Council of Thieves as rebellion: possible?

Council of Thieves

I’m going to start this AP in about a month, and I’ve been reading some of the other threads here to get an idea of what to expect. I’m pretty sold on the idea of running this game as a rebellion the way the first part starts out, and I’ve seen lots of commentary that it doesn’t play out that way.
What I want to know is how to make it play out that way. I’ve seen recommendations to skip some modules or possibly do them in a bit of a different order. If I want to focus on the rebellion, are there modules I should leave out altogether? I’m thinking the PCs might even try to convince the Bastards and possibly even the twins to take a different approach to their own attempts to change things. I’m definitely planning on including the Delvehaven bit. Any good advice on what else should stay or go for this approach?

Rewrite book two as a PR campaign. The players NEED the play to get their message to a wider audience. Task your players with rewriting it so that the ending of the play is rebellion vs. authority.

If they can combine that with successfully defeating the murder-play, thry'll be too popular to shut down.

Then, party at the Mayor's house is a political search for allies. At that point, have someone at the party contact them, and offer to trade political support for...certain items from the Mayor's house.

Thanks. I was kind of thinking something along that line based on what I'd read about the play. Are there later modules that I should skip or run in a different order? Should I just wrap it up after 4? Rearrange the order of 4,5, and 6 as some have suggested?

Another thing I'm considering is to have a falling out between Janiven and Arael as far as how the rebellion should proceed: sort of like Provessor X and Magneto as far as disagreeing about the means to the ends they both want. The PCs will have to decide which of them best represents their own goals.

Our group went with 1,2,3,5,4, plus side quests, and it worked fine.

See if this helps...

I might have the showdown with the Mayor at book four be the conclusion. Make him more threatening than he actually is. As the players arrive to depose him, he says 'kill me? Fools, Ill take the whole city with me!'

Then have him teleport inside and hit the self-destruct, triggering the meltdown.

You won't beat that as a conclusion.

As for the split, consider using the vampire hunter, vahwhynne, from the delvehaven book as your Magneto.

Thanks. I'll check it out. My game is going to be here:

starting in about a month. Still quite a bit I'm going to get put up before then.

Seeing this post while my own CoT group is about to start, I will grasp all straws that will make it a more coherent adventure path than it is written as is.
Anonymous Visitor 163 576: can you explain your choices of sidequests and give some general guidelines how you weaved Greyhawk en Ravenloft stuff into Cheliax as per your own campaign?

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I'm not Anonymous Visitor 163 576, but I will add my 2 cents. We are playing in order (and still playing), but I have made several changes and added side quests (based on PC interests) to make it flow more coherently. These are the changes I added (not including changes to stats, encounter difficulty, etc):


I was bored with the sewer encounters so I added an insanely paranoid apprentice of Sandor (from 5) who lived in terror that his master would find him and punish him for the theft of some books. It was a fun battle and through the entire adventure they have been trying to figure out who Sandor is. They sold his books at the Dusk Market. Not necessary but it was fun.


A PC sorcerer chose to have the campaign background where he had a famous family member and he decided his brother was an actor who was assassinated for treason. His mother was told by Hellknights that unless she paid an exorbitant fine, her son's body would be sold for magical experiments at the school of necromancy. She offered herself into indentured servitude to give her son a burial. When the PCs tried to help, I introduced Paralictor Chard and Signifier Verennie (both from 6) , the former being somewhat reasonable and the latter being cruel.


The bard and rogue wanted to do the entertainer/pickpocket con at character creation. I didn't think that would go over on the streets of Westcrown, so it was modified so that the rogue was a visiting low ranking noble and the bard performed at private parties held by the nobles. I created a side quest for them, while the rest of the party was hunting shadow beasts. Since the rogue was looking for "jobs" at the Dusk Market, a contact offered them good money for an art heist, to steal a painting from a secret room at the Oberigo Estate.


At the party, I added guests from book 2 and book 6. In fact, the rogue had stayed with the Ciucci's, who rent out to noble boarders, when he first arrived in Westcrown. I had Oberigo invite both the Mhartis family and the Ciucci's, along with the mayor, because he delighted in their rivalry for the mayors favor. Also present were Delour Alamaxa, the opera diva, Vuiper Ghivel and Sascar Tilernos. This side quest allowed me to present some of the social and political issues in Westcrown, Iltar Marts' drinking problem and ineptitude and Deliliee's budding wild side, Ghivel's cheapness with his family and little hints of his feelings for Chammady, who Delilee mentioned quite often and seemed to idolize.


I made the painting of the heist a work called The Binding of the Twin with clues to the Nessian Spiral. The buyer was Sian, who was too busy at the mayor's manor to steal it herself. She killed the contact and double-crossed the PCs and they just managed to escape with their lives, poisoned and on the run. Knowing they were being followed (they used the painting as armor to get out with their lives) they stayed at an inn rather than lead her to the base. Eventually a swap was made and Sian became a highly memorable villain, who terrified them when she appeared later in 2. It also raised questions in their mind because the amount being paid was more than they felt the painting was worth, so it seemed the tiefling wanted it for some other reason.


My party's cleric is a secret worshipper of Sarenrae who came here to spread light and hope. She is building a congregation among the poor and downtrodden and the homeless who hide in fear of the night huddled around fires in the ruins. She has also created a connection with the Bellflower Network (halfling underground railroad). I made a character at the Dusk Market be a halfling aasimar who sells silvered weapons and holy water, stakes, etc. Things that are frowned upon in the city. She is a part of the Bellflower Network.


I enhanced the differences in Arael and Janiven's approach, making Arael want to change things slowly and help without upsetting the status quo, while Janiven would gladly overthrow the government. When the PC cleric approached the CoW to see if they would help the BN, I played up the schism. The argues at length then planned to reconvene for a vote the next evening. When they reconvened, I interrupted with the 5 pillars.


My players didn't stop the mayor's flight, so I played up the discord after 4. The bard, who had taken the mayor's badge of office when offered the contract, offered himself as mayor pro temp. In our last session, I was haranging him with disgruntled nobles, bankrupt merchants, a city in terrible disrepair and disorder and with no treasury to speak of (because the PCs had looted it when adventuring!). They are doing their best to put things right, raise taxes without oppressing the poor and merchants (and alienating the nobles), deal with plots, appoint a head of the dottari since Iltar is missing, uncover plots and opposing factions while still trying to find Ilnerik and foil the new leadership of the Council of Thieves.


Since the rogue put out feelers for information on all of the above, I plan to have it naturally lead them to 5. When 5 is done, the return to the condition in 6 will feel natural, because of everything that happened after 4.


Almost forgot. I rewarded paranoia and a high perception roll with some on the spot spies for the council. It didn't end up leading to much information but it was very engaging for the party and probably added to the sense of them having made enemies of the powerful and shadowy council.

11.) I had also added another secret society of people amassing a secret collection of the books that the Hellknight revisionists were burning. It added to atmosphere, gave them another rebellious organization and may supply information about potential allies against Throne in the future.

I suspect that my party will want a real rebellion, so I am planting seeds now and I have ideas for allies.

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Definitely. When I ran it, the PCs worked with the Children of Westcrown the entire time, both to make the city a better place in practical terms and gain it a bit more breathing room from Thrune. Throughout the path, I basically played up the idea that they were becoming city heroes. It was less of an overt rebellion than a subtle coup, but it was definitely effective. By the last book,

when the fate of the city is decided at the end, one of the PCs (who was a member of one of the noble families) got her uncle in as mayor and Westcrown became a sort of quasi-independent city because Thrune figured it'd be more trouble than it was worth to stamp it out.

The PCs were very subtle--they didn't go around yelling "down with Thrune" or anything--but the end result was that Westcrown definitely regained quite a bit of independence. I ended up modifying the last book quite a bit to personalize it for what the PCs had done and who they interacted with so far, and I also added an "epilogue" of sorts where they went to the island that's trying to regain its independence from Cheliax (Thuryan, detailed in the Cheliax companion) and helped them do so.

When I run Hell's Rebels, I'll definitely be working in some cameos...

All are great ideas, thanks! I knew the adventure path needed some work to make it work, but I did not like to change the chapter order or leave chapter 6 out. Time to do some overdue GM prepping! :)

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