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Author Topic: Eye of Shadow - DM's Diary  (Read 9818 times)
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


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Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« on: August 19, 2006, 10:40:27 PM »

EYE OF SHADOW - DM's Diary

INTRODUCTION
I am sick this weekend.  I should be playing MIDNIGHT: Eye of Shadow with my friends, but instead, I am doing a poor facsimile of Raistlin from Dragonlance.

Persistent cough aside, I feel that it is time for me to give you all some insight into the planning and execution of this campaign.

Before I do start, I want to let everyone know that the start of Eye of Shadow (EoS from here on in) bears a remarkable semblance to the start of Crown of Shadow (CoS from here).

Simply because it is Crown of Shadow’s start.

The Eye of Shadow in my mind was written as a continuation of Crown of Shadow, but not directly related to the plot points therein, rather directly related to the story arcs of the player characters.  That said, I am not trying to pass on Crown of Shadow as my own work; I am using it to kickstart the campaign I am writing.  Were this to be a published product, it would take the appearance of an adventure path (similar to what would be seen in DUNGEON Magazine), taking players from 5th to 20th level.  As a mutable campaign, EoS expands on some areas within Crown of Shadow and may very well diverge completely from the original campaign outline.

DMs rant 1:  When writing a campaign, I feel that it is important to give the players as much input as possible; after all it is their story.  NPCs are there to move the story along if need be, but that is it.  The limelight is for PCs only.

The planning of EoS went through several incarnations; each had me pulling out my hair and confusing my girlfriend with so many diverse plot points that she threatened to leave me.  In the end, I found it easier to start off with something basic like a pre-written adventure and then introduce points of a larger plot over the top, leaving the story decisions up to the players.  CoS is a good introductory adventure, I felt that by introducing another (player character) dimension to the story propels the adventure to new heights and thrusts upon the players the need to make some tough decisions.

Ultimately, I do not want to wrap up CoS without introducing what they could/should/would be doing next.  In my eyes, EoS is intended to fit over the top of CoS as a template.

DM’s rant 2: ‘could/would/should’ is an example of my showing the PCs the door; they have to step though it (to use a Matrix analogy).


CHARACTER GENERATION:
In preparing the campaign, I let the players borrow the rulebooks and then gave them free reign in designing their characters, with a little background in mind and what prestige classes they would like to take. 

They decided on the following:

Illius Greymeer: A male Erenlander Dragonblooded Hermetic Channeler.  Illius hails from a northern village destroyed by a treacherous Legate called Silas Creed.  Of late, he has found employ as a scribe in the household of Aristide Drake, an elderly, irascible, yet fair Legate from the last war who now spends his dotage as a sage in Baden’s Bluff.  It was with some secrecy that Aristide sent Illius to Durgis Rock and assist the Dorith in scribing Drwarven pictograms onto a scroll.  Illius completed this task in record time and now spends his time drinking heavily.  He has been asked to accompany Storn Krakor to an old trading post and act as an interpreter for some sort of meeting.  Illius Greymeer is moving into the Wizard prestige class.


Isphreet Arora:  A male Sarcosan Naturefriend Wildlander.  Ishpreet is searching for the cairn of his dead father, seeking to wish him well on the hashu; the heaven ride.  Once he has done this, he is free to take his place as a Freerider.  His journey has led him to the foothills of the southern Kaladruns. Ishpreet Arora is moving into the Freerider prestige class.


Sienna Sil’ar:  A female Elven Champion Erunsil Rogue.   Sienna has been sent to the south to assist Rhiann, an Avatar of the Witch Queen (an NPC from CoS) in negotiations of obtaining the secret of mithral from the Dwarves.  Nicknamed ‘Half Elven’ by Rhiann, Sienna has earned the enmity of Eirinn Alloun (another NPC from CoS), because of Sienna’s proclivity to disguise her fey nature.  Sienna Sil’ar replaces Bayal Dethirinn from CoS.  Sienna’s player has some BIG ideas for this character:  Multiclassing into Wildlander and perhaps Fighter, Sienna Sil’ar will eventually become a Sylvan Slayer.


Storn Krakor:  A male Steelblooded Dworg Barbarian.  When he was born, Storn was left on the side of a hill to die.  Storn’s cries reached the ears of Woden Durgis, a Kurgun dwarf on his way back to Durgis Rock.  Twenty-one years later, Woden is now Dorith of Durgis Rock and Storn is his heir-apparent, despite the grumblings of the other Kurgun Elders.  Still treated as an outsider by many others, Storn spends most of his time in the wilds surrounding Durgis Rock, despite Woden’s urging to become a blacksmith.   Woden has sent Storn to Kurgun Falls with Illius Greymeer to meet some strangers at the old trading post.  Storn Krakor replaces Dunkin, the Dwarf Wildlander (NPC from CoS).  Storn Krakor intends on moving into the Warrior of the Dark Blood prestige class or a Durgis Battlerager.


Eldanna Beran:  A female Quickened Erenlander Rogue.  Eldanna was rescued from the streets of Erenhead by a middle-aged Sarcosan Knight called Garius Dal-Shah, after mistaking him for a Legate and nearly slitting his throat.  Now both live in the relative safety of Durgis Rock.  Since their arrival, Garius spends a lot of time ranging far from the settlement, meaning that the teenage Eldanna has been left to her own devices; which usually see her getting into trouble.  Her most recent escapade (discovered stealing into Garius’s bedroom and looking at a broken sword wrapped in an oilcloth) has had her doing menial chores with Durgis Rocks’ on again/off again blacksmith: Storn Krakor (see above).  When Storn has to leave for the old trading post and Garius off again somewhere, Eldanna has decided to secretly follow Storn.  Eldanna Beran is thinking about moving into the Avenging Knife prestige class.



DM’s note:  My players are all male and seasoned roleplayers.  It is good to see these guys playing a diverse range of races, genders and classes with no prompting whatsoever.  XP bonuses all round!  At some point, I may upload the story arcs intended for each character.  As my players frequent these boards, this is a little up in the air at the moment.


CHARACTER PREPARATION:

I spent some time making up PDFs for the players with Corel Draw, detailing their ‘Story so far…’  Ideally, these handouts are given to your players prior to the start of your campaign.  Give yourself plenty of lead-time to field any questions your players may have about this or any other aspect of the campaign.  This will allow you to launch straight into playing as soon as you sit down.  As a rule of thumb, I tend to avoid answering meta-game style of question unless it directly affects their characters.

A good example is this:  ‘How does magic work in MIDNIGHT?’ is a question I would answer directly and promptly, but ‘Is it really true that I cannot go to any of the outer planes because of the Veil?’ is one I would not.  There is nothing worse when you introduce an exemption with a caveat into the story and then one of your players stands up and says:  ‘But that is not in the rules!’

Devious DMs can take that a step further and not answer questions like: ‘How does Contact Outer Plane work in Midnight?'


More soon.

* Story so far -Ishpreet Arora.pdf (142.09 KB - downloaded 374 times.)
* Story so far - Sienna Sil'ar.pdf (141.02 KB - downloaded 332 times.)
* Story so far - Storn Krakor.pdf (137.22 KB - downloaded 321 times.)
* Story so far - Eldanna Beran.pdf (136.84 KB - downloaded 303 times.)
* Story so far - Illius Greymeer.pdf (141.04 KB - downloaded 345 times.)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2006, 10:54:53 PM by vradna » Logged

vradna
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« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2006, 11:17:32 PM »

THE FIRST SESSION:

I am reluctant to place this in the Story Hour as it contains quite a few spoilers and DM insights to the game I am running.  I do not want my players spoiling their own arcs by reading them here.  You will also notice that some of the text (whilst written in a haphazard fashion) is done in italics.  The italics are to represent things like game mechanics or DM insight to the situation.  Apologies if it becomes confusing.


The scene:  Kurgun Falls lies in ruins, having not seen any trading for nearly three hundred years.  Several parties are making their way to wards this intersection each with their own reasons for doing so.


SCENE SETUP: Kurgun Falls.

I wasn’t 100% happy with the first encounter at Kurgun Falls; how the NPCs take the glory in defeating the main opponent.  Other than change some of the combatants, I decided to change the cosmetics to the area:  The Kurgun Falls of my campaign is the northern fork of the Carina River.  The unnamed ‘Carina’ falls that feed this northern branch at Kurgun Falls is further to the south where the two paths intersect before also branching west along the plains to Swift Water.  This means that the Carina River flows into the pool at Kurgun Falls from the south before plunging off a 500 foot drop into a narrow ravine and into an underground river to the north of the map.

I have also removed all references to Wendell Gale; having placed him at Swift Water.


The following groups are making their way towards the Trading Post:

Group 1: Illius, Storn, and (secretly) Eldanna. (The party from Durgis Rock)
Group 2: Sienna, Eirinn and Rhiann (The elves from Caradul)
Group 3: Ishpreet and his horse (the independent party)
Group 4: The Goblins and their Stone Golem, plundered from a nearby Eldethar Tomb.


Group 1:
It all started with Eldanna making a Move Silently opposed to Illius and Storn’s Listen skill.

Despite her skill as a rogue, Illius managed to pick up the soft crunch of sand and pebbles beneath the foot of their shadow.  Illius whispers to Storn that they are being followed.

As Eldanna has Illius and Storn within sight, I make Eldanna make a Sense Motive check against their whispering and body language (Bluff). Why Sense Motive?  See the section on language.  As it stands, she failed the check.

DM’s note:  Why all these rolls?  Because each player was in the room at the same time and despite their experience, I wanted the players to know exactly where they stood with each other.  I was happy with this as it worked quite well:  No one had any idea where or how the other characters were to be introduced.  Read the ‘Initial Mystery’ DM advice on page 7 of CoS for more details.

Rounding a bend, Storn decides to climb up into a ravine in the cracked clifface.  Illius continued on down the track, quietly casting Message to keep in contact with his ally.

Obviously, rounding the corner and seeing only Illius walking slowly away, Eldanna knew immediately that Storn had hidden himself, possibly in the closest ravine. 

A successful spot vs Hide reveals this.  Storn, despite his good intentions at trying to identify Eldanna, failed to spot Eldanna as she successfully sneaked past the ravine.

But then, they had her trapped.

As the tense minutes wore on, Illius stopped and took a swig from his canteen.  It is then he spotted their shadow. By the use of Message, Illius called Storn out of his hiding place and cornered her.

With nowhere to escape, Eldanna sheepishly came out from the shadows where she hid. 

Storn gave her a reproachful look.

This is where the language barrier comes in. 

Storn can speak Clan fluently.  He can only speak pidgin Orcish and Dwarvish.  Illius can speak fluent Orcish as well as quite a few other languages.  Eldanna can only speak Erenlander and has a smattering of Clan as she has not been at Durgis Rock long.

Needless to say that Storn was annoyed at Eldanna, fearing what Garius may do to him if he had found out that Eldanna had followed the Dworg.  Illius became an impromptu translator.  They already knew that it was too late for them to retrace their steps back to Durgis Rock, so they decided to take Eldanna with her to the trading post.


Group2:
A galloping horse is approaching from behind. 

Sienna was already ahead of Eirinn and Rhiann, acting as a scout.  Rhiann’s voice sounded tinny and metallic in her ears as she too, spoke though a Message spell:

‘Sarcosan rider approaching.  Unexpected.  If necessary, kill him.  We cannot afford to be discovered.’

Ahead lay Kurgun Falls; an ancient trading post that has fallen into disrepair after almost a three hundred years of disuse.  Several pine trees dotted the clearing.  Racing to the nearest, Sienna lithely scrambled into the branches.
Hide Check.  Noted number

Group 3:
Ishpreet galloped into the clearing.  Ahead, the falls disappeared over a cliff, throwing up spray and obscuring the vista beyond.  Leading the horse to the ruined bridge, Ishpreet considered the expanse whilst his horse drank deeply.  He then turned back to the ruins, tethering his horse to one of the gargoyles that adorned the outside of the round squat tower before him.

At that point group 1 entered the clearing from the northwest.  They are obscured by the noise and spray of the falls (50% miss chance in combat and the same as a Silence spell).  They however spot Ishpreet poking through the ruins.

They position themselves in case the rider is a potential spy for the Shadow; Eldanna scampers across the decaying ruined bridge whilst Storn and Illius prepare to announce themselves.  It seems that Eldanna is eager to prove her worth to her companions, despite the apparent danger.  Meanwhile Sienna watches the unfolding scene intently.  As the recipient of Rhiann's Message spell, Sienna tries to contact Rhiann, but she doesn’t answer.


THE MEETING

‘Ho traveller!’ Illius calls from across the bridge.  Storn doesn’t really understand what Illius is saying, but eagerly awaits a signal from Illius to attack.  Ishpreet whirls and drops into a defensive crouch and then runs for his horse, seeking to make a quick getaway.  Illius calls again to assure that they mean the rider no harm and Ishpreet slows his actions.  He climbs onto his horse and then calls back, surprisingly in Erenlander, calmly asking the others if they knew where Durgis Rock was.

I made Eldanna make a spot check as she was closest (Hiding by one of the statues that flanked the ruined bridge, nearest to Ishpreet).  Eldanna noticed something familiar about this Sarcosan, but she could not place it.

Illius and Storn made their way slowly across the decaying bridge, easily keeping to one side to avoid any sort of collapse.  As Ishpreet dismounted, Eldanna sprung from her hiding spot.  It seemed that Eldanna was also keen to impress the stranger.  Ishpreet sized up the teenager and briefly gave her a wry grin.  Had he already knew she was there?

Both parties knew the other did not present latent harm or ill will despite the Sarcosan’s startled reaction.  I intended to play out a surprise round and a subsequent roll of initiative, but I did not want the players to get the wrong idea.

That only leaves Sienna….

I make two attack rolls for the players to see:  Two arrows embed themselves in the soft earth by the player’s feet.  A disembodied voice echoes through the clearing:

“Lay down your weapons.  You will be put to a swift, painless death if you comply.  Failure to do as we wish will see you pass in pain.”

Time for initiative, I think to myself.

I tally the rolls, then announce:


“Time for lunch, guys.”

;^)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2006, 11:21:03 PM by vradna » Logged
Dirigible
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Oh, the humanity!


« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2006, 11:19:16 PM »

Welcome to the (new) boards, vradna Smiley

This is impressive and ambitious. I look forward to seeing more.
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


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Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2006, 11:31:28 PM »

Welcome to the (new) boards, vradna Smiley

This is impressive and ambitious. I look forward to seeing more.

Thanks for the kind comments Dirigible.
Been a long time lurker here; about time I gave something back. Smiley
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


Spell Energy / Taint +1/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2006, 11:45:36 PM »

“Time for lunch, guys.”

;^)

(But they wouldn’t have it and decided to keep playing despite the hunger pangs)


THE MEETING (cont’d)

A masked warrior appears in the clearing from behind the squat tower at the southeast entrance (building 3 on the map). A bow is in the warrior’s hands, but no arrows are strung on the bowstring. 

Immediately, the players begin their attack round and I have the warrior lay down the bow slowly.  Reaching up with the other hand, the warrior unmasks.

From her vantage point Sienna recognises Rhiann as the masked warrior.  Rhiann also pulls off her hood and shouts angrily into the air:

‘Eirinn.  Put down your weapon!  I gave no such order!’

From inside the tower, a sigh of disgust is heard.  Eirinn then makes his way to the entrance of the building, eyeing the players with cold eyes.  Looking past them at the trees by the clearing entrance, he smirks.

‘Come down, little Dornish woman.’

Sienna sighs and climbs down the tree and joins the group.

DM’s note:  Sienna is a tall elf.  Elves in my campaign are tall, if not taller than humans. As is part of her character background, Sienna has taken ranks in disguise to hide her Elven heritage.  He has cropped her hair shorter and dyed it blonde (Think 1st and 2nd season Starbuck of the new Battlestar Galactica).  The intended disguise is a Dornish woman.

The players start asking questions, viewing the elves and the Dornish woman with mistrust.  This is exacerbated by Eirinn instantly demanding that they turn over the scroll here and now so they can be on their way.  Illius puts two and two together and works out that this is the pictograms he has inscribed into the scroll that Woden Durgis now possesses.  With an angry look at Eirinn, Rhiann uses diplomacy to assure that they really mean no harm.   She also speaks to the Dworg in (what appears to be) fluent Clan (actually a Tongues spell).  ‘Are you of Clan Durgis?’  We must urgently speak with Woden Durgis, your Dorith. Is he here?’

When pressed for more information, Rhiann says little more.  Storn explains that Woden is back at the settlement, three days from here.  Rhiann takes this news with no emotion, but Eirinn groans and stalks off to the edge of the pool, looking at the dark depths.  Rhainn looks to Eirinn and then asks to not judge him too quickly.  Rhiann asks to be escorted to Durgis Rock at all possible haste.  After some negotiation (after I mentioned forced marching), the players convince the Elves to begin at first light.

After some brief exploration, (where they discovered the tunnel and slippery stone jetties in the pool), camp is set up in the main room Building 3. Storn, meanwhile is unsuccessful in foraging.

DM’s note:  I live in Australia, and as Australians, we did not have Dungeon #137 available at the time; the cover was deemed inappropriate for a hobby magazine and was thus delayed from an extra month. For more information on this, see www.paizo.com. As MIDNIGHT relies heavily on foraging for sustenance, I would have used the lovely rules on page 92 of that erudite tome.   With only Erethor Tea available I took much glee in making the players make some checks to see if they were allergic to the tisane.

It was not log before night fell and a full moon rose above the clearing.

It was in the early hours of the next morning when I introduced Group 4.  Sienna had opted for watch during that time, so I was a little disappointed that chance had dealt me this hand.  Nontheless, I was pleased when the look of recognition came over Storn’s player’s face;  his background mentioned that a ‘Stone Man’ was also making his way to the clearing; information provided to him by a hawk companion that can talk to him.  As I do not want to give too much about the hawk away at the moment, I have neglected to mention the hawk here until now.  If you have a look at the Storn's PDF in the first post, you will see the hawk mentioned there.

The groans from the other players were quite satisfying when they realised that Storn’s player had merely skipped over the detail in his background.  I can’t say that I didn’t warn them!


Sienna’s elven hearing picked up the muffled thumps that the Stone Golem made as it made its ponderous advance into the clearing.  Led by a goblin chieftain and his aide, the Golem was the figurehead of an advance force of a war party of ten more goblin warriors.

Quickly rousing Rhiann, Eirinn and the players, Sienna was disgusted to find Illius drunk.

DM's note:  There is more to Illius than meets the eye.  Something has forced him to drink; and quite fankly I think that it is a perfect vice considering the the atmosphere of MIDNIGHT.  There will be more on this in the next session that I play with the group.

Rhiann and Eirinn set themselves up in one of the far buildings, ready to provide ranged support, while the others prepared for an ambush.  Sienna and Eldanna went and hid in separate areas of the ruins while Storn prepared for hand to hand combat.  Illius, despite his drunken nature, climbed the cramp stairs to the first level, intending to incapacitate the goblins with Sleep spells.  Ishpreet quickly ran outside and prepared his horse for mounted combat and to pick off any potential escapees.

The goblins came to the bridge and argued at length if the Golem could cross it.  Insistent, the goblin commander ordered the golem across it, watching in dismay as the bridge collapsed and the golem disappeared from sight.

At this point the party attacked.
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arnon
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2006, 02:16:25 AM »

vradna, i'll extend my wlecome as well, and ask that you keep us posted as much as possible.

I love reading other peoples adventures.

arnon
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


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Posts: 14



« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2006, 02:22:43 AM »

THE BATTLE

Storn made himself known by appearing from the shadows of the ruins.  Seeing the Dworg, the goblins charged over the broken gap in the bridge. Storn met the charge in true heroic fashion while Illius used Sleep to great effect.  The goblins had not yet spotted the remainder of the heroes and continued the assault on the lone Dworg and the unseen spellcaster.

Then the golem emerged from the river.

A stone arm appeared from the water and dug itself into the muddy bank. A goblin that had failed a jump check has grasped the neck of the beast and was now recovering from the cold water.  A hail of arrows descended from the night sky as the Elves peppered the construct with ammunition enchanted from Rhiann’s spell repertoire.

Illius, and Storn quickly despatched the goblin warriors.  The sudden appearance of Ishpreet on his horse quickly forced the battle towards a sudden completion and forced the commander and a lone surviving warrior to flee; each in a separate direction.  

The goblin commander fled to the northwest, whilst the surviving warrior fled southeast. The golem at this stage had gone berserk and was now smashing its way towards the ruins of building 3.

Seeing a chance, Eldanna sprinted after the goblin warrior, while Ishpreet spurred his mount and successfully jumped the river bank after the goblin commander.

Meanwhile, Rhiann had drawn a sword and charged into melee, ready to take on the Golem herself if need be while the crafty Eirinn peppered the Golem with more arrows.

A short battle ensued with both Eldanna and Ishpreet’s horse taking damage from their goblin adversaries.  Ishpreet managed to crit the goblin, removing the creatures head as he charged past. Eldanna took a serious wound before she too despatched her opponent.

The Golem managed to knock Rhiann flying from an unexpected critical while Ishpreet wheeled his horse and charged back towards the golem.

At this point was dearly hoping that one of the PCs would have worked out the obscure escape clause that I had created.  As it was, I had to use a little coaxing.  With Rhiann down, I had to some creative thinking on the spot.  Having thought about it, perhaps it was a little too obscure.  Can anyone guess the easiest way to defeat a berserk stone golem; a CR 11 encounter, at 1st level given the current layout of the Kurgun Falls?


SPOILER (Highlight to read)

As stated before, Kurgun Falls in my campaign go down over a cliff into an underground river instead feeding the area.

Push the Golem over the Falls.

Ishpreet’s horse would have been fantastic for this; a square kick whilst on precarious terrain (the muddy bank, the remains of the bridge or the stone jetties) would have been a good start.


Unfortunately, some bad tactical decisions were made and Ishpreet and his mount were suddenly flanked by the rampaging golem when they jumped back across the river.

Ishpreet’s horse did not survive the golem’s stone fists and writhed on the ground, back broken from the assault.  Dazed but uninjured, Ishpreet scrambled away on his hands and knees.  Dashing between the golem and the fallen Ishpreet, Sienna lanced her fighting knives at the construct, deftly dodging the golem’s powerful blows.  Saved, Ishpreet then returned to his dying horse, uttered a quick prayer to the Sorshef and then put the beast out of its misery with his blade.

Assisted by the ministrations of a now-sober Illius, Rhiann regained consciousness.

‘Lead the Golem to the falls.’  She murmured, nursing her head.

Illius echoes her request across the clearing.

Moving as one, Sienna and Storn set up the trap; lead the golem to the end of a stone jetty.  At the last minute, before the golem made a lunge at her, Storn would throw a rope around Sienna and pull her quickly across the pool leading to the waterfall.

Storn moved to the other side; grabbing a length of rope from Ishpreet’s saddle.  Forming a lasso with his rope use, he twirled the rope and caught Sienna around the waist.  The already slippery jetty proved hazardous for Sienna and golem alike, but Sienna was fortunate to succeed her balance checks, aided by her high DEX.  As the golem made a final lunge, Storn yanked on the rope, pulling the elf across the fast flowing pool.

The golem teetered for what seemed like minutes before splashing into the pool.  The pool was formed from a natural stone bowl, with a lip on one end (where the waterfall was). The momentum of the water in the river was too much for the golem to handle.  The sound of grating stone echoed through the night before the golem disappeared over the edge and into the darkness.

As Sienna was pulled from the river, I had to use player assistance in making some improvised skill rolls. As Sienna has maintained that she was a Dornish woman throughout the whole encounter, I ruled that the water would have done some damage in maintaining that façade.  Firstly, Sienna’s hair was slicked back, revealing the dainty points of her ears to Storn.  This was facilitated by a spot vs disguise roll.  Illius’s player then suggested that since the Dworg was a Dworg and a Barbarian, Sienna should Sense Motive vs Storn’s bluff to see if Sienna saw Storn’s recognition in seeing her true heritage.  Despite my initial protestation that dice rolling should not get in the way of roleplaying, I am glad that Illius’s player stuck to his guns over this, because it gave everyone a definitive ruling on what had happened.  (Hey everyone!  Sienna’s really an Elf!)

Now it is time for lunch, I decide.


During lunch, I asked them about the encounter.

They thought that taking out a Stone Golem at 1st Level was gutsy.  They also agreed that this stone golem was going to be one of the best re-occuring villians ever. mrgreen
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


Spell Energy / Taint +1/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2006, 02:36:05 AM »

vradna, i'll extend my wlecome as well, and ask that you keep us posted as much as possible.

I love reading other peoples adventures.

arnon

Thanks arnon!
I so wish that I wasn't sick this weekend;  Session 2 was to be the last one before Illius Greymeer's player goes overseas for a holiday.  He'll be back around October, but I am sure I can keep you all amused in the meatime with where I would like this campaign to go.  I will also upload the PCs and NPCs as well.

Hopefully, this DM's Diary will encourage other DMs to post their sessions up as well in a similar format.  I have always wanted to see a camapign laid out in both mechanics and storyline.  Despite my desire to be a full time writer and author, I prefer to leave the proper story hours to the gamers (or myself if I have the time).
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vradna
Heepa-Heepa


Spell Energy / Taint +1/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2006, 02:47:32 AM »

THE AFTERMATH

Returning from lunch, the party took stock of the situation; a captured goblin warrior provided little information other than that their troop was told to take and hold this area, smash the bridge and kill any who come this way.

Further pressing revealed nothing.  The goblin was a fanatic.  The party then decided to kill him and then set about beheading the bodies of all the slain goblins, and burning the bodies.

DM Note 1:  I mentally questioned their motives for doing so; in a world that has seen Fell for thousands of years, stories of such creatures would abound, so I decided to let it go.  This is a prime example of the players using knowledge of the ruleset to their advantage and I cannot blame them for doing so.  This is why I do not answer questions of a dubious nature before or during a game.

DM’s Note 2:  Experience.  Looking at the XP chart from a XP calculator on an excel spreadsheet, I see that it is quite impossible for a party of 1st level characters to defeat a CR 11 creature.  Considering the assistance that Rhiann and Eirinn gave and the advice Rhiann offered in defeating the Golem, I drop it to a CR 5.  A bit generous, I know, but I think that 1047 XP each for monsters and story awards were about right.  That had conveniently brought them straight to 2nd level.  I want the characters to level quickly near the start; this campaign I am running has a steep curve in terms of plot points.  By the time they reach Baden’s Bluff, the players are going to have to make some tough choices.



THE QUEST REVEALED

Rhiann had recovered from her wounds sufficiently and assisted in healing wounded players.  While doing so, she tried to answer as many questions as she could by explaining why the elves had risked travelling the breadth of the continent:

‘For almost a century, the Witch Queen has been fighting a losing war against the shadow. Many of our brethren have died for the ideal that the Shadow will not roam across this world unchecked.  We do not want these deaths to be in vain.’

I then had the characters all make spot checks.  In the light of the goblin funeral pyre, they saw Rhiann shudder as her eyes fade to black pools.

‘We come seeking the secret of mithral.  Woden Durgis has become sympathetic to our cause and has agreed to pass the secret of working its alloy to our Magesmiths.  We fear that our presence in the east has been discovered and the Forces of the Shadow move against us.  We are now all in danger, including your sanctuary of Durgis Rock.  Quickly!  You must lead us to Durgis Rock and recover the secret before the Shadow discovers where we are headed!’

The players were forced to leave immediately, embarking on a forced march.  After sixteen hours of marching and some incredible rolls, they reach the final stretch leading to Durgis Rock late in the afternoon of that very day.


THE WOUNDED ORC (modified encounter)

This is where I can start kicking a few of the player story arcs off.  I have changed the encounter of the wounded orc to something a little different.

Arriving at a dog-leg in the mountain path, the players hear the sound of a galloping hose approaching, as well as the guttural sounds of Orcs preparing for combat.  An orcish grunt and the pained whinny of a hose echoes through the pass, followed by steel clashing on steel; obviously a battle…

It is important that I described it as thus.  It leads onto several discoveries later.


THE SECOND BATTLE

I shall try to be brief about this. 
Rounding the corner, the first combatants are Storn and Sienna who saw a lone Sarcosan fighting a losing battle against a group of Orc Warriors.  Further on down the track a few more marauders were running towards them.

I had Storn secretly make a spot check there and then.  He failed, so I wasn’t about to pass on any more information.  I do mention that despite the sounds that were heard earlier, no horse is visible.

The nearests orcs cut down the Sarcosan warrior and then made to urinate on him as he died.  Storn charged in while Sienna blended into the late afternoon shadows as the other Orcs came closer.

The remainder of the party excepting Eldanna rouned the corner.  I secretly had Illius and now Ishpreet make spot checks.  Ishpreet failed while Illius succeeded.  I mentioned privately to Illius’s player that the dying Sarcosan was Garius Dal-Shah; Eldanna’s guardian.

Battle was joined by all and Illius tried his best to save Garius, but was cruelly impaled by a fanatical Orc before he could rise.  As the last Orc died, Eldanna was called from her hiding place, running straight to her foster-father with tears in her eyes.

THE DYING SARCOSAN

‘Eldanna.’ Garius Dal-Shah croaked. 

DM's Note: Rhiann was conveniently out of Cure spells, having not had time to replenish her Spell Points since the forced march began.

‘Ishpreet’ Garius Dal-Shah croaked, upon seeing the young Sarcosan standing above him.

Another spot check, DC1. I then announce:

‘Ishpreet.  You stare in awe at the Sarcosan dying at your feet.  It cannot be.  Here is a man you never thought you would see again.  This man is your father; Halaad Arora’

I wrapped the session there. Though truncated here, this session was 6 hours.


DM’s Note: This is where a few of those character-driven story arcs start.  Eldanna and Ishpreet’s stories are intertwined.  Astute roleplayers will also be able to guess one of the items that the Garius carries for Ishpreet.  Eldanna’s heritage will also become apparent to those who know the history and gazetteer of the MIDNIGHT 2nd Edition Core Rules.

HERE ENDS SESSION 1.

Advice, comments and questions are welcome.
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smeagol
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Hiding from Shadow


« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2006, 07:15:59 AM »

A very interesting read.

You did quite a nice job of character personification in your version of CoS (ie, intertwining the PCs' background story to the CoS story).

That's good DM work.

Now I'd be curious to see what you're planning to do after CoS.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2006, 06:05:03 AM by smeagol » Logged

"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
vradna
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Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2006, 04:36:08 PM »

A very interesting read.

You did quite a nice job of character personification in your version of CoS (ie, intertwining the PCs' background story to the CoS story).

That's good DM work.

Thanks for the comments, Smeagol!

Now I'd be curious to see what you're planning to do after CoS.

Certain sourcebooks show some detail on the title of my campaign.  With a little insight, you might be able to guess what the players will be doing Wink

Obviously, there is more to it.  I mentioned previously that I was pulling out my hair regarding various plot points, trying to find a happy medium that didn't involve the Players zigzagging to various locations across Eredane. (One of the problems I believe Shackled City and Age of Worms suffered from a little, but I digress....) Similarly, I was also having an issue about providing convenient lumps of exposition to my players ("Thank you for coming to Caradul.  Now, you must go and slay Ardherin the Night King.  The only way to do so is with the Silver Wand of the Asmadar.  You can get that in Asmadar." - style of Mcguffin). 

In order to circumnavigate this, I try and show examples of what is possible.

I'm waffling on here, but this post assists in others in understanding how my players get embroiled in the world-shaking events which are about to unfold.

More on that soon.

I do believe that an impromptu Session 2 has been scheduled for 2nd or the 3rd of September before Illius Greyymeer goes overseas.  It is my hope that both the players and you will see where this campaign is going. mrgreen
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vradna
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« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2006, 06:49:23 PM »

Confirmed: Session 2 is 2nd September 2006.  This should be fun!

I have directed Illius Greymeer's player here to assist him in his own story hour for the site.  Because of this, I have barred myself from putting up any more spoilers until after 31st August 2006.  Apologies for the delay Smeagol.

By way of offering up something for the time being, I have been mucking about in Corel Draw and paint Shop Pro again, intent on making a cover for this campaign book:


Still haven't got the right fonts for this yet.  The sub headings (the writing at the bottom of the sourcebooks) is Elbjorg, but the main heading has me at a loss.  The closest I can find is Iron Lung, SF Port McKenzie or Shadows of Xizor.

Art afficionados will recognise the work of the late Keith Parkinson.  All rights to this art remains the property of his estate.  The Midnight Logo and the border remains the property of Fantasy Flight Games.

Clicking on the link will reveal the larger image (1275 x 1650) for those who want to have a cloer look at the pixels I missed around the 'MIDNIGHT' Logo.

More soon.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2006, 10:03:35 PM by vradna » Logged
Bleak Knight
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AKA Draug


« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2006, 10:18:46 PM »

That one point of goodness (Spell Energy) is from me. This looks really awesome, but I don't have time to comment thoroughly now. Sad
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vradna
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Gender: Male
Posts: 14



« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2006, 04:48:54 AM »

..........and bump.

Sorry for the false alarm guys; just a 'stay tuned'.

Well, we had Session2. Even after I relapsed and caught the flu again from some idiot workmates who insist on martyring themselves. 

That's it.  I quit that job.

No really:  I've managed to score a new Job at Technicolor Australia.
Well at least until my fabulous career as a writer kicks off.

I am writing up Session 2 now.  Expanded the 'Marmot Holes' by adding some undead dwarves and some flooded crypts.  The truth about Illius Greymeer's past is hinted at.  Was quite surprised at a singular 'turn of events' that has put two player characters at odds with each other.

As a DM, I couldn't ask for more.

More soon.
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vradna
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« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2006, 10:34:23 PM »

It has been a long time since updates.  I am sorry for that.  A lot has happened in my life; new job, new car and a new future.

Our last session was back in September, so that may give you an indication as to how lax I have been with this.  So without further ado, I present:

SESSION 2

A little recap:

On their way back to Durgis Rock with the Elven emissaries, the party encountered a lone warrior battling a group of orcs.  Rounding a bend in the pass, the party witnessed the horseman take a fatal blow.

Charging into battle, the party quickly despatched the orcs.  Rushing to the warrior’s side, Eldanna was shocked to see that this warrior was Garius Dal-Shah; her father.

Ishpreet Arora also stared at this dying warrior in open shock; for he knew him as Halaad Arora.

His father.

‘Ishpreet’  Halaad/Garius croaked feebly upon seeing the stunned Sarcosan.

Ishpreet came forward.  Despite her own grief, Eldanna was curious about Ishpreet’s relationship with Garius.

With both of his progeny in from of him, Garius/Halaad spoke to both:

‘I have been called father by both of you.  It is a title that I have worn in pride, and I hope that you do not think less of me for my deception, Ishpreet.  Your sister….Eldanna…she is your family now; protect her, see that she meets her destiny as the Maide--’

Overcome by a fit of coughing, Garius/Halaad laid back and took a few rattling breaths before leaning up again.

‘…here.  Take her birthrights.’  He said, passing a clanking, oblong cloth bundle to Ishpreet.  Inside, he could feel the hard shape of steel.

‘…and lastly, take my horse. Feel the wind in your hair, Kam-Zel.’

With that, Garius/Halaad breathed his last.

Giving the two newly acquainted siblings a few moments, the other party set about beheading the Orcs.  They also secretly discussed the gruesome beheading of Garius/Halaad…just in case.

Unwrapping the cloth, Ishpreet found two newly-wrought short swords.

Spot check for Eldanna and also for Illius.

Eldanna recognised the blades, despite them being new:  Each sword contained one upswept eagle’s wing.  On each, in clear Dornish script, were written the words:

‘The Maidens of the North’

Something in Illius’ mind triggered; he had heard the phrase and he had seen the design of the hilt.  He made a mental note to ponder over his Lorebook when next he got a chance….

Going through the remainder of Garius/Halaad’s possessions, Ishpreet discovered a stone carving of a horse (A Stone Horse) and his father’s shortbow:  The Giver of Sleep.

You may be concerned at this influx of Covenant and Magic Items.  Don’t be.  I let me group know from the outset that they were to pick a series of items that would be signature to their characters. I also mentioned that these items would be made available to them ingame.

The end of Session 2 marked the closure of this Covenant Item ‘giveaway’.  Players who had not created something, miss out.


DM’s Note:  Do your homework guys, otherwise you miss out in my game.  Although having said that, there were one or two players that did not make theirs.  If they want theirs, they are going to have to quest for them.

A shift in the wind brought with it the smell of heavy smoke.

Durgis Rock is burning.


More soon.
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vradna
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« Reply #15 on: October 16, 2006, 10:37:50 PM »

As an addendum:  I shall also upload the PDFs of each Covenant Item that the players have.
Time for a question:  Who can tell me were the 'Giver of Sleep' first appeared as as a weapon?
« Last Edit: October 16, 2006, 10:39:31 PM by vradna » Logged
vradna
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Gender: Male
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« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2006, 10:09:36 PM »

Just to ket you know that the Forces of Izrador work overtly against me Tongue  My ASDL connection is down (thankfully not my wireless modem-router Roll Eyes), Techies come by next week (Monday?) to repair the line.  Will have to take my work underground until this is fixed.  Expect more soon.  has anyone got an answer to the 'Giver of Sleep?'

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Nifelhein
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Whisper's Will


« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2006, 06:31:53 AM »

Not particularly, i don't recall reding that name before myself, really. Sucks abput your net connection and i hope you keep giving us mroe of this. Wink
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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.
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