We have completed Preservers! Press Gang (though Eramas should come in again. Eremas will not ask to join the party, nor will Kindrok invite him. But Eremos will join in any fight Kindrok is involved in.), Cruel Overseer, Bully Boys, Friend in Need, Treachery, Extra Work, and Plots. Theft has been going on, and should continue.
Left to do before Part Three:
Elf Brawl, Serious Offense Shanghaied (Zar; Shanghaied is still Mahlanda’s story as well; that innkeeper obviously has a racket going.) (also…where’s Chari? Still in the pits, I assume, kitchen help like Mahlanda? She will try to insist she gets rescued too when Mina tries to rescue her), Traitor, Girl Trouble, Kindness of Strangers.
- Mina is Urrgos’ new best friend. Make sure the elves taunt them both mercilessly over this.
- Also remember that there are several unusual races in the pens—gith, etc.
- Don’t forget about Liurgand, who is trying to insinuate himself into the group.
Start pointing out that the weaker slaves are starting to die off from the decreased rations.
- Morrow 3rd is in 9 days.
Everyone is in the pens.
It’s getting downright chilly at night. Blankets are hard to come by, as they’ve mostly been taken by the stronger. The weakest, who have no blankets but need them most, are left to shiver in the cold. Occasionally it drops below freezing. There is dew every morning.
- Don’t forget to time the session & take regular breaks (10 minutes every two hours).
It’s low sun, so -2 adjustment to the temperature chart. Wind doesn’t matter unless it’s Storm or better. Well, I suppose Strong would result in a nice breeze in the city.
4: Warm/cool, 2: No wind.
No moons to speak of. The moons are rising in early morning, with not much more than pale shadows of themselves visible. They rise earlier every day.
Kindness of Strangers
This presents something of a problem. Mina is already an operative in the pens, so things are going to have to be changed up a bit.
Don’t forget that all of the major encounters in Part 1 lead to encounters in Part 2, and adventures after the module ends. These need to be worked out, as there are some incompletenesses and inconsistencies.
After consulting with Jason, we have come up with solutions to all of the plot holes engendered by Kindness of Strangers and Dispatches.
The mission into the pens is to kill as many slaves and guards as possible; with Ktandeo dead, the faction of the VA that favors more direct action and a more violent approach to defeating Kalak has become unbound and decided to act on its own to do whatever is necessary to slow down construction of the ziggurat, especially since it seems that the assassination plan has fallen through. This faction is led, more or less, by Faldar.
However, the plan goes awry. It was extremely bold: To sneak into the slave pens under cover of Invisibility and massacre the slaves. However, their plan was foiled by an over-alert Templar, who rouses his mates and manages to turn what would have been a simple massacre into an all-out fight. Most of Faldar’s accomplices were killed.
The rationale for his later contacting the PCs for a mission into town is that he is now persona non grata with the mainstream of the Tyrian VA, and most of his compatriots are dead or in hiding.
Sarah/Mina believes that Mahlanda is Sadira. She is not; I’m not sure what her role or importance is; perhaps it doesn’t matter. But she is not in Faldar’s faction.
- What encounters do I need to prepare for this session?
- Look over the rules for wilderness survival without food or water. It’s about to happen here. Probably need to make additional rules in line with the module info. (What actual rules did we decide on? It was a bit different from standard. This needs to be codified.)
- After the party gets into the pits, play out their days in some (but not excruciating) detail. Walk them through hour by hour (ish; not literally), by the description in the module. Make them do ability checks for their work.
- Plot holes
- The templars were looking for a “Renegade Preserver.” Most people have no idea what that is. However, that might explain why no one gave her up. Nobody likes a sorcerer, but if they have no idea what a Preserver is…
- Timor got passed by the party, but ended up conversing with Rhotan before the party arrived. Oops. How did this happen?
- There was another one I can’t recall ATM.
Think about the PCs’ histories when developing this adventure. They could meet known NPCs on this road…That would have been a good idea. Well, it happened for Channe, anyway. Think about this some more for Tyr.
- By the way, I wonder who the Tyrian Outlaws were running from?
- Why is there so much confusion in Verdant Passage about how significant the bone amulets are? (Bonus XP if someone wants to draw them!) Because there is varying understanding of their significance. To Sadira they were intended to be an annoyance only, a way to distract Kalak and slow down construction until the Veiled Alliance could discover Kalak’s true plans. She believes this because the characters tell her this, because that’s what Aristiphaneles told them. As far as she’s concerned, they served their purpose. Tithian doesn’t know what they’re for; he only knows that Kalak insists that he find them. They don’t seem to be slowing down construction in a perceptible way; what’s the harm in putting invisible walls in already-constructed areas? Only Kalak understands their true significance; the invisible walls may or may not slow down construction, but they will accomplish something much more important: They will prevent the proper operation of the ziggurat by interfering with the flow of life energy into it. This could result in Kalak’s plan failing.
- So why were the amulets constructed in Altaruk? Were there no magicians in Tyr accomplished enough? No. Making the amulets themselves is relatively trivial for an advanced wizard. However, the unbreakable spells and psionics protecting them from Kalak’s view are almost impossible to craft in secret within his sphere of influence. The last thing Kalak wants is things he can’t see in Tyr! In Altaruk this can be done without difficulty; there’s no one, really, to hide from.
- Remember that Korvin is smitten by Kasia, a platinum-haired, fair-skinned, elegant beauty. Also remember that only 10 slave girls are left alive and with the party, including Chari, the ‘tough’ one. Other possible names: Devra, Dena, Evona, Kasia; more at Names for Kajirae.
- Review the timeline again, from every log. There was an apparent error in my date the session before they leveled to 3.
- For that matter, make sure that each character has an NPC or two in their history. DMG2 has guidelines on this.
- Work up Rhotan; at least to the extent of a character description.
Note to the characters that they have a new major quest: Reaching Tyr with the caravan intact (done; note in session log). RP XP for Korvin for Vault session 5 (don’t recall for what). Give Anthony some RP XP for his handling of Korvin in Vault Session 2 (this won’t happen until I get a session log).
Kalak finds the first amulet on the morning of Hexameron 15th.
- The death of Kalak on Morrow 3rd.
The Verdant Passage
- Hexameron 15: Kalak discovers the amulets, Sadira escapes and meets Ktandeo, Rikus is hurt by the Gaj, Tithian takes Agis’ slaves, Sadira is captured by Radurak.
- Hexameron 17: Agis meets with other nobles in the Red Kank (p. 102, “two days” since Caro’s escape (possibly not the same day as he was taken? But it really seemed like it was.)
- Hexameron 18 or 20: Radurak sells Sadira to Agis (some confusion there; Agis says that his meeting with Ktandeo on the 17th was “a few days ago,” but Sadira being captured by Radurak was clearly “three nights past.” (p. 140) Yeah, this is a serious problem. This has got to be at least the 20th: “In the days following the uprising in the square…” (p. 136). I think the author was counting three days from the incident at the Red Kank, which is incorrect. She was captured two days before that, so it’s actually been five days.
- Hexameron 18 or 20: Tithian discovers passage from Ziggurat to Golden Tower, Caro contacts Tithian (“three days,” from when Caro was turned (or, more likely from the incident at the Red Kank), p. 154).
- Hexameron 20 or 22: Agis meets Tithian in the stadium (“Two days earlier, when Agis set her free,” p. 168).
- Hexameron 22 or 24: Agis meets with Ktandeo. Ktandeo dies. (“Two days” after Agis’ meeting with Tithian, p. 199)
The longer timeline makes more sense, and fits fine with the events of the campaign. It’s the 24th now, so Ktandeo dies tonight; in a couple of days, Kindness of Strangers will occur.
- Holy crap! Looking at the Defiler Assassin description (p. 31, Dungeon 181), I realize how I can compensate defiling wizards (& sorcerers, probably) for the fact that they always defile/have to defile when they memorize their spells—they can damage their enemies with their defiling! Though I’m really not sure how that works with the lore; I thought only dragon magic took energy from animal life. Have to look into this. Still, it’s promising.
- What I’d like to do is make that random encounter table a true list of encounters (and events); i.e. don’t just list monsters and event types; work up a bunch of actual encounters so that a random encounter can be run out of the box.
- I’m irritated; this would have been a fantastic time to integrate puzzles into the game. Sadly and frustratingly, making the undead non-self-willed without adding puzzles or the like killed all the possible roleplay in the dungeon. Arg. I’d like to see a lot of skill challenges replaced with player puzzles.
- I need to start using some sort of random encounter mechanism.
- Direction Sense is a DC 10 Nature check most of the time aboveground, DC 15 when the sun and stars are obscured, 5 DC when on a road or path the direction of which was originally known. Belowground (or in town when the sun and stars cannot be seen), it is a 15 DC Dungeoneering check—20 in the dark. (The rules only say that it’s a Common Dungeoneering check belowground.)
- I think I used to keep game time by timing non-combat time and adding in travel and rest time. This is not a bad idea.
- Take a look at Skills. There’s a thread that has some interesting ideas on the subject, like a subskill for every trained skill, and, in particular, revamping Dungeoneering to be Engineering and having Nature for animals of all natures.
- Treat roleplaying encounters as skill challenges both for XP and for running them.
- Templar rank names?
- I think I’ve finally figured out how to handle skill challenges. Lay out the situation, list the successes needed before three failures, and explain the primary and secondary skills and their effects. Then go around the table and ask each player what his character does, allowing for the possibility of actions not covered in the primary or secondary skills.
- Find or make a standard format for NPCs. Not for mechanics; for flavor. A walkthrough generator would be ideal.
- Implement some critical fumble method.
- Guidelines for the Adventure Log. Need general descriptions of campaign events, general description of battles & encounters (who & why; NOT blow-by-blow) and outcomes. Optional: Interesting or amusing events & actions, and lists of loot. In particular, need description of what was going on at the end of the session and party’s intent for next session. Perhaps make a template? The idea is to be able to refresh our memory as to what was going on even if there has been a several month hiatus between gaming sessions, and to give newcomers an outline of what has happened.
- How to speed up (non-combat) play encourage envolvement?
- Look over everyone’s character sheets and make sure that they are within the rules, that their abilities are justified by their character histories, to better understand the character, and for plot hooks. Try to keep track of their equipment as well.
- Explain to me the lack of damage on Barbed Spear for the Human Wasteland Raider??
- Make/find rules for forced marching.
- Put more weather events into the tables.
- Only things useful during the session should be on this sheet. Otherwise it’s just wasted paper. Move these longer-term to-do lists to a wiki.
- Did I already note that this sheet needs known NPC lists (so I can remember their names at a glance) and lists of unused NPC names?
Kasia—Korvin’s concubine, rescued from trade caravan. Currently attached to an unknown templar (Larkyn).
Chari—slave girl rescued from trade caravan, attached to Quistine. Currently a slave in the pits (in the kitchens)
Mahlanda (her name is unknown to the party)—preserver the party saved from the templars. Currently a kitchen slave in the pits.
Terric—‘pissant.’ Slave pit overseer (at least one of them).
Fyrian Wynder—the half-elf the party saved from the wastes during Road to Tyr. Described on p. 61-2, City-State of Tyr. Of course they don’t know his name. An ally.
Rhotan Vor—We know who he is. No one actually has the Favor of House Wavir, but they might be able to get word to him to ask him a favor.
Ktandeo—Probably impossible to contact, he will not be willing to help.
Timor—A senior templar. Described in City-State of Tyr. An enemy.
Turloff—A wealthy merchant. Described in City-State of Tyr. An enemy.
Sadira—Probably impossible to contact. They have no idea how. In fact there is no one left in the party who has met her. Also true of Ktandeo. No one knows her name.
Hamash in Freedom. Now a pit slave.
Verrasi of Minthur—Nobleman. Object of hatred for the PCs. Described in Freedom.
Eremas. Views Kindrok as a boon companion and a comrade-in-arms. Described in Freedom.
Mandax—Templar, enslaved Quistine once. Described in Part 1C, Freedom.
Torban—half-giant commander; captured Kindrok. Described in Part 1D, Freedom.
Maku—dwarf overseer. Not sure what happened to him, as everyone got moved to Boss’ group.
Cruerex—Informer. Described in Part 2D, Freedom.
Unused NPC names
Refer to the Combat Assistant app. Make sure to pre-enter monsters.