Content of the article: "Looking for Suggestions to Differentiate an Enemy Faction from the Enemy Faction of Last Game"
I'm writing a follow up campaign to a game I ran last year. We had about 30-35 sessions over the course of about a year and I'm going to have the same players playing new characters. The game took place in my Homebrew setting.
The main antagonists of the last story were known as the Order of the Serpent. They were a shadowy organization whose main goal was to cause as much chaos as possible to A.) conceal their movements and B.) corrupt the world for the return of their patron. They achieved this by stirring up disenfranchised groups and spurring them to reopen old wounds or passions. They were introduced about midway through the first campaign after they were discovered to be the masterminds behind a war between bordering nations. The second half was all about locating and slaying their leadership, with the game culminating in a final battle against the patron and the remaining leaders, who sought to use archaic magic to allow the patron to ascend to godhood, destroying the Material Plane in the process. It was a cool sequence as they gathered their allies to aid them in the battle, ultimately defeating the patron and his Order.
As I'm writing the next game, I've decided to make the antagonists an organization known as the Cult of Shadows. They worship an ancient, evil entity that has begun to exert her influence over the Material Plane by merging parts of it with the Shadowfell. Her ultimate goal is to bathe the world in darkness, ruling both planes with her ancient power. The Cult itself bows to her will, and prepares the world for her coming. She has a chosen champion who she has imbued with great power, who has lieutenants of his own.
You may notice that the two stories seem similar. I'm interested in pursuing this merging of the planes storyline and am toying with the idea of making the Cult of Shadows less clandestine and more militaristic with genuine conquest as their main goal. I felt this would go a long way to differentiate the two groups.
I'm looking for some suggestions and insights from fellow DMs as to how I could make the Cult of Shadows a different, and potentially more imposing, faction than the Order of the Serpent. I'm more than happy to provide more details and context as my above descriptions are brief.
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