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ZEITGEIST The Cephlapod Caper

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The great Eclipse is upon us, The A-team of the RHC office in flint are off fighting Fey Titans saving the world and generally doing great things, the B-Team have been assigned to back up special forces units protecting Axis Island and dealing with major security problems. Inspector Drelft is acting head of the RHC and juggling resources while watching out for more giant Mimics. Who is left to stop the strong arming(tentacling) of the workers on the docks?
Why the D-Team, of special auxiliary constables on their first every assignement. Will they be able to stop the cephlapodic master mind Primo from taking over the docks? Will I be able to come up with enough Octopus and NHS Jokes to keep myself going? Will it be a good thing that the people involved will probably not get a chance to throw things at me until April ?

Coming soon a one off adventure for my work colleagues where they must hunt down the criminal Cephlapod master mind Primo and avoid insanity. Still working on the details but the octopus will have its day
 

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Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Another thing I have to include , Primo disguising himself as a wall fitting. It will be a few weeks before this gets fully written and run. But should be amusing, if it works well I may use it as a convention game.
 



Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Little Primo
Octopus druid (skinshaper) 6 (Pathfinder RPG Bestiary, 219, Pathfinder RPG Ultimate Intrigue 26)
N Small magical beast (aquatic, augmented animal)
Hero Points 1
Init +5; Senses darkvision 60 ft., low-light vision; Perception +14
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Defense
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AC 18, touch 17, flat-footed 13 (+1 deflection, +5 Dex, +1 natural, +1 size)
hp 82 (10d8+16)
Fort +8, Ref +11, Will +11; +4 vs. fey and plant-targeted effects
Defensive Abilities ink cloud
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Offense
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Speed 20 ft., swim 30 ft.; jet 200 ft.
Melee +1 club +12/+7 (1d4+5) or
. . bite +11 (1d4+1 plus poison), tentacle +11 (grab)
Druid (Skinshaper) Spells Prepared (CL 6th; concentration +11)
. . 3rd—ice spears (DC 18), greater longstrider[ACG], resinous skin[UC], water breathing[D]
. . 2nd—barkskin, bull's strength, frigid touch[UM], slipstream[D,APG] (DC 17), stone discus[ACG]
. . 1st—cure light wounds, hydraulic push[D,APG], obscuring mist, thorn javelin[ACG] (2), wave shield[ACG]
. . D Domain spell; Domain Aquatic domain[UM]
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Statistics
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Str 16, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 21, Cha 4
Base Atk +7.5; CMB +9 (+13 grapple); CMD 25 (can't be tripped)
Feats Improved Natural Attack (bite), Intimidating Prowess, Multiattack, Persuasive, Power Attack, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +11 (+7 to jump), Diplomacy -1, Escape Artist +15, Intimidate +14, Perception +14, Sense Motive +11, Stealth +22, Survival +7, Swim +15; Racial Modifiers +10 Escape Artist, +8 Stealth
Languages Druidic, Primordial
SQ hero points, nature bond (Aquatic domain[UM]), nature sense, prestige unseen court, prestige-flint, prestige-risur, sealord, seastrike, skinshaping 2/day, trackless step, wild empathy, woodland stride
Other Gear +1 club, ring of protection +1, shifter's headband (+2 wis)[UE]
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Special Abilities
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Darkvision (60 feet) You can see in the dark (black and white only).
Druid (Skinshaper) Domain (Aquatic) Granted Powers: You master the deeps of the sea, raging rivers, flowing falls, and relentless tides.
Grab: Tentacle (Small) (Ex) You can start a grapple as a free action if you hit with the designated weapon.
Hero Points Hero Points can be spent at any time to grant a variety of bonuses.
Ink Cloud (10 ft. radius, 1/minute) (Ex) Emit an ink cloud, which provides total concealment.
Jet (200 ft.) Move in a straight line at 200, with no attacks of opportunity.
Low-Light Vision See twice as far as a human in dim light, distinguishing color and detail.
Nature Sense (Ex) A druid gains a +2 bonus on Knowledge (nature) and Survival checks.
Poison (DC 13) (Ex) Bite—injury; save Fort DC 13; frequency 1/round for 6 rounds; effect 1 Str; cure 1 save. The save DC is Constitution-based.
Power Attack -2/+4 You can subtract from your attack roll to add to your damage.

Sealord (8/day, DC 10) (Su) Channel as cleric to heal/command aquatic/water subtype targets.
Seastrike (Su) Freedom of movement for weapons in water, throw as standard & returns.
Skinshaping (2/day) (Su) Adopt a humanoid form as alter self, gain expanded benefits at high levels.
Swim (30 feet) You have a Swim speed.
Trackless Step (Ex) You do not leave a trail as you move through natural surroundings.
Wild Empathy +6 (Ex) Improve the attitude of an animal, as if using Diplomacy.
Woodland Stride (Ex) Move through undergrowth at normal speed.


My original Primo build is too powerful for a one off with inexperienced players , a version of this one will be used. Druid lets him take Human form when needed. Technically his INT should be about 3 but that is no fun
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
The plot outline , simple as I will have brand new players. They will find the evidence they need to move between the different crime scenes even if kobolds have to issue whispered clues from their cunning hiding places
The Cephalopod affair

Scene 1
The Special Reserve Constable team Hellfish (After the unfortunate incident with one of the first extra dimensional incursions after the Great Eclipse during their swimming training). Has been assigned to guard an informant who promises to provide information about the new violent gang boss Primo. The assignment is to guard him until the C-team becomes available from its Hive Mind prevention duties.
The informant is a dockhand called Chris Sleeman , a half orc immigrant from Ber, he claims to have seem Primo murdering several other dockhands who were refusing to pay their protection money.
Suddenly there is screaming cut off with a gurgling noise , the door to the room is blocked and by the time the team breaks in Mr Sleeman is dead his throat crushed , evidence reveals a small intruder broke in via the plumbing.

Scene 2
Information at the Crime scene leads to a group of Primo’s enforcers working on the docks who can be beaten up and the location of the Crime Lords lair revealed.

Scene 3
The Crime Lords lair, fighting the way into the lair encounters several thugs an Lieuteants who are duly beaten up and arrested

Scene 4
At the back of the hideout the team corner Primo and a few enforcers before the Cunning Cephalopod can escape down into the lagoon. It seems there is a mysterious blockage in the Pipeline
 

Eltab

Lord of the Hidden Layer
Is there a way (perhaps Potion of Polymorph: Fish) for a PC to re-enact the "all drains lead to the sea" scene in Finding Nemo, with Primo flitting in and out just at the limit of visual range when the sewer pipe briefly straightens out?
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Is there a way (perhaps Potion of Polymorph: Fish) for a PC to re-enact the "all drains lead to the sea" scene in Finding Nemo, with Primo flitting in and out just at the limit of visual range when the sewer pipe briefly straightens out?
I never saw finding Nemo but that is a good idea, let me think about it
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
They are protecting a witness so a wand of reduce person show they can hide the person as they move them from site to site, they could use that to follow Primo into the pipes.
 

MacD

Just a tourist passing your way...
Are your players new to p&p or new into the system you're playing?
If 1, are they geeky enough to stillbtake p&p serious after that plot?

I ask for a friend 😆
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
They are work colleagues with little or no direct prior experience of tabletop gaming. I am aiming for fun with no deep plot so they should hopefully laugh.
Particularly as Octopus is a type of software we use and there will be other references. If it works I may try it out at the UK games expo if that runs
 

MacD

Just a tourist passing your way...
They are work colleagues with little or no direct prior experience of tabletop gaming. I am aiming for fun with no deep plot so they should hopefully laugh.
Particularly as Octopus is a type of software we use and there will be other references. If it works I may try it out at the UK games expo if that runs
Lol ok that sounds fun 😂
 


Sounds neat.

The three bits of advice I try to always keep in mind for short adventures are:

1. Two motivations. Give the pregen PCs two motivations: one shared by the group, so they all want to 'beat the baddy,' and one that is personal, to motivate a bit of roleplaying.

In this adventure, maybe one PC has a friend who had their boat burned down by a henchman of the Primo [wants revenge], and another is the sibling of a different henchman [wants to keep them safe], and another works with the navy's trained aquatic creatures [might recruit the Primo], and another is friends with a pub owner [and the henchmen in scene two are busy smuggling fancy liquor that the PC might filch for his friend]. I think those could be played humorously.

2. Narrow-wide-narrow. There's nothing wrong with linear narratives, but one of the strengths of tabletop RPGs is the freedom that video game RPGs can't match. I like to make sure each scene doesn't have a definite conclusion, and that there is at least one decision point where the party feels like their choices in the middle of the session affect the climax. Like maybe the minions know where the lair is, but also know where they were going to meet the boss, so the party could lay an ambush. Something small like that.

3. Quirky Details. It's not easy to have mechanically complex foes in a one-shot, but giving them a tiny bit of flair can make them memorable. Maybe the Primo's lair is under a bar, and their big scheme is to smuggle fancy alcohol, so one of the perks each minion gets is a trio of potions that come in tiny liquor bottles. When the party gets to the lair, maybe the other minions who are there have colorful cocktails, and the bartender quickly pours a 'shot' worth of potion into each cocktail. (I'm partial to Kraken Rum.)
 
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Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Thinking about it I can say that advice fits almost all of my convention games plots and characters. For this one I am preparing a very clear and scripted pathway but if players have ideas they will almost certainly work and change the pathway.
Primo's base is going to be a resteraunt on the bay with a big underwater window in it's dining room where they will face his minions as he escapes cackling maniacally to swim off. Until someone drains the bay so they can fight She Who Writhes leaving him stranded just outside the window so they can capture him
 


Are you running for groups of strangers? I recall running Bonds of Forced Faith at GenCon two times, but before that I'd done a test run with some local friends, which helped work out the kinks.

I'd say break a leg, but tentacles have no bones!
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
Games expo will be entiretly strangers and this will be one of several games I run, the star wars game is one I have run several times the other 3 are new. It may still get run for some colleagues at work and/or my normal gaming group
 

Andrew Moreton

Adventurer
This ran at the Games Expo this morning
We had Ella the Sorceress and fluffy her cat familiar. Orthack the Destroyer Int 6 orc Barbarian, Guido the Made Man Family Rogue, Steve Rodgers a man with a shield, Illiadan the Seer a Deva Oracle, and Glorfindel two gun an elven gunslinger.

The team was asssigned to guard the informant Mr Sleeman in a safehouse above a coffee shop run by the family, Glorfindel was on the Roof. Illiadan and Steve Rodgers patrolled the ground floor, Guido was gtting everyone coffee and pastries Ella and Orthack stood guard outside the apartment, Ella turned out to be deaf, Orthack heard a scream and a the thud of a body collapsing inside but his orders were to block the doorway so he did. Inside Little Primo strangled their informant.
Eventually Guido arrived with some coffee for Mr Sleeman and opened the door to find the body. Recriminations.
Investigating theroom revelaed that a Risuri Mountian Octopus has climbed up the drain in the bath and strangled their informant. They discussed how this was possible and then realised the Oracle could talk to the dead for 5 minutes. He did, Mr Sleeman insulted and abused them for being the worlds worst bodyguards(with some reason) but eventualled revealed that he knew the location of one of Primo's Gangs and they sent messages back to a central location where they got messages from the boss.

After some discussion about the merits of searching the sewers they instead decided to stage a raid on the gang while fluffy, Glorfindel and Guido followed the man sent to warn the boss. The low grade thugs put up no serious opposition and the team was able to rescue a kidnapped docker was who was about to be fed to the fishes. The surveillance team found the bigger warehouse the boss was at and saw there was a bossman and some thugs inside. Fluffy went back to fetch the others while the other two sneaked around and got spotted , they were chased back to th roof where the gang decided to get rid of them by burning down the building. The two sneaks then climbed down and chained the dooors shut, as the gang was about to break out the rest of the team arrived and Ella lit more fires. A fight occurred and thanks to Ostea all the gang were taken alive , the two hostages inside the warehouse burned to death but no one noticed that.

A bit of interrogation , threats of feeding someone to the Kraken and other things which Manuel would have felt to be illegal persuaded the boss to reveal that he reported to the last footstep Sushi resteraunt where his main contact was the much feared Lone Shark a wereshark and the left hand shark of the big boss.
They went there before news of a warehouse and pier burning down spread too widely. The last footprint is where Bourne stood at the edge of Parity lake and created a vast footprint into the lake, and has a foot shaped underwater resteraunt with a glass wall. Glorfindel and Guido were to sneak in invisiblly after Orthack got the door open by asking for a job and being turned down. Despite telling them he only moved boxes the huge Orcish barbarian was taken down for a job interview after all Primo always wanted new dangerous thugs. Fluffy who was observing all this facepalmed as the Orc said he already has a job as a constable. On getting the face palm message the team outside stormed in with Ella igniting the guards at the door , Glorfindel and Guido moved to help Orthack as Primo Monologued about his ineveitible victory and Cephalapod superiority. The Lone Shark and Orthack traded blows, Guido scooped up Primo in the tablecloth from the table he was on and Glorfindel shot the minions. The Dwarf with no name proceded to roll 3 consecutive 1's and miss with every shot at the pc's and the Sorceror was little better. The others arrived to help and thanks to emergency healing Orthack won the duel of low int killing machines. The other minions were subdued and Primo initiated his emergency escape via a small airlock in the window proclaiming he would never be caught as he swam to safety. As he landed outside the window Queen Nevla's druids finished the ritual to lower the water level across the bay and lake stranding both the Kraken and Little Primo. as Steve Rodgers took him into custody he told them tha Big Primo would avenge him
 

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