Here are some rules for playing Chariots of Stonehenge using the Nocturne expansion pieces. (Usual disclaimers apply.)
Affordable Blocking (optional rule): For each power crystal spent in the blocking stage, a player may place up to two blocking stones instead of just one, and the same card may be used for multiple blocking stone placements. (This optional rule is for those who believe blocking should be a more viable tactic than it currently is).
Here are some rules for playing Auction Blocks using the Nocturne expansion pieces. (Usual disclaimers apply.)
Bid Cancellation (optional rule): If the day and night versions of the same numbered card are used in the same bidding round, the values of both those cards are reduced to zero.
Invisible Trilithons (recommendation): Using the physical trilithons in the game is aesthetically pleasing but makes visibility and access to the other pieces difficult. Instead, simply place the colored disks on the blank spaces on the board where the trilithons would be, and keep the trilithons themselves in the box.
Here are some suggested rules on how to play Magic of Stonehenge using the Nocturne expansion pieces. (Usual disclaimers apply.)
Here are suggested rules adjustments for a 7-player game of The High Druid.
Here are some suggested adjustments and optional rules for The High Druid using the Nocturne expansion pieces. I haven't rigorously tested them yet, though, so it's subject to change. ;)
Visible Fetish Stones (optional rule): Deal the "fetish stone" cards face up instead of face down. This gives players more information about their opponents' possible goals, and also avoids the annoyance of having to remember which of your two facedown cards is the "fetish" and which is the "taboo."
Unknown Taboo Stones (optional rule): Deal the "taboo stone" cards at the end of the game instead of the beginning. This increases the likelihood of unpredictable scoring upsets.
Poisoned Chalice (optional rule): On his or her turn, a player may spend one coloured bar to poison the drinking water during the election. Draw and reveal the top card from the deck. The druid disk on that numbered space, if any, is removed from the game. Strategy note: This tactic is becomes more effective as the game progresses. While it can backfire, note that druids standing on the spaces that match known "fetish stones" and "taboo stones" are less likely to die; clever players can use this information to their advantage.
Scoring Track (recommendation): To make vote tallying easier at the end of the game, when a player scores votes from a college, place that player's colored figure onto the outer ring of the board on the number of votes they received. Move the figures around the outer ring as the players' scores increase. When scoring the "fetish stones", simply move a player's figure up two points if they won the votes from the indicated college (i.e. no need to use neutral disks).
It was nice (from a versatility standpoint) that the 5 trilithon cards in the base game matched up nicely (via a colored dot) with the 5 sets of colored player pieces. I think the Nocturne expansion should have included 2 additional trilithon cards (with a black dot and orange dot respectively). Oh well.
Perhaps I'm off my rocker...but wasn't there a DM's guide that gave a brief overview of all of the adventures at one point? I can't seem to find it.
You are not off your rocker. It was in an issue of Dragon magazine. Don't recall the number offhand, but I'll bet it was the issue that coincided with the first installment of the AP in Dungeon.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
...I need to figure out the time between leaving Fort Greenrock and the beginning of the Big Battle at the end of Tides of Dread...
Here are some dates from my Greyhawk campaign, just for some sort of reference, even though there were some side quests, etc.
Fireseek 25-26 - Fort Greenrock
So about 110 days, if that helps.
What kind of methods are we talking about? I've got some ideas in mind, but I'd love to hear what yours were.
She had planned to unleash hordes of hungry rhagodessae on the Brotherhood by hiding rhagodessa eggs inside stuffed animals. She didn't seem to mind the carnage and chaos the plan would inflict on the city as a whole.
- I replaced all of the exotic animals on the Nixie with crates of rhagodessa eggs. (Keep the one adult rhagodessae... she's an egg-layer.)
My players had no love of the Brotherhood, but they knew that hungry young rhagodessae are not exactly discerning diners and many innocents would die if Rowyn's plan came to fruition.
IMC, the Brotherhood were already in charge of the city in which TINH and TBG take place. Rowyn's motivation was to overthrown the Brotherhood and restore the (rightful?) nobility to power. My players already had some knowledge of the oppressiveness of the Brotherhood. So when the PCs were pitted against Rowyn, it made for more difficult choices / better roleplaying. The PCs still decided to stop her, since her methods were less than admirable.
Hired Sword wrote:
Yes, and unfortunately a great way to kill the friendly NPCs who were awaiting rescue in the cellar! Oh well...
Thanks for the trap idea - what sort of stats would you give that slicer?
CR 5; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; Atk +16 melee for d12+8/x3 (as greataxe); multiple targets (attacks everyone in 10x10x5 area); Search DC 25; Disable Device DC 18.
CR 7; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; 11d6 slashing to all in 10x10x5 area, Reflex DC 19 for half (as blade barrier CL11); Search DC 31; Disable Device DC 31.
CR 9; mechanical; location trigger; automatic reset; d4 blades (as scimitar) attack each PC in 10x10x5 area (Atk +10 melee for 1d6+5 plus purple worm poison, DC 24 Fortitude save resists, 1d6 Str/2d6 Str); Search DC 20; Disable Device DC 20.
Don't forget that any ropes would most likely be cut instantly by the blade(s), so depending on how the PCs are descending the pit, they may end up taking falling damage the rest of the way down. (I didn't include this damage in the CRs above.)
My gut says don't change a thing. However, for your amusement, here are two other options:
Something a little more RBDM:
Put a non-magical trap halfway down the shaft, perhaps a scything blade.
Less evil alternative:
Make the shaft lead nowhere, and have a secret door lead down to the lower level instead.
Here's how I modified the Shrine of Duplicity.
First, I removed the mirrors entirely. (I kept the one in room 8 but changed it to one of those scrying mirrors that comes in linked sets. I forget which book that's in. The mirror is a communication tool b/w Olangru and other villains, so the heroes can use the mirror to get a foreshadowing glimpse of a future location.)
Second, I made the thrones into a trap wholly unrelated to passing beyond the room. The trap I used was the Doorway to Madness (Traps and Treachery II, p162). (I did this because earlier in SWW I used a linked pair of stone thrones that provided information, and now I wanted to see if the players would assume these would function similarly. To their credit they weren't fooled.)
Finally, I changed the description of the altar to a blood-caked altar of greasy green stone, into which are set iron-rimmed holes about 1 inch across and 1 inch deep.
Candles placed in the holes on the altar were the keys to open a portal of blood. (Basically I imagined room 8 being above room 7, and the ceiling/floor between the two turns to blood.)
Search DC 15: A couple of old black stubs of candles lie discarded beneath the altar.
The portal of blood remains so for 10 rounds before it becomes stone again and the candles snuff out. Anyone within/touching the blood when it reverts to stone takes d6 wounds (plus falling damage, if applicable) as they are shunted down into room 7.
Any PC who climbs up through the pool of blood (or otherwise takes an action that would reveal such) discovers that there is a space above it.
The pool of blood in room 8 is always liquid and anyone moving into it risks falling through the floor to room 7.
14. Quotoctoa's Private Chamber:
- Alter map to make alcove into overlook where chieftain sleeps.
This chamber is Quotoctoa's private sanctum. The place is furnished with a carved stone table and some crude chairs. The carvings on the top of the table depict the central-eastern area of the Isle of Dread that the gargoyles inhabit. Carved in Terran on the map are the names of the tribes of gargoyles, plus a few other interesting notes about the land immediately surrounding the mountains. (I didn't detail this further...)
In the sleeping alcove is a pedestal with a secret recess hidden in it (Search DC 20). It contains a set of masterwork stonecarving tools, a healer's kit, and a yellow agate wrapped in an old rag (worth 50 gp).
A secret vertical shaft in the ceiling of the main chamber (opposite the alcove) gives access to the mountains above after a 100 foot ascent. It is difficult to find (Search DC 28) because it is ringed by stalactites and clogged with stones, though the lever that operates it is not as well hidden (Search DC 23), being concealed within the geometric designs carved into the wall. The lever causes the stones clogging the hole to fall on anyone in the 5-ft square immediately below the shaft. Only the named gargoyles know about the secret shaft.
Falling Stones Trap (CR4): Search DC 20 (if shaft or lever already located), Disable Device DC 24, melee +15 for 6d6 half-fatigue.
A galeb duhr (MM2 p107) blocks the entrance to these caves. (Place a boulder on the map but allow a Spot DC 30 to recognize it as something other than a normal boulder when first seen.) It shambles to life (round 1) and moves aside (round 2) when someone wearing the gargoyle crown comes within 5 feet.
When a hero can see the end of the road: The cliffside road comes to an end here. You cannot tell whether the elements have eroded it away, or the ancients simply never completed it, or it was destroyed intentionally by the occupants of these caves, but in any case, there's no way to proceed further.
A cockatrice (MM p37) lairs within room 15.
Here I placed the treasure from the February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite, along with a ghost touch cold iron mace of disruption and a cloth pouch of native design containing a tiny silvery pearl worth 70 gp, a tiny golden idol of the Olman god of luck worth 500 gp, and a small stone tablet inscribed with the locate object spell (as a scroll).
9. Rock Reptiles:
A mated pair of rock reptiles blocks the entrances (use rubble counters, but allow Spot check when first seen). They attack any prey that comes within range (probably gaining surprise).
Suddenly the rock piles begin to move. They look like long, warty lizards about the size of a small horse. It darts forward with lightning speed and snaps at you with its powerful jaws.
I believe the stats are in Tome of Horrors?
10. Tattoo Parlour:
- Alter passageway leading to room 10 to go over passage to room 12.
- Alter map so that large open left side space is 20 feet up in cave wall.
Grummoc is the 'tattoo artist' of the tribe, a highly regarded position. He carefully chisels designs on tribe members for artistic, shamanistic, or symbolic purposes.
Tactics: Grummoc will attempt to achieve surprise with 2 claw attacks from hiding, each dealing his sneak attack bonus. Otherwise/afterwards, he flees. If trapped, a desperate Grummoc may attempt to bargain with the heroes.
11. Grummoc's Lair:
This is a ledge overlooking room 12. I didn't really detail it.
12. King's Lounge / Torture Chamber:
This large cave features a number of severed heads mounted on stalagmites, their unpreserved flesh festering in the heat and attracting flies.
What are the heads of? The heads include a couple of lizardmen, a carver lizard, a reptilian bird-creature, a gargoyle, and two dark-skinned humans.
13. Nerilqua's Lair:
- Alter map so that entrance is 20 feet up in cave wall
In the chamber is a stone platform, a stone chair, and a sleeping pedestal.
For Nerilqua's stats, I used those for Rexx-r as detailed in a February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite.
Tactics: If Nerilqua suspects that Quotoctoa is dead (i.e. sees the gargoyle crown on someone's head, etc), she will do everything in her power to try to get the gargoyle crown. Failing this, she will flee to room 15 in an attempt to get some loot before abandoning the lair for good. If trapped, a desperate Nerilqua may attempt to bargain with the PCs.
Treasure: On a Search (DC 30) of the walls, a PC notices that portion of the wall at the back of the cave appears to be unusually smooth. No amount of searching or investigation will reveal any method to open this cache, however, for Nerilqua used her ring to shape the stone. Inside is a stone tablet of guardgoyle creation (as manual of golem creation, but details process required to make a guardgoyle).
2 ft x 2 ft x 1 ft deep secret cache behind 1 ft of shaped stone: Search 30 (to notice shaped stone), Disable N/A, hardness 8, 180 hp, Strength 35 to break with sudden force, drops to 33 if at less than half hp)
4. Familial Caverns:
- Alter map to put alcoves at height.
- Two gargoyles and various young.
5. Egg Chambers:
- Alter map to put alcoves at height.
- Eggs (basically oval boulders) are stored in the alcoves.
6. Throne Room:
An ancient tattered and stained tapestry lies on the floor as a makeshift rug. runs most of the length of this long hall. Portions of the cavern walls have been finished and ornamented with geometric designs.
From the centre of the room: To your left stands a large stone throne.
Quotoctoa the gargoyle king rules from this hall. If he survived the second attack on the heroes and is still in good shape, he will likely be here. If he survived but was severely damaged, he will instead be in room 10, 12, or 14; Kattaxx will have used cure light wounds to heal the damage he (and any surviving warriors) took in the battle.
This gargoyle appears to be clothed in finery and wears a crown of stone and feathers upon his brow.
If confronted here, Quotoctoa attempts to intimidate intruders to frighten them off, and if that doesn't work, he might try barter to get them to go away peacefully. If faced with a significant challenge, he flees through rooms 9-13, gathering Grummoc and Nerilqua as he goes, and exits via the secret vertical shaft in the ceiling of room 14.
Hidden behind the throne is a passage to room 9.
The 5-foot square that most directly leads to room 8 has a hidden trap.
- Alter map so that one side slopes up to landing (room 7), second passage slopes up from landing to overlook.
- One gargoyle stands sentry duty here. If alerted, will call out to Kattaxx in room 8, then attempt to fly to room 9, etc. to alert others.
8. Chapel of Fraz-Urb'luu:
- Alter map to make back alcove an overlook where priestess sleeps.
The walls of this cavern are partially smoothed and have been inset with seven swirling, angular carvings that look like Ancient Olman words spaced evenly around the room. The recessed portions of each of the carvings have been stained black for added contrast in the gloom. The vaulted ceiling above is painted black and has no carvings. Ancient spattered bloodstains cover the floor, most noticably around the far wall, below an alcove twenty feet above the floor. The archway is surrounded in carved sigils and houses a horrifying demonic idol. The place stinks of murder and pain.
The idol depicts a monstrous being with a muscular gorilla-like body. Two vast batlike wings protrude from its back. Its tail is long and hairless. Its head rises to a pointed ridge at the top, and is bald save for tufts of ragged hair hanging from its jowls. Large ragged ears grow from either side of its head. Yet the most terrible aspect of the visage is the mouth, which is overly large and filled with huge fangs.
Kattaxx, gargoyle priestess of Fraz-Urb'luu, will most likely have been warned of the heroes' approach, and will lurk in the shadows behind the idol high above the room. If in danger of being discovered, she will fight to the death to defend the chapel.
Kattaxx is detailed in a February 2007 post on Claw/Claw/Bite.
She will seek to focus her efforts against whomever she perceives to be the weakest or most wounded (Heal DC 20 to correctly identify PC with lowest hp total or most wounds, failure results in random target). As soon as anyone is slain and the sigils activate, she immediately asks for the boon she needs most. (see below)
Whenever someone is slain in this room, the idol's unholy properties become activated, the sigils softly glow blood-red, and anyone in the room may call upon the power of Fraz-Urb'luu to grant them a boon by chanting one of the carved Ancient Olman incantations on the wall. Doing so is a free action that requires a Fort save (DC = 15 + HD of slain creature) or be sickened d6 rounds per HD of the slain creature; those who use prayers granted by another power suffer an increase in DC by their total levels. A successful save allows the petitioner to select any of the following:
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me health!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me stealth!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me perception!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me tongues!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me ferocity!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me prayers!
Demon Prince of Deception, grant me power!
Each boon lasts until next sunset/rise. Requesting a second boon while one is already active results in the end of the first boon.
If Quotoctoa was slain, there will be a power vacuum that Kattaxx, Grummoc, and Nerilqua are each seeking to fill.
Since my players passed it up last session, I can now comment on the gargoyle lair I placed at the end of the cliffside road.
I used a map I found online (I might post a link if I can find it again) and modified it somewhat to suit my purposes (adding more vertical dimension to various locations). It showed four separate cave entrances leading away from a (what else?) cliffside road.
At first, I wrote the notes intending the PCs to have a chance at getting the jump on inhabitants even if they took no actions to do so. That didn't seem very logical, though, so I changed the notes to assume that the gargoyles had spotted the PCs during their approach, since they certainly would lair in the most advantageous location overlooking the road leading up to it.
Full disclosure: I took some descriptions and inspiration from Belessa's Journal.
After traveling only a short distance more, the road begins to climb a series of broad steps that lead ever higher up one of the rocky mountainsides overhead.
- Sprinkle a few extra rubble counters and 3D boulders along the cliff road to add interest to combat and to help hide the rock-like creatures at more distant entrances. (yeah, just keep reading)
- One gargoyle (MM p113) stands sentry duty here, though as the heroes approached, the sentry will have already seen them coming and alerted the rest of the tribe.
As you near the top of the steps, you find that you have climbed quite high and gained a breathtaking view of the cliffside road you just travelled.
As you reach the top of the long, high stair, you come to a cave opening. A ledge runs all the way around the cave, and you can see many gargoyles perched on it.
If the heroes try to communicate with the gargoyles: A deep, grating voice speaks, but none of the gargoyles moved so you can't be sure which one spoke.
Tactics: the gargoyles will work in teams to shove the heroes off the cliff one at a time.
2. Guard Room:
- Alter map to make alcove at back of cave an overlook.
- One gargoyle (MM p113) is in the alcove.
3. Tribal Common Area:
This cave is surprisingly clean. The walls have been carved smooth in several places and are decorated with faded frescoes representing stylized images of snakes, birds, and leering faces.
Spot DC 22 (17 if within radius of bright light): A statue--or perhaps a creature standing very still--is perched on a high ledge in the back of the dark cave.
A guardgoyle (from City of Splendors, I think) stands watch on a ledge 15 ft over the floor of the cave overlooking the passage to room 4. If it is damaged in any way, or if any non-gargoyle comes within 5 ft, it emits a shriek as it shuffles off its stone casing, then attacks on the following round. (As a result, the guardgoyle’s creator, Nerilqua*, receives an immediate mental warning of this fact, and she will begin to rally others to investigate... Grummoc* in 2 rounds, Quotoctoa (if still alive) and the sentry in room 6 in 4 rounds, Kattaxx* in 6 rounds) The guardgoyle will pursue those who flee the chamber, but will not leave the caverns.
* Names are lifted/inspired from various internet sources.
Failed Saving Throw wrote:
DMs - how did you handle character gold at the start of "Here There be Monsters?" The adventure text states that the characters wake up with whatever weapons, armor and items they had on their person, and the rest is assumed lost.
Our last session saw the PCs wake up on the beach. Before the session, I had created homemade "item cards" for every item every one had, plus lots of stuff from the NPCs and the ship.
I cut-and-paste my GMing notes below so you can see how I handled searching the flotsam and jetsam littering the beach. My goals were to add an element of risk/tension for the PCs in finding their best gear, throwing in some conflict wherever warranted, and maybe making their equipment lists a little more realistic in the process.
Start of session
Beach: Search DC 10, increases by 5 with each success.
Water: Search DC 5, increases by 5 with each success.
Shipwreck: Search DC0, increases by 5 with each success.
- Botch: Find 1 card from Search pile, but item is permanently and totally destroyed.
As discoveries were made, each PC was allowed to pull one item per round from each stack located... other PCs and NPCs usually gathered around and began picking at the items, too, leading to all sorts of interesting discussions and mix-ups.
At one point, the eladrin in the group found a cold iron buccaneer's knife, which had been among another PC's things. He conspired with another player to throw the knife out into the sea, as cold iron is hated by fey. The ruse didn't work, and a nice tension-filled scene ensued.
All in all, it was a fair bit of work to pull off, but the result was nice.
And yes, we too had a nicely piratical "buried treasure" scene wherein the PCs hid some of the bigger items that they couldn't haul across land with them.
Hey, sorry for the abrupt resurrection, but for anyone who ran Last Breaths of Ashenport (Dungeon 152 on the Wizard's site), what did you do with Father Feres and the blue slaad encounter?
Father Feres acted very nervous in Blackwell/Ashenport. The PCs lost track of him, and they didn't think anything of it until much later when he became ill. They managed to save him, and he 'fessed up about having been abducted in Blackwell. It ended up being a creepy reminder of the horrors of that town, rather than a Slaad slugfest.
The PC's went for the frontal assault hostage rescue approach.
This is the ill-fated direction my group went as well.
Turin the Mad wrote:
It will be very interesting to see how the OP's STAP develops with the early, messy demise of Lavinia.
I had a thread a while back about the death of Lavinia. IMC, she died in session 5. We're coming up on session 25 this weekend. There haven't really been any major issues.
Actually PC turnover during SWW was more problematic than Lavinia's death. Only 2 of the original PCs who began the voyage and knew of the Vanderborens are still alive.
Had a couple PC deaths in sidetreks off of Sea Wyvern's Wake a while back...
PC: Martin "the Hatter" Madigan
The lovable goblin duskblade Martin bit the dust, literally, after making it all the way to the interior chambers of a temple of Mictlantecuhtli deep in the Amedio Jungle.
-- next session --
I extended Sea Wyvern's Wake into quite a few sessions to make it feel more like a real three-month sea journey. Along the way it became necessary to remind the players about the over-arching plot, so I made Fort Greenrock the site of a savage tide, instead of a lizardfolk attack as printed in SWW. Tammeraut's Fate did most of the heavy lifting for me. The heroes fought a couple savage creatures, then Blackfish the dwarf got slimed in the old storage room at the base of the tower.
Question for everyone who used/is using Tammeraut's Fate, it looks like a decent part of the plot dynamics is that the players are stuck on the island. Obviously this isn't going to happen with the Sea Wyvern. What changes if any did you make to account for this and keep the drama factor high?
Like Bacchreus, I inserted Tammeraut's Fate as Fort Greenrock. Instead of having been attacked by zombies (which seem overly common already in this AP), I had the locale be ground zero for a second savage tide. This allowed the players to be relatively certain that Kraken Cove wasn't a fluke and that Vanthus had passed this way ahead of them.
I expected my players not to stay a night on the isle, and didn't want to force them into it, so the best aspects of Tammeraut's Fate (the night time) wouldn't have come into play anyway.
I inserted Last Breaths of Ashenport from #152 (at Blackwell) pretty much as written, Dragon Hunters from #104 (half-way to Tamoachan), expanded Tamoachan, and slotted in Rana Mor from #86 beyond Tamoachan, in addition to a couple of self-written side treks along the way.
I would speak to plans for Tammeraut's Fate and some others modules as well, but my players may be lurking....
PC: Martin "the Hatter" Madigan
When our intrepid heroes reached the guardians of the well of death, they felt sure something terrible would happen to the first person to step between them. Martin was prone to doing unexpected things. It was this moment he chose to charge between the statues, headlong into the dark chamber beyond. I placed his miniature in the spot a couple inches beyond the last visible archway, confirmed with him that this was where Martin would be, then slid the printed map of the Well of Death underneath him. The figure rested nicely in the deep black oval denoting the 100-foot-deep well.
The fall actually didn't kill him, and his friends began a slow rescue process. Unfortunately, their noise alerted other creatures who lurked in adjoining tunnels. I had extended the Tamoachan sidetrek a bit, inserting a Map of Mystery (the one with various crypts and catacombs encircling a large vaulted chamber... I forget the issue) wherein Sutolore dwelt with a cadre of three ghouls. The ghouls paralyzed him, dragged him off into the darkness, and devoured him about a minute before the other heroes managed to find him.
Fortunately the story has a mildly happy ending. The party druid reincarnated Martin as a goblin.
-- A few sessions later --
PC: Aust, Captain of the Sea Wyvern
Captain Aust was making a late night inspection of the ship, accompanied by his trusty lookout, Emira Brighton. When he reached the rum locker, Aust heard Emira behind him chanting. One failed save later, Aust was helpless, then dead, then being impersonated in an attempt to kill off other party members. He, too, was resurrected soon thereafter.
The situation with my group is also strained, primarily between the crew and the PCs. (Most of the named NPCs are simply caught in the middle.)
The PCs were already seen as foreigners, "witches," (and one is a reincarnated goblin), what with sailors being a superstitious lot.
To date the crew has witnessed the PCs going ashore several times are returning with loot and magic, but the sailors themselves have seen none of it. (I take that back... last session the PC captain gave the crew 1 gp each.)
What's worse are the various accidents and deaths that have plagued the ship since its launch. A message scrawled in one victim's blood claimed that more would die by the hand of the ghost of Penkus himself. This obviously doesn't sit well with the crew.
And pretty much every PC has Charisma as a dump stat.
What I did to better track this situation was to create a simple matrix with a column for each PC and a row for the crew and each named NPC. I put a number in each box on the matrix based on NPC/crew's perceptions of PC actions. Handing out rum rations, for example, causes a temporary uptick in the captain's reactions. But if bad things happen, the captain's score tends to go down, unless he did something to correct it, whatever it was.
Needless to say, the scores have been dropping. There are some sourcebooks out there that provide some ideas on how to handle mutinies, but no matter what happens, its a lose-lose situation for PCs if they end up with a ship but no crew to sail it.
Luna eladrin wrote:
Thanks, I'll check 'em out!
Come to think of it, the old A1-4 Slavers series might do. A4 Dungeons of the Slave Lords would work if PCs are captured and hauled to Narisban in chains. If the PCs actually choose to go there of their own volition, I can back up and use A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. Grab some conversion notes from the web, change the name of Suderham to Narisban, find a few newer looking maps, and boom, good to go.
I just got through reading and comparing the naval combat rules (and ship stats) in
Obviously, every group is different, but I'm probably going to use a simplified version of the Seas of Blood / Skull & Bones rules, since they seem pretty realistic and the wargamer in me wants more than the narrative combat style presented in Stormwrack.
The structure point system as presented in Seas of Blood / Skull & Bones seems like it would be easy to implement and simplify bookkeeping.
If I remember correctly, Skull & Bones does a good job of outlining standard orders that crew are given in battle, how fast they can be carried out, etc. If you've got a PC captain, it gives them a nice sense of control, having to make the hard decisions, etc.
Salt & Sea Dogs and Seafarers Handbook are probably the least realistic, or that's my impression anyway.
Does anyone know a good adventure to slot in for Narisban, in case PCs get captured (or decide to go there by choice)?
Or failing that, has anyone written anything up on it, or have an account of how it figured into their game.
I don't think a trip there is very likely, but knowing the unpredictability of players, it's better to be prepared than not.
If I don't find a suitable published adventure that fits nicely, I'll probably use the jungle trading port Map of Mystery from Dungeon 138 and just wing it based on hasilty jotted notes. ;-)
I know this info is probably too late to help you, Luna, but in the interest of helping the community at large...
I used Dragon Hunters (just this past weekend, in fact) and had the same concern you did about stealing thunder from HTBM's thunder lizard. So I switched it out for a bulette and ran everything else as is (except the folks called it a land shark, not a dragon).
Other resources that might fit the bill include the short adventure sites in Secrets of Xen'drik (especially the one with the ziggurat) and the adventure sites in the back of (I think it is) Races of the Dragon (though you may need to adapt some of the boxed text away from reptilian and more toward mesoamerican/human). A few other ideas include Land of Men with Tails, and Rana Mor. I'm sure there's more but I don't have my notes with me.
"Luna eladrin wrote:
...I have hidden an important clue in one of the ships in the sargasso and am letting NPC's give liberal hints that this particular ship is very important. It worked. My PCs now have the theory that this is a specially prepared ship they need to sail into the Abyss...
I like this idea.
Alternatively I have been thinking of plopping Erik Anderson's Charts of the Shadow Voyage into their lap at some point.
Here is a quick update on my first post-Lavinia session. I respect the many opinions presented in this thread, but in the end decided not to 'deus ex machina' her back to life.
Overall the transition from BWG to SWW seemed to flow very smoothly. The PCs searched the manor and discovered numerous clues revealing Lavinia's intent to go to Farshore. Her diary included an entry that was almost word-for-word the speech scripted for her in the beginning of that adventure. Also included in the diary were PC-specific hints to incent them to go to Farshore, as well as information that surviving Vanderborens lived there (at least two of whom were linked to the PCs via backstory before Lavinia's death, so that's handy). Larissa's journal and sea charts also were discovered.
The PCs discovered that nearly all of the preparation for the sea journey had been made before the attack on the manor, with only one final detail she had left to secure: additional funding from the Merivanchis. The PCs happily took on this port-humous request and agreed to take Avner with them as a provision of the funding.
While I think it would be ok to let the PCs drive the plot from here on out, I decided to build in a fail-safe just in case I needed some plot leverage: A member of the Seeker Lodge serving as executor of the Vanderboren estate is overseeing the journey, having come to the decision based on a passage from Verik's will regarding the Vanderborens' patronage of the Lodge, Lavinia's obvious intent to see the colony resupplied as evident in her diary, and on the need to notify the surviving members of the family. The executor will sail on one ship (with Amella as captain), leaving the Sea Wyvern to be sailed by the PCs (one of them stepped into the captain role).
I will not yet reveal here some of the plans I am making to account for Lavinia's absence from the rest of the AP, but would be happy to recount what happens after the fact. Vanthus' goals--and the PCs willingness to foil them--will not be an issue, for reasons unique to my campaign.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
...the notion of the PCs selling Vanderboren Manor and/or contents to fund an expedition, I really don't think that could happen.
You're right. Bad example.
The point it was supposed to be supporting was that the PCs don't need Lavinia to get to the Isle of Dread. Resourceful PCs will make it happen, and there are plenty of ways for the DM to support it.
Geez, you people have been busy! Pardon the length of this reply; I'm going to comment on multiple posts at once.
I'm curious about this point. Why precisely did you rule that she (Harliss) was unnecessary in Kraken's Cove?
There are a variety of reasons.
The PCs didn't clear out the guildhouse from the previous adventure, so a number of NPCs were still active in the city and had a grudge against Lavinia for "siccing the heroes on them." Drevoraz's revenge motivation felt a bit contrived to me; it was more logical for the manor attack to be conducted by surviving thieves' guild members than by the opponents listed in BWG. And I already have an alternate NPC unique to my campaign that can fill Harliss' roles in Scuttlecove.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Excellent point, and one I overlooked in my earlier post about all the things that the OPer had to re-write later in the game. It's a tapestry. Pluck one string (or get her killed) and the whole thing unravels.
I'm not sure the death of Lavinia would make the inclusion of Harliss untenable. It is convenient that I chose to remove Harliss, as I think it would have made a decision by the PCs to trust her later in the campaign more difficult, as they may feel that she was responsible for Lavinia's death.
As it stands, the whole sad chapter of TINH and BWG might make a nice launching point for the broader scope of the ensuing chapters, with more player choice/involvement and less forced direction from NPCs. Or not. We'll see.
AVNER AND FUNDING
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Why is Anver going? If he’s not going, how is the trip being financed? …why would Avner back the mission with Lavinia out to the picture? Further, why would he go along?
As far as I'm concerned, the answer to this issue is right in the module. If the PCs need extra financing for the trip, then they may decide to approach a noble family. Whoever that is will ask something in return, such as taking Avner with them. If the PCs want to weigh multiple offers, I'll have other nobles ask different demands. If Avner doesn't go, so be it. He's not essential to the plot, as far as I see it, and can be replaced with any semi-annoying NPC.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
If the Vanderboren estate “has enough money for…” resurrection, the expedition to Farshore, etc, does that mean Vanthus hasn’t been pillaging the family coffers? What is Vanthus doing then, and what is his motivation?
The Vanderboren estate is low on funds. I am open to alternate ways for the PCs to finance an expedition, and will consider logical and reasonable ideas (such as selling the manor) to succeed in order to advance the plot.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Let’s say, for the sake of discussion, your group is going with the “take the body to Farshore for burial” option. Is Lavinia’s corpse still going to run for mayor? …Fareshore election? Just drop the whole thing?
I'm not sure her absence in the "mayoral race" changes any essential details about the plot.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Why the attack on Farshore? Either Vanthus has no reason to be interested in Farshore anymore (he was only going after his sister), or there is no Vanthus, so why is the Crimson Fleet going to waste resources there? …I don’t think the Fleet and Big D. are going to lend him aid for a “see how it feels.”
I could replace Lavinia with a physical object macguffin, like the ghost-soul-thing that was discussed (a good option).
I can also add additional elements that make Vanthus desirous of Farshore. Simply the fact that it is a free port with a moderate amount of wealth may be enough to draw the Crimson Fleet's attention.
In general and for all the above points, I agree with Fletch that any rewrite that might be necessary wouldn't need to be extensive, though I am looking for creative ideas that improve this deviation from the AP, not just fix something that is perceived to be "broken".
WHY CHANGE THE AP
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Is it still the same AP if you have to re-work that much of it and, if not, why bother with the AP at all? The whole idea of an Adventure Path is that all the work is done for you – you don’t have to think. Otherwise, you’d be playing your own creation.
On one hand, I want to use the AP to save myself time and energy (and to give my players the shared experience). On the other hand, the desire to run a fun game for the players trumps that occasionally, because some aspects of the AP as written (and some D&D-isms in general) will not appeal to them. My guess is that most DMs who run an AP do a fair amount of deviation/custom work, and the advice from these threads won't apply to everyone anyway.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
if I have made you feel ‘brow-beaten’ I apologize. That was not my intent.
I wasn't offended, and I do appreciate your ideas and opinions. They are just as valid as anyone else's. Thanks!
Troy Pacelli wrote:
since we are trying to respond to Ironregime, it’s really only his “mileage” that counts. He knows his group and whether this applies or not.
Thanks, but the great thing about these boards is that we can discuss many options, and many people can benefit from them. So even though I may take my game in a certain direction for one reason, by no means do we have to limit discussion here to my solution.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
what you are overlooking is what is conspicuous by its ABSENCE from the module – there is no suggestion of what to do if Lavinia is killed! It clearly assumes that she survives and, by implication, should tell you her death should not be an option.
As a DM, I do not feel limited by the possibilities listed in the module, since often they are limited by space. Authors cannot detail every eventuality, but the beauty of an RPG is that anything you can imagine is possible.
This thread is my attempt to ask what one particular alternative possibility might look like, with easy outs (raise dead), slightly more complex deviations (ghost), and whole-cloth revisions (she's dead, Jim). They are all valid and should all be discussed.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
If you want to play the STAP, then you play the STAP, and bring it back to the plot when it gets off. If you’re not going to do that, then you’re not playing the STAP anymore. Either way, that’s Ironregime’s choice. However, his very question implied, to me anyway, that he wanted to “get back on track.” If I’m wrong, I’m sure Ironregime will correct me.
I see where you're coming from, and that is a valid point. While my group never considers themselves to be "playing a module" (they take a dim view of pre-packaged adventures), I do see some value in trying to keep their experiences as close to the core AP experience as possible. That said, I am willing to explore this particular deviation to see what happens.
Troy Pacelli wrote:
Maybe the answer is “Yes! Do over!” Maybe the answer is, “No, let’s see where this goes,” but either way you have a great game story to laugh about years later.
I agree wholeheartedly.
PUNISHMENT AND PRE-DESTINY
Troy Pacelli wrote:
…if you are regretting that decision, I think your choice should be obvious… if you never fudge dice rolls for the sake of the story, you’re not DMing (IMO), you’re just reading a module to your players. …what bothers me the most is the attitude of punishing the players.
Let me be absolutely clear on this. I am not trying to punish anyone. Consequences happen as a nearly unpredictable mix of (a) player decision, (b) rules, (c) dice rolls, (d) the way the module is written, and ultimately (e) the DM's call. Bad things happened; I chose not to intervene. I don't regret my decision. (I do fudge die rolls occasionally, but I chose not to this time).
If I were a player, I don't know if I would have been able to save Lavinia either. But whatever happened, as a player I would want to live with it, not have the DM soften it for the sake of the story.
That said, killing important NPCs is always a fine line to tread. Do it too often (or too carelessly) and players will stop getting involved with NPCs. Never do it (or always bring them back to life) and players will stop caring whether they protect NPCs or not. It is a delicate balance, and each gaming group's experience is different.
Guy Humual wrote:
as written, there's really not many options for the PCs except guns blazing. …
I dunno. I think diplomacy--even just as a temporary if unsuccessful bluff--might have allowed the PCs to position themselves better (i.e. closer to the hostages) before all heck broke loose. But I could be wrong.
Other kinds of ruses could be tried as well. Failing that, even simply simply entering the room from a different way, such as the window, might have put someone closer to Lavinia at the start of hostilities. And I'm sure there are plenty of other options that we aren't thinking of.
Figuring out what could have been done differently is not really the point of this thread, though.
Guy Humual wrote:
I know that I wouldn't have enjoyed this adventure at all if I couldn't rescue Lavinia. Heck I might not have even been interested in continuing the adventure if the power to feel like heroes was ripped out of my hands.
Sometimes heroes lose. Luke couldn't save Obi Wan. Aragorn couldn't save Gandalf. Both probably felt very unheroic after such setbacks, yet they proved themselves heroes precisely because they did continue.
Fiendish Dire Weasel wrote:
What possessed you to post on that?!
Recently ran Bullywug Gambit.Saw this thread/post.
Found no answer to nagging "L. of G." reference.
Took a guess.
Don't really expect confirmation.
It could also stand for Lassiviren (sp?) of Greyhawk, which may be more probable. He was stated up in Dungeon #114. I don't have the issue with me to see if Lassiviren claims to hail from Greyhawk and/or whether he speaks Suloise.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
It may be some time (sorry, it's 04:15 in the morning here in the UK) before I can post to supply any thoughts on linking in later adventures without Lavinia. What immediately occurs is: ** spoiler omitted **
That's ok. You've contributed some great stuff. I like the motivation for Vanthus; makes him seem more compelling and realistic. Thanks again!
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
Well given Lavinia's recent encounter with death (if raised) I would have her reluctant to put herself in the forefront of peril, and hire an old family friend and ex-pirate, Harliss, to be her representative to Farshore.
While this makes perfect sense, I think if Lavinia gets raised, it's just plain easier to go with the AP as written. ;-)
I will grant you, though, if Lavinia isn't raised, Harliss would make an interesting replacement for the strong guidance that Lavinia would normally have provided during SWW and TOD. Amella could work, too.
The most important consideration for me is how to bridge the continuity gap if I do introduce a new patron. A newly introduced NPC doesn't carry the same weight as does one with whom the PCs have interacted since the beginning. Players all of a sudden stop caring.
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of giving the players all the necessary information and resources, and letting them be their own patron, as it were. I think they would get more satisfaction out of a going to the Isle of Dread if it was their idea, not one thrust upon them by Lavinia or whomever, right?
Thanks for the great answers!
Matthew Vincent wrote:
I'm fairly sure Lavinia's estate has enough to afford a Raise dead spell.
This is a good point. Although I'm not a fan of raise dead (it cheapens life if used flippantly), it would be logical to have a friendly NPC ensure that she is brought back even if the PCs don't think of it. Her coming back from the dead can add an interesting spin in and of itself; perhaps she claims to have seen her parents standing amid a glowing white light, telling her of Farshore, before she was called back to the here and now.
Here are some other ideas that may or may not require a lot of re-plotting. Tell me what you think:
A new macguffin would need to take the place of the "Lavinia abducted" plot device later in the Adventure Path, of course, but any made-up priceless magical artefact should do, especially if it is tied to the "save the world from the savage tide" thing.
Charles Evans 25 wrote:
What happened between the party and Harliss in The Bullywug Gambit? (And for that matter how did Lavinia die? Is her body irretrievable? Were the PCs on her payroll at the time?)
Due to conditions specific to my campaign, the encounter with Harliss was unnecessary, so it didn't happen.
Lavinia was being held hostage (more or less as written). The PCs had scouted the situation and formulated a rescue plan that was basically "go in shooting," which they did, so negotiation was out of the question. The party druid used obscuring mist on the first round as a defensive measure; an unintended side effect was that suddenly no one could see what was happening to Lavinia (or the other captives for that matter). Lavinia lunged free; the module recommends an initiative check; Lavinia failed it; her captor critted her, sending her well below 0 hp; and the heroes failed to get to her in time to save her. I suppose I could have fudged the rolls in her favor but chose not to.
Her body is certainly raisable. The PCs were not on her payroll, per se, though they were working on her behalf.
PC: Bosereal the bard
For reasons particular to my own campaign, I switched out the smugglers' caves at Kraken Cove with the Crimson Fleet base map from SoS, and repopulated it with APL-appropriate savage creatures and traps.
Bosereal and his intrepid fellows quickly became separated while climbing among the many decks of the Wreck. While everyone else was out of sight, poor Bosereal encountered a magical trap that would normally not have been fatal if the party were together.
...and later that same night...
PC: Tuco Monterey, priest of Olidammara
Tuco had suffered several bites from savage creatures, failed some Fort saves, and the disease was not removed from him in time. He turned savage, tried to eat his fellows, and was reluctantly killed. Incidentally, his allies rolled two crits in a row on him; they've never fought so well before!