I was thinking that about half way through one of the previous eliminated players comes back as the risen, with a vengeance or grudge against the other players. Makes for a good re-occurring villain for the party.
The party escapes and each of them tries to track down their own personal vendettas and or memories. A trail of sudden obstacles or coincidental climatic moments lead them to believe that they have been continuously recorded all this time and never really left the game show. The final show down is with the executive producers...
Black Dow wrote:
So many good ideas indeed, I think my opening campaign is going to be "You find yourself without arms or armor, memory wiped, sealed inside a bone white room 5 foot square. An image of a haunting beautiful eleven face appears on the screen before you, slowly counting down from 10. You find yourself on an Eox reality television show. How did you get here?
In the game of Eox reality television, you die. Period.
The party find themselves among a group of 16 contestants on an Eox reality show with no memory other than they chose to be here and how to use their rudimentary class skills. They must act quickly to setup a defensive position against the hostile environment, win competitions, make alliances, avoid unwanted attention and control the vote.
The bottom two fight to their death, or in special elimination round they may need to kill their opponent but also survive a secret aberration guest monster.
Can the party survive? Can they control the vote? There has to be a way to escape, the game is rigged.
So as part of the build up to Artrosa, the party negotiated with the centaur tribes to hold off Vselod's army which had started to gather in the Crevasse and seemed massing a force to attack the tribes and lay waste to Vurnirn. So when the party came across the Maiden, Mother, Crone stones in Artrosa I gave them the added option of not just seeing through the statues but also controlling them to attack the army and the white dragon if they made successful Spell Craft checks. They had no issues with the maiden and the mother, and by the time they took out Vselod the warden got pretty cosy with the witch arcane archer in the party.
That said, none of them wanted to go back into the Aeon pit so they rolled a diplomacy check to see if Jadrenka would. She rolled to nat 1s on her will and fortitude save. Feeling like an unexpected event might be in order, Jadrenka went mad and merged with the Aeon pit possessing the large statue and channelling the full power of the pit. She then proceeded to pillage and rampage the country side, killing most of both armies, the white dragon and turning Vurnirn into her own little necropolis as the body of the Crone merged with the cliff side. The party narrowly escapes into Baba Jaga's dancing hut vowing to return once they have freed the Witch Queen to undo the unwitting damage they may have help to bring about.
Maybe a little deus ex machina but the party is psyched about coming back to take on the Necropolis in later levels.
It sounds like a rough call. Keep some frost giants in your back pocket if you need them?
Has the party had their abilities scores decimated with all the ability draining bad guys in here?
Is there a healer in the group?
How min/maxed is the party? I had two people play Aasimar who 5 cold resistance, it made the beginning of the campaign a little under whelming. A ranger with a favoured enemy of Fey and a sorcerer with a propensity for fire balls. They tore most things up until they encountered the Ice Trolls inside (CR 4), apparently reach and rend in close quarters left the party shaking in their boots.
Swap in vision of hell and a hold person, a little blindness, three hits to the spell caster with the composite long bow [we all know who throws fireballs] and the party will be dead before you know it!
I really like that idea. I may have to borrow some of those when I outline the queens a bit better. Two of my PCs are obsessed with learning her secrets. So they'll want those extra details in trying to sleuth it out.
I set it up when they were in White Throne that there were powers plays going on beyond Elevana. Which I outlined in an elaborate encounter in the Opera house of frost hall. They were performing the Saga of Baba Jaga - Act 1: when she first appeared in Golarion, Act 2, when she took down Kostchtchie, and then Act 3, when she established her kingdom and raised the first queen to power. Full Opera house mapped out with encounters. It was with all the jadwiga together that they noticed their differences.
I set it so that the play had a different ending promoting Elvanna propaganda. At the end of the play she destroys the heralds and kills Baba Jaga. These roles were supposed to be some mundane humans to sacrifice on stage but the PC's took their places. It was going to be an epic on stage battle but the party threw everything at the main bad, a Paladin Bard, and she rolled a 2 for initiative. And she died before she got the first note out. Which then descended into chaos and several 10th level witches flying into the air and attacking them. It was a crazy narrow escape. They were being assisted by an Ice Nymph that they met early on in Taldor, who has her own end game, as she looks to take over the thrice tenth kingdom.
My initial thoughts were that Baba Jaga being a Witch wouldn't be opposed to channelling the powers of creation and destruction based on the maiden, mother and crone. So tampering with genealogies would be right up her ally, making a good wine is all about the grapes used.
I was contemplating changing the setting of the next module so that it was more attuned with who the next daughter of Baba Jaga is, angelic or air elemental for my current party. I figure the only way to make it work is to move the setting from a distant planet to the edges of the plane of air. Keep everything else the same with an outpost colony of dragon riding slyphs. And change the dragon and the castle to a space ship of pirates who are mining out the community of the shaman in the second part of the encounter. I've been reading too much of Iron gods. Oh creative liberties. The party has been begging for some Lovecraftian horror as well.
There's some great ideas in this forum that expand some of the plot difficulties I'm having been Caigreal, the Warden and Vsevolod.
I think I'm going to imprison the Warden and have her use projected images. Has anyone had any issues with the fact that they meet Caigreal in C5 and then turn the corner in C6 and run into Jadrenka? I have a hard time seeing Jadrenka being foiled by Caigreal deception. Otherwise it'd be a good time to reveal Caigreal as any.
I modified the initial room with the Ettin so that the frescos had a stronger tie to Baba Jaga and why Artrosa is significant. I borrowed from the recent Tomb Raider game, and had the frescos show the following images:
- A queen in the glory of her power
The party deduced that this is Baba Jaga's ritual for transferring power from the latest queen to Baba Jaga, but it seems like only part of the ritual.
I've been seeding for a while now that nobody knows who the next queen is going to be. I've kinda modified the background story that every time Baba Jaga produces a new generation of Jadwiga that she mates with a different outsider, in part culling that unique heritage for herself when she drinks down their power. This I'm going to reveal in the Mother where traditionally Baba Jaga in her new form gives birth to the next generation of Witches and casts "Temporal Status" until she is ready.
Then she will proceed to the Croning ritual and enters the Eon Pit basking in her full power. The team has been responding well to learning Baba Jaga's secrets and this seems like a big one. I've considered dropping a big plot twist here as well, as two of my characters have outsider heritage and both of them women and that unknown to them, one of them is the next intended queen and daughter of Baba Jaga's. I think this will make the mother dungeon thematically stronger for my group with some minor tweaking.
Lastly, and I know this post is already way too long. I'm thinking of having the enter image magic for Artrosa to give them more control of the maiden, mother and crone, and if that all three are activated simultaneously they can actually control them.
I set it up so that Vsevolod's army was camping in the crevase preventing the PC's from accessing Artrosa. The party talked the Centaur tribes into rallying together to face them, so that they could enter a weakly defended position. This has worked well. However, with the dragon attacking the army of Centaurs things are not looking good.
If the party activates all three at the same time I'm going to allow them to animate the maiden, mother and crone and attack the army and ice dragon saving the day. I think it'll be an epic cap for this module.