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Question about the Sea Wyvern shipwreck


Savage Tide Adventure Path

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DMs - how did you handle character gold at the start of "Here There be Monsters?" The adventure text states that the characters wake up with whatever weapons, armor and items they had on their person, and the rest is assumed lost. I've given the PCs a decent chunk of GP through two sidequests thus far, but I actually do like the idea of them losing all but a few hundred GP each they may carry on their person. I'm curious to see how others handled this part.


I'd say any extraneous loot is still on the Sea Wyvern, stuck offshore on the reef. That denies their access to it for the moment, which honestly isn't that big of a deal through HTBM.

Our DM had us make sailors for STAP, so we had a fair chance of making it through the storm, but failed our listen checks to hear the breakers on the reefs over the howling of the wind, so still ended up hulling the Sea Wyvern. He let us limp it to shore but we still had to leave it there, along with our cargo of supplies and investments until we made it through HTBM and to Farshore.


Failed Saving Throw wrote:
I've given the PCs a decent chunk of GP through two sidequests thus far, but I actually do like the idea of them losing all but a few hundred GP each they may carry on their person.

Often parties carry all their loot on their person in a handy haversack or some such... but if they don't have something like that (and have a lot of heavy loot), be 'tough but fair'.

Heck, I even had some of the PC's lose their heavy armor (a decision which they completely agreed with).


Jaatu Bronzescale wrote:
I'd say any extraneous loot is still on the Sea Wyvern, stuck offshore on the reef. That denies their access to it for the moment, which honestly isn't that big of a deal through HTBM...He let us limp it to shore but we still had to leave it there, along with our cargo of supplies and investments until we made it through HTBM and to Farshore.

Yup, that is what I did with my group. After they dived out and retrieved all the stuff (they have a Sea Kin druid, so pretty easy) they buried the treasure and made a pirate map. Fun was had by all..

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Failed Saving Throw wrote:
DMs - how did you handle character gold at the start of "Here There be Monsters?" The adventure text states that the characters wake up with whatever weapons, armor and items they had on their person, and the rest is assumed lost.

I ignored it, more or less. I told the PC's that when they woke up, they were wearing their armor, had any equipment not carried in backpacks, and had any light weapons they normally carried on their persons. They were able to retreive everything else by going back to the 'Wyvern (wrecked at the reef a couple hundred feet offshore) to get the remainders of their equipment.

From the DM's point of view, I saw no reason to deprive the PC's of equipment and loot they had worked for up to this point. Also, I wanted to give them the opportunity to retreive items like the bat idol (from Tamoachan in Chapter 3), instead of just assuming it was "lost" (which then creates its own potential problems in Chapter 5).

EDIT: The "it's more realistic that the equipment is lost" argument wasn't a good enough reason for me; most arguments at our game table that invoke "realism" fail when we're all pretending to be elves fighting dragons with magic.

-Skeld


I've actually decided to kind of skip the whole Sea Wyvern ship wreck, since I know my players would hate the railroading aspects of it. Instead they will find the Blue Nixie wrecked there when they pass by the place, and when they approach to investigate they will discover that Lavinia and the Jade Ravens have started trecking south to get help along the same path the PCs are supposed to. The PCs will probably send the Sea Wyvern to Farshore with the survivors and go after Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, and then they will catch up with the Ravens in the Fogmire after Lavinia has been kidnapped by Olangru.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Hi, Skeld.

I think you made the right decision, based on your campaign and your players.

But I'd like to address the issue you raise here, and which I've seen intermittently: that "realism" doesn't make sense in a fantasy game.

For me and mine, it does, and it's important.

"Fantasy", to me, means that the basic laws of the universe are different.

  • There's an energy, "magic," streaming from one plane, "Positive Material," to another, through the game world, which some people can tap into and shape to their will.
  • There are gods, with human-like personalities and interests, who invest some of their power into worthy worshippers in order to advance their interests and powers.

But once we've set out those changes, anything else works like it does in the real world.

(It's like all those alternate-history novels. You make one change -- say, Richard Coeur de Leon dies on his way back from the Crusades-- and then everything else progresses as a result of that one change.)

In particular, all the little details of life still exist. People still use mules and horses, unless there's a rationale that they wouldn't, cascading down from magic or the gods. You still need milk in order to make cheese, unless it's specifically magic cheese. the body of that wyvern which dies in mid-air obeys Newtonian physics, unless the gods specifically decree otherwise.

Is this important? I think so.

My players, like Mary Yamato's, look for patterns, and things that break patterns are clues. I want them to notice that the Duke's clothes are caked with dry mud, despite his claims of being lost in the moors for the last hour. Once I hand-wave details away with a generic "this is fantasy" explanation, they stop looking for clues.

PLAYER: "We need to spend a day foraging. I'm down to only one day's worth of rations."
DM: "Oh don't worry about that. Your mundane supplies just kind of renew automatically."

Later...

DM: "I was hoping that you guys would have picked up on the suspicious fact that the shopkeeper never seemed to run out of wine, even though the city was under interdict."
PLAYERS: (Shrug) "We just figured it was like our torches and arrows. We never run out, either. It didn't seem to be out of the ordinary."

That's the pay-off for "realism" in fantasy.

Sovereign Court

Let me just say that if I was a player, and I just got railroaded into HTBM, crashing and sinking no matter the amount of spells or training the players or crew had, and then the DM said "you loose everything not on your person before the crash," I might have walked out.. Thankfully our DM had better sense. What possible value is there in putting salt in the wounds? The railroad was bad enough, taking items from a character is skirt with revolt.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
I think you made the right decision, based on your campaign and your players.

We agree on this point. ;)

My group has a long and storied history of debating the "realism" of various rules and rulings. Before I took on the mantle of DM, we had a DM that would argue for all types of "you can't do that because it's not realistic" rulings, the apex of which was a fight with a black dragon in his homebrew campaign (the details of which I forget, but it ivolved hovering). So much for having a NASA engineer/PhD candidate for a DM.

Next, our group got stuck with me for a homebrew campaign arc that covered 18 levels and 4 years. I took a break, and now I'm back running STAP.

I may have left the impression that I (or my group) doesn't tolerate aspects of "realism" in our campaigns, which is untrue. We track ammunition, provisions, encumberance, etc., etc. What we don't do, is get into lengthy debates like we used to about the grapple rules.

I also don't penalize my players by taking away their equipment because it's a realistic outcome of a shipwreck, mainly because it's not much fun for said players to have their equipment removed by DM fiat (which is what my post addressed). But when they fought the back pudding in HTBM, it was fair game for the party's druid to lose his armor due to acid damage. Actually, that made the encounter with the eldar black pudding in LD that much more fun because the druid feared for his new set of armor.

Some of this goes back to my philosophy on DM'ing this time around. Neither myself, nor my players, want another 4 year campaign. To that end, I try to keep the "campaign noise" to a minumum. At Skeld's STAP table, we're all about advancing the plotline. To us, it's the story that's important, not tracking the minutia.

I hope that helps to color my comments a bit more so that you can see where they come from.

-Skeld


Chris Mortika wrote:

PLAYER: "We need to spend a day foraging. I'm down to only one day's worth of rations."

DM: "Oh don't worry about that. Your mundane supplies just kind of renew automatically."

I agree that verisimilitude is important for roleplaying... without it D&D seems more like a boardgame. Mind you, careful accounting of ammo and rations isn't usually needed either. I hand-wave it as going on in the background (similarly to say, using the latrine) until it might start to matter (like they haven't resupplied in weeks or somesuch, and they don't have someone that can forage on the move).

Guy Humual wrote:
Let me just say that if I was a player, and I just got railroaded into HTBM, crashing and sinking no matter the amount of spells or training the players or crew had, and then the DM said "you loose everything not on your person before the crash," I might have walked out..

Excellent point, as Railroading can break verisimilitude also. I simply explained the intended situation to players and let them decide for themselves what they should start with (and also what would be recoverable later). You'd be amazed what players will willingly give up in the interest of having a good, interesting game.

Sovereign Court

Matthew Vincent wrote:


Excellent point, as Railroading can break verisimilitude also. I simply explained the intended situation to players and let them decide for themselves what they should start with (and also what would be recoverable later). You'd be amazed what players will willingly give up in the interest of having a good, interesting game.

I think you've hit the nail on the head. When players feel powerless it really hurts the game. Giving them back some control and responsibility of the story is always a positive action.


Hmmm. Thanks for the idea on how to handle a situation like this without railroading too much. I like the idea of trusting the players to decide what they would have and be able to recover.

The railroading of the shipwreck (and solutions to make the wreck extremely likely without destroying the players' sense of agency) have been discussed at length in another thread. If I ever run this, I'm going to have the wreck be more or less inevitable, but let the players make profession (sailor) checks to minimize the damage and make it easier to recover their most vital gear. Of course, some of the damage minimization will just make it easier to salvage the Sea Wyvern later, during the next adventure.


evilash wrote:
I've actually decided to kind of skip the whole Sea Wyvern ship wreck, since I know my players would hate the railroading aspects of it. Instead they will find the Blue Nixie wrecked there when they pass by the place, and when they approach to investigate they will discover that Lavinia and the Jade Ravens have started trecking south to get help along the same path the PCs are supposed to. The PCs will probably send the Sea Wyvern to Farshore with the survivors and go after Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, and then they will catch up with the Ravens in the Fogmire after Lavinia has been kidnapped by Olangru.

I really like this idea, Evilash. Wish I would have used it myself... my players also reacted against the railroading of the crash.

The Exchange RPG Superstar 2010 Top 16

Skeld wrote:
Chris Mortika wrote:
I think you made the right decision, based on your campaign and your players.

We agree on this point. ;) -Skeld

Actually, I think we pretty much agree, point by point. You sound like a DM with an excellent sense of story.


evilash wrote:
I've actually decided to kind of skip the whole Sea Wyvern ship wreck, since I know my players would hate the railroading aspects of it. Instead they will find the Blue Nixie wrecked there when they pass by the place, and when they approach to investigate they will discover that Lavinia and the Jade Ravens have started trecking south to get help along the same path the PCs are supposed to. The PCs will probably send the Sea Wyvern to Farshore with the survivors and go after Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, and then they will catch up with the Ravens in the Fogmire after Lavinia has been kidnapped by Olangru.

Nice idea, truly inspired.

The only tweak I would do is to have Lavinia actually reach Farshore. Then run Olangru as written. Or if there were any romantic tangles with the Jade Ravens, have it be that particular Raven gets separated from Lavinia. Then either the party finds clue about them or runs into them for a joyful but brief reunion before being kidnapped...

Otherwise you end up with the "Aquaman" syndrome and your party spends every other chapter rescuing poor helpless Lavinia. (that is so much a plot-ski it is almost as bad as the railroading. Almost... :)

She is a tough lady with the tales from her mother to teach her a bit of jungle lore and survival skills. Give her a bit of a break between beaten by bullywugs and her kidnapping by Vanthus. That way she is established as an independent resourceful heroine and there is more of an impact when she is finally nicked by her brother.

That being said I would definitely run it as you describe with the Blue Nixie being the ship they fix in the next path instead. Very sweet...

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Chris Mortika wrote:
Actually, I think we pretty much agree, point by point. You sound like a DM with an excellent sense of story.

I sincerely appreciate your comments.

-Skeld


YogScott wrote:
my players also reacted against the railroading of the crash.

Mine too, although they accepted it, after all an Adventure Path tends to have a certain amount of rails to it. Here There Be Monster, runs like a steam train though. What with the two key trick used twice to force folks to check all parts of the dungeons. Then coastal path stopping to force them inland, etc. etc.

Still Tides of Dread is just wide open, and makes a real change for an Adventure Path.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Guy Humual wrote:
Let me just say that if I was a player, and I just got railroaded into HTBM, crashing and sinking no matter the amount of spells or training the players or crew had, and then the DM said "you loose everything not on your person before the crash," I might have walked out..

Just to address railroading real quick ... like I said before, I don't like to punish the PC's too much, so I didn't follow this route to its logical conclusion.

However, I'm pretty comfortable with railroading the PC's from time to time. As I told one of my players who complained when Vanthus showed up in Chapter 1 to trap them under Parrot Island, sometimes you can do everything right and life still srews you over. Some things can't be avoided no matter how hard you try. (But in all fairness, I did set up the Parrot Island Ambush so that my players could have avoided it; they were just sloppy.)

Additionally:

Spoiler:
And don't forget that the party is being manipulated by Malcanthet almost from the beginning of the campaign. So where all AP's are railroady to some extent, STAP is more so because the manipulation of the PC's is central to getting them where they need to be at the end of the campaign.

But back to the above quote, as a DM, I would be extremely troubled if one of my players walked out after something like this.

-Skeld


I talked to my players about this right after Journey's End. I said something along the lines of "there's a railroady part coming up; we can play through and possibly avoid it, but if that happens, I don't know if I'll have the time to retrofit the scenarios to fit the new situation. Also, this is basically the first and last time this will happen. Can we just fast-forward and say you've crashed on the Isle?". They agreed, and we jumped ahead to the point where

Spoiler:
a T-rex swallowed the party's paladin
.


Peruhain of Brithondy wrote:
The railroading of the shipwreck (and solutions to make the wreck extremely likely without destroying the players' sense of agency) have been discussed at length in another thread. If I ever run this, I'm going to have the wreck be more or less inevitable, but let the players make profession (sailor) checks to minimize the damage

I simply introduced the wreck by starting the session with "you wake up on a sandy beach...". The players viewed it similarly to "you are all sitting around a tavern...". They only balked when I said that they could still be wearing their armor (they didn't think they should be).

Conversely, I once made the mistake of letting the players play out the big capture scene between A3 (Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords) and A4 (In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords). The most experienced player was ready to flip the table and storm out. I had assumed that it was clear to him that he was supposed to be captured for the next adventure to start, but evidently I didn't make it clear enough.


Lord Alarik The Fool wrote:

Nice idea, truly inspired.

[snip]

That being said I would definitely run it as you describe with the Blue Nixie being the ship they fix in the next path instead. Very sweet...

Unfortunately I can't claim it as my own, since James Jacobs posted something along these lines in another thread in response to what you should do if the players are able to counter the storm. The only thing I did was to decide to skip the second storm and go directly to JJ's suggestion.


Agreed that there is no point in playing through a scene if the PCs have no control over the outcome. The "you wake up on the beach" solution is a good one, as is "the wreck of the Blue Nixie."

This is one thing I love about these boards--all kinds of alternative thoughts on how to run the AP.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

evilash wrote:
I've actually decided to kind of skip the whole Sea Wyvern ship wreck, since I know my players would hate the railroading aspects of it. Instead they will find the Blue Nixie wrecked there when they pass by the place, and when they approach to investigate they will discover that Lavinia and the Jade Ravens have started trecking south to get help along the same path the PCs are supposed to. The PCs will probably send the Sea Wyvern to Farshore with the survivors and go after Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, and then they will catch up with the Ravens in the Fogmire after Lavinia has been kidnapped by Olangru.

I think my PCs would continue sailing to Farshore and wait for the Nixie folks there.


Curaigh wrote:
I think my PCs would continue sailing to Farshore and wait for the Nixie folks there.

Sadly we're already into HTBM, since I really like this idea, but I talked about it with my players and they said they would do exactly that. Not too much of a problem though:

Spoiler:
a week goes by and then another without Lavinia arriving, and eventually someone clammers for an expedition to go rescue them. Meanwhile they are lost in the fog and going slowly nuts.
Dedicated Voter 2013

For my second group I had Emraag the Glutton shipwreck the Sea Wyvern, bellowing in Aquan "No tribute, no passage!" as he capsized the vessel onto the reef. This better foreshadows the critter later, after the Assault on Farshore, and gives the characters plenty of motivation to go after him as a result.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Turin the Mad wrote:
For my second group I had Emraag the Glutton shipwreck the Sea Wyvern, bellowing in Aquan "No tribute, no passage!" as he capsized the vessel onto the reef. This better foreshadows the critter later, after the Assault on Farshore, and gives the characters plenty of motivation to go after him as a result.

Brilliant! I like this one a lot, and in no small part to my liking of dragons, turtles, and dragonturtles. *grin* and he is big enough to be a reef too. :)

Sovereign Court

Turin the Mad wrote:
For my second group I had Emraag the Glutton shipwreck the Sea Wyvern, bellowing in Aquan "No tribute, no passage!" as he capsized the vessel onto the reef. This better foreshadows the critter later, after the Assault on Farshore, and gives the characters plenty of motivation to go after him as a result.

I've said it before Turin, and I'll say it again, this is a great idea. Far better to have PC frustrations placed on something they can deal with later! Two of anything in an adventure this huge could feel very repetitive, once the PCs hit the 2nd storm they might be feeling "ho hum, done this before," suddenly having an island like turtle emerge from the depths and flip their ship moments from shore is a far better welcome to the island then the T-rex.


Guy Humual wrote:
suddenly having an island like turtle emerge from the depths and flip their ship moments from shore is a far better welcome to the island then the T-rex.

Or both...

Sovereign Court

TracerBullet42 wrote:


Or both...

oh keep the T-rex! It's just afterwards it's Emraag that the players are going to remember rather then the lizard.


Guy Humual wrote:
TracerBullet42 wrote:


Or both...
oh keep the T-rex! It's just afterwards it's Emraag that the players are going to remember rather then the lizard.

Silly me, I should've known that's what you meant.

And for the record, it's a great idea and I'm totally going to use that.

In my game, the PCs are just getting ready to begin Sea Wyvern's Wake. I get to be Avner soon!!!


evilash wrote:
I've actually decided to kind of skip the whole Sea Wyvern ship wreck, since I know my players would hate the railroading aspects of it. Instead they will find the Blue Nixie wrecked there when they pass by the place, and when they approach to investigate they will discover that Lavinia and the Jade Ravens have started trecking south to get help along the same path the PCs are supposed to. The PCs will probably send the Sea Wyvern to Farshore with the survivors and go after Lavinia and the Jade Ravens, and then they will catch up with the Ravens in the Fogmire after Lavinia has been kidnapped by Olangru.

An update on this. We finished SWW last session, and for the epilogue I told them that they spotted the wreck of the Blue Nixie on the shore where Sea Wyvern where supposed to have gone aground. When they came in to investigate they found some of the survivors, but no Lavinia or Jade Ravens. The survivors told the PCs that Lavinia went south with the Jade Ravens to try and get to Farshore via land about 2 days ago. Now, it seems that the players have gone for this hook line and sinker, because they are very busy at the moment planning an overland expidition to rescue Lavinia and the "incompetent Jade Ravens" (their words).

Next session will be fun, because I will have the t-rex crashing their party while they prepare for the journey :)


What about combining the storm that wreaks the ship with the Living shipwreck on page 94 of Dungeon 141 ? The ship gets destroyed, the peasants onboard get minced by the monster and in the confusion the party would be happy to escape to the shore?

Your thoughts.

The Exchange

Where does Emraag the Glutton appear? I like this idea, but need to get more info.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Rithralas wrote:
Where does Emraag the Glutton appear? I like this idea, but need to get more info.

Emraag is waiting for the PCs to layeth the smacketh down some two chapters later, once they trounce Vanthus' raiding party. It will be a few months' game time before they get to exact revenge - or at least cough up tribute, as the case may be - after they are shipwrecked.

But they will get that chance. After all, if nothing else, they can come back at umpteenth level and frag the bugger on general principle...

As scripted, the Sea Wyvern shipwrecks, period, end of story at the end of Sea Wyvern's Wake. I preferred to have ol' Emraag make it a more personal affair, establishing his presence early on.

I wish I had thought of the idea the first go 'round though, 'twould have made the events for crew 1 more appropriate as they turned out.

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Murkmoldiev wrote:

What about combining the storm that wreaks the ship with the Living shipwreck on page 94 of Dungeon 141 ? The ship gets destroyed, the peasants onboard get minced by the monster and in the confusion the party would be happy to escape to the shore?

Your thoughts.

The living shipwreck did not really grab me, but it does fit and I tried for awhile on how to work it in (with my campaign not ST). I think it would fit nicely if you want it to. It is a little similar to the mother of all and it could be swooping into fill up the gap--ecosystamatically speaking.


It arrived in the middle of the last storm and called all the peasants into its mouth...
then the ship rolled...

It worked very well... The players couldnt wait to get to the beach...

Star Voter 2013, Dedicated Voter 2014, Star Voter 2015

Murkmoldiev wrote:

It arrived in the middle of the last storm and called all the peasants into its mouth...

then the ship rolled...

It worked very well... The players couldnt wait to get to the beach...

O:)

also addresses the railroading of the shipwreck that many have concerns about.


The railroad storm and its resolution presented one of the problems I have with my players - they are really really good!

Even though they are running characters at or below the prescribed power levels of the adventure path, they easily crush every problem or obstacle no matter how much of a railroad it is. As a result I end up raising the power-level of the villains and challenges in order to coerce the players along the adventure path. My players are way too random to be left to their own devices, but when I try to coerce them they just meet, and then beat, ever more impossible challenges.

How do you channel players likke this?


X_the_Unknown wrote:

The railroad storm and its resolution presented one of the problems I have with my players - they are really really good!

Even though they are running characters at or below the prescribed power levels of the adventure path, they easily crush every problem or obstacle no matter how much of a railroad it is. As a result I end up raising the power-level of the villains and challenges in order to coerce the players along the adventure path. My players are way too random to be left to their own devices, but when I try to coerce them they just meet, and then beat, ever more impossible challenges.

How do you channel players likke this?

Well, if they keep overcoming the challenges, then you're not really railroading them so much, are ya?

Look, it depends on what exactly is happening. Are they rules layers, big min-maxers or just plain clever players? Give us for-intstance.

My guys, for better or for worse, tend to take the hint (call it meta-gaming if you want) and say, oh, the DM wants us to go THAT way, and any arguement is met with "the story's THAT way." Keep in mind, that's the players talking, not the DM.


I am going to foreshadow the shipwreck a bit, so that the players experience it as "the hand of fate". I was going to introduce a savage albatross and let some of the NPC's shoot it (after all it is a savage creature). But every sailor knows shooting an albatross brings bad luck...

Knowing my players I think they will accept the railroad and perhaps even enjoy it if it is introduced like that.

I like the option "you wake up on the beach" too. Perhaps I will use it as well.


Luna eladrin wrote:

I am going to foreshadow the shipwreck a bit, so that the players experience it as "the hand of fate". I was going to introduce a savage albatross and let some of the NPC's shoot it (after all it is a savage creature). But every sailor knows shooting an albatross brings bad luck...

Knowing my players I think they will accept the railroad and perhaps even enjoy it if it is introduced like that.

I like the option "you wake up on the beach" too. Perhaps I will use it as well.

Of course, they might take it as an opportunity to prepare. Something to keep in mind.

I decided to go with the option listed elsewhere of having the Wyvern find the Nixie run aground. As such, I dropped the storm that brings them close to the reef (besides, they’d already fought two other storms before the Sargasso.) So, as they approached the Isle of Dread, I had them looking a the big fold out map. One of my players, who has some ranks in Sailing, had been doing his homework and immediately expressed concern about the reef. He insisted keeping an exaggerated distance from it and formed a “sounding line” to check depth as they approached shore. That just blew my mind. Like I said, I already wasn’t planning to railroad them, but the precautions the PC took (no, he hasn’t read the adventure – trust me) were so impressive.


It is not wrong when they have a chance to prepare. If they are shipwrecked, it will even give them a sense of accomplishment, like: "if we had not prepared for this, we would have lost all our gear" or "if we had not prepared for this, the ship would have sunk completely". That is the feeling I want to create, so that they get the idea that they have mitigated the damage because they were well prepared. Then it is much less of a railroad.

They take the voyage very seriously. They have spent a lot of skill points on profession (sailor), knowledge (geography) and even craft (shipwright). The crew consists of the whole character party + Amella and one of the PC's is the captain. She even held a speech when they left Sasserine and spoke with all the passengers individually. They handled Avner kindly, but firmly. I was really impressed.

During the shipwreck I want to give them lots of chances to use their skills, perhaps including getting wood or tar on the Isle of Dread, so that their shipwright can repair the ship. Then the PC's will get the feeling that they have their fate in their own hands and that even a shipwreck will not stop them.

I almost want them to feel cheated when there isn't a shipwreck, because then they do not get to use their abilities.


Luna - fantastic idea about the albatross. I will do something similar next time. My players are adherents to Fate playing a hand as much as they like to rail against that.

In answer to the question regarding styles of play my players are a very efficient combination of min-max (all characters are specialized at what they do and very good at it), deep role-playing (great back-stories, great PC and NPC interaction, complex interwoven plots) and clever planning (meticulous details and inspired long term vision). On top of this they think well on their feet and have the devils own luck.

The problem? No moral compass of any kind. They are as likely to go halves (or is that thirds?) with Demagorgon as to fight against him. Their problem is motivation. By natural inclination they dislike goodie-two-shoes-types. They're not fans of demons either, but most would not step aside to let one pass. The fact that they don't scare at all, let alone easily, cause some problems with regards to plot progression.
"Deadly storms? Demonic hordes? Evil pirates? Impossible odds? Cool!"
As GM I do not pull my punches either and play the villains as villains and present the challenges as realistically as I can. And still the players triumph again and again and again. I want to reward their efforts but I still want to make the game challenging and that is becoming more and more difficult.

My current plan is to draw them into the larger conflict through the oft-overused GM fiat of having villains kill off favoured NPCs with extreme prejudice. I dislike doing so but I can guarantee the viscious hateful reaction will mean the players propell themselves in the required plot direction. The trouble then becomes keeping the villains alive long enough to be a challenge!


Sounds good!
This sounds a bit like my group of PC's. Lucky for me they hated Vanthus right from the start and they think that they can cleverly manipulate Lavinia. This keeps them nicely on the track of the plot.

It always helps a lot to make it personal. Killing off favorite NPC's is a good method.


Have to say I too love the albatross idea, and will have to snag it if we ever get that far :P

As for player motivation, yea sometimes morality goes askew and the heroes are questionable, but the murdering of liked npcs with extreme prejudice does seem to work for even the most morally corrupt group, even if it is because they still wanted to use said npc for whatever reason :P


Please go ahead and use the idea.

As for killing off NPC's, it depends. I also do not want the PC's to get the idea an NPC is a DM favourite. I usually only do this when the plot really requires it.

A recurring NPC who was the father of one of the PC's died at the end of my previous campaign. His death was fitting and impressive, since he died as a hero, and it also gave the PC a castle. It also gave some nice roleplaying moments.

Of course you should not kill them gratuitously, that is not what I meant. I only meant it as a possible solution for the above dilemma.


Yesterday we played the encounter with the savage albatross. It worked like a spear. Skald was standing on the deck next to one of the PCs, a half-orc fighter. There was a little bit of bonding going on between the two as they got to know each other better, and because they both were outcasts. Then they saw an albatross approaching with something that looked like an extra head. Together they shot it. The last shot was Skald's.
The players were nicely reminded of the fact that there are still savage creatures about. And even though it was a savage albatross they shot, I had the crew muttering about "that tiefling (meaning Skald) who shot an albatross, bringing bad luck to the ship". So the captain had to suppress the beginnings of a small mutiny, which the PCs did by organizing a holy service to the sea god in my campaign (not Procan). They have a cleric of this god on board. Afterwards the PCs had a serious conversation with the cleric asking whether shooting the albatross really meant bad luck, even though "it wasn't a real albatross anymore". Of course the cleric answered that mortals can never know the ways of the gods...


I have resurrected this thread because something more has come up with the albatross story, and perhaps some of you can use these ideas or get inspired.

One of my players sees his character as an Olman champion destined to save the Olman from whatever fate the demons have prepared for them. He is also one of the two characters who shot the albatross (together with Skald).

I am now thinking of letting this character have a dream. In this dream he sees General Ghorvash. The group knows what he looks like, because they have searched the burned house at the Vanderborn plantation and I let them find a fragment of the painting with the demon that hung there. General Ghorvash tells the PC the demons also have a champion, hinting at Vanthus of course. This is a nice reminder that Vanthus is still in the picture, since they have not heard from him for a while. It also makes Vanthus something of a nemesis for this PC.

Ghorvash is also going to taunt the PC a little, and tell him that he is not much of an Olman hero, since he has called down a curse on the Sea Wyvern. Then he is going to prophesy death and destruction for the Sea Wyvern's passengers, perhaps giving a few cryptic hints about the sargasso and the storm, or about the infamous seven (linking the storm to Emraag, as has been suggested on this forum before). Perhaps the PC gets visions of his friends (e.g. Skald and Tavey Nesk, who are his close friends) suffering horrible fates.

In this version it looks like the demons caused the storm, which hopefully makes the storm more logical and acceptable for the players. It seems like an ongoing battle between the PCs and the demons, where the demons constantly try to stop the PCs by means of obstacles and disasters and the PCs try to circumvent them.

I am also thinking of perhaps adding the adventure Torrents of dread to the missions in Tides of dread. In this adventure kopru are causing storms, which is a nice explanation how demons could be causing storms.

The shipwreck then no longer looks like a railroad, but like a nefarious demon plot intended to stop the Olman champion.

I am curious to see how this will work out, and will keep you informed.

The Exchange

Looking forward to your update Luna. I recall this as being one of the areas in running the AP that I required the most help with. You guys all really stepped up to the plate and it was immensely helpful. Hopefully this thread and mine can really combine to help DMs overcome the "railroading" aspects for themselves in the best way that suits their players, gamestyle, PCs, etc.

Cheers! :)


Thanks!

It will take a while, though. My group is playing once every 2-3 weeks and it is a very roleplay-heavy game (so the pace is not so fast).

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