Monday, April 19, 2010

Josh's Campaign

Campaign Code: FAGBCCEF

Ah, Josh. Not my second kid. A dude at work. He's really new. However he's played a lot of Warcraft. So he's learned a lot of bad habits. Occasionally he breaks out with a great idea, but the rest of the time...well. He tends to put out stuff that angers the rest of us. Especially naming conventions. He's had a dwarf named Thundershaft, and one named Wargasm. He tends to pick out what we like to call 'target names'. Basically some name that makes you so angry that you as the DM end up targeting the character for some pain. Only good name he's come up with so far is 'Eman Tegrat'...I'll leave you to figure that one out. So what did Josh pick?

More Divine
High Level

Background: There is no safety. There have been inexplicable raids on fortresses that were previously thought as impenetrable. Whole caravans are disappearing in the night. Even mighty adventurers and knights are disappearing. Across the whole world, there is nothing safe...except for temples. Temples, churches, and other holy places are safe, and over crowded. The high priests have gathered the greatest of the wandering holy men. Clerics and paladins responded to the call. Behind the scenes, a group of cultists managed to get their hands on several spell jamming vessels, and are terrorizing the population who doesn't know to look to the skies. They have a sinister purpose, the cult is trying to find several pieces of an ancient key that will unlock their dread gods from captivity. The random theft is to both finance their search and to throw doubt on what is actually happening.

Adventure 1: The Assault of the High Keep
The High Keep is one of the most important strategic assets in the Kingdom. On its promontory point, it looks out over the boarders and is only accessible by a single road. It is also important, because of the highly defensible nature, it is also where the king's Treasury is kept. The PCs are expected to sanctify the High Keep as a temple to hopefully keep the raiders out. While they are successful during the day, it gets bad at night. Undead appear out of nowhere. Zombies, ghouls, wights, and other low level corporal undead are around, but the big problem is the much larger amount of incorporeal undead that are attacking. Some of the incorporeal undead actually hide themselves inside of the corporeal. The thing that should surprise the players is that the undead appear places they shouldn't be. Top of towers, on walkways. The thing is that the actions of the PCs had taken do not work. Whatever sanctification they took part in did not take. Once morning comes there are few bodies left, regardless of how many corporeal undead the PCs had destroyed. Not even their fellow defenders bodies are left. Almost no bodies. The few they find should be completely unremarkable, except for a ghoul with a Qual's Feather Token of Feather Fall on it. Behind the scenes: Earlier when after the PC's did their work, invisible cultists (it always seems to be cultists, doesn't it) dropped down to the tower using feather fall to remove the sanctifies or whatnot. They also helped remove the bodies, to both bolster their ranks with undead and remove evidence. Yes, invisible doesn't last that long, but the PCs should be busy, and the cultists will have enough time to take uniforms and other things to blend in. This whole attack was to throw suspicitions and as a distraction.

Adventure 2: Dirge on the Homefront.
Having turned back the tide, the PCs should be alerted that the place they had come from had been raided by undead as well. It weathered the storm, but now everyone is realizing that even temples were unsafe. A good deal of the temple's coffers were stolen, but the main thing was a the body of an ancient saint whose bones were interred in the crypt of the temple. However, the problem isn't that the body was stolen, but that it was returned and is slaughtering everyone.

Sleepy now. More tommorrow...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Better Things to Do

Well, no blog for tonight. The Elder Children wish to roll up characters and play a game. So I've got better things to do tonight.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Meg's Campaign

Campaign Code: BACCDFEF

Megan is great. She's a fun one. Another neophyte. She's all about the really fantasy elements of D&D. I love that about her. She's enamored with all the choices and potentials. She looks at all the books and sees them as a bunch of choices. Such a thing of wonder. She accidentally spent $20 on dice on the internet, but got the 36 16mm d6 set instead of the polyhedral set, which is what happens when you get too excited about your first set. What is really funny about it is that she was really opposed to the idea of playing at first. Then she had to sit through a few sessions and joined in. Perhaps I should explain. It's not like we forced her there. I work at a call center, and if there are no calls, we have nothing to do. So a few days a week, we play D&D between calls. Sometimes that means we get a lot accomplished, other days it means we don't do anything. So even a single combat can take hours. She was reluctant when she joined our group, but we've never forced anyone. Well, that's enough going on for now. Let's take a look at her choices, eh?


This is a little more difficult. Er, more then difficult, hard even.

Background: The fall has come. The world is dying. The winters were always harsh, but one year, spring never came. It was Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods. The Gods sallied forth to do battle with the Frost Giants. The gods fell. They were crumpled under the ice axes of the Frost Giants. Though it was a Pyrrhic victory, the Frost Giants were weakened to the point of no return. The people were left to themselves. The clerics prayers went unanswered, and magic has begun to fail. There is little left as ice covers the world. People are surviving on the few foods that were left before the fall, and what they can kill to eat. Life is harsh, brutal, and short. People have learned to deal with less and less. The crutches that they had relied on for years were kicked out from underneath them. No gods, no magic, they had to rely on their own abilities. Two groups rose to prominence. The Warriors and the Psychics. They are the hope of the people.

Adventure 1: Something dark this way comes.
The PCs are gathered together as the great heroes that they are. The final city stands on the verge of collapse. The grain stores are gone, and the hunting is growing scarce. There have been stories told by the travelers that there are certain incidents that happened out there. The citizens are worried, because there were no lack of animals before. Something has driven them into hiding, and its not hunters. Things are not what they seem. After tracking and looking for a while, the PCs should run across a black dragon, which they should know as a warm weather creature. They detest cold, and were unheard of in the great north even before the everlasting winter. It is a clue, an obvious one. However, the PCs shouldn't be able to track it, since it flew into combat, leaving not a trace.

Adventure 2: Life's a journey not a destination.
The PCs being such advanced level should be able to use powers to find where the black dragon had laired. The trek to its cave lair should be ardous. Blizzards and white worms, and all sorts of hardship. Something that the PCs will remember for years. The trek to get to the black dragon's lair. The trek itself is the adventure.

Adventure 3: Into the Night Below.
Once the PCs get to the cave lair, there should be monsters and traps galore. The black dragon should have been about CR 18 or so, to take on such high level PCs. The lair should reflect that. The lair will be blazing hot and humid. Perfect for a black dragon. Leave the PCs unprepared for all the heat. Have them make checks because of heat exhaustion, which the characters would never have expected, though the PCs might have. The main source of contention is the young black dragons. A good number of them. The black dragon they had met earlier was a mother and was hunting to bring her young children food while they stayed behind to guard the lair. The real point of the adventure though is to fully explore the cave system. Because somewhere in there is a passage to the underdark that the black dragon had came up when it was smaller.

Adventure 4: Forsaken.
The PCs should realize that the underdark might mean the salvation of their kind. Somewhere that the wind doesn't blow with a chilling frost, and that food can be grown (even if it isn't what they are expecting). They should have a few normal encounters of the underdark type before running into the Hell Pit. A moderately sized drow enclave. The drow are horribly at loss. Their dark mistress is gone. The Spider Queen, Lolth is dead along with the rest of the drow. Internecine conflict and the loss of clerical powers have left the city bereft of defenses. An ancient red dragon has stepped in and taken over the power vacuum. The Drow are now worshipping a Red Dragon instead of a spider goddess is a strange turn of events. They all call themselves the Forsaken, and are now fanatical in their desire to serve the red dragon. The PCs should be able to foster additional competition between the remaining drow houses and much direct combat with some still remaining high level drow wizards. It should be genocide. Something that needs to be done, and it should leave a distaste in the PCs mouths.

Ending the Campaign: If the PCs manage to take the drow city, which should cover many sessions, they can begin migrating their people to the drow enclave.

Contiuning the Campaign: Well, there's the whole mass exodus to oversee and there are other settlements that the PCs need to save. This can be a campaign to last the ages. More searching the underdark, and more people to save. If the PCs are up to it, this campaign could go epic with the PCs eventually gaining deity ranks to become the new gods of the world. Then instead of the frost giants bringing Ragnarok, it could be Tiamat.

I think I did it. Not as eloquent as the previous one. But workable. At such high levels, there's not really too much that can be done. That's one of the reason's I'm not too keen on the high level stuff.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Missed Me?

Campaign Code: Arrgggghhh.

Ok, no lies. No more cute stuff. I missed Friday. Yup. Real life got in the way. Two weeks after the rest of the family got strep throat, I caught it. So I spent most of Thursday and Friday lying on the couch with a fever and chills. Not to mention the horrible sore throat. That's life, you think you dodged the bullet, and it turns out to be a boomerang that smacks you in the back of the head. I hate being sick, probably because it doesn't happen too often that sick makes me miss out on life. So I'm still not 100%, but I'm much better. Thanks to people who discovered antibiotics. Though another big part of it is I got the new Pokemon. Stupid addictive games. Hell with it. I'm ditching the creative work right now. Just going to rant for a hot minute.

I like adventures. I LOVE adventures. Now, there seems to be two distinct things with them. Homebrew or published. Maybe its me, but there seems to be a certain stigma for the published ones. However, the older I get the more I like them. They do all the hard work for me. Treasure, monster stats, etc. All in one easy to use package. Nothing wrong with them at all. Especially for the stuff I find distasteful. Like traps and puzzles. I'm rubbish at them, so I tend to leave them out. Especially traps, since I've YET to find a reason that anyone would put a potentially deadly trap anywhere that they would pass on the way from the bedroom to the outhouse at night.

Yeah. Especially the old ones. The old classics. Temple of Elemental Evil, Castle Ravenloft, Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, Keep on the Border Lands, White Plume Mountain. Notice how they are all 1st ed, and keep getting updated? The thing with published adventures though is that they are the cultural heritage of D&D players. We can't share the same adventures when it is the homebrew type. Most DMs pride themselves on making up adventures. But I think it every DM's responsibility to put their PCs through one or more of the classics. It binds us together. A stronger community. I wish that I had realized that earlier. Cause I left a lot of PCs without the terror that is Ravenloft, and I'm not talking settings.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Jim's Campaign

Campaign Code: FAGABFDB

Jim is an old school gamer, who looks like Thor. Been playing about as long as I have, around 15 years or so. Maybe a bit more. He tends to get frustrated over being one of the few veterans in the group. Most of the group is neophytes. So every time they do something stupid, he gets slightly angry. And slightly means that he calls upon his Thor aspect and you can practically see the thunderclouds gathering. It's funny, actually. Cause he shares in their triumphs as much as they do. So the stupid stuff happens with neophytes. Granted, we have not had any MEGA stupid things. One of these days remind me to tell you about the Fire Elemental. That's a story worth repeating. And the sad part is that its really true. BUT, that's a story for another day. Now, to stop messing around and get to business.

Jim's Choices:
More Arcane
Upper (11-15)
Expanded PHB

Wow, this one is easy as heck. I could do this in my sleep.

Background: In the kingdom of Something Something, the old grand vizier has died. The king knows that without a powerful arcane user, the kingdom is threatened. A new Grand Vizier is needed. However, applicants must be tested. The King is not an idiot, but has no knowledge of the arcane. He has gathered all the arcane users of moderate power to the court to let them know. He offers them the position. However, they must preform several feats of ability to show their worth. He puts them into several groups, along with several of his loyal subjects (thus if someone wants to be a court cleric, warrior, or 'spy master' here's their in). So the PCs are one group, and the opponents are set in other groups. The loyal retainers will NEVER attack one another, but will be glad to deal with other threats. Because part of a Grand Vizier's job is the proper allocation of resources. There is a secondary objective to the King though. There are several threats to the Kingdom that need to be taken care of. If he is able to send these wizards to deal with them, and they do, good. If they die, well, they obviously weren't ready for the job.

Adventure 1: The King's first mission is fairly straight forward. They have to find a specific book in the library. However, the old Vizier was a bit paranoid. Did I say a bit? I mean A LOT. There are all sorts of magical traps and summoned monsters. The library itself though is like a MC Escher drawing. Odd walkways don't end up where they are supposed to. While the library itself is a danger, one of the main dangers should be one or more of the other groups of mages. While for right now, they aren't going to fight to the death, they are willing to delay and trick their opponents.

Adventure 2: This where things start to get a little more dangerous. There is a dangerous cult building up in one of the southern cities of the kingdom. That's the only information that the king gives them. How they get there and what they do about it is up to them. If the PCs bother to ask, they can borrow resources to accomplish their mission. But nothing too extravagant. The small city actually has TWO cults in it. One is a animalistic nature god, and the other is to a minor saint of the god of justice. That's where it gets interesting. The nature cult is the obvious choice, because the cultists are protesting and sabotaging the cities new logging industry, which threatens the natural wildlife. The cult to the minor saint, on the other hand, is actually a cover for cultists of the god of revenge and murder. Which is the one that is actually causing all the problems. There are several ways to play this out. First is that a few of the other groups will investigate one or the other cult. Some of the loyal subjects will talk among themselves, probably to another pc. Or, one of the groups will try to convince the cultists that the PCs are a threat. So the PCs should be besieged on all sides. However, if they are able to gain the confidence of the cult of the nature god, they will gain allies. The nature god cultists do not want to kill people, after all they ARE people. They just want the forest not to be logged indiscriminately. If the PCs are able to secure the forest for them, they will stop causing problems. However, the god of vengeance and murder need to be apprehended or killed, or the problems will still continue. This should be a hard role play based adventure. It could take a long time to do, or just a short time, depending on the investigative skills.

Adventure 3: After dealing with the cultists, which the king will look favorably on if the PCs manage to both deal with the murderers and the saboteurs. The next adventure is much harder. The king has found out through the information vine, that one of the other potential candidates (who didn't show up) is actually a lich. Having a lich in the kingdom's borders is a problem. The lich shouldn't be a major lich, barely able to reach the minimum requirements for lichdom. However, this is the adventure where the midden hits the windmill. With an obvious magical opponent, several of the evil groups will be willing to actually kill the PCs. Which should make the loyalists with them hesitant. However, the king never specified that they COULDN'T kill the other applicants. This should be a pretty hard adventure. However, it is possible to lessen it, because if there are more then one other group they can fight between them, and the PCs will fight a weakened group. The PCs will be facing both a lich and its cohorts, plus the other groups. Not all of them, but at least one that is equal to the PCs.

Adventure 4; Since there are only two groups left, the PCs and one other. The king has decided to up the ante. He has decided that to showcase the raw power of the arcane users, he has the High Priest of the country open a portal to the outer planes, where the PCs have to retrieve a legendary item. There are several that could fit the bill. The Golden Fleece, A Golden Apple of Eris, A drought from the Fountain of Youth, something from the artifacts section of the DMG, whatever. So in this adventure there is the threat of whatever outer plane you send them to (which should tie into the item), plus the last remaining group of human opponents.

Ending the Campaign: Should the PCs be successful, the one that had the most success (ie didn't need to be raised from the dead, or did the most damage, or showed the most wisdom), is named the Grand Vizier, and the others are made the lesser Viziers.

Continuing the Campaign: Hey, the PCs are in a position of power in the country. Which can lead to courtly adventures, and defense missions, all sorts of things. Very easy to transition into a longer running campaign that will last until higher levels. Here's an easy next one, an invading force of Ogres. Fireballs, anyone?

If you've read this leave a comment. I think I got my mojo back...

Monday, April 5, 2010

Po's Campaign

Campaign Code: AAEAAFDB

Po is overly concerned with The Fist. It's funny. As the other DM in our group, he's more in the know about the system and how adventures work. I typically skew a bit higher then recommended because there's more then the standard four in our group. However, he hears what is going to be happening, and begins preparing an escape route. I find it funny, because his campaigns are much rougher then mine. Stupid Shadowdale, stupid Elminster, stupid Zhents, and stupid crocodile in the river. Ah, well, his custom campaign is easy peasy.

Upper (11-15)
Expanded PHB

Background: The PCs have been adventuring for awhile, and are each the soul survivors of different groups. They are each separately approached by a robed figure (cliche, I know). Who offers to hire them for the adventure of a lifetime. What the PCs don't know is that the robed figure is actually a Githyanki. Fun stuff. The Githyanki is actively recruiting adventurer's because they have an idea that the Illithids (it always comes back to them, doesn't it?) are getting ready to try to recapture the Gith races as slaves. Knowing that wizards and clerics would be able to detect the Githyanki, they are actively recruiting warriors and rogues. People who are expendable are being gathered from throughout the prime material plane. If they die, no Githyanki were lost in the attempt, if they succeed, all the better.

Adventure 1: The PCs are taken to the Astral plane by the Githyanki. Stranded with no way home because of the lack of magical assistance, the PCs are basically black mailed into doing the Githyanki's bidding or face an eternity without food or other resources in the astral plane (or so they think). The Githyanki is going to act as their guide. The purpose is to get them into the planes where the Illithids were starting plots. The first place that the Githyanki takes them to is a portal that will expel them onto a twisted tower on Limbo. The Illithids are making a tentative probe into the Chaotic Neutral plane to probe the defenses of the Githzerai. The PCs mission is to assess and destroy the tower. The purpose is two fold, 1. To see how the PCs can handle things, because while renown, they are an unknown quality to the Githyanki. 2. To destroy the tower. During this adventure, there are so many things that can work it. Limbo is the most fun stuff. First off there are the obvious combat encounters, Illithids and their enslaved servants. The servants can run the gamgut, but I would suggest Slaad. Those are really fun. And the really fun stuff is the ever changing plane itself. You can completely change everything constantly. Man, if you don't reverse gravity at least once, you aren't doing your job right.

Adventure 2: While exploring the twisted tower, the PCs should learn that the Illithid's are setting up some sort of vast machine to retake the Gith Races. The first piece was taken from the Twisted Tower, and taken to a secret location. Apparently there are pieces on several of the outer planes. The second adventure should take place on Elysium. The illithid have set up a search party here to look for the next piece of their grand machine. They have it set up so that it is an in and out mission. Being that they are inherantly evil creatures, its hard going for them. So the PCs will find them harried. However, the Illithids carry a significant bit of information; where the rest of the machine is. However to get it, they have to actually fight good creatures to allow one of the illithids to live. Moral conundrum, rocking it. Po loves that sort of stuff.

Adventure 3-6: The rest of the pieces.
The Abyss: Demons and Illithid. What could be better for the groups holy rollers? Which is probably a paladin. Do a nice recreation of 'A Paladin in Hell' from the first edition books, if at all possible. The real adventure though is a massive castle made from corpses that is controlled by a Nelfeshnee. Lots of small demons and a pretty big one in the end.
Pandemonium: The howling caves should be crawling with the Illithid. After all this is the home of the Illithid God, Illusine. This can be done almost like a traditional underdark adventure. You gotta kill some grell, and some illithid and a brain tank.
The Outlands: Ha. The true neutral plane. This can be fun. The last piece that they get should be something utterly outlandish and huge. The adventure should be more about getting the thing out rather then the fights they have to go through to get it. Because the outlands are almost prime material, it should be easy to throw something together here.

Adventure 7: So all the pieces are gathered, and the Githyanki is attacked by the Illithid who had set the whole thing up to have the Githyanki gather the stuff. Secrets within secrets. What dying Githyanki should tell them is that the hideout is in the astral plane. The Illithid had created a subspecies that was short lived by psychically blank, which would render them invisible to the Githyankis psionics. The PCs should be able to find the place with minimal effort. Then the new Illithid subspecies are found in a vast crystal castle which acts as a focusing agent for the pieces of the machine. The Illithid subspecies seems weaker then their normal counterparts, since they lack the regular Illithid's psionic/mental abilities. However, they should be combat monsters. They still eat brains, but have muscles and high natural armor class.

Ending the Campaign; Machine is destroyed, the Gith kind are safe. Yay!

Continuing the Campaign: Duh. The Githyanki are still a threat, and the PCs are still stuck on the astral plane. Unaging, unresting, unchanging astral plane. Still a problem. Have fun.

Alright. I think I phoned this one in. I probably hit all the points here. Sleepy and stuff. Or I overreached with the concept. Maybe I'll do this over another day. I dunno. Not my best work. I think that I can do better. Blerg.