|Doug Miles Venture-Lieutenant, Michigan—Detroit|
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
I ran this last night for the first time. Knowing how confusing all the NPCs are with foreign names & motives, I made handouts with some portraits from the scenario and other images from Google. There are 8 key NPCs to keep track of. I wish we were allowed to share work like this, but it is not covered by the Community Use Policy.
I fortunately had a table of 4 players. Having more face-time to share with the GM helped to keep them engaged. It was 3.5 hours of role-play before we ever rolled init. They enjoyed themselves but it is tiresome to think on your feet that long.
When I played this scenario, we straight-up murdered Shirin outside of the tomb. We were convinced that she was behind it all and would have ended it sooner had the GM not stopped us and explained how the plot was supposed to go. We were so frustrated by the time we got to the graveyard, we didn't give her a chance to talk. We ran up and started hacking her to pieces. We laughed about it afterward--what if she turned out to be innocent?
It made me think about how to avoid a replay of this when I ran it last night. First, don't put down a flipmat and place minis on it. That is like ringing the bell for Pavlov's dog. Players are going to go right into tactical mode. Just keep the atmosphere casual like the graveyard is a red herring and you're going to read them boxed text to lead them to the next clue. Describe "Umut" dragging herself away from the opened tomb looking like death warmed over. Let the players accuse her or make threats, but don't tip your hand. Have a good story rehearsed so it sounds smooth and natural. Every good lie contains a kernel of truth.
Umut: [moans] "Don't come closer! .... You have to get away, warn the others .... she's in there!"
PCs: "Shaa, right. We know you're behind this, evil necromancer lady. Just admit it so we can commence stabbing you with pointy objects."
Umut: [groans in pain, rolls over so PCs can see mummy rot on her neck] "It wasn't me. Her name is Shirin. She's a follower of Urgathoa, the Pallid Princess, an enemy of my goddess. [weeping]Oh Pharasma, deliver me from this place! Shirn's harrassed me in the past .... followed me here from Osirion."
PCs: "Sense motive! Heal check! Crap, her story is checking out. Where is she now?"
Umut: "She was laying in wait for me within the tomb with her mummy companion. The servants have been slaughtered, she's probably animating their bodies right now. She'll do the same to you, if you don't leave right away!"
PCs: "GM says we should leave. He's probably trying to screw us again. We're going in after we buff up. Squishy guys, stay in the back!"
GM: [evil smile on the inside] "OK, roll init and give me a marching order into the tomb."
In my game there were two inquisitors and a cleric of Sarenrae. Thanks to some favorable rolls, the encounter worked like the author intended. They did consider she was setting them up, but there was enough doubt in their minds they ended up getting hit from behind after they went down to fight "the necromancer in the tomb".