ZEITGEIST Redbadge's Campaign (there will be spoilers)
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  1. #1

    Redbadge's Campaign (there will be spoilers)

    Hello everyone. I'm DMing the Zeitgeist campaign that Redbadge is in. He has posted here before so some of you probably know him. Redbadge decided not to post about the adventure on Axis Island, because he's embarrassed by an unexpected action from one of the other players. This of course meant I had to create an account here (I previously just read the forums here) so I could tell the story

    I believe the last time Redbadge posted about the campaign was the first session (the Coaltongue), so I'll start with the meeting with Lya. The details will be a little vague since these sessions actually happened several weeks ago.

    First up the characters:
    Irony: Eladrin Bard, Vekeshi Mystic
    Rai: Half Elemental (Genasi) Swordmage, Martial Scientist
    Kirk: Human Thief, Yerasol Veteran (Redbadge)
    Doran: Elf Barbarian, Docker
    Bellicose: Tiefling Hunter, Gunsmith

    The meeting with Lya went well; the players quickly solved Lya's puzzle by thinking in 3D. Prompted by me mentioning the strange sword on Lya's belt, Rai asked to see it, so the players got a glimpse of Lya's arcanotech vorpal rapier. The players set off for the island right after submitting a few requisition requests for later. The players got to meet the other RHC team; though Redbadge quickly pointed out something bad would happen to them siting storytelling traditions (he reads too much TVtropes.com).

    Once at the island, Redbadge's knowledge of storytelling tropes proved accurate with the downfall of the other RHC team. They got Burton back to the boat and spent a little time pondering the cave in that left the cave ceiling perfectly smooth. Upon reaching the sea cave, the party quickly encountered Dupiers. After a brief scuffle (only a single round), Irony's incredible diplomacy score diffused the situation. The mildly incoherent Danoran gave them some information on the island's situation, while Rai and Kirk investigated the Icon of Avilona and claimed it for Risur. When Dupiers insisted he needed the icons, the players learned about someone else in the mines.

    I inserted a new NPC here. Mechanically it stems from the awkward role of the raise dead ritual. It's my experience that permanent player death is not much fun, but resurrection presents storytelling problems (the king is dead? pffft so what? someone grab a priest). I decided to handle this with only very powerful or unusual entities could actually bring the dead back to life (fey titans, angels, gods, etc), so I introduced an NPC to do the parties rezzing when needed; however, I didn't want the players to just yank this NPC out whenever a rock falls on someone they like, so it needed to be something they would think twice about before asking. Enter Calaphax the devil.

  2. #2
    This will cover multiple sessions, so I'm going to spread it out over a few posts.

    The party discovered that Dupiers had been seeking the icons out at the behest of a tiny winged devil named Calaphax in exchange for help hiding from the Duchess' forces. Cal immediately wanted to make a deal with the party (adventurers offer a lot more profit potential over a mine foreman). The deal was impressive: the players would get eternal youth and a wish each in exchange for helping Cal get off the island and a magical link that would help him stay in touch. All but Doran jumped at the deal, so the party has 4 wishes that they can call on in the future. The wishes are meant to be used for raise dead rituals, but I'm hoping that the party will try something off the wall with them in the future. Cal let the party keep the three icons and as a bonus gave them a magical dagger (kirk held on to it). Cal also bound the elementals to stay and keep Dupiers protected (as per his deal) after knocking him out and "editing" his memories of what happened (Cal wants to keep a low profile for now).

    The party marched forth to reach the fortress. They chose to cross the forest and avoid the roads. They were all suitably impressed with the strange phenomena on the island. When the party encountered the headless golem, Doran managed to snag a vial of its oil using the jumping power of the icon of avilona and a really low opportunity attack roll. When the party reached the fortress, Irony used the passwall ritual to get them inside at the weak point.

  3. #3
    The party managed to sneak through the outer fortress without detection. They took out a patrol near the jail and talked to the prisoners a little through the barred window. They passed the guards' weapons through the window so the prisoners could defend themselves if things got grim and continued exploring. The party found the guarded warehouse, but decided they couldn't get inside without being detected. They managed to peek through a small window around back and saw the trapped teleportation circle. The players then continued on to the docks.

    The players decided to make use of the water breathing scrolls to approach the lighthouse from under water. They managed to climb up the backside of the boat undetected. The clandestine approach was spoiled when Kirk slipped on the deck while attempting to jump to the dock. He was forced to pull himself up off the side of the pier. With the element of surprise lost, Kirk used an action point to charge the investigator with the magic dagger and felled him in one blow (I'm beginning to wonder about the damage output of the thief). Kirk also discovered that the magic dagger given by Calaphax devours the souls of people killed with it (oops). The wizard in the lighthouse wasted no time in sounding the alarm as the patrolmen opened fire on Kirk. The rest of the party scrambled into action.

    Doran used the power of the Icon of Avilona to fly to the top of the lighthouse and confront the wizard in melee combat. Unfortunately, he was unaware of the wizard's pet drake. The wounded wizard used feather fall to quickly get away from the elven berserker and rejoin his companions on the ground while the fey drake leveled a vicious bite at Doran. Doran jumped from the lighthouse to pursue the wizard while the rest of the party struggled to catch up to him through the melee on the pier. The fey drake quickly crawled down the side of the lighthouse to defend its master. Doran fought bravely but was overwhelmed without the support of his allies. Kirk attempted to reach him by climbing up the side of the sea wall but was foiled by the wizard's gale dagger that sent him tumbling unconscious to the pier below. Irony stopped to revive the fallen Kirk but was too late to reach Doran before the drake's poison killed him (a lot of extremes in the dice this combat either really good or really bad). The party cleaned up the remaining combatants but had lost a party member. To make matters worse, the patrol they had taken out was discovered so the fortress was on high alert and would respond to the lighthouse alarm soon.

  4. #4
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    Cool. Thanks for the recap. Where's the group now?

  5. #5
    The party will be starting the Dying Skyseer tomorrow. I've already read through the adventure, and I think they'll enjoy it a lot.

    I'm getting a bit long winded with the recap, so I'll cut this down to the highlights.

    The players used their first wish to resurrect Doran in time to help defend the lighthouse.

    Following his appearance at the jail, the party chased Asrabay into the inner fortress and confronted Gillie Dhu.

    Once inside the party eavesdropped on the Duchess and Asrabay. Once Asrabay discovered them, they tried to negotiate. Unwilling to give up Nathan, the party wasn't making much headway. Bellicose decided the only way to get Asrabay to leave was to get rid of what he was after and shot Nathan in the head. Asrabay, enraged by the loss of this informant, attacked the party.

    I used the level 2 version of Asrabay, because at this point I was concerned that Kirk would be able to do 34 damage in one round with the use of an action point and defeat the level 20 version with a lucky enough roll.

    The fight was fast but dramatic. Asrabey escaped by dropping the telescope on the party and fleeing through the roof. The party used their second wish to revive Nathan and then healed the duchess (she had been knocked out during the fight). The party took the Duchess into custody and questioned the now extremely jumpy Nathan Jierre.

    The party decided against exploring the island with the extra time they had, and handed over the island to Lya without a hitch.

  6. #6
    Thaumaturgist (Lvl 9)

    Colmarr's Avatar

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    That's all pretty awesome actually. Nothing to be embarrassed about there, Redbadge.

    Interesting to we that you're as stunned by thief damage as I am.

  7. #7
    I think I'll get the players to play off the scene as "faking" Nathan's death so they could grant him political asylum; after all, the duchess will swear up and down she saw his brains splatter across the room, very convincing.

    I believe that Redbadge is planning on using some sort of charge based build which will allow for even MORE stacking damage with at will attacks. I'm a little concerned his thief's damage will grow too quickly.

  8. #8
    We're back! (but not from outer space sadly)
    The winter holiday played merry hob with scheduling our next sessions, but we've managed to squeeze in two more sessions this February. This post will cover both sessions which consisted of the climax encounter of "Digging for Lies" and the initial skill challenge of "Always on Time"; this will probably be a long post (and i'm too lazy to do a TLDR section).

    Once they had Xambria securely locked in one of the anti-mage cells in the RHC basement, she spilled her guts on everything that has happened since the ziggurat disaster. The constables were pretty angry when they found out that Saxby was complicit in the Macbannin incident which was part of a conspiracy by a shadowy organization called the Obscurati. Xambria also gave them the name of their alien opponent, Sijhen, and its plans to escape back to its home of Gidim and return with "friends".

    Things suddenly spiraled out of control when Sijhen sprang its trap. With the RHC under attack, the constables split up to try and contain the threats while racing after Xambria/Sijhen. Shrouded Ob assassins had broken into the RHC through the back door in the morgue and alien monsters were assaulting the disoriented RHC staff.

    GM: The party had found and destroyed the iron ring in the basement after Kaja was murdered which allowed the players to bottleneck the assassins at the morgue entrance (not much consolation to the coroner who died immediately). To make combat easier to track I only used alien minions (aside from the maw attacking Delft). I had more of them phase in each "transparent" round.

    Doran and Irony went up the eastern staircase to cut off the Ob assassins, and Rai, Kirk, and Bellicose went up the western staircase to try and reach Saxby's office. Bellicose ended up taking a detour; he freed Krantos and helped him break into the evidence locker to retrieve his trident before they both joined Doran and Irony in fending off the Ob assassins. Rai and Kirk raced upstairs and ended up tangling with the alien maw. Kirk tried to break off and get to Saxby's office, but Sijhen used its telekinesis to barricade the door long enough to grab the ancient astrolabe and flee. Kirk dashed back to help Rai with the maw, and Saxby took the opportunity to rally a group of RHC agents and started down the eastern stairwell to escape. Saxby's plan worked poorly as the eastern staircase emptied into the middle of the Ob assassin battle. Most of the second RHC team stayed to help fight off the assassins while Saxby tried to escape. Irony managed to convince the other RHC constables of Saxby's guilt and turned them against her. After vanquishing the alien maw, Kirk raced down the western staircase in time to cut off Saxby's flight to the front door. Saxby lashed out at the constables in an attempt to break through but was defeated. The two constable teams mopped up the Ob assassins and locked Saxby in a cell. The other RHC squad stayed to fend off more monsters while the party chased after Sijhen through the cellar walls.

    GM: Irony actually spent a round doing a mini skill challenge against Saxby to convince the other constables. It was a best two out of three diplomacy vs bluff. I was a little concerned when they split up, but they handled it pretty well

    When the constables arrived in the subway tunnel they found Xambria/Sijhen working on a gate ritual. It tried to play for time claiming it just wanted to go home, but the constables weren't having any of it. The party quickly went on the offensive while Irony and Rai began seizing control of the ritual. The infuriated alien released a horrific abomination from behind the golden seal. Irony urged the party to take down Sijhen so she could retrieve the ritual's magic focus, the astrolabe. Rai distracted the creature while the rest of the party took down Xambria/Sijhen. Irony quickly went back to hijacking the ritual, but she was assaulted by Sijhen once again after he had abandoned Xambria's body. Kirk quickly came to Irony's defense, dispatching the weakened Gidim wayfarer. The party then fought desperately to fend off the monster while Irony seized control of the gate. Doran and Kirk had to work together to move the golden plate back into position from where the monster had flung it. After sealing the gate, Sijhen's spirit merged with the beast, and he made one last futile attempt to destroy the hated fleshlings. The constables managed to finish off Sijhen for good as he ranted at them:
    "Your victory means nothing; all the worthless fleshlings on this miserable spec will die SCREAMING!"

    GM: The fight was challenging with the party's resources strained from the RHC siege. Things got suspenseful in phase 2 when the monster unleashed a double prismatic scream hitting the whole party (action point). I think the encounter as a whole was very well balanced; it challenged the party nicely. The only real sticking point was a discussion on how they could possibly move a two ton slab of gold. To keep momentum I simply ruled the two strongest party members could simply drag it across the floor instead of lifting it.

    With Sijhen defeated, Xambria's consciousness fled to Irony, the only female constable; Irony accepted the wayward spirit but passed out from the strain (she recovered pretty fast though). The constables decided to obliterate the ritual circle not wanting anyone to try and copy Sijhen's portal. On their way back up the subway tunnel they ran into Calaphax (in his disguise as Lord Caliphrey) and Eberardo. Cal had sensed the disturbance created by Sijhen's portal but hadn't been able to pinpoint it before the constables had shut it down. Cal had to sweep the central district until he found the RHC being attacked by Gidim warbeasts. Cal and Eberardo had gone searching for the constables while Volando stayed behind to help mop up the aliens. Cal offered to take the astrolabe off their hands "for safekeeping"; they turned down the offer.

    The aftermath of the attack on the RHC was a whirlwind of activity. Saxby was stripped of office, and Stover Delft was chosen as her successor in a public ceremony where Delft assured the public that the threat to the city had been stopped; there was absolutely no mention of malevolent conspiracies or the near alien invasion. A few days (and lots of paperwork) later, Delft met the constables on their boat to brief them in secret on their next assignment; they have a train, and bad guys, to catch.

    GM: I've taken to making documents of important NPCs for the players at the end of each adventure (sometimes more often as the plot demands). I think it helps them remember the NPCs and some of the recent events involving them. I'll attach the Drammatis Personae I gave them at the end of "Digging for Lies"
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by Isklexi; Sunday, 24th February, 2013 at 05:13 AM.

  9. #9
    A new adventure and the wheels of progress grind ever onward. The news in Flint is abound with scintillating tidbits. Benedict Pemberton, owner of the Pemberton Industries manufacturing company, is whipping up hawkish sentiments and criticisms in his book "Behold! Science!". Climate researchers at Pardwight University are warning about the possible effects of increased air pollution on local and global climates; the local eschatology groups have commended the researchers on their diligent support of the end of the world. Scholars at the university are also excited about a recent loan to the Miller Memorial Library; Lord Caliphray Nachtwald, the newest addition to Flint's nobility, has loaned several Elfaivaren manuscripts for copying (many of the books and scrolls are hundreds or even a thousand years old). Lord Nachtwald has also appeared in the news in relation to the resent influx of cheap Beran labor in the city's factorys; Lord Nachtwald has publicly decried the poor treatment of factory workers and the poisons being dumped into Parity Lake, and he has called on district mayor Rosa Gohins to serve all the people of Parity Lake not just the factory owners ("Your actual job"). Lord Nachtwald's public statements have won him few friends among other factory owners but many traditionalists, conservatives and dockers have flocked to the fey lord's cause.

    The constables have quite a task ahead of them; they must crash a secret meeting of conspirators when they don't even know who any of the attendees will be. Their sole lead is the travel plans of the deceased conspirator Caius Bergeron. The constables have plenty of time to prepare for their covert mission (50 days) before they must leave by boat for Danor. First things first though, the constables want to help clean up the mess they made of the Nettles.

    The constables spent the entire first week preparing to lure out and assassinate Lorcan Kell. Irony had already submitted a request earlier in the month to have a Raise Dead ritual performed on Kaja Stewart (the party was planning this for some time). Kaja was none too pleased with the Ob for killing her (who would be?) and readily agreed to contact Kell and lure him out into the open. Irony also called in aid from her Vekeshi contacts, securing the aid of two Eladrin arcane archers. Bellicose requisitioned materials to make a tricked out sniper rifle and a Vendetta Bullet. The rest of the team prepped the ambush location and planned out the attack.

    On the planned day, Kaja met Kell in a square near Parity Lake. The thuggish crime lord was suspicious (He'd been told Kaja was dead) and had brought several of his minions with him. The crime lord barely had time to confirm that it really was Kaja before Bellicose's bullet caught him in the chest and knocked him to the ground. Kirk and Irony emerged from nearby alleyways while Rai and Doran jumped down from nearby rooftops. Irony quickly used the power of her newly acquired Icon of Apet to wisk Kaja safely to the rooftops where she joined Bellicose and the two Eladrin snipers. The square quickly turned into a kill-box with arrows and bullets raining from the rooftops. Lorcan could tell things were going badly and injected himself with a syringe he pulled from his coat; whatever was in the syringe acted quickly causing Lorcan to grow prodigiously in size and strength. The constables were still able to keep the crime lord off balance and wiped out his entourage. Kell knew he would need more power if he was going to live through this ambush and produced a second black syringe; this time the changes were more dramatic as he sprouted claws, fangs, horns and his skin started to split open and ooze fiery blood. Even with Kell's infernally enhanced powers, the constables never let up from their early advantage and quickly finished him off.

    Kell's guild of thugs won't disappear without its former master, but it will certainly be diminished as Kell's lieutenants fight amongst each other for dominance; the constables have bought Flint's police force time to regroup and reclaim sections of the city that have been awash in violent crime for months. When questioned by the constables, Calaphax said his contract to supply Kell's guild with drugs and potions expired with the crime lord, and he assured them that the black syringes were one-of-a-kind prototypes that would not be made again since they failed their field test ("I had complete faith in your ability to handle Lorcan whenever you were ready"). Bellicose proposed Kaja join the RHC (he's taken quite a shine to the researcher's dazzling gun-play), but she turned him down since she already had a better offer (her criminal record would have looked bad on her application anyway); Cal quickly snapped up the talented arcanoscientist by offering to put her in charge of a manufacturing plant in the city as well as plenty of research funding with limited oversight and freedom to pursue whatever research interested her (research deals don't get any better than that). Bellicose warned Kaja of what Cal really was only to learn she already knew; she had suspicions of who was supplying Kell's drugs and had confronted Cal shortly after the ambush where he revealed the truth to her and made the job offer. Bellicose is worried about Kaja, but she thinks she handle the risks by relying on her wits (plus the offer Cal made was worth the risk).

    GM: The actual fight only lasted about 2.5 rounds. The players had been so well prepared that Kell and his thugs barely got to do anything (they were dazed or stunned the whole fight). They also burned through Kell's 400 hit points with blinding speed. I was a bit disappointed how quickly my custom Kell encounter went down, but it's hard to deny the players when they've put that much planning into killing one guy. I also gave each player one success in the Secrecy part of the preparation skill challenge. I counted it as doing unrelated investigations; while Kell was allied with the Ob, his death isn't related to the train ride at all.

    The rest of the preparations weren't quite as adventurous. Irony focused on helping everyone assume a false identity, Kirk worked continuously on the forged documents they would need to "prove" who they were, and the rest of the constables worked on planting false trails and back-up plans. The party has secured aid at the docks of Vendricce, Trekhome, and Sid Minos as well as the Beaumont train enclave. The constables purchased teleportation visas and arranged for an accomplice mage at Nalaam (in case they were stranded in the mountains). The last contingency is an additional RHC agent riding in coach. The constables will be boarding the train in two groups; Kirk will be a Yearosal veteran named Sebastian Ariel who is accompanying a Tiefling weapons technology investor named Nathan Sarcozy (Bellicose). Irony will be an Eladrin noblewoman named Grace Nachtwald (Irony had trouble thinking of a convincing surname, so she borrowed from Cal which totally won't come up later in the adventure ) accompanied by an Eladrin bodyguard named Marth Royal (Rai using a hat of disguises; he's probably got the best disguise seeing as he is normally a smoldering demi-elemental) and an Elf servant named Sharm Farmer (Doran rounding out our imagination challenged names). The constables are all ready to embark on their latest mission, and only time will tell how well their preparations will play out.

    GM: The players managed to get a full success on the skill challenge which will help them get a head start on the bad guys. I'm pleased Irony bummed a surname off Cal; it'll give me something to play with during the adventure. Some of their pseudonyms are a little cringe worthy but at least no one went with McLovin . That's the whole update phew; I thought just one combat and one skill challenge wouldn't take that long to type up, silly me.
    Last edited by Isklexi; Monday, 25th February, 2013 at 01:37 AM.

  10. #10
    A 1e title so awesome it's not in the book (Lvl 21)

    RangerWickett's Avatar

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    *poke* Anyone heard from Isklexi lately?

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