|Green Eyed Liar|
On p. 16 the module states, "A 10-foot-high, vine-covered stone wall surrounds the entire property, enterable through a double-arched gatehouse." However, the map shows a wall of vertical logs. Furthermore, it looks as though the "gatehouse" is itself flanked on both sides by gates, rather than having the entrance run through it.
Is the map correct? Or the description? I only quibble because I am working on creating a map for online play.
|Green Eyed Liar|
Question on the Harrowing...
I have never used these before, so was wondering how they actually work ?
At the moment, I am planning to record who draws what so that I can come back to it when those events happen ? is that right ?
Otherwise how do the players know when they will be used ? or do you just let them use them and only grant them the bonus for that encounter ?
So, we are just getting started with the AP (2 sessions into Harrowstone) and would love some ideas or feedback on integrating a shifter PC into the greater arc of the narrative...
One of my PCs is playing a shifter (imported from Eberron) cleric of Desna. I worked with her a little bit early on to locate her home village as within the eaves of the Shudderwood, because the ties of being a shifter as well as a cleric of Desna were too tight to Broken Moon to ignore right off the bat.
Problem is, I'm having a little difficulty giving her a greater connection or foreknowledge of what it would actually be like growing up on the edge of the Shudderwood.
Right now, here's what we have so far:
She is from a small, isolated hamlet set within the eaves of the Shudderwood. Her mother, also a cleric of Desna, is the local matriarch and is a Dorzhanev by blood (but not a full-fledged werewolf). Her mother's sister is Cybrisa, druid of the Shudderwood. Her father is an afflicted lycanthrope who found sanctuary in the small village.
While her mother is deeply traditionalist and has a somewhat anti-Desnan tendency to want to tend the local congregation, preserve the secrecy and sanctuary of the hamlet, her aunt Cybrisa encouraged her to be proactive, get out and see the world and make an impact. She idolizes her aunt's carefree and unbound attitude (without really perceiving the darker, sinister impulses that Cybrisa barely keeps restrained).
I'd love to integrate some of the other personalities from the AP into her lore, but I'm having difficulty putting my finger on who they are or how she might know (or have heard) about them. It's a good opportunity that I don't want to miss to give more depth and meanign to Kvalca Sain, Malthus Mordrinacht, Adimarus Ionacu, and Rhakis Szadro, but I'm struggling to tie it all together...
|Sibelius Eos Owm|
This sounds like it's going to be one exciting homecoming.
I don't know if you already have plans, but for my own group I somewhat expanded the werewolf politics so that the PCs could meet with the Prince's Wolves ahead of time. Also they happened to seriously earn the respect of the Vollensag by actually healing them after the encounter on the hunt (how I played it, one was up and with no chance of winning--bared his throat and surrendered, stating that they underestimated the party and asking to be allowed to retreat with his packmate; the party healed her and let them go) so before they even went to the stairs they learned that a) the Vollensag are allied with the Jezeldans primarily for power against the Dorzh/Mord duo, b) the Prince's Wolves are most sympathetic to the Dorzh and Primals, but both those packs are allied with more dangerous wolves at the moment, so they are trying to stay neutral, and c) all packs are confused, angry, and scared, hence their current arrangement.
(Addendum, for my game I allowed the alignment tendencies of the werewolves more diversity--Jezeldans were CE befitting their goddess and affliction, Mordrinacht were NE, while Dorzhanevs were N befitting their druidic leader, and Primals CN and steeped in a tradition of warrior's honour.)
It sounds like you have an alternative 'in' to the werewolf politics by having the party somehow run into Cybrissa at some point. That would inevitably have ramifications for how the rest of the werewolf politics goes down so I'm not sure what would happen from there. At the least I think the PC should know the names of the different packs of the forest, since she grew up in the area, and maybe overheard Cybrissa and her mother discussing them at some point. It occurs to me when the Demon Wolves moved into the wood (I don't remember if it said exactly when but I thought of it as sometime in the last 10 years) it's possible there was some kind of drama with her father being afflicted--perhaps Jezeldans constantly harassing her dad in human form trying to convince him to join their pack (whether the character knew exactly what these recruitment attempts were about or not is your preference).
She and her mother both being Desnans, it's almost certain that she's heard of the lost temple in the middle of the Shudderwood--regardless whether she knows that werewolves currently use the Stairs of the Moon and it's not actually so lost. She may have even entertained fancies of setting out to find it as a young acolyte before the adventure started. That said, the Shudderwood is one of the single biggest forests in Avestan, and also among the most dangerous since the Worldwound covers half of it. Fey fight corrupted fey and all kinds of large beasts and monsters roam its depths, so she either has a mixture of fear and respect for the forest, or perhaps considers at least its edges comfortably home, despite the dangers. It's basically the big, dark, gothic forest of all folklore fairy tales, but it's also a fact of her life.
It's worth noting that while the werewolf tribes all centre their activities around the Shudderwood, they actually range all across Ustalav, usually in smaller packs. If your Shifter knows Cyrbrisa is a werewolf, perhaps she at least knows that the 'Broken Ones' are the physically weakest and most dispersed tribe, giving her a clue that their alliance is as likely to be defensively motivated. Whether she has met members of any other tribe is a bit more of a question how friendly we assume the tribes have been with each other and her mother's hamlet. Perhaps she's learned to recognise a few of the most common 'tells' that somebody is actually a werewolf in human form.
These have been a handful of rambling thoughts that may help brainstorm something for you.
If you're interested how I played some of these personalities:
-Kvalca was a beloved and terrifyingly strong leader. Not everyone liked her, but at least with her as packlord things were stable.
-When the PCs let the wolf from the Duristan hunt live, I made her into the leader of one faction of Primals who allied with the PCs to get revenge on Mathus
-To keep the other Primal fights I had another faction unhappy with non-wolves involved in their dispute to attack them on the way to the temple
-Adimarus is power hungry and fanatical. He cares nothing for any other tribe and his alliance is purely to keep the packs distracted while he claims the heart
-Mathus is more ambitious than he is smart. He started all this but it's falling apart around him and he's low-key in over his head trying to play speed chess by taking out the other pack leaders before Adimarus gets back
-Cybrisa was reserved and watchful in my game, maybe not yours, but her alliance with Mathus is born of a lie and she half-suspects it but doesn't know how much is true--she believes alliance with the Mordrinacht is the best way to protect her (weakest) tribe and cause as little conflict as possible. When my PCs arrived at the Stairs, one of them had been afflicted with the curse and transformed (I used the temple as an excuse for her to retain her mind at the time). She used her newfound status to challenge Mathus to a duel for right to the Highthrone, which Cyrbrisa upheld, wanting to see where this was going. Also a 15' tall Primal climbed over the wall behind her, but that's just theatrics.) -- You may consider whether being a shifter gives her honorary wolf status.
-Rhakis actually ended up having very little presence in my game since almost all deals with the Prince's Wolves went through an intermediary that I designed as a love interest for one of my PCs. The PCs allied with him but otherwise spent most of their time with her when she followed her girlfriend to Feldgrau.
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Thanks Sibelius, this is great stuff.
Riffing on some of this:
* Kvalca Sain & the Vollensang - Long have the Primals ruled the Shudderwood, and they do so with the sensibility of their Khellid ancestors. All know that as long as they are accorded respect and tribute, all that you have will be safe. They enforce a peace, of a sort, by slapping down any rivals. They aren't interested in dominating the free people of the Shudderwood, just maintaining its independence from the Varisian Ustalavic interlopers and keeping it free from the aristocrats whims. Kvalca Sain herself has been a figure of dominance and severe justice for years, operating by a warrior's code of honor, though she has, of late, been showing her age about her muzzle.
* Malthus Mordrinacht & the Mordrinacht - Speaking of aristocrats, the Mordrinacht consider themselves the rightful rulers of the Shudderwood through their connection to old priest and the vilkacis. Since the fall of the counts of Lozeri, the Mordrinacht, under the leadership of the selfish and entitled Malthus, have been scheming to gain deeper control of not just the Shudderwood but all of the county. As such, he is not above playing "human" politics, a game that the more primal denizens of the Shudderwood have long resisted.
* Adimarus Ionacu & the Jezeldans - The newest and fastest growing "sect" of werewolves, they are a cult of personality led by the ambitious (and vicious) antipaladin Adimarus Ionacu. Once a paladin crusader in Mendev, he was driven mad by his experiences in the Worldwound and fell prey to the temptations of Jezelda. Given a new, virulent form of demonic lycanthropy, he has forged a small militant army of dangerous fanatics bent on overwhelming the Shudderwood and expanding the reach of the Worldwound into Ustalav through the forest. The virulence of the Jezeldan strain is such that they can even "infect" existing lycanthropes, essentially overwriting their current condition with the taint of Jezelda.
* Cybrisa Dorzhanev & the Dorzhanev - Along with the Primals and the Mordrinacht, the Dorzhanev strain of lycanthropy in the Shudderwood is one of the oldest, though it is believed in myth that their strain is the only one created not through a curse but through a blessing. When the Whispering Tyrant swept through Ustalave, it is said that his forces of death were checked at the border of the Shudderwood by a being known only as the Deathless Maid, a predator of firey hue who hunted and destroyed his "Deathless" minions until even they, the fearless dead, feared the depths of the primeval forest. It is also said that Prince Andriadus Virholt himself was infected by the Dorzhanev strain before their path diverged (as Varisians are wont to do). Currently under the leadership of Cybrisa Dorzhanev, the passionate Druid of the Shudderwood, she is desperate to both prop up the old order of Kvalca's rule while foreseeing the oncoming storm of Adimarus' tyranny. As such, she has sought out unlikely allies in the form of the charismatic Malthus Mordrinacht and, perhaps most dire, begun communing with an ancient eldritch power known as the Black Goat of the Woods. A personal falling out with her former lover, Rhakis Szadro, has made an alliance with the elusive Prince's Wolves tricky at best.
* Rhakis Szadro & the Prince's Wolves - The elusive Varisian pack of werewolves "led" by Rhakis Szadro traditionally focus on everything BUT the politics (such as they are) of the Shudderwood. Holding on to a proud and empty tradition of resistance against the Whispering Tyrant beneath the banner of Prince Andriadus Virholt, the "Prince's Wolves" are little more than Sczarni road gang with some elevated powers. Rhakis himself has made it a point to reject his "destiny" as revealed to him by his former paramour Cybrisa, deliberately setting out from the Shudderwood to avoid having to take any responsibility for the failing forest. His troop is currently engaged in a low level gang war with another Sczarni troop, the drug dealing Red Parade, led by a hag acolyte of the formerly Barstoi based Dublesse sisters, themselve students of the "dead" hag Oothi.