ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co. - Page 6
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    I was aiming for the Vice President from The West Wing (who later was a nemesis to Michael Westin on Burn Notice).

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    D&DZEITGEISTI Defended The Walls!

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    John Hoynes, right? Well, the sober demeanour in his picture is how he comes across, but I aimed for likability first and foremost. He is very serious when discussing his responsibilities, but demonstrates an earthy and down-to-earth sense of humour, which is the only real likeness to Mr Connolly apart from the Glaswegian accent.

    Also, people trust the Scottish accent. They've proven it in polls!

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    D&DZEITGEISTI Defended The Walls!

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    Session 20

    A real mixed bag this session, and lots to think about for DMs:


    • The unit trudged up Cauldron Hill, bickering as they went. Half the group thought that Macbannin was the real culprit; half thought that Creed was using Macbannin.
    • Tremors shook the hill as they went.
    • On the way through an unusually empty Nettles, they came across a familiar figure. Waiting for them halfway up the hill was Agent Doran, otherwise known as Saaladoor Saan. He didn't like the idea of leaving a man behind, he said, and as the only party member to survive the Creepy Warehouse encounter had come to find out what had happened to El Perro.
    • He'd done some asking around and discovered from his spymasters that Macbannin's butler - Cillian Creed - was a veteran of espionage.
    • The unit entered the manor and met Macbannin in his gardens. Macbannin told them that Creed had left his service the day before, and offered to give them Creed's address. They mentioned evidence that implicated Macbannin and he laughed it off with a melodramatic speech.
    • Suddenly, the ground shook and half the manor collapsed.
    • Macbannin issued an order to Creed and an old servant who had shown the party into the garden revealed himself as the 'shadow man' and fled the scene. Macbannin gave orders for his staff to attack the unit.
    • A hard-fought combat ensued, but Macbannin was eventually felled.
    • The unit cuffed him and dragged him to his invisible shed.
    • Leaving Macbannin behind (!) they headed inside looking for Creed.
    • Down a flight of warded stairs they found a laboratory and tangled with some flayed jaguars that badly wounded Uru.
    • Leon got his arm sliced off by a trap; and promptly stitched back on by a captive Von Recklinghausen.
    • The party headed further down, opened a whole bunch of doors, and discovered an overflowing witchoil laboratory, guarded by none other than a zombified El Perro!

    Most of what follows applies to our game only, but this first tip is much more general, I think. Because I have 6 players, I made Macbannin elite. But even if I had 5 I would be tempted to do so because the party won initative, focused fire, and reduced him to less than 30 hit points before he had even fired a shot!

    Still, an elite Macbannin made this a very difficult encounter and most of the party spent at least a round or two on the ground. The curses worked a treat (with the executioner assassin picking up the doppelganger hex), but I thinned out the manor staff by having them run away or plunge into sinkholes, because the fight began to turn into a grind. (Macbannin's aura making it tough for the party to drop his allies. An unintended consequence of his increased longevity.)

    Rumdoom was dropped right next to Macbannin and used a benny to fire off 'The Icy End of the Earth' from beyond the grave (or below 0hp, strictly speaking), which in turn dropped Macbannin.

    My players then went on to make three idiotic mistakes:

    1) They left Macbannin behind - guarded by Uru clockwork mechanism.
    2) Uru dashed past two jaguars, provoking OAs and getting himself killed.
    3) Leon stuck his arm into the rather obvious trap.

    Mistake 2 was the most annoying because it was caused by a series of stupid errors on the player's part. This guy really is a great roleplayer with only a slender grasp on the mechanics of the game. So he builds this great character, only to flush him down the toilet by provoking two OAs for absolutely no reason, when already reduced to 15hp, and continuing with the move even when warned, because he is very stubborn and had to pretend he was doing it on purpose.

    Now you may think I am soft, but story must come first and the story would not be served by Uru dying because his player is an idiot. So I ruled that he was terribly injured, but (once healed) could play on with a death penalty imposed as a warning for his rash behaviour. (He didn't even have a good reason for provoking the OAs; or even realise he was provokling them.) I'm worried I'm going to seem like a softy now. Still - Uru now has a ghostly grim reaper hovering over him at all times. If I think of a great story-driven reason to off him later in the campaign, I shall show no remorse - you just watch!

    That this was followed up by the normally cautious Leon getting his arm chopped off (and promptly stitched back on) was priceless. I almost regretted the fact that there were surgery tools in the next room. Now I must think of some cool side-effect of the arm being healed by Wolfgang. Maybe it can make a basic attack on its own when the character is at 0hp? Or will be recognised as dead by the Voice of Rot?

    Anyway, I am proud of the fact that the session ended with Saaladoor bursting into the reservoir and being taken down by a rifle shot from the zombified El Perro. A great cliffhanger!

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  5. #55
    Still, an elite Macbannin made this a very difficult encounter and most of the party spent at least a round or two on the ground. The curses worked a treat (with the executioner assassin picking up the doppelganger hex), but I thinned out the manor staff by having them run away or plunge into sinkholes, because the fight began to turn into a grind. (Macbannin's aura making it tough for the party to drop his allies. An unintended consequence of his increased longevity.)
    Heh, definitly different from what happened when my party encountered MacBannin; since we're using the Pathfinder system. He started off well, blinding the druid's lion; and hitting the cleric with an evil eye; but on the second round, he got hit with a hold person spell, I failed his save and he was hors de combat for the rest of the fight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Heheh. Great minds think alike (if I do say so myself). I'd already considered that.

    How would this debilitating side-effect manifest itself, I wonder?

    @Falkus - It's just that kind of anticlimactic damp squib I was trying to avoid. All too common even in 4E. I once hand a group of players take out a beholder in two rounds thanks to an incredible run of crits. The players enjoyed themselves, no doubt, but my carefully crafted encounter was burst like a water balloon. Full of piss.

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    Fortunately, I managed to salvage the scene by giving MacBannin's servants muskets and pistols instead of improvised weapons; and the party ended up almost getting killed before taking them all down.

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    D&DZEITGEISTI Defended The Walls!

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    Session 20

    Session 21

    This session began with the characters spread around the lowest level of the lab.

    • No sooner had El Perro shot Saaladoor than the group was attacked from the stairwell by Creed, accompanied by two Kell Guilders and a Flayed Jaguar.
    • Uru began to try to fix the mechanisms and prevent a catastrophe, while his companions dealt with their foes.
    • The group realised something was wrong when Uru disobeyed an order from Korrigan to shoot Creed with his vendetta bullet.
    • Then Malthusius noticed that the golden eye ring Uru had been given by Macbannin ('to ward off scrying') had opened, revealing a real eye inside! Uru was being controlled by Macbannin from afar.
    • Rumdoom grabbed him, and Leon put out the eye with a blazing finger.
    • Once in possession of his wits, Uru blew Creeds head clean off.
    • With the rest of their foes dealt with, and El Perro overpowered, the unit split up. Some went to the surface to see if the actions performed by their comrades had any beneficial effects on the surface.
    • They found the witchoil eruptions had ceased, but the earthquakes still continued.
    • They also found Gale waiting for them. She told them Macbannin had escaped in a carriage. She had use her powers to over hear his words and knew which wharf he was headed for.
    • When Uru and the others had done all they could to stabilize the witchoil laboratory, they rushed up top and Gale flew them all down the hillside, over the devastated shanty of the Nettles, and the rootops of the city.
    • They arrived at the wharf to find sailors preparing a ship for Macbannin. They said that he had not arrived. The unit waited, but the mayor did not show.
    • Cursing the thought of having lost their man, the unit returned to RHC HQ, where Stover Delft congratulated them warmly:
    • Reed Macbannin had been delivered to the RHC, bound and gagged (with accompanying coffee press and beans).

    This took up perhaps half the session. I reintroduced Gale as suggested in the Campaign Guide and also had the Family lend a hand, just to emphasise to the players how their actions earlier in the adventure had influenced the world around them.

    The rest of the session consisted of a round-up of the story and its aftermath (saving the actual trial of Macbannin for later), and downtime for each member of the team:

    Korrigan began to shore up his political position, having decided that he cannot be effective as a loyal servant of Risur without some sort of leverage. He also set about recruiting a replacement for El Perro.

    Leon was rewarded for his service to the Vekeshi with membership pf the cult. The growing reputation of the unit also saw him approached by the Battalion.

    Uru resumed work on the clockwork boy he has been building with Tinker Jack, using the witchoil he had purloined. He also discovered that his recent brush with death had seen him grow even closer to the Bleak Gate.

    Rumdoom agreed to take part in a series of eschatologist fundraisers, where he would be flogged with a cat-o-ninetails until he was able to manifest the Icy End of the Earth. He hoped to use the money to pay off his substantial debts.

    Malthusius was reassigned from the Gale case and appointed as liaison to the police - the Flint equivalent of 'riding the boat'. (His handling of case was not appreciated by Lady Saxby.)

    Saaladoor Saan left Flint altogether.

    We ended the session with the funeral of El Perro (and some very moving speeches) and the even bigger funeral of Nevard Sechim.

    Shortly after the session I received three incredibly long emails from players eager to delineate exactly how their characters have responded to recent events, and talking about how they want them to develop over time. A very rewarding reponse for any DM.
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Sunday, 26th February, 2012 at 04:46 PM. Reason: I keep getting the number of the sessions wrong!

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    Session 22

    Session 22


    • Leon began taking part in training sessions at the Battalion, under the auspices of Eldritch Arts instructor Colonel Sebastian Harkness.
    • Rumdoom took part in the first 'fundraising' demonstration of his Icy Ends of the Earth power, but began to suspect that he was being used by Khaled Valchek to drum up financial support for his entrepeneurial ventures.
    • Marshal Korrigan rescued his wife from her own parents! (Having taken her there when Delft suggested the team take precautions following El Perro's death, her overly-protective 'rents weren't happy for her to leave again, so Big K had to fly into her bedroom using the Canary pendant and then walk her out.)
    • Uru withdrew into Tinker Jack's workhop, shaken by recent experiences.
    • Malthusius learned that Mayor Macbannin had admitted storing dangerous quantities of gloom oil, claiming to be working on his own, for the benefit of Risur. He regretted the consequences of his actions, in particular the death of Cillian Creed 'a patriot who had paid the ultimate price'.
    • Oolsholeel - the aquatic elf the unit rescued from the bilge of the Sky Ghost - arrived in Flint with a request from the town council of Saltmarsh: they wanted help in dealing with the local lizard man tribe who were seeking to arm themselves with modern weapons. Ships had disappeared inexplicably, and townsfolk who hunted and gathered in the marshes had vanished too. Stover Delft, having been ordered by Lady Margaret Saxby to 'find Korrigan and co. something more suited to their talents' (ie. get them out of Flint and involved in something more low profile), tasked them with rooting out the rogue tribe.
    • The Unseen Court had responded too: The lizardmen had transgressed boundaries laid down by the fey decades ago, and the court had dispatched a Sidhe Lord who would join the unit on their mission when they reached Saltmarsh.
    • A recruitment drive went badly: The team met withCaji Dobre of the maustin caji - an elite cadre of warriors from the Anthras mountains who had once fought for the Kings of Risur. But Dobre (who now called himself Matunaaga) had married a local woman and settled down, and showed no interest in joining them. Next, the unit went to speak with Happy Harry, a gruff half-orc privateer who came highly recommended. But Harry proved to be entirely mercenary, and would only join the group if Leon was forced to leave. Korrigan ended the interview abruptly. Young trainees at the Battlalion turned out to be too inexperienced fro the group.
    • Short one man, the unit returned to Saltmarsh by road. They found that the Sidhe Lord had grown impatient and headed into the Hool Marshes without them. The council wanted to keep most of their militia in reserve in case the lizardmen attacked, but agreed to send the two brothers who had worked with the unit before: Corporal Tom Stoutly and Private Will Stoutly.
    • The unit took a boat to the mouth of the Dunwater, but the shallow bed made it impossible to go any further. Leaving the brothers with the boat, they headed into the Marsh, sending Uru to scout up ahead.
    • They found a clear trail of ribbons along the riverbank - left by the Sidhe Lord. This brought them to a bole where many hunting trophies - the heads of a buffalo, a babbler and a bullwug - hung in the trees. A wood woad stepped foward and announced the arrival of 'Azure Lord Blackthorn, Bramble Baron of the Crystal Henge and Third of his Name'. The unit duly bowed, and a spryte emerged. This was the Sidhe Lord who had been sent to accompany them.
    • They camped in the bole for the night, but were disturbed by giant mosquitos. Realising this was not the safest place to sleep, they headed back to the boat, using the messenger wind to contact Uru who had vanished into the swamp.
    • Following the coast, with Oolsholeel ranging ahead of their boat in dolphin form, they discovered the lizard man lair and prepared for a frontal assault.

    This was the first of several 'buffer sessions' designed to keep the unit busy until the release of adventure #4. I plan to start Digging for Lies once Always on Time comes out. With a break over summer (for my wedding and 40th birthday shindig; woot!) we should be comfortably able to rely entirely on the Adventure Path for material. This was one, but not the most important, of the reasons I bought into Zeitgeist to begin with: lack of prep time. Should have waited for the AP to get going, though! I've slowed down XP rewards, so the group only levelled up once during Dying Skyseer. They'll reach level 5 before adventure #3. I've also realised that the Zeitgeist treasure distribution method allows me to have these extra adventures, dish out choice items, and leave it for the players to decide which ones they actually buy with their stipend.

    There were three main parts to this session:

    1) Each character (except for Uru, whose player was absent) had time to explore their own private lives. I am heartily enthused by the fact that three players independently emailed me over the last couple of weeks with character development ideas that stretched to almost essay length proportions! Clearly, they are buying into this world. Malthusius - still not an official member of the unit - has been assigned to desk duties, and his player is running the aquatic elf Oolsholeel for now. A predator druid. (Malthusius will be returning in adventure three when his investigations into fey pepper smuggling lead him to Kaja Stewart, causing him to team up with the unit once again.)

    2) The recruitment process. This was fun. Saaladoor's player roleplayed all the NPCs. (Both he and I were once actors, so we're quite good at that kind of stuff. It was great to leave whole episodes entirely up to the players.) Of course, he's now playing the spryte (read: pixie) Sidhe Lord, but only for a short(ish) period. His eventual long-term character is Matunaaga, but we decided that shoehorning him in immediately would be eggy. Plus, he wanted to have some fun with this pixie beserker build in the meantime. Lord Blackthorn is designed to be a total pain in the ass: pugnacious, headstrong and utterly lacking in tact.

    3) Danger at Dunwater. Part two of a series of adventures that begins with The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh. I ran the latter as part of the series of buffer sessions before the release of adventure #2. I plan to run Dunwater and its sequel, The Final Enemy before moving on to adventure #3. Lizardmen feature heavily in this 'module' and seemed like the perfect choice of 'humanoid monster' for the swamps of Risur. Not sure about the sahuagin in the final part of the trilogy. I'm thinking that they may be a very rare and (until now) very distant threat - creatures that actually worship She Who Writhes in shark form. Implacable, vicious, but not evil in the truest sense.

    I'm saving Macbannin's cranial implosion for a later session.

    Any reason why he shouldn't pull this trick in open court?
    Last edited by gideonpepys; Sunday, 26th February, 2012 at 05:49 PM.

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    You game way too fast, man. But I'm glad you're able to find intermediary adventures. I might have to steal the "now you meet up with a mighty fey lord . . . who's a pixie".

    Quote Originally Posted by gideonpepys View Post
    I'm saving Macbannin's cranial implosion for a later session.

    Any reason why he shouldn't pull this trick in open court?
    Oh I like you.

    I mean, it's a bit theatrical, which rationally is not what you want to do when you're running a conspiracy, but the visual concept is excellent.

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