In Hell's Bright Shadow (GM Reference)


Hell's Rebels

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Welcome to Kintargo!

Supporters come and go; naming all of them is impossible but you can totally have named NPCs as supporters. (Eg: I had random shop owners occasionally help out the PCs and used two NPCs mentioned in book 4? 5? as supporters rather than allies at first and they eventually became members of the rebellion.)
Setrona Sabinus would make a pretty solid supporter.

Allies and members, feel free to use any NPC as either as you see fit! Nothing is stopping you. (Who cares that the book doesn't spell out if someone can be a leader in the rebellion or not? Use the ones that the PCs are most drawn to.)

Teams can totally be NPCs with names! Heck, I would say that they SHOULD have names and personalities. That way when something happens to any of the teams it's more personal.
Morgar would be a good team leader.


Some people, like Morgar, exist as potential replacement PCs or as mooks to take along on adventures as meat shields. I used him as a colorful frenemy to the party.

You could think of allies as floating bonuses or as part of the rich tapestry of the Kintargan revolution, depending on what style of campaign your table runs.

Shadow Lodge

ttritten wrote:
1) "Supporters", as someone stated up-thread, are like XP for the rebellion; You don't know them, they aren't NPCs, they don't "do" anything other than define the level and strength of the rebellion.

This is broadly correct, though there are exceptions. Zea, for instance, is neither an Ally, nor is she assumed to be a Team member, though you can recruit her onto a Team. Unless and until that happens, and if the PCs don't antagonize her, you can assume she's a Supporter. The thing about Supporters is that they don't necessarily stick around all the time. Mechanically, they're subject to attrition; practically, they're basically on a mailing list. You can get in touch with and activate them if you need to, but they're not cadre. Supporters are recruited through the Recruit Supporters action.

Quote:
2) Teams, aside from Specialized Teams, like the Tengu sisters, are also not NPCs, nameless, and only serve to perform and open up new Actions that can be done during the Activity Phase of the weekly Rebellion round.

Teams are cadre, or if you like, staff. They're around all the time, and working for the organization. Some are given names by the AP, some are not. The Team members that tend to get names are members of Bonus Teams (the Fushi Sisters, the Hellknight Armigers, the Acisazi Scouts, etc.), because these are the Teams that the AP assumes will make themselves available for recruitment; all other Teams are optional, and the PCs can build their organization as they like. There are some exceptions, though. Forvian Crowe is the only member of his Team that is explicitly named, though since the other Team members share Morgar's stats, I like to think that Morgar's a member of Forvian's Team. Best practice is almost certainly to name and otherwise flesh out these characters. Teams are recruited through the Recruit Team action.

Quote:
3) Allies/Members: Now this is where I am confused. From the way it is written, Allies/Members are actual named NPCs that may or may not be part of the party, such as Laria and Rex. Aside from these two, how do you "recruit" allies?? For Example, Morgar: even though he is written into the mod to be the victim of Blosodriette's charms, how does the group "recruit" him? There doesn't seem to be any mechanism to bring new NPCs, either written into the mod or introduced by the GM, into the group as formal "Allies/Members" for the purposes of filling Offices or applying boons.

Allies are those NPCs that provide a special mechanical boon to the the SRs if convinced to join. They are recruited individually through roleplay and not as part of Teams using the Recruit Team action. I believe they're also intended to serve as Officers, but this is not RAW.


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Just to add as I haven't seen it mentioned and you might have missed it: look at the back of the books, at the end of the "adventure part" but before the detailed NPCs, there you'll find what unique allies each book offers and their mechanical contribution (e.g. page 51 in Hell's Bright Shadow). It might be smart to check this section out in all the upcoming books so you know what to expect in this regard.

But as other's have said, just add your own NPCs as allies. I often find that NPCs I make up in the spur of the moment are the ones that resonate the most with my players; hence the dwarf Barl Bottock, proprietor of Barl's Meatballs, who (along with his street vendors) gave the PCs the Spread Disinformation ability.


Crystal Frasier wrote:
Galnörag wrote:

So was it intentional, or my subconscious, that Rexus, the trans npc, bares a shocking resemblance to Tim Curry?

Also, I thought that the characters back story pretty great, he hasn't always had acceptance, but he has from those who loved him is a powerful image.

Entirely your imagination.

It was my very first impression of the illustration as well and, independently of myself, of several other players, too. Probably unintentional, but definitely just not "just your imagination".


zimmerwald1915 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
If no tier is listed, assume tier 1. Bonus teams are handy in that they don't take up a "team slot" but they aren't always going to be as good as a tier 2 or 3 team the PCs hire.
This is particularly true, because teams like the Fushi Sisters can't be upgraded. All the listed Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams upgrade from specific Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams, respectively, so an untyped team like the Sisters can't be upgraded.

Although I've come to the same conclusion by RAW, it's a bit of a shame that these rebellion members cannot upgrade. I see the problem with them not filling a team slot, but they feel like less of a reward if they never can get better than their initial status. Since they are an "improved" version of standard teams, I'll probably ask my players if they want the option to improve their rank, but that by doing this they fill up a team slot.

Of course I'd be happy to hear other options from GM's who ran the AP with the rebellion rules. :)


magnuskn wrote:
zimmerwald1915 wrote:
James Jacobs wrote:
If no tier is listed, assume tier 1. Bonus teams are handy in that they don't take up a "team slot" but they aren't always going to be as good as a tier 2 or 3 team the PCs hire.
This is particularly true, because teams like the Fushi Sisters can't be upgraded. All the listed Tier 2 and Tier 3 teams upgrade from specific Tier 1 and Tier 2 teams, respectively, so an untyped team like the Sisters can't be upgraded.

Although I've come to the same conclusion by RAW, it's a bit of a shame that these rebellion members cannot upgrade. I see the problem with them not filling a team slot, but they feel like less of a reward if they never can get better than their initial status. Since they are an "improved" version of standard teams, I'll probably ask my players if they want the option to improve their rank, but that by doing this they fill up a team slot.

Of course I'd be happy to hear other options from GM's who ran the AP with the rebellion rules. :)

I just assigned them a rebellion unit category and let the PCs upgrade them as if they were a unit of that type. I have no complaints about it.

Shadow Lodge

It probably doesn't matter very much one way or the other. The Fushi Sisters are the only untyped team that can be recruited until Book 4. Every bonus team recruited in Books 2 and 3 corresponds to a team type, and can be upgraded as normal.

By Book 4, it definitely doesn't matter, since your players will have more teams than they know what to do with at that point, and little time to do it given the pace of events in the book.


Thanks, I'll go with my idea, then. :)


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Making our way through Book 1, the party has just dealt with the tooth fairies, after staying the night at the Cloven Hoof Society, they return to Longroads the next morning. There they touch base with Rexus, but they are interrupted by a commotion. Morgar Manthai barges in with the faerie dragon Vendalfek gripped tightly in his fists, claiming he found "the saboteur" skulking around in the Stormwater Shrine. The PCs mediate the situation, informing Morgar that Vendalfek is an ally. As a former Dottari, Morgar has a difficult time accepting the chaotic little creature, but eventually they smooth things over. Turns out, Morgar used to take his beat in eastern Villegre, near the White Gate. Fortunate, as the party has expressed interest in entering the Greens to investigate the ruins of the Victocora Estate.

My VTT of the scene.

Dark Archive

Fushi Sister part of the book seems to have uh... Lot of weird typoes. Like besides the "it takes Chough to two turns to realize Chough is dead" typo, the albino alligator part says it has eaten three of sisters and I'm like "Wait, its not mentioned anywhere else that there are dead sisters. Also wouldn't that mean there were 7 tengu before?" :'D


Yeah. Everything about Chough is weird enough that I just kind of... dropped her. The smuggler guy had died within the last day and the Fushis were discussing how to get out without letting anyone know they were there when the party stumbled on them.

Dark Archive

Whaaaaaaat dropping the dire corbies? Nuuuu xD


There's just the one! I didn't like the character and thought the whole thing was weird! It made for an exceedingly weird family dynamic for the Fushis.


The party just discovered Blosodriette. It was about a week after the Dottari showed up at Longroads, and the team still had no leads. On a whim the party's time-mystery oracle casts detect evil in the Stormwater Shine and sure enough, there is a presence that the oracle pinpoints hiding behind Calistria's head. A successful command spell brings the presence to the dock. The orphaned, street-urchin half-elf rogue demands that the creature reveal itself. The tiny devil appears and turns to face the rogue, she bows deeply and pleads "Please, don't harm me. All I've done has been to aid you, Lord Sarini.."


A few more days pass after discovering Blosodriette. Turns out the half-elf street urchin character has a Sarnini somewhere back in his family tree.

To my surprise, the party didn't balk at all at bringing the tiny imp into the fold. I had Rexus and Morgar Manthai act as a foils in the conversation, expressing their extreme reservations at having an actual devil in their midst.

Rexus wonders whether this will send the wrong message to their supporters. However, the Silver Ravens had made their decision, and given the alternatives, it might be for the best. Sure, they could send Blosodriette back to Hell... along with all their secrets. Whether it gets back to Thrune and the Asmodeans is a long shot, but it's still a scary loose end.

The rogue decides to take his chances and attempts to control the imp using the power of the blood contract. For the moment, the imp has agreed to remain in the hideout and has been sworn to silence regarding all she's seen down there.

Moving on, the rogue had also taken some extra ranks in linguistics and is now helping Rexus with the decoding work. So this week they learn the 4th fact about the old Silver Ravens: Jackdaw and her friends had repelled no less than a dozen attempted conquests of the city. So now, it's 2-3 weeks depending on linguistics checks until the docs are fully decoded.

Finally, after another day or two of laying low and doing a bit of shopping, the party recieves some alarming news. One of their tiefling supporters appears at Longroads and informs them that the Chelish Citizens have captured none other than Zea for an unsanctioned doghousing. After the party's exploits at the Sallix Salt Works (they dumped all the bodies in the salt pit), Thrune is hoping for some unofficial retribution against these upstart criminals. The thugs at Aria Park will have limited descriptions of the PCs based on the injuries seen on others.


Sorry to be the 667th post on this thread, but does anyone have ideas for additional encounters in the Many-Steps Monastery?

I found this absolutely gorgeous map on reddit but it is several rooms larger than the monastery presented in the book. I was thinking of adding a memory devil to one room and maybe a few more redactors, but are there any other level-appropriate monsters that would make sense to appear in the monastery?

The players have been taking their sweet time getting to this mission, so it makes sense that the Church might have moved in a little bit in the three months since the Night of Ashes.


Is there any way you can foreshadow events in book two or major NPCs in the hierarchy? Some skill challenges to infer what the major NPCs are researching or tracking a certain cult in Old Kintargo?


Foreshadowing can depend on what your group is doing / the PC's backstories. I was lucky in that one player was a noble of Kintargo so she knew Marquel. She happened to try to check in on him earlier in the AP but his parents were short with her and said he wasn't taking visitors at that time.
After the opening riot I had Rexus bring the group to the Tooth and Nail instead of... wherever the book describes him taking them so they already knew Setrona. Luculla would bring fresh baked goodies into the bar and sell them. (They were fresh out of the oven so she had to wear oven mitts all the time)

It's been a few years and I've ran 3 other APs since, so maybe I'm missing what you're asking... but:
For the major NPC villains throughout the rest of the AP, my group was often watching the opera house so I'd have the NPCs walking in and out.
Heck, during the opening scene of the AP I had Vannases giving orders to the dottari and when the group wasn't realizing that they should run from the opening riot (because players often think if there's a fight it means they're supposed to win) I had Kyrre Ekodyre walk out of the opera house with a group of hell knights.
Corinstian Grivenner was often seen giving sermons throughout the entire AP, rumours of Aluceda Zhol were whispered by his detractors.
Zella Zidlii was seen as "some sort of mystical advisor" that he'd consult with.
When the dead child was found the group worked really hard to find the killer and eventually learned (I think by the end of book 2 / early into book 3) that it was Tiarise.

What the players do / who they decide to investigate is up to them.


I should have hit the quote button, but I was responding to Cap'n Coal

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