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WotBS Episode 3 NPC behavior explanation?

simonf

Explorer
Curious to hear either from the publisher or from DMs who ran this module. I'll probably make changes in my setting, but I wonder how this was supposed to work originally.

Why is Lee Sidoneth so obvious about his association with Brutus, Setales, and Paradim? PCs are literally expected to meet them in his home. This will indicate that they are important, so the whole plot would be easy to unravel. Regardless of whether Lee expects to meet the PCs in Seaquen, he should be much more circumspect about his work, no?
 

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So, I wrote that 13 years ago, and I don't remember how the scene plays out.

If you were a powerful city official, and a group of concerned citizens showed up and saw three shady looking people leaving your house, they might ask you about it, and you'd probably have an excuse - you don't like them either, but they've got connected friends and they were trying to get you to do something; but you don't trust the PCs enough to get into it with them yet. Don't worry; it's nothing dangerous.
 

simonf

Explorer
First of all, thank you for writing the module! I find WotBS to be so much better than most other campaigns, so I'm happily buying its PDFs and roll20 add-ons.

I think the problem I'm having is not a world logic problem, but a DM problem. If I show this as a simple situation not worth much attention, the players might easily ignore its importance. If I highlight it too much, they will rightly have suspicions from the start. It just seems such a pivotal clue shouldn't be so much in the open.
 

Lylandra

Adventurer
I understand your fears as my own players saw right through the whole scene pretty quickly. So if your players are like mine, then I'd suggest you could alter the scene a bit. Lee is the Harbormaster of Seaquen and we all know that there are rough types around harbors.

So maybe make Brutus and Setales two of Lee's personal harbor guards and let Lee make a scene as soon as Torrent arrives with the PCs and tell Dogwood "No, I don't want to buy your creations to guard the Wayfarer's ship. They are OBVIOUSLY harmless cirquelists and THANK YOU, I can handle my harbor on my own with my guards."

Then to the two brothers "Now would you please escort this 'gentleman' back to his shop? An old friend of mine just arrived and I don't want to frighten her with that madman's appendages"
 

simonf

Explorer
@Lylandra : very crafty! I'm still new at managing a complex world, so this is good advice.

BTW, if you have run episode 4, how did you and your players like it? The military action in the middle part of ep 4 is the only part of WotBS so far I can't get excited about. Also, the intrigue with a bunch of new nobles seems like a lot of work with little payoff.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
My players liked episode 4 well enough (although episode 2 was their favorite).

The court intrigue at the beginning is an opportunity for role play, but like everything in these adventures, can be modified to fit your group's interests. It is an opportunity for the heroes to look beyond themselves and see that even if they don't care about fishing rights along the coast, it matters to these people, and a give and take needs to occur for everyone to be satisfied. Similar things happen in a lot of the side quests in adventure 3. The goblins need stability of resources and can benefit from trade. The dragon wants her egg back and can provide shelter for the refugees. The nobles of Dassen have their own concerns, and by working with those, the heroes can get vital influence in the court to slow down Steppengard's advance.

If the heroes gain enough victory points without the battle (or are very nearly there), you could just narrate holding the line. However, some of your players might enjoy it (you will know them best). The battle here is practice for holding the gate in adventure 9. Much will swing on whether the heroes were able to sabotage and eliminate all of the catapults and get the extra troops from Dashgoban and Timor. Positive accomplishments, like winning the favor of nobles, make later tasks, such as sabotaging the river, easier.

Always remember, the events depicted in the adventures are just one way things could play out. Enjoy making the adventure yours.! :)
 

simonf

Explorer
I absolutely enjoy adapting the adventure to my campaign. It's such a pleasure to have a wealth of material that I can mix and match. So I'm not so much complaining, but just thinking out loud.

My constraint is that both me and my players are fairly new, so we won't be able to handle very gradual world building in small pieces. We need strong emotional stakes to get involved. (Our story's vibe is closer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer rather than to Game of Thrones.) In this regard adventure 2 is great, because all the details either relate to the immediate situation or to the overall plot. In adventure 3, I'm actually dropping the small quests (dragon, goblins, etc) that barely relate to the episode's plot in favor of a couple of new medium-sized quests that will provide some subtle hints at the big issues the heroes will face.

I thought more about adventure 4, and the battles in the middle sounds fine, actually.
My main concern is the whiplash - just after getting oriented in Seaquen, they are thrown into completely different politics in Bresk, followed by major fighting, followed by more Bresk. And in particular I don't understand why Nina would drive the heroes to Duke Gallo, especially if they are imprisoned, when the king is about to fight Duke Gallo. I think what would make more sense is heroes first joining Gallo and helping him fight, maybe meeting a few of the other nobles, and only then going to Bresk where some combination of the first and the the third acts will happen.
 

Tormyr

Adventurer
The heroes will have established Seaquen as their base of operations, but they will not spend any significant time there during an adventure until adventure 11. The whiplash may be a byproduct of the design of the campaign. Each adventure is purposefully written in a different area so that the heroes can "fail" an adventure and still easily have the campaign move forward. One DM saw his players lose Seaquen. Now the Resistance is run by the Shahalesti, and the heroes are going to Dassen to gain allies and to establish the Resistance base of operations for the non-Shahalesti.

In this particular case, I feel that the heroes have proven themselves by saving Seaquen, and the Resistance needs high-performing agents. So the heroes get sent on increasingly complex and important missions. In this case, Seaquen has an existential crisis. The Ragesians are coming, and Dassen seems to be disinclined to stop them. The heroes are sent to escort a diplomat, but the situation will soon devolve to the point where the diplomat's skills will not help.


Madness is possibly the trillith to think through things logically the least, but, like all trillith, she does follow her theme to a fault. She is looking to create chaos and make Dassen weak so that it is an easy process for Ragesia to roll through and occupy Dassen. When the heroes flee, she paints them as agents of the treacherous Gallo and is able to get Steppengard to send his army. The fighting alone will weaken Dassen's military power, and the ensuing assassinations will destroy the Dasseni leadership.
 

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