I understand that some of the items here have gone from available to back order a few times since I ordered them, but I was wondering how much longer the delay might be. It made me wonder if ordering these all at one time was the problem, since I've already received a smaller order of just the Combo Connector Pack. If I need to cancel the order and try to get them individually I suppose I can.
I mentioned these in my other thread, but I really want other folks to see this. So sorry for the double posting, but I'm so proud of these. One of my players was so impressed with the paper minis I was using (thanks N'wah, Crystal, and Jack, can't recommend your products enough) that he's been working on making some for the adventure. So here's the party. I think these are amazing. Feel free to use them in your game as npc's or something.
The party consists of
The artist, Steven, is playing Mannis. He usually just makes sketches during games, but this is first time we've ever done anything with them.
As I mentioned in my other thread, the link is from my livejournal for the game, please feel free to comment there, but be very careful not to lead them back to this forum or give any spoilers.
My Rise of the Runelords campaign thus far.
I’ve got seven players, but thus far only six have attended sessions. As such I wanted to make certain that I had a challenge for each of them.
First off I altered character creation a tad bit. I asked people to first choose a background that would tie them in more to the story. This is what I gave the players before they made characters.
Character 1: This character is attached to a newly constructed temple in the city of Sandpoint. This character can be a cleric or paladin of one of six gods in the temple or a druid, or you could be a worker, any character that has taken Craft: Stone-masonry. You have only been in the city for less than a year, so there are a lot of mysteries that you are still uncertain of, including the exact reason for the destruction of the last temple. This character can be any class, but works best as any of the Divine classes.
The Temple has shrines and head clerics (no higher than 4th Level NPC's) for these gods: Desna, CG Goddess of Dreams, Stars, Travel, and Luck. This Goddess is extremely important to the native Varisians. Abadar LN God of Cities, Wealth, Merchants, and Law. Sarenrae NG Goddess of the Sun, Redemption, Honesty, and Healing. Shelyn NG Goddess of Beauty, Art, Love, and Music. Gozreh N Deity of Nature, Weather, and the Sea. Erastil LG God of Farming, Hunting, Trade, and Family.
Character 2: This character is a scholar. He must have Knowledge History. This character is from a larger city called Magnimar, second largest city in Varisia. This character comes from a very rich and politically powerful family. The expectation of the family was that their son/daughter would become an aristocrat and merchant, instead this character became fascinated with the monuments of the city and now seeks out ancient runes. The character has come to the town of Sandpoint both to explore the Old Light, a broken light house that was built in the time of the empires of old. This character should be a Bard, Monk, Cleric, or Wizard.
Character 3: This character is a traveler. This character comes from the very small town of Turtleback Ferry, located far from Sandpoint in the ogre and giant infested Hook Mountain Range. The character is a failed member a group of rangers and hunters known as the Black Arrows. The character spent their youth in Fort Rannick, the castle that houses the Black Arrows. For reason that we will have to figure out, the character is no longer connected to the Arrows and is now a traveler, perhaps a mercenary for hire, working as a caravan guard that has recently come to the town of Sandpoint, or something to that effect. This character needs to be willing to help others in need. This character works best as a Ranger or Fighter, but could also be a Rogue, Barbarian, or even a Sorcerer.
Character 4: This character has the most specific origin. A native Varisian human born into a member of a criminal organization known as the Sczarni, a mafia style crime family all over Varisia. This particular branch of the Sczarni were located in the city of Riddleport. This character's mother was the leader of her gang, and his/her father was one of her many lovers, the exact father is unknown. This character was raised within the organization and so has some amount of understanding of the criminal world. Five years ago something happened leaving most of the gang dead, the character scarred and missing one eye, and with the knowledge of who caused the destruction of his gang: his/her mother. Riddleport and most Sczani gangs do not treat the character very well, the stigma of what the mother has done follows him/her around where ever the character goes. The only exception is his cousin Jubrayl, who runs a gang in the small town of Sandpoint.
Character 5: This character has grown up in Sandpoint their whole life. Family is most likely made up of fishermen or farmers. You would know most of the semi secrets of the town, but not all of them. You still have memories/nightmares about Chopper, the serial killer that haunted the town in your youth. Now you crave adventure and to do something important with your life. You have considered joining the town militia, but you haven't done so yet. Any Class is fine with this origin.
Character 6: Something interesting that ends with you going to Sandpoint, if for no other reason than a festival.
I posted the group in the rooster thread, but here they are again:
Option 1: Kelvin Mason, Human Cleric of Nomus (God created by player) Nomus is an ancient god from Varisian past. A God of Strength and Craft. His designs will appear all through out the game in ancient Thassilon ruins. Kelvin was born in the town of Ravenmoor. His god exists and travels on the Material plane and Kelvin spent years as his apprentice. I plan to use flashbacks of this time with him to show areas of Varisa that are difficult to show off. Definitely I want to have at least two moments at Rimeskull to better set up Runeforge later on. A riddle with no way for a player to solve always seemed lame to me, by showing the location a few times he might be able to get the riddle without rolling a knowledge check. That’s my hope at least.
Option 2: Bumpus Windsong, Halfling Bard. Pretty much exactly what the option stated. His father, Waylan Windsong is a rich merchant and member of the Council of Ushers in Magnimar. Waylan will become more important in the second book. I haven’t decided what I’ll do quite yet. At least a kidnapping if not more.
Option 3: Fletcher Greene, Human Ranger. This player’s rolls were some of the best I’ve ever seen. Two 13’s and the rest were 17 and 18’s. Amazing. Sadly his poor d20 rolls have shown that high stats aren’t always enough to be effective at level 1. His background is really neat and I’m really looking forward to how it will play out. The idea he had was that he committed some crime (perhaps he did it or maybe framed) and now he’s on the run. He’s left the details up to me. I’ll have to use a lot of flashbacks to make this work. Right now I’m thinking that he discovers part of the truth of the Paradise. Maybe he discovers that the owner is evil and tries to kill her. Not sure but something like this. I definitely want to have a trial. I’m thinking it will happen in Turtleback Ferry and that’s what brings them into Book 3.
Option 4: Mannis Malocci, Human Fighter. This character is based on a NPC in Book 6. I want the Champion of Shalast to have a much bigger part. Some of my ideas include a trip after Book 2 to Kaga Maer to track down rumors of the swords of sin. He’ll find out in Magnimar that it was there that his mother found her golden sword. Later on in my major change to Book 4 (the weak link in the story for me) she will be a leader in the Army of Jorgenfist.
Option 5: Pad Pelton, Human Rogue. Young farm boy turned adventurer. He really wanted to be a victim of Chopper, someone who was supposed to get killed but somehow survived. We’ve already had one creepy flashback moment. His story is going to hopefully really add to all the horror aspects to the campaign. In my third session I had a ghost story involving his dead brother and a trickster spirit that was feeding off all the negative energy.
Option 6: Alister Wise, Human Sorcerer. A spy and bodyguard hired by Waylan Windsong to watch over his son. Don’t know much more about this character. The player and I have to get together and talk more.
The game thus far:
First major change was that I added some games and festival moments before the attack. We spent most of the first game just role playing, which was a lot of fun. One of the best roll playing sections was an arena style cage match between Pad and his two NPC best friends and three NPC ‘bad guys’ named the Bugun Brothers. I had each of the players play an NPC. All six going at it with crappy warrior stats. No tactics just fighting. Very silly and a lot of fun. It was a really effective first fight. One of my players is playing d20 for the first time so this game had an aspect of training to it.
During the festival I introduced Aldren Foxglove, the young boy Aeron and his dog Petal, and even a moment with Orik. Admittedly Orik was unnamed. A giant tower shield in the shape of a face is pretty noticeable.
One big change I made to the game is that I had an NPC cleric named Sister Lynn that has a small shrine dedicated to Father Tobyn and his daughter. In my mind she was in love with him. During the fight with the goblins the human villains (Orik, Naulia, and Lyrie) travel to Sister Lynn’s and kill her to gain the artifacts of Tobyn. As fate would have it the only person to both make his perception roll and be close enough to hear the disturbance in the temple’s residence house was Mannis, who had seen Orik earlier. The two almost killed each other in a small hallway before they decided that neither of them would gain anything from each other’s death. Great little moment.
Due to the high numbers and power levels of the characters I had to increase the numbers of goblins significantly. They still destroyed them fairly easily. I increase the number of normal goblins by two and added a couple of better than normal goblins, including a smart Goblin Fighter/Rogue, consistently annoyed by his stupid cousins. As it turned out the rest of the goblins got killed off so fast he fled the battle. The players thought he added a lot to the fight. Highlights of the fight included the bard summoning a pony on top of the goblin warchanter. The player (the one that has never played dnd before) had no clue as to the goblin’s insane fear of horses and I had them all panic and lose an action. I admit that did make the fight much easier, but I think it was worth it. I tried to add Bruthazmus in a significant way by placing him and a goblin archer on a rooftop during Die Dog Die, but the party killed off all the goblins and goblin dogs so quickly I had him take the better part of valor. (I added two more dogs and an extra warchanter to the fight). Now he’s pissed and wants revenge.
The next two games focused on the town and some character development. I did these games because I wasn’t going to have a full party for them and people still wanted to get together.
I also included the first of many mysteries. I had the party find out that two graves had been disturbed in the attack, Father Toybn’s and his adopted daughter’s. I also let them know that Goblins had been seen coming out of wagons placed around town. I put sand and different types of minerals such as tin and cobalt in the wagons as well.
I also started to have the party hear rumors of an army of monsters in the Storval Plateau. As the game continues I really want to play up Jorgenfist and their leader known as the Rune Master. My players already know the name of the adventure, I figure why not use some subterfuge and misdirection.
The next day the rogue Pad discovers mud on his sister’s feet and so he decides to watch her on the next night. While he’s waiting he returns to town and I had the two players do the Monster in the Closet. Very effective and gross. They didn’t kill this goblin and so they took him to the Turandarok Academy. I really played up the mad scientist role for Isoari. During the course of this game we jumped around in time, getting to a week after the Festival by this point in the story. So the night that Pad wants to watch his sister’s activities the Magnimar forces come to town. But it’s not what the Sheriff was thinking of, the reinforcements are thirty Order of the Nail Hellknights. I know that their presence in Magnimar is supposed to be small, but I wanted them in the story. At any rate that night Pad’s sister is possessed by some strange force to travel back to Sandpoint (as a farmer I had Pad house two miles from town). Pad tries to stop her but can’t and figures that since she’s following main road maybe he can get to town first and get aid. The Hellknight at the gate will not let him pass. Now Pad has to sneak into town and get past Hellknight patrols to get aid. By the time that he and Fletcher get back to the main gate, Pad’s sister has already killed a guard and knocked another unconscious. The ranger is able to find her tracks and they follow her to Chopper’s Isle.
The two of them enter a spooky underground lair where I have Pad revisit the location from his flashback, showing him a few glimpses of what he went through in the past. Since the player doesn’t know everything that happened to him this scene was foreshadowing future flashbacks, which is very strange and I love it. I decided that Chopper had at least eight other victims that were never found, including Pad’s little brother. Pad and Fletcher discover a secret passage that leads to an ancient cavern. Lot of collapsed sections of buildings and an old nearly broken runewell. Lots of undead fights and a variant version on the Attic Whisper with Pad’s brothers voice. Very creepy, very fun. I ended it with the runewell waking up and having the two see a strange communication between a black skinned creature (Erylium) and a figure in a fox mask (Nualia in a priest’s mask). The two were speaking Abyssal, a language that neither player can understand. I’m really trying to play up the communication aspect of the runewell. Also I feel that it introduces two villains early without harming the plot or the characters.
That it for now, I’ll post up more as well go.
Here are some Ideas for the future:
-The Jorgenfist Army. I want to combine Part 4 with the Red Hand of Doom. I think the Red Hand is the best dnd war story I’ve ever read and I really think that Jorgenfist needs to leave the fortress. My idea is that the army is here to pave the way for the new regime. They will concur Varisa for their lord and master. That just makes more sense to me than just sitting around waiting to be killed.
-a few others not worth posting right now.
Thoughts and suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
After reading the beginnings of Second Darkness, it made me wonder if there wasn't some way to bring the Character Traits idea into Runelords. Six or so traits that force players to get involved in the plot. Maybe one that has something to do with the Late Unpleasantness, another with the newly formed church.
Has anyone done any work on this?
I recently picked up Classic Monsters Revisited, and of course I’m really enjoying it; but after reading the bugbear section it made me wish I had done more with Bruthazmus. Which made me wish I had done more with all the villains in Burnt Offerings in general.
One of the problems with dnd adventures is that it is very difficult to present a villain at one point in the story and then later have the PC’s fight them. Generally speaking the first time you meet a villain is the last time you meet them as well. It really adds something to the game if the PC's have some personal experience with the bad guys before they attack them.
So I’ve been trying to think of ways that I could bring Bruthazmus, Nualia, Orik, and maybe Lyrie into the story earlier. The only place I can think is during the Festival. It would make sense to me that Nualia would risk going back to town to retrieve her father’s bones. She hated enough to kill him; I could see her hating him enough to dig him up personally. And she could wear a mask, maybe even a Skinsaw mask to continue the tie in with the next book?
At any rate, if I did this I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to pull it off, with a few things in mind:
One: the PC’s have to feel like they accomplished something, not feel 100% defeated. Firstly, because it’s a bad way to start the campaign and also because I still want to run Part Two with them as town heroes.
Two: I want the PC’s to recognize the villains later, maybe even interact with at least one of them.
One of my ideas is to have one of the party members have a mentor, they are 1st level characters, so the idea is that they are just leaving their training and are now off on their own. One of the players, preferably someone of the fighter/ranger/barbarian type, would still have their teacher with them. The mentor could be the one who brings them into Sandpoint, maybe this person used to live there and was well liked by people like Belor, Ameiko, and Shalelu. During the initial attack by the goblins, the mentor splits up to cover more ground, instructing the player character to help as many of the townsfolk as he/she can.
Then during Die, Dog, Die, the players can see the north gate of the city, where the mentor is fighting Orik in melee combat. At first it’s just the two of them and the mentor is winning, so the PC’s don’t have to worry, it’s just letting them know what else is going on. Then they look back and the mentor is fighting Nualia and Bruthazmus at the same time, while an injured Orik is off to the side with a group of horses.
Now maybe Bruth attacks from behind, or Nualia does her Lamashtu’s Mark ability, but something distracts the mentor just as the PC is watching and then the Nualia kills the mentor in a way that not even raise dead can bring back, such as beheading.
If the party attempts to get closer Bruth stays behind with his bow and shoots at them as the others ride off. If they continue pursuit, then maybe I can have a cool scene in the woods with Bruth stalking them and playing with them, but never attacking, sort of how the Bugbears are described in CMR.
Another idea is to have the party face off against the villains directly during the festival, but frankly I’m not sure how to do that and not have 1) the party is defeated or killed, 2) the party accidentally kills Nualia or at least prevents escape, or 3) the party feels cheated, like there was no way for them to win. I don’t have a problem if the party is able to kill off any of the other characters (Orik, Lyrie). And I’d want to keep Tsuso out of this so that he’s not considered a villain when his sister sends him the note later on in the adventure.
If someone has an idea beyond any of these, or comments on how they’ve handled bringing a villain into the plot early, please do so. Or if you can think of any reasons not to do this as well.