Just ran a great first session of Life's Bazaar last night, the group consisted of a Fletchling Ninja who is apart of an up and coming small thief guild called the Crimison Smile. A Ifrit Fighter who acts as a bouncer for bar/house of ill-repute named the Salted Wench; down the street from the Tipped Tankard. A Half-Drow Bladebound Magus, who is a bartender at the Salted Wench as well. A Drunken Brute Barbarian Elf and patron of the Salted Wench. And lastly a Aasimar cleric of Pelor who is friends with the ifrit bouncer.
The group got all the way up to investigating the Orphanage and are already thinking about Ghelve's Locks and the Lord Mayor's office (because of Fario and Felian) as the next two stops.
I introduced them to Lord Vhalantru by way of the Guildmaster of the Crimson Smile who told the group they should seek him out if they want to get an adventuring charter for the group. On the way into his manor they ran into the Stormblades, they sneered at the party and acted very snotty towards them which lead to Todd getting pushed by the Ifrit fighter and Todd sputtering his father would hear about this and the Ifrit fighter would regret laying a hand on him. Vhalantru impressed them a lot and I never once mentioned his full name just referred to him as Lord Vhalantru. He told them he gave out the last charter to the Stormblades which annoyed the group and then said he could get the Lord Mayor to let him give them a charter if they could do something that would show their devotion to the city. To which the group told him they were trying to find the orphans. They already like him -Insert evil DM smile here- He even gave the party some money for their trouble and as an investment in the group's future endeavors.
So I have introduced them in one session to quite a few people and plan on getting some of the other major players like Maavu introduced or foreshadowed over the next several sessions but I am running into a bit of a problem. The first combat when they dealt with the street thugs the Ninja snuck up on the thug watching the street thanks to his good roll and my bad roll and then sneak attacked the dude with a crossbow and rolled a crit. Damage from the crit killed the thug and made his pals messing with Brother Laro down the alley aware that something was up as they saw their pal clutch his throat and die. This was followed by the Ifrit walking with an evil grin into the alley with his axe slung over his back and stopping several feet from the other thugs. Followed by the Cleric Of Pelor who told them they best let the priest go and bugger off. And she rolled a nat 20 on the intimidate check :( So they ran off, the combat was over before it could really begin and Jil never got introduced....
I have read tons of the delvesdeep stuff and have had the mags and the hardcover for years so I am quite familiar with modules, just not sure how else I can introduce her as a mover and shaker...I know I want her to be part-timing in the Salted Wench undercover as a lady of the night or barmaid trying to keep an eye on the Crimson Smile and the party but beyond that not sure what else. And even that will be something in the background, because I want her when introduced to make them all do a double take because something about Jil even in her Last Laugh make up reminds them of someone they know. Any thoughts or ideas?
Several posters have made her a tragic love interest over the years. I used something similar, but also remember she gets disguised several times over the course of the adventure path, so perhaps a disguised love interest?
Yes, the serving wench disguise can work out that way, but it would do wonders for an "equal" of some sort, perhaps a "known informant" to broker some information, perhaps taking some of the thunder from another rogue in the Shackled City.
What really matters is what your players will do in the long run, and what their interest level is. Are they interested in story, or smashing? This matters because the love interest wouldn't work if it's smashing, but an informant would.
Hope this helps :)
Does give me some ideas...the only problem with the love interest is not the smashing thing which they somewhat like, its that the two male characters in the party who would be her possible love interests are the same ones she would likely torture as both took the scarred soul trait, the cleric is a female and a scion of Surabar. The Magus is also a female and dream-haunted and the elf's player is not always at the game so it would be wasted on him.
I like the meek informant idea though just have to find away to insert her into something that is going on in these next few modules
I try to treat her as a friendly enemy, someone who is just against them professionally, not personally. For the most part, my players just wanted to kill her however.
This was my players ALL over.
Then again, I planned out for one of my groups favorite tactics of hunting someone down at low levels, but nobody saw her in the first encounter.
It wasn't until Flood Season and the Demonskar Ball that they really interacted with her, and only then she was a master of disguise with the head of the thieves' guild working with big V.
That was my thinking too when it came to her too, planning on inserting her in some place during the next sesssion though most likely as an informant or the like and then later during draakthar's way and flood season, might go as far as replacing the informant in flood season with her and play it up that she is trying to get rid of the alleybashers
I'm a bit intrigued by the mix of exotic races in your party. Non-standard races are vanishingly rare in campaigns I've played in or DM'd, but Shackled City is somewhere between my norm and yours, I think - in Life's Bazaar, the prisoners are all PHB races, but the "half a dwarf" hint about Kazmojen was completely misunderstood, none of us having encountered a half dwarf before.
Do you think the citizens of Cauldron should have a different reaction to your party than one with PHB races? I.e., is there even a chance Jil would fall for the efreeti?
Since Cauldron is out on the frontier, I played the citizens as wary but neutral to exotic races. As long as they caused no trouble, my groups catfolk and lizardfolk characters were mostly ignored. Once they had accomplished some good things, they got friendly receptions around town. Unless there was a large group of armed creatures approaching the city, Cauldron was pretty open to everyone. You can't be hostile to strangers when they might be polymorphed dragons able to tear your home down around you for mouthing off.
My take is much the same as TriOmegaZero as it is never stated anywhere in the hardback or mags that uncommon races are out. I let me players choose what they wanted for this campaign as I was restrictive on the last campaign. Also all of them came up with some pretty neat ideas so I was let roll with it and see where it goes. As to Kazmojen yeah I think my group are scratching their heads they have caught on that he is some sort of half-dwarf like the half-drow but since they are so early into the module they have not figured out much more than that.
You could have her be part of Kaz's retinue... perhaps The Last Laugh put her down there to keep an eye on Kaz's activities (and take their cut), or perhaps she was just there to collect the guild's tribute and she had bad timing. Then as the party starts bashing their way through the fortress, she realizes which way this will turn and disguises herself as one of the prisoners to be rescued.
Or maybe you go even sooner, have her tail the party into Jzadirune, and then she can pretend to be a newly kidnapped victim held by the Skulks. This way, the party can "rescue" her, and she can stick with them until they go back up to the surface (thus seeing the PCs in action from up close). That persona of hers could then morph into the barmaid/informant for future chapters (and the team would have a soft spot for her, as they saved her life from their POV).
In my campaign, she was noticed during the first encounter, but the party made no attempt to follow her. Then, during the Flood Festival, I had her compete in an obstacle course I ran as a contest, but she wore a hat of disguise which no one saw through. At the line-up she started flirting with the party monk, a LG good orphan who had taken a Vow of Poverty, whom I decided she was fascinated by since he was so different from herself. She even goosed him at the start of the race, affecting his initiative roll. Then during the course of the Festival she ended up revealing herself to the monk, and they struck up a relationship that lasted through the rest of the campaign. When the monk died late in the campaign, the player even decided to run Jil as his new PC, seeking revenge for the loss of her lover (and to take over the Last Laugh in the process ;-)