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Laori Vaus

Luna eladrin's page

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If you want to change the final chapter: do you have "the witchwar legacy"? You could use that one as well.

Since one of my players wanted to play a rebel/revolutionary, I adapted her background story in order to make her character one of the Heralds. My group will be starting on The shackled hut this weekend. They are mostly very experienced players and heavily into roleplaying. My problem is a luxury problem, namely that they always take too many NPCs along. They attacked the Pale Tower with Nadya and her 4 warriors, Emil Goltiaeva (long story; they more or less set up Emil and Katrina against each other), Iziamir the blacksmith, Hatch and several Pale Tower guards, one of which was charmed. The others were more or less converted to the revolution (after consuming lots of alcoholic beverages and having to listen to a long political speech, made by the rebel character, accompanied by a successful diplomacy check).


Check out "Tales of the old Margreve" by Open Design/Kobold press. It has lots of ideas loosely linked to fairy tales. It has a little red riding hood adventure (Challenge of the fang), but it is level 4, so you will have to adapt it. But there are also higher-level adventures in this book.


I do not think letting them suffer the consequences of their actions vindictive. So let them go away on their own and see what they make of it. You can always have Nadya turn up later and help them. Moreover players will not appreciate it if you force an NPC upon them, so if they do not want to take her along, that might also be OK.

If they are sympathetic to rebellious characters, it is also possible to link Nadya to the Heralds and introduce them a lot earlier in the campaign.

Is there any possibility to link Nadya to the background story of one of the PCs? That is what I did, and it works every time.


Stirges are always good. My players have something which might be called a 'stirge trauma'.
I used stirges, goblins and frost firs. I also used some polar animals.


They convinced Jairess to help them, and then she told them that Radosek was interested in her. Then the bard seriously considered the plan of dressing up as Jairess in order to 'seduce' Radosek. Since he did not have enough ranks in disguise, the plan was ultimately discarded. Ultimately they managed to defeat Radosek in 3 rounds or so.
They defeated everyone in the tower in one go, without resting, which I think is quite an achievement. Now they still have some loose ends to tie up, such as closing the gate.


Great that still so many people are running this campaign. Have lots of fun!


My players seem to kill everything in sight. They killed Izoze right away (though she managed to severely wound the sorcerer) and they killed the doll after a very difficult and prolonged fight. They then set the hut on fire, to which I ruled that Hommelstaub spotted the smoke and tried to surprise them in the night. He almost succeeded. But this meant that Hommelstaub was already dead when they arrived at the portal. Luckily the troll put up a good fight and the sprites managed to lure 2 people into the pit (such fun!).
At the moment they are in the Pale Tower, where they are either killing people or converting them to 'communism' (thanks to a sorcerer with a very high charisma who is a member of the Heralds of Summer's Return and also wants to collectivize everything in Irrisen; he tried this in vain with the group's treasure).


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If you use 3.5 rules, consider making Rowyn a thrall of Malcathet (from Dragon 353).
Rowyn remained a recurring presence in my campaign until the very end.

Spoiler:
She tried to steal Demogorgon's throne from under the PCs' noses, but failed in the end. However, it was quite a surprise for the players that she turned up in the end.


Thanks for your feedback, Tangent101 and Zhangar. And as this is the DM thread, you do not really need to use spoiler buttons here.
It gives me enough ideas to develop this plot line even further. Whether or not for immortality or youth, Baba Yaga needs her daughters for some purpose connected with her own life.
I have been thinking about the origin of the daughters. My ideas thus far are that they are the children of Baba Yaga and Russian tsars (and other, even older rulers), linking her and her family firmly to Russia. And they might indeed be in stasis or in a different timeline before they become the rulers of Irrisen (The idea with the tsars is that the rulers are one with the land, as was often seen in pagan times, such as with king Arthur.)
I am also thinking of linking Russia's health to Baba Yaga's, which gives her an extra reason to rejuvenate. I am linking her to the "mother Russia" idea. This fits nicely with the idea that "Irrisen is a crucible". Irrisen is only there to keep Russia alive.


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My players are interested in solving the Baba Yaga problem. It might be that they will try to attack and kill her, but it might also be that they will try to negotiate with her about another route to immortality without having to kill her daughters (they do not know about killing the daughters yet, but they suspect things and I think I know how my players will react). The Dutch Wikipedia had an item on Baba Yaga where she makes tea from the leaves of blue roses, with which she can prolong her life. My idea was to run a double adventure at the end: first Witchwar legacy, in which they find a reference to blue roses. Then they have to use the hut to return to this world and travel to a monastery in Tibet, the Sera monastery in Lhasa. This will consist of a trek through the Himalaya searching for the monastery, followed by enemy parties (I do not know yet who or what they are, but they will probably have modern weaponry) and fighting yetis and other monsters. They can find the roses in the Sera monastery (the name is derived from se ra, which is Tibetan for wild rose). Or perhaps in the monastery they can find the wisdom to discover the roses. Since the PCs have a lot of very intense personal plotlines running (mostly childhood traumas), these can also be resolved in the monastery (and they can find personal enlightenment here).
This is still all mere conjecture, as we are at the end of The snows of summer at the moment, but I am already brainstorming.


My group took a number of villagers along to the Pale Tower (Nadya, Hatch, Iziamir the smith, Emil Goltiaeva (long story, but basically they got him away from his wife). Since there are 5 PCs, this makes for a very large group. I am going to solve this by letting the defenders come in groups with only a short pause in-between. So far it has been very exciting doing this and things are still dangerous enough (2 PCs nearly died in the first fight, against a number of guards, the troll and the elemental from the hot pool).


Nice. Are you going to use Witchwar Legacy in the campaign? I have vague plans to add it at the end of the campaign, if necessary partly rewritten.


As for the geysers: there is a hot pool in the Pale Tower and it does not affect the ice at all. Probably the magic of the winter portal is much stronger than the geothermal activity.


You could rule that it is a minor artifact. It could attract all sorts of unwanted attention if they try to sell it. Also, there might be a previous owner from whom it was stolen and who wants his chest back.


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Congratulations on completing the campaign!


I let them have all the treasures. There are a lot of negotiation possibilities in the subsequent adventures, so I knew they were going to miss treasure there (and they did; a lot, in fact).


I am now preparing the second book and I am adding an adventure from "Tales of the Old Margrave", namely "Challenge of the fang". It is basically a darker version of Little Red Riding Hood. I am adding the encounter because I wanted to expand on the rimepelt storyline. My group can take the rimepelt from one of the wolves in this adventure (which I will be changing into winter wolves).


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There is another thread already about music, so I am not going to advise any music here (just check out Russian composers), but I would like to add one inspiring book series to the list, which I hope is still in print:

C.J Cherryh:
- Rusalka
- Chernevog
- Yvgenie

This series perfectly captures the atmosphere of this campaign.

I am adding some fairy tales to the campaign, e.g. the adventure "Challenge of the fang" from "Tales of the old Margreve" (from Open Design/Kobold Games), which is a Russian/Slavic version of Little Red Riding Hood.
I am using this adventure in Waldsby, and the PCs can earn the rimepelt here (instead of just killing a winter wolf with two different eyes).


I am curious to hear what they finally did, and what the consequences were.


You can always have them roll a knowledge check (or an intelligence check) and if they roll something decent, give them some warnings about the fire.


I have to share this one with you. It is a Dutch song which my players immediately associated with this campaign. As it is in Dutch, I have added a link to an English translation:

Drs. P. Dodenrit

English translation


Yes, I make my own, too.
However, I do use the little box with NPC cards. I have noticed too many NPCs are confusing to players after a while, and the cards work great. I also make my own cards for NPCs who are not in the box.


Very nice indeed!


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I like option 2. I am considering using that one in my campaign as well, or a variant. It would be an awesome encounter.


Just a bit of brainstorming from me...

You could give the mantle powers that are activated by different events, just like mythic tiers. At first the mantle only works to give the PCs entrance to the hut. Later it gets extra powers.
Or you could make it an amulet that gives the PCs permission to use the hut.

If you go the dr. Who way, the hut, like the Tardis, could have a will of its own. Then you do not need the keys at all, since the hut determines where it goes. Perhaps Baba Yaga has preprogrammed it for those wearing the mantle, or the hut just responds to Baba Yaga's need. Perhaps you could even make the hut intelligent.

As for Artrosa: an extra reason to go there could be that Kostchtchie wants the hut for himself. I myself am thinking of situating the third adventure on the 3 x 10th kingdom (which is part of the first world), and then adding Russian fairy tale motiffs, such as the firebird. This means that Kostchtchie gets a more Russian flavor in my campaign and that he will be a direct enemy of Baba Yaga.

I get what you are saying about the fourth adventure and more or less agree. Though it is an exciting adventure, it does not feel like a part of the campaign to me, except for the winter theme. I am still brainstorming about it. Perhaps I will do something with the dragon theme, as a dragon theme seems to be creeping into my campaign. Probably I am going to elaborate on that. Perhaps I will also make the dragons more Russian. There are some Russian type dragons, such as the zmey. I think there is one in the Irrisen book as well.
Another option is to really make the hut intelligent, so that it can bargain with the PCs. Basically the hut has unfinished business on Triaxius and will only help the PCs get to Russia when they first help the hut solve a problem on Triaxius.


Sounds like you have lots of plotlines for the next adventure. I would use the Tashanna plotline if I were you. It can also make things more complicated for the PCs after all! A pity that one of them read the forum.


Very cool beginning (literally!), ryschwith!
I think I might have encountered the same problem if I had used it. My players are very eager, too!
I played out the scene that Dryden Kepp (whom I made the stepfather of two PCs) went into the woods (drunk) in order to hunt the weasle, and the players almost stopped him from going. But then they got involved in other events and Dryden managed to sneak away anyway.


It is even more funny if you know that the player has political ambitions (in Irrisen) for this character. Also he does not pray to any god, because 'religion is opium for the people'.
'Volshebnik' means 'sorcerer' in Russian, but my player changed it to 'Volshebnin', since 'all Russian dictators have a name ending on '-in'.
The player (who is a 'she', by the way) has already told me that perhaps her character will not remain chaotic good. She sees him as a naive idealist who will get 'wiser' (and more ruthless) as the campaign progresses.


With a nice bottle of chianti :-)


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My group consists of:

Aleksej: NG human bard (basically a Russian ballet dancer)
Anastacia: N human rogue (plans to be a ranger/rogue), Aleksej's twin sister
K'wanda B'nana: NE human rogue (plans to be a fighter/rogue)
Vladimir Volshebnin: CG human sorcerer (with an ermine familiar called Medvedev)
Zikimo Talib: N human druid (with his wolf Chikuk)


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Last weekend we had our second Reign of Winter session. My players did something I never expected and I want to share it, because it was so surprising and may perhaps inspire you.
As this is for DMs only, I will put it under a spoiler button.

Spoiler:
They met with the three winter-touched sprites, which was a tough fight, but they managed. They even managed to capture one of the sprites. Now one of my players is playing a druid who is interested in the workings of the body. So he was wondering whether the fey really had an ice shard in their hearts, as told by Yuln Oerstag. So they decided to pummel the sprite unsconscious. Then they cut it open to see its heart. So I told them: "Are you sure? Since this will probably kill it." Yes, they were sure. So I rolled damage for cutting open the sprite. It survived the damage (I rolled a 1). So they saw the ice shard in its heart and then decided to remove it. Again I rolled for damage, and again I rolled a 1. So I told them: "the sprite is bleeding to death. You will need to stabilize it, but since it is its heart, you will need needle and thread!" Then one of the other players, the bard (basically a gay Russian ballet dancer), said: "I have needle and thread". He had indeed bought needle and thread. I then let them roll a heal check, and rolled very high, with aid another. In other words, they saved the sprite's life, and it no longer had an ice shard in its heart. Later that evening they managed the same procedure again (and again successfully, now using cure spells as well) with Fawfein (he almost died). This means they now have two no longer winter-touched fey accompany them, who are very grateful for saving them from the Jadwiga witches.


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If I want to give my players clues, I just let them roll an appropriate knowledge check if they have one. Then if they roll high enough (and usually there is one player who does), I give them the relevant information. This usually works.
If they do not have knowledge, just let them roll intelligence checks and tell them: "You remember..."
And if they have forgotten something, just let them roll the same knowledge check the next playing session. Chances are they do not even remember the previous one.


I have just bought Coliseum Morpheuon. Not only is it high-level, but it also looks like a very impressive and original product. Thanks for the tip.


Great read! And inspiring too!

We have started Reign of Winter in March. We will be starting our second session this weekend.


Thanks Dragonchess player for pointing out the symbolism. I hadn't noticed it as yet and wondered about it.


Yes, that is probably true. But also it is a pity. I have a lot of low-level modules. At first I even bought the Pathfinder Society Adventures, but I haven't bought one in a while, since I have so many low-level adventures already.


- emphasize the weirdness of the underground environment in TLD; it really freaked my players out;
- your players do not need to do the whole of CoBi. My group used teleports a lot and therefore some of the encounters were skipped. However, they did all the important encounters in the order they chose, and it gave them the idea they were in control. So let your players control the pace of this one.


Yes, I agree.
The problem with the stat blocks can partially be avoided by using monsters from the bestiaries.
Also, my experience is that a high-level adventure does not need a huge dungeon map, since the group can use teleport, plane shift, gate and similar spells. You only need small locations with huge rooms.
Moreover, since encounters can be a bit higher, since high-level groups are very powerful and versatile, you will need less of them.

Another solution is to make shorter high-level adventures. There are lots of ways to link adventures, so that would not be a problem.

A third solution is perhaps to make the environment more dangerous, so that the NPC stats need not be so high, i.e. introduce general rules to make the adventure tactically more dangerous.
E.g. consider an adventure on the elemental plane of water.


I would like to see high-level adventures in general. I have an enormous collection of adventures, but I always notice I have more and more difficulty finding relevant adventures when my players reach high levels. This starts around level 12 and gets worse from level 16 onwards.
Even in adventure paths you often need something extra at high levels, e.g. side quests. I have players who use all their abilities to the max when they reach high levels, which often leads to unexpected plot developments. Sometimes I suddenly need a short high-level adventure or encounter to add in. Usually I then end up writing my own, and since I usually need it next play session, this is stressful (as high-level adventures need lots of prep time and I combine DM-ing with a busy job and running a family). So yes, every high-level adventure, even the smallest, is welcome.


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I was already beginning to wonder whether I was the only one to notice the parallel. I have a number of Doctor Who fans in my group (at least two, excluding me), so there will certainly be Tardis comments I guess. I was also toying with the idea of using the Tardis noise when the group is switching from one adventure to another. It is surely appropriate.


Thanks for your feedback, Canadian Bakka! Unfortunately we have finished the Savage Tide about a month ago, but perhaps these gruesome ideas will be useful some other time, or they will inspire others.

We will be starting Reign of Winter tonight with the same group, + one extra player. Again they have thought up some pretty weird characters, so who knows I am going to need some other gruesome initiation in the near future :-)


One of my PCs was lawful evil. She had a strong connection with Glasya, and of course devils do not want a savage tide. It will disrupt all their fiendish political manipulations on prime material worlds.
This turned out to be a very strong motivation for her, also because she wanted to make a career and win Glasya's favor.


I am going to run this for a party of five and am just going to add a zombie or elemental here and there. Adding low-level creatures is usually better than giving the main villains extra levels. Alternatively you could make the snow more dangerous or add more random encounters.
Or you could do nothing at all. The first encounters will be easier, but then they will level up more slowly because they have to divide the xp amongst 6 people instead of 4.


Thanks all. I am looking forward to Reign of Winter as well. I talked about the grim fairytale side with my players and it does not seem to bother them. The origin stories they invent for their characters, are sometimes worse :-)


I am lucky having a really loyal group. But I know the problem. I started STAP with 6 players and ended it with 4 players. The same 4 players will be starting Reign of Winter now.


Yes, I will have fond memories of this campaign.
I think my players chose Reign of Winter because it is so different from Savage Tide. I was reading through Wrath of the Righteous, and though that is an awesome campaign, I was thinking: "O no, more demons!"
No demons and pirates for a while!


What about introducing the character in Iobara? They can even find him stranded in the snow...


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TBA, of course I will be watching this forum and commenting when I have ideas.

Carborundum, I hope you will get to finish the campaign one day. When the children are older, you will have more time, and hopefully new players :-)
My daughter is 15 years old and will be playing in Reign of Winter.
I also DM for her and 3 other teenagers. We have played Crown of the Kobold King and Revenge of the Kobold King and they will be starting Hungry are the Dead soon. I like DM-ing for teenagers. For them all is new, so it reminds me of the days of First Edition.


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Last night my PCs finally did it: defeat Demogorgon and once and for all end the threat of the Shadow Pearls.
One of the PCs has claimed the throne of the Abyss.

This was a great campaign. We had a lot of fun, and a great final evening with some memorable fights, especially against St. Kargoth, and the final one against the Prince of Demons, which was still tough after all the PCs had done to weaken him.
However, they won, with some very clever manoeuvring and some very tactical use of spells.

We will be starting a different campaign soon. I have had my PCs choose one from several campaigns and they have chosen Reign of Winter. Very apt, with the Olympic Winter Games going on in Russia at the moment. And something very different from the Savage Tide!


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PC : Maegara (21th level LE ranger/blackguard/death knight)
Adventure : Prince of Demons
Location : Wat Dagon
Catalyst : St. Kargoth the Betrayer

The two death Knights could not resist dueling, LE against CE. It was actually a quite honorable and fair fight. At first it seemed Maegara would win, as she had gained initiative. But later on Kargoth was the stronger of the two. She lost the duel and died.
The other PCs were waiting to intervene. She had told them that she would say a codeword when she had had enough. But in the end she decided to fight all the way to the end...
When she was dead, the other PCs finally intervened and killed St. Kargoth. This was one of the memorable fights of a great campaign.

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