|Crystal Malarsky RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 8 , Star Voter Season 7, Dedicated Voter Season 8, Star Voter Season 9 aka Snowblossom|
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Bracken Moor Bridge
In the Southern Fangwood forest of Nirmathas, near the village of Crossfen, Bracken Moor Bridge stands in the midst of a treacherous moorland. This pass is avoided by the locals for fear of spirits that attack those who stray from the road. It is also the site of a recent tragedy.
Alvina Breslau, the daughter of a local official, fell in love with a supposed Molthune defector named Kalenthar Wyndris. Forbidden to see each other by her father, Alvina and Kalenthar hatched a plan to flee and live off the profits made from selling her family heirloom - a locket with a hidden inscription that allows access to the Breslau vaults. However, after many of Alvina’s friends and family warned her of Kalenthar, she decided to test him. She wore an imitation locket to their meeting while hiding the real one in her pouch. Unfortunately for Alvina, Kalenthar was indeed a Molthune spy, and after handing over the locket she was rewarded with a dagger plunged into her stomach. Dying and now aware of Kalenthar’s true motivation, Alvina leapt from the Bracken Moor Bridge and into the kelpie infested waters below to keep the real locket from him.
Kalenthar has since learned the locket is fake and now desperately searches to find it before the Breslau’s find evidence of their daughter’s murder. To this end, he has approached the PCs with a sob story of their love and hired them to help find her, or at least prove that the moor spirits killed her, not him. In truth, he suspects the real locket was on Alvina at the time of her death after having searched everywhere else for it, but knows there is a kelpie and will-o’-wisp lairing near the bridge that he needs help in defeating. He accompanies the PCs on their journey in hopes of retrieving the locket without any questions, unaware that the jilted spirit yearns to tell her tale. He leads the PCs to the bridge, which he claims is where they were supposed to meet in order to run away together.
The PCs arrive from the southeastern hill, following a safer high ground trail known by Kalenthar. North is on the top of map, orientation as displayed. Each square equals five feet.
The Haunted Crossing (CR 9)
Read the following to the players when they approach the bridge.
You arrive at the crossing in the misty gloaming hours. An old stone bridge crosses over a wide, fetid creek. Fireflies bob and flicker at the water’s edge. The chirping of crickets echoes in the air. Beneath your feet, the scent of wet soil and heather wafts up with your every step.
Kalenthar doesn’t mention the kelpie hoping a few PCs die, saving him from paying them. He also doesn’t want to appear too knowledgeable of the situation. When the haunt on the bridge is activated it identifies Kalenthar as both a traitor and murderer. Once this happens Kalenthar tries to kill the PCs to keep his secret safe. He tries to use his knowledge of the terrain and monsters to his advantage.
The locket being searched for has been found by a fungus leshy who has a mushroom garden under the bridge which has been fertilized by the kelpie’s leavings of rotting hearts and livers. It has a collection of other small treasures from victims of the kelpie, and decided this one seemed important after witnessing Kalenthar’s betrayal.
The spirits of Bracken Moor are a well-fed kelpie and will-o’-wisp who have formed a symbiotic relationship for hunting and feeding. When the PCs enter they intend to feast as they have on countless travelers before.
Creatures: Kalenthar Wyndris starts with the PCs on the southeastern path. The kelpie starts in the shallow bog in the northern recess of the water, pretending to be a white steed caught in the quagmire and neighing loudly in distress. The will-o’-wisp is invisible and hides in the bushes near the kelpie. The fungal leshy that has found the locket is under the bridge on the northern bank.
Advanced Kelpie CR 5
hp 52 (Bestiary 2 172)
Melee 2 slams +8 (1d6+4 plus grab)
Tactics The kelpie hopes to lure the PCs into the bog and pick them off one by one. It starts by using its captivating lure ability on an armored foe, hoping it will sink into the bog. It doesn’t coordinate with any other creatures. It’s an old and powerful predator that has fed successfully here for quite some time, and fights to the death for its territory.
Kalenthar Wyndris CR 5
hp 30 (NPC Codex 29 Con Artist)
Tactics Kalenthar is focused on the locket, and even aids the PCs against the kelpie and will-o’-wisp. As soon as the haunt is activated he realizes the jig is up and changes his tactics accordingly. He tries to use suggestion to have the PCs find Alvina’s body, and maneuvers around to kill unengaged or stuck PCs. Once he is discovered he knows he has no safe place to run and fights to the death to keep his secret.
Leshy, Fungus CR 2
hp 15 (Bestiary 3 177)
Tactics The fungus leshy simply hides during the fight and does not participate except to leave any dangerous areas. The leshy is not a combatant; if attacked he will only attempt to flee. After the combat he may help the PCs gain the locket and, as a witness to the previous events, provides a way for the PCs to discover more about the situation if they are able to converse with him.
Will-o’-Wisp CR 6
hp 40 (Bestiary 277)
Tactics The will-o’-wisp is an opportunist that feeds off of the suffering caused by the kelpie. It appreciates the convenience of the relationship and aides the kelpie by targeting PCs that seem to have an advantage over it, or are not stuck in the bog. Not invested enough to risk its life, the will-o’-wisp flees when reduced to 5 hp.
The Maiden on the Bridge CR 3
CE Haunt (15 ft radius from the center of the bridge)
Caster Level 5th
Notice Perception DC 20 (to hear cries of help in the distance)
hp 6; Trigger proximity; Reset 1 day
Effect When triggered an apparition of Alvina backing away from a knife wielding Kalenthar is seen. Kalenthar holds a locket in his hands with a satisfied gleam in his eye. Alvina stumbles to the edge and says “I would have gone anywhere with you, now you’ll never have it” and throws herself off the bridge. It ends with the echoing sounds of a large animal charging through the water and her screams. The triggering creature is targeted by an aqueous orb that attempts to engulf the creature (DC 16). If the creature is engulfed, the sphere moves it into the center of the water closest to the bridge. This manifests as dark spectral waters dragging the target down into the murky creek.
Destruction Finding Alvina’s locket and returning it to her family.
Hazard: Land squares adjacent to water count as shallow bog (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 427). Water squares adjacent to land count as deep bog (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 427). Other water squares are 10ft deep still water. The light mist counts as rain (Pathfinder Core Rulebook 438) for visibility.
Development: After the kelpie and will-o’-wisp are dealt with the PCs can find the fungus leshy with a DC 24 perception check. It has little interest in the locket, but knows Kalenthar killed Alvina and doesn’t think he should have the locket. The leshy hands over the locket if made friendly. Its starting attitude is indifferent towards the PCs unless they appear to be working with Kalenthar, in which case it’s unfriendly. If the haunt is not triggered and Kalenthar gets the locket, he pays the agreed upon sum to the heroes and asks if they will talk to the town folk and tell them of the kelpie. While the PCs do this, he plans to raid the Breslau vault and then return to Molthune.
|Neil Spicer RPG Superstar 2009, RPG Superstar Judgernaut, Contributor|
Crystal! Welcome to the Top 8! All your hard work has paid off for you, and now you find yourself on the cusp of having a shot at the top prize. From here, you've got a major opportunity to really impress a lot of folks and secure yourself some bonafide freelancing opportunities, not just with Paizo but other third-party publishers, as well. The trick lies in putting forth your best work to show us that you belong. By this point, you should have learned a lot of lessons, and now, we need to see how well you've incorporated them and how well you've learned to apply them. In fact, encounter design is the primary precursor to adventure design, since it incorporates your storytelling ability, how to synergize your idea with a playable map, your stat-block ability, and a host of other elements of game design which really start to bring it altogether. So, let's go through your encounter and see what you've got.
Name: Naming still matters, even at this stage of the game, and you've gone with the Bracken Moor Bridge for your location, which works just fine for this remote bridge...and The Haunted Crossing for your encounter, which also makes sense given the integral haunt in the bridge's backstory (which serves as the catalyst for the whole encounter setup) and the spooky, malevolent creatures ready to feed on those who venture here.
Creative Ideas: The use of the kelpie and will-o'-wisp colluding together is an interesting adversary setup, but it's the haunt that sells the location and the reason for the PCs to be there. And, even moreso, it's really their quest-giver Kalenthar the Con-Artist who poses the real danger. I like it. You've layered in multiple story components to the encounter which help explain both the location itself and the reason for the PCs being there. The exact playback of the haunt to “out” Kalenthar felt a little contrived, though. Something a bit less obvious that the players can figure out during or immediately after the battle with the kelpie and will-o'-wisp would be better, particularly if the fungus leshy could play a part as helpful NPC “monster” to further that outcome, but I'm critiquing at a higher level with that comment. As-is, it still holds together.
Writing Ability: This flowed fairly well. I didn't really have to pause or go back to figure out much of anything, and, given the complexity of everything involved, that's saying something. I thought the read-aloud text was pretty cool, too.
Mechanics/Gameplay: As-written, it's a CR 9 encounter that relies on a lot of moving parts to sell it. Two CR 5 villains in the kelpie and Kalenthar would make it a CR 7 on their own, but the CR 6 will-o'-wisp tilts it higher, and there's no real guarantee that Kalenthar becomes an adversary, so it's a hard encounter to truly stat-out. The CR 3 haunt helps to further complicate things, but it's really meant to provide the necessary insight into Kalenthar's true nature than to hinder the PCs all that much. Collectively, a group of 7th level PCs might not find this as challenging as what a CR 9 encounter would normall entail.
Professional Polish: You followed the same method of including a Tactics line with your stat-blocks as Bill. That's not the standard way of presenting such information and it wasn't included as part of the template to follow for this round. Typically, the Tactics section of a stat-block includes 3-4 separate lines (Before Combat, During Combat, Morale, and optionally, Base Statistics). There are also some other small missteps in here (e.g., “10ft.” which should be spaced out as “10 ft.”, etc.). Most everything else is on point, though.
Recommendation: I've got some minor CR concerns for this encounter, but I really do like the story setup behind it and the potential for the encounter to start out one way and finish much differently than the PCs might expect. The writing could be tightened up, though, and the same is true for the professional polish. As a result, I'm going to put myself ON THE FENCE. Let's see how the voters feel and what more you can bring in the final round, if they put you through.
|John Compton Developer , Dedicated Voter Season 6, Star Voter Season 7, Star Voter Season 8|
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Hey Crystal, congratulations on making it to the top 8.
I am the developer of Pathfinder Society Organized Play and the Pathfinder Society Open Call, which means I see lots of short adventures and self-contained encounters over the course of a year. It’s a developer’s job to read through, revise, and fact-check pretty much everything, but I have attempted to distill my feedback into several major headers. Essentially, I’m approaching this round like I would a scenario turnover, which involves marking up a copy of your encounter and providing feedback on what you did and how you might improve.
Setting: Does your encounter fit in Golarion? Is the CR appropriate for the setting and the encounter? Is it clear how a GM might use this encounter? Have you clearly explained or referenced existing rules for any hazards and terrain features included in the encounter?
NPCs, Creatures, and Traps: Do the foes you selected contribute to the encounter and its theme? Do they feel natural or forced? Do your NPCs fit the location and provide enough context for a GM to run an encounter from start (a hook) to the end (when the PCs question any captives)? Do any traps or haunts fit the encounter? Do they add to the encounter?
Numbers: Are all of your statistics and calculations correct? Are your skill check DCs reasonable?
Style: Did you watch Paizo’s styles, both in terms of writing and formatting? The more closely a writer can match Paizo’s styles in the turnover, the easier it is for me to develop. The easier it is for me to develop, the more eagerly I assign that author more work.
A touch of Romeo and Juliet set between Nirmathas and Molthune serves as a nice setup, and your background sets up the encounter nicely. Even though Alvina perished early on, I rather appreciate that you portrayed her taking some precautions before her reunion and having the guts to dive off a bridge when mortally wounded. On top of that, the hook is pretty straightforward and reliable.
I was at first skeptical about the leshy, which would have minimal impact on a CR 9 encounter. However, I see that both it and the haunt help to reveal more of the backstory. A common complaint about adventures is that they provide too much background and not enough way for the players to actually experience it; you do a great job of providing tools for them to learn more.
You clearly describe the local terrain and its mechanical effects. Nice!
NPCs, Creatures, and Traps
Combining a few different creatures means that there are several different threats for the PCs to face at once, which tends to give each PC a chance to shine. It also gives the enemies a roughly equal share of the action economy. So far so good, but does the combination of kelpie, will-o’-wisp, hazardous terrain, and haunt synergize in a way that makes the encounter more interesting? The kelpie wants to mire someone in the water, where it can destroy its victim at its leisure, and yours does so. In fact, it gets a slight boost from the haunt, which might dump another foe into the water. The wisp really likes an open space to maximize its invisibility (check) and an ally that can inflict some effect with the fear descriptor (none that I see).
Kalenthar’s role is more questionable, as based on the PCs’ starting location and the kelpie’s position, there’s virtually no reason for the PCs to cross the bridge. As a result, there’s little impetus for them to trigger the haunt during the encounter, which in turn would inspire Kalenthar to turn on them. What this means is that the haunt falls a little flat in its execution during the encounter, even though I like its atypical effect and narrative role. In order to make the haunt a relevant feature, there needs to be some reason to cross the bridge during the encounter or an effect that forces the PCs onto the bridge. The kelpie’s decision to draw a PC into the mud makes sense but doesn’t quite work with the haunt.
In a wilderness combat encounter like this, a con artist bard will feel a little less potent than his CR suggests, but I really like his use of suggestion.
The encounter’s CR calculation is a little misleading because there’s no guarantee that the PCs will fight more than two of the five listed threats—especially given Kalenthar’s uncertain participation as a result of the haunt’s position. The wisp and kelpie together make a solid CR 7, which is still within the acceptable range.
There’s a lot of language that I want to clean up during development—some of which is very nitpicky and some that is more serious. Beginning with the latter, pay close attention to how you do (or do not) use commas, especially when separating a dependent clause or prepositional clause that precedes an independent clause (e.g. “When triggered[comma] an apparition of Alvina backing away…” or “When the PCs enter[comma] they intend to feast…”). Be mindful of subject verb agreement when dealing with two subjects; when referring to the kelpie and wisp, they are collectively a plural rather than a singular. Avoid second person in read-aloud text, as second person makes it especially easy to dictate PC actions and feelings.
Most importantly of all, I encourage you to police your use of passive voice, which appears with considerable frequency. Be especially vigilant in your opening paragraph, as that’s the first exposure someone has to your adventure. When self-editing, I encourage authors to read their work aloud and look for ways to tighten up the language to get the same idea across in a more concise and more engaging way.
Less pressing are a few stylistic points, such as using the adjectival form of Molthune (i.e. Molthuni) and breaking your tactics sections into Before Combat, During Combat, and Morale entries.
You’ve made a nice narrative and included lots of handy tools for the PCs to learn more about what really happened. I like that a lot. The variety of creatures has some potential, though I don’t feel that anyone other than the kelpie reaps any memorable synergy from the combination. That said, the kelpie has some nice terrain features in its advantage, and the haunt (if it triggers) syncs with the bog well. By tightening up the writing and shifting a few starting locations to prompt the PCs to trigger the haunt, this could be a really solid encounter.
I am on the fence for this entry.
|Trekkie90909 Dedicated Voter Season 9|
Bracken Moor Bridge:
I like the premise, and it reminds me of another contestant’s entry; the Locket of Love’s Lure. Seeing all the water on the maps I kept thinking of Naderi tie-ins; happy to see one.
A bit more attention to setting up the premise would be nice; perhaps something like ‘you’ve received a formal letter requesting a secret rendezvous with…’ Then get into the setting description once the PCs are identified as on the scene.
For all that the story is very interesting, the encounter itself is boring. There’s little for the party to do; they show up at a bridge, the guy who was supposed to pay them is haunted, on to combat. More interaction between the haunt and the NPCs would be one way to expand on this; making the haunt contingent on finding the locket another. Then expand on the trip to find the locket; the journey should be interesting and slowly reveal the plot to the party instead of throwing narrative chunks at them. There’s a hint that you intended to write the encounter this way, given the Fungus Leshy’s tactics; the overall organization structure of your information could have been written to better support it.
The fight is probably somewhere between a 6 (NPC helper) and 8 if all the enemies come into play, and depending on the Kelpie’s actions; given the aquatic setting the CR might be higher if the party lacks preparation.
Appropriate, and potentially sets up further storylines.
Is the general premise interesting and believable?
Does the setting description bring me into the gameworld, so that I see the encounter through my character’s eyes (or the NPC’s eyes if I’m the GM)?
Yes in the description section; requires additional work in the encounter text. Alternatively a rework of the description section to support and set up the encounter text.
Do I have adequate descriptions of all the different setting pieces to run the game without a hitch (objects, setting, NPCs, enemies, traps)?
Does the encounter draw the party into a conflict on their own terms, give them agency up to the climax, and allow a conflict resolution ideally setting up or concluding a larger plot-arc?
• Are the conflicts leading to the climax varied in nature?
The fight can be run any number of different ways, so yes for the GM; less so on the player’s part.
• Are they thematic?
• Are they difficult enough to entice players without overshadowing the climax?
If the party were to fight the Kelpie + Wisp, fighting Kalenthar by himself would be a letdown. This might work better with a Vigilante style villain; where he pretends to be a low CR helper, but is actually a much higher CR threat if the party turns on him.
• Is the climax appropriate?
It definitely fits the theme (if Kalenthar is revealed), otherwise it’s boring.
• Does it encompass (and/or respond to) different avenues pursued by the players?
To some extent; more by blind luck than anything the players actively seek to do.
• Is it challenging?
Potentially, but not necessarily; it really depends on what exactly people decide to do.
• Does it set the tone for a memorable resolution?
• Is the resolution thematic and appropriate to the challenge (both difficulty and nature)?
Yes, although I’d like a slight tweak to the difficulty to make the family crypt part of the adventure seem a bit more serious.
• Does it encompass (and/or respond to) different avenues taken by the players?
Yes, although the players don’t have a lot of direct control; it’s mostly in the hands of the GM.
• Is it fulfilling (to the plot, to the characters, to the players, to the NPCs and setting)?
Yes; I think the players will still enjoy this as written, but it could be better presented to fulfill their desires.
Are the NPCs, Monsters, Traps, Enemies and Allies introduced in a way which supports the overall encounter and leaves me interested regardless of being player or GM?
Are the maps well labeled (clarity/concision)?
Does the description support/is it appropriate to the map?
Yes, although much of the map is ignored.
Is everything organized well, so that I can find anything I need in a moment and figure out its placement in game?
Does the encounter teach me something new about Golarion, and the encounter’s specific setting?
Can I play through and enjoy it without extensive background knowledge; if not is this knowledge included for me?
Does the encounter inspire me to do better in my own games and if so is it easily adaptable to them (as Player, GM, and Designer)?
Yes in terms of backstory, no in terms of actual design.
Did the encounter surprise me (good or bad)?
No, but that’s just because of foreshadowing. I would have been surprised by the lover’s actions otherwise.
Does the environment play a part of the encounter, and is it well integrated?
Yes, and yes.
Effective use of tactics and morale?
|frank gori RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 32 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka GM_Solspiral|
This year my intention is to give a first impression on each encounter then run them with a few friends to see if my impression of the encounter changes.
Also I'm not reading any other comments before hitting this with my first impression write up. I'm partly curious how it holds up to my later impression and what the pros have stated.
I'm going Good, Bad, and Ugly with a tentative grade. I'll post final grade after running.
The Good Okay so we have a Romeo and Juliette trope with a treacherous twist which informs the central story. This very much tells a story which is in my opinion the smart move for the competition. I like that there's enough moving parts where if something doesn't land properly you lose out on the encounter there's a multitude of potential outcomes, including a daft group of PCs missing the whole mess and helping the bad guy in winning.
The Bad Will-o-wisp and kelpie are fall gus but their motives seem weak since the kelpie is well fed, why take on adventurers when there's easier prey.
The Ugly Something about the locket bothers me. Maybe because it isn't a clearly defined magic item.
Overall I suspect this will be a little more challenging for both the GM and the players which is something I actually appreciate. Tells a good story and that will always win points. My tentative grade is an A-
|Thomas LeBlanc RPG Superstar 2012 Top 32 , Champion Voter Season 6, Champion Voter Season 7, Champion Voter Season 8, Champion Voter Season 9|
I really like the story behind this encounter, but more could have been done to make this encounter fell like it was really in Golarion. Huge missed opportunity to incorporate Naderi. Also having a family vault triggered by a magical locket doesn't seem very Nirmathi, especially based on location...
I dislike the creatures and tactics for this encounter, they seem very forced and so does the haunt. I think haunts should be created by huge emotional events. Getting stabbed by someone you didn't fully trust (but not killed by the blow}, then jumping into water to escape (not a scary sounding stream by the description), and getting eaten by a kelpie feels like it would be a more confusing death, than a significant event causing a haunt to be created.
The lead up to the encounter was excellent, but the encounter left me feeling wanting.
The river needed some work as well. Moors tend not to have deep waterways that are surrounded by bog/marsh land. I would imagine 5 foot deep is pushing it based on the description of the surrounding terrain.
|Curaigh Star Voter Season 6, Dedicated Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9|
I think this shows you deserve the Top 8 slot.
Story: Yes :)
Character: from the haunt, but not the rest of the encounter.
Player options: some, (bonus for a non-combat option). Triggering the haunt has will have a major effect on how this plays out though.
Mechanically right: It will depend on the haunt. CR 5 + CR 6 is a constant, but a second CR 5 and/or a CR 3 could be added to the mix.
Overall, there is enough story here I shall give it try. Weak keep.
Congratulations on making it to the top 8! I'm going to divide my feedback into two parts - encounter, and story. Since others have hit on formatting and mechanics, I'm going to skip those unless I feel something needs to be called out.
I agree that there needs to be a strong reason for the PCs to approach the bridge, but that can be easily remedied with rearranging creature placement. The will-o’-wisp really seems to be the loser of the unlikely pairing, as the kelpie doesn't have any way to cause fear (up until it kills its victim), and with its lure ability, the victim isn't even suffering (just entranced). There needs to be a stronger reason for the will-o’-wisp to stick around, or a different monster should have been chosen. The difficulty of the encounter really depends on the haunt being triggered; if it's not, a single ranged character could potentially solo this at the level the PCs would be when facing it. I do love the leshy and the role it plays, as well as Kalenthar and his part.
You give us a great backstory to lead us up to this point, and, while you give us some idea of what happens after, you don't overshadow the presented encounter with a promise of better things. You really make this encounter the star of the entry, and for that I applaud you.
I'm not sure yet if this makes my keep list, as I only get two votes. However, you've submitted some creative entries over the course of the contest, so it would be nice to see what you bring in the next round. That said, I wish you good luck!
|Trekkie90909 Dedicated Voter Season 9|
I have now had the chance to play-test this encounter (7th level party):
It is definitely not CR9, maybe CR7 but I'd guess closer to 6. The party (Swashbuckler, Slayer, Kineticist, Cleric) activated the haunt, discovered everything about Kalenthar and Alvina and triggering the Advanced Kelpie + Will o' Wisp fight. They decided to help Kalenthar against the two, killing both in about 3 rounds. They confronted Kalenthar, who folded and was mid explanation when the Swashbuckler decided to attack him dropping him to 4 hp. He full withdrew on his action, provoking an attack of opportunity (geography was not on his side), and dying.
The party easily discovered the Leshy, cowering down around the locket. Yoon drew it out by beckoning it over with Gon-Gon (Owlbear plush). It was immediately taken, and traded the dingy locket for its new playmate before running back under the bridge.
I loved the plot to this, whenever I needed to explain something to the party I had all the information I needed at my fingertips although some improv was necessary to keep it in the proper point of view. I'm interested in seeing more from you; you're a great writer and have delivered a fun encounter, that said you need some help designing mechanically challenging fights.
|Isaac Volynskiy RPG Superstar Season 9 Top 16 , Dedicated Voter Season 8, Marathon Voter Season 9 aka Petty Alchemy|
This is the 2nd of the Encounters I had the pleasure to playtest, thanks to Trekkie running it.
The party was a Cleric (run by an inexperienced player), a Swashbuckler, a Stygian Slayer and a Kineticist (Yoon the pregen, run by me). We were all level 7, and started each encounter at full strength. I had skimmed all the encounters on the day they were released, so there were still some surprises in store.
With that said, how did your encounter go?
First off, the scene was set perfectly by the blue text.
Initially when we arrived, we expected that the locket could be anywhere in the moor (an impossible task short of Locate Object). The scouting Swashbuckler and Slayer spotted the Kelpie. The Swashbuckler buckler directs the party onto the bridge, but Yoon begins gathering power to erupt a pillar of fire on it, and we’re off to the races.
Kalenthar gets initiative, and per the Swashbuckler’s instructions, gets on the bridge, triggering the haunt. He manages to avoid it in a stroke of luck, but karma-kelpie starts eating him. The will-o-wisp (invisible) begins to harass the Slayer, but he’s a Tiefling and shrugs off most of the electricity. The Cleric puts his faith in Desna and turns his morning star into a shooting star, tossing it as an improvised weapon at the Kelpie and missing.
It seems that most of the party is undecided about Kalenthar. The Stygian Slayer creates mist over the Kelpie and Kalenthar, but it is short-lived. Yoon sees Kal as a storybook villain and the fire erupts through the mist, badly burning Kalenthar. The Kelpie saves, resists, and further noms on Kal. The Cleric channels energy to heal the Slayer and Kal. The Swashbuckler and Slayer wade in, and turn the Kelpie into sashimi. Yoon drinks her Potion of See Invisibility and attacks the Will’o’wisp, the Slayer gets a lucky hit after seeing where Yoon attacked, and finishes it off.
This fight was a little vexing for Yoon since people were in the water, and thus wouldn’t burn. However, the outcome was never in doubt. Damage taken was minimal, especially since the NPCs had turned on each other. Kal never got a chance to cast Suggestion.
I really liked the RP in this encounter. It has the setup, the reveal (which is foolproof), and the resolution with the Leshy was great as well (in this group it was Yoon’s childishness, but I’m sure most groups will have some softhearted PC resolve the situation non-violently).
The encounter mostly resolved itself, as mentioned. I would’ve liked some personality from the Wisp as well.
I’m definitely leaning towards voting for this encounter, though stronger mechanics would’ve sealed my vote.
|Jacob W. Michaels RPG Superstar 2014 Top 16, RPG Superstar 2012 Top 16 , Marathon Voter Season 6, Marathon Voter Season 7, Marathon Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9 aka motteditor|
So, I really loved the setup of your encounter, with the very Nirmathas-Molthune Romeo and Juliet feel. I was really excited to read on, but unfortunately, I had a few problems with other aspects.
I didn't think the location itself was all that exciting -- it was basically just a bridge and doesn't add anything to the campaign setting. Sure, it's been haunted for a short amount of time, but that didn't feel as intrinsic to the location as it did in a few other of the bridges -- that's something that's happened to the location because of the events going on, rather than being part of the location.
John brought up some of the writing concerns that really bugged me. I knew what you were trying to say throughout, but the lack of commas made it more difficult to read. I'd also say make sure you hyphenate the compound modifiers. As written, "When triggered an apparition of Alvina backing away from a knife wielding Kalenthar is seen," indicates she's fleeing from a floating knife that's wielding Kalenthar, as opposed to a knife-wielding Kalenthar.
Good luck with the voting.
|The Raven Black Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9|
This is a brilliant story with some leeway for the PCs but still a bit railroady and diluted by unnecessary elements.
I like this encounter and especially its story and solid RP aspects. But I feel that you are so focussed on telling the story that it ends up detracting from the encounter itself.
The duo of monsters is well done and the insertion within the story is seamless.
The haunt is appropriate and provides critical info (maybe a bit too critical actually).
The Leshy serves no purpose but telling the story , I guess in case the PCs miss the other clues and infos. And that is where I feel your story taking precedence over the encounter and actually weakening it.
Despite the RP aspects, the PCs end up being witnesses to the story rather than its main protagonists.
Putting the story on the backseat and focusing on the encounter would have pushed it to the top IMO.
That said, the very real strengths of your encounter put it on my alternate list :-)
|The Raven Black Star Voter Season 8, Dedicated Voter Season 9|