An idea I am pursuing, advice apreciated.

Rise of the Runelords

So my group has had a couple heavy combat sessions over the last few weeks dealing with the giant raid on Sandpoint. Now the dragon and Mr. T are dead, the giants to the south got away with the Scarnetti fortune / prisoners (Titus and his two sons, his wife and daughter were safe in Sandpoint shopping when the raid happened). Likewise I am going to have them make off with the body of Longtooth. Also a medium sized group made it out of town with some other prisoners into the forest. I am going to say that it is almost impossible to keep up with / track the giants through the forest (on foot they are faster than the PCs are, and flying the PCs would not be able to see them under the tree cover).

So, the obvious conundrum is, who do the PCs pursue; the dragon, or the Scarnetti hostages. Naturally Titus' young wife Lucia will demand that they save her family (and their fortune of course). I figured Hayliss Korvaski would insist that they pursue the dragon to prevent it from being resurrected and returning to burn them all (plus she hates Titus). I figured a town meeting could be called where Lucia could leverage her connections with the Valdamar family and the carpenters guild, and possibly even Mayor Deverin who needs their lumber to build a new grain mill. (Perhaps the PCs will agree to fund the lumber needed to free her from their influence). If they help her out, then Kendra Deverin and Ameiko Kaijitsu could band together to fight off the influence.

Any thoughts guys? Think I can pull this off or is it too high concept? Any advice on how I can make it better?

Wouldn't the giants all wind up heading back towards Jorgenfist anyways? Don't see why it matters which group the party persues if they are all heading to the same place.

Good question. I am figuring that the two groups (the group with the wagons, and the group with the dragon corpse) will be encumbered enough to be tracked and caught by the party.

A variety of ideas/concerns:

Giants can move faster than your pc's? Sure, if currently at Medium encumbrance and not dealing with wagons. Are the giants pulling the wagons themselves? With wagons (pulled by them or other mounts) the giants aren't any faster than the pc's. Forest terrain is also not very conducive to wagons. Ditto for the hills and mountains, stone giants favor.

For the group with the dragon - how are they managing that? do they have wagons also? You and five of your friends could probably get a dead cow off the ground and move it but unless you have slings or wagons or such, you are not moving very fast at all. It's not just are you strong enough, it's how does the shape of the object affect your movement. Unless the Giants had wagons with them, I suspect they would have abandoned the dragon corpse. They could have chopped the dragon into pieces to distribute the weight but that would up the spell needed to restore it (raise dead no longer works.) Which brings up another point - no one at Jorgenfist can cast Raise Dead, let alone Resurrection so it seems odd the giants would think of that as a strategy.

The giants would likely link up rather than remain as separate groups all the way back to Jorgenfist. They knew they were going into Sandpoint as separate waves, they would have had a meet point determined when the raid was over.

If the groups don't link up and as your last posts suggests both groups are slow enough for party to catch, I would argue that in that case, the party could catch both groups.

Concerns about resurrecting the dragon strike me as gamer-think not citizen of Sandpoint thinking. Residents of Sandpoint have been captured, they would be the first priority. Even if the Scarnetti's are unpopular in some quarters, they must have some supporters - those that depend on them for their jobs/economic prosperity. And it sounds like others, not from the Scarnetti family, were taken. In comparison, the obscure and relatively unlikely chance the dragon might be raised from the dead would get no attention at all. No town meeting needed, go get our people back.

I don't remember the giants having wagons. I played it as they were just carrying the loads -- humans in bags and treasure in bags. The *goal* is to get the greedy townsfolk to sacrifice. The treasure is bonus. If the giants are moving on foot and force marching, and the PCs are tracking them on the ground, the PCs are moving slower than the giants because they have to make sure they have the right tracks.

That should lead them up the Storval Steps to the next module nicely.

I also wouldn't have had them take Longtooth's body. I would think that would be cumbersome and (unless I'm wrong) it says nothing in the module about doing that. This seems like the butterfly effect -- you've made a small change and now that change has broader repercussions.

Hmm. my post from earlier apparently did not post... ok so here goes.

Quick and dirty, the goal is to have the players get involved in some Sandpoint Drama. They can not catch the bulk of the hostages / giants. They CAN catch the group that took the dragon (I figured they cut down a tree, tied him to the tree trunk, and carry it over their shoulders), or they can pursue the group that took the Scarnetti men and their goods. Both of those groups are hindered and can not move through dense forest (although they can move overland as long as it is reasonably flat or gently sloping). Both will occasionally try to use roads which will cause encounters with travelers, leaving a trail of bloodshed and wreckage. Although there is no one at Jorgenfist who can Resurrect, the Giants do not know that. They just know that their leaders include powerful magic users. Also, I may just DM fiat that although he can not be Resurrected, he can be animated into a rather fearsome undead encounter for the PCs once they get to Jorgenfist.

To the point of "gamer think" vs "Sandpoint think" your point about the Scarnetti having some support is sort of the central crux of the drama I want to try to unfold. Lucia will pull her strings and naturally have the support of some key players in the town (Valdamar family and the Carpenters guild most notably). She might also be able to leverage Mayor Deverin with promises of concessions about the new grain mill (Deverin needs lumber to build it, Titus has held out demanding a controlling interest in it). Furthermore, although the do have support, they also have some rather active opposition. Several prominent members of the town are against them (Kendra Deverin has a long standing grudge held at bay by the politics of the grain mill), Ameiko Kaijitsu (Titus is trying to drive her out and buy the Glassworks, by spreading rumors and painting her as a dangerous foreigner), Kaye Tesirani and by association Belor Hemlock (Titus speaks openly about wanting to outlaw the brothel, and Belor is limted in what he can do to help), The Mavashtis (and almost every Sandpoint Varissian over the age of 40), Cyrdak Drokus, Sir Jasper Korvaski, and Hayliss Korvaski (due to Titus' mistreatment of Jasper and his disaproval of Cyrdak and Jaspers unnatural relationship). I think Hayliss and Madame Mvashti most of all would be outspoken in opposition to Scarnetti interests just to spite them if need be, and neither would be overly worried about repercussions.

As to the point of bringing back the dragon not being part of the mindset of the townfolk, Hayliss is a cleric of Adabar. I could see her bringing up the concern. Madam Mavashti might even give some cryptic comment about things not always staying dead the way they should.

Just the same, it will end up being up to the PCs who they pursue, and it may be a tough choice.

Tyr, I am trying to make a small detour here to build a session that is less combat oriented hopefully. I want to provide some role play opportunities.

I understand. I agree that Modules 4 and 5 are heavily weighted toward combat, with non-existant roleplaying.

I tried to do something similar after the first chapter of the 5th module, by sending them to the Therassic Spire in Kaer Maga, to find a book which would help them locate where they need to go to start Chapter 2 of Module 5. I expected a session of city exploration and information gathering and learning how to get access to the Therassic Spire's restricted archives. My players blew it up completely. It still worked out in terms of results. But the actual RP ran nothing like I expected. I guess they weren't in the mood for Roleplaying last night.

So if I follow, you have three groups: group A - giants carrying dragon, group B - giants carrying prisoners and loot in bags and group C - giants with wagons of loot and Scarnetti's. In that case I would suggest the dramatic tension in Sandpoint not have anything to do with group A but rather the choice between group B and C. I assume here while you know group B will be hard to catch, the players and townsfolk don't know that yet. There could be quite a bit of tension between those who have family and friends in one set of prisoners or another.

Do the players know anything about Jorgenfist? Does anyone in Sandpoint's leadership (Mayor, Sheriff, other nobles?) Because that opens another alternative: we don't care about prisoners, we care about preventing the giants from coming back and doing it again. This creates another alternative - go to the source of the problem and take it out.

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