yes," and this single word would change the course of the government, or change the fate of men.  The briefing ended, and the one Advisor that seemed senior to the rest ended with, "The Emperor has spoken, and the world will follow."
Jestak nodded.  "Ander...what of the matter in the South.  Any word from the Crimson Coast?  Any word from Marcus or Eggopolis?"
Ander was an older man, with gray thinning hair, a sharp chin, and spectacles at the end of his nose.  "Do we want to discuss this now, Emperor?"  Ander looked back and forth at the other advisors, who were looking a little confused about the Emperor's question."
Jestak again nodded.  "I anticipate that soon enough the situation in the South will earn the attention of the entire Empire...we might as well begin getting the entire advisory staff up to speed on the matter.  Speak freely."
Ander's hesitation evaporated with the command of his Emperor.  "Marcus reports that several powerful families..."
Jestak interrupted.  "Clans."
Ander looked perplexed.  "What, my Emperor?"
Jestak leaned forward in the throne, looking down from above upon his advisor.  "They call them clans in the South, just as they do in Shronth.  Continue..."
Ander adjusted his speech.  "...Several powerful clans have conspired with dark forces in the City of Order.  The Law Keeper of that fair city, has called for their heads...and they have scattered.  But, Marcus reports that these clans are infiltrating the power structures of other towns and cities along the Crimson Coast.  Most significantly, Port Toroga.  It is a delicate situation..."
Jestak interrupted again.  "What of the Skull?  Any reports from the Bard?"
Ander nodded.  "Javair reports that the maps and charts they seized tell them nothing.  Jack Skull's destination on that final voyage remains unknown.  He goes on to suggest..."
Jestak was ahead of his advisor again, "...he suggests that there was no final voyage.  That the Skull never left Port Toroga.  He is indeed lost...but not at sea, contrary to all the rumors we've heard."
"Yes, Emperor.  That was his suggestion."
The Emperor stood now, and the reflections from his gold and silver plate armor, and the glow from his throne lit the faces of his advisors with golden splendor.  "Hear me now.  I want you, my most senior advisors to return to each of your staffs, and I expect you to bring me answers.  I want those answers as soon as you get them, no matter what the time of day or night.  What are these dark forces interfering in the politics of the Crimson Coast?  Where is Jack Skull now?  What must we do to eliminate the instability in that region from affecting our own interests?  Ander you will direct the efforts of all departments, and I want answers."
Ander bowed, and the other advisors followed suit.  "We will not fail the Empire."
Jestak took his seat.  "I have no doubt, Ander.  It is a matter of utmost importance.  Now, let the guards know to allow the crowds that have gathered into our Throne room.  Emperor's Day awaits..."


Remember, these stories are to add depth to the storyline.  They represent player-knowledge, not character-knowledge.  This story was written to add depth to the Crimson Coast campain.


Copyright 2015 - Lords of RPG