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Try the thread linked below for some ideas thought up by a complete fool.

Some moron's ramblings


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Cranky Dog: here's a very quick idea for spiritual support, you'll have to flesh it out yourself.

Party hears of a moutain temple where an honored, old --but obviously senile-- priest resides and where holy warriors train. Evil and curses have come across the land nearby and the villagers blame it all on the silent young acolyte the elder priest has recently taken under wing. People whisper the young acolyte has bewitched the old priest and befuddled his mind with dark magic, but the old priest will not believe wickedness about his young acolyte.

The old priest has long said he will give one wish to the person who travels into a swampy valley and purifies an abandonded shrine that has been corrupted. Many holy warriors have tried --so as to use the chance to demand the old priest banish the acolyte-- but all have failed.

In reality, the old priest is an oni using polymorph. He killed the real priest, took his shape and is faking senility. The acolyte is a terrifed innocent from a far-off village told by the oni to stay silent or else the acolyte's family will be brutially murdered.

The oni finds the whole situation great comedy, because he is sending legions of holy warriors to their doom, while having an innocent acolyte be shunned and hated by everyone.

If the party can free the acolyte,his/her resilence in the face of great evil is taken as evidence of their holiness and they become something of a heroic figure in the spiritual community... and can direct some of that veneration towards the party's use...


thomrenault wrote:


I actually just wrote up a session report, lamenting the fact that I didn't seize the moment when my Jade Regent PC's bought ** spoiler omitted **

That link, I don't think it takes me where you want me to go.


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Olliepoppet wrote:

Thank you SO much for this! My group's still not thrilled with caravan combat, but I worked a couple of these into our last play session, and it "made up for it" according to the PCs. ESPECIALLY "Such a Nice, Quiet Man."

** spoiler omitted **

I'm glad your group have found some of the suggestions enjoyable. It does sound like you and them had a memorable session and played it to the hilt.

Although, you say no one did a Sense Motive check? Wow. Awesome in a good way. I'm afraid I would never be able to get that far with my group: too many ex-Shadowrun players.

DM: Your mother tucks you in and says, "Sleep well."

Player: I roll Sense Motive, does she really mean it?


Gluttony wrote:
But I think what Revan said makes sense. The consequence of unboxing it in your HQ is the attack at the end of the book. The consequence of unboxing it on the road is that they've sent one of their most deadly ninja after them. At this point, the oni know you're here, and they know where you are. Stealth isn't going to work for long any more anyways, and now strength, speed, and the support of the people are your best defences.

It's the scale of the response.

It's the difference between, "Hmm... I know they're out there somewhere, but I'm not sure where. Let's hire some more ninja to try and find them, although, being the independent and shadowy figures they are the ninja probably won't tell me anything until the job is done. And their previous attempts don't exactly fill me with confidence. Let's take a more personal interest in it this time and also send a few patrols of oni around: maybe they'll get lucky and find some clues to follow. Since I don't know where they are exactly, I can't use my overwhelming force unless I get some solid leads. Best to keep my forces close, ready to act if some kind of popular uprising happens."

vs.

"Oh, *there* they are. Inside *my* country. Geez, I'm really going to have to execute my Northern Border commander for letting them get past him. Let's see... what resources do they have? They just arrived, so they'll probably be busy recruiting allies for a level or two. What resources do I have?

"Oh yeah... an entire empire.

"Hey General! Send the 3rd, 4th, and 6th legions to the north. Park them here and have them detain, arrest, and murder anyone who looks like a PC. Yo! Chancellor! Hire a whole ninja clan --no, make that two-- and send them to these co-ordinates, same orders, but leave out the detain and arrest part. You! Court Wizards! Can you guys scry? Good. Can you teleport? Good. Your continued employment depends on your ability to 'scry and fry' this location.

"The one who brings me their heads --bodies most definitely not part of the deal-- gets to take the long weekend off. Okay, I'll throw in two free passes to Oni World, as well as a nice plaque to hang on your wall. Trust me, it's a very handsome plaque."


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Reading through 'Tide of Honor', there are a few places where it's suggested that the players whip out the Amatatsu Seal to help support their otherwise outlandish claims. ("Yeah, this chick who is from a far-off land, neither of her parents ever set foot in Minkai, speaks your language with a strange accent, and hasn't suffered under the Jade Regent like you all have happens to be the last blood heir to your empire and deserves your fealty. Oh, and if she dies, me --a foreign, dark-skinned, round-eyed dwarf with a CHR of 8-- has a claim to the throne. What can I say? Destiny's a harsh mistress.")

In another, to get to the treasure requires the Seal to uncork the hidden room. I read this and it caused a bit of a problem for me because according to the previous books, popping out the Seal sent out a giant:

Dear Five Storms,

Here I am. Please send ninjas.

All the best,

Amatatsu scion

And that could happen anywhere along the trek. The idea of waving the unblocked Seal around right in Minkai makes me think, "Suddenly, ninjas," and "Suddenly, armies," and "Suddenly, oni," and "Suddenly, armies of ninja oni." Basically, after being told to hide away the Seal for so long, there has to be a believable reason why uncorking it on the Five Storms doorstep doesn't lead to immediate 'scry and fry.'

What I suggest is that going back to 'Forest of Spirits,' and having Akumi (the bonzai kami) provide another service to the party. When the caravan meets the group of kami, they inform the party that the glade is a spot of tranquility in the world, and the Five Storms can not spy on what occurs there. If Akumi travels with the party, he is allowed to take a fragment of that tranquility with him, granting the same kind of cloak to the Seal, so long as it is unboxed within 10 feet of his tree. For my mind, this gives a believable reason why the party can now take the Seal out sometimes without having to deal with more ninjas than are typically hunting them.


William Bryan wrote:
Is anyone doing anything differently with Helgarval? I feel that there could be some foreshadowing that I'm missing out on that might be in a future installment.

Personal opinion follows:

I found "Night of Frozen Shadows" to be the weakest of the Adventure Path by far. Even as I accept that it must take place within a structured AP I have huge problems with the horribly railroaded plot, the most efficient way to minimize Notoriety Points gained in game is to conduct wholesale murder against everyone (except in that guild, there it's bad!), the totally linear final dungeon requires you to find 2 (TWO!) secret doors or else the whole thing grinds to a halt, and, when it looks like there are no hooks left to follow and we're at an impasse in our investigation... an angel-that-looks-like-a-viking-helm that we just HAPPENED to pick up in the prior scene decides to give us answers.

Umm... no.

It is unfortunate because I like the AP and there are hints of a good episode underneath all this railroad plot and NPC stupidity. However, I will be rejigging this adventure for my game and Helgarval is definitely one of the things that will be jettisoned with extreme prejudice.

How will the PCs find out about the Rimerunners Guild without the Helmet-Angel-of-Plot-Dumping you ask?

By examining the treasure they found on the ship. Found engraved on a bejeweled drinking horn: "To big bad Viking. Thanks for putting in a good word for me with the Rimerunners Guild."

Divination magic.

Asking around. "Oh, yeah, I heard he was really close to the Rimerunners Guild a few years back. I think they bought up all his stuff once he got all ill and such."

"*Hic!* Yeah... let me tell you about my bestest buddy... *hic* we just burned him, true Northman funeral... in a boat! I worked for him *hic* years ago. Did a lot of stuff for that Guild... Rhyme Rippers... no wait... that's not right... *hic*... Run Rimers? Time Tunners? Rimerunners! Yeah that was it! *hic* me and him and that Guild... we go wayyyyy back. Let me tell you about this time..."

In other words, my characters will have to interact with the adventure to find the clues. They will be there when they look, but they will not just drop out of the sky and land on their heads.

Also, as others have mentioned, named NPCs that can join the caravan are so peripheral to the actual adventure itself that ignoring them do not change the unfolding adventure one bit.


Hmm, yes, I was prompted to re-enter my address and phone number for this purchase, and I guess I/that-step caused an issue.

Thank you for your assistance.


I have placed order # 1762952, and recieved an email saying that the order is being filled, but within the email was the line:

Will not ship before you contact Customer Service.

So do I need to reply to the information email? I don't remember this step the last time I ordered product (admittedly a while back) so I am confused as to the proper procedure.


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NPC Specific Events

These events should happen to characters with connections to the specific NPC. These are written as if the character is friendly to the NPC in question, but most could be run (albeit somewhat differently) if there is enmity.

Koya

Buyer Beware
An old, nearly blind wizard comes to the caravan asking for a lapis lazuli gemstone. The caravan doesn’t have the item, but does have some polished blue rocks that could fool the nearsighted old man.

If the character goes along with the scam they get a lot of gold, but Koya finds out and berates the character for taking advantage of the elderly.

The Road Goes Ever On
When out on the trail, the character comes across Koya watching a hummingbird take nectar from a flower. She’s touched with a bit of melancholy, talking about how much she let life pass her by and that she’s afraid she will fall to the ravages of her aged body before she achieves anything truly great for herself. Reminding her of the people she’s helped in her life is a good way to bring her back to her usual humour.

From The Mouth of Babes
In a town Koya comes across one of the people she acted as a surrogate mother to, years ago. That person has a sick child, and asks Koya to help heal the child. If the character joins her in taking care of her sick ‘grandchild’, she is thankful to the character.

However, both Koya and the character catch a nasty flu from the sick child and spend the next week being physically miserable.

Sandru

Old Flames Burn Bright
While stopping in a town to trade, Sandru comes across one of his old romances. The girl has moved on and married with a large, happy family. Later that day the character finds Sandru deep in his cups, worried that he squandered yet another chance for love and family. Characters can either commiserate with him, or try and cheer him up.

Professional Discourtesy
Another caravan arrived in town the day before Sandru’s arrived. That caravan master is snide and dismissive to Sandru and makes comment about his family’s thieving ways. Characters can either stand up for their friend or else run a series of subtle revenge and petty mischief against the other caravan.

It’s a Guy Thing
Sandru asks to spar with one of the characters. It is like an older brother testing out the younger sibling, and he hold no grudge if defeated (although his ego is bruised). If the character takes defeat graciously, or offers to wipe away any hard feelings over some strong booze, all is well.

Shalelu

Where the Wild Things Are
On the road, Shalelu takes one of the characters away from the caravan to show them a lovely little glade she once travelled through. It was a place of beauty and she wants to share it with a friend. When she arrives, she finds the place has been turned into a farm: if pressed, she admits it was fifty years since she was last in this region.

The event depresses the elf, and it is up to the character to bring her spirits back up.

Whose Your Daddy?
In town, a character and Shalelu come across a man talking about how he was glad at dropping off that annoying ankle bitter of his on his dead wife’s family. This really annoys the elf and she insults the man before stalking off. Talking to Shalelu gets her to tell the story of her mother and step-father: something she normally isn’t willing to share.

Figuring out that the man is terrified he will screw up his kid without his wife to keep an eye on him and getting him to go home to the kid will truly impress Shalelu.

Are All Humans Crazy, Or Merely The Ones I Know?
Shalelu appears unsettled. When questioned, she reluctantly admits that despite living with them for many years, humans still confuse her. Things like wasting their limited time on family arguments, or gambling away a good day’s wage on a roll of the dice, or smoking… some things humans do will never make sense to her.

A character who joins her in talking about human foibles or tries and help her gain a better understanding of the race of man will improve their relationship.

Ameiko

I Am A Delicate Flower
A half-drunk nobleman gets a little grabby with Ameiko, and she cracks a tankard over the man’s head. Character can either join in the resulting bar brawl, or else try and drag the future empress out before she beats half the room into unconsciousness.

Next morning, nursing her own hangover, she ruefully admits she might need to tone down such behaviour –a bit- and asks the character to help her keep her temper in check.

Someone Should Write A Play
While in town, Ameiko comes across a love-sick young man, despondent over the fact his love’s father has forbidden them to see each other. Driven by her goddess Shelyn’s ideals, Ameiko takes it upon herself to bring these two together. “After all, isn’t it an empress’ duty to help her subjects?”

“This isn’t Minkai.”

“Details, details.”

If the character can help (Stealth, Bluff, opening locks, distracting magic, writing poetry for the lovelorn young man, etc.), the PC and Ameiko can get closer as they work to make love spread.

Does This Kimono Make Me Look Fat?
In Kalsgard, the character is wandering through the Jade District and comes across Ameiko in a dress shop, nervously trying on an expensive kimono. She spots the character and gets flustered. Once away from prying ears, she swears the character to secrecy, saying that sometimes the thought of what awaits her frightens her. After all, it’s so much responsibility. Sure, she’s a noblewoman, but empress? That’s a whole different level. Seeing herself in the mirror, wearing royal finery… is this really a good idea?

She’s having a momentary attack of nerves. It’ll be over with the next Frozen Shadow attack, but for now, can the character be a comforting sounding board?

= = =

Those are my ideas. What are yours?


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Man About Town – Events while in civilization

Run Away and Join the Caravan
Just as the caravan is about to leave town, the party discovers a stowaway!

The young woman is found clutching a bag and is desperate to flee the town. She begs, pleading for a life of something beyond marriage to a local boy. Sense Motive shows she is serious about leaving town. A search of her bag shows it contains all her worldly possessions: an extra set of clothes, two books, a doll, and 3 copper pieces.

If the party says no, they leave her to her fate. If they agree to let her come along, she shows she is an eager worker and a bright girl. +1 to all non-combat caravan checks.

A Taxing Time
While in town, a nervous-looking town exchequer approaches. The caravan has somehow violated an unusual local law (must peace bond blades, arriving horses must be checked for diseases, children must be in bed by 10 o’clock, no spell casting except in presence of peace officer, etc). The town uses these fees to fix up local infrastructure, and the caravan must pay (1, 2 or 3 cargo units depending on party level).

If the party pays, the exchequer leaves. If the party chooses not to pay, they can use Diplomacy or Intimidate to force the meek exchequer to back off. Bribes are met with an incredulous look.

If the party paid, when they leave town they see the bridge they are leaving on being worked on.

If the caravan leaves without the tax being paid, there are no workers on the bridge. As the wagons roll over the bridge, part of it breaks, dumping 2 units of cargo into the river.

“Our infrastructure is failing because of people not paying their taxes,” the mayor will say, and will refuse to reimburse the caravan.

Such A Nice, Quiet Man
A few angry men appear, demanding one of the drivers. One of the local girls was found dead, and he was seen in the presence of her. He protests his innocence.

Use of Sense Motive, Diplomacy, Intimidate, Perception or charm magic will find evidence that yes, the driver was the only one with the girl when she died.

If the group gathers the information and presents it to the caravan, the people of the caravan are shocked, but grimly accept it. If they party does not find the correct information or do not present it, the caravan’s people feel one of theirs was wrongfully taken; -2 on all checks.

If the party forcefully ignores the townsmen and leave with the driver, the caravan is in a celebratory mood… how dare they try and take one of ours! At the next town, the driver kills another girl and is caught, taking his own life. -4 to all checks.

Times Are Tough All Over
The next town the caravan comes across is suffering (poor crop, mine close, change in animal migration). The people have no money to buy, so no trading. The people beg for something to eat. The party can choose to sacrifice up to three units of cargo.

1 cargo unit: -1 to the next trading check, +0 resolve

2 cargo units: -2 to the next trading check, +1 resolve

3 cargo units: -3 to the next trading check, +1 resolve and godly blessing prevents the caravan/party from being surprised (next time the party/caravan is surprised, their enemies do not get a surprise round).

Man In Motion
Just as the caravan is about to leave town, the party discovers a stowaway!

The young man is found clutching a bag and is desperate to flee the town. He begs, pleading for a life of something beyond grinding wheat at the mill. Sense Motive shows he is serious about leaving town. A search of his bag shows it contains all his worldly possessions: an extra set of clothes, two knives, a small coal sketch of his family, and ten severed fingers.

He killed a man last night, severed the fingers and now has to leave town. The body will be discovered in a few hours and the town will send the watch after the caravan. If the stowaway is still with the caravan when the law arrives, he will claim one of the party members is the killer, and is being held against his will. The caravan will acquire a reputation for harbouring criminals. -3 Resolve.

Two Men Enter, One Eunuch Leaves
The town tough guy finds fault with the party, since the strangers are catching the eyes of local girls. He and his cronies challenge the “homeless vagabonds” to contests of might to prove their manliness.

Contested skill checks follow:

Horsemanship: 1 Intimidate (pre-ride trash talk), 2 Ride

Obstacle course: 1 Acrobatics, 2 Climb

Pig Catching: 2 Handle Animal, 1 Swim (in mud)

Winning two challenges cows the town toughs down. +1 to security as a song is on the caravan’s lips. -2 if the party embarrasses themselves.

It’s 11 PM, Do You Know Where Your Child Is?
While waiting out a storm in town, a child is reported missing. There are some dark whispers that the boy was taken by the caravan. Finding the child requires successful Knowledge (nature) to know the likely places the child could have gone, Survival to follow the clues in the storm, and find the child trapped beneath a fallen tree. Getting the child free requires a Strength check, or Escape Artist.

Successfully freeing the child wipes away the unpleasant rumours, in fact, the locals share some of their harvest in gratitude, reduce consumption by 2. Not finding the child means the caravan leaves the town under a dark cloud of suspicion. -2 resolve.

Habitat for Demi-Humanity
In the current town, the party finds a family of halflings trying to build a house. The family is fighting an illness, and probably won’t have it done before some bad weather moves in. If the caravan spends 2 units of cargo and makes a Profession/Craft (carpenter) check, they can help the family get a roof over their heads.

Helping out means the town respects the caravan as good people and is freer with their coins. Increase the gold earned by 15%.


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I’ve been unimpressed with the official support provided in the books, both for NPC/PC interactions as well as non-combat events to liven up the caravan’s trip. As such, I’ve written some incidents that I may use in my game and am willing to share in the hopes it sparks others’ imaginations as well.

I am not using the caravan rules as RAW, so my mechanical suggestions are just that: suggestions. If you can think up better results, use them.
No DCs have been included, as these events could happen at any level, and thus it is up to the GM to change them to meet the PCs abilities.
If you can come up with your own ideas, please add them.

On the Road Again – Events while the caravan is on the trail

Shelyn Has Left the Building
A small shrine is found beside the road to any deity of the GM’s choice. If the caravan stops to pray, subtract 5 miles from the day’s travels, and give a +2 bonus to the next trading roll.

Fight Club
A pair of guards in the caravan gets into a fight over a gambling game. One accuses the other of cheating, the other denies this allegation. If not dealt with, the caravan suffers -2 penalty to AC due to people taking sides and not standing as a unified whole.

Lucky Charms
Koya or another fortuneteller finds a good omen. If the caravan spends 1 unit of supplies for a festival in celebration, the caravan can reroll any one of the next three rolls it makes.

Cat Fight
A small group of women in the caravan start to have personality conflicts with each other. This can be due to jealousy, in-fighting, or misheard gossip. Unless the party smoothes out the issue with Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Perception checks, the friction will cause a -1d4 to all economy checks and a +2 to unrest.

Pranks, But No Pranks
A number of pranks happen to the caravan (ropes unwound, mud placed in boots, knives dulled, sewing unwound). Tempers flare and people get angry as the blame runs wild. Using Stealth, Sense Motive, Perception, and knowledge (arcane), the party can find out fey tricksters are having fun with the caravan. If the party doesn’t find out about the fey, the caravan takes a -1d4 to resolve as trust deteriorates.

If the party finds the fey, a fortuneteller can engage the fey in a contest of wits, make a Profession (fortuneteller) check, if successful, the fey are made friendly and give 2 trade goods worth of fey-worked items. On a failure the fey leave, looking for people who are more fun to be around.

Reverse Harem
A woman in the caravan is playing one of the drivers and one of the guards against each other, enjoying the little power trip it gives her. If allowed to continue, the driver will eventually snap and murder the guard in his sleep. The party is left to deal with the fallout.

Minimum Sentences
Along the road, the caravan passes a crow cage beside the road. The prisoner inside pleads to be set free, saying he’s innocent. A Sense Motive check can tell he’s lying. If the caravan does not free him, he shouts insults and pronounces a curse upon them all! Unless cowed into silence with Intimidate (Diplomacy will not work) enough people hear the curse to cause +2 to unrest.

Baby On Board
A pregnant woman in the caravan goes into labour. The birth is very difficult and without help, disaster may occur. Make three skill checks: 1 Diplomacy (to calm the mother), and 2 Heals. Divine magic can be used to generate 1 successful Heal check. What happens depends on how many successful checks the party makes:

3 successes: mother and baby are fine. The caravan is elated! +2 to all checks for a week.

2 successes: hard birth, the mother is weakened, but the baby is fine. +1 to all checks for 3 days.

1 success: mother dies in childbirth, baby is fine. Joy mixed with sadness, no modifiers.

0 successes: mother dies, taking her child with her. Gloom descends on the caravan, -2 to all checks.

Are We Really Like That?
The caravan comes across a 5 member adventurer party (level 1). The fighter, mage, cleric, and rogue all have the charisma of unwashed rot grubs, but the male bard is smoking hot, and tries to hit on female PCs. Whenever anyone tries to talk to the bard, another of his party members moves to flank the speaker. The mage keeps moving into places where he would have a clear shot with a colour spray. The rogue eyes the party’s coin purses, and the fighter tries to speak but can only shout aggressively. The cleric always works something about his god into any sentence he says.

All are orphans and have no living family members.

In Need of a Cattle Prod
A druid is allowing his T Rex animal companion a chance to rest. Unfortunately, the lazy best is lying across the road. The caravan’s horses will not go anywhere near the predator, so the party must convince the druid to get “Lord Carvington” up and moving. Both have been walking all day and are tired, but the druid is fairly reasonable, so any good use of Diplomacy or bribe should work. Threats or use of force and the druid responds with Anti-Life Shell, Wall of Thorns, Repel Wood, Wall of Stone, or other, really high level spells to force the caravan back, but does not fight to kill. Left to himself, Lord Carvington will not move for a whole day.

I’m No Good Without My Daily Map
The caravan comes across a fork in the road. According to the map, the group should head east: too bad the fork in the road is between northwest and west. There was an eastern path at one point, but it looks like a fight between mages turned that route into a field of jagged obsidian rocks.

The caravan can either stop and wait for a traveler to come along (2 days) to tell them which route to take (west), or can send out scouts. A successful Survival check will tell the caravan that the west path is the longer, but safer. The northwestern one is shorter, but over rougher, swampier terrain.

Taking west route: no problems.

Taking northwest route: Make 2 morale, and 1 mobility checks against the caravan to see how well the caravan deals with the harder terrain and flaring tempers due to the extra work:

3 successes: the caravan is a well oiled machine! The surge of confidence gives the group a +2 to all economy rolls in the next town.

2 successes: the road is hard, but we’re harder. The toil toughens the caravan up. +1 AC to the next fight.

1 success: I should have stayed at home. The distance takes twice the time to cover. Demoralized, the caravan takes a -1 to all checks for a week.

0 successes: are we there yet? The rough path claims a victim! Randomly choose one of the caravan’s wagons. Remove that from play, as well as whatever cargo it was carrying. +2 to unrest until some kind of uplifting event occurs.

Gods On High
One night the sky suddenly lights up with a furious glow, like the northern lights. It is terrifying and people and horses cry out with fear. Those who make a Knowledge (arcane) check can tell it is some kind of battle taking place in the celestial realms.

A character with Knowledge (religion) can, on a successful check, read the signs above and calm the caravan down. By linking the lights above to religious sagas, the character can weave a story that gives hints to upcoming events.

Someone with Perform (storytelling) can do something similar, but at a harder DC. Someone with Bluff can as well, but at a still higher DC.
Failure: caravan is panicked and fearful. -2 to all checks but AC. Because of fear, AC goes up by +1.

Success: the caravan seems blessed. +20% on all gold gained in the next trading session.