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Author Topic: Shadow in the South  (Read 7247 times)
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Eclipse
Heepa-Heepa


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Posts: 8



« on: August 21, 2006, 10:31:34 AM »

Yes I know. The title of the thread is identical to the name of an old MERP module. But it fits.

We have finally managed to get our Midnight campaign started. Since one of the players decided to create a Danisil, I have opted to use southern Erenland as the place where it all begins. Namely the Southwest Coast District.

The three heroes are:

Galdon: Erenlander Wildlander. Mostly melee, some ranged and Master Hunter: Orks as the trait. Big and gruff, but with a good heart.

Jorgon: Erenlander Rogue. Sneaky with two melee weapons and deadly with a sling. Adept at dealing with minions of the Shadow.

Ilarien: Daisil Spiritual Channeler. Quite good with spells. Only survivor of a party sent to retrieve an important message.

I used a few house rules, mainly to allow characters to diversify a little, since I felt that the classic D&D specialized group would be misplaced in Midnight. They chose their heroic paths only by name, not knowing what abilities they actually grant.

I modified the inroductionary adventure from the 2E campaign setting, transferring the city to the south, changing the names a bit and developing the backgound for the Southwest Coast District. Since I plan to stay in the region for some time, I created a few groups, both among the Shadow minions (military groups, puppet rulers) and for the resistance (freeriders, resistance cells in the city), as well as a few neutral ones (smugglers only looking for their own profit). A new offensive against the Aruun has stripped the district of most of its orcs, which allowed the resistance to double its efforts. But they are focussing less and less on direct actions like sabotage, and more on smuggling, helping escaped slaves and providing aid to the populace. They fear that more direct attacks would bring bloody retribution and relish their relative freedom to actually help people.

The Danisil was sent to search for an important message that should have arrived through human smugglers. The elves are wary of the new attacks on their home and they wait for vital information about this new offensive. The other two characters are part of the resistance in the city, but they are newcomers and not really trusted yet. Unfortunately, they were the only ones available to race the legate to Tearfall Cavern and prevent a disaster. They were teamed up with the elf, because the resistance wanted to get the fey out of town as fast as possible and thought that the message might be in the caverns among the other contraband.

It worked out quite well. Being experienced roleplayers, the players managed to solve each problem in an efficient way and reached an almost perfect outcome. They evaded combat for most part and relied on guile, cunning and stealth. Of course, people suffered nonetheless, this being Midnight after all, but the characters prevented the worst from happening. They arrived before the legate and managed to hide the contraband and themselves.

I hope that I was able to convey the dark and somewhat hopeless mood of Midnight. The players like the setting and it seems that we hit a good start for the campaign. I will look into Crown of Shadow next. Unfortunately, the book has not reached me yet.
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Barghus
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2006, 01:07:12 PM »

Have you picked up Stars and Shadow? That'd fit nicely with a Southern Erenland campaign. It outlines a few of the coastal towns and villages as well.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2006, 01:16:28 PM »

Yes, I picked up "Star & Shadow", "Steel & Shadow" and "Sorcery & Shadow" along with the rulebooks. They proved to be pretty useful.
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Eclipse
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2006, 05:48:40 AM »

I have made up my first covenant item. Actually, it is a pair of items and it is intended for the rogue/fighter of the party.

Light & Darkness

These twin cedekus were forged as a gift to sarcosan twins of noble birth. The princes fought many battles during the Third Age together, until one fell to the temptations of the Shadow, turning to evil.This split the weapons, until they got re-united during the Last Age in the hands of a Sarcosan named Asfar. A petty criminal who got chased by the Shadow's minions for his crimes, Asfar sought refuge on the plains and entered the ranks of a small band of Freeriders. He acted as their scout and his life suddenly had a purpose. He became a valuable aid and finally received horse rights. But after a small skirmish he got captured by orcs. Under threat of torture and death, he betrayed his comrades and they were finally hunted and killed, while Asfar received an exalted position as a reward. Tormented by his guilt and self-loathing, Asfar turned against the Shadow and started a campaign of slaying minions of the Shadow in their sleep. He tried to contact the resistance, but nobody would ally themselves with a known traitor. Finally, his actions were found out and he was chased into the steppes. For two days and nights he evaded his hunters, fighting skirmishes and laying ambushes until he was caught. The orcs slew him and threw his bound and weighted body into a pool, hoping that he would rise as fell and be forever trapped in the water. But instead his spirit infused itself with his trusted weapons, which now lie dormant, waiting for a new master.

The cedekus match each other in design, but one is of a bright silver sheen, while the other is dull and dark.

Special: Light and Darkness grant different bonuses by day and night. Interestingly, Darkness rules by day, while Light rules by night. They only grant their bonuses and abilities when wielded by the same user.

1st Level: by day: +2 hide; by night: +2 spot
3rd level: by day: darkness 1/day; by night: daylight 1/day(night)
5th level: +1 enhancement bonus

I have not worked out the higher level powers, since I do not know in which direction the character will evolve and I want to keep some options open. The character for which the weapons are intended is a shadowy rogue-ish type, who probably has no qualms about using the Shadow's method against his enemies. I want to emphasize the danger of becoming what you loathe the most.
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2006, 10:08:36 AM »

Good start for a Midnight campaign, I think you would get a greater benefit from the Fury of Shadow box and a campaign set on the elven forest than from Crown of Shadow, sending the group across eredane, to the Kaladruns and back, not only that, but keeping them where they are you will also ensure they are within their own cultural domains, which are the two i like the most in Midnight, Danisil and Sarcosans...

The Aruun has a lot of good scenarios for a campaign, even more if they go around a lot, another good idea might be to get the adventure In the Garden of Good and Evil from the Dire Kobold website and use it, uit is set in southern erenland and can give your group some pretty epic things to go with, not to say you can revert Jael's presence from that in the CoS "campaign" to a great effect.

The item looks good, the bonuses are failry low meaning it will still leave space for something else the player might get, just what covenant items are supposed to do.

Cheers,

Nif.
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"We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects."
 - Attributed to Herman Melville.
Mask
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Sans danger, pas de gloire


« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2006, 10:18:30 AM »

I like the cedekus a lot. I had a similar idea and granted a bastard sword to my dorn player which had a different set of powers based on the moment of the day (dawn, day and dusk).

...I definitely should spend some time translating my work.  ohwell
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"Some are born to sweet delight, some are born to endless night"
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Eclipse
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Posts: 8



« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2006, 10:33:46 AM »

Thanks for the tips. I bought Fury of Shadow just a few days ago and ordered some more books. Must be the hunter gatherer genes in me, I will probably try to get a complete set.

I am toying with the idea of using the basic ideas and some encounters from Crown of Shadow to take the group across the south and into the Kaladruns, to show my players more of the great world that I really like. As far as I have seen on these boards, CoS takes the players on a more northerly route. I would only use the basic premise and work out a way through Southern Eredane. If they return to Erethor, their new status as heroes to the elves will open a lot of opportunities for adventures. Right now they are chasing an elusive message that is meant to reach the elves; it could be the hook for a CoS-esque campaign. I have not decided what the message actually is about or if the players will ever find out... Wink

All in all I want to stay mainly in the southwest, though. I spent some time working out the land and the forces that are at large there.

Can you give me the link to the Dire Kobold website? I have not yet heard of it and would like to check it out.

@Mask: I usually write my stuff in english, but I did my Midnight notes in german. I had to translate it for posting... Wink
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2006, 12:02:52 PM »

You will only have a complete set when you get your hands on a 1st edition setting and AtS supplement, even though they won't make that much contribution to your game, they are how it all started. Wink

You could use Crown of Shadow after they are higher level and switch the premise, run it from the forst to the kaladruns as a hard way and then get them back through the south or some other path, you will surely have to rework it all, specially for a higher level party, but then, you will have a pretty solid knowledge of the setting to do it. There are some notes for modyfying CoS on the old site (currently an archive here) that you can use, try making a search on the forums (not the search box, but a search text on the forums main page, at the top) and see what you can find.

I have just uploaded to the site a preview of the Into the Garden of Good and Evil adventure (with a link to dire kobold's website) and a free adventure that you might get soem use out of, What You Don't Know, originally published in the Game Trade Magazine. They are both at the download section, under Official Material (linky!).

With Fury you will also get a lot of ideas for adventures in Erethor, so you might end up leaving CoS as a resource material and use encounetrs from it, or use it some other time.

Hope it helps. Wink
« Last Edit: August 24, 2006, 12:05:08 PM by Nifelhein » Logged
Mask
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Sans danger, pas de gloire


« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2006, 05:32:45 AM »

CoS might fit well in your campaign, characters have to bring back a message to Erethor so with just a few work you could link your campaing to the book quite easily.

About the route, it is also possible to change the suggested route in the scenario by your own. maybe you could replace Erenhead by Alvedara and tweak things a little. Have a look to the link thaht Nif pointed about CoS adaptation, it might bring you some neat ideas.
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smeagol
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« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2006, 01:16:39 PM »

And if you really want them to try the southern route, then Star & Shadow becomes a msut-read,especially for its gazetteer of the southern lands. OH, and search the old boards for a topic titled "southern alliance", perhaps it could help  ;-)
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Eclipse
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2006, 02:43:36 AM »

The second session went very well. The characters tried to backtrack the message and met with a band of Freeriders on the plains who gave them hints about the group of smugglers they were looking for. They found the smugglers at a goblin slave post at Farodun. I decided that the Shadow only kept a nominal presence there and that the whole town had a "western frontier town" feel, i.e. lawless. The group managed to free the surviving smugglers who promised to lead them to the place where they hid the contraband. In the end, the players recovered the message and set off to take it into the Aruun.

I will try to adapt CoS for this campaign. I want to show the players a little more of Aryth before returning to Erethor and making use of Fury of Shadow. It will require some tweaking, but I think that it is worth it. The message will be the confirmation that the dwarves will share the secret of working mithral.

While I was browsing the 3.5 Tome of Magic, I came across shadow silk, which I nicked for my campaign:

Ardherins' experiments sometimes lead to unexpected results. While trying to create a new breed of deadly venomous spiders to release into Erethor, Ardherin infused spiders with the essence of the Shadow. He did succeed in his taks: the new breed was aggressive with a lethal poison that could kill or paralyse a full grown orc in minutes. They are about the size of a human fist and build webs which are difficult to notice because they are dark. They usually hunt in packs, building huge tracts of webs between trees or in caverns. Once a victim gets entangled, te spiders race along the webs towards the hapless creature and bite, injecting their venom and envelop it in their quickly spun web.

A slave from the south jokingly suggested to harvest the spider silk. Ardherin was not amused and had the slave thrown into the spider breeding pit. But the remark got the Sorcerer of Shadow thinking and finally he ordered his slaves to gather some of the silk. The nedeavor proved to be quite succesful. After some trial and error, silk weavers managed to produce shadow silk. Unfortunately, harvesting the silk is quite dangerous, because the shadow spiders aggressively defend their territory. Many a slave got caught and now serves as a new source for the silk.

The silk can be used to create garments. It is pure black and gains enhanced abilities in darkness. The darker it gets, the lighter and more fluid the silk becomes. A garment made mostly of shadow silk grants a +2 bonus on hide and move silently checks while not in bright light. Shadow silk can be used to create light armor, which grants a +1 armor bonus and has a maxium Dex bonus of +8. It incurs no Armor Check Penalty. The Arcane Spell Failure Chance is 5% while in bright light. In any other illumination, the Arcance Spell Failure Chance is reduced to 0. The inherent qualities of the material grant some protection from the magic detection of astiraxes. Magically enhanced garments or armors made out of shadow silk are treated as having only half the necessary caster level when it comes to the range at which an astirax can detect the magical aura.
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smeagol
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Hiding from Shadow


« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2006, 06:34:49 AM »

Shadow silk? Nice...  Cool

But how would it be useful to the Shadow's minions? The way it's written, it seems much more useful to insurgents than to the Shadow...  angel
« Last Edit: September 17, 2006, 06:03:51 AM by smeagol » Logged
Eclipse
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Posts: 8



« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2010, 09:56:29 AM »

Wow, almost four years have passed. Time really flies like an arrow ...

I stopped posting because my campaign teetered out after finishing CoS with a big bang. The party then went to the north to help establish a secure base for mining mithral, but before we could get that going, real life reared its head and we stopped playing. I kept on reading the forums, even though my lack of actual gaming kept me from posting. Thanks for all the great ideas, by the way.

I recently realized that there is not enough fantasy gaming in my life. We still play other systems, but no fantasy. When I broached the subject, several of my friends agreed that there should be more of that. I proposed playing Midnight, because I like it very much and I always read the forum, and they were quite enthusiastic. So now I have got a new game rolling ...  Smiley

I salvaged my old campaign and used the basics for the first few sessions. Due to time constraints - everybody's got a job these days - we only manage one session every two or three weeks, but it has worked quite well. We use Pathfinder and I adapted some of the Midnight rules to that system, and I like it so far. I set up a wiki for my campaign, which is great. Keeping a lot of info online for everyone is nice for cohesion and continuity. Unfortunately, I have to keep it private (I use pictures for a small Gazetteer of Eredane and stuff like that), but most of it is not in English anyway. I can really recommend using a wiki. It was easy to set up and it is an invaluable tool. I plan and write the whole campaign online, using pages that only I can access. Every player has a private page for their own use, and even those without Midnight-books (a few developed an immediate love with the system and bought some) could get an impression of the world. Everyone can contribute to the session updates and the descriptions of placed and NSCs.

This post is just meant as a little thank you to all who keep on contributing to this site.

Regards,

Eclipse

P.S.: even if the question is a little old (four years only ... Laugh): the silk was part of a story arch involving channelers in Ardherin's service who used it. Some of those went rogue after realizing that they would become magic-fodder sooner or later. It never actually featured in the last campaign.
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