View Full Version : Htrae (Need Help)
07-09-2011, 05:36 PM
Today I have a challenge for your creative sides. I have somehow become the DM (Dungeon Master) of my friend’s weekly D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) get together. I don’t mind as I have lots of ideas and enjoy story telling… but… it’s a little hard coming up with new and interesting ideas every day. I know where I want the story to go, and I know where the story is right now… but the middle is a little hazy.
That said, I was wondering if you guys would like to help me design the adventure for each week? For those of you who are new to D&D I will explain the way the game works, and for everyone I will explain how my world works. All ideas are possible and if they don’t fit that day’s adventure I will keep them saved for later. I need both cool ideas for combats and cool ideas for the role-played story sections.
And so, I shall begin my explanation.
I’ll start off with a brief description of D&D itself. Essentially, at its most basic level it is a roleplay. Each person takes on a character and uses their words to act out what that character is doing at the time. The game does not even need dice if you don’t feel you need to use them. For those who do like dice there is a pretty well balanced combat system within the edition we are playing (4th edition), certainly no worse than 40K. You fight by maneuvering your character around a grid and rolling dice to use powers such as spells or attacks.
While the name implies being stuck underground for months at a time, most player’s prefer that their stories be a little less one dimensional than a straight up dungeon crawl, and thus whole worlds have come to exist starring creatures of every imaginable type. These worlds are filled with many races, some of which are less human than others.
If that isn’t entirely clear enough or if you have other more specific questions feel free to ask anything you need to get a better grasp of how the basic system works.
Now for my world, Htrae. I will start off with just a small intro and provide more information as needed so as to not scare anyone off from an even larger first post. Htrae is a fantasy world very similar to our own prior to the industrial revolution, with one key difference… magic. Magic is so strong in this world that all of Htrae’s natural laws can, and usually are, ruled by powerful mages. This magic comes into this world through rare places scattered across the world known as wells. Through some quirk in the system of magic, people from the feeder worlds (from which this magics comes) occasionally fall off their own planet and land in the world of Htrae. In order to deal with the constant influx of people with absolutely no roots in the world, a system of 'gangs' were created as a support network. These gangs would act as the outworlder's family and provide a useful workforce for the nations. However, times have changed, the gangs have become stigmatized and shunned. Where once the gangs were large and powerful their members now struggle just to survive.
Players are members of one such gang, Manticore, a gang centralized in the Slums, a massive and sprawling slum in Illyande. They are led by a mysterious young woman who goes by the name Drama.
The following section will be updated as the players continue their adventure. Quite simply it is the description of the story involving the characters so far.
Chapter One: The Gate and Key
Rumours have been abuzz in the slums of horrible creatures which plague the town to the south. Word of the creatures from refugees fleeing northward is that they appear to be humanoid in composition, but are horribly disfigured, some turned inside out, others flayed into strange slithering wailing beasts with many gaping mouths. Some however note that people had begun disappearing several months prior to the appearance of the creatures and suspect this is what happened to those missing people.
While most simply wish to flee the horrors sweeping from the south, Illyand’s higher ups seek to end the terror before it can spread into wealthier regions to the north. The residents of Slums, and the refugees fleeing from the creatures of the south begin to be press ganged into service in order to halt the menace.
The House of the Manticore sends a small party to investigate the disturbances to the south, and if possible stem the tide of evil at its source, while its remaining members prepare for the worst. As the weather cools and grows worse the destruction becomes more apparent. This party also comes to include two town locals, Lucas and Rei, who aid in Manticore’s breaking through the barricade to escape the city.
Clear evidence of failed resistance against the creatures becomes apparent. Houses and fields have been razed, the remnants of blood stains splatter areas not so exposed to the brutal weather, few living things remain.
Amongst those remaining alive, cowering behind a shield and pressed into a crevice in the rocky slope, Manticore discovers a man. He shows symptoms of shock, and his thoughts are jumbled. From what everyone can gather, he has forgotten nearly everything and appears to have travelled to the source of the evil sweeping northward, only to have been killed by it. A questionable story at best (seeing as he is alive) full of confusing references to items and people with no prior information.
Their direction clear, Manticore continues south, the landscape becoming more baron as they reach the southernmost tip of Illyand, a place legends speak of as a bridge to other worlds. A spit of land jutting out dangerously over the southern ocean and a massive dark stone lighthouse piercing the sky, its light extinguished, the only visible scenery amid the rising storm of the south coast. A feeling of great wrongness resonates from the towering creation, as though the very fabric of existence were attempting to distance itself from the happenings within the tower.
Forcing open the massive black iron doors of the lighthouse, Manticore can confirm that the lighthouse is indeed the source of the strange creatures. Scattered bones and strips of cloth indicate that this is the place where the missing villagers had been taken and sacrificed. With further examination, it becomes clear that a rescue party had been devised to retrieve them, scattered papers of an omnibus recounting the recent actions of a duo of adventurers can be found about the many rooms.
The notes left by the pair of adventurers make it clear that the inside of the lighthouse is no simple building. An impossible number of rooms fit within its space, each rearranging and shifting impossibly, so as a man could leave a room through one door, and reenter the room he had just vacated at the same time through a second door. The notes hint that the man back at the village had been one such adventurer, opening a door and vanishing entirely. His partner assumed the worst.
Advised by the journal and notes that the source of the evil housed itself in the light room, Manticore struggles its way towards the room, blundering somewhat helplessly about the ever changing maze. Rooms of ice, rooms filled with rivers of blood feeding a great obelisk, and rooms which bent and flexed, changing shape as the party moved through them await the adventurers. All the while they continue to find more pages of notes from the omnibus.
Finally, Manticore finds their way to the top of the tower, encountering the second adventurer mentioned in the omnibus. After subduing him, he reveals his intentions within the tower, to return the people of the villages of the south back to their homes and seal away the evil. Though a mountain of a man, it is clear his time within the tower has weakened him greatly. He explains the nature of the evil of the lighthouse, and implores Manticore to bring it to an end. Pointing them through the doors at the end of the hallway they discover him in.
Within the final room of the lighthouse stands the giant goblet and mirror which would be used to fuel the great light. The room’s dimensions have been altered, too large to have ever fit at the top of the narrow lighthouse tower. Dead and dying citizens of Illyand are chained about the room, crude incantations carved across their bodies indicating some form of coming enchantment. The floor is slick with a frozen sea of blood. Decending from the high ceiling emerges a man… or what is left of him. His upper body remains human, while his lower body has been warped and changed into something more akin to the creatures of the tower. In his hand he holds a black spear, engraved with gold runes.
The two sides duel. Rei is wounded by a strange magic, which Drama heals with a mysterious crystal. Manticore emerges victorious, the villain of the tower explaining his plan to bring about a new age for Htrae using the power of his spear and the lighthouse, which apparently has the power to form a link between worlds.
Manticore manage to save one or two of the civilians locked in the tower, before returning back northward, with the spear to further investigate the startling revelations they have uncovered.
07-09-2011, 07:48 PM
OOOh! I can help you design an adventure every week! I already play like four times a week! Easy peasy, nice and cheesy!
A decent set up, but I'm unsure of who the PCs are or if this is pre-game basics. I like the tower of shifting portals, that can lead to a very easy to do 'monster of the week' thing. The core mystery at least as far as the PCs are concerned should be as follows;
1. Who built the tower?
2. How does the tower work?
However, there can be deeper mysteries then that. Especially if you set up some NPCs who are working on the same thing as rivals, which is nicely set up with the whole gangs thing. The really great thing about a campaign like this is that you can set up some really terrific and really fantastic set ups. Here are some suggestions (levels and specifics are up to you).
1. The Hall of Fire and Ice: Some sort of creating beast and a fire beast have teamed up to create a labyrinth. The Icebeast makes walls, the flame beast knocks them down. This allows them to come in and attack the PCs and then retreat. And the maze keeps changing, keeping them on their toes.
2. The Land of Giant Fungi: A portal takes them to a huge underground cavern where there is a tribe of farmers that grow magic mushrooms that act like potions. The farmers (mycanoids work well for this), are being attacked by some sort of regular creatures with a special ability (like flying goblins! why do they fly? MUSHROOMS!). If the PCs help the farmers, they can count on a discount for the 'shrooms! And if you want you can work in drug reference, like making the farmers hippies and the other guys a government stand in. A bit of a suggestion, make the mushrooms enhance physical abilities, instead of purely magical effects (no invisible mushrooms...well there might be but no one can find them).
3. Faerie Court: A murder mystery in the land of the fey!
4. Land of the Sleeping Dragon; Do an oriental type adventure with people doing lots of wire stunts, and the PCs find that they are able to make crazy jumps and such like in a Kung-Fu movie!
Er. That's about all I can think of for the moment. I'll be watching.
08-09-2011, 07:17 PM
While the players will return to the tower eventually, I don’t see them returning to it in the next few sessions. They learned enough from the tower to know what it does (brings about the beginning of the end of the world by using all the magic to create a bridge to a new world), and to know the item they found (a spear) acts as the key to the tower.
Everyone knows magic is running out, with or without the new world, and now that our heroes have taken the key to that world from those who wished to use its power for evil instead of good… they intend to use the key themselves.
To use it they will have to destroy the many wells of magic that feed magic slowly into the world, capture the magic released, and then eventually bring it back to the tower to start the light in the lighthouse (to guide them to the new world).
Before I ask for help with this week’s session, I’ll give a Brief overview of the characters involved.
Luc – a young monk with extreme martial arts skills. He was raised in a monastery never knowing his parents and taught never to take a human life. His monastery was destroyed leaving him homeless. He has been doing charity work in the soup kitchens of Slums ever since.
Rei – an equally young girl from Slums. She worked in the same soup kitchen as Luc. Note: The girl playing this character has a hard time using her imagination… so that’s about it. I have big plans for her though.
Mark – a boarderline psychopath and the comic relief of the group. In his own world he was a 1950’s gangster who was smothered by a very fat woman falling on him. Appearing in Htrae, he found he had landed on a wizard. Thinking the man was dead he buried him in the sand, ate some bad cacti and went on a wild adventure until he was found by the gang, Manticore. He has steadily risen through the ranks of manticore ever since… but he has recently discovered the man he thought was dead and buried was very much alive and is now out for revenge (starting by placing a spell on him that makes him speak very slowly when nervous).
Our fourth player has not come back from summer vacation yet… so I’ll keep you posted.
Now for some important notes about Htrae. I already mentioned about the gangs, and the wells… but I only hinted at the magic. Everyone in Htrae is capable of some form of magic. Even the lowest of the citizens, if trained could conjure up some simple spells. There are however, people with a natural talent for magic. The longer a person works with magic, the better they become at it, and the more time is put into a single spell, the better that spell will be. The ultimate expression of this skill and time is the world law. By taking an item from a magically rich source (such as carving a spell into a rock found near a magical well), and applying years to making the perfect spell, a very powerful wizard could create a world law. These world laws, as I alluded to earlier, have the power to reshape the natural laws of the world. Allowing sunlight to shine on the land all day long, controlling the ebb and flow of tides, moving mountains around, changing the flow of time, etc.
So, for this Sunday’s session I do have some ideas as to what I’d like to do with them… but they are a little bit vague.
The number one question I have is as follows…
To help draw Rei’s player into the game a little more I decided I was going to mercilessly hound her with massive character development… so in the first session I set motions in place. Specifically, during the final battle of last Sunday’s adventure, Rei was impaled by a large nasty looking claw. The wound refused to heal until Drama (the NPC leader of Manticore) placed a strange crystal inside it. The wound immediately healed over and Rei improved dramatically, but since then has been growing worse and worse. She has become gaunt, her eyes sunken and tired looking, her fever keeps rising, and she’s been seeing and hearing visions (specifically related to Drama).
Now… I know what Drama’s plan is… but I’m not sure how she’s going to go about doing it… this is where I need the help. The crystal is the beginning of a spell to turn the target into a faithful servant. The spell basically works by killing the person, then raising them back to life… a little like a zombie… but with less rotting. I believe Drama is doing this to somehow get to Luc (for some reason)… I’ll need help figuring that out later. Now, Drama is always very indirect and deceptive about her answers… so here’s my question.
When Rei comes to find Drama asking for help, how should Drama help and how should she explain what is going on without letting on too much?
08-09-2011, 07:54 PM
Hmm. That is interesting. Although, I am going to mention that trying to draw a shy player further into a game by making them the center might not be a good idea. From my experience, it often works to drive them away. Allow them to acclimate at their own pace, females in particular eventually take to RP like a duck to water, but let them do so at their own pace.
As for what I see happening, what Drama is doing is wrong. Drama is basically turning the PC into a zombie slave. What I think should happen is this;
*PCs go to Drama for help, and she tells them it is part of the healing process. Use big words like the fever is the bodies way of fighting infection, and recombinant morphological physiology. Because Drama is usually shifty with answers, the fact that she is giving them a (BS) straight answer should put up some signs on the radar that everything isn't how it should be.
*Then the PCs should find out from another source (a friendly cleric maybe) what is actually happening, but there is hope, if the PCs can smuggle Rei far enough away for long enough, the spell will be broken.
*The adventure should be a mix of RP encounters, where people are either trying to convince them that Drama is wrong, or that Drama is right. Then you can also do a few combat encounters where people are trying to force her to stay. Then one where some people (who are NOT evil) come to them and try to take Rei back 'for her own good'. I've always found it necessary to put some sort of combat encounter in every session, most of the people I play with use RP to punch things that they can't in real life.
The reason Drama is doing this should be a big deal. This isn't some simple magic, its some pretty potent stuff, and not something you want to use on a pawn. However, to take pressure off of Rei's character you should make it clear when they are talking to Drama, that Drama only did it because of Luc- at this point you can leave it vague if you want. If you want to hound the person, well, you can, and you set it up in a decent way. Right now, Rei is sick. So you should make the player play sick. Scratchy voice, coughing, anything like that. Make it like acting, and then give her some sort of XP or character award for good roleplaying (as long as it isn't really bad, like one cough the whole time). This should not only encourage the player to get into the spirit of things, but it is something that everyone has done, so there should be a comfort level there. It also builds up the expectation of Role Playing for the rest of the group, after seeing an XP bonus they'll be salivating to do some acting.
12-09-2011, 01:11 AM
Chapter 2: The Great Tree Burns
Rei is drawn back to Manticore by a mysterious feeling brought on by adverse side effects of the crystal embedded in her wound. Though she cannot put her finger on it, she knows Drama is involved and can hardly resist seeking our Manticore’s hiding place.
Drama has been expecting them and after intercepting Rei and Luc wandering the streets in search of Manticore, immediately takes Rei to speak privately with her. She explains in a mysterious round about fashion, asks about Rei’s ancestry and parents before revealing that Rei has been selected to act as her personal champion.
Manticore heads to Cross in order to make use of the vast knowledge of magic and mythology bound in the volumes beneath the wizarding academy. Unfortunately, the texts there are not for public use and will require illegal entry to achieve.
Junction has already scoped out the area around Cross and believes the best way to enter the academy is through the sewer system below.
With a day’s travel, the group makes it to Cross and begins their daring plan from the basement of a pub. Everything begins smoothly, but it is not before long that they find themselves besieged by tiny creatures intent on plunging them into darkness. While outside of the torch light the creatures are immune to all damage and constantly try to put out the lights. While it’s hard to get a good look at them, the creatures appear to be haemonculi, magical minions of the tower above.
Eventually the group break through into the tower’s underbelly, but Markus feels an odd tingling once he enters the wizarding academy at the center of Cross and begins to speak very slowly. Upon investigation he finds a room dedicated entirely to him and his movements. Drama flies into a rage, cursing him for his stupidity for being so easily tracked and accusing him of jeopardizing Manticore’s safety.
The party destroys the room and heads for the library, but no sooner do they enter the room, an incautious foot fall triggers a trap. The trap has mages and their creations pouring in from every direction. Realizing they cannot win the fight, Manticore instead turns its task to finding the information they require and making a run for it.
‘Victorious’ in the battle and equipped with the new knowledge that they hold the key to the destruction and rebirth of their world Manticore regroups in Slums to debate its next move. It is eventually decided that they should forge onwards upon their destined path and begins preparations to infiltrate the palace of the World Tree.
Days pass while Manticore plans its strike. The intend to enter disguised as aristocracy attending one of the palace’s many balls. To do so they must incapacitate several members of the aristocracy and imitate them.
Manticore sneaks into the palace undetected and makes their way to the central garden housing the world tree. Drama has provided them with the spear and a mysterious finely ground purple dust with specific instructions to use them to first stun the guards and the tree’s defences, and then steal the well’s power by shattering it.
Though able to stun the guards… possibly killing them… and weaken the tree using magic, it is clear that the members of Manticore must venture within its gnarled trunk, to the source of the Illyand well, in order to finally lay the massive god to rest.
The inside of the tree forms a massive room housing the shattered and heavily overgrown portal that was once the well of Illyand. Vines sweep down from the ceiling and knots in the wood jut out to form platforms in the hollow tree far overhead. As the would be assassins close in for the kill, the World Tree shudders to life, retracting the well into a dense knot of wood and dragging it skyward out of reach. The tree begins attacking them with all forms of natural and unnatural defenses. Palace guards flow in, joining the fray. Eventually though, Manticore manages to cut their way to the heart of the tree and sets it alight, creating a chain reaction that ripples out across all of Illyande.
In the flaming wake of wreckage left by the destruction of the World Tree, Manticore makes their escape, heading northward towards Kybaar’s pass, to seek refuge out of the eye of the public while the crisis in Illyand settles.
12-09-2011, 02:18 AM
Quite the experience, have you thought about starting a blog for it?
12-09-2011, 02:44 AM
Nope, but now that I have no time to be coming up with ideas thanks to university I will certainly need help from the forum. One problem I'm facing is conveying all the important points of Htrae into text form so that anyone who hasn't sat through a year of me telling little stories about the world can still help out.
For instance, the whole interaction between the gods. How magic works. The gangs. Drama. The side characters and other NPCs. And of course my eventual goals.
Its just too much to put in writing all at once. I think by the time I'm done the campaign people here would just begin to understnad the world as a whole.
12-09-2011, 03:12 AM
AH, I see the problem. Now, I can help with general stuff, basic planning, stuff like that. I'm GOOD at that. Do it constantly off the top of my head. If you need an adventure seed, I can do that. Writing an adventure? No problem. Don't play 4th ed, but maps, ideas, layouts, basic description, THAT I can do. You give me an idea of where you want to take it, I can supply everything else, except rules. That stuff hasn't changed that much, I hope.
12-09-2011, 04:23 AM
Alright then. Let me tell you a little bit about the important aspects of this next region. Specifically, the region directly north of Illyand is Kybaar's Teeth. It's a mountain range, but not just any mountain range, this place was created when Kybaar, one of the later gods of Htrae forced himself through the dimensional gap between his own world and Htrae. The story goes something like this...
About a thousand years before this adventure, the false gods of Htrae were at war. Each magic well had fostered a leader with immense and unimaginable power. These were the false gods. This specific conflict involved the Dark Mother, Goddess of the Darklands, and the Wolf Lord, master of the Nomads of Fenris. I should note that once these gods had real names, but in order to keep their identities safe, and thus not have their true names used to strengthen spells to oppose them, changed to these silly titles. The Dark Lands were at the height of their power during the war, and sent a great daemon to devour the moon, the source of power for the Fenrision people. However, before despair took them the Wolf Lord sent his people a final gift. The gift was his son, Kybaar. A mountain of a man packed with so much power that the very planet was shaken by his arrival, creating the mountain range now known as Kybaar's teeth. The Dark Mother sent her champions to defeat Kybaar, but was unable to defeat the son of the Wolf Lord. The Dark Land's forces were diminished and eventually chased out of the region and Kybaar took up residence, not only as its god, but as its well as well. He now sits upon a massive thrown focusing on keeping a continuous flow of magic to his people.
Fenrision culture is slighty feral. They live within tunnels and on the steep slopes of mountainsides with minimal heating or shelter. All their records are passed down through oral traditions. They are a fierce and protective people... and are almost all werewolves.
Kybaar's teeth only has one reliable route of passage, Kybaar's pass. A region, rumour has it, Kybaar cleared of mountains using only his mighty roar.
Now, the adventurers have just fled into this region, and are hoping to get well clear of Illyand while the dust settles. Kybaar is a target on their hit list, however it would be unwise to attack him now, so soon after destroying the World Tree.
I'm really not sure what I want to do with this session. I do have some important notes though.
Luc's player is asking for more events involving his character's past, and chances for larger character development. Currently his character is a naive boy who refuses to kill people, and by the end he'd like him to be a battle hardened man. Specifically, there are a couple thigns that he wants me to add into the story. When his character was younger, he lived in a monastery. He had a couple friends of importance. A tom-boy of a girl named Teegan. And a sore loser turned rival named Noah. He also knew an older monk who turned out to be evil and burned down his monastery... but I think that's for later. I was thinking running into Noah, or both Noah and Teegan might make for some interesting character related story stuff. Just not sure how to do it.
Rei has been informed of Drama's plan. She knows that she is undergoing a series of very painful changes to become Drama's personal champion, but does not know what those changes will be. I wouldn't mind some ballparked ideas on those. I've also been considering having someone from outside the gang offer her a way out of the 'deal'.
In other news... the wizard who cursed Markus and makes him talk slow is named Steve. He seems to be a pretty minor villain, but he's really persistant.
Thats all for now.
16-09-2011, 01:01 AM
Alright... so... so far for this Sunday's session I've got a couple ideas, at least for the beginning of the session. I'm going to have the players join in the convoy of caravans fleeing the shattered country of illyand and have it attacked while passing through Kybaar's pass. Still trying to figure out a way to give Luc more character specific story.
16-09-2011, 01:18 AM
That's an easy one! You already gave an answer yourself! Its in the backstory;
"Luc – a young monk with extreme martial arts skills. He was raised in a monastery never knowing his parents and taught never to take a human life. His monastery was destroyed leaving him homeless. He has been doing charity work in the soup kitchens of Slums ever since."
Caravan is attacked by a group of brigades that had destroyed the monastery. Let them be part of a larger group that did the destroying. Have one of them plead for his life in exchange for information. He tells Luc that the brigades had destroyed the monastery because their leader is his father and believes that the monks stole his heir from him! So Luc is left with a desire revenge against a father that he never knew he had for killing the only family he ever had. Cool moral quandary, with hints of pathos. Also gives him a nice fat bit of additional backstory to deal with. Does he want to met his father? Does he want to kill him and avenge his dead masters? Does he want to reconcile? Does he want to try to teach his father a better path? Great thing is that at the end of the day, it call all be either the truth, or the brigade lying to save his own skin. So nothing is written in stone, but it does give Luc something to think about. Yes, I realize that he wants the older Monk to have burned down the monastery, however, that could have been a signal to the brigades, or even a ploy by them to weaken the area in general (after all ass kicking monks kick ass).
The good thing about Brigades is that you can give greater numbers then what you would normally have attack the group, because they would be dealing with the other members of the caravan. So if things are going too easy for the PCs, then some more of the brigades wander over to join the fight, and if things get too hairy you have them retreat because of the resistance from all the caravan.
You got some MSN IM?
17-09-2011, 04:18 PM
The only messaging systems I use on the internet are the facebook chat, email, and anything provided by the forum I use.
I've been thinking I'd actually like the transition into Luc's active story to be a little more subtle. Let me tell you my ideas for this upcoming session.
Manticore is travelling by caravan out of Illyand.
They are joined by fleeing civilians trying to escape the burning nation through Kybaar's pass.
The reach the mountain range, and immediately realize that the average civilians will not make it through the pass without assistance.
They are attacked by the feral beasts of Kybaar's teeth, but fter a time they realize the attack force is too well organized to simply be a pack of wild animals.
Kybaar's servants reveal themselves and take the players into captivity. The players are brought before Kybaar for questioning
After Kybaar talks for some time, Markus, the group hot head will attack him (absolutely no doubt that the player behind that character will try that). Kybaar dismisses the group with a wave of his sword, banishing them to the peak of a mountain in the center of the mountain range, overconfidently assuming the elements will kill them.
Players only have time enough to despare as winged reptilian beasts sweep down from the sky. It is the splinter group of the House of the Manticore, the House of the Fellbeast. After a warm welcome and a little chit chat, players take to the skys atop the dragonesque creatures.
Fellbeast argues that in return for saving their lives, Manticore must now do something for them... help them pirate a wealthy skyship fleeing Illyand. The group doesn't have much choice and accepts.
As they are attempting to take the first skyship, a pirate skyship appears adding to the confusion.
Now, a couple ideas that I need your input on.
Should the pirate skyship win? Should Manticore take both ships? etc? what should happen?
As I want Luc to have a little bit of an indirect story... I was thinking a couple ideas. As a young monk at the monastery his friend Noah was his unofficial rival. He was darker, and always wanting to beat Luc at everything, to the point of hurting people. I considered him either being on one of the ships, one of the Fellbeasts, or in one of the caravans. Thoughts?
Alternatively, I was thinking that perhaps Kybaar would say something to Luc about his future and his destiny... something like "there is much rage within you. Were I to not assure your doom this day I would warn you to take caution against such emotions, for there are those who wish to use those to harm you and others."
I should also add, that while it does not appear like I'm taking any of your ideas, they really are helping, I have a very unusual process in my writting. The entire above post you left triggered the whole third session so far
18-09-2011, 02:24 AM
Also... I've been thinking for turning Rei into Drama's 'champion' and I'm pretty sure the end result is death followed by rebirth as a being more powerful than the original... that said I'd like to break it down into a slow session by session death which the roleplayer could work at roleplaying a little bit more each time. She's already undergone sickness... so what should I make the next step be... I was thinking that she may start losing her sense of taste and her desire and need to eat...
18-09-2011, 02:48 AM
Nah, if you want to do a transformation, there's a lot of cool things to do with that. The coolest thing you can do is like the Fly. 80's movie with Jeff Goldblum. Really cool gradual transformation. What you want to do is not LOSE senses, but ENHANCE those that she has. And you want to do it slow? Act like radiation poisoning. Lose hair, teeth, and fingernails. Make it SEEM like something terrible is happening, but as those go away, they are replaced with something cool. Do it feature by feature. Lose fingernails? Grow cool silvery nails with a razor edge, that she has to learn how to use (ie making check s not to cut things). Lose teeth? Replace with hardcore fangs, and make the player only speak with a mouthful of something for a session until her character learns the new teeth. Lose hair and skin? Replace with neato keen scales. Make them small like snake skin so that they aren't noticable unless you are looking for it. Gives an armor bonus.
As for giving the characters an airship, it isn't a great idea. They have no pressing issue to take any adventure you provide them. The better idea (and you have it in there), is to show them how cool having an airship is, but let the NPCs keep it. Let them know that them stealing the airship was the work of a long time, and that they were chosen as an expedience. Give the characters the idea to get thier own airship, but let them know that it will take a long time to gain! Let the pirate skyship lose the fight! You don't the temptation for the PCs to take it. Perhaps Fellbeast knew about the potential attack and are using the pirates to soften up the target before moving in. Or with a pirate airship in the area, their crime is covered up. Make it seem like Fellbeast was in the know and it was all according to plan. That way it makes sense that these guys have really thought about this for years possibly to get their airship.
As for the Luc stuff, I like the idea of a rival, but I don't think this is the ideal time to bring it in. You already have a bunch of stuff happening, adding more won't necessarily help the Luc character, or the plot line. Leave it for another session when it won't be shoe horned in amongst other cool stuff. But if you want to highlight the dude, play up the Pirates vs Ninjas thing. Which can be hilarious in and of itself.
As for not using my ideas, I understand completely what you are talking about. My mind works much the same way. You know your group, I don't. If my ideas give you a way to springboard to something else, cool. If they are just rambling, cool. I'm enjoying this. I ain't got nothing much better to do.
18-09-2011, 02:52 AM
Laz, you are the best :D
18-09-2011, 03:00 AM
Would you mind passing that on to my wife and kids, for some reason, they seem to miss that....
19-09-2011, 03:54 AM
A real quick summary of today's events.
Chapter 3: The Wolf, the Beast, and the Manticore
In order to maintain gang safety, it is decided that splinter groups of Manticore will flee to different regions of the world. While some head for ship yards, and others head off on foot, Luc, Rei, Markus, Drama, and Sira, make their way northward via caravan, joining in the convoy fleeing the shattered country, unnoticed.
While they journey north they are accompanied by Junction, Sin, and Kubo. Everyone seems a little bit shaken, especially Sin. Junction decides the best way to get over the tension is to eat something. However, Rei has no appetite; what’s more she begins to lose fingernails. Drama comments on Rei’s lack of appetite, sparking an argument. The argument ends just before entering the mountain pass; Sin, Junction, and Kubo disembark, heading east to catch their ship.
The convoy enters Kybaar’s pass and it immediately becomes apparent that the civilians of Illyand will need assistance in getting through the pass on their own. Many caravans are already stuck in the high snow drifts and the howls of feral creatures can be heard echoing through the valley. Drama gives Luc a stirring speech about gangs and brothership and somehow convinces him to join Manticore. The gang goes to save the civilians of Illyand from the brutal cold and howling wind of the pass.
It is not long though before the howls of feral beasts draw closer. The convoy is attacked by the beasts of the Kybaar Pass. Wolves and feral humans descend upon the caravaners, viscously tearing apart anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way.
Manticore jumps into action and defends as many people as possible but eventually it becomes apparent that the weight of the onslaught is not something that can be halted. They close their circle and prepare to go down fighting. But before the feral beasts close in for the kill, the creatures stop. A man, acting as the leader demands that Manticore is to come with him.
The man, accompanied by the feral creatures leads Manticore high into the mountains, eventually making their way deep into the center of the mountains, to Kybaar’s citadel. Kybaar accuses Manticore of being directly responsible for the destruction of the World Tree. While most of the gang resists Kybaar interrogation, Luc attempts to reason with him, almost giving away that it was Manticore who had destroyed the tree, and that the rod Drama held was the rod of power, responsible for the upcoming end of the world. Luckily he is stopped by the Manticore world laws which keep the gang safe. The gang leaps into action and tries to attack Kybaar, only to be banished to the tip of the central mountain by the angered demigod.
Within moments of the banishment, winged creatures are circling around the high mountain peak. The creatures appear to be small dragons, and under closer inspection are being ridden. Drama immediately recognizes the strangers as the House of the Fellbeast, old allies of Manticore.
In exchange for rescue, Manticore offers their services in aiding Fellbeast to achieve its ultimate goal for being in the region, attaining a skyship.
With so many rich noblemen fleeing Illyand it is easy to spot a skyship. Manticore and Fellbeast descend upon it and begin their assault. Sira, boldly leaps aboard the ship, only to run into the nobleman’s hired bodyguard, a monk wearing the same style of robes as Luc.
While the combat erupts, Luc attempts only to preserve lives, not to take them, and even manages to forge a truce between himself and the other monk, a long lost friend named Noah… but the truce is too late. A second ship, interested in doing exactly what Fellbeast had wanted begins bombarding both sides of the conflict, preparing to cripple and board the rich nobleman’s skyship.
In the chaos, Luc manages to get all of Manticore aboard the pirate ship and tells the nobleman’s crew to flee… but before he can escape himself he is shot down and plummets… seemingly to his death.
As the nobleman’s ship escapes, the survivors of Manticore and Fellbeast are immediately surrounded and outnumbered by the pirates aboard the ship, leaving Rei with a choice; use Drama’s mysterious poisoned powder, or risk capture and a slow death at the hands of the pirates. She reluctantly chooses to use the powder… just as Luc clambers over the edge of the ship, accompanied by Drama, who had used magic to come to his aid. The powder paralyzes and kills the pirates, but at the possible cost of Luc and Rei’s friendship.
With the battles over, Manticore sits down to discuss Luc’s actions. He is granted one final chance, if not for himself, than for the power that he has to give.
19-09-2011, 04:07 AM
Mucho gusto! Nice. Worked in the whole Noah thing. So the nobleman's ship got away, but the Fellbeast get a pirate skyship. Nice work. Change up during prep or on the fly during play? Just as a quick recommendation, since you ended on the skyship, have a cool airbased adventure. You want to do something cool. Like do a raid on a Storm Giant's castle, do like a stealth thing. Get in, grab some treasure and run before he can catch everyone. OR do a wyvern attack. Or even more fun, the Fellbeast leave them somewhere that seems safe and out of the way, like an island, and then freaky stuff happens.
19-09-2011, 04:36 PM
The skyship swap was completely on the fly. Luc was being all lawful good and helped the nobleman's ship escape in the chaos of the pirate ship attack.
Really not sure where I'm going with the next one yet, not even sure if the Fellbeasts will let them stay on the ship or not... Luc is the reason they didn't get any real treasure and lost a lot more people than they should have.
However, I do agree the mission will definitely be a little side tracked adventure form the main plot. There is a lot of intercharacter tension now, so something to unite them in a single cause again might not be a bad idea.
I do know that at the beginning of next session, Drama is recieving a letter from one of her informants back in Illyand describing what is going on there. In particular it is going to warn her that the Grand Inquisitor is looking for the men and women responsible for the destruction of the World Tree. But that's all I've got so far. I'll see where I get through the week and keep you posted.
19-09-2011, 10:45 PM
How are they going to get the letter? I would suggest a cool glowing cube like the Dr Who episode 'The Doctor's Wife', that's cool. Wanted posters with everyone's likeness on them brings groups together.
22-09-2011, 04:49 PM
The letters shall arrive by ravens. Somehow everyone has identified these birds as a symbol for Drama, so I'll role with it...
Now, for the next session, I asked the players what they wanted more of... they said they wanted one of those anime filler session beach trips... so... confused though I was (I thought everyone hated those sorts of episodes) I did my best to give them a little bit of that while still keeping my story moving... more specifically... I think the next session will be something like this...
Chapter 4: Vacation
Karkarov, the leader of Fellbeast arranges to have Manticore dropped off anywhere along the south coast of Htrae between Illyand and his eventual destination of the Shatteredland Isles. Drama decides that everyone could use a break from the stress of bringing about the end of the world, she arranges to be dropped off at the Jeweled City in Trystings.
As the ship nears the dock, Drama goes to speak with Rei about the ever accelerating process of becoming her personal champion, leaving a series of letters addressed to Manticore in plain sight. The letters are reports from many of Manticore’s scattered members. It would seem that the destruction of the first well was the straw that broke the camel’s back; nations around the world are mobilizing their armies. Kybaar has turned his sights upon Illyand, waging war with the already weakened nation in an attempt to root out further Manticore survivor. Finally, Illyand has deployed its Grand Inquisition to hunt down the perpetrators of the heinous crime.
Despite this, Manticore slips off the ship at the sky port, even running into Junction and Sin. With the sun setting everyone hopes to rent a room at one of the Jeweled City’s many ins… but upon their attempts to find a room, they realize, Steve, Markus’s faceless nemesis has gone to great lengths to buy out every single one.
Despite this, Manticore gets through the night and begins to look for a job in the morning. They manage to find a job quite quickly. Count Cellar, the kings right hand within the Jeweled City, fears attack. Specifically, an attack on his own life. He hires Manticore to protect him.
Drama assures them that the mission won’t require attention until later on and heads towards the waterfront telling them to take their time and meet her at the beach when they are finished enjoying the new town. The keen eyed amongst the group will notice posters asking for information on the Illyand attack. Likewise, everyone notices a distinct military presence. The gang stops in the market to pick up a few neat trinkets and weapons before heading down to the waterfront.
While the city’s waterfront is made up purely of shipyards and fishing ports, the oceanic coast beyond the walls of the Jeweled City, amid the rolling long green grass is much less structured. The group heads out into the field. Stopping above the coastal cliff to look out at the sea.
Suddenly, the air crackles with malice. The sky turns dark and stormy. A single bolt of red lightning peels down from the roiling clouds. Max, chosen of the Darkmother, attempts to strike Rei. His attack is blocked by Luc. The group struggles to defeat Max, their fight spilling off the grassy hilltop and down to the beach below. Eventually, Luc’s immense martial skill allows him to pin Max beneath him, readied to deal a finishing strike. Drama insists Luc finish the pitiful mad creature, which writhes beneath him with taunts and pleas, attempting to break free, but Luc refuses. Finally Max slips lose of Luc’s grasp, and disappears in a bolt of red lightning, the stormy skies he brought with him clearing quickly.
Finally Manticore can enjoy their day at the beach…
Unfortunately it is not long before their ‘relaxing day’ turns into a rescue mission. The dark clouds lingering along the horizon grow worse, moving inland again as though Max were returning. The waves whip up and crash upon the shoreline. In the chaos, a passing ship grinds across the top of a reef, breaching its hull. However, when Manticore attempts to help, they are halted by Trysting’s knights. According to a new policy put in place as a wartime measure, Trysting will take full possession of all foreign craft and products entering its skies, lands, or waters, without formal identification and invitation of the Empire… this includes shipwrecks.
As it becomes apparent that the ship’s crew are in distress Manticore has no choice but to act, even at the cost of their possible arrest. Fighting their way through the shallow water and knights, out to the reef, Manticore realizes they are not simply fighting against the knights, but the water itself, powerful magics swirling beneath its surface. Strange water sprites attempt to lash at them and drag them beneath the water.
With trouble, Manticore rescues the survivors of the wreck and drags them back to shore. At which time they realize that the woman that they have just rescued is not just a run of the mill civilian, but the princess of Illyand,
Before the princess can thank them properly, a pair of shadows slink out of the ocean, materializing for a brief moment as great wolfish beasts upon the sandy beach, before sinking back into shadow and heading for the Jeweled City. Drama cuts the princess’s thanks short, explaining the origins of the beasts as daemons, and sends Manticore after the creatures.
In town, Manticore’s members split up; Rei, Luc, Markus, and Sira heading to the Count’s palace in the center of town, while Drama, Sin, and Junction search the market streets.
Rei, Luc, Markus, and Sira spot one of the daemons slipping effortlessly over the palace’s outer wall and pursue it. Chasing the creature through the palace’s many hallways and towers, Manticore eventually manages to kill the first one just as it corners the Count in the top of the highest tower. The rest of Manticore arrives just in time to watch as the second beast erupts through the tower window, slaughtering the Count.
As Manticore stands in shock at their failure, Drama begins to act uneasy, insisting they have to leave immediately, and checking the windows. Manticore hardly makes it out the door before they are swamped in Trysting knights and arrested.
Now, just to make the Max part a little clearer...
Once upon a time a great war waged across Htrae. One faction in this war was the Darklands, lead by the Darkmother. Now, she made herself some champions to fight her fights for her. First was Drama, who was actually a series of laws which severed the Darkmother from her true name, and soul. Then came Cauliflower, the necromancer, driven mad by the daemon's that possessed her. She went on to concur the region now known as the shadowedlands. In the shadowedlands lived a prince, Maximillian somethingorother... he went to the darkmother and begged his people be spared, the Darkmother turned him into yet another champion. The daemon's possessing him filing him with rage which blotted out all but strongest of his final thoughts. Max was eventually selected to lead the Darkmother's forces to war against Kybaar but was vanquished. The defeat eventually lead to the collapse of the darkland's governement and economy. Now Max wanders the earth, searching for an enemy strong enough to not just banish him from the battlefield, but to end his cursed life once and for all. The players know about him, and know he is coming for them eventually. They just don't know when.
Now... I don't know what the name of the princess is... any ideas on a funny videogame or tv show reference? I considered Zelda or Peach since this group is very big on nintendo stuff.
Also... at the end when they are arrested... I want the next session to start with Grand Inquisitor Horstgalde reading off a list of crimes. It needs to be looooooong and full of things that are slight repeats but different in some way. This is what I have so far...
unlawful use of magic, use of magic in a restricted area, use of unlawful magic in a restricted area, treason, high treason, attempted murder, murder, unlawful crossing of nation boarders, interfering in matters of the law, resisting arrest
Any overall suggestions? I'm not entirely happy with the session and feel it could use a few good suggestions to really solidify it.
22-09-2011, 11:05 PM
It reads like the beginning of the first Kingdom Hearts. Make the princess Kari, see if they get the reference. Also put some livestock on the ship, for some added humor. Also, just to add some fun, allow one of the PCs to get in good with a 'lady of negotiable virtue', which will allow some of the offenses I've outlined as well.
As for some more offenses: Use of magic on a civilian, Use of area effect spells without prior authorization, loitering, malicious lingering, loitering with an intent to linger, Grand Theft (Water Craft), Misdemeanor Theft of shipping supplies, illegal use of a water craft without a captain's license, shipping under the influence, Criminal mischief, transporting magical artefacts across national borders, theft of national resources, unnatural use of national resources, for unlawful carnal knowledge, sheep worrying, bovine tipping, chicken bothering, eating at a restaurant/inn/pub without tipping, public intoxication, private intoxication, urinating on a public figure, unlawful impersonation, impersonation of a officer of the law, blasphemy against the god of the grape, alcohol abuse (ie spilling alcohol), private investigation, investigation of privates, insult to public decency, public indecency, trespassing, traipsing on noble's land, assignation, character assassination, failure to give life to save nobility, consorting with prostitutes, prostitution of consorts, paying less then guild rate for negotiable affection, immoral use of shackles in an intimate setting, lack of manners, being an [elf/dwarf/insert as appropriate], engaging in aquatic sports without a lifegaurd, swimming before an hour after eating, lack of appropriate swimwear, dealing with demons, aligning yourself with known criminals, being a known criminal, and of course committing unknown crimes.
24-09-2011, 01:36 AM
Alright! I’m now ahead of schedule. Which means I can turn towards some more pressing matters than a filler session. Specifically, I have a plan for Drama… well less of a plan… more of an idea and a direction. And thus, I look to you for ideas again :D
Now… here is the idea I have for Drama…
A double-double cross. In which Drama flip flops between evil and good. But I’m not entirely sure how to make this come into fruition.
In the next session I’m going to have it become apparent that Drama is the Daughter of the Dark Mother, when Manticore is forces to confront Cauliflower (who steals the rod of power from Manticore). Within the same session, Drama is separated from the rest of Manticore. Manticore does eventually recover the rod from Cauliflower, but Drama is gone… and so is the power in the rod. When they next see Drama, weeks to months later, she is leading a military battalion from the Darklands to perform atrocities in other lands. When she is confronted, she defeats them and steals the rod for herself.
Now… the questions I have are as follows:
What should Cauliflower wish for?
How should Drama go evil?
24-09-2011, 01:57 AM
Cauliflower should wish for a better name.
As for going evil. Pull a Kurtz. I might need to explain that one, youngin. In Joseph Conrad's book 'Heart of Darkness' (and later in Apocolypse Now), Kurtz is a military guy that goes 'native'. I'll use Apocolypse Now, since it is fresher in my mind. In Vietnam, Kurtz is sent into Cambodia to stop Viet Cong raids or something. He eventually becomes enamored with Cambodian culture, and becomes a god to them. Then a unit is sent to retrieve/kill him. Do the same thing. Drama starts as prisoner or something, learns why the evil people are doing what they are doing (really well done evil has a reason), and turns to start to think like them. Then in a raid or something, she sees the atrocities commited by the 'good' side and decides for some justice.
A for instance that I always wanted to use, but never did. Group invades a goblin village that has a ton of kobolds. The goblins fight tooth and nail, and the kobolds fight with things like pots and pans and dropped goblin weapons. Turns out that kobold is a corruption of the term k'oblins=kid goblins. The good guys have just unknowingly committed genocide. Drama is in that village and learning about the evil peoples folkways and a bunch of paladins come in and slaughter everyone, leaving her because she's obviously not a evil person. She then raises a unit to bring justice to those who killed the village. She's not really EVIL (until she committs some genocide of her own), but working for justice. So a bit of pathos, a bit of tragedy, a bit of revenge. All in all the makings of a great villian who can eventually be redeemed.
24-09-2011, 02:36 AM
Lol, her name is a long story. Basically I wanted her to have a really stupid name and be the most evil person in Htrae. For her wish... I was thinking something real crazy and really evil... Changing her name may be crazy enough... but I don't know if its evil enough...
As for Drama... I think she is too dark and battlehardened to suffer any kind of moral dilemma... In fact... I think in her history at some point she was already the captain of several of the Darkmother's battalions and has probably done this before. So... its less a matter of having her become evil and more of a way of presenting it to the players. On the one hand, I could go the absolute shock path, where they all see Drama and are like "yay! Drama!" and then have her mess them up and take the rod from them. On the other, random things are never great and I would definitely still need to explain why she's turned evil
24-09-2011, 02:55 AM
The old sawhorse; Helm of Opposing Alignment.
26-09-2011, 01:27 AM
Well, that went interestingly... I stuck to the beach adventure story. Everything went exactly as planned... with the exception of the very end. Now at the very end, when the Grand Inquisitor arrests them, Markus ended up destroying the worldlaw that was about to be used to bind them... So instead of the cliffhanger being that they are in prison... they just exploded. I think they may still be captured... but now they'll have to suffer blowing up first.
26-09-2011, 01:55 AM
That's the ticket. Roll a CRAPTON of dice. And then have them make a ton of saves, flip through books, and then look at each person and ask how many hit points they had. Slowly shake your head, close your books and sigh. Throw the book down and say 'forget the rules...here's what happens; you wake up bound and gagged in a cell after almost killing yourselves...(continue story as planned)'
26-09-2011, 02:05 AM
Lol, sounds like a plan.
26-09-2011, 02:17 AM
Yeah, that way it seems like you saved their collective asses from their own stupidity rather then continuing the story as planned. As an added benefit, you can maim some of the Inquisitors or whatnot, like they got caught up in it. A really angry red slash across the face of the main inquisitor will do well. Especially if it seeps when he's yelling at them.
26-09-2011, 05:26 AM
Alright... so in next session... our adventure is headed to the shadowed west, the lands of the Darkmother and her champions, the Darklands, Mog, and the Shadowedlands. This is the plan...
They will be captured by the Inquisitor as planned. Drama will be taken away sepperately for torturing and information gathering. Everyone else will have to break out of their cell, fight their way up to where Drama is, kill the inquisitor and his jolly band of interogators.
They'll succeed and find the rod is missing. Steve has it.
They hunt down Steve... but they are too late... some crazy woman with white hair and a stupid name has stollen the rod. Cauliflower.
They head to Cauliflower's fortress in the Shadowedlands.
Manticore confronts Cauliflower, but Cauliflower reveals Drama is the Darkmother's daughter. Then wastes the power saved in the rod wishing for something insane and evil. Then is about to kill everyone and turn them into zombie slaves, when Drama banishes Manticore from the Shadowedlands... possibly looking like she gave her own life to save them.
Manticore finds themselves in Mog, the conquered swamp nation between the Darklands and the Shadowedlands.
It is not long before they are spotted by a gang. The gang are rebels against Cauliflower. Specifically, they are all undead who she killed and reanimated, and they just want to be free... and possibly die.
They come up with a sneaky scheme... and go do it.
Manticore takes back the rod, and destroys the well!
Now... things I need help with...
I still need a wish that is insane and evil... from the woman who already has her own nation of zombie slaves.
As the shocking twist of the session, Ragna, the monk who destoryed Luc's monastery when he was a child is a member of the resistance trying to bring down Cauliflower. He has been killed and reanimated. But with Luc running into him... I need an explanation for why he would kill everyone inside a peaceful monastery, and then burn it to the ground.
I need some sneaky sneaking plans for them to do, with lots of cinematic awesome fights and sneaky stuff...
Things I now know but will need help understanding...
Drama is about to go evil. And I know why. Luc has something she wants. Something in his personality that makes him more valuable when he hates someone or something (which is rare because he is a monk who was taught peace and love). Drama first tried to be supportive of him, and that did not get what she wanted. Then she tried to be passive and ignore him, but that worked even less. Then, while watching her flock while she was gone, she saw Luc attack Ragna... and knew she had to become Luc's most hated enemy to achieve what she was looking for. The only thing I don't know... is what it is that I am looking for her to achieve. It has something to do with Luc's rage... but I don't know what.
28-09-2011, 03:36 AM
Idea. So, without really thinking about it, I've been hinting that Luc has the ability to break world laws. He doesn't seem to have any magic power of his own... perhaps he's a human null... and that null power comes out when he is angry... which has been the only time he's broken world laws... Sooooooooo... Drama decides the best way to harness that null power is to become his enemy...
Aaaaaaand... Ragna... something... something... I got nothing really...
30-09-2011, 12:53 AM
This weeks session is shaping up to look like this...
Chapter 5: War and Shadow
Left reeling in the shattered ruins of the Count’s estate left from the destroyed world law, Manticore is almost helpless in the face of the Grand Inquisitor’s troops. Rei is plagued by visions from Drama. Sira is mentally contacted by an unknown figure. Junction is dead, the force of the concussive blast having been too much. Without time to mourn their fallen brother, Manticore are dragged unceremoniously to the court of the Grand Inquisitor and charged with multiple counts of; unlawful use of magic, entry of a restricted area, use of magic in a restricted area, use of unlawful magic in a restricted area, treason, high treason, attempted murder, murder of all degrees, unlawful crossing of national borders, interfering in matters of the law, resisting arrest, heresy, conspiracy, conspiracy to perform heresy, theft, arson, breaking and entering, public drunkenness, urinating on a public figure, unlawful impersonation, assassination, consorting with prostitutes, prostitution of consorts, grand theft aeronauticus, associating with known criminals, and committing unknown crimes. The punishment for each of these crimes ranges between life imprisonment and death.
When they come to, Drama is missing, taken elsewhere for questioning. As for the rest, the other members of Manticore find themselves chained in the deepest, darkest part of the Inquisitor’s tower awaiting their execution. While they wait in the dark, searching for a way out, Rei begins experiencing overwhelming hallucinations, accompanied by sharp bolts of pain. The visions give Rei a much deeper look into who Drama is and what she wants.
When the guard arrives to check on the new inmates, he is tricked into entering the cell, where he is overpowered, and Manticore is free. Fighting their way up the tower, an exercise with little difficulty, they find the room in which their gear is being held, taking it back along with some additional trinkets. Manticore then makes their way to the tower top, where Rei feels Drama is being held.
After bursting into the room at the top of the tower, Manticore struggles to overcome the power of the inquisitor and his retinue of interrogators. They eventually manage to free Drama and defeat the inquisitor, turning his own interrogation techniques against him to find out what he has done with the rod. It eventually becomes clear that the rod is now in Steve’s possession.
Emerging from the tower, it is clear Trystings is at war with the Republic of K’Tesh. Fires burn in the distance, and women and children are fleeing the major city center near the tower. It is not hard to find Steve amid the fleeing women and children. However, once they do track him down, Manticore is exasperated to find that Steve immediately lost the rod to a white haired woman from the West… Cauliflower.
It’s clear that if Cauliflower has the rod, there is no time to lose, but given the chaos of the war erupting around them and the fact they are all known criminals, there would simply be no way that Manticore could get tickets on a skyship.
However, as the large shadow of a republic warship drifts overhead, an idea forms in the minds of the gang members. Manticore fights their way through the crowds and into the town. Scrambling across rooftops as fires erupt from below and debris crashes to earth from the aerial battle above. They spot a Trysting ship still dragging its anchor lines, and seize the opportunity, chasing it down and catching the line right before the ship gets out of reach. After a brief struggle to take the ship, Manticore takes the ship and heads to the Shadowedlands.
In true all-in Manticore fashion, Drama doesn’t beat around the bush, taking the pirated skyship and heading straight for the Shadowedland’s capitol, even going so far as to dock their ship on the palace balcony.
Making their way to the heart of the palace, Manticore finds Cauliflower seated upon a thrown, the corrupt Shadowedland’s well filling the room behind her. Drama and Cauliflower argue and eventually it comes out that Drama is the daughter of the Darkmother. Things escalate further, the argument coming to blows after Cauliflower wastes the wish in the rod to blot out the sun in the west to spite Drama.
Tired of toying with Manticore, Cauliflower attempts to finish them off, but Drama intervenes, getting in the way of the attack and banishing the gang members to safety in Mog.
As players get oriented to the new swampy landscape, they immediately become aware they are being watched. When they confront the hidden enemy, he insists they stay quiet and follow him to safety…
From this point on, I plan for things to get much much darker. We'll have Luc confront a reanimated Ragna. We'll have a group of rebels trying to bring an end to Cauliflower's reign of evil. We'll have wars across Htrae. The death of almost every single gang member... and I think I'm going to start taking actual chunks out of the players in combats so they'll actually be battleworn by the end of the world.
Things I still can't figure out for this week... why did Ragna burn down a monastery?
And the name of the Republic of K'Tesh... I don't know if I like it... any better sounding names come to mind?
30-09-2011, 01:29 AM
Why would anyone burn down a monastery? Pederasty. Although, that could just be the all the Vampire; the Masquerade I've been playing talking there. The thing is that you have to boil it down to its basics. Why does anyone commit a crime?
1. Personal enhancement- Follow the money.
3. Compulsion- 'The devil/voices in my head/the mafia made me do it!'
4. Because its there- There was the ability to get away with it, so why not.
Pick a motive, then develop from there. Some are more easy to think of more to add on then others. Personally, I like revenge. It's not always best served cold, sometimes flambe is preferable.
K'Tesh is a horrible name. All I can think of is John Tesh (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMQ253yhtvk&feature=related). Follow link at your own risk. Give me some background on the place. It sounds almost arabesque. Or elvish. What's the overall feel of the place? i always find it best to choose a particular place to base my stuff on. Like Crusades time Iran, Renaissance era Florence (yay! Medici!), Cromwell's England, Charlemagne's Germany, Nero's Rome, etc. That's a great way to easily convey the tone of a place. Gimme some more details.
30-09-2011, 05:43 AM
The Republic of (possibly) K'Tesh is actually made up of three distinct racial groups. A bit like China, its a large landmass with numerous different climates and a range of flora and fauna. It has no significant mountain ranges and is located south of the Iron Hills, West of Trystings, East of the Shatteredland Isles, and North of the Worlds Edge Ocean. Its cultures feature a Persian style of influence. Several different eastern/middle eastern cultures linked together under single rulership. The races associated with the wells of the area are human, dragonborn and elves. During the War of Unification, the three nations waged war with one another to the point of self destruction... until a group of radicals from all the nations joined together, taking materials from each of their nations wells to create a super law known as the law of tears. The law linked the three wells magic and caused everyone in every nation to immediately throw down their weapons and weep for those they had killed. Unable to kill one another, the nations forged a three way alliance, building a thriving republic out of the rubble of the three war torn empires.
30-09-2011, 05:06 PM
I'm on to something now! Ragna-wise at any rate.
Ragna's organization is from Mog. They have since been all but wiped out by Cauliflower and only a few remain... as zombies no less.
When they burnt down the monastery, killing many of the people... selectively.
They clearly must have done it for a reason. They targetted specific people. Let others escape. They were well organized. They had sent scouts in months in advance to infiltrate the group and open the doors when the time had come.
I believe that Ragna and the Crimson Blades are daemon hunters and that Luc's monastery had some ties to the daemonic.
Important things about daemons and those that hunt them...
Daemons in Htrae are creatures of pure magic. They slip through the wells from the sace between worlds. They can be captured and forced to the will of powerful mages.
Daemon Hunters see these creatures as tipping the balance of Htrae. They claim to have seen the image of the true god of htrae and wish to act out his divine will. They are especially well versed in magic used to deconstruct other spells (spell breakers, nulls, etc.). They are very few in number.
Now... things I'm considering... they could have burned down the monastery for two reasons. On the one hand... it may have been the hidding place of creatures and things they saw as shifting the balance of Htrae. On the other hand, Cauliflower clearly had influence in their lives... perhaps she tricked them into what they did? Perhaps a mix of both? Perhaps something else all together?
07-10-2011, 03:41 AM
Everything is going well. Everyone is certain Drama is dead. We're doing an online session over facebook (one post a day for two weeks) because we are unable to meet this weekend. Not sure where it's going, I'm just letting the players have a little free reign with their adventure.