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Since I'm planning my Kingmaker campaign I could not resist to answer all those questions raised by KM background events: the nature of Choral, Skywatch, Golushkin, the Vanishing and the epic ending of the AP had to be necessarily linked to each other, I always knew it, but I could not see the complete picture; until I finally got something cool to work with. I noticed somebody in the forum had similar ideas, but I tried to add new stuff and combine them in something more complex. This is still a first draft, I have to work with it, so your ideas, advice and critiques are welcome.
Skywatch: a Refuge for Kings
Skywatch is an ancient Cyclopes' observatory (credits). A place of big arcane power, it was used by wizards and sorcerers of Koloran empire to study the deepest secrets of universe but it also had another function: it could be used as "bunker" in case of emergency by Cyclops sovereigns. It was a little, powerful and well defensible stronghold, plus it could be used as a way to escape from a catastrophic event and hide its inhabitants in stasis (credits) for a prolonged period of time. Almost destroyed by Choral's dragons during Brevoy conquest, the Conqueror soon understood it was more than a mere ruin and its powers could still be useful.
Choral was not a dragon or a famous conqueror when he was in Iobaria. He was more interested in diabolatry as a mean to satisfy his thirst for power. He eagerly studied his so prolific yet fragmented neighbors, and he knew that a strong power could submit Brevoy to his will [Better motivation yet to be defined, but it's quite secondary]. After many years of research he finally summoned a devil who could fulfill his wishes:
- an army;
- an invincible power to submit enemies;
- a long reign for his kin.
Years passed quickly and Choral started worrying for his kin: maybe he made a mistake and started thinking to a way to escape the contract. He discovered that Skywatch had an ancient power that could help him; maybe he would have not found a way to escape the devil in time, nor his descendants, but he could secure them until some noble and fearless hero would have saved their souls or the contract would have been destroyed. It was a desperate move that could need thousands of years to succeed, but it was better than eternal damnation. Brevoy's best arcanists were charged to make Skywatch work again and after many years, right before Brevoy's bicentenary, a contingency was set in the Cyclopes' stronghold: in case the contract was still active, a second before the 200th year of reign the rogarvian family would have been secured in Skywatch with all its inhabitants. And so it happened.
But Rogarvians didn't know everything about their refuge: Skywatch was meant to host any real king ruling in the ancient cyclopes' lands.
Don't Play With the Devil
Rogarvian strategy worked, their souls were safe away from devils' claws. But it's not easy to fool the Hell. Infernal reply was fast and strong: the Devil who signed the contract is powerful [maybe a pit fiend] and still wants those royal souls. He also knows that Skywatch can still be opened and all he needs is a real king from the surrounding lands. But to be qualified at opening Skywatch a king must have some qualities:
- He must reign in the old Cyclopes’ territories;
- He must be feared and loved [I was thinking to link these qualities to kingdom’s stats];
- He must bear the power of Cyclopes [maybe the oculus? These qualities are prone to changes btw].
Surtova, as new king, does not meet most prerequisites since many people in his reign consider him as an usurper. Devil’s plan requires time but it’s simple: make Surtova a stronger king and make him open the gates of Skywatch.
The first step is to infiltrate in noble families of Brevoy. Minor devils started influencing land’s nobles through their counselors to raise tension and throw the land in a war that Surtova would easily win, so that their power would be undisputed. Many political events in the years succeeding the Vanishing were secretly influenced by devils and the war with Rostland seems to be inevitable.
After almost ten ten years of machinations devils exacerbate their grip over Brevoy. Some Apostate Devils (Book of the Damned Vol. 1) are sent in Rostland and in New Stetven to proselytize and conduct people in the path of atheism. These group of people assemble in a guild and call themselves the “Free Thinkers” [name subject to changes]. Their goal: weaken Abadar faith to make it easier to control the fate of the population and prepare people for an eventual Asmodeus church. Even if the penetration of the guild is slow and limited to unsatisfied segments of population, Devil’s plans are starting to be more ambitious and Brevoy could become the next Infernal Kingdom after Cheliax. Dwarves lords understand that something is poisoning Brevoy, but they just live in a small town with little power and if they reveal their fears they could be easily killed. Dwarves choose their path and isolate from the rest of Brevoy: during the 10th winter after the Vanishing they close Golushkin to avoid infernal contamination [this part has not been very well described in the AP, and I initially misunderstood it: dwarves are isolated during the Vanishing, not 10 years later, but I actually prefer this version].
Things Get Complicated
The Devil did not plan that Swordlords would have sent people in the south to create minor kingdoms, but this event should not be a problem for him. Instead he foresaw an opportunity when the ancient tomb of Vordakai was discovered since it could help him find the needed Cyclopes’ power [maybe he had a role in the awakening of Vordakai himself]. When PCs are ready to create their kingdom and their first city, the Free Thinkers offer their help, as well as other churches and political factions, so that PCs can collect their first BP (credits).
This is probably the part I like the most. I really liked Erik’s Venture Capital idea for KM and Free Thinkers may play a funny role. In my plan they will be very reasonable and modern people, they will offer very good resources for much less than other factions, and they will push towards the building of immoral buildings like brothels, avoiding churches and spreading of other faiths, gaining more and more power in the newborn and malleable kingdom. If I know my players they will soon become good friends, and this is going to be very interesting at the end of the path.
Later on, when PCs defeat Vordakai and take the oculus, devils’ strategy becomes more a wait-and-see policy, because now they have two possible kings for their scope. They remains silent during the rest of the path [minor help, hints and assistance may be given especially through Free Thinkers], until, after the defeat of Nyrissa, PCs become true kings, loved, respected and powerful. They have all the prerequisites to open Skywatch and the Devil makes his move.
The True Kings
An infernal agent [a long-time lost brother of one of the PCs in my game] is sent to the PCs seeking for help: he claims that Skywatch hides something terrible that could lead to the destruction of Brevoy and surrounding lands [details to be added] and nobody can avoid it except for the PCs. He wants them to go north with him and convince them to open Skywatch. In the meanwhile, dwarves find the courage to talk with the PCs: their spies watched over the evolving kingdom, and PCs' recent heroic actions convinced them that maybe they could defeat the evil in Brevoy. A message is sento to PCs’ capital: it’s a trap! [Maybe they already left for Skywatch, however surely somebody could deliver the message].
The evolution of events is open to many interpretations, and much depends on PCs’ alignment. They should feel surprised and even screwed (depending on the penetration of Free Thinkers in the kingdom) and they could react in different ways. I tried to foresee the main of them:
- PCs want to eradicate the evil in their kingdom: a difficult process of eradication of the Free Thinkers begins, and probably a war with Brevoy. Free Thinkers are deeply rooted in New Stetven but Restov resists, so PCs have allies.
- PCs are good with devils in their kingdom but they don’t want to open Skywatch: Brevoy declares war. See above.
- PCs help the Devil and open Skywatch: congratulations for creating the second Infernal Kingdom of Golarion. Btw, Brevoy attacks Restov but not the PCs.
- Skywatch opening: if PCs open Skywatch after defeating the Devil they will set Rogarvians free. They will take back control over Brevoy and they will be infinitely thankful to the PCs, creating a strong alliance. If they choose not to open it they have the option to take Brevoy (not an easy task) or maybe kill Rogarvian family.
If you are still reading, thank you. As you may have understood this is not an easy scenario to develop, there are many variables, many choices that could change final events, without clear distinction between good and evil. If I will add or change anything I will let you know in the following posts. If you like it or have any suggestions, please write it, I’ll appreciate it.
Bonus: And the Final Boss?
It could be anybody. Some ideas I’m working with:
- an overpowered Pit Fiend, or another devil;
- a devil-bound Surtova;
- a Choral red dragon summoned by the devil who owns his soul.
Actually no, or at least I did not plan any important role. Majority of this plot is developed in Brevoy, awaiting for the PCs to complete the main path. I planned that a spy from the First World, an informer for Nyrissa secretly working for the Eldest would warn the PCs about a threat that is growing in the kingdom, but nothing more. I admit I don't know faeries very well, and surely I don't like them as much as the more subtle devils, but I don't see them much involved in the game of politics.
I’m happy you like it. Mythic levels can be a great addition.
As I said, I’ll try to add more details I omitted in the first post.
The Free Thinkers Brotherhood
The Brotherhood is founded in New Stetven and in Restov a few months before the beginning of the campaign. It is initially created by two Apostate Devils (working under a single more powerful Devil who signed the contract with Choral) that proselytize and convert people assuming the aspect of enlightened and sympathetic men. Their message is simple:
Even if Gods exist they do not care about humankind and any form of worship is useless unless a God explicitly manifests His interest in it.
The last sentence is not accidental, since a devilish manifestation in the right moment, when the Brotherhood will have sufficiently spread, will make it easier for the people to accept the new faith in Asmodeus. The main goal of the Brotherhood is to weaken the faith of people of Brevoy, especially in good deities. It does not make any direct attack against the other churches (major religions in Brevoy are neutral) unless they openly contrast the Brotherhood. This moral weakness will make the Country even easier to manipulate and the current political tension makes it difficult to suspect and find the evil machinations in action even by the main Churches, divided in the cold war between Rostland and Issia.
New Stetven The capital is an easy terrain for the spreading of the Brotherhood. The Free Thinkers almost immediately gain new adepts and a position of power in the politics of the city. During the course of time it will gain access to the highest ranks of power, and a direct influence over King Surtova and his politic. The Free Thinkers want to make Brevoy a stronger reign through war, and the invasion of Rostland seems to be near. At the end of the Path the King may be completely under control by the Brotherhood, and the danger of his involvement in an Infernal Contract is higher and higher.
Restov The city of the Swordlords is more resistant to the intellectual aggression of the Free Thinkers. Maybe due to a stronger bond with the Iron Lord, Gorum, the majority of nobles in Restov stick with their religion and philosophy. Atheism and agnosticism have a minor success among the lower segments of population: scared by the new political climate; frustrated by years of submission to the Brevic Crown; and not confident anymore in the Swordlords, almost seen as fallen warriors living in the past that may bring in their lands a war that they can not win. Even if the success among plebs may seem useless, this will result in a precious resource when PCs will be demanding workforce from Restov.
The Greenbelt Initially the newborn kingdoms in the Stolen Lands are underestimated by the Brotherhood. Nevertheless when PCs will seek for workforce (and BP) in Restov, at the beginning of their reign, Free Thinkers will answer just like the other Churches and political factions, trying to invest in the new kingdom to gain a position of influence. Requests to the PCs in exchange of BP will be less onerous in comparison to the other factions. Free Thinkers are trying to expand their influence and they do not ask sacrifice to the PCs, just freedom of expression for them and their adepts. Their only fundamental request will be to avoid a Good or Evil or Chaotic alignment for the kingdom, to maintain neutrality (and to block the rise of Good aligned religions, even sacrificing an Evil alignment). During the passing of time they will anticipate the needs of the kingdom, proposing the building of new important structures (especially cultural ones) and sometimes suggesting their management under their adepts, even in exchange of BP. If this behavior becomes suspicious, it must be remembered that Free Thinkers are masters of subterfuge, and it’s a priority for them not to be uncovered, so they can accept defeat sometimes. When it will be clear that the PCs will have a big role in the story, an Apostate devil will secretly take the leadership of the local Brotherhood.
Stolen Lands Even if the penetration in the PCs’ kingdom is dependent on the PCs' behavior [the plot I created works very well with PCs that are not deeply good aligned and that sympathize with progressive behaviors. Find a way to make it work for your party and remember that the Free Thinkers are intelligent and willing to do anything to reach their scopes], I assume that the Free Thinkers have bad luck spreading in the west, with the expeditions in Hooktongue and Glenebon Uplands. They have a certain success in Varnhold, where their mission becomes delicate since the discovery of the Tomb of Vordakai. They have a role in Vordakai’s awakening, pushing Willas Gundarson toward the tomb and giving him incomplete informations (but without revealing themselves).
Evolving the Brotherhood
The Free Thinkers Brotherhood should be a funny faction to use, and it may help PCs in case of need. The more they help the PCs, the more they will be bond to the fate of the Kingdom, creating an interesting plot at the end of the path. My goal is to blow PC’s mind when they will discover that their kingdom is deeply tied to a devilish cult. If they will want to eradicate the cult they will have hard time (maybe even very hard time) because the Brotherhood might be deeply rooted in their reign and they will need a great dose of heroism, diplomacy and political leadership to overcome this situation, especially if they want to maintain their influence high enough to open Skywatch as real kings.
The Rise of Asmodeus The cult of Asmodeus remains silent, kept as the final weapon of the Brotherhood. If the PCs declare open war to the Brotherhood, this will answer strongly, unleashing their diabolists and devilbound creatures against the PCs, condemning them as heretics who stand against the will of the only God, Asmodeus, the Prince of Darkness, who revealed his will to the Brotherhood and the whole world. He wants a new, strong nation, united under a single flag, from Issia to the Stolen Lands, and no one will stop this great project of liberation from the egoism of the local lords.
Foes Even if I still did not plan any particular encounter, there are many devilish foes that are useful. I particularly like devils and the diabolist found in the Book of the Damned, Vol. 1, the devilbound archetype in Bestiary 4, and any other useful devil.
Very interesting. I've felt it was a shame that Brevoy had so many neat things to look at, but the players would be so fare away from it and therefore wouldn't really be able to explore it. This way, you have a plot that goes very deep in all the countries and either earlier or latter, gives a very good reason to explore the various "anomalies".
But here are some of the thoughts that came to mind when I read your fret ideas:
With the Brotherhood, some players might be playing their characters as believers in the gods/one of the gods and try and throw/keep them out. Which I guess simply adds to the politics :D
One of the first questions that arrised when I read your ideas was; how did the whole royal family dissapear at the same time? Magic is of course the answer, but why and how? Did Choral somehow, with his wizardly helpers, create a "timer" to save his people before dying (really like the idea of him being a dragon shaped devil.. Maybe even a twoheaded one with a contorted human face)?
Did the wizards/servants/mechanical guardians in Skywatch keep the machines ready to save the lineage of Choral? This could allow the players to gain some clues to what has happened.
What if, to use the machine to mass teleport a whole bloodline, one had to enter the machine so it could locate the lineage. Normally, this was a short process, but Choral wanted to wait nearly 200 years to use the device's power. During that time, its strong magics kept him alive. But being alive for all that time, captured him in his very own personal hell, shattering his mind (depending on what theme you want). This not only saved his decedants from the devils, but also cheated them of his own soul.
Neros, I shaped this plot on my party and I do not expect a big faith involvement from them, basing on previous games and party composition. We are recently getting more involved in faiths and I'd love to give them an example of organized religion.
- N Cleric, Urgathoa (this guy doesn't care about other people and religions by definition);
- LN Cavalier, Iomedae (almost former master, the one who may give more problems);
- N(?) Wizard, ??? (a really misanthropic wizard who wants to relieve after almost 2 years as paladin — help!);
- N/CN Barbarian, bah (something between a stupid orc and a construct);
- N Ranger, Torag (a dwarf more interested in gold than faith).
This will be a path with little distinction between good and evil, I think (and hope) the Brotherhood will easily exploit their lack of faith, but I understand it may be difficult in a very religious party; but Brotherhood may grow stronger in Brevoy, in this case, for example.
And about Choral…
Bilious Talisman of Whispers (Artifact)
Inspired to the talisman found in Book of the Damned, Volume 1: Princes of Darkness
Aura overwhelming conjuration; CL 21st
Slot neck; Price artifact; Weight —
This putrid green devil talisman grants you a telepathic link with an insidious lawful evil intelligence bound within. While wearing this talisman you gain a +4 Charisma bonus and are constantly under the effects of the spell foresight. Once per day as a free action, you may use commune, find the path, legend lore, and true strike.
The devil bound within this talisman is a mythic [yep!] pit fiend known as Adsentator, a fiend both cunning and mighty. He speaks with a voice like grinding stones and tells the wearers of his talisman that they are destined to become great heroes and champions beloved by whole nations. Optimally, he seeks to release his power at the culmination of some festive triumph or ceremony held in his talisman wearer’s honor.
This bilious tailisman can be destroyed by being immersed in holy water for a week in an area under the effects of the spell hallow and then smashed with a +3 holy warhammer (or a bludgeoning weapon of similar or greater power). While this destroys the talisman, it also frees the potent infernal noble bound within.
The mentioned power refers to a terrible epilogue. At the pinnacle of power, when the wearer is surrounded by followers, the talisman offers to reveal his greatest power. If the wearer accepts, all lands and things within 1000 ft are ripped from the current plane and transported to a random layer of Hell, where the imprisoned devil is released and all the souls are slaughtered and damned. If the wearer refuses the offer, the talisman may force him with its Ego. If the talisman is threatened, it can teleport itself once per day (but it's prevented from doing so by hallow spells or similar good areas).
A Focus on Choral
Little is known about the past of Choral and how he came into possession of the Bilious Talisman of Whispers. Maybe he found it in some abandoned dungeon in Iobaria, or some old diabolist gave it to him, knowing his corruptible soul. When Choral put the Talisman on for the first time, he felt an incredible change in himself. He was more confident, more receptive, more powerful. His inner voice could tell him what to do in difficult situations, when he would have normally been stuck or overwhelmed. Then he started hearing it distinctly: a whisper was feeding his pride, suggesting him the best moves, praising and flattering him. And he finally understood what he really wanted; the real power, his real destiny: he would have been the greatest Conqueror of the world. But he needed an army. Thanks to the Talisman, after years of research, he could summon a creature he could deal with: a Contract Devil listened to his requests and accepted to forge a contract. But his wishes were huge and his soul was not enough. 200 years of undisputed command would have been given to him and his lineage to accomplish a great task: transform his reign in a feud of Hell and all its inhabitants in a tribute to Asmodeus. Should the condition not to be observed, all the souls generated from his blood would have been immediately claimed by Hell.
Sidenote: while a talisman that could directly grant wishes is perfectly plausible, I preferred to make him summon another devil so that the devilish nature of its host could be concealed.
History takes its course: Choral became The Conqueror of Brevoy and Servant of the Pit. The Talisman did not reveal its true power, keeping it as last weapon against Choral or his kin in case of their failure. Choral was proud and arrogant, but his heart was not deeply evil. Sitting on the throne, with human lives in his hands, he could not bear to condemn entire generations to eternal suffering. The conflict with the Talisman became evident: the whispering voice became a strict enforcement to fulfill his duty and to avoid damnation for his family. Strained by his contract, a solution came unexpected by his weird counselor in arcane matters (who previously could give no advice on his terrible condition): a small citadel, almost destroyed by his dragons, was more than an ancient ruin. That old observatory could be used as a mean to save his family from the terrible fate it was destined to. He found a forgotten force hidden in himself, and he successfully removed the Talisman from his neck; he would have not needed it anymore. The observatory was restructured and a secret task force of wizards worked deep inside it trying to understand its functioning. After almost ten years, the basic principles of the cyclopes' stronghold were understood enough to make it work. A chamber was set to host the royal family: maybe they could not cancel the contract but they could escape from it as long as possible, leaving all their hopes in the hands of providence. An old Choral traveled to Skywatch. His blood was needed for the good working of the mechanism that would have watched over his lands, seeking and tracking his heirs until the hour would have come. With his last forces, Choral collected enough blood for the process: a small thing for a cyclops, but a big effort for an old aged man. He died soon after, leaving his son, still a boy, in New Stetven, never informed on the past of his father, and he was buried inside the citadel. The talisman and a confession were placed in a closed chest next to him, but they were guarded so that only a future hero could find them and decide what to do with the artifact that, in the meanwhile, had to stay away from his kin.
Just before the 200th year of reign, Skywatch activated, sequestering the Rogarvian Family and the men working in the city, and preventing any reaction from Hell. Or, at least, that was the plan of Choral. 200 years are little thing for a devil, so the Talisman just waited. Right before the Vanishing, the Talisman teleported back in the royal chambers, where it lied in plain sight next to the crown. When Surtova claimed the crown as regent, he could not avoid to notice the Talisman. It was a weird talisman for a king, but he was sure of one thing now: the reign was his by right.
Devils are Relaxed People
Devils have no hurry in the development of their plans but firmly claim their rights expressed in the contract. The contract did not imply instant death for the Rogarvian family, their souls may have been collected slowly with time or assassinations, if possible, or through the activation of the Talisman. Choral's paranoia led him to death (and damnation; he's now in the Hell) and the Talisman was free again to influence the politics of the reign with a new wearer. The Talisman wants to use Surtova to open the gates of Skywatch, take Rogarvian souls and, in the meanwhile, drive Brevoy towards war and damnation. Double win for Hell. I'd also like to make the players feel a subtle sensation of "but… maybe the Hell planned even THIS?" at the end of all things.
At this point the Brotherhood rise in New Stetven is even more justified. Surtova is starting to surround himself with people related to Hell and even actual devils, working undercover in the Brotherhood. Surtova may or may not realize this, but until his pride is satisfied he won't reject anything coming from the devils.
Defining the Final Act
Even if a Choral big red devilish dragon summoned by devils could be a good ending, I'm attracted now by the devil in the Talisman. After all, it's highly probable PCs will want to destroy it, once discovered, and they will have to face a great challenge. The one week time span could be used to drop day-by-day events (like the prime world manifestation in the last book) with every possible hellish ultra-super-damned abomination sent to avoid the destruction of such a powerful artifact. A lesser version of Choral dragon and an army of devils are just ideas and, since as human soldier I would be rather scared to fight them, this could be a great moment to place an allied faeries' army to defend their land. As I said, I don't know faeries very well but I think it would be cool to see these creatures in action. More, these manifestations could be helpful to gain rapid mythic tiers and prepare for the final boss.
Dang.. When you sjow it, I can see how this could develop with your playrs and should become rather interesting since they seem open/respectful/don't care (the later seems more fitting) of others beliefs.
But i think it can be implemented into a player kingdom as long as they are not overly zealous, and the kingdom is run more open. Im thinking its not only the players whom can build buildings, erect chapels and create farms. People/npc'swhom have the resources/work together have the possibility as well. So I øm plannng on having a shop pop up once and again, a farm in a small valley, ect.. And the Brotherhood could setup a "school" or similar building.
You have a very good idea right there dear Sir... Generally, all of is actually good :P
Im guessing that its the wards in Skywatch that is keeping them safe from the devils, but I realized something: what about when they die? Im guessing that the ward don't protect them beoynd death, so the devils would still get their payment. "Worse" is, they actually have claim on a whole bloodline, so any futher decendants would also be damned.
Or was it only those born, and living, within the 200 year span that function as the payment, and the royal family is kept in stasis so they do not get older? I would imagen this since it would cut the devils from gaining anything from the contract.. Which isn't how contracts work.. And devils take their contracting very seriously :P
But Im having a hard time of thinking about what the talisman does at its "big dramatic moment". It sounds like the devil is bound within it, so he doesn't come forth himself.. Fire and brimstone from the sky? People turning into lemuers? Rain of fiendish frogs?
Im thinking its not only the players whom can build buildings, erect chapels and create farms. People/npc'swhom have the resources/work together have the possibility as well. So I øm plannng on having a shop pop up once and again, a farm in a small valley, ect.. And the Brotherhood could setup a "school" or similar building.
I like it. It could be a nice addition, maybe as bonus buildings.
You have a very good idea right there dear Sir... Generally, all of is actually good :P
Thank you, I appreciate.
Exactly. My idea of the contract is this:
[…] Or was it only those born, and living, within the 200 year span that function as the payment, and the royal family is kept in stasis so they do not get older? I would imagen this since it would cut the devils from gaining anything from the contract.. Which isn't how contracts work.. And devils take their contracting very seriously :P
- Devils get Choral's soul after his death.
- After 200 years, if the conditions of the contract are not met by Rogarvian family, all Rogarvian souls are condemned to Hell upon their death (obviously those who have already dead cannot have their souls taken back from heaven, abyss, or wherever they are).
But Im having a hard time of thinking about what the talisman does at its "big dramatic moment".
I did not describe it in full details, but the devil is set free if the wearer accepts to see the talisman's power, and everybody within 1000ft is sent to hell! — no save, no SR :P
I thought that if the contract conditions was meet (Choral getting an army, two dragons, his family rules for 200 years), the souls would belong to Hell. The only condition I can see for Choral was the payment to the devils. If the devils didn't deliver any of the condition, they would have breached tje contract.. So if there was a decendant that didn't want to rule, Im sure they would help him along to get motivated, or get some lovely children to take the throne instead since it was their royal right/what great grand dad Choral paid for :P
And a thought thy occured about hints to Skywatch; couldn't there be dropped hints in the Vanhold vanishing part of Kingmaker since we have a very old cyclops that could have tombs about his people? Maybe even chain his awakening to the activation of Skywatch (really don't like the original idea.. Who creates alarm wards that release the thing they are meant to protect??)
But having the devil appear in a flash of hellfire, calling dibs on everby's behinds seem like a great idea. Maybe turning the area into a hell on Golarian for a "short" period of time (the devil in the amulet sounds like he is just inside the amulet, and unlike other higher demons, has no realm of his own... Oooor is the amulet his realm? Filled with all his hard work through a long, long time?.... So many possibilitied :D
couldn't there be dropped hints in the Vanhold vanishing part of Kingmaker since we have a very old cyclops that could have tombs about his people?
I agree, Varnhold would have a great role in this story. In the first post I was thinking about making the Oculus a key for Skywatch, since it is an unequivocable sign of power. Even if the PCs lose it, they would find it back among Nyrissa's tresures room.
The origin of the amulets are buried in mystery. I think devils make them to poison and corrupt mortal souls. In the Book of the damned there are three kinds of them, this is the strongest one. The devil has been put there by a greater devil. There are actually only 9 sovereigns in Hell, no one else has his own realm; nonetheless, if you really like hellish fluff, you could tie this devil to a specific layer of hell, and therefore to a specific Devil Lord, even if I hope for the players it never really activates, it would be so hard escaping from hell!
I can not wait to see how my players will react to the Brotherhood. They already declared they don't want good deities or temples in their regin. Except for the Cavalier, who may play as a fanatic Abadar churchgoer - even if I'm confident a new spear will be enough to revise his priorities. I want to write down the details of Building Points assignment as soon as possible, the choice made in the first phase of book 2 will be so important for the final composition of the reign.
I've been thinking about ways that Choral could have bought about the Vanishing and my thoughts keep going back to Varnhold:
I remember seeing somewhere that the Oculus of Abaddon that Vordakai had was one of many.
What if Choral used an oculus with a slight twist to bring about the Vanishing. Every descendant of Choral's was "christened" where a drop of blood was drawn from the newborn onto the oculus. When the power of the oculus was finally unleashed, instead of drawing all the people in an area (as per Vordakai's oculus, this one summons all the people who have given a drop of their blood.
Choral then traps the people in soul jars, as per Vordakai's plans.
It could also work on the family as they die. Instead of their soul going to Hell, the soul is summoned by the oculus & placed straight into a soul jar.
It's something that would be familiar to the players, kind of like history repeating itself.
Uhm, I think to remember there was just one Oculus, according to the Book of the Damned vol 2. I should check it when I get back to home.
Personally I prefer not to mix devils' and demons' artifacts. What if Skywatch itself works as an artifact? Unless you and your players prefer recurring stories, in that case a second oculus is good!
Not to bad an idea. Only problem is of they decide to destroy it. But from the sound of your group, it is likely they actually might try and use it.. However, lacking a evil party member at the moment would prevent that... I wonder if they would check up on the artifact first :P
I know there are only 9 layers of hell, but I was under the impression that there could be sub-realms within each realm (not only in hell) where powerful beings ruled, stil under the original ruler ofcourse. Like there are the gods of heaven, but they have lesser angels, called empyral lords, which are demigods with worshipers and whatever entails along with their own "small" realm.
And yea. Getting that activated would be Very bad. Almighr, it would be an interesting, if not short adventure path.. Can't imagen any surviving for long.. Being a higher level helps ofcourse..
At the moment, they seem very open to auch free thinking people. Maybe one even joins them :D
On OldManJim's Idea
I don't like the idea of mixing demons and devils that way either, but its an interesting thought that the royal family's blood through the generations have been spilled on the crown... However, Choral would properbly have stopped doing this after he grew a concience AND the deal he made about his family was with another devil. Not the one in rh crown. So not sure that the twist would fit that well, but it is non the less a great twist :)
My terrible mistake. The oculus has not been made by demons but by daemons — :D ouch! So, I read again Book of the damned 3 and it talks about EYES of Abaddon, that have been made by Apollyon. So, although I don't know if the oculus is part of a couple of eyes, it is true, maybe many copies of the oculus exist around the world. I still prefer to avoid other artifacts, because I'm afraid to make the background story too complicated to be appreciated by players.
The BrotherhoodAt the moment, they seem very open to auch free thinking people. Maybe one even joins them :D
LOL, I did not think about it! This would be HILARIOUS! We still have to complete rise of the runelords, and I can't wait to throw all these ideas on the players.
Demon, daemon.. Its kinda the same thing... Kinda.. Or well, its pronounced almost the same way :P
But the problem with the annointing twist, is that I don't think EVERY child have been annointed. I mean, in our normal medival time, nobles where very well known to have some fun on the side, so there would be some bastards running around..
The plot I wrote develops during all the path, with the Brotherhood infiltrating in Brevoy and in PCs' reign. Then the events start taking place after Nyrissa's defeat. The role of fey is limited for these reasons:
- In the adventure path fey are not coordinated enough to make a plot I like. They are fragmented, scattered along the path and, with the exception of Nyrissa, they form plots often self concluded. In my opinion, best characters and enemies of the path are not even fey. This whole aspect may be due to the second point…
- I'm not really into fey. I like this AP but I am not really interested in the First World. I read about it, I read about fey but I did not fall in love with them. At the contrary, I always loved Hell, since when Dante put the first step into it (not that Dante…).
I'd like to give a — even secondary — role to fey in this infernal plot, but I don't know fey psychology enough, so any suggestion would be much appreciated. My idea: to defend their land, fey form an army that helps PCs in the fight against hell armies. Just like Ents against Saruman.