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Author Topic: Midnight: Dawn - a gleam of hope  (Read 18289 times)
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ayeela
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« Reply #25 on: November 02, 2006, 03:53:03 AM »

You're absolutely right.

And no, my Night Kings will never be statted out. I don't think, something like that would do them any justice. They are far too powerful. I know that even gods in D&D are assigned stats, but I don't believe in such an approach. It would be useless anyway, as in my eyes, a Night King can only be beaten through his secret.

Maybe gaining the secret will even take longer, than originally planned. At the moment I am still fiddling with the magic system and I have to assign the correct secret to the first Night King.
I am planning to create hints to this, even ealier in the adventure.

It must be assured though, that the secret is:
- nothing trivial
- nothing achieved too easily
- nothing the Witch Queen would know or deem important

The last will be very hard, given the relationship these two had, bevore Ardherin fell. Maybe the correct hint can even from one of the dark side himself. As it shows, the "darkness", even fights among itself and struggles a lot. Not openly... but I guess the Night Kings do have many enemies in their own ranks...
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Ghola
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« Reply #26 on: November 02, 2006, 09:25:41 AM »

How about this?  It fits the first two criteria and might be made to fit the third.

The demon Vard knows the ritual which bound Ardherin to Izrador, having "taught" it to Ardherin himself.  Maybe undoing that spell will undo the sorcerer entirely; he is now totally a creature of Shadow and dependent on Izrador's power to exist.

This would require tracking down a demon who really does not want to be found – however Ardherin's enemies might be williing to let a few hints about his location slip....
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"New heroes will arise, driven by fate, to lead the world out of darkness and herald the coming of a new dawn." -  Aran Noros of the Sahi Priesthood, Commentaries on Vesra’s “Prophecies of the Last Age”
smeagol
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« Reply #27 on: November 02, 2006, 12:15:44 PM »

Ghola,

The answer is in Legends of Shadow... Vard is somehow permanently linked to the Sorcerer of Shadow Wink

Personally, I'd have a Darth-Vader-like weakness for him.

Either his love for Aradil was not completely obliterated when he became a Night King. The quest would involve waking up this hidden side of his personality, but the toughest part would be to convince Aradil of the reality of his feelings... Dark romantic fantasy, anyone?  mrgreen (you're entitled to find the idea ridiculous).

What if Aradil and Ardherin secretly had a child, who suffered some terrible fate? once freed, he would be the only person to undo Izrador's ritual and bring back Ardherin's "humanity" (yes, that sounds awfully like Return of the Jedi  Grin)
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"Il n'est pas besoin d'espérer pour entreprendre ni de réussir pour persévérer" - Devise de la famille d'Orange
ayeela
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« Reply #28 on: November 03, 2006, 03:24:22 AM »

I do like both ideas, the second is even more stylish than the first, but seems a bit too straightforward for me.
For me.... but maybe not for my players, who know little about the background and sure do not know about Aradils and Ardherin's relationship before he became a Night King. So this might actually work better for them than for me.

The problem here is Aradil itself - she know about this idea (and I don't like that) and she might have endured too much to still remember the love. It would not really be in the hands of the players, if this storyarch can succeed.
It does have an intresting twist, though: What, if he cannot remember his love really.... but she can. What if this would lead to an epic battle and end both of their lives?

What would happen then? Without the Witch Queen's protection, can the elves survive? I think they would attack their enemies at that point and might achieve a win, too, but they'd need help, to keep parts of the dark forces distracted.

Hmmm... maybe I do not like this idea THAT BAD after all...

I would not want to use a child, who can somehow undo the wrong, that's a bit too much "Schmalz" for me, even though I really like that stuff. it is indeed somewhat Jedi-like though.

The other idea... well... Even if Vard would be permanently bound to Ardherin, he could still have his own plans. Ofcourse he would hide them - finding Card could be a chellinging task, even more so, if the players do not want to alert his master. I like the thought about other followers of the Shadow to drop some hints here. I think this would work techically even a bit better, than the first idea, because the fate lies actually in the hands of the players.

So, two good ideas, one the the better story moments, the other with more emphasis on the players. Thanks a lot already Smiley
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Ghola
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« Reply #29 on: November 03, 2006, 10:30:56 AM »

I think smeagol's idea would make for a more compelling tale, but would be a lot trickier to arrange.  Ardherin has not only turned his back on his lover but he now despises elves (including himself) as much as any orc does.  The text also says he serves Izrador willingly, probably due to the lure of power.  Using this with Ardherin as written seems a tall order.

I'm personally stumped on how to work with that but if a way could be found I think it would be a great story.
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Bleak Knight
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« Reply #30 on: November 03, 2006, 12:53:40 PM »

Change his personality to suit your story, man.

When canon hurts your tales, do away with it.
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Ghola
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« Reply #31 on: November 03, 2006, 01:19:32 PM »

I consider working within canon to be a mini-game of sorts, seeing how far I can stretch something or if I can take something in a new direction without altering the overall picture too much.  I also prefer to do it that way when I otherwise like the canon as I do with Midnight. 

Of course in the case of defeating the apparently invulnerable Night Kings some creative editing may be in order here.
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Deth3327
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« Reply #32 on: November 03, 2006, 01:36:26 PM »

My idea's for Midnight are as follows.  The night kings although now statted (Legends is a good book if only for their entire backgrounds) they are not beatable by any of the heroes in the world.  The witch Queen is too self involved and timid to take on one of them even though she could win.  So how can the good guys win?  Evil as always is a tempremental thing, evil is just as easily an enemy of evil as it is of good.  My campaign revolves loosely around the characters taking part in critical events across Eredane that bring about the war of the Night Kings.  Sunulael hates Ardherrin and sees Jahzir as an imbecile.  Zardrix is the only one he considers a real threat.  Sunulael with enough provoking could easily go to war with Ardherrin.  Zardrix will always be loyal to Izrador, but if drawn away from the north the dark lords hold on her would begin to dwindle and Either Xirxci or Aradil may be able to wrest control from Izrador. 

Its hard to put this all down here right now as I do not have my notes and I am typing while looking over my shoulder at work, but thats the jist of it.  Good does not need to defeat evil...evil can do it all on its lonesome. 
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #33 on: November 05, 2006, 07:49:48 AM »

Okay, first we have to dissecate the night king's reasons, desires and tastes, in the case of Ardherin he was taken to the dark side of the force TM due to a lust for power, one the demon known as Vard enticed and fed until he was already into the dark. So first reason to be on thedark is power, he has it already, he wants more. He would be a very egoistical and greedy person.

I am always in favor of having the past of the figure be the key to its own future in this kind of thing,, mainly because the kind of man he was tells us a bit of what he can still be, and through that, an entry to a brighter future. in Ardherin's case it is love, it is not so simple a thing, for he is rumored dead, a hero to the elves, only the witch queen knows the truth, or very few others do too. So uncovering the truth would mean a lot of work, a closely guarded secret of the elven leaders kept that way to avoid the loss of hope.

But then, the characters may uncover a thing or two, they will surely try to follow the he was an elf lead, this could take them to libraries and the Veradeen, somewhere in there they can stumble upon knowledge of a ghostly and terrifying place, known as the sorcerer's demise (hope I have the spelling right here), it is the palce where that one elf fought in the past to avoid his dark present, a place filled with darkness from the blood of demons and lost hope from a soul now deeply tainted. This idea is not really mine, someone posted it ont eh old baords and i can't recall who that was.

So they get a where, through that they may get more leads, going from one palce to another, following demonic graves (the ones made by Ardhering himself) and visiting the demon slayer's school in the aruun, where they don't accept anyone that is not a danisil ever since that one elf fell.

Through roleplaying and thinking they will find who the sorcerer of shadow was, they may then have a chance to talk to those who know the truth, to see how despair would fall upon the elve if they knew the truth, I would even have the characters have contacted with praises, ceremionies and even expressions dedicated to lost heroes, and of course I would not have Ardherin with thsi name when he was with the elves. Wink

They can then try to reach the elf in the dark soul Ardherin is now, this alone could lead to something, either TPK, capture, whatever, they would have to reach into his fortress, Bandilrin, in there they are ont heir own, perhaps they can get a glimpse of love from him, a smile when confronted with good memories, and a rage afterwards.

Ardherin would most certainly tinker with them, and even try to get whatever he can out of them if he thinks they can give him more power, perhaps getting a power he does not have himself is part of the preceeding plot, and then the PCs have a chance close to that Vard had, but he is still around, dealing with him might be made into the plot too, so they would end up having to learn the secret, find something that would help keep them alive while within Ardherin's grasp, deal with Vard and roleplay well enough. You can make it all the more complex if they need to find his plans to discover what they may use to lure him to them, you can also make it so that all memory of him is now fragmented, like not only his soul, but his very existence was tainted, so no NPC would recall much about him, and the Witch Queen is so aline to the world that she is not even a liability, much more she may believe him to be far beyond any chance of redemption.

If you add Jahzir and Sunulael into the mix he becomes very very vulnerable ina  single moment in time, meaning they may actually end up "striking the final blow", whcih I would consider to be a suicide, one filled with tears, sorrow, hope and love. Considering I thought of a lot fo the strings now, i can see this becoming much more complex once one really puts thought into it, the sibling could work well, perhaps Ardherin took him and could not kill him, instead giving him to the elves in the north, or rather, abandoning him, fining that child wouldn't be easy but could prove an asset in this tale, specially because it proves that even in the darkest moments he still ahs love in there somewhere.

Just some more thoughts into the pot. Wink
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Deth3327
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« Reply #34 on: November 05, 2006, 04:42:24 PM »

Good stuff Nif...I am not sure exactly what my PC's are planning on doing with some of the info they have gathered at this point, but they have managed to learn quite a lot.  I have only presented the opportunities and they have done well with what I have given.  So far they have pieced together Ardherrins story from info they gathered from the Danisil, a trapped demon they subdued that fought in a battle against Ardherrin, a meeting with a lonely psychotic pit fiend lord, and a trapped angel.  They also stumbled upon the knowledge of Sunulael's massive army of undead by running across a slave train bound for Cambrial and doing some digging in the Aruun near the Spire with the help of the Danisil.  Now they are bound for Zorgetch to free a captured friend...a fellow resistance fighter.  I plan on having them run into another member of the white mother tribe on the way.  They know they have absolutely no chance at breaking their friend out, but last we talked they still plan on trying.  They usually do not dissapoint when it comes to plans so I am looking forward to what they have in mind. 
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #35 on: November 05, 2006, 07:54:32 PM »

Thanks Deth, this was thought of as I was typing, so you can see how much potential it has. I like how you say they roleplay their way through challenges, another thing I have agaisnt 3.X, sigh, but it seems you are makign them go through the high intrigues, a nice thing, and one that surely help players 9and not only characters) see that the shadow has a lot of in fighting and troubles among his followers.
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ayeela
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« Reply #36 on: November 06, 2006, 05:33:52 AM »

A great story, indeed, but not so fitting for the players because the key elements are not in their hands.
And this can be very frustrating. So it's more the "technical" aspect of this way, that would make me steer clear of this. In the end, it might be quite simple - If Aradil could be convinced to show her affection to Ardherin one last time it might easily lead to her destruction.

But this might fuel, boost Ardherin's self-hatred so much, he'd do anythign to destroy the elves, but he'll destroy himself before that.

Well, well, that's the way I'd want to go, too. The force of shadow seems to be very corrupting. It twists the mind and the body. How much twisting can a body and mind take?

I'd search for a weakness in the magic, that twisted him originally - maybe with Vard's help - and more forbidden knowledge for the players. Maybe I should create a rule, to let corruption of the body and mind affect the PCs. They must achieve dark knowledge... of the mirrors, of the Night Kings, of Izrador itself, but every bit of knowledge they achieve, also corrupts them and drives them themselves closer into the arms of the shadow.

Hmm... but then this path might end up too dangerous and it's hard to find players who can walk that line. Hmmm... and I'll have to create rules. Naaah..... that'll probably be too complicated.
And I'll agauin have to fiddle with the system. But the concept is quite interesting.

I don't know if any of you ever played "roguelikes" - games that could be called the origin of something like Diablo. Roguelikes create random dungeons and encoutners and are basically hack-and-slay RPGs on the computer. One of them, ADOM, had a small world or land, that was in the claws of terror - the power of chaos. You needed to fight the chaos god to win.
The longer you took in the game, the worse it was, because the character slowly got corrupted. He mutated and too much mutations would in the end kill the character.
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #37 on: November 06, 2006, 08:53:22 AM »

ayeela,

The key elements are not in the hands of the players but left to their own working they would never change the way things are, this is the key, they have to use the tools they can get and resources they manage to get from the many people and places around them to make things go in a certain direction.

it surely is not like owning a key to a door or being the children of that union yourself, but it requires a good amount of roleplaying and makes things not go around the characters, but that is not a nececssary thing, since they will be the ones to change the world with what is not their own.

As to making Aradil show affection to Ardherin, care to think that he would not dare go to Caradul and the witch queen never leaves it, Ardherin is but a shadow of his former self and unless they both can be put in touych again it won't change a thing, not an easy task at all, and eprfectly fitting with what i spoke earlier too.

I don't think Ardherin's undoing can be achieved through magic and knowldege alone, his current state is not the works or Vard alone, bu the works of Izrador himself, direct divine magic at work, but it can be undone by Arhderin himself, if he is tricked to it, or if he willingly does that. I think taint or corruption can be a mechanic to use true, but then, wouldnt you think it can only bend a soul so far? That is where his actual weaknesses are, in his still mortal spots, inside his own mind, for his body, ti is but a vessel to his own twsited and corrupt mind.

As i said, my take is but one possible that allows the players to interfere in the world but still makes it quite believable and hard to do, I started with a small analysis of Ardherin to get there, by doing that you may find a more suitable plot for your game and players. Wink
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