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Starting the Game - The Synod's Tale


Ironfang Invasion


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Hey all! I am intent on starting this adventure path fairly soon, in an online format on the Giant in the Playground forums. Having read through the first four volumes of this AP, I was intrigued by the section in Siege of Stone where the PCs get a chance to tell the tale of their adventures to the Synod of Kraggodan, the ruling council of dwarves in the Sky Citadel. It's a fun interlude from the dungeon grind, and offers players a unique opportunity to recap heir adventures leading up to the present. However, I want to take a different tack.

I thought it could be fun to, in the vein of classical storytelling like in The Odyssey or in more contemporary fantasy works like The Kingkiller Chronicle, to start the PCs off in Kraggodan, as the Synod sits down with them and invites them to share their tale. At that point, the game cuts back to the beginning of the story, at the Phaendar Market Festival. The PCs themselves would not necessarily need to describe their characters telling the story: as a nested narrative, it can be broadly assumed that the events of the first three and a half instalments of Ironfang Invasion have happened the way the players and I describe through the game's narrative. This would help keep things relatively broad, to account for character deaths and new characters joining the party roster.

So, I'm looking for some advice. Do you think this idea is feasible to pull off in a play-by-post scenario? What about a tabletop, pen and paper setting? At your best estimate, how much time do you think might have passed between the beginning of Trail of the Hunted and the PCs' arrival at Kraggodan? Is this idea completely done to death?


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
3SecondCultist wrote:

Hey all! I am intent on starting this adventure path fairly soon, in an online format on the Giant in the Playground forums. Having read through the first four volumes of this AP, I was intrigued by the section in Siege of Stone where the PCs get a chance to tell the tale of their adventures to the Synod of Kraggodan, the ruling council of dwarves in the Sky Citadel. It's a fun interlude from the dungeon grind, and offers players a unique opportunity to recap heir adventures leading up to the present. However, I want to take a different tack.

I thought it could be fun to, in the vein of classical storytelling like in The Odyssey or in more contemporary fantasy works like The Kingkiller Chronicle, to start the PCs off in Kraggodan, as the Synod sits down with them and invites them to share their tale. At that point, the game cuts back to the beginning of the story, at the Phaendar Market Festival. The PCs themselves would not necessarily need to describe their characters telling the story: as a nested narrative, it can be broadly assumed that the events of the first three and a half instalments of Ironfang Invasion have happened the way the players and I describe through the game's narrative. This would help keep things relatively broad, to account for character deaths and new characters joining the party roster.

So, I'm looking for some advice. Do you think this idea is feasible to pull off in a play-by-post scenario? What about a tabletop, pen and paper setting? At your best estimate, how much time do you think might have passed between the beginning of Trail of the Hunted and the PCs' arrival at Kraggodan? Is this idea completely done to death?

it's a fun idea.

there's a couple of bugbears that might want to throw it for a swerve.


Example of a module where you start in the middle.

Go to Temple of Mysteries - In Media Res.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

It's a neat idea. I'm looking into starting Siege of Stone in a few sessions, and my game calendar puts that at 5-6 months after adventure start.

Most of the events of Book1,2, and 3 happen in direct sequence - not a lot of time to sit down and relax, so if you assume not giving your players more than 1-2 weeks downtime between books, a 5-6 months should be appropriate.

I would caution against giving away too much about the Synod, as it tells the PCs they need to seek out some dwarves later. It might take away from the big reveal at the end of book3 when the PCs see the onyx stone artifact for the first time.

If you describe the synod as "you stand before the Synod, an important ruling body. They seek to know your virtue and deeds before agreeing to help you. Tell your tale." it will work great.

A sentence like that does not reveal who (dwarves from kraggodan) the Synod is, but states their importance to the PCs and the story. It also doesn't' state why the PCs are there (they players can figure out it is something important to the adventure). Don't let the Players get bogged down in descriptions of the Synod (as it gives future events away).

best of luck to you and good gaming!


grandpoobah wrote:

It's a neat idea. I'm looking into starting Siege of Stone in a few sessions, and my game calendar puts that at 5-6 months after adventure start.

Most of the events of Book1,2, and 3 happen in direct sequence - not a lot of time to sit down and relax, so if you assume not giving your players more than 1-2 weeks downtime between books, a 5-6 months should be appropriate.

I would caution against giving away too much about the Synod, as it tells the PCs they need to seek out some dwarves later. It might take away from the big reveal at the end of book3 when the PCs see the onyx stone artifact for the first time.

If you describe the synod as "you stand before the Synod, an important ruling body. They seek to know your virtue and deeds before agreeing to help you. Tell your tale." it will work great.

A sentence like that does not reveal who (dwarves from kraggodan) the Synod is, but states their importance to the PCs and the story. It also doesn't' state why the PCs are there (they players can figure out it is something important to the adventure). Don't let the Players get bogged down in descriptions of the Synod (as it gives future events away).

best of luck to you and good gaming!

Thanks for the advice! I will keep the '6 months' advice in mind, and probably use that as a reference in case the players need more time in order to complete various quests.

As far as revealing the members of the Evenhanded Synod goes, I agree that less is more. My plan is to keep things pretty vague, setting the scene of 'a great hall' and 'a roaring hearth'. I'm going through descriptions of the various members of the Synod in order to describe them without revealing their race and where the PCs are. I want to convey the fact that the PCs are in the presence of important figures and that their telling the story is important but not give too much away.

The good thing about this being a play-by-post is that I can make this part of a single intro post and lead right into the story. That way the characters only need to really interact with the opening of the game at the Phaendar Market Festival and the subsequent Night of Iron Fangs while the players can see the framing device.

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