Okay, what I was going for in my last post was 1) we should do something to prevent him from running away again, and 2) I wanted to search his person. If we're going to take him prisoner, we need to actually do so. I apologize if that wasn't clear enough.
Mel did want the cave searched, but that's a distant third priority. Partly because the cave isn't going anywhere, but also because she'd never voluntarily enter such a place without an immediate and compelling reason. Particularly not with an unsecured enemy at her back.
Also, good move getting out of the trap, Hirda! I think that's an entirely reasonable approach now that we're not in active combat.
Once we get back out into the sunlight I'm going to want to compare the handwriting on the papers we found with the notes from earlier.
Hey all. Mel had some good questions about the political landscape. I told her what is common knowledge while more details would require k local or k history checks. Here were her questions and my answers:
1) Who currently rules Iustia?
2) You mentioned Iustia has adopted an expansionist policy. Is that a new development? What brought it about?
3) How is Iustia's government organized? Monarchy? Oligarchy? Democracy? Magocracy? Some other form of government?
4) What internal divisions/factions does Iustia have?
Same questions about the Bishopric of Helm and the Elven lands.
1) Iustia is a monarchy ruled by the young Stephen the II who recently succeeded to the throne.
2) See 1. The new young king is ambitious and proud, itching to stretch his monarchic muscles.
3) See 1.
4) As you would expect, the young king has many advisors. His older councilors advise against war but those closer to his own 24 years encourage his plans and ambitions. I think a check would be in order to know more than that of the divisions/factions of Iustia.
1) The Bishopric of Helm is ruled by the Bishop of Helm. This small sovereign state was created to resolve a dispute over the territory between Elven Lands and Iustia several centuries ago. At the time, the half-elf Bishop Allen the Fair was the only one both sides would agree to entrust with the land.
3) A new Bishop is elected by a council of religious leaders whenever the old Bishop dies. Both Iustia and Elven Lands exert a significant amount of political pressure on these elections.
4) There are a few different religions within the Bishopric. Some tend to side with the Elves more often while others tend to side with Iustia. Some try to remain neutral.
1) A council rules Elven lands.
3) The council members are elected by popular vote in each of their representative regions.
4) Unknown without a K local check.
You guys have successfully completed my epilogue. Really the only thing left is to decide what you want to do with the information and Elrin. That said, let's discuss our plans moving forward.
I've greatly enjoyed running my first PBP game here with you guys. I think I've learned a lot that will help me GM better in the future while having a great time.
If you guys want to move forward with this, that sounds fun to me. If your characters would rather give the information and Elrin to someone else and go home to your village, that is also 100% fine.
And here's that Knowledge (local) check:
Knowledge (local): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (1) + 13 = 14
Ugh, natural one. The dice have been schizophrenic lately -- either they love me to pieces or hate my guts, and they can't seem to make up their minds!
I've got a whole passel of ideas for things we might do with this, but no time to write them up just this moment.
|Hirda of Kirin|
Understandable Hirda. The original intent was that the Brooksiders, having successfully defended their town and solved the mystery, pass on the info as they see fit and go back to their quiet lives. I think that makes the most sense for many villagers.
We could call this closed and start a new campaign to which we port over either your existing characters or new characters and possibly recruit some fresh players. Then we can begin the bigger story arc, having concluded the local one.
Hi, all, sorry that this hasn't been my best period for posting. As I look ahead to the coming months, I'm going to be totally topsy-turvey for a while, probably from now until... September? Maybe mid-August.
While I'd love to play more with all of you, I'm worried that I could
only guarantee about three posts per week, and I don't want to have that slow you down / be a burden on the campaign.
I will give a full-throated endorsement to anyone interested in applying to a bigger campaign, but for the near future, my role would be secondary, at best.
Okay, I'm confused -- why does Vors think Halak is going to travel with Mel? I don't think that's a prospect either of them would welcome.
Mel's idea was to give him a backpack with a water skin and some basic supplies, point towards the orcish lands and say "Go, be free, tell the other orcs invading was a terrible idea and they should never try it."
|Hirda of Kirin|
Okay, so Hirda's out. Vors is likely to stay in Brookside, both for in-character reasons and because he's busy for the upcoming future. How do we want to proceed from here?
I propose something like this:
Mel and Perrin leave first thing tomorrow morning -- literally, crack of dawn -- to escort Elrin to Astin. I'd like to bring at least one NPC to help keep an eye on him. Maybe Thomas Nolton? Or perhaps Vors could be botted just for a trip to Astin, after which he vanishes.
In Astin, we report in with the local authorities -- perhaps Captain Hannady? That lets us do 3 things:
1) We can get an escort the rest of the way to Helm.
2) We can tell them that people are still awfully scared as a result of the attack, and would find it mighty reassuring if the Bishopric could see their way to making a show of force in the area for a while -- send out well-armed patrols along the border for a few weeks. We can let the good captain think this is just to reassure people -- which it will -- but at the same time it'll increase the likelihood that any force of elves who show up will be intercepted by a well-armed group of official soldiers and not given free reign to do as they will.
3) It's an opportunity to recruit a couple new players, if we want to do that.
For my part, I think we could plausibly run this with 2 players plus some strategically placed NPCs through to the part where we deliver Elrin to the Bishop.
Whether the campaign continues after that or not I don't know. It depends on what happens there, and how we react to it, and on a whole host of other factors. Mel and Perrin are commoners who've stumbled into some deep politics. It's hard to know what they might do on their own to avert a war. And -- err, Perrin's naivete, which has been excellently role-played, may be a more serious issue in a game of intrigue.
If I might suggest, you could bring Vors' son, Kelian, as an NPC to accompany you, and if it works out for me to hop back in this fall, I'd be glad to take up playing him.
Otherwise, taking Thomas makes sense!
Thanks, all - sorry that I'm ending on a rather weak note for my posting, but that's sadly where I am right now. Enjoy the continued campaign! If you keep playing here in this thread, I'll keep spying on the story. :)
THANK YOU, GM! You assembled a wonderful team, and told an awesome story for us. Kudos!
Perrin and Mel: That's it! That's all I have planned for you. But I get the impression you guys want a more complete ending that encompasses a larger scale. That sounds like a follow-up campaign to me. We can either let the scene fade out as you ride away here or the below:
Character options: We can continue with the two of you (I have ample confidence in your RP and posting frequency) or recruit one or two more to join.
Mechanical options: If we continue, you guys will be leveling up some more. Would you like to switch to heroic classes now or continue in NPC? I think a mixture of the two would be a bit of a book-keeping annoyance.
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Lovely! Vors, it's been great gaming with you, and I wish you the best.
As for a follow-up campaign, I'd definitely be interested! We've come to a great place, but I think Perrin and Mel still have more of a story to tell, and I'd be sad to see them go so soon. I agree that we could probably continue just fine with the two of us, but it might be nice to recruit another player, if only to mix things up a bit.
Likewise, I'd be fine with either PC or NPC classes - I think working within the NPC chassis provides a unique challenge, but I definitely wouldn't say no to some more tricks at our disposal. Whatever Mel would prefer works for me. If we do end up switching to heroic classes, I'm thinking a life shaman might be the best approximation for Perrin: allowing him to keep his familiar, channel energy, and Wis-based prepared divine casting without an alignment restriction.
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Same, Vors! It's been great.
As for a follow-up campaign, I definitely want to see what becomes of Elrin, because that has, hmm, implications. That sounds more like an epilogue than a full campaign. Just getting Elrin to the Bishop and seeing what happens to him there sounds like something we could do with just the two of us. It'd also allow for a bit more RP between Mel and Perrin, which has been a major highlight of the campaign. They've got such a complex relationship! If we continue after that point, then we would definitely need to add a new player or two.
As for actually averting a war -- or even changing its course -- that would definitely be a full campaign, and definitely sounds more heroic than NPCish. I'm having a hard time seeing Mel as anything but an Expert, though -- she's basically all about knowledge and skills, but she's absolutely not a bard with her Charisma of 8. In fact, part of her backstory is that she has no talent with magic and had to struggle really hard to learn her four spells, and announced herself done with spellcasting once she did so. That precludes any class that has spellcasting as a class feature.
She shoots things, which would suggest Ranger with an archetype that removes spellcasting, but part of her backstory is that she's competent with a bow but will never be a true master at it, so that's kind of out.
She's got a strong faith in Ostara, but again, casting is not her thing, and her low Wisdom precludes it anyway.
Have you considered the sleuth investigator? It's a nonmagical variant that swaps out alchemy for a luck pool and deeds. I've never seen it in action before, but the flavor seems very Mel.
I like the idea of a mini-adventure with Mel and Perrin taking Elrin to the Bishop, maybe leveling up but sticking with NPC classes for now. Then depending on where that puts us, we could switch to heroic and recruit another player or two for a new campaign.
Ok I'll plan out this next part and let's keep discussing options down the road.
Regarding the option of heroic builds, we'd probably do a 15 or 20 point buy so that frees up some mechanical options. Staying consistent with the character concept is another matter. Investigator does sound reasonable for Mel. I'm also open to a Homebrew class as that might be the best option.
I have no worries about multiclassing from NPC to PC classes -- Hero Lab keeps track of all that for me. But a
Investigator is a good suggestion. The Inspiration mechanic is perfect for Mel -- it works well with her primary focus, which is skills. But ... most of the rest of the class features don't appeal, because:
1) She's not into poisons;
2) She's an archer, but the studied strike class feature only works with melee attacks. Though there's a feat to fix that.
As for luck and deeds, I'm not a fan of mechanics that add a pool of points you can spend to power a bunch of circumstantially useful abilities (which is unfortunate, because the Paizo designers love point-pool mechanics).
When the circumstances pop up to use those circumstantial abilities, I invariably forget that I have them. Remind me to tell you the sad tale of Belisant Tovani, who got swallowed alive by a dire crocodile because she forgot she had a way to get Freedom of Movement as a swift action.
Anyway! If I were going to rebuild Mel using PC classes, we'd probably have to homebrew something. So much of her backstory revolves around not having exceptional abilities that giving her PC abilities in any class is a really uncomfortable fit.
Makes sense, and I'm sure you guys will be able to come up with something great if you end up homebrewing it. I'll toss out one more suggestion, though, just in case it clicks: the phantom thief rogue archetype. Despite the name, it has very little to do with thieving - in fact, it's probably the closest there is to a PC class version of the expert, with it's defining feature being skills, skills, and more skills. It doesn't look like it has much in the way of point-spending abilities, instead relying mostly on passive bonuses and skill unlocks. Not sure if it's your thing, but I just thought I'd give it a mention.
If the NPC/PC multiclass is easy for you guys, that might be the smoothest transition.
There is also some appeal to sticking with NPC.
Or I'd love to see what home brew you come up with. I can see fun possibilities like bard with spells swapped for tactical knowledge powers, etc.
The Phantom Thief archetype is pretty good for Mel, I think. I'll just add a level of unchained rogue with that archetype. Let's see, that would get me 10 regular skill points, spent thusly:
- +1 Knowledge (local), because it's her specialty
- +1 Perception
- +1 Stealth
- +4 Diplomacy
- +3 Sense Motive
Mel's had to interact with more people and under tenser circumstances in the last few days than she has in years. Also, she's had Vors' inspiring example. She's learning a bit more about how to read people and how to reason with them.
She gets two background skill points, both of which I put into Knowledge (nobility). She knows she's headed into fraught, heavily political situations, and she desperately doesn't want to make things worse by stepping on the wrong toes. So she'll be boning up on etiquette, protocol, pedigrees, and so forth.
The first level Phantom Thief ability "Refined Education" adds half your Rogue level to one rogue class skill. I picked Stealth because it felt like that's what Mel would pick. Though it doesn't specify "minimum 1", so it actually provides no mechanical benefit at rogue level 1.
She gets a feat. Given her recent combat experience (and comparatively puny damage output of 1d8+1 if she hits), I opted to take Deadly Aim. The -2 to hit hurts (no BAB increase this level), but at least it's optional.
You mentioned we might bump up the ability scores to a 15 or 20 point buy. Which is it, please? 20 would be nice. 15 would occasion some hard choices.
That looks like a good pick. And since we're going heroic classes, let's do 20 point buy. That fits better. After your experiences around Brookside, you've learned a lot about how hard the world can be and how to deal with it. Let's go ahead and replace all NPC levels with heroic levels. That'll make it easier in a couple of ways, hero lab notwithstanding.
Okay, I'll rebuild Mel as a Phantom Thief. Question: is she level 6 or level 7? We started at 5 and leveled after the first orc encampment, but there's been a fair bit of stuff since then. I'm fine either way.
Okay, I had written the above by adding a rogue level on top of the six Expert levels. GM, I'll send you notes on a full rebuild by PM.
Yup, I noted that also. That's fine, it suits the history of the characters.
Still, feel free to shower us with gold and sweet loot!
Re adding players: I think we could benefit, both in terms of RP and party composition, from adding one or two players. What do you guys think of me opening this up for recruitment? I think one active poster would be ideal but if we were really impressed, we could select a pair.
This is a logical place to do so, and I kind of feel like I've been hogging the spotlight the last day or two. I'd vote yes. Perrin?
Incidentally, I'd like Perrin to have a chance to respond to Elrin's sudden revelation before I post again!
Are those done frying now? Emergency fish are my favorite. Especially with butter sauce.
Yeah, I think adding another player or two would be a great idea. It's always nice to have a few voices going in the conversation so you can wait for the right moment to chime in. Plus Perrin's got all these new channel uses and no one to use them on!
In related news, I'll be traveling from tomorrow to Sunday and will have limited opportunities to post, so if we want to put things on pause while we find new people I'm all for it. Or we can keep going for a bit - I'll try to get something up when I can, and feel free to bot Perrin whenever necessary.
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I've got two tentative bites via PM and one finished submission in the thread. The one in the thread looks like the kind of thing we want. It'll be interesting to see what else pops up.
On an unrelated note: Hey! We just hit the 1k mark! A lot of PBP games die before then so that means something to me. Thanks for putting up with my foibles as a first time PBP GM.
I got something of a campaign journal together to help the new players have a better sense for what's going on. Let me know if you think there's something I really missed. I omitted TONS of details for sake of brevity, e.g. Halak isn't mentioned at all, I didn't explain the various forms of government. I just want people to have enough to sink their teeth into if they really want to know what they're applying for.
I'd say that's a pretty fair summary. Nice illustrations.
FYI, guys, I do tend to throw a few red herrings around every now and then just to keep you on your toes. Not everything I mention is intended to be a valuable hint but plenty of things are.
For bonus points, have you guys figured out Elrin's class yet? It's probably not that hard but you've also had plenty else to think about. Reminder: You didn't find any scrolls of animal messenger in his hideout. He was casting it himself.
The spell selection definitely makes me think bard, not to mention the Cha-based skills. I suppose he could be a really interesting skald, but the good Reflex save suggests otherwise.
Which is nice, because it would mean that all his spells have verbal components, so they're harder to hide.
I wondered for a bit if he was a sorcerer with some kind of nature-related bloodline, but animal messenger isn't on any of the bloodlines. Then again we know it's a customized animal messenger spell anyway, so it might easily have crossed class boundaries.
That said, we know he can cast Animal Messenger, Disguise Self, and Confusion (or possibly Lesser Confusion). Only three spell lists have all three of those spells on them: bard, mesmerist, and psychic. But he can't be a mesmerist or a psychic -- their spells use emotion and thought components, not verbal and somatic. Ergo, he's a bard.
Bard is the most logical choice anyway considering he's shown a lot of illusion and enchantment abilities, which are common on the bard spell list:
. 2 universal
I'm a little surprised that illusion comes in 3rd place. But I'm missing the spells from Ultimate Wilderness and Planar Adventures, so these totals may off. If you really wanted to play against type, you could try to make a necromancer bard, but it'd be rough.
The easiest way to stop him from casting is put a gag in his mouth. Out of the 831 bard spells I've got on record, 799 (96%) require a verbal component. The remaining 32 all require somatic components:
0 Haunted Fey Aspect
1 Auditory Hallucination
1 Borrow Skill
1 Coin Shot
1 Depilate (M)
1 Fabricate Disguise
1 Forced Quiet
1 Horn of Pursuit
1 Ki Arrow
1 Negative Reaction
1 Obscure Poison
2 Disrupt Silence
2 Garrulous Grin
2 Pilfering Hand
2 Resounding Clang
2 Shadow Anchor
3 Audiovisual Hallucination
3 Gaseous Form
3 Pillow Talk
3 Seeds Of Influence
3 Venomous Promise
4 Complex Hallucination
4 Conjuration Foil
4 Illusory Hoard
4 Insect Scouts
4 Quieting Weapons
5 Scripted Hallucination
5 Seeds Of Influence, Greater
Unfortunately, Captain Hannady's reluctance to bind and gag a prisoner means he's probably got all or most of his spells -- only 298 (35.9%) require material components. Happily, Confusion is one of them that does require material components! Nobody give him any nuts. At least, not with the shells still on.
As far as spells go, we also saw invisibility, mirror image, expeditious retreat, and probably major image. All of those are on the bard list, as are the grease, cure light wounds, and restful sleep that we found wands and scrolls of. We still can't rule out other classes that share the bard's spell list, like skald or maybe even questioner investigator. But bard is definitely the most likely.
About spell counts, it makes sense that transmutation is near the top - over 20% of all the spells in the game are transmutation, after all. As for necromancer bards, there's a lovely little archetype for that.
Actually, all bard spells have verbal components, even the ones that don't normally.
Every bard spell has a verbal component (song, recitation, or music).
Skalds have something similar, but with a clause I never noticed before allowing them to substitute non-verbal music like percussion, which would be an incredibly clever way of bypassing a gag.
Fortunately for us, at least, he's probably a spontaneous caster, so he doesn't share Perrin's luxury of just preparing a new set of spells without material or focus components. Along with confusion, we should also be safe from invisibility, grease, and all of the image spells as long as he doesn't get his hands on any gum arabic, butter, or fleece.
Wait, what if he has Eschew Materials? GM, did we ever find a spell component pouch on Elrin or his bag?