PrinceCon 36: wrapping up

Once again, we wanted to thank everyone who was able to come to PrinceCon 36 and once again having the stamina to participate in the world’s finest 46-hour roleplaying marathon that can be completed in only 45 hours.  This year you braved a complex overarching theme that featured dozens of moving pieces, PCs turning into NPCs, and combinatorics in  addition to the usual array of monsters, bandits, thinly veiled cultural references, and sleep deprived Game Masters.

Below is a brief explanation of the what happened to lead up to the events of the con.  GM-specific wrapups to come as they’re available.

Sixty-three years ago Malchion, the Mage-King of Sumerilon, sought to remake creation in his own image. In secret he strove against the gods themselves, and devised a spell that would subvert the faith of a deity’s followers and rechannel those energies to fuel his personal power.  But while his might was great, Malchion found himself seconds from death at the hands of Romulus Pendragon.  Desperately, he prepared to Teleport away, as Pendragon held his combat action to gain the final blessings from the High Priests, and as Malchion started to Teleport, Pendragon struck, shattering Malchion’s crystalline heart into 36 pieces.  While Malchion’s body died that day, his spirit lived on in the shards of his heart that teleported to random locations around the continent.  Over time, they were slowly found, and slowly corrupted their owners, until the last shard was found, and they willed their owners to seek each other out.

All in all, the Champions of the Light fared badly against their former enemy, and the list of corrupted champions is long, including General Ironhewer, King Romulus Pendragon, Gladys Lamplight, Foxley, Allison Searock, and others.  BUT there are also stories of redemption, from the clearing of Morrigan Pendragon’s name, to Broseph Veritas Ecclesiastes being saved from complete corruption and possession by the spirit of Malchion.

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PrinceCon 33 Recap – York Dobyns

My 1st run was nominated for a collective “With Friends Like These” for the entire run. The hero hauling off and socking the party’s only cleric (for 8 pts nonlethal) for not healing his minor injuries before he put an unidentified ointment on them; the cleric not healing the hero because he was too busy enjoying being in melee in wolf-form; *another* hero telling the cleric “If he dies I’m going to kill you personally”; the cleric finally reverting to humanoid so he could do some healing and getting knocked out by attackers *because of* the nonlethal damage he’d taken earlier; the archer setting a new Princecon record for “friendly fire” damage by using Rapid Fire instead of Sharpshooter while firing into melee … the list just goes on and on.

My 2nd run discovered the Maze and did tolerably well for themselves although the Daglir cleric started gibbering when they found a corridor that intersected with a space they’d just mapped as containing a completely different room. They were careful, paranoid, and effective.

My 3rd run solved the Maze navigation puzzle and came back with a report about the Faerie/Beyonder battle several hours ahead of my planned schedule.

My 4th and final run came back with 7 out of a possible 10 militarily important magic items, heroically losing two characters in the process. (Actually I would say the “heroic” part was going *back* to the booby-trapped cabinet after their first attempt to unlock it set off 5 simultaneous Magical Traps in their faces: Room-filling Fireball; Chain Lightning in a 50% room-filling zigzag; Disintegrate (not Patterning, the 6th level Combat spell) and Flesh to Stone (Shaping) aimed at spaces the Chain Lightning didn’t catch; and a Cloudkill. They knew perfectly well there were at least 10 more traps left to trigger.)

So on a scale of 0 = Total Failure to 10=Overwhelming Success, I’d rate the players’ performance in my scenario at about an 8.

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PrinceCon 33 Recap – Tim DeCapio

My scenario was the Sentient Mnemovores (SM’s) and the evil mage Emirikol.

Critical Tasks to this scenario were:

1. Establish an alliance with the SM’s.
2. Find a way for the SM’s to avoid death.
3. End the influence that Emirikol had on them.
4. Close the weak point in the pathway that Beyonders could use to get to the Mortal Realm.

The player groups managed to achieve all the key plot points. More detail is given below:

1. One character: Christian (Ken Silverman) managed to bond with a SM. This allowed the players to learn much about them including how to extend the life of the SM’s by allowing them to ‘feed’ on intense memories of a host. The Players also experiment with the idea that a SM and a willing host might be able to extract animus without the experience drain (in the run, I had the player take NL damage {fatigue} instead). But they did not get much of a chance to see how effective this would be in bringing more Terra Cotta online.
The players also helped in establishing a link between a SM and an NPC. The SM was saved from Death the NPC was saved from a trap. The important plot point here is that the NPC: Chas is an 8th level cleric of Aru. This NPC is sure to understand and fight for the rights of SMs as a life form and not a construct (thing).

2. Most of this is discussed in number 1 above. However, with only 2 SM’s bonded more hosts would be needed. For plot purposes I had assumed that only a small number of SM’s were on the verge of death, but if the problem is not addressed, more SMs would die. My assumption is that the Aru cleric (Chas) will do everything to bring this to the attention of her church and as the bonding has a fair number of advantages, would hopefully be able to find hosts for any SMs that needed them.

3. The players as a group were satisfied to have defeated Emirikol’s henchmen and kill the evil SMs that had sided with him (these SMs had intended to steal and possess demi-human bodies – this would kill the host). One player (Tab Hunter/Sang Lee) however was not content to allow Emirikol to remain as a potential threat. He tricked Emirikol by giving him what he wanted most; his own body back, but then plunged a sword into his heart immediately. By the end of my least run, Emirikol’s influence had been ended and the big evil bad guy was dead.

4. The players ended the run by closing the weakpoint between the Faery world and the mortal realm. This was caused, by an object that did not belong on Faery that had been transported here years ago: the Crossroads tavern, meeting house for the Lamplighters Guild.


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PrinceCon 33 Recap : Overview

What Was Going On?

The player characters have been captured/lured into a SuperDungeon by the Faerie in order to have the player characters gain “Animus” (i.e., XP). The Animus gained is harvested by mnemovores in order to power a terra cotta army that has been constructed to combat the Invasion from Beyond; the terra cotta soldiers being, of course, immune to the natural mental powers of the Beyonders. The harvesting of Animus not only causes a player character to lose XP, but also to lose their short-term memory, thus the PCs are only aware that their party has recently entered Faerie and… that’s odd, the Dwarf Hero Jurgen has gone missing. And Kayla, the human priest of Mavors, suddenly has gray in her hair. The player characters left for Faerie in 989 current era (Mortal Reckoning). It is 1007 at the start of the Con.

Why are the Beyonders Attacking Faerie?

Around the year 450 current era (Mortal Reckoning), Faerie explorers discovered Ways to one of the lands controlled by the Beyonders. Initially entranced by the Beyonders’ high civilization, they almost give up the secret of the Ways to Faerie before realizing that the Beyonders have no interest in coexistence with other sentient beings. Instead, the Faerie adventurers daringly steal some “Beyonder magic” and flee back to Faerie. That magic is later used by the Faerie to create the mnemovores.

Why Didn’t the Faerie Just Ask for Help?

The Fair Folk really *are* callous, egotistical swine although not wholly evil (read some authentic “fairy tales”, and you realize it’s not such a stretch), and so when faced with the Invasion From Beyond they have no compunctions about kidnapping people from the Mortal Realm. Besides, if the Beyonders conquer Faerie they’ll go on to swarm through the contact points, intermittent though they are, and do incalculable harm in the mortal world as well.

After the Final Runs

On all fronts, the Beyonders were driven out of Faerie. In some battles, it was the timely arrival of demihuman-led squads of Terra Cotta Soldiers. In others, it was the arrival of militarily significant magical artifacts. There were at least two reports of a giant Terra Cotta Soldier that stepped over the nearby hills, wreaked havoc in the enemy lines, and then wandered off again. In all cases, it was clear that the mortals had helped turn the tide of battle. Moreover, the Beyonders were unable to sneak into the Mortal Realm during their retreat, and Faerie will stand as a buffer against further invasions from the lands Beyond. The Beyonders suffered terrible losses among their mind-controlled footsoldiers, drones, and scouts; however, none of the Warlords were destroyed or captured.

With the immediate need for more Terra Cotta Soldiers gone, no more mnemovores are being created — they are after all constructs and cannot replicate themselves. The fate of remaining mnemovores that have not reached sentience is not entirely decided, but because they cannot reach sentience without draining a demi-human and there are no forthcoming volunteers for this, it is likely they will be terminated. The sentient mnemovores are another matter. To survive, all they need is to feed on memories to live; a process harmless, and in some cases enjoyable, for the host. Given the mutual benefits that can be gained from bonding, finding hosts for the sentient mnemovores should not be an issue.

After congratulating themselves for having the foresight to bring such useful allies to the defense of the Faerie Kingdom, the Faerie Elders granted safe passage to the Mortal Realm, with guides to lead the Ways, for all demihumans in Faerie. Many left as soon as the victory feast was over, and some even before that, anxious to return home to try to resume the lives they’d left behind 18 years ago. Others decided to stay a while in Faerie. The Beyonder invasion destroyed much of the Faerie civilization, and the lands left in their destructive wake has turned wild and unexplored: just the sort of thing a few hardy adventurers, both demihuman and Faerie, were looking forward to.

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PrinceCon 31 – Alex’s scenario recap

The primary goal of my scenario was to resolve the storylines of the Monstrous and Demihuman Trees of Life. The essential problems facing the characters were as follows:

  1. Elsie was dying and could not be saved on her own; the Central Isles priests needed to be convinced of this
  2. Audrey could not “take over” Elsie’s root system, and she needed proof of this
  3. Even if you convinced everyone that both were necessary for survival, they couldn’t be merged without some primordial artifact of great power.

The players managed to:

  1. Attach special blossoms to Audrey that allowed her to more directly ignore — I mean, communicate with — Sammael
  2. Attach a similar blossom to Elsie and escort Escher, an Aru cleric on a pilgrimage, to meet Audrey. Audrey was not happy having to use Sammael as a go-between, so the next group
  3. Attached a blossom to Elsie that allowed direct contact with Audrey.
  4. Remove Taerth from Elsie, which gave them a nasty surprise — as Taerth fell from his throne, his bones and skin cracked open. In horror, they watched as 13 Thorn Born drakes emerged from Taerth’s body, and in greater horror, watched as the Mavors clerics present cast Bane Undead on themselves and proceeded to attack the player characters. It turned out the high temple priest of Mavors was Thorn Bitten.
  5. Figure out that the hint hint catalyst for merging Audrey and Elsie was the Seed and the Acorn. The Seed was hidden away in the House of Escher behind a combination staircase, and the Acorn was the Aru cleric Escher.

Nomination for “With friends like these…”
Xon (Sang Lee) and Therur (Jeff Houston) let Saiene, a notorious bughieman and member of the Hand of Dusk, free from Audrey’s imprisonment, under the rationale that their characters were a beholder and bughieman, respectively, who idolized Zazz/Wilson (a beholder member of the Hand of Dusk) and Saiene. Helping him escape was the least they could do.

Nomination for “These shells are so lifelike, I forgot I was undead!”
The exact circumstances escape me, but the group on my first run was facing some difficult decision, and one of the character’s suggestions was: “We could wait until dawn…”

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