When a npc changes from friend to foe or vice versa.

Draegn

Explorer
In my game the half elf paladin has previously been captured and ransomed back three times. This due to bad luck with the dice and another player in character running away from the combat. If the halfling wizard had stayed would things have been different? No one knows.

Now the paladin has a relationship for lack of better word with a robber knight (ArKay). Arkay enjoys the company of the paladin, becomes wealthier, the loyalty of his men increases, and everyone eats better than usual for a time.

This time the paladin 13, druid 11, ranger 10 and wizard 10 went to assassinate an enemy general. Evil/anti paladin 15 and his lamia cleric 12 lover. But they were betrayed by another npc who was seeking revenge on a fifth character, a thief.

The group was given hints that it was a trap. Fewer guards, easier location to sneak up to, targets in an apparent compromising position. (Silhouettes of the evil guy and lamia seen inside a candle lite tent) The paladin and druid approach, open the tent flaps and see two female slaves wearing animal costume with a male slave performing. All four players cringe, sigh, curse, swear, that it's a trap.

The halfling runs away for the fourth time, no spells, no weapons, just fleeing. The others are captured with both the ranger and druid being critically injured.

The halfling surprised us by going to Arkay's camp instead of the other characters or an ally npc.

What will Arkay now do? He likes the paladin and does not want to see her maimed or killed, however, if he attempts a rescue his word and honor as such will be ruined for having gone against his employer the evil paladin.

What could he reasonably expect as a reward for rescuing the other three? What reward for taking the halfling to his general?
 

aco175

Adventurer
I could see Arkay helping the halfling with information or an item to be able to rescue the paladin. It moves the story along and the party can become whole again. This makes Arkay more likable to the PCs and paladin. In a future adventure you can set up Arkay to need help and come to the PCs to get aid. You could make the problem a bigger evil that the paladin can get on board with or even something less righteous and another gang has captured his.
 

Dausuul

Legend
This seems like a great place for some of that Lawful Evil finagling to come into play.

"As a matter of honor, I can't take up arms against my employer... but, since you fled the battle and are no longer a combatant (right now), I can bestow some useful minor magic items on you out of the goodness of my heart. And maybe some gold, and the names of a few mercenaries who owe me favors. But I'm afraid I really can't show you this map with the secret entrance to my employer's lair. Oh, excuse me, I have some business to take care of over there. I'll just leave the map on the table. I can trust you not to look at it, can't I? Of course I can."
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
ArKay captures the halfling and brings him before the general, accompanied by his (ArKay's) troops. Then, you bring the halfling player aside where the rest of the party can't hear -- and you discuss the wild plan that the halfling and ArKay have secretly formulated to break the party free in the most dramatic and over-the-top way possible!

You see, ArKay has fallen in love with the paladin. The jailbreak not only earns ArKay the enmity of his former general, but ArKay's own troops become divided; some stay loyal, but others resent this rash and dishonorable action. Of course, this all happens in the blink of an eye; everyone takes sides in roughly the same amount of time it takes to say "roll initiative..."

Bonus points if the evil general AND ArKay's former second-in-command both survive the encounter and team up to vow revenge!
 

Draegn

Explorer
My ten players regardless of which of their characters they happen to be playing have all missed the two major plots in the campaign area. The first is to find a heir of the missing Marquis or elevate someone to the title. At the start there were nine nobles. A non-hereditary Bishop/Count, A Viscountess, two Barons, and five Baronets. Now there are 13 with the addition of another Baron and three more Baronets.

There are also neighboring powers that would be more than happy to annex the area which is roughly the size of Luxembourg. This is what lead to the current war. Though the players never found out who instigated it or why. The evil/anti paladin general, his lamia lover, body guard of 20 minotaurs, and other anthropomorphic troops should have been a sign as these beings hail from the Egyptian/Libyan area of the world. Whereas the home area is much like Geneva and Interlaken

If the group had successfully engaged the general they would have found out. Alas they were betrayed by a mere waif of a 14 year old girl that one of the primary thief characters tossed aside instead of helping her out as any good master would do for an apprentice. It is true, there is no honor among thieves.

All the ideas above are very good. In fairness I have ArKay being fond of paladin Jynefer. When they first met and Jynefer was taken prisoner, the intention was to ransom her back and just kill her men at arms. Jynefer stated that she would do whatever to took to save her men and being in service to the temple of Venus tried to seduce ArKay. I asked her to roll both charisma and comeliness (two natural twenties were rolled) Thus a bargain was struck which has honored the last two times ArKay took Jynefer captive.

Much to think about and whatever will the players do?
 

Coroc

Adventurer
Lamia as a lover? How do I get the pictures out of my head now? You mean the lion thing don't you?
 

Draegn

Explorer
Lamia as a lover? How do I get the pictures out of my head now? You mean the lion thing don't you?
I use the 1e description you can find a picture here.

https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Lamia

If the images are stuck in your mind like a bad song on repeat, I suggest having a lovely Whitley Wobbler, we needed one when the ranger player (zoology student) decided to explain how the evil bloke and lamia would actually .... well you can imagine that too. :p
 

Draegn

Explorer
[MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] [MENTION=58197]Dausuul[/MENTION] [MENTION=27385]aco175[/MENTION]

Finally have all primary characters and alternate characters caught up to the same in game day. What happened?

The halfling mage Pips ran to ArKay's camp crying and wailing. Arkay's men pushed and shoved her around a bit, knowing that she is the coward that always flees. Arkay comes out to see what the commotion is about. Pips throws herself at his feet and begs for him to save Jynefer. ArKay asks why? Pips exclaims that Jynefer is carrying his child and he must save her. Shes explains with the timing of the moon and the blessing of Venus that Jynefer conceived. It is a lie but a possible truth which ArKay has no way of verifying.

I make a roll even odd, care or does not care. Arkay cares. Now he has a dilemma. He cannot leave his lover and unborn child to suffer, yet he also gave his word and accepted payment to serve in the mercenary army under the anti-paladin on behalf of the enemy state. His men split into three groups: save the captain's woman, how much will we be paid, and find a new wench. ArKay enters his tent with his retainers and henchmen leaving Pips to talk with the men.

Pips makes a d20 roll to see how many men she knows by name, she gets seven. Three are in the pay group, four in the get a new wench faction.

Pips talks and answers questions

There will be more than one ransom the ranger and druid are there too, so three ransoms.
She adds herself to the list for a fourth ransom.
Asked about her smaller size she will use Jynefer's clothing instead of hers.
Asked about the druid who mostly is a huge bear, there is a discussion about size of paws, do paws wear boots or gloves, how much larger will a bear sized helm and cloak be.
Then Pips is asked about how they're expected to carry all the coin, jewelry and foodstuffs that the previous ransoms consisted off.

Pips promises that the character group will pay 500 shares which each share consisting of

200 silver
100 electrum
50 gold
10 platinum
1 piece of jewelry

Each man gets 1 share, sergeants 3, officers 7, henchmen 10, retainers 15 with the remainder going to ArKay.

The party does not have anywhere near this wealth but that is a problem for later.

ArKay comes out and the men say they want the loot offered by Pips, ArKay agrees but his plans are different.

Arkay's goals are to get Jynefer, rob what can be taken from the anti-paladin's pay master, get Jynefer's and any other gear, then get the druid and ranger.

ArKay cannot ride in with all his men as that would look suspicious. He divides the men into ten squads and will take two with him, one for Jynefer one for the pay master. One will move the camp gear and wounded to a safe rally point. The other seven will take position to cover the rescue and harass any pursuit.

Pips given some time prepares several stink potions on the premise that a toxic mix will burn the noses of the gnolls and minotaurs.

Arkay has 3 other knights, a halfling/goblin mage (who used illusion to make Arkay's sword flame and stead look like a hell horse, causing Pips to flee the first time), a cleric, a half troll bandit, half ogre gladiator, and a thief/assassin. His men mostly are lightly armored thieves, bandits and thugs who ambush and skirmish from a distance. In total 172 men.

Opposing is the anti-paladin, lamia, wizard, half elf cleric (made to be a complete apostate to the light elven religion (seven stars first seen when they awoken) by worshiping the eighth star, the dark star which consumes all. Her skin has been completely tattooed with obsidian and black marble. In game all elves are bright fair and beautiful. She is totally insane.), and five minotaur guards in the interrogation tent.

15 other minotaurs, 100 gnolls and Captain Fork in the Eye's remaining 97 men who are all heavy infantry.

ArKay, his senior knight, the mage, half troll and three men bring a naked Pips into the interrogation tent.

The anti-paladin was interrogating the ranger who was critically wounded and could not walk or use a weapon. The lamia was torturing the druid who had a critical wound to his abdomen which would cause death in two days. She was inserting flesh eating beetles into the wound. The cleric was attempting to convert Jynefer.

When Pips is brought in the anti-paladin and lamia approach leaving two minotaurs to continue torturing the ranger and druid.

Pips's hands were only loosely tied so she could cast spells. She not knowing what to do uses a contingency placed on her by an archmage she freed from a prison. Not having a clue about what it will do she has to pick seven of the nine possible targets. The archmage's theme is color and Pips has a Roy G Biv choice to make. She leaves the cleric and wizard out of the contingency. For her efforts she is run through by the anti-paladin and flogged by the lamia. However this gives the ranger and druid a chance to pray, perform a miracle, call on the divine, etc...

The ranger heals himself so he can join the fight. However the druid calls on the divine. In game we use piety points borrowed from Harn, the druid burns everyone that he has to increase his chance of success. He is successful. He and the other players know that I do not allow "cheap" things to happen. Asking the deity spirit to slay his foes is off the table.

The druid calls on the spirit of natural balance to "restore the natural order of things so he and his friends can return home." My decision as to what this would mean is that in our game history in the distant past the lamia, minotaur, gnolls and other anthropomorphic races were created by a cabal of priests and sorcerers. So the spirit separates the beasts from the man. The lamia is now a naked woman that the anti-paladin picks up and retreats, the minotaurs are men in shock and the beasts all run off.

Outside the tent this causes chaos and with Pips's stink potions going off the only unit in fighting condition is Captain Fork in the Eye who withdraws.

Arkay frees Jynefer who wants to heal the druid, however, by his choice he has been removed to an unknown place in the woods and takes form of a great oak tree to heal over time. The player decided to start playing one of his alternate characters and when the druid returns will have a huge scar that looks like burled wood. Deity spirit did that too.

ArKay provides the characters with one piece of information, what the anti-paladin and now ex-lamia wanted from their city. A artifact key in the form of a statue that will unlock another artifact back in the country they came from.

It is going to be interesting to see how Jynefer explains that she is not with child. More so as to how Pips is going to pay all that she promised to pay. The thief characters I feel want to kill her. Will the characters use the option of stealing the statue to give to the anti-paladin and ex-lamia?
 

Draegn

Explorer
[MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] Of the shares 388 go to the men and the other 112 go to ArKay. The entire company of adventures, being primary and alternate characters cannot afford this. They have asked me if ArKay might forgo his share in exchange for something else. Do you think it would be too much to ask to be legitimatized as a knight rather than a robber knight, be landed which allows him to collect taxes, and have Jynefer marry him? Two other players have suggested this to me as Jynefer and ArKay have history together.

Pips wants to borrow the amount from another NPC, the elven ambassador. Hard to think of what would be appropriate for such a favor.

Harder is now how to play the ex-lamia. Revenge for being transformed of course. She follows an Egyptian themed version of Loviatar.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
My advice is to always pick the option that makes things more interesting.

- Being in debt to the elven ambassador sounds great, especially if he asks them for a favor that puts them at odds with some other faction, one they wouldn't have tangled with otherwise.
- What is ArKay's reputation with the other peers of the realm? I'm guessing it's not great, and that if he gets knighted and marries Lady Jynefer there may be repercussions. Not to mention: what will happen to ArKay's brigands? If ArKay keeps them on as retainers, they may get restless and become liability; but if he cuts them loose, they may want revenge (joining up with the anti-paladin).
- I have no idea what a crazy ex-lamia pain-worshiper would do or why someone would want to be that in your setting. I wonder if her relationship with the anti-paladin will survive. What if the two of them go after the artifact key separately?
 

Draegn

Explorer
[MENTION=12377]77IM[/MENTION] ArKay is a knight, a knighthood that he purchased from a poor noble so he is at the lower rung. It is not the same as if it were given to him because of his birth or having earned it in battle. What it grants him if caught is a trial by nobles rather than commoners and he has the choice of trial by combat.

Jynefer has decided to marry him. She will have joint command of his men, though some will be leaving. The three lower level knights will be staying, one is simply poor and robbed for money, one is blacklisted for cheating in tournaments, the last is exiled from the east for dallying with the Padishah's seventeenth daughter.

The halfling/goblin mage can stay, the cleric who is mostly drunk can stay, the half ogre gladiator can stay.

This gives Jynefer and the other players who live in the keep a pool of individuals to call on. ArKay will be busy building, and making the area safe.

The half troll bandit and thief/assassin bye bye. However the two player thieves are gearing up for a guild war so there is a place for them to go.

The men will be busy restoring a ruined castle. I am using the historical Bolingbroke Castle as Jynefer's keep. It is not as ruinous as it is today but still quite shabby.



I am debating with myself if I should have ArKay be the long lost blood heir to the march the players are in. It would be a way for Jynefer's player to redeem the wayward scoundrel.


The elven ambassador has agreed to help. (platinum and jewelry) Pips owes her doing whatever it takes to find the blood heir or place anyone who is not in the elven prince's pocket on the march throne. For the ambassador her goal with two others is to control the imperialist expansionism of the prince.

The ex-lamia has had half her identify torn away, this is a pain she will have to stoically bear. Learning to inflict it on others and perhaps rediscovering the lost magic that created her and the other hybrid races in the distant past. Her part in coming to the player's realm was to identify the artifact, the anti-paladin as muscle. He grants advantage to any forces if he is present during an attack. It is why the neighboring land hired him. If one of the players were industrious a deal could be reached for them to take the key and leave.

The neighboring land is ruled by groups of Ganerbenburgen who wanted land of their own without having to share.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganerbenburg
 

Advertisement

Top