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Grand Conjunction Problems 
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
The Lesser Evil wrote:
For that matter, Abu Al Mir's adventure...


Ooohh... good one! Port d'Elhour could easily stand in for Port-a-lucine in that adventure, IIRC.

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Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:02 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Okay, just caught up with the thread. Sorry about the erroneous advice given about Jean and Luc (since they're already dead.) If you haven't already determined that Luc has gone away now, he could stay around to be a spiritual adviser of sorts if you so choose.

More on the Abu Al Mir plot thing, the jackalmen priest plot could've been a previous plot of Senmet's to destroy Ankhtepot before the shenanigans he's trying in Touch of Death, and now he's reduced to going about his plans as per that module. (In strict canon, I think it was the other way around.) You can buy a PDF copy of Children of the Nights: Werebeasts here if you don't have it: http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/1 ... 3Awerebeas

In any case, to give you more info, Abu Al Mir is the sole survivor of a temple of jackalmen priests Senment tried to use to get at Ankhtepot. The temple and its priests were destroyed, and Abu's gone into hiding. But Ankhtepot sends a (disguised) minion to finish off the job, because Ankhtepot's a vengeful jerk.


Fri Jan 16, 2015 10:44 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So we have had a few sessions now more Bing the plot line forward.

Basically, what happened was that they started to get the sense that things were turning sideways for them after saving the town as some celebrated them and others looked for people to blame for their circumstances. Constable Gremin started to help organize people to rebuild. Shaman Brucien pulled the leader aside and explained that while the majority are grateful and wanted to celebrate them, but a growing number of people were blaming the outsiders, and some were claiming that they had used magic, which is forbidden.

They decided to take the town up on the offer of some mundane supplies (barrel of fresh water, some food, a cart, a mile, etc.) and then snuck out of the twin before breakfast.

Of course, during that night, the cleric, Father Max, was contacted by a member of the Fratenrity of Shadows who was trying to explain that the weapons that they had in their possession that they had pulled from Jean's body should be surrendered to the Fraternity or destroyed himself because he was worried that someone wanted them for dark purposes. And the Darkonion knight was contacted by the Kargat agent that had talked to him earlier, who implied that if regular reports weren't given and the weapons weren't soon handed over to the Kargat, his family would be in danger. That same Kargat met with the gnomish Mage and gave him some minor spells and reiterated their promise of a future Il-Aluk University post and possible apprenticeship under King Azilin if he cooperated, and gave him some minor spells, but with each of them penned at an apparent level 20, just to indicate the power levels possible.

So, they headed out on the way to the Port, and had a short conversation wherein the knight tried to explain that he needed to turn over the weapons or he feared his wife and kids would be killed back home. The group wasn't supportive because they were becoming convinced that this King Azilin was up to no good, they turned to Zoltan, their rogue turned leader and twisted moral compass, and let him make the call. He chose to keep the weapons for now, for the greater good, which I made him do a Dark Powers check (which he failed) as he essentially chose to let an innocent family be tortured and killed.

Fun fact, the Darkonian confided in me later that he was totally going to turn the party over to the Kargat to save his family.

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:32 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So I'm not typically that borderline illiterate when I write, I did that on my phone, my apologies.

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:52 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So to continue...

They then met the Vistani group detailed at the beginning of Touch of Death, and after helping them, Dulcimae offered to take them home through the Mists. After some discussion, they decided instead of going back to their world, they would head to the Darkonian knight's lands to secure/save his family.

Of course, Dulcimae failed in her attempt and they appeared in a trackless desert.

They had asked for a large barrel of water to take with them, and that probably saved them, though I had them doing Fort saves with the duration dependant on their dress. Some of them collapsed from the heat, but I was intending to up the DC with each check, but they started watering the animals and themselves heavily with the water barrel so I modified that. They saw large, hundred plus foot tall Palm trees in the distance and after some time they came into Muhar. I described the people and then architecture in detail, and as they walked up to the pool in the middle of the town everyone parted for them, but stared silently. Not hostile, but sullen.

They then met with the high priestess Isu, who gave them the services of the street urchin Abu, and the local scholar/interpreter Hassan. Hassan is the only one who speaks their language, though Isu did give them a set of tablets that have multiple languages, including their own, as a kind of Rosetta Stone. I plan on basing his interpretation DC on how long he role-plays studying them.

I also had Abu get kicked, spit on, and beaten wherever he goes, and having it explained away with the idea that he is of no status, no one claims him, he is not even a slave. I am playing them as obsessed with death and funeral rites. Their worst punishment: death, without a burial, their worst insult (about Abu) he will not even be buried.

They can't speak the language at all, which I worried about losing them with, but they loved it, it made the place feel exotic and immersive.

So, the desert zombies attacked the first night, and one of the brothers was taken, the next day had the Tarrokka reading, with the Night of Thoth three days hence, and then they decided to go to the Tenple at night to use the observatory, which left the gypsies alone to be attacked and taken.

This also led to a big reveal, as the leader who had recently failed a Dark Powers check ran after the escaping zombies while loping on all fours as fast as any horse.

So, any thoughts?

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Mon Jan 26, 2015 9:29 pm
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Evil Genius
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Quinntonia wrote:
So to continue...

They then met the Vistani group detailed at the beginning of Touch of Death, and after helping them, Dulcimae offered to take them home through the Mists. After some discussion, they decided instead of going back to their world, they would head to the Darkonian knight's lands to secure/save his family.

Of course, Dulcimae failed in her attempt and they appeared in a trackless desert.

They had asked for a large barrel of water to take with them, and that probably saved them, though I had them doing Fort saves with the duration dependant on their dress. Some of them collapsed from the heat, but I was intending to up the DC with each check, but they started watering the animals and themselves heavily with the water barrel so I modified that. They saw large, hundred plus foot tall Palm trees in the distance and after some time they came into Muhar. I described the people and then architecture in detail, and as they walked up to the pool in the middle of the town everyone parted for them, but stared silently. Not hostile, but sullen.

They then met with the high priestess Isu, who gave them the services of the street urchin Abu, and the local scholar/interpreter Hassan. Hassan is the only one who speaks their language, though Isu did give them a set of tablets that have multiple languages, including their own, as a kind of Rosetta Stone. I plan on basing his interpretation DC on how long he role-plays studying them.

I also had Abu get kicked, spit on, and beaten wherever he goes, and having it explained away with the idea that he is of no status, no one claims him, he is not even a slave. I am playing them as obsessed with death and funeral rites. Their worst punishment: death, without a burial, their worst insult (about Abu) he will not even be buried.

They can't speak the language at all, which I worried about losing them with, but they loved it, it made the place feel exotic and immersive.

So, the desert zombies attacked the first night, and one of the brothers was taken, the next day had the Tarrokka reading, with the Night of Thoth three days hence, and then they decided to go to the Tenple at night to use the observatory, which left the gypsies alone to be attacked and taken.

This also led to a big reveal, as the leader who had recently failed a Dark Powers check ran after the escaping zombies while loping on all fours as fast as any horse.

So, any thoughts?


Sounds like your players are doing relatively well immersing themselves in the scenario. The long term fallout might be the fallout of the others learning their leader has failed a powers check. The more immediate fallout is what they will do regarding their missing Vistani friends.


Wed Feb 04, 2015 10:50 am
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
I'm not sure how it will play out, there is another player in the group that has failed multiple Dark Powers checks and he has gotten to the point where the next failure will turn the character into an NPC.

There have been a couple of other failures in the group but I always reveal them to the players privately, and for the most part, other than the occasional physical manifestation. Some suspect others of having a failure, others don't. The coolness of the reveal was that it came out of nowhere.

I am trying to build an aura of suspicion, mistrust, and paranoia about the world and eachother.

Fun fact: the character that failed and loped off on all fours also decided to adopt the street urchin as his own. A little shot at redemption perhaps?

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Wed Feb 04, 2015 11:25 am
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So every several months (like 2-3 times per year) my buddies that I role-play with play what I like to term our "Geek-Offs" wherein we get together on Friday afternoon, and play all weekend until Sunday evening. That was this weekend. It was super fun and beyond epic. We finished up "Touch of Death" and moved into "Feast of Goblyns" and just generally pushed the storyline ahead quite a bit.

I am going to update in far more detail in a bit, just need to find time today, stay tuned.

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Mon Mar 02, 2015 10:05 am
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Sounds cool. Will be interesting to see if the leader has followed up on any attempts at redemption with Abu.


Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:23 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So the players continued to explore the setting, which saw them try and confirm the date of the Night of Thoth with the Temple's rooftop observatory. This set them up to be far away from the Vistani when the next attack by the Desert Zombies, the one that is meant to kidnap Dulcimae, and by the time they got back, Senmet was in the distance with Dulcimae and desert zombies surrounded them on all sides, as well as Senmet used his power to conjure up a massive sandstorm to block his passage.

They decided that they would travel to the Valley of the Pharaoh's Rest and camp in the valley until the Night of Thoth but on the way out of town during that night they met the ghost/phantom of Dulcimae who led them back in the middle of the night to see Isu, the high priestess, who was worshiping Set and had sacrificed Dulcimae on the altar. Of course, this led to a massive fight, and in the module it writes that she has a Wyvern Watch, which is actually a Scorpion, and then tries to fight with it in place. Given the power and levels in my group, I decided to make it a very powerful illusion of a Huge Scorpion with the stats of a Wyvern, essentially, who was placed in between Isu and the party. I made Isu be a 15th level cleric and as a function of the Altar and the ritual she was standing before, got displacement and an anti-life sphere around her. So, they quickly figured out that she was hard to hit and focused on killing the scorpion first. Of course, since this was an illusion, there was no amount of damage that they could do that would kill it. And slowly things started to go badly as the combination of the cleric spells and the scorpion that never seemed to run out of hit points ground them down, we saw first the mountain lion animal companion for the Druid died to illusory pincer attacks, followed by the cleric who was flame striked into oblivion, followed by their main fighter/meat shield and musketeer who had been the rock around which all combats had been built fell before they finally killed Isu and having the illusion fall only to realize that that part of the fight wasn't real. I tracked the damage and they ended up doing exactly 450 points of damage to the scorpion.

Of course, the townspeople had gathered outside and were pretty concerned that their high priestess was just murdered in front of their eyes, and I was about to have the mob rush the heroes (who, of course, were beat to a pulp and had lost two of their number) when they called for Hassan, their translator, and provided him with all of the evidence that they had found that Isu had become corrupted, which stalled their mob rush, but if they stayed in the village they would have been attacked daily by enraged townspeople, who they would obviously slaughter, but that would cause Dark Powers Checks galore.

But, they decided to stalk out of town immediately, taking Abu with them, spent a day in the desert wastes after the sun came up, and some spell usage and supplies that they had with them kept them alive for the day, and when the sun went down again, they marched into the valley, which did see them have a random encounter with some more Desert Zombies, and then march into the mouth of the valley.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:00 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
At the mouth of the valley, they started in with their cart, donkey, and three camels, when about 500 yards into the valley, which I described as incredibly dark due to the only light coming into the valley being from the pinpricks of light coming in from the stars.

At this point, my players had made new characters, with one being a short, skinny, marathon runner type of barbarian hunter from Vorostokov who was hunting one day when the lists took him and the wolf pack that he was hunting into Darkon, where he was saved by a very frail looking halfling mage who was very good at hiding. They started travelling Darkon for a short time adventuring together and whatnot, and trying to learn eachother's languages when the mists again took them and plopped them into the Valley of the Pharaoh's Rest as the rest of the group entered. At this exact moment, I had the fifty Death Dogs start to howl and attack, at a rate of 2d6 per round until there were no more. They had three rounds before the first dogs attacked, which caused them to split the party so that their Rogue could draw them off. This led to a crazy combat that happened in three places, with the new players holding off wave after wave of dogs, and the rogue getting finally cornered by a mass of them and start to get overcome by sheer numbers when he calls for his friends, who slowly (so freaking slowly, it was almost comical) made their way over to them in order to help.

When that combat ended, a fun group of conversation began, wherein I fully implemented the language rules. In that, if one includes Abu, there was now three people in the group that could not necessarily speak to everyone else, with only a portion of people being able to translate and so on. In a lot of cases, people started having to work through multiple people just to have minor conversations. I wondered if adding this complexity to the group would mess with things, but they ate it up and it has been a huge source of character development since. It also has been a massive gift in ensuring everyone is always cognizant of any of their racial or ethnic differences, especially if they are from Ravenloft itself.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:45 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
So, after the combat and some diplomacy wherein the two new players came together, they all decided to move on to the tomb, where they found it, and started to explore. Sadly/awesomely they had very few torches and no lantern oil so time was of the essence both because they had to escape by dawn, but also had until daylight, (assuming they unlock the puzzle of the tomb) to get out of the land.

So, they explored the tomb, which went amazingly well and they totally bought into exploring the tomb Indiana Jones style. They totally went for it, exploring the place, constantly paranoid and afraid, springing traps, translating hieroglyphics, and exploring and figuring out the whole backstory. They absolutely ate it up and basically spent hour after hour exploring without any combat until they finally decided to awaken Senment, this 10th level cleric Mummy Lord, and destroy him.

Well, soon they realized that that was a freaking terrible idea and started to flee from the fight, with three characters on death's door, and one that had to be rescued and carried out. Then, in mid-combat they found the MacGuffin and managed to wake Anktephot to fight Senment and drop the Walls of Ra so they could escape, which they dutifully did.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 4:19 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Wow, sounds like a brutal, but exciting adventure! Very cool that your players embraced the language barriers and got into the mood.

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Tue Mar 03, 2015 8:59 pm
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Thanks!

So, it didn't stop there, I just only have a few minutes here and there to update:

So, after rushing through the fallen Walls of Ra, they end up in Kartakass. They start in a beautiful forest at dawn, and immediately the group (who is really embracing this now) argues that they should just drop to the cool, grassy, ground, and fall asleep, no matter how bad an idea it is due to the way physiology works after an extended trauma. LOL. I shrugged and they all spent a full eight or nine hours resting before getting up again, studying, praying, and eating some rations and tending to the animals. I thought that that was a pretty awesome role-play moment, in that they had, in the space of like 12 hours, lost like half their party and been through three major combats without any real downtime or resting.

So, they found a road sign nearby that pointed them to Harmonia, and the PCs that were from Ravenloft explained a few cultural touchpoints to the group (Meistersingers, nation of bards, a little bit of a wolf problem) and they left off to Harmonia. I laid it on thick with birds singing and cool breezes blowing and small animals scampering underfoot, while they walked by farms and whatnot where people waved at them, just being friendly (that is, until they saw this heavily armed crew covered in soot, blood, gore, and grime with three camels when they were confused and a little scared) and I described the farms, the rich, black, earth, and the sunshine warming their faces without baking them into submission.

Then, after the guards charging them an exorbitant entry fee (1pp/head plus 1gp/animal) they were let into the city proper and I basically laid it out with evertyone singing and smiling, and everything colourful and wonderful and basically playing it up like it was the opening scene in Disney's "Beauty and the Beast." They found an Inn, a very high end one, and paid through the nose to stay there and have meals and drink taken care of, and I went into overdrive in describing the luxury and security of the place.

At this stage, they were starting to get suspicious.

Of course, they spent some time getting to know expensive bottles of Meekelbrau, the local berry wine that I am playing as a very potent and very delicious berry wine that stains the lips and throat red and causes one to lose memories while imbibing fairly often.

They explored the town, had some downtime while I immersed them in the culture, and even stayed for an extra day to watch the weekly concert at the Amphitheater. The leader spent most of his time training and speaking with Abu, even teaching him songs from his childhood.


I did have the Druid go to the Crystal Inn, get drunk on Meekelbrau, and wake up with his clothes shredded, having taken nearly three quarters of his hit points, in the middle of the marketplace in a pool of blood with scratches and bite-marks all over him. He has no memory of what happened. I know that he was with a woman who was a wolfwere and lured him into the back caverns of the Crystal Inn and hunted him for fun, only to let him go as he escaped out into the night not out of mercy, but so that she could maybe have another go. He has no idea.

So, soon after three members of the party were recruited by the jailer to fight the werewolf, which went well, and then they headed met Akriel and accepted her request to help her with her little problem. They then rushed off to the road, as this town was getting a little creepy, and they were actually role-playing classic PTSD symptoms in that they "couldn't turn it off" and needed to go find some real danger again.

They headed out towards Skald and met Maria and Ontosh, which led them to defending her farm, but instead of doing multiple days, I had them attack in force that night because he saw she brought reinforcements. So, 16 wolves, three dire wolves, and a wolfwere all attacked the farmhouse, and it led to an epic confrontation wherein some errant spells set the house on fire, but they could not cause any damage really to the wolfwere so by the time every single other creature was dead, they had only caused 7 HP to him. This led to a massive clash as he started to wear down everyone and the house was burning and the structure of the house was totling while it collapsed and burned around them. They finally knocked him into the fiery first floor from the second where the family was being protected and then both mages hit him with fireballs, which did enough damage to bring him to 2 HPs left.

They then got out of the house and the wolfwere broke through the front door, enraged and attacking them as they stormed him again, finally having the Darkonion knight take him out with a crit and having his body fall back into the fiery house just as it collapsed. (all random dice rolls, but so cinematic)

They then raided the worlfwere's farmhouse, set the family they saved up with a diamond worth 1000 gp to rebuild with, and the Druid adopted four wolf cubs.

They are now heading back out to Skald.

And that is where we left it.

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Wed Mar 04, 2015 11:02 am
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Post Re: Grand Conjunction Problems
Soooooo much here that I am stealing when my group gets to Kartakass...

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Wed Mar 04, 2015 12:46 pm
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