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Author Topic: Southern Campaign - *SPOILERS* (my players stay out)  (Read 7909 times)
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Insurgent Commander

Spell Energy / Taint +2/-1
Gender: Male
Posts: 422

« on: October 20, 2006, 04:38:16 PM »

I've begun working on DMing TWO seperate Midnight campaigns.  They're in the same world/continuity but on different sides of the content of Eredane.  North and South - this is a thread to note my plans and ideas and ask for your thoughts...  Below is the idea for the first game session of the SOUTHERN campaign,  I will follow it with what actually happened and then continue noting my ideas for future campaigns.

This is a building idea thread,  any thoughts are appreciated.

The base idea to get the campaign rolling is there.  I havenot added in detail on:
-  much PC backgrounds
-  overall campaign mega-plot
-  regional and background MIDNIGHT politics/NPCs/monsters.

I'm hoping you folks might have some suggestions as I wrap my thoughts before the weekend.
Sorry it needs to be in
*** SPOILER *** text to start out just in case a player accidentally glances at this thread...

-  to introduce the players to some of the key cool things about Midnight, from concepts they've all heard to practice. 
-  to gather the group together in a not so forced way
-  to set some reoccuring NPCs  (good and bad)
-  to set up expectations on some GMing things I'll be doing in the campaign  (ie.  flashbacks,  parrellels,  imagery  and  the overlooming threat of the Shadow in the North)

I'm also using several NPCs that the PCs have developed for me, which I'll note below)
-  a recently turned Orc, fighter on the Seer heroic path
-  a Wood Elf, wildlander on the Naturefriend heroic path
-  an Erenland, defender on the Charismatic heroic path
-  an Erenland, Channeller on the Foundling heroic path
-  and one unknown/unmade PC possibly  (might be an Ur-Priest class)

We will open the game in MEDIA RES,  we also open the game in a  "SEER"  vision.  Players will begin in the vision,  which I can/will be unrelentingly harsh (with combat) in.  Part of the Orc's background is that he's had visions of seeing the events in the days before his old war band would kill innocents.  This will just be an extension of that.  At the end (with likely some of the PCs dead!  I'll let them know they have a second chance)  I usually don't like  "dream sequences"  but in this case I think it will payoff fine to illustrate that the world is harsh and they need to be cautious.  Basically allowing them to get in the flavor of Midnight,  and set a tone in their minds about how "tough" this encounter could be.  The trick I'll be doing is in this "vision encounter" the NPC bad guys are MUCH stronger than they are in reality.  This is basically the Orc PC's mind playing tricks on him...

[a jungled/wooded area just outside the southern village of Farodun (sp?)]
-  reminding people of an execution style "gallows"  set-up,  we have 2 men on their knees in chains bearing their necks and 2 men (the Erenland fighter, and the ??? PC) with Dwarven Urgosh Axes.  The two men are held by "Noosing Wands" to impede their movement but still allow their captors to have fun with them.

-  the two men are being forced to choose...  chop off the heads of the two people in front of them (the Erenland Channeller and an NPC friend to the Orc PC)  or  their captors will kill them, the two men in front of them  AND  the village will be burned.  This is one of those twisted psychological tests -  an example of the Shadow's evil and hope to prevert good men/women by forcing them to do evil to save themselves.
-  nearby their will be a small unruly crowd heckling from the village all yelling and spurring on the PCs to chop off the heads to save themselves and the village.
-  the captors will be an Orc Wildlander that is the brother of the Orc PC.  This older orc brother was always lower in skill than the PC but has since been appointed to the PC's old positon on a bigger regiment.  The regiment leader sent his brother out to find and bring back the traitor dead or alive.  His brother will grow in status and get his own revenge, which is his motivation.  His name is "Radagug the dog" (the PC made it up)  so I envisioned this orc who was lacking in skill and power going the route of a Wildlander -  basically a master of "dogs".  His "dogs" are a band of Goblins he commands and their riding Wargs!  This band is mostly a scout band that harrasses locals for fun,  and attachment to the bigger Orc regiment the PC used to be a part of.
-  they will also be "interogating" the prisoners about where to find the Orc PC  (only the NPC in chains knows of him yet)
-  The Orc and the Elf (PCs) watch the scene, as if they've tracked and sneaked up on the events as they unfold.  I will give them the details and allow them to ask questions to build the best tactical advantage.  I'll allow them to be on the ready as they like.  (the Orc and Elf players have built their friendship into their backgrounds, hence starting together)
-  Eventually it comes to a decision...  IF the heads roll  (literally)  the PC playing that, now dead, role will be given some Goblin NPCs to play while the scene continues.
-  The end result will be bloody and the town will be burned,  etc...  If the PCs are winning,  reinforcements (ie. the regiment of 100 orcs on Warhorses will arrive to ensure the deaths of the PCs that don't make a deal or escape.  I was also thinking of having the Goblins be riding actual GNOLLS,  that appear to be Wargs  (most PCs won't have seen either in-character yet so mixing them up is possible)  and  if things go bad the Gnolls will stand, fight,  and TALK!!

[the morning prior to the events of the vision, somewhere within a hard several hour run of the location above]
-  it's early morning (the twighlight time at dawn)  we open with the Elf stalking a deer  (secretly a carrion stag!)  with the Orc PC  flushing the stag toward the Elf, for him to shoot it to have food for the day.  This may result in a minor battle with the carrion stag.  The Orc PC is dazed when the carrion stag attacks  (basically going into vision mode, seeing the vision above!)
[somewhere near the village (from the vision) coming up on a small cottage in the beginning of the jungle/forest]
-  the Channeller PC has been seeking out an item of magic that he was told will lead to his destiny and those that share it.  This led him to the village where he has been guided by the Defender PC (and the ??? PC possibly, but this PC might also already be at the cottage)
-  the cottage is that of an NPC from the Orc PC's background.  A blind man that's had a friendship with the (now good) Orc in a Frankenstien-like way, not knowing it was an Orc 'cause he's blind.
-  the old man has the QUILL (mentioned in this post above)  that the Channeller PC is looking for.  It was given to him by one of Aradril's Eyes  (possibly a character from my previous campaign or a new eye I create)
-  the PCs will arrive at the old man's cottage for some roleplay
-  THIS is the point to cut back to the battle with the Elf and Orc  vs.  the Carrion Stag BUCK.  (I need to think of a "spell like effect"  that I can use as a guide to how/why the Orc is dazed -  anyone??)
-  Likely the Elf won't fair well against a tough Carrion Stag  but this is where the Orc PC will shine and come out of being dazed.
-  back to the roleplaying with the old man...  (need to think about his "speech" to the PCs about the shadow  and  how he SEES something in them even though he doesnot see anymore,  thoughts anyone???)
-  the PCs will have chance to hear the Goblins and Orc Bad Guy creeping up on the cottage.  They've tracked the Orc PC to this spot (he was here just a few days ago)  and  will be seeking information, and they'll kill for it.  This is where the Orc and Goblins attack the cottage and try to take the PCs and old man prisoner.  Hopefully I'll be able to steer it toward the vision conclusion but not railroading if the PCs do well,  likely the battle without the entire group will allow this.  If not, if the limited PCs win -  I'll have the Orc fall back and come at them again by burning them into a corner so to speak by firing the woods around the cottage  and/or  forcefully enlisting a band of lynch mob from the village  (or the village will die)
-  back to the end of the Carrion Stag battle -  the Orc PC will now have all the memory of the previous events  to  ask questions and tell his Elf friend.
-  assuming they rush to stop the beheadings it will take them a few hours at full speed  (need to look up constitution checks!)  to get there at the point of the vision above  (or a new event whatever happens)
-  at this point,  all the PCs will be together in the scenes as described above  (just less harsh opposition)  but the same horrible decision,  chop off the heads or the village dies!  Hopefully this time they'll be better planned to deal with it all,  then again they may do the right thing in the dream... 
[elsewhere...  ]
-  this is where I would like to introduce a reaccuring cut scene event of a regional legate or sussar or traitor prince  that  will be looking for the PCs eventually... This will either be tied to the overall plots  or  specifically with the fact this other band of Orcs are invading HIS territory!
-  any ideas???
-  back with the PCs at the end of the battle or fleeing...  I will have a FRIENDLY family from the village offer aid to the PCs to hide them.  Either the Orc/Goblin band are still chasing them  or  the local Legate is *coming*  or  the bigger Orc Regiment is coming.  Either way the PCs will be compelled to hide and hear talk of the Gnomish "underground railroad"  (does this have a name??).
-  the problem is that when the family leads the PCs into their cellar to hide them,  they quickly close and bar the PCs in!  The family is looking to protect it's own  and  will be holding them waiting for the bad guys to come...  to barter them for food and/or protection!!  This will really reinforce the idea of paranoia and trust!
-  there are two ways out of the caged pit...  1.  diplomacy, talking to the daughter/son of the family appealing to their humanity and asking the young teen to be a hero.  2. finding the hidden (forgotten) door that leads to the caverns below!   3.  there's also the thrid option of waiting for the bad guys to show up.
-  either way they choose this will lead them to the CITY of Alvedara!  Either by  1. the underground railroad the teen helped them escape into.  2.  the caverns lead to the sewers.  3.  the bad guys take them in cages to Alvedara.

And THAT is all I've got so far...

Here's my notes on things I need to prepare to have ready...

-  rules on chaining/trapping PCs,  including the Noose Wand and the cage
-  Goblin NPC stats
-  Warg  and/or  Gnoll NPC stats
-  the Orc Wildlander NPC Stats
-  several good "townies" to NPC,  and the "betrayer" family  (need a cool name for them!)
-  a good leadin story to come from the Quill  (seemingly from the North Party)

-  Messiah (hatchling, the first dragon born in 1000 years)  has been captured by the Orc Regiment and is being tortured in cock-fighing pits in the Alvedara slums.
-  Jahzir,  in the coming arcs will be moving toward his pilgrimage to Erenhead to choose a War Chief.  This will spark lots of Orc vs. Orc politics.
-  One goal is to make Alvedara so harsh on the PCs the only place to run is Cambrial, the city of the dead.  Possibly come up with a Night King vs. Night King plot,  that the PCs learn something from Jahzir's court that they can go to the Sorceror in Cambrial to bargain with!
-  I may have my "Aradril's Eye"  the Dwarf called NODIN come back somehow.  Likely when the PCs go north I'll have them go into "Worgren's Moor"  where Nodin made his last stand.  Encountering the battle in the form of a forever going ghost battle  (dangerous!)

that's just a rough and it's not really engrossed so much in the Midnight setting yet or my overall campaign plan,  which I'm still thinking on.  But it is an opening into the world,  it does set them on the areas I'd like to game in/around,  and starts some reoccuring NPCs (possibily if they don't die)

I'd love for folks to shoot holes and give me interesting twists and additons.
I'll likely post me NORTHERN campaign start up here this time next week.  And a short recap of these events.

anyone have any thoughts??

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Insurgent Commander

Spell Energy / Taint +2/-1
Gender: Male
Posts: 422

« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2006, 04:39:23 PM »

here's a recap of the events of the game I planned above...

In this story arc we meet the main characters of the Midnight Chronicles of the Southern region.

chapter # 1:1  --  "Tomorrow's Allies" , October 14, 2006.
The sun loomed over the southern land like a vulture circling rotting meat. Our story begins amid the damp gloom of the sparsely wooded region only a few days from the Aruun Jungles of the lower Erethor. Kyuad's face slaps against the rot of a tree stump set just below a small ridge, his head resting beside the Sarcosan war hero ShadowWall. The Erenland sage and the elder captive had been routed off the land by a roudy Goblin scout squad. Not more than a stride away a fellow Erenlander called Thorton felt his muscles stress as he was hoisted to his feet. Both men clasp in iron manacles seemingly prone to the shadow's maw. With a putrid belch the Orc called Radagug the Dog spewed commands to the young defender in a tongue barely understood by either men. Jerking Thorton about the noose fell around his neck and quickly tightened - the Dog stepped back the full distance this man-catcher noose would allow at his goblin horde cackled with glee.
            The sickly Orc blasted motioning for Thorton to catch the Dwarven Urgosh he was about to throw...
            It seemed this hellish band delighted in torturing their victims by forcing one to sever the other's head! The twisted cadre amid the Goblin Dogs bound one over the other to watch ripping and tearing skin and cloth from the neck of poor Kyuad. The disgusting mounts best described as rat-things seemed to be coralling their goblin masters as the mob grew with anticipation. While the other mounts, two malnutritioned wolves and Radagug's own worg, seemed bored by the entertainment.

            But the Erenlanders would not be alone this day. Downwind spying from beyond the tree cover the spry Elf Eranon watched with the most unusual of companions - an Orc called Durgaz. Durgaz knew this land, he had just been here less than a week ago visiting with the old Sarcosan rider hereabouts... Only moments from seeing heads roll, one way or another, Durgaz stepped from the trees. Durgaz also knew this Orc, the Dog was his elder brother!!

            It hadn't been long that Durgaz had broken from his tribe. If Orc family names could be descraced this would have surely done so, but as one brother turned from the Shadow to have the light wash over his face the other stepped into his footfalls hoping to prove that even thoguh he had been the runt of their family, he would not be the black sheep. The challenge was issued and Radagug accepted as only a slimy Orc would, he barked orders to the Goblin Dogs to KILL THE TRAITOR - so much for honor! Meanwhile beyond in the trees Erenon showered arrows down on the rat-things as both Thorton and Kyuad looked to free themselves while the distraction was made. The men did not know these fey coming to their aid, but they needed no invitation to escape. Several theatres of combat opened as most of the Goblin Dogs, numbering some 20+, threw themselves at the Orc Hero as he again belowed to challenge his brother. Rat-things encroached on the elf, surprising him as they climbed the tree - they began to speak!! The mounts these goblins road could only be the twisted form of Dire Rats, and they seemed to be craving the sweet meats of elf flesh regardless of the Dire Beast truce with the Witch Queen. The battles would end as Durgaz sliced his elder brother nearly in half. But rather than run, the orc commander's goblin horde and their animals crowded around Durgaz as if mezmerized... And from where Radagug's corspe fell a monster arose cradling a child amid his entrails that buldged from his wound!

            But this would not be... As Durgaz's eyes blurred, coming back to focus on a dead child at his feet! This battle was not a battle at all! These visions had flooded the Orc turncoat's mind for monthes before he finally took action to emerge from shadow. And it would be the pool of viscus in the cavity of the little dead girl's chest that would take him into tomorrow's events... Sniffing the air and hearing the crackle of twigs he slowly remembered his place. It was the dawn, the fading hour, the time when the shadow is weakest for a full half hour Aryth could rest. And as the morning fog faded from the Orc's mind he remembered... The elf, Erenon, he is in grave danger!!

            A day's journey away two Erenlanders found their prize. Thorton had led Kyuad to this place, he knew the grove the children called "Shadow Wall". It was a place they were warned against going, a place where shadow could not go. But it was also a place feared by those in the hamlet of Festrun. The grove of elven trees was only 10-12 miles from Festrun, but no one ventured there in fear that shadow patrols would learn they had gone in. Thorton had just made his home in Festrun in recent years, so while he knew of the bedtime warnings he had no fear they were real - and less than 30 yards they stood from the center of the Shadow Wall. As Thorton pointed the way for Kyuad a voice echoed from within. It was a strong voice, but hollowed with age.
            "Come now SIRE, you and those opposed to the enemy in the north may enter. And you Master Kyuad step forth and be FOUND. You are both welcome in my home. The shadow cannot enter in this place."
            And as the door krept open the two young rebels made their way. Across the cottage filled with objects of beauty and danger sat Walden Mikhail, once called SIR MIKHAIL FRIEND TO ARADRIL, A WALL TO SHADOW (aka. Shadow Wall). Kyuad sought out this man who would have a gift for him, an item found long ago and destined for Kyuad's hand... It was Caffel who directed Kyuad to the Shadow Wall and it would seem her abilities proved correct.
            Now blind, Walden explained to the two men his tale of woe. How the enemy had torn out his eyes at the fall of the last great war 99 years before. How his new battle would be to seclude himself to wait for Aradril's rally call. He told them of the fall of the battle and of his lost love, who broke her promise to Aradril and didnot join the battle so long ago - breaking the back of the resistance. He spoke of his gift to see the paths, the souls of men and fey - he saw these two were emerging from the dark. This is Aradril's call. And as the men talked over whipser-leaf tea Walden would raise his head to see beyond the walls of the Shadow Wall cottage... The enemy approached. They could not enter here, but the shadow has ways to extract their prey and with the wood around them burning smoke drove the rebels into the maw of Shadow and the shackles that would take them to Gallow Valley where Thorton would be given the choice as prophecied in a vision the day prior...

            As Erenon took aim at this morning's meal, the buck deer rushed beneath him. The tree the elf had taken cover in was strong but not strong enough to quake from the large stag's rut as it felt the pain of arrows rushing into it's tough hide. Racing to help his new ally Durgaz saw the elf fall, landing just on the otherside of the deer. And as he ran Durgaz yelled
            Smashing the orc vardatch into the hind quarter of the huge buck, the hammering cut did little but to enrage the fanged deer! When it finally fell no less than 6 arrows and 4 hacking rips scarred the Carrion Stag but it didnot fall alone. Durgaz found that he could barely hold his footing with the stag's antler rack still driven through his armor, protruding from his lower back! That would not deter the orc though. The carcass lay behind them as he argued the explanation to Eranon why they
            "MUST GO NOW"...
            Durgaz's vision was distined to happen less than 24 hours away, and if they could not get there three lights amid the darkness would be doused - Kyuad, Walden and Thorton would DIE!!

            The two unlikely allies pushed themselves to the limits rushing to the clearing nearby Walden's cottage. Gallow's Valley took it's nickname from the locals who would gather to watch the enemy punish lawbreakers. It was a minor entertainment recently created by entrepreneurs of the hamlet of Festrun that would draw several from the larger cities nearby. Today three men would be put in the gallow of their own torture. And a small audience of locals watched from the clifface above as the orc called Radagug the Dog barked his order for Thorton to chop the necks of his fellow lawbreakers!

            But yesterday's vision would not play in exactly the same manner. Durgaz's vision pushed him to arrive at the site of the gallows some three hours prior to Radagug's entourage would arrive! Still wounded from the Carrion Stag earlier that morning the orc and elf set their trap. And it would be sprung! But not fully as intended. While Durgaz's vision seemed to exagerate Radagug's number of Goblin Dog forces, he also over estimated his brother's intimidation factor. Radagug would NOT rush to one-on-one battle quite so quickly as he did in the dream... Eranon from the trees let loose the log trap, that would swing decimating nearly half the Goblin Dogs!
            The goblin captain and keymaster Forc would also prove to take a different path, as the other goblins rallied around Radagug to battle Forc slobbered over the men on the tree stump, for he knew the secondary forces that Radagug had in tow. When the battle began to fail the elder orc brother he barked another order and from beyond the few rat-thing mounts the hyena-like wolves that made up the second half of the mounts his Goblin Dogs road shed their saddles and stood up fully errect!! Unsure if the rat-things were the Dire Rats of Durgaz's vision, Erenon KNEW these beasts - they were a more savagely bred version of the humanoid shadow agents called Gnolls. These Gnolls had mascaraded as wolfling mounts - THIS is the true reason Radagug would be called "the Dog"!

            As the battle wore on the turning point would be Kyuad and Walden's escape, pinning Radagug to the Gallow Stump with daggers hidden by Eranon the heroes turned the tide against the Goblin mass as Durgaz chopped his way toward his brother. Walden's age betrayed him and all saw him fall to the horde as Radagug sounded the retreat! By the end of the day Eranon stood above a fallen Gnoll nursing a malnorished wolf mount saved from the Goblin retreat, Kyuad used his arcane abilities to free himself and nearly fell Radagug, Thorton had his chance to severe the head of the elder orc but almost as if by fate was unable to wield the Dwarven Urgosh in his defender hands, and Drugaz disappeared over the ridge rushing on the trail of Radagug's Dogs as they fled to the NorthWest.

            Taking control of the clearing the three heroes saw their audience had long since disappeared, and concerned for the Orc hero and their own safety chose to make their way back to the smoke filled cottage of Shadow Wall. This would be their place of rest for the nightfall.
            Hopefully it would be a safe haven for a short time until Durgaz returned from his hunt. And if hope be with him he would return with Walden, the Shadow Wall himself...

            But that's another tale to be told...

Spell Energy / Taint +22/-0
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,118

Whisper's Will

« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2006, 06:21:34 AM »

grat session it seems, i see you liked some of my suggestions as wel, glad to have been of help, so fr it seems the group is learning to enter the mood and following the pace you put into the game which is a great thing, specially because it has had a lot of information in a  single sessions for the to digest.

So how are plans for next sessions? Wink

"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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