North of the Wind (Inactive)

Game Master dien

Ulfens and tigers and bears, oh my. Except no tigers.

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RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Post coming later today, sigh.

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

I am waiting for you, but Tassidar is going to try and get out with the others if I am holding things up.

I'm going to be traveling for the next 10 days and might not have internet access this week. I'll try to check in once a day, if I can.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Updating later today, we had a local con over the weekend I'm still cleaning up after so to speak, and my grandmother's been pretty sick.

No problem. :)

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Giving Tassidar and Knute a chance to weigh in, will post later today.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Post coming later today, sorry gang.

*Hugs Dien*

Don't sweat it, chica!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Thanks, bro~

Life is full of tedium and blah, eh.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Well, I guess Knute really is slammed right now, sigh. I'll get a post up later today. It's a lot of NPCs to write at this point-- with Knute busy that means there's basically 3.5 PCs and like nine critters I'm writing for, etc. That's not YOUR guys' fault, ahahah, it's squarely mine, and we should be able to let some of those NPCs fade out shortly, but it does mean I sort of have to ramp up some ooomph to post, heh.

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

Your posts are always colorful and worth the wait. I love the many characters, it makes it like a good novel, but I get the work that goes into it.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Thank you, Tass, I appreciate that. As y'all can see the post I meant for Friday didn't happen. I've got local PFS later today but I'll make an effort. I'm sorry, sigh, I know exactly what a drag it is on the game when the GM doesn't keep the momentum going.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

I may need to either put this game on hiatus a while, or let it go. I'm aware it was a snail's pace even without my current mood, and would really need me to be posting much much more regularly to get it out of that rut.

But specifically following the results of last night*, I have... zero enthusiasm right now for scrunching up the energy to give this game the attention it deserves.

(*Not trying to start a political argument here, everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs and emotional reactions. As a woman I'm just currently feeling basically gutpunched by things, is all, and I'm gonna need some time to get back on my schedule of pretendy fun times escapism, I think.)

So I either need to put this on official hiatus for at least a week or two while I consider things like what I want to spend my free time on, orrrr I need to call this game, with reluctance and many apologies. I still like my concept and story, but Knute may or may not be back (I don't blame him, if his life is busy and the game is proceeding at a snail's pace, it's pretty hard to remember to check in), which leaves us with basically three players. As I said earlier, the NPC botting makes my work as a GM a lot more work-intensive than it might be in a regular campaign. It's not your guys's fault that I have a big cast of NPCs! Again drew my own noose there. But when there's also two PCs included in that it's a lot of work to justify for three remaining PCs.

So I guess I'm asking for opinions. I appreciate the enjoyment you have expressed previously, especially you Tassidar, you've been very vocal with your appreciation for this game. But are you all really invested in seeing this plot through, or is this game becoming an obligation to any of you as well? Please feel free to be honest. I have been in very slow games where my first reaction to seeing a new post after days of silence is, admittedly, an eyeroll, so I won't blame anyone if that's how you feel about this one either.

I think the game is great and am very interested to see what's going on with the kids and the orks and the Varg and how much time has passed in the real world if we ever get out.

But I also think it's clear that you've been overwhelmed in regards to your available time and your workload. If you're at the point that thinking about the game makes you feel guilty/overwhelmed about making a post and how long it's been since you did, that kind of emotion kills any kind of fun you can have with a game, and when the GM's not having fun with a game, eventually none of the players are going to, either.

My games are personally running a little slow due to the great downhill slalom toward the New Year that started with Halloween. If you're not ready to call the game entirely, perhaps you could put it on hold through the holidays and see how you feel about in in 2017. If you're reinvigorated and excited about what's coming, you could start it up again, but if you haven't missed it at all in the interim, that might be the answer you're looking for.

HP 35/39 | AC 16 CMD 17 | Fort +7 Reflex +1 Will +5 | Perception +7 Initiative +1

I don't think you're alone in your reaction to the last few days.

I've been thinking a lot about this, and I think Joana's suggestion is a good one. Given how busy you've been in general, and how I really don't want to risk you getting burned out in general because of this game, I'd suggest at the least we put the game on hiatus. Maybe it'll only be short, and you'll get a second wind, and maybe it's best in the end if this game gets shelved.

I like the richness of this game, the way you have run it, and I like the characters involved. But overall, I've had a bit of a hard time keeping up with the details of Kló given how slowly we've been progressing. That's not meant to be a shot at you, Dien. Just putting it all out there.

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

I don't want it to end. Hopefully a break will help, but if you do decide to end it please at least tell us what would have been.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Okey dokey. I was off at a convention all weekend and also hoping Knute would get a chance to chime in. Since he hasn't...

Thanks for the weighing in and the excellent suggestions. I'm more than willing to run with Joana's idea of giving it a recharge time. I can use that time to figure out how to phase out some of the NPCs, organically-- some of them are plot essential but others are not, so I'll cut them down at least and rein in my future impulses to let the jerks breed, har har. Additionally, it's possible that since Knute's busy-ness was, I believe, stemming from school-related issues, that the start of a new year and presumably new school quarter might give him a chance to come back in.

I don't particularly want to recruit a new person at this stage of things. At this point, Halla's the only (played) character who even has the first-hand experience of the original raid, haha. So I won't bring anyone new in, regardless, but I will plan on continuing the game in the new year, and hope that we have Knute back with us at that point.

(Knute, if you can, weigh in!)

Either way, if the game does wind up dying out once we get into 2017, I'll be sure to try and provide y'all with a narrative wrap-up if nothing else.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Well, it seems we've definitely lost Knute. :\ I was giving it a few more days in the hopes he might check back in. I'll think about how I want to proceed and post something later today.

*waves* Hope you had a good holiday season!

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

I am here!

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

Where did you reach out? On PM?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Holy cats, haha, my 'tomorrow' turned into 5 days, well, that doesn't exactly bode well for getting this back on track. *facepalms*

As far as messaging Knute: No, because he hasn't posted anything on the boards since October (and that was a post with Knute). If he's not getting on the boards to check anything else or post in other forums under other aliases, then he's not likely to see a PM anyway.

Okay, so: It's Halla, Tassidar, and Klo right now (I know Eben's still active on the boards at any rate, we're in several games together and until he tells me otherwise I'll assume he's still down to carry on with this one). Like I said, I'm not re-recruiting at this stage, but I also would like to at least try to give you guys some narrative closure and some of the highlights of what was, originally, to come. There will probably be some cut scenes of things that would originally have been played out more en scene (travel etc) and skipping or narrating a bunch of the more filler encounters to focus on the plot-relevant ones.

If you three are okay with my being slow as we try to finish this one out, I'll keep plugging at it. I will definitely try to keep up a REGULAR pace even if it's not daily, but none of this "a week between posts" because that's ridiculous on my end. I WILL post within 24-hours to move us forward.

Thanks for sticking with me so long anyway, guys.

HP 35/39 | AC 16 CMD 17 | Fort +7 Reflex +1 Will +5 | Perception +7 Initiative +1

I'm here, and sure. :)

Let's rock us some fae-wild shenanigans!

Kló wrote:

Who all is injured? Kló has some damage, but I can’t tell who all else needs healing.

Halla's down 6 from falling off a freaking mule. I wonder how commoners survive their daily lives. The beast must have stepped on her ankle or something. ;P

She has her own spells to expend, though; she doesn't need attention from Kló.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Suffering through a cold now. :[ Dayquil'ld myself up just now, and the post is suffering as a result. It'll come after I get some sleep.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Belatedly: your mounts took most of the damage in that last fight, but they're pretty much all big bags of hit points, so don't worry about them, they'll heal overnight.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Post coming later today, been mildly under the weather last few days.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Hey guys, sorry for the silence, it's been a rough four days with some family things but later today I should have time to post.

GM Dien wrote:
Something like this, but, more so.

Is that a ... Cthulhu crib???

Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

....yes, yes it is. That is not what I meant to link. *laughs* Though it is pretty awesome.

THIS is the interior I meant to link.

*nods* That is indeed a whole different ambiance.

HP 35/39 | AC 16 CMD 17 | Fort +7 Reflex +1 Will +5 | Perception +7 Initiative +1

You didn't like the tentacle crib? Huh. ;P

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8

That is a totally cool crib.

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Okay, well, I suppose this comes as no real surprise given my ongoing radio silence, but.... I'm not able to bring this one back. I've been putting it off and putting it off telling myself I'll find the inspiration to post 'tomorrow', but obviously, that is not actually happening.

I'm very sorry-- you three stuck with this campaign a long, long time, and gave me many chances towards the end to keep it going. I appreciate that, and I'm sorry I didn't give a better and more satisfying end result on your investment.

For those of you curious about the 'story' that would/should have played out, I'll try and write up a brief summation and post it in no more than few days' time. (And will put the game inactive shortly thereafter.)

Sorry for all the personal plotlines I'd hoped to accomplish with each of you(r characters) that won't get a chance to be realized; but hopefully you all had at least one moment in game that made the time spent somewhat worth it.

Peace out.

Male elf wizard 3, Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +10/+12/+15 visual in light, AC 13 [17 Mage Armored], touch 13, flat-footed 10 [14 Mage Armored] hp 14 (2d6+4) Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +4; +2 vs. enchantments, Sense Motive +8


Thank you for a great time and story. Thank you for helping me improve my writing. I will truly miss this game, but I understand. I will look forward to the summary.



No need for apologies. I appreciate the thoughtfulness and intentions behind your efforts to keep this game going. It's been a fun and interesting ride. But if your heart's not in this—or your just don't have the pbp/life bandwidth, which is totally legit—I'm fully behind shelving this game.

Thanks for running it. As always, I'm a fan of playing with you, both as a player and a GM.

As you say, it's not really a surprise. Homebrews are difficult, as they depend entirely on GM enthusiasm to maintain, with no published stat blocks or plot hooks to fall back on in a fallow period, and only three players with a handful of NPCs put an extra burden on the GM. Thanks for the time and creativity you put into the campaign; I enjoyed the not-quite-Golarionness of the setting!

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Thanks for the kind words, guys. Joana is dead on with her observations of the greater demands of homebrew and the various complications that arrive with it as opposed to a published AP. I consider it a learning experience in biting off more than you can chew, at any rate, and will keep the lessons I learned in mind as I go forward as a PBP GM.

Anyway, as promised, here is the WAY WAY TOO LONG breakdown of what was actually going on in the story:

OKAY, the story such as it is, which is somewhat easier to explain from the context of things that happened before any of you got on the scene.

A long time ago, a number of elves from Kyonin, led by a mage named Rysthien, came to the lands surrounding Hofn on a research expedition to explore the rumors of the portals into the First World that were supposed to exist locally. There are a number of portals to the First World in the Lands of the Linnorm Kings, but the area surrounding Hofn (which was not yet Hofn, as there weren't any humans living there yet) was an area where the boundary between the world was especially thin. (There's actually a portal to the First World directly behind the waterfall that falls into the bay of Hofn, heh.)

Clearing out enough of the native inhabitants (trolls, etc) to make the area safe for them, the elves set up a base on the site that would later be Hofn. From there they began to catalog and index the local portals, and from there, to enter the First World.

Shortly after entering the First World, Rysthien and his fellow elves came across what appeared to them to be a nymph and her tree being attacked by poisonous snakes. As this seemed a clear-cut situation to them, they quickly intervened on behalf of the nymph. Afterwards the 'nymph' offered them her thanks and hospitality, which the elves wilingly accepted.

They didn't realize they'd essentially taken a side in the ongoing feuds between the various great powers of the First World. A long-standing rivalry exists between the Green Mother and Ragadahn, the Water Lord. The 'nymph' was a minor avatar of the Green Mother, and expertly played the good intentions of the elves with a narrative of her being a persecuted and helpless creature of nature, beset by overwhelming forces. She asked for defenders, and Rysthien pledged to assist.

By the time the elves realized that their damsel-in-distress was, in her way, as wicked as the force she was fighting, it was far too late. They had eaten of food she had offered, partaken of her hospitality, and several of their number had already sacrificed their lives in the fight against Ragadahn's minions. The First World was starting its warping effects on the souls of the elves, making them more like the First World-- more capricious and living-in-the-moment, less ethical and wise. Some-- such as Mav-- embraced the First World and their new mistress-- while others, such as Rysthien, struggled to fight against the corrupting influence of the Mother.

Once and only once did Rysthien try and flee, to return to Golarion and travel back to Kyonin in search of help. But he was already too much a part of the First World-- traveling on the Material Plane for any length of time became painful to him, and began to bleach the very will and life from him, resulting in the pale appearance of the elf the Hofnites know as 'Rys.' All the elves struggle with this to an extent (Halla noticed pale splotches on Mav), but those who embrace the First World and the cruelty and caprice their mistress asks of them have suffered the least, and remain relatively vibrant. Unable to travel more than a few days from the portal, Rys crawled back to the Mother.... though he did manage to dispatch his familiar to Kyonin with a request for aid (which Tassidar ultimately received).

Before this, however-- in the early phases of their service to the Mother-- the nymph convinced the elves that her tree could be strengthened and defended by the sacrifice of sentient creatures to help create a barrier wall against the attacks of the wyrm and his creatures. Nobly, several of the elves willingly gave themselves, their spirits becoming transformed into the great thorn wall and its crimson flowers that surround the nymph's tree (which has grown a lot from when Rysthien and the others first arrived). Of course, the sacrifice had a catch: the wall would need to be refreshed with ongoing sacrifice. The elves faced the dawning realization that their own numbers would eventually dwindle to nothing if they tried to keep pace with the wall's hungry needs, and, under the Mother's expert corruption and manipulations, began to consider options that they would previously have found unthinkable: to mate and to parent, with the pregnancies sped by the Mother's magics, and the children's lives offered to satisfy the wall.

Throughout this, the elves still retained their base in Hofn, though they rarely visited, unable to spend too much time out of the First World, but checking in on things to ensure that the other end of the portal was not wholly overrun by the evil northern spirits did not recapture the territory entirely. And so they were aware of when the first humans arrived, and Rys struck a deal: the land surrounding the waterfall would be given to the humans, to be their village, and some portion of the Mother's power would bless the region, to keep it prosperous-- crops would flourish, sickness would be rare, and the elves would, once a year, bring the bounty of the First World as a gift to the humans. In turn, the humans would hold the portal under their control... and once a year, the human men and the elven women would meet, because humans are a more vigorous race than elves and children result more frequently from such unions. And there were always more children needed, to keep the wall strong...

One such half-elf, half-human child was named Dalrin, Mav's own child. Though Mav had willingly offered many other lives to the Mother's wall, she felt a pang over Dalrin, and successfully pled with the Mother that he be allowed to grow to maturity. Dalrin grew to be an adept at magic... and also to resent the Mother and the hellish bargain his people had struck with her. Ultimately, once he became an adult, Dalrin struck out on his own... and sought out Ragadahn, willing to throw his lot in with the long-time enemy of his people.

Bargains were struck: Dalrin wanted the ability to travel in the material plane freely, and Ragadahn wanted the destruction of the Green Mother, or at least, this avatar of her, and her tree and wall. So Dalrin left the First World and began to seek allies in the material plane... meeting a half-orc named Neregh, a warlord and priest of Varg who had carved a name for himself in lands to the south but dreamed of greater things than merely siege engines. When Dalrin explained the nature of the First World and its portals-- opening to many places over the Material Plane-- Neregh dreamed of exploiting those portals for the quick transit of armies and war-bands, allowing him to raid and disappear at will.

And so: Neregh agreed to form a raiding band of northern orcs, and lead them against Hofn in a raid for a specific bounty-- children. Dalrin believed that a counter-sacrifice of innocent lives to fuel Ragadahn's power would enable Ragadahn to overcome the barrier wall. This is roughly the point at where the story started for the PCs-- with the raid and the abduction of the children.

I think the story in the intervening bit is clear enough-- the children were brought into the First World, with the PCs on their trail, passing through one of the old portals the elves had never known about.

From this point on, had I been able to continue the story, the PCs would have met with the avatar of the Green Mother-- possibly getting further hints of things not being entirely Right, here-- and she would have attempted to recruit them as she did the elves, playing up her image as a nurturing and loving and benevolent nature spirit. Ultimately the PCs would have taken the fight to Ragadahn and Dalrin to reclaim the children, with a degree of assistance from the elves dependent on the outcome of the meeting with the Green Mother.

(Though it would be pretty impossible for a bunch of 3rd/4th level PCs to actually kill one of the Eldest, things in the First World operate on a principle of symbolism, where small imitates large and vice versa, and symbolic victories are still victories. The avatar of Ragadahn the PCs would have encountered would probably have been along the lines of an immature blue dragon, for instance, and had they ever chosen to fight the Mother, her avatar would likely have been some variant on a nymph. Defeating either avatar would strike enough of a psychic blow to the actual Eldest that the opposing forces would be able to reshape reality for a short period of time to reflect the 'loss', etc.)

At some point in this, Rys would have tried to speak privately with the PCs and to appraise them of the Green Mother's true nature, and of the evil bargain behind Hofn's relative prosperity. Rys has long sought a way out for his people from the Mother's corruption (though has given himself up as damned for his failures as a leader), and has attempted many divinations to see if there is some avenue for their freedom. One such divination told him that mortals from Hofn might be the key to buy escape for the remaining elves, and accordingly, Rys has studied the humans and others at Jolfest for generations, wondering if each person he passes might have a part to play. Naturally, the PCs are these destined heroes.... or at least, they could be, if they choose to try and help the elves against the Mother. They're certainly also entitled to be like 'screw you, this is YOUR problem', haha.

Anyway, following the confrontation with Ragadahn and Dalrin, the PCs would have had a potential confrontation with the Mother-- contingent on how they felt about the bargain-- but ultimately a return to the Material Plane, most likely with the rescued children in tow. There would then be a showdown with Neregh himself-- Neregh and his orcs having returned to the material plane once the children had been delivered to Ragadahn-- and a second fight for Hofn, as Neregh is trying to seize control of Hofn and its portal. (Probably the PCs would have dramatically burst forth from the waterfall itself, very cinematic~.)

And following THAT, well, it would largely be a matter of explaining the situation to Hofn and its people-- to explaining the cost paid on the other side of the spirit world, for Hofn's comfort, and most likely ending up with a change of leadership in Hofn, though of course the exact outcome would depend on PC choices at that time. Individual plotlines would at that point be resolved-- such as things like Halla getting her freedom, and other things no longer relevant given the PC attrition over the campaign, heh.

Anyway. Sorry to dump a massive infospam on you all, I hope that knowing some of the backstory makes this a little more satisfying.

(Oh, and you would probably have also run into Dagny the transformed white spider at some point while in the First World.)

If there's any questions I failed to answer, let me know. I'll mark this inactive sometime on the weekend probably.

That bastard Rys! I knew he was up to no good!

So was Dalrin the pale elf the ork-head told us about?

Was there any significance to the Harrow deck?

I have to say you were wildly optimistic if you expected to cover all that in six months of real time. I did We B4 Goblins! in 7 months, and you don't even level up in that module. ;)

Plaguestone Map | Gallows of Madness Combat Map

*laughs* You're definitely right about the timeframe. Some of the story grew and deepened past the initial conception I had when I pitched the campaign, but even the bare bones I had at the time would, in hindsight, have been super hard to do in six months. That said, the time spent in integrating multiple new characters into the campaign definitely was a bit of a speedbump. Again, learning lessons.

Rys is a very guilty man, okay. :P

Yes, Dalrin was the 'pale elf', and the Harrow deck itself was actually one of the methods that Rys had tried divinations on-- Halla's dream of the Harrow reading was partially a memory of one of the attempted seer consultations he'd attempted-- the card forecast is one Rys had himself received, though served as a double reading in some ways for the PCs/Halla. Though there was nothing in specific further planned for the Harrow deck, it was one of the hooks I left dangling in case for something to be done with-- I like running with things PCs show an interest in, so for instance, Halla might have been able to do divinations with it at some point, or converseely it might have been traded to fairies at various points, etc.

Dien wrote:
(Probably the PCs would have dramatically burst forth from the waterfall itself, very cinematic~.)

So I presume enough time would have passed in the real world that it would be full summer in Hofn? Or would we explode the ice? How much time were you planning to have passed when we returned?

What was the connection with the caged raven? And who was accessing the PCs' memories as we entered the portal in the cave?

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 16

Oh, yeah, forgot to mention the 'time passing differently' thing. It would definitely have been summer, but likely only the immediate summer after.

The complex with the raven was basically a long-abandoned fey temple to the Eldest-- each of the rooms was modeled after/dedicated to one of the Eldest-- so for instance, the room with the water serpent was a shrine to Ragadahn. The raven's "significance" is that he's a representative/sacred animal of the Lost Prince - as such the raven is an expository device vessel of memories and knowledge, there to provide a little history on the complex and a little heads-up as to the orcs and what's been going in the complex, if PCs can decipher his general crypticness. And, also, just there to sort of set the note of weirdness of 'welcome to First World stuff'.

The force responsible for poking at the PC's memories is yet another Eldest, Ng the Hooded. Since he's the god of travel and exploration, it made sense to have it be his power that actually fuels the many portals between the two planes, but he's also a god of secrets and knowledge, so his 'toll' for passing through his portal is, well, secrets.

.....basically most of this campaign came about because I find the Eldest a really fascinating, weird-o set of Golarion quasi-deities, and wanted to do a campaign that had something to do with them. Even though the primary focus as far as the PCs were concerned would be the Green Mother and the Water Lord, there'd be plenty of chances for cameos from the other Eldest/their representative forces.

This was a good game, great story, it was really fun.

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