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WotBS Ideas for Prequels?


Based on a comment that @thom_likes_gaming had in another thread, are there any prequels or lead-ins to the WotBS sdventure path proper, or does anyone have thoughts about what might happen in such a module? It could serve to introduce some of the initial lore of the world, and gauge interest among your playerbase to see if they'd want to continue a much longer campaign in that style. I could see it happening in one of two ways...

  1. A prologue Chapter, Levels 1-2: Life in Gate-Pass. This would help establish the heroes before the war begins, perhaps dealing with everyday life in Gate Pass. Preparations might be underway for that year's Festival of Dreams, even while reports begin to trickle in about increased Ragesian military operations. The low-level heroes would have a number of encounters whose real cause can be linked to the sundering of the Burning Torch)... there is a teleportation mishap at Gabal's School, and a missing acolyte to track down; a brute squad is attempting to clear Summer's Bluff of unwanted elvish beggars, but no one quite knows who's doing it; a contingent of Ragesian diplomats is hastily leaving town, and asks for escort. Eventually, once knowledge comes of Ragesia's approach, the Festival of Dreams is officially cancelled, and everyone reluctantly settles in for a somber new year celebration... even as a message arrives, calling the heroes to the Poison Apple Pub for an important mission.
  2. A direct lead-in one-shot , Level 5-ish: The Ragesian Job. As Leska orchestrates the mobilization of her forces across the nation, a ragtag group of resistance operatives learns of a plot to gather spellcasters from her own nation, and beyond... an operation seemingly code-named "SCOURGE." A well-connected gnome named Rivereye Badgerface has assembled this team (preconstructed PCs, perhaps?) within the capital city Ragos, to attempt the impossible... the heist of a key case of military intelligence, being delivered to the castle that night by Inquisitor Guthwulf. This near suicide mission needs the heroes to capture the case and deliver it to Rivereye, who has a plan to escape the city...
  3. An (evil?) indirect lead-in one-shot, Level teen-ish: Kill the Old Dragon. Ragesia is at its weakest point in decades. Coaltongue faces challenges to his authority in Sindaire; his lieutenant, Leska, is quietly making moves against him behind his back; and far in the east, Lord Shaladel has designs to take what he deigns is rightfully his. Perhaps the only thing that can stop all-out war is removing the most powerful piece from the table: The Torch of the Burning Sky. As you take command of a (pre-constructed) team of elite commandos, led by Rhuarc Knightsbane, your mission is simple: seize the Torch, kill the Old Dragon, and save the world from war. Simple, right?
Does anyone else have thoughts about prequels, that could work to stoke interest in the story as a whole?

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Bill T.

Your second option came to mind as I was reading.

The bonus adventure 2, "Moral dilemmas", might work. I don't think it would take a lot of effort to move it back to the time when the eight lands were actually, you know, eight, before Steppengard's ascendance.

If your players are sufficiently political, then you might consider a prequel that ends with the appointment of the Exarch of Sindaire. Have them play Ragesians. Extra credit if, at the end, they come to realize they've been working for the bad guys.

If they're not so political, they can help with the Resistance to Ragesia's first occupation of Gate Pass.

There's also the Lsi Pu incident, whatever that means.


There's also the Lsi Pu incident, whatever that means.
That was when Dassen sought the aid of Seaquen to deal with a wind mage that was stirring up trouble, and Seaquen rejected them. To that end, it could be a Dasseni group sent to negotiate (or force) Lsi Pu to stop his shenanigans... a success could lead to him consenting to stop; failure could result in an effective team wipe, Lsi Pu getting bored... either way, he goes west, changes his name to Pilus, and establishes the Two Winds Monastery.


The difficulty with #2 and #3 is that you don't want a failure in the mission to impact the overall narrative of the campaign. Both of these can cause significant changes to the campaign, beyond the inevitable changes incurred by the PCs.

My preference is #1, but I prefer to tone the difficulty down (no need to kill PCs during what is essentially an extended character creation).


The difficulty with #2 and #3 is that you don't want a failure in the mission to impact the overall narrative of the campaign. Both of these can cause significant changes to the campaign, beyond the inevitable changes incurred by the PCs.
Right. In the case of running #2 or #3, I would preface it by saying that the one-shot is more of a "flavor + lore" event, to give the players some sense of the world the campaign is happening within, and that the actual events of the world would probably differ from how THEY played it out... possibly in small ways, possibly in big ones.

I'd personally love to develop a prequel mini-module for levels 1 and 2, with a bit of lore mixed in with some light combat. Perhaps taking place in the roughly one-week span between the winter solstice, and new year's eve, and culminating with invitations to the fateful meeting at the Poison Apple Pub?

Some of the ideas I had for encounters or background lore...
  1. Open hunts were on hold for observance of the winter solstice; but now, they're back in session, and the city is in need of food in this colder-than-usual winter. While on a simple hunting expedition, the team runs into Black Horse highwaymen demanding a high toll be paid; obviously broke, they must fight for their lives. Near the end of the encounter, though, Kathor Danava arrives, none too happy at what he sees. He berates his men for acting like simpleton criminals, then sends the crew on their way, with his apologies... but quietly takes note of any spellcasters among them.
  2. A public demonstration of magic sponsored by the Gabal's School of Magic goes awry when a fire unexpectedly starts, and the heroes are pressed into action to help extinguish it. Afterwards, the organizer (a man named Diogenes) beseeches the party to help find the lost acolyte, who ran from the scene in flames. He's found hiding in the sewers, haunted not only by his misty step "error," but also the bizarre, terrifying spirits (lesser trillith) lingering below the city streets.
  3. As public opinion has turned against them, a small group of Ragesian diplomats are willing to pay the party, in exchange for disguising them, and providing a very subtle escort to the western gates. This goes awry, of course, when a small mob of angry citizens threaten them. Tensions mount until either the heroes talk the crowd down, or someone in the masses throws the first stone. If a fight breaks out, unexpected help comes from the swashbuckling rogue Rantle, who swoops in to assist when things look grim.
  4. The city guard requests assistance in locating and capturing those accused of stealing from supplies for the Festival of Dreams... but the victim, Erdan Menash (merchant, socialite, and city councilman), seems less vengeful than curious about the matter. The investigation leads to a small pack of poor elven children, only seeking a means to celebrate with the rest of the city.
  5. When a member of the Wayfarer's Guild arrives in a burst of flames and nearly dies, local leaders seek answers. Some point fingers at the Ragesian Empire, whom have long favored fire magics, and are reported to be mobilizing their armies; others speculate that the long-burning forest of Innenotdar may be spreading its influence to the north. The Church of the Aquiline Cross suggests that the recent firestorm in far-away Sindaire could have much greater ramifications than expected. There are even whispers of a Red Dragon in the mountains to the northwest, though no sightings have yet been confirmed.
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Those are neat ideas. If you do the one with Diogenes, make sure to get his personality right. He might be concerned about the missing wizard, but he'd couch it in light mockery and frustration, and as soon as the wizard got back, rather than being relieved and making sure the guy was alright, he'd sarcastically congratulate him for his unorthodox method of casting fireball, but say that next time he'll need to aim better because he only injured his classmates instead of killing them.

Based on a comment that @thom_likes_gaming had in another thread, are there any prequels or lead-ins to the WotBS sdventure path proper, or does anyone have thoughts about what might happen in such a module? It could serve to introduce some of the initial lore of the world, and gauge interest among your playerbase to see if they'd want to continue a much longer campaign in that style.

Since you mentioned me...
I've settled on giving my party the old "Baldur's Gate" introduction, and have them clear out a cellar full of rats (and level-appropriate enemies). To integrate that into Gate Pass, I'll have it be the hidden basement of the temple used as a Resistance hideout in the first module, basically having a Resistance contact ask them to make this place safe for their meetings. I'm looking into sprinkling some trillith salt over that, but I'm not sure how yet, plus I'm weary of overloading the encounter and making it look like it's more than it's meant to me.

Some nice ideas in here though :)


I like the "help clear out the safe house" idea... the party could be sent in to simply deal with a vermin infestation, but those who aren't directly related to the Resistance, might be curious about the fact that they're being vetted so heavily for a simple extermination operation, or that they're being led through trap doors and such that seem like they're designed to be hidden...

If you want to stretch the story a bit, the basement might have been errantly breached by something underground, either in the sewers or the extensive caverns below the city, which is how the rats got in, in the first place. The escalating number of trillith being created and escaping might have disturbed something far under the city; something subterranean that happened to dig a little too high. Coaxing that creature safely away from the city could be another mission.


On my side, my 4 characters will have an adventure on their own first, then meet for a second short basement quest, and finally will meet torrent at the poison apple pub.

here's a brief description of the intro quests : all of them take place on december 29th, 2 days prior the poison apple meeting.

1. Norfaelor (half elf bard) is trying to entertain the "crowd" in the "Last for the road" pub.
At the end of his performance, a guy (Rantle) come to him to ask him a "favor". His friends are too busy checking on informations about the armies gathering near the city to take care of that semmingly secondary task.
he would like Norfaelor to inspect a house in the city, because he has doubts on the guy living there activities.
Norfaelor goes there at night, sneeks in through a back door and inspects the house.
He finds in the office a map of the city with several houses in the city with cross on them.
He also finds in the master's bedroom a letter signed boreus, telling him that the next "operation" will take place on the 30th
In the bedroom's cupboard, he also finds a red cloak and a bear's skull helmet.
2 Bodyguards arrive at the house while he's inspecting it and there's a fight. If things turn badly, Rantle will come for help, but then the character knows about the inquisitors matter. Rantle is happy with his skills and tells him that a friend of his (Erdan Menash) is having problems with "vermin" in his basement and Rantle thinks that Norfaelor can help, and will try to find him some fellows to accompany him, tomorrow night in the basement

2. Konrad is a brand new black-horse mercecnary, ranger and archer, and he's on duty west of the city, in a large and vast plain, with 2 others Black-Horse. From afar, he sees another group of black hrose bullying and attacking a merchants wagon hurrying back to the city before for a denew year's eve. The bullying mercenaries seem to really mollest badly the merchant and the one next to Konrad are really enjoying the show, laghing at the merchant's bad fortune. Konrad should be upset and will probably want to help the wagon owner, but his duty fellows tell him not to, even threatening him that if he he wants to help the merchants, they might prevent him to, using force if needed.
My player (in his background) has already decided that the bounty hunter's life could be fun, but the way the black horses actually treat the defendless wagon is more than he can bear. So he either rushes to help the merchants and will have to fight the assaulters, or is impeached of doing it and will fight with his own group, or may be he will try to fight both groups, but anyway this will end his early collaboration with the mercenaries.
Kathor is probably gonna be around in some way, stopping the fight or observing from afar what's happening, but it should be clear that he's managing the mercenaries' groups and that Konrad should not stay arounf too long.
He will join the merchants for their last mile to the city, also meeting a travelling monk on the occasion, and meeting Menash on the delivery, that will ask for help in his basement.

3. Skarabay is a travelling monk arriving to Gate Pass to get infos for the 2 winds monastery about the war's preparation at the gates of the city. The monastery needs these info to prepare for their own action in the war.
Arriving west of the city, a wagon of merchants is catching up on him on the road. Just as the wagon arrives nest to the monk, a group of blackhorse mercenaries arrive to bully them and steel some of the wagon's content. The monk should try to protect the merchants and will fight the mercenaries. At some point another mercenary arrive from the east (Actually Konrad) and help him out fighting, may be chased by his own pursuants, if he didn't subdue them before.
Kathor will stop the fight, and will scold the mercenaries for their manners, arguing that the coming war should be the priority and that stealing some goods from a "poor merchant" isn't worth of what he's expecting his men to act like.
Kathor will nevertheless take notes on any magic user, keeping the infos for later... just in case.
The monk will finish his journey to the city with the wagon owner (and Konrad) up to Menash's emporium, telling him how brave these guys were defending his goods.
Menash will consider they could probably help him with the strange noises he hears in his basements at night...

#2 and #3 are 2 lead-ins adventure that are entertwined, and I took that idea from emeraldbeacon's own idea...

4. ??? (no name yet, and hasn't played her intro quest yet) An Arcanum's student (sorcerer) is awoken by the sound of a small explosion just outside the sanctuary. Looking through the window, she sees 2 young students from gabal's school, laughing and watching the sanctuary debuting fire, a parchment in their hand.
Gratanus asks for her help with the other people in the sanctuary to put out the fire quickly, but if she tells him that she saw the Gabal's students that casted the flaming sphere spell, he tells her to go and try to catch them herself as he sall take care of the fire.
She will easily find these students in the streets, surprised that someone runs after them for once.
they will start fighting in some hidden backstreets.
Some blackhorses checking on the fire will be alerted by the noise of the fight, and possibly see some strange lights or hear some detonations in the street nearby.
Seeing the Blackhorse arriving, the gabal's students immediately flee, and tell the sorcerer to do so too. They're quicker and they climb and jump over some small walls, escaping easily from the blackhorses. The sorcerer hear them approaching and she feels that she's probably gonna be taken away by them, knowing that a lot of magic users have disapeared after they've been arrested by the mercenaries. Suddenly a door open next to the sorcerer and she's dragged inside a house just before being seen by the blackhorses.
The door that opened is Menash's Emporium backdoor and he's gonna hide her for a while, until the blackhorses are gone. If asked how could the sorcerer thank him, he will jump on the occasion, and tells her that he has some problems in his basement that she could maybe help him take care of....

The basement issue is much alike the prequel used by thom_likes_gaming... and the way my players will get rid of the issue will lead menash to think that maybe these four guys could help the resistance, and thus tell them to Meet Torrent athe Poison apple Pub the next day, 31st of December, just before midnight...

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