Enemy Among Us (DM: Stringbean2142, Judge: TwoHeadsBarking)
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    Enemy Among Us (DM: Stringbean2142, Judge: TwoHeadsBarking)

    An Hour Past Dawn, Morning
    Captain Yurian moves slowly through the alleys, head lost in the ritual scroll he would be using to transport his team of investigators to the Isle of Haurton. In a bag on his hip, a quantity of magical residuum needed to complete the circle swings softly in the morning breeze.

    Reaching the rear of the tavern, he finds the circle he had carefully prepared in the glow of the predawn morning. At the four cardinal corners, he had placed small glass beads, and a larger one lay in the direction of Haurton, just as he left it.

    The emptied chamberpot in the center of the circle was new. Sighing, he kicked it aside, scowling at the sodden mess it left behind. Knowing his luck, the magics of the ritual would bring that with them as well.

    Thus Far...
    Feel free to post your characters here, in whatever way you think is best. Right now, we have at least two spots still open. Anyone who wants in that hasn't been approved yet, feel free to post an OOC request and, if your character fits we'll get you in. Looking forward to getting to the Isle with you, mates!

    Copy of Game Informtaion from The Hanged Man thread
    Adventure Summary
    The Enemy Among Us will be a short adventure with anywhere from three to six combat encounters and one major skill challenge. There will be one major quest, with the possibility of minor quests depending on the PCs' decisions in the adventure. The adventure will take place on the Isle of Haurton, a small isle in the Near Lands.

    Animals on the Isle of Haurton have been acting strange in the past few months, being either very aggressive or obviously terrified. This has gotten worse as, in the last week, three people on the isle became aggressive as well, attacking without provocation and not stopping until they had to be killed. Each incident happened on a different part of the isle and there is no obvious connection between the three. When armed patrols went into the wilder parts of the isle, several of the men went missing. The isle government, a local council, has scraped together enough money to hire adventurers from Daunton to investigate the problem, as well as the one-time costs of round trip teleportation of these adventurers to and from the isle.

    The adventure has room for up to 6 PC.

    Priority will be given to players with no characters currently in adventures and then its first come first served. Below are some other details about the flow of the advneture and my own GM style.

    Captain Yurian will stay in the tavern for a bit to give anyone who wants to the opportunity to roleplay their joining, but for those that don't want to it's not necessary. The adventure will start the following morning, so it can always be handwaved that you talked to him off-camera.

    Skill Challenges
    Since this is an investigative adventure as much as a protection adventure, skill challenges play an integral role in the adventure. The main skill challenge will be, obviously, the investigation itself. Because the skill challenge envelops so much, it will run a bit differently than a standard skill challenge.

    This skill challenge will run in the background as the adventure goes on. To keep track of it, I'll have a spoiler box at the bottom of all GM posts (except those in combat) detailing your current progress on the skill challenge. The further into the investigation you get, the more options open up. To start, key skills are Arcana, Nature, and Diplomacy. I'll detail where or how you can use these skills when we reach that point. But this isn't the exhaustive lists! If you think of something else to use, use it and I'll work out how to reward/punish your rolls in it.

    Because of the more overarching nature of this skill challenge, there won't be rounds for the rolls. Instead, opportunities to roll will come in the course of the game, either through my efforts or yours. When they come, it will usually be after roleplaying in a scene. I will give bonuses/penalties to rolls based on the roleplay in the scene as a way to encourage more roleplay. I tend to like roleplaying, especially as a GM. I'll give an example.

    Let's say Tordek is talking with Old Man River, the resident old-timer with knowledge about the area's history. I've told Tordek that Old Man River may have information that will contribute to the skill challenge, and it takes Diplomacy to get it. If Tordek's player spends a few posts in back-and-forth conversation concerning the Mystical McGuffin, I'll give him a bonus on that eventual Diplomacy roll to get the old man to spill his guts on where the Mystical McGuffin can be found.

    Likewise, if you're using Acrobatics to move across the rooftops, detailing your character's path will give you a bonus because you're doing more than just rolling and moving on, you're actually telling the story. Just don't let this become overkill; we really don't need four paragraphs describing how you opened a simple wooden door.

    When the rolls come, I'll usually ask for a roll if the situation warrants it. You don't have to wait for me to ask, though. I'm pretty flexible with using rolls and roleplaying together to drive the skill challenge, rather than using the skill challenge to draw out the rolls and roleplaying. If you really knock things out of the park, I've even given auto-successes.

    For instance, one party needed to get a family of four out of their house before it was sucked into another dimension, but the family didn't believe that's what would happen and wanted to stay. I'd expected things like Bluff, Diplomacy, or Intimidate here. Instead, the wizard set the house on fire. That was an auto-success on the skill challenge to get them out, as well as a small bonus on Diplomacy ("Well, it's burning down anyway") and a large bonus on Intimidate ("Did you see what I did there? Would you like me to do it again? Then get moving!").

    The main thing that drives my skill challenges is the question, is this fun? If you think of something that works in the context and that's fun, even if it wasn't a method I had expected I'll usually work with it.

    Material Gains

    In addition to the payout from the isle council for solving their problem, there is the opportunity to acquire other treasures in the course of the adventure. I will say that the treasure is still a bit light for my tastes, so I'm hoping to be able to fit a bit more in as the adventure unfolds. When it comes to splitting the treasure, I let the party do that. In my experience, things usually shake out fairly. If I see someone being shafted, I'll probably give you a nudge in his direction. I've always hated forcing items on players, as treasure splitting rightfully belongs in the hands of the party. Just use common sense and courtesy, for my sake.

    That said, I'm going to weight the magical items towards those players who need more to catch up with the group in terms of magical might. So if everyone but Tordek has a magical weapon and he's stuck with a simple axe, I'm going to throw an axe out there for the party to find.


    For rewarding xp, I wait for lulls in the storm to do that. This is also when you would be able to level up if you've hit the needed value for the next level. Usually, this happens the morning after a few night's sleep, or similar times. I don't know how often this will come up in this adventure, since it is a shorter one, but if it does I wanted you to be forewarned.

    For combat, I'll be using Mal Malenkirk's combat rules to streamline things. I've been through a few fights with it now, and it really helps things along, I think.Here are the rules, stolen from Mal himself.

    "1 - I roll all initiatives. Waiting two days before everyone has had the chance to roll theirs is a waste of time.

    2 - I roll a single initiative for my bad guys and play them all in the same turn. It loses some of the tabletop experience but it plays a lot faster than individual initiative.

    3 - If you haven't posted your PC's action in three days, I usually run your PC at some point late in the fourth day of inactivity. Warn me in advance if you don't believe you can post for more than three days.

    And the biggest...

    4 - I don't care in what initiative order you post; your action takes place at exactly the moment you post and as long as you only act once per round, it's all good.

    The initiative in practice is only relevant once; the very first round.

    Let's say initiative is:

    Mesa 22
    Matlal 17
    BAD GUYS 16
    Tor 12
    Montroya 9
    Andrec 8
    Jarel Karn 5

    That means Mesa and Matlal get to act before the BGs. I don't care in what order! If Matlal log in the thread before Mesa, don't wait, act first!

    Once they have both acted, I play all of the Bad Guys.

    Then everyone act, in whatever order.

    It is possible that Mesa and Matlal will log on the thread before Tor, Montroya, Andrec and Jarel Karn have all acted. It doesn't matter, they can act! Once all 6 of PCs have acted (and acted only once, of course!), I run bad guys and then it's once more your turn. That simple.

    I repeat; your actions take place when you post. Should you want to delay, then simply wait for the others to post.

    It is very common when you play that way for a player to log last in a turn and then be the first to log back after I have updated the fight and played the BGs. This leads to a PC acting almost back to back. It matters little; in the end he still has acted only once in either round.

    This saves a lot of time especially because most players can't log on the thread thrice a day to see if it's their turn yet. If you log on at any time after I have run the BGs turn you are free to post without waiting for your buddies to act in order.

    Two frequent rules issues arise from this practice:

    1 - What about effects that last 'until the end of PC's X turn'?

    Often a leader will grant a bonus to someone else 'until the end of the leader's turn'. This will usually be interpreted as 'Until the end of the target's turn' instead. Good old common sense. The target doesn't lose the bonus if the leader act before him and doesn't gain TWO turns of using the bonus if he manages to act twice before the leader acts again.

    2 - What about PCs who purposefully delay taking their turn in order to give a chance to their allies to grant them a free save?

    Ongoing damage and others conditions effect occurs at the beginning of your turn. If you know someone might grant you a free save (leaders can often do that) before you act, it may save you damage or avoid a stun effect to purposefully delay taking your turn, giving a chance for the other PCs to help you... That's cool. I don't mind. It just increases the value of team work which is a good thing.

    Everything else, I play by ear."
    Last edited by Stringbean2142; Wednesday, 23rd September, 2009 at 04:54 AM.

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