ZEITGEIST: The Gears of Revolution Spy Mission Complication - SPOILERS





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    D&D ZEITGEIST I Defended The Walls!

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    Spy Mission Complication - SPOILERS

    I am worried about a player-led alteration I have made to the campaign having a detrimental impact on the next adventure, Always on Time.

    One of players is a deva and fostered a relationship with Governor Stanfield as part of his background. Perhaps a little ill-advisedly, I allowed this to develop to the point where he now reports in secret to Stanfield, thinking that he cannot trust anyone else in the hierarchy.

    Is it even possible for the party to succeed if one of their number is reporting directly to a senior member of the Obscurati? Wouldn't Stanfield simply report to you-know-who and have the train journey cancelled or conducted with much greater secrecy?

    I am also worried that the rest of the party will not be rewarded for any successes they have in the spy mission skill challenge by the misguided but well-meaning actions of one player.

    Anyone got any ideas about how I should handle this?

 

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    Does anyone else know he's doing it? Delft, in particular, would tell him not to trust anyone outside of them. "I don't care if he's the governor. If you were running a conspiracy and had managed to get Mayor Macbannin in your pocket, managed to get our own boss Saxby to cover for you, don't you think you'd have someone spying on the governor? Tell no one your plans."

    There is the fact that Danor's in a dead magic zone, so it takes a while for information to reach there. Any information Stanfield got would travel to Crisillyir, take the train west for a week to reach Cherage, and then be delivered to Sovereign Han. He'd pass it on to Ottavia, who'd tell Bree. And so they'd be onto the party as early as Orithea.

    Oh, and they'd definitely be attacked by sea. Hell, Bree and Ottavia might just decide to skip this train and catch the next day's. A rational response to the party telling the villains their plans would really make the adventure not work.

    You could possibly avoid this by having the party not travel as a group. If they're all on the train in coach, you've got, what, a tiefling, some humans, a deva, and a creepy fey? Hm. Disguises could be tough.

    Miraculous good fortune could cause the courier heading into Danor with the information to die en route. Maybe he gets arrested in one of the cities along the way, and if the party ever gets into trouble and ends up in jail too, the guy recognizes them, panics, and eventually gives up the info that he was supposed to deliver. Or heck, maybe an RHC operative who's overseas -- and who's a skyseer -- got a vision that he needed to stop this guy, and when the party shows up the agent reveals that they dodged a bullet. Which will make them wonder how they were compromised.

    Note, it's fine if Stanfield gets outed by the end of adventure 5. We'd prefer for him to stay hidden until the end of adventure 9, because we need to spend our "oh sh*t/mindf*ck/betrayal" budget slowly. But it's really easy to adjust the plot if he's outed in adventure 5.

    If he gets outed in adventure 4, though, that a) mucks with some encounters we have planned and b) would make Risur a lot more paranoid, jeopardizing the justification for having the peace summit.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

  • #3
    Is it even possible for the party to succeed if one of their number is reporting directly to a senior member of the Obscurati? Wouldn't Stanfield simply report to you-know-who and have the train journey cancelled or conducted with much greater secrecy?
    Hmm... a quick and dirty method would be to have Stanfield unavailable for a period of time. Have him called away to the Capitol for a meeting with the king and other nobility, perhaps concerning the upcoming peace conference and how the recent disasters in Flint will affect it? And then shorten the time between Delft giving the orders to be on the train and the actual departure so that said character doesn't get a chance to talk to him? Or even if he sends a message, Stanfield doesn't receive it until well after the mission has started; which can then work, since the Obscurati does identify the group during the adventure; and you can make the cause of that be the report.

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    Thanks for the detailed response, Ryan.

    I thought that Stanfield would foster the relationship (given the player was lead investigator on the Gale case), never realising the player would be dumb enough to trust him completely and keep their communications secret, even from the other players and from Delft.

    Don't want to out Stanfield either. To be honest, I thought he was outed in #5 , and my plan was to have him murder the player once he realises he's on to him. (He's a deva; he'll live.) But I can't string that out til adventure #9 !

    It was only when we got to preparing for #4 that I realised what a detrimental effect this would have. At first it seemed quite amusing that a player wanted to foster a friendship with a key villain, now I'm not so sure!

    Maybe I'll have the others persuade Malthusius to maintain secrecy (somehow) and then have him bumped off by Stanfield at some point in adventure #5 . The group won't know how or why he was killed and will have to go hunting for his reincarnation (who won't know anything until a convenient point, somewhere in adventure #9 ).

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    Originally we planned to out Stanfield in 5, but we realized that we'd had lots of twists and turns in heroic tier, and that we ought to save a few for paragon tier.

    But likewise, if you out Stanfield and he's being pursued, he'll kill himself so he can't be captured. Then the Ob will pick up his reincarnation and prep him so he can return in adventure 9.
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    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

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    D&D ZEITGEIST I Defended The Walls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Originally we planned to out Stanfield in 5...
    I thought that was the case, but never mind. I got myself into this mess!
    @Falkus - some great ideas there. Thanks. I missed your post earlier, for some reason.

    Think I'll try to encourage Malthusius to grow suspicious of Stanfield's underlings and restrict communication that way. But if that fails, I think the 'delayed message' method will have to be deployed.

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    D&D ZEITGEIST I Defended The Walls!

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    I've had a rethink on this.

    The character in question has been possessed by the spirit of Xambria, who I've used to warn him of his actions. She suggested that telling even one person of the plan would sow seeds of doubt - that if word got out Malthusius could never be certain it wasn't someone in the Governor's office who betrayed them.

    But I've decided if he goes ahead and blabs, Stanfield will simply have the group attacked and destroyed at sea. So the Colmarr's Folly encounter will be all but insurmountable, and the unit will have to have their asses rescued by their merfolk allies.

    Then the Obscurati will go ahead with their plans, believing the unit to be dead and gone. (They won't know about their secret identities because Malthusius won't share that level of detail.)

    The unit won't have any idea it was Stanfield who set them up, so that little cat won't get out of the bag either.

    Have I missed a trick? Will this work?

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    Just the usual problem with 'beating' the players. They tend not to like that.

    Sounds feasible.
    Ryan "RangerWickett" Nock
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    The most cinematic adventure path for 4th Edition and Pathfinder.

    Now available - Admiral o' the High Seas, and ZEITGEIST adventure eight, Diaspora! For Pathfinder and D&D 4e.

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    D&D ZEITGEIST I Defended The Walls!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerWickett View Post
    Just the usual problem with 'beating' the players. They tend not to like that.

    Sounds feasible.
    Think I'll just sink their boat. The Cachalot will attach mines instead of just destroying their rudder.

    Or maybe the two privateers will approach, supported by the Cachalot, and if (or rather when) the battle goes against them, and they are unable to take the ship as a prize, the Cachalot plays its 'ace in the hole' (the aforementioned mines).

    How much worse everything will seem as the giant octopus tentacles coil around them, and drag them into the depths...

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