X4-X5, X10 questions

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So I am planing on playing these modules soon.  First I am confused.  It seems likely the players will Kill the Master at the end of X5, yet it is implied he is alive and well in X10, and more powerfull.  Am I too asume that when they kill his Avatar, that his real body bursts out of his coffin and high tails it out of there to grow stronger?

Secondly, I am playing with 4e rules, and was wondering if there are equivalent mass combat rules for 4e.  I have no intentions of useing the BattleSystem rules.  The WarMachine rules are a maybe.  Not sure how the players will feel about this (especially since I figure they will have
turned 11th level at the start of X10, and would probably be more interested in standard encounters to try out all their new paragon toys).  Is there a quick and easy way to resolve the war without playing a risk like board game?  Perhaps a flow chart of events based on what countries they recruit etc.

Has anybody played this in 4e?  If not what about in its original OD&D edition, or other editions.  Did you play through the battles?  If so, how many battles did you play through, and how long did it take?

Thanks for any advice.
While I haven't played through the modules, timelines for the Mystara setting often place X4 and X5 about 200 years in the future of the default setting.

The Wrath of the Immortals boxed set also mentions these modules and that they can serve as a good bridge adventure for the events that play out in the campaign included in Wrath.

All around helpful simian

While I haven't played through the modules, timelines for the Mystara setting often place X4 and X5 about 200 years in the future of the default setting.

The Wrath of the Immortals boxed set also mentions these modules and that they can serve as a good bridge adventure for the events that play out in the campaign included in Wrath.




Yeah, I am playing them as part of the WOTI campaign.  The irony is that in X10, they mention NPC's that are from the 1000ac timeframe (Duke Stephan Karameikos III still 50yrs old).  I get the sense that X10 was not planned yet when X4-5 (or all the Gazateers) were written.

I haven't finished reading through X10 yet, but so far it looks ironic that Thyatis is likely to either remain neutral or to side with the Nomads, while Glantri is likely to aid Darokin.  This seems weird since at the same time these two nations are forming an aliance against Alphatia.

I was able to find some documentation on BattleSystem last night, and this does not look like something I want to use.  I haven't gotten to anything in the module yet that will require this, but hopefully it can be replaced by 4e style encounter.
With 4th Edition, I would suggest using the war as a backdrop and allow the PCs to influence the outcome by engaging in strategic planning (a skill challenge) or performing precision strikes against locations or enemy commanders (combat encounters).

All around helpful simian

I played X4-X5 and X10 back in 1987. That I still remember it pretty well is probably a testament to how much fun they were. When I ran it, we did it in reverse, playing X10 first, as a defensive war and then, once we'd beaten the Nomads back, sending in a PC strike team to eliminate the leader. 

Since you're more interested in X10, I'll share my recollections with you.

The party split into two halves so as to maximize their ability to be ambassadors. (interestingly, this set the stage for the party actually splitting and me having to run two parallel campaigns for awhile, as well as subsequent wars based on which half went to which country). I ran the war as a backdrop, but with the party present. So, basically at the start of each week (or maybe it was day) I moved units, had battles, et cetera... based on what each country was supposed to want to do. Several times, the PCs had to cross battle lines and fronts to get to new countries and that caused their own sort of random encounters. And I do believe once the characters got caught in a city being besieged.

Having the map out, with a token representing where the characters were helped visualize the strategic situation a lot more clearly and reprioritize where they needed to be. 

Another thing that we did was allow the characters to spend a day (if they were at the front) to help lead troops. This required some quick recalculating via the War Machine ruleset, but seemed worth it. I believe (but am not 100% certain) that there are bonuses for the PC to get into HtH combat with the opposing commander.

 The war, btw, was fairly long and bloody. Darokin collapsed pretty quick, as did the Shire. Glantri wound up being an isolated pocket (I think it arrived late to the war, and may have been the thing which tipped the odds in favor of the PCs). The front wound up being somewhere from the Etrughanns through Darokin (with a bulge around Alfheim) and into Karameikos. I think they did stop them at Specularum.  The Nomads had little chance to take over the Elves or Dwarves at any rate. Those were rough countries to occupy even with the highly trained armies equipped with magical weapons that would show up a decade later. 

Lastly, although it taks awhile to do, I xeroxed the blank back of the X11 map, and extended the map out into both Norwold and the Sind desert. That was key for future wars. (also the X11 map cuts out the Atrughan Clans and the Heldann Freeholds IIRC.)


 
Thanks for the feedback Wszebor, swapping the order of the modules is an interresting idea.

Can you give an estimate of how long in session time it took to play through the war phase of the module?  How about how many weeks the war lasted in campaign time?   I wonder if it could be doable via forum posts (we use obsiden portal), this may make it more palpitable for the players who probably want to stick to 4e style combat.

Splitting the party seems like a good strategic plan, however in our group we have two rules that we try to live by: 1) never split the party, 2) never open a second door*.   It might be doable, but some of the missions will result in combat, and I would prefer the group be together for those.  I suppose I could meta-game and suggest to them which countries they should stick together for.




* funny situation arose in a short lived campaign, where there was a doorway fight around a corner, and only 1 or 2 pc's were able to engage the enemy, so the rest of the group looked for a way to flank the enemy (we saw a door in the back of the room that some of them left through).  So we found a secret door and opened it, only to triple the size of the encounter we were already in.
We once 20 years ago played X4+X5, but never came to playing X10

My experience with the Warmachine rules is that they enable a fairly quick resolution of mass combat, so I encourage ou to use them.

The timeline of X4,X5-X10 is not current as Duke Stephan I Karameikos became King Stephan during the Wrath of Immortal campaign (source poor Wizards Almanac).

X10 has a Duke Stephan III (IIRC), you can always rule that at some point after the events of WoI Thyatis forced the downgrading of the Kingdom of Karameikos to Duchy.

but playing X-10 as prelude to X4+X5 is probably the "best" solution...

...,... and Rock'n Roll - but Minis are fun too...
I think the idea of having the war as outlined in X10 come before X4 and X5 sounds like a good one.  It might need some tweaking to the backstory.  Essentially this puts the PCs in the role of assassins sent in to finish off the Master after the advances of his troops are stopped, or at least before they can achieve total victory. 

Do you have a copy of Red Hand of Doom from 3rd edition?  This is a similar sort of scenario to that where the PCs encounter the early advances of the enemy horde and take action to slow them down and give the chance for the allies to shore up defenses and survive.  That module used an outline of the course of the war without any PC interference and then showed what happened as the PCs achieved victories.

These modules would definitely work best as a campaign with a blend of diplomatic and scouting missions along with the PCs leading troops to influence large scale battles as well as traditional travel and combat as they close in to take out the supreme leader of their enemy.

Can't wait to hear how it turns out.      


L
I think the idea of having the war as outlined in X10 come before X4 and X5 sounds like a good one.  It might need some tweaking to the backstory.  Essentially this puts the PCs in the role of assassins sent in to finish off the Master after the advances of his troops are stopped, or at least before they can achieve total victory. 

Do you have a copy of Red Hand of Doom from 3rd edition?  This is a similar sort of scenario to that where the PCs encounter the early advances of the enemy horde and take action to slow them down and give the chance for the allies to shore up defenses and survive.  That module used an outline of the course of the war without any PC interference and then showed what happened as the PCs achieved victories.

These modules would definitely work best as a campaign with a blend of diplomatic and scouting missions along with the PCs leading troops to influence large scale battles as well as traditional travel and combat as they close in to take out the supreme leader of their enemy.

Can't wait to hear how it turns out.      


L



Thanks for the suggestions.  As it turns out  I realized it was a little premature to run these modules based on the timeline of the Wraith of the Immortals.  I am now first running through the 2nd part of WOTI adventure (i.e. they are headed for the hollow world).  Once they are back from that I will start the X10, X4-X5 sequence.  Considering we only play once a month, it might be awhile, but I'll try to remember to update this thread.

I ran a fun campaign in which the players did the x4-x5. They "thought" they defeated the master. We then had a fun return journey along the coast, running a few older adventures and visiting some neat locations. When they returned many weeks later, x10 was breaking out. We played the battles as mass combat. I added some ships using the irendi navy rules, and expanded the map. I also added the forces listed in the WOTI. I was never hooked by the entire WOTI campaign, but moved the shadow elves to the surface and corrupted Glantri.

The campaign ended with Thyatis in control of a large area, and all the "bad guys" pushed out, except for the shadow elves. It really irritated them that the shadow elves were still on the surface.

My next campaign was the adventure path isle of dread campaign from Dungeon, which I ran as if it was going on at the exact same time as the previous campaign. All the players were elves. They started in Karameikos and traveled along the cost to the serpent peninsula. I made the Isle a long lost elven colony, abandoned during the rain of fire. We then ran the tree of life modules, and the players decided to return the tree to the isle of dread. We made all the bad guys agents of the Master of Hule. At the end, the module has the players go to another plane. I instead moved it to the Gulf of Hule. All the allies I made into savage coast nations, and we ran the adventure as an attack on Hule. It was really fun and worked great. At that point, the characters, all elves, had a few levels to go and really wanted to take care of the shadow elves. So I took another adventure path, scales of war, and handpicked a few of the adventures to take place in the lands of the shadow elves. It worked like a charm. I replaces a bunch of gods with Mystarian immortals. It was a lot of fun.