3 Faces of evil, alternates or fixes...


Age of Worms Adventure Path


Hi I don't want to complain about this module, I have seen the prior threads about that...

I am about to run Whispering Cairn and I am looking ahead to 3FoE, and I am considering subbing it for another adventure or heavely changing it.

Here is my situation:

I only have 3 players in the campaign, so thats 3 chars and probably a DM player. They are not gestalt, but will probably have very good stats, and action points. Nevertheless they probably are a lil underpowered...

One of the player is a miner, so I think I already have the motivation problem already solved (they are all good too).

What I really want to change is the whole idea of sleeping in one dungeon before going to the next. At an early stage in the campaign I do not want to encourage this kind of behaviour. I know I have heard that the 3 cults dont communicate well, but please, 8 hours and the other cults aren't going to notice? If they don't communicate AT ALL then why are they even in the same adventure.

So I am thinking, of either moving the cults so they are not together (having one outside, one in a mine, and one maybe in a basement ect). Or just taking making it one dungeon by removing some rooms (I dont really care if I lower the EL of this adventure... we do XP kind of loosey here...)

There must be a lot of people with opinions right? Should I look for a totally seperate adventure or should I just start hacking at this one? BTW I love the whole campaign arc and I do wanna stick to the bulk of the storyline.


I also am running this campaign with 3 players and a DM PC. I didn't have a problem with them resting in 8 hours in the Temple of Hextor, and then later on they rested again for 8 hours in the Grimlock caves.

Something to remember is... These 3 factions may be working toward the same goal, but ultimately they could care less about each other. In fact if you read Theldricks journal you can see that Theldrick doesn't even trust the faceless one, and he barely trust Grallak Kur. You don't need to worry about one faction stopping over for a visit. They can go for several days without speaking to one another. I just don't think 8 hours of resting will matter a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

But ultimately you have to do what makes sense for you and your group. Could you explain why you don't want your group to rest when they are low on hit points and out of spells?


Your idea about separating the three cults into different locations seems like a good idea. I definately wouldn't have three characters and a NPC go up against all three cults at once. I had six PCs go into the temple of Hextor and only one survived to tell the tale. They didn't even know about the other two cults, but had the party survived and tried to rest while in the caves they would have been quickly discovered by a messenger from another cult.

As far as I'm concerned, the cults should communicate at least a few times per day to keep track of things. Heck, even if the rest of the cults didn't talk to one another, one would think that the Faceless One would keep on top of the cults' daily affairs.

In your situation, split up the three cults into completely separate underground areas spread out around Diamond Lake.


Rasmar wrote:
Could you explain why you don't want your group to rest when they are low on hit points and out of spells?

Well, I do want them to rest, maybe if this happens they need to give up on the dungeon or come back later. But the problem with this specific issue is that they have no reason to believe that other people won't notice. It just seems way toooo proposterous that they dont communicate once every 12 hours or so. In WC they should rest a lot for example, there is no reason to suspect that if they go home and rest the dungeon will get harder (except for the rival party). But in this adventure, short of me saying "They never talk to each other so don't worry about it", they have no reason to believe that they will not be woken up unaware...

Maybe I will just get a map of mystery, and put some key monsters and the leaders in the map...

Still looking for other suggestions. Thanks for the replies!

Liberty's Edge

The Ebon Triad has a goal of unifying three divine beings into one Overgod. This unification effort does not entail that the three aspects of the Triad will be unified. The Faceless One knows that there is mistrust between the factions and has consolidated the resources as efficiently as possible:

— Hextor is the martial arm and is responsible for security and communication with the surface.
— Erythnul is the mystical arm and Grallak Kur's soothsaying fuels the Faceless One.
— Vecna is the calculating mind of the Triad and is piecing together the steps necessary to achieve the ultimate goal.

Kur's relevation that the Triad would be tested by heathen invaders is the fact the Faceless One uses to assure that each faction remains separate. The Faceless One knows that the first step to creating the Overgod is that it needs a physical manifestation. The second step is that the Overgod's divinity needs devote faith — the Ebon Triad's existance is proof of this. Last, for the Overgod to achieve divinity, the faithful must sacrifice that which they value most. This last bit has had the Faceless One confused as value is such a relative thing. He has only recently realized that the ultimate sacrifice is a person's soul. Thus the Faceless One needs the PCs to invade and to begin spilling the blood of the faithful so that their souls will depart and be absorbed into the pool in the Black Cathedral.

The Faceless One has everything in place and has just been waiting for the invaders to come. He sowed panic in the heart of Balabar Smenk so that he would move against the Ebon Triad. The PCs arrival is expected as it is part of the Ebon Triad's divine plan. The Faceless One has secured a physical body for the Overgod's essence to fill: a massive tirapheg that has been sacrificed and sunk into the pool (part of the ceremony that Smenk saw). The Overgod's physical form must have strength and thus the martial Hextorites must die first. As they guard the lift and Black Cathedral, their initial sacrifice is assured. The Overgod's body, what is now becoming the Ebon Aspect, must have a divine mind and the mysticism of the grimlocks must be absorbed first so they must die on the PCs' blades. Lastly, the Ebon Aspect must have reason and intelligence to balance its three aspects: the Vecnians must die. The Faceless One assumes that these deaths must be "true" and not passive falling on blades as that will weaken the Ebon Aspect. Thus he keeps his plans to himself. But he knows that his time will come and that his death is necessary for the Ebon Aspect to arise, as it is his keen intellect that will invigorate the tirapheg corpse and transform it into the avatar of the Overgod. Thus the Faceless One will truly become a god and that's his overall motivation.

This is how I've justified the actions of the Ebon Aspect and how it's possible for the PCs to have moments to rest. The Faceless One needs them to rest so that they can carry out their divine mission for the rising of the Overgod.


I think that everything Rexx said was excellent. Now if you're having problems with the PC being able to come to the conclusion that they won't be disturbed in one temple by the other temples then I would drop hints. When my players spoke to Smenk, he was clear on the fact that he only made deliveries every few day (this brought less attention to him) and that when the deliveries were made it was clear that the grous didn't get along. This also gives the players a hint that maybe they could set one group against another. Throw in statements like, "I don't think those fanatics ever leave that infernal place" will also help the players to think that they could stay the night without incident.

Liberty's Edge

Chris P wrote:
Now if you're having problems with the PC being able to come to the conclusion that they won't be disturbed in one temple by the other temples then I would drop hints.

Definitely drop a lot of hints. Besides the preset handouts found among Theldrick's effects, his journal should have copious notes about the "Standard Operating Procedure" of the Ebon Triad and how its poor communication aggrevates him to no end. Also I intend to have a calendar of sorts found that shows the Hextorite's schedule of shipments and "days off" for the faithful. This way the PCs could really play up the subterfuge by using "days off" to get out of the mines entirely posing as cultists. Give the PCs the opportunity to find the data they can use to empower them to success and remember that this is just Part II of XII.


Rexx, very interesting. Your justification almost seems like what the Dungeon guys wanted to say. Very well written and a very interesting motives. Chris thank you, I guess I could have balabar flat out tell them he doesnt think they talk to eachother at all...

Anyone have problems with the Labrynth? The maze thing seems kind of difficult to run...

Liberty's Edge

hanexs wrote:
Rexx, very interesting. Your justification almost seems like what the Dungeon guys wanted to say. Very well written and a very interesting motives.

Thank you. I'd be happy to revise/edit Three Faces of Evil for a potential hardcover. ::rimshot:: Honestly, I've been trying to reintroduce the tirapheg dramatically for years and this adventure makes the trisymetrical creature ideal. I'll be sure to post my tirapheg-based Ebon Aspect's stats here when they're ready (it's power will be scaled by the number of cultists the PCs kill of each faction to reflect the synergy of souls absorbed into the "birthing" pool).

hanexs wrote:
Anyone have problems with the Labrynth? The maze thing seems kind of difficult to run...

Do a search on Labrynth, Vecna, kenku and you'll find some great suggestions that have been posted before. I intend to have two maps going simultaneously so I can track all the movements in move-action segments. The player's map will be pre-drawn but covered with paper except for the area the PC's can see with their light source. This will enhance the labyrnth's effectiveness to confuse and befuddle the players as they'll have to draw their own map which gives plenty of time for kenku to move around and gain superior positioning.


First: I don't see why everyone has had so much trouble with this adventure. My group consisted of four characters and there was only one death (and we all know that he wanted to die so he could make a new character). They got hammered by the Ebon Aspect, but up until that point they had very few problems and only rested once.

Second: the Hextor temple is easily secured (particularly back by the "arena"). I figured the party could easily rest there. The biggest problem isn't being discovered by the other cults, it's the return of Triad agents from the surface (since some of them provide security in the mine IIRC). I had them discover that the elevator was "down" and flee when they were unable to get the attention of the tiefling guards - I figure this explains how Raknian got word of the cult's defeat

Third: the idea of breaking up the temples is good, provided you can manufacture enough clues for the party to find the others. On the other hand, I don't know that they trust each other enough (particularly Theldrick and the Faceless One) to give their "brothers" that much autonomy.

I had a point when I started typing...honest :{

Dark Archive Bella Sara Charter Superscriber

Rexx - Great stuff. Have you created any handouts for this plotline? Any chance of seeing them posted?


I really don't get you people that say: "I can't imagine they don't talk with each other". Don't tell me you talk with everyone at work everyday!

There's no way someone working in accounting talks to someone in the marketing departement on a day to day basis...they could not even talk for weeks, so I thinks it's VERY plausible that the temples don't mix a lot.

Remember, they're a bit paranoid about each other...and they are tensions. If a can avoid a co-worker I hate I avoid him...for the longest I can.

Liberty's Edge

Sebastian wrote:
Rexx - Great stuff. Have you created any handouts for this plotline? Any chance of seeing them posted?

Thank you, Sebastian. The handouts will be ready for my Tuesday game next week so I'll get them linked here in some manner. It'll be a Greyhawk calendar so modify as needed. The snippets from Theldrick's journal were to be read aloud but I'll post that text as well.

The analogy of the workplace to the Ebon Triad is interesting to say the least. I think I know who the Faceless One is here at work...


Antoine, since you chose to bring up an example, my rebuttal will use your example.

I agree that there will be some people in marketting who don't talk to the accounting department. But I ask you, is there ONE person in accounting who talks to marketing? Cause if there is one person, just one person, he's going to notice that <b>everyone in marketing is dead.</b>

I'll even concede that someone in accounting doesn't talk to marketing on this particular day. Well what about the other department? Don't you think its likely that this third department might have just one person who needs to talk to accounting? (THERE IS A REASON THEY EXIST IN A COMMON BUILDING.) If that third department talks to marketting he will probably tell head office that everyone in marketting is dead, and theres some idiot pcs sleeping in the office.

What about the delivery boy who goes up to marketting only to find everyone dead? Don't you think he'll tell accounting?

What this means in game turns is I would at LEAST have to roll a dice, and say... 25% (at the very least) of the time, someone would notice.

Now what if Dungeon magazine says in the beginning of the adventure, "none of these guys talk to eachother". Well fine, the DM knows that. But what player in his right mind would guess that? If my player said, hey they probably never talk to eachother I would supsect him of reading the adventure (or in this case the forums since its not really spelt out in the adventure).


Rexx, as others have said, great stuff. What I like the most is that the Faceless One's plan is so clearly insane to an outsider, but perfectly sane to the Faceless One. I wonder what would happen if the heads of the other temples found out about the Faceless One's scheme...? I presuming they wouldn't like being marked for death. If the PCs discovered the scheme, could they use it to recruit the leaders of the other temples to their cause?

By the way, I'm not playing the AP and haven't read the adventure, but I like your set up so much I might just have to swipe it for my homebrew.

Shadow Lodge

For me, I have designed the three faces module as a culmination of everything I've set up in the Whispering Cairn adventure. Essentially, the two modules are all about bringing Smenk down.

In my campaign Smenk has too many resources at his disposal to be taken down either by combat or by local intrigue. However, an Inquisition from the Greyhawk Guildhall has recently arrived in town (starting the whispering cairn module) to investigate serious complaints from some of the power players in Greyhawk against Smenk. Without the Guildhall's support (or at the very least inaction), Smenk (That's LORD SMENK to you son!!!) will have a very difficult time of it. However, when the two daughter's of the Guildhall Master go missing (one of them being the leader of the Inquisition), chaos ensues (and the Three Faces module begins). I particularly like one of the suggestions given on these boards to spur Three Faces along. This is having the Ebon Triad take out Dun, Wierus and the Head Wee Jas Priestess in one foul strike; this is too good a storyline to ignore. I expect my Heironean Cleric and Paladin to be particularly upset with this.

To fix up the "cramped" elements you are talking about, I have removed the Grimlock's to a cave system nearby. They make pilgramage to the pool upon occasion leading to several Garrison deaths that the PCs will have the opportunity to investigate. (There is even a Grimlock at the Emporium chained-up to add to the intrigue).

Down the bottom of the mine however is a single grand opening to the cathedral of Hextor (on the far side of the pool). Secretly hidden (of course, why didn't they think of that) is the stone door to the faceless one's labyrinth directly behind the pool.

I will be using the missing Inquisition daughters storyline to get the PCs from Hextor's cathedral to the Grimlock's caves and then finally to face the faceless one. It is this that will tie Smenk to all of this and thus the full weight of the Greyhawk Guildhall against him. It will also give the legal wherewithall to the Garrison militia to take Smenk in chains to Greyhawk, under directions from the Guildhall.

I have several other storylines going on but this is the main thrust. Don't even get me started where the Free City adventurers fit into all of this... :)

I hope to have a Campaign Story Hour (Either here or at EnWorld) up and running fairly soon. I've been waiting 5 months to start this with our group and finally we're about to commence(the weekend after this one).

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise

Scarab Sages

Kudos to Rexx; this is truly suberb. much thanks.


Rexx and Hereman... I think I am closer to what I want to do now, thanks for the enlightening posts.

I like the taking down balabar idea. Maybe instead of doing 3FoE for him, there doing this to take him down, which in the end also might shake up dourstone (or maybe Ill make this Balabars mine...) How do kidnapped kids fit in? Is Balabar super evil in your campaign? Or just someone accepting money from a cult?

I like this idea, it sort of has a continuation. I dont think any of this will effect the other advenures right? It seems to me once adventure 3 starts the storyline sort of leaves Diamond Lake and its inhabitants.


Chris P wrote:
Now if you're having problems with the PC being able to come to the conclusion that they won't be disturbed in one temple by the other temples then I would drop hints.

IMC, the players were severely beaten, but managed to hold on long enough to defeat everyone but Theldrick, who very graciously surrendered to the partly Lawful and partly Good party. After a little debate over the finer points of law and justice, they held him captive in a cell that I included in the battle temple.

I had Theldrick explain to the players that the three cults actually had limited interaction with each other, except on pre-determined days where they would meet. It was evident, through his journal entries, that there was limited trust among the three cults, so (with several sense motive checks), they believed him, and locked him up in the cell, and moved on to the grimlock caves the next day. Heavy hint... no subtlety needed :)

I suppose it is a little contrived, but it made it plausible for the PCs to remain in the complex without being found.

As for Theldrick's fate, he died as the aspect rose, having his life sucked out of him (a la Raider of the Lost Ark), as the adventure implies should happen.

And... Hi Rexx!

Liberty's Edge

Hiya, Big Jake! Happy New Year!

To add some more details, I am having the pool become more "active" as the PCs advance through the adventure. With each slain cultist, the surface becomes more turbid and the embryonic stink is more obvious. This should be nice foreshadowing for the PCs for the finale. As stated in another post (somewhere on Paizo), when the PCs enter the Black Cathedral to make their exit, they will arrive to see the pool's surface agitated as if by gale-force winds. Spinning above the pool is a hazy vortex, a vortex comprised of the souls of those slain in their assault on the Ebon Triad. Suddenly the surface of the pool is disrupted by a massive humanoid form (the tirapheg corpse); as it rises from the pool the vortex absorbs into the tirapheg's flesh though the arrows of the PCs veer off as if hitting a wind wall. As the air calms the body of the tirapheg begins to transform: the single mouth in the chest smooths and vanishes as the two blank-visaged heads begin to gain distinct features. The spiked-arms shift as additional arms sprout from the torso until six arms total have formed: two three-fingered hands on the right with a spike arm and two spike-arms on the left with a single three-fingered-ended arm on the left. The head on the right has taken a corrupted countenance of Hextor, the head on the left that of Erythnul; the central head briefly appears like the scarred visage of the Faceless One before the single-eyed visage of Vecna looks down at the PCs. With a hint of the Faceless One's lisp, it simply states "I exist".

Roll initiative.


Rexx wrote:
"I exist".

God you are good. I had chills down my spine.

I love it, did you ever consider becoming a writer?

Man I'd love to be a player in your game. I've been dm'ing for the last 25 years and long to play sometimes and hearing this kind of descriptiong is just ... well ... cool.

Great work Rexx.

Cheers,

ET

Liberty's Edge

Etienne Tremblay wrote:
God you are good. I had chills down my spine.

May I offer you a smoke? ::wink::

Again, thanks for the words of encouragement. Perhaps it's time to submit some proposals as the pile of original material is deep enough to try. More than anything, I'm excited to get to this finale but a four-hour game three Tuesdays out of a month means the game isn't zipping along. I just thought I'd share some ideas and how/why the three factions remain separate yet whole.

If you're in the Sacramento metropolitan area (long shot but at least three other Paizo regulars are in the area), Etienne, my ranger NPC could use a regular player.


Rexx wrote:
If you're in the Sacramento metropolitan area

I know the feeling, we play 4h every thursday so it's not going to fast either. We are in in 3FoE right now just started. See how I started this adventure here.

Unfortunately we are about 7000 miles appart, I live on the est coast in Montreal, Canada.

Shadow Lodge

hanexs wrote:

Rexx and Hereman... I think I am closer to what I want to do now, thanks for the enlightening posts.

I like the taking down balabar idea. Maybe instead of doing 3FoE for him, there doing this to take him down, which in the end also might shake up dourstone (or maybe Ill make this Balabars mine...) How do kidnapped kids fit in?

I don't want to give too much away in case one of my players stumbles upon this thread, however I'll give you a rough idea. The "kids" you say are actually a 26 year old woman and her 18 year old sister. Lady Emily Halmaster is the leader of the Inquisition investigating Smenk's ripping off of a few power players in Greyhawk. This has taken some time to organise and is actually a pretty big deal that Smenk can't just ignore. If the Inquisiton finds he has a case to answer, he'll have to make an appearance in Greyhawk to answer criminal charges. In fact he realises this all too well and so has his connections within the cult abduct the two women (they are daughters to the Guildhall Grandmaster). Half their entourage are either killed or taken. This will be explained away as a "mining accident" whilst investigating one of the particular mines in question. The fact that the women were not even supposed to be anywhere near the mine will be quite obvious. With no-one to say nay against Smenk, what's left of the Inquisition will most likely dissolve back to Greyhawk - and possibly be killed by bandits organised by Smenk along the way.

In terms of the daughters, I'm planning for Theldrick to get his grubby hands on them as well as any other survivors of the "ambush". He will have particular fun with Lady Emily's personal bodyguard, a Knight and follower of Heironeous. As for what happens to them, I'm expecting Lady Emily's skin to be gracing Theldrick's sacrificial sanctum, her heart given to the black pool, whilst the tortured Knight will be chained in virtual madness minus numerous appendages and senses. The Lady Erin (the young daughter who I'm dangling as a love interest in front of one or two of the PC Dragonchess players) will have been given as a gift to the Grimlocks to sacrifice - there's a little tension there and Theldrick needs to keep the chaotic beastlings focused and on side. The Knight if still alive will impart this information that she was taken away by eyeless creatures - and thus lead them towards the Grimlock's lair in the hills abutting Diamond Lake - where reports of such creatures will be known by the Garrison.

The Grimlock's are awaiting a time schedule only they know to do Lady Erin in. The PCs will hopefully rescue Lady Erin alive, which will link several pieces together. Firstly that all of this was organised by Smenk, secondly that she personally was abused with the sight of her sister being sacrificially butchered by Theldrick (particularly juicy stuff if Theldrick manages to escape) and thirdly, that the real power behind the Triad is actually behind the pool in the shape of the Labyrinth of the Faceless One. (I may even have the faceless one prematurely unleash the aspect upon the PCs when he sees he is trapped).

A convoluted story but this is how I'm getting two daughters to link up the three areas (something I had issues with when reading the module).

hanexs wrote:
Is Balabar super evil in your campaign? Or just someone accepting money from a cult?

I have made "Lord" Smenk the most powerful man in town. With the Governor in his pocket along with the constabulary (thus allowing Kullen and gang to literally get away with murder), he is almost unhindered in his greed and avarice. However, even he has to abide by the laws of Greyhawk (he's not big enough to own the powers that be there). And for Smenk, the official office granting mining rights, land and deeds is Cicaeda's office right in the middle of the Garrison Keep. The Garrison have no love of Smenk but cannot act as the actual Township is not under their jurisdiction. Even then, vigilantism is not something that Captain Tolliver Trask will support. As much as he would wish ill to Smenk, he is an honourable man.

On the starting day of the campaign with a storm brewing in the sky, the Inquisition are invited to the public hanging of several criminals - quite an affair actually considering that two of them are specific and well known enemies of Smenk's. With Smenk looking on from a covered balcony whilst Lady Emily and her entourage stand coldly in the timid drips of rain (before the big storm that night), this is as good as Smenk flexing his muscles, trying to intimidate the "Lady". In actual fact, Lady Emily is pretty damn tough when it comes to diplomacy and bargaining. She is shrewd and by no means out of her depth in her lead position. (This is what will force Smenk to organise the ambush of half her party one night).

But to answer your question, Smenk is evil and several PCs have backgrounds linking themselves as haters of Lord Smenk. As for the start of the Three Faces module, if the PCs choose to tarry in their investigations, Smenk will convince them to "assist" him get rid of Theldrick (who now knows too much) by giving them several pieces of a favourite party NPC and threatening to give them more if they don't follow his commands and directions.

To confuse things further, Dourstone did not even know Smenk was involved with his mine's "little secret" until he saw Smenk at the ritual robed in black alongside of him (can you imagine the shock and surprise on Dourstone's face at that meeting). You see Smenk's hoping the PCs (who will now have a clue of his involvement via Filge) will take out Theldrick. Smenk then hopes to kill either them or what's left of Theldrick shortly after with obvious evidence that it was actually Theldrick who did away with the Inquisition (and thus clear his name and get in the Guildhall's good books by exterminating Lady Emily's killers). Very convoluted but Smenk is both very cunning and very evil.

"hanexs"}I like this idea, it sort of has a continuation. I dont think any of this will effect the other advenures right? It seems to me once adventure 3 starts the storyline sort of leaves Diamond Lake and its inhabitants. [/QUOTE wrote:


I'm hoping to wrap up this arc before module 3. Either Smenk will survive or he will be in chains on his way to Greyhawk having lost everything with his involvement in the cult and the death of Lady Emily Halmaster exposed. This evidence against him will mean that the Garrison will be able to act, directed by "Greyhawk" (assuming Lady Erin survives to tell the tale, she will have the power to direct the Garrison to action). Either the PCs will be laughing or their bodies will be buried in the cult's mine, eventually collapsed by Smenk to hide his dirty secrets.

Hope this helps you out. I'm really looking forward to see how my player's deal with this. They are more roleplayers although they still like their hack and slash. I just needed to add something to the 3 faces module in the way of roleplaying - something that was a little absent in the module as written.

Best Regards
Herremann the Wise.


The only thing i have changed in the 3FoE is give the PC's the impression that resting for 8 hours in a Hextor temple, whilst a Vecna temple and an unknown temple or door lay just outside is a BAD idea.... They seem to have taken the bait and as such will be moving on immediately ... Mwahaahahaha...>< They have cures and wands so it wont be too harsh.

DM Shane


Just finished up Three Faces tonight and I have to thank Rexx for making it rock for my players.

I saw the post Rexx made about the Faceless One's motivations and thought to myself "this freaking rocks", so I used it and turned it into a journal entry from the F.O. which my players discovered right after they'd killed him. As the player who was reading it slowly realized that they'd actually just done something bad by killing the F.O., the ground started to rumble and shake as the Ebon Aspect started to rise. The party raced out of the Vecna temple and had their battle with the just risen aspect.

Discussing it with them afterwards, every one of my players thought it kicked ass that the stuff from Rexx's "letter" made them little more than pawns in someone else's bigger scheme. The thought that they had been used by higher powers for a sinister purpose was great for them.

It also helped to explain exactly what was going on with the Ebon Triad. It took the adventure from a series of battles with little explanation for the PCs and turned it into something more meaningful and story driven, even if they didn't find out about it until it was almost too late.

So my DM hat is off to you, Rexx. Thanks for the awesome material! My players definately appreciated it.

Liberty's Edge

I'm glad the players had an "aaahhhh!" moment at the end of the game and all that "senseless" killing suddenly made sense. No harm, no foul with the PCs being unknowing dupes as long as they can rectify things in short order. The same couldn't be said for the Hextorites and Erythnulites at the begest of the Faceless One. It may behoove the mood of the game to have the party cleric frequented with nightmares of the Faceless One's voice whispering threats in Infernal; this will keep the "threat" the Ebon Triad posed fresh in the minds of the PCs and hopefully make the events of The Champion's Belt more significant.

I'm glad it all worked well for you, RatPunk. Thank you for the positive feedback.


This is all good stuff, and I do like the idea that the Faceless One plans for the cults to die all the time.

However, the only problem I have with it is that the strength of the Ebon Aspect is no more than that of the Faceless One, i.e. if the group is strong enough to kill all the cultists, they are strong enough to kill the Aspect. Surely a genius like the Faceless One can work that out, and see that as soon as he dies, his beloved Ebon Aspect is next on the cards to bite the dust?


Maybe that can be reasoned that the ebon triad was a bunk idea to begin with? E.g. It never really had any of the gods support, if it did the ebon aspect would be immensely powerful?

Liberty's Edge

hanexs wrote:
Maybe that can be reasoned that the ebon triad was a bunk idea to begin with? E.g. It never really had any of the gods support, if it did the ebon aspect would be immensely powerful?

*ding, ding, ding*

Exactly. Allow these "heretics" to sacrifice themselves to some ideal that the original trio of Powers do not agree with. I'd imagine that the deities (Hextor, Erythnul, Vecna) were curious if sheer will of faith and dedication would be enough to initiate Genesis; now that they have the answer, the minor amounts of their Divine Will in the Aspect will cooperate and push the transformed tirapheg form from the pool so that the PCs will destroy the "divine freak". This becomes a viable tool for the DM to assure the PCs defeat the creature: the warrior suddenly feels 20 hp healed miraculously (Hextor's gift to assure the "freak" is destroyed); the wizard/sorcerer suddenly is grasping a pearl of power to recall a much needed spell before the pearl vanishes (Vecna's gift); the rogue blinks into perfect flanking position (Erythnul's gift). The PCs don't need to know it's the evil deities doing this; let them think their own gods have saved them all the while the party paladin feels ill at ease with the victory... Meanwhile, the souls of those sacrificed for the Genesis of the Ebon Aspect learn what it's like to clean divine chamber pots for the duration of their petitioner existance!

Hastur, I assume that the Faceless One believes that the steps he takes to "build" the Ebon Aspect will be a unification of all three sects of the Ebon Triad with his genius seeding the mind of the new Overgod. Metagaming this, combine the whole of encounters in Three Faces of Evil and that EL is what the Faceless One expected the Ebon Aspect to be like. Unfortunately the Ebon Aspect is never allowed time to gain that strength. What the Faceless One doesn't realize is that Hextor, Erythnul and Vecna would rather go to dinner with Tharizdun than have themselves "weakened" by being merged. Thus the above elements are set in motion by the gods to "punish" those misled from the "true" faith.

Rereading this, it sounds like a lot of "divine hooey" going on, especially for low-level PCs. I believe Mike Mearls and Erik Mona intended it to be that way to set the tone of the Adventure Path and the divine implications it has in the genesis of the Age of Worms.


Rexx wrote:
Much goodness snipped...

Very cool stuff. If the Age of Worms shows up in collected, hardcover form and I'm lucky enough to have a go at fixing up 3FoE, this is the sort of backstory I'd like to use. Very cool, and very much in keeping with my vision for the cult of Vecna.

Liberty's Edge

Mike Mearls wrote:
Very cool stuff. If the Age of Worms shows up in collected, hardcover form and I'm lucky enough to have a go at fixing up 3FoE, this is the sort of backstory I'd like to use. Very cool, and very much in keeping with my vision for the cult of Vecna.

I'm happy to read that, Mike. Thank you for creating a splendid seedbed for the imagination. Regardless of all the griping I've read, I've read twice as much positive feedback. We're certainly enjoying the adventure in my game.

Forums such as these are ideal for creative brainstorming; rather than gripe, create. I'll live with the editing errors as the kernal of story is outstanding.


Mike Mearls, I just bought TRANSCENDANCE for AE and I love it. You're really good at this stuff! You should consider doing it for a living.


Lots of good stuff. My players Bluffed there way in by bringing supplies form Smenk. They took out Hextor's side in two forays. They left the mines and came back with more supplies the next day. (25 bluff on a natural 20). They went to the Grimlocks next. I allowed them to camp on the cliff top before they went down the cliff, but after they had defeated the grims and left the mine to regroup and rest in town I had a group of Kenkus come out and guard the elevator. (because there were no Hexorites guards and there was an over flowing mound of supplies in the Dark Cathedral. (One less group in the maze, but I upped the difficulty to a higher level party as per the side bar). I also added an extra Ebon Aspect after the first.


Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

Rexx,

Did you ever get those handouts put up somewhere? I'm planning on using this version of 3FoE in my campaign, and I'd particularly like to get hold of an appropriately modified version of the deciphered scroll written by the Faceless One...

Thanks!

Liberty's Edge

Callum wrote:

Rexx,

Did you ever get those handouts put up somewhere? I'm planning on using this version of 3FoE in my campaign, and I'd particularly like to get hold of an appropriately modified version of the deciphered scroll written by the Faceless One...

Thanks!

Been out of the loop for a couple of years, was digging around for tirapheg stats and stumbled upon this old thread. I'd expect nearly three years later your need is long past, Callum?

Scarab Sages

Deciphered scroll in 2017 sign me up. Rexx your posts just now as I have read as I write this post, have given me much inspiration. I have been a GM for a few short years and I remember playing AoW in high school we did complete it within a year we were kids and able to spend 2-3 days a week on DnD. Only now have stumbled back onto and find time to run a game every week or fortnight so looking to springing all that intrigue onto my players.

Kind regards

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