I’ll be keeping a plot summary updated in one of the spoiler blocks below, and there will also be a list of important NPCs. It can be very hard to remember what’s going on in a PbP game, as combats interrupt the story and can take ages to resolve. So if you can’t remember what the hell is happening, hopefully, it’s somewhere on this page.
Posting frequency: Please aim to post once a day if you can (don’t worry too much about weekends, as they are generally slow). If you can post even more frequently, feel free. If a response from you is required, I will wait for two days (with more flexibility if the two days are over a weekend) before NPCing you and moving on (and I will get annoyed if this happens more than a couple of times). Try to keep up a good posting rate even out of combat: remember that no-one can tell the difference between an inactive player and one who is paying close attention but not posting anything. Everyone appreciates responsiveness--a responsive group makes all the difference between a really great adventure and a mediocre one, so I encourage you to find things to say even if your character doesn’t have much to do in the current situation. Posting something like “Bertie quickly gets bored by the conversation, so he goes off a little way and amuses himself by stomping on ants” is perfectly fine. In fact it’s great, because it gives others something to respond to. Anything is an improvement on silence.
If you will be away for longer than a couple of days, or if your life is getting hectic and you need to slow down, please PM me or warn us in this thread. An unexplained absence of a week or more may lead to my searching for a replacement.
Die Rollers: There are a number of die rollers available on-line. this die roller claims to pull its numbers from Random.org and which, therefore, should actually generate random results. Feel free to use it (but please post all of your rolls for this adventure under the same campaign name). There's also Invisible Castle as well as the die roller built into this board. Be as specific as you can in the notes you add to your die formula before you roll it--specify what you are doing and to whom, as well as what defense you're targeting if it's not AC. i.e. “twin strike on Nincompoop 5.” “Blazing starfall (ref.) on B6-D8, catching Cloddenbeadles 1, 3, and 4.”
Spoiler Blocks: Spoiler blocks with skill requirements will be labeled “active,” “passive,” or sometimes “active or passive.” “Active” means that you must make the check in order to have access to the information within that block; “passive” means that you must have a sufficient passive score (10+skill bonus) in the skill. “Active or passive” means that you can either use your passive score or make a check if your passive score isn’t high enough.
Incidentally, I have no problem with your reading spoiler blocks that you’re not strictly entitled to, so long as you don’t have your character use the information therein.
Character Themes: Themes are allowed on L4W, so they are available for characters in this adventure. However, until and unless everyone's got a theme, please don't use your theme powers. If you need help with themes feel free to ask.
Treasure: If you have items you would like specifically, please put them on a wish list. Otherwise, I'll distribute appropriate-level armor, weapons, and neck items as part of the treasure.
PC Stat Blocks: Please make a summary of your character’s stats and include it in your first post. You should also include it whenever you take a turn in combat, and whenever something happens out of combat that alters your hit points, surges, action points, etc. Here’s a sample stat block:
Kaeysari stat block
Kaeysari Female Longtooth Shifter Fighter 5
Initiative: +4, Passive Perception: 20, Passive Insight: 15, Senses: Low-light
AC:21, Fort:19, Reflex:16, Will:16
+2 to all defenses against opportunity attacks
Any critical hit that hits Kaeysari has a 25% chance of being converted to a normal hit instead.
+11 vs. AC, 2d4+7 damage
+3 to opportunity attacks.
If any adjacent enemy marked by Kayesari shifts or makes an attack that does not include her, she may make a melee basic attack against that enemy.
HP:32/52, Bloodied:26, Surge Value:13, Surges left:9/10
Action Points: 2, Second Wind: unused
Powers: Cleave, Footwork Lure
Covering Attack, Dance of Steel, Longtooth Shifting, Healer's Gift
Villain's Menace, Crashing Assault, Healing Word
Staggering Glaive (Daily)
For speedier PbP combat, we will be using the Malenkirk Conventions for initiative and order of actions.
The Malenkirk Conventions
Mal Malenkirk came up with some house rules for speeding up PbP combat that are now so ubiquitous in L4W that almost nobody actually bothers posting them anymore, which can lead to confusion. Here they are:
1. The DM rolls initiative for everyone to save time. Only one initiative value is rolled for all of the bad guys.
2. Any PCs whose initiative beats the bad guys get to act first. They can act in any order they like and their actions are resolved in the order they are posted.
3. The DM then runs all of the bad guys’ turns together.
4. All of the PCs (including any who won the initiative before) now get a turn. Play then proceeds with all the bad guys having another turn, then all the PCs, etc. Again, the PCs can act in any order, and their actions are resolved in the order of posting.
5. Effects that last until the end of someone’s next turn need a special rule, because the changing order of actions could otherwise lead to abuse. Such an effect gives its benefit (or its penalty) to each recipient for one turn only, no matter when that turn occurs in relation to the other recipients or the originator of the effect.
Example: Suppose that PCs Algie, Bertie, Cecily, Dickie, and Edna act in alphabetical order on round 1. Cecily uses a power that grants herself and all her allies a +1 to attack rolls until the end of her next turn. Dickie and Edna each benefit on round 1, as normal, because they act after Cecily.
On round 2, the PCs happen to act in reverse alphabetical order. Even though Edna and Dickie act before Cecily, they no longer benefit from Cecily’s effect, because they have already had it for one turn. Cecily benefits from it on her turn, just as she normally would, and Bertie and Algie benefit on their turns, even though their turns take place after Cecily’s is over.
This rule can be tricky to apply correctly at the beginning, so let me know if you have any questions about it.
6. To save time, the DM makes enough of the bad guys’ stats available to the players that they can resolve their own attacks and any opportunity attacks that they provoke.
This rule is frequently ignored; many DMs are simply not comfortable disclosing enemy stats on the first round of a fight, and prefer to reveal them gradually. Unfortunately, that can cause delays (players will wait to see whether the previous attack hit or whether a bad guy is bloodied before deciding what to do). What I’m going to do is to put the stats in individual spoiler blocks, and ask you to look at them only when it is necessary for figuring out what happened on your turn, after you have decided what you’re doing and made the rolls. Don’t look at them at other times. You’re on the honor system.
7. If any other issues come up, I will play them by ear (with the help of our good Judge).
Lord Adelin Mallaby, the expedition's sponsor.
Ismene, bandit queen of northern Allaria.
Sven, wagonmaster of Mallaby's caravan.
A Mystery Woman found upon the road.
Our Story So Far
During his previous trip to Allaria, Lord Adelin Mallaby, a Dauntonian nobleman, encountered the bandit queen Ismene. Now he has come back to the Hanged Man to recruit some of his companions from his prior trip, and others who might join him in a new expedition to the Allarian continent. This one is to aid Ismene in transitioning from a mere bandit queen to a more settled lifestyle, her band acting as a bulwark for the local villages.
The expedition is to meet up with Ismene's band at a place called Capadecol Bridge. Three ox carts with drivers accompanied by the wagonmaster Sven are transported to Ristaren on the Allarian coast, and make their way inland from there. The trip goes without incident until shortly before the group arrives at the bridge. A woman stumbles out of the woods, speaks briefly and collapses. Finding that she is not dead, our heroes load her on to the cart and proceed to the bridge which they find swarming with giant ants.
After defeating the ants and saving the bridge, our heroes meet up with some of Ismene's band, who hide the carts and take them to meet Ismene, who explains her plans for the future and asks them to help out.
There is much to do around the area, but looking out for goblins seems to be our heroes' choice. Accompanied by one of Ismene's people, a warrior named Carlotta as guide, they set out on a sweep to the northeast, and sure enough soon run into a bunch of goblins.
These are soon dispatched with the exception of one who surrenders. He explains that he is part of a group led by someone named Zareska, who has come south from the Hzakan empire, perhaps to carve out her own territory.