Saturday, 5th November, 2011, 10:00 AM #1
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co.
I am starting a new thread to pick up from previous posts in 'Our Party', which gives a profile of each character in the group, and details Sessions 0-1.
In this session, the strengths of the party generation method we employed really came to the fore. In our previous three-year campaign I had noticed how the rest of the players tended to defer to Tom (who plays unit leader Marshal Baldrey Korrigan) when making important decisions. Tom is a steady, methodical player with a sombre demeanour. I asked him if he would be interested in playing the actual party leader and suggested that he choose the tactical warlord.
Given the rationale of RHC membership that links the party together, I decided to ask the rest of the players to consider themselves (and their builds) as applying for a job. (This was in addition to the keyword element discussed in the first post of the Our Party thread.) Build-wise, each player needed to ensure that they had a good basic attack and that they were second-to-none at their rolls; the best that Korrigan could choose for his hand-picked unit.
It was great to see how the combination of role, player and mechanics has forged a genuine leader in Tom (who was previously reluctant to take on that responsibility). Marshal Korrigan is the perfect leader - very serious, moral and level-headed. The other players defer to him frequently (and compete to gain the extra basic attack each round by ensuring they are in position).
Here we have a bullet-point account of what happened in Session 2:
- In Stover Delft's office, the Danoran Minister for Outsiders, a young tiefling named Lya Jierre, presents the unit with a puzzle. Impressed by the speed with which they identify that the problem has no solution, she agrees that they are up to the job Delft has recommended them for:
- Duchess Ethelyn of Shale has invaded Axis Island, a Danoran stronghold in the Yerasol archepelago. Because Korrigan, Uru and Leon know the island - and because the unit were the last to interact with the Duchess - they have been assigned to accompany a Risuri naval task force with the intention of recapturing the island and handing it back to Danor. If everything goes according to plan, their role will be purely advisory and diplomatic.
- Boarding the RNS Impossible, the unit makes good speed for the rendezvous, discussing philosophy along the way with Captain Rutger Smith.
- They meet the infiltration team (Tanya, Letmas, Seven-foot Dan and Burton) whom they are to follow into action. The plan is to sneak onto the island through a sea cave leading to some mines. From the mines they must make their way on foot to fortress and open the sea gates, giving the naval task force access.
- Tragedy strikes in the form of a schism, and the infiltration team are killed. The unit sends the sole survivor (Burton) back to the Impossible with El Perro, and enter the sea cave themselves.
- In a mine at the end of the cave tunnel they encounter Nicolas Dupiers, a hysterical Danoran mine foreman. They subdue him and his elemental minions.
- Nicolas' strange powers are derived from three ancient golden icons that have been discovered in the mine. The unit approprioate the icons and persuade Dupiers to guide them. They call in El Perro.
- At the entrance to the mine they find evidence of a massacre. Many Danorans have died at the hands of the Duchess' fey allies.
- On the way to the sea fortress the unit encounter (and avoid) a headless iron golem, leaking a strange black fluid. They also come across a hidden site revealed by the golem's rampage. Leon expresses some interest in the place, but the unit simply mark it on the map and move on, prioritizing their primary mission.
- They reach the sea fortress and prepare to infiltrate it.
Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 12th November, 2011 at 04:49 PM.
Saturday, 5th November, 2011, 10:32 AM #2
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Session 2 post-match analysis
Lya Jierre went down very well with the group. They liked her. (I can do a very elegant - and I daresay faintly alluring - French accent, it turns out, and presented Lya as both poised and equally admiring of the group due to their actions on the Coaltongue and immediate solving of the Three Towers puzzle. Turns out players love compliments!)
They also loved the infiltration team - particularly when I intimated that they would get to play the team later in that session. (I didn't actually say this, just rifled through some sheets for their stats while describing them.)
The philosophical debate with Rutger Smith was fun too: Malthusius (who is still not officially part of the unit) was a professor of philosophy and history at Pardwright University, called in as a consultant by the police and RHC on so many occasions that he eventually joined the RHC as an inspector 10 years ago. His player is enjoying the erudite detetive roll and has been at pains to develop the personal philosophy of his character (based on the teachings of Triegenes).
Rumdoom - our echatologist dwarf - has become something of a tragicomic mascot for the group with his zealous pursuit of 'good endings'. It helps that his player - without any prompting from me - decided during character generation that Rumdoom was terrified of water and of boats (which have featured heavily in every session...) He spent his first RHC stipend on a Floating Shield! He too joined in the debate with Smith.
Anyway... the players were shocked and taken aback when the infiltration team died (heh heh heh) and nervous about taking their place. The watery schism that caused the rockslide also had a strange effect on Marshal Korrigan whose rocky form (caused by an earth-schism on Axis Island during the last Yerasol war) began to periodically soften and react to this new influence. (More of which later.)
The encounter with Dupiers was disappointing on one level. Or rather, it disappointed me because I had such high hopes for it. The group didn't utilize the space as much as I had hoped and Dupiers dropped pretty quickly. Great bit of roleplaying here, though: Uru (our pacific-island fey assassin - a reskinned, hlafling-sized drow with filed-down teeth and batlike ears) hopped up to the top platform and - assuming Dupiers was a 'wizard' thanks to his elemental mastery began to stitch up the unconcious Danoran's mouth to stop him casting spells. Oh, how we laughed! Korrigan intervened just a little too late, so Dupiers had to conduct negotiations (when brought back to consciousness) through one side of his mouth!
Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 12th November, 2011 at 04:26 PM.
Saturday, 5th November, 2011, 03:37 PM #3
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Crazy creepy cannibal halflings! I love it. And it's cool to hear about parties digging philosophical discussions.
Saturday, 5th November, 2011, 03:51 PM #4
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Not much to report here: Action took up most of the session. They made no attempt to sneak to the lighthouse, choosing to bluff their way past any guards they encountered. The presence of a Danoran in their number, (party member Leon Veilleux, not Dupiers, who they dumped back at the mine) and their RHC uniforms, were capitalised on by the 'spokespersons' of the group, Leon and Marshal Korrigan. They were ready for action, and so was I, but kept acing bluff check after bluff check.
- Using a Passwall ritual, the unit gain access to the interior of the Fortress, and make their way to the sea wall.
- Finding the lighthouse area well-guarded, they cast a waterbreathing ritual and sent Uru, El Perro and Korrigan ahead to gain the advantage of surprise by approaching from the sea.
- An air elemental bound to Uru through the force of his Icon of Avilona steadied a rope for him at the foot of lighthouse.
- Malthusius set off Pyrotechnics, alerting the Risuri fleet of their impending success, and simultaneously giving the signal for the attack.
- The unit swiftly dispatched the lighthouse defenders; so swiftly, indeed, that Rumdoom complained.
- Uru opened the sea gate and disabled the mechanism.
- The unit then defended the lighthouse with traps and barricades as wave after wave of enemies crashed against it. They held out for ten minutes, whereupon the Risuri strike force swept into the harbour. Ships wizards, druids and riflemen swept the seawall clean of rebels and thousands of marines followed on transport ships. The secured the outer perimeter, and began constructing siege engines as the Duchess' troops fell back to the keep.
- Korrigan did not wish to rest, insisting upon honouring their promise to Lya Jierre, but received assurances that her cousin Nathan would be unharmed.
Saturday, 5th November, 2011, 04:03 PM #5
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Session 3 post-match analysis
The players' conhesion as a unit really paid off here. The lighthouse encounter was dealt with very professionally. (I love it when a plan comes together.) Uru has the water walking ritual, so he and half the team took the seaward route to the base of the tower, handing a rope to the air elemental and surprising the guards on the wall. They stayed focused on the task in hand and got the gate open quickly.
Defending the Lighthouse was great fun too. We used the abstract rules as we have just come from the climax of a paragon tier game in which the players were controlling whole armies, so mass combat - while not something we normally eschew - wasn't an attractive prospect.
The players loved it.
I sent in an extra wave of rebel soldiers just before the Risuri ships arrived in the harbour, to make them sweat. But they were swept of the wall by loyalist artillery before they could breach the lighthouse.
Friday, 11th November, 2011, 04:30 PM #6
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
- The unit's recuperation was interrupted by an explosion on a Risuri ship, that presaged the arrival of an eladrin dreadnought: a fiery warrior who cut a swathe through the invading forces, dashed up one of the seige towers, killing all who opposed him, and leaped over the outer wall, dispatching dozens of the Duchess' soldiers too.
- An hour later - once the outer wall was breeched and the rebel forces had withdrawn to the inner wall - the unit was called to a makeshift brig where many captured Danorans had been imprisoned. They did not find Nathan Jierre among the many tieflings there, but they did secure the co-operation of a belligerent Danoran officer, learning how to approach the tower-observatory at the centre of the keep through either the sewerage system, or via the roof.
- Before they could pursue any of this, the 'fire monster' appeared again, darting over the rooftops. He used a powerful immurement to breach the inner walls and sped inside. With only seconds to spare, the unit followed, as the immurement failed and the wall closed behind them.
- The central tower was defended by a labyrinth of hedges. The fire-warrior had simply dashed across the top, setting light to the maze as he went. The unit could not follow so easily, and besides, their way was barred by the creator of the maze: a fey entity named Gillie Dhu, and his twig sprite allies.
- The unit defeated these creatures and found their way through the maze to the tower.
- Within, they found that the eladrin - an ancient fey warrior named Asrabey Varal - had cut down the Duchess' advisors and bodyguards and now stood over the badly injured Duchess. Cowering in a corner was Nathan Jierre.
- Before they were spotted, they learned that the Unseen Court had dispatched Asrabey to prove they had nothing to do with the Duchess' treachery by killing her themselves!
- The unit could not allow that to happen. Despite the apparently suicidal risk, they threw themselves at Asrabey.
- A quick but bloody battle followed. Many of the unit were felled. The decisive moment came when Rumdoom stood toe-to-toe with the eladrin, facing a 'good ending' at last. Faced with this prospect, and aided perhaps by the strange nature of Axis island, he found himself transported, not to another world, but to the icy end of this world. The intense cold damaged him and all those around him. Thankfully, though, Asrabey was now on his last legs, and this was enough to drop him.
Here, for the first time, we see some of the alterations I made to each encounter alluded to in the session report. I have a six-person party, and the characters are beefed up with an extra at-will and a DM bonus apiece. (More of which some other time.)
The Ghillie Dhu encounter needed some more oomph as a result, so I placed two non-evil twig blights (or 'twig sprites') in the maze.
Other simple changes from earlier in the adventure included allowing Sokana Rell to summon several waves of fire sprites instead of one; adding an extra rebel soldier to the lighthouse encounter - fairly basic stuff.
The highlight of this part of this adventure was definitely the encounter with Asrabey. I opted to use the level 20 version, knowing that my players would relish the challenge (and the frisson of fear). What I could never have predicted was that Uru (our gremlin-like assassin) would score a critical on his first hit - easily enough to drop Asrabey! Fortunately, one of the other players reminded us that if the hit would not be enough to strike ordinarily, then a natural 20 is just a normal blow. Still, Asrbaey was reduced to single figures in an instant! (Or he would have been had I not known my party and left him with just a few more hit points to compensate for numbers.)
From then on, it was no holds barred: Asrabey dropped party members left, right and centre, although both Korrigan and Malthusius had luckily saved dailies that left him close to dropping point.
The most dramatic moment came when Rumdoom Kagan was the only character left standing. Up to that point we had played it that he had not yet developed the 'Icy End of the Earth' power; that it was not a matter of simply becoming an eschatologist and - hey presto! - the power was yours. The power (and several of the other thematic powers in the campaign) is more of a one-off; a Trigenes-like manifestation of the will of the individual - and an accidental one to boot. This decision was taken during character generation when the player said he loved the theme but wanted the power to manifest spontaneously. I confidently predicted that he would know when best to use it and... lo and behold, the one-to-one stand-off with Asrabey was just the moment Rumdoom had been waiting for.
It was a beautiful moment. Especially when the player portayed Rumdoom as terrified and shaken as a result of this discovery, despite his victory over the eladrin.
Wednesday, 19th December, 2012, 04:04 PM #7
The Grand Druid (Lvl 20)
Scarred tiefling liver, eh?
Glad to hear the campaign's still going strong.
Wednesday, 19th December, 2012, 04:08 PM #8
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Wednesday, 19th December, 2012, 06:50 PM #9
Minor Trickster (Lvl 4)
- Join Date
- Oct 2009
- Minneapolis, MN
ř Ignore Ajar
Nice to see you back. Even with your breaks and buffer adventures, you guys have run way ahead of us.Zeitgeist DM.
Thursday, 20th December, 2012, 11:15 AM #10
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
The roster of unit members has changed yet again. Heading into the Dreaming, the group included a 10-foot tall golem named Conquo, who departed in pursuit of his creator Lavanya - an eladrin maiden who rescued Leon from his wounds back on Axis Island. Leon had always assumed that Lavanya had been called or captured by the Danorans but the Briar Queen revealed that she had met Lavanya: that she had come to the Dreaming in order to buy memories.
Conquo was never, strictly speaking a unit member, as he did not belong to the RHC, but his disappearance was a blow, as he had proved to be a formidable ally.
On their return to Flint, it was revealed that Sly Marbo - the hare hengeyokai they had met during their travels - was in fact an RHC spy in the unseen court, his cover now blown through his assistance to the unit.
Sly is a spymaster - built for bluff, stealth, perception and insight (the perfect combo for an espionage mission). So Stover Delft suggested that he accompany the unit to Flint. It was up to Sly to decide if he wanted to return to Danor, where he had languished as a POW for many years. Not only was he up for it, he set off ahead of the others to use his contacts along the coast to prepare the way for the unit, and hopefully get a job aboard the train.
Certain other cast members have also undergone substantial changes: Rumdoom returned from his near-death experience free from his deathwish. He now sees himself as a kind of Herald of Good Endings and is working to establish his own religious cult. The group are glad to have him back but slightly disturbed by the evangelical gleam in his eye.
Leon has made a tranformation too, though more gradual. As an obvious focus of suspicion (as a Danoran tiefling warlock, wannabe Vekeshi and incognito war criminal). I presented the player with numerous opportunities to play up to this, and engage in double-dealing and hide things from his team. But Leon has followed the opposite path and has become a reliable and honest second-in-command to Korrigan. The only secret he still keeps is his true identity! (And an even deeper secret that even he doesn't know about - a memory he had removed by Lavanya...)
Matunaaga, having fashioned his clothing, fighting style and weaponry on those of the woodsmen of the eastern Cloudwood, has undergone a radical alteration too. Gone is his long hair, obsidian weaponry and rough hide armor. His head is now cleanly shaven and he wears a camouflage uniform (newly designed by the Battalion). In an attempt to marry ancient and modern fighting styles he now wields mankind's latest (the long rifle) and its oldest (fist and feet). The changes to his mechanics and powers will be gradual (with the catalyst for his full transformation to hybrid Ranger/Monk being the unit's encounter with the corrupted godhand, Gene).
So these characters have had their keywords* changed to reflect their character development. The unit roster now reads as follows:
Chief Inspector Baldrey Korrigan. Genasi Tactical Warlord. Moral Yerasol Veteran.
Sergeant Leon Veilleux. Tiefling Fey Pact Warlock. Reliable Martial Scientist (and member of the Vekeshi Mystics).
Uru Scathaig Ciotog. Deep faen Executioner Assassin. Sinister Technologist.
'Rumdoom' Kagan. Dwarven Battlerager. Evangelical Eschatologist.
Matunaaga. Maustin Caji Ranger/Monk. Dedicated Martial Scientist.
Malthusius. Deva Invoker. Philosophical Spirit Medium and Skyseer.
Sly Marbo. Hare hengeyokai thief. Hardbitten Docker.
*Keywords are a houserule feature. Each player can earn bennies or hero points by embodying their keyword during play.
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