WotBS Emeraldbeacon's Burning Sky (live game)

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
As it turns out, I'm going to be running the WotBS campaign for two separate groups... this latest one, a live, in-person game! They'll be starting about 2 chapters behind the first, but things do seem to move smoother when you're not dealing with the digital content, and can actually see everyone's faces. How will this group dynamic handle things differently? Let's find out! The game starts in about two weeks. :D

DRAMATIS PERSONAE

Julius Sunbloom
is an Aasimar, the sun of a Solar and a poor farmer's daughter. Growing up in the outskirts of Seaquen, he always feeling he was different, he proved his worth by saving several villagers from an unexpected structure fire, while he was a teen. That night, he was contacted by his father, Calefactor, explaining that he was now ready to fulfill his true purpose, and to follow the red feathers. Days later, Laurabec Adelsburg arrived to find the divinely touched man she was alerted to. She invited Julius into the New Order of the Aquiline Heart. In time, he made his way to Gate Pass, where Buron Watcher oversaw his studies, where he began to grow as a holy man... though not without a celestial Patron who may have his own goals. (Paladin/Warlock)

Violet Greengarden is a human woman who's never been far from her home on the outskirts of Gate Pass. An orphan, she never knew her parents, raised instead by a commune of druids and rangers very in-tune with the old ways of the world. Kind, quiet, and obedient, she aids the city and its surrounding areas by protecting them from wild animals, and bolstering the vitality of the farmlands. But the land, she knows, is hurting, and her elders have told her that it's only a matter of time before she is called away from their home, to fulfill a greater destiny. (Moon Druid)

Gor'aan hails from the northern lands of Ragesia. A full-blooded orc, he was once part of a tribe that rejected Coaltongue's desire to unite all of the north under a single banner; they were permitted to continue their tribal existence so long as they never stood opposed to the nation. Gor'aan was never happy with the simple, sometimes "backwards" way of life in his tribe, and often spoke out in favor of taking advantags of the benefits of integration. For this, he was sent away to find the truth of the world for himself; a spirit quest of sorts. Unsure where to go or what to do, he wandered, eventually finding Gate Pass, a city that was willing to accept him for what he was. (Barbarian Wild Magic)

Gnelly Gnomansen is a Gnome that grew up in Sindaire. An inventor and tinker, she had her own share of light adventures with her eventual husband, before settling down and starting a family. One of her daughters grew up and left home to adventure for herself... but shortly after that, Gnelly's world was shattered. Her husband suddenly and viciously attacked her, cackling madly while doing so. In defense, Gnelly killed him, to the horror of her youngest daughter. Ashamed, and shunned by her community, Gnelly left to start a new life, eventually settling in Gate Pass. (Artificer Battle Smith)

Brena Wildfoot, a halfling woman of Ostalin, has never been happy with the Khagan's mismanagement of the land, and the treatment of her people. Seeking to establish a true homeland for their kind, the halfling peoples commissioned her to seek aid in foreign lands, to help disrupt Onamdammin's reign. First travelling to Sindaire, she was able to ingratiate herself to the Ragesian governors, eventually earning an invitation to Ragos, where she hoped to entreat Coaltongue himself to intervene. That all went south with his assassination, Leska's rise to power, and the implementation of The Scourge. Brena fled in fear to the Gate Pass, the closest safe place outside of Ragesia. There, she heard rumors of a secret mission to the south... a perfect excuse to get her out of the city, and closer to home... (Bard of Whispers)

Ellith (that name should be amusing once they discover the Trillith) was born and raised in Innenotdar. When Ragesia attacked and set the forest aflame, he was forced to separate from his family, fleeing south into Dassen. Frantic to find out what happened, and unable to re-enter the woods, he moved around the mountains, through Dassen, into Shahalesti, joining a token resistance force provided by the Shahalesti government to resist Ragesia's incursion into the city. After Ragesia fled, he stayed behind, having found his sister alive (though no sign of his parents). Settling in, they worked as apprentices to a local blacksmith, and became part of the city as a whole. (Rogue Arcane Trickster)
 
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emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
Currently, the connections I have in place...

Julius the Paladin/Warlock is the least directly connected to events, with a Solar as a parent, but my plan is to have his celestial parent be kind of a jerk. His goal is to burn away impurities of the world, using his son as a tool to do so (in fact, the name that he claims is his son's TRUE name, is "Crucible"). Julius' mother still lives on a farm near Seaquen. As a Knight of the Order of the Aquiline Cross, he would have connections to Laurabec in Chapter 3, Grelfin in Chapter 6 (possibly), Rhuarc in Chapter 7, and ultimate the heart itself in Chapter 12.

Violet the Druid is maybe the hardest to design for, as the player gave me very little to work with. She grew up and has lived near Gate Pass all her life, perhaps in a somewhat sheltered fashion... she's going to learn, the hard way, that life is a lot messier than playing in the dirt. Connections for her include knowing about Haddin in Chapter 1, a connection to the Primordial Elemental Beasts in Chapter 10, and of course, knowing about the legend of the Aquiline Heart in chapter 12.

Gor'aan the Barbarian conveniently located his tribe RIGHT WHERE the Scourge Prison is. That will provide the heroes an unexpected place of respite, though he'll find his homelands ravaged by the Ragesian Inquisition. He'll have had a prior run-in with the Black Horse Mercs from Chapter 1, and return to his tribe in Chapter 8. Perhaps most notably, though, with a Trillith living within him, he'll have unique contact with Indomitability, Deception, Madness, Balance, Agony, Vigilance & Metamorphosis, and ultimately, Trilla herself.

Gnelly's Artificer backstory is ripe with contacts in the middle third of the story. Aside from some early helpful associations with Erdan Menash in Chapter 1, her husband's death came after being infected by the Trillith Madness, which should make her knowledge about Nina Glibglammer a bit more interesting in Chapter 4. In Chapter 6, we meet both of her daughters, one of which is Jorrina Waryeye; that should make contact with Clan Millorn a bit more awkward.

Brena's Bardic quest to topple Onamdammin's regime is at the heart of her character. Though she comes from Ostalin (and will be reunited with her clandestine team in Chapter 5), she also has some unique connections to the Sindarese nobility, and knowledge of some Ragesian operations. She'll largely have her connections reviewed in Chapter 5, but her conflict with Onamdammin will come to a head in Chapter 11. She may not be of royal blood, but would you suppose that killing him, and claiming the Sword of Ostalin, would be enough to warrant naming her the new Khagan?

Ellith the Rogue, coming from Innenotdar, will have the greatest ties to the tragedy there. He'll see a good amount of pathos in Chapter 2, perhaps even finding his parents among the lost souls that Nelle now oversees. Beyond that, he doesn't have much of a connection to the greater world... perhaps one of his childhood friends was Caela from Chapter 5, who went west to search for meaning to life, rather than east, and might give the party an excuse to (foolishly) trust her words more than they should. His status as an Innenotdar survivor would also make the revalations of Ycengled Phurrst (in Chapter 7) more impactful.
 
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emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
I'm still hoping to find more connections for Violet, the Human Druid who grew up in Gate Pass, as an orphan in a sort of hippie commune, and possibly Ellith, the Taranesti Rogue from Innenotdar. Neither have many backstory threads that I can weave into the narrative.

I'm also unsure of the rate at which I should reveal Julius' father's ambitions over the course of the event. As a Solar, perhaps he has ties to Shaaladel and the Shahalesti? Maybe he was "made" as part of an agreement with the high elf lord, to create a tool outside of the nation, to fulfill his own goals? Still workshopping that.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
Maybe Julius was made as an agreement between dad and Shaaladel. Shaaladel thinks this is to help him create a new weapon to rival the torch, but dad's intent is to work with Freedom to hasten Annihilation. Several celestials throughout the campaign might recognize Julius or have been planted by dad. They may have been instructed to nudge Julius toward deeper knowledge of the trillith so he can "rescue" Trilla and provide a divine spark for Annihilation. If Julius is eaten, nothing can stop Annihilation. Also, dad, or a duplicate of him could appear instead of the deva in the temple of Echoed Souls.

As a druid, Violet could understand more deeply what happened in the forests of Innenotdar and Ycengled Phurrst just through her connection to nature. Just about every adventure has a corruption or destruction of life or nature. After Innenotdar, she might start looking to put those right.
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
As an update on some more character ties...

Julius and Violet are both Gate Pass residents with a history of helping those in need; as such, they already are acquaintences. They might also end up as an in-game couple, since the PLAYERS of those characters are.

Gor'aan shares a connection to Ellith, as the elf's sister Liara has taken a liking to the orc.

Brena, thanks to her recent dealings in Ragos, has a passing remembrance of Rivereye Badgerface (it's tough to forget meeting someone like that, even once). That will tip her off quite quickly, when Larion tries to impersonate the gnome.

Playing the long game, both Violet's and Gor'aan's family units (be they clans, tribes, etc) are both magically inclined, and both directly in the path of the Ragesian Scourge, and members of both will probably be waiting in Chapter 8, trapped within the Scourge Prison.

I do like the idea that Shaaladel and Julius' father are a bit like Lex Luthor and Brainiac, playing chess against one another. Both are basically selfish, opportunistic powerhouses, trying to use the other for their own goals. They both seek a peaceful and orderly world; they just seek different means to that end (Shaaladel wants to rule everything, Calefactor wants to destroy whatever is weak). I'm inclined to think that Calefactor thinks of Julius as a secret weapon of sorts; a mortal agent with a divine spark, that can operate beneath Shaaladel's radar. His ultimate goal will be to achieve Leska's dream of a world in eternal war - "For only in struggle is one's true nature revealed, and only in conflict is the chaff separated from the grain. The weak and the meek shall fade away, and only the pure shall remain."

To that end, Calefactor's goals probably do include awakening Annihilation. It also means there might have to be a reckoning sometime after Chapter 10, where Calefactor confronts his son directly, and the rest of the party has to intervene. I wouldn't want to pull the "your warlock abilities are revoked" game on my player that close to the end of the game... but then again, maybe I could do so? If Julian is, genetically, half-celestial, he may (narratively) be able to fuel his own magical powers by the end of the campaign, rather than drawing his warlock power from his father.
 
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emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
As the last day of the year begins to close on Gate Pass, a motley group of adventurers were separately given invitations to a clandestine meeting at the Poison Apple Pub. Conveniently, they all decide to arrive SIX HOURS EARLY (gm: sigh) to scout ahead, only to find a notice posted about the proprietor's arrest. Unsure what to do, one returns to their own contact, where he's suggested that they possibly were too early for the meet. The rest go to visit another local tavern for dinner, and spend a bit of time learning about one another.

Eventually reconvening at midnight, they return to the pub, noticing light and movement within the boarded-up structure. Approaching, unstealthily, as a large group (gm: sigh), they soon meet Torrent, the cleric. She spends a bit of time small-talking, wondering if any others might come, while the bard explores the upstairs area just in case. As the clock eventually strikes midnight, they settle in for a discussion of the mission at hand... Ragesia's attack, the case of information they need to bring to Seaquen, and the plan to escape the city. Before they finish the discussion, though, they hear signs of intruders overhead.

Leaping to action, some of them race upstairs to confront the scouts, while another peeks out the door to the alleyway, noticing the thugs holding back a mastiff. The element of surprise gone, the fight begins, as the front doors burst open in a cloud of splinters (nat 20 to break the door). Mayhem ensues as neither side can hit the broad side of a barn, while Kathor simply watches and broods. Everything changes when the upper floors explode, sending the whole lot of scouts and heroes tumbling back into the bar, now on fire. Unsure of what is going on, the fight moves to the streets, where a stalemate starts to finally lean in the party's favor... until Kathor eventually calls his men off, citing their injuries and the pointlessness of this operation during the middle of a Ragesian attack.

The heroes race towards the depository that Torrent needs to reach, most of them paralyzed in fear at the roar of a dragon somewhere nearby, and press through a sea of panicked civilians. Stopping only briefly to heal some wounded people and rescue a woman from a burning tower, the soon reach the tower, encountering the strange Rivereye Badgerface. The bard immediately connected the name to the face, having once met him... but also sensed something seemed off. It wasn't long before the deception fell through, and he was forced to flee. Quaffing a potion of spider climb, he began to skitter about the chamber, using darkness and misdirection to mask his intentions...
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
The tower provided quite the wild goose chase... a well-placed illusion at a doorway distracted the party for precious sectons, letting Larion get into position on a higher floor. As the net closed in, Larion continued to slip in and out, around the crew, using his spider climbing abilities and supreme action economy (as a rogue) to stay one step ahead of the rest of the crew. After some unlucky attempts to pick locks, he ultimately got enough doors open to allow him to make a running leap from the fourth floor of the tower, calling out in celestial for his Lantern Archon to meet him and Shealis at the School. The fall was painful (Jump only increases the distance, it doesn't buffer against a 40 foot fall), but after taking a few arrows and spells, Larion dashed off into the Gate Pass night.

The party was frustrated at their failure to catch him, but were glad to hear that the REAL Rivereye Badgerface was still alive and kicking. A quick discussion revealed that the case had been taken by Shahalesti agents to some unknown location in the city. Figuring that this "Shealis" was the only lead they had, they paused for a quick rest at the temple of the Aquiline Cross, getting some minor aid from a local resistance leader, and making a quick stop at a blacksmith with connections to two of the heroes.

Eschewing sleep for the night, the crew head to Gabal's School at roughly 4am, meeting a man waiting & watching at the gate. While initially reserved, as soon as they mentioned a lantern archon, Diogenes graciously welcomed them in. After hearing a partially-redacted version of their tale, he revealed that Larion and the Archon were both still in the tower, as far as he knew. He proposed a team-up... he helps them get the information they need, and in exchange, they help him get a bit of payback at Shealis before she flees the city. He helps the heroes get into hidden positions in the tower, then approaches the elf's room to challenge her to one last "friendly duel..."
 

emeraldbeacon

Adventurer
Funny moment: While chasing Larion around the depository tower, the... rather bohemian druid went downstairs to summon the tower guards. After telling them there was an intruder who attacked them, three of them gathered together to enter the tower, prompting the druid to ask them, "don't step on my feet."

The chief guard sighed, and asked, "So where are they?"

Her reply? "...my feet?"
 

(And then the added confusion of you posting a second game too. grin)

Also, she's a druid. Eventually her feet might vanish when she turns into a snake or something.
 

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