So. This has been on my mind for a long time, and with my recent experiences in novel writing and playing D&D, it's become a really prominent idea.
Events. Love them or hate them, they're what drive Aetolia's narrative, and can be defining moments for individual characters or organizations. But in recent years it seems like large, global events have been pushed because of a need or desire to have things be grand and epic and world-changing. Who doesn't want to be a hero that's helped save the world?
But in Aetolia, facing world-ending threats seems to be the order of the day. How many times has Sapience faced annihilation or widespread destruction? How many times in the past year alone?
Yeah. A fair bit.
I'm not saying these kinds of events aren't great. They're fun, and they're engaging. But at the same time I feel like there's a lot of wasted potential. A lot of closer connections that are lost or neglected. I've always been an advocate of creating a living world, and I feel smaller scale events can accomplish that, and potentially help alleviate the feeling of aimlessness some orgs have.
In D&D, the level ranges of adventures are sometimes separated into tiers. 1-5 is a 'local hero', solving the trials and troubles of a village or town. 5-10 is the 'regional hero', solving larger problems that affect a wide region or part of a country. 10-15 is the 'national hero' where deeds get noticed on a much broader scale, and the stakes are higher. 15-20 is 'epic level' where you're facing insurmountable odds in order to save the entire world.
Aetolia events frequently fall into the latter two categories and ESPECIALLY the last one.
'Oh, the world is ending again?' No big deal, just another horde of powered up mobs for large groups of players to kill and die frequently to.
So what would Small Scale events involve? What purpose would they serve?
Well. Pick a village. Any village. Now let's say you create an event where said village is hit by a really bad famine and they ask for aid. Players can help by offering things like rations, food, commodities, etc. Event runs for a few days/a week or little bits over the course of a few. Famine over, village is thankful, and maybe sometime later said village sends a little something to the orgs or individuals that helped, people feel good that they've done something, and you've fostered a connection between the village and a few orgs/people.
Or maybe you can pick an org to create a small event for. Let's say the Archivists get contacted because an ancient relic has been discovered. An event could be created where the relic is retrieved and stored, and researched. Boom. You're playing into the org's purpose and actually making them feel like they're doing something (even if it probably won't turn into anything huge later).
Or how about an underground criminal network establishing a foothold in a city and are trafficking and distributing a highly addictive drug that's beginning to ravage the population?
Toss out hooks, and someone will usually bite.
I'm not saying big events aren't great, and I'm not trying to take away from the work involved or the epicness of them. But small events would be great too, and I think they can be interesting or done really well.
And for once, it'd be nice to see a smaller scale plot done that ISN'T a damn race riot. Play into org themes. Mix things up. There's more stuff going on in the world of Aetolia beyond just killing mobs and waging wars. Your players will really appreciate it. I know I would.