Princecon is a 46-hour role-playing marathon held on the Princeton University campus every Spring (since 1976). The character you create on Friday afternoon stays with you throughout the weekend, growing more powerful and accumulating potent magical items as you adventure in a single world with many different talented GMs.
Princecon 39 will be held on March 14-16, 2014. GMs are already hard at work debating system changes and creating a theme. Players and newcomers are invited to join the discussion on Google Groups, Facebook and Twitter. We will post updates to all of these as the theme develops. Join us on Google Groups Join us on Facebook Follow...
Princecon is organized and run entirely by volunteers, including both Princeton alumni and long-time Princecon devotees. Are you interested in taking your participation to the next level? Consider: Leading discussions in the Google and Facebook Groups. Playing in a playtest campaign (at Princeton or elsewhere) to iron out proposed system...
Or, The Player Report to Alex’s Friday Evening Run
Five tall, hooded (hallucination-wielding!) undead charged into the Nim ghetto and stole the body of a Nim (Thorn) who was murdered at the same time as the First Citizen, in the same way. They have been kidnapping Nymphidae for the past 6-8 months (today Gilly & Willow) and performing strange rituals on them in (shoddy) underground tunnels beneath the Olivine that lead to a lost Nymphaea, buried 300 years ago. The entrance is in a building in the ghetto — beware 4(?) pit traps in the tunnel.
** Did I mention undead? **
Thorn’s spirit wasn’t able to leave her body (as Nim spirits usually do). The bad, tall fellows (cult followers? see sketch of their tattoos) were carrying spirit swords – directly attacking Nymphidae. Sextus examined Thorn, says no danger of her body contaminated w/First Citizen’s madness, and claims it was a “copycat” killing. We followed tunnels to catacombs (w/ Goldberry, a Nymphidae Cleric) FULL OF UNDEAD “City will feel the wrath of the undying one” cult. Preacher w/pope hat. Kneeling people. “Fed to the Baron!”Read More
The people of the Republic long practiced ancestor worship, calling upon a variety of tutelary deities to intercede for them. Though active worship has waned, these spirits continue to protect the people and places to which they have become attached. Some watch over the great families, while others literally strengthen the walls of the cities.
Now, though, the nymphaea (places where ancestor worshipers can commune with tutelary spirits) of the Republic are being corrupted by the Walkers in the Afterworld (a group of Thoki-worshiping OrcTuskan Inferii left over from the destruction of the City of Troll), and lure spirits into a trap that forces them to fight in the new “virtual arena” of the Colosseum until destroyed.
Some of the Gwhi’s ancestral spirits have been trapped, too, and once the Gwhi figured out that the problem was coming from inside Clio, they invaded. Unfortunately, many more of Clio’s spirits have been destroyed — the Terminus of Walpole was destroyed shortly before the invasion, and Walpole’s walls fell too easily before the Gwhi’s onslaught.
Additionally, the pieces of the destroyed spirits are being used by to create a “master spirit”, Baron Samedhi, which could try to challenge Ronkel’s position as god of death.
Alissandra, Nymphidae Guardian
Brunhilda, Daglirae Hero of Daglir
Corwin, Human Hero of Ratri
Rasha, Human Mage of Magus
Uig Scolari, Human Guardian of Janda
The hook: In the late afternoon, the PC’s are put on “dead Nim cleanup” and told to deal with a Nymphidae named Goldberry, who has been asking around the Hall of Heroes for someone to come see to a refugee from Walpole who has died.
On the run: Goldberry escorts the PC’s to the Nymphidae ghetto on the northwest side of the Olivine Hill. As they approach the gates to the community, they are met by Rowan, who says the ghetto was invaded by 5 strangers in dark grey cloaks who killed several Nymphidae and kidnapped two of the Walpole refugees, Gilly and Willow, along with the body of Thorn, the dead refugee. No one is sure where the intruders went.
The party tracked footprints to a dead-end at the other edge of the ghetto, in an area that has been mostly deserted, where they stop dead at a wall. Quickly checking the other side of the wall, they see the tracks don’t continue. They eventually discover that the alley is covered in a hallucination, and find that the real tracks lead to an abandoned building with a trapdoor in the floor.
Travelling as quickly as possible through the tunnel they discovered (Brunhilda noting that it was cleverly, but sloppily, built), the party missed the pit with poisoned spikes at the bottom… and the second… and the third, though to be fair, after the first they put a Levitate upon Corwin, who was taking point.
They eventually end up at the bottom of a dried-up well, at the top of which was a lost Nymphaeum on the eastern side of the Olivine, which had been buried under a landslide long ago. The PC’s send up Corwin, invisible and with blindsight, who sees 3 tall, man-sized figures in robes standing around two unconscious nymphidae, with the dead body of Thorn nearby… and two more figures, taking up a position watching the well. They take a few moments to prepare, hasting the two heroes, then while Brunhilda comes charging out of the well, Corwin sneak attacks the two watchers, expecting to drop them because of his 3 levels of sneak attack. (Unfortunately for Corwin, his targets are undead). In the ensuing battle, Corwin is knocked unconscious and Brunhilde is brought below negative hit points, and the spellcasters are nearly out of spell points(see below) and low on HP themselves. Fortunately, the enemy heroes and two of the enemy spellcasters (including the cleric) had dropped, leading to a grappling attempt by Rasha (a mage) and Alissandra (a strength 8 guardian) on the last enemy spellcaster as he tried to escape with one of the Nims down a hidden tunnel (hilarity ensued). Uig, who had the very last spell points in the party, played the part of a cleric by casting Enhance Ability (Constitution). Corwin became conscious, and made short work of the final enemy.
Signature moment?: One of the enemy spellcasters was focused entirely upon counterspelling; unfortunately for him, the players had already blown nearly all of their spell points prior to the battle. However, it was dark up there, and only Brunhilda and Corwin (and their opponents) could really see what they were doing. Alissandra (who was completely out) hit upon the idea of casting the cantrip Mage Light, and since it was the only spell being cast that round, the enemy caster counterspelled it (and then prepped snowball the following round).
With only 40 minutes before Brunhilda and Corwin would become unconscious again (when Enhance Ability stopped), the party made their way back to Goldberry in the Nymphidae ghetto with the stolen bodies — Gilly lived, Willow died shortly before the party arrived — and the party notes that the wound on Thorn is the distinctive ‘X’ wound on Julius Augustus Arathorn.
Sensing this is important, the party reports this to the Ronkel church. They are shocked by the news, and want the body immediately brought to the church; the party demures (Goldberry said something about wanting to send Thorn’s and Gilly’s spirits back to their ancestors), but then word comes from Sextus that he will go alone with the party to the Nim ghetto in order to examine the body. He declares it to be a copycat killing (never mind that the death occurred around the same time as Julius’s murder) and says there is no danger of the madness spreading from this body.
Goldberry thanks the PC’s for their help, and invites them to the ceremony to send Thorn’s and Gilly’s spirits back to their ancestors. Gilly’s goes smoothly, but Thorn’s is unable to leave. Communing with the spirits, Goldberry declares that Thorn’s body needs to be returned to Walpole (next run!).
However, this party wasn’t finished yet. Not by a long shot. There was still the matter of that tunnel the last enemy tried to escape down. Returning to the scene, they found that the tunnel had been filled in while they were away. Apparently, there was a larger organization at work that didn’t want to be followed! In a fit of conscientiousness that could double as a nomination for Death Wish, the party rounded up a group of Daglirae workmen and had them reopen the tunnel, then followed it down into catacombs of the undercity (using ropes instead of a Levitate because, in Alissandra’s words, “short ropes don’t cost spell points”), where they witnessed more of the “tall men in gray” meeting with some human followers. The party debated whether to fireball the meeting, but eventually decided to simply observe and then return home after discovering there were dozens of undead wandering the crypts.
Horace Worthington Gruntworth, Hogbound Guardian Mavors
Horvot, Hogbound Guardian of Gaia
Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)
Lorenzo Domenico, Nymphidae Mage of Magus
Lunarius Tau, Human Guardian
The hook: The PC’s return Thorn’s body to Walpole, where her spirit can then inhabit a nymphaeum.
On the run: While exploring the destruction of the city, they encounter a horse that appears to have more than human intelligence. It calls for a group of the Ghwi rearguard, essentially an NPC party of player-level characters from the Ghwi equivalent of HH. Some of the adventuring Epon have ancient crystal weapons, passed from parent to child, that have the odd inscription “Induemus Lancea”. The Ghwi have no idea what this means.
The party surprises the Ghwi with 4 fireballs, but some of the Ghwi heroes survive to charge the party and inflict serious damage before dying. The party completes its mission to return Thorn’s body to a nymphaeum, and learns from her spirit that the tutelary deities from the Republic are under attack from unknown sources. From other statements she makes, they also begin to suspect that her father might have been the Julius.
Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-2.pdf
“Walkers in the Afterworld”
Holly Wood, Human Hero of Gaia
Horvot, Hogbound Guardian of Gaia
Jaysa Windwhisper, Nymphidae Hero of Gaia
Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)
Puddlebee Hogsworth, Hogbound Cleric of Gaia
On the run:
The PC’s are asked to investigate strange disturbances on the property of a leading citizen. They discover that the grounds contain a nymphaeum. They also discover a group of undead that bring a kidnapped citizen to the nymphaeum, and battle and destroy the undead. Retracing the path that the undead took to get to the nymphaeum, the party determines that they came from the triumphal arch. Worse, there appeared to be traces of many different groups leaving the arch. The party spent the night following these paths and cataloguing the battles taking place at nymphaea around the city, helping out where needed.
Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-3.pdf
“Ritulo de lo Spiritual”
Archion, Human Mage
Crankul, Hogbound Mage of Aru
Falken, Human Mage of Aru
Razyz, Human Cleric of Gaia
Titus Agrippa Postumous, Human Hero
Wrenn, Hogbound Mage of Mavors
In their words:
Acting swiftly we set 4 Walls of Fire trap on the Arch, through which the undead spellcasters are sending in additional forces. It, the arch, is probably fine. The undead were destroyed. The Arch opened to a grey mist-filled area that closed before we could explore, the Ruby of Control on our side appeared in the stone, not a normal spot.
Additionally we observed a sacrificial ritual under Beacon Hill, and bravely watched a person die while also watching them “fight” via the Slate, thus proving they’re evil (the Slate, not us). After our totally required sacrifice of the townsfolk, we chased the undead, firing shark after shark into the water and tracked them underground via Locate until they vanished under the Capitol.
On the run:
Based on the discoveries of the previous run, the party planned to ambush undead as they came through the triumphal arch at night, and managed to prevent a group of undead from entering the City.
They also went to the nymphaeum at Beacon Hill, in order to try to gain evidence that the Slates were tied into the disappearances of citizens. The nymphaeum is built into the sheer side of the hill that faced the river, and the entrance was overgrown with vegetation. Inside, they found piles of dead bodies of citizens, leading the the exchange:
“Shouldn’t we bury these bodies?”
“We can do that… after…”
So the party exited the shrine and lay in wait at the top of the hill, until two undead arrived carrying the body of a kidnapped citizen and entered the shrine. It was difficult for the party to observe what was happening, so to overcome this problem, Razyz summoned a rat and they cast clairsentience on it. Through the rat, the party observed a ritual in which the kidnapped citizen’s life force was used to power a Slate match. Unfortunately, the undead discovered that the rat was enchanted with clairsentience, and killed it. As the party prepared to charge into the nymphaeum, the undead leaped into the river below, and escaped into an underwater tunnel that led under the city.
Brunhilda, Daglirae Hero of Daglir
Hagrador, Human Hero
Holly Wood, Human Hero of Gaia
Jaysa Windwhisper, Nymphidae Hero of Gaia
Jonicus, Human Hero (Ancestors)
Mungo, Human Hero (Ancestors)
Puddlebee Hogsworth, Hogbound Cleric of Gaia
With solid proof that the Slates were tied not only to the disappearances of citizens, but to the destruction of tutelary spirits, the PC’s went to investigate the Colosseum. They are given immediate access to Eidolinger’s office in the hypogeum, but it turns out to be a trap, and the party is transported to the spirit plane, where they find themselves pitted against a group of spirits in a game that is amazingly similar to the first match that Flynn plays in TRON. The ball of energy dropped into Holly’s cesta.
And this is when the longest and loudest argument of the weekend occurred, as the PC’s decided whether to passively resist by refusing to play. Finally, as Holly prepared to start the match…
Jaysa: “Are you throwing the ball?”
Holly: “I’m not serving the ball an onside kick!”
And so begins another argument over who should throw the ball, during which it’s determined that no one has the acrobatics skill. It finally ended with:
Holly: “I wanted to take acrobatics, but you guys told me it was stupid!”
After winning the match, the party is set up to play another match; this time one of their opponents is not a spirit, but Ke’Flyn, a daglirae of the Daglir church who was trapped in the spirit plane when he discovered how the Colosseum was being used. Together the PC’s and Ke’Flyn escape the spirit Colosseum, and return to the living world through the beacon at the spirit Beacon Hill. Brunhilda left the following checklist for the Sunday run.
To Do List
1. Kill Samedhi (evil spirit; use my sword / entrance badge to Colosseum)
2. Kill OrcTuskans (overly tall pointy-eared creatures bent on destroying Clio)
3. Find Nymphaeum under the Colosseum (follow directions) & clean it up. This is the most important spirit kill site. The others are feeders. FYI: this is where Samedhi is.
4. Read Clue Board for info (I put stuff there)
5. Find out who Markus’s father is
Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-5.pdf
Alissandra, Nymphidae Guardian
Archion, Human Mage
the Auditor, Nymphidae Cleric of Mavors
Cadfael, Human Cleric of Aru
Crankul, Hogbound Mage of Aru
Spirit, Human Cleric of Gaia
In their own words:
The prior expedition shut down the Colosseum, but did not destroy the Spirit that was being created with all of the pieces (Samedhi), as well as probably who was creating it. (Hierarch Daglir — was a sap/dupe. He was fed some ‘research’ which he misrepresented as his own… but he’s dead now.)
OrcTuskan “Walkers in the Afterworld” .. tall, humanoid (brown robes) — don’t bleed / are undead (carrying potions of cause) .. an old, secret race which was wiped from history. (Kill if any escape BobWest’s run); this was a great civilization which had a city here in Clio which was buried in a cataclysmic civilization-ending event by Ronkel followers.
It is believed that there is a connection between the Catacombs and the Nymphaeum (temple of Ancestor Worship) which includes a ritual (tied to the Games) which brings forth a Spirit (source of spirits for the Games). A winning spirit would be kept around; a losing spirit is destroyed.
Descending to the Nymphaeum under the Colosseum, a crystal is broken, which released a ‘mist’, apparently of spirits — and of Samedhi? Will saves are made, except for our 10th level Mage, Crankul, who casts a Teleport, which we were not able to disrupt.
Find Being on our compatriot reveals his location back above the city; we chase at 360’/round flying. Back above ground, we find a tremor has leveled the Nymphidae ghettos. Flying above the city is Crankul, who then descends to the ground (face down, gentle landing), but the FELON Samedhi is now separate from his location. The FELON possessed a child and was ‘playing’ a very fatal game of Tag on other small children. Dispel Evil failed and Hold Person (success!) immobilized the killer-possessed child.
Possession-hop to Alissandra … some fighting. Then Alissandra flies into a wall to kill herself and force her possession to end.
Before Alissandra was possessed, he was willing to chain-lightning a group of small children … but while he was possessed, he chose to fly into a sharp pointy wall.
Another jump… and a Phase-In finally allows conventional combat to finally begin. Spirit wades in and swings the +0 Soul Sword, buffed by Flame Weapon… quite well. Other join in and engage — an Air Elemental and even the Auditor successfully attacks and hits.
Summoning for more alliances (Fire Giant & Wyvern) … tendrils from Samedhi attach to the Fire Giant, turning him for a moment; the Auditor works to cut the tendril and possession.
Coming over the side of the building … blue silvery figures (with tails that stretch back to the Nymphaeum) which take the form of galloping Gwhi that charge down the wall, finishing off Samedhi. VICTORY!!
So noted in the grey leather tome of the AUDITOR
PrinceCon XXXVIII Summary
The Cursed City of Xeraneum
Run 1: First Encounter with Xeraneum (Crankul, Erau, SallieAnn)
Members of The Hall of Heroes are given a mission by Sextus to determine what the last sane orders of the First Citizen were. They travel along a magical lost road powered by a slow song with a scholar named Coburnicus with the hopes of finding evidence of the party of twelve adventurers that left a year ago and were never seen again. The small search party arrives in the dark buried fabled city Xeraneum of and after a small snake attached to a severed Nymphidae’s head sound an alarm they do battle with the Ophions, a race of snakes that are able graft living body parts onto their sinuous forms. Although one combatant had multiple bird parts attached, their main adversaries had parts from the party sent a year ago seamlessly attached and fought with the skill of the original possessors of the limbs. SallieAnn talks to them with the aid of a Comprehend languages spell as they fight and find that the creatures refered to some one or something as ‘Mother’. When the fight was over, the Aru worshippers and the one Gaia worshipper took away the weapons from the unconscious snake people. Although they had only been in the cursed city for about fifteen minutes, they decided to return on the ‘road that was’ to the City of Clio. Before they left Coburnicus alone in the dark city, they gave him as many protections as they could give and made off for home with the small snake attached to the living head in a sack to show future adventurers from the Hall of Heroes what they had found.
Run #2: Return to Xeraneum (Crankul, Galen, Krag Maga, Mungo, Wilbur)
Without going to Sextus, one member from the small earlier mission, Crankul, to be exact, decides take another excursion to Xeraneum to discover more secrets, find Cobernicus and return the small snake attached to the Nim’s head. Once they arrive the new party chooses to follow the directions to an attuned penny given to Cobernicus and the smell of baking bread and arrive in the bakery district. They are ambushed by a group of Ophions but the party works well together and they quickly start destroying their assailants. Krag Maga goes to kill a small Ophion wizard who is trapped in a web. He discovers he has the arms and mouth of Luno Lunestro, the Hogbound sorcerer who disappeared a year ago grafted to him. The Ophion using the mouth attached to his neck begs with Krag Maga not to kill him and that he will tell him where ‘he’ is being kept. When the small Ophion blurts out he is in a wool dying vat in the market part of town, Krag kills the helpless creature. The party decides to hold up in the bakery while Galen does some scouting. Galen returns with information that the prisoner is exactly where he was told but is kept guarded. The party hatches a plan to rescue the prisoner with combination of stealth & magic. Crankul and Galen get close enough to see the gigantic snake with the single head and five bodies slithering back and forth. Crankul dimension doors into the giant vat and begins pulling the man into the next dimension door when he realizes this man is not Cobernicus! He knows the prisoner is alive and he can’t stop the plan now. On their way back to the bakery, both Galen and Crankul recognize the man as Ulysses (Yule) and was one of the members of the party of twelve that left for this place a year ago. He is not in ill health but is being kept asleep with a sleeping poison. They rendezvous with the rest of the group and make it to their exit from the city. On their way back on the road-that-was they discuss what they should do with the liberated prisoner and where they should revive him.
Run #2.5: Awakening the Prisoner (Crankul, Galen)
Although originally meant to be a small run by itself, time did not allow for anything more than an exchange of information.
Since Sextus sent them on the mission, Crankul felt it was very important to awaken Yule in his presence. Galen and Crankul go to the temple of Ronkel and interrupt Sextus in a religious ceremony. Upon seeing them he allows an acolyte to continue and he takes them into a private room with their sleeping witness. Crankul, who possessed knowledge of poisons, awakens the prisoner as Sextus takes a position behind Yule’s chair. Yule awakens and he is told he is safe and in the city of Clio. He explains he was tortured and taunted by the Beast of Lengend, Aderea! Even though she lacked eyes, she still seemed formidable and possessed a mind staggering intellect. Through a haze of pain, Yule mentioned she had been poisoning the Laurel tree that feeds information to First citizen though his golden laurel crown and had driven him mad. She knew the first citizen was finally dead because she was in contact with the murderer though silver scroll which allowed two way conversation. Galen immediately asked who the murderer was. Yule was just about to tell them and a surprising thing happened. In a spray of blood and gore, snakes burst forth from his body and face. Sextus, who already had his dagger out, joined in the fight but as aech snake was severed, it regenerated into two new snakes. Acolytes arrived with torches grabbed from the walls and discovered fire was the solution to keep the snakes from regenerating. When the fight was over, the body was not allowed to be disturbed as set forth in the laws of Ronkel. Sextus explained the ordinances of his church are to ‘Let the dead stay dead and not disturbed or revived for any reason. Crankul shared his information with the hall of heroes.
Run #3: Silver Scroll Quest (Holly Wood, Horvat, Jaysa WindWhisperer, Jonicus, Puddlebee Hogsworth)
This party’s mission was to recover the silver scroll and discover the murderer’s identity. They arrive in the city and after examining the vat that held Yule, they hear the tolling of a bell. First fearing they have been discovered, they realize the Ophions are being summoned to an amphitheater to witness something wonderful thanks to a series of comprehend languages spells and the murmuring of the crowds. They arrive to the perimeter of the amphitheater and see the monsterous five-bodied snake shedding its skin to cheers from the Ophion crowd cheering out to thye sanke they called the ‘Wearer of The Dead” When the crowd dispursed, four Ophidians with grafted with multiple bird parts carried the gigantic shed skin to the ‘Scroll Guardian’. The party stealthily follows and enters the mansion house when the four enemy creatures leave. The courtyard is littered with cast off snake skins. A light wind arrises and a voice beg them to leave. When they do not leave elemental storm energy fills each of the snake skins and when the constructs physically hit they realease thjeir lightning attack. The party defends themselves and talks with the disembodied voice but does not attacke the strange ‘storm skins’. They try to locate the creature animating the skins and search for the silver scroll when they notice some of the skins did not move away from the pool in the center of the courtyard. Just as the number of animated skins increase to fatal numbers, Jonicus pulls up a metal plate under the water and a jar bobs to the surface. Puddlebee opens the jar and all the skins fall limp. The air coalesces into a female form of an air nymph, specifally, Aderea’s sister. The party names her ‘Bella’. ‘Bella’ explains that Aderea used to be an earth nymph until a mortal’s sexual assault on her centuries ago forced her to become flesh without the hope of ever merging with the earth again and it is likely that she only works with the killer because it only helps her gain her revenge on every living mortal. ‘Bella’ hands the party the silver scroll that Aderea uses to communicate with the murderer of the First Citizen. ‘Bella’ explains that the only possibility of allowing her sister to attain her spirit form is to destroy her form of flesh with the hopes that her spirit is strong enough to survive. The party agrees to send more people from the Hall of Heroes to help Aderea return to her spirit form. They forge a message from Aderea with the hopes that the assassin will reveal his identity and then they sneak back to the road-that-was and return to the city of Clio. The following morning they receive a return message on the silver scroll identifying the killer as simply “-S”.
Run #4: The Beast of Legend (Brunhilda, Falken, Rasha, Razyz, Titus Agrippa Postumous, Uig Scolari)
The next party returns to Xeraneum to confront Aderea and release the Laurel Tree of the Republic from her control. They arrive in the Xeraneum and narrowly escape having the alarm sounded by the little Ophidian in the hanging Nim head. They kill it and wished they had read the past run reports warning them of the alarm system. Bella had told the earlier party that Aderea lives on the palace grounds. The party sneaks their way to the gates of the palace courtyard and Mindblast the monsterous Ophidian known as the ‘Wearer of the dead’ who is acting as guard. When they finally enter they are spotted and a battle ensues. They fight well together and finally defeat the four or five snake-like guards. When the battle is over, the wind picks up and ‘Bella’ arrives at the gate with the ‘Storm skins’. She asks to have the gate opened and the party is reluctant. She identifies herself as the one that the earlier group had named ‘Bella’ and that if the gate was not opened she would have to destroy it and that would be most unfortunate as the gate was crafted most beautifully. This wins over the Daglirae, Brunhilda. They let her in they prepare to enter the palace. They cross the palace and fight along the way with the minion snake beings of Aderea. They open the large doors and are almost blinded by the brightness of sunshine as they enter the Hanging Gardens of Xeraneum. Despite what their senses tell them they are actually inside a great dome built before the city was buried. Inside it shines with the light of the cloudless skies above them. There are fields of wheat, birds, rivers of water and lava and almost every kind of plant. On an elevated platform is the yellow leaved Laurel Tree of the republic strangled with vicious vines. Peppering the beautiful landcape are the hissing fdorms of the Ophidians and along the far wall is Aderea on a raised platform. She does not seem to be the ‘Beast of Legend’ described in the Epic of Deniya and Aderea, but a beautiful young Nymphidae with writhing snakes for hair. Her mouth is pursed in anger and her eyes are closed. There is an unmoving shadowy form next to her chair. Aderea seems prepared for an attack but when asked why she was aiding a mortal murderer, she explains that if she can aid in the instability of the Republic she would. In her sweet voice she xplained that her ultimate goal is to see that the land is purged of all the races of men so that nature may prevail again in all its wild beauty so that the child Gaia may smile. But first all mortals must die.
As if in response, Brunhilda, enlarged by Rasha, races forward with Rasha attached to her leg and Titus at her side. The rest of the garden erupts into combat. The charging combatants encounter a giant mirror in ther way but it only slows them down as they change direction to face Aderea. Titus, as a historian looks into her now open eyes and sees something he recognizes. Set into each of her empty eye sockets is set a crystal shard of the recently stolen Staff of Transformation. The legendary staff was the one used to transform Tremyrus’s crew into the first Hogbound. With her innate abilities and the power of the broken Staff of Transformation, Titus starts to feel himself slow as the stiffening stone begins to take over his flesh. While he can still move he grapples with Aderea while Rasha Mind Blasts her. She falls over limp in the arms of Titus the statue. The other fighters fight for quite some time but the party aided by ‘Bella’ and her ‘storm skins’ finally win the day. They behead the ‘Beast of Legend’.
Razyz, being a Gaia cleric, talks to the Laurel Tree of the Republic. He learns how to coax Aderea’s ivy from off and within the tree for it had laced iteself through the core of the tree. He restores the tree so that it can think again. The Golden Laurel crown can be used once again without driving the next First Citizen into madness.
They see now that form standing behind Aderea’s chair is that of Coburnicus, the man charged with delivery of the shards as payment for her aid in driving Arathorn insane. The scholar was the first victum of her returned powers.
With Titus resored to flesh, the party returns triuphantly to the Hall of Heroes knowing that they have confronted a legenary creature and defeated her. They are truly heroes and have restored the honor of the Hall.
Facts that may not have come out in game:
Aderea was an unaging former nymph constrained to physcical form by an act of sexual brutality. She sought help from the childlike form of Gaia to seek vengenace on the mortal world.
The Ophions are the cut hair of Aderea. Once they are cut they gain independent thought and though some show reverence for their mother, other are just as likely to hate her. Evil families can be quite dysfunctional. This is why all the Ophions were missing the last chunk of their tail. Their natural form never had that piece of tail.
Sextus was a collector of antiques and discovered one silver scroll. With it he was able to communicate with Aderea. This was how she was aware that the plan had succeded and that the First Citizen was dead. As payment for her part in the plan, she had demanded pieces of the Staff of Transformation. She knew that it would give her the ability to turn people into stone again if inserted them into her eye sockets. Sextus used a member of his congregation who worked in the Museum of Antiquities to deliver the shards. However, as her children may not actually listen to Aderea and they craved more body parts, Sextus needed some adventurers to keep his delivery boy alive until he could get to a place in the city whre he could locate the secret passage that would take him to Aderea directly. She of course needed to test her returned abilities and seeing that the Ophions were part of her and thgerefore immune to her gaze, she used Coburnicus.
Crankul brought the rescued prisoner to Sextus to awaken him. Sextus was honestly surprised to see Crankul alive. Sextus took them to the most quiet, well sound insulated room in the Temple of Ronkel. And when the prisoner, Yule, started to give out too much information, Sextus drew his dagger in preparation to kill the three people in the room. Thankfully Aderea had left a surprise in Yule. Anyone who would awaken him from the sleep poison would also awaken the Lemaen serpents within him.
Aderea was using a duplicate crown of ungilded leaves to ‘feel ‘the citizens of Clio. She knew what was happening in the empire just like a First Citizen. She removed the duplicate from her own brow when she started planting paranoia and insanity into the broadcast thoughts about 18 months ago.
I am not sure if the original destruction of Xeraneum in 79 FCR was a natural disaster or if the embittered Aderea, who used to be an earth Nymph, afterall , had a hand burying the city that Dinaya had at one point called home under tons of volcanic ash. What do you think?
I was disappointed that there were no Nymphidae or Hogbound in the last party. I thought it would have been great to have Aderea banter with another immortal. Also, any attempt to use her returned powers on any Hogbound, would have no effect whatsoever. Once transformed through the power of the Staff of Transformation one could not be affected again. The Hogbound were examples of the power of the staff.
This was my first attempt at being a Gamemaster in many many years. I had a wonderful time and I want to thank all of my players who made this a memorable experience. You showed me what incredibly creative people can truly do. Please feel free contact me via Facebook if you have any further questions regarding my scenario or anything regarding PrinceCon in general. Again, thank you.
Steven H Wolfson
The Road That Is.
When the crown of gilded Laurel leaves was placed upon First Citizen Scipio’s head at the coronation, he immediately felt thoughts hopes, desires and fears of his citizens. He had the forgotten road cleared and unburied to be walked upon normally. The Daglirae from the provinces of Gruumgard flocked to the city of Xeraneum to see the wonders of a bygone age. They expertly continued the sloppy excavation process and within fourteen years had the entire city explored but still covered. Xeraneum became the southern capital of the Republic again. The work force that built the massive stone bridge across the Strait of Grimaldi set them on the deep old foundations of the original ancient bridge. Some even called it the Bridge of Brunhilda, named after the celebrity who helped discover and liberate the city. The Nymphidae conclave found near Ga-ur set made a piligrimage to Xeraneum to worship what they called the ‘Sisters’. They paid tribute to the air spirit known to some as ‘Bella’ and over the next short fifty years their worship near the mouth of the extinct volcanoe brought about the manifestation of shy Aderea, the Spirit of Legend.
Individual GM scenario recaps to follow.
This year, there were a number of interlocking themes:
The Murder Mystery. The primary “hook” for players was the murder of Julius Augustus Arathorn, the First Citizen. A successful conclusion to this storyline, which would restore the honor of the Hall of Heroes, involved:
- Discovering who murdered Julius. Was it Scipio? Lucius? Arujah (this was a popular name bandied about)? Arujah in collusion with Sextus? The culprit was discovered to be Sextus conspiring with his lover Aimale.
- How the murder was accomplished. It was through an ancient ritual that killed an entire bloodline; but first, Sextus and Aimale wanted to destroy Julius’s reputation. They did this by driving him mad by poisoning the Laurel tree that contributed the leaves to the First Citizen’s crown.
- Why Julius was murdered. It was love! It says right in the player pack that Sextus would do anything for his Lady. And you thought he meant Ronkel!
- Appointing a new First Citizen. One by one, candidates were considered and found wanting, with the exception of Scipio. With a new First Citizen and our greatest general at the head of the military once again, the Republic was ready to stop the Gwhi invasion.
The Gwhi Invasion. The secondary hook was the destruction of Walpole at the eastern edge of the Republic and the impending threat of the Gwhi.
- Why are they attacking? The Gwhi are attacking because of the destruction of their tutelary spirits (see Thoki followers below). They have communed with their ancestors and determined Clio to be the source of the problem.
Old City of Troll. The third hook, hidden from the players at the beginning of the Con, was the Old City of Troll (located below the city of Clio) and its inhabitants.
- Ronkel followers. More than a thousand years ago, at the height of the empire of Troll, the followers of Ronkel despaired at the corruption of the OrcTuskan people of Troll and called upon their goddess to swallow the City whole. A generations-long war ensued, which the Servants of Death have recently won. (And would have won more than a century ago, but for all the dead bodies the citizens of Clio provided the followers of Thoki.)
- Thoki followers. Beaten in the war for the UnderCity, the OrcTuskan followers of Thoki, god of Undeath and enemy of Ronkel and Aru, tried to have their revenge, using Eidolinger as their dupe to use the virtual Colosseum and the Slates to entrap and destroy spirits.
Destruction of tutelary spirits. Destroying the ancestral spirits of both the Republic and the Gwhi would precipitate a war between Gwhi and the Republic, filling the lichyards with corpses beyond count for animating.
Samedhi. The energy of the destroyed spirits both powered the virtual Colosseum and fed a new “master spirit”, the Baron Samedhi. If his growth was left unchecked, Samedhi would one day challenge Ronkel for mastery of Death. Even in his weaker state at the end of the con, Samedhi could possess almost any living being and would be a threat to the leadership of the Republic, but was destroyed in a battle in the Nymphidae ghetto.
There was peace in Ockham.
There was peace in Ockham, until the invaders came. No one knows precisely where they came from, or precisely what they want, but several countries have already been subjugated. Strangely, there appear to be several sets of invaders, and each has conquered a separate territory. In one, the invaders possess magic weapons beyond our ken that discharge deadly beams of light; in another, tentacled horrors roam the land and drive the populace mad; in yet another, savagery rules the day.
Worse, the invaders’ views of the how the world works seems to be contagious. Priests entering one of the conquered areas renounce their gods; in another, mighty heroes put aside their swords; yet another, even the most refined nobility dresses in rags and is reduced to cannibalism.
But there is hope: the few who can resist the thrall of the invading Realities are now gathering at Hireling Hall. Join them on March 16, 2012 at McCosh 50 on Princeton University’s campus to repel this threat!
PrinceCon 37 will be held March 16-18, 2012 on the Princeton University Campus. Registration begins at 3pm; first runs go out at 5pm. The Simulation Games Union’s annual convention consists of tabletop roleplaying in a shared world, centered around a common goal. Rules are a variation of the Open-Gaming version (3.5SRD) of Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, incorporating many ideas developed over the years by the SGU. Admission is $20, free to Princeton University undergraduates. Certificates are awarded for Strategic, Tactical and Role Playing excellence.