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RPG Superstar 2015

The Spires of Ravenloft (Inactive)

Game Master Sean, Minister of KtSP

A Ravenloft mini-campaign, just in time for Halloween!


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Okay folks. I'll need to give everyone's characters a final pass before we start, but as I said in the recruitment thread, I have to finish a piece I'm writing for my writer's group meeting tomorrow, so I probably won't be able to give final approval until tomorrow night (I know, I know, we're all itching to get started... I know I sure am!).

That being said, I'm sure you guys will all have questions, some you may have even asked but I haven't answered yet. If so, please ask me again (or for the first time!), and I will do my best to answer them as I can while I'm buried in writing.

Also, we'll begin crafting a bit of why you're all together, and what's going on with the group when the adventure starts.

I should be able to have the first play post up tomorrow night (though probably pretty late).

Glad to have you all aboard!


Human Witch 2 || HP 14/14 || AC 12 Touch 12, FF 10 || Fort +1, Ref +2, W +3 || Init +2, Per +6

Thanks for the selection!

I'll go ahead and update my character's spells and finalize the gear. I'll wait to tweak the background until I see what you (or we) have in mind for the party backstory.

Thanks again!


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Thanks for the selection Sean and no worries about how busy you'll be in coming days. The main thing I want to do with Dourmahr in addition to the mechanical pass you're taking is to make sure I build some more continuity in his story to the start of the adventure. So basically need to work on how we met, what we've done together and which corner of Ustalav we're starting in and why. If your preference is for us to have been together for a while, we can probably work together on the first two and just need your help on the latter two.


Human Witch 2 || HP 14/14 || AC 12 Touch 12, FF 10 || Fort +1, Ref +2, W +3 || Init +2, Per +6

Since we've been adventuring together for a while, it wouldn't be too metagame-y for us to discuss the various roles we will play in the party, would it? I'm trying to flesh out my gear, and I'm not sure how I can best assist the party.

Are you ok with that, GM?


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

Hello all, glad to be aboard. :)

Just need to check over my gear again then I should be ready to go. Is it safe to assume we will be facing a good bit of ability draining undead? Also, should we go ahead and buy mounts or will we mostly be inside somewhere?


Male Human Gunslinger 4/Champion 1 | HP 48/48 GRIT 0/2 MYTHIC POWER 3/5| AC 18, T 14, FF 14 CMD 17 | F +4, R +7, W +3 | Per +8 | Init +6

This is going to be an interesting party, I think.
Also, this is my first play-by-post campaign, so I am excited.


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Grats Jeremiah, PbP is a lot of fun. Definitely a different experience than tabletop because of the pace. Much easier to get deep in character.

Hopefully role discussion is cool so I'll throw in some thoughts on Dourmahr. If you'd prefer we don't Sean, I'll stop on your say-so.

I'll start by saying that he is not your typical optimal bard, but hopefully he'll be interesting and still effective.

Out of combat, he should be a strong "face" character for people that aren't freaked out by strange-looking gnomes. Good Diplomacy, good knowledge skills, a few languages though I don't know how common they will be in this setting. Not built to be the intimidator, but can help. He can demoralize with Perform though. He also will liberally use his cantrips and silent image when trickery is required. I'm open to bumping ranks around some more if we need it, but was thinking on pushing Diplomacy, Knowledge (Religion) (which he gets extra bonuses to as a dirge bard) and Use Magic Device the hardest.

In combat, I'm looking at Dourmahr being a buffing/debuffing bard. For those not familiar with the dirge bard, it means he can affect undead with mind-affecting magic - both intelligent and unintelligent undead. Additionally, he has the fey bloodline (via Eldritch Heritage) so he is going to be strong in compulsion magic in particular - suggestion, oppressive boredom, pugwampi's grace, hideous laughter are his go to spells in combat. Yes, that still bumps into strong Will saves for undead - we'll see how that goes. Saving the bonus necromancy spell for a 3rd level spell where there are some better options. I really wanted to squeeze Spell Focus into the build, but went with Weapon Finesse so he can get off some touch attacks and isn't entirely a one-trick pony. Right now he has no weapons, but I will probably add a knife just so he can threaten if it is ever needed.

If forced into a melee situation or out of logical spell options, he'll use laughing touch to try to slow enemies down for the rest of you - knocks out their standard action for one round. Direct ranged or melee combat is a last resort for him.

On the buffing side of things, dirge bard still has inspire courage, so you can expect liberal use of that with him beating on his little drums. He also has an ability to speed your movement up (triple time - +10 feet). If he survives, I will likely grab some more buffing spells as things go on.


Male Human Gunslinger 4/Champion 1 | HP 48/48 GRIT 0/2 MYTHIC POWER 3/5| AC 18, T 14, FF 14 CMD 17 | F +4, R +7, W +3 | Per +8 | Init +6

I'm obviously going to be running a ranged combatant. There are some grit feats I'll be looking into, particularly one that keeps him from provoking while firing or reloading. I'm going to be keeping him pretty balanced with his weapons and once he gets enough gold he will probably be getting a rifle for greater range.

I may go into vital strike to make his sniping all that more devastating but there are some interesting Deeds that do a similar thing, so I may do that instead. He's got an kukri and weapon finesse so he won't be entirely useless when he runs out of bullets. I'll be looking into getting an agile weapon as soon as I can to up his melee damage and not need to waste bullets. If his AC ever becomes a problem I may just focus on getting a fancy buckler instead.

I've got him set up to go into Shieldmarshal if I feel like the party would benefit from those abilities but they are mostly focussed on him being in an urban setting so I might not.

He has a good wisdom and I'm putting ranks into perception and sense motive. He won't be as effective as, say, an inquisitor but he will have a decent idea of what's going on around him.


Checking in. I need to get Red up and finalized tonight, but looking forward to this one. I've had her in mind for some time now. Will brain storm on how we ended up together today.


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

I'm guessing I'll be the face for any superstitious Ustalavs who are freaked out by strange-looking gnomes then. :) I'll also be keeping max ranks in knowledge religion.

My main role will be trying to undo whatever damage gets done to the rest of you.

Still tweaking my equipment list a bit and I think I'd like to switch out a trait for Superstitious Ward (Ustalav).


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

As for coming together, Dourmahr is a native of Ustalav, Vieland specifically. So, either he has left and spent some time with the rest of you, or perhaps we have all been spending some time in Ustalav together.

Vieland is up in the northwest near the Hold of Belkzen and his youth was spent amidst the hills and vales of the Ustalav side of the Tusk Mountains.

Without bogging things down too much, suffice to say that he eventually made his way to Lepidstadt University (also in the same corner of Ustalav) and from there out into the rest of the country and/or world depending on our prior adventures and misadventures.

Calvin looks like a possible Caliphas connection. That city seems very fitting for your character. Cannot remember for sure if there are pirates in Lake Encarthan (it is big enough to seem likely), but that might be a closer alternate for you if you would prefer not to be a globe-trotting sort. Haven't gone through enough of the other backgrounds yet to start making other suggestions.


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Just had a chance to read Lyra's background. Not sure if you're from Ustalav, but that would fit well with something happening near the Shudderwood, which would make both of us from the same neck of the woods. Possibly acquaintances from Lepidstadt if your family had sent to a temple nearby.

Dourmahr would have been very interested in Pharasma so that would be a natural way for him to have met you. Of course, not all of his interests are fully compatible with the teachings of the church (which just sees undeath as an abomination rather than something interesting or unusual) so there could be an interesting dynamic there over time.


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Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Barovia must be Ravenloft related since I don't recall it in Ustalav, so I'm not sure how to work Jeremiah in yet unless you want to have been adventuring with us in Ustalav and then received the missive from your old friend (which draws all of us in). If we go that route, we really could have met you anywhere in the country and it just becomes an idea for a specific adventure that brought us together in the first place.


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Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

Yes, Lyra is a native from Ustalav and a temple in Lepidstadt would work fine for her background. I'm sure we can have a great many interesting religious discussion and well as a few arguments. :)


I left Red's history a little murky so that we could mesh a bit easier.
It looks like she can be far ranging enough to be from just about anywhere in Utalav.


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

I was debating taking the scribe scroll feat, but was wondering if we will actually have much time to craft anything?


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

I'm afraid that even though I am a long, long time player and GM, Ravenloft has eluded me all these years, so Sean will have to fill you in on that question. I suppose it might help you a bit with stretching your budget at the start.


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

I did splurge on a couple things that seemed potentially useful. Been redoing my equipment list a bit. My most costly item so far is a wand of lesser restoration. Though my husband just pointed out to me that Paladins can cast that spell as a 1st level spell. So I'd like to take a paladin made wand of lesser restoration for 750 gp instead. If that's ok, that'd be great and I'll redo my list yet again. :)


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Male Human Gunslinger 4/Champion 1 | HP 48/48 GRIT 0/2 MYTHIC POWER 3/5| AC 18, T 14, FF 14 CMD 17 | F +4, R +7, W +3 | Per +8 | Init +6

Mostly he's been making his rounds around the major population centers of Ustalav, following up a bunch of dead-ends and getting frustrated. The Barovia lead is supposed to be one of many he is working through. Initial arrival was likely through Caliphas by boat but he's been in Ustalav for a while now.

His hunt for the NPC was mostly just a hook to get him into the main quest line. I left it murky to allow it to be manipulated or dismissed at whim by the DM. It is very likely he has been getting into trouble while in Ustalav since he still needs to eat and is afflicted with that horrible obsessive compulsive disorder known as being an "Adventurer."

It is entirely possible he has run into you guys through various means. Easiest right now would likely be meeting Lyra since she is a Cleric of Pharasma and there are certain hazards to being an adventurer in Ustalav. Jeremiah does pay reverence to Pharasma so a Pharasman temple would likely be one of his first stops if he was injured.


Human Witch 2 || HP 14/14 || AC 12 Touch 12, FF 10 || Fort +1, Ref +2, W +3 || Init +2, Per +6

If there aren't pirates, he could have simply been the son of a merchant seaman - the piratey stuff was just for a Skulls & Shackles AP. I know nothing about Ravenloft, so I leave this up to my fellow squaddies for guidance.

In combat Calvin's role is a serious debuffer - through a combination of Evil Eye, Misfortune and Cackle, he will focus his attention on one (for now) enemy and lock him or her down, making them completely ineffective in combat. Additionally, he can provide some very minor healing support through his current spell selection.

Out of combat, he is a quirky, off-putting doctor of sorts. He has a strong heal and carpentry skill, so if anybody needs a limb lopped off, he's here to help. Additionally, he'll be focusing on getting the Knowledge:Arcana and :Nature skills maxed out.


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Female Halfling 5 Cavalier

Cool thing about Ravenloft was that anyone could be drawn into it.In the 2nd Ed. game characters from any of TSRs game worlds could find themselves in the grip of the mist. So really it was pretty open to character story if I remember correctly.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

Dotting for now. I'll post a full response in a couple hours. Looks like a great group. :)


Female Halfling 5 Cavalier

HP for Red

1d10 ⇒ 10
1d10 ⇒ 6
1d10 ⇒ 10
1d10 ⇒ 3

HP for Jack {Wolf}
1d8 ⇒ 6
1d8 ⇒ 8
1d8 ⇒ 4
1d8 ⇒ 7


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Well, if everyone else is going to roll for hp... :)
1d8 ⇒ 6
1d8 ⇒ 8
1d8 ⇒ 6
1d8 ⇒ 7

The presence of a witch with Dourmahr is interesting. Are both evil eye and misfortune effective against most foes or are some of them ineffective versus foes immune to mind-affecting? We should be able to get to knockout spells a little quicker by working together.

So, continuing to roll with the already know each other angle there is a strong Pharasma tie with Sir Ravencourt and Lyra that we could easily work with. That would pull Dourmahr, Lyra and Sir Ravencourt together for some of those undead hunting adventures from Sir Ravencourt's background. We could easily be joined along the way by Jeremiah and Calvin, perhaps by way of Caliphas. (Still need to read your background Red)

Both Sir Ravencourt and Jeremiah have seeds that lead into Barovia. So, we could either do two groups that get pulled together in Barovia or the request from Jeremiah's old friend could bring us all back to Sir Ravencourt's home where we learn that all is not well.


Female Halfling 5 Cavalier

Nice rolls, gnomeo! Here is a quick synapsis:

Rescued by a wolf after her village was destroyed. Taken to a temple of Erastil and raised as a squire, then taken in as a full knight. Praised for her ability in and out of the saddle never fearing to chase a dark thing into darker places. Gifted a magical golden axe by a mighty woodsman for her constant watchful eye over the weaker beings in Ustalav. Known as Red for her cape she wears.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1
Jeremiah Flynt wrote:

This is going to be an interesting party, I think.

Also, this is my first play-by-post campaign, so I am excited.

Here's a handy guide that might help you through the learning curve.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

Role-wise, it looks like I'm our swashbucklery frontliner. My HP isn't as high as most frontliners at this level, but my AC can get pretty high and I can outright negate one attack a round with Crane Wing and possibly negate more with Reposition.

Socially, Simon's a Knight of Lastwall. He's pretty grim and direct, but his name and title may open doors for us. He's not built to be a party leader, but he's probably the one with the most social authority. It's pretty common for Knights Errant to travel with an entourage. Given Simon's background and job it's entirely possible that he recruited some/all of the party to help him for some previous investigation and they stuck around.

Anyone interested in that as a background hook to tie us together?


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

Would you have much cause to hang out with or recruit a cleric of Pharasma with a rather strong hatred of Lycanthropes?


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

Of course. Simon is a devotee of Pharasma who's entire job in life is to track down and destroy monsters that prey on/pretend to be people.

Lyra and Simon probably get along like peanut butter and jelly.


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M Elf Necromancer 5

"The undead are abominations of what could be a noble art. Those who would exploit the wonders of necromancy for selfish, evil purposes must be eradicated."


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

Then we will just have to decide what kind of Lycanthrope Simon and Lyra have hunted together before and how that hunt went. :)


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Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

Oooh, Dourmahr is going to have all sorts of questions for you Ensebullus. Questions that I don't think Lyra will like at all. Fortunately, he's probably smart enough to know that and ask them when she isn't paying attention :)

I like the background Red. Any idea where in Ustalav you're from or free for ideas?

Red might be able to help you some with the front-lining Sir Simon though she will be more cavalry to your infantry.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

I assumed she was going to be riding around lancing things for big damage :)

Which is fine. I'll stand in front of the casties. I like being close to the healers.


Hello gaming friends! I am returned from my writer's group. Had a great meeting with really great response and feedback on my piece.

Let me read back over the thread and start chiming in here.


Calvin The Surgeon wrote:

Since we've been adventuring together for a while, it wouldn't be too metagame-y for us to discuss the various roles we will play in the party, would it? I'm trying to flesh out my gear, and I'm not sure how I can best assist the party.

Are you ok with that, GM?

Yes, please! Continue talking among yourselves in here when I'm not around. If there's ever any information I don't want any of you sharing with the group, it will be new information, probably given in PM, and you'll be informed of its secret nature.

Also, just so y'all know, Paizo is suddenly running super slow on me, so I'll keep answering and posting as best I can tonight, and continue tomorrow if I have to.


Lyra Kaldean wrote:
Is it safe to assume we will be facing a good bit of ability draining undead?

Very safe assumption.

Quote:
Also, should we go ahead and buy mounts or will we mostly be inside somewhere?

Well... Mounts won't be entirely useless, especially at the start of the adventure, but there's a fair amount of the adventure where they won't be particularly useful either.


Dourmahr Repinique wrote:
Barovia must be Ravenloft related since I don't recall it in Ustalav.

Yes, Barovia is a tiny village few have ever heard of. It's from the adventure, and I'm planning on keeping it. There's a couple of candidate places in Ustalav for placing Barovia, and I haven't finalized exactly where I want it, but my current thinking is somewhere in county Amaans (which is what I have posted in the campaign description).


Dourmahr Repinique wrote:
Hopefully role discussion is cool so I'll throw in some thoughts on Dourmahr. If you'd prefer we don't Sean, I'll stop on your say-so.

Again, please talk freely among yourselves in here.


Dourmahr Repinique wrote:
Calvin looks like a possible Caliphas connection. That city seems very fitting for your character. Cannot remember for sure if there are pirates in Lake Encarthan (it is big enough to seem likely), but that might be a closer alternate for you if you would prefer not to be a globe-trotting sort.

There is indeed piracy on Lake Encarthan, though not quite at the level found in other areas around the Inner Sea.

I'm fine with Calvin having spent time in Absalom, but yes, everyone will be in Ustalav at adventure start.


Lyra Kaldean wrote:
I was debating taking the scribe scroll feat, but was wondering if we will actually have much time to craft anything?

Well, low level scrolls only take a couple of hours to make, but higher level scrolls can take several days. That kind of crafting time is unlikely to go uninterrupted.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

How much do you want us tied togeather at the start? Do we all know each other? A few? How's party integration going to be handled?


Lyra Kaldean wrote:
Though my husband just pointed out to me that Paladins can cast that spell as a 1st level spell. So I'd like to take a paladin made wand of lesser restoration for 750 gp instead. If that's ok, that'd be great and I'll redo my list yet again. :)

The way I read the RAW on wands, that's perfectly legal, so by all means buy the cheaper paladin wand.


Jeremiah Flynt wrote:
His hunt for the NPC was mostly just a hook to get him into the main quest line. I left it murky to allow it to be manipulated or dismissed at whim by the DM. It is very likely he has been getting into trouble while in Ustalav since he still needs to eat and is afflicted with that horrible obsessive compulsive disorder known as being an "Adventurer."

It's a pretty good hook, and I usually prefer a blending of multiple hooks to draw the party in. Everyone doesn't have to have a personal reason, but it helps to have one or two, in addition to the main party reason which ultimately takes the form of a letter pleading for help, but we'll get to that soon enough.


Sir Simon Ravencourt wrote:
How much do you want us tied togeather at the start? Do we all know each other? A few? How's party integration going to be handled?

I think it will probably work best if you're all a (more or less) functioning party at this point. You don't have to have been adventuring together long, and not everybody needs to have joined at once. There can even be one or two newbies that you've just run into, but you've probably mostly known each other through an adventure or two.


Calvin - What is your familiar? I think I keep missing it when I look through your stat block.


I like the thoughts so far. I'm still making some final notes on the characters, and I need to head to bed. I have to get up kind of early tomorrow for a thing, but it's over early (for me, PST). and I'll have big chunks of the rest of tomorrow to get this thing more or less under way.


HP: 53/53, AC 22/25 (T.ac 16/19, FFac 15), CMD 23 (24/trip, 25/disarm and sunder) Fort +9, Ref +7, Will +7, Per +9, Init +4, AoOs 4/4, Tentacle 1/1

We've established that my character has a very good reason for gathering a solid group of adventurers. His family gets information and sends him to investigate monsters all the time (very Van Helsing).

If anyone has supernatural problems in their past, Leon probably showed up to help. Then later, may have called on you to help him deal with someone else's issue, and so on.

Currently, Leon is headed to Barovia to investigate the disappearances of a number of young women. He's a long-time acquaintance of the Count who rules the area and has decided to investigate of his own volition to return some old favors.

It's possible some of you came with me, or were asked to meet me there as a favor.

So who wants to be newly added to the group? Who wants to have been companions for a longer while?


Stats:
AC 16/16/12 HP 34/40 F+2 R+8 W+3 Init +6 Per +3

I'll go with the longer while. Dourmahr and Lyra have reasons to know one another and I could easily see Sir Simon recruiting her for a lycanthrope hunt/adventure and having Dourmahr go along.


Human Witch 2 || HP 14/14 || AC 12 Touch 12, FF 10 || Fort +1, Ref +2, W +3 || Init +2, Per +6
Sean, DarknessSMK wrote:
Calvin - What is your familiar? I think I keep missing it when I look through your stat block.

Whoops. Left that out of my stat block. I added it in - he's a dodo, which is from Skulls & Shackles, so if I need to make a change, let me know.

As for hailing from Absalom, that's not important. I'll say that I was born and raised in Ustalav, but spent most of my life aboard a merchant (or unsavory) vessel. I'm fine with being a newcomer to the group - it actually makes sense with his backstory and his quirks will be more surprising to the group if he hasn't been around for a while.

Any suggestions for further gear I should acuire? I've got about 2400 gold burning a whole in my Handy Haversack!


Female Half-elf Cleric / 1

I will go with longer as well.

Now to go take the cheaper wand and buy a few more things. Like more scrolls. :)

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