Yesterday my PC group managed to find and capture the stowaway Rowyn on the Sea Wyvern. They let her live and decided to have her locked up on the Blue Nixie, and let her be guarded by the Jade Ravens, so "that they could make themselves useful". They probably want to hand her over to the authorities somewhere.
Now I wonder where to go from here, since I feel not everything has been said yet about Rowyn. One of my PCs has a love/hate relationship with Rowyn, which is nice to play out a little more, and I would like to explore the connection between Rowyn and Malcanthet.
I was thinking along the following lines, but I have not decided yet:
1) Use Rowyn to let the Jade Ravens fail once again. She could either escape from the Blue Nixie in one of the ports or perhaps in one of the Olman villages, or be killed by one of her enemies on board the Blue Nixie (leaving the PCs with a murder mystery on their hands).
2) Have Rowyn pretend she is a reformed girl, and let her off with a small punishment (if necessary aided by a bribe paid by Heldrath Kellani, of because of the fact that proof of her crimes has been embezzled). Then let Rowyn return later in the campaign as an agent of Malcanthet (e.g. als thrall of Malcanthet). But in what capacity could she return? What would she do for Malcanthet? And at which point in the campaign could she return?
Well if you let her live AND become an agent of Mal, here's a fun pain in the rear you could add, and could work even if she is killed...
Now mind you it isn't perfect but it definately gets that, Oh no her again?! feeling that my player's love, especially after the huge amount of time that would have passed. :P
First of all let me start out by saying: don't kill Rowyn off for a murder mystery. Players hate it when DMs kill their enemies or allies off 'off stage' so to speak. You'd be basically denying them the chance to to thwart an old foe . . . or save a much loved ally.
Rowyn is a smart cookie. She's been beaten by the PCs twice, I doubt she's be foolish enough to risk a second encounter. To put it another way: she's tried to defeat them with her own might and with her guile and both have failed. She's probably beginning to realize that the PCs are just too powerful for her to defeat on her own. This begs the question: "does she give up or find someone to do it for her?"
If you want to have Rowyn become a thrall of Malcanthet then she clearly realizes that she can't defeat the heroes on her own and that allying herself with more powerful patron might give her the strength she needs. However she's certainly not going to let the PCs know that she's still plotting revenge, so she'll play a reformed girl until an opportunity presents itself for revenge, but with Malcanthet as a patron revenge no longer becomes a possibility. It's best to remember that Malcanthet has her eyes on the PCs for her own goals. Rowyn, if she becomes a thrall, will be denied her revenge (at least until the PCs complete Malcanthet will). It's likely that if Rowyn becomes a thrall of Malcanthet she may become an unwilling ally of the PCs.
If Rowyn gives up on her revenge then you have a more difficult choice ahead of you, does she reform? Move onto other schemes? Personally I always liked the idea of Rowyn having a hate on for Vanthus as well. Certainly someone with Rowyn's skill set would make a valuable ally. Personally I'd have Rowyn fade into the background until SoS when Vanthus makes his return . . . then Rowyn could step up and take a more active roll.
The nice thing is that my PCs are neutral and evil, and one of them is thinking about becoming a thrall of Malcanthet because he read the article about Malcanthet in Dragon Magazine and liked the prestige class. They have no idea as yet about Malcanthets involvement in the Savage Tide.
Perhaps Malcanthet can put the PC who wants to be thrall in a sort of competition against Rowyn on who will be her "champion" in the end. In this way, Rowyn is not out for revenge as such, but instead becomes a rival of the PC. This way Rowyn can recur in the final adventure to try to claim Demogorgons throne before the PC does, and they still get to defeat Rowyn.
About the murder mystery: I guess you are right and that Rowyn should live. But if Rowyn will really become reformed, the PCs should have a hand in that as well, and that is not very likely considering their alignments. So if it happens offstage, she should be mock reformed.
I’m glad to see Rowyn has found extended life in your campaign, too. My group did the same thing – they captured here. However, they kept her on the Wyvern. They interrogated her then stuck her and through her overboard.
By the way, the previous game master decided not to use the flotsam ooze because it was so stupid, so after I took over as DM and got caught up on everything, I joked that the ooze was about to attack when they dumped Rowyn and it was distracted by her long enough for the ship to escape.
Anyway, I didn’t like the idea that she had so much potential and was out of it, so I had her come back as a revenant. The leader of the PCs is the object of her revenge, though I decided she can’t “rest” until all the party is dead. I am having her het to the island (don’t’ know how – it’s magic, whatever) and she is going to help Olangru torture them for a while. Then she is going to do this crazy thing where she kidnaps two of the favorite NPCs and puts them in separate death traps forcing the party to choose which they save (I am making sure that saving both is not an options).
Like I said, Rowyn had such potential and she deserves a little more life, even if it’s unlife.
My PC's did not dare to keep Rowyn on the Sea Wyvern, because they were afraid she would stir up more trouble under the crew and passengers. There is also an NPC from another thieves' guild on the passenger list and they fear that he will kill Rowyn in an unguarded moment (he was one of the reasons for Rowyns presence on the ship in my campaign). And they wanted to satisfy the Jade Ravens. I played them to be jealous of the PCs because they did not get to have their own boat.
I like the dark knight idea very much, but it is also very nasty :-). But if you play it well, it can lead to very intense roleplaying moments.
I am keeping the flotsam ooze in, but want to play up the mist aspects of the encounter and see if I can make it very creepy (and foreshadow the sargasso a bit). I have also added a plot line of a ghost ship shrouded in mist, which I want to link both to the flotsam ooze and to the sargasso (the mist aspect). They are going to find the derelict hull of the ghost ship, which I substituted for The Rage.
I haven't been through this portion yet but I have a plan. Oh do I indeed if my PCs keep her. It works best with the redemption route and after they head into open sea.
When the party finds the crow warnings red hair is in their beaks...
She and Olangru are working together alright but its not willingly.
The evil monkey took several people from the wreck including some of the dead and dying for later use. When he grabs Urol his line is more along the lines of "I want a new toy." Rowyn is still alive when the rescue arrives but her state... is undecided.
The fun is going to be figuring out how she stays hidden before the demon wisks her away. She's not going to be starting with the resources she had before. If the PCs are smart about it.
Bwahaha it took a bit of concentrated effort but my "home game" finally found Rowyn just barely before Journey's End. The artificer pc convinced the rest of the group not to toss her over board. He wasn't around for There is No Honor and thus was perfect for the task. With a creative veiled threat or two he convinced her to behave. She'd been kept in the improvised brig the false Father had occupied until the vine horrors started popping up in the ship.
She pulled her weight and pretty much convinced everyone that she kept the crew from bolting once the sagrasso started breaking up. So she's free to roam the ship at least under watch.
The second storm will hit in the next session. heh heh heh
The guy running the artificer has grand schemes of making her a cohort and letting her rebuild the Lotus Dragons. This gives me the perfect way to stear and prod the group along after the wreck especially once things get "interesting" for the Dragon Lady.