So, we added two characters to the party as listed above:
Urzzak Greentooth, half-orc cleric of Rovagug; and
Chyme, the Taint of Sandpoint, halfling gunslinger
Kingpinmaker Game Two, Part One--Spoilered for Length
So, Chyme, drug kingpin on the make, had convinced Urzzak, itinerant maker of dolls and secret apocalypse-bringer, to invest in his shipment of denner's resin. The two got into his covered wagon, filled with doll parts and a caged dire rat (Urzzak's player wouldn't let anyone see the rat, but periodically, it would make noise in its cage and Urzzak would bang on the wagon, yelling "Shut up, Skeet!") and headed to campsite where the other players already were.
So when they reunited with the other players and discovered that Kelgath Redbeard and friends had been torn apart by a drug-addled chimera, they hatched a scheme to screw over the big-timey drug lord they were getting the denner's resin from, Mister Scratch. They loaded a half dozen barrels into their wagons, and hid the rest in the dead chimera's cave. Then they torched the still.
Somewhere in there, Brother Makao, who is the only good character out of the bunch, an Iomedaean monk who doesn't approve of dealing drugs, and who's player is in sixth or so grade, pulled a Teamster and followed his instructions to the letter. Before they decided on the chimera cave, Chyme asked him to dig a whole in the ground and bury the barrels of denner's resin in it. Except he didn't say "bury," he said "dump." Brother Makao dutifully dug a hole, and then proceeded to pour out the barrel's contents into the pit. We all cackled with laughter as Chyme yelled and screamed and I rewarded Brother Makao with a Hero Point.
Then Urzzak told Chyme that he had heard of an alchemist named Gerlach (getting into From Shore to Sea here, but no spoilers yet) who lived in a town called Blackcove who harvested hallucinogenic seaweed. They all agreed to leave in the morning.
What else? Well, Chyme had no idea how the drug addiction rules work (and, to be honest, I'm not sure I do, either) and quickly became addicted to both opium and flayleaf and was an absolute wreck for the rest of the game and his player dutifully played the part by getting drunk. Genny, meanwhile, had become addicted to denner's resin from the last game and Giles O. Beck was suffering from the onslaught of devil's chills which, in addition to the usual drawbacks, also caused him to grow a black goatee. After a while, Urzzak's player realzed that he could cast remove disease and promised to memorize the spell next day.
At this point, Genny's player still hadn't arrived, as he was coming from work in a snowstorm, so I threw two landsharks at them. I'm having a hard time figuring out how to scale CRs for a party of six or seven players, but this one was right on the money--suitably terrifying but they all survived. Largely because of Giles O. Beck's trait which gives him prestidigitation 1/day (a landshark was going to devour someone--Ginny maybe?--but he made her clothes taste terrible, so he gave up) and Urzzak's domain power (call lightning, m%+**#&~+%@&!) which was prety cool. Otherwise they probably would've all died. But they didn't. They even stocked up on trail rations and leather for doll parts.
However, the landsharks had killed two of their horses and broke one of the wagon wheels. Chyme freaked out, Genny's player showed up, we ate pizza, Urzzak said "I've got it." That night, he prayed to Rovagug, took out his holy symbol which is a grotesque, misshapen plush orc doll with a black gem for one eye and I forget what else for the other, made whole the wagon, cast remove disease on the afflicted--Giles lost the chills but still has the goatee, Chyme's opium addiction proved too powerful for even the power of Rovagug, I think Genny's still chasing the dragon, too, she was getting wasted on the sly, taking sips of denner's resin with a straw that she dipped into a hole she chiselled in the cork of one of the barrels--and summoned two skeleton horses from his robe of bones. These he then outfit with with blankets and rolls of leather so that you couldn't immediately tell they were skeletons.
I'm not exactly sure where he was going with this, but it didn't matter because he was Percepted by on-watch Barbie Ragnarock who was, like, wtf?!?
I wanted to say thanks again for the voodoo dolls rules, everybody.
So the ganji doll is pretty awesome, but funny thing:
At 16,000 gp a ganji doll was too expensive for him to buy at 6th-level so he wanted to keep 8,000 gp set aside and make one in-game.
I was all like, yeah, I don't know if I want your guy to start out lugging 8 grand around and Barbie's player was all like, voodoo dolls are pretty cool but if we're close enough to a Big Bad to get a piece of hair off him, why don't we just kill him? And then I was like, look, if you're 6th-level and not running around with the appropriate amount of magic items, you're going to get your ass kicked and he was like, [Deflated] Fine.
I talked to him on the phone after we played. I'm kind of skipping ahead, but he had played CE to the hilt. Affable CE, but totally recognizablly CE. He was nervous and worried that the other players were going to hate him, the player, for being so disruptive and evil.
"Are you crazy? You were awesome! When you were banging on that cage and yelling 'Shut up, Skeet!'? In that voice? You were the shiznit!" "Yeah?" he asked.
"Yeah. You were great. [Pause] "That being said, some of them were talking after you left about how they might have to kill your character."
"Let them f##&ing try! I've got call lightning, I've got storm burst, I'll make a f!#$ing voodoo doll of them--I wish I still had my eight thousand gold..."
A light dawned. "So that's why you wanted all that money? Not to get a Big Bad but to get a PC?!?"
"F@$% yeah, man, I'm Chaotic Eeeeeee-vil!!"
Of course it is. Giles, Esmerelda and Brother Makao will be there as well. I think they've got a room and are staying all weekend.
As for Kingpinmaker, [blushes] thank you. In the future, game posts will be in my old Vive le Galt? thread up in the General Discussion forum. Which, I admit, is the wrong place for it, but I assume the mods will move it if they want.
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Don't watch much TV, but I'll make an exception for:
House of Fools, which may or may not make sense to many viewers, and
The Musketeers. Evil sexy Spanish ladies in corsets! Sword fights! Jewel thieves! Buff stubbly men in leather! Something for everyone, in other words!
ALso, This is what will happen when CUMMERNISTS take over America (I'm looking at you, DA), so don't say you haven't been warned.
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Ok, so as I have stated I am running a Serpent's Skull game with four people. The players are:
Vargas - Human Barbarian who was a former slave and had recently "earned" his freedom
Azrael - Tiefling Witch who is NE and asked me to always make a roll for every town he is in to see if the citizens "grab pitchforks and try to burn me".
Zebulah - Human Fighter who is using the Archer archetype. Zebulah is the son of two "Mageball" players. More on Mageball later.
Eman - Aasimar Oracle and party healer. This player started later and was given an alternative adventure to get him up to "speed".
There is also a GM PC named Lemac who is a Half-Elf Rogue, but he really became a background character once the Oracle player began playing.
The adventure started with the PCs on their way to Eledar when their boat was taken off course and crashes on Smuggler's Shiv. Not to bore you with those details even though there was some funny bits I'm going to skip ahead to when they eventually make their way off the island. BTW, I should mention that I'm also incorporating the Mythic rules into this AP. Also, I'm incorporating various elements from Ultimate Campaign as needed.
So after spending the greater part of 3 weeks marooned on the island with other castaways...crap, I forgot to mention the other castaways. Man, I hope no one is going to be running this because this is going to have massive spoilers so SPOILER ALERT just in case. Perhaps I should start with that...nah, I've come too far. Ok, there are five castaways the PCs find while they are on Smuggler's Shiv and they "can" keep them alive and get them to work with them to survive. I'll just name them for brevity. The five castaways are:
Aerys - Half-Elf Fighter
Gelik - Gnome Bard
Ishirou - Human Rogue
Jask - Human Cleric
Sasha - Human Ranger
Side note: The first adventure is much like the TV show Survivor and James Jacobs has even said that he was inspired by that TV show and Lost for the adventure.
Once they get off the island and make their way to Eledar, the party ends up going off to sell all of the loot they have been hoarding. The former NPC Castaways head off to find their contacts. The PCs decide that since they have fully explored Smuggler's Shiv, broke the curse of the island and are Mythic that they should figure out a way to "own" the island. Well, in Racing to Ruin the second installment, the PCs are wooed over by 5 different factions...who just so happen to be connect to the same NPCs who they were castawayed with. Go figure. These factions are interested in some information the PCs have about a lost city of gold and all trying to get the PCs on their side.
Side note: This makes me think that the second adventure is going to play out much like an episode of The Amazing Race. This AP is turning out to be the Reality TV AP...But I digress.
The PCs don't really care about the lost city of gold as much as they are interested in establishing an "island resort to take money from rich people". Let me back up, two of the four PCs are interested in this, while the rest of them are kind of "meh" about the whole thing. Anyways, it is decided that we will be using the Kingdom Building rules as well during the game and they go about trying to obtain funding for their new kingdom. This is where the 5 factions come into play. The 5 factions are:
The Aspis Consortium - Ishirou is linked to this organization and I decided that Lemac has been swayed to join them as well.
Pathfinder Society - Gelik is linked to this organization. The players groaned at the inclusion of this organization mainly because none of them really know the history of the Inner Sea.
Free Pirates of the Shackles - Aerys is linked to this organization.
Red Mantis Assassins - Sasha is linked to this organization. Due to earlier events, this organization is automatically considered an enemy of the PCs.
Sargavan Government - Jask is linked to this organization. This is the local government for the city.
Ok, that was a lot of exposition. More to follow.
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Ok, so what essentially happens during the last game session is the 5 organizations trying to gain favor with the PCs in order to get to the lost city that they want to go to.
Side note: This was much like an episode of The Bachelor or The Apprentice...again this is turning out to be the Reality TV AP.
The PCs immediately go to the Sargavan Government in order to ensure that they can claim the island for themselves. I had decided that while the Sargavan Government would like to include Smuggler's Shiv as part of their country, they are more interested at this time in getting to the lost city in order to gain the riches there. They agree to help fund the PCs kingdom if they will agree to lead an expedition to the city. This begins with what later becomes the "standard deal" of 500gp per player upfront, 1000gp per player upon arrival with the addition of one organization specific benefit usually something along the lines of extra money, extra NPCs or extra stuff. What made this interesting is that I decided that each of these factions would also offer the requisite BP needed to start their kingdom. Unfortunately for me as the GM, the PCs were a little greedy because they wanted to get enough BP starting out for a Waterfront in order to be able to build their kingdom quickly. Unfortunately for the PCs their kingdom can only be 2 hexes because Smuggler's Shiv is just over 12 miles long.
So, I decided that it wouldn't be too bad if they were able to negotiate for a waterfront on the island. The Sargavan Government were interested in expanding their holdings and offered the first deal. They then learned that there would be other deals and decided to try and play all of them against each other...which lead to some hilarious results. Essentially they had multiple meetings with all of the organizations in an effort to get the "best deal" and possibly even get multiple deals at the same time. What they didn't know was that the AP is set up to have them chose one organization and then have a rival organization that will try to hinder them in their adventures. The book offers suggestions for Rival organizations and I stuck with these suggestions for the most part. It is possible to work with two organizations if you play your cards right but after all of the wheeling and dealing I pretty much ensured that they wouldn't be able to do that. So, after the initial deal from the Sargavan Government, they received the "standard deal" from all of the other organizations. After some negotiations, the following organizations were able to help them in their quest to obtain a waterfront on Smuggler's Shiv - Aspis Consortium, Sargavan Government, and Free Pirates of the Shackles. They got into a confrontation with the Red Mantis Assassins and even rescued Sasha from them (long story). They almost brokered a deal where they were going to work with The Pathfinder Society and the Aspis Consortium but since they are rival factions I nipped that in the bud when I stated that the Aspis Consortium wanted an "exclusivity contract". So, the deals changed quite frequently but ended up with the Aspis Consortium offering money to build the waterfront, the "standard deal" and another 125,000gp once they reached the city IF they reach it first; The Sargavan Government offering money to build the waterfront, the "standard deal" and a "magical Mithril Breastplate"; The Free Pirates of the Shackles offered the Waterfront, the "standard deal" and "protection from Pirate attacks"; The Pathfinders offered the "standard deal" and a Wayfinder for each PC; The Red Mantis Assassins were turned down immediately.
The PCs were attempting to broker a deal that would allow them to work with both the Free Pirates of the Shackles and the Aspis Consortium when they realized that the contact person for the Free Pirates wasn't really offering them anything. Upon this conclusion, the representative from the Free Pirates expressed that she would offer to help them run their new kingdom and only wanted a small piece of the treasure from the city. Ultimately the PCs decided against the Pirates and they did not get a rose...I mean they were fired...I mean the deal was off.
What currently is waiting until next time we meet is a possible counter offer from the Sargavan Government and The Pathfinder Society which I've already decided cannot match the current high bid. I've got some ideas in mind of what will happen which ever way they go with the current front runners not really wanting anything to do with the running of their kingdom but may eventually come back to get a return on their "loan".
Essentially, it was one of the greatest games that ever happened in my time as GM. I consider myself a decent GM and I try to find a good mix of Roleplay with Rollplay but often I don't see a lot of character development. This session had an immense amount of character development and everyone had fun even though there was only one combat the entire night. I think what made it even better is that the Oracle was having a hard time following all of the wheeling and dealing despite being the "face" of the party and would constantly ask to know what was going on and have several people explain everything that just happened. I can't wait to see what happens later and for all I know we may end up eventually abandoning the AP in favor for one that we make up as we go along.