I'm a novice GM running Carrion Crown for my group. Next session (October 1st) we'll be finishing up Haunting of Harrowstone and moving on to Trial of the Beast. But I'm considering throwing in a bit of a side adventure in between, an opportunity to let the players "off the rails" a bit.
Tamrivena and the area around it seems the most likely location. Not only is it on the way to Lepidstadt, it's also home to the Palatine Council for Canterwall, with whom my PCs have some business. My players love owning property and have asked for Harrowstone as part of the payment for cleansing it (they want to rebuild it and turn it into a fortress and home base). But as it's County property, the Ravengro council is passing on the request to the council in Tamrivena. I'm thinking that this is a good hook to get the PCs involved in some kind of intrigue there. My problem is that I'm not sure what.
My players prefer role-playing and investigation to pure combat, so I was hoping to add more here. Also this may be a good place to give some more hints that the Whispering Way is up to something sinister. Perhaps the Whispering Way is conducting negotiations with a Belkzen orc tribe to get soldiers or just riling up the orcs as a distraction from their own actions. Nervous councilors may send the PCs to investigate odd orc activity as an aditional condition for giving them control over Harrowstone.
I welcome any ideas and advice.
|King of Vrock|
My Players will move through Tamrivena this weekend escorting the Crooked Kin. I see this as a perfect chance to get players to defend a group of "Freaks" from the xenophobic Wallguard as a foreshadow of defending the Beast at trial.
My players also have the Flesh Golem Manual from the Unfrulring Scroll in Ravengro for the Wallguard to find on them. However I gave them some ammo to use against the Wallguard's captain. Someone in the Wallguard is paying the ghouls of Clover's Crossing to ambush caravans in order to paint the Foreguard as ineffective in patrolling the county of Canterwall. It's not enough to point the finger at anyone specific but it is enough to bring the matter before Tamrivena's Palatine Council for investigation.
Find evidence, produce evidence, see justice done... set up a pattern and it'll reinforce what some think as a weak motivation to defend the Beast.
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I see several stories (that could be combined or be standalone):
a) The Crooked-Kin being harassed by the WallGuard
The Wallguard wont allow them in, and then they decide to set up their show outside the town. The will only do a one-night performance. But it’s a night to be remembered. Drunken off-shift Wallguards will start a brawl (non lethal), some thief will do some pickpocketing. A Baby gets stolen AND of cause its all the Kin’s fault. Alternative a young woman will run away with the Circus and his lover (the Flee show guy). I’m looking at the typical Circus in a small town (European, Gypsi setting)
b) On the way up north there is an Orc raid
c) An assassin sent by AA will strike (yes that’s a bit early in the adventure…)
d) Looking at your post the next best Idea would be to play out the legal obtainment of Harrowstone. Me, being German (originally) I can imagining al lot of stamps, forms, offices (with very um-appropriate opening houses and demands) and unwelcoming Officials. This can include bribing, quite-pro-quote, charming, political intrigue and some more forms. For ideas see e.g. Asterix conquers Rome or your next German Amt (public office)
e) One of the PC’s get falsie accused to be a spy and gets arrested -> see d)
f) As I play in late October and its quite a bit north you can have a Blizzard hit them on the way north with the PC’s. Wolfes threaten the area quite heavy and the PC’s will find themselves in the need to share a cave and fire with orc’s. This can make interesting roleplay. The Orc’s are the survivor of an orc-orc fight between clans, and REALLY don’t want any more trouble.
I like. There are some great ideas here.
For some reason I never thought of the Crooked Kin as showing up before Tamrivena, but having them get harassed and needing the PCs to help them out sounds like a great hook. I'm planning on using their leader; Kaleb as a romantic option for one of my PCs, so if they're already hitting it off well she'll probably want to get involved (she's normally pretty mercenary about things). Having to clear their names and negotiate the bureaucracy for the deed to Harrowstone could lead to some nice intrigue, and then they can find some dirt on the Wallguard to help smooth things over.
And while they don't have the Flesh Golem Manual, the professor's forbidden books can certainly get my PCs into trouble as well.
Thank you both. I think I'll drop the Orc/WW idea in favor of harassment and dirty dealings of the Wallguard. Instead of the ghouls I'm thinking about going with bandits who are actually undercover Wallguard members attacking the party. Maybe one of them will have a letter hinting that they aren't ordinary bandits and are being put up to it by someone higher up. If they try to present the bodies as evidence they may get accused of murdering guardsmen.
...For some reason I never thought of the Crooked Kin as showing up before Tamrivena, but having them get harassed and needing the PCs to help them out sounds like a great hook....
I would have them MEET before hiting Tamrivera as the PC bound more to the Kin and the confrontation with the Wallgard is a bit more "personal" for them. Especially if a PC has a crush on one of them.
My group encountered the Kin before Tamrivera and I "made them" ride with the Kin as Alice was a Driver and they hadn't had anyone else to drive -> a PC neeeded to drive a wagon. The Wallguard didnt let them in and the PC's went then inside and hired a Driver. So I went for the Orc Raid. I didnt want to spend too much time (and XP) outside TotB as my group allready was 4(.25)th level and I (capital) wanted to get started with the main attractions... :)
|Grendel Todd RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32|
Through Harrowstone my group was sagging a bit in the xp department (large group), so I actually added a number of encounters for the trip north to Lepidstadt:
Early on they stopped at Castle Andatchi at the suggestion of the PC Dhampyr, who felt she'd better visit her Vampire parent while she was in the neighborhood. While there the party was suitably creeped out, but ended up lending a hand when "Mother" had to go deal with an Orc raiding party trying to slip past the boarder (she is a true Ustalavian patriot after all).
Next night they found and played through the encounter with the Crooked Kin, and because they failed to kill the Feaster before it could escape, they've had (well, specifically the party paladin has had) to deal with occasional ambushes for the rest of the trip (thanks to the inventive uses of plot-twist cards, the two seem to be developing a very... disturbing... rivalry).
Once in Tamrivena I ran the Black Goat scenario (Kobold Quarterly 17, author Richard L. Smith II), which fit very well in that paranoid place. I found that a Seugathi (Bestiary 2) makes for a very good Sleeper-in-darkness.
From then on it was a small helping of wandering monsters for the remainder of the trip (though I personalized the pack of Ghouls as having come from Clover's Crossing, led by the party Bard's ex-girlfriend wishing only to "bring him home").