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ZEITGEIST A post-Zeitgeist campaign (spoilers for Zeitgeist, Saltmarsh, PotA, and Avernus))

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
My group (The Bosum Strand Irregulars) finished up Zeitgeist in September of 2017. Since then, we've played a couple of other games and three people (including myself and my wife) have moved away from the town we all played in. Well, with recent events upping the importance of online communication, some of us are starting up a new 5e game. This game will be set in the Zeitgeist world, one hundred years after the end of the previous game. We were just going to play in Ptolus, but then two of our four players made characters with nautical backgrounds, so we're incorporating Ghosts of Saltmarsh as well. As such, this thread will randomly contain spoilers for Zeitgeist (as we will reference the decisions they made on their run-through and how the world has changed), Ptolus, and Ghosts of Saltmarsh. If you're okay with that, stick around as we spin up a new world.
 

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roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
I'm going to start here with a bit of the history of our world. Many eons ago, on some other world, a group of heroes known as The Blue Moon Bastards retired from their adventuring career by saving their world and the life of the god Bahamut, and in the process became gods themselves. They built a new world, and that world is the one we know as the Zeitgeist world.

Those gods:

Dana, the goddess of Earth and Life
Wilik, the god of Fire and Time
Harann, goddess of Air and Space
Shiver, god of Water and Death
Vaic, god of Trickery
and Erich the betrayer, who sided with Tiamat in the final battle, but still had a role to play in the new world, adding the necessary chaos to agitate everything into being.

They were the true creators of the world. All other gods are either creations of their own or were spawned anew by the world and its inhabitants.

And then all the standard Zeitgeist history happened, up until the year 400 or so, when King Lorcan of Risur was tricked into sacrificing himself on Cauldron Hill. The Red Contessa ruled over Flint for 60 years, feeding many souls to the mountain until King Aodhan of Risur returned with a stolen Danoran steamship and shelled the witches of Cauldron Hill into submission. And then we're back to a fairly normal timeline. Zeitgeist happened more or less as expected. The details are in the other thread.

Now the world has the following planets/planes:

Jiese
the moon of Ascetia, which itself has the moon Av
Caeloon
Mavisha, with its moon Shabboath
Urim and its clockwork moon, Teykfa
Apet
Bhoior the space turtle who wears the ring of Reida on his head
Nem and its salt moon Amrou, where Sargon of Uggat, whose father was the cupbearer of Ur-Zababa keeps an eye on the orderly passing of souls.

Rules (and notions) for the world as a result:
  • Precision technology is theoretically possible, but something has disrupted the link to Jiese of late. This is to explain the lack of technological advancement in the past 100 years. Guns and mech suits and airplanes exist in the world and can be found as treasure, but they can no longer be built.
  • Eladrin have lost Misty Step and instead have Memory of 1000 Lifetimes, as Av is reflecting Ascetia, which holds the history of the world. It's possible the dark side of Av reflects the "bad" history in which the Constables failed to stop Nicodemus. Or possibly it reflects the future held in Reida.
  • Falling damage is reduced by the result of an Acrobatics check as everyone falls like paper.
  • Islands still hold impenetrable secrets
  • An underdark now exists, together with Cthulhu-esque things in the ocean. When the Eladrin race was reborn after the events of the campaign, some came back as Drow. Probably the more evil ones.
  • Gold blocks teleportation.
  • Brass does something time-related but I haven't figured it out yet.
  • Apet still restricts movement in and out of the solar system. This lines up wonderfully with the lack of planar travel in Ptolus, and I can sub in Apet for the one moon whose name i've forgotten in that setting.
  • Reida still gives strong prophecy
  • Bhoior allows sounds to echo through time.
  • Nem gives extra power to noncorporeal undead, while Amrou gives extra power to mundane counters to the undead, so I'm going to do the following with Turn Undead:
Anyone can Turn Undead once per day, with a DC equal to 8+CHA mod. It only works on corporeal undead and never causes destruction.
A Divinely-Channeled Turn Undead works worse vs incorporeal undead (save with advantage), and better vs corporeal undead (normal save, but are destroyed as though the cleric is 3 levels higher).
I'll add a feat that gives people proficiency with Turn Undead (Clerics already have it) and allows a second use per day.

Alright, that's it for now. Still to come: new political environment and new characters!

edit: non-cleric players did not want to have to track Turn Undead rules and cleric player wanted to still be special.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
Nice, I like how everyone can have different Bonds of Forced Faith history and it still just flows into the game. In my game the heroes were successful in defeating the witches, but the cleric managed to take an opportunity to drop the "heathen" tiefling off of Cauldron Hill to her death.

EDIT after @roadtoad's reaction, yeah, my brother was new to role playing and took the suggested role playing tips on his character sheet to heart. :)
 
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roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
I'll copy and paste the game intro splash page for my last post of the night:

The Sacred Kingdom of Crisillyir fell into chaos and disorder during the Year of No Stars almost a century ago, but the former capital city of Alais Primos is still the center of Clergy power. Clergy primarchs abandoned the people and sacrificed all they had (including some of their worshippers) to the fiery rift of Enzyo Mons. When the sun returned, its light shone upon a 2000-foot-tall spire where the caldera had been. No one knew if this spire represented the favor or displeasure of the Clergy's god Triegenes, or if it was a portent of a new doom to come.

Now called by its pre-Clergy name of Ptolus, to call the city a dynamic place with a strange and varied identity is to understate the situation greatly. Only now are explorers truly discovering how ancient the city really is and unearthing details of its varied history. Ptolus is where that strange breed that calls itself “adventurers” congregates. It’s a place where people are as concerned with what lies below the ground as they are with what’s above. This is like no place else in the world.

This decaying society looks upon previous centuries and sees grander, more civilized, and certainly better days. Progress seems on the decline—skills and lore that people possessed just a hundred years ago are lost now. Too much was sacrificed in the Year of No Stars.

But this is not a time to lose hope altogether. A myriad of races and peoples have come and gone. Good struggles against evil, and law against chaos. But the shadows only threaten the light— they do not yet consume it.

Not so long ago, the first men and women who would one day be called “delvers” returned from exploring the catacombs below the city of Ptolus laden with gold and magical treasures. Today, hundreds of new would-be delvers pour into the city each month, hoping to strike it rich like others before them. Most never crawl up from the realms below, but adventurers keep arriving with dreams of gold and fame. Those who do emerge back into the light bring with them tales of surprisingly vast reaches of natural caverns and ancient hewn passages, perhaps dating back to the dark days when this area lay in the thrall of the terrible Demonocracy and the region was pocked with winding warrens and subterranean chambers created by his dark armies. They also tell of the horrors that dwell outside the life-giving reaches of the sun: unknown monsters and devious demon-minded things with a cunning unknown to human-, elf-, or dwarfkind. In the city, entire industries have evolved quickly to service the needs of these adventurers.

Creatures and individuals that normally remain in the shadows are drawn to this large gathering of adventurers and magic. The needs of the delvers prompt renewed devotion to magic, science, and religion. Ptolus is quickly becoming the center of something much larger than itself. Omens and prophecies of children born with strange birthmarks surface in the city with increasing frequency. No one yet knows exactly what, but something is happening in Ptolus. Something new stirs in this city . . . and that something is very, very old.

-=-=-=-=-

Situated about one day's sail south-east of Ptolus, the town of Saltmarsh used to see a good amount of shipping traffic on its way to and from Elfaivar and Ber. This nondescript fishing village is tucked away on the southern coast of New Kellandia, an island colony established by Risur around the former Crisillyiri city of Sid Minos.

For several generations, New Kellandia was a formidable military power. Its superior cavalry and bold knights pushed the colony’s borders outward to the north, west, and east until it had taken over the entire island.. Each successful campaign increased the colony’s wealth and power, and each one in turn drew the colony’s attention even farther north to the mainland. The southern coastal regions of New Kellandia declined and Saltmarsh is now a backwater.

The colony’s benign neglect allowed piracy and banditry to flourish. Saltmarsh and similar towns kept to fishing, content to maintain a low profile and avoid governmental entanglements. Decades ago, the pirates who prowled the waters off Saltmarsh grew strong enough to create their own realm, a loose confederacy known as the Hold of the Sea Princes. With the rise of that nation came increased raids on Saltmarsh and its neighbors. The Sea Princes’ raiding ships pillaged the coast for more slaves to support their growing realm, and Saltmarsh suffered heavily. The memories of those times loom heavily over the area, and the locals’ hatred of the Sea Princes runs deep.

In time, New Kellandia’s victories in the north gave way to a string of defeats in which its neighbors pushed the colony back off the mainland. With the world closing in, colonial governor Kimbertos Skotti looked to the south and saw unchecked banditry and a rising pirate nation. Risur struck peace treaties with its former foes to the north, raised a navy, and dealt a sharp check to the ambitions of the Sea Princes—but the conflict is by no means over.

Governor Skotti has decreed that the pirates must be put down, the sea lanes secured, and trade cultivated. If New Kellandia cannot prosper as a military force, it must grow mightier as a center of trade.

Saltmarsh, remote though it might be from the center of power in the city of Sid Minos, is entering a new phase of its life as it reacts to the governor’s plans. The crown’s agents want to expand the village’s port and make it a prime location for trade with the world beyond. In another recent development, a band of dwarves—bearing a decree from the governor himself—have arrived and begun to excavate the hills and seaside cliffs near town, looking for precious metals. If their work bears fruit as expected, the mine stands to become a major factor in the village’s—and, indeed, the entire region’s—prosperity.

Naturally, not all of Saltmarsh’s residents feel the same way about the recent developments in and around their community, which is the key issue that affects their lives and livelihood. Although the recent changes stand to bring new prosperity to the area, many locals don’t want to see their home changed. At the same time, as an undercurrent through all the goings-on, agents of the secretive and mysterious Scarlet Brotherhood work to thwart New Kellandia’s ambitions while advancing their own.

The land near Saltmarsh is safe for travelers, as are the roads that cut through the region. Small farms and manor houses dot the area, many maintained by army veterans who were granted land by gubernatorial decree. A number of small halfling villages are scattered around the area, located just off the main roads. Such locations consist of several farmhouses clustered around a pub that provides a warm welcome to visitors who come in peace. Once one journeys off the beaten path, however, a variety of threats emerge from the swampy wilderness...
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
Currently-agreed-upon rules for a new world:

Urim Blocks Teleportation
As in the original Zeitgeist, a loop of gold prevents teleportation. This could be a ring or a necklace to prevent personal teleportation or a loop of gold inlaid around an aperture to prevent teleportation through that aperture.

Caeloon Lessens Falling Damage
Falling damage is still 1d6 per 10 feet, but now you subtract the result of an Acrobatics check from the damage. If you receive 0 damage as a result, you do not fall prone.

Amrou Empowers Salt Against the Undead
Salt has the properties of Holy Water against corporeal undead. Turn Undead, if used with a dash of salt, destroys corporeal undead as though the Cleric is 3 levels higher.

Nem Empowers Incorporeal Undead
Incorporeal undead are immune to salt and have advantage on Turn Undead saves.

Av and Ascetia Change Eladrin
Eladrin lose the Misty Step racial ability and gain Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes: You gain proficiency in one skill of your choice. Once per day, you can roll 1d4 and add it to any one ability check, skill check, or saving throw you make. If you do this for a skill you are not proficient with, you gain proficiency for the next minute.

Jiese Empowers Technology, but...
Advanced precision technology such as firearms, steam ships, railroads, mech suits, automobiles and small airplanes exist in the world. However, no new technological items have been created in over 50 years, leading to a bit of a regression to pre-industrial technology. The technology is still out there, but it is tightly controlled by governments. Basically, technology made it to about WWI levels (plus mech suits) and then stopped and became rare.
 
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roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
First character:

Sam-u-will Hardback (Tortle Druid)
(Player of Wilik, god of Fire and Time)
(Player of Mort Stark and Alienor Soliogn-Stark in Zeitgeist)

Hatched in the desert as an orphan, Sam-Me learned to survive on his own. He had little choice and learned to listen to the sands and eat the poison and spiky bushes. After several years of wandering the desert Wasteland, he was told by the Eye-in-the-Sky to follow it. He had always liked listening to the Eye-in-the-Sky and was curious where it went to sleep every night. He followed, slowly, as his legs were still short, for what felt like many miles. Days passed, but Sam-Me still followed, through rocky hills and spiky plants.

Eventually his journey led him out of the Wasteland to the the Big-Blue-Song. Sam-Me liked listing to its music, much like a heart beats. Its song told him to come and relax along the sand, which he did. Not knowing any better he curled up next to the cool water and fell asleep. Soon the tide came in, as it does, and Sam-Me soon found himself splashing and drowning.

"Please do not eat me!" cried Sam-Me. "I am still young and you have tricked me with your soothing song."

"O'child of the Hot-Sands, if I let you live, what will you do for me?" sang the Big-Blue-Song. "I am huge and need my belly full!"

"I will feed you, if you will let me live!" Squeaked Sam-Me between breaths.

"Feed me every Eye-in-the-Sky! Yes, you will!" drummed the Big-Blue-Song, "Or I will drown you and eat you like I have so many of your kind!"

And with a thrust of a giant wave, the Big-Blue-Song spit the Tortle back to the hot-sand. And thus, Sum-U-Will was re-hatched.

..........

That is the story Sam likes to tell those who listen, on long voyages. If you ask any of the other deck hands, they think he is a little slow in the head. He is a good sea-man though, does what he is told, and never argues... much. You would think that something that big would be a hindrance on a ship, but no one has ever had a more friendly ballast on board. In a storm, you will find him holding the mast like an anchor to save the ship and crew. Also there is something to his story... watch him closely or you might just miss it... you might catch him tossing a little something into the sea. But don't turn your back on him, because if the rumors are true, he isn't against dropping a fellow sailor in either! But... that is just a rumor.
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
B'alam (Tabaxi Sorcerer)
(player of Vaic, god of Trickery)
(Did not play Zeitgeist)

No Gods No Kings No Captains No Masters Only Us

Appearance and Clothing:

7 feet tall roughly 280 lb, humanoid jaguar. Lean but not skinny. Black in some areas, almost burnt gold in others, covered in black spots. Big green/yellow eyes.

Age 23

Race Tabaxi

Wears sleeveless hooded vest that comes down to the hips. on the back of the vest is a painted symbol of what looks like an eye with a dagger behind and a crescent moon on the handle of the dagger. Relaxed fitting pants with pockets and pouches. a big ol' studded belt with other stuff hanging from it.
A variety of bracelets, leather bands and of the like are adorned on both wrist. Has earrings and studs on both ears.

Subtle Fire was born in a small clan in a distant jungle mountainous land.
He got the name from the strange glowing spots that his mother noticed when he was a small cub. Every now and then his spots would glow a golden color when certain emotions would come up. She ignored the anomaly though she knew what it could be, she moved on because he was her cub and loved him so. Flash to 16 years after his birth, he was on his first ever hunting party with the other youths of his clan. During the hunt a larger and much more stronger youth by the name of Half stone was bullying Subtle Fire and some of the party members. As time grew the bullying became worse till there was a confrontation between Subtle Fire and Half Stone. The two fought till Half Stone had the upper hand. At that point Subtle fire was filled with a mix of rage and desperation and in a blink of an eye Half Stone was on fire and died burning. This did not go well for Subtle Fire, for Half Stone was the son of the clan chieftain Full Stone. As punishment Subtle Fire was cast out of The Crawling Wild Clan and to survive on his own. After weeks on his own he found a small port and managed to get on a boat and to sail anywhere he can start a new life and control this “curse” of his.

He landed on a small port of ______ from there he wandered around trying to find anything about what he was or how to control the fire that’s in him. Cold, tired, and hungry he collapsed at the front door of what looked like an abandoned home. Little did he know that was the home of a half-orc wizard by the name of Gramagall. The wizard took him in and brought him back to strength. Gramagall took interest in Subtle Fire, and began to mentor him. The wizard had an idea of what power Subtle Fire possessed. From his studies Gramagall figured out that his new friend was a sorcerer. While both had vastly different talents Gramagall was able to help Subtle Fire control his power. While not fully sure what the Tabaxi’s family tree is made up of the wizard was perplexed. There was a overwhelming feeling of chaotic energy flowing through Subtle Fire, at that point Gramagall couldnt explain why he had these talents but at the very least he was able to help him understand and sort of control his chaotic talents.

As time went on Gramagall started Calling Subtle Fire B'alam. The name came from a long ago language from a culture that sadly is no more. Gramagall taught Balam the harshness of the world, how the kings and masters shaped the lands to benefit them and not their people, he shared his dream of one day seeing a life where everyone is able to live their life as they see fit and not have to be under the thumb of some ruler.

The teachings stuck with B'alam and he felt a great need to go forth and try and change the world to see if he can make his mentors dream a reality.

(obviously we still have some details to fill in)
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
Igbrin (Kenku Cleric of... enh)
(Player of Dana, goddess of Life and Earth)
(Player of Cazara in Zeitgeist)

For Igbrin, we only have this quote:
"The thing about religion is that most religions don’t care about gods at all. They say they do — every one I’ve tried, and I’ve tried a few, says that they give the very most glory to some god or another, but at the end of the day, the god isn’t really part of it. Every religion is the same, see? And if they were all about the different gods, wouldn’t they be more different? No. Religion is about the religion. Plain and simple. It doesn’t matter whose name is exalted, so long as the exalting happens. If there’s a god at the center of religion, it must be all the same god, and that is the god of habit.

Religion isn’t about gods, it’s about people. It’s a thing people need to do like eating and shitting and fucking - it’s not important what a person believes, just that they have something to believe. And belief is just someone saying something near you enough times. And just like eating and shitting and fucking, there’s a rhythm to religion — a common beat that you can dance to if you know how. Get to the center of the dance, and you have the faithful by the short-and-curlies, just as sure as if you’re the greengrocer or the abortion doctor, and with a lot less work.

Me? I’m more interested in the Gods than the religion — I want to go where the real power is. But until I find me some real power, I’ll dance the dance and fleece the flocks as they let me."
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
and lastly, we have
Tattolka (Bugbear Rogue)
(Player of Shiver, god of Water and Death)
(Player of James M. Chinast and Gear in Zeitgeist)

Well, there's not a story here except that she took the Pirate background and was cheated out of her share of the profits and abandoned by her former captain, so at least I have an adventure hook there. :)
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
There is no tank here, except the Tortle's shell. We'll see how it goes.

We did a Roll20 orientation last weekend and three of them (B'alam couldn't make it) fought off some bandits and a lizardman in a tavern.

As the only three people who stood up to the robbery attempt, Igbrin recognized the potential in the other two and began to assemble their flock.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Why does the start of every D&D campaign sound like the start of a joke?

So a tortle, a kenku, and a bugbear walk into a bar...
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
Why does the start of every D&D campaign sound like the start of a joke?

So a tortle, a kenku, and a bugbear walk into a bar...
yeah, the last two campaigns have been epic save-the-world affairs, so I wanted to do something real basic to get started on this one. :)
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
After the orientation session, we had a full session this past weekend.

The random bar turned out to be The Snapping Line tavern in Saltmarsh. A strange Tabaxi sorcerer joined them and decided that these folks were clearly PCs and useful. And then, after getting to know each other, presented with an entire town to explore, the new party immediately split. Before they left, grateful barkeep Hanna Rist told them that her friend Anders Solmor was looking for some capable adventurer types to do some work, if they were interested. They mumbled various non-committal things and went out the door.

The sailors, Sam and Tattolka, headed for the Mariners' Guildhall, where they joined the Guild. The Guilmaster asked for a 25-gold piece membership fee which they could not afford, so each now has a 25 gold piece chit owed to the Guild. But they got on the roster of available sailors and were told they could stay the night. Work was promised if they came down at 5am.

While the sailors looked for legitimate work, Igbrin and B'alam went in search of mystical knowledge. As a sorcerer, B'alam still has no idea where his Wild Magic comes from, so he wanted to check in with local wizard Keledek. The door to his house/tower said "no admittance without appointment," but they knocked anyway. When the seven-foot-tall human in gaudy Elfaivaran garb answered the door, they asked to make an appointment for the future. The wizard asked why and B'alam went into a whole spiel about learning his magical powers. Keledek asked for a demonstration of these powers and B'alam tried to light a bush on fire but instead blinked out of existence.

(He rolled a natural 1, which we've agreed is a roll on the Wild Magic chart. It said he transported himself to the Astral Plane for a turn, but we don't really have an Astral Plane to work with, so I sent him to Av, which is now the moon of the past, so I sent our one player who didn't play Zeitgeist a hundred years into the past so he could meet some Clergy godhands who really wanted to know why a strange jaguar monster had just interrupted their sweep of Saltmarsh for heretical behavior. Before they could arrest him, he popped back to present time. I have decided that Av presents an image of the past that can be played around in, but since it's not actually the past, nothing can be changed. Kind of like playing Assassin's Creed.)

Keledek was fascinated by this example and invited them both in. While he interviewed B'alam about his past, and offered him a position as apprentice/gopher, Igbrin saw something shiny and pocketed it, later learning that it was a potion of healing. B'alam accepted the position even though both he and Igbrin were suspicious of the wizard.

The magic team and the sailor team met up and the Solmor house to find out about the job he had, and were informed (once he verified their usefulness with Hanna Rist) that he needed a haunted house a few miles out of town cleared out so he could acquire it for his fishing and shipping business. It was not clear from whom he would buy the property, but it was clear that he didn't want to buy a house full of ghost problems. They haggled their way up to 152 gold pieces total for doing the job and set off to the east of town with a few hours daylight left.

They stopped by the Church of Triegenes, where Tattolka took a moment to tug at her fishhook earrings, then visited "the Leap," a cliff looking over the sea, where Saltmarsh residents traditionally throw themselves off the cliff and into the sea after learning of the loss of a loved one to the ocean. They found a woman mourning at a marker for her son, who was lost at sea a few years prior, and she explained that the tradition represents a symbolic effort to offer yourself to the sea in exchange for the life of your loved one. No one has ever succeeded in this effort, to her knowledge. Sam used some Druidcraft to grow some new flowers around her son's marker and they parted ways.

They barely got into the house, so I'll save that for when I can write up the whole thing.
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
We had a fairly straightforward exploration of the haunted house from Sinister Secret of Salthmarsh. They spotted smuggler tracks in the first room and followed them to the secret trapdoor that leads to the cellar, where they quickly dispatched three smugglers, but not before B'alam had the chance to channel wild magic and levitate himself to the ceiling, making himself a great target for the smuggler archer. He dropped in two arrows and floated gently to the ground.

The cellar had several exits (that they found): a door barred from their side, with "Danger" scrawled across it. Igbrin used a Detect Evil and Good to discover that there was something evil behind that door, so they left it alone. Another door led to a fine bedroom, where they found some candles and a lantern and a sheet with a lantern code on it for signalling ships at sea (easily identified by the two sailors in the group). They also found a spellbook and a volume entitled "The Life and Deaths of William Miller," which Igbrin scooped up like it was a shiny bit of string.

Lastly, there was a secret door leading down into a cave system beneath the house, where they dodges some green slime and encountered more smugglers. This time, the smugglers had the upper hand, and both B'alam and Sam went down fast. Tattolka had not even joined the fight when Igbrin surrendered in an effort to save the lives of the fallen. A wizard who was clearly in charge appeared and accepted their surrender, instructing the smugglers to stabilize the wounded as they would be far more valuable to him in the slave markets of the Sea Princes.

The three surviving smugglers then had to sort out how to take their captives to their ship. Their small rowboat wouldn't fit everyone, and they didn't want to leave any of the captives alone. Finally, they decided to have the two lackeys load up the boat with the unconscious PCs while the wizard kept an eye on the disarmed bird. Igbrin kept the wizard in conversation (discovering that the evil entities next to the cellar were skeletons) just long enough for Tattolka to skulk up quietly and put a single arrow through his neck, dropping him dead. (Shortbow plus sneak attack plus Bugbear surprise plus a crit for 28 damage to the 27 hit point wizard!)

She then freed Ibrin by breaking the shackles and the two of them set off to swim after the rowboat. Igbrin used an illusion of sunken treasure to distract the smugglers, who stopped to dive for the treasure. One dove into the water while Tattolka strangled the other. She and Igbrin then took the rowboat ashore and settled in for a long rest. With all the healing magic used up, they had to simply wait four hours for the other two to return to consciousness.

Feeling much better and higher level in the morning, they set out for the house again to hunt down some skeletons...
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
Fresh campaign idea just to add more elements to this.

My Igbrin player was a little disappointed that Saltmarsh doesn't seem like it will have any world-stopping epic content. After a game where they became gods and a game where they got to build a new world, I tend to agree. She'd very interested in finding out about cults, and I had an idea.

I've never run Princes of the Apocalypse. I just recently aligned each of their old 4e characters (who became Clergy gods) with an element as one of their domains. What if the gods based on their old characters were angry about being sacrificed by the Clergy a hundred years ago? What if the Clergy only sacrificed the good, godly aspects of them, leaving behind some angry elemental cores that are out for revenge against the world? I'm still toying with it, but I'm going to start weaving in rumors of these cults and place these various elemental dungeons wherever is convenient. The Temple of Elemental Evil is probably down under Axis Island somewhere. The various cult bases will have ways to teleport there.

I'd like to make some story about redeeming these old gods instead of just beating on the elemental-themed boss monsters. The fire cult is clearly losing, since technology has stagnated. Hopefully this will give them something interesting to work on while also dealing with belligerent Sahuagin (who may be water cultists) and whatever is happening in Ptolus (if they even go there).

We ran through Curse of Strahd in the middle of Zeitgeist (after episode 9, when the world became 5th edition, and I both wanted to give the writers time to put the rest of the adventure path out and also learn 5th edition at lower level), and other than that, we've been doing some very linear adventure paths, so I'm also digging up all my old favorite adventures that these folks have never seen to make available to them. I'm just going to lay out a bunch of hooks and see what they bite on. Looking forward to seeing where it goes.

And now, back to mushing Red Larch into Saltmarsh and making a map that has both adventures' content included...
 

roadtoad

aka skotothalamos
Latest plot idea: the world is messed up and going to fail because they stuffed too many icons into the axis island ritual.

One of my favorite Computer rpgs was Ultima VI. Ultima IV is the one that gets all the live in that series. It’s the one where instead of just killing monsters and taking their stuff, you became the Avatar of Virtue by embodying the 8 virtues and eventually going so deep into the dungeons that you came out on the other side of the world and found the Book of Knowledge to bring back to enlighten your people.

Well, two games later, you’re at war with the gargoyles who live in the other side of the world because they’re convinced that some human raided their most holy site and stole their sacred book of wisdom. I live when sequels make it so that the obvious solution to one game is the precipitating event that causes the problems in the next game.

The planets are not happy sharing space. Things have gotten fuzzy around the edges. Technology has regressed, so there’s something wrong with Jiese. I just got Descent into Avernus, so Sid Minos might be going for an interplanetary jaunt to Jiese, where the Golden Legion have set up shop again, probably led by the PC who got turned evil and never came back: Gear. Meanwhile, the sacrificed gods from our first game are going to be mixing things up with elemental cults, all while our PCs just want to maybe broker peace talks with Sahuagin and run their own pirate ship.

I’ll set the hooks and see what they bite on and save the rest for my next game. :)

(They’re currently halfway through Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, then they got distracted by a side-quest from PotA, which will drop an Avernus hook. When they return to town, there will be another PotA side-quest hook, and also the opportunity to finish Sinister Secret and get their own ship. I shall not be accused of railroading!)
 

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