You're looking at this wrong.
The party doesn't have to kill the dragon. Doesn't have to go anywhere near it's tower. Or help Solveig & her revolutionaries in any way.
All they have to do is be 6th lv & get into the woods surrounding the hut.
The character that does have a vested interest in killing the dragon, entering it's lair, & setting off the revolution? Solvieg.
1) To get the revolution started.
2) Now it's personal - Logrovich has abducted her friend Bella. Let this be the factor that finally spurs real action.
Let the PCs fart about doing whatever they like in Whitethrone.
When you get tired of running Whitethrone stuff? Have Solvieg & a cohort launch the attack on Logrovich themselves. And have the rest of the revolutionaries rise up throughout the city. Have the resulting chaos draw off enough of the Winter Guard to allow the PCs a chance to slip or fight their way into the woods.
Of course the PCs won't know what's happened, just that now they're caught up in the chaos of a civil war.
If they're smart they'll recognize that this is their chance & can fight their way through the streets and into the next section of the module.
And if you still want a dragon fight? That's fine. Logrovich (maybe a bit wounded) can show up to help Nahzeena once the PCs reach her.
Oh, absolutely. I'm all for them finding an alternative way to the hut. So far they haven't come up with one, other than "ask nicely", to which the Winter Guard replied, "Uh, no".
If they faff around too much, the revolution will definitely start without them, and the Winter Guard presence around the marketplace will drop, giving them a chance. How it goes from there is up to them. If they're stupid, they'll get Logrovich's attention. If they're smart they'll skip straight past to the forest.
As for starting the revolution, I'm thinking of it going like this:
- It's well known that previous daughters who rebelled against Baba Yaga didn't fare well - the legends often include the words "and her entire family" - so many anticipate the same thing happening to the Jadwiga Elvanna, opening up a chance for the Jadwiga Yelizaveta to regain the positions of power they were shoved out of a century ago.
- The Jadwiga are a mixture of eager and nervous. Wherever their loyalties lie, many are looking for a safe place to hide when it all kicks off.
- The Heralds know that there are plenty of groups in Whitethrone who'd be happy to see the Winter Guard gone and Elvanna deposed - including some factions in the Winter Guard who were former Iron Guard. But each of those groups is unwilling to act alone, and are sufficiently distrustful of each other to make coordinating an attack dangerous. So a large symbolic victory - such as killing Logrovich - is the best way to kick things off.
- First the Heralds try to get the party to kill the dragon. Since the party weren't eager to do that, they sent another group instead. They failed.
- Before they died, word got out about Bella, who Solvieg thought was dead. She now has a personal reason, and will probably volunteer to be in the next group to try if there is one.
- The Heralds' next plan is to assassinate one or more high-ranking Jadwiga Elvanna in order to weaken their power base. They happen to do this while the PCs are nearby. Some of them might even get arrested in the confusion.
- Logrovich is flying around, ready to go to town on any open rebels he sees, leading to a very messy guerrilla war in the streets, alleys and bedrooms of Whitethrone.
Success! Or at least positive steps.
I told them how, since they didn't do the job, the Heralds sent somebody else to fight the dragon. This team of heroes hasn't been heard from again, and so presumably died. The guard have been on high alert since.
They've now settled on the idea of talking to the dragon and seeing if they can either persuade it to change sides, or convince it that the guard surrounding the Marketplace are in fact rebels ... or something. Either way, they're headed for the tower next session.
The Heralds will be helping by providing a distraction to draw guards away from the tower, making it easier for them to either sneak or fight their way in.
So. They might be marching to their deaths, but at least they're going the right way now!
They haven't yet caught on to Solveig's connection to the captive Bella, though I dropped lots of hints that she was visibly shaken by the events. If they don't get it out of her - and possibly if they do - they'll find Solveig trying to slip into the tower behind them so she can rescue Bella herself.
She'll be alone. The rest of the Heralds only care for valuable assets; a musician doesn't help their cause in any way.
|Douglas Muir 406|
Probably not, though it is at least a personal connection that lets me work plot in better than it would with Faceless Civilian 3.
I have very little idea what's going to happen in the tower. It depends entirely on their approach.
One way or another, the revolution is starting soon. The PCs can be part of it, or just bystanders caught up in it.
Okay, this game got delayed for a while because of real life, but has now resumed.
They've now climbed the tower (mostly by stealth, so its hazards and guards are still present), opened the door to Bella's cell (but have not told her they're there to rescue her, for some reason, preferring to pose as officially approved something or other), and are about to confront the dragon...
I still don't know what their approach is going to be or what's going to happen. Neither do they.
Yikes, with that approach, I sure hope the whole tower doesn't come to help the dragon once they engage it! And even if they don't react then, they surely will when the dragon is dead and it's time to leave.
If I were the GM in this case, I would have troops waiting outside below the tower and also guarding the exit/entrance to the dragon's lair.
The clock tower IS incredibly noisy, so it's possible to have the confrontation with the dragon without drawing attention from below. (Unless they have a gunslinger or some other thing that's also incredibly noisy.)
Huh. Did the party look around the tower enough to figure out that the witch has been feeding the trolls children?
This could still turn into a TPK, if they play it badly. That's the game: you need real hazard for there to be real victory.
Since they were prevaricating, a few days ago (in game) I had their contact with the Heralds tell them that they'd sent a different team of warriors up the tower to try and kill Logrovich, and none of them returned. I backed this up by mentioning bloodstains on the stairs up. So the party are certainly aware of the fact that this is supposed to be a dangerous situation.