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The Blinker Strikes... out--my rejected scenario


Scenario Submission Talk

Andoran ** Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

The fourth time was not a charm. Take a look and let me know what you think. I'd appreciate any feedback.

The Blinker Strikes:

Introduction: Liam Eldred operates a kennel two miles from Falcon’s Hollow. He has had difficulty staying in business after he angered Thaldrin Kreed by refusing to board Kreed’s dogs for free. His luck changed recently when bugbears murdered a messenger just outside his kennel. Eldred waited for the bugbears to leave before investigating and discovered the creatures had taken everything of obvious value. However, they left papers, destined for a Pathfinder Society lodge, detailing the formulation of a blink dog elixir and a method to subdue the blink dogs necessary for raw materials. Eldred gathered all his money and hired a sorcerer, Jakob Rosz, and mercenaries to help with his new enterprise. Eldred holds his captive blink dogs in the kennel and uses the elixir to mimic their abilities. Taking the name “The Blinker,” he sees himself as a folk hero standing up to Kreed’s tyranny by raiding the gavel’s operation.

Summary: The characters arrive in Falcon’s Hollow to investigate the missing formula and the Blinker. Thaldrin Kreed allows them to try to capture the Blinker, but Kreed’s thugs attempt to kill the PCs, and the Blinker gets away. Investigating the attack site reveals dog fur, which leads the party to Liam Eldred’s kennels. On the way, they combat Eldred’s mercenaries and deal with blink dogs looking for their pack mates. At the kennels, the characters must disarm a trap that would otherwise sap their strength, fight an owlbear, and finally fight the Blinker and his remaining accomplices.

Encounter 1: Thaldrin Kreed meets with the PCs. At first he shows reluctance at allowing outsiders to interfere with his concerns, but the characters can convince him of their usefulness through roleplaying or with a successful Bluff or Diplomacy check (DC 15). If they permit it, he sends three of his men with them to the Blinker’s most likely target. Kreed sends his thugs (Tier 1-2: Fighter 2, Tier 3-4: Fighter 3, Tier 6-7: Fighter 5) to keep an eye on the PCs whether they agree to it or not. They take Kreed’s orders too far and attack the characters to get them out of the way when the Blinker strikes. In the chaos, the Blinker escapes, but a DC 20 Perception check uncovers a tuft of dog fur at the scene.

Encounter 2: Kreed professes innocence and points the party in the direction of Liam Eldred. Alternately, the PCs can make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check (Tier 1-2: DC 10, Tier 3-4/6-7: DC 15) to find Eldred’s kennel. Outside of town, two of Eldred’s hired men (Tier 1-2: Ranger 2, Tier 3-4: Ranger 3, Tier 6-7: Ranger 5) attempt to ambush them. The PCs find two blink dogs, alive but unconscious, in a sack.

Encounter 3: This optional encounter follows immediately after the previous fight. Two blink dogs searching for their pack mates spot the characters and unconscious blink dogs, and they spoil for a fight. A DC 20 Diplomacy check will defuse the situation, and the blink dogs will stay and stand guard. A DC 30 Diplomacy check results in the blink dogs following the party to Eldred’s place.

Encounter 4: After Eldred began his new career, he installed locks and traps. The only entrance to the kennel requires a Disable Device check (Tier 1-2: DC 18, Tier 3-4: DC 23, Tier 6-7: DC 28) to bypass the lock. A 10-ft-square cloud of poison gas, with the same effect as medium spider venom, affects the characters if they trigger the trap and fail a Reflex save. Perception/Disable Device checks and Reflex saves have the same DCs as the locks. Another of Eldred’s men waits on the other side of the door (see encounter 2).

Encounter 5: Rosz’s trained and hungry owlbear (Tier 1-2: Young and injured, Tier 3-4: Young, Tier 6-7: Use 2 typical owlbears instead) bars the way to the blink dogs and Eldred.

Encounter 6: Eldred (Tier 1-2: Expert 1/Rogue 2, Tier 3-4: Expert 1/Rogue 4, Tier 6-7: Expert 1/Rogue 6), Rosz (Tier 1-2: Sorcerer 3, Tier 3-4: Sorcerer 5, Tier 6-7: Sorcerer 7), and another mercenary (see encounter 2) defend their operation. The characters can parley with them, but they will not give up the formula or release the blink dogs.

Conclusion: If the characters defeat Eldred, they recover the elixir’s formula and return it to the Pathfinder Society. Otherwise, the Blinker continues to plague Thaldrin Kreed, while the Society loses a valuable resource in future ventures.

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Not going to put this in a spoiler tag, since it is not an offical module.
Please take the comments as creative critque only.

The Good:I like this story. It's interesting, it has that Dread pirate Roberts feel to it and Thaldrin Kreed needs to be put in his place.

The Bad: My first question is in the introduction. Can a man keep blink dogs in a kennel? Wouldn't they just blink out of the cages? It's just food for thought. Also, the PFS should know what happened to his formula if some person is running around calling himself "The Blinker". I am thinking this may be too obvious. Does Kreed know of the formula? If not, why wouldnt he want the players to get The Blinker? Encounter 1 is more like two encounters and the meeting with Kreed could be part of the intro section of the module. How does the dog fur get into encounter 1 if there are no dogs in the combat? I also would not put the main character in the first encounter. One failed save on the Blinker's behalf and *poof* senario over. Josh may have thought this to be a deal breaker.
Anyway, encounter 2 you have Kreed pleading and this really should be played by one of his underlings. Kreed is protrayed as the tyrant in the books and personally I dont think there would be a chance at intimidation with his hired thugs, for instance, like Payday (think he is level 6) around to wipe the floor with the party of first level characters.
The rangers ambushing the party is not a bad idea. Ambushing though means they would have previous knowledge that the PCs were on the way. If they were carrying the blink dogs, that would mean they were hunting and maybe happened upon the PCs on the return trip? It's a little confusing.
The next two encounters are solid I think. The trap could have used a little more detail. It doesnt strike me as unique enough. Something like "A small 10' wide rickety wood porch ends in an makeshift wooden door. A brass bell hangs near with a silk pull cord." The player pulls cord and a gas cloud gets released from under the porch.
Owlbears are cool but why isnt their feathers being used at the site of attacks of the Blinker? Also, Owl bear might be harder to hide aginst those in Falcon's hollow.
In the last encounter, why state the party can parlay with the blinker if it will not change the outcome?

What I would improve on: Logical problems, leave major NPCs (Kreed) out of combat areas. No reoccuring villian in combat encounters without a major reason. Other than that, this story's core was good. The devil is in the details.

I hope this helps. Good luck on attempt 5 and never give up!

** RPG Superstar 2012

AngrySpirit wrote:
Great suggestions

Thanks, Angry Spirit!

I should have been clearer about the blink dogs being incapacitated in the kennel, because I agree that you can't keep them there while they're conscious. I should have put the meeting with Kreed in the introduction, since the party doesn't really get anything out of it. Most players wouldn't allow him to send his people with them anyway.

I wish I could have gotten your feedback before I submitted. :) I would have changed the encounter to make the Blinker one of Eldred's henchmen. That way the characters could have seen the elixir in action, and I could have allowed them to "take out" the main villain in the first encounter, then reveal that the Blinker used his dupe as a distraction. They would have seen the dog fur (from being in the kennel) on the fake Blinker and that would have led to the kennels. That would have been more clever.

Kreed was "pleading innocence" in encounter 2, but I definitely could have had an underling see the characters, just in case combat broke out.

"Ambush" was an unfortunate word choice. I should have indicated that it was a chance meeting.

Yep, I definitely should have spiced the trap description up. It wasn't the worst offense in the scenario, but it would have helped things a little (if Josh would have even gotten this far).

The owlbear was there to "dispose" of the blink dogs, so it wouldn't have been travelling around Falcon's Hollow. Again I should have spelled that out.

The final encounter should have given the party the option to parlay after most of the other NPCs have been defeated. Then it would have been more meaningful to have them decide whether Eldred lived or not.

Thanks again. Did you submit an entry for this Open Call?

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
taig wrote:
Thanks again. Did you submit an entry for this Open Call?

No, unfortunately I had to choose between getting through mid terms (Computer Science major) and getting published. I have a rough draft but was not able to polish it in time. :( Hopefully, I can recycle some of the ideas for the next open call. Also, I intend to write for Wayfinder next week during fall break. Wish me luck

Andoran ** Contributor, RPG Superstar 2012

AngrySpirit wrote:
taig wrote:
Thanks again. Did you submit an entry for this Open Call?
No, unfortunately I had to choose between getting through mid terms (Computer Science major) and getting published. I have a rough draft but was not able to polish it in time. :( Hopefully, I can recycle some of the ideas for the next open call. Also, I intend to write for Wayfinder next week during fall break. Wish me luck

Best of luck--with your midterms and your Wayfinder article.

I have a Wayfinder article rattling around in my head that I need to get on paper this weekend.

Cheliax

Okay, my intial thought was that you need a better title. the Blinker Strikes just doesn't pop for me. The rest of the adventure seems to be pretty good, I would have to play through it to really find any major flaws. However, would someone who has an owlbear locked up in his hideout really have that much to fear from Kreed and his ilk? Why hasn't he turned it loose on them already? I would change the Owlbear to something more likely to be found in a kennel, a Krensher perhaps.


taig wrote:

...scenario stuff...

I wish I could have gotten your feedback before I submitted.

I liked it, and think AngrySpirit's suggestions would make it better.

If you submit for the next Open Call, do you want feedback beforehand? I always had trouble designing scenarios, but you're welcome to borrow my eyeballs for anything you submit in the future. Maybe some of the other FaWTL loonies would be willing to be beta readers too?

It'd never get approved, but I'd love to see a scenario where the PCs have to break an inmate(s?) out of a magical asylum.

** RPG Superstar 2012

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
taig wrote:

...scenario stuff...

I wish I could have gotten your feedback before I submitted.

I liked it, and think AngrySpirit's suggestions would make it better.

If you submit for the next Open Call, do you want feedback beforehand? I always had trouble designing scenarios, but you're welcome to borrow my eyeballs for anything you submit in the future. Maybe some of the other FaWTL loonies would be willing to be beta readers too?

It'd never get approved, but I'd love to see a scenario where the PCs have to break an inmate(s?) out of a magical asylum.

Thanks for the offer. I can always use some pre-submission critiquing. That's a good idea about getting some more input from the FaWTL group, although I fear the suggestions I'd get. :)

Hmmm....interesting suggestion...maybe next time...

Paizo Employee ** Developer

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
It'd never get approved, but I'd love to see a scenario where the PCs have to break an inmate(s?) out of a magical asylum.

Well, they did do Stay of Execution. If a pitch like this was rejected, part of the reason could be for doing another prison-break plot.


yoda8myhead wrote:
Well, they did do Stay of Execution. If a pitch like this was rejected, part of the reason could be for doing another prison-break plot.

I'd kinda figured it be hands off because of the possibility of offending someone over the depiction of people in the asylum, no matter how well-written or sensitive in their depiction.

I was blatently stealing the kernel of the idea from the Spellhold arc in the Baldur's Gate CRPG.

Cheliax

Ambrosia Slaad wrote:
taig wrote:

...scenario stuff...

I wish I could have gotten your feedback before I submitted.

I liked it, and think AngrySpirit's suggestions would make it better.

If you submit for the next Open Call, do you want feedback beforehand? I always had trouble designing scenarios, but you're welcome to borrow my eyeballs for anything you submit in the future. Maybe some of the other FaWTL loonies would be willing to be beta readers too?

I'd be happy to rip apart, I mean critique, your work before you submit it. :)

Cheliax

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Ambrosia Slaad wrote:

I'd kinda figured it be hands off because of the possibility of offending someone over the depiction of people in the asylum, no matter how well-written or sensitive in their depiction.

Speaking as someone who has a loved one living with mental illness, I would not be offended. Increasing awareness of disabilities would be a good thing in my opinion. I would love to see a paladin charge from a wheelchair(some people in wheelchairs move faster than people who can walk) or a wizard who failed a "trap the soul" spell be dealing with two personalities in one body, similar to schitzophrenia.Would each mind have its own spell compliment? Would a schitzophrenic wizard be able to specialize in two schools? Get two perception checks?

Writing a setting of an asylum I do not think would be out of bounds. After reading the module Carnival of Tears, an asylum may seem a bit normal.

*

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game Subscriber
AngrySpirit wrote:

Speaking as someone who has a loved one living with mental illness, I would not be offended. Increasing awareness of disabilities would be a good thing in my opinion. I would love to see a paladin charge from a wheelchair(some people in wheelchairs move faster than people who can walk) or a wizard who failed a "trap the soul" spell be dealing with two personalities in one body, similar to schitzophrenia.Would each mind have its own spell compliment? Would a schitzophrenic wizard be able to specialize in two schools? Get two perception checks?

Writing a setting of an asylum I do not think would be out of bounds. After reading the module Carnival of Tears, an asylum may seem a bit normal.

I agree that an asylum would not be out of bounds. Nick Logue's Hell's Heart stands out as a fantastic example. However, stay as far away from retirement homes as possible. Josh has a thing about them. :)

Thread derailment aside, thanks for sharing your submission, taiga.

For some reason your submission reminds me of an episode of Smallville, where people regular make potions out of meteor rocks that give them supernatural powers. I just watched a Legend of the Seeker episode with the same premise. The ability to make blink potions is an interesting one, but it's hard to believe that the Pathfinder Society would be interested enough to send an entire team to find it.

You've done an excellent job tying your submission to the Falcon's Hollow area, and I like the idea of the kennel master gone bad. Keep trying!

Sincerely,
Derek

** RPG Superstar 2012

David Fryer wrote:
I'd be happy to rip apart, I mean critique, your work before you submit it. :)

Thanks for the offer. Actually, ripping something apart is not so bad. I've sorta grown a few extra layers of epidermis.

Derek Poppink wrote:

For some reason your submission reminds me of an episode of Smallville, where people regular make potions out of meteor rocks that give them supernatural powers. I just watched a Legend of the Seeker episode with the same premise. The ability to make blink potions is an interesting one, but it's hard to believe that the Pathfinder Society would be interested enough to send an entire team to find it.

You've done an excellent job tying your submission to the Falcon's Hollow area, and I like the idea of the kennel master gone bad. Keep trying!

Sincerely,
Derek

Thanks, Derek! I was attempting to portray a supervillain in the Blinker, and I'm glad you picked up on that.

I've really got to get the tone down for the Pathfinder Society. I've read through and played a few scenarios, so I should know better by now, but I always seem to go off in a weird direction when I put together my submissions.

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