|I’ve Got Reach|
I couldn't help but notice the many subtle suggestions of Taint that the Spire of Long Shadows proposes; this appears to be purposeful - am I right in this assumption?
This is right up my alley, as I have but only two expansion books to my name: Draconomicon and of course Heroes of Horror which delve almost exclusively into the Taint mechanic. While the Taint rules need a little tweeking, I'm glad Dungeon writers have included Taint "indicators" for DMs who plan on using the mechanic.
|James Jacobs Creative Director|
I am planning on taking my group through AoW when rotation puts me back in the DMs chair and we begin a new campaign. I was the fortunate recipient of Heroes of Horror for Christmas and I am definitely going to incorporate Taint into the story. I'm not going to wait for the Spire of Long Shadows to indroduce it, though. I think 3FoE is a good opportunity.
I was also toying with making one or more of the commoner-cultists into a Tainted Raver.
Oh yeah, and I am also considering re-casting Filge as a Dread Necromancer for WC.
As far as taint goes I ended up using the Lingering Effects of Evil section of the Book of Vile Darkness (Pages 35-36).
When they entered the bowl depression, 5 miles from the clearing, they could see the taint of evil and chaos (it was at a Lasting Evil level at that point). Trees were warped, the Jungle darker, and the sounds of animals less prevelant. They also felt cold even though they continued to sweat in the heat of the jungle.
As they reached the clearning (which I ruled was 1 mile in diameter) they reached A Great and Powerful Malevolance, and as such it grew colder, the rocks themselves hurt them when touched, the Trees were terribly, stunted and twisted, until they reached the clearing in which little to nothing could even grow. The trees themselves became brittle once branches from them fell. Fresh, green, fallen wood could be crushed into fine powder in the hand. They also smealt the foul odor of a corpse left a day to long in the sun, just the first hint of rot.
When they passed over the black wall they entered into Darkness Like the World has never Seen Before. they all becamed sickened, and foudn that they began to pick up a slight taint of chaos and evil. The entire region is under the effect of unhallow, with areas beyond the Spire having a -2 to turn checks, within it unhallow have full effect.
Over all this combined with some very creepy early industrial music (Skinny Puppy, Download, and Pigface) really creeped my players out and helped reinforce the pure evil that this place represented.
I bought two Age of Worms custom dice from Chessex for each of my players. At the end of each module, I'm going to have them roll these d6's to see if the "age of worms" side comes up. If it does, I will advance that players taint counter 1 per dice. I figure you can only wade hip deep in evil for so long before it begins to take its toll on you. Hopefully around chapter 6 or 7 a few of the players will begin to exhibit symptoms, and I can toss in a side quest to reset their taint counters.
You can see the dice at the link. It is case sensitive.
Chessex did an awesome job on the dice, they just look slimey and evil.
I am currently running the three faces of Evil for my group and i have included Taint in the temple there. the reasons are
1. Vecna himself discovered the temple and so like lingering evil there is a taint
2. Tripart god is almost ready to rise which lends a potency to the evil there
3. My campaigns current date is the 10th of Coldeaven. On the 11th is the Festival of the Blood a time when evil cults are particularly powerfull.
4. i didnt want the players to treat this temple like any other dungeon crawl
My players pc's all now have a taint score for merely decending the lift into the temple.the players have been texting each other this week talking about the taint...and what it forbodes for the party..they are scared stiff of it.. they have just killed the teiflings at the foot of the lift, they have no idea (i think) that they will rise as zombies (throw in a few green worms for good measure)in 1d4 hours.
the only thing to look out for is that evil is not immune to the ravages of taint so for example theldrick will have succumed to the taints effects, unless that is like me you rationalise the taint as having only just manifested itself of a sufficientl level to affect people due to the timing and the god stiring
the other thing is to allow some down time after the adventure for the players to clense themselves of it, i plan on delaying the blackstone keep installment for a month of game time. time enough for a side trek adventure to locate a sacred spring that only the bronzewood lodge druids know of.
im also giving the faceless one, one word of the dark speech to know and use on the party, this will set up the dark speech ready for when they fight Kyuss much later.