B) 3.5 or Bust! I'm sticking with the man what brought me.
At least for quite a while. We're only three-quarters of the way through 'Shackled City,' right now, and we're going to split my eight players into two groups for 'Age of Worms' and 'Savage Tide' after that. And I've got the Pathfinder books coming my way. I really don't have it in me to pay out - again - for books to do something we already enjoy doing.
Now, don't get me wrong. One of the nice things about managing a bookstore is that I can look at the books - so I'll certainly look at them. But I've got a lot of money and time already tied up into these wonderful Paizo campaigns, and I'm not going to switch to something that would require me to re-work those campaigns that work fine on their own.
So, given that I've nabbed all the Dungeons that had 3.0 or 3.5 adventures in them, and the adventure paths listed above, I have enough to keep playing onward and upward for years.
Mine are about to.
I changed all the statues, though, to tie them into the PCs lives a bit.
One is a Half-Elf bard that used to play with us, but moved so the character just disappeared.
Four are the PC Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster's parents, uncle, and friend, who were an adventuring group in their day, and left her behind for "one important quest" when she was four or five (to attempt to uncover the truth behind this new 'noble' Vhalantru, who had come to town and wasn't as good yet as passing as a half-elf).
The other five include a missing Strider that I wove into one of the PCs back histories, and a group of adventurers that one of the PCs idolized in his youth. I set the levels for the family and adventuring group to be perfect for if any of the PCs take Leadership as their next available feat.
I also intend to shuffle them into the 'citizen aid' options for the various disasters in the next chapter.
In my group of players, the Cleric of Pelor tried his greater turning (Sun domain), rolled a twenty, got enough damage dice, and evaporated Drathkar right after Drathkar said, "I will drink you all dry!"
It was sort of anticlimactic. Funny, but anticlimactic.
In my SCAP, the party population (and characters) have rotated a lot... I've kept any PC character polymorphed to NPC if they didn't die, and as players dropped or joined, I've used those NPCs as an "in" story.
If your whole group is going, that's rough - if you can even convince one of them to stay with the same character, though, you're okay. That fellow just has the burden of holding a lot of story.
Thinking back... I began the game with a Human Fighter, a Human Druid, a Human Rogue, a Human Wizard, an Elf Ranger, a Halfing Rogue, and a Half-Elf Bard.
At this point, the Human Fighter is now a Fighter/Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor, the Druid is still present, the Human Rogue is now a Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster, the Human Wizard and the Elf Ranger left the party when their players moved, then came back months later (after being the NPCs in a sub-plot where they were murdered, and the druid reincarnated them, so they're now a Dwarf Wizard/Incantatar, and a Half-Elf Ranger/Stalker of Khuresh), the Halfling Rogue dropped out of the game, and is missing, as did the Half-Elf Bard (both of which are statues in Vhalantru's manor, and about to be discovered). Since then, a Human Fighter/Occult Slayer signed on, as well as a Rogue/Thief-Acrobat, and a Cleric of Kord. As the story has progressed, some are present for some chapters, and some aren't. As a whole, they're "The Liberators," but if any five can make it, we play without the others. It leads to some fun catch-up moments, and has made me add in a lot of extra side-treks to even out the XP.
So basically, I'd say "go for it" with whatever they come up with. Heck, keep their previous PC sheets and use them in the same way you end up using the Stormblades - as not necessarily villains, but as rivals.
*grins* Thanks for both the e-mail and the prompt response. Yeah, that got a little confused, didn't it?
As always, you guys rock.
I remember playing the Goblin part of the Reverse Dungeon and loving it.
I couldn't find the adventure for one good aligned and one evil aligned group, but I'll be honest, I can't stand evil aligned PCs, nor DMing for them.
I've managed to rough outline to about 7th level so far, and I'm thinking I might plumb the depths of my Dungeon collection to see if any adventures might leap out.
Do any of you recall Dungeon adventures with a high Aberration content?
David Trueheart wrote:
So far, the barest bones of the idea for me is to have it be an incursion of the Far Realms as the sweeping over-plot, with Aboleths in one corner trying to control the event, and Cultists of Tharizdun in the other, trying to subvert the event to free their god. The initial split would be at a fallen stronghold of the Cerulean Seal (from the Lords of Madness book), where the PCs learn of two places where the baddies are heading at the same time - some into the wilderness to another fallen fortress of the Cerulean Seal, and some into the city, to recover artifacts a local knightly order doesn't realize they even have. I'd like to delve a little into the long history of the various aberrations - they're not often 'done' very much, and I just think they're freaking creepy.
Lord Flamewalker wrote:
i've been doing this for the past 8 months. it has worked surprisingly well. actually, i had an additional twist - group B knew of group A, but A thought it was the only group. early on we did challenge of champions and group B won by 5 points over A in second place - both did amazingly well. group A just thought the other group was an NPC team. i also do a newspaper, and there are always articles about what happens in adventures, and group B kept popping up, but A again just thought it was an NPC group. since they got more of the glory, though, A took a strong dislike to B. finally, just a few weeks ago, i set up a joint game. group B arrived early, and sat upstairs. group A got set up, then i had group B come down to join us and everyone's mouth on group A was agape. everyone loved it and we had a great session (although with too many people). i intend to have full group sessions one or two times a year, but otherwise keep them separate. i may steal your idea of switching teams at times though; that sounds fun.
That sounds awesome! I don't think I'd be able to keep one group unaware of the others - my gaming group is more than half made up of married couples. :)
But that sounds like a blast!
I just received a second copy of The Pathfinder Issue #1 and the Player's Guide - I think that perhaps of adding my remaining Dragon and Dungeon issues into *one* Pathfinder subscription, it has rolled over into two concurrent ones? I'm loving Pathfinder, and want to have all my remaining Dragon and Dungeon issues rolled over into an ongoing Pathfinder subscription - but two is one more than I need. :)
I'm in a position I'm sure most would be very happy to be in - too many players. Most of the players are willing to play every other week or so, and eight players is a bit too much.
So, it got me thinking about running two separate groups of four (every week, alternating which four), and every now and then weaving in the interrelated campaign so that they can 'shuffle' themselves into different groups of four.
I'd start with one major adventure, with all eight (suffering through the 'fun' of eight characters), and then end with an obvious division of equally important tasks, and have the group split up into the two arcs of the story. When they do meet up again, they could role-play what they've learned, and as they gain levels, we could even use magical communication (albeit delayed) to chat between the groups (or, heck, they could do so via e-mail, really).
My question becomes whether any of you have done this before, and/or how it went, what hurdles you hit, etc? I know time-keeping will be one of them, but quite frankly, if they designate a "meet-up" spot, if one group gets there days before the other, that's fine - it's bonus item creation time, or what-have-you. And I'm just imagining the extra layer of fun of having, say, the Sorcerer from group A switch with the Wizard from group B and knowing everything that happened in the A-track of adventures, but not what's been going on in the B-track... at least, until the others tell him.
It does also mean there'd have to be two healers, one for each group, heh. I've only got one person who enjoys being the Cleric (other than me). Ah well, that's what cohorts are for...
Any advice on 'concurrent adventure path' ideas would also be appreciated. I'm tempted to work in my 'Dagger Guild' stuff in the city base of the path(s), so that I can happily give those who return to the city early something to do...
Mr West, you've outdone yourself. This rocks.
Once again, I'd love to see/hear the various adventures people have come up with that use(d) your maps - but now I'm thinking I need to revisit all the ones I used and try to tie them into an adventure path in this wonderful land of Mystery...
Lucky thing I'm on vacation this week. :)
Bram Blackfeather wrote:
Oh, and my Dragon 359 came wrapped in plastic - with no giant anything inside. :(
It could just be how they're being played, but in my Shackled City Adventure Path that I'm DMing, there is a Cleric and a Druid. The Druid routinely puts out more of an offense than the Cleric.
The Druid summons, wild-shapes, and is extremely clever with his spell list (most of his prepared spells are from the Spell Compendium, I should note - I think the PHB Druid spells are rather weak). Mostly, his judicious use of Summon Nature's Ally spells, and Cometfalls, and wild shape when has has to be in a fight (usually combined with a follow-up 'Bite of the...' spell to max out his Str/Dex/Con).
The Cleric (a Cleric of Kord, and thereby a bit more likely to be a front-line fighter), uses his spells well, but I find he's not hammering the foes quite as much as the Druid.
Also, no one expects the Druid to patch the group up, so his spells tend to last longer.
For the Canadian/European Users: In iTunes, at the bottom of the store page, there's a pulldown menu where you can change the store. Choose "United States", then at the top left, click "Music", then "iMix" and search for iDragon. Works for me (Germany). Hope it helps.
You are hereby my new favourite person.
I can't actually buy anything, but at least now I know what the lists looked like. *sigh* That was a few hours of total frustration.
So, while I can see the lists by switching to the U.S. version, my account will not allow me to purchase (nor to set up an account that would let me purchase, the option is only: switch back to Canadian store).
Still, thanks. No longer feeling totally frustrated.
I used "Mad God's Key," actually, as a pre-adventure for some of the characters that weren't from Cauldron, to get them to Cauldron. At the end of "Mad God's Key," the missing pages and note instead made mention of getting the information to Skaven and pointed at Cauldron, and when "Flood Season" finally happened, and those PCs realized who Skaven was, they were very happy.
I did a homebrew beginning for the characters from Cauldron, and then they met each other when the story began and Rufus was being assaulted. They may have been very close to 2nd level before the adventure even started, come to think of it, or some might have <I>been</I> 2nd level... I do recall that the wizard and the druid had scribed a few scrolls.
Until they can give me an electronic book that I can stuff in my pocket and not worry about damaging, take to the beach and not worry about sand, take to the park and not worry about rain, read in the bath and not worry about dropping, loan to a friend and not need it back to read another book, and so on and so on... I just don't see it.
Will e-books rise in popularity? Yup. Print on Demand will also rise, I think, but I don't see the physical book taking a dirt-nap any time soon. Self interest, sure - I'm published and enjoy it, and I manage a bookstore.
I do think audiobooks are on the rise - I listen to at least two a month on my iPod going to-and-fro to work. Given the number of people with wires in their ears, I can see that increasing, but it's still not the same experience and sitting with a paperback.
Bram Blackfeather wrote:
Yup - still not working. I updated to the most recent iTunes. I found 'More in Music' in the music store. There was nothing labeled "iMixes" only "iMix" so I clicked that. I typed "iDragon" in the search bar - no matches found. For kicks, I tried Savage Tide, used upper and lower cases, nothing.
Is this just a no-go in Canada, or something? It's a two step list of instructions, and I swear I'm following it.
Andrew Turner wrote:
And that worked for you? I feel like an idiot - I swear I followed every step, typed in iDragon as listed... and nothing shows up.
Awesome. Thanks. But, uh... not to be a bother, but I just got my May issue of Dungeon - and never got April for Dungeon, either. I figured it was just late, but since May's issue just arrived...
I'm sorry, I'm not sure why this keeps happening.
Actually, the same thing happened to me - I just got 355 today, but never got the April issue... which I hope wasn't a joke? ;)
...and knocked out two of them. Egad.
That trio of assassins, the Sorcerer, the Rogue/Cleric, and the Fighter, showed up with their buff spells aplently, the Sorcerer in a greater invisibility, and the silence effect going on and it was ugly.
Three lightning bolts and one power attack from the half-orc later, and both Gaspar (Fighter/Cleric/Radiant Servant of Pelor) and Gunther (Cleric of Kord) are down. Gavin (Fighter/Occult Slayer) is below half his hit points, Jayna (Rogue/Wizard/Arcane Trickster) has 3 hp remaining, and things are not looking bright for the group. Callis (Druid) managed to get to dire-bear form and then the tide turned, and Jayna popped off a 'see invisibility,' 'dispel magic,' and 'orb of acid' triple-play that knocked the Sorcerer out of commission, and the rest was clean up after that - the other two assassins did try to get away, but failed. Strangely, 'I-die-every-other-session' Crake (Rogue/Wizard/Thief-Acrobat) didn't get hurt at all.
So, even with six characters, that scene at the start of Chapter 7? Deadly.
I know a massive ammount of asian D&Ders. However, I suspect that that may be a Vancouver thing. Now, try to find a *gay* D&D player. That is pretty damn hard.
We've got the whole spectrum in our group on that particular rainbow.
Previously, my gaming group had women outnumbering the men, with more gay folk than straight folk, but did have a majority of white ethnicity - we had one brown fella, and a native woman.
Now, my group is all white except for a Japanese woman, but we've still got a good mix of gay-straight-lesbian-bi going on.
The Arena is a massively famous and lucrative – and legitimate - business in the city that the Dagger Guild has only partially infiltrated. They run a stable, and many of the gladiators and fighters are also on their payroll for “special events.” Their stable is neither the most popular, nor the most successful, often coming in second in over-all events, in keeping with the Dagger Guild's tendency to attempt to not stick out, but still turn a very tidy profit.
The stable itself is headed by the Arena Pit Manager (CR 12; LE Human Male Rogue 3/Fighter 4/Streetfighter 5), a former champion of the Arena who rose up through the ranks. He is rarely seen without his “assistant,” the Arena Conjurer (CR 6; CN Human Male Conjurer 6), who often conjures creatures as “entry” battles. The Guild's stable contains quite a few mentionable figures, including a Green Dragon Shaman (CR 10; LE Human Male Green Dragon Shaman), who creates one fascinating show with his various aura abilities and breath in a battle. Another notable is a woman with a whirling spiked chain, who's ability to disarm or trip others in battle makes her a canny foe (CR 8, LE Human Fighter 8), and who is also part of a four-person 'hit squad' the Dagger Guild will sometimes send after particular menaces.
The stable also tends to arrange less legal fights – private events that are technically outlawed in the city. As well as death matches (which are not usually part of the Arena's fare, with the notable exception of criminals convicted of the worst crimes), many of the Dagger Guild's stable members are villains in their own right, and “let off the leash” if they need more muscle. The illegal fights are often tied into the wealthier families of the city, who want fights with no other spectators, or nobles with darker tastes who enjoy bloodsport.
The Blackfeather Academy
Another institute known for taking in orphans, the Blackfeather Academy is run by a Loremaster who believes in the value of knowledge, and finds sharp minds to train to be sages or wizards (usually diviners) in the service of the city. It is a new organization, less than fifteen years strong, but has so far made a solid impact on the city. Local sages who were once independent have sometimes affiliated themselves with the Blackfeather Academy, and some have even left the city. (The truth, of course, being that the Dagger Guild has 'gently persuaded' both of these actions). The Academy has a reputation for turning out decent Sages and Wizards, and many of the nobility also send their children to study at the Academy, which also teaches courses for those who would pay a modest fee.
Rates are standard for the sages, and the Head of the Blackfeather Academy knows very well that a lot of her funding came to her through the Dagger Guild, and that she is pretty much trapped. As a result, she does her best to play both sides against the middle. She knows that many of her staff – both wizards and the non-wizardly sages – are actually allied or in league with the Dagger Guild (whether they know it, or don't but are friendly with the Orphanage that placed them in the Academy in the first place, not knowing the Orphanage is run by the Dagger Guild). She would love to find a way out from under the Dagger Guild's thumb – but wants to do so with the Academy intact. PCs could find an easy ally in her if they manage to gain her trust, and she can be a source of information about the city's inner workings (including a lot of things the Dagger Guild would prefer to keep quiet).
The Head Loremaster is an almost middle-aged woman (CR 13; LN Human Female Diviner 5 / Loremaster 8), and her staff is mostly made up of initiates (1st or 2nd level Experts or Diviners), with a few having reached Sage or Diviner status (4th or 5th level Experts or Diviners). As it is a new organization, if a PC were to affiliate herself with the Academy, it would gain them the Head Loremaster's thanks (assuming she eventually trusted them as not being Dagger Guild spies).
The Scarred Shield Knights and Scarred Spear Warmages
A tower and fortified keep within the city is the home of mercenaries for hire. The Scarred Shield Knights are hired out throughout the city and surrounding areas, as protectors. Similarly, the Scarred Spear Warmages, though lesser in number, are available to bring an arcane edge to their protection. Both of these draw their potential members from the local orphanages and homeless children, and if the children apply themselves and have the talent, they are made initiates. In both cases, the Scarred Shield and Scarred Spear mercenaries are hired out as a rank of talent, not by individual name, and rarely left in a position for more than a few weeks, so as not to grow stale or to fall into a routine. Thus, the patrons end up with a particular level of Knight or Warmage, and the specific individual will change on a weekly or bi-weekly rotation.
Within the city, the Scarred Shield Knights are known for bringing real security to those they protect, and the Scarred Spear Warmages are often hired by the nobility or the wealthy when they travel, as well as a retinue of Knights. They have an excellent reputation, and their habit of staining or painting the scratches in their armor with bright colours to show their survival in battles (and therefore their ever-growing skills) is a well known habit among the city. Some non-Knights actually mimic this habit, but it is generally frowned upon by the actual Scarred Shield and Scarred Spear mercenaries.
In times of war, the city has a standing deal with the Orders for the ability to call upon 80% of the standing mercenaries to support their own standing troops. There is a friendly (and sometimes not-so-friendly) rivalry between the city guard and the mercenaries.
The truth of the Scarred Shield and Scarred Spear mercenaries would leave many in the city quite cold with dread. The orphans and homeless children are often pre-selected for becoming orphans in the first place by a horrible sociopath known as 'The Orphan Maker' (CR 6; NE Rog3/Rgr2/Ass1) to those in charge of the recruitment. Children who show talent in the lower echelons of the city often find that their parents have 'accidents' or fall victim to violent crime, and the orphanages swoop in and care for the children, and they are moved into the Knights or Warmages as potential mercenaries.
Secondly, the reason the Knights and Warmages have such a fantastic reputation is that the Dagger Guild arranges scenes where the Knights and Warmages will rescue their patrons from a potential robbery, and occasionally, the Guild will allow members who are not in good standing to be caught or even killed in these scenerios. Further, those who hire the Knights or Warmages are only very rarely targetted by the Dagger Guild while under the protection – conversely, if someone stops hiring the Knights or Warmages, their likelihood of being targeted increases.
As the Knights and Warmages grow in talent and power, if they show the correct temperment, they're brought into the truth of their order's loyalties – some don't handle it well, and have accidents, but most realize the position of potential gain they are in and play along. Still, the vast majority of the Knights and Warmages actually hate the Dagger Guild as a chaotic blight on the city, which only adds credibility to the entire operation.
The head Knight and the head Warmage are completely in the pocket of the Dagger Guild and quite loyal, but enjoy their positions as important figures in the city. Exposure of their true allegiance would be the death of that way of life for them (or, worse, their actual lives), and as such they are absolutely motivated to make sure no one finds out.
would like alot more of what the dagger guild does and has done
The biggest thing that the Dagger Guild has done to further its success is expand itself into legitimate businesses. Through the organization of the Book-Keeper, and at the behest of the other Sheathed and the Guildmaster (through his Puppet), the Guild now owns quite a few major and minor businesses in the metropolis.
The first - and most used - is their Inn.
[LI]The Dockside Inn
In reality, the Dockside Inn is entirely run by the Dagger Guild (a host of NPCs are available on Lilith's NPC gallery site, see way back at the start of the thread for links). The Dockside Inn is large and central enough to major thoroughfares of the city docks that it is nearly always crowded, and hard to listen in on particular conversations. A top-notch halfling chef certainly makes things tasty, and though she's cranky, no one argues the benefits.
There is an illusionist who works the crowd most nights, secretly testing likely patrons (ie: adventurers) for what they know, as a way to estimate their challenge potential to the guild (ie: if he makes an illusion of a Beholder with only eight eyestalks, and the PCs correct him, he can open a conversation with them about how they know what one really looks like, learning about their tactics and exploits under the guise of merely trying to improve his illusions). He often uses 'magic mouth' spells to pass on information to Dagger Guild members (see the Dockside Bard, below). He also appears every night under a different 'disguise self' spell, and the first patron to single him out and declare loudly 'You're not wearing the right face!' wins a free ale from him. This can make new patrons feel a little confused if someone yells and points at them, but the general laughter when the wrong guess is revealed always makes for a good time, and tradition is that if you accuse someone who isn't disguised, you buy them a drink.
The barkeep is also central to the communication of the Dagger Guild. The collection of mugs at the Dockside Inn is a remarkable one – and very few of them are similar to others. Hand-carved and painted with vivid characters (red X's, for example, on one cup, and green chevrons on another), to Guildmembers, they're actually code and contain messages. Getting a mug served to you in a certain mug may mark you as the rare patron allowed to be pick-pocketed, for example; whereas members of the guild might receive a striped mug as a way of being told they're wanted for a conversation with another Dagger Guild member. The barkeep is a massive flirt, and he's extremely handsome, a combination that draws more than a few patrons as well.
The Dockside Bard entertains (often paired with the Illusionist), and hosts competitions for new performers for a mild fee and a cut of the take/tips that evening. The Bard is another one of the guild-aligned arcane casters who also distributes coins or other objects enchanted with 'magic mouth' spells – most of the thieves know that if they react a certain way to a coin or cup or somesuch given to them by the Bard during one of the performances, that the object will then dispense a message to them from the Guild – often a meeting-place or name of someone to meet with later for more details, but sometimes as little as the go-ahead to rob a particular place or person. Similarly, the Dockside Bard often sets up 'magic mouth' areas around the city on a regular basis when a message needs to get out to various members of the Dagger Guild, most often these are dark alleys or other hidden and out-of-the-way areas – most members in charge of spreading the word know to check out their local magical drop-point on a fairly regular basis.
May I suggest that you submit this idea in an orginized form to Paizo as an adventure? They pay free-lance writers pretty well (I beleive the current rate is $0.05/ word to first time writers). I would probably buy it.
So far, everything I've submitted has been unsuitable to their needs, alas. I certainly want to keep trying, but I think this particular idea would be too large/too many words. Though putting forth Rodian as a critical threat might be worthwhile... Hrm.
At the apex of the Dagger Guild is, of course, Rodian (CR 22; Human Lich Wiz7/Rog3/ArcTrick10). Through Rary's Telepathic Bond he shares a link with his puppet (CR 20; Human Wiz5/Rog5/ArcTrick10), who he presents as the real guildmaster and rules through. Occasionally, he uses Magic Jar to possess other beings if he needs to appear at the inner circle meetings more directly.
The inner circle – known as 'the Sheathed' – number five. These are the Guildmembers who run the day-to-day operations of the Dagger Guild, reporting to the Puppet (and through him the real Guildmaster). The Sheathed are made up of the following persons: First, the Head Assassin (CR 15; Rog5/Asn10), whose job is the most straightforward, and ensures that the nobility and those who can afford the services of the Assassins pay dearly and that no one overly loyal or who pays protection to the Guild is targetted. Second, the Spymaster (CR 17; Rog5/Spymaster7/Chameleon5) is in charge of the vast network of informers, spies, paid servants, and allies to the guild, and ensuring that the Dagger Guild is one step ahead of its enemies, and always on the right side of blackmailings and manipulations. Third, the Book-keeper (CR 14; Ari4/Rog5/Bard6) is in charge of the guild's funds and income, and is the woman who ensures that the income of the guild is balanced between both legitimate income and the other sort, and is also a highly placed governmental aristocrat capable of swaying city policies when necessary. Fourth, the Head of Defense (CR 16; Rog3/Abj5/ArcTric8) is the man behind the defense of the Guildhouse itself, by magic and by mundane methods, as well as the head trapsmith, the one in charge of providing magical abjurations and misleading scrying attempts and ensuring that no one uses forces arcane to learn more about the Dagger Guild. And fifth and lastly, there is the “Spiritual Advisor,” (CR 18; Cleric of Vecna 8/Wizard 3/Mystic Theurge 10), a gnarled old man with a keen wit, who aids all the rest (and makes plans of his own).
Very cool. Its nice to see an idea for a thieves guild other than just the ordinary "I want to get rich" types. I very creative idea, I might just have to use it in a campaign at somepoint (if thats alright with you).
I should be able to start spitting out encounter ideas tomorrow, everything from lowly encounters with pick-pockets, to being targeted by the Dagger Guild for 'knowing too much.'
Would y'all find a series of Gather Information and/or Knowledge (local) skill checks with DCs and information be useful?
Dude This is so so so so perfect for this one on one game I am runing for one of my friends he wanted the whole city thief like thing, dude can you please come up with more stuff everything is great! how about a good guild that wants to fight the Dagger Guild, how the guild is broken down, some more guild members, A rivial Guild, and some more common folk, I only ask because your rocking this man and I'm going to use all of it if thats alright with you?
*grins* More than alright. :)
Y'okay, in order:
A good guild that wants to fight the Dagger Guild - my plan for 'support' for the PCs (or, in your case PC) who are trying to take down the Dagger Guild is for the remnants of those guilds that Rodian shattered and/or merged into his own. One thing you might have noticed is that beyond 3rd or 4th level characters or so, there's almost no non-humans in the upper ranks of the Dagger Guild. Among other things, Rodian is a throwback to a time when non-humans weren't populous in the now-metropolis of the city I imagine the Dagger Guild to be a part of. As such, elves, dwarves, gnomes - and, especially, halflings aren't really all that welcome in the guild, or if they get in, don't seem to rise anywhere. So I picture a nascent 'rival guild' growing out of more non-human stock, with a more CG and CN alignment than the Dagger Guild's LE and NE tendancies. In specific, they'd start to coalesce around the bearer of the pylactery dagger (and his ghost bodyguard, whether or not he knows about his ghost bodyguard and/or the intelligence of the dagger) - my plan would be to drop this dagger into the hands of an unknowing PC, and having the intelligent dagger play its own powers down/quiet for as long as possible (all the better to stay hidden by).
I'll be posting more on how the guild is organized likely tomorrow morning - I'm afraid my job cuts into my gaming time. ;) More members await, as well, I've worked my way up to the inner council (almost done) and they'll be useful to explain a lot of how the guild runs, but again, I'll write more on that tomorrow.
Hopefully it's all (or mostly) useful for you.
Thanks again for the compliment!
Kylu and the wizard worked further magics into the dagger, which was itself already a potent blade, and gave it sentience in keeping with their aims, including a strong loyalty to Olidamarra, and the power to summon itself an air elemental in times of trouble. When finished, they planned to put the dagger into hiding, and then contact Rodian to begin the bargaining and demand he submit to their will, but Rodian caught up to them too early, and in the resulting conflict, both Kylu and the wizard were killed.
Days after her death, Kylu rose as a ghost in the manor of Rodian, and did herself flee as soon as she could. She hasn't been able to find her body – though she is sure that Rodian has it in his manor – and seems to be unable to leave the confines of the city walls. Often spying and listening – and watching for the dagger.
Rodian had reclaimed his dagger of course, none the wiser to it's new abilities, and the dagger itself kept quiet. It waited patiently for days, until finally finding a chance with a weak-willed servant, Kylu possessed the servant, had a fake but identical dagger made, and managed to make a switch. She spoke to the real dagger – who remembered her - and had it will its air-elemental companion into being. They flew from the manor, and the ghost and the dagger began their long hiding.
When Rodian realized his dagger was gone, his fury knew no bounds. The very thing he had tried to prevent had come to pass, and he slew Markios in a violent explosion of magical force in a daylight assault, accusing the vampire of misleading him from the get-go. He carefully entombed the coffins of Chance and Gradin in his own manor, leaving them still under his control, but now able to act more on their own, and set about trying to recover his phylactery.
It began with charming thieves, and dominating members of the various thieves guilds that worked in the city, but soon it became obvious that the various factions and opposing guilds were working so much against each other as to make using them less than optimally effective. Rodian, seeing his best opportunity to recover the dagger would likely be a nonmagical one (since his divinations were not turning up the dagger at all, thanks to Kylu's spells and the quick-thinking and constant moving of the dagger itself), and the best way to ensure the dagger was stolen back was to control the thieves of the city.
All of them.
It took him the better part of a three decades, but what is time to an unliving creature? Still impatient and paranoid, and incredibly careful, Rodian has wormed his controlling hands into all manner of areas of the city, eliminated rival thieving factions, and united the survivors and the talented into one guild, his own guild, the Dagger Guild. And though it is a lucrative and powerful guild, its true aim is the recovery of a single magical dagger.
The one with his soul in it.
So there you go - the bare-bones history of how the Dagger Guild came to be. Going forward, I'll pop up a series of encounters starting way back at EL 1, for how PCs can get involved, learn, and hopefully eventually be a part of what brings Rodian down.
What he really wanted was to claim the souls of these four for Vecna, and to see them life on in undeath as servants to the God of Secrets. His plan began with what seemed to Rodian to be potential plans to keep his soul to his own: surely there was a way to leave a soul untouchable to even the most fervent followers of Olidamarra.
Though patient influence, old tomes, and the gentle stoking of Rodian's paranoid worry, Markios introduced the notion of lichdom to Rodian. At first horrified – it seemed to Rodian that turning from life and becoming a creature of undeath was a very extreme way to ensure his soul remained in his own possession – with Markios's patient whispers and influence, Rodian's grasp on morality slipped, and it did indeed seem to be the only way.
The path to lichdom is an evil and twisted one, and once Rodian was on the path, he revealed his own true nature first as a follower of Vecna, and later as a vampire, and suggested that his companions – the most likely culprits of potential theft of Rodian's soul – be sacrificed and placed under Markios's own control: in short, he would make them into vampires himself.
When the first two of the Olidamarra's Masks went missing, it seemed to the public that their luck had likely finally run out somewhere, but Rodian was most worried about Kylu, and wanted to wait until his own transformation into a Lich was complete before he tried to turn Kylu into a creature of the night. Meanwhile, Markios did indeed have total control over the now undead Chance and Gradin, and they were subservient in all ways. Feeling the rush of success, Rodian made the final steps, and became a Lich, sealing the dark undead thing that was now his soul into his phylactery – a container built inside his magical dagger's hilt – and set up the ambush that would end Kylu's life.
But Kylu, one favored by Olidamarra, and worried about her missing companions, had been seeking guidance from her god, and was enough forewarned that she escaped after seeing what had happened to her companions, and the horrific creatures that they had become – including Rodian's transformation into a lich. She went into hiding, desperately trying to figure out what to do, while her former friends and allies searched for her.
Through tireless divinations and searching, and communing with her god, Kylu learned of Rodian's plan to keep his soul from the hands of Olidamarra, and had an idea: how better to control a lich – and hopefully find a way to restore him, a man she once admired and whose love of Olidamarra was once so pure – than to snatch his phylactery from him? He could not dare harm her while she alone could ensure its safety, and that would let her control him. With time, perhaps she could even steal him back from Vecna and the undeath he had chosen – a theft definitely worthy of a cleric of Olidamarra.
Things didn't go off completely as planned, however. Kylu managed to gather a new group of followers, and their strike on Rodian's lair in the bright daylight meant they didn't have to deal with the vampires, but Rodian had surrounded himself with other followers and protections, and the battle didn't go easily. Kylu did manage to snatch the dagger and escape, but the rest of her party, except for the party wizard who teleported them to safety, perished in the attempt, and Kylu was badly wounded. When Kylu returned to her home and saw it in flames, she knew that her plan wasn't necessarily going to work, and in true fashion to one worshipping Olidamarra, she came up with another plan.
It may take a few posts to get this all out...
[u]The Dagger Guild[/u]
The Dagger Guild was formed by what might seem an unlikely guildmaster: a lich. The lich, however, was an Arcane Trickster in life, and was once a member of a fairly famous (or, perhaps, infamous) adventuring group known as “Olidamarra's Masks.” They consisted of four members: Rodian (Human male Wizard/Rogue/Arcane Trickster), Kylu (Human female Cleric of Olidamarra), Chance (Human male Bard/Shadowdancer), and Gradin (Human male Fighter). Not known for being especially moralistic, they weren't unkind, just unfocused, and often happy to sell themselves to the highest bidder, or aim for the job with the largest risks, and ultimately, the best rewards. They were most noted, however, for the masks from which they'd taken their names – when in the public eye, they wore half-masks much of the time, and though the real names and identities of Chance and Gradin were known (they were more or less commoners), Rodian and Kylu took great pains to keep their identities to themselves – they were both from highly placed mercantile families, and didn't want to risk public censure for their oft less-than-proper antics.
It was during the height of their popularity among the common folk and among the nobles (though the latter considered the adventurers a kind of gauche but interesting 'newest thing') that they came under the attention of Markios, a vampire (and cleric of Vecna). Markios wanted to learn who Rodian and Kylu were, and more importantly, use the information to blackmail them. His divinations were mostly thwarted by the magics that Rodian and Kylu used to protect themselves, however, so Markios tried a different approach.
Prophecies were remarkable things. Markios had long ago learned to twist and warp them to his advantage when playing games with the faithful, and it was not long before he came across a future telling that worked to his advantage. Arranging a meeting with Olidamarra's Masks, he hired them for a brief but successful – and entirely pre-planned – 'rescue' of a noted prophet from the brigands he had himself anonymously hired to kidnap in the first place. The prophet spoke of the future of all of the band, including telling Rodian the one thing that Markios most hoped he'd learn: that Rodian was destined to lose his soul to a follower of Olidamarra. His soul, Rodian learned, would be stolen, and in the name of the very god he'd chosen to follow all his years.
The group didn't realize that Rodian believed them the most likely culprits of this future crime, and he grew paranoid and panicked. He cast more and more divinations, and learned the same results over and over – that indeed, someone would at one point find a way to steal his soul, and it would most likely be one of his companions!
By this time, through means less magical, Markios had learned Rodian's identity – many divinations required expensive material components, and tracking them to a buyer was easy enough given enough time. Markios befriended Rodian in his non-adventuring role, and whispered sly words into Rodian's ear. Rodian eventually believed Markios to be a good and trustworthy friend, he confided the truth of the prophecy to Markios, and Markios knew at that moment he had him.
Heh! I love doing this sort of thing. I'm glad the Knight was useful. :) I've enjoyed having a Paladin sent against the group in the past (a la 'Order of the Stick,') or other lawful and empowered folk whom the PCs can't just smack down for the heck of it.
Faboo, thanks. I shall begin turning my notes from random scrawls into some sort of organized fashion. But the whole thing begins with a dagger, of course...
I'll try to organize it in a series of encounters as 'B' or 'C' plot events, for ease of weaving into an ongoing campaign.
Jeremy Mac Donald wrote:
I'm not sure if I "count" - I grew up all over the show, born in England, emigrated to Canada, etc - but I do recall learning 'Proboscis' in grade 7 or 8 science in Canada. My mother made 'Marzipan' (and there's a great story about how I learned I was allergic to peanuts but not almonds, but that's neither here nor there), and 'tureen' I think I came across when I was being force-fed etiquette.
Mind, my husband bought me the 24 volume complete Oxford English Dictionary for an engagement present. There are twenty-four pages for the english word 'set.' So, if I don't know a word, I absolutely dive for them...
Obviously, the 'Stormwrack' prestige classes pop to mind, but I'm fairly sure the Favoured Soul / Sorcerer lady from the Jade Ravens is on her way to Mystic Theurge (or, I hope she is, as otherwise, she's just... bland). She could easily be a tutor in that area.
Dragon Disciple... hrm, would the Dragon Turtle count? He could certainly take a sorcerer (or Bard, if the bard is the one who made some good Diplomacy checks) under his.. uh, fin.
James Sutter wrote:
Bookstore managers agree: China's books are good. I'm ashamed to admit I only read them after my husband did his sad-puppy-face when the new one had come out and we didn't own it four seconds later, but thereafter I devoured them all. Refreshingly different. I'm looking forward to this issue arriving at my door...
Hey-ho all - I've been away from forums for a while, worse luck, but I've still been whittling away on Lilith's fabulous NPC Stat bank (over at http://www.dmtools.org/ - if you've not been, you should go). I've been crafting a generic thieves guild of sorts (if you search under 'Dagger Guild' they'll all show up), and I'm getting to the best parts - the inner circle at the top, and the guildmaster.
Somehow, without really meaning to, I've found myself writing back-story, history, and the like. I'm wondering if there's any interest at all for the 'when, where, why and how' that would go with the 'who' list you get when you search 'Dagger Guild.' I couldn't help myself - this became a bit of a fun mental exercise. By the time I'm finished, there'll actually be a CR for everything between 1 and 22 for the generic Dagger Guild, and ideas for hooks of each. I've decided that my next campaign will involve the Dagger Guild as an on-going 'B' or 'C' plot, as a way to give the city setting a nice consistency, and as a fun way to make back-colour suddenly turn into some really deadly immediate action, and a potential adventure all of its own at the end.
Anyway, enough shameless self promotion - if you'd like to hear some of the back-story, I figured here was as good a place as any...
One of my favourite one-shot adventures, which I pulled the idea from somewhere in a Dragon or a Dungeon or a sourcebook from ages ago, was as thus:
Noble hires PCs to rescue his son, who has run off to be with (insert favourite charming fey creature of DM), which has definitely put the marriage plans that the father had for said noble son a little awry. Surely he would agree to the marriage if the charming creature was defeated and the charm lifted.
The PCs find the noble's son, and smack him with a dispel magic - no good. So, they must have rolled badly, and do it again. And again. And again. Eventually, someone thinks to try a 'detect magic' and... he's not charmed.
He's actually, really, in love.
The PCs I ran it through eventually switched sides, helped the runaway noble son marry the fey, and learned that his father would normally never have tried to arrange a marriage for him, headed back to the castle in the guise of 'returning' the son, smacked a 'detect magic' on the father, and learned the intended wife of the other noble had done an enchantment of her very own, to make the marriage happen in the first place. It was fun, with nary an attack until the very end, when the lovely bride-to-be was revealed as a succubus trying to earn the noble son's soul through the arranged marriage.
And true love triumphed...
Vic Wertz wrote:
These are the the things they don't warn you about when you marry and change your name. :) Thank you very much - as always, you guys rock my socks.
It looks like something went wrong with my subscriptions. I haven't received Dragon 352 (nor 353, if that has shipped to Canada) yet - but I've received double of Dungeon 143 and as of today, double of Dungeon 144...
My side-bar lists me having 8 more Dragon issues to go, and 3 more Dungeon - but I purchased 12 more issues of Dungeon in November of 2006 (shouldn't there be around 8-9 of those left?), and my most recent subscription for Dragon was in June (so about 4-5 of those should be left?) I'm mightily confused!
I'm with Ash here, can we up the beefcake ratio? I still say that Monk with the nice tattoos would be nice to see more.
All kidding aside, I'm all for whatever the heck sells more magazines. Covers are nice, art is nice, I enjoy art, but quite frankly - what I really want to see is your magazine doing well, so that I can keep buying it. If that means numbers on the cover, slap on the numbers. If I have to put up with drow elf women with spider fetishes and partial saving throws against wands of remove clothing, I'll cope. Just, y'know, the occasional male barbarian, that'd be nice. ;)
More fun on Occipitus: During the fight with the Rakshasa and the Fire Giant, the ever-fun Rogue/Thief-Acrobat Crake used his wand of mirror image, and I said, "Okay, so now there are four Crakes standing about."
At which point, Callis, the Druid, yelled, "I'm sick of these mother-$%#^ing Crakes on this mother-%^$&ing plane!"
Eventually, we continued playing.