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WotBS Branching After Adventure 3 (i.e., what if they don't want to go to Bresk)?

ratzofftoya

Explorer
During and after adventure 3, it seems there are a few things going on...Some people say the best thing to do is go look for the lantern in Korskull, others say you have to go to the Monastery to investigate Pilus (one of my players is especially intrigued by this, as they are a monk of the East Wind), etc. Has anyone here had experience with not going to adventure 4 immediately after 3, or otherwise switching up the order of adventures?
 

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DarkRevenant

Villager
You should inform the PCs (probably through Simeon or Kiernan) that going directly to Castle Korstull would be suicide: it's surrounded by a firestorm that makes traveling to the castle impossible without special protection or preparation—which Seaquen cannot adequately provide. Taking shelter underneath a fireproofed vehicle (as a certain set of plucky gnomes do) could work, but it would be a slow, miserable march with no hope of backup or escape if things should go wrong. If the party still tries to go through with it, explain that the Lyceum will not sponsor the Wayfarers to teleport them to a nearby location, so they'll have to travel most of the way on foot.

As for going to the monastery, one of Seaquen's leaders should tell the PCs that a group of agents was already sent out to make contact with Longinus and Pilus, investigate them if possible, and secure their aid—particularly to get past the firestorm that's blocking access to Korstull. This means the party is the only set of capable hands on deck to deal with Bresk. If the party decides marches off to Eresh instead (definitely don't allow the Wayfarers just teleport them to Ostalin), then...

If the party breaks the order of books and marches off toward Ostalin (or Korstull), hopefully they choose the land route. Maybe you could explain that all of the ships are remaining docked for repairs after that unusually destructive hurricane. If they go by sea to the southern shores of Ostalin or something, then you might have to make up some kind of complications (i.e. an adventure) that occurs at sea or once they're ashore. By land, however, regardless of destination, they need to travel most of the way to Bresk before hooking left, which gives you opportunities to throw in various Book 4 hooks that can occur on that road. Try to entice the party with hints of what's going on in Dassen and imply that things will probably go hideously wrong if they don't step in.

If they still break from the order and march to Eresh, give them enough obstacles on the road for a level-up—they'll still be a level below the recommended number, but at least the gap can close a bit.
 
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Tormyr

Adventurer
The other thing to consider is that Seaquen is vulnerable if the king of Dassen allows the second Ragesian army to march through Dassen.

The first arc of the AP is securing allies, and Dassen is the final piece of that initial puzzle. The second arc covers gaining the torch (all the things that they want to do). The final arc is taking the fight back to the bad guys. The PCs are the best team the Resistance has, and they are putting out fires for the first bit of the AP until they get an idea of where the torch is and can start being proactive.

Like DarkRevenant said, Korstull is a Bad Idea (tm) without gaining the help of Pilus and Longinus. If they go for Eresh, they probably go by the land route, a process that can take the better part of a month. This could have them arrive shortly after the first team, see the attack on Eresh, and fall under Balance's sway. Then, if anyone resists Balance's calming effect, you can have them drag everyone out of town until they recover before making a second attempt (and joining up with the events of adventure 5).

Meanwhile, Dassen has let the third Ragesian army in and some Dukes are starting to fight back, leading to a drawn out front that keeps the bulk of the Ragesian army away from Seaquen, but keeps Dassen from lending any aid through the end of the war.

And that might be where Simeon can convince the PCs to head to Dassen first. Maybe the other team will not be successful in Eresh (they won't), but the war effort is going to be seriously compromised if Dassen falls. The final adventure takes success or failure of events throughout the AP into account, and saving Dassen is a decent chunk of Victory Points.
 

simonf

Explorer
I found that combat is more exciting when the party is one or two levels below the suggested ones. So I had my party go directly to the Monastery skipping the Bresk adventure, and they have been underleveled ever since. They seem to enjoy the challenge.
 

Salicus

Villager
As others pointed out, it is important to make it clear what a threat the ragesian army north of dassen has. I pretty much made them do it by making it clear, that Balan is a VIP that they must have escorted by pretty much the agents they trust the most. Also, I gave them hope that Gate Pass is also in a bad spot when Dassen falls. Since the Forest Fires went out, its pretty clear that there is a second way into Gate Pass now from the South. Also the Dasseni could help Gate Pass out with a part of their army after they defended the northern border. Also I did not give them the information yet, that the Monastery may be part in that and only gave them the information later on that another team was sent there.

In the end you should make clear to your players, that the immediate threats must be handled first and right now thats an army that is coming for them from the north. And no one will stop them as of now, In the end it is your choice and you could change it up but just for some investigating of the attack the Lyceum wont send anybody there. It is just not important right now. The second team gets send there because Divination of Simeon gives a possible solution to getting the torch, not directly because of the attack.
 

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