ZEITGEIST Digging for Lies: Xambria back in Flint
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    Digging for Lies: Xambria back in Flint

    Hi,

    my players have reached the point where Xambria/Sijhen has killed Paco de Los Loros and Fiona Duval and escaped back to Flint. Sijhen has the Apet Seal and is preparing to assault the Gala and the players got the players handout from the curator Hans Weber, which says that Xambria is aware of Sijhen.

    Back in Flint they found a NPC family (the Goodsons) that they had superficial acquaintance (Goodson was a bussiness partner of an friend of one players character and a occasional employer of the other character who has a side job as a singer/dancer.) which were eaten by Sijhen. One Character is a vekeshi on an official hunt and the other has also strong motivations to get Sijhen. Both will try to not kill Xambria.

    Now my problems:

    1) One information that i do not have yet: I killed the whole Goodson Clan including the only heir (the Goodsons where featured in the players guide on the page about the Ayres islands in front of the Flint's coast. In my campaign he is the mayor industrialist in Flint and was both a patron of the arts and a cruel capitalist. The Goodson industrial power will be transferred to a lesser part to a friend of one of the players and to the industrialist Pemberton who gets the lions share.)

    As i have not read the whole adventure yet: Are there important plots for the Goodsons planed in future adventures that can not be transferred to "Pemberton"?

    2)The characters have already reached LV 9 and have more personal magic resources at hand that the adventure is designed for at this point. Can Sijhen be somehow banished to his realm by powers of this level ?

    Additionally they have access to a midlevel diviner who has ritual magic and has once "felt" Xambria going to the east of Ber. The reading was muddled because of Xambria/Sijhen's Dual Nature and because he was searching for Xambria only.

    Now they plan to consult this diviner to find Xambria/Sijhen, which has the Seal of Apet.

    Sijhen has been back to Flint a full week ahead of the players and attuned to its magic. Is the Apet Seal on its own powerful enough to foil all magic attempts to find Sijhen?

    3)My female player who plays Auryn, an female noble eladrin, has her being a captive by a danorian archenemy as one of her defining moments. I am going to use Mr. Pemberton (changed his name to fit her Archenemy Fordren) as this danorian industrialist who bought her and kept her in a "golden cage". I think he saw her as his prized possesion and part of his "hoard". He was absent when she was freed by the now Admiral Dawkins.

    Now Auryn has seen him from afar at the Kaybeau Arms and Tech thing and plans to confront him somewhere. She knew him to be at a wedding because he was going to wed his niece to Mr. Goodson soon. She reasons that she needs to stop living in fear of him. Now Mr. Goodson was murdered.


    What would this dragon do, if he finds his most prized and lost "possesion" is now a RHC agent and publicly or privatly accuses him to be a kidnapper? He is on foreign soil and wants to open new business contacts and now is inheriting the mayor industrial prowess in Flint.


    I would really like to know your opinions and experience, if your players did something similar.
    Last edited by Tizbiz; Wednesday, 14th June, 2017 at 08:15 AM.

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    1) Goodson does not come up again in any other adventure - certainly not to a substantial degree.

    2) I don't know about the rituals/spells available, but I would avoid having specific powers sidestep the climax to an adventure. To avoid nerfing them, you can have Sijhen constantly on the move. Divinations reported a location, but Sijhen has gone. But, if worst comes to worst, remember that Sijhen wants to be captured. So if the party catch it earlier, skip the Gala of the Ancients and go straight to the RHC HQ set-piece. I would argue that it's not possible to 'banish' any extra-planar creature (except for the undead or fey) as there is nowhere for them to go.

    3) This would be a find reason for Pemberton to focus on Ber instead. If her accusations cause outrage, have him withdraw from Risur in a fury. (Does she know he's a dragon?)
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    Quote Originally Posted by gideonpepys View Post
    1) Goodson does not come up again in any other adventure - certainly not to a substantial degree.

    2) I don't know about the rituals/spells available, but I would avoid having specific powers sidestep the climax to an adventure. To avoid nerfing them, you can have Sijhen constantly on the move. Divinations reported a location, but Sijhen has gone. But, if worst comes to worst, remember that Sijhen wants to be captured. So if the party catch it earlier, skip the Gala of the Ancients and go straight to the RHC HQ set-piece. I would argue that it's not possible to 'banish' any extra-planar creature (except for the undead or fey) as there is nowhere for them to go.

    3) This would be a find reason for Pemberton to focus on Ber instead. If her accusations cause outrage, have him withdraw from Risur in a fury. (Does she know he's a dragon?)
    Thank you for the information. I am glad, that i do not have to change the plot any more than i do by involving Pemberton already.

    I think as the seal of Apet is attuned to divination magic, it could be a potent means to undo any attempts of finding Sijhen. Its a great idea to have Sijhen move often and the only problem i see is justifying how he timed his attack at the most convenient time, if he is arrested unprepared. Probably he would call them to his prison cell at the time the ritual should discharge?

    As to how banishing works .... i am at a loss. Because summoning has to work as Sijhen somehow calls upon his minions? Or is that not a kind of summoning? I think, if he can call them somehow, someone else should be able to send them away in a similar way?

    She does not know Pemberton to be something else than a very rich danorian human. She thinks he is a mundane hedonistic industrialist, who spends all of his time at his private estate on one of the yerasol islands and she never ever asked herself who attends to his business or where he was when he did not torment her. In Risur a decendant of the other player is the business proxy of Pemberton.

    Does Pemberton have business interests in Ber later in the adventure path?
    Last edited by Tizbiz; Wednesday, 14th June, 2017 at 12:30 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    I think as the seal of Apet is attuned to divination magic, it could be a potent means to undo any attempts of finding Sijhen. Its a great idea to have Sijhen move often and the only problem i see is justifying how he timed his attack at the most convenient time, if he is arrested unprepared. Probably he would call them to his prison cell at the time the ritual should discharge?
    Good idea. Or he strings out his interrogation until the exact moment. (Although Xambria is theoretically in charge at this point, so...)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    As to how banishing works .... i am at a loss. Because summoning has to work as Sijhen somehow calls upon his minions? Or is that not a kind of summoning? I think, if he can call them somehow, someone else should be able to send them away in a similar way?
    That is a good point. I would say that sijhen unleashes Apet energy - the same or similar way to the ancient artifacts do - and this energy attracts thoughtforms that - because they are not physical, are able to arrive more or less instantaneously. But you could allow them to be banished if you like. (I thought you were referring to Sijhen! As an extra-planar creature, he might be subject to banishment by certain spells.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    She does not know Pemberton to be something else than a very rich danorian human. She thinks he is a mundane hedonistic industrialist, who spends all of his time at his private estate on one of the yerasol islands and she never ever asked herself who attends to his business or where he was when he did not torment her. In Risur a decendant of the other player is the business proxy of Pemberton.
    I think it's great that you involved him early. Not knowing what was to come (because it hadn't been published) I was unable to foreshadow him very early, but had him manipulating things in the background during a buffer adventure (and, coincidentally enough, packing up his toys in a huff and storming off to Ber, although it is not necessary for him to do so as he his quite capable of being in several places at once).

    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    Does Pemberton have business interests in Ber later in the adventure path?
    That is quite the understatement. The whole of adventure 6 revolves around his machinations. He also returns to play a huge role in epic tier.
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    I still hope to be able to play out the dramatic ambush at the gala. I like the idea of Xambria crashing trough the glass ceiling and her minions materialising between the audience because i am still toying with the idea of doing something with Kvarti Gorbatiy. He was paid to assassinate Rock Rakus at the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Exposition but ended up shooting the monsters instead.

    I plan on having Rock Rakus get some kind of deal with the law because the man he shot was saved by the players. He will pay a fine or settle out of court and be at the grand gala. There he could save someone and redeem himself. Maybe he adds to the confusion by interposing himself into the line of fire and take a bullet for Xambria? Kvarti Gorbatiy could wait outside the museum and shoot someone (Xambria?) after Xambria is arrested. I always wondered why the dwarf never tries to kill his quarry in the adventure?

    I know that Kvarti Gorbatiy will make some appearance in later adventures. Can he be replaced by someone else, if he dies by the players hands now?


    Banishing ... actually i was wondering what would happen, if the players tried to banish Sijhen. He himself was not summoned and the great seal does not allow a permanent portal to Gidim to be opened. Yet it is his plot to open a portal using the seal of apet and come back with an invasion force. And in the players guide there was somewhere a hint about very rare incidents of extremely high level sorcery claiming to have visited other realms. I think, if the matter comes up, i will just tell the players that the spells are not used because normally there is not much opportunity to use them.

    Using Pemberton was a risky option that as for now played out nicely. The female player had read a lot of the information available in the players guide to risur but invented her own enemy-she-loves-to-hate. Finding someone who can fill that role and who will revisit the adventure path often was the next step to immerse her into the setting. Pemberton has the potential to be a memorable adversary and i hope to see the players faces when they come to a point where they are going at least to consider, if they will ally with him temporarily.
    Last edited by Tizbiz; Wednesday, 14th June, 2017 at 03:09 PM.

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    Planar travel only lasts for 5 minutes due to the Axis Seal. The PCs should know -- like, anyone at all who uses magic should have 100% knowledge of this -- that if someone summons a monster from another plane, it can never linger for more than 5 minutes. The only exceptions are travel between the real world and either the Bleak Gate or the Dreaming, since those planes are basically just reflections of this world.

    Anyone with a bit more than basic magical knowledge would know there are some more bizarre exceptions. There are demonic entities that were part of the Demonocracy were from other planes -- indeed, modern magic can summon similar fiends, which only stick around for 5 minutes. But the ones that were part of the Demonocracy are stuck here. If you try to banish them, they come back after 5 minutes. If you kill them, eventually their evil will coalesce into a new form somewhere else in the world. The two leading theories are either that there are 'native' demons - maybe every world has its own sorts of demons (and also elementals, angels, etc.; there are a handful of each of those on this world that stick around) - or that perhaps planar travel was once not restricted to 5 minutes, and the rules somehow changed.

    The answer is, of course, the second one.

    So savvy PCs should be able to surmise, based on how the gidim thoughtforms linger after death, that they're stuck here, much like how the demons of the Demonocracy are. So they're simultaneously something that's been stuck here a long time, and something no one has seen (because they were trapped in a pocket dimension in the ziggurat of Apet).

    Sijhen just has them hanging around him, invisible until he thinks about them. (I think. It's been a while since we wrote that one, and some of the metaphysics were never explicitly explained).
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    Kvarti doesn't kill Rock because he got a chance to see the guy save people's lives, and he was dubious of the contract in the first place. He's an eschatologist and wants endings to be proper, but shooting Rock didn't feel right.

    Kvarti reappears in adv 5 with a group of radical eschatologists who, again, he's dubious of. Then in 7 he is a prisoner in northern Drakr after trying to investigate the leader of the radical eschatologists, Grandis Komanov. In 10 he's bodyguard to Vlendam Heid, the philosopher. In 13 he's a counter-sniper, mind-controlled into protecting members of the Ob from assassination attempts. The party could try to reason him out of it.

    But if the PCs kill him, you just lose a bit of through-line. It could be someone new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    I still hope to be able to play out the dramatic ambush at the gala. I like the idea of Xambria crashing trough the glass ceiling and her minions materialising between the audience because i am still toying with the idea of doing something with Kvarti Gorbatiy. He was paid to assassinate Rock Rakus at the Kaybeau Arms and Technology Exposition but ended up shooting the monsters instead.
    Kvarti is a philosophical assassin. When Rock Rackus intercedes at the arms fair, Kvarti decides to let him live. I would recommend not using Kvarti at this stage. He does come up a lot in subsequent adventures. You could always substitute someone else, but the whole point of having an established character is that he is... established.



    Quote Originally Posted by Tizbiz View Post
    Using Pemberton was a risky option that as for now played out nicely. The female player had read a lot of the information available in the players guide to risur but invented her own enemy-she-loves-to-hate. Finding someone who can fill that role and who will revisit the adventure path often was the next step to immerse her into the setting. Pemberton has the potential to be a memorable adversary and i hope to see the players faces when they come to a point where they are going at least to consider, if they will ally with him temporarily.
    Your use of Pemberton is ideal, and doesn't risk much because your players won't be able to kill him. But each of these circumstances demonstrates the value of reading ahead. I can't emphasise how much knowledge of the forthcoming adventures improves your DMing of the earlier ones. I was originally playing as the campaign was released, but got into the habit of holding out until I was at least one adventure - preferably two - behind the release schedule. Because, like you, I would come up with novel ways to use apparently under-served NPCs only to discover they came in useful later.

    Of course we all make the adventures our own and if an NPC dies, you have to be imaginative and flexible. But I would only throw Kvarti into the Gala if you are really sold on the idea. (His reappearances are pretty frequent and pretty cool.)
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    Thank you both as always for your input and guidance.

    I am storytelling again tomorrow and now that i understand Kvarti Gorbatiy's motivation, i will stick to use Rock Rakus to steer things up.

    Insight into summoning was very useful in its own way. Thank you again!

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    I still need a new idea about a small adventure in between Digging for Lies and Always on Time for a vekishi. My female player has a very good report with Admiral Dawkins aka Old Stag. He initiated her into the vekeshi and did teach her fey magic. To her he is a father, figure of authority, mystic guardian and a not reachable love interest.

    Recently she attended the vekeshi meeting where she heard Old Stag joking about how Rock Rackus deserves to die because of his bad music. She will receive the letter to kill Rock Rakus and she will immediately know that it is a misunderstanding. She will tell Old Stag as soon as possible and he will tell her to investigate.

    What i think is that Tyler Starke will take up the mantle of the punisher somehow. What type of people will his twistet mind choose to punish? And what kind of minions would he choose to do the deed? I suppose Tyler is a coward and will either influence some kind of serial killer or other delusional people to do his dirty work. As always i appreciate any suggestions.

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