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Advice on running Trial of the Beast

Carrion Crown

Hello all.

I'm looking for advice on how to run totb to its uttmost potiental. I've read it over serveral times, but i'm looking to know if there is anything I should be taking particualar interest in; notes i should have underlined. That kind of thing?

Any Suggestions?

Depends on your players. There's a lot of opportunity to go crazy with the court room drama, but I know most of the guys in my CC game would bang their heads against the table the entire time if that's the route I went...where on the other hand, I plan on really playing up the crazy alchemy/steam punk feel toward the end of the game, where I know people I've played with in the past would probably pack up and leave the second I used the word clockwork.

What can you share about you and your group?

Well our group consists of:
Dwarf Cavalier
Human Alchemist
Elf Ranger

The Elf ranger and the ???? are new players that will be replacing 2 that left the game (1 moved and the other just sits there and watches youtube all game), so I can't tell you much on how they play.

The Alchemist however enjoys long dungeon crawls, but isn't opposed to rping senario's, and the same can be said for the cavalier, but he will probably jump at the change to rp out the court room drama.

Edit: I'm just looking for what turned out to be some of the finer points of the game for others that I should keep an eye on.

RPG Superstar 2011 Top 16

2 people marked this as a favorite.

Running this right now for my group.

Prep like mad. Usually, I'm fine with improving, but for this, since getting the details correct is so important, you need to know your stuff cold. Create GM notes.

Think through the likely questions and have answers for them ready. For example:
- where was the Beast during the attacks on Morast? (the PCs might want to visit his camp)
- where was the Beast during the attack on the Sanctuary?
- why hasn't Karl gotten himself un-blinded yet? it's only a 2nd level spell
- what are the names of the three other people on the prosecution?
- where do the four prosecuters live, and when do they get in for work? (PCs might want to pay them a visit)
- what are the exact rules for cross-examining witnesses?
- if they ask Gustav Kaple to help them do research (and he certainly would help) what are his stats, or at least bonuses to pertenant Knowledge skills?
- they might push the Beast hard on where he came from. Be ready to roleplay out his resistance to that line of questioning
- time is extremely sensative in this module: figure out exactly how long it takes to get to the 3 outlying locations (remember, it's a swamp)
- it's a major pain that you can't cast Speak With Dead on a corpse first (to see if it will say the things you want) before taking it to trail (because of the 1/week limit). PCs may ask to hire a Notary, to officially witness the casting of the spell, so they can decide which transcripts to enter into court. Think about how you'll do this.

About the investigations: think about how you'll run them.
- brush up on the rules for Taking 20. Especially with Perception.
- be sure to be up-front with your PCs about what they have and have not done. For example, if they start searching the Boneyard, and they roll a DC 20, that's enough to find both the campfire AND the coracle. However, I would suggest saying "in your searching, you find a campfire. Would you like to stop and investigate this, or would you like to keep surveying the island?" Be very explicit about what they have and have not looked at yet.
- give the PCs oppurtunities to say they act, don't assume things for them. Continuing campfire example, don't say "you find a campfire. Digging around it, you find a wineskin half-full of spoiled wine, an empty potion that smells funny, and some trail ration wrappers" if you do that, you take away their feeling of involvement. Do something like this: "You find evidence of a campfire. Do you investigate?" then let them respond. Then you can say "you find a wineskin, a glass bottle, and some rations." Then prompt them to ask "what is in the wineskin?" before you say "half filled with spoiled wine." This allows them to feel involved like they are taking actions, and trains them to take initiative in their investigation, rather than the GM handing them clues once they hit the DC.

Personally, I roleplayed the Beast as more angry than child-like (like the Mary Shelly Creature), but that was my personal choice.

I hope those extremely random insights were somewhat helpful. Goodluck!

Shadow Lodge

I have six Players in my group. Any advice on how to adjust the XP?

Grand Lodge

I have now run it almost two times within a four months and one of those has been with a group of six. I usually just give them the xp for five characters to try and balance things. That group managed to finish just reaching seventh level.

Also I highly recommend some of the things that Rakshaka changed in his Trial of the Beast game (in the link below), especially the Hergstag section you can find in all those links. I just ran it and I went the extra mile of making one of the pc's a former resident of hergstag and his sister one of the early victims of Brother Swarm. It was pretty emotional when he found her body after it had been missing for years and buried her.

I also used some of the other player created content on these boards like Evil Paul's cut-scene ideas and turned them into full fledged written texts to be read to (or by) the PC's

I included something after the first module where they read about the Whispering Way sacrificing Aleece to the Phase Spider to try and create some kind of horrible poison spirit (This kept the Whispering Way fresh in their minds and reminded them who the villains were). The next one was a small story from forty years in the past where Count Caromarc, Adivion, and Petros are creating some kind of flesh creature in University. Caromarc's wife and how he tends to ignore her are mentioned, and it's revealed that at that time Adivion was the responsible one and Petros was the rakish rogue.

Finally don't be afraid to have Gustav kind of lead them in the trial. The one time I tried to let one of the PC's basically control how the evidence was presented it fell terribly flat. Be dramatic and simply have the PC's recount the evidence with the Barrister supporting them.

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