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Ice Titan, you have just *completely* revamped my Carrion Crown campaign! :)
My group is just coming up to the trial in "Trial of the Beast", and I've already incorporated an arc centred around each character.
Izaark, the half-orc cavalier/oracle, has an arc that involves the hate Thaum Gauntwood has for him. Gauntwood was a close friend of Izaark's father, and thinks Izaark should have been drowned at birth...the idea that he's trying to become a Knight of Ozem is just too much for him to cope with! His arc involves him ultimately becoming a Knight of Ozem, but it will be linked in with a final confrontation with Gauntwood himself.
Yeva, the human ranger/rogue, grew up in Turtleback Ferry, and her father was killed at Fort Rannick during the "Hook Mountain Massacre" from Rise of the Runelords. Her mother was "leaned on" by the same criminal elements that had unsuccessfully tried to corrupt her father. With a young daughter, and no income, her mother ended up forced into prostitution, pimped by a local Sczarni "wise guy" (the Sczarni in my campaign are more-or-less the Mafia). Her arc will incorporate a new "witness for the prosecution" during the trial that will attempt to discredit Yeva's testimony (he will, of course, be her mother's pimp and the son of a Sczarni boss)
Skarlia, the dhampir inquisitor, was the child of a vampire hunter who was tortured and eventually impregnated by a vampire noble called Vladimus. Years later, when Skarlia was in her late teens, her mother was killed by Vladimus' old friend, a black dragon named Autha-Bahor. Skarlia barely escaped alive.
But the stuff you've given us? Wow, IT, just wow! :)
A whole raft of stuff has popped into my head, thanks to your inspiration. I'm having Adivion send his simulacram to Lepidstadt to actually investigate the PCs after their efforts at Ravegro (and the destruction of a vampire minion of Vladimus en-route to Lepidstadt, which actually led into the Crooked Kin encounter). He will be a useful "pointer" to direct them towards a couple of things they've missed, as well as helping out with alchemical analyses (they don't have much Craft (alchemy) or Knowledge (arcana) in the group). I'm going to play the iAdivion as genuinely helpful. He doesn't care if the Beast is acquitted, but he wants the group to clear out Schloss Caromarc so he can check out the Bondslave Thrall device that Auren Vrood has told him about. Plus, he's curious about the PCs.
(As backstory for Adivion, incidentally, he knows that the Adellas were descended from Tar-Baraphon, and he is convinced some are still alive - thinking they're probably in Taldor, actually - but he will learn during the adventure that Count Galdana is actually descended from them)
I'm running with the whole Kendra is the adopted daughter of Lorrimor, and I'm going to throw in that Skarlia's mother was also a descendant, making Skarlia and Kendra distant cousins of sorts. I've gone with Drilling4mana's take that Kendra is the bastard of Galdana.
I also like that Raven's Head is an intelligent item. I'm going with the idea that Raven's Head's "personality" was essentially ripped in half decades before in order to create Infensus Mucro, which explains why its memory is spotty. It needs to be reunited with the sword to regain its memories; which is your idea, of course, that Kendra et al are the last living descendants of Tar-Baraphon (no, it's not a misspelling - I just like the sound of the extra syllable. :) )
Soooo...they will discover, at the end of "Wake of the Watcher", that the Dark Rider wasn't going to be heading straight back to Caliphas. He needed to head back to the University of Lepidstadt, where Dr Crowl knew of a ritual to "reawaken" the dormant personality of Raven's Head (Crowl's not a bad guy - he's going to be coerced into helping the WW).
The "Chronicle of the Raven's Tongue" is going to be the information from Raven's Head that the Adella line survived - they actually had Raven's Head until Galdana's grandfather died when his ship was lost in a storm in Avalon Bay (it was later picked up by the skum, as detailed in "Wake of the Watcher")
At the moment, the PCs won't be able to do a lot with the information, except have a reason to head to Caliphas (which is precisely what I want, of course, to kick of "Ashes").
Following your lead, Ice Titan, at the end of "Ashes at Dawn", they will get the letter with the key. If they allied with Ramoska Arkeminos, it'll be from him on behalf of Hanoris Dellum, or if they don't, it'll be from Dellum himself, who will get a recommendation from the Order of the Palatinate Eye locals whom the PCs trust.
Either way, there will be an extension of Yeva's arc at the end of "Ashes" which will see an assassination attempt on her - the Sczarni "godfather" is finally sick of her after she has either killed or humiliated his son (the "witness for the prosecution" in "Trial") - and has come to kill her himself, along with some nasty helpers (maybe a Red Mantis, who knows?). Galdana will actually die in this scene, hopefully sacrificing himself to save either Yeva or Kendra (who will be present in Caliphas, as you described :) I'm thinking of putting in a romance arc between Kendra and Adivion; it's not real from HIS perspective, of course - he's hoping to get information out of Kendra, thinking she might know something Lorrimor knew, perhaps about the Adellas))
While the Whispering Way is still trying to figure out what they SHOULD have learned from Raven's Head (that Galdana is of the Adella line), the PCs will travel down to Taldor to go through "Iron Tomb". Eventually, when the sword combines with Raven's Head, they'll get all the information, as you beautifully described above - I SO hope the scene plays out like that...I'm hoping for a "WTF??" moment from the players. Kind of "No, Luke, *I* am your father!" reaction. :)
I'm thinking of actually showing the flashes of history eventually coalescing into a scene similar to Professor X's use of Cerebro in the X-Men movies...shadowy figures all over the world, homing in on a few colour figures that are actually Tar-Baraphon's descendants, from oldest to youngest.
Of course, Stavian III will be in there...maybe a peasant or two scattered across Avistan...and finally closing in on Kendra, unconscious in a carriage with Adivion, telling "someone" (dunno who, yet) that it will take time to properly prepare her for the ritual, and finally to Skarlia.
No doubt they'll be rushing back ASAP, at which time I'll kick off "Gallowspire". In that there'll be the final showdown between Skarlia and her "father", Vladimus, as well as Izaark's defeat of Gauntwood and the revelation that he (Gauntwood) is actually a bad guy, who ended up working with Vladimus in order to kill Izaark (I'm playing Gauntwood as obsessed with "purity" of the Knights, and he'd rather team up with a vampire than see a half-orc in the order of Ozem).
For this, I'm going to heavily modify an old 3rd Edition D&D short adventure called "Harvest of Evil", which deals with a vampire and its cronies taking over a small village after being driven out of their castle. I'm going to place this somewhere in the Hungry Mountains as they're chasing after Adivion.
Kendra will replace Galdana in "Gallowspire", and of course, Marrowgarth will be replaced by a now-ravener Autha-Bahor, the dragon that actually killed Skarlia's mother.
Thanks to all, especially Ice Titan, for all these awesome ideas! Like I said...we're only halfway through "Trial", but I'm SOOOO looking forward to the rest of the AP! :)
There's definitely some good stuff here, Ice Titan, Thank you for posting, my group is in the middle of 'Broken Moon', so it's interesting to see what you've changed and how your group handled certain encounters. How was Wake of the Watcher for you guys? Did you change anything to tie it into the story more?
Guys, this material is just making my head explode, it's so juicy. Has it been easy to play out as you hoped so far?
I'm about to get CC kicked off in the next couple of months and I'm sooo grateful I came here for some pointers and warnings, because I'm getting totally excited now.
Dude. I'm actually doing a revamp of CC myself and I have to say I like the ideas you've put forth on your blog.
Kudos. I've already set the course of how I'm rewritting/retelling the story. I've been setting the main villain as Auren Vrood though I will have AA appear at the end as well. He's written as a man who is supportive/invented the CC elixir but Auren is the one who execute the plan.
Anyway, I love the work you've put into this AP, dude. :)