Where's the real Davked?

Shackled City Adventure Path

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Okay, so this is something I have been meaning to - should have - posted up ages ago, but I keep forgetting.

We are approaching the end of Zenith Trajectory (like, in the final battle right now). Two of the PCs are Splintershields - the grandsons of Davked's other two sons[1], so Zenith is likely to survive the current battle and be dragged back to Cauldron.

The Davked the PCs met was the doppleganger, okay, Celeste (who they briefly met at te community Demonskar Ball - thanks again for that, folks, by the by, that was great - doesn't really know what she's getting into fine...

The hardcover just leaves one, ever so slight flaw... It never tells you what happened to the *real* Davked. My reading of the text suggested to me that the Splintershields being A Named Clan that they are based in/around Cauldron, and that was thus my assumption when writing the PCs backgrounds.

(I suppose if this wsn't the case, then the PCs could deliver Zenith to be handed off to some nebulous Davked and the fact he's a doppleganger wouldn't really matter. But, no, I had to go make it personal!)

But in this situation, it is kind of important to know what happened/where is Davked - as, obviously, Vhalantru would have had to have him out of the way, lest he being there get in the way of the whole doppleganger thing.So I need to know what HE did, so that I can correctly obfuscate to the PCs plausibly.

Vhalantru doesn't want them interacting with the doppleganger again, so oresumably Davked needs to be ot of the way... Is he dead (either long before or Tragically Just Before The PCs Arrive (though that might not help them swipe Zenith), kidnapped, or what?

A google search had not turned anything "canon" up, which sort of makes this a bit of a problem.


[1]This is my fault, since I write up some, part or all of the PCs backstory (depending how much they want to do) and use it as a good excuse to drop information, foreshadowing and the rest.

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I've run SCAP a few times, learned my lesson on Davked the first time. Being a doppelganger, he still has to roll Bluff checks. Even with his bonuses and situational modifiers, a 1 is a 1 on the die. And the PC rolled high. Then the players were, well, players. They picked and picked and picked until they finally uncovered that it wasn't a dwarf at all.

That's when the battle broke out . . . right in the middle of the Cusp of Sunrise. Being guests and not nobles earned then some harsh first degree charges.

After the fines and prison time they were released and banished from Cauldron. So they ended up in Redgorge getting recruited by the High Handcrafters. The entire AP morphed into a political intrigue about the corruption in Cauldron. They never went to Occipitus, instead not really getting back onto the AP until discovering the church if Wee Jas's involvement in smuggling (parts of the soul cages).

While it didn't end the campaign, discovering Davked to not be Davked caused some serious off-roading.

In future runs, I just made it the real Davked. He never comes up again, so there's no reason for it not to just be him.

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

We'd already sort of passed the point by then, so I just did what I read someone else said, and had Vhalantru say Davked had gone to a retreat with Celeste, because his health had gotten worse, and took Zenith of their hands and gave them the promised reward. (With all his kit, even.)

Currently, they don't suspect anything. (I misread the rules and allowed them to find the birthmark on the kid in chapter one with Detect Magic, not see invisible... And they didn't try to use it on the Zenith fight anyway[1].)

It should hit them pretty hard when the figure it out, since two of the PCs elected, from the campoaign source material, to be Splintershields, so I made their grandfathers be Davked's other two sons.

I've been playing up Ibusor[2] Vhalantru - their patron - as a lovable, cheerful English-y-toff sort of type, and thus far, they've no reason to suspect him...!

They first met Celeste with him at the Demonskar Ball (the community one), so that is even less reason for them to suspect.

(I intend to run a lot of the fan-made expansions, such as the Siege of Redgorge and the side trek to the capital (Eleder, in this case, since golarion and Sargava) wherein they will find out...!)

Trouble is with SCAP, being the first, even with the community-suggested revisions, the plot has to be almost too obscure for the PCs to pick up on to run right and thus most of what they will discover will be WHAT A TWEEEST sort of stuff.

(Runelords suffers from this a bit as well, but not nearly to the same extent - and thus far, these are the only two APs we have run! We have taken a long time to start and it takes about a year for us to get through two books (RotR) or four chapters (SCAP), so...!)

Still, with said modifications, they should actually have met an interacted with most of the Cage Wrights before they kill 'em this time...

(Oh, for the record, there are two copies of this thread because i posted at more or less the EXACT INSTANT the forums went down on that particular day. I did try flagging one up as a double-post, but otherwise, I couldn't find anywhere to ask a mod directly to delete one.)

[1]That was a good climatic fight - I was only running the first four chapters as a block, then we're finishing the latter half of Rise of the runelords before I run the next four or five), actually. As I have eight PCs, the fight was with three stalkers and a stalker cleric plus Davked, and it took about three sessions (well, two halves and one in the middle) to get through it and gave them a suitable challenge. Well, the stalkers did, Zenith mostly just stood in his stance and ranted, and thumped anyone that was in range, and then went down fairly sharply after the stalkers were dealt with...!

[2]"Orbius" is way to on the nose, so anagram...!

Well, is it pronounced "EYE-bue-sore" or "IH-bue-sore"?

On Davked meeting I just avoided calling for Sense Motive rolls exactly for that reason, the players biting on the doppelganger's trick is so basic for the development of that chapter that you cannot risk the PCs becoming suspicious for a few rolls. Generally I give great chances for players to discover they are being tricked, but on this event it just risks to see everything fall apart. Fortunately none of them even tried to call actively to discern lies on him.

Regretfully our paladin insisted to cast detect evil. Fortunately, Celeste managed to convince him by talking with him aside, telling him she knew there was something cooking but she needed to know whom and why wanted Zenith's back. It took a few grumbles from our lawful paladin dwarf, but ultimately he was convinced it was the best way to discover what was going on in Cauldron.

There were a few extra considerations on our game, first, I made the Malachite Fortress still inhabited by dwarves, without a strong young Zenith leader, Kazmojen in the first chapter has intimidated them and the heroes save the dwarves leaded by an old and weak Davked. So the players already knew the real Davked. Two of the players were dwarves from the Malachite that had taken refuge in Cauldron after they did not want to follow Zenith's mad crusade, which made them very involved both on the Malachite Fortress and with Zenith's chapter.

To make things more complicated, the group killed Zenith, and instead of bringing back the corpse, decided to hide it. It was fine, because the chapter was already completed, and the Cagewrights could find and rise him at a later time or find another shackleborn one.

At a later time, the paladin found Davked's body dead and concealed in the Malachite Fortress, building up towards the idea something was cooking in Cauldron, and finally they discovered who had tricked them when confronting the Doplegganger at Vhalantru's manor.

The Malachite came back and again during downtime, the dwarf rogue/wizard/merchant forging there weapons and the paladin ultimately taking of Davked's figure as a leader. I think it was the best change I made to the AP overall and certainly gave the two dwarves material to develop their characters and build up a strong camaraderie.

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