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 Post subject: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 10:28 pm 
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So, I just started my first serious DMing gig today, and I'm running DragonMech (translated into 4e). I'm running my own take on Shardsfall Quest, and it's going quite well. I figured I'd share here (stat blocks to come soonish, for those interested).

- I modified the fallen temple. No spawn of Seroficitacit. They were harder to translate, and they struck me as more useful for (slightly) higher levels.
- in the first room, I instead had 2 skinstealers and 2 dronogs. Dronogs are awesome - I gave them a psychic bolt that launches between 2 dronogs (wall 5, attack vs Ref). Their psychic static is an aura that gives a -2 to attack rolls if you end your turn in the aura, and it deals 5 psychic damage when their psychic bolt recharges.
- nanites proved hilarious. I created individual minions and a swarm - much like in the back of the book. Thing is, minions die if they take any damage, and the swarm gets a chance to deal damage whenever it's hit. There was much unintended cascading, turning what was intended as a tough fight into a hilarious acid bomb. They got more XP than they deserve for that, but it was funny. I'm now quite sure that in the future they'll come across an elaborate trap that involves piercing a nanite and making a roomful explode. It's a very over-the-top the trap, but it will be fun. I'll just need to write in an appropriately silly villain.
- the lunar elemental was cool.
- the starshard has been replaced by the Staff of Athuraz. We have a vestige-pact warlock who wants to be a staff-user, so I accommodated him. RP fluff is that the character is sharing his body/mind with a dozen or so ghost- and angel- draft dodgers in the Godswar. And now he has yet another mind: the vestige of Athuraz.
- rather than having them leave the room, a cannonball from the Stenians purging the temple blasted through, nearly missing them. End session.

We're meeting tomorrow, and I've got a nice bit planned for on Nedderpik.
- ferrovore swarms plus a rust monster
- grease lizard. Meant to be an easy fight that could be circumvented. Or you can burn it.
- the warder is possessed by a bunch of gremlins. This will be much fun. The gremlins are minions that can use a standard action to repair the warder. And the warder has an immediate interrupt that lets a gremlin pop out with a surprise attack when you attack it. The surprise attacks are more powerful, and if they hit you're at a penalty to hit the warder. Mind you, there's only four gremlins, and once they're gone, the warder is less dangerous. The gears are still there, and the warder can push targets if it hits with two slams.
- more ferrovore swarms, commanded by Malthus, emissary of the Tenth of Nine. The Tenth of Nine is a rising devil lord (yet to claim his own realm, but he's got a city-mech in the making) who gains power by offering safety from the lunar rain in return for your soul. He's sent Malthus to sabotage Nedderpik, taking away options for protection besides himself. The Tenth will be a recurring villain. It may even be (depending on how future games go), that he destroys one of the starshards, preventing Athuraz from single-handedly saving the day.
- this story arc will be really good for our kobold coglayer, a very recently exiled cogling.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:20 am 
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And oh yeah, I was forced to work on my improvised DMing. When they had to cross the chasm from one side of the temple to the other, rather than throw a grappling hook, they gave one end to the coglayer's homunculus and threw it across, with the order to tie it off all safe and secure. So they roll. They throw it across with ease. The construct then ties off the rope, and rolls a natural 1. Oh dear. That means something really bad happens. And the only thing we could think of would be that the rope broke free as they crossed. But that would have meant party death, as there were scores of lunar beasties below. And I didn't have an encounter like that ready. But I thought quickly on my feet, and instead the homunculus gives them a thumbs up, and to demonstrate, tugs on the rope. Which comes undone. So they repeat. Natural 2. Repeat. Natural 3. Repeat. Natural 4. Repeat. Natural 5. I have never before seen that happen. One more try. Natural 17. Ok, they're good.

Coglayer natural 20'd on his crossing on the rope check. He went for a steampunk roll to invent some gizmo to cross. He cobbled together a rocket-powered zipline.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:31 pm 
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One more little change in the adventure: I just realized that the kobold cogling is an exile of Nedderpik, and the second little delve is onboard Nedderpik. So rather than the peaceful asking for aid of the published adventure, I've statted up some cogling steam ninjas to rough them up. They'll be captured, and (with proper negotions), the chief will sentence them to destroy the godslayers. Cogling superstition still in place, but now it's a punishment. I wonder how the PCs will react to seeing a rust monster and some rust beetle swarms as the godslayers. And of course if the party survives, they'll have earned the respect of the tribe. I just wonder how the party's cogling will choose to remain adventuring.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:26 am 
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Another meeting coming up today. We paused right before the boss battle with the emissary of the Tenth of Nine and his rust-eating lackies. I'll be throwing in a ferak draconian, since those guys turn into a cloud of rust when they die. It'll be a dynamic environment, the battle taking place in the gear forest. I hope to encourage taking the fight onto the cogs, with a scene not unlike the final battle in The Great Mouse Detective. They'll then reach level 2.

After leveling up and heading out in the Magwagon, I'll be replacing the giant worm with a lodestone marauder. Ensuing will be an epic battle between a giant fighting robot and earth elemental with magnetic powers. This will be fun.

I haven't planned further than that yet, so I may be in trouble, but I've got some orcs in progress, and there's the meteor. I should get on that.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:33 am 
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Ok, updates from last night's session:
  • I did a little tweaking of the final encounter with Malthus, emissary of the Tenth. They also fought a needlefang swarm and a ferak draconian. The took out the ferak draconian faster than I'd intended, and it blew up as it began to retreat, damaging both the swarm and Malthus, then obscuring the fight. The rogue rode the gears up to a higher level and then charged onto a piston, riding it up to fight Malthus on his level. Malthus retaliated with "a gift from his master," right hand crackling with electricity as he pushed the rogue off the piston. The claw left the rogue dying, but he survived the fall thanks to a lucky low roll for damage.
  • The lodestone marauder encounter was fun, but I learned my stats for the Magwagon were a little weak. They had fun being pulled in by the marauder and then being thrown back, because (rule of cool), it set off the warlock's shadow walk, giving the entire mech concealment. Again, the rogue was awesome, riding on top of the mech to fight, until he backflipped off to get into flanking position with a mech.

I didn't get further than that, but it was awesome. They're interested in having a few more mech battles, and the party wants a steam blade mech. With magic loudspeakers to (once a day) amplify the warlock's thunder attacks (he really only has one damage type).

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:27 pm 
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I figured I'd post my 4e stats now. Or at least some of them.

Lunar Skinstealer * Level 1 lurker
Small aberrant magical beast (lunar) XP 100
Initiative +7 Senses Perception -1
HP 23 Bloodied 11
AC 15; Fortitude 13; Reflex 14; Will 12
Resist 5 fire, 5 psychic
Speed 6

Envelop (standard, at-will, melee basic)
+6 vs AC; 1d10+3 damage and the target is grabbed (until escape). A creature takes 1d4 damage when it escapes this grab.
Psychic Lash (standard, at-will) * Psychic
Targets grabbed creatures only; +4 vs Will; 2d6+3 psychic damage.
Bonds of Servitude (minor, recharge 6) * Charm
Targets grabbed creatures only; +4 vs Will; The target is dominated (save ends). When a creature saves against this effect, it immediately escapes the grab.
Psychic Chains (standard, encounter) * Charm
Close burst 1; +4 vs Will; 1d6+3 psychic damage and the target is dominated until the end of the skinstealer's next turn.

Str 13 (+1) Dex 16 (+3) Wis 8 (-1)
Con 11 (+0) Int 12 (+1) Cha 10 (+0)

I've given them a slight power boost since their encounter with the skinstealers, as the skinstealers were just too weak. I've left all the domination effects as standard action because a dominating skinstealer gets an effective extra round of actions from the dominated target.

Dronog * Level 1 Soldier
Medium aberrant beast (lunar) XP 100
Initiative +2 Senses Perception +0
Psychic Static Aura 1; Enemies that end their turn in the aura take a -2 penalty to their next attack roll. Enemies in the aura when psychic bolt recharges take 3 psychic damage.
HP 29; Bloodied 14
AC 17; Fortitude 14; Reflex 13; Will 13
Resist 5 fire, 5 psychic
Speed 6

Slam (standard, at-will; melee basic)
+8 vs AC; 1d10+3 damage.
Psychic Bolt (standard; recharge 6) * Psychic
Wall 5 (must connect to another dronog); +6 vs Reflex; 2d6+3 psychic damage and the target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

Str 16 (+3) Dex 10 (+0) Wis 10 (+0)
Con 13 (+1) Int 7 (-2) Cha 7 (-2)

Medium Lunar Elemental * Level 2 Elite Brute
Medium aberrant animate (lunar, shapechanger) XP 250
Initiative +0 Senses Perception +1
HP 106; Bloodied 53
AC 14; Fortitude 15; Reflex 13; Will 14
Resist 5 fire, 5 psychic
Saving Throws +2
Speed 4
Action Points 1

Morphic Slam (standard, at-will, melee-basic) * Polymorph
+3 vs AC; 2d6+3 damage and the lunar elemental has combat advantage for its next attack against the target before the end of its next turn.
Adaptive Advantage * Polymorph
The lunar elemental deals +1d6 damage and has +2 to defenses against a target granting combat advantage to it.
Lasting Adaptation
The lunar elemental has a +1 power bonus to attacks and a +2 bonus to damage rolls against targets it had combat advantage against last turn. (Do not apply this bonus if the target is currently granting combat advantage).
Double Bash (standard, at-will) * Polymorph
The lunar elemental makes 2 slam attacks.
Form of Entropy (immediate interrupt; recharge 4,5,6) * Psychic
Trigger: the lunar elemental is attacked in melee; Target: the triggering creature; +3 vs Will; 1d10+3 psychic damage and the target is dazed until the end of its next turn.

That's it for now. Nanites coming, Spawn of Seroficitacit in the works, and mech rules don't yet work right.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:55 am 
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And more monsters:

Nanite * Level 1 Minion Brute
Tiny aberrant beast (lunar) XP 25
Initiative +0 Senes Perception +0
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion
AC 13; Fortitude 14; Reflex 13; Will 12
Resist 5 fire, 5 psychic
Speed 6

Bite (standard, at-will, melee basic) * Acid
+4 vs AC; 3 acid damage
Death Burst (free, when reduced to 0 hit points, encounter)
Close burst 1; +2 vs Reflex; 3 acid damage.

Str 7 (-2) Dex 13 (+1) Wis 10 (+0)
Con 19 (+4) Int 7 (-2) Cha 7 (-2)

Nanite Swarm * Level 1 Brute
Tiny aberrant beast (lunar, swarm) XP 100
Initiative +1 Senses Perception +0
Swarm Attack aura 1; the nanite swarm makes a basic attack as a free action against each enemy that starts its turn within the aura.
HP 39; Bloodied 19
AC 13; Fortitude 14; Reflex 13; Will 12
Resist 5 fire, 5 psychic, half damage from melee and close attacks
Vulnerable 5 close and area attacks
Speed 6

Bite (standard, at-will, melee basic) * Acid
+4 vs AC; 1d10+3 acid damage.
Death Burst (free, at-will, when damaged by an attack) * Acid
Close burst 1; +2 vs Reflex; 1d6+3 acid damage.

In the Nedderpik part of the adventure, I simply de-leveled a young rust monster swarm for the rust-eating beetles, threw in an actual rust monster (again, de-leveled), and added a ferak draconian, needlefang swarm, and de-leveled spined devil. The spined devil had an encounter power that let him deal lightning damage with his claw attack, plus daze and push the target. Which really sucked for the rogue, who was riding a 1 square piston when he got hit. The rogue's player has already put it together, but a fist of lightning is the calling card for the Tenth of Nine. I also threw a grease lizard at them, using vicejaw crocodile, de-leveled and with vulnerable fire.

More later.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2010 8:56 am 
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And the next update: the party took care of the orc raiders and then entered Haimler's town. Due to some outstanding rolls, the non-humans were able to sneak their way into the city undiscovered. The human bluffed his way in, claiming to be an inspector sent by Shar Thizdic to take over their dealings with the meteor. Higher ups were not happy. The warlock's bluff continued, until he forced Haimler into the position of ceding authority. Which of course meant a double cross to kill him off. The party then fought Haimler, Thoron, and two lunar elementals - an encounter worth more than twice the XP considered "typical" for 3 2nd level adventurers. Thoron quickly became very popular with the party, considered a bad@$# for his style. I more or less turned Thoron into an ax-wielding swashbuckler/monk. He was backflipping through the air, cleaving things with ax, doing whirlwind assaults, and then punching people in the face if they ignored his mark. The party pretty much begged me to let Thoron join the party. So he was their ally when they fought the spawn of Seroficitacit. And he'll continue to join them. After some discussion with the party, they want an accident to befall him - involving the elixer of dragonbreath awakening too much of his heroic ancestors and transforming him into a dragonborn. And then some accident occurs and the coglayer fixes him. So we'll have a dragonborn steamborg. They're really excited to choose his powers. He's going to have an ejector fist.

For next week's game, I'm going to have another minion of the Tenth of Nine show up, stealing a starshard and then possessing their mech and running off. So the pursuit into Irontooth territory will now have them on foot chasing their own mech.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sun Feb 07, 2010 2:43 pm 
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And another update:
  • the players expressed interest in making a campaign against Shar Thizdic a bigger part of the adventure. I'm not yet sure how I'll work that in. One player suggested an Indiana Jones style competition for artifacts. Especially since they're hunting down the Starshards. But I've already got the Tenth competing with them. Do I make it a three-way competition, or do I have the Legion begin dabbling the occult?
  • Next adventure will have them among the Irontooth. I'll introduce them to Zack Rodenbaugh, artist of steel, and let them deal with that skinstealer.
  • The skinstealer will send a mech off to Edge with many skinstealer eggs, using it as a base of operations from which to launch a takeover of Highpoint.
  • Arrival at Edge will be a problem for the warlock, as he's been chased out of the Edge. The Sworn Brotherhood wants him dead because he won't help them, and the Stairkeepers want him dead because they think he is helping them, and the common folk will lynch him for being a lunar cultist. Insert chase scene. Also, when he first became a warlock, he didn't know what the power would do. He was expecting a peaceful solution, not the disintegrating of a mob.
  • The warlock's player would like a chance to lead them into a building to hide. Said building includes the flying machine, which they'll escape in.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:15 pm 
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So, we haven't met for a few weeks thanks to some schedule conflicts. We're still about to leave Haimler's town when Malthus swoops in, steals the Starshard, and takes off to their mech. I figured I'd share what I've been doing for mech rules: mechs are almost always elite brutes with resist 5 all. I've been using the limited use, high damage input on the Monster Builder for basic attacks, and increasing from there. I had used regular use, but the players complained about damage being too low. I think they're happier now with the higher damage, but I could use some more play testing. The coglayer has been our mech jockey, so the addition of a mech is roughly equivalent to one extra ally. Repair rules are still up in the air. I think I'll wind up going with 1/combat Steampunk check to repair an equivalent number of hit points. Outside of battle you can make more lasting repairs that are more effective, but I'm not yet sure how I'll handle this. It might just be restore to full hit points but be very clear that it isn't a pretty job. I don't want to discourage using mechs, and I think making it so hard to keep them at full hp would be a discouraging factor.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:43 am 
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I TOTALLY forgot about the scene from Great Mouse Detective - sweet!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Byq4v_b8 ... re=related

@ the 1:40 mark there is a tele-operated clockwork construct, and the big clock fight is at the 5:20 mark!

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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:20 am 
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I'm still experiencing delays with the game, but I've thrown in a bit more world-building. I've decided that because the Elemental Chaos is basically the raw materials of creation without rhyme or reason yet added, it's possible to use magic to shape minions out of near-nothingness. This is in fact the origin of demons: Devils used small objects as foci around which to shape new soldiers. For example, the feather from a vulture is the starting material for making a vrock. In more modern times, a gear can be used to distill the fear of the rise of the machines into a hellborg. Overuse of this method created a resonance within the Elemental Chaos that allowed this process to explode of control, spontaneously creating demons and the Abyss.

I plan on using this to explain why the Tenth of Nine (a devil) has a demon serving him. He's brought back this process of forging soldiers. Even some of the mechs in his fleet may be condensed from the Abyss - using a functional mech in place of an individual gear.

I'm also going to use this to differentiate devils and demons in my campaign. When you kill a devil, it careens back to Hell in a wave a hellfire. When you kill a demon, it shrinks back in upon itself, returning to the item from which it was condensed. (Also leaves the interesting idea of having a mech that uses a gear that was once a hellborg. Perhaps the Tenth of Nine's own city-mech only uses gears of this variety. Certainly a large undertaking. Perhaps it's only reinforcement at key positions).

My inspiration from this idea came largely from the movie The Great Yokai War. There are two movies of the same name that are very different. I'm talking about the newer one that doesn't involve traditional Japanese monsters driving off Dracula. This is one where the main villain uses this evil forge to animate used bits of trash with yokai spirits. The idea is that we've lost our respect for the past and things that help us. Old, worn-out items are discarded without thanks, and it makes them resentful. Yokai spirits are then destroyed, providing the animating force for our garbage to have its revenge. (NOTE: the yokai themselves also add in their own resentment at being forgotten). I don't quite have it explained well enough, but it's a good movie. And an interesting idea - perhaps one worthy of a campaign in and of itself. I could definitely see a place for it in DragonMech: using the spirits neglected in this more agnostic time to animate broken wrecks that have been abandoned without any thanks for their years of faithful service.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 10:58 pm 
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Well, game met again finally, though we had to do an abridged session. Much fun was had.

- Malthus swooped in and stole a Starshard from them. They give chase. I was planning on just running it as a skill challenge, but instead we have combat on the run. The elven rogue twice managed to leap into the air and grapple with Malthus. Since Malthus is a devil and not bound by physical laws alone, he manages to keep flying, leading to this hilarious image of Varian running on his tip toes to keep up with Malthus, who's almost dragging him through the air.
- they panic as they hear Malthus invoking a summoning ritual during all this.
- they whittle him down to 1 hit point before he reaches their mech, which Kadrak, the kobold-cogling coglayer, had trapped back during our last game in January. His player had forgotten, but I didn't. BOOM! Enormous hole blown in the mech, and Malthus is banished to Hell once again. They're really doing a number on the mech, as Varnok (the warlock who invokes draft-dodging spirits from the Godswar) had previously blown a porthole cover off by shooting through it.
- slow motion image of the Starshard falling before being grabbed by a hellborg inside their mech.
- battle with hellborg. Thoron from Shardsfall Quest had joined them in chase, since they saved him from the skinstealer, and thieves offend his sense of honor. Diabolical thieves are all the worse. The party needed an NPC meatshield, and they had been begging me to let Thoron join. This was mostly because they thought he was awesome, being more a swashbuckler/monk hybrid with a greataxe than the barbarian they were expecting. Also, it takes some serious kahones to punch a lunar elemental in the face. During the fight with the hellborg, Thoron had his arm ripped off. (Parodying the Transformers movie, Thoron had asked "You want a piece of me?" to which the hellborg responded by playing back an audio clip of the question, shaking its head, and holding up two fingers before tearing it off). Thoron got back up and again asked, "You want a piece of me? Well here it is!" before beating the hellborg with own severed arm. It was the killing blow.

Upcoming:

- to go with the story the players want to develop, Thoron will become a steamborg to replace the arm. They tried holding him over with a healing potion, but accidentally used an elixer of dragonbreath instead. He'll become a dragonborn soon. Being from the Legion, he won't take this change very well, but as Kadrak's player says, he owes him a Wookie life debt. Some of the story will be Thoron adjusting to the change and escaping Legion racism.
- the Irontooth will attack them, believing the mech to still be possessed by a hellborg. I hope to encourage a surrender because Thoron is not doing well. Also, a skill challenge to realize a peaceful solution is possible.
- the Magwagon must be destroyed, but as compensation and in recognition of their service in destroying the hellborg, they'll receive a (kind of junky) Steamblade.
- they'll get to enter a tournament among the Irontooth to try out their new mech
  • Round 1: versus an Irontooth warrior. This mech has a chatter tonfa and a drill-tonfa. I hope they find mech fu impressive
  • Round 2: versus another foreign challenger. I forget which book it was from, but there was a mention of a slathem with a water elemental mech. It might have been Almanac of Endless Traders. Anyway, I've given it stats. A trident, the Vortex of Teeth spell (hurricane of piranhas!), an electric eel slam, and the ability to summon a tidal wave! Again, this ought to be memorable.
  • Round 3: against the champion. I don't plan on the "champion" actually being the best of the Irontooth around. They're only in a series of battles, not a formal tournament with one grand winner. They may do something like that later, but currently it's just the toughest guy in their league. Again, an Irontooth monk/mech jockey. This warrior takes the principles of kendo and applies it to a giant staff with flame nozzles built into both ends. Also, there's a magnet built into it too. It ought to bring back memories of the lodestone marauder they faced and may give them ideas.
- after the tournament (which I may abridge if it doesn't hold great interest), they'll meet with Zack Rodenbaugh, artist of steel. Varnok's player expressed interest in the Legion having a greater villainous role in the game; he needs Nazis to his Indiana Jones, and he likes the idea of Shar Thizdic dabbling in the occult to gain power. I wonder how I could tie this into the Tenth of Nine's own agenda.... Anyway, to accommodate this, Zack doesn't have Sylph, a disloyal girlfriend, trying to hide the skinstealer. Instead, two agents from the Legion have been trying to win Zack to their side - an artist of his caliber would be an excellent asset for propaganda. When he wouldn't be turned, they decided to test a new Legion experiment: a skinstealer they believe they have tamed. It's pursuing its own agenda, but it keeps allaying their concerns, saying it's making Zack's transition to Legion goals gradual, to avoid suspicion. Maybe I'll still make Sylph part of it after all - as a Legion agent.
- after freeing Zack, they must chase down lunar cultists in a mech loaded with skinstealer eggs heading for Edge.
- there will then be problems at Edge, as Varnok was chased out of Edge for several reasons:
1) accused of being a lunar cultist.
2) accidentally blew up townspeople when he first got his warlock powers. (He asked for a way to save himself and was expecting something more benign than eldritch blast/clarion call).
3) refuses to help the Sworn Brotherhood of Silent Wings with their lunar cult flight machines. They had placed him in one such machine and threw it off the cliff, forcing him to learn how to operate it.
4) he then crashed the machine into the Stairkeepers Guild's building. They now feel threatened by him and have started a smear campaign and may be out to kill him too.
- Varnok is planning a chase scene where they flee from three separate mobs and he leads them into a building with the self-same flying machine inside. (The key to operation is a special ritual to Erefiviviasta).

That'll take them for a while. I suppose the question is why should they continue heading to Edge though? Maybe rumor about the next piece of the Starshard? Yeah, it keeps pushing for Varnok to find more pieces, and Varnok thinks one of his old books at Edge has the info. Since I'd like to head out to the Wet Desert and the yuan-ti, I think I'll place the next piece there.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Sun May 02, 2010 8:40 am 
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Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:57 pm
Posts: 133
We had game again yesterday. Our cogling coglayer had to drop out, so we're down a player. It worked well with the plot though. The mech tournament continued with a slathem in a water elemental. During this battle, the rogue leaped out of the mech with a spare board and surfed across the surface of the elemental while stabbing, distracting the pilot, and guiding our mech to weak spots. And he introduced surfing to the world of DragonMech. The slathem spoke to him afterward, greatly intrigued by this new sport. Our rogue named it splining - after his running gag involving some "reticulating splines" a snakeoil salesman had conned him into buying. He's still trying to sell them off.

The tournament then paused for a lunch break, during which our cogling was poisoned. Having lost our mech pilot, they were forced to make due without. The rogue took over while facing off against a Legion Fist of Valor. It turns out the Legion was cheating. They poisoned Kardrak (who did survive), and they even inserted a saboteur with the bore puncher. The party eventually caught him - an old friend of our new steamborg's it turns out. Also, the discovery that the Legion has personal cloaking devices that run on gnomish blood. As for what happened to the gnomes, well, let's just have a moment of silence. They chase the saboteur Ziegfeld out, and, when the Fist of Valor critically fails its next attack, clips him with the bore puncher as he escapes.

A brief pause for repairs, during which our rogue Varian breaks into the Legion's Fist of Valor to check things out. He manages to find an old "big as an entire room, with swappable punchcards" computer, and connects to something called LegionNet (dial-up tone ensuing, to great laughs). There he finds their orders: win the tournament to get close to Zack Rodenbaugh, artist of steel. The winners get a commemorative painting from him plus a costume paint job for their mech. The Legion is to win him over to their propaganda. If he won't join them willingly, they have a "tamed" skinstealer to use. (It was in fact employed for the poisoning).

The final battle is incredibly tough, but they win the tournament, facing an Irontooth mech that's a kendo staff fighter. With a magnetized staff with built-in flamebreathers. So awesome. Thoron the dragonborn steamborg plugs into the engine and soups up our steam blade with dragonfire.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Mon May 03, 2010 8:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:57 pm
Posts: 133
And since it's nearing the end of the school year (and my senior year), I find myself needing to wrap up this campaign soon. I'm expecting two more sessions, so here's the plot I have planned:

Session 1

The players go off to save Zack Rodenbaugh from skinstealer enslavement by the Legion. The Legion operatives being of the black ops/secret agent variety, they flee before the party takes them out. The party frees Zack. He says there's no time to thank them - he learned things from the skinstealer. Their mech is hosting an entire nest of skinstealers, and they're being transported to Edge. The Legion plans to enslave the free city and then take advantage of its placement as the hub of international commerce to conquer the rest of Highpoint. The PCs chase after the mech. A skill challenge ensues during which to catch up. One of two things can occur now:

1) They successfully catch up with the mech, and battle ensues.
2) They lose the mech, and things look bleak. But then they hear something. "Hello cretins," a familiar voice rasps. It's Malthus - the same devil who conjured the rust monsters in an attempt to destroy Nedderpik. And the same devil who stole a piece of the staff of Athuraz (the Starshards) and summoned the hellborg that tore off Thoron's arm, forcing emergency operations to make him a steamborg (and an accident with a dragonbreath elixer along with a healing potion to turn him into a dragonborn). Malthus assures them he's not there to fight. "As much as I hate to say it, I come in peace. For the time being, my Master's goals align with your own. He wishes to see the Legion brought low as well. And so he offers you a chance to stop the skinstealer infection." Presuming they accept, he opens a planar passage. Not unlike eladrin taking a corridor through the Feywild, their mech briefly traverses a pathway through Hell, teleporting them to their foes. Battle ensues.

Either way, they've stopped hostile Legion takeover. They meet back with their contact from the Stenian Confederacy, or maybe they head to Edge, or something. Point is, they spread word of the Legion's attack. This is the final straw, and all out war finally begins. End session.

Session 2

A few days or weeks have passed, and the war is just starting. Or maybe it's been longer, and I've leveled up the PCs. Point is, the party has fallen in with the alliance between the Stenians, Edge, and some support from the L'Arile and some Irontooth (other have joined the Legion). Despite what at first seems a clear number advantage for the Alliance, the Legion is holding its own. Shar Thizdic is a brilliant commander, and he wouldn't make so aggressive a move unprepared. Rumors long had that the Legion had five more city-mechs in the making. It turns out these claims were quite true, and some have already been unveiled and joined the fight. To be more precise, four new city-mechs are accounted for. But intelligence has revealed that there is indeed a fifth new city-mech, and, when finished, it will clearly tip the scales in favor of the Legion. I mean are seriously talking about the Death Star of city-mechs. The PCs are asked to infiltrate the Legion and sabotage this city-mech (I could use a name) before it becomes operational. Possibly it's going to again be Malthus providing this information. Either way, the PCs are contacted by the devil again, who offers aid in stopping this city-mech.

And so they infiltrate the base and board the city-mech even as it begins to power up and make its journey to the battlefield. They're almost too late! And so they must work their way through the mech, attempting to disable it. There they face Shar Thizdic himself. But treachery! It turns out Malthus has had them all! This was all an elaborate lure to place the pieces to summon the Tenth of Nine in the heart of the world's most powerful city-mech. Now the party and Shar Thizdic join forces to face off against a rising lord of Hell in what he has claimed as his own domain. Epic battle!

My plans are a little less clear for this session however. Malthus has placed on the party a key piece to the summoning of the Tenth. If they took his offer for a teleport after the skinstealers, it was placed then. If not, it's the gear that contained the hellborg they fought earlier. As for the big battle, control room in some ways makes more sense, but can I count on the PCs wanting to go there? It would make more sense to sabotage the heart of the machine. It could it part be that none of the party is especially technologically adept, but as they have a member of the Legion on their side, he could recommend that the control room would likely have a self-destruct button. Which does allow for an interesting means of taking out the Tenth, since he's likely beyond their level. And it makes me feel less bad about making Shar Thizdic vs the Tenth of Nine a clash of the titans well beyond the PCs. I'm thinking of retconning the world and saying that although, yes, Shar is a brilliant tactician and diplomat, that alone was not enough to unite the Legion. He single-handedly bested every single chieftain under his rule. His exploits are comparable to Beowulf or Hercules. The legendary hero said to have used a tree as a spear to slay Mish-Gar-Mok is rumored to be his ancestor. Or perhaps even in a King Arthur style, Shar Thizdic is that selfsame hero, returned to the world after centuries in Avalon. It's a fight far too epic for the PCs. But even then Shar Thizdic is losing. The PCs help how they can, dealing with Malthus along the way, who harbors quite a grudge. They have a chance to pull the self destruct and go down in a blaze of glory. I can't come up with a way to not kill them, but it may be awesome enough to be worth it, having in one action both killed a lord of Hell and dismantled the Legion for good. Perhaps I provide some escape pods, allowing both the party and Shar to escape. Depending on how time goes, I may have the Tenth of Nine also survive, in a much battered form, hungry for revenge on the PCs.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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 Post subject: Re: My Own Take on Shardsfall Quest
PostPosted: Tue May 04, 2010 2:44 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Sat Mar 01, 2008 7:57 pm
Posts: 133
A few more updates, as I've really been getting excited for this. I've altered the thought for the second session a little.

- it will definitely be a few months into the war.
- the party will have been an elite black ops corp utilized by the Alliance. Or maybe just the Stenians. Either way, they were recruited in light of their fame among the Irontooth. Seeing as in the mech tournament they couldn't help but engage it as infantry and win.
- it's Stenian intelligence, not Malthus, who sends them on this mission. It'll make it less suspicious. A Landshark mech will bring them close to the base of operations. Then the invasion can go as planned.
- the PCs will have been provided explosives by the Stenians. They'll need to load up multiple sites within the city-mech in order to destroy it beyond repair.
- since there isn't a self-destruct button, escape pods become less likely. I suppose I could still work them in, but I'm wondering about the escape scene now.

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I am Omnirahk, half-Rahkshi ("Omni") of the WotC forums. I consider "Psionics in DragonMech" (see my website) my greatest contribution to anything d20 so far. At least, it's my most successful topic.


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