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Let's get that Torch!

OnlineDM

Villager
I have an interesting little situation in my WotBS campaign. The party is moving toward the end of Adventure Three now. During the last session, they participated in the war council, and one PC was especially interested in Xavious Foebane's discussion about sending an elite group to go after the Torch of the Burning Sky. The PC knows that Xavious has some of his own people in mind, but he's made it a mission to convince Xavious to send this party instead.

Now, I admire his pluck, but it looks like the party won't be getting anywhere near the direct quest for the torch until adventure 6. Finishing up adventure 3 is no problem - the storm is just getting started now, and the party will be caught up in the chase for Lee soon enough. But what about after the storm?

I know that the Mad King's Banquet comes next, and I've only glanced at the adventure so far, but it doesn't look like there's any torchy goodness in it (nor the subsequent adventure) - on the contrary, it sounds like part of the adventure will be to get King Steppengard to allow Xavious's elite force to go after the Torch. If I have to railroad the party, I railroad them - Seaquen is in danger, and they need to get Dassen on their side to save Seaquen. The Torch will have to wait. But at the same time I do want to encourage the players to take the initiative.

Has anyone else run into this before? What suggestions do you have on the best approach?

Just to be clear, my party is pretty amenable to DM direction, and if I follow the path as written, they'll be fine. But when something in the story grabs the group, I want to encourage that if I can!
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
They can't get through the Firestorm surrounding Castle Korstull (adventure 6) without the aid of the monks at the Monastary of Two Winds (adventure 5) which is en route.

If they want to go straight after the torch, #5-#6 together pretty much create that quest, so you're only missing out #4. It's doable. But when they get back, that Ragesian army will have walked through Dassen and destroyed Seaquen.

BUT - it can be done. Juggle the timeline slightly. Your hardest job will be ajusting the encounters to fit their level, but that's completely doable, especially in 4E.
 

EugeneZ

Villager
With regards to juggling the timeline as Morrus suggests, I'd say that as long as you don't mind the encounter level adjustments, let the PCs go after the torch -- have Xavious "hire them" and tell them that Pilus and Longinus are likely to have a way to get through the firestorm, which should be enough to get your PCs to at least begin #5. With #4 left undone, Duke Gallo is flanked by Ragesian and Steppengard forces and loses.

Meanwhile, your PCs are doing #5-6. At the end of #6, Darius's maddened scrawls are supposed to be a signpost to Ycengled and the Temple of Echoed Sould but it's hard enough to understand that the players probably won't arrive at this conclusion with a little guidance from you. Instead of letting them roll a knowledge check or something, see if they'll decide to take this news back to Seaquen... you might even have a PC suggest that if neccessary. On their way back to Seaquen, they see that an army is marching on Seaquen.

Time to slip back to #4... have Balan meet the PCs on the road or in a town they stop at or something, and have him urgently request that PCs help him snap Steppengard out of his madness. This should be enough to have them divert to Bresk on their way back... you'll need to adjust quite a bit of the adventure, since Gallo is defeated (and possibly dead, executed as a traitor?) but it should still be quite managable.
 

OnlineDM

Villager
Beautiful - this is exactly what I was looking for! If the party is determined to get the Torch, come hell or high water, that decision will have consequences (Ragesian army marching unopposed on Seaquen). I can present them with the choice and let them decide their priorities.

Presented in this way, I think they're likely to want to try to help protect Seaquen (they have people they care about in the town now), even if it means waiting on the Torch. But if they feel that the most important thing is to get the Torch ASAP, despite the consequences for Seaquen, so be it.

Thank you!
 

EugeneZ

Villager
I meant to add one important piece of advice in my post but of course forgot it while writing the rest. Here it is:

If I were in your place, it would be tempting for me to "punish" the players for not following the railroad by destroying Seaquen. But I think that's a bit extreme, and I have a better solution: let the consequence for not going to Bresk earlier be that Duke Gallo is executed. He would have been a great ally to the party. But don't have Seaquen be destroyed unless the PCs bungle the post-#6 implementation of #4. Originally, in #4, Duke Gallo's impending doom is the primary impetus for the party to want to "fix" the King. If you destroy Seaquen prematurely, you'll lose a far better impetus than Gallo, and what's more, they'll feel slighted since they just saved the damn town from a storm.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I agree. The goal is always for everyone to have fun, not to punish your friends.

Absolutely try to accommodate them. It's more work for you, but they'll always remember it.
 

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