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Author Topic: Joe's Crown of Shadows campaign (my players stay out!)  (Read 17855 times)
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Pheros
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« on: November 29, 2007, 04:50:19 PM »

Well look who's back now...

After a pause of non-playage, it seems that I've found a group here that is interested in starting a Midnight campaign.  So, of course, I'll be running Crown of Shadows until they finish it/I get my act together to make a new storyline (maybe I'll resurrect "Narrow Path of Honor" for them after CoS...who knows...)

Anywho, I'll be reading over recent CoS postings in the next few weeks, but wanted to start a thread here to talk about happenings in our sessions (which probably won't really start until after the new year, and definitely not until I get CoS, of course...)

Hope I haven't missed too much,
Joe
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Lou
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2007, 09:39:01 PM »

I'm running CoS right now.  You can check my thread right here.  I'm 3 games late...I wiil try to update it.
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Pheros
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« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2007, 03:16:18 AM »

Cool...thanks Lou.  I'll be sure to look at it for ideas!

Joe
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2007, 08:46:53 AM »

Welcome back Pheros.

I'm also starting a Midnight campaign... but not CoS.
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2007, 07:15:46 AM »

Hi, lurked here for quite a while so it's about time I came out of the Shadows (ahem...) you might find this intersting - it's a bit jumbled and needs a few updates, but we are 10 sessions into a modified CoS - the party have just been smuggled into Badens Bluff.

http://www.etribes.com/mugtog

I'm still waiting for a few updates from the group (there are eight players + GM) from past sessions, but if you start at Chapter One you'll be able to follow most of the story so far - I hope some ideas are useful for someone - we've had a lot of fun so far  Grin



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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2007, 10:56:02 AM »

Hey Mugtog, welcome to the... errrr... light....

Why don't you start a thread in the "Games and Stories" forum, set a link, and inform us anytime there is an update (to get people interest, I also provided a sneak peak).
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Pheros
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2007, 12:14:06 PM »

Hey Mugtog,  thanks for the link...that looks really awesome, and I can't wait to read through it.  I'd concur with arnon's statement that putting up a "Games and Stories" post with the link and synopses of the adventures might get more attention and be a bigger boon to the community as a whole.

Thanks again,
Joe
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Pheros
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« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2007, 10:00:39 PM »

Ok, so I just finish running my first session.  But before this, the obligitory:

MY PLAYERS STAY OUT! 

STOP READING NOW!

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And with that done...

We spent a while on character creation as for many of them it was their first taste of any D20 system.  Once we got all those rough spots worked out (oh, and with huge thanks to Leader Desslok for his Darkness Falls SRD), we were ready to have them run around Durgis Rock.  The party consists of:

Gardrun: Dwarven Honorable Defender  -- Farmer
    *Honorable is from AtS (thanks Bleak)
Alv: Halfling Windwalker Wildlander  --  Woodland gatherer
    *Windwalker is from AtS (thanks again Bleak)
Vordemis: Sarcosian Dragonblooded Channeler (Spiritual) -– Rope Maker
Clara: Gnomish Charismatic Rogue  --  Tavern Wench 

I tried to really stress that they all needed to think carefully about what jobs they held in the town, as they would be bartering for most goods.  A few players immeadiately became curious about why the elders were being called to a meeting without exploring town, but in the end I think they got a good cross-section of the NPCs, and saw life as it is in a pleasant bubble amidst the Shadow's rule.  Clara was suspicious about why they were getting sent on a quest, and who they were going to meet, but in the end all the PCs got ready to head out.  Gardurn's player actually joked that it'd be really convenient if the town was destroyed so they wouldn't have to pay the (moderately) large barter-debt they incurred getting ready for their adventure.  Little do they know...

Anyway, I took them up to the point they were about to leave town, and that's where we broke (having spent many hours on character prep).

Some interesting tidbits:  Clara's player has stated that he envisions her as a sociopathic gnome who really has little-to-no moral compass.  She's been staying in Durgis Rock because they have food and she can work the tavern, but she really aspires to things much greater in life (as in, she would really like to rule the world, and sees Izrador as an impediment to that goal, so she'll fight the Shadow when necessary without hesitation, but she is definitely not out for the greater good.

Only Gardrun is a Durgis native, the others came in over the last 2-5 years. 

All the PCs from Stickyii's CoS campaign (Character's found here) were resurrected as NPCs living in the town of Durgis Rock.  I was very happy to use them again, though I'm afraid they probably won't fare too well in the coming days...

That's all for now...next session will likely be in 2008 when we all get back from holiday travel.  Hopefully I'll have more juicy bits to write about then...
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2008, 02:53:14 AM »

We just finished session two, much to my delight.  Here's the synopsis:

Leave Durgis Rock, the players camped the first night at Near Point Lake, happily fishing and hunting.  One made a comment about how every time things seem to be going well, something jumps out at you, so I decided to delay the Fell encounter (recommended by Stickyii's campaign) a day, and just gave them creepy noises and some rain to make sleeping miserable for the players without tents.  Vordemis, the human channeler doesn't "know" he can use magic, so used it unconsciously to purify the freshly caught fish (playing an sheltered character).  To play up the risk of magic, every time he'd use a spell I'd grab the d20 and a handful of other dice, roll them, stare at the result for a bit and then smile and make "ahhh" sounds...really caused the players to panic about what was going on.  I suppose I was rolling for astirax detection, not that they're likely to catch a cantrip at 20-40 miles away...

The second night, the encountered a wandering Fell dwarf, who after coming to warm himself by the fire and being asked too specific a question, leapt and attacked Clara (the charismatic gnome rogue).  KOed her before being put down, but I let an herbal potion in Dunk's pack (their guide) bring her back to 0  The description of fell and the dwarven burial technique served well to creep them out and set the mood.  Nothing else happened until they arrived at sunset the 3rd day at the trading post.  The elves arrived with Wendell their guide.  Wendell was talkative, the elves weren't, and all players reacted well to the surprise of seeing elves for the first time. 

As night fell, the goblins, orc, and golem approached.  They heard it early, but sat and discussed for a while what to do, allowing the golem to break the bridge and half the goblins and the orc to get across.  They immediately retreated out the underground passage from the trade hall to the supply room, but one character really failed a move silently, and so were spotted. 

The elves tried to hold off the golem while the PCs climbed the cliff face, but Clara (the now-wounded gnome) decided to try her swimming skill over her lacking climb skill.  Wendell went with her, but unfortunately she was hit by an arrow and KOed again in the river, with Wendell taking two arrows a round later and joining her floating unconscious down the river.  By this point the golem was out of the river (the elves were occupied by the orc and one took a vardatch to the side that almost killed him), and one PC figured out the golem had to be guided, so took out that goblin.  The golem was an unthinking thing that would just walk toward the nearest thing it heard walking on ground and try to attack it. 

One PC made it up the cliff, one was hit by arrows by the goblins on the far side (Vordemis the human channeler), KOed and fell 15 feet.  Dunk and the elves eventually made it up the rope that was now dangling down (Dunk carrying Vordemis) Alvin climbed up the rope, as Gardrun went down to try and save Clara (now stuck in an eddy floating in the river).  Gardrun was hit by a volley of goblin arrows (the elves were picking them off, but not fast enough) and KOed, so Dunk and Alvin return, Dunk grabing Gardrun the dwarf and carrying him back (being chased by the golem in a very tense and slow chase scene), and Alvin swimming to Clara and Wendell.  By now all the goblins were dead, as was Wendell.  Clara had stabilized at -2, so Alvin tries to bring her back.  Coincidentally on the way back, one of the goblins rolls a 1 and springs up as Fell, adding to the panic.  This one is put down, and the party re-grouped at the top of the falls, 3 PCs KOed, Dunk and an elf seriously hurt, Wendell dead, and two other mildly wounded elves.  They left behind all their camping gear, and the PCs only beheaded the one goblin that already rose as Fell, so their return there should be interesting...

Meta-game, all the players said they had a really good time, even though the party was nearly annihilated.  They'll probably hobble back to Durgis Rock after a few days of healing the old-fashioned way (none of them bought anything at the herbalist shop, sadly...ahh, they will learn).

Our next campaign should be a week from tomorrow, so expect another update then...

Joe
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2008, 08:40:24 AM »

Great recap!  Getting KO'd by goblins is classic Midnight at its finest.  Love it.
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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2008, 04:04:09 AM »

Session three, and the Fall of the Durgis Clan.

Lesson for the players:  PCs can die.
Lesson for the GM: d12s are a cruel cruel mistress.

The players started out at the top of the Falls after the goblin/golem encounter, with 3 of the 4 KOed.  I had the elves impatience force them to use a "special" Erethor tea that healed 1d6, enough to get the unconscious PCs on their feet at least.  Note that Wendell died last session, so only Clara the gnome can speak a common language with the elves, Trader.  Clara was KOed, so Alv the halfling is watching the elves get frustrated and finally mix a potion they pour into the mouths of the others.  Alv is paranoid to begin with, so he was freaking out at the moment.

Once up and walking, the group slept out in the wilderness (no tents) and then started making their way back home all but one elf without wounds.  Scary noises and moving shadows accompanied them the whole way.  Halfway through day 2 they had to ford the river to cross it.  Most were alright, but the Dex=7 human channeler Vordemis failed his DC 12 balance 5 times (I used three rolls to cross), and lost some of his belongings.  The player is also playing an ignorant channeler who doesn't know he can use magic, so he unconsciously used "Resistance", at which point the elves yelled at him to stop using magic as "the Dark One is watching".  Now, this is all being translated through Clara, whose player wants to make her moderately sociopathic (and he's doing a great job of playing that).  He pleads ignorance, and when the elves say that if doesn't stop, they will kill him, Clara translates it as: "They'll try and figure out what's going on".  Quite the twisted one, her.

They arrive at a cave the third night, and paranoia takes over so they begin to blockade the entrance when the wounded orc shows up.  The PCs decide to capture and interrogate the orc, so the Dwarven defender Galdrun greets the orc with a fist to the face (using lethal damage).  The others try and patch the orc up, but in trying to torture it only wound it more and kill it.  They do discover the arrow belonging to Hjalmer the Durgis Rock fletcher, which convinces them to move on.  They then smell the burning flesh, and see their town in ruins.

The elves offer to take the golems and goblins if the PCs get the case.  They sneak in through the marmot holes, see the carnage of the town hall, and finally sneak into the Hall of Heroes via another marmot hole.  The Gardrun the dwarf sees his parents dead on the floor, all plans are lost and he charges the orc pissing on Woden, taking most of the HP of one of the 8 orcs.  Vordemis charges the same orc and misses, Alv takes a different one, doing decent damage as well, and Clara (rogue) hangs back and hides.  The other orcs in the room attack the PCs, and in a round Vordemis and Gardrun are laying in a pile next to Woden, hurt bad.  I have Dunk come in at this point and defend their bodies, while Alv nimbly dodges 3 orcs worth of vardatches.  Over the next few rounds he takes two orcs down with his knife, a third trips (1 on attack) and lands next to the still hidden Clara, who sneak-attacks.  As Clara retreats back into the tiny Marmot hole, Alv takes an 11 damage vardatch, bringing him to -9, Dunk takes two other orc down, and Clara throws darts out the hole just out of reach of the orcs.

I have Dunk apply a salve to Gardrun and Vordemis to bring them back up to positive, then attack the orcs pinning Clara down.  She takes down one, Dunk takes another down.  The final orc spins and KOs Dunk, but Clara is able to kill it with a Dart.  Now, all the orcs are dead.  Unfortunately, Alv is at -9, noone is around, and he has to roll to stabilize.  His save roll is a 3, bringing him to -10, and killing the character.  I warned all the players this can and would happen, and that I wouldn't pull punches (even though I did only do d12 not d12+4 vardatch damage and thinned the damage occasionally) so the player took it as well as he could have, though he was really starting to get into the paranoid halfling role.

They got the scroll and the Sun and Moon, and went outside to find the dead elves there.  Given the quest by Aradil, they all eventually agreed to press on and let Dunk handle the trip to Silver Vien alone.  Alv's player is going to introduce a new PC next session, possibly a Shadow servant who decides to defect.  All in all they had fun, were sad to see their town destroyed, and realize now how gritty Midnight can be.

Comments or suggestions are welcome,
Joe
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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2008, 05:04:44 AM »

Nice.

First session or two I tend to give my PCs a bit of breathing room (though i don't tell them that) - as you might see in my report from our last session. Other than that i don't hold back usually...
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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2008, 07:51:15 AM »

Damn Joe!  I don't think I killed any of you guys until Astegar. Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2008, 08:16:17 AM »

Damn Joe!  I don't think I killed any of you guys until Astegar. Smiley

Astegar is the Legate at the abandoned town right?

Heh, that's when i had my first PC death in Midnight (previous campaign)... If i remember correctly he killed one of the PCs, who then used a Fate Point to stay alive... only to be killed later by the explosion of the mirror...
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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2008, 08:18:33 AM »

Yep.  He was the most hated villain in my campaign.  He actually escaped after killing one PC. I'm so glad Joe is running it again; I've greatly missed Midnight.
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2008, 09:54:47 PM »

Yes, I'm mean.  I was actually going to let him stabilize at -9 with any decent roll but he rolled a 3 and I just couldn't swing it...

On the plus side, he's excited about his new character, who is going to be a Shadow scout who has a change of heart and decides to kill the others sent back to warn the army of the elves' arrival.  Now, roleplaying his acceptance by the group, what with a Shadow brand, is going to be quite an interesting event (one I'm sure Arnon can appreciate...).  General background looks to be an Urban Sarcosian from a Shadow-friendly minor-nobility family whose father told him that for the family to rise in status he'd have to join the Shadow army.  Once out in the real world he has a change of heart...but having marched in Jael's army should make for some interesting events later in the campaign.
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« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2008, 04:07:47 AM »

Session 4:

This went rather well.  They started out with the 3 remaining PCs leaving Durgis Rock after Dunk has gone with the survivors to Silver Vein.  As they leave town, the see a human with Shadow tattoos fighting a goblin. The goblin gets the best of the human, but flees when he sees the party, and they are unable to catch it.  The human explains he once served the Shadow, but after seeing the elves (he was part of a scouting party sent to warn the main force that the elves had arrived) he changed his mind, and turned traitor.  After some grudging days, the party begins to trust him (the 4 dead goblins around him just help prove he really switched sides...) 

Assad (the new PC, played by Alv's player) and the group head back toward the falls.  The first night I had the Dragon pass, as recommended by Stickyii.  During watch later that night one PC rolled a 1 spot and a 20 Listen, so I had him see a dark huminoid shape walking through the trees beyond their cave, but making not a sound.  It really freaked the player out, which I loved, as he didn't know what to trust.

The second I had the cut-scene where they play orc generals who witness the arrival of the scout while talking to a Legate known only as "the Hunter".  They really enjoyed that, and the meta-realization of exactly what was hunting them started to dawn.  Back at the PCs, they make it to the Falls alright, but are worried about the golem.  It proves inanimate, and one PC mentioned that he thought there were more goblins initially than he saw bodies now, but thought nothing of it. 

They spent a night at the top of the falls for fear of the golem, and so travelled a ways down river before camping.  They caught an Ort, and as they were cooking it I had Wendell (who was killed by the goblins at the Falls in session 1, though only the now-dead PC saw the body...) come up and say how glad he was to see them.  I played him as a person who didn't realize he'd become Fell, and so was trying to interact, and confused about why they mistrusted him, and why he couldn't eat and Ort meat.  Three Fell goblins snuck around the party and attacked, and I had three more coming out of the river.

They handled the first three pretty easy (lots of 20's rolled), but Clara the gnome tried to run away toward the river and failed her listen checks.  She was blind-sided by the other 3 Fell, which took a number of hit points off, and as she ran from them (and the other PCs took care of them) Wendell, who had been ignored up to this point, saw the blood and his thirst was too great.  He took her to -5 before the others put him down.  She recovered with some pultices looted from the herbalist at Durgis Rock, but the are only a few days out of town and have already used a third of their supply.  A fox followed them most of the day (*panic*).

The next night, using one of the recommendations I saw here, I had a bird land on a branch above them, and watch them.  They shot it and missed the first time, and it just continued to watch as the arrow flew by it.  The second shot was rolled a 20, so I had the arrow pierce the owl's neck.  It sat a moment longer looking at them, and then flew away, arrow still sticking out it's throat.  That really freaked the PCs out.

A day later they met the starving human children, who they befriend.  They went to camp, accepted the meager food and gave them some of their rations, as well as the spoils of an afternoon of hunting, which the humans appreciated.  I really hammed up the pitifulness of the humans, which just tore the players up inside, both meta- and in-game.

We stopped at this point for the evening.  Much fun opportunity for role-playing, and I'm really happy with how the players are taking it.  Next week, we go underground!

Joe
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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2008, 03:04:12 AM »

Session 5:

This session began with the players leaving the Dorn camp.  As they made their goodbyes, the leader Gareth told them about the animals following the children, which freaked them out quite a bit.  Not long after leaving, they decided to return to the camp to ask for assistance in building a raft so they could move down river faster.  At this point, they were under the impression they were being followed quite closely.  They bartered away 15 man-days of rations, their axe and the elvish sword for help from the refugees in cutting the trees and making the raft.  They refused to give away the hearthstone, however.

After spending most of the day building the raft, they moved downriver a few hours before pulling off for the night.  That morning Gardrun saw a sanctuary glyph.  They continued moving downriver the second day until spotting a worg rider on the trail above them.  They pulled off and followed him, finding the huge force waiting for them at a point where the trail drops to meet the river.  They were spotted and ran, seing the orc troop that was tailing them.  After a brief but dangerous fight with a worg and its goblin rider, they found the sanctuary before the orcs could attack them.  The dwarf and the gnome remembered different versions of the rhyme, but the dwarf input his (correct) one and was spared the spear trap.  After the door closed, they heard something outside try the door, fail, and die, freaking them out just a little bit more.

They made their way down the underground trail for a day and a half before encountering the Faarn.  I had Durum Frostbane (the dwarf ghost recommended by Stickyii) follow them, muttering and brushing them.  Three of the party made it across the chasm fine, but Gardrun the dwarf rolled a 1 on his jump.  I didn't want to send him to his doom (especially since he was carrying the Dragon case), so I made it close, but he did eventually climb back up.  The party found the dead faarn, and decided to cut it's head off so it wouldn't rise as fell.  Unfortunately, this enraged the other Faarn, which attacked them without warning.  Two were knocked out, but the other PCs were able to fell it finally.  They cracked the eggs open, and licked their wounds for a night.  The next day they ran across the 7-way unlabeled intersection, where they riddled with Durum.  The players did quite well, stumping me on their second.  He then lead them to the battle between the 10 orcs and 2 dwarves.  They charged into battle, which made me quite proud. 

The battle raged: three PCs and both NPC dwarves were KOed, leaving only Clara the gnome facing a wounded Feral Mother orc trooper with a vardatch coming after her.  The suspense was palpable, and two players actually started rolling new character stats, when Clara rolled a crit with the mithral dagger, confirmed it, and killed the orc (ok, it dropped to one, but I gave it to her...it was too perfect).  Using the last of the salve from Durgis rock, she awakens Vordemis (the human channeller) who is able to heal Gardrun the dwarf and Golan the NPC.

We stopped at this point.  Next session is in two weeks, and we'll see how they handle the last friendly outpost they'll encounter until they reach the elves...

Joe
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« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2008, 08:21:31 AM »

So intense!  I feel like I'm in the game again just reading your write-ups.  I notice that you're KO'ing all the time; make sure that you don't give your players the sense that you're not going to kill them ...
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2008, 04:46:13 PM »

Yeah, I'm trying.  It really was just dumb luck that Clara (the gnome) rolled a crit and killed that orc, or else many of them might have been dead, so I think there is still a decent amount of fear in them.  And they're pretty good about running away when necessary, so as long as they keep up that spirit, I'll pull a few punches...but should they try something suicidal, it truly will be.
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2008, 02:23:59 AM »

Session 6:

Well, we had a double-long session today (total of 7 hours...longest session I've ever run).  Thankfully, I had over-prepared (which meant I had exactly enough...).

The party started outside Pardrum Holdfast with Golan, whose life they had saved.  Most of the party was near-death, and Assad  (the shadow-soldier turned deserter) was KOed.  They stayed a night not far away to gather strength, and made their way to the Holdfast.  Greeted friendly-like was still coarse enough to put them off their ease.  Thedron the Thane called them in, and questioned them after sending in a healer to take care of Assad.  He protested them giving anything to the elves, and demanded they turn it over to him,which lead to a long pause from the party before the Hold's Loremaster Dola talked some sense into the Thane. 

The next day Golan took them all around the Hold.  They first went to the armorer, who asked Gardrun to give up his axes so he could inspect them, which was done grudgingly.  He offered a quite fair trade (studded leather for Clara and Vordemis, a second Cedeku for Assad, and darts for Clara in exchange for their mithral dagger).  Next Vordemis wanted to see the rope shop, where Gardrun (the dwarf PC) was hit on by the young girl working at their.  She ran off with him, refilling his health Grand-Theft-Auto style, and Vordemis watched the rope shop for her, where it was agreed he could keep half of what he made.  This left Clara and Assad (neither of who spoke Old Dwarven) alone with Golan, which provided much fun pantomiming role-playing.  He showed them the pit, where the Hold's Thane beckoned Clara to his room for some Dwarrow-making fun.  This left Assad alone to practice his sward dancing.

The next day, the children took to running around with the PCs, and Clara took a special interest in Fedowyn, the Dworg child who was a clan outcast.  After a few more days of exploring the town and healing, the Pit Fight happened.  Thedron called them out, and Gardrun answered, leaping into the pit against an orc.  He took a Vardatch to the stomach, but got a critical hit with his off-hand weapon, halving the orc to the crowds loud cheers.  Assad and Clara jumped in too, against 4 goblins who the killed quite handily.  Vordemis bowed out of any fighting.  The party that night was spectacular.

The next morning Dola called them in giving them fortunes as per CoS.  From this point, I took up Stickyii's "Changing" side-quest.  They were presented to the Council, where they were commissioned to oversee the changing of Loremaster from Dola to Mirsil.

The journey up the to top of the mountain I played out more as s cut-scene, filling in the epic descriptions from Stickyii's notes.  At last they made it to the top, to the room of the two doors.  As per Stickyii, in one door they all saw the dragon guarding the way, in the other they each saw a scene tearing their heartstrings (all of their parents, actually).  I also had all of them hear the others describing what the listener was looking at.  Clara and Assads players (both experienced roleplayers) fared better at this task than the other two, but all were amused and confounded at the same time.

Assad and Gardrun, unfortunately chose the wrong path.  Assad's player worked out the lesson to be learned (that the past can't be changed) but Gardrun, and to a small part his player, was getting angry with the whole thing, so I let him out after a not too much torment and a half-learned lesson of thinking for himself.

At this point, all the players decided to sneak past the sleeping dragon, and succeeded, a feat I was much impressed with (I'm glad when they realized there are fights they can't win).  They then ran into Dola and Durum Frostbane, and Mirsil's transformation cut scene.  They then were able to question the lorepool, though they didn't ask much.  Assad, however, was given a gauntlet (covenant item of my own creation):

Dancer's Fist
1st: Two-Weapon Fighting
3rd: Weapon-Focus (Cedeku)
5th: Weapon Specialization (Cedeku)
6th: The glove acts as a “master” that will teach blade dance techniques to Assad.
8th: Two-Weapon Defense
12th: Improved Two-Weapon Fighting
15th: +2 Dex

Every level of Blade Dancer Assad takes makes it harder to remove the glove (Will save DC 10+2xPrC level). Once the character has completed all 10 levels of the Blade Dancer PrC, the glove welds itself to his flesh and can never be removed short of losing the hand.   After 6th level, the voice of the glove in his head can be a distraction, and Assad must make Concentration saves to do any difficult task (DC = PrC level).  After finishing the PrC, the voice now has nothing left to teach and starts to ramble in a constant whisper.  At dramatically appropriate times have Assad make Will saves against Confusion, DC 10.  If failed, make a Will save against Insanity, DC = number of consecutive failed Confusion saves.



Any thoughts on the upper level powers?  I haven't tried to see if it was balanced yet...it mostly was a means of facilitating him getting to Pellurian Blade Dancer faster.

They found a crack in the wall that let them out above the dragon, but Vordemis' Move Silently wasn't good enough and the dragon awoke.  They made it across the ridge to a small cave on the other side back to the way they had come, though the dragon got in a blast of Cone of Cold breath weapon, damaging mostly Vordemis (the last into the cave).  They found an avalance had blocked their way, and climbed/sledding down back to the way they had come.  The path they took up was blocked, with hints of the Cave Trolls to come shown, and they will have to find a new way through the trap-filled wastes of the upper levels of holdfast to get back.

We stopped here (7 hours was long...I was damn tired after).  Not sure when the next session will be as I need to prepare and many of us are traveling in the next few weeks, but hopefully not too far off.

Comments are appreciated.

« Last Edit: March 09, 2008, 07:26:59 AM by Pheros » Logged
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« Reply #21 on: March 28, 2008, 12:41:08 AM »

Sorry for the delay.  We actually played this session a few weeks ago, but I've been a slacker at putting it down here. 

The PCs were assigned the task of giving me dreams their character had that night via email (a few of them still haven't...grrrr).  Then I read them the "Izrador's Fall" dream in stickyii's notes.  Mirsil had put them into a dream like slumber saying she'd keep watch, but when they awoke she was gone.  Following her trail, they found evidence of a scuffle, and soon after the imp Balakatoo (also lifted from stickyii) who lead them to the orc camp that had taken Mirsil, and before leaving gave them a coin to call him with should they ever need help.  I haven't decided, but it's probably magical, so that should be fun to play around with...

They got a glimpse of the cave troll that was part of the orc party, as well as the whole orc force, then high tailed it back to Pardrum for a final night of celebration before the big battle.  Following stickyii, I had them help plan the battle about to ensue.  Most of the session was taken up by the huge battle that followed.  I basically gave every 10 orcs/goblins/dwarves a d20 roll, and if they beat the AC of their opponents, killed some fraction of a 10-person unit (either 1, 0.5 or 0.333) based on the damage of their weapons.  The battle was tedious, and I did alot more than the players, but it seemed to work pretty well.  I doubt I'll use that style again...but I don't know of a better way to keep track of huge battles. 

Anyway, Mirsil calls them into the Sanctuary, where the orcs have broken through the wall, and had them fight a bit before unveiling the cave troll.  The troll knocked down a bunch of pillars in the room, causing a cave in that seperated the party from the holdfast.  The 4 PCs, Mirsil, and six dwarves faced down 6 orcs and a cave troll, then.

Clara, in a fit of brilliance, cast Charm Person on the orcs and seduced them away from the battle with promises of naughty favors, a ploy all but one fell for.  The dwarves and PCs went after the troll, bringing it down but only after the troll killed all but two dwarves and KOed Mirsil and Assad.  The remaining PCs had to deal with the 5 orcs left, and made good work, but at the expense of the last two dwarves dying and all the PCs save Gardrun getting KOed.

My players keep rolling a bunch of 1's for attack and damage, which is rather disheartening (and painful) for them.

Anyway, Gardrun resuscitated Mirsil and Vordemis with some herbal potions, and they brought the other PCs to.  Mirsil then took leave of the party to try and get back into the Holdfast, while the PCs headed for the surface, and Erenland.  (I was kinda sad...one PC remembered to ask about herbal solutions at the holdfast, but never picked them up before the battle, and thus the party will likely be deprived of them...I guess until they reach the elves...though maybe somewhere in the Bluff lies something...)

Stickyii has mentioned that I KO my PCs alot without killing them, and I agree, but I think it's mostly because my enemies tend not to be vindictive, but leave the PCs alone after KOing them (usually to deal with other PCs).  I guess I've just been lucky at balancing the CRs of the enemies with the PCs so far.

Well, next session is tomorrow.  Now they'll get to meet Sardrac and the halflings...

Joe
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« Reply #22 on: April 05, 2008, 11:54:59 AM »

I must say, I was quite pleased with my Players last session.  They first received the dream from Aradil.  Gardrun the dwarf got the honor, but proceeded to forget (In Character) where she said to go, which left Clara the gnome rattling off all the towns she knew along the river, trying to jog his memory (and was about to begin using a knife to jog his memory...)

They traveled on for a week, before finding the ruined halfling camp.  They were searching for useful stuff to take when they came across Sardric.  The dwarf PC had to be restrained, and after much tense dialog and insults on their orcish accents, they untied Sardric and were rather kind to them.  He left warily, as did they, and they began tracking the orc party.

Travelling another week, they found the party, and laid a successful ambush, with Clara tossing ropes around the sleepers and then using hypnotize to draw off three of the guards while the fourth went to wake others.  That's when Vordemis the human channeller used 'animate rope' to strangle two of the sleepers, while Gardrun and Assad the sarcosian fighter performed coup-de-grac on others.  After being seen, battle ensued and one orc used his horn to call back the other three.  Vordemis tried to lay a rope trap for the ones that would be returned (rope + animate rope spell), but got blindsided by the orcs returning at full charge and caught a vardatch for the effort.  He then tried to cast Cure Light Wounds in melee, catching another vardatch for the effort which KOed him.  Though three orcs left, four returned, and Sardric pounced upon one of the other returning orcs.

The battle went smoothly with no other casualities, and the halflings cheered and feasted.  They inducted the party (and Sardric) into the clan via a set of absurd 'feats of strength', and a blood mingling, which Sardric and Gardrun had a difficult time completing in each others prescence.  At this point, the Sarcosian riders arrived, pinning and disarming Sardric, and nearly getting hostile with the PCs.  Some swift talking left the PCs and Sardric alive, but the horsemen rode off after that in a huff offering little help or information.

Now, they're back on the road.  Next session should bring a swarm of raven (from AtS), a cut-scene, a worg attack, and possibly Astegar, though maybe not quite yet, depending on time...

Joe
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« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2008, 04:16:22 PM »

Ok, so in our last session, I had another PC death.  My player took it really hard:  he's the type that likes working on lots of backstory, and had really gotten into the character and his personality quirks, and to have him die in such a haphazard and 'wasted' way (see below) really upset him.  I feel bad he took it so hard, though I did warn everyone from day one this was a dangerous setting, so I don't feel bad about killing the PC, in principle.  It's always tough though, and I can sympathize.  He's actually having his new character be tangentially related to the old one's backstory, so as not to see it die, which I think I'll allow.

So, onto the recap:  The group was moving across the plains when I had the Raven Swarm (from the creature section of AtS), possessed by an astirax, attack the group.  It focused on Clara the gnome as she was holding the magical coin Balakato the imp had given the group back near Paradrum holdfast.  The PCs did well, but Clara rolled a 1 on a reflex save and had an eye plucked out by one of the ravens.  I gave her a -1 to attack, -2 spot and a -2 to charisma if she left the open socket exposed.  She had Gardrun the dwarf smooth a gemstone down that she was carrying into a false eye, but still wears the patch if needed.

At some point earlier they ran into a plains leopard (getting a crit with one claw and rolling max damage on both against Assad, nearly killing him), and a few grass cats, as well as another boro herd they choose to ignore.

After this, a cutscene happened, with the players watching the Master in Grey punish the legate that allowed the group to kill the Cave Troll at Paradrum.  Then, Jael was called in and given the Crown of Shadow to unveil.  Finally, a collaborator elf, close to the Master, was sent to the Erethor area to "deal with the insurgents".  I'm not sure how I'll work her in...perhaps she'll attack the group while Jael is leading them disguised as the avatar, thinking he has failed and she needs to stop them from entering the whispering wood.  It should be an entertaining batle.  Finally the Master mentions a pack of worgs dispatched by a different legate who are trying to run down the party as punishment for freeing the halflings (after killing the halfling tribe, of course).

At this point I also gave Clara a dream where she was to choose between two items one was the "Nameless Light" (from AtS), the other was "Value of Sasha" (also from the boards).  Touching either gave her a vision of the history described with each item.  She chose Sasha's scarf, giving her a +2 charisma bonus, but also gave her (another) voice in her head, talking to her.  Sasha and Clara actually had a similar history (expect for the dying part) but it makes for great roleplaying for Clara's player, as well as the other PCs who can only hear Clara's side of it.

The PCs, who had been given a tame boro by the halflings had a day or two left of food, and so decided to kill and butcher the boro.  They decide to smoke the meat at night, not willing to use magic (also, they're within 100 miles of the corith, so things are starting to fail...).  This of course draws every predator within a dozen miles.  A few cats attack and are repulsed, but their bodies (thrown away from camp) draw a leopard.  Vordemis the channeler goes to investigate (big mistake) causing the leopard to come into camp.  Gardrun wakes and kills it, but take significant damage from its claws.

This sets the stage for the next death.  Two days later the 10 worgs come upon the party at night.  One finds them at first, and the goblin rider blows a horn, calling the others.  Clara hides as Assad and Gardrun battle off the foes, while Vordemis tries to cast spells with some success.  The first falls, and two rounds later 3 more arrive.  They are dealt with, but both fighters are hurting.  Finally, the last 6 come.  Assad and Gardrun get KOed due to festering wounds, and with Clara hiding, all 6 leap upon Vordemis.  I tried to pull my punches and only gave him damage from two goblin bows and one worg (even though I was rolling 18, 19 and 20 for pretty much everything the worgs did this battle), but the 15 damage was enough to drop him to -10 immeadiately.  At this point, Clara uses the coin to call Balatakoo, who enters a round later in a rage, slaying all the enemies with blasts of fire from his hands.  He heals the two fighers (after a tense episode of "Hmm...I can't remember which spell heals humans and kills Fell, and which one heals Fell and kills humans..."), and Clara asks is he can revive Vordemis.  He offers to bring him back as Fell, which the party declines, but can do no more than that.

The three remaining PCs decide they don't have time to bury or burn Vordemis, and so they must just let him rot on the plains, beheaded.  A very hard choice, but a necessary one.

The next day, they find Redwinde, and get caught in the Fell girl's trap.  They make a break for the temple, and banter with Astegar for a while.  Sasha is screaming at Clara to go kill Legates (Clara is suspicious of Astegar, but not overtly hostile), and Clara needs to talk to both Astegar and Sasha at the same time.  Finally Astegar has had enough fun and decides to kill the PCs.  I played him and his alcolytes a bit weak as I would have annihilated the party outright if I used all his tricks, and that wasn't my goal.

Anyway, they're resting up now, healing, and this evening they'll make their first foray into occupied Eredane.  I'm eager to see what is done with the dwarf...

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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2008, 04:41:00 PM »

Last session was an exercise in patience for the players and the PCs, which I loved. 

After leaving Redwinde in a hasty retreat (thankfully not waking the Fell), they made it finally to Swiftwater.  Sasha (trapped in the scarf) convinced Clara to dye her hair red, and cut it short.  They're becoming fast friends...

Assad took off the armband covering his Shadow-brand on his arm, and he and Clara walked straight into town (on the story that she was escorting him to get goods from the plains when they were attacked and their commander killed).  Clara entered Tuk's tradehouse, which was in full 'company' mode (as the thought Assad was Shadow and Clara a possible traitor, having been off the river for ~3 years and suddenly returning).  Assad waited outside 'tying his boot' so Clara could talk, but Tuk was VERY cautious.

After a very stressful RPing session, where neither she nor Tuk were sure they could actually trust the other, she revealed her intentions and Tuk offered sanctuary.  I gave my player extra EXP for the excellent roleplaying job he did there...

They snuck the dwarf in through one of the secret tunnels, and the party assembled in the safe house, where they met Jehna (the new PC) a member of Vordemis' order who was sent to help him.  When she found out he was dead, she offered to accompany the PCs to Baden's Bluff, where she could inform her contacts that he had died.

The PCs put all their magic items in a secure room in the back of the tradehouse to protect them from astiraxs, except for the scroll case, which Gargrun wouldn't part with.

The first night, Clara spent in the tavern, where she got a hot meal, free wine, and a soft bed, while the other PCs could only smell the food, and ate the offered hard rations and small amount of wine.  The second evening, a legate came into the tavern with two orcs, at which point Sasha started screaming at Clara to kill the legate while Clara tried he best not to do so.  A failed Will save sent Clara's hand to the dagger in her coat, but she resisted drawing it until the legate left, after which she had a long talk with Sasha about the appropriateness of killing Legates in public.  Sasha then tried to persude Clara to poison the town's water supply, thus killing the legate, but Clara wanted none of that...

The second day, Tuk let the party know a barge would be arriving in 5 days and leaving 2 days later that they could find passage on.  Then they had to sit and wait and avoid temptation while smelling excessively describe meals.

They heard the goblin party encounter, but managed to avoid it, to their credit.

They met Horace, who discussed how to get them to Baden's Bluff, and got passage from him.  And they were to meet at dawn on the second day.  The evening before, Jael's astiraxs attacked the party, not really damaging them much, but seriously shaking their confidence and convincing them they weren't safe.  (They actually thought Tuk et al had been killed, and were really paranoid).  They woke up Tuk, and said they thought they should leave now, so he got them their magic items, and sent them out a tunnel near the docks.  They climbed on board the barge from the far side, and though the captain wasn't on board, the crew knew of them, and stuck them in the Hole.

That's where we stopped.  Now the passage up the Eren...
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