ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co. - Page 2
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  1. #11
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    Sesssion 6

    The 'bug hunt' referenced at the start of this session report was the first of a series of buffer encounters/mini-adventures designed to tide us over before the release of Zeitgeist #2.

    Very simply, the unit was called to deal with a rampaging ogre that had come unusally close to farmland and ended up eating more than just a couple of sheep, plus a farmhand or two. Korrigan & Co. duly attended and tracked the 'ogre' to its lair, only to discover that they were in fact dealing with a troll.

    Trolls in my campaign regenerate properly - like, 30 hp a round in heroic tier - so they had a bit of trouble. But it was really just an exercise in using their powers, and the terrain, to overcome a much more powerful adversary.

    Anyway, here's the report:

    Session 6


    • Following the sample 'bug hunt' last week (in which the unit tackled an ogre that turned out to be a troll), this week featured a sample investigation.
    • Malthusius received information from Bishop Antonescu of the Clergy that a spate of gangland murders in Parity Lake were linked to an individual named Kelson, a halfling who operated out of the Lucky Gnome tavern.
    • The Inspector handed this information over to the Parity Lake police, who made a hash of the arrest, leading to a near-riot and Kelson's escape.
    • The Unit was tasked with assisting Malthusius to track down and apprehend Kelson. Lady Margaret Saxby - Chief of the RHC - would be very pleased of the Constabulary succeeded where the local police had quite publically failed.
    • El Perro discovered from his Bosum Strand contacts that ordinary people had defended Kelson (despite having little love for his gang) because they were seen as 'local': some other gangs were now said to be in the pockets of foreigners.
    • Korrigan established that Kelson's gang (the River Rats) might actually be the victims of gnagland murders. Nevertheless, they were linked to a string of burglaries, blackmail cases, long cons and murders. Kelson's number was up. Bt he needed to be brought back to stand trial, not hunted down like an animal - justice must be seen to be done.
    • Uru learned from a strange pixie friend that the River Rats had not gone to ground in the Nettles.
    • Malthusius established that Kelson had family down the Stray River. But then the trail went cold.
    • Many days later, Leon picked up a random lead and was able to establish exactly where Kelson was hiding out.
    • The unit requisitioned a river boat and approached the hideout, with El Perro and Uru preventing escape from the rear.
    • They apprehended Kelson and a number of his accomplices, and established that the foreign gang were Crisillyiris, known only as 'the семья'.


    Here I set up a very simple investigation, ripping enemy stats from Threats to the Nentir Vale. The adventure was designed to introduce the Family (I used the Russian term to surprise Korrigan's Player who is Lithuanian) and familiarise the party with Flint.

    You'll note that I rewarded all of the players who had sent me details of their contacts with juicy tidbits of info. This worked a treat, as many more contributions were forthcoming over the next week or so.

  2. #12
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    Session 7

    Another buffer session. I put this one together in response to a facetious request from Uru's player for a 'Halloween themed' adventure.

    This immediayely put me in mind of the first 'module' I ever ran, back in 1980: TSR UK's debut The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, which ticked several boxes:

    1. It features a Haunted House.
    2. Just like in Scooby Doo the house is a front for criminals.
    3. The second half of the adventure involves boats. And we all know how much Rumdoom loves boats!

    Malthusius, the deva investigator, wasn't a part of this mission, as he is not a unit member, so his player watched on happily, content to play a cameo in the following session.

    Session 7


    • The unit left Flint to track down Inspector Bruce, a veteran RHC man who had gone missing a few weeks ago.
    • Arriving in the sleepy coastal town of Saltmarsh, they established that he went to investigate the Wyce House, once owned by a long-dead alchemist and rumoured to be haunted.
    • Taking some nice sandwiches, courtesy of a local inn-keeper and merchant, the unit went to investigate the house.
    • They found it in disrepair, infested with vermin, and with tell-tale signs of a faked haunting: animated monkey hands; magic mouth rituals. Rumdoom fell victim to yellow mold and filth fever.
    • Upstairs, they came across the bound and gagged form of one Ned Shakeshaft, a local rogue who had been knocked unconscious while exploring the place. He suspected it was being used by smugglers as a base of operations.
    • In the cellar they discovered the corpse of Inspector Bruce.

  3. #13
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    Session 8

    • Inspector Bruce's corpse turned out to be infested with rot grubs - as did the unit's sandwiches! Ned Shakeshaft scarpered as the rest of our intrepid adventurers dealt with swarms of these hideous creatures - and the animated 'rot grub zombie' that poor Bruce had now become.
    • In the chaos, they missed the cracking of a secret door to the rear of the cellar. This door led into a large, quite homely barracks. An alternative flight of stairs led back up through a hatch in the floor of the very room by which they had first entered the house. (Clearly, the smugglers were now avoiding the rot grubs.)
    • The unit explored and found a private chamber belonging to a magic-user of some kind.
    • They also came across a barred door. Beyond lay skeletons and secret door into the alchemist's laboratory. Here they found many items that had been turned to gold; a book on the Philosopher's Stone; and a strange stone in the skeletal hand of the alchemist.
    • Another secret door in the main barracks led to natural caverns. There they were attacked by the smugglers, their illusionist leader and his hypnotised gnoll guards.
    • Korrigan was dropped from behind by the garrotte-wielding Ned, who shouted a warning to the smugglers. He also dropped El Perro, and was about to make good his escape when Rumdoom and Uru felled him (ably assisted by Leon).
    • The group rested to recoup their strength, only to find that the rest of the smugglers had scarpered, leaving their contraband (bolts of silk and barrels of liquor) behind them.

    Two nice touches here, even if I do say so myself: the comely landlord's daughter had filled their sandwiches with rot grubs, which reacted to the infested corpse of Bruce by burrowing out of their backpacks and straight into their backs (heh heh heh).

    And Ned Shakeshaft (played in cameo by Malthusius' player) turned out to be a plant who tried to kill the party. Their usual suspicions were allayed only by the fact that he had been generated by another player, who took great delight in trying to kill his fellow party members.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 12th November, 2011 at 05:29 PM.

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    Session 9

    This was the last buffer session before the release of the second adventure.


    • The unit returned to Saltmarsh and arrested the treacherous Tambor Dannorman, proprietor of the Merry Mermaid. His daughter was exonerated, but two members of the town council were implicated in the smuggling operation and duly placed under arrest.
    • The following day a citizen reported a local fisherman who was behaving strangely - purchasing unusually large amounts of supplies and attempting to buy ritual reagents. The unit realised he was hypnotised and, in the company of several Customs & Excise officers, followed him to a secluded cove where the illusionst Sanbalet was hiding out with the remnants of his gang. They readily surrendered.
    • Sanbalet agreed to give the unit all the information they needed to capture the ocean-bound side of the operation, in return for lenience and the undertaking to take his own brother, Punketah - ship's mage on the Sky Ghost - alive. The ship would not be returning to Saltmarsh for over a month, so the unit returned to Flint.
    • A month later accompanied by brothers Tom and Will Stoutly, two Customs officers - and with another such officer signalling the Sky Ghost from the Wyce House - the unit stole aboard the Sky Ghost and tangled with Captain Sigurd 'Snake Eyes', a Crissilyri pirate, and his crew.
    • The battle was hard-fought as the captain and his men were fierce. Also on board - and prepared to aid its defence - were three drunken lizardfolk who had been lolling in hammocks before the sounds of combat roused them.
    • When Sigurd finally fell - and with the lizardfolk's pseudodragon pet enchanted by Leon's spirit companion - Korrigan was able to enjoin the rest of the smugglers to surrender.
    • They found a captive merman in a brig just off the bilges.

    Again, Malthusius' player took on companion characters. This session was a lovely excuse for a nice, big fight before Zeitgeist #2. (I knew the opening sessions of that adventure would most likely be combat free.)

    My rationale for the characters remaining at 2nd level was that a person needs to accrue experience in intense bursts, while these buffer adventures were spread over three months. I rewarded the players with story elements and minor treasure, and gave them the stipend from the start of Dying Skyseer halfway through.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 12th November, 2011 at 05:30 PM.

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    Contacts

    One of the cleverest suggestions in the Players' Guide is that each player should generate two contacts in Flint. I wasnt sure how well this would work, but decided to really let my players rip on it, and grant them more than just two contacts if they could be bothered to generate them.

    Though I had to push and cajole to encourage them to cooperate, since beginning Skyseer I have discovered that the contacts serve to connect the players to the game world in a very profound way. Often they describe the way they interact with these individuals, which makes the whole thing very immersive.

    In case you don't know the party, the first post in this thread gives a quick rundown on them:

    http://www.enworld.org/forum/en-publ...our-party.html
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 12th November, 2011 at 06:07 PM.

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    On the XP topic, I wouldn't worry too much about having to explain it. The adventures as written don't have quite the expected '10 encounters per level' of default 4e. So a few extra encounters outside the core adventures works fine, methinks.

    Very cool stuff. And I need to try working Bennies into my game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gideonpepys View Post
    Why, thank you, Colmarr. You might then be gratified to learn that you are at least in part responsible for some of these roleplaying moments, thanks to the 'Session 0' idea you posted.
    Thank you, but a canvas-maker has no right to claim credit for a painting, especially since I borrowed the canvas from DM Samuel.

    Quote Originally Posted by gideonpepys View Post
    I am also encouraging players to roleplay using the Benny system borrowed from Savage Worlds. If a player plays their character well, entertainingly, or imaginatively - in particular, if they embody their keyword, which was a descriptive element I added to character-generation along with race and class - they earn a Benny.
    Inspired by this idea, I proposed bennies to my players, and the overwhelming response I received was that they were concerned I would use my bennies against them... /sigh

    Still, we're going to use them and see how it goes.

  8. #18
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    Contacts

    Thought it was about time I added to my previous (unfinished) post about contacts. My fears that players wouldn't co-operate were soon assuaged (so no need to fret, N'Raac! ) when I received a number of detailed emails on the subject - particularly after the first couple of players benefited from having their contacts play a role in our buffer sessions.

    We had already fleshed out each character with close family, places of residence and that sort of thing and in some cases they helped to provide contacts too.

    Leon, for example, the Danoran warlock, was holed up in the bayou when he was caught and recruited. He was living in a brothel run by Lilly - another tiefling with a troubled background. Leon was heavily scarred on his right side by a Danoran bombardment during the Yerasol War; Lilly is covered in self-inflicted knife-wounds. Lilly loves Leon, but he is too besotted with the memory of the eladrin maiden who healed him to truly love her back.

    Lilly is a fantastic contact, and her brothel serves as a crossroads for the seedier elements of Pine Island.

    Leon also knows Adele, a spirited tiefling orphan whose parents were killed during an anti-Danoran riot many years ago. She survived on her own by running errands, petty larceny, and by collecting and selling hallucinogenic mushrooms. Leon first met her through Lilly (who buys her shrooms). Adele has recently become involved with higher level drug smuggling.

    His other contacts are Xat - an elderly dwarven loan shark. Ex Kell Guilder. Here's the player's email about him:

    Xat grew up on Pine Island and is well known (if not well-liked) in the area and was hired as muscle in his younger days. He eventually become a loan shark and has been operating for many years, in the last few decades he has been depending on hired help for collections. Recently he has expanding into money laundering. Leon first met Xat shortly after his arrival in Flint, short on money Leon borrowed money to set himself up. After the loan was paid Leon briefly worked for Xat collecting debts. Xat is merciless when it comes to collecting money owed but he is honest and straight forward.
    They respect and trust each other on a professional level but each knows they are far too ruthless to be close.
    Physical description:
    Tall for a dwarf, Xat was once quite well built but now looks pudgy; the only remaining signs of his violent past are the scars on his knuckles. Xat wears loose fitting silk and favours dark green colours.

    Leon rounded out his contacts with the Vekeshi Mystics of Flint. (He didn't take that as his theme, but is interested in them politically. Needless to say they are wary of a Danoran tiefling, no matter that he is a fey pact warlock.) I also fleshed out the entity from whence he derives his fey powers - a creature named Avagdu that dwells in the marshes and bends many local fey to its will. Avagdu derives its own power from the Voice of Rot. I figure that Leon may be able to call on Avagdu for aid when it comes to lore related to the waterways of the locale.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Saturday, 19th November, 2011 at 08:45 AM.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideonpepys View Post
    Thought it was about time I added to my previous (unfinished) email about contacts. My fears that players wouldn't co-operate were soon assuaged (so no need to fret, N'Raac! ) when I received a number of detailed emails on the subject - particularly after the first couple of players benefited from having their contacts play a role in our buffer sessions.
    Showcasing that these will be a plus rather than a minus never hurts, does it?

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    Uru's contacts

    Uru's contacts next. (I was umming and erring about how much detail to go into with all this, but it occured to me that other DMs could use the contacts from other groups as additonal NPCs in their campaign. You can never have enough of those, IMHO!)

    Uru is our party mascot: Imagine a black-skinned goblin with bat-like ears, huge, feline, amber eyes and sharp teeth, and your on the right track. He is fascinated by modern technology, which he has a knack with, despite his low intelligence. (We've all met gifted car mechanics who never trouble MENSA, right?)

    In the seven years since Korrigan brought him back from Yerasol, Uru has found a home in the Nettles - specifically in the ramshackle toyshop of Tinker Jack - a reclusive old gnome who fears the outside world. His son Caleb died of the fever some years past and now he hides out in the clutter of his shop.

    Uru's player wrote:

    'Why I was a young man then, not past my tenth year. We never did go down that road, and I still won't. That was near twenty years ago now, and I am telling you boy, you don't want to either. Your Ma swore she saw his boy's face in the window last night, but that could of been anyone. 'The little Tinker' never been much more harm than a few tricks. Sometimes a spirit gets mean though so I'll have to get a priest if it persist, much as I hate to.'


    Little Tinker (or Little Jack, even though his name was Caleb) lives on in ghost form, making friends with the spirits of other dead children, and causing mischief throughout the vicinity. He collects stories and tells them to Uru. Recently, he has been found crying because he 'has no friends anymore'. Neither he nor Uru realise this is because of the barrels of gloomoil secreted throughout the factories of Flint...

    Then there is Searil Shortankard - a small, winged fey whose spirit is being slowly poisoned by industrial pollution. He coughs and splutters when he talks, 'always seems to be chilly and is slowly coming to resemble a piece of charcoal'. Searil is a travelling salesman. But he sells very strange things:

    "Items like the last tears of a women shed over her lover's grave, or the only toy of an orphan. He goes around collecting from those who are selling, and selling to those who are buying. Always in a hurry, and cleaning his soot covered watch. Say what you will, no one has ever declined his offers, and he pays in stranger currency than gold."

    Uru just sold him Nilasa Hume's eyelashes (as the Lashes of the Victim of an Unsolved Murder) in return for unformation on the whereabouts of Von Recklinghausen.

    Finally, there is Miss Fortune, whose details where sent to me in a pdf (attached). Uru Contact.pdf (I've set him straight on the spelling of Parity Lake.)

    Last edited by gideonpepys; Friday, 18th November, 2011 at 07:08 PM.

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