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  1. #21
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    I've got most of what I need to run our first adventure Friday.

    But I need to pin down this dragon cult a bit more. If the PCs use the Orb of Green Dragonkind they'll get a mental image of the red orb wielder, and likewise if they subdue and question the dragon (or the dragon's spy) they can learn about the dragon cult.

    I'm thinking of making the cult slightly less psycho than the way dragon cults are depicted in FR and Dragon Age. Something along the lines of a group of people who were in dire need of aid, and as they prayed anticipating doom, a dragon saved them.

    I don't know, any ideas?

    The one thing I know for sure is the cult leader acquired the orb of red dragonkind and used that to turn the dragon into his servant...the cult leader is working with the magocracy of Suleistarn, but he has his own agenda too.
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Sunday, 4th November, 2012 at 08:49 PM.

 

  • #22
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    Well, IMO it's always interesting to have human races.
    Greyhawk is brilliant with this: Most of the humans are of mixed stock and require no further explanation. Few are clearly of some specific race. I don't think you have to be really complicated with this.
    In my opinion these would be sufficient:
    - Romanis. The downside would be that they would be treated with suspicion but the good thing would be that the criminals and outcasts would like Roma PCs. They always receive an invitation to the local Thieves' Guild.
    - Some of your players might get really excited about the prospect of playing a blonde viking, who knows?
    - African types. Create some interesting historical aspect for them but nothing too difficult for your players.
    - Indigenious people. Let them have some cool names like Running Bear and give them some minor shamanical aspect, add some mysticism.

    Try to get some easily digestable flavor for the human races and nothing too fancy.
    My humour is sometimes in poor taste but I mean no disrespect. I ask you not to be offended, please.

  • #23
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    @Jon_Dahl Huh, yes I planned for the cultists to be mainly human, but the cultural interpretation is nice. Maybe part of the reason they ended up without anyone (or deity) coming to their aid is because they re outcasts like the Roma were at several points history (and ongoing).

    And that's when the dragon swooped in like a hero.

  • #24
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    So it looks like we have five players for our first session. They are...

    "Raphael" a half-elf warlord-bard captain of fortune who is something of a wandering duelist who enjoys belittling nobles and causing mischief.

    "Zolar" a deva unseen mage who died in a dramatic fight with duergar five years ago and was reborn. He is an enigmatic Gandalf-like figure with ties to Bahamut.

    "Kirito" a human dual weapon fighter modeled after a character from the anime Sword Art Online, he lead a weaker party to their doom against a red dragon and now has a guilty conscience.

    "Miri" a fierce human barbarian who specializes in mounted combat, hailing from the Nic'Epona horsemasher tribes of the north. She is the only recurring character from my old campaign.

    "Ardell" a dragonborn cavalier and knight hospitaler of thr Order of the Chalice, a loyal servant of Bahamut, following personal visions of his deity to serve the people and justice.
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Saturday, 10th November, 2012 at 06:36 PM.

  • #25
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    Play Report #1 (11/9/2012)

    I just got back from our first session of this new campaign, and it was intense! The bard-warlord died, the barbarian riding a hippogriff entangled the dragon with the bell tower chain of a church, the dragon was temporarily transmuted into a frog and fell 100 feet (with said bard-warlord clinging to its back ), the dragon deliberately crashed into a tower to collapse it, droves of allied NPC minions died, and the king is on the verge of capitulating to the dragon's demands!

    Lots of great roleplaying during the first hour or so...Zolar, the deva mage, made some hilarious comments about his rebirth and had some nice roleplaying with the other PCs about whether he was actually a divine messenger or just a delusional lavender guy. Miri, the human barbarian, had a comical time trying to find her horse (which is an immortal Nic'Epona from Planescape that can change coloration) in the King's stables. Raphael totally dissed some nobles and was a hysterical ass to the Knight Commander and local guard. Kirito was returning a token of a dead son (a death he was largely responsible for) to the father, the Knight Commander, who tried to arrest him on trumped up charges. Fortunately, Ardell convinced the guards to give Kirito a reprieve of imprisonment. During the king's birthday ceremony, each presented the king with a gift:
    Ardell (with Kirito) riding his coat tails, swore his allegiance and pledged his blade.
    Miri followed suit.
    Zolar presented a bottle of wine from the court of Bahamut.
    Raphael composed a scathing insult for the King's enemy of choice.

    Then ratcheting tension as signs of the dragon's imminent attack came: an apprentice Mage teleporting in from the tower of the most powerful wizard in the kingdom (which has been incinerated by the dragon), the dragon speaking thru the teleportation circle with the party mage, nervous horses/hippogriffs, bursts of red and yellow fires on the horizon, fleeing refugees and a forest fire...and then the dragon.

    I'd say half the session was a lethal battle against the level 15 solo red dragon (built as a 3-stage boss monster) Kaldwarag. They got the dragon down to ~250 HP and immobilize it, but they're down their healer, low on hit points, have precious little resources left, and the few NPCs left only hit on a 20...

    We left the session with a choice: Either play thru the combat and see where the dice fall...Or assume the battle reaches a standstill and the dragon is repelled at great cost (though it lives to fight another day). The group seems split over which way to go, we'll see what they decide. Mwahaha.

    At the end of the night one of the players expressed how surprised he was that a PC died, especially at paragon tier, because he thought that just didn't happen in 4e. Am I bad for secretly enjoying that?
    Last edited by Quickleaf; Sunday, 11th November, 2012 at 02:44 AM.

  • #26
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    Good stuff. Sounds like quite the fun session.

    As to PCs dying at paragon tier in 4e. I remember when we first made the switch from 3.5 to 4e. We had a long running campaign in 3.5. I thought the CR/Encounter Budget would map the same; that basically at high level you needed to inflate encounter budget dramatically to even compose a walk-through encounter. This, of course, was with PCs who were getting used to new resource schemes and combat tactics. Yeah. It turned into a Quentin Tarantino movie/George Martin novel.

  • #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Manbearcat View Post
    Good stuff. Sounds like quite the fun session.

    As to PCs dying at paragon tier in 4e. I remember when we first made the switch from 3.5 to 4e. We had a long running campaign in 3.5. I thought the CR/Encounter Budget would map the same; that basically at high level you needed to inflate encounter budget dramatically to even compose a walk-through encounter. This, of course, was with PCs who were getting used to new resource schemes and combat tactics. Yeah. It turned into a Quentin Tarantino movie/George Martin novel.
    Hah! George Martin....that's pretty grim!

    Yeah, I think I finally got a good feel for challenging the PCs - so far it has been a hard battle, but it feels pretty evenly matched. The dragon is a badass, but the PCs had 2 hours to prepare for the attack and they have (limited) NPC support.

  • #28
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    I'm prepping for next game and could use some help from the great brains of ENWorld

    We're resuming with the dragon fight and are going to play it where the dice fall. Assuming the PCs don't retreat or TPK (I've got plans if that happens), they will either kill the dragon or drive it off.

    Then the PCs have a choice to make: they can go after the dragon's lair or they can go after the dragon cult which sent the dragon (I'm simplifying their options for the purpose of the post). I'm going to adapt Dragon Mountain if they pursue the lair. However, if they go after the cult I have less prepared...that's where I need help!

    If, say, half the session is wrapping up the dragon fight and aftermath, what should I have prepared for the other half of the session if the group pursues the cult?

    Some kind of investigation tracking down the cult's hideout? An infiltration skill challenge? I'm drawing a blank. Help!

  • #29
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    Do both:

    1 - Investigation Skill Challenge (12:6 with hard DCs). Come up with 3 clues (this is typically the best number...any more and it gets hard for the PCs to retain...any less and the coherence isn't there) for the PCs to discover and progressively follow. Successful resolution of the Skill Challenge means that the PC have uncovered the power players of the cult (perhaps a merchant guild leader, a noble/bureaucrat, a bootlegger, and a high ranking member of the Watch) and have the exact time and location of their next meeting.

    2 - Infiltration Skill Challenge. I would make this one shorter and (maybe 6:3) it should probably be in an out of the way place, outside of the city walls; perhaps in the cellar of an Inn in the mountains. I've done that before. Each member can be a faction of their own and be paranoid that the other is going to kill them/silence them. Each of them agree to come "unarmed" but inevitably bring their own goons "just in case". Something that could make it exceedingly interesting is if a sudden blizzard strikes, locking all of these various factions into the inn for days...or perhaps a wing of Wyverns is picking off people when they leave the Inn such that everyone is held hostage.

    3 - Epic fight with all of the factions (with them fighting amongst themselves as well) in one great common room with firepits, hanging tapestries, chandeliers, giant hearth with roaring fire, furniture, tables, windows for people to be thrown out of (only to have Wyverns viciously scoop them up for dinner), casks of liquor (ready to be spilled to create a firestorm) and the Inn potentially going up in a blaze.

  • #30
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    @Manbearcat Good stuff, particularly like the wing of wyvern or blizzard idea! Would XP ya, but I did too recently.

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