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Sunday, 15th July, 2012, 06:38 PM #1
Rangda's Zeitgeist Campaign (SPOILERS)
My party finally finished WotBS, so we have started in on our heavily rules modified 4e Zeitgeist game.
The party is as follows:
- Savannah Lottie, Tiefling Warlord (actually using fire genasi rules but tiefling was a much more friendly reskin for the world)
- Cyrus Parnell, Human Sentinel reskinned to use technology as a power source instead of primal. His animal companion and summoned creatures (he's using druid summon powers for blacks) are all automatons.
- M. Ford Corrigan, Human Bladesinger, reskinned to use weird science (combination of magic and technology) as a power source.
- Laci Yoni, Human Knight
- Carlie Finley, Human Elementalist
- Sidde Harther, Elven Monk (not present at the first game)
Among the many rules modifications I've done, I'm using the background character generation rules from FATE. These rules create backgrounds for the characters where each party member knows some of the other members, which helps the party mesh together. Rather than start right in on Z1, I created a mini-module to run as a prologue. This occurs 6 months before the events of Z1, and is the first mission for the team.
Geoff Masarde has been kidnapped by members of the Risur Liberation League, a group of insurgants who want to ovethrow the existing government and replace it with the skyseers. They want to extract information from him about the RNS Coaltongue (which at this point is still under construction) so they can figure out how to effectively sabotage the construction. I don't plan on affiliating the RLL with Ethelyn, although the players may erroneously come to that conclusion (which will give me a red herring to send them off on wild goose chases).
I've set this up as a quickie intro to let them try out their characters and see if they want to make any changes before we start in on Zeitgeist proper. It consisted of a skill challenge (find the terrorists) and two combat encounters, a group outside the hideout and a group inside, and a trap designed as an alarm system to alert the group inside that their security has been breached. All in all a good well rounded module to throw a bit of everything at them.
They successfully manage the skill challenge, largely leaning on streetwise, dungeoneering, and perception skills to locate the hideout. Note that in my game skill challenges are significantly easier, as I've incorporated a variant of the GUMSHOE (by Pelgrane Press) investigative skills into my game. Points in investigative skills give the players (among other things) auto-successes in skill challenges assuming they can come up with a good way to use the skill. Once they use up their auto-successes, they can then spend investigative skill points to buy more auto successes. So in the 8/3 skill challenge they racked up 6 successes before even having to roll a die. (IMO this is a great way to rework skill challenges so they are not so agonizing, but it's still very much a work in progress as to which skills are active and which are investigative).
The hideout is in the city slums (of course); they decide to wait until nightfall to make their approach to give them a chance to sneak up on the guards (lounging on the building porch drinking ale). They manage to surprise them successfully and the combat goes fairly well, Ford gets pretty beaten up (he gets a high initiative roll and ends up somewhat isolated as a result). They have some slightly poor tactics which cause Cyrus & his 'animal' companion to be pinned behind Carlie in an alleyway (where they really want that order flipped), but they work through it and manage to defeat the guards without any of the them getting inside the building and tripping the alarm.
A flurry of very good stealth rolls lets the sneak team scout around the building's outer rooms only to discover they are empty, and that a choke point room has traps on all of the doors leading in. The traps are hinges that have been intentionally rusted to squeak loudly (the easy trap that the terrorists would expect to be found), and ropes tied to the inner doorknobs that lead to the supports of a shelf full of pots & pans (the real trap that they are hoping doesn't get found). If a door is opened they all crash to the ground making a loud nose that alerts the building to the fact that they have intruders (quite possibly leading to a dead Geoff). Despite setting a pretty high DC for the pot & pan trap, the party manages to pull off disabling it w/o setting it off.
Once again they manage to sneak in and get surprise on the bad guys. I've got the terrorists set up as outer guards in a hallway, the leader of the cell & his bodyguard (orc reskinned as a minotaur to look a bit more scary) in an inner office, and a lone guard up in the attic with Geoff in a makeshift cell. They do a pretty good job tactically, splitting the outer hallway guards into two groups and quickly neutralizing one of them. The minotaur worked great; I had him burst through the office door and he gave the party quite a scare even though the didn't do much (although he did soak up some attacks). Probably the best hilight for the PC's was killing the leader (rebel wizard from Z1), before he even got an action. Elementalist hit him with attack + elemental escalation + theme (Infernal Prince) damage add, then action pointed and hit him again. Pretty clean fight with only the bladesinger (again running off unsupported) getting a scare (had him down to 3 or so HP).
They ended up with 1 casualty (an unconcious terrorist got caught in an Ignition area from Carlie and I ruled that the fire zone killed him), 13 prisoners, and Geoff alive & unharmed. Delf congratulates them on a job well done & they each get 30gp in pay. Everyone seemed to enjoy their characters which was good and I've given them a thread that ties into the beginning of Z1, which we will start next week.
I always try to go fairly prop heavy for my games (for example we use Campaign Coins for money), so i've given them all magical ID cards that identify them as RHC members. The cards glow when the thumb is placed over the painting of the agent, providing some "proof" that they really are RHC members. Of course they can be forged and/or stolen and modified... I've also made "Top Secret" and "Eyes Only" manilla folders with my RHC logo on them; whenever the players get a mission I give them some notes on persons of interest, maps, etc. to help form a dossier for the mission. For this first mission they got the sketch of Geoff along with some of his background and a map of the city, with the rough area it was suspected where Goeff was being held.
I've attached the graphics I'm using for my current props in case anyone else wants to take advantage of them.
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