Posts by alex

PrinceCon 38 recap — Chris’s scenario

Lucius Gaius was originally supposed to be very Winston Churchill, but a lot of Tony Soprano and Malcom X got mixed in when I actually ran him.
First run 
Players are sent to discover why the Senate has ordered the masters of the Hall arrested. They find out the senate is mainly controlled by two people, Aimale Arathorn, wife of the just assassinated First Citizen and Lucius Gaius, a Hogbound Senator. They have to meet with them to try and convince them to revoke the arrest order and free the masters. Aimale will refuse to help them, Lucius will help; but only after the players wipe out a Daglirae gang that has taken over the docks. The Daglirae have imposed their own cultural rules on the area and pushed out 3 hogbound gangs that used to control it.
 The party did a decent job getting in to see Gaius, and he sends them off to the docks with very little explanation in order to see how they do. They use massive disguise skills and invisibility spells to get into the dock area and check things out. While half the party is in disguise and stuck during the Drinking Time, pouring ale over themselves to try and fit in without getting too too drunk, the invisible half of the party decides to take advantage of the absence of guards and steal with the two person gimbal-mounted heavy crossbow turret and run for it. Of course, the guards notice the missing weapon and set off an alarm. The invisible ones decide that they have enough loot for one run, and take off. The disguised ones look at all the guards starting a search pattern, searching for anything suspicious, like disguised adventurers, and decide that running away is the better part of valor. They do a decent job, up until the one with the slowest move ends up getting stuck alone in an alley, with guards about to discover him. Did the rest of the party fight? Make a distraction? Maybe grab him and try and pull him along? Nope! Truly this was a weekend of Friends like These.  Luckily that guy had a great disguise skill and successfully pretended to be a dead guy suffering only minor trampling damage when the guards marched over his “Corpse”
So in the end, the party did not drive off the Daglirae, but they got some clues as to their routines, and weakened their defenses for the next group.
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Brunhilda’s Guide to Drinking in the Nymphidae Ghetto (+Zombie Cults)

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!”

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PrinceCon 38 recap — Alex’s scenario

Backstory

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.

Runs

“The Refugees”

Dramatis Personae

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.

“Walpole”

Dramatis Personae

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”

Dramatis Personae

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”

Dramatis Personae

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.

You’re welcome,

Archion

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.

 

“It only thinks it’s happening”

Dramatis Personae

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

Love, Hilda

 

Also see Steve’s take on the events: http://princecon.org/pcon38/steve-5.pdf

 

“Baron Samedhi”

Dramatis Personae

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:


Our mission:

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

 

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PrinceCon 38 recap – Steve’s Scenario

PrinceCon XXXVIII Summary

The Cursed City of Xeraneum

 

Aderea 04-05-13Overall Summary:  Members from the Hall of Heroes explore a hidden underground city to discover how the plot of the First Citizen’s murder is connected with the city’s strange inhabitants.

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.

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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

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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.

-SHW

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PrinceCon 38 Recap — Tim D’s Scenario

Scenario summary
My scenarios were all focused on the fate of General Scipio and his cat folk wife ChanGallNaMin.  The key tie to the theme was in finding a ‘good’ replacement for the First Citizen.  General Scipio had been promised this position on his successful return from the cat folk lands.  Although he was the rightful replacement for the First Citizen, Chris and I came up with a combined run where both Scipio and Senator Lucius Gaius (The NPC that Chris was using) would both be presented to the players as potential candidates for the First Citizen.  In addition, we had hoped that the players would also try to get a PC member of the Hall of Heroes into this role as well.  So the main plot tie-in: who becomes the next First Citizen.
A secondary plot tie in was Scipio’s wife ChanGallNaMin.  Her safety was put at risk on my runs a few times.  If the players had been unable to keep her alive not only would the prosperity of the trade agreement for the plant between the republic and the cat folk have fallen apart, but also the cat folk may well have declared war on the republic.  So the 2nd plot tie-in: keep ChanGallNa alive, keep the republic prosperous and stable.
Thirdly, the reputation of the Hall of Heroes was marred by the assassination; in addition my NPC Scipio hated the hall of heroes.  His original plan – if he ever became First Citizen – was to disband the Hall of Heroes.  My runs gave the players a chance to show the Hall of Heros truly was an asset to the republic.  In addition, a lot of my ‘bad guys’ were made up by the senate’s Exemplars.  While it was true that some were evil and corrupted, most were just doing their job.  If the players could resolve battles with the Exemplars with a minimum of bloodshed, this would help the reputation of the Hall of Heroes.  If they killed indiscriminately and without mercy, the reputation of the Hall of Heroes as criminals and assassins would be firmly reinforced.   Third plot tie-in: Restore the damaged reputation of the Hall of Heroes.
Finally, ChanGallNaMin had powers that could be used to fuel adventures that would give clues about what was happening to the spirits in the coliseum.  Final plot tin: help the players understand the danger of the coliseum.
Run #1 Save (or Kill) General Scipio
In my first run General Scipio is being held by the Exemplars (this group – supposedly – controlled by and loyal to Lucius Gaius).  The players get a chance to question him about the murder, save him, and get clues that Amiale’s making a play for power.
The run starts off by introduction the players to just how much damage has been done to the reputation of the Hall of Heroes.  In the middle of their briefing with a Hall of Heroes elder, the Exemplars break in and arrest the elder on charges of treason (thanks to Alex and his players who burst into the room and played the part of the exemplars).
The players then found a quiet exit to leave and start their mission.  A small group of children saw them and chanting ‘killer of the First Citizen’ threw rocks at them.  This was of course giving the players a chance to hurt their reputation even more by attacking children, but they did not take the bait and scattered the children with harmless spells.
Now understanding that in order to travel through the city safely, they needed to find a way to go low profile.  They decided that their best option was to disguise themselves as exemplars.  Using this disguise, some fast-talking and Aaron’s character unique knowledge they were able to see Scipio.  The players and Scipio seemed to instantly hate each other on sight.  But after a lot of angry back and forth the players found out:
* The First Citizen was fine (not crazy) when Scipio left about 16 months ago
* Scipio had been promised the position as next First Citizen on his return from the Cat Folk lands
* The evidence against Scipio was all circumstantial with no hard evidence.
The players began to believe that Scipio had not committed the murder (and I’m not totally sure the exact reasons why).  At this point, they decided to help him.  What they did not know was that while this group of Exemplars appeared to be in the pocket of Lucius Giaus, Amiale’s agents had in fact infiltrated them.  A recently turned exemplar captain arrived with Amiale’s orders and found the players there.  Confused, the agent assumed that they were apart of Amiale’s men.  To confirm this he began to question them and they were able to convince him that they were on his side.  The agent told the players to take Scipio to the Senate holding cells and make sure that he never made it.  The players escorted Scipio along with Amiale’s guards (constructs that replaced men loyal to Lucius) and defeated the guards when they tried to kill Scipio.
The players then help Scipio escape to a hiding place in a cemetery.  He was willing to hide out there but would not leave the city until his Cat Folk wife (run #2) was safe.
From a strategic point of view the players did fantastic.
They did not kill (although a few Exemplars were worse for the wear) anyone and still succeeded in their mission.  This added to the fact that Scipio now owed his life to them did a lot to help the reputation of the Hall of Heroes.
More important Scipio had been saved and was looking at the Hall of Heroes with new found admiration and respect.
The most memorable moments from the run for me were:
During Introductions at game start Brian Kolber, noted that this was his first time playing the PrinceCon system and that he might have some problems with the system.  Without missing a beat Spencer Kipe quipped ‘way to jump right into the system by playing a Mage’.  Everyone at the table burst into laughter at that point.
The other memorable event came when Brian Kolber (using his new mage) cast a Sleep spell on the 2 Exemplars attacking Michael Feier’s Hero Titus Agrippa.  It was an excellent plan, had it not been that the attacking Exemplars were 1st and 2nd level!  I should note that Brain bumped the spell to exactly the amount needed to drop the Exemplars and Michael’s 5th level hero!   As a way of helping Brian feel better about the result Micheal Brokes commented ‘At least you saved the all-important tunics’ (the players wanted the exemplar’s tunics to use as part of their disguise).
 Run #2 Save ChanGallNaMin
My 2nd run was to find and rescue General Scipio’s wife the cat folk ChanGallNaMin who was still held by the Exemplars.  She was still back at the residence that the first group of players had left with General Scipio on his way to be executed.  The guard detail was light because the general was gone and they did not expect anyone to rescue her.  What the players did not know was that she had been already poisoned by Amiale’s agents (the Exemplars guarding her did not know this).  In addition, although the players could have used combat to quickly destroy the guards this would have badly damaged the reputation of the Hall of Heroes as they would have effectively been killing legitimate Exemplars.
The players in this run were made up of one player who had been on my first run and a group of players who had just completed another GM’s run.  The players met in the cemetery where the general was hiding.  The group from the other run did not know that the Exemplars were rounding up members of the Hall of Heroes and the meeting of the two groups was formed in trying to avoid capture by an Exemplar patrol.  They managed to elude capture and at the same time not escalate the hostilities between the Exemplars and Hall of Heroes.
The group decided to make plans at a magically protected house they had found on the prior run.  This was a good idea because it kept them safe.   However in hindsight, I should have paid a visit to the other GM to make sure that house was as safe as they thought it was.  Oh the missed opportunities!
Using a combination of stealth and magic the players were able to find that ChanGallNaMin was on the second floor of the estate.  Everything went perfectly until the end where the players in trying to get her attention (and assuming she was alone in the room) used the cantrip tap on the window.  This did not get her attention (she was on the bed in a death like comma because she had been poisoned), but they did get the attention of the one guard in the room!  At first he did not understand the tapping (but was not concerned by it).  This all changed when 1 of the players (using magic flight) appeared at the window.  The guard was not the only 1 in shock as all the players realized that they were about to be discovered.  But some quick thinking and a creative use of spells allowed them to keep the guards busy while they did a smash and grab to get ChanGallNaMin out and fly away.
They were still not out of the woods yet however!  They had her, but she appeared to be already dead.  At this point, one of the players discovered that she was not dead but poisoned.  Once this was determined they were able to reverse the effects of the poison and revive her.  They then took her to where the general was hiding and helped sneak both out of the city.
I was most impressed with how they got out of the city.  One of the players asked if the city had the equivalent of lepers, to which I said yes.  They concluded (correctly) that it would be the job of Aru clerics to guide any groups of Lepers out of the city.  So disguised as Lepers they left the city.
All in all another excellent run.  They managed to not only save ChanGallNaMin, but also get her and the general out of the city undetected and all without a single Exemplar killed.
Run #3 ChanGallNaMin and the old spirits
In this run ChanGallNaMin would be drawn to a site where the spirit guardian had been killed and evil had taken over the area.  It gave a chance for the players to see how the tutelary spirits protected the republic and that they were disappearing.  Essentially it gave the players a chance to (if they were smart) gather a lot of information about the Tutelary spirits.
The player’s mission was to escort ChanGallNaMin to a river separated by two hillsides.  In typical mysterious NPC fashion she told them that she was needed because the land was wounded.  The players arrive and on one hilltop they feel safe and protected (spell points used by them are returned).  On the opposite hillside they detect but can’t see evil beings.
As they begin to plan what to do next, 2 of their party fail a will save (ChanGallNaMin is one who fails to save) and are drawn toward the ‘evil’ hill.  Battle breaks out as the rest of the player group tries to protect the helpless party members as they head heedlessly toward the evil hill.
It becomes clear to the players that there are more then just evil bandits on the hill.  The hillside itself is evil and is protecting and helping (and perhaps even controlling) the bandits.  The hill they are on (and try to stay on as best they can during the battle) is helping them fight against the evil powers.
They are able to save ChanGallNaMin without much effort, but the other player who failed the will save – Ron Seidel’s Galen a Human Hero – is almost killed before they can rescue him.  As the battle dies down, it seems whatever evil power on the hill that is helping the bandits fight the players abandons them.
The players retreat to the hill that protects them while the remaining bandits hide out in the trees and brush of the evil hill.   On their hill ChanGallNaMin finds the remains of a burned out farmhouse.  In the ruins the players discover a mirror that ChanGallNaMin claims allows her to see and speak to the spirit that protects the hill they are on.  She talks with this spirit and the players learn that she and her sister both used to live here, her on this hill and her sister on the other.  When they passed on they became spirit protectors of these hills until her sister was ripped away from her hill (she was pulled to the coliseum and killed in the battles there).   Now that her sister is gone the other hill has become a place of evil.  Note the players did not ask, but if they did the spirit would have told them that recently the evil had become much more powerful (this is a clue to the effect of the loss of the tutelary spirits).
The players also strongly suspected that the pads used for coliseum combat were involved and ChanGallNaMin with her strong connection to the spirit world was able to confirm this.
Ron’s character (the one who failed the will save and was almost killed) realized that had he died, with the help of the spirit of the good hill, he could be transformed on his death to a new tutelary spirit bound to and protecting the evil hill.
While the rest of the players were dividing up magic items (the ideal distraction) he walked to the other hill with the idea of sacrificing himself to become the new guardian of that hill and drive the evil out.  The rest of the players realized his plan but were too late to stop him.  With his death the evil was driven from the hill.
Without the protection of the evil on the hill the bandits were completely vulnerable and the rest of the players took revenge on them for serving the evil power.  If I remember correctly they did not allow a single bandit to escape.
The mirror the players had found now allowed them to see and speak with Ron’s now dead character.  My idea here was to give other GM’s a cool magic item that they could use or ignore at their option.
So in the end ChanGallNaMin was saved and the players had learned a lot about tutelary spirits.  Alex had spoken to me before the run about information that he wanted the players to have a chance to find and my hope is that this run gave them what they needed, but at the same time not too much information or that it did not send them down the wrong rabbit hole because of my not understanding what Alex had planned.   I can say that from my end, it was a good run and the players did well.
Run #4 RPG character questions
This was not a true run, the players had an hour or two to kill as they waited for John to put the finishing touches on his run so I took them on a short run to keep them occupied until he was ready for them.  I had a short rescue scenario in mind for them but also gave them the chance to meet and talk with my NPCs.
They decided to spend the time talking with my NPC’s and try to get some of the stories they had heard clarified.  So this session was short with no combat.
To be honest I am not sure how much this run helped the players.  I don’t remember any new information being given out; it was for the most part clarifying things that had already been discovered by other parties but where some of the finer points had been lost in translation.  The players did seem satisfied with the information they got and then went onto John’s run to continue his plot arc.
Run #5 The meeting between General Scipio and Lucius Gaius
The main point to this run was for My NPC (General Scipio) and Chris’ NPC (Lucius Gaius) to meet and work out their differences.  These 2 characters had been bitter rivals and the plan was to have the meeting site become a battle ground that the 2 characters with the players as body guards would have to fight their way out and escape.
Now to give credit where credit is due the idea for this combined run came from Chris and it turned out to be a really great idea.  That said and while this turned out to be my favorite run from the con, it was not without its problems.
First was the logistics of the run.  The plan was for Chris and myself to take out 2 parties and have them meet our NPC and then be sent on a mission (for the first NPC) to find and arrange a meeting with the second NPC.  When this occurred we would then switch parties.  Of course my first party instead of accept this mission wanted to solve the mystery of how ChanGallNaMin was captured (this was the excuse to get Scipio to seek out Lucius for help).  In addition, the timing proved to be interesting because as we intended to swap groups, then rejoin them as one large group, I had to find a way to keep the players busy on the adventure, but not let things get bogged down so that when the time came to switch or join groups they would be able and ready.
Another interesting twist, when Chris and I discussed the idea, his NPC sounded like he and Scipio while rivals had a lot of common ground and that when they met, the two putting aside their differences would not be difficult.  As it turned out Chris was playing his NPC a lot more sinister then either our talks or the GM information pack indicated.  For example, my runs had assumed that while Lucius had engineered the arrest of Scipio, that he would have no part of the plan to murder him (which in my run was done by Amiale).  The impressions that I got from Chris’ roleplay of Lucius made me question if the murder would have actually been out of character for him.  All of this made for great interaction between the two once Chris and I actually combined the two groups and ‘met’.  The meeting turned into an ambush – which each side blamed the other for – and a huge battle ensued.
Chris ran the complete battle while I handled any role-play that players were interested in (a number used the battle to showcase their characters’ personality).  As the battle wore on it looked like the players would not survive the trap looked like it was going to close and catch everyone inside.  This is where the players really shined as they worked out a plan to get the NPC’s (all of them) out of the battle safely.  Several players were clearly putting the escape of the NPCs ahead of their own safety.  Still I did not expect the escape plan to work (although the players were confident) and expected a lot of players having to go back to Hireling Hall to roll up new characters.
Fortunately, the plan worked, and while it was not easy, all the PC managed to escape the trap (although they had to leave a lot of loot behind).  In the end, Scipio and Lucius both still disliked each other, but realized that they needed the other: Scipio to command the army and Lucius to control the senate.  The only remaining problem was that neither wanted the other to be First Citizen.   As a compromise both agreed that were the Hall of Heroes able to rally around a single member of their order, both Scipio and Lucius would support that choice as the new first citizen.
While not all the players enjoyed this huge and complicated run, there were a number that did.  And you can add myself to that number.  It was the most fun I have had on a run in a long time.  I did feel sorry for Chris because as he was running the huge battle he had to do all the heavy lifting to pull this run off.  I feel that the players did fantastically well and as this was my final run, it had the added bonus because they had achieved everything that I had hoped for (this has not always been true at prior cons, so it should not be taking lightly).  Best to say, it was a great run, which provided a great ending to my plot arc.  I only hope that everyone had as much fun as I did.
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