Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

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honorentheos
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Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

I mentioned before I have been working on DMing a D&D 5e game for my daughter and her friends. It's turned out to be the perfect addition for these Covid times and I've enjoyed it.

Since a few people here appear to game I'm looking for some input. That being, I'm wanting to make a memorable encounter that is unusual for them, and looking for some ideas.

So, anything memorable that you think would be fun for others come to mind?
Last edited by honorentheos on Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
Res Ipsa
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

Post by Res Ipsa »

How old are they?
he/him
"Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see."
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

Post by honorentheos »

For context, here's the notes for this coming weekend's session:

Light drizzle of rain ends at 2310 bells.

Fight in Front of Stoa: Session will start at approximately 2230 on 8/22 and includes Elaine being charmed by Sufana who has commanded her to kill the party. She will also send in three cultists and a cult fanatic to attack the party with Elaine intended to attack after it starts. Sufana will stay back, disappear and only appear to charm someone else. She’ll try to nab Thelrom or Sirius first before going after Ja-ames or Lori due to their being half-elf (advantage against Charm). Sufana will end the combat having the cult fanatic leave first and telling the party that since they didn’t want to come to the party then they will bring the party to them. As before, their goal is to sacrifice Elaine to Rakdos as part of a ritual game of slaughter.

Jason Politallis, the precog who is investigating them, accompanied by four members of the Order of Aurelius, will show up at the end of the fight with the cultists and ask what that was about? He will have seen the fight start, go back to get the guard, and show up about 5 minutes after the fight starts.

Day of 23/8/1348: Temp 51/67, it will be partially cloudy through the day of 8/23 into night. light breeze most of the day, felt on the face. Leaves rustle, the weathervane on the Stoa rotates slightly.

Investigation: The next morning Jason will show up at the Stoa with another investigator around 8 bells. He will ask to have the players woken up if they aren’t awake yet. The investigator who went to the mine will ask about the clasp that was missing. The investigators are concluding that the Senator was killed by spies from Fairbanks seeking to get ahold of the Blood of the Ancestors. They will ask the party what they knew from Giorgio regarding the threat that led to their going to the mine. The original letter sent to Giorgio is now part of the evidence. It will be presented to the party to see what they know about it. The claim that the Senator was killed by a Quillwell spy will be used by members of the Senate involved in the conspiracy for claiming that an offensive needs to be mounted against the Quillwells. And that the Blood of the Ancestors should be used offensively. Four more senators are involved in the plot, all working to see the red dust used offensively and see the Kosmocrater replaced.

James the Apothecary: After meeting the night of 22/8/1348 with the conspirators, James the apothecary meets back up with the two members of the Order of Dioscuri at his shop at around 2335. They agree on a plan to catch Ja-ames and take him prisoner. They will have a member of the Chestnut Spiders follow the group looking for a chance to peel Ja-ames off from the group and kidnap him. They will take him prisoner, cut off a pinky and send it to the party telling them to meet them outside the City in a field to the north. Their goal is to kill them as they are the only witnesses for the conspiracy. The Banshee will appear if the amulet is on the party, scream, and attempt to attack whomever has the amulet to take it.

If the party investigates James during the day he will be working his shop. That night he will be attempting to track down and kidnap Ja-ames along with the two former guards. The assassination vine is in the basement of his shop. The two guards will be in the vacant building where the Chestnut Spiders have made their headquarters. If the party is heard in his shop, he’ll run out and go to the vacant building side door. The Chestnut Spiders have been recruited by the guards to help take out the party now and they will realize they are both interested in seeing them beaten.
Chestnut Spiders: The CS will be antagonistic to the party both day and night. They will seek to lure party members off on their own and gang up on them. Only the full group will fight the full party. The remaining members include the following:
Veteran –Thorne Skinner
Bandit Captain - Mad Hat Lovie (female human)
Thug 1 - Killclaw
Thug 2 – Mooney
Spy – Sander Watts
Bandits x 8

Kindroth Faephyra, Holy Hand of Hanging Garden: Juomo asks if Thelrom and whomever he wishes to help will go to Fletcher’s to pick up an arrow to take to a chapel on the outskirts of the City outside the south gate. The arrow is an arrow of Dragon Slaying. The buyer is a representative of the Holy Hand seeking to eliminate anti-dragon weapons. Fletcher is a source for mentioning that this is something that’s been going on for a couple of years now.
Arrow of Dragon Slaying: Any dragon hit by this arrow must make a DC 17 Constitution saving throw, taking an extra 6d10 piercing damage on a failed save, or half as much extra damage on a successful one.
Once the Arrow of Dragon Slaying deals its extra damage to a creature, it becomes a nonmagical arrow
The buyer is a representative of the Holy Hand seeking to eliminate anti-dragon weapons. Fletcher is a source for mentioning that this is something that’s been going on for a couple of years now. The buyer is a veteran with two guards.
Buyer: Jude Stone. See stat bloc.

Tugak Bonegrinder: The return of Tugak occurs on the road west to Poppenweilen if the party goes that way. He’ll be in a cart faking being dead in the driver’s seat. The other orcs will be hidden on the side of the road. Tugak will flee if the battle goes poorly so he can return in the future. He will want revenge on Thelrom as well as remember Ja-ames dealt the blow that took him out last time. Orcs will be hidden, DC 18 to beat on an active perception check.

Poppenweiler: PCs will need a gnome from Legs’ group to lead them to Davey and Jazzy. The Rock Gnome Warren of Poppenweiler is hidden, requiring a perception check of WIS 26 to find on one’s own.

Jazzy will have heard of the Clavis Inferni (Key to Hell), which is rumored to be a powerful spell book lost sometime around the fall of the Empire. It is known to contain forbidden knowledge including power granted by Orcus. Her brother, Niblelung Labingi, would have been the Marquis of Poppenweiler had he stayed but he was vain and spoiled, seeing a life hidden away in Poppenweiler as beneath him when he could make a name for himself in the broader world. He’s rumored to have travelled for fifty years seeking knowledge, wealth, adventure, and magic, and is the mayor in the City of Purevault now having been an early investor in the recently discovered Bitterroot Mine which discovered a rich vein of platinum setting off a rush and rapid growth of the City over the last four years.

Jazzy will be able to cast a high level dispel magic on the amulet if the party can get her Witch's Turmeric to boost the ritual. They will also need to provide the gnomes with 250 GP worth of platinum that Davey will need to shape into a fork and attune to the amulet.
After she performs hour long ritual, the amulet cracks revealing a small piece of flesh that had been encased in it. Davey will be able to perform the resurrection spell on it, returning the Elf back but in whatever humanoid form is rolled. He will tell them that to get his body back would require a boon from Titania. Could lead party to go to Seelie Court, find Ja-ames’ mother.

Jazzy’s word of wisdom to the party: “It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.”

Feral: Continue with Feral’s story of Ja-ames’ mother if Ja-ames looks for him. Her name is Ja-handra (God of fortune, thy favor overfloweth). Feral is in Orossads until 8/24/1348. Ja-handra was unfortunately swayed into falling for a human (Bailey Glenwynn) who turned out to be a scoundrel. He won a competition at the seelie court, or eternal summer court, of Titania and Oberon that granted him a boon that he is rumored to have used to enfeeble the mind of an angel. He was granted it on condition of taking and raising Ja-handra’s son (Ja-ames) that she bore since he was only a half elf and could not remain with his mother in the court.

What is to be discovered: Rakdos is trying to help elements in Orossads instigate coup to sow chaos. They don’t care about who runs Orossads, just so long as there is chaos and violence. The cultists are excited because their blood witch leader has claimed that Rakdos himself will come to Orossads on the longest night to see the great show promised by the witch – a war of brother against brother, father against son, and on that night the City will burn.

James the apothecary is interested in the coup, not part of Rakdos. Enjoyed leading Thelrom astray because James is a dick. But the spy who was working with Reynolds and was with the senator is with Rakdos and also working with the traitors. An attempt to infiltrate his shop will result in finding it empty, since he is away this night meeting with other members of the conspiracy, with the back door locked by a puzzle. Inside is an assassination vine protecting his wares.

Four more senators are involved in the plot, all working to see the red dust used offensively.

Rakdos replaced Reynolds with a doppelganger. Let this be revealed as it occurs, don't force it.

The clerk disappeared out of town, headed for Purevault. Think about what can be done with him at a later date if characters go there to investigate Kara’s Valle.

If the party is ever out after dark, the Chestnut Spiders will jump them again.

As payment for his help, Juomo will ask the party to accompany a caravan through the hazard area being raided by orcs a day to the west of Orossads where they will meet up with another security force at a fork in the road between Purevault and Autumnguard. This other force will include Brevin, and they will be Juomo’s #1 elite guard who were waiting on their wizard and fighter to come back from Purevault where the wizard had recently acquired a bag of holding. He’ll let them know there was rumors of another available for sale at the Doughing Pains bakery in Purevault, but he had gotten his for merely a service to the mayor involving capturing a few goblins that were spilling over from Kara’s Valle.

Notes and NPCs from previous week
Ja-ames letter:

Elaine got made because reasons, and Elaine and I and Lori aided in the removal of Reynolds. You made the act look like a robbery. Don’t be surprised by the gear and loot you find. Don’t forget to tell Elaine that she killed Reynolds.

Seal and gave to Sariah, asked her to give back after things have died down with the investigation.
Last edited by honorentheos on Tue Dec 08, 2020 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:56 am
How old are they?
19 - 21
Res Ipsa
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

Post by Res Ipsa »

honorentheos wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:58 am
Res Ipsa wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 12:56 am
How old are they?
19 - 21
And are you looking to put together an original campaign, or to use a canned campaign as a starting point?
he/him
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– Rene Magritte
honorentheos
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

Post by honorentheos »

I'm running a homebrew campaign I made, but borrowing from places, too. They started as Level 1 and are now Level 4. They want to get as close to Level 20 as possible.

I'm trying to come up with memorable encounters for them. Some that I've thought would be cool turned out ok, and others I thought were throw aways became their favorites. We had a heavy one a couple of sessions back where an NPC I'd been having help them out got killed along with a guy they met in a tavern and convinced to go with them on a mission. And it was interesting that they really took it personally in the sense they were talking about it in an emotional way the next week and even since then. So far they've only came close to losing a party member but to be honest I'm not sure I'm up to really killing one of them, either. I have big picture story arcs set up for all five of them and it would be sad for me, too, if I had to end one prematurely like that.
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for TTGamers

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In the very near term, they just had an hour of their memories wiped because a member of their party killed a wealthy merchant in a moment of pique and revenge which he had coming. But the timing was bad because they are being investigated for potential involvement in the death of a senator. They WERE involved in the death of the senator, but it came about due to his being part of a plan to force a vote of no confidence in the current leader of the City through aiding their rival city leadership.

So there is a thing going on where their characters don't know they killed this guy, the group he was part of happens to be a demon cult who replaced him with a doppelganger as cover while they destroy the evidence of their existence from his shop and house, so the party has ran into him since they lost their memories of killing him...but of course the players know they killed him and are pissed off because they think he was resurrected. Good times!

The last session ended on a cliff hanger. They had gone to the local entertainment company who had a traveling Owlbear tamer performing. Turned out they are up to no good, of course, but they didn't do much because they are a little gun shy about the investigation. So on their way back to the tavern they stay at (The Lyceus' Stoa), a succubus that is affiliated with the demon cult and has been working on corrupting the barbarian/cleric (yeah) dwarf showed up. She had left them with an invitation to a party that they decided not to go to, which they rightly recognized as a trap. They had a little chat in the street where the party basically insulted her, so she laughed and charmed the hexblade warlock Assimar and told her to kill the party. I've chatted with the player already about what I'd like her to do, so it's not obvious that she's charmed. So she will be a bit of a problem, but the intent is to have a throw down fight in the street that attracts the attention of the watch and enforces how dangerous this woman is for them, and why leaving her as a loose end keeps causing problems that just get worse and worse.
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Don't know if I scared you off, Res. Just checking on if you (or anyone who has some gaming experience) have any thoughts on a good encounter that might be out the normal D&D staples and memorable?

I've been leaving it open ended, sandbox-like with clues and world events taking place in ways that overlap the party's chosen activities. The most experienced player among them said he appreciated the campaign and how their actions have consequences while not feeling railroaded. The newest player said he was excited that he made a decision that he figured completely upended the story. It wasn't expected. But it just meant I spend time the next week figuring out the natural consequences of that decision on local events and how it might trickle up into world events. I mainly prepare ideas and maps, have events that happen on a given day or over a certain period, have certain triggers that set them in motion, etc. And once in a while I'll send them a direct mission to address an issue they have to deal with due to their actions that feeds into the story.

So in this case I'm looking for ideas, or even memorable experiences, that could be shaped and used.

Encounters we've had more recently included the PCs getting involved in a game of dice while trying to get information from an NPC at the table. They've had combat encounters with escaped beasts, more than a few gnolls, I have an encounter set up with a couple of will-o-the-wisps if they go looking for some herbs needed for a ritual. They have a few reoccurring encounters with thugs/bandits, orcs, and a fighting pit they go back to once in a while, etc.

One of the PCs has a backstory that I basically helped her develop by ripping off Game of Thrones which they apparently have a bad opinion towards I don't get. Kids. Anyway, she has a pray bead strand that she carries that represents a list of seven people who were complicit in harming her "mother". And they are tied into the overall story arc.
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Here's that person's backstory -

Elaine was raised in the convent of Hanging Garden in Fairbanks with her mother Arianna, a Deva who came to the City of Fairbanks with a message from the Celestials of importance to the balance between the positive and negative planes.

Elaine was raised by the monastics of The Order of the Hidden Hand that worships Kol Korran, god of trade and wealth and is the official church of the Quillwells of Fairbanks. She was widely advertised to the people of Fairbanks as a sign of the greatness of the Order, and adored as an Icon capable of granting healing to select petitioners of the Order. Elaine believed this was the will of the Celestial gods and the best way to help her Deva mother.

At first she ignored the signs that all was not right but eventually was forced to confront the reality the priests and priestesses were selling indulgences to wealthy or powerful individuals to be "blessed" by the Angel of Hanging Garden in exchange for their patronage of the Order. Knowledge of these acts against her mother collapsed her worldview causing it to fold in on itself, crushing her innate divine love for the world and good. This led her to investigate the extent of the corruption and discover the names of what she came to see as the worst offenders. She formed a rosary of beads to represent each of these people, which she would constantly recite as she counted the beads of this rosary of revenge - "Darvon Reynolds, Niblelung Labingi, Bailey Glenwynn, Nym Petsalor, Brounmarlug Metalbreaker, Cyriacus the Mad, Kindroth Faephyra Holy Hand of Hanging Garden." Most she only knows by name found in blackmail materials kept hidden by the Order, but the last she knows all too well.

As she investigated, she turned from the good because she could no longer believe in it since the gods allowed her mother's defilement. In her fallen state and in hateful revenge, her chants gained the attention of Pathadh, a sentient glaive that thirsts for blood. Elaine entered a pact with Pathadh, swearing to provide a flowing river of blood to slack his thirst in exchange for powers to aid her in avenging her mother.

The pact completed her transformation into a fallen aasymir, and she left the convent to journey to Causca-on-the-Sea, a client city to Fairbank but at least four days journey away over land. She became a gladiator in order to have ready access to a steady supply of blood to offer up to Pathadh that would not cause her trouble with the authorities or attract the Quillwells who might seek to return her to their own fold within the Order. In a short time, she became somewhat of a minor crowd favorite, making use of daggers and a hand-ax to toy with her prey until finally finishing them off with a final, fatal blow from her special glaive she could swing around quickly to dispatch them before kneeling by the body in silence, secretly collecting their blood in Pathadh's vial to make her next offering.

She knew of Ja-ames Glenwynn, the son of Bailey Glenwynn who is only the second person on her rosary she could recognize when she saw him, and knew he had been instrumental in her mother being taken by the Order of the Hidden Hand. But she was surprised when Ja-ames came to her in Causca-on-the-Sea, told her the story of his father also being her father, and saw an opportunity to go with him to Orossads where he hoped to leave his father behind to start a new life. She had heard that Darvon Reynolds owned a shop in the merchant's quarter of Orossads, specializing in rare items of unique and magical qualities. So she agreed in order to begin her path of true vengeance.
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Re: Way Off-Topic: Question for RPGamers

Post by honorentheos »

Each of those names has backstory and narrative that I reread and tweak after each session. The below is the short version.

Orossads: Darvon Reynolds – Rare items merchant in Orossads. Working with Rakdos because he’s chaotic and sees change as an opportunity to shake a few apples loose from the tree so to speak. Killed by Elaine on 21/8/1348 in the basement of his shop. His last words were, “Why?!” as he didn’t really understand why she was after him. He recognized her as the daughter of the angel at Hanging Garden. But that didn’t translate into his realizing why she wanted him dead. He is currently replaced by a doppelganger installed by the Cult of Rakdos in order to keep the authorities away. With the party wiping their minds of having killed him as well, Sufana, the Rakdos cult and Juomo are the only ones that know he’s dead.

Purevault: Niblelung Labingi – New Mayor of the growing city. He recently acquired bracers of defense through auction to be shipped to him by Fletcher. He’s a gnome with druid abilities, and half-brother of Jazzy. Has been seeking power and mischief making for fifty years.

Fairbanks: Bailey Glenwynn – Privateer in Fairbanks, Ja-ames’ dad.

Faywild Isles: Nym Petsalor – Member of the court and competitor in the games.

Nugh Badur: Brounmarlug Metalbreaker – traitor helping the Duergar infiltrate and eventually attack Nugh Badur.

Radruundar: Cyriacus the Mad – Archmage seeking to become a lich. Last seen in Avia. Leaves to Radrunndar (pursue magic of the dwarven king he discovers through means) once his attempt to get the Clavis Inferni, or Key to Hell, is fully interrupted by the party. He will try to get the book using other agents within a month of Marren not arriving. If that is successful, he’ll remain in Avia and pursue lichdom again.

Fairbanks: Kindroth Faephyra, Holy Hand of Hanging Garden – really an ancient black dragon in disguise. He played a role in the collapse of Ossamala and the resulting age of chaos. As humans began to regroup, he decided to wreak havoc from within to weaken them and is seeking lichdom as he is getting old even for an ancient dragon. He has an alliance now with the Demon Lords Rakdos and Yeenoguh. He wants more treasure and to see both Orossads and Fairbanks fall to ruin. He has promised the demon lords chaos and carnage which they both thrive upon.

Give Thelrom the chance to gain the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords before confrontation with Kindroth Faephyra.

Ja-ames’ mother lives on the Faywild Isles, will send the party to the court of the summer queen.

The Goddess of the Eight Banners is Daeyphanes, a platinum dragon-goddess, and the agent on earth of the eight gods of the pantheon of Ossamala. She is the twin sister of Tiamat and seeks to prevent her gaining power through Kindroth Faephyra. She will give Lori clues about the nature of the threat that faces them and lead her to anti-dragon weapons. She represents wisdom in battle and is patron of those who seek justice, fight with honor, and make sacrifices for others.

Gods of the Common Pantheon:
Arawai, the Sovereign of Life and Love, the patron of fertility. She represents the benign side of nature and brings good weather and bountiful harvests.
Aureon, the Sovereign of Law and Lore. Believed to be the first wizard, he revealed the secrets of magic to the world.
Balinor, the Sovereign of Horn and Hunt, the patron of those who follow the border between nature and civilization. He guides hunters and wild beasts alike.
Boldrei, the Sovereign of Hall and Hearth. She is guide and protector of family and community and encourages folk to work together for the good of all.
Dol Dorn, the Sovereign of Strength and Steel, the patron of the ordinary soldier. He represents bravery, strength, skill at arms, and aids those who wield weapons.
Kol Korran, the Sovereign of World and Wealth, guide and protector for traders and travelers and supporter of fair negotiation.
Ja, the Sovereign of Feast and Fortune, the patron of entertainers, gamblers, and risk-takers. She bestows luck and spreads joy.
Onatar, the Sovereign of Fire and Forge. He inspires all who create and aids artificers, craftsmen, and smiths.
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